Stay at Home Dad!

Stay at Home Dad! | By Eric Loper

I never thought I’d be where I am now as a father and husband.  But here I am.  As my wife, Christine and I rolled with the punches of life, we ended up not so textbook.  I guess I would say it began when we moved back to San Diego from Las Vegas.  In Vegas, I IMG_0255worked full time in a casino, while Christine had a part time gig in Human Resources.  But you see, I wasn’t going to start over in the casinos and Christine found a reputable, full time job in HR once we moved back to San Diego.  I tried the whole starting my own business thing, but having not put much heart and thought into it, that got thrown into the “never mind” pile.

While still searching for what it was I was going to do, Christine worked the 9-5, Monday through Friday.  We did not want to send our kids to day care, so I watched them while Christine was at work.  This didn’t seem permanent as I was looking for where and what I was supposed to be.  My foot landed in the door of a restaurant/brewery as a delivery driver with the intention of working my way up to bartending while I went back to school.  While bartending, I was given an amazing opportunity to take over as the brewer.  This was perfect!  A job that I had a heaping truckload of passion for, and was flexible.  IMG_0267I could get to work early, in order to be finished in time to pick up the kids from school.  Meanwhile, Christine was tearing up HR.  Her experience and pay kept increasing.  Eventually we made the decision to homeschool the kids.  With my job being the flexible one, naturally I would take on schooling. While this works, it’s definitely not the easiest way of doing things.

On days the kids are homeschooled, if I have to work, I get up at 2am to start working before the word “early” is even awake.  Christine then drops them off at my work on her IMG_2458way into the office.  This way I am usually done around 10am and we have time to go home and hit the books.  Normally, we hit history and literature by noon.  That’s about when I feel the increasing weight on my eyelids, “OK kids, after history you two can have a recess while dad takes a nap.”  These naps justify the 2am alarm clock.  It’s like 30 minutes of heavy heaven.

Now, while this works, it’s not what we had planned.  I mean I never imaged that I would be working part-time, as well as part-time homeschooling my kids, while Christine worked a full time gig,  Monday through Friday.  I did not expect to be the one texting my wife to see if she was going to be home on time, or making sure the house was clean before Christine got home from work so we could all relax and hang as a family.  We just kind of fell into this.

 

As time went on, this path became more cemented.  There was a bit of panic as the cement hardened.  We felt trapped.  Christine began to struggle with the idea of being a IMG_0165working mom when so many of the people that she looked up to were stay at home moms.  As relatively new Christians, this situation didn’t seem to fit what we thought the Christian family should look like.  As Christine was crafting ideas of how she could make a career for herself at home, her career in HR continued to excel.  She received more and more favor and provision, which was a huge blessing to our family.  At the same time things were going well with my work.  I was also able to be involved with coaching my kids’ sports.  We had time for ministry and the right balance of family time.  Things were actually pretty good.  You’d think we would have seen God’s hand in all this goodness, yet we were searching for a way out.

 

Thankfully, God showed us what we couldn’t see even though it was right in front of our faces.  Christine attended a women’s retreat where Pastor Tracy was teaching on a woman’s identity.  In that, she spoke that the focus isn’t whether a woman works inside IMG_1503or outside her home, but rather where her heart is aimed.  The Holy Spirit showed us this is exactly where we needed to be.  Since then everything seems so settled.  Christine is still amazing at work and just the mom that our kids need.  Sure I don’t get to have the kids yell “Dad!” when I walk in the door from work.  That’s reserved for mom in our house.  But hey, I get to work part time at a job that I love, help my kids learn, coach their sports team, and lead our family.

We’ve learned that marriage is a partnership and “roles” are what you make of it.  I’m pretty darn good at cooking and I love to do it; Christine is great at cleaning.  I’m more of the disciplinarian while Christine is the peacekeeper.  I like to play and be rough with the kids, while Christine is the one they want when they need the tenderness of a mom.  Although some of our roles might seem like they are turned around, it’s very much God’s handiwork at play here in this house.  We love, trust and serve God; He leads, we follow.

 


IMG_0699Eric Loper is 39 years old and has been married to Christine Loper for 14 years and together; they have a 13-year-old son Keith and an 11-year-old daughter Jade. He works at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing in Carmel Mountain Ranch as the brewer. He also homeschools his kids and helps with their sports by coaching. He loves sports, cooking, and gardening.

I Want You to Submit! by Jamie Humphrey

i-want-you-giwy“I WANT YOU TO SUBMIT!” These words give me a mental picture of Uncle Sam with his beady eyes staring at me and pointing his gnarled finger in my face. The word “submit” or “submission” is a loaded word that brings a sigh or maybe even a shudder to women in the Western world. For some women submission is all they know. Submission is a topic that cannot be simplified into a short blog post. But I want to write out some ideas and ask questions for you to respond to. I would love for you to actually email me your thoughts and answers. I will be able to put together all of our thoughts in a later blog.

I looked up the word “submit” in the dictionary.

Submit: verb, accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.

The word “submit” is a verb which signifies an action. No one can make you submit to their will. God gave us a free will to have the opportunity to voluntarily submit. God does not force us to obey or to love Him. If someone forces you to do what they want, it is something other than submission. Submission is always voluntary.

After I learned the definition of submit I then went to the Bible to see what it says concerning submission. Oh boy. Here we go (emphasis added is mine…the translation I used is NLT for the Scripture references below).

Job 22:21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.”

Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

Also, 1Peter 2:13 “For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority – whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed…”

Ephesians 5:21-22 “Instructions for Christian Households: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

1Peter 2:18-19 “You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you – not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.”

These are a few of the verses that stuck out to me. The Scriptures are telling us to submit to God, the government, husbands and wives to each other, wives to their husbands as their authority, and to our “masters” aka our bosses. Even if the person in authority is unjust we are supposed to submit. That is really unfair. That makes me mad. We should be able to buck the system if it does not line up with what we believe in and what we think is right. I can totally relate to the frustration that these scriptures create. But what is God getting at with His instruction for submission?

Do you want to know the epitome of submission? Look at the life of our Savior, Jesus. He knew He would be tortured to death. For something He did not do. How UNJUST is that?! How unfair and cruel? In Matthew 26:39 (NLT) it says, “He went on a little farther and bowed his face to the ground praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” And it says in Hebrews 5:7-9 (NIV) “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

Jesus submitted to a temporary suffering for an eternal purpose. What more can I say on the subject?

I would appreciate if you would email me your thoughts on any of the following questions:

  1. What was a time you chose to submit to your authority even though you thought it was unfair and wrong? What was the outcome?
  2. Where do we draw the line in submission? When is it okay not to submit?
  3. To whom is it hard for you to submit to?

SUBMIT your thoughts on SUBMISSION to jamiebhumphrey@gmail.com by 7/1/17.

I cannot wait to hear from you!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jamie
Jamie Humphrey has been married to Eli for almost 10 years, and together they have two children, Serenity (8) and Justice (6). Every single day Jamie is trying to grow in her relationship with God and with her husband and kids. It is not easy but it is worth it.

On Value and Beauty

On Value and Beauty | By Joe Pinner

I want to say something about every woman, using the concept of objective value and beauty, and I’d like to offer some some of my personal reflections that I hope will encourage you. However, it would be a terrible mistake to think that I’m somehow aunnamed-1 proper authority on anything, let alone the value and beauty of a woman. I’m an ordinary man. Sometimes I’m grumpy, and selfish, and not very impressive. I don’t always love my wife, Andrea, like Christ loves the church (I’d be surprised to learn if I did that for a minute straight), and I don’t always honor her as she deserves. I swear this is true and not false humilityalthough I’m not above false humilitybecause I’m also brimming with ugly pride. I’m pretty sure that’s why I said yes to writing this.


So, I’m a mess. I’m definitely not better than anyone else’s husband. I emphasize this
point because this blog is not meant to be about me, and you should be thanking me for that. There is nothing helpful to you about some guy at your church merely talking about why he appreciates his wife. My hope here is to give you something more substantial than that. Ultimately I want to tell you not about why I’m so crazy about Andrea, but why God is so crazy about you.


IMG_4584Now, that being said, I will briefly share something about my love for Andrea. I’m captivated by her. Like Valentine in Shakespeare’s
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, bemoaning any moment of her absence: “What light is light, if Silvia (Andrea) be not seen? What joy is joy, if Silvia (Andrea) be not by…” It’s kind of overwhelming how amazing she is to me, but I can’t help it.

This admiration I have for Andrea is a very enjoyable affair, no doubt, but it has often caused me a great deal of curiosity about the nature of her value and beauty, such that it should be so intoxicating to me. Yes, she’s physically beautiful, and yes, she is incredibly virtuous and smells wonderful. But these qualities alone seem to fall short of explaining my strong temptation to worship her. Am I mental?

unnamed-4Happily, the disciplines of theology and philosophy have proven useful in shedding some light on this matter for me. As it so happens, there are two different ways of talking about value judgements, both of which, are familiar to us. Sometimes we talk about things we personally prefer over others like our favorite ice cream flavor over another, or even wealth over poverty. These kinds of value judgements are of the subjective variety meaning that they are autobiographical and can only provide information about the person (or subject) who is sharing. Other times however, we make value judgements that are obviously meant to objectively describe the quality of something.  Moral or ethical value judgements are an easy example of these. The wrongness of rape, murder, lying, and cheating is a quality of the actions themselves and not the observer. These kinds of judgements only tell us about the person making them insofar as they confirm a person is capable of seeing these objective features like a man at the doctor’s office reading an eye chart.

This brings us to the concept of beauty. If pop culture is to be believed, beauty is an entirely personal construct and is thus constrained to the “eye of the beholder.” But this limited view of beauty would be at odds with what we actually take beauty to be. Such a view, if correct, would certainly mean the end of artistic appreciation and criticism for all mediums including painting, architecture, and even fashion. After all, who would care about any person’s mere subjective opinion of beauty, if we did not also see that their statements were predicated upon the presence of real and objective beauty? The deficient subjective view of beauty simply doesn’t explain the kinds of feelings that come over us when we behold true beauty; and just as we understand ethical values to exist independently of our human minds, we find that beauty is the same. We simply see that certain things are beautiful because of something mysteriously connected to their nature. This mystery has led many of our great philosophers to conclude the only thing that makes sense of the data: God is the source of beauty.

 

Now, that’s all well and good, and I know that the concept of beauty can be a fussy one; especially when you’re pleading in the mirror with your mascara to stop clumping, or when your beloved jeans are fitting tighter than when you bought them. But a woman’s value and beauty is not found in these things. Nor is it found in Pinterest-worthy decorative, organic lunches you wish you had the time to pack daily for your children, or even a unique ability to repurpose old wine bottles and file cabinets. If it were, Valentine would have lost interest in his Silvia long before he could have uttered his declarations of love. A woman is so much more than this.

unnamed-2A woman is valuable and beautiful because of something in her very nature. In their book, Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge explain, “She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch … Can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation?” Woman, like man, bears the imago Dei, the image of God. But the unique creation of woman showed us the tender and aesthetic side of God not showcased by man. This value and beauty is hers in a permanent, objective sense, and never relied on Smashbox, Cross-Fit, or Etsy.

So, with this, I say to every woman who is reading my words: You embody every bit of the same objective, factual beauty that God imbued to Eve. You are enough! You are gorgeous and valuable independently from anything you could ever add to yourself. Your very nature has been set apart from the rest of creation by the creator, Himself, and cannot be modified. This is not true simply because I subjectively prefer it to be true. No, as I indicated earlier, my experience with this value and beauty in my marriage is quite irresistible. Rather, the things I’ve told you are a part of the story of reality revealed to us in God’s Word. They are objectively true.


unnamed-5About the Author

Joseph Pinner is 37 years old and has been married to Andrea Pinner for 17 years. Together they have five daughters with ages ranging from 1 to 16. He works at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla as a dialysis technician and soon-to-be RN. Family is his greatest passion and calling in life, but a close second is defending the truth of Christianity by presenting reason and evidence in love.

Wife – You Are More Than Your Role

Wife – You Are More Than Your Role | By Byron Vardilos

I have the privilege of being married to an amazing woman. I first met Theresa at a coffee shop in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a typical fall night during my Junior year at Texas Christian University. A group of four of my fraternity brothers and I had just finished eating dinner at a local downtown eatery. I was a newer Christian at the time and being part of BYX rooted me in my faith.

Brian, who we called “B-Grow,” announced to the group that he had forgotten he’d promised to meet a girl at a coffee shop and we were over an hour late.  We all piled into a beat-up Chevy Suburban and rushed off to the coffee shop. Little did I know I was about to meet the love of my life!

I’ll never forget the night. I walked in, and there she was. She was beautiful (and sitting at a table by herself reading a Bible!). I don’t remember the conversation, and we only exchanged a few words, but driving home that night was one of the few times in my life I distinctly heard God’s voice. He told me that this was the woman for me!

Byron & Theresa Nov 1998That was over 20 years ago! 20 FULL years of ups-and-downs, success and failures, four kids, two dogs, and over 16 moves!

The first few years of our marriage were rocky, to say the least, but since then, each year we get closer and I learn more about this wonderful woman. With so many things vying for our attention, it’s becoming more and more difficult for wives to keep their identity.

Theresa has had many roles over the years; the role of a wife…the role of mom.  More recently, she is adding many more roles. But the roles do not define who she is.  First and foremost, she is a Daughter of the King!

In the last two years, I’ve witnessed Theresa growing in all areas of her life.  She’s embracing the truth of her identity in Christ. I want to encourage you, the women of The Fathers House, to do the same!  A great resource that talks about this identity is the book, The Secret of Significance, by Robert S McGee.images

With raising four children ages 10-16, running multiple businesses, volunteering and participating in community activities, Theresa and I are at the busiest season of our lives to date. Full schedules blur the bigger picture for all of us.

I’m naturally big-picture thinker.  Theresa is much more detailed, so we complement each other in this way.  Whenever I see her taking on too much or getting caught in the minutia, I remind her to take time off for reflection. I ask her questions like…“What do you want to be doing in 10 years after the kids have left?”  “What is God calling you to do?” and “What is your long-term mission?”

The answers to these questions don’t have to be world-changing, like ending world hunger. But these types of questions have helped Theresa stay focused on what is most important and discover a passion to impact the lives of families and women.

I’ve watched my wife take on these habits and can encourage you to think of some that can help you grow in your identity:

1) Build time each week in your calendar just for you. Theresa is introspective, so once a week, she gets away to the beach or a coffee shop by herself to pray, journal, exercise, and have a time of quiet reflection with the Lord. Find what refuels your tank and make the commitment to do it each week.  If you catch yourself feeling guilty about taking this time to recharge, remember, even Jesus took time away in the “lonely places. Taking care of yourself in this way will bless those you love the most!

2) It’s ok to say “no,” even to good things.  Nothing can tire you out more than feeling obligated to say yes to every opportunity to serve. Having the bigger picture at the forefront has helped her say “no” to things, even good things, that are not part of her bigger mission. This helps her avoid burnout and keeps her focus on what is most important.

3) Know your strengths.  If you haven’t taken a spiritual gifts class, I highly encourage it.  There are also numerous personality tests, including the Myers Briggs and StrengthsFinder.  Learning your natural gifts can help you identify new roles and opportunities you may not have considered before.

4) Know your season. Theresa and I are in, what is affectionately referred to as, “The Long Middle.” But seasons will not last forever. Knowing your season provides perspective which can keep you going, even when you feel like giving up. If you’re in the darkest Winter right now, know that Spring always follows winter!

5) Find mentors; be a mentor. God uses people to grow us up in the faith. The Father’s House and has made it a priority to spend time building relationships. This is a good place to find and/or be a mentor.

6) Work on your schedule as a couple and prioritize. On Sunday night, Theresa and I get together and have a brief meeting to go over our calendar for the next week.  It’s not always perfect, and sometimes messy, but it helps us plan out and make sure that we are spending our time wisely.

7) Plan a weekly date night. Having a weekly date night is a non-negotiable.  It allows us to connect, at a deeper level, and communicates to our kids that our marriage is important.

8) Read inspirational books. Theresa has become a voracious reader.  She also listens to positive podcasts and audiobooks to learn while driving or doing work around the house.

9) Pain is part of the process. Psalm 30 says that “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  The transformative process is not all sunshine and rainbows.  Theresa has encountered many challenges in recent years with all the demands upon her and in building her business.  But I’ve watched the challenges make her stronger!  Like weight training, where you tear muscle fibers to gain strength, the hardships she experiences are building her into a much stronger version of herself.

10) Make wise decisions about health. “I want to work out and eat healthier, but I just don’t have the time.”  We’ve all been there.  I think the biggest revelation for Theresa and I recently is that the time and energy we spend on exercising and making good food choices will come back to us ten-fold in the form of increased energy, health, and clarity of thought.  Don’t feel guilty about taking time to work on your health!

I want to encourage you to take some time this week to seek the Lord and ask him to use you in a new and fresh way.  Then take action and go for what God has put on your heart. Stir up your gifts and trust Him for the great reward!


Byron & Theresa TCU GraduationByron met Theresa over 20 years ago at Texas Christian University where he played baseball and studied business. Married for almost 19 years, they have four children Jacob, 16, Hannah, 14, Caleb, 12, and Abigail, 10.  Over his career, Byron worked as a Business Coach in the Real Estate industry, as well as in sales and entrepreneurship.  He is committed to Christ and helping others live out their full potential. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing piano and guitar, mountain biking, trail running, weightlifting, the ocean, travel, and any sport involving a ball.

Spice-up Your Love Life

I can give you all of the fluffy ways to spice up your love life, however, I want those of you who are reading this to hear truth. | By Kim Henson

When I was asked to write a blog about how to spice-up your love life, I thought, “This will be such an easy topic to write about because I think Kirk and I have enough spice to flavor the world.” But as I prayed and thought about the topic, it occurred to me that I needed to truly examine my marriage and bring Kirk into this too. Before I let you know what works for us, I want to tell you a little about our story.

unnamed-1I met Kirk 23 years ago. I knew immediately that he was the one for me, but little did I know what God was going to do in our lives to restore what had been broken in our past. We were both going through horrible divorces at the time, and I had two children that needed a good male role model. When I look back, I realize that God had an amazing plan, but I decided to help Him a bit. When I intervened, there ended up being a lot of bumps along the way, as you can imagine. But God restored us and answered my prayers the day we said “Yes” to each other. We will celebrate 20 years this October! We have never looked back … well, most of the time.

I can give you all of the fluffy ways to spice up your love life, however, I want those of you who are reading this to hear truth. What works for Kirk and I, and always has worked, is communication–physically and emotionally. As wives, we must learn what are husbands are all about: what they like, don’t like and everything in between. I’m not just talking about the bedroom … I’ll get to that. We need to know the core of what makes our husbands who they are. Here are some practical ways that have worked for us.

  • Pray for your husband always. You may be saying, “I know that.” But are you really doing it? There are great books out there that have specific prayers that you can read every day for your husband. It is one of the most powerful tools you will ever have. I suggest Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Martian and A Wife’s Prayer: Seeking God’s Best for your Husband by Pamela Hines.

 

  • unnamed-2Plan weekly dates with your hubby that are fun. Take time to experience some things that he likes to do. This will go far, I promise. Talk about a budget for this. The dates don’t have to be expensive. It’s so important, especially if you have kids.
  • Be confident in yourself! No matter what we look like (after four kids), your hubby truly wants to know if they are pleasing us. It may seem like they only want one thing, but I can assure you, if he thinks he’s a king in the bedroom, he will respond to you differently. Ladies, get naked! Let him see you. I know it’s difficult when we see all of the flaws, but I promise he will only see the beautiful, confident woman he married so long ago.
  • Wear cute pajamas to bed. You don’t need to wear that uncomfortable stuff from Victoria’s Secret (unless you love it). But no more t-shirts or those flannel night gowns. In fact, get rid of them even as you are reading this.
  • unnamedThink about him before he gets home from work. Look up from your crazy day and make eye contact with him so he knows you are happy to see him. Text him during the day and tell him something ‘naughty’ (whatever you feel comfortable with). I’ll be honest, I’ve sent him text pictures and then I pray my kids don’t go through his phone.
  • Most important–talk, talk, talk. Be interested in the things that interest him. Tell him your dreams, desires, everything. Be engaged.
  • Have sex! Don’t set your expectations too high, just get together physically. I know how tired we can get raising kids, going through menopause and dealing with body issues. But try to push through and enjoy your hubby. What will it hurt? You may really enjoy it. Try new things as long as you feel safe together. It’s ok because God created sex to be the most enjoyable gift He gave to marriage.
  • Talk to someone you trust who has been where you are. Don’t talk badly about your husband, and never listen to someone that doesn’t have both of your best interests at heart.

If you are in a place where you don’t know where to turn because you feel unheard, unappreciated, or worse, thinking that life without him would be better, please talk to someone. Don’t give up. It can be great again. This is the man that you said “yes” to so many years ago–that feeling doesn’t just go away. We might put that feeling on a shelf sometimes. Take it down, dust it off and start enjoying one another. It can only get better. When people ask Kirk, “How do you keep your marriage going?” He says simply, “I show up every day.”


 

unnamed-3Kim Henson have been doing this incredible journey of marriage with her best friend, Kirk, for 20 years this October. The joy of their lives is their family. They have four amazing kids: Jon (32), Tyler (29), Camille (17), and Connor (15). Tyler and their daughter-in-law, Nellie, have their two beautiful grandbabies, Ava (5) and Eli (19 months). Kim loves to spend time with Kirk, her favorite person on this planet. In this season of life, she helps Kirk with the family business and volunteers at her kids’ school. She and Kirk also serve in their church as elders, and they host a marriage life group. She loves spending time with friends and family, going to the movies, working out and traveling. But most of all, she tries not to take herself too seriously.