Happy Mother’s Day

The day’s almost done, but it’s not complete without saying Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and especially to the most important mom in my life, my wife Emily (photo circa 2007—both my ladies are even lovelier today).

EmnAbi

For some of the many reasons I love my wife, please read this post from April.

Is the Single Income Household Dead?

maxed-outFinances have been on my mind a great deal. Over the past few months, the Armstrong family has been learning how to live solely on my income and finding that we actually can. Our lifestyle is by no means extravagant, but we have food on the table and the bills are paid, which is really all you can ask for, right?

We have to wait on things that we want, but that just means that we have extra time to learn whether or not we really want them.

Thursday morning, I had a great meeting with our pastor, and we were discussing this very thing. And after saying how much he admires the very difficult task that single moms have, earning an income and raising children on their own (I was raised by a single mom who worked really hard to take care of my sister and I, so I wholeheartedly agree; single parents are superheroes), he, in a somewhat resigned fashion, said, “The days of the single-income household are gone, for the most part.”

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The Challenge

I am a guy who loves books. Anyone who knows me knows that there are fewer things in life that bring me more joy than books. So, when my friends Adam, John and I were talking and a challenge from our pastor came up, I wasn’t sure how to react initially: “Close all your books [specifically the theology ones], turn off all your podcasts, and only read your Bible for a while.”

I’ve always been a voracious reader—and generally speaking fairly broad in my selections. Fiction, sci-fi, mystery, history, humor, biography, theology… I read a LOT of books. Some good, too many not so good. But it’s always been one of my few hobbies, aside from writing this blog (which is much more recent, obviously). And there’s a question behind this challenge: Do I read a lot because I like to appear intelligent, or do I read a lot to grow in my knowledge and experience of God?

Are books an idol?

I’ve been wrestling with this idea for a few days, of putting down my books for a while, and seeing what’s rattling around my head that I’ve not fully processed yet. To see where my heart is and learn whether or not I study theology to the glory of God or for my own.

For the next 40 days, I am committing to turning off my few podcasts and reading my Bible, with perhaps the odd bit of fiction thrown in when my head is throbbing from a whole heap of the Prophets.

And I want you to join me. If you’re a podcast fiend, a book junkie, or whatever your poison: turn it off, put it down, stop doing it.

For 40 days.

Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be posting updates on my progress as I hope that God will reveal to me where my heart is at in this area of my life.

Feel like joining me?

A Question for Wednesday

This is more directed towards the men who might be reading, so ladies out there, I hope you’ll forgive me.

Gentlemen, how are some ways that you show your wife you love her? What are some of the things you do that fail to show that?

Last week, I wrote about why I love my wife, but there’s something I do that frustrates her to no end: When I forget to write things on the calendar, it drives her nuts. It may seem like a small thing, but go with me for a second. When I don’t write something down on the calendar, a meeting, a social event, an appointment, it creates a false expectation for a day or evening. If Emily doesn’t know I’m meeting with a friend, or have a business engagement, she expects me (rightly) to be at home with her and Abigail. She makes plans accordingly.

Last night is a perfect example. I forgot to write down that I was meeting with someone; we talked about it, but because of bus schedules, it caused me to have to leave very early—before I had the opportunity to eat the meal she was lovingly preparing for me and spend some quality time with her.

This was not very loving of me, to say the least.

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Why I love my wife

This week has been a good one for us. Emily is recovering well and generally in good spirits (thanks go out to all who have been praying for her). But it’s also been rough for me, simply because I was hit a little more profoundly with the reality of the last two weeks’ events when my good friend Adam (correctly) mentioned, “your wife almost died.”

That really shook me, because while I knew, it hadn’t really sunk in. He was right. She had almost died nearly two weeks ago.

Tuesday night, Emily and I had a hard talk about her not taking the time she needed to take to heal. And I almost lost it emotionally; I just felt like a wreck. I explained to her how I was feeling, that I needed her to slow down as much as she needed to. I begged her to please just let me take care of her. And she did.

The rest of the week was pretty well. I didn’t think about this too much more until Saturday, when I stumbled into a debate on gender roles. It’s strange how the mind connects things sometimes, but… [Read more...]

10 Things We Don't Mention in Worship Songs…

A while back, Abraham Piper wrote about “10 Things we don’t mention in worship songs but that I’m happy God saved me from.” I liked it so much that I’m blatantly copying him, although not his 10 things.

Here’s my list:

  1. Rage
  2. Children out of wedlock
  3. Divorce
  4. Adultery
  5. Pride (though I struggle with this constantly)
  6. girls with low self-esteem
  7. Self-esteem
  8. Satan (long story)
  9. Candy and things that taste like candy (again, I struggle with this constantly)
  10. Emergent theology

What’s yours?