I used to endure a pet peeve that I’m sure many share with me. It almost goes without saying, but I’ll name it anyhow:

Leaving.

The.

Toilet.

Paper.

Roll.

Empty.

Clearly, as I’m sure you all would agree, anyone who does this unforgivable sin should never, ever be…umm…forgiven.

At least that’s what I thought, until I had an epiphany while in the bathroom.

(On a related note, I have a theory on why epiphanies typically occur in the bathroom. I think it has something to do with having precious, quiet time completely alone to think, reflect, and…think. Anyhow, back to the post.)

Where was I? That’s right. Epiphany.

Today I naively reached for the toilet paper that should have been faithfully waiting there to assist me. But it wasn’t.  All that hung there was a humble cardboard roll, with a shred of  semi-useless paper attached. It was mocking me.

So I did exactly what you would do: I reached for a new roll, and correctly loaded the roll onto its dispenser.

Did you catch that? It was the epiphany, summed up in one beautiful word: “correctly”.

See, most everyone knows there is a correct way to have the toilet paper: “paper-side OUT”. But occasionally, there are a few who may either forget, or who are improperly taught, or who are just playing an April Fool’s prank, and place the roll paper- side IN.

So there it is. From this day forward, whenever the roll sits there empty, I will never curse the injustice bestowed upon me. Rather, I will be grateful for the opportunity to lovingly and thoughtfully ensure that friends and family alike are protected from the incorrect application of the toilet paper roll.

You’re welcome.

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I mentioned in the previous post about a set of “rules” we call the McCutcheon Family Values. Here’s the story I wrote in Jenny’s blog last July that explains what that’s all about. (Sorry if this is a “repeat” for some of you!)

Two years ago, we’ve felt convicted to develop and instill in our family a set of clearly-defined Biblical values that we could teach our children, and to which we could hold each other accountable.  This code of conduct would uniquely identify us as a family, and would formalize what we have “unofficially” prioritized over the years in our home.

We want do this teaching throughout our children’s stay in our home. Our goal is to go over one value a week – every time we have a focused Sabbath day (Saturdays for us).  So every year, our kids should focus on each value five times, for at least nine more years!

We aim to use these values as a reference point to both praise and correct our kids – even now, we’re seeing them being used in our parenting!  We hope that our kids will one day pass these values along to their children, while living out these values in their own personal lives.

We finally settled on ten points of emphasis that we dubbed the “McCutcheon Family Values”.  We have been teaching them to our children, having them memorize the corresponding Bible verses. They’ve all memorized the verses!

We wanted to post these on the blog for a couple reasons: first, to inspire readers to consider instilling a formal code of ethics in their own families; second, to have people who regulary interact with us or our children be able to reinforce what we try to instill in our home – even to the point of holding us accountable!

So, here are the McCutcheon Family Values, with Biblical references:

1.  McCutcheons put others ahead of themselves.  (Phillipians 2:3-4)
2.  McCutcheons have peace with each other.  (Ephesians 4:3)
3.  McCutcheons shine for Jesus with our attitude.  (Phillipians 2:14-15)
4.  McCutcheons always try our best for God.  (Colossians 3:23)
5.  McCutcheons listen to others’ points of view.  (James 1:19-20)
6.  McCutcheons say “no” to the good things so we can say “yes” to the best things.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
7.  McCutcheons focus on rest, family, and God on the Sabbath.  (Exodus 20:8-10a)
8.  McCutcheons support each other, no matter what.  (Galatians 6:2)
9.  McCutcheons obey right away.  (Ephesians 6:1)
10. McCutcheons love God with everything we’ve got.  (Mark 12:30)

Okay, so here’s a confession for you: I talk a good talk when it comes to Sabbath-keeping, but it’s been a LONG time since the McCutcheon family has actually practiced a Sabbath worth observing.

That all changed today.

Before I go on, please understand this about our family: we are NOT legalists, nor are we ultra-fundamentalists. We eat pork, our girls wear pants, and our son’s hair is competing with his sisters’ in length.

But Sabbath is a principle – one of the ten “McCutcheon Family Values” – that we adhere to for (what we believe to be) very good reasons.

Our Sabbath-keeping really has three primary aims:

  • Rest in whatever way that means to you. Slow down. Chill out. Sleep in. Let your body recover.
  • Reflect on God, both formally (Bible study, prayer, etc.) and informally (discussing God, thinking about Scripture, appreciating God’s creation, etc.).
  • Restore relationships with family. Spend time with each other. Talk, play, watch a movie, etc.

Anyhow, back to today’s breakthrough!

A lot went into making this Sabbath rest truly a Sabbath REST. (It sounds strange to think that resting takes so much effort…but in our society, it really does!)

Below is a list of what we did to make it meaningful and memorable:

  1. Say “no” ahead of time. We cleared our schedule. No sleepovers, visits from friends, nothing.
  2. Get work done ahead of time. We worked very hard on Friday to get all the chores finished!
  3. Friday was Family Movie Night. We watched Tarzan 2 (Jenny’s kind of movie in that everyone had a happy ending – even the “bad guys” ended up good). Then our kids slept in the living room together!
  4. Saturday morning: sleep in, watch cartoons, leisurely make breakfast.
  5. Saturday, around 11:00am: devotions. Jenny led Gracie and Nora upstairs with their devotions, while I did a mini “inductive Bible study” with my older two. It’s the first time I’d EVER taught them how to STUDY the Bible, and not just READ the Bible. We studied and discussed James 1:1-13 for an HOUR. (No lie!)
  6. I made them subs for lunch, and then we each discussed what we learned in our devotions. I felt so “full” hearing my children discuss spiritual truths. Wow.
  7. After lunch, we each wrote a note in each others’ journals.
  8. During the afternoon the kids watched a movie while Jenny exercised and I caught up on Packer news. I exercised while Jenny got ready for church.
  9. I got ready for church while Jenny got the kids all ready.
  10. We walked to church, ready for worship. And I felt like it was an overflow from 24 hours of preparation for the grand event.

I feel recharged and ready to take on a new week! So, here’s hoping we can practice Sabbath again next week.

But the ironic truth is this: Sabbath-keeping doesn’t come around by hoping for it.

It comes by working at it.

So tonight I had an opportunity to rise up and be a man. Not a man of mere flesh and bone, mind you. No.

A man of perfectly-sculpted plastic. The kind of macho man my bride dreamed about in preschool when her Ken doll would swoop in to rescue her Malibu Barbie from her latest moment of peril.

This night, I was no longer Hubby. I was Spider Sniper Ken.

Let me recreate the scene.

In the kitchen, an obnoxiously-large spider scurries across the ceiling. Malibu Barbie whisper-screams for her hero. Spider Sniper Ken courageously and selflessly leaves the couch, abandoning his March Madness commitments.

He saunters in the kitchen, and surveys the situation….

Target too high to reach. Counter too high to climb, due to aching joints from couch-sitting. Time for Plan B.

Step 1: Grab a glossy flyer from today’s mail out of the trash.

Step 2: Swat at the target, knocking it to the floor.

Step 3: Frantically look for target on floor.

Step 4: Frantically keep looking for target in other rooms.

Step 5: Explain to Malibu Barbie that spiders are more afraid of us than…

Never mind.

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Welcome to my blog. If you are reading this, it’s only because you know me well. Thanks for being someone who is a treasure to my family.

Starting a new blog like this is like going on a road trip without a map.

Or even a destination in mind.

And unlimited cash to keep the gas tank full.

I have no idea where we’ll end up, but I’m going to enjoy the journey. Personally, I hope this is an outlet to process and reflect upon my life with Beautiful. It’s an open journal, an open love letter. I don’t remember things very well. So this will also serve as my guide back to yesteryear.

But what about you? The things I hope to see happen for anyone who stumbles upon this blog are:

1. You will know me and my family better.

2. You will teach me things to help me make my life with Beautiful even more…beautiful.

3. You will be blessed.

So here we go. So it begins!

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