Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back at the Beach

A perfect afternoon to lounge in the sun. Upper 70's with a slight breeze.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The first night of the fall beach camping trip had us doing about 30-minutes of trick-or-treating in the campground, running out for some Japanese for supper, grabbing about 20-things from Walmart, and coming back to the camper to organize a bit. The boys are keeping themselves busy with computer games and silly bands (the horror) as we draw close to bedtime. We're hoping for a nice, quiet week of vacation.

Most of the campground will empty by tomorrow at lunch. It sure is packed solid tonight. I have a big day of fishing coming up on Monday with my buddy Heath. Looking forward to it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ethan Shooting the Bow

Ethan Shooting the Bow
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
A natural with the bow and arrow, Ethan looks like he might be lining up a nice buck from 20' up in the air in a deer stand. He loves archery!

Gabe and Ethan attended "Webelos Woods" with Troop 942 and Pack 942 this past weekend.   The Troop helped the Pack with a number of activities Saturday throughout the day and there were a few other Troops/Packs from the local scouting district.  Gabe camped with the Troop on Friday evening and Ethan and the Webelos came up early Saturday morning.

Friday evening I was packing up a few things and bent down to pick up a shirt from the floor when I felt the little pop in my lower back.  Once again I have thrown my back out, which caused me not to be able to take Ethan Saturday morning.  Stacie stepped in at the last minute and took him to the campsite, though they did not stay the night.  They all returned Saturday evening and we enjoyed some time at home together.  Caden was very helpful with his bed-ridden Dad throughout the day while the others were away.

So, I was confined to the bed a good 16-18 hours per day Saturday and Sunday, and somehow managed to go in to work this morning for a couple of hours to do payroll for my team.  That almost beat me down, as walking is extremely painful.  I am going to see a doctor in Cary tomorrow to see about an ESI.  My last one was 3-years ago, and it worked like a charm.  I'm hoping to get the same results this time, as well.

Boy Scout Gabe

Boy Scout Gabe - Camping
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
Gabe was happy to be with his friends in Troop 942. He enjoyed camping in the 38 degree weather and stayed quite toasty in his 20 degree bag!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Frisbee Golf Rocks

Frisbee Golf Rocks
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
The local homeschool group does a lot of fun things through the year. Today was Frisbee golf, which we hope will be planned at least monthly. The boys may have enjoyed it more than the monthly bowling trip. Though wearing a sour look on his face, Caden actually had just as much fun as big brothers Gabe and Ethan.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Nuts & Bolts of Chess

chess pieces julia
Originally uploaded by j suits
Literally. Sounds like a fun project for the boys and me... Click the pic to go to the Flickr page with the "how-to."

Hanging Out Back

Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
So life has been stalled the last few days while several of us have been quite sickly. It started earlier last week when Gabe started throwing up one evening. The next day Caden was throwing up through the night. By Friday evening Ethan and I joined the fun, and Stacie, though not vomiting, was worn down and feeling pretty bad all day Saturday.

Since Friday evening I have lost eleven pounds of weight from not eating or drinking for three days. I was able to go in this morning long enough to do payroll for my team, but quickly abandoned any aspirations of putting in a full day by mid-morning, leaving to get some rest at home. I worked a wee bit from my home office, but am only beginning to recover a little energy from gulping down 64 oz. of Gatorade throughout the day. I ate a few corn chips for lunch, as well, and some mesquite chicken at supper was surprisingly gentle on my tummy.

I have a good 12-14 days of vacation to burn before the end of the year. We're definitely planning on escaping to the beach for another week. We may do some regional travel, as well, over a couple of long weekends. But the idea that really appeals to me is using a few days for a "staycation" and just staying at home. Maybe I'll do a little painting or fix up a few things. Or catch up on some reading. Or just plain rest. As hectic as things have been the last 120-days I could use a little time to do "nothing."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sparkler Fun

Caden's Sparkler
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
The boys ran through the night, sparklers in hand, blazing a trail through the darkness. Gabe and Ethan were yelling (screaming) with joy, while Caden would frequently stop, taking in the brightness of the little flares. Never far from a watchful father, he would quickly come for another one, his thirty seconds or so of fun having burned away. He had been begging to light the sparklers once again for several days, but I had been sick the last two nights. Though not 100%, I was happy to oblige him the thrill of another light before beginning another week of distractions and responsibility. The smiles on the boys are one of my greatest joys in this life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

C.S. Lewis on Personal Devotion

I particulalry like the part about the pipe and pencil at the end.  My pipe and personal journal are two of my favorite things.  And I tend to like the meat of a good doctrinal book to a devotional book more often than not. 

"For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that "nothing happens" when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand."  - CSL

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday Evening Update

It’s not from a lack of time that I haven’t written to the blog, but an odd sense of distraction that has kept me from visiting the page. There’s been an enormous amount of “stuff” preoccupying my time the last few weeks, and I have not felt up to the task of creating anything significant or presenting an update of the variety of things going on in the life of the Bryant family. So, with a number of folks asking about it, and wondering what’s been going on, I thought I would offer a brief update, youngest to oldest.

Caden is just 33-days away from turning five. He is settling in to the routine of doing a little bit of homeschool each day pretty well. He is still pretty quiet, overall, somewhat stubborn like most 4-year olds, and has this really neat habit of just coming up to Stacie and me and giving us a big hug. He loves going outside and is anxious to do some tent camping.

Ethan has been playing flag football. This is his first year playing, so he is still trying to learn the game, and looks lost at times. But he had been asking to play with the pads because he wants to “hit” the other guys. I am glad I decided to give him a glimpse of the flag game, as it lets him see how to work as a team, and how several guys can affect the play. Maybe next year I’ll let him suit up. I think he would be one of the bigger kids in his age group.  Most importantly, he is having a great time being out there!

Gabe is 11-years and 5-months old and stands just over 5’10” tall. He is pretty huge. His coordination hasn’t caught up with him, but that will come with time. He still loves books and reads them more than he watches TV or plays on the computer/Wii combined. There’s been talk of bumping him up a grade level, but right now I am happy he is where he is. One of the benefits of homeschool is that we determine where he is placed based on his skill level. He’ll do fine either way.

Stacie has been busy. When the phrase “a woman’s work is never done” came around it was made with women like her in mind. She is still a master of the coupon, and boggles my brain at times with the deals she comes up with. Paying ten bucks for fifty dollars’ worth of groceries is no longer impressive to her. She wants the real bargain. Homeschool has been going well this year, and the boys are working hard. I think she is ready for another quick trip to the beach, though.

I have been busier than ever at work. I had a recent regional audit, somehow escaped a bigger corporate audit (that I really wanted to do), and completed the entire year-end processes of inventory, annual budgeting for next year, capital reconciliation of all fixed assets, vacation liability reports, etc. etc. I also had a big meeting in Charlotte with a number of execs from the company. The bulk of this happened while my mother was undergoing complicated surgery and we were facing a 10-day vacation where everything was paid for, but little would be refunded if we cancelled. Talk about a wee bit of stress.

Somehow God worked it all out and things for the most part have gone well. My mother is recovering, despite having to go through a second surgery to fix a few things, and has a good number of family and friends helping her up in Winston-Salem. The vacation was a good time away despite about half of it being rained out. The meeting in Charlotte went better than expected and the boss (and his boss) seem to be pretty happy with me. And all of the year end business was turned in on time, despite my having to turn it in a good 10-days earlier than my peers due to my choice of vacation time. (Lesson learned.)

So the fall (mid-September through Thanksgiving weekend) is the busiest time of the year for us. This fall is no different. Almost every night has something planned. Monday and Tuesday the boys have Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, respectively. Thursday nights Ethan has football practice. Wednesdays are always a late work day for me, with my typically getting home after 7:00 PM. Saturdays always have either a scouting activity or campout and football games for Ethan. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, and we commit all of it to church and fellowship or rest.

The new Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) church plant we have joined in Cary, NC, is Shiloh Presbyterian Church. is the web address. It started in early June and has been a fantastic church home for us thus far. Though we are still searching for a pastor we have been blessed with the likes of Joey Pipa, Jr., Lacy Andrews, Bill Shishko, Phil Proctor, Dr. John Carrick, Dr. Sid Dyer, and Matthew Judd preaching for us. When we reviewed the mission and values of this work we knew it would be a great work to join. So, we transferred our membership from Providence OPC in Greensboro to Shiloh and now enjoy a 30-minute drive as opposed to a 70-minute drive to church. We miss our brothers and sisters at Providence, but are quite anxious to continue growing with our new work.

Shiloh Presbyterian has a good 17-18 families making up a portion of the maybe 80-90 members and regular attendees to start. Almost all of the families homeschool and perhaps half of the group are children under 18. We have quickly come to love the people in this work. Their fervency for their faith is inspiring and contagious.

The mission work is reformed theologically, and covenantal in its approach to Christian living, which is what I am eager for in my own family’s Christian walk. Most importantly there is a strong desire for Christocentric preaching that is applicable to gospel-centered living in the life of the believer. We are very eager to see who God provides to shepherd our congregation, and to see God raise up men to be our elders and deacons.

Recently reading:

The Puritan Library - - A nice collection of works from the Puritans. I have been going there often the last few weeks.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer – This is the same book I read in 1991, but it is a completely different read. Amazing. If you have never read it, I strongly urge you to pick it up.

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by RC Sproul – I have been reading this at bedtime with Stacie. It’s a great intro to many facets of the faith for her.

Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade – We have been using this summary of the Westminster Shorter Catechism off and on in our family worship throughout the week.

Recent Web Sites: – Free (limited) tracts, booklets, and books from a Puritan and reformed perspective. Donations appreciated. A very nice collection of works. – The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible online. Create an account, take and keep notes, highlight text, listen to audio of the text, utilize daily reading plans. A great tool. – Prints and posters of key figures and events related to the reformation through the ages. I think I am going to buy a few to decorate a few empty walls in our home! – The bookstore of Westminster Theological Seminary. You can typically count on them for having the lowest prices on most reformed titles, Bibles, and more.