FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Quiet Time

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 04•17

q times

We started by me reading one of Jesus’ parables from Luke’s gospel. It was about a fig tree and I explained how parables have two meanings, a literal and secret meaning.

I thought I had sold him on searching for the secret meaning after D mentioned–thanks to being a huge Veggie Tales fan–Jesus’ parable on building your house on solid rock.

Then, after reading the parable of the fig tree to him, I reiterated the key point with a dramatic voice. How every time the owner inspected the fig tree for fruit…there was no fruit.

I planned to transition to talking about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, goodness and, my favorite, faithfulness.

I wanted D to inspect the fruit in his life, to think if his actions have been loving and kind, but he had no interest in a story on a fig tree bearing no fruit, even one with a hidden meaning.

“I don’t care,” D said after I emphasized a second time that the tree had borne no fruit.

So I switched to a story with people. A short man who was a rich tax collector and climbed up a tree to see Jesus. Although he knew this story, I hoped to plumb its meaning in depth.

***

In his story, Jesus came to a tree in Jericho and saw a little man. He looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today (emphasis mine) I must stay at your house.’

Jesus made eye contact, called Zacchaeus by his name, and invited himself to be a guest at his house. This must have been a surprise not only to Zacchaeus, but also to the Jewish people.

And as Luke tells it, Zacchaeus hurried down and received Jesus gladly. And when the people saw it, they all began to grumble, sneering, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’

Hearing what the people said, Zacchaeus stopped and said to Jesus, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’

Jesus declared, ‘Today (emphasis mine) salvation has come to this house because he, too, is a son of Abraham, for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

What made Zacchaeus confess his sins and publicly vow to repay those he cheated? There is only one possible answer: he had a empty void in his heart and knew only Jesus could fill it.

Interestingly, I thought later, it was the same story as Jesus’ parable of the fig tree, a man who was bearing no fruit and had no way for his sins to be forgiven…except by Jesus.

I know we didn’t plumb the depth of this story. Sure, we tried. We discussed details and what they meant. But I know we fell short of this simple truth: Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

 

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Still Smiling

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 30•17

mom

She went through an emergency four-hour surgery to remove part of her colon and spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

She now has a colostomy bag instead of a regularly working digestive system.

Her calcium and potassium were dangerously low one day this week, and with all the iv tubes inserted into her body, she looked more like a Christmas tree.

Her blood pressure has been high most days, she has had trouble putting down liquid food and threw up in a bag several times during one of my visits this week.

During another visit, she vomited out green projectiles.

She had a Styrofoam-looking pad called a wound vac inserted into her open wound in her stomach and, a week later, the wound became infected.

Her body has been pumped with antibiotics and other medications, it is hard to keep track, while she has been lying in bed for the past two weeks.

She ate chicken and rice for lunch the other day. It was her first solid food in two weeks.

She was discouraged by her inability to sit up more than seven minutes, but the next day she sat up for 40 minutes during her physical therapy session.

She has a long road of recovery ahead to regain her strength and, at age 83, she will have to give it all she’s got to recover.

But she’s still smiling, and I’ve seen her do it before when she broke her hip, so I know that she can do it again.

I see her body is becoming more frail, and sometimes she sleeps most of the day, but she has a determined spirit and, yes, she is anxious and afraid at times.

Yet, she is still trusting God in her situation.

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Break Dancing

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 23•17

break dancing

No, D is not break dancing.

Although it looks like it.

We took a night walk to the park on his birthday. The lights were on at the basketball court. So I asked D to “do the snake,” a reference a You Tube clip with a snake who flips around like crazy and kills itself.

The video always sends D into convulsive giggles. So after he flopped around the ground, I poked D to see if it were alive, but the next time, I plan to join the scene by pretending I am a paramedic and give him CRP.

Call it You Tube Improv theatre.

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Sharks vs. Minnows

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 23•17

cub scout

D’s favorite part of a Cub Scout pack meeting is the game and snack time. Anything involving running and a little craziness suits his temperament.

I think it’s similar for most scouts. The game at the latest monthly pack meeting was Sharks vs. Minnows. Blind sharks, that is. And it got crazy.

There were about 30 scouts, all running in a 15 by 20-foot area, and as the blind sharks sought to tag the minnows, running with their eyes closed, there were some close calls.

No one got hurt, though, and as I watched kids run across the room and or crawl under a table to avoid being tagged, their joyful spirit was a reminder I need to have more fun.

“How to Be a Fun Parent” is the title I would choose if I wrote a book on parenting. But I often need to remember to have more fun with D–to get down on the floor and be silly.

And I think this is true for most parents. We’re always telling kids to do this or that when what they want the most is for us to stop all our giving directions and to play with them.

The pack meeting had a nice random feel because the assistant scoutmaster filled in for the Cub master, and I liked how he winged it by giving several scouts public speaking opportunities.

The Pine Wood Derby winner for the two years running, for example, gave a design recommendation on how to build a faster car: “You have to make it aerodynamic,” the ten-year-old said

“What does aerodynamic mean?” the assistant scoutmaster asked. “You know, just in case anyone here does not know what that word means.”

The boy supplied the definition which means D will be up against stiff competition, and so we better get startedworking to make his car as, um, aerodynamic as possible.

There was a skit and cheer, and then a scout talked about an upcoming camp, and then another scout from the oldest den (Weblos 2) explained the rules for the GameStop the end of the meeting.

And that’s when it got really fun–and I started to think how important it is to have fun, thanks to watching 30 so boys running wild all over the room.

There is a time for earning badges by learning how to use a pocket knife responsibly, for  learning outdoor etiquette on a hike–but there should also be time set aside for for fun.

That’s what I learned at D’s Cub Scout pack meeting

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DIY Trifle

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 22•17

trifle

Have you ever bought a book and forgot all about it? That’s what happened to me with Mike Adamick’s Dad’s Book of Awesome recipes. I bought it, and it went into the abyss known as the bookshelf.

But D and I put it to good use during his two week winter break after I found it. We made a five-minute microwave chocolate chip cookie and a rubbery-tasting cake (probably) from using gluten-free flour.

And a yummy DIY trifle.

The trifle tasted the best of our concoctions. We made it on the final day of D’s vacation and, yeah, there was no baking on our part. Our part was to just assemble the layers and to enjoy.

I had planned to surprise D by making him a trifle; that is, before he walked into the kitchen while I was spraying whip cream into a tall glass.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

More accurately, I think he noticed the white foam coming out of the nozzle, and as a lover of all things sweet and sugary, he wanted “in” on the action.

So he sprayed whip cream in a glass, held the nozzle down extra long, I added bits of pound cake, and he sprayed in more whip cream. Extra long. Again.

He skipped the fruit layer because he’s never eaten fruit.

“What are you doing?” the Wife asked, walking in unexpected on our latest concoction.

“We’re making a dessert,” I said. “It’s a do-it-yourself trifle.”

“You already gave him a candy bar.”

(True. I’d made a treasure hunt out of a bible story with a Hershey’s bar as the treasure at the end.)

“He hasn’t even eaten lunch.”

“Oh, I thought he had already eaten lunch.”

It was 1:05, and all three of us were on vacation mode, and not really following much of a schedule.

She made a few reasonable comments, and then after her gentle chastening, we delved into a pre-lunch dessert.

Man, it was delicious.

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Ninja Shepherd

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 23•16

ninja-shepherd

D was a shepherd.

But he looked more like a ninja shepherd.

His staff was a much-needed accessory to defend himself against his fellow choir members during a back stage costume change.

To digress: “Come Messiah King.”

The children’s enthusiasm, voices and bright, shining spirits were a joy to behold. They soldiered through singing in four services, plus an hour and a half evening show with the adult choir.

Call time had been 7 a.m. in the morning. There was also three or dress rehearsals during the week, and they performed the evening show before a packed sanctuary.

I thought it was a great way for D to get in the Christmas spirit. It’s so easy for Jesus to get be replaced by Frosty the Snowman and other mythological characters.

I love watching Christmas movies as a family every year; and it’s a tradition I hope D never grows out of as he gets older, I just want to make sure pop culture isn’t more important to him than God.

I hope being a part of the Christmas show will be an annual event for D. I know listening to the songs helped tune my heart towards Christ, and I think it did the same for D.

 

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A Random Thought

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 05•16

chick-fite

One of my high school students wrote an essay on how he thought people are too sensitive and too thin-skinned to every hurtful comment made by others.

He argued his point very well, but I, politely, have to disagree with him.

“Let’s be honest, the world is a racist, sexist, and just judgmental place,” he wrote, “but it does not mean that we should get so angry or offended by it, because we all do it.”

“I’m not saying,” he went on, “that we are all racist or bad people, it’s just how we are. We all judge people by the way they look, speak or even walk.”

I have to disagree with him, not about the fact we all have a tendency to judge (that’s definitely true), but about his viewpoint that we’re all too sensitive.

I still fundamentally believe it’s wrong when one person hurts another person’s feelings. We’re human and, like it or not, our feelings get hurt.

So, yes, we’re too sensitive because a harsh word or tone hurts. Call me too sensitive or thin-skinned, but I’d rather be too sensitive than insensitive to others.

Sure, I’ve found developing thicker skin helps, but it’s human consideration to take into account how our words and actions affect another person.

chilis

D and I went out for breakfast the other day, and when we came home, he ran across the street to see two friends.

D picked up his friend C’s toy guitar without asking. So C yelled at him. Normally, D will yell back, but this time his friend’s harsh tone hurt.

And he shed some tears away from his friends.

So, as I read my student’s essay, I couldn’t help but wonder how simple human consideration would make the world a much kinder place.

I mean, it’s common sense. A kind word or action make someone feel good, and an unkind word or action can hurt someone’s feelings.

This is how I see it, and I hope D will see it this way, that we should strive to be kind to others, forgiving them even when they hurt us.

So, no, people in the world are not too sensitive, it’s actually the opposite—people are too insensitive to how their words and actions affect others.

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Wilderness Park

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 05•16

into-woods

Sure, I would have preferred to be hiking in Yosemite, but I know what the Wife would say about that, so despite my thoughts of Yosemite, the nature preserve near our home proved to be good enough second option.

D took a fondness to a couple of toddlers, and so we followed them around for awhile, and then we found an abandoned fort made of logs piled horizontally against a massive tree.

Two boys and their dad joined us, and D told them it was a “boys only” clubhouse. One of the boys wanttc to add more logs, and the five of us hauled more logs back to the fort.

I pretended the logs were extra heavy, but it was great fun in an old school kind of way, reminding me of the things kids did when I was growing up that they don’t do as much anymore.

It was fun to be out in nature, maybe not as awe-inspiring as Yosemite (so I’ve been told), but I didn’t have to worry that D would walk off the edge of a cliff, like he might at Yosemite.

This was L’s reasoning for nixing my idea to visit Yosemite this summer. Four hours away is one of the most amazing national parks, and yet it remains oc the bucket list for now.

But one day, I know we’ll make it there. It’s on the bucket list, and we will do it, just not as soon as I would like to go there.

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The Ultimate Ecosystem

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 03•16

fish

Every now and then, D is in museum and he is just stopped.

Cold.

The fish aquarium at the California Science Center did it to him this time. We had just exited the new “The Science behind Pixar” exhibit, learning about the math and science involved in movie making, and his mom asked D what he wanted to see next.

D’s favorite thing at the Science Center has always been the fish aquarium, so we made our way on the day after Thanksgiving through a maze of people, and D stood and stared at the fish swimming by, being lulled into a calm zen-like serenity.

I believe every person has their own ecosystem in which they thrive best. Mine, for example, is quiet solitude, which as a parent and teacher I seldom get. D’s ecosystem is having a schedule to follow, although he likes a free day to do as he pleases.

After a while, D laid down on his back on a concrete slab, captivated by the variety of sea creatures and the school of fish circling the tank, the horn sharks and moray eels, spiny lobsters and rays, and the sheer beauty of it seeming to overwhelm his senses.

news-desk

It was all pretty amazing, and it had a calming effect, even on the entire family. My favorite part of the science center is always hamming it up at the news desk, which we visited on the way out.

“Pluto is now back to being classified as a planet…” D said, ignoring the news on the teleprompter.

“What, Pluto is too tiny to be planet,” I retorted.

“I am a scientist and have decided to make Pluto a planet again.”

“What, Pluto is too tiny to be a planet,” I repeated.

And then we fake argued back and forth, “no, it’s not,” and “yes, it is” like the two dogs in a car accident from Dr. Seuss’ Go, Dog. Go! book, before starting an on-air, funniest noise contest.

Burp. Fart sound. Hey-you-wah. The Mighty Eagle call from the Angry Birds movie.

We giggled and laughed. The Wife turned her head and pretended she didn’t know us. Then we let two serious kids take over the news desk and read about a tsunami in Japan.

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Big Brother

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 03•16

big-brother

I got to see what D would be like if he had a brother when we discovered a play area at the mall, and D found a younger buddy to jump off a log over and over again while I chatted with the boy’s mom.

They were a perfect match. Two active boys who rarely stopped moving. Many eight-year-olds might grow tired of a three-year-old sidekick, but D loved playing with his new buddy for a long time.

Like he was a younger brother.

A few days later, his Sunday School class at church created a Hope Christmas Tree, a mix of prayers and wishes each child wrote on a paper ornament. His teacher showed me D’s wish, “I hope to get a younger brother.”

When D made his Christmas list, it had “baby brother” right below “bb gun” and “tnt.” The explosives came from the Angry Birds movie. I love these unexpected glimpses into his brain, and the unusual juxtaposition of his thoughts.

 

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