The Family

The Family

Friday, September 9, 2016

I have begun a new blog. No, I didn't really expect you to cheer. Here's the thing. This site was begun as a family blog, which we found was better suited through our mass emails and facebook. So, I assumed the site for personal publishing. But it no longer fits, so I have a new site:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reflection and Water

My journal entry tonight. I rarely share these thoughts. Most often just between me and my Savior. Sitting on a dock, surrounded by water, looking at the sky through Skyview, reflecting on our time with the Cedine family. My soul is refreshed. We have been blessed. We have been stretched. We have been frustrated. We have been enriched. We are thankful God has led us into this ministry. God is at work here, on several levels. Personal. Relational. Corporate. Staff. Camper. Campers. "Every time we open the Bible God speaks." Pastor Kenny. And God's Word gets opened frequently. God speaks and moves often here. What a blessed adventure to join. Yes, ahead is uncertain. It won't be happy and warm and fuzzy most of the time. I am certain we will want to quit. We may be faced with disappointment and discouragement. We may be depressed as Satan seeks to derail us. But. If God called us to this, none of that matters. Obedience. It is the only option. It is the only profitable path. It is the only way to God's promised blessing. So we trust and obey. Neither is easy. Neither makes you feel good all the time. Both are required of faithful servants. A beautiful night to look at the sky, listen to the Universe praise its Creator, thank Him for being my friend.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Severest School

We started a family conversation like this: "What event or lesson has impacted you this year?" Answers varied from, "House fire," to "Co-workers," to "Stepping out of my comfort zone," to "All the big things rolled into one." Then we talked about the memories generated from those events, both personally and as a family. As we looked back, with no exception, we were thankful for what God allowed. Thankful for His choosing. Thankful to have each other to ride the bumps with. Thankful for where we are now and what God is allowing us to enjoy. But then I read this: "We should remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school." (Thucydides) I have no idea who Thucydides is, and I don't much like statements like this. Why? Well, because it lines up with scripture and is truth. The statement was quoted in a book on how the elite Navy SEALs are trained, and turned from ordinary people to exceptional warriors. Said another way, when we experience life's difficult/tragic/heartbreaking/ruthless moments, by God's grace we CAN come out, as Thucydides said, "he [who] is best". Before I go further and you think I'm claiming we've endured life's difficult/tragic/heartbreaking/ruthless moments and have become the best, I will say, for me and my house, "We have not." However, we HAVE been through some difficult things. As we talked we mentally walked through the ones that showed up as familial mile markers for us: House fire Closed ministry door Experiencing (with Seth) unexplained neurological questions and fears (Seth's migraine seizure) Learning we had to move shortly after settling into a home Not knowing within days where our next home would be Difficulty with persons at work Together these were difficult and heartbreaking and somewhat ruthless events, out of our control, that left us wondering what God was trying to do in us, in our family. When talking about the house fire that God used to remove almost everything we "owned", a common response has been, "How tragic." Honestly, the fire was the least tragic for us, even though we experienced (and still do) some very difficult moments of remembering what was lost (pictures, journals, etc.). Back to my point. If people are best when trained in the severest school, then God graciously - NO, lovingly brought each event onto our timeline. Because He desperately loves our family, each of us, and wants to make us elite servants for His honor and attention. STOP!!! I did NOT say that we ARE elite servants. I said God desperately wants to make us that way. So as we talked, we also talked about the impact. What I heard my family, the individuals in my home say was that our collective and individual thinking has changed this year. WE ARE NOT elite servants of our Savior. BUT, our thinking has changed, and we are seeking to obediently submit to God's plan. God's severest classrooms are never fun, but they CAN ALWAYS produce the best. Elite servants. Those who obediently submit to God. Those who obediently want to bring all attention to God, the Holy Spirit, the Son. Final thought. Last January, Michelle and I chose to pick a word that would hopefully define our character by the end of the year. We chose resilience. Then as we talked we decided we didn't like what that might bring. So we settled on "Graceful Resilience." Such a soft gentle improvement, no? So we decided this year to pick something less painful. Or should we? If the best come from the severest school, we should eagerly choose a very tough character quality. Just a thot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

No Agenda

I'm fired up. No, actually, I'm ticked off! Not the best time to be writing my thoughts. And.... here goes. I recently read a social media posting that the public school has no agenda, that teachers do all they can just to get kids to read, let alone get them to believe a certain thing. Well, if this is true, why are we wasting so much money failing? It is the rare public school that graduates excellent students. I'm not talking about academic excellence. I'm talking about excellent students. Young people who are excellent. Not run-of-the-mill introductees to adult society. EXCELLENT.... people. Indoctrination. Like what is portrayed or not, the public school system has an agenda. An aggressive, anti-God agenda. Some schools are "Christian friendly", whatever that means, and some are aggressively against God and anything that hints of God. We used to live in a community with a "normal" public school. I had several Christian friends who worked in that school. They regularly boasted about how many teachers and staff were Christians. I even heard this comment once: "There are so many Christian teachers and staff that [---] is practically a Christian school." Practically? In practice this public school acted as a Christian school? Really? The last time I talked to one of the teachers about the school they said drugs were still a big problem. Sounds Christian in practice to me. Practically Christian. No agenda. Our public school system is NOT seeking to bring our kids to a position of better servants of our Lord Jesus. You may argue that it's not designed for that. Yet Christians keep arguing the benefit of having Christian kids influenced by and influencing the public school. A mission field for young Christians. You, saved and redeemed Christian teacher, may be seeking to build stronger Christians, but our public school system is not. The history of our public school system may have been rooted in good principled thought (yes, I believe at one time a dictionary may have been a major text book, and the Ten Commandments were mandatory memorized material is certain public schools), but we aren't there now, brother. Agenda? Yes. Our public school system has an agenda, as set by the Board of Education (BOE), which is an arm of a fat government. Those who are failing to set strict conservative financially, spiritually, familially sound principles for our nation are dictating to its educational agency what is to be taught and tested upon in our public school system. Yes. Our public schools have an agenda, and it's NOT helping our country develop people of excellent moral character. No agenda? I rarely hear of public schools teaching ANY world view on natural history apart from uniformitarianism (more commonly know as "The Theory of Evolution", which, by the way, it's not a theory. It's an hypothesis - a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation (Google). You have to have abundant evidence for a hypothesis to become a theory. There is no evidence of one life form making the jump to add new information to become a different life form or add anything to it's original state). It's actually a faith system. Hence, the "ism". But the BOE would sooner be called terrorist than admit teaching religion in the public school. No agenda? Teaching only one poorly researched and evidenced world view sounds like an agenda to me. A very narrow minded agenda. Yes, I expect many many reactions to what I have posted. And no, I'm not backing down. This may be a way to reduce my friend count on Facebook. Please, freely respond. I will not block or delete unless you attack other individuals or use unnecessary language.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Why is Sunday a blur?

I keep hearing about how restful Sunday used to be. How it used to be a day of rest. But it has become a day filled with activity, most often good activity, from breakFAST, to many many hours at church, to a large meal after church, to an afternoon absorbing what someone else feels should be your thoughts for the day (tv, cable, movies, video games, social networking, ad nausium), planning for the coming week, finishing up a few tasks from the week of work, finances, emails, online purchases,. Note: I only said "most"; not all good time consumers. Sunday is so jammed with stuff, for many it is no longer restful.

We watch the clock all day, dreading Sunday night when we head for bed, knowing that as soon as our batter worn head hits the pillow Monday will be here. We head into Monday exhausted, frustrated, guilt ridden, weary, stressed, tense, feeling cheated of our "right to relax".

I am going to suggest a different approach to Sunday. Nothing novel, just different. Actually, really really old fashioned. What if you to disciplined yourself to put aside all work, all electronic devices, all media input, all hustle, prepare Sunday lunch on Saturday night (men, I'm aiming that one at you - crock pot meals are easy and wonderful after church), get to bed in time to be early for church, then just relax and let the day flow?


Here's how it looks at our house, which, by the way, is usually FILLED with noise and chaos and activity and work the entire balance of the week. It actually sort of starts Saturday morning with Saturday chores. Well, no. It starts Saturday breakfast which Michelle and I make before the kids are awake. During breakfast we stop for a VERY simple Family Devotion time. Then, it's Saturday chores until they are done, and usually a Saturday project (interpreted - work that Dad has dreamed up). The reason I took this detour through our Saturday is because I want to show that we wrap up the week by cleaning the house and rooms and kind of "reset" life from the chaos of the week. This "reset" gets us a little more ready to rest on Sunday.

After Supper on Saturday we have a "no media or electronic devices" policy. So, if you plan on hanging with us on Saturday, please hang your phone or computer outside. Note: we will not be held responsible for any wet devices. ;) Sometime before bed, I put roast stuff in the crock pot for Sunday lunch. This way we (read "Michelle") don't have to jam that in before leaving for church. I have a simple recipe if any guys want to know.

We really try to get to church 10 minutes before we are required in place for anything. Really takes the stress out of getting there. And we actually - usually - arrive with real smiles, mostly. If we're early we even take our time walking to the building.

After enjoying a less stress filled morning at church we head home, greeted by the crock pot dinner that is anxiously waiting to be consumed. Everybody helps set the table, sort of. Several of us have trouble staying focused, but then someone calls my name and I'm back in the game.

After lunch, I wash the dishes... well, at least last week I did. Then each of us is free to enjoy the afternoon. Reading, napping, walking... whatever. Just no electronic input. Not even praise and worship music. It's a day of quiet... lots of quiet. Unless of course a wrestling match explodes on the floor. We even go to bed without any electronic/media input.

I will not speak for my family here, but I have noticed that Sunday night I go to bed much more rested, less stressed, having greatly enjoyed the day of rest - rest from work, noise, electronic/media stimuli, busy-ness, frenetic activity.

My first Sunday doing this I actually was scared not to check my email or facebook. I was afraid something would come through that really needed my immediate attention. Really? I have since realized I'm not that important.

So, if you find Sunday less that peace filled and restful, I challenge you. Yes, it will scare the daylights out of you to NOT check facebook even once. And no fair sneaking into the bathroom with your phone or ipad. You will think you have become a freak. That the rest of the culture is racing into the future without you. But facebook WILL figure out how to function without you for one day. Our first Saturday/Sunday of doing this I was very scared to not check my email, check facebook, work on finances. Weirdest thing? Facebook has not been affected at all by my absence. Well, at least no one has said anything. "Hey Bruce... I noticed ALL day yesterday you didn't comment on a single thing I posted." Yeah right.

Ok, seriously. I now relish Saturday night and Sunday. Not because it's on the weekend, but because I know that my mind will get to take a break from all the normal junk that clutters it.

Just a thot...

Friday, April 11, 2014


This will be the final post we make here regarding our family ministry. At the encouragement of my lovely best friend, Michelle, I will use this site as a place to, well, blog. Stay tuned. And without further rambling...

Cook's Short Order Update

We are moved!! And almost completely unpacked! A friend of ours from our church is renting a farm house to us. It's 5 bedroom, a great yard with trees, running water and indoor plumbing! We are blessed!

Seriously, it is all of the above and we are enjoying the place. There's the normal "old house" stuff: extra residents and stuff to repair, BUT, it's our new home and we really like it. We will try to get pictures of it soon. Just been way too busy... still recouping after the fire. We have guessed we are in the new "normal" now.

Pray for Bryan. He's back in West Virginia. We miss him. Pray for Nate. He is looking for full time work as his recent job did not work out. Pray Caleb as he wraps up his senior year (many hick ups that God allowed - leaving Camp David, house fire, moving twice). We pray that this time will register in his mind in years to come as a time when he learned a new level of friendship with God. Pray for Kaitie as God continues to develop her as a growing young woman of God. Pray for Seth as he continues to grow as God's man. Pray for Michelle as she seeks to reorganize the home and schooling with little time left this school year. Pray for her also as she seeks to get her business, Simply Homespun In Missouri back up after the fire. Pray for Bruce as he seeks to be a godly leader for the family and an asset at work.

We have a friend who senses God is leading them into full time ministry using their skills - medical and criminal justice. Please, if you know of any needs get in touch with Rick and Melinda Rathbun at

And a final note; could we ask a favor? If you have pictures of us pre-2005, we would be grateful for copies, digital or otherwise. We are slowly trying to collect thousands of prints we lost in the fire.

Gratefully serving with you,
Bruce, Michelle, Bryan, Nate, Caleb, Kaitie, and Seth

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Time to move

Cook's Short Order Update

Time is moving about the same speed it always has, like it or not. However, the last few days/weeks have seemed like a blur. We won’t bore you with the details except to say that we should be moving the end of this week.

According to whoever decides these things, our future landlord will be closing on “our” house this Friday. We are excited! We plan to sleep in the house Friday night. We shall see.

Last Thursday, it was so beautiful out that we took a picnic to a nearby lake and, well, enjoyed. When Seth jumped out of the van he jumped up on a boulder, took a deep breath, and with his arms stretched out yelled out, “Freedom!” We have so appreciated the apartments made available for us, but we will be so glad to move back to the country. This time just a few minutes from church.

We have appreciated the many ways many have expressed so much love and care and kindness. Thank you! We still have so much to care for since the fire. We would appreciate your prayer as we work through listing the contents and other details. By God’s grace, we are doing well and growing.

Gratefully serving with you,
Bruce, Michelle, Bryan, Nate, Caleb, Kaitie, and Seth