On being a Dad…

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This weekend is Father’s Day weekend and it’s also ironically the birthdays of 2 of my 3 daughters who allow me to have the title “Dad”. So I thought maybe I could share a little about what it’s been like to be a dad. For those of you who don’t know, my oldest daughter will be 12 this weekend, then there’s my 9 year old and finally my (today) 6 year old! They are all girls, who along with my wife and my dog (who’s also a female) I am completely outnumbered, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a dad is the most humbling, exhilarating, fun, difficult, happy, challenging and fulfilling experience one can have. I am regularly reminded how much I need God as I feel the weight of leading and loving well in my home. Being a dad has caused me to pray and to care more than I ever felt possible. There have been many times I’ve teared up thinking about how quickly time is flying and wanting to savor every single second. Last night as we watched TV I had two of my daughters, one on each side who both put their heads on my shoulders and just laid there watching the show. And to know that these girls feel safe and cared for around me was the most powerful Father’s Day gift I could receive.

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Sabbatical Prayer List

f915e621-d3a6-4f2b-b80a-b9c6b7f9eb5aAs our family engages in our 8 week sabbatical, some have asked how they could pray for us. A sabbatical is an intentional time for spiritual refreshment and refocusing and therefore we would be extremely grateful for those who would choose to partner with us in this process through regular/ consistent prayer. Here’s a list of ideas that you could pray for:

1. Pray we are refreshed, reenergized and rested.
2. Pray that I would hear clearly from God & gain perspective personally & for the church.
3. Pray for the leaders/ teachers of Grace Church while we’re gone – that they would have all the need to lead/ teach well.
4. Pray for the people of Grace Church that they/we would be faithful in engaging, serving, giving during these 8 weeks
5. Pray for our daughters and my wife, Lisa for our homeschooling and also for some spiritual/ character issues we’re hoping to instill in our girls
6. Pray for the writing process as I begin working on a book on the topic of spiritual growth
7. Pray for those who will be speaking into me (pastors, counselors etc) during my time – that they would be helpful.
8. Pray for my growth as a leader, pastor, father, husband and child of God
9. Pray for Lisa and her growth, rest and refreshment
10. Pray for our travel, activities and church involvement to, from, and around Florida

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Guest Blog: Lisa Stonehouse — Warm OJ and Raisins

I’ve talked with Lisa and she may offer some periodic blog posts for you all to read — she’s awesome, but I’m a little biased, but I think you’ll enjoy what she has to say, she is definitely a better writer than I am! So here ya go:

Warm OJ and Raisins

So I’m sitting here in the living room this morning viewing breakfast dishes on the table and the jug of orange juice that should be back in the fridge by now. There’s a package that arrived over a week ago that still hasn’t found it’s place, pillows strewn about the floor and an open box of raisins sitting on the side table that Christina was snacking on before dinner last night. Jessica and Sydney are on their way to school and Christina is still sleeping in her crib. And here I sit – with a laundry list of things to accomplish in the house today – I sit in quiet.

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State Fair—Daddy-Daughter Edition

So, I did it! I made the annual Minnesotan pilgrimage to the great get-together known as the State Fair. The one event all year, you’ll need a second mortgage just to afford the cheese curds. But hey, it’s what all the Minnesotans are doing, right? The event started for me this year back in June. Jessica, my oldest picked up a flyer about a “reading program” at the library. From what I understand, she needed to read for 20 hours and then she got some prizes, one of these prizes was a free ticket to the State Fair. “A ticket”, one ticket, to the State Fair for an 8 year old. These guys aren’t dumb, they know every 8 year old they give a ticket to will be tagging along at least one parent who will need to pay full price admission. Even though I swore we wouldn’t do it this year, they got me – and I went.

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Best Ice Cream in the Twin Cities

Ok, so it’s official — we’ve entered into the Stonehouse 2010 Summer Ice Cream Tour — we’re visiting the most recommended ice cream places in the Twin Cities and seeking to “land” on our favorite. So far we’ve been to three:

1. Sebastian Joe’s: http://www.sebastianjoesicecream.com/

2. Grand Ole Creamery: http://grandolecreamery.com/

3. Izzy’s Ice Cream: http://www.izzysicecream.com/

These are the highest rated on most of your Twin City websites. They each offer something distinct and I have to say, the family is divided on which is best so far.

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Recipe: “Church Windows”

I can’t believe I’m about to post this – a recipe on my blog!! Well I received a few requests for the recipe of the famous “church windows” which I talked about in the message entitled: “Simply Celebrating” a few weeks ago. Church Windows are one of my favorite Christmasy desserts – my mom makes them all the time and they were a favorite of mine growing up. See what you think. I personally like the walnuts (and really all nuts for that matter) to be left out – but others say that “misses the real, full taste” – but whatever…
Ok, for the first time on the blog, here is a recipe… why not make some up for Christmas?

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Reflections on life, church and this week.

Ok, wow, what a title… not sure I can deliver on that. But I was just sitting here thinking (since I took a few days off this week and I’ve had more time to think).

Pastor Bob is preaching on Sunday, can’t wait to hear him, I think he’ll have some great insight into one of the most popular Christmas stories as we continue in our Simply Christmas series.

I’m loving the snow, this morning I woke up, made myself a homemade Caribou peppermint mocha latte and looked out the window. How simple. There is something so pure and even holy about snow covering a yard. There’s not much holy about snow shoveling, but other than that (and the driving in the weather), snow is awesome.

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Things I’m Thankful For

So, it’s Thanksgiving. This is a time where we’re called to pause and reflect (something we should do a whole lot more often than once a year). Obviously, this drives me to reflect on my own life as a man, a husband, a father and as a pastor. I’m sure I’ll leave some things out here, but here’s where my thoughts are right now. I would encourage you to make a similar list and then turn to God and lift up prayers of thanksgiving for the things on your list. And while you’re reflecting, I would encourage you to sit quiet long enough to listen to God’s words to you — it could be there’s a step He’s been wanting you to take, but we’ve not taken enough time to stop and listen long enough. OK, enough preaching… let me share my list with you…

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I had a really really good day!

Allow me to share about yesterday, Sunday, August 23. Actually we need to back up to Saturday night, two awesome people (Christy & Jenny) from Grace offered to watch our 3 girls for us to go out Sunday night. Plus Saturday night we were able to see my friend Ryan Baitzel on TLC’s Moving Up show — it was so cool to see him — I really miss serving with him and it was great to see his sense of humor show up on television! ha

OK, onto the next day…So Sunday morning was very cool. I’m so grateful that God gives me the chance to stand up and talk about Him and His Word every week and I’m also amazed that people actually listen. God is good. I feel a great energy at GCR lately which makes showing up every Sunday, a great experience. Sure there are times there are challenges, but lately, it’s been a lot of fun to be around Grace Church!!

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Visiting MN

My parents were recently in town and it always gives us a great excuse to see more of the amazing Twin Cities and enjoy MN summer. This is a great place to live! Here’s a few pictures of the family out and about.