Monday, January 27, 2014

Free Car Wash in 5 Easy Steps

 How to get a free car wash in 5 easy steps!

Step 1) Find a car wash that has a car stuck in it and pull your car in line for the next wash.  (You score extra cool points if the bumper is ripped halfway off.)

Step 2) With cell phone in hand, document via photo and video damage done to the vehicle and the car wash for insurance purposes because the driver's cell phone will inevitably be dead.  (Business card with your contact information and showing you serve a church is a plus!)
Step 3)  Get out the tools, duct tape, and metal coat hanger that you happen to carry in your trunk. (because you are always prepared)

Step 4)  With or without tools remove bumper of car that is still attached to car wash machine.
                    4a.  Fix car to a driveable state, use duct tape as needed
                    4b.  Fix machine to a washable state, use hammer and metal coat hanger as needed

Step 5) Accept thanks (turn down money) from the embarrassed driver and accept a free premium car wash from attendant as a test run of the fixed car wash machine. 

Optional Steps
Step 6) Invite all gawkers and participants to church

Step 7) Accept invitation to view the inner workings of those car washes.  Pretty cool machinery!

Step 8)  Obtain permission from driver to use a photo with hidden license plate within your blog to humor and encourage readers. (because really, who wants their license plate plastered on social media?)

Seriously, when you spot someone who has had an accident (their fault or not) spend time supporting, encouraging, and calmly helping them find a solution.  You'll make a friend!  And really consider throwing some basic tools/ductape/coat hanger in the trunk, because you just never know...

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." 
  - 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Gabriel joins me on the radio!

Gabriel teamed up with me to record the Message Minutes heard on WAMW "The Memories." You can tune in locally at 107.9 on the radio or via the internet to hear a positive message featuring Gabriel every weekday morning January 27th-31st.   Start at 7:30am eastern time. #ImaProudDad #KidsCanDoBigThingsToo #WCOC

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunday Sermon Sneak Peak - January 26th, 2014

Sunday AM Message: Ever wondered what happens with our souls immediately after the body dies?  Let's talk about Paradise and Hades.  Thoughts from Luke 16, Luke 23, Acts 2, Revelation 1 and more.

Sunday PM Message:  Daniel 9:1-19 - A message from one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why we should have cared more about electives in school

$3,000.  That's right, THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS!  That's the internet calculator cost for hiring a pro to build the handicap access ramp I had planned for my parents house. 

My parents had a rough ending in 2013.  Dad had a wreck (not his fault) totaling the car, and mom suffered a minor heart attack and major stroke.  The immediate result was a weakened state and loss of function of both mom's right arm and right leg. 

What do you do when your family doesn't have a stack of 150 Benjamins laying around to fund the new ramp?  DIY baby! (Do it yourself).

I'm sure some of my collegiate peers thought, "I have a degree in theology, my days of manual labor and silly elective classes are over!"  How wrong you were my friend.  Our schools were wise to try to round us out by offering a plethora of electives.  Taking drafting, shop class, computer class, and extra maths in high school are part of what prepared me to do this project myself.  And home ec class helped me fix some of my own meals to save money too!

The Plan.
Here's an ADA based ramp that I patterned my design from.  Email me if you want the .pdf file I found of this.
I knew I would need a plan to tackle this job, and to let dad turn me loose in his back yard with construction tools.  I hopped on Google Sketchup (Free 3D drafting software) for a few hours, and here's the 26' ramp I came up with. (Click a picture to zoom in).

The Estimated Cost.
By building the entire ramp virtually in Google Sketchup, I was able to calculate an entire cost of $916.99 which includes a 5% buffer for my oversights and mistakes.

The Delivery
Because some delinquent driving on a revoked license with no insurance pulled out in front of my dad's truck on a rainy Monday (yes, another wreck, and on the day I was supposed to start construction), my work was delayed till Tuesday morning when I could rent a Home Depot F250 ($20/hr) to haul materials with.
The only time I've ever been grateful for a Ford.

The Actual Ramp
My uncle Larry had a sweet one man auger (an oversized drill bit with a weed eater motor) for me to borrow, which helped out setting ninteen 4"x4" posts in the ground for this project.  There's about 40 lbs of concrete and gravel under the earth supporting each of these posts.  
Here's the Tuesday progress photos.  

On Wednesday another uncle, Mike, came over to help me with framing and beginning decking. I quit a bit early this day to visit mom in the hospital and go to Wednesday evening Bible study with wonderful friends at Antioch Church of Christ. 
Here's the Wednesday progress photos. 

Thursday was colder than an Eskimo's freezer in Alaska.  I was pretty much on my own, but got the rest of the decking and the toe rail installed. 
Here's the Thursday progress photos. 

Friday was a good day to wrap it all up.  I spent a lengthy time building and installing custom made extra wide steps and stringers as well as installing the handrails. 
Here's the finished Friday progress photos.  Sorry, it was dark when I wrapped it all up at 8 pm. 

The Final Cost.
Since I donated my labor and used my own tools, the final materials cost came out to $871.  That's just a shade better than the $3000 estimated by that internet calculator.  Because of the love and care of some dear people, the entire ramp was furnished to mom and dad absolutely free of charge.  My friends, God is good.

Where we go from here...
 Mom is making great progress, but still has a lot of rehab to do.  The doctors let dad bring her home over the weekend for a couple hours using a wheelchair (the ramp had just been finished and worked great!).  We still have some work to do on parts of the house to make them more accessible.  For now though, my parents and this collegiate theology major sure are grateful for those elective classes I took all the way back in high school.  What about you?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Benevolence for the Johnson Family

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

(If you are using a debit or credit card instead of a PayPal account, click the "Donate" button, then scroll down to the section that says "Don't have a PayPal account?" and click the link that says "Continue".)

 Saturday, January 11th, 2014

*Please do not repost this page on public social media websites*

The Situation
We, the Families First Home Educators Co-op leadership team are saddened to inform you of the loss of Brian Johnson's father.  Brian's father was visiting Indiana from Wyoming to help the Johnsons get their house ready to sell when he passed away unexpectedly Thursday night in his sleep.

We would like to extend to you the opportunity to give aid to the Johnson family, who have been an integral part in our co-op's success.  As many of you know, Brian and Betsy (along with Rebekah, Ruthanne, Lillian, Miriam, and Samuel) let us know last semester that they were planning on moving back to their home area near Thermopolis, Wyoming.  We were saddened then to hear of them leaving because they have been such a valuable part in teaching classes, helping with programs, teaching dad's devotionals, and much more.

How to Help
The Johnson family is already traveling back to Wyoming for the burial.  First, we would like to ask you to pray for their safety.  Also, out of care for this beloved family we, as a co-op of Christian families, would like to provide them with a gas card to help offset some of their unexpected travel expenses.  We have calculated their round trip fuel cost from Washington, IN to Thermopolis, WY to be at least $372 (2,792 miles, at 25 mpg, at $3.33 per gallon).  That cost could be divided by 19 FFHE  Co-op families who were able to donate $20 each, but if you would like to help, you may donate any amount you wish, beginning with $1.

If you would like to donate, we are embedding a securely encrypted Paypal button located at the top and bottom of this page.  You can use this button if you have a Visa, Mastercard, Discover Card, American Express Card, or your own Paypal Account.  This button will direct funds of your choosing directly into an account managed by Christopher and Ashley Wiles.  100% of funds donated will be used to purchase fuel cards for the Johnson family.  If you would like to donate funds through cash or a personal check you can send them to:

Greta Otto
4776 E US Hwy 50
Montgomery, IN  47558

Ashley Wiles
304 Hillside Dr.
Washington, IN 47501

We have a goal to have all funds donated within one week by Saturday, Jan 18th.  Thank you for  your prayer and your care.

The FFHE Co-op Leadership Team
"We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

(If you are using a debit or credit card instead of a PayPal account, click the "Donate" button, then scroll down to the section that says "Don't have a PayPal account?" and click the link that says "Continue".)

*Please do not repost this page on public social media websites*

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beating the Seasonal Blah's - Living Lessons

Church bulletin article for January 5th, 2014  

Beating the Seasonal Blah’s: by Christopher Wiles

Do any of you struggle with what is properly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?  When I was taking pastoral counseling classes at Lipscomb, I first heard about SAD.  Being young and inexperienced, I mistakenly thought it was a joke when my professor taught on it during a class on depression.  As I got married and got to know more people on deeper levels, I came to experience the seasonal blah’s as an authentic phenomenon that produces real struggles. Whether SAD comes from the let-down after Christmas adrenaline, from upsetting the diet with too many sweets, or from the winter lack of sunlight, many people are affected this time of year by varying levels of depression. 

While it’s not necessarily something you’ll find in one of my counseling textbooks, I think you’ll find my following “Four P’s” useful to beat SAD and encourage you to read familiarize yourself more with the Bible too.  
1. Pray Preemptively - If you have known yourself to struggle with SAD in the past, begin preemptively praying with hope that God will bring you through this season with a smile.  Pray about it now before times get tough.  Jesus prayed before tough times such as in Matthew 4 and Matthew 26. 

2. Plan time with People – Schedule time with people.  You likely had the last few weeks scheduled out with how you were going to spend your time and who you were going to spend it with.  Return to that system of planning time with people, especially if you are an extrovert.  Jesus spent time often with large groups and with a small group of his closest friends such as in Matthew 14 and Like 22.

3. Plan Physical Activity – Schedule in physical activity for the next few weeks.  You can find that in a temporary YMCA membership, or by doing some manual labor in serving your elderly friends and neighbors.  Go outdoors to trim their trees, change their landscaping, or chop wood.  Do work indoors by moving all the furniture for them and vacuuming underneath.  Whatever it is, plan it and be purposeful in it.  Jesus likely spent a lot of time walking and doing labor as a carpenter in Mark 6:33.

4. Purposeful & Proper Eating – You might have just gone through a time of upsetting your normal diet with a lot of sweets and junk food which can lead to energy loss and symptoms of depression.  There’s no time like right now to temporarily adopt a  Daniel diet or evaluate your food choices based on Philippians 3:18-19 to avoid being like those who will be destroyed because “their God is their belly.”  

These are just some of my proactive ways to beat SAD.  Please feel free to call me for encouragement if you begin feeling SAD this season.

*Special Note for Husbands*  If you find your wife suddenly being more down-in-the-dumps than usual without an apparent reason, don't worry.  First sit with her, listen to her, and love on her.  Don't automatically prescribe the "4 P's".   She'll appreciate it and you'll feel better too.  Then talk positively about how to work through this time.  

Learn more from other online resources.