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The 4th (not quite Annual) Fantasy Football Draft Running Blog

It’s fantasy football time again, and it’s time for my not-quite-annual-and-probably-not-that-many-people-read Fantasy Football Running Blog. I’ve been a long time member of the Central States Football Association (CSFA) or as I like to call it the Random Friends of Keith Cooper League. Winning a Fantasy Football League is like winning the Super Bowl on Madden only 9 more people sorta care what you accomplished.

Last year, my dad won his first championship in our league, so he’s our defending champ. We don’t have a trophy yet, though we’ve talked about it for about 6 years. Needless to say the United Methodist Church makes decisions quicker than the CSFA. I’m trying to talk Keith into getting a Fantasy Football Championship Belt, so maybe in my 2019 blog I’ll show you a picture. Continue reading

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10 Commandments, Muldrow, and the Mission Field

                Muldrow is a unique place. It is one of those places that either take you back in time or is stuck in time depending on your perspective. People ride on horses up and down the highway. The Chamber of Commerce is more about friendships and relationships than businesses and agendas. There are as many people in a parade as there are watching the parade. You can’t talk about anybody, because you are probably talking to their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd cousin. And the two most important entities in the town are the churches and the school. It’s small town USA, and the community of Muldrow is proud of that.

                Last year, the churches and the schools worked together for good. We hosted a Teacher’s vs. Preacher’s Basketball game to help a local family with some significant medical expenses. Literally half the town (1500 people) attended the game to watch a bunch of over-the-hill men play a turnover-fest of a basketball game. (OK, so the preacher’s unofficially ordained Bryant “Big Country” Reeves to help us to victory.) Over $10,000 was raised for the family, and it was a special night doing something that Muldrow can do so well: work together.

                This week we got word that the 10 Commandments that are posted in every room in the school were to be taken down or there would be legal action against the school. The community of Muldrow has held on to the ideal that this town, our town is a Christian community. Now, this threat of the removal of the 10 Commandments threatens our very identity. If we can’t have the 10 Commandments in our schools, what does that say about Muldrow, the city we love? Continue reading

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Solo Dad: Random Reflections on a week as the only parent

So for nearly the past week, I have been the sole parent in the household with my two sons: Micah 3 ½ and Kasen 9 months. My wife Heather has training for a new job out of town, and thus the responsibility for this week of child-rearing responsibility fell to me, alone. I saw this as both a challenge and an opportunity for me to be DAD. So what follows are my reflections of the week.

1. People are not used to a dad watching the kids by himself for a week.

“Oh, you are watching them all by yourself!” “Are you surviving this week?” These are the statements that I have heard this week. If I was mom watching the kids by myself for a week, then they would not garner the sympathy or attention I have because it is expected of moms to be able to raise kids by themselves, but not dads as a general rule.

2. If I didn’t participate in taking care of my boys on a daily basis, then I would have been totally unprepared to do it this week.

Because I have helped get the kids ready for the day, made meals, fed bottles, read stories, and gave baths for the last 3 ½ years this was not as overwhelming as it could have been. The deciding factor for me on when to have kids was this simple fact: I wanted to learn to be a dad before I became a Pastor, so that my pastoral life would adjust to my life as dad and not the other way around. Thus Micah and Kasen did not interrupt my ministry (this week or in general), but sometimes ministry interrupts my time as Dad.

3. I’m grateful for those that have prayed for me.

I know that our families and our church families have been in prayer for me and the boys during this week. I know that God has worked through those prayers giving me patience with the boys and through the kids giving grace to their dad.

4. Putting 2 kids to bed is a workout.

This was my Tuesday night. Put Kasen down for a nap. Start cooking dinner. Eat dinner. Feed Kasen. Don’t do any dishes. Play with boys. Give Kasen bath. Get Kasen in PJs. Get bottle ready for Kasen. Make sure Micah feels loved. Feed Kasen. Rock Kasen. Lay him down and pray he falls asleep (He did). Get bath ready for Micah. Give him bath. Help him brush teeth and go potty. Play in his room. Read stories. Go potty. Tell him a story. Check on Kasen sleeping. Tell story. Go potty again. Give strict orders to lie down, be quiet, and still. Go potty again. Tell story. Threaten toys taken away if he doesn’t lay still. Pump fist when he finally falls asleep. Sit down in chair and look at the mound of dishes and toys scattered across the floor. Call wife and share about our day. Walk past the dishes and step over toys on the way to bed because I’m so exhausted.

5. My church family is awesome.

I know that if I needed someone to watch Micah or Kasen, I could have called 20 people to help me. They give our boys such love. The youth love watching them, and I don’t tell them thank you enough. The ladies in our church are so glad to see Kasen and Micah grow, and I am so thankful. When we have a church activity, all of the adults feel some sort of responsibility to make sure that “our” Micah does mostly what he is supposed to. If you don’t have the love of a church family, I pray that you can find the loving home like we do.

6. I miss my wife.

I miss my wife on many levels. I miss her help, obviously, with raising the boys. There is a reason God desires a husband and a wife to raise a kid because the kids need it, and the parents need each other. Not just to share child-rearing responsibilities, but also to be there in support for one another, to share the joys and the laughs together. To have an adult conversation in the midst of talk about Spiderman house, cries, and potty is a blessing.

7. Continuous sleep is a gift from God.

Kasen has been getting up at 3:00 A.M. or 4:00 A.M. for a bottle. This morning he slept till 7:30. I felt 10,000% better today than I did yesterday.

8. I have tremendous respect for single parents.

My experience is 6 days. Before my wife left, I went to the store and stocked up for the week. I know Heather is coming back soon. I know that if I don’t get all the dishes or laundry done that we can work together to do it. I know my wife will take a night shift soon so I can get the gift of continuous sleep again. Single parents don’t have that luxury. Love the single parents around you, and find ways to serve and love them. Give them grace, from my experience they have to be exhausted, and I always need extra grace when I’m exhausted.

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Giving up Something or Becoming Like Someone: On Self-Denial and Lent

                Ash Wednesday is just a couple of days away, and so the question for some of us is “What to give up for Lent?” I remember growing up, and I heard my friends in the youth group saying, “I am giving up pop or Chocolate for Lent.” And while I admired their sacrifice, I often wondered what the point of giving up those particular things was. Because after Lent was over, it never seemed to make any difference in their lives. They went back to drinking pop and eating chocolate, and the only value they ever seemed to receive was some practice of self-denial and some pride because they accomplished something.

                So, why do we give up something for Lent? So, we can practice the principle of fasting. Fasting is about abstaining from something for a certain amount of time. This practice of self-denial forms us and teaches us and forms us as Christian disciples, and it reminds us of Jesus’ command in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Denying ourselves is essential to following Jesus. And thus the point of any fast is Christ-following.  Let me say that again, the reason we fast from anything is so that we can be more Christ-like. Continue reading

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2010 Christmas Blog

 

We are trying to conserve our green and be green in this tight economy, so we thought we would do a Christmas Card Blog.  Hope you enjoy, and please pass the link along!

It has been quite a year for the Tigers!  We had a bittersweet departure from Kentucky this May.  Aaron graduated with his Masters of Divinity from Asbury Seminary and our 3 year adventure was over.  We loved our time in the Bluegrass state and made some amazing and very dear friends, whom we miss like crazy!  Micah’s very first friends, Connor and Eben, are often a topic in the house.  We don’t know what we would do without Facebook and Skype, which we need to use more often!  Our homecoming to Oklahoma was wonderful!  We missed our friends and family and are so grateful to be near them again.  The grandparents are especially happy to have Micah in Oklahoma!

Aaron was appointed to the communities of Roland and Muldrow and is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church.  We are enjoying our new church family immensely and learning the ins and outs of being a clergy family.  We have been blessed with a nice parsonage and are still in the process of making it our own.  Aaron is truly living out his calling and has quickly stepped in to his new role and is loving every minute of it!  The church is exploring who God is calling Trinity to be and celebrating all the good we currently do.  Since we have been there, 21 people have become new members, and average attendance has risen from around 70 to almost 100!  God is good and we are looking forward to all He has in store!

The transition to a new town and journey has been a little more difficult for me, but I am listening for God’s voice and looking for His guidance.  I have made a few new friends, but know that is always a process!  I am still lucky enough to stay home with Micah and enjoy watching him explore new things every day.  I have been looking for a job, but have not had much success yet!  I have substituted once for 7th graders at Muldrow Middle School, and had a few silly boys growl at me when I introduced myself as Mrs. Tiger.  Boys will be boys!  I am also considering applying to the Masters program for Creative Writing at Oklahoma City University, our Alma Mater.  We’ll see what the New Year brings!

Micah is growing, growing, growing.  We adore him so much and he is a constant source of joy, laughter, and love.  Sometimes he exhibits his stubborn streak and asserts his developing independence.  We won’t tell who he gets that from!  Micah started walking at the end of nine months and hasn’t slowed down since.  He is running these days, even if he still has some balance issues!  We celebrated his 1st birthday October 5th.  He was a blessed little boy who got two parties; one at Trinity with his own little cake, and his monkey-themed party at Owasso FUMC.  He played in their Pumpkin Patch, had lots of presents, and enjoyed having so many family and friends there.  We enjoyed watching him glow in the attention!  He is quite the people person.  One of his favorite things is to entertain with tricks and then make sure everyone claps!  Micah loves to talk, and talk, even if we don’t always know what he’s saying.  He can say quite a few words, like Daddy, Mama, done, dog, okay, yeah, no, Beau, and amen!  He loves to sign ‘thank you’ and we are working on a version of  ‘love you.’  His favorite “sign” is one I taught him; Touchdown!  He holds his arms up like he has gone to ref school.  His daddy is very proud of this trick!  Micah is a very happy boy and we thank God for him every day.

We are looking forward to seeing where our journey goes in 2011 and hope to see you all along the way!

Thank you to all our wonderful family and friends who mean so much to us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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What to call the Grandparents? A Theory

School is picking up, so blogs are going to be at a minimum the next few weeks, but I’ll do what I can.  Today you get a theory.  As I prepare for fatherhood, we are now in the 2nd trimester!  Also, I am newly an uncle as of April 22nd!  I have had a conversation with some about what to call the grandparents.  I have learned that sometimes grandparents names just happen.  A grandkid in their learning of this vast new world of language try to say something, a name just emerges. 

However, I think that the name from grandparents come for our idea of grandparents.  I never knew my mom’s dad.  He passed away before any of the grandkids were born, but I did know my dad’s dad, Abraham Tiger.  No middle name, just Abraham.  Of course, I didn’t know him as such, to me he was and always will be Papa.  When I think of a grandfather, Papa is forever ingrained in my mind.  Just hearing the name brings joy to my heart.  And when the time comes many moons from now, and if I have the choice, I will choose Papa. 

I had assumed then that my dad would want to be called Papa.  After all that was the name that I associate with being a grandfather, but my dad when he thinks about grandfather does not think about his dad, but about his grandfather who he called Granddad.  Just like in my mind is a grandfather Papa, so in his mind is a grandfather Granddad. 

My conclusion is thus: Grandparents names skips a generation.  So, my grandparent line may be something like Granddad, Papa, Granddad, Papa.  Just a thought.  If you have any leave them below.

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My Definition of Preaching

I think about preaching a lot, and I preach a lot.  Now, normally it is to myself in the car, but occasionally I get to do it in front of people.  Preaching is one of the moments in which I feel most alive.  (Just so you know, if you are thinking about your identity, focus on those moments when you feel most alive.)  I enjoy listening to sermon podcasts.  Love going to church to hear preaching, and wish that I could take more preaching classes, just for the fun of it.  So, I thought I would share my running definition of preaching and then unpack it a litle bit.  “Preaching is essentially translating the revealed Word of God to God’s children.”  Continue reading

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