Faithful Presence – An Advent Series: #2

The group of children rehearsed their songs as part of the Christmas program. C wanted to be in front of the microphone. What child doesn’t want to hear himself through a PA system? Especially a child who thinks it cool his Grandpa uses a mic regularly. Straining his neck in the direction of the mic stand, his mother shook her head.¬† Read More

Number 26 – Happy Birthday Tommie

I preferred living graduation presents. Anyone may receive a book, a ring, or some other artifact to mark a special occasion. We were gifted baby girls. Read More

Frank Schaeffer, Cycle of Life, and What Matters

“See, I will listen to Dad,” said the pediatrician as she put her stethoscope to my chest. She did not know I am Grandpa, not Dad.

Generally my weekly schedule is flexible. Should Kimberly or Tommie need me to go with them and one of the Grands to their pediatrician appointment, I can get away. Call it a perk.

Wednesday, Cohen began running fever again and the pediatrician suggested they check to see if his ear infection persisted. It had. A new bout of antibiotics were issued. I could not help but remember when his mother faced those irritable ears. We would go to her pediatrician. “Yes, another infection.” We would pay for the office visit and collect another prescription of amoxicillin. Back than the two expenses would take a Benjamin – $100. Rick, my mentor, had been through the same with his children. He decided there may be another way to cure the pain of an ear infection. He suggested we lay a child on the couch and wave a $100 bill over them. It seemed reasonable since it took $100 to address the situation. We would cure the child and keep the bill. No, it did not work. We did not even try. Their ears were too important for us to be so cavalier.

Frank Schaeffer wrote a piece for The Huffington Post on Wednesday. I clipped it to read later. After watering the flower beds this morning I sat down to post a Friday Photo piece. Working through some photos from our July 4th here at the house I thought I would pause to read Schaeffer’s post. The title was enough to catch my attention, “The Real Biological Clock Is Bigger Than Asking ‘When to Have a Child?‘ Here are the first lines, for those who have not clicked over to read. More after you make the jump.

Love is the only path to immortality. And love has a name: Grandchildren. Everything else is just a footnote.


“Let’s Get This Started” – Copyright 2013, Todd A. Littleton

You guessed it, the photos I planned to post would be of Cohen and Max. I decided to post a bit more than the normal Friday Photo. I thought about how many times I get, “You don’t look old enough to be a grandpa.” Sometimes I am flattered. More than once I reply by saying that we were fourteen when we began having children. Might be true several thousand years ago. Even in the late 1970’s we would have been stigmatized rolling a stroller around.


“Long Hot Day” – Copyright 2013, Todd A. Littleton

The truth is we were 22, well I would be less than a month after Kimberly was born. Even at that, reading Schaeffer’s article points to the false perception that parents know more later than sooner. The question is, “What more do they know about?”

Frank does not suggest those waiting to have children in order to pursue education and career are dumb. He simply suggests that there may be an underlying impulse of which they are unaware; a cultural influence so intertwined in our lives that we miss it. You may deny the subtle forces of the economy but read through Schaeffer’s piece again and you cannot escape that he attempts to rupture the notion of what we need. In the end he claims we need to create beauty, love, and peace. That, he believes, is found in what we invest in others, especially our grandchildren.

What I like about Schaeffer’s piece is that he does not make the matter a moral choice – children early or late. That would only serve to feed the ego of one or the other. “You should have waited.” Or, “You should have started sooner.” No, the underlying issue is how we promote community and continue to invest in others despite economic forces that lead us to believe what matters is what we make, what we achieve, and how we are perceived. All of us, early age parents or older age parents, need to remember what really matters are people in whom we invest.

We plan to see the Grands today.

The Gospels Are Not Appetizers – Weekly Video

Living Jesus’ Way is impossible. And, maybe that is the point. Limited to our own understanding and the way we think the world works could not possibly open up space for us to love our enemies. After all were we to possess our own drones, we would take out our own enemies with precision and sterility.

Appealing to our inherent waffling we identify with the Apostle Paul in Romans 7. Despite its various interpreters it is clear he addresses the human proclivity to set aside what may be better for what is not so good. And, we may look square in the face of what would be detrimental and embrace it as if we could somehow skirt the consequences.

Combine the impossibility of Jesus’ way of denial and our penchant for an appeal to our frailty, it is little wonder we do not spend much time with Jesus in the Gospels. N.T. Wright was asked what he would tell his children knowing he would be leaving them in death. “What would you want them to know?” (See the video in the right sidebar or below.)

In short Wright said he would encourage his children not to treat the Gospels as appetizers on the way to the “meat” of the New Testament in Paul and Peter. Read the Gospels. Read Jesus. Read More

Friday Photo – “It Can Be Done”

“It can be done.” Paul reflected on our parents 50 years together noting that a life-long commitment can be achieved. There are times where our relationships require more work than others. A reality I wished I could help young married couples and soon-to-be-married couples realize. Couples don’t make 50 years with ease.

In 1986 our maternal grandparents – Big Pa and Nan – took their children to Hawaii for their 50th wedding anniversary. For years my mother has maintained that one day they too would take we three boys and our wives – her daughters and she likes to refer to them.

Last Tuesday we boarded a “big bird” and took flight to Oahu. We stayed in a hotel just off Waikiki Beach for four nights and then headed north to Turtle Bay Resort for three nights. On the evening of our last night we found a secluded spot on a beach and shared in a “renewal of vows” ceremony for Dad and Mom. Not hard to do with two pastors and a musician.

In the photo (from left to right) – Read More