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While all the world seemed to be shopping on “Black Friday,” the CavFamily spent part of the morning picking strawberries.  CavWife’s friend let us know of a new place to pick them.  The farm is only 2 years old, and it is hydroponic which is way cool.

Hydro-who-a-whatis????

Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro water and ponos labour) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, or mineral wool.

Plant physiology researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant’s water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.

Other advantages include faster growth combined with relative freedom from soil diseases, and very consistent crops, the quality of produce being excellent. There is also a considerable reduction in growing area, weeds are practically non-existant, while standard methods and automatic operations mean less labor, less cost, and no hard manual work. Some plants can be raised, out of season, better control of crops naturally results in addition to no dirt and no smells. Waterlogging never occurs now. Chemically grown plants are not inferior to naturally reared ones in point of flavor, nor have analyses shown any deficiency in vitamin content. In fact, hydroponic fruits and vegetables are sweeter and more luscious than those grown in ordinary soil.

Soil-less farming.  Very interesting.  They had these rotating stryrofoam towers with numerous pots in them.  You didn’t have to bend down to pick anything if you didn’t want to.  All the nutrients are in the water.  They had 3 kinds of strawberries, and they were delicioso!  I couldn’t believe how red they looked.  The kids had a blast, though CavSon was a bit too exuberent- often picking green strawberries.

The farm also grows tomatos, squash, peppers, cucumbers and lettuce hydroponically.  They have lots of blueberry bushes that were hybrids designed to grow well in Florida.  They should be ready for picking in late March.  So we’ll go back.

After picking our berries, and tour of the other crops, we got to see the miniature horse they just purchased, and their other 2 horses.  They also had a catfish pond, so we got to feed them.  CavSon wasn’t able to toss it far, so the turtles will have to clean up after him.  It took a few minutes for the fish to do their thing.  I wish we could have taken one or 2 home for some good eatin’.  But we did bring home 4 pounds of strawberries that are so sweet and juicy.  A great way to spend a glorious Florida morning.  Way better than shopping.

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Birthday-Date Night


A friend has provided gift cards for a movie & dinner, as well as babysitting so CavWife & I can go out and celebrate our birthdays.  With mine this weekend, we will see a Cavman movie.

Sorry Roger Ebert, James Bond is more than an attitude- he’s an action hero, an assassin, the man who brings payback on behalf of his nation.  The days of Roger Moore are DONE- thankfully.

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CavSon Update


Not the soft food diet!

Not the soft food diet!

Yes, some info on CavSon.  I only said “most”, not “all”, of the CavFamily updates would be on my Facebook page.  This one will be in both places.

We have noticed the fistula in CavSon’s hard palate (anterior) getting bigger.  More food has been stuck up there (easily removed though).  Last week the raman noodles I made with our stirfry were hanging out of his nose.  Yeah, that is very exciting to behold.

With our deductible paid, and the fact that we have no spare money lying around in the mattress, we realized that IF he needed another surgery, it would be best to have it done before the end of the year.  We pushed up his follow-up visit, and the surgeon quickly determined that another surgery was called for.  The tissue in his mouth has had time to heal since his surgery in April. 

With a trip to NY planned for mid-December, the surgery will take place before Thanksgiving.  If you can remember, that means a long night of not sleeping in the hospital.  So excited about that.  Nor am I looking forward to comforting him in the recovery room again.  It won’t be as bad this time since it is only a palate revision- instead of a palate reconstruction and lip revision like last time.  But still, it will be tough on the little guy.

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I was not raised in a family that understood the gospel and raised children with a God-ward orientation or focused on our hearts.  As I seek to raise the 2 little lives (with more to come?) He has placed in my care, I recognize I need help.  I found Shepherding a Child’s Heart to be helpful.  So when Ted & Margy Tripp released Instructing a Child’s Heart, I believed it would be helpful for me.

I was not wrong.  Unlike the previous book, which focused on corrective discipline, this book focused on formative instruction-

“Formative instruction gives children principles and absolutes by which to live- hooks to hang life on.”

They address 5 goals for formative instruction, and the call to formative instruction from Deuteronomy 6, communicating formative instruction, and topics including authority, sowing & reaping, a vision for God’s glory, the importance of the church and ultimately the centrality of the gospel.  The book is humbling, as I reckon with how often I fail as a parent (therefore the gospel is for me too!).

This is a very good book, but not a perfect book.  There are statements they make that I would disagree with, as in Shepherding a Child’s Heart.  One of those was in the chapter on authority.  There is much in that chapter that is good, true and right.  But not this:

There is a popular method of child management that powerfully illustrates my point.  “Honey, you can wear the red shirt, the green shirt, or the blue shirt.  It’s up to you.”

It does not occur to a three-year-old that there are more than three shirts in the closet.  He makes his choice.  Mother is indifferent to which shirt the child chooses.  All are equally appropriate.  On the surface it seems like a win, win.  The child feels like he is a decision-maker, mother gets him to wear something appropriate, and there is no fight.  What could be better than that?

While all that sounds very good and quite enlightened, in reality the subtext for the child is, “You are the decision-maker here.  You have the right to choose.  I may suggest the various alternatives, but it is your right to choose.”

As made in God’s image, our children need to learn to choose wisely.  There is no magical age at which this happens.  We are to teach them how to make decisions while under authority.  The parent here sets the proper boundaries, and provides some freedom.  My 3-year-old knows she has more than 3 shirts in her closet.  My child is not my slave, though she is my responsibility.  I must teach her about living under authority- but an authority that loves and nurtures her (and him), not one that will squelch.  Refusing to teach them to make decisions within boundaries, in my opinion, gives them an unhealthy view of authority.  Obviously the Tripps disagree with me.

You don’t have to agree with every jot and tittle to find a book helpful.  I still found it very helpful, and CavWife plans on reading it too.  Some of what was helpful was the discussions about how we tend to reinforce our children’s idols, as well as the culture’s and our own as parents.  Part of good, godly parenting is to turn from our own idols, helping them to see their own idols and to lay hold of Christ instead.  The gospel is not a parenting add-on, but at the very core of parenting.

Paul found joy in the gospel and never moved beyond the gospel because he knew the gospel was the power of God for salvation- including everything fron initial calling by grace, to justification, to ultimate glorification.  We never move beyond the centrality of the gospel.

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Hope you are having, or have had a great Reformation Day.  Here’s my Reformation Day sermon from a few years ago- From Rags to Righteousness

Tonight we took the kids to a Fall Festival/Trunk or Treat event at a local baptist church.  They had a great time, especially CavGirl.  They had 2 Moonwalks (aka bouncy machine), a hay ride, some emergency vehicles and plenty of candy.  I think we got some great photos, but I haven’t downloaded them.  Maybe soon.

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We Own the Night takes place in drug plagued late 80’s New York City.  It is the story of a father and his two sons.  To say there are dad issues in this movie is quite the understatement.  I was reminded of the story of the Prodigal Son(s).  Joaquin Phoenix plays Bobby, the son of the Police Chief (played by Robert Duvall) who takes the last name of his late mother.  He avoids the Police Department and ends up running a night club.  He also avoids his family since he is a big disappointment to his father.  He finds a substitute in the club owner, a Russian who imports fur.  He is like family to the Russian and his family.  The man’s wife tries to fatten him up and treats him like the son she never had.

Mark Wahlberg plays the obedient, trusted son Joseph.  He joined the Police Department and has risen to the rank of Captain.  He is angry at his brother for leaving home and the family business.  Bobby is angry at him for messing up the good thing he thinks he has going, and the condemnation he feels.

Tensions heighten because Joe is the head of the new drug task force.  He and his father inform Bobby that the owner’s nephew is a Russian mobster dealing drugs out of the club.  Soon Bobby will have to choose between his real family and the family he thinks he loves- the one that tolerates and supports his very indulgent lifestyle.

What emerges is an average cop drama with a fantastic performance by Joaquin.  Not all that happens makes sense, particularly during the car chase.  The ending seems a bit under-whelming as well.  The most interesting aspect of the movie was the family relationships as Bobby comes home seeking redemption.  Like Jesus’ story of the Prodigal, the ‘stay-at-home’ brother resents the welcome home the licentious brother receives.  Only time reveals Joseph’s true motivations for the “righteous” life he led.  Funny how we just can’t escape Christ’s teaching, no matter how hard we try.

The movie starts off with more Eva Mendes than I needed to see, and some topless dancers.  After about 5 minutes the nudity is done.  Being a crime drama, there is plenty of bad language.  Though there is plenty of action, it is not graphic- except for a fight in an apartment.

Unfortunately this movie has had much better competition in this genre (American Gangster, The Departed).  We Own the Night doesn’t own the genre, but makes a respectable showing.

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Ran across this in my reading this morning.  Great stuff!

“Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer’s soul and they promote satisfaction.  We are not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration, and the Christian who goes a long time without the experience of heart warming will soon find himself to be tempted to have his emotions satisfied from earthly things and not, as he ought, from the Spirit of God.  The soul is so constituted that is craves fulfillment from things outside itself and will embrace earthly joys for satisfaction when it cannot reach spiritual one … The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ and savoring the felt comforts of the Savior’s presence.  When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, our souls will go in silent search of other lovers.”  Maurice Roberts, quoted in Instructing a Child’s Heart, from The Thought of God.

He says the same things as Thomas Chalmers in The Expulsive Power of a Greater Affection, but from a different angle.  Chalmers puts it in terms of sanctification- how we put our sinful desires to death.  Roberts puts it in terms of avoiding spiritual declension and danger.  One for growing in Christ, the other for maintaining spiritual vitality.  If we are not often pursuing our satisfaction, delight, in Christ, we will be in danger of seeking it in earthly things.

Think for a moment of how pervasive it is.  Many church-goers don’t really have a vital relationship with Christ.  It is more pragmatic than dynamic.  So they find themselves drinking from the cesspools of society- wrapped up in the pursuit of wealth, sensuality, power, entertainment etc.

(more…)

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