kids

We wish you a merry Christmas (2017)

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From our family to yours…

Science Project: Homemade Hovercraft

On Monday, 12/18/17, my 12 year old son and I built a homemade hovercraft. Now it’s just a prototype and we still have many kinks to work out, but when we plugged it in, it worked… so we consider that a win!

I do not claim any origin of this idea. He had to do a science project and the idea and plan came from this site:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Aero_p036/aerodynamics-hydrodynamics/build-and-ride-a-hovercraft#materials

The materials and tools used are listed below at the end of this post.
Here is what we built:

 

Step 1:

The original plans called for a 48″ circle. I wasn’t ready to try to figure out how to do that so we made an octagon from the 48″ square of plywood by cutting the 4 corners off making our plywood disc.

After the initial cut, we went back and rounded out the corners with a jigsaw.

Then we sanded all edges with a sanding block for a relatively smooth top and smooth corners. With the need to wrap the plastic around the board later on, smooth edges are important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

Following the original plan, the next step was to create the hole the leaf blower would go into. We chose which side would be the rear and measured half the distance from the center to that edge, which was 12″ off the side of our plywood disc.

Then we measured the end of the leaf blower opening and used a compass to outline the circle on the marked spot.

To create the hole, we first drilled a hole with the largest drill bit we had then cut the hole with a jigsaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3:

With the board part completed, we moved onto the plastic base. The basic idea is for the plastic to extend 12″ beyond the plywood disc on each side.

We set the plywood disc top-side up on top of the plastic. For our project our plywood disc is 48″ across so we measured roughly 15″ off each side and trimmed the plastic to match the octagonal shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4:

The original plan called for stapling the plastic to the top of the plywood disc. I felt like the tape would hold better if it was applied first then stapling it. So we began by folding and taping 4 of the edges up to the top of plywood disc leaving about 3″ around the edge. Then we went back and folded up the other 4 edges which were triangular shaped from the first 4 folds.

After taping all the seams of the plastic edges, we went back and put in staples roughly 3-4″ part on all places we taped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5:

Now we carefully flipped the plywood disc with the plastic attached upside down onto a work table. For this step we needed to find the approximate center of the plastic base AND the plywood disc. So we measured again to find the 24″ mark of the board along with the center of the plastic.

We cut a roughly 6″ circle from the center of a frisbee.

Using 4 1/4″ wood screws, we screwed the plastic circle through the plastic base into the bottom of the plywood disc.

NOTE: our plastic circle was too thin and the screws were going to penetrate the top of the plywood disc so we folded up some scraps from the 6 mil plastic roll to offset the thickness we needed.

Then we used a box knife to cut 6 air holes in the plastic base. Notice the pattern in the pic to the left. Each hole is roughly 2″.

 

 

Step 6:

Now it’s time to insert and attach the leaf blower. We used an electric leaf blower because that is what we had available to us. This makes mobility very limited because of the extension cord. We may come back and try it with a gas powered version if we can get our hands on one.

Our hole for the leaf blower nozzle in the plywood base was slightly too large so we had to use quite a bit of duct tape to seal it.

We also needed a small 2″x4″ block to help stabilize the leaf blower in the correct position. The end of the leaf blower needs to be nearly flush with the underside of the plywood base (the part inside the plastic.)

We inserted the leaf blower end so it would blow into the plastic base. Used the wooden block to stabilize it. Then used the duct tape to attach and seal it so no air could escape. We stapled around the duct tape for additional reinforcement because the tape kept coming loose.

 

 

 

We will continue to tweak and work on the project this week, but all in all, this was a fun way to spend time with my son. We had a good time working on this together. As you can see from the videos below, he was psyched that it actually worked.

 


Materials List

  • 48 square inch piece of 3/8″ plywood
  • 1 foot larger than plywood on each side – 6mil roll of plastic
  • 4 – 1/4″ #10 wood screws
  • 1 plastic disc (I used an old frisbee and cut the center out)
  • 6 mil heavy plastic
  • Leaf blower (we used an electric one because that’s what we had handy)

Tools Used

  • Safety goggles
  • Measuring tape
  • Yard stick
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Circular saw
  • Sanding block
  • Compass (for drawing circles not the directional device)
  • Electric drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Scissors
  • Box Knife
  • Duct Tape (that will stick well to plywood)
  • Staple Gun and staples

 

The Shepherd’s Treasure Family Advent Resource

theshepherdstreasure.com


Looking for something new to add to your family’s Christmas traditions? Checkout theshepherdstreasure.com. I found this resource las
t year while on church staff, and think it is a fun way to connect with your family during Advent. 

This resource can provide you a fun, new way to help your kids “find” Jesus during this Christmas season.

 

Last year, I believe they ran out of stock early so don’t wait!!

 

 

(I am not affiliated with The Shepherd’s Treasure. I just REALLY like it!)

A Gentle Answer

“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” ~ ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:1‬

Let me start with this confession: This is hard for me.

I don’t know if you struggle with being snippy and harsh with your loved ones, but I do.

Not too long ago I confessed that to someone close to me, and their response startled me a little: “I have a hard time believing that. You are always so mild-tempered and never seem frazzled by anything.”

Why did this startle me? Because I know the truth in my heart that controlling my tongue is hard. It was during that conversation I realized something about myself. I intentionally invest and expend a great deal of energy in appearing “in control” at work and, in general, when away from home. What I don’t do often enough is give my family that same level of energy. They are often stuck with the leftovers of my relational energy.

How can this be?!? These are the people I love the most, and yet, they are the ones I treat the worst!

It turns out that James’ caution about the tongue is spot on (James 3), though that really should be no surprise. At times, taming my tongue seems impossible. And it takes an amount of energy and restraint that I struggle to have.

The more important issue I have to deal with, though, is not what comes out of my mouth but my attitude and the condition of my heart. Jesus said that my mouth speaks from the overflow of my heart (Luke‬ ‭6:45‬). So when I let my guard down and speak with anything less than a respectful, gentle tone to my family, what is really happening in my heart? It typically boils down selfishness.

Regarding sin, Paul says “whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12) The only “cure” for the real issue is the transforming power of the gospel, that is, the Spirit of God’s renewal of my heart and mind (Romans 12:1-2). After all, the fruit of the Spirit is… gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) I must daily… hourly… moment-by-moment submit myself to the Spirt of God and let Him transform my heart.

God, cleanse me from my hidden faults and keep me from willful sins; do not let them rule me… may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:12-14).

God Is Faithful and Gracious

June 3, 2017, marks the tenth birthday of our stillborn daughter Carsyn. I have written about her impact on our family a few times over the years. The most recent post can be read here: http://jeremypcarroll.com/celebrating2livesonjune3

My wife and I have tried to make the date of June 3 as a memorial stone on our family’s calendar. In Joshua 4 God instructs Joshua to have the Israelites take stones from the Jordan river to remind of God’s faithfulness and miraculous provision as they cross on dry ground. After collecting the stones, Joshua told God’s people: In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones? ’ you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up before us until we had crossed over. This is so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:21-24) We will find great benefit in life if we establish landmarks in our lives to help us remember God’s provision lest we fall into taking God’s graciousness for granted.

It is difficult for me to believe that season of our lives was only 10 years ago. So much as happened since then: lived in 3 different states, added 3 more children, welcomed into several church families, God has healed our family from that dark place in ways we could never had imagined at the time.

This year we were blessed to be able to celebrate in a special way with almost everyone from our extended family in TN. Just spending an evening of together. Enjoying each other’s company. God’s faithfulness was on display.

God’s faithfulness is most often on display during life’s trials. An interesting thing about life’s trials… they do not play favorites. Someone once said about the trials of life:

You are either in a trial, just coming out of one, or… buckle up because one is likely around the corner.

We all face them. This means we all have various opportunities throughout life to witness and be thankful for God’s faithfulness. In fact, how we deal with the trials of life reveals the depth of our own faith. In fact James said in the New Testament:

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:2-3

Now, I have NOT reached the point that I can consistently rejoice in the trials I face in life, but by God’s grace and with the support of my wife, I have been able to find the strength to submit to His leadership through them. I am inspired by Paul’s dependence on God’s grace in the midst of his “thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12). God’s power is perfected in my weakness.

Whether you are in the midst of a trial, heading into one, or in a place of healing from the last one, may God’s grace be your abundant supply at all times!

Women Who Fear the Lord

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” ~ Proverbs‬ ‭31:30‬

A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  This verse is frequently used in churches on Mother’s Day. In fact it was YouVersion’s Verse of the Day today (Mother’s Day 2017). And we should celebrate our moms. They work hard, some away from home and some in the home. Regardless of where they spend their days, moms are incredible. They are selfless. They are nurturing. They give of themselves when there is nothing left to give. 

But Mother’s Day can be difficult for some ladies due to a variety of reasons.

Whether mom or not, a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Today I am thankful for the women of faith in my life, including but definitely not limited to:

  • My wife and the mother of my children, who loves me more than I deserve and who daily works diligently to pass her faith to our children. 
  • Susan, the woman I call mom who passed her faith to me by showing me what unconditional love looks like through the way she loves me and my siblings, as well as, the way she loves my dad. 
  • My Mimi, my mom’s mom who passed her faith down to her daughters.  
  • My mother-in-law, who passed her faith down to my wife. 
  • My sister, who works to pass her faith on to communities of people often overlooked. 
  • My sisters-in-law who love their families and work hard to pass their faith on to their families. 

I am forever thankful for these women who “fix their eyes in Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and live out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) in their homes and communities. 

TGP 52-week Devotional

The brand new Big Picture 52-week Bible Story Devotional is the latest addition to the The Gospel Project themed Bible/BIble Story family from B&H Kids… and I love it!! If you are looking for a family devotional, this one would be worth trying out. It is available in print and e-reader (ordering link below).

We have used The Big Picture Storybook Bible with our older preschooler/younger elementary schoolers and it is great for Bible stories. This devotional takes Family Worship to the next tier through well-written life application. Though it doesn’t provide explicit “Bible stories” on each page (Bible story videos are linked), this devotional does an excellent job in the application of Scripture to a child’s life. Consistent with other Bibles and Bible Storybooks in this series, the 52-week devotional retains the central goal of The Gospel Project which is not only to teach Bible stories but to teach the Bible’s story (see tweet below).

 

Several key features stand out to me:

1. Single page devotional content is good for time-management and younger attention spans.

2. The Read It section features additional Bible passages to support or re-enforce the devotional story as a great addition to keeping each week founded in the Bible.

3. The Watch It section provides a direct link to the Bible story video from which the devotional is based.

4. The iconic Big Picture Question & Christ Connection sections, staples of The Gospel Project, ensure a close tie-in to the gospel helping children and families think beyond the page. This devotional includes expanded Big Picture Questions to help facilitate deeper conversations.

5. The Live Big section sends the devotional over-the-top providing practical application and recommendations to carry the devotional “lesson” beyond the Family Devotional time to the rest of the week. The inclusion of this section expands the applicable age-range of the devotional to include older elementary-aged children.

No devotional is perfect in and of itself nor is any one book (outside the Scriptures) the perfect fit for every family. The Big Picture 52-week Bible Story Devotional, however, interweaves a simplicity perfect for older preschoolers with thought-provoking questions and application that will engage older elementary schoolers with such excellence that many families will find this devotional a great resource to guide Family Worship in their homes.

Additional reading about this devotional and sample pages:
https://www.gospelproject.com/2016/03/08/the-big-picture-interactive-52-week-bible-story-devotional

Link to purchase from LifeWay:
http://www.lifeway.com/Product/the-big-picture-interactive-52-week-bible-story-devotional-P005727303

Grace & Hope Are the Family’s Safety Net

I recently heard this quote on ABC’s Last Man Standing. The episode is entitled “The Dad Hat” and originally aired on 11.5.2015.

The tough balance for any parent is providing a harness to keep our kids safe without taking away the victory of the climb.

~ Tim Allen, #LastManStanding

Anyone who has been a parent for any length of time will quickly relate to the truth in this statement. Most parents constantly engage in this internal battle between the desires for their child to succeed and to protect them from harm and failure.

I think of one of my nieces who is into indoor rock climbing. I don’t know a great deal about rock climbing, but one thing I’ve been told is that entry level rock climbing makes use of belay ropes for safety and support. These belay ropes allow a person to embrace the thrill of climbing to new heights but with the peace of mind that someone is holding the rope to keep you from falling. As long as you trust the person holding the rope, risk of danger is relatively small.

As parents this is what we want to do for our kids. We want our kids to try new things, climb, and succeed while we provide a safety net from failure that could cause them pain. I recently heard my wife say to one of our children:

There are 2 kinds of people in the world: those that fail & try harder and those that fail & quit.

(Of course there is, also, that third kind of person who is too afraid of failure to try at all.)

We cannot protect our kids from failure without shielding them from the invigorating joy of victory and ultimately preventing them from becoming the people they can and should be. Instead, we need to inspire our kids to work hard and not fear failure. How do we provide a safety net for our kids? I imagine that there are various ways this can be done in specific circumstances, but the primary way families should do this is by ensuring a safe place for their kids. This safe place means that we detach a child’s value from his performance. Each child must know, beyond any doubt, that he can try something new, and whether he succeeds or not, his family loves and will encourage him. We do our children great harm if we allow them to think that we believe they are failures. Even if the world turns on them, children need to know that failing does not make someone a failure, but quitting does. The old attage is true:

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

The Bible has much to say about avoiding idleness in the pursuit of hard work (Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 18:9, Proverbs 21:25, and more), and we are often encouraged to do so under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit. We are, also, charged with different priorities than others; we are commanded to “seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) and to “set our minds on things above.” (Colossians 3:2). We have these divine commands because God knows that the pursuit of His Kingdom provides hope, and that hope is the key to providing the right kind of safety net for our kids: grace. Ultimately, this hope is found in the grace of Jesus. In fact, the Bible makes this connection in Romans 5

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.. (vv 1-5)

Be the Parent:

Be the parent who encourages and challenges your child to new heights. Let him climb. Teach him early that his value is not tied to success or to failure. As a parent, guard your own heart from attaching your child’s value (and your own for that matter) to his performance. Be the parent that models courage by holding the belay rope while your child is young but allowing him to try new things all while maintaining an atmosphere of grace and hope in your home. Preventing your child from experiencing failure will likely lead to fear of trying. Be the parent who inspires hard work, perseverance, and courage instead of laziness, apathy, and fear.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill*

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy*

* Final quotes taken from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/12/30/30-powerful-quotes-on-failure/

 

 

Celebrating 2 lives today, June 3

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Each year, June 3rd brings 2 celebrations of life.

One life is my dad! June 3 is his birthday. He is a man who has seen struggles, some consequential and others circumstantial; but today, he is fighting hard to be the man God has called him to be. I am thankful for him and love him so much!

The other life is daughter Carsyn Marie. She was stillborn on June 3, 2007. This morning I have reflected and read through posts from 2012 and 2013. Some thoughts from previous years can be found below.

But this year, I am reminded that the fact that these 2 lives are connected to the same calendar day means a great deal to me. My ability to deal with loss and life’s struggles was, in a large part, learned from my dad. As I said, he is man who has seen many personal struggles in his lifetime, and today, he stands firm fighting against those struggles toward Christlikeness. His example, along with other’s I have seen, wrapped in the mercy and graciousness of God gives me hope. Hope to press on. Hope that God is working things our for good according to His purposes and glory (Romans 8:28). Hope “that He who started a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Finally, I would be negligent if I failed to mention the steadfast faith of my wife, Janna. Through an emotionally devastating situation, she exemplified the peace of God unlike any I have personally witnessed. Paul said, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). She lived this back in 2007. And I’ve seen it over and over again since then. She is one of my greatest heroes.

My encouragement to you is this: struggles come and go, some last a long time and some only a short time. Jesus told His disciples, “In the world you have troubles, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)

 

Original post: http://jeremypcarroll.com/today-she-would-have-been-6

HPIM2389Our daughter, Carsyn, would have been 6 years old today, had she not been stillborn. In one sense, it seems like a lifetime ago; in another, like only yesterday.

Each year, we try to set aside this day to be together as a family. We talk. We do things together, some fun – some somber. We pray. We remember. The goal is not to idolize our daughter but to simply be together and to remember and celebrate, as a family, the mercy, grace, and faithfulness of God in our life during a dark time.

May God encourage you by what we continue to learn.

Below are some excerpts from last year’s post (to read in full: http://jermpc.com/?p=505)

My dear, sweet daughter Carsyn. Today would be her 5th birthday (2012) had she not been stillborn. Her birthday serves as a reminder for our family of one of the darkest seasons we have encountered. In a moment like that, there are no words of comfort for someone who has just been told “I’m sorry; we cannot find your baby’s heartbeat. She has died.” There is grief. Even though, we never heard her laugh or saw her smile. Even though, I never comforted her when she was crying or read her a book or played with her and her dolls…there is grief. There is sadness. She is, to this day, part of our family, though. Her picture hangs on our wall with the rest of the childrens’ pictures. She come up in our conversations.

I find myself reflecting often on the circumstances of 2007 in hopes that the Lord will not allow me to become complacent and stagnant in life. Of course, I do not desire that to return to that valley, but I, also, do not want to forget the lessons that God taught me during that time.

What did I learn then that I do not want to let go of? (note: this list is certainly not comprehensive)

1. Life is in God’s hands. Pretending I have any control or hand on life and death is pure foolishness. Furthermore, I do not need to understand death any more than I need to understand birth. I should not ask “Why did Carsyn die?” any more than I should ask “Why was Carsyn’s life created?”

2. Circumstances change; God does not.

3. Contentment in the Lord must be of highest importance to my family. Paul writes, “I have learned to be content in all things.” and so must I (1 Timothy 6). Not just contentment with stuff but with His power over the ebb and flow of life.

4. One of the most often misquote…and misapplied verses in Scripture is 1 Corinthians 10:13. It says:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. (HCSB)

I’ve heard it many times with this verse as support, “God will not allow anything to happen to you that you can’t handle.” This verse does not say this, nor does the Bible, in any other place, teach this idea. This verse is talking about the temptation to sin not the trials of life. The whole point is that we can’t handle many (perhaps argument could be made for all) of life’s circumstances. We need God. We need to Him as focus of our praise in the good times lest we think too highly of ourselves, and we need Him to sustain us during the difficult times by His peace.

5. The peace of God really does surpass all human understanding.

Why is this so important to me? Because as difficult as that season of life was for our family, God has shown us great mercy & grace over the last 5 years since. He has added 2 more amazing children our family and granted us loving relationships from our amazing church staff and church family…to name just a couple. God has shown us His kindness in more ways than I can name…and that is something I never want to forget!

“Many times the words of parents become the script that children [rehearse] in their own hearts…”

Click the image for more info about this book.

The following is the first in a series of posts of reflections and/or quotes from “Cultivating Responsibility” by Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.

A convicting statement about the importance of both the content and the delivery of our verbal communication with our children:

Many kids feed their emotions with negative thinking. Psalm 19:14 reminds us that the things said in the heart are just as important as those that are spoken. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Many times the words of parents become the script that children say in their own hearts, so it’s important to manage parental speech, even when you are frustrated or angry.

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