Why We Are Adopting… AGAIN!

Just over two years ago, Aubrey and I embarked upon a journey to adopt. In March of this year, our first adoption was finalized, and we have had the privilege of being Mommy and Daddy to a beautiful little girl from her birth. Now, we are beginning the process all over again. That’s right. We’re adopting another child.

I’ve received a number of responses when I tell people this. Some encouraging, some comical, but thankfully, none too rude. I would like to address the reasons why we are adopting again and the things that are NOT reasons why we are adopting again.

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The FREE Homeschool Teaching Summit (Online)

If you ever feel overwhelmed, burned out, or just generally ill-equipped to balance parenting and homeschooling and the rest of regular life stuff, then the Homeschool Teaching Summit is designed for you. It will refresh your excitement for the homeschool journey, equip you with practical teaching tools, and transform your vision for Christian education and discipleship, to prepare you for your best year of Christ-like teaching.

Most importantly, each video from this event will focus on the truth found in God’s Word and the hope that lies in trusting in Jesus Christ for today and for the future.

All of the video interviews with speakers bring a Christ-centered focus to these topics:

  • Teaching Foundations (the big-picture homeschooling vision)
  • Teaching Mechanics (teaching how-tos and strategies)
  • Teaching “That” Kid (struggling learners and parenting helps)
  • Teaching with Sanity (schedules and simplicity)
  • Teaching for Eternity (Gospel-powered homeschooling)

The entire event free if you sign up by October 16th, and in addition to the video content, you’ll also get access to an easy-to-search online vendor hall (with exclusive discounts and freebies) and an a private Facebook group to connect with speakers and other attendees.

I encourage you to sign up today for the Homeschool Teaching Summit for a week of being refreshed, equipped, and transformed on the journey of homeschool teaching for God’s glory!

Learn more and register for free (for a limited time only!) at https://zb362.isrefer.com/go/2017/jfranzone/

How Far is Too Far in Sanctification?

What exactly is “sanctification”? This is the process whereby God works in our lives to change us and to transform us in many degrees so that we are like our elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. I know this on an intellectual level, but what does it mean in my life? I’ve known that this was a hard process, that sanctification can hurt. I also know that it is necessary. I thought I’d experienced the pain of this process. To be quite honest, I’d even glamorized this process somewhat, thinking that I was such a good Christian: “Look at me! I’m being sanctified… I’m suffering for Christ’s sake.” That was before this past week.

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Firm Through the Fiercest Drought and Storm

We live in the Northpointe neighborhood in Pensacola, FL… the one that got hammered with a tornado Tuesday night (February 24, 2016). Aubrey and Ragan were away from home, babysitting for some friends while I held down the fort with my younger two children. We knew that a fairly large stormfront was coming through, but I had no idea that we would be in the center of it.

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2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Looking Back

2014 has been a milestone year in my life. God sovereignly transformed my life sometime around Easter in the biggest way possible… He saved me from my own self-righteousness and unbelief. What I had previously thought was the Christian life, was really a false sense of hope and a works-based religion. You can read about that in My Personal Testimony.

Consistent with being a “new man”, my desires have changed radically this year. I spend a lot of my free time reading about Theology or watching sermons online. I have endeavored to “catch up” on the meat of Christian faith that I have missed out on, and it has been good. I have read God’s Word more consistently and with more fervor than ever in my life. I am truly thankful to my Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ for this year.

A Different Kind of Resolution

My wife read an article about closing out the year writing letters to Jesus and placing them in your stockings before packing them away for the year. We thought it would be a good tradition to try out, so we all wrote letters of resolution to Jesus. In that letter I wrote my sincere commitments to serve and know Christ. It included overall statements, such as the desire to serve God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I also wrote practical things, such as continuing my daily time of reading the Bible, praying and studying.

So my public New Year’s Resolutions this year look more like changes in habit that I would like to implement in my life.

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Personal Parable: Repentance

1) to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right
2) to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
3) to change one’s mind

“Repent.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/repent.

An Interaction With My Son

This morning my son and I were involved in what you might call horseplay. He knows that I am ticklish and so he likes to tickle me. I, of course, am (for the time) much larger than my son and so usually turn the tables quickly and tickle him into submission. This continued until the playing became a bit too rambunctious; it was beginning to bother other members of the family. My son tends to take things too far, which I wanted to prevent.

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2013 New Year’s Resolutions

Bilbo-The-Hobbit

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring)

I thought it appropriate to use this image and quote taken from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring) and the recent release of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for my New Year’s Resolution post. My wife, kids and I went to see the movie together and thoroughly enjoyed it. Anyway, each year has the potential to hold something new, perhaps something adventurous. While I don’t particularly feel that it will at the moment, the future is unknown and as Bilbo stated, “there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

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Status Quo… So Far

Tree Time Lapse

The gauntlet has been thrown down, the New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 made and the proverbial ball is in my court to do something about it. The trees in the picture above show a progression of the seasons and how they affect the tree. It’s basically the same, except for some surface changes in the leaf color and leaf volume. I feel like this year, so far, has been basically maintaining the status quo.

What should I be changing? Well, the main thing I wanted to change centered around putting God first… in everything. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” I really don’t feel like I’m currently doing that; I feel more like I’m just maintaining the status quo. Sure I started a read the bible in a year program, which I’m currently on track with. Other than that, though, I don’t feel like anything has changed. God hasn’t taken a larger role in my every day life than in 2011… at least not yet. I guess I’m writing this to be out in the open and hold myself accountable before the world (wide web) to never be content with being stagnant in my faith.

How are the other resolutions (goals) coming? I’m still training for the New Orleans marathon in March. I haven’t practiced any piano this year. I did, however, implement some cross training this week which will hopefully start working on the mid-section fat. Finally, we are still working on debt. We’re taking a bit of a step back because our oldest daughter just got braces today. That required a fairly large down payment, which we were able to pay without getting behind in our bills, and adds another payment to our list. I think that we are doing well in that area, though, and expect to keep striving towards the goal of being debt free.

2012 New Year’s Resolution(s)

Spock Cyclops

Ever hear that song, “The Future’s So Bright” by Timbuk 3? [Video] The catch phrase goes, “the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.” That is a little of what I feel like looking forward to 2012. We have taken some excellent steps towards becoming debt free, I have a great job, I’m training for my second marathon, I’m growing closer and closer to God… it seems like a year of possibilities (at least at this moment).

So with further ado about nothing, here are my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions.

1. The Greatest Command

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

I am not saying that I am a “law” man or a legalist. I fully believe that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, and not from myself. It is a gift of God, not by works, so that none can boast. (Paraphrased from Ephesians 2:8-9).

However, living as Christ lived is a worthy enough goal. I’ve been stewing over this verse for the past 6 months or so and have decided that this is what I want to focus on this year.

What does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your heart? What does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your soulall your mindand all your strength? What does that type of love and devotion look like in my every day life? What does it look like in the morning before I’ve had my coffee? What does it look like when I’m frustrated with something at work? If I were to truly act out this commandment in my life, how would my priorities change or my life for that matter?

That’s it.

Don’t you think that one is big enough to be the only resolution for this year? lol I think so. I thought about listing some others here, just as a blogging placeholder, but they haven’t really changed from last year. So I’ll just list them out here more as “continuing goals” for this year. They are:

  1. Practice My Talents – More specifically, the piano
  2. Run in my second marathon
  3. Get rid of the gut – I mean it this time!
  4. Pay off debt – We are going to hammer on this one until the debt monster is finally dead!

Well, I hope you and yours have a very Happy New Year and an excellent start to 2012! God bless.

2011 Resolutions : Looking Back

Once again I find myself at the end of a year looking back on the resolutions I made at the start. How did I do? Was it worth setting any goals at all? Let’s have a look see.

Rear View Mirror

1. Die

The point of this resolution was to try to focus my attention and energies on dying to “self”. Did I succeed? Well, not completely. I don’t think this is one you can perfect during your lifetime, though, it certainly is a worthwhile goal. So how much did I grow in this area? To be honest, I don’t have any clue. I know that God promises that He will finish the work that He began in me.

…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

I’m glad that God is control of the progress, though I do realize that I have a responsibility to live my life “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).

2. Practice My Talents

This one centered mainly around practicing the piano. How did I do? Fail. I totally did not spend any extra time practicing, other than the time required to prepare for Sunday mornings.

3. Marathon #2

Also a fail, though not entirely my fault. Right after my first marathon I was clowning around with my kids and ended up with a stress fracture, so I was not able to run for quite some time. I was able to get back into training by April, however, the time off was more of a setback then I thought it would be. I did manage to run another half marathon, though, and am currently training for my next marathon.

4. Get Rid of the Gut

Miserable fail! I think it actually got bigger. Nuf said.

5. Pay Off Debt

Success! No, we did not pay off all of our debt. However, I can proudly announce that the only debt we have left is our student loans, the car payment and a small-ish medical debt. Once we decided to get on board with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and truly get focused, God came along side us and helped us to pay off way more than I could have anticipated.

Well, that’s it for last year. So long, 2011, you were good to us.