sum·mit [suhm-it]

In a previous post, A Summit of My Own, I told how God soverignly moved in our lives to bring about our second son, Summit.  Well, that was only the first part of the story.  The rest of the story is how we came up with, or rather how we were given, the name Summit. 

Selecting a boy name has never been an easy task for the Faught family.  We went round and round with our first child before settling on Shepherd.  The second time around the block proved to be no different, as we went back and forth over names for five solid months.  The big dilemma revolved around the fact that I like different names such as Shepherd, Titus, or Holland.  Julia goes in the exact opposite direction and prefers traditional southern names such as John, David, William, Charles, Fred, or George.  Okay, maybe not Fred or George, but you get the picture.  After much debate, like congress trying to settle on the budget, we had no results.  So, unannounced to each other, we individually began praying that God would show us a name. 

God soon began to answer our prayers.  One morning Julia informed me about one of her dreams.  In her dream, our baby’s name was Summit.  I thought the name Summit was a little too weird and did not favor the name to start.  I mean, is Summit really even a name?  Three weeks later Julia had a second dream and the baby’s name was, once again, Summit.  Poor traditional southern Julia laid awake in the early morn shocked and frightened by the implications of the second dream and this name that seemed to come from two miles past left field.

Right after Julia’s second dream, I woke up with stomach pains and woke up to an unusually wide awake wife.  In attempt to shake off the illness, I pleaded to Julia like a two-year old named Shepherd for something small to eat.  Lucky for me, Julia obliged!  As we ate breakfast, we discussed the second dream more in-depth and really began to consider the name Summit.  Julia eventually declared all she wanted was one more sign from God and his name would be Summit, whether we liked it or not! 

Five minutes later at approximately 5:00am in the morning and totally out of our normal routine (Julia is never up that early) we flipped on the TV (again we never watch TV in the morning) to Channel 5 News.  Much to our absolute dismay, the first thing out of the newscaster’s mouth was, “Summit Medical Center will be having a blood drive today…”.   Upon hearing this sentence we slowly turned our heads away from the TV and to each other.  I wish you could have seen Julia’s face and I know she wishes you could have seen mine. 

It is crazy to look back and see how God soverignly brought us Summit, but even crazier to see how God used two dreams and newscaster from Channel 5 to give us his name.  No hiking trip or human plan was going to prevent God from giving us our second child and without a question, God wanted his name to be Summit.  In light of the series of events surrounding Summit’s birth and his name, Julia and I can’t help but wonder what God has planned for this child.   We have no idea what it will be, but taking a hint from the definition of his name we know it will be great.  We are truly blessed to have Summit and we can not wait to see what kind of man he becomes.

sum·mit

[suhm-it]

–noun

1.

the highest point or part, as of a hill, a line of travel, or any object; top; apex.
2.

the highest point of attainment or aspiration: the summit of one’s ambition.
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Humble Baby

On a recent date night with Julia, I was handed a tightly swaddled and stomach filled Summit for burp duty.  Unsuspectingly, burp duty turned into an interesting course of events.  As I sat in the booth of the restaurant, I prevented Summit’s head from bobbing and weaving and patted his back to bring relief. Relief eventually came in projectile form and a muffled rumble from the diaper area.  So, the clean-up process began: projectile wipe down, unswaddle Summit, change diaper, caught pacifier from falling on the floor, plug pacifier back in, re-swaddle Summit nice and tight, and a big sigh of relief.  Just after the big sigh of relief came another muffled rumble from the diaper area, beginning the process all over again!  As I finished re-swaddling Summit and processing all that just took place, I was reminded about the fragility of an infant. This remembrance let me rethink the humility of Christ and His willingness to come to a lower place.

Previously, when I thought about Christmas or Christ’s birth I always saw Christ as the quiet tranquil little baby laying in a manger, surrounded by Joseph, Mary, and all the barnyard animals. I never thought about Mary having to hold His bobbing and weaving head because He was too weak to hold it up on His own.  I never considered Joseph having to burp Him, clean up His spit up, or change His soiled garments.  I never thought of His willingness to become a total and completely dependant infant.

 Compare this total surrender of control and ability with what we read in John 1:1-3.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and with out him was not anything that was made.

 This infant created the world, the sun, the stars, the universe, all things that are living, and, all things to sustain the living.  Without this infant we would not exist or be able to sustain our existence.  So, here we have the creator of all things seen and unseen and He completely humbles himself.  He humbles himself to the point of such weakness that He can’t hold His head up, burp on His own will, or control His own bowel movements.  Then again because He was sinless, perfect, and holy he probably came out of the womb potty trained, never had projectile vomit, and always slept through the night – just something to ponder!

 This moment with Summit was impacting, convicting, and encouraging. I was impacted by seeing the irony in people seeking for the higher when their Lord and Savior always chose the lower, convicted by my own arrogance in this life, and encouraged by knowing that Christ’s humility can dwell within me.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8


Evangelist Confuses Judgement Day Prediction with Two Year Old’s Birthday

End of the World Evangelist, Harold Camping, has just confirmed that his second calculation for the return of Christ and Judgement Day for all unbelievers is incorrect.  Camping says May 21st, 2011 is actually the second birthday of a little boy from Siloam Springs, Arkansas by the name of Shepherd Faught.  When asked how such an insignificant two-year old birthday could be confused with the Judgement Day of the entire world, Camping revealed Shepherd’s second birthday was actually the Judgement Day or rather Judgement Year for his two loving parents, Taylor and Julia Faught.  Camping says, “Shepherd’s second birthday is when he will enter his Terrible Two Phase, therefore marking Judgement Day and more likely Judgement Year for Taylor and Julia”.  Although Camping was regretful that his false predictions scared a total of three people and only converted half a person over to Christianity, he did take pride in being able to forewarn two unsuspecting parents from a small town in Arkansas.

As for the parents of Shepherd, they are not too concerned about Camping’s ominous predictions about their son and thought he might be a little too late on the prediction.  Julia was quoted saying, “Taylor, I thought he started his Terrible Two Phase last week?”.  Taylor and Julia have confirmed their world is still spinning and their house has not yet been burned down by the fires of judgement. They are currently making preparations to throw an amazing two-year old birthday party.

 A Thomas the Train birthday party for Shepherd has been planned and will commence at 10:30 am in the front lawn of the Faught residence.  If the weather brings rain, the party will be moved to the garage.  A game of “Pin the Steam on the Choo-Choo Train” will kickoff at approximately 11:00 am.  Each kid in attendance will receive a train conductor hat, wooden train whistle, and all the cake they can eat.


Male Nesting?

Pregnancy!  Can a husband feel anymore helpless than when his wife is pregnant?!  Sometimes I just felt ashamed because Julia was having to go through so much to bring our two sons into this world.  A lot of times I felt tremendously blessed that I am a man and not a woman.  There is NO WAY I could ever endure a pregnancy; hats off to all you Moms in the world.  So, what is a man to do as he watches his wife endure exhaustion, vomiting, nausea, hormone changes, vision changes, emotional ups and downs, body changes, weight gains, pregnancy brain, and all sorts of aches and pains?  Aches and pains such as feet swelling, back pain, hip pain, sciatica nerve pain, leg cramps, lack of sleep, heartburn, and not to forget the pain of actually having the child! 

I have heard of men experiencing sympathy pains and sympathy gains.  Mysterious pains that are an exact replica of their pregnant wife’s ailments.  Non-mysterious weight gains to equal their wife’s added weight.  I assume all of this is an attempt to mitigate that sometimes shameful feeling of complete and total helplessness.  But my question is this, have you ever heard of sympathy nesting?  Yes, sympathy nesting.  Instead of the pregnant wife preparing the home for the new arrival, the man turns into so much of a handy-man machine that he actually allows himself to see the end of the never-ending honey-do list.  I never thought seeing the end of the honey-do list was humanly possible, but when male nesting kicks in anything is possible.  Check out what I was able to knock out in about 10 days, just before Summit was born.

Not even included in this fancy slide show was my handy work in re-caulking the bathtub, extensive backyard fence repair, changing out broken deadbolt locks, and repairing the broken toilet paper holder.  You might be thinking, “Taylor, this really isn’t that much”!  But please remember, I haven’t done this much handy man work in two years.  Thanks to sympathy nesting I did all of this work in 10 days! (Infomercial coming soon)

This whole nesting thing might not be a big deal for a lot of you men out there, but this sudden burst of “get it done” intensity was a big thing for me in two ways.  First of all, home projects are not my favorite thing to do.  The last thing I want to do after a day at work is come home and rebuild the fence or re-caulk the bathtub.  The second reason, I am not the handiest guy in the neighborhood. I am so not handy that I use Handy Manny episodes as instructional videos on how to fix things around the house.  Never heard of Handy Manny?  Shepherd introduced me to him about 6 months ago.  Handy Manny is a cross between Dora the Explorer and Ty Pennington.  Check the Handy Manny trailer.

If I had to choose between sympathy pains, sympathy gains, and sympathy nesting, I would definitely choose the nesting every time.  I wouldn’t have to keep my feet propped up, ice down my lower back, experience a bad case of heart burn, or join Weight Watchers.  I think Julia would force me to make the same choice.  Think about it for a quick second, now she can add so much more to the honey-do list! 

So men of pregnant women get your nesting on, because after the baby arrives you won’t have time for anything else!


Lipstick and Six Years

Victim of a Shepherd Circumstance

This post begins exactly were the last one left off.   It was about seven o’clock in the morning and I believe the post ended with this line, “Now, off to clean up the lipstick  Shepherd just used to paint the carpet and himself! No joke – Julia is going to love this one”!  As I was finishing things up, I looked over to see Shepherd at my side, maroon lipstick all over his hands, giving his uh-oh uh-oh speech with an inquisitive “how in the world did this happen” expression on his face.   Since you can’t find lipstick at a BassPro Shop, I knew this was a job for Julia.  I walked back to the bedroom to wake Julia up for an amazing morning.  Her day began with a blurred view of my face and the muffled sound of my voice saying, “Babe, how do you get lipstick out of carpet? And by the way, happy six-year anniversary”! Yep, that is how far we have come in six years! No longer are anniversary mornings beginning with a good sleep-in, followed up with breakfast in bed and a peaceful cup of coffee.  It is now a 6:30 am wake up call from a two-year old down the hall, a uh-oh, and lipstick in the carpet that jump starts the anniversary.  The battle to celebrate six amazing years of marriage was officially a go!

Valentine’s Day and our anniversary day are big productions in the Faught marriage.  These days are usually celebrated by a weekend getaway, fancy dinner, or a crazy fun date night.  This is just one way we try to keep each other and our marriage first.  After six years, really after having two young children, these special days have become something we desperately have to fight for to make good on.  We have to fight our children, stress, sickness, and ourselves to happily celebrate these special days. 

Our day began with no rest or relaxation.  We jumped right into cleaning permanent lipstick out of the living room carpet.  We then continued to chase around, for some unknown reason, an extra ornery Shepherd through the house.   We had a lovely non-peaceful breakfast with scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, and tears being thrown on the floor.  Shortly after breakfast, the decision was made to attend the annual Siloam Springs Dogwood Festival.   So, we have a dirty house, a toddler on the loose, a crying newborn, and a mission to head out the door in less than an hour.  Of course, this creates an opportunity for an explosive marital conversation on who is going to do what and how we are going to get out the door with a clean house, babies packed, and diaper bags in tow.  We then leave for the Festival and return for naps.  Three hours later, Shepherd wakes up from his nap with a fever (this explains his extra craziness).  Not only does he wake up with a slight fever, but we have family pictures to attend with Julia’s family that includes 8 children, 6 out of the 8 being 2 years old or younger.  There is one word to describe family pictures with 8 young children and the word is INSANITY. 

So, here we are after a long stressful day wondering if we will even celebrate our big day.  Our plans for using family for babysitting are useless, since you can’t have a sick toddler around everyone else’s kids.  Our anniversary date night out on the town was doomed and it looked like we would be regulated to a big glass of wine and an early arrival to a good night sleep.  Thankfully, Julia had a backup plan and an amazing anniversary present for me.  Since I am extremely paranoid that life and children will come before our marriage, Julia gave me eight envelopes filled with pre-designed date nights from The Great Date Experience, provided by Married Life Online  (I highly recommend checking the website out, and more to come on this in the near future).  What an amazing idea and relief to a paranoid husband! We ended up putting the boys down early and using one of the envelope date nights for a home date to celebrate six years.  It turned out to be one of the best dates we have enjoyed in recent memory.  

A wise mentor once told me that marriage gets hard when you have multiple kids and each spouse is stressed from the events of the day.  It is at these times that your marriage is truly put to the test.  So many times throughout the day Julia and I said to each other, “We are not going to let this lipstick bother us!”  Wether it was lipstick in the carpet, food on the floor, a tense conversation about family duties, sick kids, or family pictures, we were going to fight for our anniversary and marriage.  Thankfully, by the grace of God, we conquered that battle and we have hope to win the war!


Bending the Rules

Some say he is cute, adorable, loving, sweetheart, precious, silly.  Some say he is smart, active, ornery, crafty, mischievous.  Some say he is his Dad.  As for myself and Julia, we say he is just Shepherd.  He is the kid at one moment standing beside you after church, as you talk with friends, and the next moment he is up on stage banging on the baby grand.  He is the kid that as you go to the bathroom, he seizes the opportunity to make a run for it and heads out the front door; leaving you to return to an empty house and jump starting you into “freak out” mode.  All the while he is chillin’ at the neighbor’s house.  He is the kid at 7:00 am in the morning who is sprinting back and forth between the living room ottoman and the front door.  Culminating in giving the front  door knob his best Tarzan scream and swing!  Yes, Shepherd is not the most content child and he sure does know how to experience life to its fullest.  You could say he is a slightly strong-willed child!  Although Shep does keep us constantly on the run, his comical and sometimes tiring energy opens our hearts to more laughter and our eyes to more wisdom.

Shepherd’s age and active personality has required us to become more disciplined in our disciplining.  At a certain point you begin to recognize that saying, “Shep! Shep! Shepherd! Jonathan Shepherd! Jonathan Shepherd Faught!” does not prevent your child from conducting the mischievous task at hand.  So, we have begun to clearly communicate and warn Shepherd once of the impending consequences.  If Shepherd continues in his mischief, he gets into trouble.  One of our latest “warning sessions” turned humorous and enlightening.

We store our DVD player and DVDs in a small two door cabinet adjacent to our sofa.  Usually, the two door knobs are Shepherd proofed, a.k.a. rubber banded shut.  At this particular moment the cabinet, for some reason, was not Shepherd proofed.  Of course, Shepherd was drawn to the DVD cabinet like a magnet, along with his usual partners in crime Bob and Larry from VeggieTales and Woody from Toy Story.   So, off I went to warn Shepherd and steer him clear of trouble.  I bent down to his level and gently and clearly warned him to stay away from the DVD cabinet.  I made sure he knew that if he got into the cabinet one more time he would be in trouble.  How did Shepherd respond? He, without hesitation or reservation, immediately picked up Woody and began using Woody’s arm and hand to open the cabinet door!  So therefore, it was no longer Shepherd who was getting into the DVD cabinet, but it was Woody!  Now, I know the Woody picture is a little freaky, but this picture perfectly captures the moment.  I was stunned, caught off guard, and truly amazed.  All I could do was laugh and walk away.  I should have disciplined Woody, but sad to say, I was not as quick-witted as my 23 month old son!

While the latest Shepherd incident was pretty humorous it was also revealing.  I was amazed at the sinful nature of man and how it shows up crystal clear in a 23 month old.  Like every other toddler, Shepherd lives for the moment.  In an instant, he would choose the temporary excitement to crack and shatter VeggieTales DVDs over the longer lasting enjoyment of watching a VeggieTales DVD.  And as he showed with Woody, he would bend the rules or even break the rules to achieve his temporary desire.  Oh, how we all succumb to this sinful nature!  A nature that dismisses God’s plan and structure for eternal pleasure.  It is a nature that will vehemently break or recklessly bend God’s eternally provisional order to achieve temporal pleasure.   

I am reminded of a C.S. Lewis’s quote from Weight of Glory,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

Our desires are too weak not too strong.  Our strongest desires are for fleeting pleasures and our weakest desires are for the eternal pleasures.  

So, what is our escape from this trap?  How do we overcome that which is rooted in the depths of our heart and soul?  The best answer I could find comes from  Ezekiel 36:26-27,

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you,  and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules”. 

 Sign me up!  Don’t we all need a new heart?  Don’t we all need to be regenerated?  Don’t we all need to be born again? (John 3:1-8)  I am so thankful for the grace and mercy God has bestowed on me in transforming my heart and life.  Now, I pray every day that he would extend the same grace and mercy to my two sons.  I pray that He would open their eyes to recognize the difference between temporal and eternal;  that God would transform their hearts and set them free to pursue Christ and His eternal promises and pleasures!

Now, off to clean up the lipstick  Shepherd just used to paint the carpet and himself! No joke – Julia is going to love this one!

Ezekiel 36 – John 3:1-8Ephesians 2:1-102 Corinthians 5:17Titus 3:1-8


A Summit of My Own

 

 

Every summer a group of men from our church take a trip to hike a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado.  The name of the trip is creatively and cleverly dubbed The Man Trip.  This  trip is a “Man Trip” in every single way.  All done within 72 hours the round trip covers 1700 miles and spans over 25,800 feet in elevation change.  Some guys take off from Arkansas on an early Friday morning, arrive at base camp Friday evening,  hike the 14er on Saturday, and return home by Sunday evening.  Seems a little crazy? Absolutely, but this is what happens in a trip that includes over 20 men and 0 women or children to slow them down! 

I set my eyes on conquering Man Trip 6 months in advance.  I gained “clearance from Clarence” (aka Julia), scheduled a day off work, and decided on a training regimen. Of course, a trip like this takes some training to develop leg strength and respiratory stamina to handle the mountain incline and the thin Colorado air.  So, my training goal was to conquer the dreaded JBU stairs. The stairs located on the John Brown University campus are 100 hundred steps that have a monstrous incline.  I planned to conquer the stairs by running 10 up and downs with out a break; I was certain this would prove my readiness for Man Trip!  

In the six months leading up to Man Trip several hurdles were thrown into my path to impede my training and the hurdles convinced me to abandon the manly excursion.  The first hurdle was a badly sprained ankle, acquired in a pick up basketball game with kids half my age!  After a long and slow recovery,  I was still determined to conquer Man Trip and I quickly resumed my training regimen.  The second hurdle came way of a mysterious alignment to my healthy foot, later to be diagnosed as planters fasciitis, just another form of  getting old.   I could barely walk the stairs a month prior to the trip.  The third hurdle, everybody at work began to take vacations the week of my excursion – perfect timing!  And yes a fourth hurdle 10 foot tall was thrown my way.  It was a little tap on the old shoulder from Julia distributing the notification that Man Trip took place on “ovulation weekend”!  Of course she handled the notification very graciously and it was a notification that included no hint of a guilt trip.  She gave me total freedom to go or not go on the trip. 

He wasn't meant to clear this hurdle!

The fourth hurdle was different from the three previous hurdles.  A few months earlier Julia and I decided to try for our second child.  In our experience, this decision always brings its ups and downs.  We quickly received news we were expecting not one child but two.  In the same week we learned of our expectations, we lost our expectations.  So at the notification of “ovulation weekend”, I began to recognize a sovereign God moving.  As the last hurdle was thrown up, I recognized the three previous hurdles were cleverly placed by a higher being.  I recognized the fourth hurdle was not meant to be cleared and I gave up on my goal of conquering a Colorado mountain.  I knew God had something in store for us and sure enough he did!  We found ourselves expecting once again!  

As I look back on this time and examine all the hurdles placed before me, I began to contemplate one of the greatest theological debates of all time.  The absolutely sovereignty of God and the free will of man.  While I can not answer all of the questions that surround this long-standing debate, I do know what I have experienced.  It was a human choice to train for Man Trip, it was my human choice to jump the first three hurdles in my path, and it was my human choice to stop at the fourth hurdle and choose another path.  A different path that accomplished what God had planned before the beginning of time.  I experienced human will miraculously running in stride with divine will  to achieve God’s ultimate plan.  A plan that is greater than our hearts could ever dream. 

The heart of man plans his way,
   but the LORD establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 

My plan was to gain myself the summit of a mountain. God’s plan was to give me a Summit of my own.

                                                      David “Summit” Faught


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