Simple things

haircut

For the last 8 years, giving our son a haircut has been a struggle. He detests it. The cut hair falling on his face and everywhere else overloads his senses. My wife and I have tried many things to divert his attention with minimal success. We’ve also honed our cutting skills, so that it takes less and less time to complete the job. Still, he’s irritated and irritable every time we have to cut his hair.

Until last night. He had been growing his hair out (thereby by-passing the need for a haircut). It grew too long for him and he needed it to be cut. He sat on the stool and did not complain while I used the clippers to give him his traditional hairstyle back. No complaints. No harsh words. No antsy movements and whining “Are you done yet?” Nothing. It was fantastic! When he was done, he took a shower to get all of the hair off of him. He exclaimed while showering that he had gotten so used to “thick hair” that having his hair cut like this was “amazing!”

Driving into work today I was thinking about this whole episode last night. Honestly, it was nothing short of miraculous. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, like parting the Red Sea. Sometimes He works in more apparent ways. That was the case last night with my son’s haircut. Thank you Lord for simple things. Amen!

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Discouraged

img_2606This week has been one of the most discouraging weeks I’ve had in a long time.

From Monday on, life did everything it could to bring in to question what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, why I’m doing it, and if I should stop doing it. It was rough, to say the least.

This discouragement made me question my role as a husband, a father, a coach, etc. It made me question if it was even worth it anymore.

I was low.

Yet, all around me, God was there. He sent me encouraging messages. He made it known that the valley I was walking through would end if I followed Him. There really was light at the end of the tunnel.

Before, I don’t think I would have realized all that He was doing in my life. But now I do, and as I write this, the discouraged feeling that was squarely stuck in my mind for the entirety of the week is gone. It is replaced with a peace and understanding that God is Great. God is my strength in times of discouragement. He is positive. He is encouraging.

So, when you get down, look up. He is there. He will listen. He is love and He will shoulder your concerns. He is a good father. He is someone I want to be like. And that is certainly a most encouraging thought!

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Fact or Fiction, I Don’t Remember

coffeeI don’t remember taking that first sip of the richly aromatic dark brew coffee. Was it at an outdoor café table in Plaza de Mayor, Madrid or was it out of the drip coffeemaker sitting on the kitchen counter? It was an earthy smell. It had hints of spice and a bite to it when it touched my lips and tongue. What kind of cup did I drink it from? Was it a white paper cup with a cardboard sleeve? Or maybe it was a dark blue or brown ceramic mug. I don’t remember. It was delightful, though. At least I can remember that.

***

I don’t remember college. I mean, I do remember college, but I don’t remember everything about college. I don’t remember what happened that night after I drank the three or four shots of Aftershock. There might have been a picture or two. I don’t remember. I also don’t remember sitting in my first college class. I’m not sure if it was evolutionary biology or intro to philosophy. I remember the hall was large and the professor was small when viewed from up high, but I don’t remember anything else. Then it was time to go. I remember that. I don’t remember loving the room that they put me in at the dorm. I have images of what the room looked like after I decorated it with posters and the like. That room I liked. Prior to that, though nothing holds my attention. It all went too fast and as a result the memories, if there are any, are blurry at best.

***

I don’t remember crying when I heard the news of my father’s passing. I closed my eyes. I held my forehead. But I do not remember crying. The tears never came. There was no sadness. I never knew the man. I don’t remember going to the park and playing ball with him. I don’t remember him pushing me on the swings. I don’t remember him being at my birthday parties. I don’t remember him. So, when he left this earth, I had no memories to hold on to.

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Plan is not a four letter word

I have to thank one of my favorite PR people (Heather Whaling) for writing a blog post that inspired me to write this post. Yesterday was a day of planned family time for our little clan. It turned out to be a great day. We got work done outside. The kids were having a good time. We celebrated a great accomplishment and are looking forward to a fantastic adventure this summer.  It was a good day.

But what Heather’s post made me realize is how important it is to take this time out. My wife and I have often said that we are so busy that we just don’t have time to do a lot of things because those rudimentary tasks, like laundry, just take so much time. However, if I were to take a step back, it really isn’t that there isn’t enough time. It is that there isn’t enough planning – prioritization and organization. Life is chaotic, especially with two young kids, and sports, and dance, and work. Oh, and did I mention sports? 🙂 Yet, it can be managed. Life doesn’t have to be a suck. It should be enjoyed.

This is why I love springtime. It makes me remember and appreciate that no matter how cold or crappy winter was, there is so much to enjoy about life – if you stop and breathe it all in. So, I’m doing just that. I’m focusing on my health more. I’m focusing on my family more. I’m prioritizing at home and at work. Will I get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle? Probably. That is how it goes. But, like riding a bike, if you fall off, you dust yourself off and get back on to ride again.

Together, if we support each other, we can do this. We can make it through this wonderful thing called Life. It just takes a little planning.

 

Reflections on Fatherhood

This year marks the fourth year I’ve been able to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s been quite a journey.

There have been plenty of memorable moments, from baseball games and family dinners to playing backyard football and taking walks, as well as vacations and the many trips to the library, grocery store, and anywhere else we needed or wanted to go. It has been a life-changing experience that I learn from and enjoy more and more everyday.

I have two wonderful kids and a fantastic wife who have made being a father one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life.

On Father’s Day this year, I want to thank my family for the best, most cherished job title I’ll ever have–Dad.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Everyone can use a celebration now and then

My son finished pre-school this week. His class had a special celebration to culminate the academic year. It was a special moment for him and for us.

Some people would argue that this pseudo-graduation ceremony is not a good idea because it promotes mediocrity. They will argue that having all of the pomp and circumstance dilutes the importance of the traditional graduations at the high school and college levels. These people would continue their argument by saying that to celebrate the end of pre-school, elementary or middle school is just poppycock, as the kids are just doing what they are supposed to do.

All of the points in this argument are wrong. Dead wrong.

As a parent of a child who went through a pre-school celebration, I think it was great that the school did this celebratory activity. For one, it honored the hard work of the children and demonstrated their growth over the last year. Secondly, it was an opportunity for the kids to publicly thank the support they received from their parents and families.

Additionally, the school built the entire year around the theme of being a bucket filler instead of a bucket dipper. And, from what I learned during the ceremony, being a bucket filler is pretty cool.

What gets me about the people who rail against having the celebrations like the one my son participated in, or even the graduations at the lower levels of education, is that I honestly don’t think any of them are parents. Being a parent of a young child changes your perspective. You want to cherish every moment because the kids really do grow up too fast. Time is not on your side, so it’s important to let the kids be little. It’s important to love them. It’s important to tell them you are proud of them.

Sure, there would be opportunities to do this without the celebrations. But it wouldn’t be as much fun. And you know, everyone can use a little celebration in their lives every now and then.