Dear Readers, I’ve Been Slacking. I’m Sorry.

Some of you may have been wondering, “Where has DADandFATHER been lately?” but I’m guessing for most of you that’s not true.  In fact, you are only now realizing that I haven’t been posting as regularly as I had been.  Either way I feel you deserve an explanation for why I’ve been slacking lately, so here are the …

Top 5 Reasons I’ve Been Slacking on This Blog Lately

5.     Good old procrastination. I’ve consistently thought about this blog, and the posts I plan to make, but in the end I’ve been deciding that the blog can wait while I do other things.  The other things are what make up the rest of this list.

4.     I’ve been soooooooooo tired. Between work, the warm temperatures, and the other things on this list I have felt quite exhausted lately.

3.     Family time. My wife and I have been attempting to make changes wherever we can to find more time to be together one-on-one and together with our children.  Sometimes that means sacrifices have to be made.

2.     I fell into a gigantic emotional hole. Tough times are all around us, and I let the ones I was facing take me down.  This was a brief hindrance, but nonetheless it was a hindrance.  Thankfully, through time with God and conversations with my wife I was able to leap from that hole.

1.     A broken water line. So on top of the emotional hole I was in I also found myself in a literal hole in the ground for far more time than I would like to ever be (and I’ve been fixing golf course irrigation for 12 years).  We had a water line break in the front yard of our “investment property”, so over the course of 9 days we dug, fixed, tested, dug, dug, dug, clamped, cut, fixed, and backfilled.  The pipe was 5’ 8” below ground, and the clay at the bottom was like concrete.  It was a not-so-fun time.  This water line took up most of our free time and even cost us each a couple of days of work, but now it is fixed and the hole is filled in, and we can resume life.

 

So, this blog has been lacking, but now it will return to regularly scheduled programming.  Tune in tomorrow for my latest attempt at humor through the weekly Top 5 list.

Top 5 Questions Answered in Preseason Football

5.     Who is injured?  (so we don’t draft them in fantasy football)

4.     Is my favorite team trying a new jersey this year?

3.     How big of a fan am I?  Do I really want to watch preseason?

2.     Who will  be the guy everyone roots for that will never play in the regular season?

1.     How high can my hopes get before this team dashes them again (I’m a Lions fan…)?

Devotional for Week of August 18, 2014

Colossians 3:23-24 — Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Wow, I needed this reminder today. When life keeps piling on and holes keep getting bigger it’s easy to feel underappreciated, undervalued, and insignificant. I’m in what I’d call a rough patch right now and for the last week my constant struggle with purpose has picked up steam. It’s been tough for me to face each day not knowing whether I was going to face yet another roadblock. It’s actually gotten to the point where I expect something to try to bring me down, so I try to plan for that.

This verse reminds me that I’m not here to please my boss, my neighbors, or the world around me. I’m here to please Him. And if I truly strive to please God I will no doubt be pleasing to the world around me.

Yesterday I was reflecting on the fact that I go hard at most things I work on — to the point that my body is ailing more than a 30-year-old body should. I’ve been going hard to simply get it done or make someone else happy. Colossians 3:23-24 reminds me to first thank God for making me able to do the work before me and then keep God in mind as I do the work. If God is not at the forefront of my thoughts I will likely face more feelings of doubt and hopelessness.

I’ve realized that I don’t turn to God enough. I need more time in His word and more time in conversation with Him. I get up early for work, so I’ve made the excuse that I can’t start my day with God because I wouldn’t get enough sleep. I need to find another time of day to consistently get with God or I need to get to bed earlier so that I can get up earlier without trouble. I need to focus on God, because if I don’t this rough patch will surely grow.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gifts and abilities you have given me. Though I may not always see them I know they are from you. Please help me to trust in what you’ve given me, and work with me to discern the great work you have in store for me.

Devotional: Week of August 11, 2014

Ephesians 4:31-32 — “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.”

I’ve done a verse very near to this already (Ephesians 4:29), but I feel that right now I need another time to reflect and remember the biblical approach to forgiveness.

We all have moments when we feel that we’ve been wronged.  The key thing to remember, when we feel this way, is that we must forgive.  If God can forgive me for all that I’ve done wrong; if He can forgive mankind for all of our sins, then who am I to withhold forgiveness?

It’s much easier to get angry or bitter and speak ill to others.  But why take the easy way?  I didn’t set out to be a passive man who only takes the road well-traveled.  I am here to make a difference, and the right difference won’t be made through bitterness, anger, or slander.  I want to do my part to lead people to Christ.  I want to help people.

If I can be a better example and I can lead more people to Christ rather than away from him, then I will count this life as successful.  To do this I need to keep this verse in mind.  I know that bitterness, anger, and slander have all come from me in the past, so today I will begin making a concerted effort to change my ways.  When I feel those feelings coming, or when I sense a trigger situation, I will recall this verse and pray.

Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for your forgiveness.  I have done nothing to deserve such grace and mercy from you, but still you have given it to me.  Please help me see the path to forgiveness when I feel wronged.  Dim the lights that cover the path to bitterness, anger, and slander.  Help me see the right choice.

When Plans go Awry (or, The Time it Took Me 15 Minutes to Leave Target)

We were at one of my girls’ favorite stores, killing the 20ish minutes we had to kill before we had a lunch meeting. I had left the house early since I had a quick stop to make and having a potty trainee around tends to slow me down a bit. We had checked out, gotten our “doggy stickers” and were preparing to walk out the door, jump in the car, and head to the meeting, when my youngest child decided she didn’t want to walk (even though she had been whining to get out of the cart to walk the entire time we were in the store). I assured her she was perfectly capable of walking, and since I was carrying a large-ish box of wipes I didn’t really have an extra arm to both carry her and hold her sister’s hand.  What followed may have been the most impressive tantrum I have ever personally witnessed.

My sweet, happy, innocent 14-month-old sat down, rolled over, laid on her stomach, and began to wail the most heart-wrenching/laughter-inducing cry she may have ever wailed. She would alternate between standing up, putting her arms in the air to make the “up” signal and throwing herself back down and wailing once more. Oh, did I mention this display occurred in the foyer part of the store – between the exit doors? You know, the place everyone is trying to get through to be able to get away from that random child who is screaming for no apparent reason. Once I was finally able to keep her on her feet for long enough to take the 6 steps to get us out the door she collapsed once again, this time on the sidewalk outside of the store.

To make an already long story a bit shorter, I eventually carried her, potato-sack-style to the car and buckled her in while her older sister climbed into her car seat. Then the older one expressed an imminent need for a bathroom.

I was late for my lunch meeting.

Here’s the thing – I could have given in to her to save time and make the meeting on time. I could have picked her up once she started begging and making a scene and throwing her tantrum. But there will always be something we need to get to. There will always be something we’re going to be late to if we stay the course and discipline appropriately. At some point we have to take a stand and just say no.

We have to make our children understand that we will not allow unacceptable behavior. The world does not revolve around them, as much as they want to believe it does. It would not be fair to her sister, to me, or really even to her for me to give in when she whines like that. Now, with that being said, there are times that I give in to our children; if they are over-tired, for example. Or if they are not feeling well. But as hard as it to do, even when we are trying to enjoy a nice dinner out, if one of them acts up, either my husband or I has to take them outside (or to the foyer/bathroom/etc) and show them that they will not act this way in public.

I think sometimes we are so concerned about being the “fun” parent we ease up on the discipline. Please don’t get offended by what I say next, but raising young children is a lot like training a puppy. Consistency is key. Setting boundaries and then sticking to those boundaries not only makes your life easier (eventually) but it also makes your child’s (or puppy’s) life easier. It tells him or her what he or she can and cannot do. There are consequences for every action; whether positive (rewards) or negative (punishment).

So please, fellow parents out there in the blogosphere, as important as it is to make plans and to stick to them, be ready to make some adjustments. Sometimes plans go awry and there is nothing you can do except to laugh, exchange knowing glances with other parents who have been through this problem, and stand there with an amused/embarrassed look on your face as your beautiful little baby attempts to scale your legs because she just doesn’t want to have to walk any further. Keep fighting the good fight. It will be worth it one day.

At least that’s what I keep hearing…

 

This post was written by my beautiful and talented wife, Bettina.  She provides her perspective on life and parenting once a month here at DADandFATHER.com.