Father’s Day

I am blessed with an amazing father. He is kind, loving, supportive, hard-working and loves to party. The combination of the last two attributes are the way in which I am most like him… and I am glad to have both. He is an awesome dad who worked hard to give his kids everything without giving us a sense of entitlement. That is one of the biggest things I hope to instill in my own children. There is a big grey area between not wanting for things, and having excess and no appreciation for it. At times, my childish and immature self may have felt slighted or even angry at having less than I wanted, having to work and behave and study for what I got, but now I look back and know it was 100% for my benefit. He worked hard to give me a private education for which I am incredibly grateful. He was firm but forgiving when I wrecked not one, but two cars during the first few years of driving. He was maybe sad but excited to drop me off at college two states away, and even more sad yet excited to marry me off to a man from the same faraway place.

The man who made a new home for me is the most loving, incredible and Godly man I know. He is encouraging, loving and strong for both me and our children. He is a doting, adoring father, the very image of God as I see him parent our kids. I can’t wait to keep learning from him about unconditional love and forgiveness as we raise our kids together, and also in the way that he treats me. He is truly an awesome human.

There are other wonderful fathers in my life for whom I am thankful. Two grandfathers whom are already in heaven, but loved me dearly. A father-in-law who raised the amazing man that is my husband and contributes to the spoiling of both me and my children. Several pastors who have fathered me through different stages in my life, and now several more pastors who parent alongside me. Men who I have known since boyhood that are now husbands and fathers. Men who I have only known as fathers. Men who are about to become fathers and their excitement is unparalleled. These are the men who should be honored today. Thank a dad. Give him a hug, a high five, a wave. Even if he isn’t yours.

Do you have some dads in your life that you’re thankful for? What makes them great?

My father and my daughter on her 2nd birthday

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My Graddy and me, circa 1981
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My husband and son
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My father-in-law, my son and my niece
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First Ever Friday Finds!

I’ve always liked checking out “Friday Finds” from other blogs, so here’s my first one ever!  I haven’t figured out a layout I love, but I didn’t want that to stop me, so here’s a simply laid out FF.  Happy Friday the 13th!

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Angel Blue Ahhh Shark! Robeez,  $15.99 on Zulily

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Malta Bib Statement Necklace by Stella & Dot,  $118 on StellaDot.com/whitneyhsu (Choose me as your Stylist!)
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Sharing Isn’t Caring

Before you read my (rant-type) post here, go read this article: Why I Don’t Make My Son Share

 

The principle here is that forcing kids to share their toys, etc with other kids may not be instilling niceness in them.  It may be instilling a sense of entitlement.  Instead of forcing kids to give up what they’re playing with, or to let another kid have a turn, they should be able to play with a toy until they’re finished playing with it.  I have witnessed stories like the ones the author shares.  I might have even been one of those moms (hopefully not as rude) asking for her daughter to be able to have a turn.  However, I know that if Ella Kate wants to play with something another kid has, I don’t ask the kid to give it up.  If they can play together, I might suggest that.  But I just don’t think I would take a toy from another kid just because “It’s Ella Kate’s turn.”

How do you feel about this method?  Are you a share mom?  How would you feel if your child’s preschool had the same policy?

Your Best Is Good Enough

You know who is an expert? Not me. Oh LORD, it ain’t me. Not for one minute on any subject at any time. You know who else is an expert? Not you. Not her. Not them. No one. There isn’t a single person who knows all the ins and outs of every situation. Not a friend, not a family member, not a parent, not even a spouse knows how you feel, how you think, or exactly how you tick. When I have a question about how to handle my toddler, or how to soothe my teething infant, or how to finally let go of some frustration I’ve been clinging to for a few days, want to know who I ask?  My mom. My best friend. My hubby. All of the above and more. I ask every mom, every wife, everyone I trust. They all have a different answer to my question. I ask them to pray for me, to pray with me. And beyond that, I let my “Mama Bear” instinct (yeah, you know what I’m talking about) take over and hope for the best. All I can do is my best. There isn’t any more. My best is good enough; it MUST be good enough. And then I praise the Lord – because He fills in the gap where my best falls short.

When I think of that post going around Facebook right now about the woman who left her son in the car while she went in the store to buy headphones, my heart hurts. Not because I agree or disagree with her choice.  Not because I would or would not have done the same thing. My heart hurts because I know she did her best. Her best was clearly different than the videotaping bystander’s best. But you know whose best that kid needed? His own mom’s. The woman whose best has been given to him, I’d bet all my money, since day one.

I really get teary when I think of the “I Support You” movement that is happening among moms. You know, the breastfeeding-till-age-5 moms holding handwritten signs that say, “Formula feeding mom: I support you!” and vice versa. Finally, we all get it. Your best is the healthiest thing! Your best will nourish your baby!  I truly think that movement has been a long time coming, and much needed among the often dramatic and pushy collective of mothers.

So, to all of you – moms, wives, sisters, daughters, colleagues, strangers, and friends – be encouraged. Do your best, because your best isn’t shameful. Your best isn’t lacking. Your best is awesome. Your best is beautiful in the eyes of your Maker.

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Here is my best. Ella Kate and Joseph are the best I have ever done, or could ever do.

Doing Life Together

One thing that I feel personally blessed to have in my life is mom friends.  Don’t get me wrong- my single friends, my married-without-children friends, my dude friends, I love them all.  But there’s such a built-in sense of camaraderie, of “oh my gosh, that just happened with us, too!” with these women.  Their kids are just as crazy as mine, they’re just as tired as I am, and they feel just as privileged to be raising their little humans as I do.

On the days that I get to have a “playdate” with one or more of these moms, I always feel a little better about how I’m doing as a mom, but not in the way it sounds.  I don’t mean that I am a better mom than she is.  I mean that it’s encouraging to see another mom, doing her best, loving her kids in her own way.  There is hope for humanity.

One such playdate was on Monday afternoon, at my house.  Two of my mom friends from church, Stephanie and Abby, brought their little humans to play together, and so we could hang out with each other.  Total, there was  a 4 year old boy, a 2 year old girl, a 1 year old girl, a 5 month old boy and a 3 month old girl.  Even in the different stages of these kids’ development, they played very well together (or rather, some played and some just lounged around).  And the moms?  Well, the three of us get to share some stories (hilarious or sweet), complain about our difficulties (weird nap schedules and spit up woes) without fear of judgement, compliment each other on jobs well done (we all have cute kids, ya know?), and compare some parenting strategies (that day’s topic: using baby sign language).

Time spent this way is so valuable for moms specifically, but really for women in general.  It’s nice to spend intentional time with people in the same stage of life as you.  Whether that’s grad school, newlywed, new mom, first grandchildren or retirement, being able to sympathize and empathize with another woman who knows where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed next is one of the most wonderful experiences.  Knowing you are not alone.  Knowing you will get to the other side of it.  Knowing you will survive.  Knowing you’ll look back and think (as my wonderful mother-in-law often reminds me), “That stage wasn’t nearly as long as it felt when I was stuck in the middle of it.”

I thank the Lord every day for the many women that I get to “do life” with.  The women that encourage me.  The women that I encourage.  The women that I connect with every time we are together, even if it’s months in between those times.  These are the women that I aspire to be like.  Moms in the trenches, take heart!  We’re doing life together.  How did you connect with the women you get to do life with?  How does it help you in your walk?

Ella Kate (2yrs), Elliott (3mo), Joseph (5mo), Abigail (1yr), Nathan (4yrs)
Ella Kate (2yrs), Elliott (3mo), Joseph (5mo), Abigail (1yr), Nathan (4yrs)

Things You Don’t Know About Me

Just because I’m new to this, and because y’all don’t know me (see, just because I used that word you know me a little better already!) I’m going to make a list of things you don’t know yet but might want to…

1. I love making lists!
2. I’ve been a teacher for six years, and I’m terrified/excited to be a mostly stay-at-home mom for the next few years.
3. The only pets I had my whole life were hamsters. I still am not sure what to do around others’ pets for the first 20 times I meet them.
4. I went to a women’s college. I didn’t really plan it that way, but it was SO PERFECT for me.
5. I have a temper. Tempers are in my genes. I work on it every day, but God bless my husband and children.
6. I have an iPhone but don’t know how to use it. Some day, I’m going to really get it, but as for now I’m just posting on Instagram (follow me!) and playing Candy Crush.
7. I have one brother. We are almost 7 years apart in age. It’s this situation that made me want to have more than 2 kids and have them way closer together. We’re friends now, but we never played together or hung out much until we were both adults.
8. My birthday is December 13. I was born on a Friday. My daughter’s birthday is April 13. She was also born on a Friday. When I found out my son’s due date was December 29, 2013, and I realized that December 13 was a Friday, I thought SURELY the trifecta would be completed. It wasn’t (his birthday is December 28).
9. I am a very eclectic person; in my personal style, my taste in food/beverages, the music I listen to, and the company I keep, I am always surprising people with how much I truly do enjoy different things. I also enjoy the fact that I have no single label.
10. My first day in a public school was my first day student teaching during my senior year of college. I do not, however, qualify as a snob. Both my parents worked very hard to pay for private school for my brother and me. I appreciate my education more than most people in my situation.
11. I love red wine. Specifically, I love cheap red wine. When the hubby and I go to the grocery store for wine, we have a $10 cap. Our favorite thing to do is go to Whole Foods for wine, because usually they have a featured wine that’s $3 or $4 per bottle. We buy a loose bottle to try it, make sure it doesn’t taste like vinegar, and then we go back for a case. Or two.
12. I have played piano for 21 years. It makes me feel SO OLD to think that I’ve done anything for 21 years. Yikes.
13. I do not subscribe to any certain “parenting philosophy”. I love my kids, and I do what I believe is the best thing for them. There isn’t any one parenting style that fits our family perfectly, and I like it better that way. (I am not a fan of labels. See #9.)
14. I love being near a body of water. Lake, ocean, river, they all make me happy.
15. I’ve recently developed a love for exercising/working out. I’m not a fanatic, but I actually enjoy it now!

There you go. A few things you didn’t know about me. What are some things people might not know about you?

Oceans

I have been a fan of Hillsong United ever since I started attending a “contemporary” worship service (more on why I used quotes there later).  They never fail to make really great sounding, high quality music at the same time as provoking thought and entering into worship.  A lot of “Christian radio” these days is missing out on worship AND on great sounds.  My husband and I often joke about the choices some of the contemporary Christian artists make.  Why use those corny lyrics?  Why use that machine-like drum sound?  Is the song encouraging anyone?  Is it pointing people to Jesus?   Okay – off my soapbox (for now) and back to the main idea of this post.

First things first: Watch this video.  Really, truly watch it.  Stop whatever else you’re doing and focus on it.  Let it seep in.

Now.  How do you feel?  Did those lyrics speak to you like they spoke to me?

“Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders.  Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

You know what I’m talking about.  The conviction.  The pull inside you, reaching to your very bones.  Every time I add this song to my set list for a Sunday morning, I know it will reach someone.  Every time, after the service, a different soul tells me how the song touched them.  And in this particular video, it’s just that; a lovely moment of worship is being held by everyone involved.  Did you have a moment of worship?  I hope so.

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