I Failed & I’m So Thankful I Did @daytonmomsblog

My wife’s recent post on the Dayton Moms Blog tells about lessons learned through divorce. It’s a well written piece that hits home with many of us. 

I was checking out at a local superstore, and my eye caught People magazine. The July 6, 2009 Issue. I happened to glance and saw the words, “I feel like I failed.” This stirred an emotion in me that I had not felt for many years, and right there, in the check out line, I started to weep.

Read the entire post on Dayton Moms Blog

Syd’s Blogging, too – The Perfect Fit

I’ve shared that my wife is now a contributor to the Dayton Moms Blog. Her recent post, Her Name is Kate, has taken off and has been shared a number of times. Over the weekend my wife found out it had over 23,000 views! Pretty exciting. 

My daughter is now blogging. She had a WordPress blog, but it was hacked and had to be deleted. She is now blogging at divinesixght.wordpress.com

Her most recent post deals with how God is able to help us as we seek to build our lives. Here’s a snippet:


“Good architecture should make you feel as if you are in a cave with a view of the horizon.” -Jonathan Safran Foer

Architecture is defined as both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing structures. We try and shape our lives like a good piece of architecture. We try to plan, design, or construct what we believe is artwork. This involves the two perspectives, in the cave and then the open view. Inside of the cave we entertain the present and we meet needs. We meet our own needs, we meet others needs, and we attempt to balance what we want to do and what we ought to do. But if it’s good architecture, if it’s a solid life, then it should feel open with a view of the future looking out to the horizon…

Read the rest in her blog

Her First Post – The Blend @DaytonMomsBlog

Yesterday I shared that my wife is a contributing writer for Dayton Moms Blog. This morning her first post went live. It’s called The Blend. 

Enjoy!

The grocery store had kale on sale. 2 bunches for $1.00. I had to get some, there was a soup recipe that I wanted to try that needed kale. The soup was delicious. I still had one heaping bunch of kale in my fridge. Having heard of kale smoothies, and their amazing health benefits, I googled some recipes. I couldn’t imagine how this bitter and pepper vegetable would taste in a smoothie with coconut milk and blueberries, so the search continued for the perfect blend in a smoothie recipe.

About a decade ago, I found myself in a different blending dilemma. I needed to figure out how to blend some sweet, salty, bitter, peppery and even some bruised all into something delightful or at the very least palatable. 

I was divorced, with two little boys when I got out my blender. I needed to blend a broken man, two shattered teens and a bitter ex with my two wounded boys, a damaged heart(mine) and an absent ex. I began reading anything I could get my hands on about blending families, I was sure that I could read up on the topic and “fix” things in record time. The first book I read caused me to put the blender away. The Smart Step-Family by Ron L. Deal was a great book in my blending venture. Deal writes “The average stepfamily takes 5-7 years to form a family identity”. I read and reread that over and over again, 5-7 years to blend? I wanted to be blended NOW! The book provided me with great tools and practical guidelines to help in the blending of our families. So I took out my blender again and decided it was worth the effort and time.

The blending didn’t happen overnight. It was not as easy as throwing in some kale and blueberries and coconut milk and pressing puree. It took time, and I have learned that blending a family is sometimes like a pressure cooker, and not as easy as an Insta-pot. Ron Deal makes the analogy that blending families is more like using a crock pot, it is slow and takes time. I personally liked the idea of a blender, throw everything in and press a button and there you have it, easy clean up, easy to put away and manage.

I’ve just hit the 6 1/2 mark of The Blend. It has indeed become more of a crock pot experiment over the years. Our once salty teen has become a loving, giving affectionate person. Our peppery teen is now a warm and sweet adult. The most surprising is that bitter ex, is now a friend. The bruised have healed and are healthy and the absent is present. It has taken time, you can’t rush these things, even if you want to. 

The Blend has changed me. I learned to focus more on what was best for my kids and less about me and how I felt. I put myself and my needs aside to understand how the salty and the sweet and the bitter felt. I changed. I changed to help the blending. I looked for ways to compliment the salty and bitter and add to make things better than hide or mask the taste. I am far from putting the blender away. I have to continue to change the recipe to make our family identity taste the best it can. The recipe changes with weddings, adding children, college, jobs, children moving away and any other life changing events. So I keep the blender handy, I know that it really is more of a crock pot deal…….and given time, it smells and tasted delicious…..it’s just not catchy to say you are “crock-potting” a family.
Now where is that kale………

My Wife the Blogger @DaytonMomsBlog

 

dayton_logo_circle-1-copy-300x300Recently my wife was added as contributing writer for the Dayton Moms Blog.  Her first post will go live on Friday, February 3.  She was excited about the opportunity to be a writer for the blog and has been working hard on some posts to share.

Dayton Moms Blog is a collaborative blog written by more than 20 local moms who share their stories “covering anything from diapering to discipline.”  The blog publishes content five days a week.

While I’m sure I will be sharing some of her great content here, you can check out the other posts at Dayton Moms Blog.

You can also check out the Blog Team and read a little bit about each mom.  Here’s one of my favorite writers.  Enjoy!

my-wife-the-blogger

 

Will My Wife Read My Blog Today?

question marksI’ve has this blog active now for a couple of years. I have over 600 posts and try to post on a semi-regular basis. I have some followers, but don’t usually blow up with a ton of visitors. I think I keep it going because I enjoy posting.

My wife has admitted (on more than one occasion) that she doesn’t read my blog. In a conversation with her, I’ll reference something interesting I ran across that I put on here and she usually says she hasn’t read it.

Last week I posted about our son’s Gotcha Day. It was a very exciting day for our family and she not only read my post, she shared it on Facebook. In fact, here’s what she posted:


FB post


It seemed her posting increased traffic on my blog for the next day or two.

So, now I’m curious, will she read it today? Hmmmmm….guess we will find out.

Support Walk to End Alzheimers

Walk to End AlzheimersOn Saturday, September 28, I will be joining my wife in the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Dayton, OH. My mother-in-law, Phyllis, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and has been living in a care facility for over a year now. The disease is so tragic as it slowly steals away the life and memories of your loved one right in front of your eyes. As with all patients, Phyllis has her good days and bad. Cheryl, her father and family do a great job caring for her.

We are walking to raise money for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. You can donate any amount on-line and it can even be done anonymously, but we’d love to know who is supporting us.

Click on this link – Walk To End Alzheimer’s – to be directed to a page where you can donate toward our walk. Thanks to all those who choose to give!

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married

thinking-manThis article from Relevant magazine has been shared and tweeted by several of my friends and people I follow in the world of social media. At last check on the Relevant website, it has been shared on Facebook a total 51,823 times and tweeted 801 times. I’m sure those numbers will grow.

The author makes some pretty honest statements, such as this one: “I get annoyed at my wife.” He also writes this: “When we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.”

You can read the original article on the Relevant Magazine website and offer your thoughts and comments on it. Below is the pasted version of the article.

I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.

Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.

This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.

This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.

However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.

According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.

The following are three thoughts on marriage that friends and mentors have shared with me. I remind myself of them often in hopes of keeping this anomaly called marriage both enjoyable and healthy.

1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.

Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.

I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.

The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she’s looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on—but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.

Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my self-focus. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I am selfish and stubborn and, overall, human.

I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.

When we’re willing to see it this way, then the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fulfilling experience of life.

2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.

It’s a disorienting claim. Disorienting, because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur, or any professional, requires that career takes the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years.
However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I figured giving the philosophy a test drive couldn’t hurt.

For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale, including career productivity and general quality of life.

To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.

Of course, marriage requires sacrifice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrifice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.

3. Marriage can change the world.

John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”

Medina’s answer alludes to a surprising truth.

In my previously mentioned experiment, I measured the effect that making my marriage priority number one had on different areas of my life. One of those areas was my 16-month-old son’s behavior.

What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my child’s behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested in my marriage.

Re-enter John Medina, the Christian biologist. After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?

“Go home and love your wife.”

Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the authors of Babywise, say it this way: “A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process.” They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, “In the end, great marriages produce great parents.”

The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.

So men, women, the next time you find yourself dreaming about living significantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and love your husband.