Category Archives: Parenting

One of the best compliments I’ve ever received…

IMG_0597I need to be an amazing husband.  Seriously…I do.  I only get one chance to do it right and so much relies on it.  Of course I’m referring to the importance of treating my wife right, leading her in a Godly way, and making her feel loved and supported for who she is.  And also for encouraging her when she needs it and challenging her to be the person God is leading her to be.  But, there is another HUGE reason why my actions are so important.  It’s because future generations are relying on what I do!

Eli, my 8 year old son, sees everything I do.  Every day I see more and more ways that he is JUST like me.  The way I pronounce grapes, grAH-pehys.  The way I make up silly songs about random things.  The way I wake up early in the morning excited to “live life!”  He sees all this and imitates what I do.  His opinion about Julia is the same as well.  When I say, “Eli, did you know your mommy is the greatest mommy in the whole world?!?”, he doesn’t miss a beat and responds with, “YEAH…she is THE BEST!!”  The things I think are cool…he always thinks are cool too.  When we vote for “family member of the day”, Julia ALWAYS wins because we stack the votes.  Of course this does make board games more difficult.  It’s tough to win Sorry when you are ALWAYS the one who gets “sorry’d”.  But, I love it!  :-)  The way I treat Julia is emulated step-for-step by him.

I got one of the best compliments I’ve ever had the other day.  One of my friends has a daughter Eli’s age and they’re great friends.  We like to joke about, “what if they get married some day, wouldn’t that be so cool?”  And of course, no guys want to think about their little girl getting married.  No boy is going to be good enough for them…right??  The comment he made surprised me.  He said, “if Eli treats her the way that Michael treats Julia, then I’d be good with it.”  I teared up a little at that.  Not only did I appreciate the compliment, but it was a sobering reminder to me of the weight that my role as a husband and father has.  How I love Julia will not just impact her, but also whoever Eli marries many  years from now.

And it’s not just a son that will see and learn from you.  Daughters will learn what a man should be like.  How you are will affect what they look for in a guy when they’re old enough to date.  And your friends will learn from the example you set too.  And all of these people will have the ability to affect the next generation in THEIR lives.  So, the impact have grows exponentially…for good or for bad.

My challenge to you:

Take your role as a husband seriously.  Not only is it important in caring for your wife, but other eyes are watching.  Your sons will emulate you.  Your daughters will learn what a man should be like.  Your friends will be subtly influenced as well.  Don’t be a lazy or selfish husband and let that be passed along to the next generation!

Rewarding kids for character…not results

View More: of the most difficult challenges Julia and I face is how in the world do we raise a kid right?  It is SO tough!  When you see other people, you get a million different examples of what to do.  But, even with the best intentions and the greatest plan, living that plan out consistently on a daily basis is exhausting and doesn’t guarantee good results!

One of the things we try to focus on A LOT is teaching Eli to have good character.  It’s a difficult thing to teach…especially to an 8 year old.  When I hear him share about his day with things like, “I told ____ that I was smarter than him because I’m in the gifted program” or I see how he bosses other kids around when playing with them, it makes me cringe.  As we work with him on things, I am constantly reminding myself “remember what YOU were like and the tactless things you said and did when YOU were 8!”  That helps me to have perspective and not get too frustrated, but I don’t want that to prevent us from setting the bar high.

So, one of the things we struggle with is…how do we encourage good character rather than good results.  Whenever Eli accomplishes something good (winning an award, good report card, etc), we always make sure to let him know how proud we are of him.  However, we go out of our way to remind him how much we love him just for who he is…not for whatever he accomplished.  As much as it sounds cliche, I would MUCH rather him get last place in a swim meet having given it his all with a great attitude than get first place and be rude to others or not have tried hard.  Swimming is just swimming, but what I’m concerned about is his HEART, not his results.

I believe by focusing too much on results, that sends the message that WITHOUT the results they are not loved or appreciated.  That tells them, it’s not THEM that you love, but rather it is what they can do.  But character is something that will define them for the rest of their lives.  By nurturing that now, it can be something that stays with them forever.

Recently we had a great day with Eli.  He came home from school with a perfect report card.  Of course, we were excited about it and told him we were proud.  Then, after school he had a tennis lesson.  To give you the background…we’ve had a tough time at tennis lessons recently.  He has been prone to goofing off, not paying attention, and being silly.  IMG_0934This has been frustrating to the coach and us and we’ve been trying to work with Eli on realizing it and making changes.  So on this day, he had a FABULOUS lesson.  He was focused, respectful to the coach, and made an huge effort to be encouraging to the other kids there whenever they were hitting.  After the lesson, the coach specifically mentioned how awesome Eli did and how kind and respectful he was.  We were SO happy!  It gave us such joy to see and hear that.  Later than night, Julia and I decided we wanted to reward him for his amazing day, but rather than do it for the good grades he achieved, we wanted to reward him for the awesome character and behavior he showed at tennis.  So, I left him a note and a pack of Pokemon cards for him to find when he woke up…as a reward for the kindness he showed.

My advice to you:

The next time your kid achieves something good, make sure to praise them.  But, make sure they know that you love them and are proud of them even without that accomplishment.  And when you see them showing good character, try to praise them even more.

Have a tough time following through on ideas for change? Try this…


Typically I’m pretty good at following through on things.  Julia always says that it amazes her that I can just set my mind to something and then do it.  “I think I’ll build a rock climbing wall in the garage”…done.  “I think I’ll start working out regularly to get in shape”…done.  I’m glad she sees me that way, but there are TONS of things that I want to do but never follow through on.  I always say that when faced with a choice, people will ultimately do what they want to do most.  Picking a movie to watch, you’re going to choose what you want most.  Even if you choose Dirty Dancing…if may not be the movie YOU want to watch, but your desire to please your wife and spend time with her is what outweighs the choice of movie…so ultimately you are still choosing what you want to do most.

So, when I have something I want to change about my life, it is really disappointing to me when I don’t follow through on it.  It tells me that there are other things that I’m choosing instead.  Based on my actions, I can tell you the following about me:

– I prefer keeping my money than giving it to a homeless person on the street.

– I like spending my Saturdays at home as opposed to going out and serving somewhere.

– I would rather NOT spend money on flowers than buy some to give to Julia, even though it makes her feel special.

– I prefer to forget about the idea of teaching my son things and will sit back and let Julia do it.

I am not proud of any of these statements.  But, I have to keep it real and this is what I observe about myself based on what I do.  They are all areas I WANT to make a change in, but have had a tough time figuring out the motivation to do it.

Through the last 2 years of blogging, I have found out something about myself.  I am much more likely to do something after I talk about it.  When I write a post about an area I struggle in or one where I am offering advice on a subject, it brings attention to the issue.  As a result, I think a lot about it.  Also, I’m publicly announcing what I’m working on…or sometimes making statements about what I do or am going to do.  Now…I HAVE to do it!  This is both frustrating and awesome at the same time.  Sometimes I want to be lazy and selfish.  But accountability helps me turn the selfishness into selflessness.

When I wrote about not throwing your wife under the bus or not saying I told you so, it helped remind me to do the same.  When I wrote about the importance of dating your wife and how I need to work on my listening skills, it requires me to get these issues together.  I can’t advise other people on something if I can’t do then myself!  Sometimes the extra motivation and accountability is just what I need to make a change.

However, even then, there are areas I still struggle at.  I wrote about getting your wife flowers, but I still am the worst at this.  I wrote about why it’s so important to be the spiritual leader for your family, but I feel I fall way short at this.  So…it’s all still a work in progress.  But, I will continue to put myself out there even if it means that my failures are more public.  I feel the chance of success is worth the risk of failure.  

My advice to you:

If you have something you want to change in life (the way you treat your wife or kids, the way you spend you time, etc), it can be very helpful to SPEAK it.  I’m not saying you need to start a blog, it can be much simpler than that.  Just talk with your wife or kids or friends about what you want to do differently.  Formulating the idea into words AND telling someone can help immensely.  So if you want to do something…give it a shot!  What is the worst that can happen…you put yourself out there but don’t succeed?  Remember, “failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis

What can you do with your kids that will help your wife love you?

IMG_3179Raising kids is A LOT of work.  Raising kids WELL is even more work.  It takes a lot of time, endless energy, good ideas, tons of patience, lots of prayer, and the grace of God to do so.

I am very blessed in this subject though.  Julia is an amazing mom!  Seriously…she is.  And it really makes my job easy!  She thinks of cool ways to teach things all the time that I would never think about.

So, one area that I struggle in is being passive as a parent.  I see the awesome things that Julia does and, to be honest, it’s easy to get lazy.  If Eli does that needs correcting, I know Julia is going to have a great way to address it and teach him something from it.  If he is upset about something from school, Julia is going to be there with some great comforting and will draw him out to get to the root of the issue.  So sometimes I get caught in this trap feeling like I don’t NEED to do anything.

I realize this is frustrating for her though.  No one wants to have to parent on their own.  It’s exhausting!  But, when I sit back and leave it to Julia to address all these things that come up, I’m forcing her to do all the work.  So, I have to make a conscious effort to be active at this.

When Eli speaks back to Julia, I try to step in and address it before she has a chance to.  When he interrupts someone when they’re talking, I try to talk to him about it.  When he is wandering around when he’s supposed to be getting ready for bed, I try to get him focused back on task.  Julia does all these things (and MUCH more).  But, I want him to hear from ME that it’s not ok.  I want BOTH of us to be teaching him these things.  I feel when parents are unified in the message they are teaching, it makes the message so much clearer and will be more effective.

So guys, if we want to show our wives that we love them, get on board with parenting.  This is very much a work in progress on my part.  Don’t let her shoulder the burden alone.  Talk with her about strategies of how to address things.  Talk about whatever phase your kids seem to be going through.  And make sure you’re engaging your child when the need arises.  I guarantee you she will appreciate it.

I know I need to do SOMETHING…but what do I do?

I think one of the most challenging things to do, as a husband, is to lead by example.  I have a good job, a great family, good friends, and a nice house.  Life is great, but you know what I find to be difficult?…stretching myself.  When my needs are met, I find it tough to be motivated to get out of my comfort zone.  There are so many things I could do more of, that I’m not doing now.  But, I often make the excuse that I can’t possibly do it all, so instead I don’t do anything!  Or, if I feel convicted about an issue I know that if I ignore it for enough time it will fade from having to consider it.

The other day, Eli and Julia were having a conversation about why everything seems to be made in China.  This led to discussions about child labor, poor working conditions, and fair trade opportunities…with something about Charles Dickens thrown in there somewhere.  Eli seemed really into it and I realized this was a great opportunity to do something.  I realize I’m probably not going to reform our global economy, but at least I can do SOMETHING.  So, I brought it up at the dinner table for us to think about what are some ways we can make a difference in our family.  We decided to brainstorm things we could buy that could be “fair trade” that we don’t normally.  Eli emailed his uncle Brian and aunt Becky (who have a lot of great insight into this) to get some ideas.  So far, I’ve found a good coffee source where I can buy “fair trade” coffee that is grown using environmentally IMG_3320friendly techniques and emphasizes on getting the profits back to the 3rd world farmers rather than large distribution companies.  Yes, the coffee was more expensive than what I normally buy, and chances are it won’t be dramatically better either.  But, I’m happy to know that I’m making a small difference in someone else’s life, and that makes the extra couple dollars a bag worth it.  I’m going to continue to look for other things I buy where I could do the same.  And I’m excited to teach Eli that sometimes you need to take a stand for something.

So, what does this have to do with being a good husband?  Generally, I don’t do things like this.  But, in this instance, I’m proud to say that I didn’t just sit on my butt and say, “yeah it stinks for those sweatshop workers that get paid next to nothing” before moving on and forgetting about them.  I decided this was something I could do something about.  No more getting whatever coffee bag is on sale at the grocery store while ignoring the social injustice it represented.  I hope that the example I set showed my wife and son something and encouraged them to consider similar things when faced with the opportunity.

My challenge to you:

Be an example for your wife and kids.  Don’t wait for your wife to take the initiative on doing good things.  Look for opportunities to help other people, even if it cost you something…scratch that…ESPECIALLY if it cost you something.  Don’t try to take on the world.  All you need to do is start small.  Pray for God to show you opportunities and act on them when you see them.  And build from there.

“Daddy, this money is going to change the world”

IMG_1761I know…I’m going off-topic again…my apologies :-)

My son Eli often does things that blow my mind.  Although I’m supposedly the parent and the one who is teaching him about life and how to become an adult, I’m always surprised at the things I learn from him.  God has really put a lot of awesomeness in him.  I can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like when he grows up!

I’m just writing this now, but the event I want to share about occurred about a year ago.  We had started giving him a weekly allowance of $2.  He got to decorate 3 different piggy banks (tithe, save, and spend).  We told him whenever he got allowance, he had to put AT LEAST 10% into tithe ($.20) but he could do more if he wanted.  Then, split the rest between savings and spending.  It seemed like a good plan, but most weeks he just decided to put it all in tithe, which was really cool.

As a parent, I saw the weeks go by and I started to feel badly for him.  As bad as it sounds, I wanted him to be able to spend some money.  I wanted him to be able to buy stuff like toys, or candy, or whatever.  But, if he didn’t start putting money in his spending bank, he never would.  We would be at Target and he’d see something he wanted and I would start to say, “do you want to use your spending money on this?” but then I realized that he didn’t have any because he gave it all away!  Every once in a while he would put some money into spending and would get up to a dollar or two.  But then one day he would say “you know what…I’m just going to put all my spending money to tithe.”

So, the story I wanted to share was this…one time I gave him 2 weeks of allowance at once ($4), and of course he said he was going to put it all towards tithe.  Wanting to teach him the “responsible” side of money management, I asked him, “don’t you want to keep some for spending and saving?”  I will never forget his response.  He looked at me with almost a look of hurt in his eyes.  And he said in the most serious voice a 6 year old can…”Daddy, this money is going to change the world.”

I just about burst into tears in a split second after that.  I managed to hold them back and say I was proud of him.  Then he ran up the steps to put his money away.  I would estimate that since we started, we’ve probably given him around $140 in allowance…and he’s probably given away about $136 of it.

When I hear him say things like that, it really challenges me to re-evaluate my own perspective.  It’s easy to laugh off a $4 gift as being a world changer.  You can barely buy a latte for $4!  But, you know what…he’s right…$4 CAN change the world….when God is behind it.

I can picture Eli if he were alive 2,000 years ago.  He would be the one, in the middle of the crowd listening to Jesus.  And when everyone was hungry he would say, “here take this bread and fish that I have, I know you can do AMAZING things with this!”  And as others laughed at his exuberance, Jesus would take that small amount of food and feed 5,000 people.

My challenge to you (and me):

Don’t sell God short.  He can do amazing things with even the smallest amount of time, money, and energy we can give.  Maybe it’s 2 hours of volunteering with the youth group.  Maybe it’s greeting people at church.  Maybe it’s taking some canned goods to a food shelter.  Or maybe it’s giving $4 for an offering .  You have no idea how your gift can impact other people…but don’t for a second think that it doesn’t matter or won’t make a difference.  If God is behind it…it definitely will.

Kid’s activity schedules…disrupting marriages since minivans were invented

IMG_5218Raising kids is tough.  I struggle all the time worrying about whether or not I’m missing opportunities to impact Eli’s life.  After work, sometimes I’ll do nothing but veg out, and think, “I should probably take this time to do something amazing with him.”  Or, I worry about missing seasons of sports thinking how he may “get behind” the other kids.  What’s difficult is that there is no instruction book for what’s right, and one parent’s perspective can differ greatly from another.

IMG_0383Part of being a good father, husband, employee, and person is learning to have balance in life.  I think too often we are pushed to center our lives around our kids.  Eli likes activities.  If given the chance to do it, he will want to play soccer…and baseball…and basketball…swimming…cub scouts…gymnastics…lacrosse…dancing…wrestling…tennis…and more.  Yikes…that’s a lot!  Even doing just a handful of these will keep us driving back and forth from one activity to another most nights of the week.  And we just have ONE child.  I can only imagine what it would be like when you have multiple kids with busy schedules.  As parents we try very hard to make sure Eli is not over-scheduled.  We have a loose rule that he can only be involved in one sport at a time.  If he wants to play baseball, that’s great…but he has to stop gymnastics.

IMG_1723I think the difficulty lies in wanting your child to have every opportunity to maximize their potential.  If they are physically gifted…you WANT to give them every chance to do their best.  If they are academically gifted…you WANT to do everything you can to help that grow.  We would be slighting our kids if we DIDN’T give them opportunities to grow if there is an area they are gifted and interested in.  The question is…how can you do that and maintain balance in life? 

I think it’s important to figure out what’s the point of being a kid?  Is it to train to become a professional athlete?  Is it to become a genius?  Let’s be honest…statistically speaking, (according to the interwebs) if 100 people read this article, around 10 will have a kid that goes on to play sports at college.  And out of 100 people, 0 will have kids that play professionally.  But out of 100 kids…ALL of them will become adults…and CLOSE to all of them will be married and have kids.  So I think it makes sense to focus the majority of our energy on developing these areas.

  • how to be a husband/wife
  • how to be a father/mother
  • how to be responsible with money
  • how to love God
  • how to make friends
  • how to love others

IMG_2242One of the dangers in putting TOO much of your time and energy into kid’s activities is that the rest of your life can suffer because of it…things like your marriage relationship, your personal health and well being, and your ability to impact other people with your life.  With no margin left in life, it can be easy for these things to fall by the wayside.

I definitely do not have this mastered.  And I’m not totally sure the ways I’ve tried to balance life IS what’s best.  But I think it’s something that is important to think about and make sure to keep in mind.

My challenge to you:

Don’t let your kids activities dominate your life.  Make sure to keep a balance.  Don’t neglect nurturing an interest or talent they have in something, but make sure the push to become great at an activity doesn’t take precedence over the push to become great at becoming an adult.IMG_1933

Why I will NOT teach my son to “be a man”

You know you’ve all heard it…”come on…be a man!”  This is usually said when someone is showing weakness of some sort and another man wants him to suck it up and tough it out.  But, what does that mean…to “be a man”?  From when I was born, TV, movies, commercials, and other people have drilled home the concept that being a man looks something like this:manly-men-fb

  • Never shows weakness
  • Doesn’t ask for directions
  • Often has a beard
  • Doesn’t cry
  • Solves problems with his fists
  • Doesn’t clean bathrooms, vacuum, or do laundry
  • Only cooks if it’s on the grill
  • Doesn’t ask for help
  • Always toughs it out

Now, there is obviously nothing wrong with a couple of these.  Having a beard…that’s fun.  Toughing it out…that can be good sometimes.  But, I have a real problem with the majority of the things on this list.  It’s interesting because they’ve been drilled into my mind for so long that they seem normal though.

overly-manly-man-the-best-of-L-CyvWgHLet’s step outside and settle this like men:
Sure…I love seeing a movie where a scrawny kid beats the stew out of a bully twice his size who won’t leave him alone.  Or, when someone insults a guy’s mom and he turns and goes Jason Bourne on him.  It seems cool, but really…is that what I want Eli to learn?  That being tough and being a man means you solve problems with your fists?  It looks good in a movie but can put you in jail in real life.  I would much rather him grow up to have an even temperament and be a man that knows how to reason, talk, and use common sense instead of his fists.

crying-manCrying like a girl:
“A real man doesn’t cry…come on man, don’t be a girl…only girls cry…are you crying??!!”  Why is it that there is a stigma to guys crying?  Sure, the average woman cries A LOT more than the average man.  That’s just part of how we’re made.  But, I think an injustice has been done by forcing men to feel they need to suppress it.  If I can be vulnerable with my family, be willing to share my feelings, and be okay with crying, my son will learn from my example.  He will learn that it’s ok to be real with people and that crying is a natural reflection of showing emotions.  That it’s not something to suppress or that makes you less of a man.  Personally, I don’t do well in this area…but I’m working on showing my emotions more authentically.  So, I salute you James Van Der Beek.  Keep it real!

Men DirectionsAsking for directions or help:
So what’s a better scenario:
– Reading the instructions and then putting together an Ikea desk quickly (in 3 hours).  Or figuring it out on your own, making a few mistakes, having to backtrack some, and either putting it together incorrectly or having to go back and get the directions out anyway, and as a result you take 5 hours?
– Stopping while driving to ask for directions, and getting to the right place the first time.  Or, NOT stopping and trying to find it on your own…getting lost a couple times and eventually finding the right place, but taking longer to get there.

Do you get an extra badge by doing it on your own?  NO, there is nothing to be gained by fumbling through something, when you could have done it right the first time by getting help.  That’s called being smart, practical, and efficient.  Don’t teach your son that it makes you less of a man to do so.

E1XMYH_Gender_ineq_3062832bDoing women’s work:
It’s such an outdated chauvinistic perspective to think that a “real man” doesn’t contribute around the house like a woman does.  I want my son to see me cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, baking pies, and making casseroles.  I want him to learn that it is normal to help…no matter what the area is.  That way, it will be natural for him to grow up to love his wife in that way too.

To clarify, I DO want to teach my son to be a man.  I want him to learn to lead and love his family, to be responsible, to do his best, to be giving and loving to others, to be selfless, to be real with people, and to be a helper.  I do NOT want to teach him to be the type of man that stereotypes have created over the years.

My challenge to you:
You may disagree with me on some of these areas, and that’s ok.  But, if what I’m saying DOES make sense to you, try to identify if you’re guilty of perpetrating any of the negative stereotypes of what is required of a “real man”.  Make sure you model it and teach others what you really want them to learn.


Reaching my limit: The story of one of the toughest weeks of my life

I have discovered that sometimes advice is easier to give than it is to live out.  A couple months ago I wrote about the importance of stepping up your game when your wife is sick.  The idea was that you’ve been practicing how to be a good husband and then it’s game time…time to step up and take care of your wife and kids no matter how tiring it is.  Well, this past week tested me on that philosophy.  I can honestly say that this was one of the toughest weeks of my life.

I did ok for a while.  Julia had a procedure on Friday where she had to recover by lying down for a day or two.  That wasn’t so bad.  I was all about making meals and taking care of things around the house.  It was a fun challenge!  About mid-day Sunday she started to take a turn for the worse though.  She had developed a spinal headache, which was the main possible side effect we were hoping to avoid.  She’s a pro at dealing with migraines, but this was much worse.  The plan from the doctors then was to take a couple more days to lie down and hope it recovers.  Ok…a couple more days…I can do this.  More meal prep, more dishes, more dog care, more Eli care.  It’s ok, this is what I’ve trained for!

IMG_2670Then, everything got even worse when I picked Eli up from school Monday.  He was complaining about his neck hurting and legs being tired.  I could tell he wasn’t his normal bubbly self (only speaking 500 words per minute instead of the standard 800).  A temperature of 103 prompted a call to the pediatrician.  Because of his symptoms, they were worried about the flu or meningitis, so off we went to the doctor.  Thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious…just a virus that would take a few days to run it’s course.  So now I’ve got two patients to take care of…and two dogs…and a house…and my work to balance around it.

wellstarhospitalThe next two days were a blur of exhaustion.  Julia and Eli weren’t physically able to do anything, so I stumbled my way through.  More meals, more dishes, more water cups, medicine, blankets, remote controls, pillows, and work.  Just when it all SHOULD have been getting better, it got worse again.  Wednesday afternoon, Julia realized her pain wasn’t going away, so we had to go BACK to the hospital for another procedure.  This one was ROUGH!  She equated the pain to the late stages of labor.  So then we went back home and Julia could move even less than before.  The spinal headache was gone, but then she had back back pain to deal with.  And of course, Eli was still running a fever ranging between 100 and 103.  I would have cried, but I was too tired.

I had high hopes for Thursday.  I hoped Julia’s back AND head would be better and that Eli’s fever would be dropping.  The morning was still tough, but as the day went on, Julia’s back got steadily better, which was great.  She was able to move around more, but still needed to take it easy.  Eli seemed to be feeling better and the fever was a little lower.  Just when I started to get hopeful though, Julia started to develop a regular headache…not a spinal one like from the procedure, but a normal headache…like the ones she used to have all the time…the ones that all this work was SUPPOSED to get rid of.  And…right before bedtime, Eli’s fever was 104.6!  Thankfully, after that point (7 days in) it got much better.  Eli’s fever dropped steadily over the next day and Julia started doing much better and able to get around.

It’s tough for me to emphasize how difficult this week was for me…physically from the non-stop serving I had to do, and emotionally from the back-and-forth health swings  that seemed to punch me down as soon as I got optimistic.  Thankfully I “survived” because of some amazing people who brought tons of meals, watched Eli, and went to the store for us…meeting our needs before we knew we had them.  Thank you family and friends who constantly found ways to help…and many more who offered!  I felt like I was climbing a mountain from the effort to simply heat up the meals, I can’t imagine what it would have done to me to have to prepare and cook them too!!  One night, I was so tired I actually almost posted on Facebook soliciting someone who would be interested in coming over to clean up the dishes.  I guess I felt it was a little too desperate, so I got up and did it myself.  Each night I was in bed around 9:15 because I just needed to sleep.

IMG_2680I had a realization Wednesday night.  Eli was burning up and just wanted to lay down with his head in my lap.  I reflected on how tough things had been and laughed at how ironic it was that the blog I wrote earlier about stepping up during sickness was written for times like this…but I felt incapable of doing it.  I felt like I didn’t have enough in me to keep going.  As I sat there stroking his hair, I thought…”This is what it is all about.  I am his father, and I am Julia’s husband, and the ONE thing that matters in life right now is that they are taken care of.”  The weariness and the pain of exhaustion is a very real act of service that I CAN give to them.  I can’t take away their pain, or make a fever go away, but I CAN stroke his hair as he rests…and hand his him water cup…and clean Julia’s dishes when she’s done eating.  I fought to keep the tears from coming, and I realized how desperately I love these two.

I don’t have a specific challenge for you this week other than reminding you of the importance of caring for your wife when she’s sick.  Basically, I just wanted to share my story.  I hope it was encouraging for you…and that I never have to go through it again…but I would if needed…every time.  :-)