Friday, June 13, 2014

Let It Go- A Mom Parody

Granger Community Church up in Indiana posted this great video last month. Over Mother's Day weekend they performed this mom parody to Let It Go from the movie Frozen. Dads, I'm sure you can relate too, and you might enjoy singing these lyrics instead as you watch the movie with your kids again for the millionth time, probably this weekend for Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Ignorant Parent- Father's Day

I'm excited to share a new series, The Ignorant Parent, with you!  Some friends and I thought it would be fun to write from our different perspectives on various topics. Our goal is to encourage you when you need to be lifted up, to show you hope in every situation, to let you know that you are never alone and to glorify God with the stories that He has written for our lives. For more background on who we are and how we know each other, check out our bio page.

Today's topic is Father's Day.


Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there! I don't know about you, but becoming a parent surely made me appreciate Father's Day, and Mother's Day for that matter, so much more. I have a greater appreciation for the long nights and fun-filled days. I have a greater appreciation for all the hard work done for my benefit. And I have a great appreciation for the patience and unconditional love I received. I've asked my dad how he was able to be so patient, gentle, and kind with us ALL THE TIME, and he just says we were good kids. Well, I thin he was actually just an exceptionally wonderful father! Thank you, Dad- I love you!

My husband's and my first Father's Day as parents was one I will never forget. It was just three days after our first son was born, and because he was in the NICU and so sick, we had been restricted from holding him for almost 72 hours. The morning of Father's Day, the nurses told us our son was strong enough to be held and we all decided my husband would be the first to hold him. It was the best first Father's Day gift he could have ever received.

Since the day we became pregnant, my husband has been a phenomenal father and husband to me as a mother. He is quite involved in the day-to-day operations of our household and wouldn't have it any other way. He's the one who does the laundry and packs the boys' backpacks. He's the one who takes them to school, checks in with teacher, gives goodbye kisses and thumbs up. And after a long day at work, he's the one picks them up, brings them home, and gets dinner going. He reads stories before bed and rocks them to sleep. He goes on "Daddy Dates" with our boys and tells them that we are his best friends, well, us and Jesus. And when my boys look back, they will see a father that was always there and present in the tiniest details of their lives. They will see a father who loved their mother Oh. So. Well. And they will see a father who desired with all of his heart to show them the love of Christ.

 Josh's first Father's Day with Keller in the NICU.


My husband is a Rock Star. Well, maybe not to you but certainly to me. You have probably never heard of his songs, or his band, or had the pleasure of listening to the lonesome wail of his electric guitar. But if you have, you know it's a sounds you will never forget. Because he has the uncanny ability to transfer the feeling of sorrow, joy, love and pleasure into his fingertips, the sounds leave you breathless and yearning.

Jason the rock star.

Playing in a packed venue.

You might think this is how I met him. At a crowded show amongst screaming fans. But it was actually quite uneventful. The world didn't stop. There were no fireworks (at first). This was real life. My girlfriend had pointed him out earlier because, frankly, he was staring a hole into me. I decided I would ignore him. I was not in the market. I had newfound freedom from a previous relationship and wanted to know what single life at the University of Alabama had in store for me. However, God had another plan. He approached me in a bar as I watched my friend walk across the street to her apartment. He thought I was leaving and asked if he could buy me a drink. I politely declined. Here is where he stole my heart. He simply asked if he could talk to me. How was I supposed to say no? We discussed everything that night. My family, his family, faith, religion, our mutual and very deep love of music, admiration of songwriters and on it went until the sun came up. I love his heart. He felt like home.

Fast forward over 14 years, and he is now the father of our beautiful daughter. This Father's Day is his first. I would love to say I am planning something spectacular. Something he an remember forever. But we are just home with Adelyn Belle a mere six weeks after spending nearly two months in the NICU. My Mother's Day gift, his Father's Day gift, is her. And that's all we need. Oh I have an endearing card that I will fill with sweet words and heartfelt sentiment, but it will never be enough to show how passionate I feel that he is my daughter's father. His transformation from a life on the road and endless nights playing his heart out, to suburban simplicity with a wife and a little one has been nothing short of amazing. Since the first night in the hospital, my husband has shown me what it means to live like Christ. He rushed my daughter's meals to her in the middle of the night. He documented her every move in the NICU while I was recovering from preeclampsia and an emergency cesarean section and could not see her. He made sure I didn't miss her first cries, her tiny feet, her beautiful eyes. He showed me what it meant to love like Christ loves His bride (Ephesians 5:25). He truly died to himself the moment Adelyn was born.

This Father's Day will be special and full of passion. NO, it won't hold the strings of an instrument or the roar of a cheering crowd, but what it will hold is something just as dear and magical- our daughter's coos and sweet cries in the morning, a beautiful song just for Dad.

Jason the Dad, with his daughter Adelyn.


My dad is Superman. At least that's how I saw him for a long time. He's one of those guys that can figure out how to do everything on his own, and he's always trying on a new hat.

He was a CPA by day but a volunteer fire fighter by night. He flew planes. He sailed a boats. He drove RVs. He was also the most awesome cheerleader a kid could have.

My dad sporting his flag look for the Olympics, always a camcorder in hand.

He seemed invincible to me. I hardly ever remember him even getting a cold. But every Superman has his kryptonite.

I arrived home from a diving competition in Spain to find out my dad had a stroke while I was gone. To top it off, I had just three days at home before heading out to the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. My head was spinning with the news. I just couldn't fit "Superdad" and "stroke" together. I was scared to leave.

Fortunately it was caught very early, so he was fine and even able to go to the Olympics. But my view of my dad began to change. Not in a bad way, maybe just a softer way. He became a little less "super hero" in my mind, but he became a lot more real and tangible. I think it made me appreciate all the amazing things he does even more because he is actually a mortal dad that does super stuff on the side. Now that is pretty heroic.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! May your day be super!


Father's Day. So many holidays give us reason to celebrate the fun of life and special people in our lives. When you think of Father's Day, do you think about your relationship with your dad? Your husband? Your brother? How about the one Father who created our hearts to celebrate and our love we celebrate with? We are all children, some of us have children, giving us an amazing perception of love and respect for the earthly fathers we know. Or maybe you don't think you have a reason to join the celebration or you don't feel respected, cherished, protected the way you should. We are each planted into a divine family. He is orchestrating this heavenly family with each one of us designed on purpose. God wants us intentionally seeking a relationship with Him because...

"Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.

Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,

    and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,

    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”
 Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
    who are deaf, yet have ears!
All the nations gather together,

    and the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
    and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
    and let them hear and say, It is true.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,

    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord,

    and besides me there is no savior."

-Isaiah 43:4-11

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Top 5 Cringe-Worthy Kid Noises

Kids make noises. Loads of 'em. Some are hysterical, some are sweet and some... well, there are some that can drive me down right loony.

So here's what I think are the top 5 cringe-worthy kid noises:

5.  The Wail.

The inconsolable baby. At first you just feel bad because you can't make it stop. You try EVERYTHING in the book to no avail. It's a slow, painful kind of torture that eventually makes you want to pull your hair out, punch a wall and wail, too.

4.  The No.

This is not to be confused with the backtalking shout "NO!" This is the drag-stretch-whine-it-out-for-a-minute-straight ""

3.  The Squirt.

Nope, it's not a fart or even a cute little toot. This one is quiet and subtle, but instantly you know it's not just air. Your eyes will bug out in anxious horror as it begins because in that exact moment you know it's juicy, it's liquid and no diaper on earth is capable of holding it in. In fact, it is a guaranteed disaster. It's the noise that precedes moments like when you see your baby hold up her hand in the rear view mirror, and you're momentarily confused as to how she got into chocolate while buckled into her car seat. And then you realize... it's not chocolate. Yes, that happened.

2.  The Moan.

You know the one. Nothing is wrong, but there's this slow, steady moaning with this incredibly soft whiny edge that goes on and on and on... It will drive you completely mad. You hold out as long as humanly possible, at which point you will retrieve kid from torturous bed, and they are instantly cured of this condition. It is truly one the most clever forms of sleep evasion we have experienced.

1.  The Shriek. 

There is the squeal, the scream and then there is the shriek. As far as I know, this sound can only be made by a toddler girl. It's in a league of its' own. It's ear piercing, gut wrenching and shocking to your system. It has been known to render an adult completely paralyzed. It's three octaves higher than any other human sound. It's just one octave lower than a dog whistle. It comes out of nowhere and terrifies every person and pet in range. As quickly as it comes, it vanishes again. It frequents our house in double doses and usually makes its' appearance during the baby's nap time.

Kids do things that drive us nuts ALL. THE. TIME. But then they flash that impossibly adorable smile.

They belly laugh at the simplest things. They say, "I love you" of their own accord. They tell you funny stories, reenact shows and bust out the most creative dance moves on the planet. They take you on an imaginative adventure and show you how to see from their perspective. They make you smile and cry and grow your heart so full of love that you think it might burst. They stretch you and teach you and change you. And you realize, annoying sounds and all, they are without a doubt, the absolute best little things on this planet.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Big Chop

Years back one of my good friends chopped her hair super short and donated it to help make wigs for kids that have experienced medical hair loss. It sounded like such a cool idea and a super easy way to help someone. So I decided I would wait to cut my hair until it was long enough to donate, too.

This is the third time I've donated, and I seem to have formed this habit of just cutting my hair once every couple of years now. It's a fun little adventure for me personally, and Arella informed me that I'm like Rapunzel now. So I guess I've been upgraded from Olaf (who she decided I was not too long ago) to a princess for my efforts and sacrifice. Score!

I have donated to Locks of Love twice and Pantene Beautiful Lengths once. If you're interested in joining the fun, here are some organizations that you can donate to (just remember to read the guidelines because they all vary in what they will accept):

Locks of Love

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Wigs for Kids

Wigs 4 Kids

Children with Hair Loss

So without further ado, I will present to you my before and afters from all three Big Chops!

June 2014
 Preston at OnStage starting the Big Chop!

 Back before. (Don't mind the ponytail line around the top of my head!)

 Back after.

Here's the new do for me and the donation!

October 2011


 September 2004
Making the very first Big Chop!

 Back before.

 Back after.

 Front before.

Front after with braid donation!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The 5 Stages

Adoption is a crazy ride. After some great conversation at an orphan care meeting the other night, I realize that there are 5 stages to adoption, much like grief but generally with a happier ending. As I was brainstorming this, I actually came up with a couple different ways of looking at it.

The 5 Stages of the Adoption Process
  1. Denial — All an adoptive parent sees when starting the process is a child at the end of a long dark tunnel. That child is a bright light, diverting all of our attention, so we can't see anything else in the tunnel. The reality of the journey that lies ahead can be daunting and overwhelming, so the parent chooses only to keep their eyes on the end goal so they don't see the tunnel at all.
  2. Anger — As you begin to divulge every little nuance and detail of your private life to complete strangers who write it all down to share it with agencies and government officials under the code name "home study," the anger and frustration can start to kick in. This is where the hiccups, delays, issues and extras fees begin to emerge. You start to discover everything wrong with the process.
  3. Bargaining — As you get deeper into the process, you start to realize just how very long and dark the tunnel is. (The average international adoption takes 3 years and nearly $30k.) New policies are always being enacted, laws changed, new requirements added and extra fees heaped onto the case load. This is when the parent may go rouge and attempt to become Jason Bourne in search of the origin of any and all issues and how to annihilate them.
  4. Depression — The wait. The excruciating, gut-wrenching, fear inducing, mind-numbing, tear-jerking wait for your child. There are many tears in this stage. All-encompassing worry sets in. You worry about your child, and you worry about the process. And you worry you're going to lose your child in the process.
  5. Acceptance — Then the day finally arrives and you become a family. Forever.

As you go through the process of adopting a child, you learn a ton, you think about things you may have never thought about before and your entire perspective changes. Honestly I think these are the stages that God takes us through as He begins to break our hearts for what breaks His.

The 5 Stages of Your Heart Through Adoption
  1. Denial — When you decide to adopt, it's generally either because you selfishly want a child or you self-righteously want to save a child. Either way, you go into an adoption thinking it's just about adding a child to your family.
  2. Anger — As you get knee deep into the adoption waters, you learn about why these kids need families. You learn the horror stories of how they became orphans. You realize that the world is a VERY fallen place full of VERY fallen people. The travesties make you cry so hard you might scream. You become so angry you can't think straight, and you don't understand why everyone around you isn't bursting at the seems to talk about these issues that make your blood boil.
  3. Bargaining — You're ready to hop on the next plane and change the world... if you only knew what to do. You constantly ask God why He would let this happen and beg Him to change it.
  4. Depression —  You are overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation and feel helpless to change anything.
  5. Acceptance — Then one day it all hits you. What you are doing by adopting a child into your family is a picture of what God has done for us. You realize that adoption isn't just adding a kid to your family. Adoption is how God adds us to His family. And that is exactly what you want to tell the world because being part of God's family is truly forever.

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son... so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." - Galatians 4:4-7