How To Achieve True Intimacy In Your Marriage.

Several weeks ago Mike wrote a blog post called Sex Starts In The Morning, and it went viral. The post was a challenge to husbands and wives. The premise was simple: If we choose to serve one another and put the other’s needs above our own, it can create the healthiest marriage possible. Several readers wrote back and asked if I would write a response (from a wife’s perspective). Here it is…

Photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

Let’s get one thing straight- I’m not the kind of girl to kiss and tell 😉

I must first admit that when I saw the word “sex” in the title of my husband’s post I was embarrassed. For crying out loud, my kids and parents read this blog! What was my husband thinking? Then I read the post and laughed a little. He is so sweet. I appreciate his kindness and honestly so much.

I love Tim Hawkins. I have found no other comedian that has as much fun with the quirkiness and craziness of marriage, parenting, and family as he does. Enjoy this greatest hits compilation!

If you’re in the Indianapolis area on July 13th, Tim will be in concert at East 91st Street Christian Church. Click here for details!

Question: What is one of your fondest or funniest moments in parenting or marriage? Share it with us. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

This is brilliant! Thank you Granger Community Church for taking the most overplayed, but well-known song, in the world right now and making it into parenting genius!

Happy Friday everybody. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!

Question: Do you have another great parenting parody? Take caution before posting it, but share it with us. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Check out this hilarious video clip from Jimmy Fallon when he was the host of Late Night. He created a Twitter hashtag called #parentfail. This is guaranteed to give you a great laugh as you begin the weekend!

Question: What are some of your #parentfail’s? Share them with us. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

12 Lessons I’ve Learned In 12 Years Of Parenting.

My wife and I have been in the parenting business for nearly 12 years now. To say that it’s been an adventure would be quite the understatement. It’s been more than an adventure. It’s been an adventure, doctorate study, Mount Everest climb, parachute jump, and journey to Middle Earth all wrapped into one! (I’m not really sure how Middle Earth made it into that list :-)).

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Through pain, and joy, and sadness, and struggles, and happiness, and (sometimes) difficult life circumstances, we’ve learned so much. We’re still learning, in fact. Here are 12 lessons we’ve learned over these 12 magnificent years…

Life is unpredictable.

Back in the day, when my wife and I were in college, we drew up a plan. It was nice, and dreamy, and filled with wonder and awe. And then real life started. Kids showed up. Then the bills for those kids showed up. And somewhere in the vault of our life that original “plan” remained. Today, if it could be found, it would probably have about 3 inches of dust on it. Never saw that one coming. Yep, life is unpredictable!

I’m stronger than I realize.

If you would have told us in our early 20’s what we would have to walk through with our children, nearly 2 decades later, we probably would have started crying, a lot! In our immaturity and childish minds, we would not have thought we had the strength. But something amazing happens when trials show up at our doorsteps. Fibers we didn’t know existed in our souls, begin to bind together and become strong. I have realized that I have more strength to face trials than I may have thought a long time ago.

My wife is a rock.

She’s amazing, on so many levels! You can read all about her awesomeness here.

Kids are stubborn.

I don’t really need to clarify this, do I?

Parenting is a marathon not a sprint.

It’s also a journey and not a destination. More on that in a minute. We’ve learned that we are in the parenting biz for the long haul. Just as a runner has to prepare for the 26.2 miles he or she has to run, and make sure they have what it takes to make it all the way, so it is with parenting. Each mile is a milestone, each minute is another benchmark reached. Really, you never stop running…

I’ll never stop being a parent.

Til the day I breath my last breath, I will be a father to my children. I will always be an influence in their lives. It will change over the years, and there will be a season where I’m not the strongest influence, but I will always be an influence. Even when I’m old and gray! This really is a journey that is ongoing. It’s not a destination. There is no end.

Life is more fun with kids.

Last night we had an impromptu showing on our house (it’s for sale). It was last minute and dinner was about to be placed on the table. The only solution was to load everyone up in the car and head for a local park, crockpot full of stew and all. We ate dinner and then we played a mean game of tag for the next hour around the swing sets. It was so much fun. My kids laughed, and played, and enjoyed one another’s company. Life is just more fun with kids!

New parents have no idea.

Sorry newbies, but you don’t! Know why I know? Because I was once a new parent. Actually before we became parents, I remember us saying things like, “Man, their kids are out totally of control…they need to get a grip and start being a parent!!” Annndddd, then I had kids. I never said those words again, and never will, for the rest of my life!

Kids cost money.

The other day I was going through our budget and just before I asked my wife where all of our money went, I remembered…. there’s 8 money-vacuums with my last name walking the face of the earth!

Pooping and barfing could be olympic sports.

Last week, as we drove to Florida for vacation, one of our kids threw up four times in the car! And if that wasn’t enough, after my wife had crawled to the back of our van (all 4 times) to deal with the explosion of epic proportions, our dog decided to get in on the action and threw up on my wife’s lap! We don’t deal with dirty diapers any more but when we did, they were epic too!

I may never sleep again.

To date we figure we are at least 12 years behind on sleep. If you factor in 8 children and multiply them by 12, that’s a grand total of 96 years! We actually may never sleep again.

Drama isn’t contained to Hollywood.

Oh my Dear Lord in Heaven, the drama! Ohhh the drama! Everything from “HE LOOKED AT ME,” to “EVERYBODY HATES ME AND YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE,” to “IT’S NOT FAIR, I WANT AN IPHONE BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE HAS AN IPHONE!” to “HE CALLED ME A POOPY HEAD!” If only the Academy knew about my family, we’d have quite a few friends named “Oscar” hanging out on our mantel!

Question: What are some lessons you’ve learned in your parenting career? Share away! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

6 Things You Never Want Your Kids To Stop Believing About You!

“My dad can beat up your dad because my dad is the strongest dad in the world!” Remember saying that as a kid? It was normally stated in response to a friendly playground spat with another kid. A few years ago I heard my son say this to one of his friends about me. I smiled to myself and then thought, “Good. I want him to believe that. At least for a while.”

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Not because I want him to be afraid of me or anything (although some good ole healthy fear might go a long way in keeping him on the straight and narrow!). I just think it’s a good idea for him, along with his brothers and sisters, to always believe some universal things about their mom and dad. To this day, I still believe these things, to some degree, about my parents.

Here are 6 things you never want your kids to stop believing about you (at least while they are growing up!):

1- You have eyes in the back of your head.

We see everything, all the time, from all angles. My kids are dumbfounded when we catch them in a lie or can speak verbatim about some ding-dong choice they made. My personal belief is that God infuses parents with the ability to see through walls and read minds. My kids are believers in this. Thank you Jesus! 

2- You are omniscient.

In case you are unfamiliar with this glorious word, allow me to define- Om·nis·cient [om-nish-uhnt]  adjective. “Having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.” The quicker your children believe this about you, the easier your life will become. You will marvel at how quickly they give themselves up, fall on the proverbial sword of repentance, and surrender to your powers of awesomeness!

3- You are all-powerful.

Back to the whole “My dad can beat up your dad,” thing I mentioned earlier- It is both heart-warming and satisfying to have your children believe this about you. Even though I’m fairly certain I could take my dad down now, I wouldn’t attempt to. In the back of my mind there’s still the belief that he would shift into beast-mode and dominate me!

4- The old adage, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it,” is true!

My kids might roll their eyes but I know, deep in their hearts, they believe it. Of course, being an adoptive parent, it’s a little awkward to proclaim this (let that sink in for a minute). But you get the idea. It’s still fun. I can still remember the episode of The Cosby’s where Cliff said this to Theo! Any fans out there?

5- You are omnipresent. 

“Son, I am everywhere, at all times, seeing everything you do, and hearing everything you say.” I actually said this to him recently when he was busted for something. I could tell by the look on his face that he could not figure out how in the world I knew what he had done. Yep, I’m cool with him believing this about me.

6- Your love will never end.

On a semi serious note, make sure your kids know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you love them without end and that you are always there for them. The joking aside, they crave our presence, as their parents, in their lives. I would say that all of the above is partially an expression of this.

But, as you love them, make sure you have some fun too! You have to live a little through the ups and downs of parenthood or you’ll go crazy. Besides, if you’re like me, you need good blogging material.

Question: Parents, anything else to add to this list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

The Day After Our Last Kid Leaves For College

I love my kids. Every single moment I have with them as they grow is a gift. I feel it necessary to begin this post, with the title it has, with that disclaimer. Especially after you read the rest below. Perhaps beginning with a small disclaimer will cut down on the email or comments I may get reminding me to cherish every moment I have of their childhood. Don’t worry, I do. But sometimes, we dream!

Secluded location by the sea.

It may have been the moment, last week, when I was nearing a complete breakdown due to the high volume of ear-piercing screeching, screaming and running through our house, or finding my wife mumbling and rocking back and forth, with a blank stare, alone in a corner, that prompted the idea for this post. I’m not sure.

Whatever it was (loud crashes through the house, someone waking us up every hour during the night, pee everywhere in the bathroom but the toilet bowl, no food in the pantry because our pre-teens have bottomless pits for stomachs, or the endless mountains of dirty laundry), I decided I would write down some of the glorious things my wife and I are going to do the day after our last kid leaves for college:

(In no particular order)

1. Sleep consecutive hours.

We actually were naive enough, eleven years ago, to believe the book we were reading that told us our children would sleep through the night after 3 months old. That is a lie from the bowels of hell folks! My wife and I are at least a decade behind on sleep. And, much like the national deficit, we aren’t catching up anytime soon. We have decided that we are not really looking for a full-nights sleep anymore…. we’d just like to sleep a few consecutive hours!

2. Repaint the bathroom walls around the toilet. 

Why? you ask. Lets just say that since we’ve had boys we’ve spent more time cleaning the floor around the toilet and the walls behind the toilet than the toilet itself. Ready, aim, fire is not a concept that is understood by any of them. Most of the time its, fire, fire, fire even if their pants are still on. Heck, we might as well rip out all of the drywall and start over.

3. Have a full-length conversation with one another. 

Have you ever heard someone speak in fragments through a microphone with a dying battery or over a radio because of bad frequency? That’s what most of my conversations with my wife sound like anymore. Except, the interference comes from pint-sized darlings that have to tell us in that precise moment (an inch from our face) that that they are done with their dinner or (for the gazillionth time) they have to use the potty.

4. Drive somewhere.

We don’t even care where. Just somewhere. Because we’ll be able to. And the biggest reason we will just drive somewhere is that it will be the two of us. That’s it! Nobody else. And the biggest thing we will have to worry about is whether or not we turned all the lights in the house off, walked the dog, and locked the door behind us.

There will no longer be epic journey’s to the center of the earth (or our house) to find coats and shoes. Gone will be the arguing at the front door over which seat everyone’s going to sit in. It will be me (or my wife) in the driver’s seat and the other in the passenger seat. That’s it! Shoot, we might even stop along the road and switch drivers just to do it!

5. Eat our own food from our own plate!

This is a biggie. One of the reasons we are both in pretty good shape is not from a regular exercise program (although we do that). It’s because food on our plates at our dinner table is consumed pretty quickly. And it would be awesome if it were by us. It’s not. Somewhere, in the split second it takes the two of us to glance around the table to make sure everyone has what they need, the food on our plate disappears, never to be seen again! But one of these days, in our wildest dreams, we will be able to eat that elusive food that started off on our plate, only to end up in someone else’s belly!

I love my life. I really do! And I love my children. They are one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Besides, they are giving me tons of writing material every single day of their precious lives.

What are some of your dreams or fantasies the day after your kids move out? Don’t worry, it’s okay to dream and have a little fun. That’s all this post is about. Just don’t get all crazy and lost in your fantasy that you kick them out before they graduate high school or finish kindergarten!

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

Sometimes You Just Gotta Dance!

It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s a lot of fun. We love to dance in our family. We really aren’t that good, but there are just some days, and some moments, that call for a good tune and some out of rhythm dancing!

This was the case a few nights ago. I had settled in for the night (and by that I mean, pajama pants, henley, and some decaf coffee!), when my daughter said to me, “Daddy, will you dance with us?” They had been flipping through our song lists on Apple TV.

Now you have to understand some context here: It had been a long day. Beyond that, a long week! I was tired and so were all of my kids. One of my girls has been involved in a local production of High School Musical and we had spent a lot of time running back and forth to rehearsals. Between doctor’s appointments, school field trips, class parties, and the busyness of work in general, the words “long week” were an understatement. I was in no mood to dance!

But something spoke to me when she asked. For some reason, in-spite of my weariness, I decided that was exactly what we needed to do. I’m not sure what I was thinking, because after I decided we needed to dance, I then did something that I wish I hadn’t (well, sort of). I set up my iPhone and recorded the whole thing!

Honestly, I’m glad I did. Because later on I forgot that we had all danced together. It completely slipped out of my mind. The busyness of life invaded once again and I moved on. I probably would have forgotten altogether until I flipped back through my pictures a few nights afterward. I came across the video and it made me smile. Since I’m a parenting blogger my mind flooded with a crazy idea to write a post about dancing together and then post the video. Not sure what I was thinking! Not sure what I’m thinking now.

So, at the risk of mockery and public humiliation, here’s the video of me and some of my kids dancing together last week…

I have learned that when I don’t feel like dancing, that’s the very moment that I should get up and start dancing. Truth is, we have so many reasons to dance. We have so many reasons to celebrate. In spite of the harsh days that life tends to lay at our feet, we need to dance! We need to do something that reminds us that we are still alive and there is still so much to live for.

We need to dance when life is good.

It’s easy to dance in times like this. It’s easy to lay siege to a day that was good and filled with laughter and joy. And, it’s important to do this too. As harsh as the winds of life blow at times, we need to dance in the good times so we will remember what it’s like when the hard times arrive. And arrive they will…

We need to dance when life is hard. 

It is hard too! As a family, we have experienced trauma, deep loss, and painful wounds over the past few years. In fact, there are many times where I marvel at the fact that we are still alive, and still plugging away as a family. It’s evidence that there is a Heavenly Father holding tightly to us. Honestly, choosing to dance when life is hard is not easy at all. It’s really hard, and frankly, there are days where I’d rather crawl into bed and quit.

But that doesn’t solve anything. We grow in these times. As hard as that is to accept, adversity and pain forge character in us. The old adage says, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Our family is living proof of how true that statement is.

We need to dance in the in-between.

There is a margin in between the good times and the bad. I think where I’m arriving is this: the in-between can still be claimed by the good. Much of life is lived in between good times and hard times. Most days of the week are like this too. It’s easy to allow the in-between moments drift toward becoming hard times. Our emotions can hold us hostage with this and force us to throw our hands up and give up. Choosing to dance in the in-between moments moves us to claim them as good, even if they aren’t, or a hard time is just around the bend.

The point is- dance! Just dance! You’ve got to in this life. Choose to live for something greater than this cold world offers. Choose to hold tightly to one another. Choose, in-spite of life circumstances, to live for the positive. We are learning this everyday. We are learning to smile through the imperfections and the failures. We are learning to embrace good times, hard times, and everything in-between!

Dance.

Question: What are some of your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it hard for you to choose the positive when life is hard? You can leave a comment by clicking here.