Category Archives: Relationships

5 Ways to Bless Your Children Daily

This week while listening to a Family Life radio show in the car, I was struck again by how fast little girls grow up. With three of my own, and having never had sisters, at times I worry I am doing this dad thing wrong. Is it self-doubt, the lack of a manual, or the very real tension between family time and providing for these daughters that makes me shudder at times with “what-ifs”?

Just do it. That was the theme of a video I posted on AshleyAndJason.com last week that I am taking really seriously. So what does that look like with the kids? It means I have to do this right and allow myself no excuses when giving my babies my all, both at home and at work.

Here are a few things I am reiterating verbally daily with my daughters. Usually these bursts of blessings involves some kind of physical touch, even if it is just tickling. I am labeling this “5 Ways to Bless Your Children Daily”. Tell them:

1. God made you special and unique, and he has a plan just for you sweetheart. And I am so proud to be your dad.

2. I was thinking, I love ______ about you darlin. I also love _______.

3. No growing up little girl (said jokingly). Do you need a spanking for growing up so fast? Did you know no matter how old you get, you’ll always be my little girl and I’ll love you no matter what?

4. Like your sisters, you make me so happy. You are growing up to be such a wonderful young lady and I know you are going to do great things someday.

5. Do you know how much I love you? I love you from the moon to the sun and back again. I love you so much, but can you imagine that I love your mom even more? Well I do!

There’s obviously more to raising daughters than just words, but I also know each blessing I speak over them that they believe is a stored treasure that someday they are going to need. If you have sons, adjust the above accordingly but do it no less frequently or tenderly.

So what am I missing that little girls need to know or hear? Comment and let us know your idea.

Do You Have Rad Moves?

“Check me, I got some Rad moves… the Rad Rad Rad moves… Check it out hey!”
a little bit later…
“How about you dude, what can you do?”

Silly, right? This favorite Backyardigans clip of our family has a lot to learn from it in way of finding people who challenge you and that can be equally challenged back. We learn in our friendships by sharing what we know as much as what we have.

What are you willing to share with those around you that might not only be fun but give them the Rad moves they need to do what you both love?

Each Year I Go Into the Woods

Each Year I Go Into the Woods

A Poem, Quatrain, Ballad or something of the sort by: Jason Reynolds

Each year I go into the woods;
I tell others it is to hunt those deer!
The truth: it is to put my feet where grandfather stood
Find my soul and wrestle my fear.

Sitting on the ground, trying not to be found,
Melting into the solemn autumn, white flag on a big buck’s bottom,
Singular concentration trying not to blink wrong, the birds sing their song;
About the time the crickets cease, the sun’s arising and so is the peace.

The sassy doe with her inquisitive bow and teasing stomp,
Mere feet from me I find pleasure in her attitude;
Earthen air fills my lungs and my heart awakes to nature’s pomp,
The leaves float down to me here where lives all solitude.

My only quarrel is with the squirrels,
The only plight with the breeze that carries my abbreviated sneeze;
Eyes begin to droop until I see that majestic deer stoop,
And it is on again: me against him it is time to win!

Sneaky as can be the allusive antler carrier is a bruiser,
A mystical mammal showing only his face;
I work hard to beat him at his game but I am the loser,
Like my stress he’s disappeared and I am put back in my place.

Hunting is less and less about the actual killing,
More and more it is being with like-minded burley men who seek balance,
As we escape the chaos of life to rediscover it is well worth living.
Nature has no substitute: refreshment is found in the woods alongside man’s silence.

I Wish I Was God

Just had a fun exchange with my daughter after wrestling one on one for strength. A great daddy-daughter moment.

Lily: Are you strong or what?

Me: Yep, I am strong.

Lily: But your not as strong as God! Daddy, how strong is God?

Me: He’s the strongest! He is so strong he made everything. You know how the earth spins…well, it is like he is spinning it on his finger… that is how strong and how big God is.

Lily: God’s playing basketball with the earth?

Me: No, not exactly, but um kinda.

Lily: (pondering)

Me: God is so strong he used his words to create everything. Remember your verse for the week?

Lily: “The universe was made at His command. -Hebrews 11:3″

Me: That’s great Lily. Can you imagine being so strong you pointed and said “Hippo” and it appeared right there?

Lily: Or FLAMINGO!

Me: Yep, that would be something! TURKEY!

Lily: I wish I was God.

Me: Um, well, being God also comes with a lot of responsibility sweetheart, so we don’t…

Lily: (interrupting) Well, I wish I never made wrong choices, that would be so good (thinking hard).

Me: Yes it would sweetie, yes it would. (smiling)

What Unemployed Men Need

Recently a good friend of my wife and I came home to her husband (who is also my hunting buddy) laid off from his job. Others provided the typical responses of shock and disdain for the former employer I am sure. Having been laid off three times in my short technology career of 13 years, I provided some really straight talk to her about what her husband needed. I guess it was helpful or something because she shared it with others and they seemed to like it too. In case it is useful (and I hope it never has to be), here is what unemployed men need in my humble opinion:

Depression.

If he is unemployed more than three weeks, count on it. Pep-rally’s are nice, but the best way to help him is to demand sex and be willing to do all the work. Seriously, it does something with the endorphins in the brain and keeps the serotonin flowing. If it gets bad, and it is unlikely to, don’t wait to get on low dosage of anti-depressants… wish I had known to do it.

Identity.

he’s a hard worker, and being without work is like being without your name and your wallet. You feel naked and unsure of who you are. May not happen at first, but just a matter of time… especially if depression hits. Expect him to have to reexamine who he is and how others value him… and how God sees him too.

Truth.

He’ll struggle to find the anchor points of truth in his life. This could even lead to being short/snappy/closed off. It’s cause when you are laid off it feels like you are walking on one of those bridges that goes wobbly during an earthquake. It’ll feel to him like he can’t plant his feet or walk straight. He doesn’t need to talk about it over and over again… may just remind him of his failure. What he needs is for you to remind him of God’s word… and what God has done for you two in the past in providing. Cause him to reflect by talking about how happy you are in the marriage and with your home. Thank him even when his breath is bad, his face ain’t shaved, and he is drinking beer for breakfast (that won’t last long).

Dizziness.

Expect the first week to be a haze. He might be acting business as usual, but deep inside he is mourning. Not that any job is that special, but you mourn the loss of the security/certainty/provision. Allow him to go through all the grieving stages as though he has lost a family member. Listen, don’t talk… he just wants to know you are in love with him no matter what… reassurance won’t touch what is going on inside… but devotion will.

Fighting.

Don’t do it. Neither start fights nor finish them. This will be hard, but he is in no condition to fight productively, so you are just asking to get hurt and to leave him feeling inadequate.

Leads.

When he has job leads, be excited but not forecasting. Don’t start imagining life with this job or the other job. Sets you up for disappointment and him up for failure. Be optimistic and supportive, but not portraying it as the savior of your finances and life.

Friends and Family.

They are all shocked too. They will want to pray and be involved in the day to day. Guard him, he doesn’t need the pressure of having to find the right road and drive the stupid summer camp bus with all it’s passengers. Hold people at a distance on details about the job search, while at the same time letting them know what your needs are if you have them. This includes family. He doesn’t need you babbling to your friends and mother about his potential jobs and the ones that never materialized. He’ll feel like he disappointed you and them. Find kind ways of thanking them for their interest and pointing their fears for you back to trust in Christ.

Fishing and Hunting.

Let him do as much of it as you can afford. If it feels like a vacation, he’ll do more interviewing, more resume sending, and be more relaxed during phone call screens. Make him play even if he feels he needs to be job searching. Finding a job is now his full time job, but he needs the encouragement to take breaks to deal with exhaustion, depression, and the above. Killing things helps.

Prayer and Submission.

Do a lot of it for him, but also encourage him to fully trust in Jesus and pray aloud his dependence on him. You guys do this together. It doesn’t have to be a long, tearful spiritual moment. Just needs to be a daily confession of the two of you standing together waiting on Jesus to make the way. Repeat together what God has given you that is good and praise him for that. Use prayer to remind him of God’s promises. Keep it brief cause he may fall asleep (I know I used to).

#namethatgirl

Dear LazyWeb,

My wife and I are fresh out of girl names and we have a baby due in 30 hours or so (7:30am Est Friday). Just can’t seem to find the right blend of first name, middle name, and last name.

We are thus crowdsourcing the naming of the girl and asking you to give us what you think would be the best girl name for our child. There is no voting going on here, as the naming of our child is not a democracy. That would be impersonal, people. Still, you come up with something better than what we can… and we just love it, and you get the credit.

Here are the basic boundaries for what we are looking for in a name:

  • Two to two & half syllables or less first name. Three you can’t yell on the soccer field and four I may not remember. It happens.
  • Needs to work for a pale person, as she will certainly be that.
  • Needs to match the last name “Reynolds”. I may never allow her to switch out that last name, so it has to work now.
  • We’d prefer to not reuse our previous children’s names. Besides the confusion it causes, at-least one kid will turn out bitter.
  • I would prefer to stay away from first names that end in “y” since we have three of those already, but my wife is open to it and thinks we are on a roll.
  • Should have a single, common-sense spelling that is understood when given audibly to english speaking people.
  • Should not be the name of someone we didn’t like as a child.

Easy, right? Whateva, we have been trying for months.

Jump in and bail us out one of these two ways:

1. Comment on this blog entry with “Firstname Middlename Reynolds”: http://tinyurl.com/girlnames

2. Tweet “Firstname Middlename Reynolds” along with #namethatgirl

East Texas Burger Company

We are having a fine time at East Texas Burger Company. This has been a regular stop for us for a number of years. Here is a photo of our oldest daughter’s first Gumball (courtesy of a nice patron).

If you have not tried the home-style fries at East Texas Burger Company in Mineola, you are missing something in life and are only now finding out.

photo