Sunday, May 15, 2022

Insights After Two Weeks of Parenting

Bodily fluids flow freely at all hours of the day. If you change a diaper and feel a sense of accomplishment, you likely will have the opportunity to repeat that accomplishment shortly, like inside of five minutes. Boys come installed with a water cannon, when changing his diaper note well and plan accordingly, it may very well find occasion to spray you, baby, swaddles, formerly clean clothing, walls, and anything else within a close radius.

If baby is smiling, it’s probably because he’s passing gas or otherwise refilling his diaper.

Tiny humans are capable of producing loud noises for long periods of time. Be the adult and don’t respond in kind.

Sleep deprivation can be brutal and it’s a good thing God gives kids two parents to tag team and share responsibilities. Prayer will help get you through the tough spots.

When feeding baby, don’t race to complete a bottle but pause at appropriate intervals. Your over confidence at having finished so quickly will bite you in the form of wearing half the bottle when baby spits it back up.

Burping is an essential part of feeding.

It’s possible to be peed on, pooped on, and puked on within a short time frame. Don’t assume the outfit you and baby plan to leave the house in are the ones you will actually be wearing. The amount of household laundry needs will rise exponentially.

Babies have sharp fingernails. 

The precious baby pictures that people post only tell half the story, baby will be grumpy and rage demandingly when hungry, tired, needing new diaper, while changing, putting in car seat, or for no apparent reason at all.

There are lots of skills to learn that you never knew you’d need to know. Bottle prep and feeding, diapering, swaddling, putting on and taking off tiny outfits with superfluous snaps and zippers, securing baby in car seat, skin to skin contact as a calming technique, singing lullabies, making silly sounds, and rocking baby to sleep.

When baby is calm, content, or sleeping, snuggles can be a lot of fun.

Meal trains are a great idea. 

Other parents are genuinely happy for you and remember the joys and challenges of raising their own kids.

Babies are a blessing and a gift from God. He gives wisdom for the journey.

 In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Baby Blessings

So thankful for and proud of this beautiful lady. She’s been through a lot over the past year and has sacrificially taken so many steps in this journey. We’ve prayed for many years for the opportunity to become parents and very soon will be blessed to welcome a baby boy into the world. We’re grateful that God has allowed us this enormous privilege and look forward to seeing all the amazing things in store for the future! “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Tribute To My Dad

Last evening, we celebrated and honored my dad as he retires after 49 years of working as a CPA. Few people have a career that extends that long let alone at the same company. He came from a background of growing up on a farm, serving in the military, graduating with a bachelor and master’s degree in business and became a trusted advisor to many people and I’m proud of what he’s accomplished.

He’s worked diligently to provide for our family and serve clients with excellence and I recall many times sitting around the kitchen table listening to him share about preparing tax returns, complex accounting and business scenarios, investments, and a host of other financial topics. He was my first teacher in personal finance and as I’ve grown and developed in my own career, I’ve come to respect his knowledge and technical expertise even more.

Some of my iconic memories of him include crunching numbers on a roller tape calculator, reading the newspaper and books on many topics, working in the yard, taking us to church, and playing soccer and baseball with us growing up. He’s provided for, encouraged, prayed for, and served as a great resource to me throughout my life.

As he moves into a new season, I look forward to seeing what God has in store for him. He's a good man and I love him.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Future You

Telescope
Photo by Dietmar Rabich
When you think of yourself in the future, what do you see? What do you want for future you? Have you ever thought, what would future you want current you to do? Current you can tackle challenges and pursue goals or let time pass by without taking any steps. Are you making wise choices that will lead to your desired outcome? Is current you compromising things that future you would regret? Every decision current you makes affects future you.

Does current you stay up late watching a movie and then future you is tired the next day? Does current you exercise consistently so that future you has good fitness?

Current you may want to eat or drink things that taste good at the moment but aren't very healthy and so future you pays the consequence. In contrast, future you is thankful to current you when you make good decisions around nutrition, feels better and has better health.

What about education? Whether reading, taking classes, talking with wise people, learning a new skill, practicing the skill or not, each of these result in a level of knowledge and ability that future you has in an area. 

Financially, is current you making choices that future you will appreciate or not? Do you have a savings and giving plan or do you spend without consideration of the future? Do you put good financial habits in place and seek accountability? Do you ask for counsel from knowledgeable people with expertise in this area or do you listen to get rich quick systems?

Of course, in thinking about future you, there will be others that you interact with along the way. Do you reach out to friends, maintain strong family ties, build relationships with colleagues, seek out opportunities to meet new people and make new friends? Does current you burn bridges or look for reconciliation? The relationships of future you will be impacted by who current you chooses to spend time with or not, who current you invests in or lets fade, who current you sets healthy boundaries with or allows others to take advantage of. 

What voices does current you listen to? Whether from news, social media, books, blogs, websites, movies, music, podcasts, people close to you, culture, celebrities, pastors, family, co-workers, neighbors, those you encounter in the marketplace, all of these will impact the worldview of future you. Are these voices  healthy and life giving, encouraging you along a path you want to take? Are there any voices that you need to turn the volume down on or remove from your life?

If current you could give advice to past you 5, 10, or 20 years ago, what would you tell yourself? What do you think future you would encourage current you to do?

Would future you appreciate if current you spent more time in prayer? Future you would be thankful for wisdom gained and intimacy formed with God through actively engaging with Him. He will guide you through life as you ask for direction and future you will be better for it.

Future you depends on current you. 

Consider who it is, where and what you want to be in the future. Work on your behalf and for your benefit. Future you will arrive where current you takes you. Let it be a path and place that future you is glad you took. 

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas and Giftmas

This holiday season, I've been reflecting on the secular side of Christmas wrapped in the mythology of Santa Claus and the material parts of the holiday. Things I enjoy about the cultural celebration of Christmas include fun movies like Elf, The Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, among others. I appreciate the pretty Christmas lights and fun Christmas songs. Time with friends and family is largely positive if a bit hectic in going from event to event and navigating different relational elements. I also especially enjoy the cookies and delicious deserts. On the gift giving front, I can understand how it is fun for some though gifts are not a focus for me personally.

There's a part of me that thinks our society places heavier focus on these fun cultural aspects than the original Christmas story and God's gift to humanity. Rather than cultural elements being a fun addition to the central story of Jesus birth, they begin to shift focus and take center stage.  

A recent Christmas movie that I saw was built entirely around Santa Claus interacting with some kids in an action oriented story and appropriated and warped elements of the real Christmas story. While I don't mind fun fictional stories, to take from and remold elements of the historical account of Jesus birth into something completely different begins to border on sacrilege. As things move further along this path, Christmas becomes more and more secular to the point that for some it has no more meaning than bunnies, Halloween candy, and celebrating a made up holiday that would be better described as Giftmas. 

I don't begrudge people having fun with the holiday but would love for more focus to be placed on God sending His son into the world so that we could have relationship with Him. The fantastic Christmas Carol O Holy Night does a wonderful job of orienting us to this heart posture.

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!

This Christmas I hope that you and your loved ones get to spend time reading and reflecting on the original Christmas story and thanking the One who loves us most for His incredible gift.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Friday, October 23, 2020

Where Your Love Is

This year has been difficult for many people both from a global perspective as well as unique individual challenges. Over the past few months, this song has expressed my prayer and desire to God. 

Where His love is, is where I want to be. His love is more powerful than anything and can fill hearts, heal hurts, encourage souls, and change the world. I hope the lyrics and music can encourage you in whatever you're experiencing this year.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Where Your Love Is

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

When troubled times take hold
Lord won't you guard my soul
when I don't understand 
won't you take take my hand and lead me on

When all I feel is stress
Lord help my heart to rest
when there's uncertainty
be my surety and lead me on

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me
Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

How I love you, how I need you
here's my heart, here's my soul take all of me
How I love you, how I need you
here's my heart, here's my soul take all of me

 So holy, so mighty, so beautiful, your glory
 So holy, so mighty, so beautiful, your glory

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me
Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Waiting in the Space Between

Photo by لا روسا Acacia in Ein Khadra Desert Oasis, Egypt
There can be seasons of waiting and living in the space between what's been and what's hoped for. The new professional opportunity, the relationship development, the family situation, the health condition, the personal goals hoped for. It's in these times when a disconnect can exist between the intellectual acknowledgement that God is in control and loves us and the heart experience of longing, discouragement, pain, and disappointment.

In these places that it's so important to continue to lean in to God's promises even when we can't see what's on the other side and when it will come. To trust in the Lord with all our hearts leaning not on our own understanding but allowing Him to direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 paraphrase)

A comfort when I've been waiting in the space between, is reading Psalms. There are so many great passages that worship God and acknowledge Him as creator, almighty and powerful, a rock and refuge in times of trouble. Similarly, there are passages that are brutally honest, crying out to God in times of trouble, expressing pain, and searching for what good can come of very difficult circumstances and how long they'll last.

Whatever you're going through in your season of waiting in the space between, be encouraged that God is with you, He sees you, He knows you, and He loves you.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew
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