Gift 45 – Your Mommy

So let’s talk for just a minute.

Your mom, there’s no one like her.

By the time you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve already realized that she’s the prettiest woman in the world (but for real), that she’s an extremely hard worker, that she loves gardening, loves watching thunderstorms, and loves animals as much as St. Francis of Assisi (before we were married she once abandoned me on a date to rescue a lost kitten). You already know that she is a thoughtful gift giver (you have an Ewok costume waiting for you for your first Halloween), an amazing muffin-maker, and that she thinks the people on the Today Show are her friends. And of course, you know by now that she loves you more than anyone in the entire world.

But I want to tell you a few things about your mommy that you might not know. I want to tell you why I love her so much and why she will always be my best friend…

  • I used to have a lot of really bad dreams. Before we got married, I knew I could call her even in the middle of the night and she would pray for me. She did regularly. After we got married she would often read to me from the Bible or from books she knows I love. Here’s a journal entry from Nov. 2012: “I woke up in the middle of the night after having a bad dream. My sweet wife got up and read The Lord of the Rings to me until I could fall back asleep. How blessed am I? Thank you, Lord.”
  • She’s always game for an adventure. We’ve already had several wonderful camping trips in the three years we’ve been married. Your mom is always ready for a road trip (though be warned, she’s a terrible D.J.). There are few things I love more than exploring Michigan with her. Even more importantly, she’s always willing to step out in trust when we believe God is calling us on an adventure. I remember sitting next to her in church the morning we heard about a foster care opportunity through Bethany Christian Services and her eagerness to find out more about the program. Though we felt like kids ourselves, and were by far the youngest foster care parents at any of the meetings, the seven weeks spent with our first foster daughter were unforgettable. I remember thanking God countless times during the process for such an organized (there’s lots of paperwork involved), compassionate, and patient wife.
  • Your mom does way more than you know. I’m sure of this because she does way more than I know. She is always giving of herself to ensure things are just right for you and me. Even though she has about 20 more jobs than I do, she also sacrifices at home by making us wonderful food, cleaning our clothes and the house, and by picking up after the dogs (and let me tell you!). The reason you might not realize all that your mom does is because she doesn’t talk about it. She doesn’t even complain or draw attention to all her hard work!
  • One time when we were dating her little brother got sick and started puking. While I was gagging in the background, I remember her getting down on her hands and knees in the bathroom to rub his back.  Wow, I thought, she’s the kind of person you want to marry. 
  • Your mom goes out of her way to make me feel special. Our love languages are different, and yet when she found out I value words of encouragement she started putting notes in my lunch. She often writes me little messages or emails during the day to let me know she’s thinking of me. Speaking of going out of her way to show love, did I mention that she came with me for the midnight showing of Harry Potter and all three Hobbit movies?!

The truth is, while I am so so excited to be your dad, I’m also a little bit afraid. Having your mom by my side gives me so much confidence and joy for all that lies ahead for us as a family. We make a good team, and we can’t wait for you to join us.

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Gift 24 – Second Chances


A few weeks ago your mom and I had several couples over for dinner.  We got talking about proposal stories and ended up going around the table, each couple sharing the story of their engagement.

I was hoping the conversation would change before it got to us because my proposal to Amanda wasn’t anything special.  To be honest, it was completely lame.  I’m not saying that proposals need to be grandiose complete with hot air balloon rides to Paris or anything, but I really didn’t do anything to make her special or even appreciated.

When the conversation came to me I said, “Um, well, I pretty much just asked.”

“You didn’t do anything?  Like did you even take Amanda out for dinner, or give her flowers or something?” a friend questioned.  “Nope.  Just asked,” I said a little bit embarrassed.  The awkwardness passed, though as the evening went on an idea began growing in my mind: who says you can’t propose a second time?

Last week we celebrated our second anniversary, and I’m pleased to say I had the chance to re-propose to the woman I love (I’m also pleased to say that she said yes :)).  This time I made sure to show her how thankful I am to have her in my life.


Here’s the point, son.  It is all too easy to become comfortable and complacent in the relationships that matter most in life.  I’m talking about one-word responses, thoughtless gifts given only because of a holiday, and even just monotone conversations that become the norm.  If you’re not careful, your relationship with family and friends will become crusty like food forgotten in the back of the refrigerator.

To quote the great philosopher Taylor Swift, “Life makes love work hard.”   Though I hate to say it, Taylor’s right.  Life happens, and loved ones can get pushed to the backseat pretty quickly.  A little thoughtfulness, creativity, and surprise can go a long way in keeping relationships healthy.  When I become robotic as a husband, son, or friend, I’ll often be gently shaken back to attentiveness by one of many kindhearted friends in my life who live what I’m talking about.  One friend and colleague writes an encouraging note to someone just about every single day.  He’s been doing this for over 8 years!

Right now is a good time to do something out of the ordinary to show appreciation for someone in your life.  So think, then do.  Right now.  Go out of your way to make a friend’s day, or take a second chance to repair something you should have done right the first time.  Just remember, son, you only get one opportunity to re-propose, so make it special.

Gift 4 – Perseverance

Son, I want to tell you the story of how I got to marry your mom.

There was this beautiful girl I’d seen a few times in a college Bible study. We knew each other a little bit—she knew my name and I knew hers, but that was about it. I wanted to get to know her better and told one of my best friends, Ron. Well, Sunday after Church Ron and I went to The Wooden Shoe restaurant for lunch, and lo and behold, the beautiful girl from Bible study was working there! What luck! Unfortunately, Ron didn’t realize that this was the girl I’d been talking about; he basically blew my chances of getting to know her by fleeing the restaurant (and taking me with him) when he heard about free waffles somewhere else.

We got to the car.
Me: “Ron, you idiot, that was the girl!”
Ron: “Oh shoot, I’m so sorry, let’s go back in.”
Me: “No, we’re not going back in! We’d look even more crazy if we did that!”
Ron: “Well let’s come back next week then.”

And we did. A group of friends and I came back the next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, for something like 8 weeks in a row just to have this girl as a waitress (Stalker-ish? Maybe). Finally, after 8 weeks of small talk I knew I had to make a move. “So, what are you studying in college?” I asked.

“I’m a nursing major and Spanish minor,” she replied.

Close enough, I thought to myself. “I love Spanish!” The truth is, son, I knew about 3 words in Spanish.

“Oh yeah? Would you be interested in helping teach an ESL class for Spanish speaking adults in the community with me on Tuesday nights?”

“Um…yes, I would love that.”

She walked away; my friends all looked at me like I was crazy. Great, I thought, I’ve got one week to learn Spanish.

To make a long story a little shorter, we began teaching the class together and it didn’t take long for her to realize I was a fraud (on the first day I showed a picture of my 1 year old niece to the class and communicated, in Spanish, that the little girl was my girlfriend). But I stuck it out, learned a bit more Spanish, and eventually got a dinner date with this beautiful multi-lingual waitress who is now my wife.

While this might sound like perseverance, to be honest, it’s really not. Running after a beautiful girl (and even pretending to speak foreign languages to spend time with her) isn’t really all that difficult. The difficult part comes later, and this is the gift I want to point you towards. True perseverance starts when your desire to move forward stalls. When instead of excitement and romance, you’re figuring out who will pay bills, who will scoop the dog poop from the yard, who will clean up all those dirty dishes in the sink. Perseverance is all about the decisions you make to keep serving, to keep loving, and to keep hoping in life when it would be easier not to. This is what will make you a dangerous man. And though this is extremely difficult at times, the man who perseveres becomes a little more like the Leader of our tribe, and will someday taste the sweet fruit of his resolve that so many have forgone in search of a happiness that comes without perseverance—a kind of happiness that doesn’t exist.

Adios por ahora 😉