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When my husband became a father

June 20, 2011

When my husband became a father, I loved him even more.

The strong hands that held mine – now held tiny little fingers.

The strong arms that held me – now cradled a soft, sleeping baby.

The chest that rested my head – now rested a sleeping newborn, rising and falling to his gentle breath.

And when I see him with them, I know:

Marrying him was the best decision I ever made.

 

Important Sipping Lemonade Subscriber Info

June 19, 2011

I’m switching over hosting (I think that’s what it’s called?) on my website this weekend.

I don’t know anything about it. Hubby’s helping.

The gist is: I can edit the CSS (I think that’s what it’s called?) and do a few more things that I’ve wanted to do with the development.

Anyway, this doesn’t affect you in any way, except:

1. I may not be posting as much over the next 24 to 48 hours.

2. If you are signed up for my RSS Feed, you’ll have to re-sign up (Here’s the new link: New Sipping Lemonade RSS).

3. If you are signed up to receive my daily blog post via email (thank you!), you’ll need to redo that, too. Click here to subscribe by email to the new Sipping Lemonade.

And that’s all.

Besides that, I’ll still be here (sippinglemonade.com)

Have a wonderful Father’s Day!

My Father’s Hope

June 18, 2011

On February 11, 1996, my Father wrote me a letter.

He titled it “My hope.”

The words were typed on an old Apple computer — and though I (a stubborn 14-year-old) probably didn’t act like it meant much at the time, I folded it up, tucked it away, and still have it in a little wooden, puzzle box that sits on a bookshelf in our guest room.

When I thought about what I wanted to write about fatherhood for a Father’s Day post, the letter came to mind.

So I climbed the stairs, opened the box, and peeled back the 15-year-old folds of the now slightly-yellowed paper.

I’d like to share some of the letter with you.

 

Always look at life through eyes of love, hope, and faith. Don’t ever give up your dreams and visions of future things.

Because you can reach your rainbow only by making it happen yourself.

Remember, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” No one can stand in your way of what you want, but you.

Problems, or things you think are problems, are only temporary. Tomorrow, you won’t even remember what seemed like a major problem today. Problems are really challenges that make us better when we have the courage to face them and beat them.

Remember I’ll always be there for you, to protect you and guide you. Like God, I am your father, you’re here because of me, and I am responsible for your care.

You mean everything to me because you are part of me.

Listen to my words of experience, knowledge and guidance. I’ve learned from hurt, disappointment, sleepless nights and restless days.

When all is said and done, and your life on this earth is long, these are the only things that will matter to you and you will look back without regret or sadness:

1. That you did your best in everything — lived every moment to the fullest extent possible.

2. Took advantage of every opportunity.

3. Loved other people.

4. Did the right thing no matter what.

5. Achieved your dream, whatever it may be.

6. That you left everything better than when you found it.

Right now is the first moment of the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter what happened one second ago, one day ago, or one year ago.

What matters is what you do from this second on.

There’s always a sunrise, a new day and a new beginning. Let’s share it together in love, hope and happiness.

I love you,

Dad

 

If I didn’t say it then, Dad — thank you for your hope. It means the world to me, as do you.

And now I can pass down this hope to my children.

 

My Dad, the first day he met me.

Journeys

June 17, 2011

There is a line in a Tracey Chapman song that I love.

It says: “In your arms… where all my journeys end.”

There’s nothing better at the end of an exhausting day or week to come home to the comforting arms of family.

There’s no place like home.

Happy Friday, ya’ll. Hope your weekend is wrapped in the arms of those you love.

 

Pretty, but dumb

June 17, 2011

No, I’m not talking about any Hollywood celebutants with that title. I’m talking about this quote that I read on the Parents Magazine Facebook status this morning:

“Quote for the day: ‘Accept the children the way we accept trees—with gratitude, because they are a blessing—but do not have expectations or desires. You don’t expect trees to change, you love them as they are.’ — Isabel Allende”

At first I was all, “Oh, that’s nice. I like trees. I like babies. I like acceptance. Maybe I’ll post that or Tweet it or save it or something.”

But then, I read it again.

And again.

And then I thought, “Wait — no expectations for our children? No desires for them? That’s actually pretty dumb.”

When I went to comment, I realized that almost 100 people already had — and echoing the same sentiment as me, no doubt.

My favorite: “Ridiculous. That sounds all flowery and poetic but really, its dumb.”

And they continued:

“Good idea, no expectations means useless selfish adults. Brilliant! That’s totally what I want for my kids.”

“This quote is totally misguided and misses the point. A parent’s job is to teach skills like language and set examples, among other things.”

“Foolish. If you don’t hold your children to high expectations they will never hold themselves to high expectations…this quote is garbage!”

I suppose the author may have meant to let your kids “be who they are” in a broader sense. Like, if your kid loves art and hates science, don’t disown them because they don’t become a doctor.

But really — we only live up to the expectations set on us, whether it’s self-imposed or from our parents. We should not only expect our kids to be good: we should expect them to be great.

After all, if you want your kids to fail, tell them that’s what you expect.

 

In dear Isabel’s defense; however, I will say: I like her thoughts on accepting children with gratitude. As much chatter as we make about saving the trees, it is our next generation that is truly our greatest resource.

 

Like a cat out of water

June 16, 2011

Why does my cat do this?

 

 

Every morning, he runs into my bathroom, meowing and purring. He winds around my legs, jumps up on the counter and begs for me to turn on the faucet.

At first, it was peculiar. So I obliged with curiosity.

 

 

But then he got obsessed.

 

 

All I know is kitty can’t get enough of that tiny stream of sink water. (Look at that sandpaper tongue.)

 

 

 

He’s just not that into you

June 15, 2011

When I was in my young 20’s, I read the book, “He’s just not that into you.”

You remember the one — it was a pop hit. It was written by a writer for the hit series, Sex in the City, Greg Behrendt.

At the time, I was foiling over some young suitor who was being flaky and causing me angst.

So I plopped down on my bed with a Coke Zero and flipped through the pages of the book that I borrowed from a coworker.

As silly as a lot of it was, there was an air of wisdom that strengthened my wee little heart. The gist? If he really likes you, if he really is good for you, if it is really meant to be: you’ll know.

And the advice came true. When I met my wonderful husband, there was no drama. No questions. No games. There was no “I’ll call you” and then no calls.

There was no “I love you,” but I treat you poorly.

There was good on paper – and good in person – and a completely healthy individual who never made me feel bad about me.

And yet — it is the crux of the young woman.

She watches The Notebook and believes in happily ever after and dreams of Prince Charming. But then she allows Creepo from the Corner Bar to flake out, manipulate her, lie, bring her down, make her sad, and so on and so on.

She sets expectations for herself, but then keeps her expectations low for her suitors.

She desperately wants happiness, but is only happy when she feels wanted.

And suddenly, this need to be “adored” has only made her into a door mat.

As a secure mama and wife, I look back on my younger self — and on the young women around me (heck, even some not-so-young!) — and wish for them the sense of self that does not fear being alone; but of being with someone less than they deserve.

If only our young women could hold their suitors to higher standards — and see that they deserve to be pursued, doted on and adored for who they really are.

The subhead of “He’s just not that into you” is: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys.

I love that. How often do women not just accept the excuses of a badly behaving man, but make excuses for them?

Here’s an intro page to the book:

Hey. I know the guy you’re dating. Yeah, I do.

He’s the guy that’s so tired from work, so stressed about the project he’s working on. He’s just been through an awful breakup and it’s really hitting him hard. His parents’ divorce has scarred him and he has trust issues. Right now he has to focus on his career. He can’t get involved with anyone until he knows what his life is about. He’s so complicated.

He is a man made up entirely of your excuses. And the minute you stop making excuses for him, he will completely disappear from your life. Are there men who are too busy or have been through something so horrible that makes it hard for them to get involved? Yes, but there are so few of them that they should be considered urban legends. For as already suggested, a man would rather be trampled by elephants that are on fire than tell you that he’s just not that   into you. That’s why we’ve written this book. We wanted to get the excuses out of the closet, so to speak, so they can be seen for exactly what they are: really bad excuses.

I am passionate about this subject because I am passionate about strong families. And strong families begin with strong courtships and choosing the one core-shaking, God-given, soulmate of a person who you can build a life — and a family — with.

And if us girlies waste too much time making excuses for Fuddy McDud, then we’ll never meet Studly McStud. And yes, I just totally went there like a writer for Seventeen Magazine.

But here’s another thought to throw in the mix. I recently read a great blog by Jennifer Fulwiler where she writes:

This weekend the Wall Street Journal ran an article by Kay S. Hymowitz in which she asked: “Where have all the good men gone?”

She wrote:

Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children.

Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. This “pre-adulthood” has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated. But it’s time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn’t bring out the best in men.

“We are sick of hooking up with guys,” writes the comedian Julie Klausner… What Ms. Klausner means by “guys” is males who are not boys or men but something in between.

“Guys talk about Star Wars like it’s not a movie made for people half their age; a guy’s idea of a perfect night is a hang around the PlayStation with his bandmates, or a trip to Vegas with his college friends. … They are more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home.”

One female reviewer of Ms. Kausner’s book wrote, “I had to stop several times while reading and think: Wait, did I date this same guy?”

Boy, did she touch a nerve. Only hours after it was posted, it had 300 comments, most of them from men who basically said: “Right back at’cha.” They wanted to know where all the good women have gone.

A variety of theories were presented in the comments, many of them dripping with animosity. One man wrote:

“Where have the good men gone? The feminists can find us enjoying a good beer and watching golf after a tough week at work. We’d rather clear our head and enjoy the free time we have on our terms instead of trying to pursue women who keep telling us that they don’t need our partnership to buy a home or have a child.”

Another said:

“Feminism’s goal was to make men irrelevant. Now feminists are complaining that men are irrelevant. Sorry ladies, but you get what you pay for.”

It seems like in the dating world, there’s a lot of finger pointing and demands being made on the other gender to straighten up their act. But first, we must straighten our own.

And since this is my blog, I’ll share a few of my humble thoughts on the subject:

1. Date to marry. Don’t date someone who you wouldn’t marry. And on the same note, don’t date someone who you wouldn’t want to have children with. Can you see this person pacing the dark halls of your home at 2 am, comforting a screaming newborn?

2. Be the kind of person you want to attract. If you want someone who loves sports, mama and God — then spend your time pursuing those same interests.

3. Be OK with being single. I think this is the main reason that people stay in unhealthy situations – because they’d rather be there than “alone.” But ah, there’s the rub as Shakespeare would say. Being “single” does not mean being “alone.” It means being free to grow, to learn, to meet new people, to improve yourself, to pray, to listen and to make sure you’re ready when the one arrives.

 

I will end with an email that my beloved Grandma wrote me in 2003:

“Happiness is not a destination but it is an ongoing tour and you make of it what you want.  You can either enjoy where you are and what you do and see. Or, you can feel sorry for yourself and want to be somewhere else and forever be unhappy. Noone makes another one happy if one is not happy with oneself.”

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