A letter to my son

A little over two years ago I wrote a letter to my daughter (linked at bottom). While it also reflects my hopes and prayers for my son, I wanted to write a specific one for just him.

Dear Declan,

Eyes: I pray that your eyes see, really see, every humans worth. That they will not be used for the exploitation or denigration of others. That they wouldn’t be afraid to cry.. like at Remember The Titans. That they would reflect depth. That above all, they would gaze into the glory and grace of Jesus and everything else would grow strangely dim.

Ears: I pray that your ears will never stop hearing the simple things like planes soaring or birds chirping or your sister laughing. That your ears will be quicker to act than your mouth is. That they would be open to hear talks with your dad. That above all, at the end of your life, you would hear your Father say “well done.”

Mouth: I pray that your words would be gentle and courageous; and that they would protect and defend. That its favorite shape would be a genuine smile. That you would use it to enjoy and appreciate good food. Above all that I would hear it loudly sing the praises of your King in the back seat of our car, in the shower, down the aisle from me, and in a village half way across the world.

Hands: That your hands would work hard at whatever they do. That they would help others up when they fall down and reach out to be grabbed when you yourself fall down. That they would firmly shake the hand of both the executive and the man with a sign on the street corner. Above all, that they would be open to receive grace and forgiveness in Christ.

Mind: I pray that your mind would grow in knowledge but even more so, in wisdom. That your mind would be a battle ground against destructive thoughts and a factory for growth, creativity, and reflection. Above all, that your mind would constantly mull over the Words of God.

Feet: I pray that they would jump and run and kick and climb. That they would bring you to the tops of mountains and feel the edge of the ocean wash over them. Above all, that they would go wherever God would lead you.

Heart: Lastly, I pray for your precious heart. That your heart would feel deeply and love fiercely. That it would be big and be brave. That it would have an evident connection to your words and actions. Above all, that it would rest secure and strong; not just as a servant of God but a son of God. A fully known, accepted, held, and loved- son.

No matter where you go, what you do, or who you become, our love for you is settled. And our arms are always an open place for you to run.

I’m glad you’re my boy.

Love, Mom


Postpartum hacks

As of today my baby boy is two weeks old. It’s been two weeks of short nights, curious little eyes, body pains, therapeutic snuggles, moments of utter chaos and so so much sweetness.

While having my second go-around on this new born thing doesn’t at all make me a pro, I decided to compile a list of what I’m calling “postpartum hacks” that have mostly been passed along to me and that I hope to implement during these days.

So to you mamas whose trash is full of diapers, sink is full of bottles, and shirt is full of stains; this ones for you. For us.

1. Read a book or binge watch a show while feeding baby. It’s enjoyable and its effortless, and it will always be a sentimental connection to the new born days.

2. Hide some chocolate… or any treat of choice. When you need a quick pick me up, whip that delicious chocolate (dark for me!) out of your hidden stash and treat yo self. Tastes like deliciousness and adulthood.

3. Be easy on your body. Instead of focusing so much on how your body looks focus more on what your body can do. Remember your body brought forth life and continues to give it daily. Consider the messages your body sends to your baby like warmth, love, safety, and provision.

4. Sleeeep! Every chance you get when you need it.. which is every chance you get.

5. Adjust quiet times. As a Christian these demanding days honestly make “quiet times” with God feel a little daunting. A friend once encouraged me that this season is an okay one to set aside our bible reading plan that has us in Leviticus and instead spend 15 spare minutes in the Pslams. Even if we don’t have the same emotional and mental capacity, our souls need Gods Word. So keep feeding on it, even if it is more like small snacks. *also fill your mind with good music and podcasts.

6. GO! When given the opportunity… get out for bit! Leave the baby for a few minutes with someone you trust and sit at a coffee shop, go on a walk, or just drive around the block with the windows down.

7. Identify energy drains. A podcast I was recently listening to suggested identifying our typical “drain times” during the day. With my first child I discovered quickly that one of mine was during the time between dinner and when Dad gets home (for us about 5:30 to 7:30) This is ironically the time when I’m building an imaginary wall and my daughter, and now son, are simultaneously determined to knock it down and be as close to me as humanly possible.

8. Apply energy fills. Instead of resorting to checking out during this time, though, we should follow up by identifying our energy fills. It might be sneaking away for 3 minutes to lay on our bed and stare at the ceiling, or stepping outside and breathing in fresh air, or closing our eyes and imagining bed time. But it’s finding, and applying, that little something to give us an extra push to get through the day more faithfully and fully.

Well, now I’m going to go eat some chocolate and binge watch Parenthood. Orrrr feed my baby while my toddler is climbing on me. Whatever.

Mom life.

Let’s embrace it.

Let’s laugh.

Let’s snuggle them like we don’t have long.

Let’s count the small wins.

Let’s breath in each precious moment.

I’d love to hear your own ideas! So drop your postpartum must-haves and go-tos below.

Respecting women vs valuing women

In the wake of the recent “me too” movement and the allegations that seem never ending, I’ve been wrestling and considering and wondering how we got here. This issue is complex, uncomfortable, and heavy. But I have wholeheartedly come to the conclusion that it is worth delving into.

And in my attempt at delving, I have come to see a major discrepancy that seems to lie at the heart of the issue. This discrepancy is a disconnect between a culture that promotes outward respect of women yet neglects an inward valuing of them.

What happens in a place where boys have been taught to open doors for girls, yet check them out as they walk through? What happens in a place where guys have the mentality of “ladies first” in line at the store but “me first” when it comes to sex? What happens in a place where men compliment women on a date but whistle at them walking down the street?

Abuse of power happens.

Rape happens.

Porn happens.

Maybe women are emotionally driven feminists who need to calm down. Maybe women are blindly jumping onto some sort of movement. Maybe women are jealous of men. Maybe women are discontent.

Maybe some are.
But maybe some are tired of feeling outwardly respected yet deeply unvalued.

To be clear, I’m not advocating for a submersion of genders. I am not proposing that uniformity is the answer.

I believe diversity and distinction- from gender to race to seasons- is a beautiful God made thing. I think to deny the things that make women unique is actually to do a disservice to the value of them altogether. Just like it pains me to think about other ethnicities and minorities putting aside their history and culture in an effort to function and belong equally, it pains me to see women do this as well.

I think women trying to conform to and compete with men only perpetuates the problem and ironically uplifts men as the standard and goal.

Rather,  I’m advocating for a deep and genuine valuing of women. Women as equal human beings to men and women as gloriously set apart from men.

So, how might we raise a generation of boys to do much more than pay for a woman’s dinner? While this list is no where near exhaustive, I wanted give a few practical every day ways we can all seek to bridge this gap a little more effectively:

  1. Men, defend women verbally. Don’t give into the mentality that “locker room talk” is harmless. Use your voice to speak up and defend. It’s not enough to ignore it or not partake in it.
  2. Women, defend women verbally. Have other women’s backs and don’t laugh off demeaning comments whether they are coming from men or women.
  3. Promote women. Talk about how good they are at something in front of other men.
  4. Ask women what they think. Value their minds by simply asking them what they think about something.
  5. See and define women as more than their roles. See them as individual people.
  6. Stop informing your view of women and sex based off of porn.
  7. Praise women for their unique giftings and abilities as women.
  8. For Christians, seek to distinguish between Biblical womanhood and cultural.
  9. Let little girls explore their personal interests and passions at a young age. Don’t only buy them dolls and dress up. But don’t be afraid to let them love those things either.
  10. Compliment women on more than their looks.
  11. Take no as an answer.
  12. Listen to the experiences of women. Don’t dismiss, defend, or dispute. Really listen with the aim to understand.

Before finishing I just want to say that there are so many men in my life I love and admire. So many men who have both respected and valued me. This blog is not intended in any way to bash or belittle men. Instead, I’m hoping to open up the conversation and give some honest thoughts based off of my own experiences and the experiences of many around me.

Let’s not be afraid to have honest conversations, even if they are hard and uncomfortable.

Sharing openly and listening humbly can do wonders.