A Father Provides

I recently accepted a new job. I love talking about books and selling books to people, so I’m moving on from the retail end of things to the distribution end of things at a world-wide publisher.

There’s that and the chance to make more money. As the father of the household I feel great pressure to bring in the money for my family. One of my goals is to be able to pay for my children’s college education. And before that, I would love to bring enough home, so my wife could work part-time and be home with our daughter. Focusing on the now, I’m trying to just balance the budget.


Spiritual teachers talk about God providing or that the Universe will give us what we need. What’s the address of the scripture mentioning the inability to worship God and mammon? (Matthew 6:24) I struggle with this, mainly because I already think I know what I need. I need a six-figure income. I need a SUV hybrid. I need to remodel my bathroom.

But none of those things are happening right now. And truly nothing is more important than health:  mental, physical and spiritual. I guess God is giving me what I need right now.  I feel the healthiest I’ve ever been. I just need to open my eyes and see it. I need patience. I need gratitude. I need to learn how to budget accordingly and enjoy the things I have. I could use some extra sleep.

Joel Osteen’s newest book, The Power of I Amhe talks about moving along different tiers. He discusses the idea of being content where I am in order to move to the next “tier” of my journey.

That’s an interesting thought. I’ve been through the job transitions previously. Twice in the past five years actually, but one internal promotion situation in particular comes to mind prior to the two job transitions. I was really gunning for the director position. I had worked hard at the various marketing positions in the company, and I was positive my time had come to take over the department. I wasn’t happy at the previous positions, but I was sure that the new position of authority would bring me the happiness I was seeking.

When it came time to interview for the position, and my boss at the time explained why he didn’t see me in the position, I let him know my feelings on this. I let him know why I was exactly the person he was looking for to make things happen at the organization. And after I stormed out of his office with tears of frustration swelling. Yeah, I showed him.

It actually worked. The squeaky wheel does get the grease. I received the promotion I wanted. Or at least the promotion I thought I wanted.This increased my pay and gave me power. However, I still wasn’t happy.

I wasn’t content at either tier, so eventually, after another year and a half of struggling effort on my behalf, my position was eliminated at the company. God took away the tier.

I am still learning to be happy where I am. A beautiful wife. Two health children. Gainfully employed. A roof over my head and two working cars. And I’m still working on being content. More often than not I am. Just get me to the next tier? The truth is I don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay for two kids in full-time daycare. I don’t know how I’d make a car payment for a larger car.

All I know how to do is put one foot in front of the other and continue to ask for His help. Thy will be done. So help me God.


Ever Evolving or Staying Frustrated

I know a teenager whose mom is bringing him into a therapist. He’s not the first and won’t be the last teenager to be brought to therapy. But it made me reflect on times in my own life when I’ve been unhappy.

These times were times when I wanted something but couldn’t get it. Or I thought my life should be a certain way.

It’s the discontented feeling I get when I feel like my infant daughter should be going to bed right away when my wife and I set her in her crib at 11 p.m. It’s the restless feeling I get when I look around at the house and everything seems out of order. Things shouldn’t be like this.

And the flip side is when things are going smoothly, or the way I think they should be going, and then things change. Change, I’ve always heard to embrace it or try to fight it, and we both know where fighting it will go.

Writing this is much easier than practicing it. Don’t do as I do, do as I write, right? If I could preemptively cut down my difficulties it would be myself two questions:  1. What is guiding my life at this moment? 2. How do I know what is supposed to be happening right now? Can someone text this to me when I start to get tight with and undercurrent of overwhelming?

Raising a child for the past four years has humbled me to let go of their current stage. There was a part of me that saddened when my son moved up stairs from his nursery room across the hall to his “big-boy” room. The move from toddler room to the pre-school room left a little hole in my heart.

Since the beginning of my parenthood career, I’ve learned that everything is a stage. My infant daughter just departed her bed-side bassinet for the crib in her own room. And I was much more accepting this time around.

My kids have taught me that everything is a stage, and that we are always evolving to the next platform. It was always easy for me to stay stagnant, stay 23 and care-free for a decade. But the truth in the matter I wasn’t growing. I was hanging on to what I thought were the good ol’ days.

Looking back now on those “good ol’ days” I’m realizing that today’s days are the good ol’ days that I will truly treasure.

Not As I Do

This morning showed me how much growing my son has been doing. And then I had to go and revert back, reminding me that age has nothing to do with maturity.

By 6:30 in the morning he was dressed and breaking in his new shoes by sprinting around the hallways of our house. The house is built in a way that allows for walking in a circle from our kitchen to the front hallway to the front room, dining room and back to the kitchen. Repeat as many laps as your race allows.  

He accepted my help when pouring cereal. I felt like he was waiting from me to get ready and get out the door as he played with coloring sheets. Wow, quite a role reverasal for your average morning. 

Then I started to nag on him. “Five minutes and it’s time to go.” Over and over as I counted down the minutes into a set of closed ears attached to a head and body that would much rather stay home. Yes, I would rather stay home today, too, but there are concequeces. Like lack of money. 

I huffed and puffed as I made several trips with bags to the car. And then he screamed when I went to help with shoes. The type of scream that touches the damaging decibel level. I told him that I don’t appreciate the screaming and left the scene that developed into tears. And here we are, once angry dad and one crying pre-schooler. 

It ended with me carrying him to the car and driving to pre-school solemnly. Thankfully, my four-year old is an example of forgiveness. As Christians have been taught to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The drive to school involved the cloud of my faults hanging over the car. I worked to explain to him my apologies. I know he moves on easily. My adult human mind gets in the way and can hang on to things that happen to me. The biggest challenge for me is to forgive myself.

Because I’m at fault by nature. Some call it sin. Some call it selfishness. Call it what you will, I want to be forgive, so I continually work to forgive others.

Making My Legacy

I’m a dreamer. Or at least I used to be. I used to dream of owning my own business, maybe a coffee shop. Maybe a consignment shop, or I thought of starting my own public relations agency. Then I became a dad. 

I’ve dreamed of changing the world though a start up nonprofit. I also started writing songs and envisioned an album deal with fame and fortune. Yes, I dream of a little bit of everything. I’ve always dreamt of fatherhood.l but once I actually obtained it, I wanted more.

Becoming a father was a life change that I wasn’t prepared for, because I still envisioned getting all of these big dreams done while being a father. The reality was that something had to give. 

I know the most important thing on my list of life accomplishments is being a good father, but there are times where I am so critical about myself–whether that’s my job or affairs at home or how I am handing a situation with my kids–that I feel I need to obtain something more in order to be considered a good father. A better job, a cabin or a popular new business. 

I feel like a big piece of being a good father is being a good provider, and I want to provide everything and anything to my family they desire. But the hard but blessed truth is that everything comes from God. 

So I have to step back and ask Father what He wants me to be to be a good father. And when I listen, really listen without my objective perspective, I hear that it doesn’t matter what my job is or if my yard needs work and my car is 13 years old. What matters is my actions.

My actions as a father communicate more to my children than what my adult brain cares about. My son doesn’t care what kind of car I drive. He doesn’t care if I’m working a minimum wage job. And I feel that God doesn’t care either. What He cares about is how I am treating my family and those around me because that is how I can show His work in me.

As long as I stay connected with God. This is the only way I can be a decent father. John 17:26 says, “I have made you known to them, and I will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

I know I could work hard and obtain riches from this world but if I am not instilling love in my children, and in my family, then what good are all the riches of the world when my kids or wife do not want to be around me?

No, You Can’t It’s Your Birthday


Usually the first word learned by a developing child. I know it ranked high on my son’s list when he started talked, but I can’t remember his exact first word.

At four-years of age, he is quick to say it but hates to hear it. “No,” I don’t want to get pajamas on. “No,” I don’t want to try the cooked broccoli. “No,” I don’t want to leave the park. He clearly states his boundaries. I like a guy who knows what he wants.

But when I say, “no” you can’t use the handle of that toy to continuously slap the couch, there is an outrage as if he injured a limb. “No,” you can’t sit balanced precariously on the armrests of two dining-room chairs. “No,” you can’t stay up past 10 p.m. just because it is your birthday. It’s as if I said chocolate no longer exists.

My personality is to people-please, so it’s taken me a while to get over the fact that there are points in parenthood when you are hated. Really hated. The you’re-never-going-to-play-with-me-again kind of hated. It’s almost like I don’t remember my teen years (especially blurry near the end).

My four-year old is like a three-and-a-half foot teenager purposely pushing my buttons just to watch my blood pressure go up. Lord, help me. And He does, usually in the form of a generous compliment or a hug from my son.

If I compare my relationship with God, its easier for me to say no. I’m able to cut off the playtime boundaries and end it when I remain with Him. After all, God doesn’t give me everything I want like some spoiled little brat. May I have a new car? Can I pour myself into my job and make big money while traveling the world with my family?

My personal experience boils down to why do I want these things. If I want a new car simply for vanity, God isn’t going to grant my wish. If I ask for a larger car to support my growing family at His will, maybe that’s a different story.

The verse from Luke 11:11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” reminds me that I should listen to my son.

So my son asks to play for an extra 10 minutes in the morning before heading to work pre-school. Okay, I don’t have an early meeting, so “yes.” I want to teach him not to rush. Or maybe he can bring the toy along in the car and play as we drive to school.

Really, it boils down to what does God what to teach us because when I think about the things I want to teach my son–perseverance, patience and to relax for example–He wants these same things for my son.

But my question to you is how do I go about balancing my sons requests with what I feel he should be learning?