Love is spelled T-I-M-E

I took a speed reading course one time with a Groupon deal I had seen. The 3 hour course reviewed methods to help you to start reading 300 page books in a couple hours. I can say I have never truly used the skills I learned that day when reading. I find it makes reading another task to complete instead of it being enjoyable. I suppose I haven’t really given the methods a chance.


I continue however to try and find ways to save time and get more done. I like being productive. It helps me sleep better at night.

As a father though, I have two little girls whose main purpose in life, if I put on my selfish hat for a moment, is to take my time away from me, and to make sure I am as unproductive as possible.

How dare Shiloh ask me to go outside and watch her ride on her tricycle, or stay inside and play with play dough? How dare she get out of her bed saying she can’t sleep, after I already spent 30 minutes putting her to bed. How dare Gracie not fall asleep as soon as she has been washed, fed, changed, and swaddled, complete with crib vibrator and wind/pink noise speakers blaring.

Don’t these kids know that I am a person too, and I need time to myself to get things done or just relax?

Love is spelled T-I-M-E, and each…time…I say, “Yes, I will go play with you outside,” or, “Yes, I will come lay down with you for another 10 minutes to help you fall asleep,” I am actually saying to my kids, “I love you! I love you more than I love time to myself or my own planned schedule!”

I think of the story of Mary and Martha from the Bible, where Martha is busy cooking and cleaning for her guests, who include Jesus, and her sister Mary is just checked out of the busyness, sitting at Jesus feet, giving her time to hear him speak (Luke 10:38–42). Jesus corrects Martha, after she pointed out her sister’s laziness, reminding her that with the Messiah in the room, she is right to be spending time with him while he was still here on earth.

Our children are not God that we should drop all other responsibilities to just play with them all day every day. But I do think that when we throw aside our schedules to spend time with our kids, as the role of earthly fathers echo our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we are reminding our kids that we love them.

And their heavenly Dad loves them even more than you do. He will be with them always, and is always listening and watching, because he will always make time for us. Because he loves us.

7 best worst gifts for a good father


In light of Father’s Day quickly approaching, I thought it might be fun to make a “best gifts” list for good dads. Instead, I went to the other end of the spectrum and I’ve suggested some of the best worst gifts you could give to your father, or to the father of your children.

Here are my best bad gift suggestions for Dad in no particular order:

Marino leather belt
Spare the rod, use a nice belt instead!

Leather belt – $27.99
For the father who loves to discipline his children well, get him this handsome Marino genuine leather dress belt with ratcheting action. His children will never sit comfortably in his easy chair again! …or any chair for that matter.

Hemorrhoid cream
Lose that bump in your rump!

Hemorrhoid cream – $28.40
It relieves the itch, and shrinks the swelling! Many suggest it is the thought that counts. Well, in this case, there’s too much thinking and way too much thoughtfulness going on. I don’t care how much you think he’ll appreciate it. He’d appreciate a punch in the face more. Even if it smells like musk!

Essential oils
Replace your deodorant, aftershave, and motor oil all with this gift set!

Essential oils – $33.99
According to AwakenWithJP and the Ultra Spiritual Life, there is nothing more natural than squeezing 3,000 flower petals for an ounce of oil. I must admit I use a little eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil every now and then. But unless the father in your life is looking to make homemade hand soap like me, he may not know what to do with it apart from cleaning his tools. He will smell like lavender, which I suppose could be an improvement.

Colorectal cancer check kit
Leave the anal gazing to his physician!

Colorectal cancer home test – $29.99
I really shouldn’t have to explain why this is a bad idea. Similar to the hemorrhoid cream, this would be a little over-thoughtful. Mind you, I suppose if you know there is a history of cancer in the family, it never hurts to give him a nudge in the right area for his health. You may however want to leave any anal gazing to his doctor.

Best farter t-shirt
I am so smart! S-M-R-T!

Worlds Best Farter t-shirt – $12.95
There are many things to be proud of in life, including your children, as well as career accolades. Violent flatulence may not be one accolade the father in your life wishes to wear proudly on his chest. Even if he does, don’t encourage him. It just casts the rest of us in the same dark shadow. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all about having plenty of fibre in one’s diet. But let’s be clear: No one can out fart my grandmother anyways. (It’s just a medication side effect! It’s not her fault!)

Inflatable toupee
Ummmmm…

Inflatable Toupée – $6.33
During my last haircut, the stylist advised me of the availability of spray on hair to cover up my thinning hair in the back. Who needs expensive spray-on hair when you can wear an inflatable toupee whenever you need a little extra coverage! He’ll feel years younger! …like before you had kids and pulled all your hair out!

Beer belt
Close refreshment during those Rocky marathons!

6-pack Beer Belt – $24.95
On a more serious note, I am personally very adamantly against drinking alcohol. I do believe it can be enjoyed responsibly by many. Unfortunately, there is such a great majority who are irresponsible when drinking alcohol that it’s not something I can say a good father would do. Does it mean if you drink you’re a bad dad? Not at all!

But for me, all it takes is to watch the local news once or twice, and it’s very easy to see the very negative affects alcohol abuse can have on a family and on society as a whole. As fathers, we are called to set the example for our children and to lead our families well.

What does that look like for me? Alcohol isn’t allowed in the house. What does that look like for you? Maybe it means being careful what you drink, when you drink, where you drink, and maybe with whom. But whenever you drink, if it’s in front of your kids, it should come with instruction. Don’t assume they’ll figure it out on their own. I guess I should write a separate post on this one. In the mean time, if you’re looking for a bad gift, get the beer belt!

Don’t do it! Ok maybe…

Any one of these 7 items would make for a terrible gift! Maybe save them for when you need a good gag gift. When a father turns 40, 50, and 60 years old, these items become some of the best choices for the dad in your life!

Do you have a best worst Father’s Day gift to suggest?

Kindergarten, wasps, and Tae Kwon Do

Today we went to the local primary school for Junior Kindergarten orientation for Shiloh. She’ll be starting school in September. This is our first child to head off to school, so it’s a bit of an apprehensive experience for us.

Wasps

Each student had a coloured name tag which corresponded to the group of other students they would go around the school to the various activity stations. It was very boring to me. But for Shiloh, she was potentially meeting some of her classmates for the first time.

Being in Toronto, I was excited to see how many students Shiloh’s age were not WASP’s (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants). It made me kind of jealous, since there was only one non-white person in the 300+ student primary school I attended as a kid.

At the same time, it’s the first time she will be truly surrounded by so many who will influence her impressionable mind in a way that I cannot fully control. At daycare, at church, I know the environment she is in. At school, it’s very much controlled by the government.

Many parents in our Christian circles are considering or have already decided to put their kid in a Christian private school. I scoff at the idea as I went through public school and came out the other side reasonably unscathed. I’m also too cheap to do that.

Regardless, I am still worried. I have beautiful daughters and in the world we live in, sometimes your mind goes to worst-case-scenario. I know it’s ridiculous to do that. But it is very possible for something very bad to happen.

What can I do, but trust God for her safety and protection. It’s out of my hands. I also pray and ask God to help me to do what is necessary to teach her what is ok and what is not.

As a result I’ve been wondering how old a child has to be before they can learn Tae Kwon Do.

What about you? Did you put your kid in public or private school? How did you prepare your child and yourself for it?

I love you Daddy!

I have had many people tell me that they love me, whether it be the love of my parents, the naive love of a preteen crush, or the deep love that comes from my wife.

I love you Daddy

Love in marriage is so important. It brings two single people together after they’ve considered their prospects, gauged whether they could stand the person for the rest of their life, and hopefully that leads to a commitment that lasts a lifetime.

But then there’s the love a child gives to a parent.

It’s innocent and naive (but in a different way from preteens). Like having a faithful canine, it can be close to unconditional, without asking for much in return–mostly just your time and attention.

Receiving that love is worth every minute I can be around Shiloh–whether she slept well last night or not!

When I lay down with my daughter for a few minutes each night at bed time, and she turns towards me and says, “Daddy, I love you,” without any sort of prompting, it just makes my heart melt. I could have been speaking impatiently with her just a few minutes before, perhaps even have put her on the time-out step. No matter what may have happened, it doesn’t matter. She loves me anyways.

And that just blows me away!

I don’t know what I’m doing when I parent. No one seems to, since parenting styles must adapt to a child’s personality. But I do my best, with God’s help. Nevertheless, I feel undeserving of receiving such innocent love.

It’s the same kind of “innocent” love that we need to give back to God, as we have faith in him. He calls us his children. And just like my daughter loves me and trusts that I will take care of her needs and keep her safe, so I do the same in my relationship to my Father.

I am a great father when I trust in the Great Father.

What’s the best part about being a father? The love of a child.

Pikibu I-See-You Car Mirror [REVIEW]

With the arrival of our second-born imminent, I needed to find a way to be able to see both Shiloh, our three year old, and our newborn at the same time when looking at our secondary backseat mirror in the car.

For Shiloh from birth, we have been using the BRICA Deluxe Stay-in-Place Mirror suctioned just to the right of our stock rearview mirror. When she was rear-facing, we pointed it at our  which was attached to the backseat, forward-facing.BRICA In-Sight

Both BRICA mirrors served us well, apart from the Stay-In-Place not staying in place on its rear swivel after 2 years of use. The Stay-In-Place mirror is magnified so that we see Shiloh’s face up close. But not much else–it’s not wide-angle, and you definitely can’t see another baby seat beside her.

Pikibu Back

After doing some searching online for baby mirrors, there really isn’t much available, and what was available had poor reviews (3 stars or less). One exception to that was the Pikibu I-See-You Car Mirror. It is well rated on Amazon (4.5 stars), so I decided to go for it–even if it was 3-4 times the price ($24.99) of some alternative mirrors. Being able to see my kids in the backseat while I’m driving through 6 lanes of rush hour traffic is important.

The Pikibu mirror comes in one piece, no assembly required. As opposed to so many other baby mirrors that suction to the car window or clamp on to a sun visor, this mirror fits right over top of the stock rearview mirror, adjustable to pretty much any sized mirror by use of two spring-loaded feet. The top feet sit flush and static along the top edge of the mirror, and the bottom spring-loaded feet adjust to the size of your mirror, from the middle of the enlarged mirror to the bottom. This means the Pikibu mirror hangs about an inch lower than your standard stock mirror.

What makes the Pikibu so great and likely the reason the customer ratings are so high on Amazon is the extra mirror real estate it provides. It’s like going from a TV in the shape of a stock ticker and upgrading to a 80″ 4K flat screen right in front of your face. Once the mirror was installed, I could see right across the back seat of my Honda Accord with a glance at the mirror. My daughter loved it as well, as she was able to see my face so much easier with this mirror.

Unlike your standard stock review mirror which features the standard “prismatic wedge” and a telescopic magnified image that allows you to see the images out your back window closer than they actually are, the Pikibu mirror is a simple, flat and wide mirror without any magnification and no magical prismatic wedge. The mirror is easy enough to remove and re-install so that if you are doing some night driving and need to bounce the light out of your eyes from your rearview mirror, you can remove the Pikibu and use your stock mirror.

Blogging as a Dad

I’m not sure where the saying comes from, but it feels fitting to say that when it comes to being a father, I’m still very green behind the ears. I mean my daughter is only two and a half.

Parenting is something else! Even if children came with an instruction manual, each one would be as different from the next one as a snowflake is to its snow storm. So, I suppose I can take solace in the fact that no parent REALLY knows what they’re doing.

happy-fathers-day-greeting-card-or-background

Let’s be honest, parents! We may think we know how to be a good parent. But, assuming you actually have your own children, what worked for one child may not work for the next. Hence, why you can present a parenting conundrum to a group of 6 friends and receive 6 different answers. And forget asking your own parents for the right answer. Sure, they may have a few decades of experience raising you. But what was relevant 20-30 years ago may not “work” today, or may even be considered harmful according to your family doctor.

That being said there are a few constants in parenting that can perhaps be considered universal.

1. Children need food and shelter

Yes, I am Captain Obvious. But as a new parent, one word of advice given to me that put my mind at ease was, as long as they’re still alive after the first year, you have succeeded as a parent. I aced that one! Shiloh is very much alive and kicking.

Parenting is hard, and you won’t get everything right. And there will be plenty of people to remind you you’re doing it wrong–with love of course. But if your baby comes out of his or her first 12 months alive and kicking, you’ve done well! (Now, reach your right hand over your left shoulder, and pat lightly). Good job!

2. Children need love

I spent my Junior year of university in Nairobi, Kenya, studying at an institution neighbouring an orphanage.

How great communicators can SCORRE

Secrets of Dynamic CommunicationIf you’ve ever seen or heard Ken Davis speak, mentioning his name has already brought a smile to your face–he’s a funny guy, and a great communicator. What better person, I suppose, to write a book called Secrets of Dynamic Communication: Prepare with Focus, Deliver with Clarity, Speak with Power.

This is a fantastic book for anyone who desires to communicate well, more specifically those who write and do any sort of public speaking. Being someone who likes to write and speak publicly, I am always looking for good advice as to how to improve my abilities. Continue reading “How great communicators can SCORRE”

Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most by Craig Groeschel [REVIEW]

_240_360_Book.901.coverCraig Groeschel isn’t funny. That’s probably harsh to say about a guy I’ve never met, seeing as how reading such a comment written by someone else towards me would probably hurt my feelings. But I think he knows his jokes are bad–most preachers do. But they still spit punchlines like their paycheque depends on it.

What does that have to do with Groeschel’s new book Fight? Well, if anyone has watched/listened to one of his sermons, you would recognize that he writes in a similar voice. Fight is posed as a book for men, and the general audience target seems to be men married with children–although the content is not exclusive. Groeschel’s basic premise is that all men will have battles that they must fight in life, and God provides the strength we all need to fight like the “warrior” God has made us to be, using the story of Samson in the Bible as an example of everything men should NOT be like.

Maybe I’m simply not the intended target, Continue reading “Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most by Craig Groeschel [REVIEW]”

Heaven is For Real Conversation Kit [REVIEW]

Heaven has to be one of the very few things that people believe exists (far reached from their actual (non-)belief in someone having actually created heaven, let alone earth). It’s a nice idea. It’s a pleasant thought, and somehow makes some the bad times in life that much more endurable–the thought that if your life were to end today, you or some part of “you” would end up in this place people call heaven, usually verbally stated along with a hand gesture pointing towards the sky, perhaps also accompanied by a brief glimpse “up.”

Heaven-Is-For-Real-Conversation-Guide-Burpo-Todd

The big question even for those who joyfully refer to it being “up there” is whether it really does exist. For those who have read their Bibles and trust the words and teaching within it, it is very clear that heaven is a real place where God has “prepared a place” for those who have chosen to accept the gift of salvation provided through Christ’s death and resurrection. Even if you’ve read it in the Bible, you will be left with many questions around Continue reading “Heaven is For Real Conversation Kit [REVIEW]”