Morning Musings


I’m not sure why I wake up in a better mood some days and others I don’t. I assume it has something to do with the amount of warm morning light I see, and probably the amount of restful sleep I get, too. 

But some days I wake up and I feel like I’m ready to take on the world and its issues. 

It has to help that I saw wonderful sunlight coming through my bedroom window blinds creating deep dark contrasting lines onto our dresser, right? My son stood in sunlight pouring in from my window with his bowl of Frosted Flakes. It immediately caught my attention and put me in a better mood. I snapped a photo with my phone and posted it on Instagram. 

The view from my bed.


The morning routine the last couple weeks has been nearly a ritual. I get up at 6:00am for the girls in my home that leave for morning weights and fitness. They have about five minutes or so to get what they need from the kitchen and then leave for the field house on campus. 

I’m often groggy, as are they. But by this point in the summer it’s just what it is. My six and five year olds often wake up around this time, and so I attempt to be as quiet as I can so that I don’t accidentally wake them up. My wife on the other hand is always in a deep sleep laying motionless in bed at this point in the morning (and well-after). 


It was recently the summer solstice, so the sun rises even earlier than I do right now. I can’t say that for most of the year. 

The light coming through my bedroom window.


At 8:00 or so, I begin my coffee ritual. I pour and measure my beans, grind them, and brew them using whatever method suits me for that day – Chemex, Aeropress, French press. They all have their perks.

At 8:15 the rest of the girls in my house get up and ready for their day. It’s kind of a chaotic scramble. Sounds of cereal bowls being filled, toast popping up from the toaster, the smell of the cheap Folgers coffee the girls drink fills the air. (I don’t let them touch my good stuff.) 

Before the girls leave for the morning, their dishes are placed in the dishwasher, the floor is swept, their rooms are clean. They leave at precisely 8:52am each day because that is the amount of time it takes to get to school by 9:00 without finding extra time to get into the trouble that so easily entices them. 


A little before 8:00am my wife flops herself out of our bed with a sense of bitterness because it is, once again, that time of day where she has to get out of bed and do stuff. 

She gets the boys ready for summer school, prompting them about five or ten times to put on their daytime clothes, socks, and shoes. 

The boys have been up for at least an hour and a half at this point in the morning. They’ve begged me for seconds and thirds of their morning’s cereal. I usually give in. But sometimes I don’t. 


My wife takes the boys to their summer school while I carry out the morning routine with the girls. She usually gets back right as the girls are leaving for school, at 8:52. 

The next couple hours of time are precious. They are the only part of the day in which we do not have the boys home with us. They get picked back up at 11:50, and we have to leave at 11:30 to go get them. 


One of our girls is sick in bed today. She’s not been feeling well recently. But when that happens one of us has to remain at the house. So in a way, we are trapped at home for the day. But that’s ok.

So today I decided to go outside on the front patio, to enjoy the sunlight and that wonderful morning air. I made another cup of coffee, grabbed an Annie Dillard book, my camera, and came to sit and read. 

My morning reading and second cup of coffee.


Reading authors like Annie Dillard only can last so long before I want to write something down myself. And so here I am on my phone, in my Notes app, writing. It’s ok. I find it extremely relaxing. No boys running around to account for. My wife went back to bed, as she does. And so it’s just me, my camera, my coffee, and Annie. 


I smell summer flowers. I hear so many summer sounds. Both the sounds of nature and of our industrialized modern world. The repeating melodies of songbirds mixed with the growl of motors from various lawnmowers and lawn equipment. The chirping squirrels and the beeps of people going in and out the door of the police station, which is the building adjacent to me. 

A bird on the roof.

The clouds are moving quickly today. A slight breeze keeps things cool. It’s supposed to get up to 85 degrees today. A true summer day.


A spiderweb stretches from the blue patio umbrella to the flowers to the chair, swaying in the wind, shimmering in the sunlight. 

A bird dances a half-hearted dance on the roof of my building. What is she looking for? 

A bee lands briefly on the vibrant flowers in front of me, but didn’t seem to find anything worthwhile. 

The clouds are slowly getting bigger and puffier, and the sun is being hidden more and more frequently. The patio goes from nearly too bright to just right, but both are nice in their own way.

A few of my neighbors have passed by with warm mid-morning greetings. A couple even thanked me for the “good word” I gave on Sunday at the Protestant church here on campus.

I spoke on the book of Micah this past week, filling in for the Pastor who was away giving a message at summer camp at Lake Okoboji in Iowa.


I have only read two pages of the Annie Dillard book I took off the bookshelf. But I figured this would happen. And I’m totally ok with it. 

A weird coincidence. But such is life.

Out of control


The cooler temperatures have stuck around well into the fifth month of this year. Winter stretched on for what seemed much too long, and the cooler temperatures of early spring seem to be overstaying their welcome.


Most mornings this season I have woken up to gray and dreary days. And for whatever reason that dramatically impacts my mood. Even though I am aware of this, I am unable to change it. And that seems makes it worse.

On the flip side, days where I wake up to ribbons of sunlight dancing on my bedroom wall I am simply a better person. My patience is much higher. My energy levels are high. And I’m motivated to make healthy decisions.

How can something like sunlight or the lack of sunlight impact me so much?


It’s frustrating that elements like weather can affect me so much. My mental health is very important to me. And so I need exercises to help me remain healthy on the gray days as well.

Interestingly enough, physically exercising does help my mental health quite significantly. The catch 22 there is that I have to have the mental fortitude to see past my current mood and remember how I feel after working out. When I choose to do that in the morning, it impacts the rest of my day positively. I just have to convince myself to do it.


Reading. Journaling. Writing. Listening to podcasts. Keeping my apartment clean. These things definitely help me, too.


I do very much love sunny days with dramatic light and shadows all around. A cool breeze. But I can’t put so much weight in letting those days impact my mood, either. I set myself up for failure when I do that.

I live in the midwest after all.


Recently my wife was on a walk and talking with one of the newest girls in our home. (We have nine teenagers that now live with us.) The sun was shining, there was a nice light breeze, and there are flowers all around.

My wife made a comment like, “Doesn’t this weather just make you so happy! It’s so beautiful! The smell of the flowers, the warmth of the sunlight, the cool breeze.”

The girl replied, “Not really.”

Kind of shocked, my wife asked, “What weather do you like?”

“I don’t like weather.”


Depression is a daily struggle for many people. When the world seems to lose its colors, people tend to stay in the shadows. We all want to experience the highs of life. Many of us attempt to escape the lows of life through drugs or alcohol.

And yes, you will experience a high that way. It just doesn’t last very long, and the crash back down to the bottom is a hard one.

We want to think that life is made up of mostly highs, but it’s not. But the thing is, life isn’t made up of mostly lows either. Life is mostly in the middle. It’s often…blah. Monotonous. The same stuff every day.

Some of us struggle to live in that middle area. The in-between. We’d rather experience lows or highs than have to live in that middle area every day. But for those of us who find ourselves in that category, much of life is learning how to find rituals and routines that we actually like. Structure that creates environments that we are more likely to notice the little details of life that have meaning if we simply pay attention.

There is a bigger narrative going on behind the everyday routines of our lives. When we start to notice that bigger narrative, I find that our brain starts to be ok with the in-between. Because at first we think the devil is in the details, but with closer inspection we realize that’s where God resides and carries out his daily business.

thoughts after // after thoughts


Last Thursday my Grandma died at 99.
Then one of my heroes, Rachel Held Evans, died on Saturday at 37.

These two occurrences have kept me in a reflective mood.


When I’m in a reflective mood like this I feel a deep itch inside me that seems to only be reached through writing. I’m not really sure why that is, but I’m glad to be able to do it.

The thing is, I just have lots of random thoughts, impressions, that kind of bounce around in my head. I’m not really sure if any of them are connected or even coherent when put to words.


I am constantly thinking about the layers of history we are a part of at all times. The physical places I inhabit on a daily basis have been inhabited by generations before me in all sorts of ways.

We had the funeral for my grandma at the church she was a lifelong member at. It’s where my dad’s family grew up going to church. We had a little lunch reception after the funeral in the basement kitchen and cafeteria area. The same one that my dad and his siblings hung out in as kids. Same walls. Same floor. Probably the same photos hanging on the wall. And here we all were, almost the entire family sitting together. New generations coming to celebrate the life of and mourn the death of my grandma.

That’s not really deep or inspirational or thoughtful even, but I’m always intrigued by how time folds in on itself in various physical places. How timelines of various people and family scatter for years upon years. Sometimes decades. And then those timelines intersect again. Blips on the timelines of our lives, but significant blips that are all shared. Blips that ultimately help define what a family truly is in this world of ours.


Childhood memory is interesting and complicated. After the funeral we went over to my aunt and uncle’s house and stayed there for some time talking and looking through photos. Swapping stories. And my mind transports me back to the times when I was just a kid around these very same people. Running around carefree. Now I’m the adult, and my two boys run around with their cousins.

Nostalgia is a tricky thing. But at times like this, the nostalgia kind of has a very dull pain to it for me. The good ol’ days are no more. The days when I was young and these adults were all young, and through my young eyes everybody seemed happy. But we are all now looking so much older. And time has spared no one, some it has stolen away.


Rachel’s death is still so freshly affecting my heart to a point that I’m not sure I’m able to write about it quite yet.

But as I ask the questions of why I am reminded of how she wrote about why children ask so many questions. It’s not really for a clear definitive answer. They want attention, they crave a conversation. And so it perhaps is most beneficial to tell them a long story about why the sky is blue or what the moon is or why elephants have long noses rather than to give them some scientific answer.

Her point in all that was that God rarely seems to give definitive answers to our why questions. Instead, he chooses to tell us stories. And his stories are long and filled with all sorts of depth of meaning and attention. Oh how he must love us.

So I say all that to wonder how Rachel’s death fits into the story God is telling us today. What is going on in this crazy world of ours?

A Root Cause for Fickle Emotions


I woke up this morning feeling emotional.


I usually sleep very well. Extremely well. But last night I woke up around three times that I can remember. I have a faint feeling like I was having bad dreams. But I cannot remember any of them.


Which made me wonder what is really going on in my brain right now. I know I was fairly feisty and moody yesterday. I chalked it up to being tired from the night before. (I was out late on my weekly Taco Ride bike ride.)

But it’s clearly more than that.


I brought my mood up with a couple friends and they suggested that it might be that a lot of the emotions from the past couple weeks’ drama in my house is catching up to me. I’ve been on autopilot up until now.

I do think there’s truth in that. But it’s not the root. But I think I can identify the root.




Micah has been on an extremely low carb diet. This in and of itself has added stress to my life. Always having to think ahead about what he will be eating. What he is willing to eat. Limiting his carbs. And his constant nagging of saying that he is hungry.

Micah’s behaviors are a constant drain of energy. I cannot leave him alone for any amount of time. He has to be constantly observed and entertained, or else things get crazy. So just that in and of itself is a constant source of stress for me. But things between him and his brother have seemed to get worse. They are always fighting and bickering. Punching, kicking, throwing things, biting. It’s a battle everyday.

Micah has had lots of ear infections recently. Ones that seemingly never go away. And so, long story short, he is going to get tubes in his ears soon. They will also take out his adenoids. And while they are at it, they are going to clip his tongue tie. All in one surgery. He’ll be under general anesthesia, which is definitely a source of stress. And for me it’s bigger than I anticipated.

I imagine him lying motionless on a surgery table. His little self. And it really bothers me. I don’t really know why it bothers me so much, but that image is deeply disturbing to me.

Micah starts school on August 13th. He’ll be in a regular kindergarten. Riding a regular bus. All day. Every day. I just can’t imagine things going smoothly. I don’t anticipate it at all. Even within the first day he’ll be up and walking around on the bus. No doubt. And he’ll probably get made fun of by the older students. And I, I’m not doing well with that in my mind.

An entire day of school? Seriously? It sounds really great if it works out. I’m so excited for him. But I just can’t imagine it. He can’t stay seated in a chair for more than three seconds. I have no idea how this is going to work.

That’s probably the tip of the iceberg. But I know that.


Someone in one of the Kabuki Syndrome groups I am in posted that her daughter died. Out of respect I won’t say who or what group, but there’s a part of her post that really was just…I don’t know…so real to me. I can’t help but tear up when I imagine her life at this point.

Last night we lost our sweet ——–. She put up such an amazing fight until the very end. I really don’t know how I will adjust to life without her but my heart is shattered in every way possible. I cannot believe she’s gone, our little girl is gone…. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. What a fucked up life this is… The only thing keeping me sane is knowing that she is no longer suffering. No more pokes, no more pain, no more wires, nor surgery, just rest.

What a post.

Because I do sometimes think, “What a fucked up life this is…”

I don’t mean to be crass. If there is ever a time for using the f-word it is in this context. But man, this world sometimes. The stories. The suffering. The struggle.


Life is just too short to be angry. To buy lots of shit. We have to invest in each other. What else is there?


There are days where I just want to go through all my things and get rid of almost all of it. Cut down my belongings to my computer. camera and lenses. A few sets of clothes and shoes. My watch. My bike.

I sometimes have these nagging feelings to just do that. We have so many toys with so many small parts. The house gets messy every single day because of the kids. It drives me bonkers.

Laundry. Toys. Trash. Mail.

It never ends.


The end.

Sifting and shifting


My home right now is down to five girls. It feels a bit strange after having eight for most of this year. Two girls have left our home in the last week. And their departures were, well, not truly “successful.”


It makes things complicated.

For one of our girls, she was in our home for maybe 10 months. And it wasn’t truly until the last couple months that things started to go downhill. And that’s really sad to me. There’s such an opportunity to leave well and with a good relationship, a lasting one in which we can stay in contact for years to come. But she did not leave in that way. She left by giving girls marijuana as a goodbye present. And manipulating things behind our backs (even though we knew she wasn’t being honest).

And to me, that’s just taking all the progress and social capital you’ve built and throwing it down the drain.


The other girl who left our house this week left after only being in our home for about three weeks. And she had moved to our home from another because of her behaviors. She had some pretty nasty sneaky behaviors. She only needed a couple credits to graduate, however, and so we worked with her on a plan to be able to take two classes online intensively over the course of two weeks, while she finished up her summer classes, to be able to “graduate.”

Her situation is complex, but we do sincerely hope for the best for her and her family. Her parents are super kind and wonderful people, and I hope that things are able to settle down for them and her.


That’s one of the hardest aspects of this job. You can pour your life into these girls, and they can accept the help for a while, but they can still crash and burn out of here. Or reject your help at the end just because they are determined about getting out.


It feels like sometimes they just think that we see our role in their lives as a job. But we don’t see it really as a job. We can’t. We see it as a lifestyle. A calling, almost. It’s something we choose to live and be, not just do.


So right now we are left with our five. And they’re all in trouble because of the weed that our former girl gave them. But this is our crew. I love the five of them dearly. I told them yesterday that I’d fight anyone for them to stay with us and be successful. And it’s true.

I hope they understand this isn’t a job to me. We’ve chosen to live this life because we care about them deeply.

Mo Cheeks in my ideal self

I heard a story recently that I want to share:

It’s 2003. The Portland Trailblazers are losing in playoffs 0-2.

(This story isn’t about sports, but hang with me…)

Before the game, a 13 year old girl name Natalie Gilbert, who had recently won the “Get the Feeling of a Star” promotion, stepped up to sing the national anthem. She’s wearing a nice dress. And she looks pretty nervous. She gives a small smile, gathers her composure, and once the applause quiets down she begins singing.

It starts off pretty well. It sounds like what you might imagine a good 13 year old singer would sound like.

“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed…”

But then she messed up a few of the words. And she stops.

She gives a short and nervous chuckle as the place grows completely silent for a short moment. Then there’s a few encouraging cheers and yelps. And then cheers of 20,000 fans trying to reassure her.

The girl, still struggling, puts the mic up to her forehead in complete embarrassment. She then looks for her dad in the stands. She looks for some help. Some rescue.

And rescue comes.

A man in a grey suit approaches her and says, “It’s all right, it’s all right. Let’s go, let’s go.”

He walks up to her puts a hand on her back, and another hand on her hands in support, and attempts to jumpstart her singing. He tries to throw out the next words while singing himself. He doesn’t sing well, and he doesn’t even get the words right himself. But it doesn’t matter.

She starts singing again.

And he doesn’t stop. He keeps on standing there with her, singing along in the background, hand on her shoulder. His voice is actually pretty terrible, and she has just a couple hiccups herself as she continues. But by this point, it doesn’t matter at all. The whole stadium is now standing, and 20,000 people join in with Natalie as she sings the rest of the national anthem.

It’s a powerful moment.

The man who rescued her was Mo Cheeks, head coach of the Portland Trailblazers.

That man probably had a million things on his mind about that game before it started. Things he wanted to say and to do to make sure his team didn’t go down 0-3 in the playoffs.

But when he noticed Natalie struggling he instantly walked up to help. He saw the need, made himself vulnerable before a huge room of people, and did an amazing thing for a 13 year old girl.

That room was changed. People were inspired.

The story could have been one of pity and perhaps, sadly these days, one of ridicule – when a 13 year old girl messed up singing the national anthem. But Mo Cheecks stepped in along side of her and saw a much bigger picture at hand. He not only was rooting for this girl’s success, but he did something himself to actually help her to be successful.

Was it the most beautifully that she’s probably ever sang the national anthem? No way. But it was the best that she’s ever sang it because she stuck it through, accepted the help, and kept going. The entire stadium soon was singing too.

Two thoughts:
1. Mo Cheeks is my ideal self in this situation. I try to notice the bigger picture around me and ways to not simply root for people, and especially teenagers, to do well, but to do something about it myself. To metaphorically walk up to the 13 year old girl, show my support by leading by example and by being authentic, shaky voice and all. Because it doesn’t just help one person, it can inspire many others at the same time who happen to be witnessing it. We are always teaching and influencing those around us.

2. A challenge: Who can you notice today that you can step in and help by putting your needs on the back burner for a moment, humbling yourself, and supporting someone in need in a real way. How can you make your ideal self align with your lived out self today?

Here’s a video of it in case you wanted to see it.

Chugging Along


Saturdays can feel very long around here. Well, weekends in general. But honestly, today wasn’t all that bad. We only had three girls for most of the day, we had an assistant working with us, and Sarah’s feeling better. (She had been sick and in bed for almost two weeks as of a couple days ago.)


It was Omaha Railroad days today. We took them all there today. It was a hot day, but overall it was quite pleasant. Micah’s attention was still as short as ever, but he we were able to move around to different exhibits enough to overall keep him satisfied.


I was thankful today that one of our girls, the girl that has been with us the longest, really acts like a big sister to Micah. She kept her eye on him when he’d run away. She’d convince him to come back to us if he did.

I remember thinking back before we worked at Boys Town that Micah was such a handful it potentially would feel like less work to me if we fostered or even adopted a teenager. Someone that could be a big sibling to Micah. And here at Boys Town, Micah has a number of big sisters that really watch over him well. I am extremely thankful for that.


If I could, I would go out and take pictures as often as possible. Unfortunately I’m too busy. And even when I am out taking pictures it’s hard because I can’t publish any pictures of our girls publicly, and when I’m with the boys I feel like I can’t stand still long enough to take pictures because I’m always chasing them around.


Tomorrow there is a meet up for Instagrammers from Omaha. It’s a astrophography meet up, something I’ve actually never done and have wanted to do for a very long time. I got a cheap tripod today because my boys ruined my other one. Good timing for something like this. I hope to come back tomorrow night with at least one good photo from the evening.


This evening, before the girls went to bed, I was contemplative. I had just been joking around with them a bit as we reflected on their behaviors throughout the day. And I thought about really how great this job is most of the time. I still haven’t lost that sense of privilege it is to live with and raise this girls. I love what I do. I love being able to do it with my wife. I love the support that we get in this role. And I love that my sons have big sisters that are with them all the time.

What a life.
I’m so thankful.

Until next time. Peace.


Pictures from the day:

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Processed with VSCO with 7 preset


Uncorking the bottle

When life is busy I get to the point that I feel like I have to write or I’ll go insane. I doesn’t even have to be about anything substantial. I just need to put my fingers on the keys and let whatever needs to come out, come out.

So what’s on my mind? Let’s find out together.

Staying afloat

The work Sarah and I do is a like a machine. There’s all sorts of moving parts. All of them need to be monitored and maintained for the machine to continue working properly. It doesn’t take much for the machine to break down.

Sarah has been sick since last Saturday. And over the weekend we were working with a new Family Teaching couple, training and helping them prepare to have a home of their own here in a couple weeks. That takes a lot of extra energy and attention. At the same time I was making sure Sarah is ok, while also making sure our boys aren’t destroying the house.

We have a different assistant working with us than we typically have. Which, it’s super great to have the help. It really is. But at the same time, we are definitely missing our normal assistant and how we just gel with her so well. It’s really a bummer that being an assistant is an entry-level position because we’d love to have her for a very long time. But she’s skilled enough that she won’t last too long with us.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, so please don’t read it that way, but sometimes it feels like I’m juggling ten things at once. Despite the extremely hectic week we’ve had, we’ve stayed afloat. We’ve learned how to kick into this mode when one of us is down for the count. But it’s not sustainable.

Last summer we were without an assistant for the entire summer and I’m not sure how we did it, honestly. It was extremely hard. And this time without Sarah being able to contribute much has reminded me of the worst times of that period of our life at Boys Town.

Lifestyle changes – Micah

Last week we started Micah on a very restricted diet. It’s a modified Atkins diet in which he cannot have more than 10 grams of carbs each day. This is an extremely big shift from his typical diet. It has been suggested and approved by his dietician and nutritionist. There’s some exciting studies being done and about to be done regarding this sort of diet (keto) with mice that have Kabuki syndrome, which is what my oldest son Micah has.

The study of genetics right now is exploding. I wish the world knew just how much information we are getting and learning how to decipher these days in regards to epigenetics and genetics in general. It’s extremely specified studies with all sorts of amazing and promising results.

Micah just had his annual cardiology appointment and his genetic appointment. His artery is looking better. It was too large, but it is closer to the size it should be in one year, which is hopeful for the future.

The geneticist said she’d like to have Ezra tested, too. That he displays enough of the visual components of Kabuki syndrome that it seems very possible he would have it. In the end it would help the entire community to better understand the scope and spectrum of Kabuki syndrome and how it presents in various cases.

If he does have kabuki, then I think we’ll also have Sarah tested because she too has a number of the physical symptoms of the syndrome.

I can’t help but wonder what all this will look like in like 20 years. When they are in their 20s. What all will we know? How standard will these tests be? What will we know about what can change about our genetics?

Lifestyle changes – me

With Micah’s big diet shift, I too have made some changes to my diet. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but just never had the motivation or dedication to make the shift. But I have made the shift. I’m committed in a way that I never have been and I’ve been very happy with my mindset and ability to maintain overall. My goal is to lose about 40 lbs. We’ll see how this journey goes. But I’m encouraged by my progress thus far.

My hobbies


Photography has been the main one I’ve had over the last few years or so. And I’ve really been trying to keep up with that lately. The culture in our home is finally to the place where the girls want me to take their photo, something I’ve wanted since we moved to Boys Town.

The other night we went on a quick photo walk right around sunset to take some nice portraits of them for putting up on our wall. They were so excited about it. Even the one girl who hates having her picture taken told me that she thinks that the photos turned out really well and that she likes the way she looks in them, which is a huge thing for her to say.


I recently picked up a boosted board. It’s a longboard powered by an electric motor. It was made famous by Casey Niestat on YouTube. It’s been extremely fun for me to ride around on. I use it to get around on campus and also at the various parks and bike paths around Omaha. I hope to use it more and more. I get an intense dopamine kick when I ride my board, and I find myself wanting to ride it all the time. Thankfully I haven’t had a big fall or anything. It can be pretty intense because it goes 22mph. I’ve only gone up to 20mph so far. I eventually will get confident enough to go faster.


I’ve been faithful with my weekly bike ride. It’s a ride called Taco Ride. I’ve been every week this summer that I’ve been in town. It’s a bit of a ritual for me now. Bike, get fried cheese curds, maybe some nachos, a couple pitchers of margarita, and then bike back.

I love it. I go with the best friend I have here at Boys Town, and we talk about work and then about life, and a bit more about work once a few drinks have settled in.

I’ve been enjoying myself thus far this summer for the most part. But it’s hard work. And it definitely makes me look forward to the school year starting up again. This is all the stuff I’m apparently wanting to talk about today. Honestly, this will just help me write a more thought-out post for my blog which has been long neglected by me. So thanks for anyone who followed along with this post. Hope you’re doing well. Blogging seems to be dying away. So I appreciate those who still have hung around.

I am not a good parent

Today I had my third therapy session.

I realized after two therapy sessions that I hadn’t said anything really critical about myself yet. It felt like I was potentially going to therapy to stroke my own ego and to get another person, someone I am telling myself is an objective and learned voice, to tell me I’m a good husband, a good parent, a good employee, a good person.

But I don’t _actually_ want that.

So I told my therapist that.

After meandering for a while, I finally found the voice inside myself that I feel the most insecure about. The voice that says,

“I am not a good parent.”

Cognitively I don’t think I believe this to be true.
But I feel the pressure to never let that be true constantly. 

It has something to do with control. I can identify that. It also has something to do with the weight that I give to the voices around me. I give too much time, energy, and thought to the opinions of people around me, especially to those that are complete strangers.

I often feel my kids are out of my control. And I think deep inside I tell myself that because of that, I am not a good parent. When we are out and about and my kids throw temper tantrums, it feels like every person is telling me this with their glances. At dinner when they refuse to stay in their seats, I feel like I am a failure. I can’t even get them to sit down for more than five minutes at a time. I feel this especially when we have guests over.

So my task these next couple weeks is to pay attention to this voice. Where am I hearing it loudest? Where is it coming from? When and where do I hear it the loudest?

It’s so hard to cognitively know something isn’t true true, but continually try and override the negative tapes in my head that seem to play on repeat in the background.



I graduated high school at 120 pounds. I’m pretty sure my forearms had a greater circumference than my upper arms. It took a week for facial hair to show up on my lip after shaving. At the time I felt insecure about my body because people were always commenting on how skinny I was. I tried to play if off by using self-deprecating humor, but at the end of the day I felt very self-conscious about my weight and my “baby face.”

Over time things slowly began to change. I was able to gain some muscle mass in my shoulders and arms over the next couple years. By the time I was a junior I had put on 30 pounds, most of it good healthy weight. Between the summer of my junior and senior year I put on another 15 pounds or so. It felt so sudden, too. I hadn’t changed my eating habits or my diet, but all of a sudden I had a little bit of a belly. And then I went from feeling insecure about being too skinny to feeling like I was getting fat and putting on weight too easily.

The trend continued. Weight was easier to gain, harder to lose. By my first year in grad school I was 175 or so. That next summer I got married and had put on another five pounds. I was active all the time, too, but my body’s metabolism had changed as I got older.

For the last three years or so I’ve hovered right around 200 pounds, a weight I never ever thought I’d be. And although I’m fairly active and I don’t eat a ton of junk food, it feels like I haven’t been able to lose any weight.

But as I’ve been making lots of changes in my life recently, I knew that addressing this part of my life would need to happen as well. I keep telling myself that I want to start losing weight soon, but I never really follow through. It takes a lot of thought, intentionality, planning, and the ability to say no to myself consistently.

I’m not the type of person to try a completely different lifestyle of going to the gym regularly or trying a new fad diet. I know that I can lose weight by making simple and small changes in my daily life. Cut out junky snack foods. Watch my portions. Don’t drink soda and beer very often. Stay active. Get outside. Ride my bike when I can.

If I stay consistent with those simple changes, then I know I can lose weight. I have a goal that if I’m able to get back to about 175-180 lbs, which I think is a fairly healthy place for me to be, I’ll get a nice tattoo. That’s 25 pounds. I think it’s manageable. I’ll take it slow and steady.

But I’ve been establishing good daily routines in my life recently, and this will fit in nicely. I just have to stay motivated and committed.