Sunday, June 17, 2012

How to Raise (and Keep Raising) a Daughter

A few years ago, on Dad's 60th birthday, I made a meager attempt to capture what he means to me.  And now with Father's Day today, I'm thinking again of how to honor him, thank him, frame his influence on my life. Problem is, my little computer screen - nor my heart - have a frame large enough to capture Dad.
But one thing I can do, is write a few guidelines on how to raise a daughter, encouraging her to love her daddy and her husband and her heavenly Father.
So here's my little frame, with a few bullet points of how to be a Dad. How to do it right.

- Work hard. Show her that a real man isn't above wearing paint clothes and driving a dusty jeep to provide for his family.
- Sit by her bedside when she's young. Tell her stories and pray with her. And ask her about Heaven, why God should allow her into Heaven, and tell her the Truth about Jesus.
- Let her find you in your "prayer closet" - for Dad it was outside in the backyard, at night, stars overhead.
- Start talking about the birds and bees when she's in third grade. Yes, she will squirm. Yes, she will hate it at first. But she needs to hear, over time and through multiple conversations - from her Daddy - what the boys will say in the locker room. And what makes a lady.
- Accept her boyfriends, but ask them to lead you in prayer when you don't trust them. (And you know you can't trust them when they won't look you in the eye).
- Watch American Gladiators together at midnight on Saturday nights.
- Keep a keen eye for her friends who may need a listening ear, approval and fatherly advice. Decades later, her friends won't forget.
- Write pages-long letters to her when she goes off to college, encouraging her to persevere. Even if you don't know whether she's struggling, she will be. And she needs your words.
- Love her Mom well.
- Love your own parents well, even if it's not easy. Especially when it's not easy.
- Over and over again, affirm her choice in her husband. And affirm her husband's choices for their lives.
- If you can't afford it for your own children, wait a few years and buy jet skis and a lake house for your grandchildren - at least an hour out of town. Helps if the scenery is gorgeous.
- Teach her where the sun sets.
- And how not to put oil in her car.
- When she does a terrible job of mowing the lawn, instead of insisting on a job done well, give the chore to her brothers.
- Impress your son-in-law by raising a red riding mower from the dead.
- Continue sending notes and emails with a few words of encouragement, even into her adult years. She'll need them just as much or more at this point.
- Conclude an email to your grown daughter with this: "You do a great job with them and they are pretty lucky to have snagged y'all as parents."

So Dad, Happy Father's Day. I love you, I love you, I love you. You are a great teacher, encourager, listener, provider. So much of who I am today is because of your affirmation, your approval of, your confidence in me. It is not difficult for me to grasp the lavish grace of God, because of the lavish grace you have and continue to extended to me.

Following your lead, I can speak for all four (eight!) of your children, "You do a great job with them and they are pretty lucky to have snagged y'all as parents."
And - you know I don't believe in luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Practicing Gratitude 6.13.12

- Finally!! 

- 1st day of summer - no alarm clocks and a bean bag tournament

- 2nd day of summer in our neighbor's yard - still no morning alarm clocks

- Moses Stone Gonzalez. He of course has no idea (yet) the gift of the family he was brought into. Thankful for the gift of his life.

- Rainy summer day - one of my all-time favorite kinds of days.

Keeping Cross dry

- Finding them like this (and thankful for Mo Williems!)

- Funny moments. Like this one, when we could wait no longer for ice at our between-games McDonald's break

- Sweet encouragement - from the Lord - between friends
 - The fun surprise of getting to play a friend

- This coach, wow! And that Hud gets to be part of this team

- Lots of hard work to get to this point.

Esther doesn't stay far from the action
- Brantley Korbin James

- Summer Slurpees

- Bird house painting with Daboo

- 2nd week of summer pedis - frivolous and very fun

- The new legacy for The Place - shocking to see Granny and Pappy's land full of solar panels, but thankful for Cappy's work and all that it provides. I have no doubt that Granny is getting a chuckle out of this. (And - great photo Dad!)

- These DARLING Atlanta cousins, and how much we love them
Scarlett, Marshall, Ashlyn, Brenna
Trey's signature pose - he's done this with all four kiddos since they were about 2 days old.
 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12