Thursday, May 31, 2012


Have you ever noticed, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom, that your husband's day off can sometimes feel like a bit of a let-down? Perhaps you had high hopes of how fun the day would be or all the little projects you'd get accomplished or how relaxed you'd feel with the extra help. But at the end of the day you just feel frustrated and disappointed.

I've been thinking about this for a while because I realized that this was happening to me but I didn't know why. I didn't feel like my husband was doing anything wrong. I was just disappointed by how the day unfolded.

Then it dawned on's totally a matter of expectations.

You see, all week long I am fully capable of loading kids in and out of the car by myself. I can arrange our day to prepare dinner without needing assistance. It doesn't frustrate me during the week that I am the only one who comes running when Sammy needs someone to wipe his butt.

But, when my husband is there, suddenly it can feel like a burden.

Andy has been gone for almost 10 days on a mission trip. I know that lots of people have been praying for me and God has given me an extra measure of strength during this time. And you know what? I've been fine! I'm not bitter that I have to do bed time routine every night. I'm not on the verge of tears because no one's helping me clean the dishes or put away toys. I'm not frustrated that I have to take the trash to the curb. I had prepared my heart and mind for this trip. My expectations were set and God has given me the grace to do the work.

Although I never said this to Andy (or even to myself), I realized that I was expecting Andy to pretty much come in and be the "mom" on his day off. I guess I thought, "I've been with these kids all week and I'd like a day off, too. So I'd like YOU to get the kids' shoes on, buckle them in their carseats, wipe their butts & noses (not with the same tissue!), notice household projects that need attention, voluntarily clean random things, and deal with this insurance mess than I couldn't figure out. Oh yeah, but I also want you to be the "dad". So make sure you wrestle with the boys and play soccer in the front yard and tell fantastic stories." And if all those things didn't happen just the way I wanted them to, I ended up frustrated.

That sounds really extreme and this is the first time I ever processed it in writing. I don't want to give the impression that I was harboring bitterness toward my husband. I wasn't. And I don't want you to think that Andy doesn't help out. He does. I would just would feel a ping of disappointment, and I didn't know why.

So here's what I've discovered...

I've discovered that I am a much more peaceful and joyful person when I intentionally shift my expectations. If I have the expectation that I will need to fulfill my normal "mom" role even on my husband's day off, then any help he provides is seen as a blessing. I stop holding him hostage in my heart for wanted to do something as scandalous as take a nap (gasp!) and give him the freedom to contribute in the ways that work for him.

I realize that parenting is a partnership and this post is not intended to absolve a father's responsibility to his family. I'm simply saying the I think you will be able to enjoy that man so much more if you will let him off the hook of your unattainable expectations.

God has given you work to do and He will give you the strength to do it. Sometimes we legitimately need help. But other times, it's just a matter of expectations. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The "Whatever" Principle

Do you ever go through one of "those times" with your kids or spouse? You know, when everything that they do grates on your last nerve...from the way they brush their teeth to how they put on their shoes to the look on their face as they mindlessly sit on the couch. It's just all bad. Bad, bombed, flunked, failed. And while you may (or may not!) try to hold your tongue, you know that it is affecting your attitude.

We've all been there.

And I'm sure that we can all agree that it's no fun being there. It's not fun for us OR for the innocent bystanders caught in the drive-by of our poison.

And perhaps they're not all so innocent. Perhaps someone in your life is truly giving you a run for your money and it appears that they are doing it on purpose. What in the world do you do with that?

How do we unconditionally love our kids and show unconditional respect for our husbands the way the Bible teaches us to when they don't seem very lovely or respectable?

Philippians 4:8 says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Notice the key word "whatever". "Whatever" means that even if there is a shred of nobility in your husband, even on the days you can only find a crumb of loveliness in your child, that is what we have to train our minds to focus on. They don't have to be at least 50% admirable for us to admire them. It's our job to find the "whatever".

You may be stuck in a funk right now with your spouse and it seems to you that he's doing SO MANY things wrong. But there is something somewhere that he is doing right. Figure out something (anything!) that you can praise in him, and ring that bell every single day!

Monday: "Thank you so much for taking our kids to school today."
Tuesday: "You know it really helps me get my day started right because you take our kids to school everyday."
Wednesday: "Yesterday I was able to get __________ accomplished because you always take our kids to school."

And on, and on, and on.

If you've only got one bell to ring, ring it loud! In time, as you focus on seeing the "whatever" in your spouse/kids, you will find more and more things to praise.

And here's the beauty of it all: As you seek out the goodness in those you love and continually speak it over them, they will rise to the occasion. Your husband will become a better man. Your kids will begin to see themselves differently. All because you chose to focus on the "whatever" instead of all the things that may drive you crazy.

So, next time you are tempted to say to your kid, "Child, you are getting on my last nerve!" it's time to apply the "Whatever Principle."

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I had such a wonderful day yesterday thanks to some amazing friends. 

My friends, Debbie & Mike, wanted to do something to bless me and help me while Andy is out of town. So they dubbed yesterday "Stacie Day" and spoiled me rotten! When I arrived at their home yesterday morning, Mike was just getting home from Starbucks with a Grande Chai Latte for me! Then he took the boys to the playground for an hour and a half (I'm telling you, he's borderline a saint) while Debbie took me to get a pedicure. What in the world could be better than sipping your favorite drink while talking to one of your favorite people all the while getting a foot massage?!?!?

After our pedicures, we went back to their house to grill out. And, I tell you what, I put down some food! I ate a burger with gorgonzola cheese mixed into the patty (yum!), a hot dog, watermelon, corn of the cob, and a root beer float popsicle. Talk about an All-American meal to celebrate Memorial Day! While Caedmon soaked his feet in the pool and Sammy chowed down on his lunch, we lounged in their beautiful backyard which is bursting with flowers and plants of every variety.

We had planned on going swimming after lunch, but Caedmon bust his forehead open on Saturday and had to get 2 stitches so swimming was out. Plan B. Debbie got silly string and water balloons and we had an all out war in their front yard. The boys were in heaven!

My heart was so full when we left their home yesterday afternoon. Thank you, Mike & Debbie!

THEN, we headed straight over to Mandy & Filipe's house where we partied with some more friends.

This is Ella, Kendall & David's daughter. I tell everyone that she is my niece and 
grab her out of their arms every time I see her. Such a precious girl! 

 Oh, I wish you could have seen this scene! Juliane brought a bubble machine and some children's music and the kids went crazy! They were having SO MUCH fun chasing the bubbles and dancing and laughing their little heads off. I marked that down in my heart as a sight I never want to forget. 

What a day! My cup runneth over...

When Andy & I followed God's call to start a church in California, the most difficult part for me (by far!) was moving so far away from all of our family. The thought of holidays and special occasions without them felt like an empty void in my heart. I deeply desired the closeness and support of having family near. 

I'll be honest, sometimes my heart still aches that they're not here or we're not there, but God has blessed us beyond what we could have imagined with the community we have here. He said, "Stacie, I've got you covered. I will meet your every need...even down to having people dote on your children and plan fun things for them like silly string wars and water balloon fights and backyard dance parties with a bubble machine."

Standing over the kitchen sink this morning I found myself singing, "All I hath needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me." 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Be Present

Today, while my husband is away on a 10 day mission trip, I want to "Be Present" with my children. To be mentally and emotionally engaged all day. To listen to them talk without rushing them to the punch line or letting my mind think of something else.

I will sit down and play with them at least once today. I will allow them to help stir instead of shooing them out of the kitchen. I will look in their eyes and down deep in their hearts. I will not rush them in their slow attempts to climb in their carseats or walk from place to place.

I will welcome moments of interruptions and inconvenience instead of mumbling in frustration something about being busy or wasting my time. I will Be Present in this moment without straining to get to the next.

I will embrace my role in this season of life, accepting its limitations and appreciating its gifts.

Today I will sit down to eat instead of hovering over the kitchen sink while I put a meal together for the boys. I will taste each bite. I will sip instead of gulp. I will smile instead of roll my eyes.

This is my only shot at today, and I will Be Present.

I'd say they're worth it...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Andy- the Asian Variety

Today Andy boarded a plane headed to Southeast Asia where he will spend the next 10 days. He's going to meet people on the other side of the world who love Jesus and are trying to spread His love in their countries. He'll be in big metropolitan areas and rural villages that require a 3-day trek. He'll spend time with Buddhist, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, and Agnostics. He'll rub shoulders with incredibly wealthy people as well as sit on the dirt floor of someone's make-shift home. He'll eat some spectacular food as well as some questionable "mystery items". He will play with children, see beautiful countryside, and look into the eyes of countless faces...all made in the image of God.

And just as it is true that God loves us with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love, God loves those people just as furiously. And just like He knows and cares about every detail of my life, He knows them just as well. It's easy to forget about that in the comfort of my living room.

I'm so excited for Andy. It is virtually impossible to go on a trip like this and NOT be forever changed by the experience. And I'm praying that there will be a person or two who is forever changed by the fact that Andy went.

Why did he go? Why did he spend thousands of dollars, get a dozen vaccinations, and leave his family and busy life for a not-so-glamorous 10 day "vacation"? He went because "God so loved the world..." but not all the world knows that yet.

Would you join me in praying for him over the next 10 days?

Monday, May 21, 2012

One, Not Everyone

I recently heard a message by Andy Stanley that absolutely set me free not only as a pastor's wife, but just a person with a compassionate heart. The message was about our willingness and ability to help carry other people's burdens around us.

I know everyone experiences this to some extent, but due to the nature of Andy's role as a pastor we are keenly aware of so many people's needs. Hurting marriages, strained relationships between parents/children, sickness, loss of jobs, depression, etc. When I find out about a need of someone in our church, everything in me wants to meet that need. To take a meal, to babysit their kids, to provide marriage counseling, to be a friend, to disciple them, to help them find a new job. But the reality is that I can't. Jesus never intended me to bear a burden that size. My shoulders aren't broad enough.

It is easy to become overwhelmed (to the point of paralysis) by all of the needs that we are aware of. Before the era of social media, we pretty much only knew about the needs of those in our immediate sphere of influence. But now with real time status updates, we are bombarded with all types of needs in people's personal lives as well as global crises. The awareness of all these needs can cause us to either run ourselves ragged trying to meet every need, be consumed with guilt that we can't meet every need, or even cause our hearts to grow cold and insensitive to all of the very real needs around us.

None of those are good options.

Here's what the Bible teaches...
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.                                                                                                                                  Galatians 6:9-10 
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.                                                                                                  Galatians 6:2
If you want to live a life that honors Jesus,
You can't shut it all out.
You can't take it all on.

So what is the solution? How do you know where to engage and when to hold back? Are you ready for this revolutionary principle that (I hope) will set you free as well?

Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.

You don't have to do for everyone what you do for one. "Fairness" is not a fruit of the Spirit. Don't worry so much about being fair. Concentrate on being engaged.

  • I can't take a meal to every family at South Bay who has a baby or sickness. But sometimes I can.
  • I can't meet for coffee with every woman who could use some direction spiritually. But I can meet with some.
  • I can't do playdates with every awesome mom who I'm confident could be a great friend if our lives allowed it. But that shouldn't stop me from investing deeply in a few friendships.
  • I can't give money to every worthy organization that's meeting needs that break my heart. But I'm committed to give as much as I can.
  • I can't solve the crisis of 147 million orphans in the world. But I can adopt one child and encourage everyone I know to consider doing the same.

We can't meet every need. But we can meet some.

When you see a need and you have the ability to act, do something. When you can't, don't shoulder the guilt. When others see all of us deeply engaged in a few peoples lives, they will follow our example and do for one what they wish they could do for everyone. That is how you change someone's world, and when we are all collectively living this way, that is how we will change the world.

Who is one person that you could do for today?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Power of Our Words

Last Sunday at South Bay, I had the privilege of team-teaching with Andy a special Mother's Day message. We talked about the power of our words as parents to shape our children's lives...for good or for bad.

Proverbs 18:21 says "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

It is so easy as a parent to flippantly make hurtful comments to our kids out of frustration or annoyance or simply thoughtlessness. It takes intentionality to speak life and hope into our kids. Here are two good exercises to help you prepare some life-giving words you can say to your kids this week.

        1-  Make a "Strengths List" for each of your kids.

What is it about your child that sets him/her apart from every other kid their age? Are they kind? Good with their words? Friendly? Energetic? Joyful? Courageous? Generous? Forgiving? Get your spouse, the grandparents, or someone else who knows and love your child to contribute their thoughts. When you see something (ANYTHING!) praiseworthy in your child, write it down so you remember to praise that in them over and over again.

It is certainly okay to praise them for their achievements (great athlete, talented musician/artist, academically gifted, etc...) but the bulk of our encouragement should be for character qualities we see in them. For example, instead of simply focusing on their success as an athlete, praise their perseverance or hard work during practice in preparation for the game. They really don't have much control over whether or not they're a great athlete, but they can control how hard they work.

        2-  Familiarize yourself with what the Bible says is true about them.

The Bible has so many wonderful promises that can help frame our identity as Christ sees us. It is absolutely true that all of our children are sinners in need of a Savior, and leading them to that understanding is ultimately the most life-giving thing that we can do for them. But, for whatever reason, I believe more people struggle with feeling bad about themselves than feeling arrogant and prideful. All of these statements below are true for anyone who has put their faith in Jesus. Helping our children to embrace their true identity in Christ is a profound gift.

  • I am more than a conquerer through Christ & nothing can separate me from His love. (Romans 8:37-38)
  • I am a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • I've been chosen (hand-picked) by God and adopted into His family. (Ephesians 1:3-6) 
  • The same power & Spirit that conquered the grave lives inside of me, and I have access to that power today! (Ephesians 1:18)
  • I have been given spiritual gifts that God intends for me to use for a special purpose in His Church. (1 Corinthians 12)
  • As far as the east is from the west, my sins have been removed from me. I am clean! Those sins don't have to define me anymore. They're gone! (Psalm 103:12)
  • I was knit together in my mother's womb...handcrafted by the Almighty God of the Universe! What He did was beautiful and wonderful. (Psalm 139)
  • God will never leave me or forsake me. No matter what circumstances I go through or sin I commit, He is faithful. (Hebrews 13:5-6)
  • God has specific plans for my life to bring me hope and a beautiful future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

So, now that your arsenal is loaded with all kinds of genuine, specific, and true words of encouragement, let's make a commitment to unload it on our kids. 
  • When they walk in the kitchen, BAM! "I noticed early today you didn't fuss at your sister when she jumped in the front seat ahead of you. That showed a lot of self-control and a willingness to put someone else's goals and interests above your own."
  • Sitting at the dinner table, BAM! "You know, I see in you...(courage, generosity, perseverance, etc)"
  • Talking through being rejected by a school-friend, BAM! "I am so sorry that you are going through this. Friendships can be really tough. I think this could be an opportunity for you to really lean on God and know that He will never leave you or forsake you. He's always got your back no matter how our friends let us down."
  • Driving down the road, BAM! "God has something really great planned for your life. I can't wait to see what He does through you!"
  • Tucking them in bed at night, BAM! "You are such a gift to our family. When God made you, He made something really beautiful. You are a handcrafted masterpiece by God Himself!"

Whenever we use our words to give specific, genuine praise, it pours life onto our child's soul. Long after the exact words have been forgotten, their effects will have lasting ramifications that shape the way our kids see themselves, view God, and live their lives. 

I want to be my child's number one cheerleader. How about you?!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

9 Years and Counting

Do you know why I decided to marry Andy Wood? (Andy loves to tell everyone that he had made up his mind to marry me long before I was certain.) I labored over the decision. Lots of prayers. Lots of tears. It's a pretty major decision, right?
Here was the deciding factor...Andy had something in him that I could not live without. 
At that point in time, I still had lots of questions regarding all the things about him I wasn't sure if I could live with. But I knew that there was something in that man that I could not live without. 
I'm not exactly sure how to define "it". Passion for God, anointing, a fire in his belly, a clear and certain calling... I don't know, but I knew I had to be apart of whatever "it" was. I knew God was taking him places and if I missed this chance to jump on board it would be a decision I'd regret the rest of my life. 
Last Thursday Andy and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary. 
9 years of sharing the covers. 
9 years of sitting in the passenger seat with my feet on the dashboard while he drives. 
9 years of date nights. 
9 years of walking into restaurants and meetings with his hand on my back.
9 years of waiting for each other outside of public restrooms.
9 years of pulling the armrest up at movie theaters.
9 years of "Have a good day" kisses and "Welcome home" kisses.
9 years of scanning a crowded room until our eyes meet.
9 years of us. The married kind of us.
There are parts of our lives that I never could have imagined 9 years ago. And other parts that are just the way I had dreamed they would be. 
While day-to-day, week-to-week life feels pretty normal and ho-hum and routine, when I look back over 9 years I see clearly the adventure that God has had us on. There is no one I would rather hold hands with than Andy Wood as we take one leap of faith after another. Tiptoeing up to the edge of cliff...should we move to California? should we adopt a child? should we give that away? is this the right timing? I don't know, but whatever we do we're going to do it together. 
My heart is his. Forever. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Move-In Day!

I am currently laying in bed with a 102 fever, so please forgive me if this post is incoherent. And I would also really appreciate your prayers for a speedy recovery. Andy & I are supposed to go out of town Thursday/Friday to celebrate our 9 year anniversary. AND we are supposed to team-teach this Sunday at South Bay Church for Mother's Day. It's never a convenient time to get sick...

With all that said, I couldn't keep myself from sharing with you about our amazing day at church yesterday. After meeting at a local public school for the past 3.5 years, yesterday we moved in to our first long term facility. Exciting doesn't come close to describing the energy in the air.

There are so many inspiring stories of volunteers (hundreds of volunteers) who invested countless hours and expertise into building a sound booth, painting every wall, assembling furniture, hanging lights and sound equipment, and on and on... If you would have seen the building 2 weeks ago (or even 1 week ago) you would have thought that there is no way it's all going to come together. But it did. And it was beautiful.

I went by the building on Friday night around 10 to see who was still up there. About 40 volunteers, that's who. Archie, our worship pastor, stayed at the building until 3 AM a couple nights. But not by himself...with 9 volunteers on his team.

To see the sacrifice and work that our people banded together to do was a beautiful thing. We work with some of the most generous, servant-hearted, Kingdom-minded people in the world. And we are so thankful for them.

Here's some pics...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eating Well, Feeling Great

Last month I posted about how Andy & I took the plunge and bought a cow! A grass fed, California raised cow. We won't actually be welcoming her into our family freezer until June, but I thought I'd share a few "eating healthy"insights that I've learned this past month.

When we bought the cow, it suddenly felt very silly to me to do this eating healthy thing half way. So, I became quite motivated (AKA consumed) with learning more about whole foods over night. I have gotten most of my info from the 100 Days of Real Food blog that I mentioned in the cow post, but I am slowly branching out to other sources as well.

First of all, I've always found healthy eating to be slightly confusing. There are so many different diets out there saying we should avoid carbs or eat a ton of protein or eat whatever you want as long as you land within a certain calorie/point range. Eating healthy has become more and more of a priority to me through the years, and overall I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But I realized, after reading this blog, that I've still been eating plenty of highly processed food.

Here are a few things that have changed for me this month...

  1. One of the biggest initial decisions I made was to stop drinking Diet Coke. Andy (& Filipe) have been giving me a hard time about drinking Diet Coke for a long time, but I just was never motivated to stop. However, something just felt wrong about buying a grass-fed cow to avoid all the hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals, and then kicking back some Diet Cancer every day. So, I finally gave it up. A couple nights ago, we went out to a pizza place and I thought Andy & I could share a Diet Coke since it just seems to go so well with pizza. It was surprising to both of us that neither one of us liked it. After not drinking it for over a month, it didn't taste good to us anymore.
  2. I stopped buying "fat-free" and "light" food items. Even though I always thought I was doing the right thing in buying things with less fat, I realized that many of these items are sweetened with artificial sweeteners and have to be more processed in order to take the fat out. And, surprisingly, in milk, for example, the vitamins/nutrients are in the cream. So when the cream is skimmed off to make nonfat milk (which I've been drinking for probably 25 years), the vitamins/nutrients are skimmed off too. They have to artificially add the vitamins back in, so I switched to buying 2%. And it actually does taste a world better. :-)
  3. I read the label of any prepackaged food that I buy. If I can't pronounced ingredients and/or there's more than 5 or 6 ingredients in the food, I try not to buy it. I don't hold to this 100% of the time yet because I still can't find a good whole wheat bread that is simply made, but I'm working on it.
  4. I'm using the meal plans that are provided on the 100 Days of Real Food blog. She has created 5 different menu plans that include breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner for 7 days each. They also include a grocery list and estimated price for each item. These have been HUGELY helpful for me to come up with ideas of how to start cooking with more whole foods. And, can I just say, these have been REALLY tasty meals. Andy has literally groaned on multiple occasions after taking the first bite. I'll share some of our favorites over time, but seriously we have not come across a dud yet. Even the meatless meals (which I never thought would fly in our house with my meat lovin' man) have been a success. 
  5. I've pretty much stopped using sweeteners besides honey and 100% maple syrup. I still use one teaspoon of sugar in raw in my tea each morning, but I'm trying to get away from white sugar, brown sugar, and artificial sweeteners as much as possible. One change that I thought would be tough that ended up being great was with yogurt. Most yogurt is stuffed full with sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. So I started buying plain, whole-milk yogurt in the big carton. It tastes pretty gross if you eat it by itself, but if you put a touch of honey and some frozen blueberries in it, it's actually fantastic. 
The biggest change I've noticed for myself physically is that I've dropped my afternoon lull. Every afternoon when I put Sammy down for a nap, I used to feel sleepy and incredibly envious that he got to sleep and I needed to keep working. But this month I've noticed that my energy level is staying much more consistent without the same highs and lows that I used to have. 

This is one recipe from her blog that I made this week and have been enjoying at lunch time...

Caprese Pasta Salad

Inspired by Deliciously Organic


  • 8 oz dry whole-wheat pasta like penne, rigatoni, or macaroni
  • 1 recipe caprese salad with the following quantities:
    • 1 ½ cup tomatoes (any variety), diced
    • 1 cup mozzarella, diced
    • 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Pepper and balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • 1 recipe pesto with extra olive oil as follows:
    • 1 loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves, removed from stem
    • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
    • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 whole clove fresh garlic, loosely chopped
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Let them cool in fridge.
  2. Chop and mix caprese salad ingredients. Combine and blend pesto ingredients together in mini chopper or food processor.
  3. Mix everything together with noodles. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Yield: 6 side servings

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Leadership Lessons at Home

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Catalyst with 3,500 other people (25 of us from South Bay). Catalyst is a Christian leadership conference that combines amazing teaching and a really fun time.

Marcus Buckingham taught one of the sessions and, although his talk was about leadership, it gave me a new perspective on my role as a mom (I guess I am the leader of my kids, after all).

Marcus was sharing about qualities, discovered through extensive research, that distinguish a highly productive team from a low yield team. One of the qualities of a highly productive team that differed from the low yields teams is that the leader/manager of a highly productive team makes sure that every team member is able to do what he/she does best every day

Every day seems like a lot.We all have responsibilities that have to get done that are not our favorites or what we're best at. It seems like getting to do what we're best at once a week, or even once a month, would be reasonable enough. But Marcus said that if you remove the phrase "every day" the principle does not remain true.

I began thinking about what that would look like for the team that I manage...namely a 5 year old and a 3 year old. What would that look like for my kids to do what they do best every day? That question led me to make a list of what each of my boys are good at and what they enjoy. While there is some overlap, the lists look quite different for each child.

This was such a great exercise for me. It helped me to clearly identify what I see as budding strengths in their young lives. I believe that a parent should be their child's ultimate strength finder. We can help them see things in themselves that perhaps they're too young to recognize. We can cheer them on and give them opportunities to excel in areas where they are gifted or enjoy. I'm not talking about pushing or being a "Tiger Mom" but rather helping our kids blossom into all that God has created them to be.

The other thing that stood out from Marcus' talk was a story he told about a Best Buy store in South Florida that was failing. They got a new manager and he was able to turn the store around and it became a highly profitable store. When Marcus met with the manager to see what he was doing, the manager said, "I gave everyone a whistle."


The manager went on to say that whenever an employee saw another employee doing something that was right or good in the store, they were supposed to blow their whistle and the whole store would stop to take notice. At first there weren't too many whistles blowing. But over the course of time, more and more whistles began to sound.

Marcus acknowledged that we did not need to all go out and buy whistles for our organizations. (I may or may not throw whistles away every time they find their way into our home.) He explained that the transferable principle is that a good leader catches moments of greatness and reflects it back to the organization. 

When he said that I thought, "YES! That is exactly what I need to be doing with my boys!"

There are days around here that very little "whistle blowing" would be taking place. None of us are creating moments of greatness worth celebrating. But it is on those days, perhaps more than any other, that we need to intentionally look for something (ANYTHING!) worthy of praise. Catch the moment. Call everyone over to see and bask in it. Remember that we are, in fact, capable of great things...even if it's just that Sammy didn't get pee-pee on the toilet seat this time! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When the grandparents come to town...

You may have noticed that I was MIA from the blogosphere last week. My parents were in town and we were just too busy making memories to have the time to write about them all. But, I couldn't neglect you the pleasure of seeing some of these joy-filled pictures. Brace yourself for a photo overload...

On Monday we took a day trip up to the Sonoma Valley where we ate lunch 
at Johnny Garlic's and then headed over to Goat Rock Beach. 

The cold air and frigid water did not stop Caedmon from getting completely drenched.
Glad I brought a change of clothes!

Sammy's smile will light up your life. And, yes, he really is that happy about 85% of the time!

Perhaps the most photogenic kid ever born.

I love this picture of Caedmon!

A rare picture of me when I got out from behind the lens.

You'd think they were best friends by looking at this photo. 
That would be a "work-in-progress", Ladies & Gentlemen.

Exhibit A of how my dad threw out his back when we were kids.
He just CANNOT resist jumping in the fun!

Stopped in Windsor for Starbucks, playground, and a picture with Snoopy before heading back home.

On Tuesday, Caedmon played hooky from school to go miniature golfing with his CC & Pops.

That afternoon, my dad & I borrowed a friend's motorcycle for a ride to Santa Cruz and up Hwy 1. My dad & I used to ride together a lot when I was growing up and he's always wanted to ride in CA. So for his birthday present this year, I arranged a Daddy/Daughter bike ride! It was such a beautiful drive. I wish I had pictures, but it's slightly tricky to take a big ol' camera on a bike like that.

A trip to Happy Hollow

Caedmon has loved animals since he was a baby and has a real gift in working them. Such a natural.
Sammy, on the other hand, was petrified of animals when he first came into our family. As you can see from the picture below, we've made a ton of progress...but this is still an act of major courage for him! 

Am I biased, or are my kids really as good looking as I think they are?

I love this pic of Andy (taken by Caedmon). He makes me laugh.
Every time he comes with us to Happy Hollow, I think he has just as much fun as the kids!

There's no standing on the sidelines taking pictures and waving for this dad. 
If adults are allowed on the ride, he's on it!

My beautiful and amazing parents

See if you can spot the person who looks like they are having the most fun in the picture above.
Just saying', People...

And this is what happens to grandkids after going 100 miles an hour with their grandparents all week.

Such an amazing week. It always ends too soon. CC & Pops, thanks for making all the effort to come. 
Making memories...