Measuring New Years

Years are funny things. Every December 31st as another year counts down, countless number of people look back and contemplate life. Some say the past year was good to them, others may say it sucked, it was horrible, it knocked them down, took the wind out of their sails, so forth and so on. And yet on December 31st, many come up with New Year’s Resolutions, its a “New year, new me,” or my favorite, “This is my year!”

But what about all the other years that started last year? What about the date that marks how many years you have been at a job, or been married? June 19th, 2016 marked ten years since I graduated high school. The beginning of August my wife and I celebrated four years of marriage. In October my wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl and then two days later, I turned thirty. Each one of those dates measures a year, so within a calendar year, there are many beginnings that we have to start new years, so in retrospect, was the last calendar year really that bad? Yes, I know that we as humans are programmed to draw a final breath and many people have lost loved ones, and I do truly sympathize. I know that there have been terror attacks throughout the world, questionable police shootings in the United States, so forth and so on. But for each date that started a year to some specific event or events in all of our lives, whether it be birth or death, starts or finishes, was the last calendar year so terrible? Again, do not think me heartless for I do recognize that death is never easy for anyone, but lets look at the college student who struggled all semester but passed with all A’s. Sure your social life may have suffered, maybe he/she even experienced a break up. But in spite of that, you attained something that you worked for. Maybe like me you are not crazy about your job, but from September 7th to September 7th, I can say that I have truly learned about myself a lot and have since grown.

As January gets underway, as the new year slowly progresses, my challenge to myself is to reflect on 2016, look at the years within that year and contemplate life. I will not measure 2016 in terms of shocking celebrity deaths, but in terms of personal growth and fulfillment, many new beginnings, more chapters written in a life lived, and celebrate all that was 2016, and prayerfully all that will be 2017. Happy New Years, and may God continue to bless and grow each and every one of you.

No Sleep Till… a Year Old?

Here I am, the last week of my paternity leave. I hear the sounds of the city slowly waking; buses lumbering down the avenue, a car rushing to make the light. I have been awake, since sometime yesterday morning.

It was 48 degrees Fahrenheit and windy when I left to get us coffee at 4:50am. Naomi, our daughter flipped out at ten last night. My wife very gently laid her in the bassinette, and before she could turn her back, the almost non-stop wailing began. It is hard not get angry, or be frustrated. She is only 3 weeks old, so I practice deep breathing, I pray, I tell Naomi I love her, and I kiss her. Then my wife takes over when she sees I am running  out of steam. It is a balancing act, parenting.

I found that fact out the first night Naomi came home from the hospital. Like last night and into this morning, she barely slept. My wife so good at soothing her, me? At the time, not so much. The following morning with exasperation in my voice I said, “I can’t do the whole calming thing. I can get up change a diaper, and feed her a bottle, but I need you to calm her down.”

My coffee is getting cold, and I sit here trying to poetically describe my thoughts and feelings as a new dad. Let’s just say I am stoked, and I truly love this precious little girl. I truly just wish she could sleep through the night. So as the city begins to awaken, I must find ways of keeping myself up to get the day rolling.

Daily Prompt: Carry

via Daily Prompt: Carry

My wife has had to carry our little girl in her belly for the last 7 and a half months. That’s right, I am going to be a father! It has not been easy. Her first trimester she lost ten pounds, and she was already at the exact weight for height, so we were really scared we could possibly lose our precious baby. She has, like so many women before her, had to carry the weight of working full-time, scheduling doctor’s appointments, trying her very best to eat healthy so that our daughter would be well nourished. She and I have often talked about how ridiculous it is that any expecting mother should have to work during those nine months. In a male dominated society, we men rarely if ever think about the what an expecting mother carries. Its not just a fetus, she’s carrying around worries, fears, doubts, and insecurities that we will probably never understand. At the very least we can understand through acknowledgment that what she and her body are going through is extremely tough.

 

Interestingly I too have had to carry something during this ongoing pregnancy. My wife’s movements began to slow whenever we walked, and it would take her some time to get in and out of our cars. She has had MANY restless nights. I’ve carried my own fears and frustrations, I have had to carry her through insecurities and fears. During this time, I have to the best that any man can, carry an understanding of what she is going through.

The weight of father hood is one other issue I am carrying. That weight consists of feeling inadequate, outright fear and anxiety, but it also carries with it feelings of deep love, pride, and joy. The one thought that stand prominent in my mind however, is that pregnancy is not just about what or whom the mother to be is carrying in her womb. Pregnancy has forced me to take a deeper look within myself to see the type of man I am, to see what I carry, and what I need to let go of in order to be the best husband and father possible. It is about looking at what my wife has to carry, and seeing how I can help her uphold all that she has to do, and though she is pregnant, the mother to be should also take stock of what she can do to help carry whatever burdens her husband/baby making partner has to carry.

Ron: A poem dedicated to a customer of my dad’s…

I never knew the man

But I heard he was a good man

My biggest hope is he’s held

tight in heaven’s hand.

My soul aches at the news of violence

Fools committin’ crimes when they high

up off that nonsense

Common decency seems to be

the biggest offense–no peace in these streets-

we sleep only in eternal silence.

I never knew the man,

But I heard he was a good man…

His good will never be good enough,

But my God’s grace is always just enough.

I hope your soul can rest easy now knowing

stayed tough.

I was inspired by a dead man

that I didn’t really know

Dad said he never stopped

trying, had nothing,

But always kept trying.
Great father and he always

kept trying.

That’s prolly why it hurt so much

hearing about him dying.

-C.R (Concrete Rhythm)

My first Friday off from work in quite some time, and I am stuck in the house, sick! I am trying to be productive and get some homework done, but all I feel like doing is sleeping. Actually what I really want to do is get out of the house and enjoy this wonderful weather we are having! Well, that is all for now, I am too tired/sick to type anything meaningful.

Second Anniversary!

I swore I would be able to blog over the weekend about this, but alas, Sunday was Taryn and I’s second wedding anniversary! I am very excited and thankful to God as He has been growing us together, and while it is a struggle, we have fought to keep our focus on Him.

 Sunday morning we got up and began making breakfast and as we were prepping/cooking, we began to talk about what we had learned from the other and how we had seen ourselves grow over the last two years. Now before I begin, Taryn and I did not live together before getting married, although we dated for six years and one day upon getting married. We both moved out from our parents’ homes and into our own, which was scary and exciting.

So yeah we’re talking and Taryn tells me that over the last two years she has learned a lot from me about cars. I was stoked! I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear! She’s all like, “Yeah I learned a lot about cars, stuff like oil changes, transmissions flushes, and suspension. You think I’m not listening but I am.” I’m smiling even as I type this. I kinda puffed my chest out a little as if to say, “Yeah, I’m the man, I done taught my Mrs. a thing or two about car maintenance.”

As for me, over these last two years I have learned a lot about prayer, and the important role it plays in any relationship. Its not that Taryn is some difficult woman who is hard to love, quite the contrary, she is actually very sweet, kind, caring, just an all around loveable person. The problem is me! I’m selfish! I want my way, I want what I want when I want it! I get frustrated, impatient, irritated at small things that often are an extension of stress/frustration from other people. I am not trying to make myself out to seem like an ogre, but really folks, aren’t we all selfish? When I told Taryn that I learned a lot about prayer, she looked disappointed, and I had to explain to her that as a human, I am naturally selfish,and that I have to pray to love selflessly.

Because of my prayers, the Holy Spirit has kept me from starting so many pointless, petty, childish arguments! Because of my prayers I have seen myself listen a little better, care a little more, and be just a bit more patient with Taryn, life, and myself. I also have learned the importance of laying my wife at the feet of Christ on a daily basis. I take it personal when Satan fights her with anxiety, fear, or any other negative emotion.
These last two years have been a huge blessing. I have seen a lot of growth in myself and in Taryn. I would like to encourage any man reading this to pray and pray often. Pray while you’re in the car, pray while you’re in the shower, if you can, pray while you’re at work. Pray for unity in your marriage, pray for fidelity, sexual purity, sexual intimacy, pray that Christ would teach you to lead lovingly, pray for humility, pray against ANY attack Satan may have planned for your wife. Follow Christ as boldly and as humbly as possible. I do not mean to talk as if my wife and I have been through it all, but I have sat at the feet of my father, who has been married for over 35 years, I listen to my pastors who seek God fiercely for their wives and families. I ask that you listen to me on this one point, whether you have been married two months, two years, or over twenty five years, prayer is essential for a healthy marriage.

-Charles

Ps. I feel like I got off track in this blog, forgive me, I am a little distracted thinking about my next blog post.

Marriage, and the Pursuit of Her

2013-10-14 12.13.33

This is my wife, Taryn. We met eight years ago through a mutual friend’s MySpace page. I was a senior in high school and she was a junior. And now here we are married, going on two years (August 3rd to be precise… I think…No I’m just kidding). Boy, would ya’ look at that smile?! She’s gorgeous! People see our pictures together and they always comment, “You guys always look so happy together!”

The truth is, we are! I was blessed to marry my best friend!

That smile. What does it take to keep it radiant, beautiful, and irresistible? I told Taryn recently that I wanted to pursue her romantically. I wanted to put aside my tendency towards selfishness and be more affectionate. So I go on Facebook and pose a challenge to my fellow married friends. I said, “Let’s band together to encourage one another to pursue our wives!” No one took me up on it. But! I didn’t care, I was like screw it, I’ll do it by myself.
Last week was Taryn’s birthday. I had been wanting to do this for her anyway, but I cleaned the whole house, left instructions for her at the front door, I ran her a bubble bath, and gave her a massage. I wasn’t looking for sex, I wasn’t looking to get anything out of it. My desire was purely to indulge her, to romance her.

The Pursuit of Her–simply put, what does it take for us husbands to keep our wives radiant, beautiful, and extraordinary?

I had to come to the conclusion that I don’t want an ordinary marriage in which my wife begs for my attention. I don’t want her to wander into another man’s arms because I lack affection, I don’t want to dissolve our marriage because I think only of my needs. So with this I’d like to close with a prayer;

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the gift of marriage. I pray that you would guide me, and all husbands in the pursuit of our wives. May we keep you first in all that we do, guide us with your Holy Spirit. Help us to keep our hearts pure, and our eyes focused. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

-Charlie