Redemption on the Horizon

Some of you know, many of you don’t. Grandmother (on Rheanna’s side) was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. I was lucky enough to meet her while she was still coherent, but her condition has visibly worsened over the past few years. Last month, Rheanna and I took a trip to Idaho to visit her extended family and introduce Grandmother to her great granddaughter, #ShilohJo. Whether or not she could acknowledge who Shiloh was, the tenderness and care with which she held her showed that Grandmother was still Grandmother – a woman of class who is/was especially fond of babies and has nothing but love to give. If anyone is fortunate to have met her, it’s obvious as to where Rheanna’s compassionate heart comes from.

This image means a lot to me for the above reasons, but also because it represents more. There’s something special and unique when grandparents come into contact and interaction with their grandchildren in this precious way – a hint that the bonds of generational curses have begun to break off and redemption is on the horizon. It also alludes to a future generation waiting/needing to be released and advance the glory of His kingdom – not to wage war or to judge, but to love and transform. Let revival come.

Redemption on the Horizon

Do It For Her

My daughter is four weeks old today, and she’ll officially be one month old in two days. Even before she was born, many parents were telling me how quickly time goes by when one has kids. In one instant they’re born; then all of a sudden they are graduating high school or getting married.

The past four weeks have definitely gone by in a blur, much like my sleep pattern, and to say it’s been an adjustment would be an huge understatement. My baby isn’t too engaging yet and is really only operating out of biological necessity – eating, pooping, sleeping (repeat) – but I’m constantly learning – about her, myself, my wife, and my marriage – because of her. And because no one gave me any practical or specific ways to “adjust,” here are some helpful tips from one newbie dad to another.

Be engaged.

When you’re around baby put down the phone or tablet and be with her/him. One recent morning, I had baby in my lap while momma was still sleeping. I thought I could use this time to catch up on my news feeds (because, instagrams) until I came across the following post seconds later. Enough said.

Take some time to unplug from all the “digital distractions” and focus on your marriage and family. It could do wonders for your relationships and your overall health.

Posted by Marriage on Saturday, 3 October 2015

Be proactive.

Don’t ask your wife if she wants you to take the baby or change her. Just do it. Chances are she does and would appreciate it. Asking for her preference may imply that you don’t want to be involved or care for baby. Unbeknownst to you, it may actually reflect how you feel. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this, but I’m learning to get over myself and rethink how I offer to help. Instead of asking, “Do you want me to take the baby?” you can simply say, “I’ll take the baby for a little bit. Why don’t you __________ (fill in the blank with something momma wants)?”

Your own time may be important to you, but your time with baby is limited.

I can’t get enough of my baby. I love looking at her and kissing her, wondering what her voice will sound like, when she’ll start smiling at my lame dad jokes, etc. I also know she’ll grow into an independent teenager asking for my car. That’s why I’d rather postpone my morning run and help baby pass some gas. If I can’t help her with that, how can I expect to help her when she, God forbid, breaks an arm from snowboarding? Besides, I can double up on dad-time by taking baby on a run with me when I get home from work.

Give momma a break.

Even if it means holding the baby for 10 minutes in the dark hours of the morning, it could feel like an hour of sleep for momma. I experienced this first hand just a couple of days ago, and I actually enjoyed the morning stillness while I held baby. Bonus tip: don’t be expecting a high five. Give momma a break because you love her and know she’s at home all day caring for baby while you’re at the office writing blog entries.

Do it for her.

Leaving for work is hard and being at work is even harder, but I know it means I can still be of use to my family even if I’m not home to physically help. Picture messages of her snuggly face also remind me why I spend most of my day surrounded by grey walls and why it’s actually worth it.

Do It For Her

How One Group of Friends is Rethinking Abortion, Women’s Health, and Planned Parenthood

weneedlifebanner (1)

Every week, a group of 20-30 friends meet at the Van Meters’ house in San Diego. Someone from the group will usually prepare and bring dinner that everyone enjoys before diving into a discussion about the Bible, current news and events, life, and how to spur one another on in love and good deeds. In light of the recent videos highlighting Planned Parenthood’s involvement with abortion, which account for a supposedly 3% of the organization’s “services” to women (that is, the death of 327,000 babies), the home-group recently began asking themselves a question that not many seemed to be asking, “What can we do to help?”

As many argue about the true consequences of abortions conducted by Planned Parenthood, which ultimately don’t matter because the death of a baby is a death of a baby, or how the organization may provide other helpful health services for women, the home-group is approaching the conversation differently. Rather than picketing PP, they have identified a basic need for more pro-life pregnancy care clinics in San Diego that offer women the same, if not more, medical/health services than PP – and without having to consider abortion as an option.

Many women in lower-income communities actually have little to no option when it comes to medical clinics from which they can seek help. The East County Pregnancy Care Clinic, one of the leading organizations in San Diego that offers a safe alternative for pregnant women, has also recognized a need to fill these gaps and make medical services readily available for these women of any demographic, particularly in Southeast San Diego. However, the cost to open just one clinic is estimated to be $100,000. It would cost just as much to operate the clinic for only one year. On their own, the East County Pregnancy Care Clinic has already raised half of the amount, but they still need to double their efforts in order to open the new clinic.

This is where the home-group is stepping in.

Because of their heart for the matter, the home-group has started a fundraising campaign to come up with the additional $50,000 to open a new pro-life crisis pregnancy clinic in Southeast San Diego (and hopefully a little extra to go towards the $100,000 annual operating cost). In just a couple of weeks since the launching the campaign, they have already raised over $9,000, almost 20% of their goal. Opening a new center would mean that in an area where more than a handful of San Diego’s pregnant women reside, there would be direct access to safer services for women and their children. They would no longer feel pressured to solely rely on one option to obtain medical services for their pregnancy.

In a dialogue where women’s health concerns and choices come into question, the home-group is not necessarily looking to engage in battle with Planned Parenthood, though all involved are against abortion. Nor is the home-group against women’s rights. Instead, they see a need in the lack of resources available to pregnant women, in general. By opening a new pregnancy clinic in the area (the group also hopes to help open pregnancy clinics in other lacking regions throughout San Diego), the home-group is hoping to fill a need that would help alleviate that gap and ensure that pregnant women make the best informed decision for their families.

Visit the home-group’s fundraising page on Classy to find out more and to make a donation.
Click here to donate and help
How One Group of Friends is Rethinking Abortion, Women’s Health, and Planned Parenthood

Response: Redefining Divorce

In going through my morning blog rotation, I came across this article by Michael Howard about a married couple, the husband being a renown figure at Google and the wife being a prominent researcher, who attempted to study the effects (i.e. why and how it happens) and affects (i.e. implications) of divorce. Their result? Pretty much inconclusive.

Howard notes that “studies on the effects of divorce are plagued by spurious correlations, incalculable variables, and the near-impossibility of separating cause from effect,” a generalization with which I can agree. Although divorced persons could each have the same reasons for why they got divorced (e.g. finances, career, etc.), I think the whole thing is too deep and dynamic to study and provide any straightforward explanation. However, I do believe divorce is ultimately the result of a ceremony conducted only between people who are, without fail, going to change; their bond and vows destined to be as volatile as the day’s prominent news topic. There is nothing absolute to which their marriage is accountable.

In is his response with regards to how people’s loved ones could better help people assess their situation [of divorce], Astro Teller, husband of the researching duo, says, “in order for things to change, society as a whole would have to lighten up on the narrative.” My initial reaction to this was to respond with “why.” Why would we ever want to lighten that narrative? Shouldn’t we want to engage in a deeper conversation to get to the root of the issue so we can understand and prevent it?

I think Howard actually summarizes this notion in his statement leading up to Teller’s – “[The researchers] would like to see those people’s loved ones understand the situation differently.” And, to an extent, I agree. Rather than offering cliche statements of pity, we could be thinking deeper about the hows and whys of people’s feelings in divorce. I think that carefully employing empathy could be one of the best way to go about consoling, comforting, and having a discussion about the situation.

What stuck out to me most was when Howard says that “blindly encouraging the persistence of a broken marriage may come from good intentions, but it only serves to shame the couple whose divorce could very well be for the best.”

I personally don’t believe comforting equates to shaming especially when you consider the heart of the initiator. There are times when empathy and sympathy come from a sincere heart. A more important question I’d like to ask is why is there often the underlying sentiment that divorce is acceptable and that it’s “for the best” of those involved? Why are we okay with it being an option or an out for [a difficult] marriage? If the narrative for divorce needs to change, maybe we can first rethink it and then take a position where we don’t even allow it as a possibility, thus eliminating the need to redefine it.

Ultimately, I believe there’s another outcome besides divorce for a difficult marriage, one where the only option is that there are no other options – but a Hope – such a Hope that defines and determines the beginning, middle, and near-end of any marriage, if you let Him. If you find yourself asking who this Hope is or how you can find Him, leave a comment. I’d be more than happy to share the Good News with you!

Response: Redefining Divorce