Making Room

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We often treat our children as if they are invaders in our home. Pillagers of our everyday items (free kitchen cabinet content removal) and destroyers of all that is good (throwing ALL media off shelves onto the floor). I don’t think much about it now, but Tabitha and I fought against the invader mentality. Instead, we invited our son into our spaces.

The Cabinet Battle

When Wyatt was little, he liked opening the kitchen cabinets and throwing the cabinet contents out onto the floor. Typical little kid stuff. Tupperware, pots and pans, you name it, all over the floor to trip on. Our Solution: Tabitha gave Wyatt his own kitchen cabinet. A place where we could intentionally put just a few things for him to pull out. This created a boundary we could enforce, as all the other kitchen cabinets were off limits. A small mental shift that made our lives much easier in those early years.

Bottom Line: Invite your children into the kitchen, let them play in their cabinet while you cook.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Welcome to the Living Room

Most kids have all of their toys in their bedrooms. As Wyatt grew older, we set up all of his toys in a corner of our living room. At this stage, he liked to be near us while he played. With his toys in the living room, he would:
  • Walk over and play with us for a moment. I could easily eat some plastic cheese and then he would move on.
  • Grab us to come play cars on his large car mat.
This set up allowed his bedroom to solely become his sleep room. With his toys in the living room, we could watch, play, and still go about our business. A win for him and us!
Bottom Line: This one might drive some of you nuts… having your children’s stuff out in the open. Trust me though, with the toys out you play more. Who cares if you have guests over and they realize that you have children (This one was hard on me. Thankful for my sweet wife for helping me through this.).
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

They Grow Up

Over the weekend, we created a new space for Wyatt. A place where he can hang out when friends come over. Tab and I took half of our mud room and :
  • Put some carpet square samples from work down to define his space. We’ve found that the carpet squares work great as area rugs with a little Gorilla Tape holding them together.
  • Bought some bean bag chairs.
  • And put a TV/DVD player for gaming and movies. (I will note that nothing is connected to the internet in his space. All about smart parenting, people.)

Make Room

I watch other parents fight the kitchen cabinet battles; I watch some of them act as if they can erase any trace of having children in their home (I hate homes that feel like museums… another blog post though.). I can tell you that there is an easier way to fight the “invader”, include them in your spaces. Make room for your children.

Build That Wall

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The rental house next door was visited by a tree service this week. The tree service did their job… almost too well. Now I can see the neighboring house and have a direct view of their back porch. Which means summer time swimming will now include waving at the neighbors from the pool and zero privacy. I’m thinking of building a wall. A fence that will help restore privacy to my backyard.

When I step out my back door, this is what I see now (all used to be hidden).

Bushes and trees, gone.

I Wanna Grow Old With You

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Saturday afternoon, Wyatt was dropped off to spend quality time with Tabitha’s parents. We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary. Eating all the good foods (burgers in our case, we love them!), watching all the movies (Crazy Rich Asians), and just enjoying time alone together.

I love Tabitha. It’s amazing to look back and see how God has written our story:

  • How we met by bumping into each other, in the dark, at a “scare-em into Heaven” evangelistic haunted house (we were playing brother and sister in the play).
  • The extra year we spent dating, after Tabitha’s parents told me that they didn’t have peace in me marrying their daughter (the relationship I have now, with her parents, because I respected them, is amazing).
  • Wyatt arriving a month early and all that that entailed.
  • Buying a house. Escaping the duplex that was quickly growing too small for our family.
  • Tabitha retiring from 8 years of teaching public school to become a stay-at-home mom (something she had always wanted).
  • Our decision to homeschool Wyatt. This was a big one, a choice that came about due to our local public school failing him.

God has allowed us to do so many things and has blessed our family in many different ways. I’m thankful for a God who doesn’t always answer with a quick yes. He has taught me that being told no or even told to wait has led to some of the best outcomes (this continues to be a hard lesson).

A picture of Tab and I with the guys from my dorm floor.

If we were reminded of anything this weekend it’s that we NEED time alone together. Going to start working on that in 2019.

To my wife, I love you. Thank you for your guidance, support, and growing older with me. Our story is still being written, even when we don’t completely understand what the Author is doing (He is still in control and is good). I love you, baby. Here is to another 12 years. – Bryan

Refresh My Muscle Memory, Please

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I played Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for a couple of hours the first week. The second week, life got in the way, and I didn’t get a chance to play. By the time I picked up a controller the third week, I couldn’t remember how the game controlled.

I’m not sure about you, but I come across this problem quite a bit. Modern AAA games feature complex controls that require the memorization of many buttons. Which works out fine as long as you play consistently. As an adult though, I go through periods where I’ll start a game and then come back to it weeks to a month later. This is a game killer for me.

My Odyssey boat has been dead in the water for a few weeks now. I’m stuck on a mission where I have to sink some Athenian vessels blocking a harbor. I’m good with the boat controls but things go south once I try boarding. I can’t remember how to block, my muscle memory draws a blank when it comes to the rhythm of combat.

Duh, I’m not sure what to do.

Sure, I could look up the controller button layout diagram and try and figure out how to parry/block. In fact, I did! Last night, I tried the boarding party portion of the mission again and failed. FAILED! At this point, I’m frustrated with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey just as I was with Batman: Arkham Knight (another game with complex controls that doesn’t look kindly on players taking a break from it).

Game developers need to include some sort of quick gameplay tutorial. A five minute run down that helps the player re-acclimate to controls and remind muscle memory of a games particular rhythms. I wonder if player retention and player percentage of completion would go up with a refresher tutorial feature?

As my gaming time stands, I find myself gravitating towards games with simpler controls. Controls that I can pick up quickly and get into the game faster with. Unlike a good book, which is easy to drop in and out of, most modern AAA games are a pain to take a break from. I want that pain to be eased, and I’m sure game developers would like that too. So I’m asking developers for a simple feature, refresh my muscle memory, please.

Your Feelings Lie

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My pastor said something that has stuck with me:

“Your feelings lie.”

Photo by Ryan Pernofski on Unsplash

Work has been a swirling vortex of condescension, anger, and stress. A tidal wave of not accepting where we are on a project. We’ve been behind for months. Months. And yet at no point has acceptance of this fact been had. No moment of admitting:

  • Hey, we messed up.
  • Yeah, we are behind… BUT let’s move forward, as a team, and do our best.

My feelings have been lying to me; my body absorbing the workplace maelstrom of emotions.

I’m done with feeling stressed towards this project.

I’m done being lied to by my feelings.

If anything, I’m beginning to find the current situation at work humorous.

People have got to chill.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

– Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

Don’t Drown

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Do you feel like you are drowning? That whatever you are dealing with is too big, overwhelming, and will never end?
Photo by Cristian Palmer on Unsplash
I was talking with a friend this past Wednesday night. His son had suffered from life threatening food allergies since birth. Food allergies that had once caused him to drive 110MPH to get to the hospital. Notice that I said that he had suffered from food allergies. Today, more than a decade later, his son is healthy and able to to eat a much broader range of foods. Food no longer equals death.
 
Got me thinking about how we encounter these huge life deals. Issues that we never think will ever pass. Obstacles such as:
 
  • A surgery
  • A medical issue
  • A car accident
  • A outstanding debt/bill
  • A baby not sleeping or that has issues eating
I want to encourage you today. If you feel overwhelmed by something, drowning in the present, you can do this. God is there to provide His strength. You don’t have to do this on your own. One day you’ll look back in the mirror and shake your head. You’ll wonder how something that had been so consuming could vanish into a past worry. And if it doesn’t go away (sometimes that happens), you’ll know that He is there with you, guiding you closer to Him.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
– Isaiah 40:29 (NLT)