This last weekend, we celebrated moms.

This mom is clearly better than you.

This mom is clearly better than you.

Being a mom is hard work, so it’s good that we celebrate them. They are pretty important.

But I also have heard a rumor that being a mom is pretty fulfilling work. Somehow, between the late nights, the laundry, the messes and the noise, there is a lot of joy.

My wife and I have been trying to make her into a mom for a long time. But she worries that it’s not the joyful, fulfilling job that all the moms make it out to be. And I say, “Honey, look at the moms we know. They don’t go out to nice restaurants anymore. They have baby food stuck in their hair. They look frazzled and sleep-deprived. Their lives are by every measure worse now that they have kids. Yet they say they wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

That is amazing that kids can make moms give up everything and be glad to do it.

But I’ll tell you ladies something.

I’m glad I don’t have to be a mom. No matter what happens to me, I’ll never have to worry about accidentally becoming a mom.

And it’s not that I won’t someday help with midnight feedings and poopy diapers.

I don’t think I could take the sheer, competitive nature of the sport that mothering has become.

Continue Reading…

What does it take to come up with a good idea?

I mean a really really good idea?

I watch kids struggle to come up with ideas. It’s understandable. Their brains are still growing. They are still learning how to think of ideas.

But the problem with most of them is that they shoot themselves in the foot. They start to come up with an idea, but then they turn back. They erase what they’ve started. They crumple up their paper. They say “That’s no good.”

Many of them never really let themselves have a truly, completely formed idea. Most of their ideas are abandoned, only halfway realized.

They never really know if their ideas were going to be good or bad.

Most of us do the same thing. We have an idea. But baby ideas are kind of like newborn babies. They aren’t fully formed. They are pink and slimy and even a little bit gross. They have to be cleaned up before we can even tell how they will ever turn out.

For all of us, especially those of us who desire to come up with new ideas, we have to resist that urge – that urge that makes us abandon too soon. That inner voice that says, “That’s no good.” Our inner voice doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Because it’s just a voice.

There really is only one way to come up with a great idea.

goodidea

What if we stopped worrying about whether our ideas were “good” or “bad” and just starting with thinking of new ideas?

What an astronomical number of thoughts we would think.

It’s Friday again.

For me, that means one more week of school. It means I have one more week before I take a group of high school freshmen on a mission trip. One more week before I give the keynote speech at graduation. Well, you know how everything converges all at once.  It’s May after all.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t find time for a few good things this week.

In My TV Lineup

I haven’t been catching a lot of television lately. But I did watch the new episode of 24, because I was a huge fan in my college days. The show looks like it hasn’t missed a beat, and looks even better in HD. I’m actually pretty excited for it.

Speaking of Keifer Sutherland, he makes a pretty awesome appearance in this SNL sketch (which is already pretty flipping funny for all of us who are “sort of” fans of Beyonce.)

In My Blog Reader

This week was “Teacher Appreciation Week,” which is ironic because all of you with school age kids, your little angels have gone positively insane the last couple of weeks.  Maybe someone timed that on purpose. Anyway, there were a couple of really good teacher related posts that popped up in my reader, like this one from Accidental Devotional, because teachers, like most people, feel underappreciated. There was this other one from Emily Freeman that’s not teacher-specific is pretty relevant to teachers and really anyone in a teacher-like role.

Last Wednesday, I mentioned infertility and Mother’s Day and wouldn’t you know it, there were two stories that came out this week that just illustrate to me the breadth of mourning that humanity goes through. There are people who mourn alone. There are daughters without moms. We can all be more compassionate toward people because everyone’s pain is real to them, even if it is not real to us.

Finally, I’ve been a big fan of Addie Zierman almost as long as she’s been blogging, and she’s hooked her readers without ever touching the “issues” that typify blogging. She explains why, and to me it’s a perfect illustration of what makes her a writer worth reading.

And that’s that! What fueled you this week?

 

This Sunday is Mother’s Day.images

The day when we all think of the women who gave us life, who nurtured us and raised us.

And plenty of you ladies who are still raising children will be celebrated. Maybe your kids will make you breakfast in bed. Maybe the word “breakfast” will stretch the definition a bit. But it will be served to you in bed.

Maybe your husbands will bring you flowers.

Maybe your gift will be that the family just leaves you alone for the day.

And all of you who go to church on Sunday are sure to be honored. Maybe your pastors will have you stand up and be recognized. Maybe someone will give you a carnation, which is a nice old-fashioned Mother’s Day thing to do.

If you would, please take a moment on Mother’s Day to do just one thing. It’s not very big, and you can get right back to your special day.

Please remember your childless friends. Continue Reading…

Every day, we humans test ourselves.

We do so to find out true potential, to push ourselves to our very limits, to understand just what we are actually capable of.

A few people get to test themselves on the world stage. They are Olympians with world records. Or they are hot dog eating champions. Or they are people who just have some kind of unusual or novel skill. Sometimes, we see what a human can do even when great limitations are placed on their bodies or minds. And we find inspiration in these things because they speak to the human spirit, wanting to climb ever higher.

But all of those things, whether winning a gold Olympic medal, or eating fifty hot dogs, are difficult.

There are plenty of things we humans have vast potential for that are not difficult. They do not require skill or practice. They come to us naturally, as if by instinct from the womb.

The problem is that a good deal of these instinctual talents are not all that great. They represent the bottom of human life. If we are to live good, virtuous, creative, worthy lives, then we will spend a lifetime learning to suppress these instincts for greatness.

Take this observation from Aldous Huxley:

granted

It is true. My capacity to be unthankful, unobservant and unthoughtful of the miraculous circumstances of my life is a soaring testimony of that fact.

But creative people are people who see first. We cannot be truly creative if we cannot see and appreciate the world around us, the people around us, and understand the sheer wonderment of it all. We cannot be people who ignore, who shut out, who do not look or listen until it is taken from us.

Today, creativity starts by suppressing our natural instincts.

It’s been a wet cold, Spring week.

A little bit tough to swallow when everyone just wants to escape school, and we have to have indoor recess practically every day. Though, inside, I’ve been very busy, preparing to take a group of high school freshmen on a mission trip, making sure that we cram every piece of art work into the year that we can. I’ll be spending tonight curating a collection of student artwork that is being shown downtown.

This week was an interesting mix of reads and watches.  Here’s what fueled me this week.

In My Netflix QueueMV5BMTI2NzYyMzc5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTU1MDAzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_

You may have noticed it too, but Netflix streaming has become very heavy on recommendations based on what you’ve already seen, and less heavy on genre picks. I don’t know what I watched, but it triggered a flood of new documentaries in my queue. And although it’s already a decade old, The Secret Life of Mammals is pretty delightful, as is David Attenborough. Who doesn’t like cute little furry creatures? (There’s also The Secret Life of Birds.) It’s a show that shows the utterly astonishing variety and adaptability of life on Earth.

In My Blog Reader

Do we really love and desire God, or do we just want his stuff, like an old rich uncle? Sammy Adebiyi asks this always relevant question (because the answer doesn’t usually change): I Don’t Want Jesus…I Want His Stuff

I have to admit, one of the parts of parenting that my wife and I are dreading (if we ever get there), is the absurd level of competitiveness that people feel in their parenting. If there are little league dads throwing chairs at the referee, there are moms who post on social media about all the ways they are “winning” at being moms. Courtney Reissig sheds light on the question of motherhood being a job, while exposing the voracity with which parents attack other parents: Is Motherhood a Job?

Stepheanie Spencer has a great way of asking simple questions with her blog that I always appreciate. Today’s question is just about two little words, but which two little words we use makes all the difference: God is Great…And Yet.

And finally, if we Christians got off our high horses, we might admit that we are all addicted to something. It’s just that some of us are unfortunate enough to have an addiction that is more visible and less socially acceptable than others. Ben Moberg at Deeper Story writes about his addiction in Grace For the Addict.

That’s what fueled me this week. What about you?