Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Hero of a Dad

It's nearly bedtime when we find our spots on the couch. The warm sunlight fading to dusky gray. The air is warm and the birds sing outside the window. He opens his bible, Phillipians. He starts to read. Sweet girl interrupts. He tries to continue. The words he reads are different from hers. She doesn't understand. She flips and flops on the couch. She cannot get settled. He reads from her Bible. She talks, distracts. He bows his head in frustration. It is now bedtime and all he's managed to read is the first verse of the passage.

It feels like a flop. But it wasn't.

Does a Father see his value? Does he see how his son, his daughter look at him, up to him?

They don't care how right you get it. They don't complain when it isn't perfect. Dad is a hero, without doing anything really. Just by showing up, being interested.

I look at this man. His calloused hands. Gray specks growing into his five o'clock shadow. I have known him since first grade. Thirteen years married, I know him. I see the weak spots, I hear the self-doubt. I wish he could see what I see. What our children see.

A man of integrity...
The righteous who walks in his integrity– blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7)

…who loves the Lord.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

A leader and teacher…
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy6:6-9)

…respected and loving.
And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. (Malachi 4:6)

A Daddy who loves their Mommy…
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

…who appreciates the blessing of his children.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalms 127:3-5)

And that's only the surface of the man we see and know.

Happy Father's Day to a man who tries exceedingly hard to love, care, provide, encourage, and support his family. To a man that doesn't need to be the best, most perfect, Superman of a Dad in order to be a hero to his kids or appreciated by his wife. You are doing the best that you can, that's enough for us!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"All Boy" — I Heart Faces Photo Challenge

My friend's two year-old, Luke, enjoys "roaring" at people for fun. He's definitely been entertaining us at the softball field this year. Followed him around one evening capturing the "many faces of Luke", but this one stood out to me as "All Boy". What do you think?

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com

Photo Challenge Submission

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Helping Your ADHD Spouse (and a To Do List suggestion)

These are REAL conversations I have had with my ADHD husband.

ME: "Why are you cleaning out the garage, I thought you were going to cut the grass?"
HIM: "I was going to cut the grass, but there was stuff in front of the lawn mower, so I had to move the stuff out of the way, so I decided to clean out the garage BEFORE I cut the grass."

HIM: "I really have to do this or that." A week later… "I really, really have to do this or that." A month later… "I still haven't done this or that, but I really have to do it."

If you are married to a man with ADHD then perhaps you, too, have had similar conversations with him. They likely leave one or both of you feeling frustrated. Or maybe you just throw your arms up because that's just how he is and you don't know how to help him.

Since the summer of 2011 I have been traveling the road of ADHD with my spouse. We went through the testing, and then decided to try medication in October. The next 6 months was tinkering with milligrams to find the right amount, not too high (made him very irritable), not too low. It's not been a year on them yet, but all in all it seems to be helping, when he remembers to take it.

Before I go on I want to reiterate that sharing our ADHD "struggles" is meant to be helpful. To let others in the same boat know that someone else out there gets it. But also to share some things that have been hard or helpful to us. I love my husband very much and think he is a very smart, gifted, and capable person. We are just two people who do things differently trying to work that out in our every day life, without pulling out too much hair (not sure I can keep the gray ones from coming, though).

I am an organized and detail oriented person. It makes for an interesting combination, my husband and I. Without awareness it could be very easy to just overtake him in the areas he finds difficult, like the organization, the details, etc. Sometimes it feels like we're waltzing (in my head, anyway). Only one person can lead. If I want him to lead me, I cannot lead the steps. We need to move and step together or the whole thing falls apart. I imagine someone with ADHD can probably survive pretty well on their own. Add a spouse who sees the world differently and you are potentially on a collision course for disaster.

A friend said recently that she figured out fast that jumping in and reorganizing her ADD husband's space (life) only serves to make her feel better about the chaos. Unless he's actively involved in the process and it is organized to meet his needs (not hers) then he will never keep it up and it's only a matter of time before everything is back to the mess it was before.

As I navigate life with my husband I'm slowly learning to take cues from him. It shouldn't be long before you figure out some areas/patterns of doing things that are not working for him. And if they aren't working for him, chances are he will express his frustration to you at some point. This happened not too long ago to us. My husband, although not a scheduler, appreciates, even needs, a schedule. As the quotes above reveal, he is also not a great planner. And by planner I mean he operates very much in the present moment, not necessarily considering the "big picture" or the time a task will take him. This is how the simple task of getting the lawn mower can turn into a full out garage cleaning project.

I wanted to share with you a strategy we created (together) to help him manage the tasks on his "To Do" list and prioritize them. All it took was a piece of paper, 4 colored highlighters, and a willing spouse.


1. First figure out the various categories the "to do" items will fall under (i.e. exterior house related, interior house, yard, vehicle, work, life/relationships, etc.). Ask your spouse to think of as many of the outstanding "to do" list items he has on his "mental list". You can help him with this if he needs/wants it.

2. List the items on a piece of paper under the categories you decided on above. Next to each item, estimate how much time the activity would take (minutes, hours, days). Your spouse may not be great at estimating time. You only need a rough idea. Once these 2 steps are completed, sit down together and go over it.

3. Get 3-4 different colored highlighters and discuss with your husband which items are a "top priority, "secondary, "third, and/or "future project". Color code each item on the list based on its level of priority. You may need to help your husband decide what needs to be done now and what can wait until a later time.

4. After the initial written list was done I re-created it on excel so it would be neater and I could sort it for him. I created 5 column headers; CK (a space to check the task off), ORDER (1 = top priority thru 4 = future), TIME, TO DO, and LOCATION (or category; outside, inside, car, work, etc.). Then I just filled in the rows with the information. I highlighted each item according to the ORDER. Then, I sorted the document by ORDER. All the 1's at the top, all the 4's at the bottom. I think it's important to keep the color coding intact along with the order #'s as a visual way to see the priority of the items.

So far, this list has been helpful to my husband. Since the time is estimated he can go to the "top priority" items and decide which he has time for in that moment. For the items that take longer periods of time to complete we can then discuss and schedule when he might be able to accomplish those tasks.

It is a working list, so it may require consistent revisions over time. As things get checked off, perhaps new items will need to be added or second or third priority items may need to be moved up. But atleast it is a means to discuss what needs to be done and you can do it together, which emphasizes that you are on the same team and you want to be helpful and supportive. And you'll both feel a sense of accomplishment when you start seeing things from the list get done.
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