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“Happy Birthday, Da-Dee”

09/16/2013

We’ve celebrated a lot of birthdays this past week so Ali has been randomly singing the happy birthday song. My favorite is when she sings “Happy Birthday, Daddy. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to Daddy, Happy Birthday Daddy.” Today is Jason’s birthday. He’s in Nova Scotia and we’re in Nashville so we’ll have to hold off celebrating together for a few more days.

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We love you SO MUCH! You are an awesome daddy to Ali and a wonderful husband and best friend to me. We are blessed to have you. I hope you have a great day. We can’t wait to smother you with hugs and kisses when you get home!

Update: If you want to give Jason a virtual birthday present, you can pledge a preorder for his upcoming Christmas Classics acoustic guitar album! 😉

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The Blue Guitar

07/02/2013

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It was Jason’s first guitar almost 20 years ago, the one he learned to play on. It was a red burst color back then. The mid-60s Sekova guitar (like this one) originally belonged to his mom, believe it or not! His dad taught him as many chords as he knew and then Jason started weekly guitar lessons. He’s been obsessed with all things guitar ever since. By the time Jason was a guitar performance major in music school, he was the one teaching guitar lessons. He’s had a lot of different guitars through the years, always buying, selling and trading up.  In a high school art class Jason painted the old Sekova blue but never reassembled it into working order.

I’ve always treasured the blue guitar but it took a lot of convincing before my guitar loving husband would allow me to display a non-functional guitar in our house. To me, the blue guitar represents dreams that come true—if you pour your whole heart into something, work hard and never give up, you CAN reach your loftiest goals!

Some bitter, cruel, and perhaps a few even well-meaning people through Jason’s adolescence attempted to crush his dream; to tell him he wasn’t good enough… or suggest how arrogant he must be to think he could actually be a professional guitar player… or to say “it didn’t work for me so it won’t work for you.”

Jason has a tender heart, an inherited work ethic and perfectionism (I blame his German roots), and a rare tenacity. He’s now playing professionally, traveling the world, making a good living doing what he loves. I hung the blue guitar in the playroom where our kids spend a lot of time because I want them to ask about it. I want to tell them over and over again about how hard their daddy worked and how much he loves what he does; I want them to know—to really know—that with enough passion and diligence they can achieve whatever they desire to achieve. Dreams do come true.

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Junior Landscaping Apprentice

04/09/2013

When Jason and I are doing yard work, Ali is either sleeping or helping. And by helping, I mean “helping.” Bless her heart, she wants so badly to be useful.

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I was planning on getting Ali a sandbox this summer and then I realized, hello! We have a whole courtyard full of crushed rocks. Welcome to the giant sandbox, darling.

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Look how she follows Jason around with her tiny shovel, trying to do exactly what he’s doing.

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Such a beautiful picture of parenting and discipline, isn’t it? She learns how to act by watching and imitating us. We lead by example and it’s her instinct to follow.

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It’s not forced. She could have been just playing in the rocks and that would have been fine. But she wanted to help Daddy. She wanted to do what Daddy was doing. She wants to be like Daddy.

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Good Reads

02/11/2013

These three blog posts rocked my world last week and I wanted to pass them on to you.

Look at Me When You’re Talking to Me!

You want me to look at you, even when you are very angry and I don’t want to look at you.  And you want me to wait my turn for talking, even when I have something very important to say.  So why don’t you look at me when I’m doing my very important things before you tell me to stop?  And why do you get to interrupt what I am doing without waiting until I’m done?

Written from the perspective to the child, this totally humbled me as a mama. It brought tears to my eyes as I realized how often I fail Ali by not giving her the attention and respect she deserves. The day before I read this, I had scolded Ali for demanding “Cacka! Cacka! Cacka!” from the other room. I told her she needed to say “Cracker please” in a nice tone. Then a few minutes later, I caught myself toning out her voice as I was preparing dinner. “Pease. Pease. Pease.” she was saying in the sweetest little voice as she pointed to the package of crackers. She wasn’t rude, loud or demanding…and she totally did not get my attention. Sigh.

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For the Foster/Adoptive Dad

My friend and mentor says there are only 2 emotions; fear and love.  They are intricately and inversely related.  Foster or adoptive children live out of fear, they are afraid that at the drop of a dime they will be picked up and put out of the home they are currently in.  It does not matter how old they are or how long they have been there, fear is often the primary emotion that is shaping everything and anything about these children.  … God says He is love, and thus far I believe Him.  No matter how many moments we want to respond in fear, fathers must ferociously pursue the presence of God…the presence of love.

I don’t come across a lot blogs written by foster/adoptive dads so I thought this one was pretty cool. This father discusses 3 things that he feels very foster/adoptive dad must force himself to lean into daily.

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3 Things We Forget

In most cases lying, stealing, selfishness, and the inability to empathize will surface again and again. Get ready, because they all come with the territory. All of these are symptoms of a human being who has been forced into survival mode early on in their little lives.

From the same father as the previous post, here he addresses 3 things to keep in mind when parenting “hurt” kids—behaviors that result from fighting to survive, not to expect gratitude from a child who didn’t choose this life and the long term investment beyond a kid’s 18th birthday.


Precious’ First Guitar Lesson

07/10/2012

Jason is very protective of his guitars. Normally he wouldn’t allow a child to touch them but he made an except for a particular chubby handed baby girl when we did the photography for his Acoustic Lullabies album cover.

Now, she’s eager to get her hands on it again. This time she’s studying how Jason plays. Precious loves music. If she hears Jason playing she’ll crawl across the room as fast as she can, climb up his legs (sometimes pulling leg hair—ouch!) and try to get to the guitar.

Her daddy sweetly lets her touch and pluck the strings, trying to figure out how they make the lovely sounds they make while he plays.