Dad beards….

Dad Beards….

Beards are in style right now. If you haven’t noticed that, you apparently haven’t watched any sports James_Harden_Beard Jayson_werth_beard,

movies brad-pitt-beard ryan_gosling_beard,

or walked outside recently.hipster_beard

Beards used to be for only certain groups (Amish!)Amish_beard

but now they’re more widely accepted than a grown man in skinny jeans. Conan_skinny jeans

 

But what about beards on dads?

I have chosen to have a “sort of” beard for almost three years now. Simon

A “sort of” beard is a beard that stays very short and gets shaved to the shortest length of the hair trimmers about every two weeks. It never becomes a true, thick beard, but there’s always a little something there. I grew this when I started teaching college students to make myself look enough their senior to be their professor. Some people can’t picture me without it. 

But as a dad with a beard I regularly run into a major problem. The problem? Beards can be “scratchy” or “itchy” in the words of my chidders. Whenever I shave my beard close with hair trimmers, it then remains scratchy for a few days before it’s to the soft stage again. I’ve never had the long beard nor kissed a man with one (I’ve never kissed a man without the beard either), but my assumption is that it’s soft and not scratchy.

In the movie Saving Mr. Banks, Travers Robert Goff, as played by Colin Farrel, is the father of P.L. Travers, the famous author of the Mary Poppins books. He is depicted as a dreamer and drunk in the movie, but he absolutely adores and dotes on his children. In a conversation with his young daughter he asks, “Do you know why daddies shave their beards?” After receiving a puzzled look, he smiles at her and says, “Daddies shave their beards so they can give their children kisses.”

Beards are in fashion, but hopefully our choice to grow them does not impede us dads from receiving our God-given right of kisses from our children!

Dad’s—may you either keep your beards shaved off or long enough not to be “scratchy” so you may never miss the immense blessing of your child’s loving kiss.

–SH

For your viewing pleasure, some of the best beards on the market:

bestbeards bestbeards2 bestbeards3

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Why I am glad it was a boy…

I would have been happy to have another girl. In some ways I would have been elated. Our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th children were girls, so we were used to having them. We have a monster’s share of little girls clothes already and all of the hair clips, dolls, and princess dresses that accompany the world of little human females. I would have been very happy having another little lady in our home.

Mason is happy ALL the time!
Mason is happy ALL the time!

But we did not have another little girl. On October 18, 2015 we received the amazing gift of another little boy to our brood of creative little rugrats, and we are absolutely ecstatic! We would have loved a girl, but Rachel and I have now both openly stated that we really wanted a boy. I don’t know if it was to even out the teams or because we felt a little sorry for Christian, but we are both overjoyed to have Mason Lane in our lives!

As I think through it, here are a few reasons we’re so happy he’s a boy:

  1. Adriah

Before Mason was born, Adriah was the only child that kept saying she wanted mommy to have a “baby dirl!” (That’s “baby girl” in 3 year old talk.) So when she first met him and was asked if she wanted to kiss him, her answer was a quick and simple “no.” Fastforward 6 months and she is completely in love with him and constantly wants him brought down to her level so she can touch him and kiss him. When she holds him now she just wants to keep looking at his “tiny” hands and feet. I think they make her feel more like a “big dirl.”

I am also glad we had a boy for Adriah’s sake because in some ways she is most assuredly a youngest daughter. She is a little diva and loves making people laugh and getting attention. Having a younger sister would have been too similar to this little starlet in the making. A boy provides good variation and will allow both Adriah and him to better develop into individuals. Overall, for Adriah’s sake I am really glad we had a boy.

2) Christian

Christian, in the language of Strengthsfinder (Link), is strong in command and competition. He likes to be in charge and he likes to win his way. (I’m guessing a lot of 7 year old boys are like that, but he takes it to another level.) In the short amount of time Mason has been in his life, I am starting to see and hope for a change in Christian. He is showing that he can deeply care and think about someone other than himself. He showed glimpses of this type of care for Adriah–not wanting her to get punished at all no matter the level of her wrongdoing. But when little Mason is in a state of uncontrolled cry-screaming, Christian shows his deep concern. My hope is that having a little brother will bring out the compassion and love for others that we desire to see in our oldest boy. For Christian’s sake, I am really glad we had a boy.

3) Selah and Jadah

Selah and Jadah are now 6 years old, and they love playing house and having responsibility. As Mason has grown over the last 6 months, I have seen both of them take on more older sister and caretaker responsibilities. They love being involved in taking care of their little Mason in any way that they can. I can envision them feeding him soon when he gets to eat real food and watching over him as he learns to walk. For the sake of Selah and Jada, I am really glad we had a boy.

4) Rachel

Rachel may quite literally be the best mom in the world. She is very intentional and extremely patient. To say that she has developed a deep and lasting love for Mason is most assuredly an minimization of her affection. Rachel loves her girls very much, but Mason will give her the perspective of a different type of boy with a different personality. For Rachel’s sake, I am really glad we had a boy.

5) Me

It goes without saying, but I am ecstatic to have another boy. I feel as though I make so many mistakes with Christian, so Mason is my second chance. :) (Christian, if you ever read this, I’m sorry. But everyone is better at something the 2nd time around.) Although now that baseball season is starting, it is strange to think that I will go through all of these developmental stages with another boy. But at least Mason will have his brother that is 7 years older to help too! For my sake, I am really glad we had a boy.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, no matter if you have a girl, a boy, or a puppy!

 

–SH

****To shed some light on our lives right now….I started writing this post the day Mason was 1-month old and intended to post it then. Maybe I’ll get to write something again in less than 6 months! :)

Our Family of 7

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How do they know?….

As I walked through the garage I could hear the piano playing. I knew that only our youngest was home with Rachel because the older three were all at playdates for the day. Adriah is just over 3 and as the youngest of 4 kids she relishes the times she gets to have individualized attention. I walked in the door and she ran over in one of her play ballerina dresses and with a sly yet precious smile said, “Daddy you’re my prince! Dance wiff me!”

How did she know? This 3 year old little spitfire of a girl knew exactly what I needed. I didn’t even know. She knew that I needed to dance with a princess and forget about the hardships of life.

You see, I had just arrived home from testifying in the rape trial of my wife. That is a phrase that no husband should ever have to think, say, or write. But it’s now a part of our story.

Rachel had testified that morning and was not allowed to see my testimony as I was not allowed to see hers, so she was home with Adriah while I took my turn. On a night I was gone a year ago, my wife was raped in our home by three robbers. It has been a hard situation to go through, but God has carried us and blessed us in supernatural ways. (For example, I am writing this post in our house that was completely paid for by an anonymous donor that wanted to bless us after this tragedy.) I have the bravest most courageous wife, and we are starting to see some closure from this ordeal.

How did she know?

How did Adriah know what I needed? I have read and heard that children sense the spiritual realm much more than adults. We may “understand” it more, but children recognize it much easier than adults. It seems like my kids always know when I need a pick me up or when I need to smile a little more. That’s when they get their craziest and I can’t help but laugh with them.

Have you heard the song Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman? In this song the lyrics state:

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,

Without a care in the world.

And I’m sitting here wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders.

(Dad’s of little girls…I DARE you to dance to this song with your girl(s) without crying!)

 

We danced (which mostly involves me spinning in circles with her in my arms) and whenever I’d stop for even just a second I’d hear, “Again Daddy!” We swayed and we cuddled. It was one of the few moments she didn’t want me to let her go, and I didn’t want to.

 

–SH

 

***I’d like to note that the trial finished late Thursday night on July 23rd, 2015. The defendant was found guilty of all charges at the highest level. We are praying that the other 2 perpetrators ask for a plea deal and we do not have to go through any more trials. Please feel free to email me if you’d like to know more about what God has done through this situation.

–SH

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