Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Masculine Art of "Crafting"

Crafting isn’t typically a hobby you hear men talk about. Hahahaha. Admittedly, it isn’t the most masculine of activities; however, in this post I’m gonna try to explain I enjoy it just as much as my kids. First, I’m not really talking about pre bought kits or activities. I mean I’m all for those too. I get them all the time for us to do at home. I’m talking about sitting down and using ingenuity to create something new. Since I don’t have my dad’s incredible woodworking skills, I stick with creating things that could be made with the contents of a preschool’s art supply closet :D hahaha. It’s simply creating things with your hands that makes your kids happy. It’s pushing your brain to think not only “outside the box”, but more like “I’m about to tear this box in half to build dinosaur legs”.

I think the reason I wanted to type on this topic is that I tend to meet new friends online quite frequently. One of the first questions asked when getting to know someone is “What are your hobbies?” I mean is it just me, or is that just the most uncomfortable question ever.

I mean should I just be honest?
“My hobbies include eating and thinking about eating.”

But seriously, whenever I get asked that question lately I find myself saying “Writing and Crafting”. Every time that comes out of my mouth, I always pause, run to the bathroom, lock the door, check to see if my equipment is still actually intact, and then breathe a sigh of relief that yes I still am in fact a man. Hahahaha. I’m just a dude that likes to make stupid crap out of cardboard, duct tape, and hot glue guns. So yeah, I want to kind of explain what I define as crafting and why Megows love it so much.

First off, I completely suck at traditional crafts things (making wreaths, festive decorations, handy DYI life hacks, cute little snack things, etc.). I mean I admit it; I’m legitimately terrible at that stuff. Side note: Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the kids have inherited that trait from me. I’ve seen some of the stuff that they work up and let’s just say that while it’s fridge material, it’s more “resting flat on the top of the fridge” kind of work... Hahahaha. I’m just teasing, they are super talented at everything. Duh, they are the best humans ever ;)

But for real, I think our craft projects are pretty rigged together and unique. When I say crafts, I use that term extremely loosely, meaning everything from costumes to outside activities. Pretty much, if I have to exert some amount of creativity and mental/physical effort than I’m feel I have earned the right to claim that junk as a craft that I did for my kid. For instance:

Friend: “So what did you do last night?”
Seth: “Me and the kids crafted last night!”
Friend: "Wow! That’s so awesome. You are such an awesome parent.”
Seth: “Welllll, not trying to brag but I’m pretty awesome at these creative activities.”
Friend: “I’m so jealous. How do you find the time? What did you guys do for your craft?”
Seth: “We did a culinary adventure. I just designed a little activity to expand their creativity and abstract thought to enhance their palette.”
One of my kids: “Dad what the heck are you talking about? All you did was let us dump sprinkles in our spaghetti while you watched funny cat videos on youtube.”
Seth: “Exactly. I crafted the crap out of you guys last night. Hashtag Pro Parent”
Friend: “Uuuhhh dude. Isn’t that your kid poking that dog turd with a stick?”

Ok. I'm just gonna list off a few of my favorites and talk about them :D 

"The Work Fort"

The kids had been begging for me to make them a fort in the backyard for months. Given that me building a fort would ultimately end up with me having a nail in my head and some sort of short term memory loss, I started looking for a better option. Then one day when they were at work with me, we found all of these old schedules mounted on foam board just sitting by the trash can to be tossed in the dumpster. So you can bet your butt, we grabbed that junk. So then I dawned on me that this would be the perfect fort! I grabbed some tape and markers from the desk and made a fort on my lunch break. They all decorated parts of it, and we put in a sunroof. :) 

"The Valentine's Boxes"

When I was a kid, I LOVED Valentine's parties at school. I got valentine's from pretty girls, a butt load of candy, but mostly I got to make Valentine's Boxes or Bags. I remember my friends just writing their name, drawing a picture, and being finished. Even as I kid, I thought that was lame. I would stay in from recess to work on mine. My favorite was to make boxes that looked like monsters. Making those things was just the neatest thing to me. Of course, when my kids got old enough I was ultra pumped about carrying on the tradition. Here's the boxes we did over the past two years. However, we are probably going to make some new ones for 2017.

I loved that Titus asked for "A Scary Shark with Bloody Teeth". HAHA! Yes!!

Stevie's opens to reveal the opening for the cards.


So you probably knew this was coming, but I LOVE LOVE making costumes for the kids. 1)  It saves money. 2) They are original 3) The main and most important reason, it's an excellent bonding experience and shows my kids I value and enjoy their company.

First, I'll talk about Titus's Ninja Turtle. It was supposed to be a birthday activity for us to do together. It was a Friday night, so I put on a movie for the girls while he and I worked to piece together a costume out of the supplies I had been collecting from around the house throughout the week. Well, he was overexcited and fell asleep about 5 minutes in. That's when my favorite part happened. The older two girls (Olive was asleep) turned off their movie and spend their Friday night helping make a ultra fun costume for their brother. That evening is one of my favorite memories ever. :)
The Supplies...

The Helpers...

The Happy Birthday Boy!

Next, I'll touch on Stevie's "Link" from "The Legend of Zelda" costume. Stevie Joy loves playing Zelda. In fact, her and I just played it together tonight. It's one of her favorite things to do with dad. Well, she was dead set on being Link for Halloween. We looked online and couldn't afford a decent one to buy. So we decided that we would built our own. It really wasn't that hard, but I just remember staying up late with her hot gluing the hat together and hunting in closets & dressers for all of the pieces we needed. The one thing she was a little bummed about was that we wanted a "real" shield and sword. After looking for a bit, we found a sword at a thrift store, so that half was solved. Then one day we found some rainbow colored duct tape like ultra cheap. So we bought it all, went home, and make her shield. This thing is pretty legit and took a serious beating over the past two years. She plays with it quite often and it is still standing strong. I just took the shield picture tonight.

Halloween 2014

This evening. 
Lesson Learned- Don't underestimate Duct Tape

Ok. I have way too much more to type, so I'm just gonna list some of my favorite costumes real quick... :) 

"Dress like a Senior Citizen Day" at school
Neela - Crazy Cat Lady
Titus - Everyone's Granddad that records every family event 
with his video camera from 1997

Stevie - Big Bad Wolf
(We literally made this the morning of) hahaha

And of course Titus as the Tornado for "Wizard of Oz" Day

I found this cardboard box and packing paper by the dumpster at work.
I just cut out a tornado shape with the cardboard, duct taped on the paper, spray painted it, added some fun details and velcro to the back and boom! 
Tornado Titus took about 45 minutes :D

"The BIG Fort"

We found some cheap PVC pipes and fittings and made a big blanket fort for quick and easy assembly.

However, I learned that the kids still preferred the original after using the BIG one a few times, so of course, we still rock regular blanket forts quite frequently.

"Neela's 'Aminal' Dance Party"

Last year for her birthday, Neela desperately wanted to have an 'aminal' dance party at our house. Of course, I agreed. It sounded fun and easy. Little did I know what she actually envisioned. Each party attendee needed a custom built costume, custom dancing music, and last but not least a dancing stage to be constructed in our living room. (no pressure dad) However, we pulled together and after about 3 days of making costumes and constructing what I think to be an epic stage, the party turned out great. I seriously just loved the little stage we made. <3 p="">

Neela helping built the stage

A cute little monkey, bear, and bat dancing away :)

Here's the actual video of the dance party if you are curious. 
It's only a few minutes long, but it's super cute.

Honorable Mentions

We make these Turkey Cookies every year around Thanksgiving.
We give them out at my work. They always make people smile :D

Our Resurrection Tomb for Easter.
We planted grass seeds on the hill and watered them everyday until it started to grow.
So neat to watch.

My Go-To Wedding Present:
So I started this gift over a decade ago. I used to just stuff a twenty in a porcelain figurine with a giant rock. I thought they would be able to figure it out. 

However over the years, it's evolved into a fun wedding night activity. So I collect supplies, type up instructions on how to play, provide them with all of the game components and put it all in a big box.

Pretty much, I like to view it something memorable people can do on their honeymoon 
(besides the obvious *wink wink)

The game is they each pick a figurine (I get them from the dollar store). 
Then they smash them open with the enclosed hammer.  
Each one contains a fun surprise. I just really like this little game and love to give it to couples. 

The game kit also requires them to wear the enclosed protective eyewear :D  haha

My majorly awesome cousin Parker and his beautiful bride Anna

So yeah. I've been typing for way too long to get to all of the stuff I had planned to include. Yikes. Sorry it's so long. However, here's my whole point of this post. Homemade things are the best. It doesn't matter if they look terrible or not. It's fun! 

Side note: I believe I talk about some other craft stuff in my History of Megow Birthday Parties post if anyone is interested.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mr. Rogers and Me

Hello neighbor! If you know me at all or follow me on social media, it’s no surprise that I love Fred Rogers. I’m constantly posting his quotes on my Facebook and Instagram. I have Mr. Rogers shirts. I photoshopped on one my favorite quotes as my office door sign at work. Even the my kids’ bed times songs are two of his originals. So this post I want to explain why I admire this man’s life work.


Growing up Mr. Rogers was a staple to me. I remember turning the knob the Channel 8 and watching him for 30 minutes. My favorite part was when he went outside and played in his sandbox. I used to just love that. My parents loved it too. Just from his television show demeanor, the viewer could sense that this was no run-of-the-mill television host. Mr. Rogers was clearly a genuine man who mission was also clear; he wanted to spread love, comfort, and acceptance in world fueled by greed and discontentment. Even as a small child, I could sense this over the airwaves. Of course, Mr. Rogers soon came to be my favorite tv program. However, time passes and we grow up. I moved on to Ninja Turtles and Darkwing Duck (both good shows I might add). But Mr. Rogers just kind of drifted off into memory as I outgrew his ultra-simple and routine show.

It wasn’t until many years passed that I thought of him again. To this day I have no idea why he popped into my head, but I can remember when and why. It was a long lonely night when my life seemed upside down. The kids were asleep, and I was just lying in bed trying to think of something to pick me up. I prayed constantly, listened to uplifting music every night, and kept a clear mind. That night though, I felt like I just needed something I could see or hear. I just felt so down and discarded. Pretty much, I felt unloved and unliked. Out of the blue, a Mr. Rogers song popped in my head. I hadn’t heard it decades, but I could still remember the simple lyrics.

“It’s you I like.
It’s not the things you wear.
It’s not the way you do your hair.
But it’s you I like.
The way you are right now.
The way down deep inside you…”

Immediately I jumped on my laptop and started searching about Fred Rogers. This is where the new chapter kind of turned started. I read everything I could find on him. I read books and watched documentaries. One thing became clear to me; I just felt this connection with this man. I was in awe of the manner in which he lived his life. I’m gonna give a ultra-quick bio in my own words real quick:

He was an ordained minister. He was a Christian that loved the Lord and was serious about his Walk. He was deeply committed to his family and friends. The way he made into television was he saw people throwing pies at other’s faces. It made him realize that television was becoming sort of mean and not kind. He saw the potential it had to change lives for the better. Instead of sitting idly by & ignoring it or simply complaining, he set out to make a difference. That’s what he did, and he did it successfully. When public television funding was being threatened to be cut, he lobbied and persuaded the members of the Congressional Committee to not only get rid of the budget drop, but the committee actually allocated MORE money that the original amount was. Are you curious how he did this? He talked softly and briefly and then sang them a song from his television program. From this, I learned that screaming or arguing isn’t necessary for a heart change in someone else.  Fred Rogers was also amazing talented and motivated. He wrote every song on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. He would spend countless hours and takes doing the same scene over again, to get it perfect. He thought that the children deserved the best he had to offer. Mr. Rogers was transparent. Although technically, Mr. Rogers was a tv character; you won’t find many differences between Mr. Rogers (the tv show host) and Fred Rogers (the man). He was a man full of integrity. Which is pretty much one of my favorite traits to see in people.

Here’s probably the main I love him so much. However, it’s also a reason he got ridiculed by some. Never on his show did he plug any sort of religious bend on things or talk about spiritual matters. He never had an agenda, not tried to sway anyone on a particular topic. He just loved and accepted people. Instead of telling people all of the things they need to be, Fred would tell us that he likes us just the way we are. Instead of striving for giant feats, he focused on the small ones. For example, if you notice in the show when he’s feeding his fish, he will also announce to the audience that he is feeding them. This is because a blind girl’s parent once wrote the show and said her daughter was worried about him forgetting to feed them. Since she was blind she couldn’t see him doing it. So even decades later, each time he would feed the fish, he was verbally confirm this to the audience. Seriously, the man personally read and replied to every single piece of mail that was sent in to the show. He didn’t play favorites. Mr. Rogers just literally loved everyone for who they were and the way they were.

His show was based in a home to give kids that didn’t save a stable home life some sort of hope, stability, and positive place to escape to. In all of the things I’ve read about him, one of the main things people would say about Mr. Rogers is they could tell he genuinely cared about each and every one of them. Many adults now recall a sense of safety and security seeing this skinny, fragile looking man putting on sweaters that his mom knitted for him while he greets them hello. However, a lot of his work pouring into people’s hearts took place outside of the show. He was approached all of the time by letter or in person about people’s personal situations or questions. People could just sense something real about him. Really what they were sensing was Jesus living in that man. Even off of the show, he wasn’t quick to ram his beliefs down people’s throats. He just loved them and eventually they would want to know just want made him so joy and peace filled. He would then have the opportunity to share the Good News or pray with/for these people.  He wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed of his faith at all. I think he just understood that we need to win people’s trust before they soften their hearts to what we have to say.

Actually Mr. Rogers was one of the reasons I started this whole blog in the first place. Before all of the stuff happened, I was super involved in church activities, volunteering, visiting with people, etc. Suddenly, I was a solo parent of four with so many time restraints and much time being spent alone after the kids went to sleep. So I became a little depressed not being able to help or do what I felt called to you, help and encourage people. So I would stay up at night, just browsing the internet. I discovered that there is just so much negativity and meanness out there. It would just be a constant stream of things that weren’t positive or good for anyone’s heart... Then it kind of hit me. What if I tried to do what Mr. Rogers did? Instead of just watching it go by or complaining, maybe it’s time to roll up my sleeves and try to make a difference. So I started this blog. Hahahaha, by no means is it Mr. Rogers neighborhood or as great as that show was. It’s just my little way to brighten up the corner where I am. Does it make a difference? I like to think so. Because I feel it’s my calling. Like Mr. Rogers and his show, I don’t view this blog as a vehicle for constantly mentioning Jesus. I view it as a way to present the peace and love of the Lord without immediately turning people off to what God is doing in my life by jamming my beliefs down their throats. I truly love the way that God build my heart to encourage and evangelize. It’s not for everyone. Some people don’t care for the subtle approach. Honestly, I love that! We are all wired differently. Let’s embrace our uniqueness :)

I think that’s why I just love that man so much. On one of my darkest nights God put a tiny little song he wrote probably 40 years in my head, and I can safely say it kind of flipped my view on things. I remembered that people DID like me. He not only changed my life and impacted so many lives across the world, but is a constant reminder that sometimes it’s the tiny little things that matter most. We can’t even imagine the ripple effect of our actions and words. So let’s make decisions out of love. Because even the tiniest of interactions tomorrow at the coffee pot, a little song you make up in the car, or a kind deed for someone else could have such an astounding impact on someone’s life.

So in the words of Fred Rogers:

“You always make it a special day by just your being yourself."


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"Old Seth" vs "New Seth"

*Puts on The Beatles – Rubber Soul and cracks knuckles*

Ok, let’s do this thang. 

Yup. Another Seth post. Sorry. Normally, I love highlighting funny “little megow” stories or things that I love about the kids. I really not big on talking about myself, however sometimes I just get an idea in my head for a post so I just run with it. 

I’ve briefly touched on this topic a few various times, but I wanted to explain deeper. I’ve talked about my personality and various events that led me to the person I am currently.  The other day I was thinking about a few of my friends. I was trying to figure out how many of my friends really knew the “Old Seth” and really know the “New Seth”. My personality has a physically/emotionally changed significantly the past few years. Like I could feel myself changing. It was a painful process, but it is extremely neat to reflect on the process. It was kind of like when Spiderman got bit by the spider, but instead of just one night, it took place over the course of about 2 years. So since many of you never met me before I went through a marriage crumbling apart and a divorce, this is who I was. For my old friends who I don’t see often enough, this is who I am now.

The main way I can examine how I’ve changed is to look at my Myers Briggs (MBTI) results.

 *Quick note: I’ve talked extensively about my love for Myers Briggs before on facebook and I believe I’ve mentioned it here before. So If you are curious about finding out yours, I really encourage you to take it. It’s free and takes about 5 minutes. Click here to find out yours! It’s helpful in self-reflection, relationships, friendships, etc.*

Ok. Back on topic. For years every time I took my MBTI, my results were ALWAYS ENTJ. It was so neat because during all of the mess and divorce, I took it twice and I could see my results pulling more and more towards another result. Finally, I took it and I am a true ENFJ now. I’ve taken multiple versions of the test and it always comes out the same. The difference is with my third column T(hinking)  vs F(eeling). Don’t worry, I’m going to break this down into layman’s terms. Pretty much what is means is: How someone copes with decision making and emotions. I’m going to try to break down the differences between the two and not make it ultra boring J hahaha

-------------- Old Seth History------------------

Old Seth was very similar to New Seth except that he was extremely logical and non-emotional. I don’t think it’s bad, it was just who I was. I tend to feel that a lot of men are wired that like this. It wasn’t a choice of how I wanted to act, it was literally who I was. Here’s a few good examples:

-I didn’t mind debating. I knew what I knew and wasn’t afraid to engage someone to lay my facts out. If they got upset, well it’s wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t trying to hurt their feelings. I was just having a lively discussion and we were exchanging view points.

-Not empathic at all. Now at the time, I didn’t really even understand how significant this was for me. I just didn’t feel much empathy. I loved and helped people constantly. I just couldn’t wrap my head around people’s situations. I had a hard time putting their heart in my chest and feeling how they felt. To be fair, I tried so hard for this. It just didn’t come naturally.

-Didn’t understand the full range of emotions. My emotions were limited to “funny, hungry, mad, and happy.” I was just a simple man who loved to make people laugh and loving my family. I never experienced grief or heartbreak. I just couldn’t fathom it. Really my goal was to make people laugh. That was the be-all-end-all goal. Just to make someone crack up. J

Now this doesn’t mean I was a bad person or I think I lost pure negative qualities when my personality changed. First, I was extremely good at taking emotions out of decisions and looking for a realistic, practical point of view. If I saw a situation, I could just take the facts and make the best logical and fair decision. I didn’t get ultra-worried about everyone’s feelings involved. It just was what it was. I wanted to be fair to everyone and making rational decisions not based on emotion was best back then.

Old Seth was more of a structural leader. Basically, he knew the rules and wanted everyone to follow them as well. If you broke the rules, well you got punished. If you obeyed the rules, you got rewarded. There wasn’t a bunch of preferential treatment. I think that’s a great trait about ENTJ. They make a level playing field and hold people accountable for their mistakes, but also notice good traits about individuals.

The ENTJ personality is typically 75% men. I think that’s why I felt so comfortable with it. Mostly, all of my buddies were the same way. I wasn’t 100% satisfied with who I was, but it was safe to say I happy with the person I was and the life I had.

-------------- Similarities Between the Two------------------

Now just to be clear, a big part of my personality remained the same. The “EN_J” was still the same. The traits are referring to the fact that I’m:

 Extroverted – I get my energy from being around people. I just love human interaction. I wouldn’t say this is a 100% thing. There’s a few times a week, I prefer to sit alone with my thoughts (and my computer so I can blog, Hahahaha)

iNtuitive – This means that I’m very imaginative and creative. An easy to understand this one is to think of left brain vs right brain. I’m like total right brain (N). It’s always 100%, Hahahaha. Here’s a chart for a good visualization.  Another way to describe myself in this area is I’m pretty artsy fartsy :D hahaha

Judging – This is actually one way that I’ve changed a bit as well. Judging individuals have a clear plan and work towards that goal. The other extreme is Prospecting. This is more improvising a plan and finding opportunities. I think that the reason I pull more towards the J side is that I am a big picture thinker. I have this grand scheme of how things should look in my head; however, on the opposite side, I kind of just float around life like a leaf in the breeze. Both Old Seth and New Seth normally has this column split pretty close down the middle.

-------------- New Seth Begins------------------
Ok. So I’ve explained “Old Seth” and also, the similarities between both my past self and my current. Now let’s dive into the “New Seth”. I’m proudly an ENFJ. I love this personality. It just fits me. For the first time, I’m not just “happy” with myself, I actually feel “satisfied” with who I am. I feel that this was who I was designed to be; I’m not sure why I was the way I before or how I ended up being that way originally.

Here’s some of the major differences that I can see in myself:

-So much emotion. Geez. I actually feel emotions. Like the full spectrum. It took me awhile to adjust to this. For so long, I just didn’t feel this stuff. Hahahaha. At first, I was kind of a wreck. I would cry in the pharmacy when I saw an old man with his little dog. Or I would get insane excited about Stevie telling me that she made a new friend.  It took me awhile to learn to deal with all of this stuff.

-I despise debating (or arguing as I call it now) I’m sorry I just don’t see a point is debating or proving that I am right. Or “educating” people on all of the things I am knowledgeable about. It’s not that I don’t feel I would lose. I honestly, just don’t care anymore. I’ve learned that people will listen to what they want to hear and block out the rest. The only heart change comes from love and mostly leading by example. You want to debate how to end hate or how the media controls our views with calculated stories designed to inflict fear and panic about people that are “different”. Be my freaking guest. Talk until you are blue in the face J I’m just going to turn off the TV and go give someone a hug & have a heart talk about their feelings. Maybe we’ll split a cookie and talk about Star Wars. I don’t see anything wrong per se with debating. (Can I tell I’m sick of the election? Hahahaha). New Seth just feels different about it than I used to. Every side has a million flaming arrows for the other. It makes me sad the lack of kindness in our society. It’s why I always ask my kids “How did you make someone smile today?”

-Empathy I saved this one for last because it’s the biggest one. In my mind, it kind of encompasses everything that I have grown into. It’s not that I became more empathetic. The fact is that I had like ZERO empathy no matter how much I tried. Now, it’s so bad I sometimes try to tone it down. Hahaha. Gone are the days of logical, factual decisions.

Here’s an excellent example of old me vs new me. Yesterday evening after dinner, we were having “clean time”. Basically, I set the timer for 20 minutes and we all just clean the house as much as we can. Well about five minutes into clean time, I found Neela hiding in my closet and not cleaning. Old Seth would have handled that in a specific way. In addition to speaking sternly to her about ducking out of responsibilities and sending her back out to finish the remaining time on the clock, I probably would have added an additional 10-15 minutes that Neela had to clean by herself after everyone else finished. However, New Seth took a different approach. For some reason, I could just sense that she was upset about something. So instead of yelling about her not cleaning, I just shut the door and put her in my lap and asked her what was wrong. Immediately she just burst into tears and started going into some heart troubles she was having with life.

Now let's analyze this situation. Was one solution better than the other? It depends on who you ask. On one hand, it was clear Neela needed to have a heart talk with her Daddy at that moment. However, on the other hand, was this fair? I mean Neela didn’t have to clean like everyone else The other kids had to work and Neela didn’t. Some people might not feel this was the right decision, I am ok with that. I think this is how I’ve changed the most, I think instead of seeking fairness in every situation, I try to gauge each situation/decision as it comes. My decisions aren’t always logical or completely “fair” anymore, but in my heart I just feel I make the right choices.

I think this was an awkward transition at first. About 70% of ENFJ people are women. It was just weird feeling not ultra masculine in terms of personality and emotion. I mean I’m still all guy, but I just have this new emotional range that a lot of men don’t have. So now, I love it. It makes me unique and just part of what makes me “Seth”. So again, I encourage you to find out your Myers-Briggs personality. For me at least, it provided insight to how I have actually changed in black and white.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,