Monday, January 30, 2017

The 'L' Word - 'Loneliness'

I believe I’ve discussed this before; however, I wanted to talk about it a little deeper. In my opinion loneliness is the hardest part of single parenting. Raising children by oneself is so unnatural. From time to time, I get messages from people who read the blog (which I love btw). Most of these messages center around the topics of divorce and/or single parenting. One thing I have noticed in all of these conversations is they normally bring up the topic of loneliness. Also within my own life this is evident. I feel lonely quite a bit. Unfortunately there’s not a one stop fix-all to cure the pain which is accompanied with the lack of true heart-to-heart, soul sharing, human interaction. There are so many options to battle it. But without waiting on God’s timing and choice, it’s just going to be something that keeps occurring over and over.

Personally, I believe one of the biggest single parents can make is to jump into a serious relationship too quickly. I mean it’s probably one of the most common mistakes as well. It’s extremely easy to see why… All of the kids are finally passed out. It’s just me. I can either focus on all of the housework I have to do by myself, pay bills that I must take care of by myself, relax on the couch by myself, or go to sleep by myself. The quietness of the house can cause my mind to wander off to those lonely places. “Will I be alone forever?” or my personal favorite “I just need to find someone. I’m not getting any younger.” It’s not only the help or companionship that I miss. It’s the excitement and fulfillment of doing life with someone brings. I want to be able to watch a tv show and look over to see if my girl is laughing at the same parts. Or sneaking off to bed together to eat brownies and make out. Hahaha.

Another huge reason single parents feel loneliness is that we give and give to our children (like all parents). Solo parenting is missing the proper channels for us to be filled up before we give ourselves to our kids. Here’s why I think that.

My view of the order of importance in a healthy family setup is:

1) Both parents individually focusing on God
2) Both parents focusing on their significant other
3) Both parents focusing on their children
4) Both parents focusing on themselves last

I just believe this is the way God set up families to structure and function. First, we have to be tight with God. It’s just the most important part. He shapes, molds, directs, encourages, and too much else to list. Second, the parents need to focus on each other. They need to make sure they are both full of love and value in the relationship. Being a parent is constantly a selfless act. Like I said, we just give and give. It’s why filling your significant other is so vital. It’s extremely difficult to give something you don’t have. Finally, we focus on ourselves last. If the system is in place, everything should fall into place at this step. God fills our spirits with life and love and our significant other fills our soul and emotion with love and affection. By now, we are busting at the seams with love, hope, joy, encouragement, etc. to give our children. If we are ever feeling drained, God and our spouse are there to pick us back up again. That’s why I believe we rush into relationships. Having someone there to pour into us is how God designed parenting. The mistake is putting things into our own timing instead of having patience… Ahhh yes, my favorite word (note the sarcasm :D ).

Patience. Just the word can send shivers down my spine. While I sit alone with my thoughts and empty space next to me on the couch, I can’t think of a word that exhausts me more. Sometimes I like to have conversations with my Papa upstairs. “I mean cmon man. Sure, I’m lonely but don’t you want to bless some lucky lady by letting them rub this stomach hair at night. I'm saying this for their sake. Seriously, God. Don't you want to bless some woman with all of this epic manliness?!?” Hahaha. But for real, most would think by now I would have mastered the art of patience. I waited every night for 3-4 years for my ex wife to come back home. That never happened, but I was patient. Now it’s been a solo parenting quest for a few years. I’ve been patiently waiting for the right person to come along. I mean after a while don’t we get a certificate or something? Haven’t I earned the right to be a little impatient? However, that’s why it’s so important I keep God #1. I know I’ve been single for years, but even if I started a relationship right now that wasn’t at the right time, I would still be rushing into it.

To be honest, I have my good nights and bad nights. Tonight is a good night. I don’t feel lonely at all. My love tank feels full and ready to love my little crew with 100% of myself. Tomorrow night might be different. I might honestly believe that I don’t have one more ounce of myself to give to these four little people that are depending on me. I might miss someone that I’m valuable, enjoyable, and attractive. But no matter what tonight or tomorrow night feels like, there are two single parenting truths that I’ve come to recognize with I’m feeling lonely.

1) God freaking loves the crap out of me. He made me Seth, and He loves the way He made me.
2) My kids need me.

I’ve found when I put too many feelings in the wrong potential relationship, I begin to place my self-worth in the opinion of that person. Sure, a significant other can fill our soul with love, but my worth comes only from God. He has an amazing plan for me because He loves me too much to give me anything other than something miraculously spectacular. I need to constantly remind myself this because my kids need me. They need me to be fully vested in them. Pardon my French but to quote my dad, “I don’t need to be half assing it”. When too much of myself is given to the wrong person or relationship, I take away from them. Not only that, but I risk becoming upset and depressed. My kids deserve a joyful daddy.

So in conclusion, in my opinion there’s not a 100% easy solution for that single parent loneliness. Mostly, I just want to encourage everyone to not sell themselves short to combat that feeling. Let’s be patient and hold onto our hearts until we feel God’s peace to give it away. Let’s stay rested and keep our self-image positive. That way we can give our kids the best of us. And worst case scenario if anyone is feeling extra lonely one night, reach out to a friend. Allow them to speak life to you. We all are so valuable and important. :)

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

Friday, January 20, 2017

Positively Positive

I’ve mentioned this a few times before in previous posts, but I have never really discussed it deeply before.  So for this post, I want to talk about staying positive. The word “positive” to me is surrounded with so many negative connotations.  At times in our current society, positivity is portrayed as annoying and simply overbearing. I think we all know the person I’m talking about. The person in the office who arrives to work like this…

So excited that today is the day we work late!
I’m just plum excited to spend more time with you guys!!

I think the reason that this kind of image sometimes pops in our mind when we hear the term positive, is that we confuse it with “happy”. There’s a major difference because being positive and being happy all of the time. Forcing ourselves to be happy when we feel sad or upset is just ridiculous in my opinion. It just puts so much pressure on ourselves to get over whatever we are dealing with that caused that sadness. However, it’s very possible to be simultaneously sad and positive. To me being positive isn’t a reflection of our current mood, but more a contentment in our hearts.  It’s reminding ourselves that no matter what happens we are loved and valuable. I’m not saying that everything works out in the end. Tragedy happens. When those events occur, it is pretty much impossible to feel any joy. All happiness is sucked from our world, and we are just left with raw heartache. It’s at those times we need positivity the most. In those situations, it’s my opinion that positivity isn’t always found looking into the future, but at times reflecting on the past. Embracing past blessings, people, and experiences can change the way we view ourselves and situations.

Another misconception with “positive people” is that they are always trying to cheer people up. To be honest, when I’m feeling down I can’t stand when someone decides to “cheer me up”.

 I’m sorry your dog died and you got fired from your job.
Good news though! I picked up “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” from Redbox on the way over to your house. That should pick you right up. That Kevin James is just a hoot!

No.  The intent shouldn’t be to cheer people up. We all need to fully feel and process our emotions, not just to rush through them to find happiness as quickly as possible. The goal is “encouragement”. We can grieve with people or share frustration, while providing encouragement without even saying a word. That’s why I love encouraging others. I view it as my purpose in life.

For example, to cheer someone up is like finding your friend stuck in a hole with a broken arm and tossing down a rope for them to pull themselves up. It’s a quick one-time thing. Even if you succeed in cheering them up, they pulled themselves up on a rope with a broken arm. They didn’t have time for their arm to heal before being made to climb up a rope they weren’t ready to tackle. However to encourage someone is to jump down in that hole with them. Sit patiently and listen to their story of how the bone broke. Learn the best way to set the break. After they are ready to climb out, lift them from the bottom. Carry their weight. Encouragement is a process. It’s a commitment to our friend that we believe and support them.  That can look an million different ways. The main goal we don’t need to make people feel happy when they are sad, we want them to feel loved.

While I believe in the idea of people being either an optimistic, pessimistic, or realist, I also feel that some of these things can be affected by our attitude. (Side note: I’m not saying either of these is better than the other. To be honest, l believe each of these types has their own benefits. It’s just this post is about the perks of being positive, so that’s what I’m discussing.) I say this because I was born a realist. “Things are just the way things are. A positive outlook won’t change anything.” That was pretty much how I viewed life until my divorce. I still believe that’s somewhat true. But now God showed me that having a positive outlook on life won’t always change situations, but it will change the way I view them. To me that is just such an amazing thought. We can fill our hearts with the stress, worry, and turmoil of life around us, or we can fill our hearts with the goodness, love, and humor around us. I choose the second choice. Each day, I purposely look for the good in people. If something frustrating happens, I try to think of a helpful solution. Then when I think of one, I feel satisfied with myself. When the house is messy or the kids are acting crazy, I try to just enjoy the moment. I've heard so many times "treat everyone as if they are a potential friend". I love that so much. The same thing applies to each day "treat everyday as if it is potentially the best day". Of course, not fun stuff happens everyday. I just choose not to focus on that. I'm alive not dead. I want to focus on things that bring me life, not death. 

My boss sent me this one day. Hahahaha. I still love it.

Here’s another thing I have found (kind of going back to the first point I made). While some might find the constantly upbeat, perky, and always happy person a bit obnoxious, we are all drawn to people with a positive heart. Being positive will not always directly change our situation. However, staying positive in our situations might inspire others. Humans crave contentment and fulfillment. Keeping an uplifting view on our life sets us apart. It’s portraying a real, raw view at our lives. Sure bad things happen. Yes we feel heartbroken, but having inner peace and hope throughout is the kind of thing people notice. It’s like a beacon of peace and comfort to those who find themselves in similar situations or feelings.

Once we start to focus on the good, it’s just so awesome how everything appears different. Activities that were once tedious and boring become productive and purposeful. The actual tasks don’t change, but the feeling we have during the situations do. The meaning behind it all is radically altered. For example, take my laundry. I HATE doing laundry. It’s the most mind numbing and annoying thing on this earth. I used to constantly put it off because in my head I viewed it as the worst. Lately, I’ve been trying to find the good in doing laundry. Neater clothes, quicker times getting dressed, outfits that actually match. Now, I’ve been doing *a little* better at managing our clothes. Having that goodness and outlook on doing laundry has actually been making it much more bearable. In both views, the act of doing the laundry never changed; only my attitude did. However, I’ve noticed that once I start to enjoy something, I will do it more often. I discovered that by changing my concept of laundry has actually decreased the amount of clothes lying around the floor in random piles.

True Story

Lastly, I want to admit that being positive can be a major struggle. My life just like everyone else’s has crap. At times, I just want to be mad and see everything around me as horrible. ;)

Ugh, I hate when birds chirp so cheerfully.

Finding the good in things can not only be difficult, but truthfully it can be exhausting as well. Then I resort to trying to “cheer” myself up, which just makes me more mad and frustrated with life. Getting out of those little funks can be difficult. I’ve only ever found one solution that works every time... Time with my heavenly Papa. The refreshment He provides in indescribable. I’ve found that if I don’t set aside time every day for that alone time, my positivity will run out rather quickly. Hahahaha, Ole’ Seth isn’t cool enough to do it alone. It’s just something I love about loving God. It’s just an all-around beautiful cycle of love - He loves me. I love Him. I love myself. He loves me.

Lastly, I purposefully tried not to about specific ways to live out being positive or encourage others. I did this because I don’t feel it should require a major plan or checklist. It’s just an organic reaction to the love of God and the love of others. Once we feel loved, valued, and encouraged, a confidence and uplifting mindset can form all on its own. Passing that on to others doesn’t require fancy gifts, eloquent speeches, or amazing acts of service. It can be as simple as a smile.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Ex-Anniversary

Divorce is not only painful, but the aftermath is something that we (that have had one or have been affected by one) must deal with for the rest of our lives. No matter the scenario of the marriage, divorce is definitely something that comes with intense emotion. Seriously, the broad spectrum of feelings can be overwhelming. The actual divorce process is hell on earth. Each day after is a step towards healing. However (for me anyways) there is always one day that is simply emotionally confusing, the ex-anniversary date. I truly can’t speak for everyone, so I will speak for myself. I honestly haven’t figured out to handle when this date comes around the calendar each year.

Let’s picture back before the wedding. So much time, energy, and resources were invested into planning for the big day. Personally, it was my favorite day. I love my kids beyond belief; however, this day was the day that made my children possible. All of my future dreams were knit into this marriage. The wedding symbolized a giant leap into my role as a husband and eventually a father. All of my friends and family gathered to celebrate on this specific date. Gifts embroidered with that specific date were given, simply to remind me that this day marked one of the most unique, life changing decisions I would ever commit to in my short time on this earth.

I love celebrations. Birthday parties, Holiday get-togethers, and other special occasions are just my favorite. My anniversary was probably the most special to me. There was no need to invite guests or involve a million other people. It was an intimate celebration of my marriage. This was a day that I looked forward to more than any other throughout the year. Just a time to reflect and celebrate the day we became one and to excitedly dream about what the future years had in store. Another thing about anniversaries is that they get better every year. The next one should always be better than this year’s. In my opinion, that’s the entire point of marriage, to grow together and closer. It’s like adding another patch to a pair of worn out jeans. Sure some wear and tear might have happened, but over time the relationship becomes more and more unique. I loved celebrating the day the jeans were originally purchased and remembering all events that made these things a well-worn pair of comfort. Maybe also because I got married in my dad's jeans from college. When a rip appeared, he just added another patch. Eventually, they were just a giant quilt work of patches. I love those pants and still have them. :)

"the jeans"

Then divorce happened.

Before my first ex-anniversary (probably like most people who have been divorced), I tried to just block that date out of my mind. “The marriage is over. My old anniversary date is just another day on the calendar now.” However of course, I found out that is simply not true. The feelings changed, but each time it rolls around I just feel things that set it apart from just an ordinary day.

Suddenly, there's a strange stack of emotions to process. What used to be a day of joy is now a day of hurt/confusion/anger/resentment/etc. There are as many way to cope with this as there are people that have been divorced. Should I completely bury the past and make this a regular day? Should I take today to be grateful for the good years? This is one of those situations where there's just nothing in playbook of life to know how to think.

The first time my ex-anniversary rolled around the calendar like I said I tried to block it out. That lasted about ten minutes. Suddenly, thoughts and feelings started to bubble up. I really didn’t know how to feel. I can’t keep just ignoring my past. Should I try to focus on the joy that was present for the bulk of my marriage or perhaps focus on the last few anniversaries that were spend alone and heartbroken? To be honest, the first year I chose the latter. My mind went to those vivid memories of crying, praying, and begging for that nightmare to end. What was once my favorite celebration of the year morphed into something I began to dread. I told myself that remembering how horrible and toxic that relationship was would help me move forward. Hahahaha. That wasn’t my best plan of action apparently. I was grumpy and irritable all day. I counted down the minutes until that day was over.

The next year I was already prepared for how I was going to handle it. I woke up and thanked God for that relationship. Focusing on only the good was my plan for the day. That worked for a while until I got sad about not being married anymore. (Disclaimer: I wasn’t sad about not being married to Crissy. Nor am I sad about that all at. Ever.) I missed having a best friend that was as close and intimate that I once had. I think just focusing on only the good wasn’t really the best choice. That wasn’t a real reflection of my history with my anniversary date.

Nowadays, I’m just accepting that I have no clue how to feel. It’s so hard to explain. I don’t really get sad anymore about the marriage ending. In fact, I feel the opposite. I love the person God molded me into from my divorce experience. However, I do feel disheartened about the choices my ex has made and still continues to make. Not because of feelings of romantic love, but I feel that way because I know her better than anyone on the planet. It breaks my heart seeing the person she chooses to be. My confusion not only arises from the people we have become, but it also springs from simply trying to interpret the million thoughts that race through my mind on this date. Should I feel sad? Can I feel relief? Is it guilty to feel relief? How should I remember the good times, while simultaneously keep in mind the hell on earth I went through? What if I meet someone who was never divorced, how am I supposed to feel about this then? How does Crissy feel about this date? Is it ok to feel upset about some things? Have I acted in a manner to ensure I was truly Jesus to her not only during the marriage, but also after the divorce?

Bringing kids into the mix just adds a new depth of confusion for me. They were brought into this world by both of their parents. Not just me. No matter how involved the other parent might be, that person is still their parent, and this ex-anniversary date is a permanent reminder of that to me. Yes, I can and do pray for wisdom. I don’t exactly feel nervous about questions that will arise in the future, but I’m not exactly looking forward to it. Speaking of questions, they do ask me questions very frequently about the marriage and divorce of their mom and me. Each child has a different take and experience on the marriage. For instance, one of the children says things like “Daddy, I want you to marry someone that makes you happy. You were sad a long time with mom.” While another of my children ask questions like “What if mom said she was really, really sorry? Would you marry her again?” Of course, I tell each of my kids that their mom and I both love them more than we can possibly explain, but unfortunately, decisions have consequences both good and bad. Mom and I both made decisions that changed us and we are not going to get married again. I try to explain that while forgiveness is something that must take place, our actions have permanent consequences. It can be hard to explain this concept to children, especially when it regards their parents. The kids know my ex-anniversary date, and it always comes with new questions each year. To be honest, many of my answers focus around the fact that this is something they will understand when they get older. They should instead focus on loving each of their parents and each other.

I think the point of this entire post is to say that it’s ok to not know how to feel. It’s important to remember the good times, but also reflect on the things that helped us grow closer to God and more confident as an individual. I think I have discussed this one the blog before, but I view this like an axe chop to a young tree. At first the giant, gaping wound to the tree will be extremely evident. It takes up such a long surface on the tree. It’s impossible to glance at the tree without seeing that axe mark. However as time goes by, the tree continues to grow and heal. Years down the road the tree has keeping growing larger and larger. The impact of that axe mark is still the original size it once was, but seems so much smaller due to the massive new size of the tree. The scar of that evident is something the tree will never get rid of, but the overall impact of the wound continues to appear smaller with each passing day as the tree reaches closer to the sky. Circumstances can never change the past. The only thing we can do is grow ourselves to change our view on the past. To grow and flourish enough that my axe mark becomes less important each year. For me, this date is a clear reminder of my own personal change and my story.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Guest Post - "The Journey of Parenthood"

I was recently contacted by my good friend Emily Parker about guest authoring. To be honest, I was a little bit shocked. For those who don't know Emily has been blogging for years and is a legit celebrity in the blogging world. She was the one who helped me when I first started and is seriously just one of my favorite people. Her blog actually talks about legit issues while mine is mostly completely nonsense. hahahaha. I'm super excited to have her write for the ole' Dishwasher. So ladies and gentlemen, my friend Emily :)


I'm Emily and I blog over at The Journey of Parenthood...

Seth was one of the first people I met when I moved to Valdosta in 2004. I started dating my now husband, Zach, a few months before I moved here and he introduced me to his bff, Seth. When he introduced us he told Seth that he would like me because I'm so "artsy." Y'all. I'm zero percent artsy so I'm pretty sure Seth met me under totally false impressions. Then he actually met me and the first thing he said to me was about how much he liked the gap between my front teeth...which I was getting fixed a week or so later. Even though I'm not "artsy" (which, what exactly does that mean anyway?!?!) and I no longer have the epic gap...Seth became my good friend anyway.

Zach and Seth were pretty opposite in a lot of ways in high school but they were both very silly and just had that magnetic kind of friendship. It was a friendship that has continued now for over 15 years! They were in each other's weddings and have been there for each other through good times and bad.

Photo re-creation

I've been truly thankful for the bond that Seth and Zach share, but also for the friendship he and I have developed as well. We are def blog bffs ;) Our kids are all super tight and it's been such a blessing to watch them all grow up together!

I've been blogging since 2008 (when I was pregnant with my first child). Growing up I always had dreams about becoming an author and my blog is probably the closest I'll ever come to it! I am not as silly as Seth (sometimes the best of friends are opposites, right?) but I love sharing a variety of topics on my blog. I LOVE being a mom more than anything in the world and my blog is about my journey as a mother. The ups and downs of parenting, the little moments that make it all worth it, and just our day-to-day lives.

Over there you will meet our three kids: Kye, Tess and Britt

And, of course, you'll also meet me! I'm a Jesus loving stay-at-home mommy who loves a good deal and keeping it real :)

You will also learn a lot about our family:

We are in the process of adoption! We feel called from the Lord to complete our family through the gift of domestic adoption and have been excited to see what God has in store.

And I also am a member of the Babywise Blogger Network. Aside from our day-to-day adventures I also post a lot of tips and advice related to Babywise parenting techniques.

I love that Seth decided to start blogging and have loved reading his posts and think it's so awesome to see a DAD blogger. The blogging world is filled with us "mommy bloggers" and Seth brings such a great perspective to the table! I appreciate the opportunity to get to know some of yall better as I'm featuring a guest blogger and am introducing Hannah from Abrupt Joy!

You can follow along with me at The Journey of Parenthood (as well as on FB, Pinterest,  and IG...just a warning I'm obsessed with IG Stories!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Showing My Kids Their Value After Divorce

I’m not typically a big planner. I don’t map out my entire life in advance or have giant, grandiose dreams about my future. However, I wasn’t always this way. Before I changed during and after my divorce, I used to be a mega big picture thinker. I had a hard time living in and enjoying the moment. Every day was just another step in my quest for the perfect life. After everything fell apart, I was forced to re-evaluate the way I viewed life.

Honestly at the beginning of this single dad of four adventure, I figured I would begin to focus even more on my big plans. So I kind of did just that. I focused on getting through all of this, finding a wife, and normalizing my kids’ life. Praise God that He quickly intervened and radically altered the way I view my future. Instead of being stressed out about tomorrow, He showed me the simple joys of enjoying today. It’s really hard to explain how much my thinking has changed from how it was 3-4 years ago, but let’s just say that I’m extremely satisfied with the New Seth. I wanted to say all of that, just to discuss the other spectrum of my new way of living. I want to discuss how I approach big plans/goals and how they are different from what they used to be. I know I’m confusing. :)

The further the kids and I get from our trauma, the more I feel one super important thing in my heart I want to plan out for their future. That one thing is “value”. Feeling valued is something that can radically alter a person’s life. So that’s pretty much my only big picture plan. I want my children to grow up knowing they are valued as individuals. Of course I love them more than I can possibly ever attempt to explain. But to be perfectly frank, someone can love another person without showing it or demonstrating the other person’s value in their life. With my Mini-Megows, my goal is for them to grow up knowing how valuable they are not only as my daughter, but as a person in general. This is my one constant goal I’m working towards in life. So yeah, I can take every day as it comes, but overall I make a point to pour into my kids’ self-worth in the long term.

As a parent, this concept is the basis of how I raise my kids. As a Christian, I have the perfect example of how to live this out. To me it’s all about self-sacrifice. Not in a "woe is me” way or a “make myself as miserable as possible” manner, but truly showing my kids that dad values them more than himself. Of course they know that dad loves them. Truthfully, they know their mom loves them as well. But my goal as their dad is to demonstrate this to them. I want them to know they are worth enough for dad to make personal sacrifices such as spend a majority of his time cleaning and parenting while their friends’ dads are all out playing football. I want them to come first. If I’m truly being Jesus to them, this should flow very naturally.

Now this is also a balancing act. I try extremely hard to not vent or complain about certain aspects of my life. It’s not like I wake up and say “Well guys, dad is ultra-tired from working all night to raise extra money for your field trips”. I mean I struggle at times complaining out loud, but I really work on making those complaints not directed to them or even around them. Kids shouldn’t feel guilty about choices their parents’ make, good or bad choices. I would never want my children to carry around the weight of why dad is so tired or drained. It should go unnoticed.

I’ll relate this concept to a recent little story. We were in the mountains over Christmas break. Our last night I was talking with my dad (my parents met us up there), I told him I was dreading making the kids spend an entire day in the car the next day. I hated that for them. So suddenly while my dad and I were talking, I made the immediate decision to just drive home through the night. I loaded everything up and then placed my sleeping kids in their car seats and drove home. We left around 10pm and got in around 6am. It was December 23rd, and I wanted the kids to have an ultra-fun Christmasy day. However at the beginning of the day the kids were acting up and suddenly I found myself yelling, “Guys, I drove all night for you while you slept. I did this so you wouldn’t have to sit in the car all day!! Can you please behave!?!” Immediately, I felt God telling me that was extremely wrong and bad parenting. It’s like I was searching for some kind of validation and recognition from the kids. It just seemed like I was saying “I did all of this, and you did nothing. So be GRATEFUL!” I could see them feel so guilty. It wasn’t their choice to ride home through the night. It was a personal gift of going without sleep and driving through the night that I wanted to give them. Immediately when the words exited my mouth, I took away their feeling of being “worthy” of that gift and kind sort of dumped it in the trash. I guess my point with all of this is parents should sacrifice of course, but kids shouldn’t have to experience those sacrifices with them. They should be able to just sleep in the car and enjoy the next day. :)

The feeling of value and self-worth is extremely close to my heart after seeing what the lack of it has done in my kids over the past few years. Their mom left and their dad was a constantly stressed passenger on the struggle bus. I began to notice little changes in self-confidence, happiness, and even questioning if they were loved from time to time. Of course, they were loved. I knew their love languages and constantly poured into them. Finally, it just clicked that a gift doesn’t mean much if the next day the person that gave it is complaining about the cost. I just can’t bear for my kids to not see their self-worth again.

So let’s expand on my specific future plan when it comes to them feeling valued…

One day in the future when they are all grown up, my goal is to shield them from as much crap that happened when they were younger; however, at the same time I want them to know that they were (and are) worth enough to not settle in life. I truly desire for them to see themselves the way God sees them. Absolutely one of a kind and priceless. As they get older, I’m sure they will find out specifics about certain things. I don’t want this to diminish their self-worth, but rather boost it. Instead of each of my kids wondering why their mom left them, I want them to see why their daddy stayed. Sometimes that is what keeps me going through the day. When I get super tired, stressed, or overwhelmed, I just picture my kids years from now. They are confident not only of their worth in God’s eyes, but also others around them. They are worth people’s best. I just dream of them saying “Dad, thank you for making us feel loved and valued.” I think that would be the most defining moment of my life.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

100th Post Extravaganza

We did it everyone! 100 posts!!

To celebrate reaching this milestone, I figured I would do a fun themed list. Also, I pulled the kids on this one to help me write it :)

"100 Things the Megows Think You Should Know"

100) This morning, I stepped out of my room after getting ready for work to find all four of my kids still in their pjs, all crouching on all fours, forming a circle, and howling. Apparently, they were a wolf pack this morning. 

99) Lately, the kids and I have been getting into the Disney classic movies. I've discovered that Belle is my dream woman. (besides being a cartoon and all...) 

98) When I asked Stevie what she would like to share with the blog readers. She left the room for about 45 seconds and came running back with this…

“Dad, this is a moth pooping out the alphabet. This represents our family.”

97) Titus has decided to be a professional magician when he grows up. But he wants to be “the kind that wears the cape” not one on the street. Because if you wear a cape on the stage, you get to be with a pretty girl.

96) Speaking of Titus the magician, he has this new trick where he acts like he's cracking his neck. I haven't been able to get a video of it yet. But that junk is freaking impressive.It's so fun watching him create his little tricks. He gets really into them.

Another of his favorite tricks

95) Olive likes to put kiddie toothpaste on her lollipops to make them “spicy”. The last few suckers she has gotten, she has eaten while sitting on the bathroom counter.

94) Olive recently requested "melted ice" to drink. Not water. Melted ice. She sat and watched it melt to assure I didn't give her water. 

93) In high school, I was watching Scooby Doo and saw the way Shaggy walked and thought it was hilarious. So he walked around the room kicking his knees out like Shaggy does. He started doing it at school to be funny. After about a week, he couldn’t stop. Still to this day, I walk like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

Walking Shaggy

92) I've been giving the kids more responsibilities lately. Mostly, they focus on helping keep the house clean. They absolutely hate cleaning. I can't blame them. I don't like it. In the words of Neela, "God made me an aminal girl, not a cleaning girl. God gave me aminal super powers. Not broom hands dad."

91) As many of you know Titus's love language is Words of Encouragement. He is constantly telling me encouraging things when I'm feeling down. He also writes little surprise letters as I've shared with you guys before, but one of my favorite things about my little buddy is what he does when he gets in trouble. After getting in trouble for something, he almost ALWAYS comes back with a little handwritten apology. It's just so sincere and tenderhearted.

90) According to Stevie, Neela always smells like a skunk.. but only on Thursdays. 

89) Titus's thoughts on the weather lately: "It's confusing. At recess I get hot when I put on my jacket, but cold when I take it off. It would be easier if I could have hair all over my body like you. I could stay warm without a jacket. Dad? When will I grow hair all over my body like you? I hopewhen I turn 8."

88) Neela is currently torn about her future career as a zoologist. She wants to have a pet puppy when she grows up but is worried about jaguars in Africa eating her dog. It's a very very big issue in our house at the moment.

87) The last family meeting the kids told me that I was getting too fat. Their suggestion to correct this is assign to Titus develop me a workout plan. Because in their words, "You are soft to lay with so we like that, but remember dad, you aren't Santa."

86) The kids have really been getting interested in the blog lately. They've known we have "a website", but lately when strangers stop us and talk about the blog the kids have been thinking it's just super neat. When I asked them about how they feel about me sharing our family with the world, they always love the idea. Lately, they have been wanting to become more involved which I love. Stevie is wanting to start filming art lessons. Neela wants to live stream a frog hunt. Titus wants to use it to get his magic career off the ground. Olive just wants me to film her asking for candy and have people bring it to her. 

85) Every night the kids take turns with "alone time with dad". Alone time is really a special time for us. One on one time with each kid in our current life situation is hard to come by. So when it's each kid turn, they get to pick about 30 minutes worth of activities and we do it just us two in my room. Stevie had hers tonight. So per her request, we laid together on the floor and just talked. She just giggled for about 10 minutes straight as she told me about the funny dreams Neela has every night. Apparently for three nights in a row, Neela told Stevie has had a dream where the tooth fairy comes to their room, but Neela farts so bad that the tooth fairy passes out. 

84) Olive is about to be 5 years old in a few weeks :( While I am sad she's growing up, I'm super excited about seeing her little (giant) personality develop. 

This sweetheart has my heart.

83) Speaking of Olive's birthday, we are currently planning her birthday party. Today she told me she doesn't want cake or cupcakes at her party. She wants soup instead.

82) One time when I was a little kid my mom told me she was going to buy me a turtleneck shirt for our annual Christmas pictures. I was PUMPED! I never had ninja turtle shirt before!! Needless to say I wasn't thrilled when she came home and I found out what I turtleneck shirt was. I was crying in the family pictures that year. 

81) Neela asks about a dog daily. Literally every day that kid asks about a dog. When I ask her if she is responsible enough to potty train a dog, her reply is "Yes! I'm going to take it outside and poop in the yard beside it so it knows what to do."

"Trust me dad. I'm an aminal expert."

80) I try really hard to limit screen time. So I like the kids to ask before watching a show or getting on their tablet. It's hard to say no when Olive walks up and says "Dad. Can I have scream time?"  hahaha

79) Titus has been going through a "fancy clothes" stage. He wanted some new ties for Christmas. 

78) When I started my job at Wiregrass GA Tech as the person who ran the Testing Center (about 7 years ago) , I shared an office with my friend Nicole. So on one of my very first days of work, she went to go run down the hallway. I had this funny thought to hide under the desk and jump out and surprise her when she walked back in. I was dying laughing sitting under the desk just waiting to come back to the office. A few minutes pass and suddenly someone just plops down in my chair. So I just waited for a few minutes and finally just said "Excuse me. It's Seth. I'm trapped under the desk. Would you mind rolling the chair back so I can get out?" Of course it turns out to be my boss's boss who I hadn't really met yet. I'm an idiot.

77) Lately, my favorite time of day is late at night before I go to sleep. I walk around and see my kiddos sleeping peacefully. There's nothing more beautiful than seeing your babies asleep in the glow of a Panda nightlight. Sometimes, I just sit on the edge of their beds and wonder how the heck I got so blessed. It's always such a serene moment for me. 

76)  Over Christmas break the kids and I took a winter road trip. We went to stay at a friend's cabin in North Carolina. The kids absolutely loved hiking. Well.. most of the kids.

Olive: "I hate hiking. I hate leaves. I hate waterfalls. I hate nature. 
I only want to eat chips on the couch and watch Princess movies."

75) I'm convinced my kids found a way to mass produce the fake grass that comes in Easter Egg baskets, and my children are attempting to have it take root in my carpet. I can't remember the last time I vacuumed and didn't see some in the when I dumped it out. Next Easter if anyone gives my kids a basket and it contains that fake grass, I will cut you. ;)

74) I've recently adopted this tune as the official Megow theme song. 

"You got troubles, I got'em too. There is anything I wouldn't do for you.
Lets stick together and we can see it through. 
You've got a friend in me."
Geez, I love that.

73) Stevie's favorite thing is to show new classmates around the school. She always gets so excited at dinner when she tells me that she got picked to welcome the new student. I love that about her. That girl is the most loving and compassionate person I have ever met. She literally gives hugs to everyone she sees. We are checking out of the grocery store line, "Wait dad, I need to hug the cashier" They are with me at work "Wait dad, I need to hug all of your students.". Seriously, I have never met someone who wants people to feel welcome and valued as Stevie does.

My best friend

72) Neela is still on the hunt to find dad a wife. Honestly, she asks complete strangers everyday to marry dad. The other day we were visiting my grandma at the nursery home, and she asked a 90 year old woman to marry me. When the lady said "yes". Neela was ecstatic and asked her "So once you two are married, are you moving in with us or will we live here. I hope we live here. I've always wanted a house with an elevator."

71) I hate laundry. Recently, I waited a little too long to take the clean clothes out of the hamper. 


70) I'm convinced there's nothing sharper for a man to wear than suspenders and a knit wool tie. #classy

69) Every night at dinner, we go around the table and all have to say one way that we each made someone smile that day. I think it's probably my favorite tradition that we do in our house.

68) My kids have been getting into legos lately. On an unrelated note, my feet are constantly sore. 

Pretty much my life now...

67) I'm about to launch a formal investigation to find the "Midnight Cheese Block Biter"
Exhibit A.
This is the fourth block I have found like this.

66) My favorite candy is black licorice. It's perfect because everyone else in the world hates it, so people just give it all to me. However, I might need to slow my roll on this gifted Black Licorice. (See list #87)

65) Speaking of candy, Titus came home distraught  because he figured out a boy in his class doesn't like candy. He says "Dad... I really just don't get it. I've thought and thought about it. I'm worried about him."

64) The kids have kind of thought of unofficial titles for each of us:
Seth- "The silly one"
Stevie- "The artistic one"
Neela- "The nature one"
Titus- "The nice one"
Olive- "Olive" 

63) Megows love palindromes. They are our favorite. The kids get so pumped when they see one. 

62) This Calvin and Hobbes strip makes me cry every time.

61) 2017 is the year I'm truly going to start writing my book. So everyone do me a favor, when you see me in public ask me how the book is coming. I need the motivation :)

60) I know it's rare in men, but I officially have baby fever. Geez, I want another little tiny so bad.

59) If you ask Neela what shes most proud of in her life, there's a 38% chance she will tell you about the time she ate a worm.

58) Every morning, Olive picks me a flower. It's my favorite.

57) I caught Titus practicing his winking in the mirror the other day. When I asked him what he was doing, he said "Getting ready for Valentine's Day." HAHAHA. I'm convinced that boy will have girls falling for him left and right. He's such a kind soul, but knows how to charm a lady ;)

56) Seth's secret to the perfect hot chocolate - Use marshmallow cream instead of regular marshmallows. Trust me. It's life changing.

55) When I asked Titus what he wanted to include on this list, he paused for a second and then said "I want to tell everyone that I love them... Also, tell people not to eat their boogers."

54) I turned 32 this year. When I asked the kids what they thought about that, the responses ranged from "You are still the most handsome" to "Wow. You are old. You might die soon. We should buy a lot of snacks to fill up our pantry. You know... just in case."

53) My kids are around each other quite a bit. So naturally, they argue. This is probably my favorite argument I have ever broken up. One time Neela punched Titus for something. Instead of hitting back, he quietly snuck into her room, grabbed one of her toys, took it to the bathroom and peed on it. HAHAHA. It was insanely hard not to laugh when I was talking to him. "Titus, did it make God happy or sad when you peed on your sister's My Little Pony?"

52)  Titus: "Dad, Neela has the chicken pox."
Seth: "No she doesn't."
Titus: "Well, she's walking around pecking like a chicken. So...."

51) One of my favorite feelings is when I "out-fun" the kids :D

50) Crap. Only half way through. Who's genius idea was this anyways? Oh yeah... mine.

49) I know people always make New Year's Resolutions or Personal New Year's goals. I don't think I will do that this year. Instead, I might just little humor tests to see if I can draw the line between funny weird and just weird. Just little things that are really off the wall. For example, when someone asks me a question, I would drop everything I am holding, walk up really close to them, make my face really serious and whisper back to them super awkwardly what they just said but a random name of the opposite sex at the end. For example:

Scott: "How's life been lately?"
Seth *leaning in ultra close to their face: "How's life been lately Linda?"

You know just see how weird I can really make myself in 2017.

48) One of my all time favorite Titus stories

47) This is me at every grown up event.

46) Although Neela can be ultra silly a lot of time, that girl can get really deep. I love hearing her thoughts. Normally on the weekends, she stays up late with me while everyone else goes to sleep. We just hang out together and talk. She has remarkably deep emotions and thoughts. That's one of my favorite things about single parenting. Sometimes I am the only person who gets to experience these little things about each of my kids. I can't think of a better blessing. :)

45) Before my divorce but after my ex-wife decided to move out, I got really down for a long time. I was still in love with her and trying desperately to make it work. I battled deep depression constantly. One night (very late, maybe around 3-4am) I remember crying and praying for God to show me some kind of sign that He still loved me and asked Him if anyone viewed me I was truly valuable and irreplaceable in their lives. Literally right when I finished praying, I saw my door crack up and Olive climbed in my bed, gave me a little kiss, and said "I just love you Daddy". Then walked back to her bed and went to sleep. Immediately, my heart was full. I love how God can use the tiniest things for the most significant, life altering experiences.

44) Another thing I love about single parenting is I get to set the normal in our family. It's just a freedom I just truly truly enjoy. One of the things that I've encouraged is holding hands. That is just something so simple, but is also something so close and affectionate. My kids have really picked up it and nothing makes me happier.


43) So I just looked at the clock. it's 3:47am. This thing is gonna be down TONIGHT. I need to go eat a (healthy) snack for some energy. By right back


42) Fact #42. I just ate some peanut butter crackers and drank the best beverage on earth for my snack.

This stuff is brain meltingly delicious

41) Oh snacks... That's one thing everyone loves. Snacks. Stevie is probably my biggest snacker (because she is an ultra picky eater). I'm sure she will grow out of it. But in the meantime, it's just a "pick your battles" thing. There's one thing this girl likes though. Chocolate. One day, she told me she needed my laptop to do some work. I found this file on my computer later in the evening.

40) Me and the kids love music. Our tastes are pretty eclectic; so the kids and I really like make 1990's style mixed CD's. There's really nothing better than a good mixed CD!! Don't you remember how fun it was when someone burned you a CD. Normally, me and the kids each pick a few songs to each CD. We will play it for a month or two in the car, then make another. Our current mix has everything on it from James Taylor, the Beatles, Jack Johnson & Otis Redding to Disney Princess songs and the theme song from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers 

39) Not trying to brag, but I had the most epic senior yearbook photo ever.

38) This.

37) I'm convinced if you greet people with a smile and pleasant attitude, your day is just going to be so much better. A smile and warm greeting shows people that you are happy to see them. Which makes them feel valuable about themselves and just leads to happiness all around. Making people feel valued is probably one of my main goals in life.

36) The other day I kept smelling this weird smell coming from the kids bathroom. I finally tracked it down to one of the cabinets under the sink. It was a mason jar filled with mud, applesauce, and ketchup. So I dumped it out and washed the jar. A few hours later, I hear this child screaming from the bathroom "WHAT HAPPENED TO MY EXPERIMENT?!?!"

35) My great-granddad used to be a millionaire. This was back in the day, so that was A LOT of money. He started a model company called "Megow Models". It was ultra successful. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the government took all of his balsa wood to make cases for submarine missiles. That ruined his business. Megow Models have actually been featured in the Smithsonian. Isn't that so neat!! Google it! :)

34) My first car was a red 1966 VW Bus. Man. I loved that car. I had so so many awesome memories in that ole bus. However, it was kinda a death trap. I had to Flintstone stop that thing more than once, when the brakes, emergency brake, and transmission went out all at once. 

33) I love babysitting for friends. I enjoy it for a few reasons. One, it gives my kids friends to play with. Two, it gives my friends the chance to do something fun. Three, seriously once I passed three kids,it's pretty much a "herding" parenting style anyways. So there's not much difference adding a few more kiddos to the mix :)

"Adding a few more kiddos to the Mix"
FYI The Mix is a local froyo spot. See what I did there? 
Impressive writing huh?

32) I think I have life pretty together, but geez. I see where Neela gets her clumsiness from. Today I made a point to count how many times I accidentally dropped my phone on the ground. Six times. I dropped my phone of the ground six times today. This is everyday. Seriously people, don't give me nice things. I will break them, and then probably just blame it on my kids when they aren't around ;)

31) I think I'm super content being single. I know people say that to sound not desperate, but I really am content with how my life is at this moment. However, one day I would love to get married. I want to have a partner and best friend that I get to kiss whenever I want. I'm being patient though. I feel if you rush things like that, it's never going to end up with anything worth while. This is my scripture for my wait.

30) This song always reminds me of my Stevie. The first time I had ever heard it was driving home from the hospital after she was born. It's just extremely special to me.

29) I'm probably the most least competitive person I have ever met. Seriously, I don't really care if I win or lose at things. I don't really know that's a bad or good thing. It's just the way I'm wired. My parents were still super supportive of me playing sports and stuff going up. I mean it was still fun to win, but really I just enjoyed spending time with my friends. True story, one time during a soccer game I was on the bench (like usual) and wandered off to explore the woods behind the field. The coach called me in the play, but no one could find me. When they finally found me, I was just picking blackberries and was using my soccer jersey to carry them around in like a basket.

28) Neela is probably the messiest eater I have ever seen in my life. Good news about that is that it's impossible for her to hide if she ever sneaks any snacks.

Seth: "Neela have you been eating chocolate?"
Neela: "How did you know?!?"

27) I love wearing glasses. It's like decorations for your face. Plus, they make an excellent way to hide bags under your eyes if you haven't sleep in a month or two :) hahaha

26) Stevie literally don't care at all about fashion. She would wear the same thing every day if I let her. She's tried to talk me into letting her 3x adult men's pajama tshirt to school before. But I have also found that there is one fashion statement even Stevie won't sink to.

25) Number 25. Getting close! Let's make up a poem. (PS. I love little poems)

We are on number 25.
That number is divisible by five.
Not all poems rhyme.

24) One of things I miss most about my kids being little is carrying them around in a little chest carrier. I used to love to tote my little tikes around in one of those. :)

23) My kids are getting to the age, where they love having and spending money. It's just so exciting to them. I try to make them earn money they want. My favorite memory of Stevie wanting to make money was she wanted to shave our heads, dye the hair rainbow, sew them into afros, and sell clown wigs door to door. 

22) Olive will not go to sleep unless you rub her tummy. She will just stand there and stare at you. Until you do it. 

21) Another Olive fact. She is incredibly flexible. Like REALLY flexible. She sleeps in her bed every night doing a complete leg split. I need to enroll that girl in gymnastics or something.

A typical Olive relaxation pose

20) My kids love stuffed animals. I mean that's the only toy they really ever want or ask for. The thing about their stuffed animal thing, is they actually play with them everyday. I love it. It's just so much imagination. 

19) One thing I pride myself on is that I try my hardest to never give unsolicited parenting advice. On occasion I will have people ask random questions. Normally, when I get asked questions it's something like this "My kid is doing this ultra weird thing, have your kids ever done anything similar?.... Oh they have?.... Wow, they did that?... Oh well... at least my kid didn't do that. Thanks Seth!"

18) I've posted this to facebook before, but I freaking love it.

This is remarkably accurate :)

17) My kids love to text on my phone. They have on multiple occasions texted random contacts 87 poop emojis and the word "butt". I always get some classic responses from those.

16) I love how God puts us in places for a reason. Even when it seems we are in a holding pattern, there's something we are supposed to be doing. It's not always something big, just something. The way I got my current job was just sitting in a holding pattern for years. However, in those years, I was given tiny little opportunities to learn random skills. Instead of just giving me one of the jobs I was begging him for; He kept me there. He kept giving these things to do to sharpen random things in my life. Finally, I kind of just fell into my current job. If I hadn't been forced to sit in that holding pattern and learn all of that stuff while I was waiting, there's no way I would be successful at my current job. And without my current job, there's no way I would have been a successful single parent. I've learned that my big plans are usually just a distraction to what God has in store. Honestly, that kind of takes the stress out of life. I just pray and figure what God wants me to do today. He'll figure out the rest for me. :D  He gives us the easy job. I love that.

15) If there's one thing in life Titus loves as much as than being a spy and learning magic tricks, it's monkey bars. Tonight, we had a 45 minute conversation about monkey bars. Seriously, if you ever run into us in public, ask this kid if he's good at monkey bars. You will make his year!! :)

14) Here's the way to my heart. Talk to me about some "Bob's Burgers" and I'm yours. :)

13) Sometimes I have people tell me my house looks clean in pictures I post online, to those people I want to leave you with two words "effective cropping".

12) I don't care how many times I share this image, I swear it will always need to be shared ONE more time.

"Awe. Look how cute baby Olive is... wait... what..."

11) I sing constantly. I sing at home, at work, out to eat, at the playground. I don't care. I sing horrible and I sing loud. 

10) Our family is starting to switch from "God our Father" dinner prayers to real spoken prayers. Titus loves to bless the food and asks to do it every night. He's different than many other kids, I have heard pray. Instead of just listing off a ton of different things to pray about, he will sit and think while he prays and typically pick 2-3 specific things to focus on for that night's blessing. I love watching him pray. He's going to be such a great husband/dad.

9) The other day in the car Olive asked to have some of my Good and Plenty (black licorice), we were driving home from North Carolina, so I stopped and bought everyone (including myself a snack). A few minutes later, I remembered she doesn't like black licorice and turned around wondering what she had done with them. 

"Hey Daddy. Your candy smells good."

8) I think I radically changed my kids lives recently. I showed them the "Semi Truck Honk Request" Arm motion. Car rides will never be the same.

7) I've never shared this before because I honestly have no clue why he came home with it from school. But last year, I was going through Titus's Friday Folder. He apparently made this at school...

Teenage Titus Blackmail

6) I'm officially old I think. I've had like 9 people explain the purpose of Snapchat. I'm still confused. Just call me a grandpa I guess.

5) Along the lines of Grandpas, I've already picked out my granddad name. I'm gonna be called "Pootie". I'm ultra excited about it. Some of my friends' kids already call me Pootie. It's one of my favorite things I've ever thought of. Ever.

4) This is proof that I can actually fix things from time to time. I love doing this like this. Single parents are both mom and dad. I feel like I have to lean into mom territory more than I'd like. So it's nice to be able to do man stuff when I have time.

I had to bypass some internal dimmer switches in our fans. 
I was ultra proud of myself.

3) Again, not trying to brag, but I will blow your mind singing karaoke. It's more than singing, it's an experience. One day if I can find some video of one of my performances, I'll post it for the world to enjoy. 

2) Neela has some warts on her neck. She has named them. She loves her warts very much. Don't talk to her about removing her warts. She loves those stupid warts.

1) Finally, I'm just grateful for everyone reading, liking, commenting, sharing, messaging, and encouraging me with the Ole Dishwasher. It's really been big personal growth thing for me. Not trying to sound sappy but it really means so much that you guys read this thing and put up with all of the Megow silliness.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,