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Friday, March 13, 2015

Guest Post- Hubby Style

Jules Here-

Actually, it's not me-- I am just a vessel for my awesome brother-in-law, Brian, to post his *first* post on our blog:

Hello all:

Brian here, one of the many loyal followers of this blog.  The past few months I have been kidding my wife about the noticeable decline in blog posts.  I join Em in saluting Jules in her efforts of posting despite facing quite a daunting schedule the past few months herself.  So rather than complain to Ems and Jules I decided to put pen to paper and contribute to the cause.  As I have often told people, you don't have the right to complain about a problem if you haven't contributed to a solution.  The tempting path of least resistance beckons but for once I will turn a deaf ear to its siren's call.   Perhaps after reading such pedestrian fare, you dear fans will take arms and exhort our two intrepid ladies to once again take to the keyboards to spare you all having to experience the dreaded "guest blogger entry" phenomena.  It is quite late here and I am not really looking forward to grading another clinical log so this is my excuse to procrastinate...

Theo & Gemma
We just welcomed Gemma home a few weeks ago.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of adjustment, we have sprinkled in a visit to the ER, a couple of pediatrician visits on account of a virus that the younger cohort are passing around, hosted a joint birthday party for Nate and Theo (12 and 11 respectively), started conditioning for the Select Soccer players (Nate, Theo, and Matt) and in  few weeks, add Tad to that soccer schedule as he makes his debut this spring season with the U6 division.  Over the years I have invariably been asked, "how do you guys do it?" (pitch and intonation increasing with each additional child).  I suppose being in the middle of this maelstrom I have been made immune to the time demands, as with everything else in life, you just get used to the pace that is set and eventually adjust to it.  Em has alluded as much in past posts about our tag-team approach to parenting.  We have abandoned the man to man defense and went zone when we brought Matt home, effectively outnumbering us 3-2 back in the waning summer months of 2005.  (Just thought I would add a basketball reference there with March Madness lurking in the corner, which is incidentally a national holiday in our house).  But really it should come as no surprise to those who know her, that a main reason this work for us, is because she is an amazing woman.  My better half will celebrate a birthday in a few days.  Each passing year celebrated gives us opportunity to reflect, gain perspective, and hopefully grow in a little wisdom from the experience.  We have been together 18 wonderful years with 12 of those as parents.  So without further ado, I give you my top ten reasons as to why our family of 10 hums like the well-oiled machine it does.

Baby Gemma in Daddy's Arms
10. Organized - no brainer here.  Virtually impossible to have a functional household if there is no semblance of order in place.  From daily requirements of educating 2 sixth graders, 2 third graders, and 1 in kindergarten, to maintaining the house and keeping them all fed and watered, Em has the entire process regimented.  The structure is not so inflexible that it does not allow for adjustments on the fly.  The existing framework though is established and allows her to build her day around it.

9.  Practical - Em has taught me the truth behind the words "just because you can, doesn't mean you should".  No fluff, no unnecessary frills, focus on the need and go from there.  Don't mistake it for a Spartan lifestyle as these kids don't lack for anything.  But by focusing and prioritizing on what is clearly valuable and necessary versus what could be trivial has taught our kids (and myself) to differentiate between "need" and "want".  Not saying we don't struggle and blur the lines but hopefully this will plant a seed to negate the overpowering sense of immediate self gratification that is prevalent in today's society.

8. Wise in finances - Again very little explanation needed here.  Em makes sure we get maximum value for our money.  Teaches us how to be responsible stewards of God's  blessings.  I don't make LeBron money so every little thing must be accounted for responsibly.  There is a funny Simpson's gag where Homer bemoans his lack of money "OH!  I have 3 kids and no money, why can't I have no kids and 3 money?"  Thanks to Ems, we won't have to cross that road.

7. Keen sense of humor - Ems keeps the household mood light with a well placed quip or pun.  It is this same sense of humor that allows her to also gain perspective on situations.  Laughter is good medicine for the soul.  A delicate balance must be struck to have a well rounded child.  You don't want them to take themselves so seriously that they become paralyzed and become afraid to make mistakes.  Let them know it is ok to make mistakes and to laugh about it.  I think a child becomes better equipped to adjust to life's demands when they can laugh about things and/or their foibles and mistakes.

6. Patient and kind - Don't mistake this for lack of discipline as she imparts that as well.  It is more in the application of that same discipline.  In the setting of boundaries and expectations, the way the discipline is imparted goes a long way in how effective it takes root.  We must always guard against disciplining out of anger.  Em again strikes that difficult balance and metes out the discipline albeit out of kindness and patience.  Again, not saying we're batting 1.000 here but the approach is in place and gives us the proper mindset and approach.

Jojo & Gemma

5. Intelligent - I always tell the kids that they have the utter bad luck of having a smart mom.  There won't be much that they get past her or a trick turned that she won't catch.  Will this make for a fun filled teen years when all they seem to want to do is see what they can get away with?  Absolutely!  But give me Em any day of the week and twice on Sunday and let the games begin!!

Smart AND beautiful Ems- She's going to kill us for posting this :)

4. Ethical - Em has a strong set of ethics, a high standard of honest and honorable dealings with others.  Her ethics are based on her morals which are well formed and a strong correlation can be drawn between how ethical you are to how morally sound you are.

3. Moral - One of Em's strengths which I admire is her outstanding moral fiber and backbone.  These morals drive the personal philosophies that gives us the ability to know right from wrong.

2. Character and Integrity - Em's aggregate features and traits are formed by integrity, allowing her to discern right and wrong and act properly on that discernment regardless of cost and consequence.  Emily has always been unashamed of doing what is right and what a powerful witness to our children during their formative years as they are constantly bombarded by the agendas of secular culture which run in diametric opposition to Christian formation.

1. Seeks God in all things - All these traits would be good by themselves, but they are made intrinsically good by God's grace.  What good is your moral compass if it is calibrated by a subjective standard, capricious, and prone to change?  Em has ordered her life to the true North that is God's will.  There's no getting lost there.

File:Mother Mary and Jesus Christ - Nail Art.jpg
Mother Mary & Jesus

Over the years, I have come to understand that as parents, we are called to be faithful and to be consistent.  Mother Teresa exhorts, "God has not called me to be successful.  He called me to be faithful."  So as parents we strive to be faithful to ourselves, to each other, to the teachings of Christ.  Through it all we must find consistency with God's will for it is in finding that consistency that we are made holy in our walk with Him.  Years of perspective and grace has revealed that character development, not comfort is of lasting importance during our time in this temporal plane.  Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone reduced to following a set rule of law.  God created you and revels in your uniqueness, so He certainly does not want to destroy it.  Being Christ-like is about transforming your character not your personality.

I love all my kids, one of the most fulfilling moments I share with them is when I get a peek at the characteristics that make them each unique in their own way.  I can summarily and magnanimously say that they have all my wife's good traits and none of my bad.  How is this possible?  Let's just say that there is a certain grandmother who undoubtedly storms the heavens daily in humble supplication and prayer asking that her grandkids not turn into the one hellion she raised.  I may be the head of this household but there is no doubting as to who is the backbone.  Happy Birthday Em!  I count myself truly blessed to share a life together.

Easy rule #98758 - Make your life easy, find a good wife or find a saintly person to intercede on your behalf that you be blessed with one.

Easy rule #78987 - Em is not really perfect, she has terrible taste in movies as evidenced by the random offerings that mysteriously pop up on my Recently Watched Netflix queue.


  1. Very sweet post, Brian! Emily's lucky to have a husband who is so eloquent eith his kind words:)

  2. This is why I want to be just like you guys when I grow up! A truly lovely post, Brian!