Monday, November 30, 2020

Homage To My Wife and The Mother of My Child, Lisa

This holiday season I am especially thankful for my wife, Lisa. It is very easy to take every blessing in life for granted, especially when you expect the luxuries many of us receive daily, weekly, and monthly. We should rather count our blessings instead of expecting them as if we deserve it. Those luxuries are not forever guaranteed. So be sure to appreciate the blessings while you can. Make it a priority to let loved ones know how much they mean to you. Every gift comes from above, including family, however there is no guarantee of tomorrow.

Mothers have a special connection to their children, and Lisa continues to show this deeper relationship with Annabelle. Sometimes, when I cannot get Annabelle to stop crying, I hand her over to Lisa, and instantly she is a different baby, calm and settled. Like I said, it is a special bond.

I could not be all I am and do the things I do without Lisa’s presence in my life. She is an angel from God! While working her own job, Lisa takes good care of me and our daughter while I often focus on my PhD. studies and work several jobs myself. With Lisa’s service to our family, she makes many things possible for me – the opportunity to travel, earn an advanced degree, learn new languages, and follow my many passions, just to name a few. I cannot think of enough positive details to tell you about my wife, including that Lisa is a phenomenal mom. When I am not around, I know Annabelle is in excellent hands!     

When I first met Lisa, I must admit that I thought she was a little weird. Her appearance depicted that Girl with The Dragon Tattoo vibe. I was honestly a little scared. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined on my first date with Lisa at The San Antonio Museum of Art that she would birth our first child approximately five years later. God, indeed, works in mysterious ways! As a wonderful mother, Lisa becomes more and more attractive everyday she continues to nurture Annabelle. Of course, Annabelle gets her beauty naturally from her mother.

Lisa has a natural disposition to serve others and also to quickly forgive. She does everything within her efforts to make sure that Annabelle and I are happy. Perhaps the greatest virtue of a mother is thinking of others before one’s self. I am fortunate to have a remarkable child and an incredible spouse! Perhaps family in community is the best blessing a man can have after all.

This holiday season, rather than focusing on what I do not have, I should be focusing on the clear blessings before me in mom and child and other relationships around me. Perhaps you might also want to do the same.

How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.

Psalm 31:19 (NIV)

*Please see some of our most recent Annabelle pictures below. 

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Monday, November 16, 2020

First Week in Daycare….It is too quiet in this home. – We Miss Annie!

It has been a little more quiet than usual as I continue to work from home virtually. There are no cries for attention from Annabelle, and Lisa no longer comes into my office every twenty minutes to tell me “something really important,” which usually are matters that can wait. However, with silence, I definitely miss the company of the joyful noises previously heard with my family in residence. During the holidays, depending on your life situation, the laughter and smiles present can often outweigh the evident hardships in front of you. 

Annabelle started her first week of daycare on Tuesday, and my wife, Lisa returned to work four days a week. While I was apprehensive about the transition, giving my daughter over to a stranger we kind of know, there have been some silent tears since not having Annie home every waking moment. The streams of tears mainly involve Lisa but maybe me a little, too. Lost in the luxury of being home full-time for three months, Lisa has been a little distraught to say the least. Graduate school and my jobs, while trying to build new relationships, keeps me consumed in this new transition in Knoxville, just recently moving from Nashville. After starting a new job, moving to a new city, having a baby, and starting my doctorate degree all in the same month, small changes seem a little less intimidating. It is now more a matter of adjustment when those small changes come my way. We also miss our community of friends and family in Nashville as well.  

I definitely miss my little girl, especially the sweet smell of her bald head just below my chin when holding her. When someone special to you is suddenly around you a little less often, then perhaps you realize just how dear that special someone is to you. Unfortunately, some individuals have to learn this lesson the hard way when someone is gone forever. Thankfully, my daughter is just taking a day trip to her daycare school during the weekdays.

Life often develops into what a person chooses to focus on, for better or worse, based on how you view your own circumstances. While Lisa or I could complain about certain situations or things we do not like, constantly missing our little girl, I would rather remember each blessed second, minute, and hour I get to spend with my daughter. If I keep viewing life as a journey of what I am missing, rather than the grateful moments I am getting, then I will probably turn into an Ebenezer Scrooge myself. In other words, you become what you focus your attention on. 

Rather than diminishing those hours Annabelle is at daycare, I am thankful we have good people looking after her so Mom and Dad can work. While my personal time with Annie is a little less than previous weeks, that recent change also makes me value the moments I have with her that much more than before. I am not losing anything, per se. My routine is just changing, and dependent on how I choose to see that change, it can be a positive or negative experience.

God granted Lisa with three full months of maternity leave and some real quality time with family. That obvious truth is a fact and blessing I choose not to ignore, and I am convinced with Annabelle present that we will have the best Christmas season ever experienced. The focus will not be on me, as it often is. It will be focused on our little baby girl. I will not be Ebenezer Scrooge! Instead, I will be a Santa version of a Turbo Tail Tigger, the popular cartoon character from Winnie The Pooh. So, let’s sing the following song, together, shall we?

The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers (Song Lyrics)

The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is Tiggers are wonderful things
Thier tops are made out of rubbers
Their bottoms are made out fo springs
They're bouncy, trouncy, founcy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers
I'm the only one
The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is Tiggers are wonderful chaps
They're loaded with vim and with vigor
And love to leap in your laps
They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers
I'm the only one
Tiggers are wonderful fellahs
Tiggers are awfully sweet
Everyone else is jealous
And that's why I repeat... 

(Lyrics website source:

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Smell of a Sweet Baby – Missing My Little Girl, Annabelle

“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.-John 16:21 (ESV)

I write this message on the eve of Halloween while I sit my parents’ house in Franklin, Tennessee. To celebrate the holiday, we had a Harry Potter party with my two nephews who are now actively attending the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In other words, they played fictional games from The Goblet of Fire book and movie, which was probably more fun than the online formats of public Chrome school or Zoom University. Annabelle, as an infant, is obviously too young to know the significance of the holiday, however with all her small giggles, she seemed to enjoy time with the family, especially with CeeCee and G-Daddy (grandparent nicknames).   

My wife, Lisa, left Knoxville to come to Franklin a few days early, and while I plugged away at graduate class projects and conference paper deadlines, I obsessively missed my daughter, Annabelle. It was probably the strongest feeling of missing my family since her birth. In fact, it felt extremely lonely without the background noises of Annabelle’s cries or Lisa banging pots and pans in the kitchen. The lack of presence with things that sometimes drive us crazy makes us realize we would be crazy without those very same things in our lives.

I truly love my wife, Lisa, and my daughter, Annabelle. I spent several moments smelling Annabelle’s clothes to savor her scent, so she was missed a little bit less. Like the sound of crashing waves and the savory smell of sea ocean waters, that childlike baby scent of laundry freshness and clean soap is heavenly. Now I understand why some people save the clothes of loved ones who pass away. The aroma of a sweet smell remains the most potent sign of a memory for cherishing a loved one.

Annabelle smells so good in my arms, and when I cannot be with her in presence, the smell of her clothes and baby blankets helps me feel just a little bit closer, knowing she will be home soon.

The laughter and grins of our children changes us forever, and when those sounds and sights disappear, they are surely missed by the parent who hears them in powerful dreams and memories, knowing they will one day return, hopefully sooner rather than later.       

*By the way, Annabelle was a Baby Yoda for Halloween. Please see the pictures below.

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