What’s Wrong With the “Dumb Dad” Stereotype?

I came across a post on one of my new favorite blogs today regarding the way dads are treated/portrayed in modern society. Media tells us they’re incapable of anything more than making money and sitting on the couch passing gas. It is something that has ALWAYS irritated me.

Maybe it’s because my husband is incredibly capable of cooking, better at cleaning than I am, and VERY involved both with our girls (who have him wrapped) AND our marriage. In any case, check out Painting Arrows and the AWESOME post they’ve done addressing this very topic:

Mom Talk- In Defense Of Dads

Then, if you’re feeling groggy, leave them a comment letting them know you agree!

Its high time to encourage the men in our lives to be what God has called them to be and RECOGNIZE when they’re trying.

 

Love to my loves,

Cate

Why I Won’t Be Saying “Happy Memorial Day!”

I’m not a big fan of the saying “Happy Memorial Day!”

I’m not sure in what way it is a happy day. Am I excited for a three-day weekend with my husband? You bet. We typically don’t get even a Two-day weekend. Do we grill out and have fun? Absolutely.

But while we are having fun spending time together and giving happy patriotic holiday greetings, another wife and mama just like me is fighting for her sanity today. She’s fighting to keep her head above water because the man she pledged to love “till death do us part” has parted from her way too soon. As the grocery store clerk tells her “Happy Memorial Day” she fights tears because to her, every day is Memorial Day as she desperately tries to help her young children remember the man who gave them life and liberty at the cost of his own.

It’s not happy for the father who will never see his daughter again or the mother who is raising her grandchildren because her daughter answered the call. For the mother giving birth today to a child who will never see the strength and love she saw in his father’s face. She will wrap him in a blanket today and pray it’s all a bad dream and he will walk through the door with flowers and they will be a family again. But he won’t.

He won’t. Because he gave his life so we could have the freedom to say what we want, no matter the cost. He died so we could stomp on our flag and drive through fields of memorial crosses. So we could abandon our veterans and ignore our God. He died so that we could violate the very Constitution he gave his life to uphold.

But she also died so that my babies could know what it is like to be carefree, if only for a while. So I can raise them to know their hope is in Jesus and He will get them through the hard times. So they will know they’re always protected.

I heard it said once that the only two people who have ever died to save us are Jesus and the American Soldier. And I know it’s true.

So, as I spend today with family, I will pray a little longer for those who can’t because they made sure I could, and that I never have to live in memorial to the two men in my life who have answered the call to duty.

And today, I will take the time to explain to my girls WHY we “celebrate” Memorial Day me why all give some, but SOME GIVE ALL.

Love to my Loves,

Cate

 

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Finding Joy In The Presence of God

    Over the past few days, things have been crazy on our end. A blog post that I never expected to go “viral” did and in three days had 1.8 million views. Due to it being a heated topic, the ugliness rolled in along with it- death threats, name calling, hatred, people who do not know me assassinating my character. And so much more support, kindness, and encouragement from followers of God. 

     The first day completely overwhelmed me. Not only was I anxious because of the influx of messages, emails, comments, and views, but I was on a 12-hour drive to my brother’s military graduation, having left behind with a family member our daughters- one of whom ended up having a stomach virus all weekend. Overwhelmed. 

It’s funny how in the midst of trials God will speak to us and gives comfort. So, I put my phone down and stopped checking notifications for a bit. I turned on some worship music and BAM. 

Overwhelmed by the world turned into overwhelmed by God’s mercy. Anxious about leaving behind a sick baby turned into thankful for His stripes that give her healing. Afraid that so many people were seeing me turned into happy that through seeing me and some of my posts, people might see HIM. 

He is never too far. YOU are never too far. He is only a thought, a silent prayer, a moment of worship away because He promised to NEVER leave or forsake us. 

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, who you’ve been, in His presence there is redemption. In His blood, there is salvation. There is healing. And He will comfort you, just as He has me, when you ask Him to and rely on Him for it. 
Love to my loves,

Cate     

A Waitress’s Observations of Christians at Sunday Dinner

Today at work, my heart broke.

Sounds a bit dramatic, no? But it’s true. Let me explain.

I recently picked up an extra job at a local chain restaurant waiting tables. Today was my first time as a server on a Sunday and what I experienced was not what I was expecting.

If you’ve never worked in a chain restaurant as a waiter/waitress, I implore you to consider what waitstaff go through. It’s not just running food from the kitchen to your table. What you don’t see are the five other tables of anywhere from 4-7 people your waiter is serving in addition to your party. You don’t see the multiple trips back and forth to each of these tables with drink refills, rolls, salad, soup, and appetizers before the meal even makes it out. You don’t see the intricate input system the waitress must navigate just to put in the order or the cook who is making an entire restaurant worth of food all alone because the other cooks called out. You don’t see the orders backing up and the waitress getting the blame because she is the face of the restaurant. Your waiter also cleans up after each table, then after everyone is gone, spends two hours ON AVERAGE getting the restaurant ready for the next day. It’s not easy work. I never realized just how demanding this job is.

Clearly, the general public doesn’t either.

I work most other days of the week. I experience rushed diners anxious to eat and leave so they can get back to work on time. I experience families at dinnertime just trying to get the kiddos fed. I experience people coming in late to have some drinks and relax with their friends. For the most part, customers are kind and polite. They tend to tip moderately and leave with a smile. On occasion, there are those who can’t be satisfied and it doesn’t matter what the server does to remedy the situation. But, usually, it’s enjoyed by all.

So, when I was scheduled to work today, a Sunday, I was pretty excited. I thought it would be nice to get to wait on people who I could expect to be kind, have a few conversations about Jesus, and make a good bit of tips since we’d be so busy all day. What I experienced, though, broke my heart. While none of my own customers were rude, my coworkers experiences weren’t similar.

Here are some comments I heard from my coworkers today. See if you can discern what specific group of people they were referring to:

“I guess they gave all their money to the church and couldn’t afford to tip.”

“You can tell they just came from church. Aren’t they supposed to be “Christians?”

“Sundays are the WORST day to work.”

Now, does this concern anyone? It does me. Concern isn’t even the word. Heartbreaking.

Heartbreaking because I see these servers behind the scenes needing Jesus so desperately. Heartbreaking because the actions I see from my coworkers aren’t those of belligerent young adults or selfish people. (These are some of the kindest, most selfless people I’ve ever met.) Their actions are those of people who are hurting and seeking relationship, seeking love, seeking acceptance. They’re seeking Jesus- they just don’t know it. It’s heartbreaking because we leave church all dressed up and go out to eat with our families while these people are LITERALLY serving our every whim and we can’t even be courteous, kind, or generous. Do you know not ONE person today even after JUST leaving church tried to share Jesus with either myself or ANY of my eight other coworkers who were serving them?

WE, AS CHRISTIANS, ARE NOT BEING CHRISTLIKE!

So what are we even doing??????

Guys, I’m so upset. How is it that on a Sunday morning when hundreds of families came through our restaurant not one tried to talk to us about Jesus? How, also, is it that Sundays are overwhelmingly the worst days for tips? Now, I know that being a Christian and money aren’t signs or symbols of each other, but bear with me here for a second: If we come in our church clothes all full of joy and Jesus and pride and then leave our server a craptastic tip, (that’s not a technical term LOL) they don’t associate that stiff with us personally. They associate the stiff with our religion. WITH OUR GOD. If God is generous and we are called to be “Christ-like” can’t we spare an extra five bucks? Especially if we can afford to drop sixty dollars on lunch. **Standard tips are 15%-20%**

Guys, we HAVE to realize that we represent CHRIST. We don’t represent ourselves. We are the children of an almighty God, called to go into the world to save the lost, to make disciples of the people, to BE disciples. We have to think of what we are portraying in everything, even something as simple as going to lunch with our families.

Please. For the sake of the hurting. If your server forgets to put lemon in your water or it takes a bit longer than you’d like to receive your dinner, please remember who you are called to be like. Who you are called to represent. And who the server in front of you could become for Christ if they were just shown a bit of Grace and Mercy in the name of a Holy God.

 

Love to my loves,

Cate

What Does it Mean to Be Fishers of Men?

     When Jesus called out to Simon (Peter) and his brother, Andrew, he told them He would make them ‘fishers of men.’ This is a much-quoted verse and I think it’s one worth delving into. 

     I see so many “Christians” today spewing out words that are, technically, in the Bible, but the context in which they’re quoted is completely off-based and often downright hateful. And it’s all in the name of God (or so they say.) But here’s the thing: God called us to be FISHERS of men, not men-repellers. 

    How are we to “lure” people to Christ when we are scaring them off with our words? 

It’s interesting to me that Jesus used fishing as a metaphor for getting people saved. Let’s take it step-by-step. 

Matthew 4:19 says, 

And He said to them “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.

So how exactly does fishing work? 

Well, you go quietly to where you want to fish, so as not to scare them off. Then, you bait the hook and cast it. Finally, they bite and you hook them. 

And how does this apply to winning the lost? 

Gently, now. 

Just like you can’t scare a fish into a boat, you cannot scare people into salvation. The “Repent or go to hell.” speech just doesn’t work because they don’t understand the sacrifice of Christ. Is it true that if we don’t accept Jesus we will not live with Him in Heaven? Yes. But we have to show them His love if we want people to embrace that. 

You’d never yell, “Cannonball!” And jump into the water where you’re fishing, because it would scare off the fish.  Likewise, you can’t simply threaten a person with Hell and expect them to embrace God. 

Offer what they’ve been searching for. 

For fish, it’s bait. They swim around in search of food, so we offer them worms. The unsaved are searching for grace. They’re searching for unconditional love. They’re seeking acceptance. And they’ll ask for it in the most unloveable ways. They don’t know that what they’re really searching for is Christ. But you do. Show Him to them. 

Tell them what He did on the cross. Show them what he has done in your life. Speak honestly and from the heart. Speak from experience. Show them what the Bible says about His saving Grace IN SPITE of ANYTHING they’ve ever done or said or been. 

Hook them. 

Are they ready to experience these things? God wants SO badly to give them the grace, mercy, RELATIONSHIP, and unconditional love they need. In fact, He already has, 2000 years ago on a cross. All they need to do is accept it. Tell them. 

Afterward, don’t just leave them on their own. Pray with them. Pray for them. Check in on them. Don’t leave your “fish” lying out of water. He needs fellowship. He needs guidance. He needs help. Lead them to the living water and show them how to stay in the word and never go thirsty again. 

God used fishing as a metaphor for a reason. 

Embrace it. 

Love to my loves, 

Cate


An Open Letter to my husband about Postpartum Depression

Superman,

Since the baby was born, things have been different. I’ve been different. And I haven’t really understood why. I just know that I’m not the same girl I used to be. I don’t laugh when you pick on me. I get angry. I don’t just pick your sweats up off the floor. I throw them and yell and have a hard time letting it go. Sometimes, I just don’t want to be with you. And I don’t know how to explain it. But I’m going to do my best here.

I used to think it was adorable when AG would play with me or pick on me. She’s so much like you. She does things just to make me laugh. Now, I hardly notice. I actually didn’t even realize she still does it until you started pointing it out a couple weeks ago. When she cries, sometimes I don’t get those mommy feelings I used to where I just want to run to her and comfort her. Sometimes, it just infuriates me. I end up yelling at her when her mommy should be kissing booboos and healing hearts. When they come into our room in the mornings to wake me up, I don’t get excited and enjoy the snuggle time. I get upset because I am constantly exhausted despite the fact that my body technically gets enough sleep.  I love them so much it hurts. It hurts because I know I should be comforting them and eating up every second. I know they are growing up so fast. I see it. I’m with them, watching it all the time. And yet, I just don’t want to be here sometimes. But I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I feel as if I’m in constant conflict with myself. I miss them when I’m with them because I feel that I’m not giving them everything they need and at the same time I just want a break. To be alone at home in a clean house with no obligations, no diapers to change, no expectations. There is no way to explain how much I love these two tiny humans we have created. They are all of me and all of you. They’re smart and funny and beautiful, but I just want to run away from them sometimes. And I don’t know why.

I used to enjoy dinnertime. I loved cooking and figuring out what I was going to feed y’all for dinner. I would spend HOURS planning meals and making shopping lists and grocery shopping and then cooking it. Now, we eat out most days. I grocery shop because I have to. But at the end of the day, I’m so exhausted I can’t stand the thought of standing over the stove when I could be sitting on the couch. I don’t enjoy cooking like I used to. I don’t enjoy many things the way I used to. Like movies. I’ve somehow managed to shoot down every time you try to take me on a movie date under the guise of “I’d rather just talk. We can’t talk and REALLY spend time together watching a movie.” But we can. And I miss it. And I don’t get it.

Then, there’s you. YOU. The most amazing man I’ve ever known. The person who holds me when I cry (which is literally every single day lately) and the man who has always made me feel like the only woman in the world. The guy I met at 15 who gave me a ride home from church so I didn’t have to walk home alone in the dark. The guy I married at 18 despite the best of objections. The only guy I’ve ever needed with every fiber of my being. And yet, sometimes I don’t even want to be around you. But at the same time all I want is you to hold me. The man I yell at over trivial things like taking the wrong route to the interstate and the laundry and dealing with the girls differently than I do. The man that knows how much I have changed and how much it haunts me and how much I want the old me back and never makes me feel worse about it than I already do. The man who has stuck with me and stayed unchanging through what has been simultaneously the worst 16 months of my life and the most amazing experience having TWO sweet girls to love. The man who doesn’t hate me for horrible things I’ve said, knowing I never meant a word of it. And my best friend in the entire world.  I pick at the smallest things you do. They absolutely throw me into a rage. I know as I yell or get angry about them that I shouldn’t, yet I can’t seem to simmer down despite my best efforts.

The anxiety and the guilt consume me. I know I shouldn’t feel the way I do, but I can’t stop it. I know how I used to feel about you and the girls and I want to feel it again. I want to BE the mom and wife I used to be again. Then I wonder if others can see how awful I am. How I can hardly feel anything anymore. How I get angry over nothing. I’ve been told to pray and it will go away. Well, I’ve prayed. And prayed. But now, you know I’ve seen someone about it. I’ve been given a diagnosis. Postpartum Depression. It sounds so taboo, yet we both knew what it was.  I don’t always understand how I feel. And on the rare occasion I do, I don’t know how to communicate it to you. Some days I just want to quit. I want to run away and hide and cry until I turn back into the girl I was a year and a half ago. But I can’t. I have a full-time job where I juggle our girls at the same time from home. It is overwhelming to an extent I cannot possible utter. And it is EXHAUSTING hiding it from everyone. Trying to suppress it is impossible, so to those who don’t see me behind the scenes, I’m either just dropping the ball or I’m neurotic, never focusing on one thing. But we are now on the road that, hopefully, leads to recovery.

I want you to know that even when I don’t feel loving toward you and the babies that I love you all so much more than I could ever explain, more than any of you could possibly comprehend. I want you to know that there could never be anything more important to me in this life or another. I want you to know that if it weren’t for God’s grace and the little bit of bible-reading that somehow manages to eek its way into my day (and it’s usually not from picking up the Bible), I wouldn’t have made it this far. I know you can’t understand this, especially when I don’t. But I want to thank you for being what I need and what I never knew you’d have to be for me.

I love you so much. You’re my Superman.

Love,

Baby