How these Superbowl Ads are Going Against our Culture

The Superbowl commercials have been celebrated for decades. We watch with great expectations. To laugh. To cry. To groan. To cheer. Mini-movies which make us laugh, cry, groan, cheer, fall in love, and of course, want what they’re selling.

And yet, my friends, for years I avoided the commercial breaks. The message many of the ads sold was simply sex. Or rather, men: want these women. Lust after them. This is what you want. This is what will make you happy. A bit of breast. A piece of a$$. We know you only think of one thing. Let’s settle and give you only that.

Let’s forget that you are so much more.

But every day I watch my husband. I see him struggle against this culture which reduces him to one desire. Which forgets that he is a father. Ignores that he is a husband. Neglects that he is a strong, complex, capable, feeling, thinking man.

tim reading to jack

Every day my husband takes care of our kids. He gets them dressed. Drops them off at school. Works HARD at his business to support them. Takes care of their laundry. Feeds them. Snuggles and tickles and wrestles and plays with them. And every evening, I get the front row seat to him reading their bedtime stories before kissing them goodnight.

This year it seems that people have finally noticed: Our men are so much more.

Men love. Men cry. Men have passion. Men fear. Men hope. Men dream. Men make a difference.

Thank you, Nissan. Thank you, Dove. Thank you for affirming the men in our lives. The dads who build up our children. The people we love.

If we can all follow in their footsteps. Stop laughing at the mistakes men make. Stop mocking their different styles of parenting. Stop expecting them to be like women.

Start accepting their tears. Start listening to their fears. Start encouraging their hopes and dreams. If we can start supporting them to change a diaper, hold our child, be an active dad – the dad their kids so desperately need. If we can trust them for a night or a weekend alone to experience 24 hours with their kids, what would happen? They might not do it the same… no, they might do it better.

For once they might be built up in who God created them to be. Not a 2 dimensional character in a godaddy commercial, but a strong man who has gifts, talents and abilities. For once they might shine in their expression of love. For once they might be equipped to support their family beyond their finances. For once they might be seen as respectable contributors to the holistic well being of the family.

What would change in your family if you entrusted your husband with your child? What would change in him if he saw you respect him? What would change in your kids? What would change in you?

** I want to make a note to you friends whose husbands have proved themselves to be untrustworthy because of abuse. Please know, this is not for you. My prayers are with you. Bless you.

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Why I didn’t wait until Christmas for this gift.

Candlelight flickers, twinkle lights shine, and the sliver of the moon suggests the sun it reflects.

Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

We choose to recognize that Light wins in a world of darkness as we adorn our houses, trees, and streets with glimmers of joy. For in celebration of advent we remember the anticipation of God’s people 2017 years ago (give or take) when

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

Light was coming.

In a time when kings killed children for fear of a successor overtaking his throne. When God was silent for 400 years. When a girl became pregnant before she was married and claimed no man had ever touched her.

Light was coming.

In a time when wars ravaged over land. When people groups were oppressed. When children were enslaved. When poverty was rampant.

Light was coming.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

I gave my kids a Christmas present early.

I could not wait for them to receive Light.

In God Made Light, through the words of Matthew Paul Turner and illustrations of Matthew Paul Mewhorter (yes, those are two different people), Light lives:

In flickers and flashes,
In spills and in splashes,
Shine began shining across nothing but blackness.

Light glared and glimmered.
It flared and sparked.
And wherever light shined,
Dark stopped being dark.

Captivated by the colors, the melody of the words, the message of the story, my son gasped and gripped his chest when he learned that God not only created light, but placed it inside him.

You are the light of the world.

Hope incarnate.

I adore this book and want to give it to everyone I know. But I cannot afford that. So, this Christmas, I am giving it to my nephew. Because I see the love of God residing in his bright eyes, his simple smile, his quiet spirit.

Maybe you see the Light in another’s eyes. Maybe someone you love needs to be encouraged. Maybe that someone is you. I encourage you to pick up a copy of God Made Light.

God made light.

And it’s inside of you.

God be with you.

Photo Sources: http://matthewpaulturner.com/2014/10/21/happens-11-publishers-say/

and http://matthewpaulturner.com/2014/10/30/story-behind-god-made-lights-artwork-4-interesting-details-illustrating-matthew-paul-turners-childrens-book/

I received nothing for this post. I just love this book and want it to be on your shelf.

The One Thing I would say if I Could Speak to the New-Mama-Me

Yesterday was my son’s 6th birthday and today this beautiful picture my sister made showed up in my Timehop feed:

Kaihoi's Pics 137

I look at my son, my face, the quote, and I feel a surge of emotions. I remember how shortly after this picture was taken I became overwhelmed by Jack’s inability to latch, I remained in a semi-state of shock from an emergency c-section, and I began to feel incapable of mothering my son. A feeling that lasted for months.

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “dear.” And I think to myself, if I had 5 minutes and could tell my new mama self anything, knowing what I know now about myself, about my son, about my marriage, about breastfeeding, about having a c-section… what would I say? Let’s find out…


 

Dear New-Mama-Me,

Congratulations! You hold in your arms the little boy who will steal your heart.

IMG_0675

Right now he is a stranger and it feels odd to hold him, and that’s ok. But in a few short months you will begin to feel that you would die for him without second thought. You will pick him up while he is sleeping because you will miss holding him. You will delight in his contagious laugh and his natural empathy for others. You won’t remember not being his mama and you would never go back.

But between now and then, you are going to struggle. And when I say struggle I mean you are going to scare yourself because of your extreme feelings of fear and pain. This is the hardest thing that is ever going to happen to you. The greatest transition, the greatest task, with the most difficult emotions.

Though you will love your son, at times you will resent him.

Though you will love your son, he will make you cry.

Though you will love your son, his birth just stirred up your hormones and you will be depressed again.

And I know how scary depression is for you.

You feel out of control, terrified of what it could bring, and are at a complete loss for what to do about it.

New-Mama-Me, if I could go back and tell you one thing it would be to seek help. I know you don’t like your OB much and she has the intuition of a gnat. When she says, “Don’t you just love him to pieces?” Answer honestly and say, “No.” You will probably cry. And that’s ok. You need to cry. You need to get help for this thing called Postpartum Depression before you’re looking back at the first year lost to illness.

Don’t worry, even if you don’t tell her the truth, you will be ok. Jack will grow to be a compassionate child. And you will get help for your depression during the middle of a 6 inch blizzard on an October afternoon.

But just in case you can hear me, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Because you’ve never done this before. And it’s hard. It’s hard for every New-Mama. I don’t think it comes naturally to anyone.

Oh! One more thing you need to know: You’re doing the best you can. And that’s good enough. I mean it.

 

New-Mama-Me

I’ll see you soon,

Me


This post is part of the larger Five Minute Friday community found on Kate Motaung’s blog. We write, for five minutes, together. No major edits. No second guesses, just writing to connect, to grow, to be. We would love to see you there.

Why Sympathy Spurs Shame, but Empathy Empowers

Day 28 of 31 Days of Connecting

When Jack was 3 or 4 months old, we went to a family friend’s house for lunch. Not knowing them well, I mostly kept to myself, hiding myself in Jack’s needs. When he finally went down for a nap, I had no choice but to engage in conversation with these strangers (commence awkward introvert small talk). After a little while, the mother asked me how things were going as a new mom. She asked, “Have you been brought to tears?”

Relief filled my heart that perhaps someone might understand what it was like to have a son who had colic, who knew that emotional fatigue overwhelmes a new mama, and that sometimes the only thing to do was to let out a sob or two, so I responded emphatically, “Oh Yes! Just last week, I burst into tears when I was nursing Jack.”

“Really?”

Her surprised and inquisitive look let me know I had it all wrong. I could sense pity coming from her gaze, but I didn’t want pity, I wanted understanding. I wanted to know things could be ok. That all moms shed these tears. Yet in that moment I only received: “Really?”

Ashamed, I looked at my feet, mumbled something about, “Don’t all moms?” and quickly changed the topic or perhaps even left the room.

Writer, speaker, and shame researcher Brené Brown has helped me understand that in that moment what I wanted empathy, but what I received was sympathy. Brown wrote this:

“[Sympathy says], ‘I’m over here and you’re over there. I’m sorry for you. I’m sad for you. AND, while I’m sorry that happened to you, let’s be clear: I’m over here.’ This is not compassion.

“In most cases, when we give sympathy we do not reach across to understand the world as others see it. We look at others from our world and feel sorry or sad for them… When our need for empathy is met with sympathy, it can often send us deeper into shame – we feel even more alone and separated. Empathy is about connection; sympathy is about separation.” (I thought it was just me (but it isn’t), 2007, p 51)

day 28

Whenever I meet a new mom, I find myself longing for her to feel safe with me, to know that though I haven’t been in her exact situation, I get it. Sometimes we are brought to tears. Sometimes those tears don’t stop. Sometimes we want to walk away for awhile. She needs to know that she is not alone, but that someone, somewhere is sitting with her. Loving her. Shedding tears with her.

Then, through that empathy, maybe that mama can be encouraged, empowered to continue on.

<<To hear Brown speak on this topic, and to see some great animation, click here.>>

(You don’t have to) Try

A Monday Moment.

I remember the first time I heard Colbie Caillat. Tim and I were on our first date after Jack was born when Realize came on over the speakers at California Pizza Kitchen. I think we were both listening to the lyrics, because we caught each others’ eye and grinned foolishly at one another. From that moment on I was hooked to Colbie’s music, so when I saw the headline Colbie Caillat Is Tired of Being Photoshopped: Here’s What She Did About It I had to read the article.

I’m so glad I did.

It turns out, she wrote another song. And not just a beautiful song, but an awesome music video to go with it. One that left me in tears and built my sense of self. (see below)

Here’s what I love about it: It’s Vulnerable, It’s Honest, It’s Beautiful, It’s Freeing. 

With great bravery – and joy – the women in the video display their willingness not to try so hard and took off all of their makeup, their false hair, their masks to reveal who they truly are behind it all. It is rare to see such truth.

In the article Colbie praised the beauty of the other women in the video.

“All of the women were amazing. My favorite was the woman who has no hair. I first saw her completely bald, no makeup, with a huge smile, she was just so happy and confident. She was so beautiful to me. And then we kept getting more hair and makeup on, and the next scene I saw where she’s in full make-up and wig, I was like, Who is this woman? She was not the same person. She still looked beautiful but it wasn’t the same beauty that I saw when she was liberated, showing who she really was.” (Emphasis mine)

I watched the video in breathless anticipation, waiting to see her – who is it? Who is bald?! And when I saw her shake her hairless head, letting it all “down,” I saw the laughter in her eyes and the beauty of her skin and the joy in her smile and I felt a piece of me fall in love with her and desire that same inner beauty. The kind that no one can tell you how to “put on,” but which comes from the power of God in us and Receiving Love.

And there was another girl; with full make up, she had black eyelashes, a perfect complexion, straight red hair – gorgeous. Without it – get this! – she has blonde eyelashes!! I have blonde eyelashes! She has freckles!! I have freckles!! I was so giddy that there was a girl in the video who looked like me, I cannot even tell you. Those things I have been told make me look tired, or blemished, or unpretty – there she was, proudly displaying them all. And she was gorgeous.

I’m tired of living in a society telling me to be perfect I’m not perfect. One that seduces me and millions of women to fork over thousands and thousands of dollars in products to “get it right.” Whether that’s in make-up or clothing, furniture or cleaning supplies, or even the nicest diaper bag or five hundred dollar jogging stroller that 89% of parents won’t actually use…

And I have nothing intrinsically against any of these things. Like Colbie said in the article, I “love getting all dolled up.” I like putting on a pretty dress, nice make-up and curling my hair. I love it when the house looks perfect and when I have nice things.

I just want to know (like Colbie) that it’s ok for me to NOT do those things as well.

That I can leave the house with blonde eyelashes.

That I have value no matter what I look like or do.

That I don’t have to try so hard.

And I want the same things for you too.

“Cause I like you.”

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.

1 Peter 3:3 (The Message)