April 1st, 2014 § 3 comments § permalink

i met Lisa-Jo on a Friday afternoon in a small cubicle inside an office building in carol stream.

she was sitting on pages in my boss’s office. she was one of many, and when i got to her at the bottom of the pile. she was hiding behind a cover letter from one of our editors. a note that said you’ll fall in love. a note that promised the world like any good cover letter. behind that was Lisa-Jo.

she took my face in her hands and she looked me in the eyes and said this is my story, is it any good?

Surprised by Motherhood LJB

she gave me three chapters of her life that day. three chapters that brought tears to my eyes and made me want to hug all my moms as quickly as life would allow. i shot my mom a text, and hugged my mother-in-law a bit tighter the next time i saw her.

Lisa-Jo speaks for all moms. she writes the words that we all need to hear. the ones that say this ain’t easy, but it is so worth it. the ones that say i see your screaming kid that wants out of the cart, and the one that is into all the ice cream, and the other one that just took off down the aisle toward the cookies. i see them and i see you mom and it’s OK. you are amazing. you are loved. and you are doing the work of a superhero.

her words are the hug that every parent – mom or dad – needs on a daily basis.

i took her proposal and i did what no sensible twenty-something sales person ought to do, and i e-mailed the entire sales team:

 I am a 24 year old boy. I have a 27 year old wife, and I have friends all around me that are either planning to or already are popping out babies. I am ill-equipped and unprepared at the daunting prospect of bringing life into this world.

I need this book.

I sat with Lisa-Jo. I saw that she has a blog and I went to it and while it’s busy and loud and annoying to my man-ish sensitivities, I liked what I read. Back into the proposal I went, past our own Lisa’s sales pitch, past the factoid-ridden proposal, the Ann Voskamp praise, and the lofty comps. I ignored the financials, and dove into the foreword.

And then the first chapter. And the second. And the third.

I need this book. My wife needs this book. My mom needs this book. My sister, my best friend’s fiancé, my small group, my church. The world needs this book.

There are a million books in the parenting genre and I have no interest in any of them. I want nothing to do with some stranger telling me how to be a good parent. But Lisa-Jo’s no longer a stranger and I have ten more chapters to go.

For what it’s worth, this young man wants this book more than any other proposal that’s come through. I’m probably overstepping a boundary and butting in where I don’t belong, but when I was overwhelmed and felt tears coming, I had to tell someone, anyone, everyone.

somehow, Lisa-Jo got this e-mail, and for some reason she thought it’d be fun to dialogue with this twenty-something punk. she invited me to her internet home and we shared mashed taters and tea.

Surprised by Motherhood Tea Crayons

and then she shared the rest with me. chapters 4-13. she shared the process and the struggle. she shared what it means to be a mother and what it means to be a friend. she let me take the journey with her, something i never thought would happen as a salesman.

today, april first 2014, is my twenty-sixth birthday and it is the day Lisa-Jo’s book – surprised by motherhood - goes out into the world for the first time.

to me, this is a serendipity. a non-coincidence. an affirmation that i was and am a part of something special. something that takes that tattered superhero cape off of moms everywhere, throws it in the wash, irons out the wrinkles and puts it back on the shoulders it belongs.

Surprised by Motherhood Zoe


Lisa-Jo graciously provided the pictures of Zoe and her book among the tea and crayons. the picture of her was taken by her friend Mallory Macdonald - word on the street is that Mallory is pretty talented.

the doctor

March 26th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

there’s this moment at the end of doctor who episodes. this music blasts and the Doctor has found a way forward. he’s found the solution – the answer to the problem. how to save the universe from everything that is wrong with it and it is in that moment that i wish to live. i want to sit there like a 5 year old on a gameboy and cherish it forever, never letting go of everything that is right, good, and pure. screw the unknown. screw the hardships. screw everything wrong that supposedly makes everything right all the more sweeter. screw it all. let me hold on to this moment. this moment of trumpets or trombones or whatever that stupid sound is that says, I AM and I HAVE SAVED YOU.

the part that everyone hates

February 27th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

the grumbling has escalated to an alltime high, a stark contrast to the temperatures.

it was maybe a week ago we hit 59 degrees fahrenheit and smiles lit the faces of everyone. there was no room for sourness, only rejoicing. but it’s february – the armpit month – and it didn’t last. something called the polar vortex returned and that little taste of what’s to come ruined everything. winter drags on like a houseguest that needs someone, anyone, to show it love even though it’s long overstayed its welcome. 

i am here for you winter. i still love you.

the sun beat down and the God that plays with us gave us a taste of glory and we reveled in it. we rejoiced at the snow withering away. we rejoiced at the puddles, and the clear streets, and lighter coats. we said it’s about time.

it’s not though. it’s still February. it’s the heart of winter. this is the month when winter takes its toll and the rif raf wave the white flag. it’s the month we get through and praise the Maker for making it short.

i refuse to be the rif raf. i refuse to wave a white flag. and i refuse not to revel in the cold.

there is majesty in the snow. there is beauty in frozen breath. there is grace in trees lined with frozen water. forget not to see this. forget not that it will all dissipate. that in a couple short months it will be hot, and the fall will look inviting.

every season has it’s breathtaking aspects. like the little boy nestled deep under blankets and a hockey comforter that asks mom for just 5 more minutes, let us ask God for just a few more days of this thing we call winter.



and so we celebrate, almost.

February 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Tuesday marked the final injection – or what we hope was the final injection. the cocktail of poisons were hooked up to the port, administered in their usual fashion and injected into Mom’s body. a disgusting paradox of death giving life.

Thursday marked the end of the injection. Dad came, took out the pod, and it was finished. 12 rounds of chemo. two week rounds of chills, nausea, and overall sickness. done.

and so we celebrate, almost.

it’ll be four weeks until she goes back in for blood work. until we find out if Mom won the match by TKO or by the judges – which that vote is already in. unanimous victory. Mom still stands after the devil disease did its worst.

Mom rests. tiredness and lingering nausea are still there. a lack of energy and that smile that warms the world is but a shell of itself. another week and she should be returning to normal, spirits lifted by the absence of another round looming.

i cannot speak for Mom. i cannot speak for Dad. i cannot speak for the hundreds of voices that have shown support through facebook, through comments, and through tears and cyberhugs. but i can speak for her kids. the three, now six, that rallied together when we got the call. that cried and hugged and lied to each other about how it was going to be OK because it’s Mom and ain’t nobody gonna bring our mama down. i can speak for all 6 of us when i say, I told you so, Cancer.




you came, you weaseled. you nested. you fought. but you lost. you ain’t got nothin’ on Mamabear, and you’d do well to remember that.

next month, the tests will occur. the results will be in. we pray for TKO. and then, then, we celebrate.


if you want to read more about the fight with cancer, please check out Mom’s Journey.


My 2014 OneWord365: Discover

February 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


last year i picked a word. it came up imaginative.

this is how i did it.

through pictures of beer. blog posts that made the mundane come alive, and stories that often failed to ever see the light of the page. through dreams of improvements and the what if we said screw it all and went to Australia?

while the Australia trip will come to fruition in about two months, today i look back and realize i accomplished my goal of being more imaginative. kind of. maybe a little bit. and, at times, maybe a lot a bit.

more important, though, was that it was cool.

it was cool to have a word. to write that word on a piece of paper and put it up in my mind’s eye. at my desk. in my daily life. imaginative. what a great word. a word that can surpass work and play and hobbies and creation. everything. all of it. let it be imaginative. let me dream big and reach wide and stretch the recesses of reason.

that was roughly 382 days ago. i picked the word. i posted the word. i worked to become the word.

a new cycle has begun. a new 365. a new word is desired. not to replace the old word. not to discard the old word with the latest and greatest. just a way to move forward. to build on the word that was 2013. let there be a word that is 2014.

last year i made light of it. i teased out the reality of a wife inspired and a husband afraid. this year, i return to the idea anew. it worked then, let it work again.

i look ahead knowing that most things will fall apart. the idea of as planned is silly, but still we are humans and so we try. we have plans to go to New Zealand and Australia. we have plans for long talks about the future of this family. the one that is two that might become three. we have plans to work on the house. the thing that holds my dreams and frustrations together by 2x4s. we have lots of plans and through those plans comes the discovery of what that looks like.

what does it look like to go on a two week trip to a faraway land?

what does it look like to pop a bottle of wine, sit across the table and say what’s next?

what does it look like to add to the house that is home?

mostly it looks like conversations. of us moving forward. into the unknown. into the scary.

these are the things that through the year i hope to discover. to discover new places. to discover potential parenthood. to discover the next project.

looking ahead. planning. organizing. these are what i do. this year, i have so much to discover about me. about my wife. about us. about growing another year older together.

2014 is my year of discover.



unfortunately, i feel like clarification is going to be required. my wife and i are not pregnant. we’ve been married 4 years and have been talking about parenthood and having children for those 4 years. as we reach another year, the conversations will come again, and with each passing year we become more and more ready to undergo the journey of trying to be parents. because i write, you, constant reader, will be updated as the process continues at appropriate times. i mean this not as an invitation to continually ask us how it’s going – if it’s going, but if you are so inclined, to pray for us as we potentially take that step in this marriage journey.



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