dad from day one: Extreme Makeover, Baby Edition (Jack’s First Haircut)

Week 19 (4 months).

I am conspicuously clued in to the notion that maybe you’re supposed to wait until your child is nearly a year old before they get their first haircut.  I feel like there’s this unspoken rule that you’re expected to be all sentimental and reverent about it because this means that the hair your baby was born with will be removed from them and placed in a little envelope.  But if that is the rule, I am completely comfortable in breaking it.  Because last night, I got out my clippers and cleaned up the Little Guy.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact I got my hair cut short over the weekend in order to mentally/conceptually prepare for my new job which started this week. Or maybe it was the fact that I just couldn’t shake the image of Gollum from Lord of the Rings- the way his stringy hair grew out the side of his head over his ears. Either way, I felt it was my fatherly duty to give Jack his first haircut.  So I did.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to grasp the concept that Jack may somehow be a redhead, as his hair truly appeared to be a dark reddish color in certain lights. And more recently, I realized it was true: Jack was a redhead, but only for about two weeks.  Because it’s completely obvious now, that Jack’s real hair color is not black (like he was born with) or red (as it was for two weeks), but instead (drum roll please…), Jack is officially…

BLONDE!

And I don’t mean really light brown, or dirty blonde, or technically blonde, I mean 100% whitish-blonde.  Like Billy Idol.  The “peroxide look.”

I am tempted right now to go on about the statistical miracle that is, given Jack’s family tree, but I am saving that for another entry when he turns 6 months old (in just a few weeks), after I know for sure what color his eyes will officially be.

Granted, until last night, Jack had his original black hair laying on top of his blond hair and it looked like a baby toupee.  While I could have just given Jack a buzz cut, making his hair only half an inch, the general consensus within the family audience was to leave it long enough to style as a mohawk.  So that means now, I have a blonde haired son with black tips.  He’s entering his emo/punk stage a little early.

After his first haircut ever, heeeeere’s Blondie…

dad from day one: Our First Professional Family Portrait Session

Week 18 (4 months).

It’s funny how despite the hundreds of pictures we have taken of Jack each month since he was born in November, there are hardly any that include him with my wife and I together; in other words, no family portraits.  On top of the practicality issue, there’s also the fact that we are very particulate about our pictures not looking cheesy.  The best photographer in the world is Joe Hendricks Photography, who did our “pregnancy pics” which are featured in virtually every episode of Season One of “dad from day one” (1-36).  He also took the picture of Jack asleep on Thanksgiving Day, the one that you see featured at the top of this website as my banner.  Joe Hendricks is always my first choice.

However, I will also give “mad props” (that’s my salute to the year 2003) to JC Penney.  They have this program called “Portrait Perks” and it is definitely worth being a part of.  My wife took Jack to get his pictures taken back in December for our Christmas cards/birth announcements and we were very pleased with the results. Then over this past weekend we went back to JC Penney to get our first professional family portraits taken and to use our soon-to-expire $50 store credit we earned from our “Portrait Perks” program.  We were in and out in about an hour and 15 minutes, and after using our $50 credit, our bill was only $4.95.

Granted, we only bought about five of the 30 shots and we don’t own the copyrights to the pictures, but still I can legally share them with you today if you click on the link at the very end of this entry.  I should note that neither Joe Hendricks or JC Penney is paying me to say good things about them.  It’s just that I’m a firm believer that when someone does something right, you should say something.  Because sometimes it’s too easy to listen to negativity.  I don’t want to add to the noise.

If you’ve been keeping up with the last two “special episodes” of  “dad from day one”, you know that Monday, March 27th is the long awaited for, miraculously conceived big day, when I start my new job.  Thank God!  Infinite times!  For me, these family portraits I am sharing with you today represent the happy ending to nearly four dramatic months and the winter season, as well as the new beginning (symbolized by the color green) of our life here in Alabama.  A life that, thanks to God’s miraculous providence and not some major coincidence, is feeling pretty good right about now.

Okay, click here to see the pictures I’m referring to.

How Teddy Ruxpin Subliminally Taught Me the Generation Y Trait of Being Motivated By Happiness, Not Money

Whether you are motivated more by wealth or happiness, it’s still a pursuit.  No guarantees for either one.

Maybe Teddy Ruxpin is the reason why today I prefer vests over neckties. Back in the Eighties, all my friends would put their fingers and pencils and crayons in their Teddy Ruxpin doll’s mouth when he talked- but my mom wouldn’t let me do that to mine because she said it would mess up his mouth. She was right. My Teddy Ruxpin worked fine for years and years after my friends’ Teddy Ruxpins ultimately broke down for good. Since Kindergarten (1986) I have been having brief flashbacks of this live-action puppet after-school special of The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin I saw once where he and Grubby fly in an airship to find a hidden treasure and get captured by mud people.

Recently, some hero posted the one hour made-for-TV movie on YouTube. I watched it all the way through. Teddy Ruxpin and his friends discover a room full of golden treasures but choose instead to take only these crystal necklaces with words like “truth”, “honesty”, and “bravery” on them. Because “these things are the real treasures”. Right. Of course.  Then the bad guys take the real treasure (gold), but because their attitudes were wrong, the tresure vanishes into thin air once they touch it.

Golden treasures are typically a let-down in movies and TV shows, for the most part at least. From what I remember about most “treasure hunt” movies, the heroes ends up choosing some kind of abstract moral principle over the actual golden treasure, which is actually a trap or illusion for the villain. The only semi-exception I know of is the movie Without a Paddle. They get the moral treasure (which in this case was “life itself”) and also $100,000 cash, which the two richer friends give to the poorer friend.

Usually I am pretty quick to pick up on recycled plots, but it’s taken me until just recently to realize this one about “the real treasure”.  Interestingly, in my research about Generation Y (people born from 1982 and 2001), I learned that one of their main characteristics is that “being happy” is their main motivational drive, not money or wealth, as is the case with many of the older generations.  I would have to believe it was this common “love/life/joy is better than gold” theme in entertainment during the Eighties and Nineties that has something to do with the way Generation Y is wired.  Though I was born in 1981, I was still born close enough to the generational switch that I admit my main motivation in life is happiness, not material wealth.  And maybe that’s dangerous- because for some people, finding financial success could actually be easier than finding perceived happiness.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”  –John Milton

dad from day one: Will We Be Moving Jack Back to Nashville? (Part 2)

Week 18 (4 months).

“So take your lessons hard… and when your car crash comes don‘t be misled.”
Convince yourself that everything is alright, ’cause it already is.” – “For Nancy” by Pete Yorn

In last week’s cliffhanger episode, I closed by saying that I was counting on a miracle in order to remain in Alabama, knowing that our savings we had been living off of since December 4th would be running out in the next few weeks and that every door and window had closed for us  regarding a long term job.  And more importantly, I needed a job with good insurance, since there are 3 of us now.  I avoid drama at all costs, but in order to be true to the reality of “dad from day one”, I couldn’t play down the real life happenings of coming to terms with the fact that our leap of faith may end with us moving back to Nashville, despite all our efforts to move to Alabama.

That was last Wednesday. It literally felt like my world was collapsing in on me, which I realize is no comparison to the literal collapsing that occurred in Japan last week, but still, it was the most intense thing I have ever lived through.  Maybe a better comparison is that it was like being in a car wreck, where I was in the driver’s seat, running the car through a guard rail, causing my family to be flipped upside down a few times as the car rolled over, not knowing if we were looking up or down.

It helped me to literally understand the phrase, “hell of a week”.  I never so literally felt such a heavy, demonic presence around me.  Not like dark storm clouds and a violent storm; more like a silent, heavy overcast.  It was so subtle, yet terrifying.  I truly felt that my family was caught between two spiritual worlds- with one army that wanted us here and one army that wanted us gone. With that being said, there must be some serious unseen reason why my family should or shouldn’t be living here in Alabama.

But as I had always expected, the scarier that things got in my real life during this move, it would only make it that much more obvious when God miraculously provided for us. In order for this real life story to be more legit, it had to be obvious that it was no coincidence if things worked out in the end.  I, the protagonist, had to be that desperate and completely dependent for God’s intervention.  And I couldn’t just paint God as a genie who grants wishes.  Also, like Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, I had to be willing to give it all up.  I had to become humbled more than I ever have before.

As I put it last week, “Perhaps there’s a thin line between bravery and foolishness. The way I see it, that thin line in my case is actually having a steady job.”  I could also compare it to that “bankrupt/million/bankrupt” wedge on Wheel of Fortune.

That was last Wednesday.  Less than 24 hours later, in what felt like a loopy dream, I found myself in a job interview at the place I truly had my heart set on when I moved here.  (Interestingly, this is not the position I referred to last week; this is something completely different.)  It’s a Marketing position for one of the world’s largest playground equipment companies.  I know it’s the perfect fit for me.  Today I took my drug test, so unless there was something extra in the brownies last night, I start this coming Monday (March 28th).

But… the good news isn’t over yet.  God is more creative than that for this story.

Something else happened in the past week that is pretty dang awesome. Something that I didn’t initiate.  Instead, out of nowhere, I was approached. It’s bigger than just simply having one of my articles or “dad from day one” entries being published in a magazine.  I don’t think it would be wise to give away all the details at this point, but just know that it involves me signing a contract, it will take “dad from day one” to a whole new level and audience, it means I will be teaming up with a major publishing company (in a regular paying gig), and it should officially begin within the next month or two…

So, that is what has happened since “Part 1”.  What a week.  Granted, I realize now more than ever, there is no where telling where anyone may end up for the duration of their lives.  I honestly never would have believed that I would ever have moved back to Alabama, or more importantly, that I would ever want to. But as far as my own plans, I want roots again.  I want solid ground.  I want anchorage.  I don’t want to even think about moving again.

Admittedly, I wouldn’t be surprised if all this dramatic struggle is a necessary part of the story of “dad from day one”.  With rare exceptions like the movie Napoleon Dynamite, a strong plot is vital to build a solid story line- not to mention, it’s absolutely necessary for character development.

So, will we be moving Jack back to Nashville?  With an exciting and fulfilling job starting Monday here in Fort Payne, a big secret “dad from day one” reveal coming up in the next month or so, and a juicy income tax return coming our way soon, I suppose it’s as safe as possible to say that we can keep our anchor down in Alabama.

It’s the ultimate irony that we moved to Alabama to settle down, yet it has been such an unsettling experience until now. And it’s pretty interesting, too, how these doors opened the very week that the winter season ended and the spring season began.  Man, the symbolism.  The dead of winter surrenders to the resurrected life of spring.

Please, God, let this good ending and new beginning be real.

“You got to go through hell before you get to heaven… ‘Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay.” – “Jet Airliner” by The Steve Miller Band

14 Reasons Why Rebecca Black’s Song “Friday” is So Absurd, Which Therefore Made It Popular (Plus, All the Lyrics to the Song)

New formula for musical success: Over-pronounce your words, over-explain your actions, take time to figure out where to sit, and make a nonsensical video.

Trivia: Despite the speculation that Rebecca Black is part African-American, she is actually Italian, Spanish, Polish, and English.  Rebecca Black is not “black”.

If you haven’t watched 13 year-old Rebecca Black’s music video for “Friday” yet, the bad news is you are simply out of touch.  But the good new is, your quality of life can change right now- the video is posted at the very bottom of this post. However, my purpose for writing this today isn’t to introduce anyone to something they should already know about, but instead, to dissect the oddity of “Friday” in order to discover why the song and video became an overnight viral sensation.

Obviously, for us adults, the appeal of the song has much to do with how nontraditional and off-the-wall it is.  Granted, 13 year-old kids may actually think it’s normal; for all I know.  What makes “Friday” so uber quirky?

Bizarre Elements of “Friday” by Rebecca Black:

1. Rebecca takes the time to tell us that she will eat cereal for breakfast.  No one has ever done that before in a hit song before.  Ever.

2. She goes to the bus stop to catch the bus for school, yet her (older) friends come to pick her up in a convertible.

3. She has to decide whether to sit in the front seat or the back seat, though there is clearly already another girl sitting in the front seat who would have to move to the back seat to make room for Rebecca.  Also, the boy in the back seat with bangs is clearly motioning for her to sit next to him.  So, there’s ready nothing to decide: Just sit in the back seat and be glad you didn’t have to take the bus.

4. Once the chorus kicks in, it’s pretty hard to deny that the melody to the beginning of the chorus, “Friday, Friday…”, sounds a lot like “baby, baby…” of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”.

5. The tone to her voice when she sings the chorus sounds like she’s a villain on a Muppet musical.

6. It’s interesting that there are so many parties for 13 year-old suburban girls to go to every single weekend.

7. If you have to sing “fun, fun, fun…”, is it really that much fun or is it kinda like when people just scream and cheer when the lead singer of a rock band asks the audience if they’re having a good time?

8. The video was pretty decently produced for a song referencing cereal.

9. The bridge of the song explains that Saturday and Sunday come after Friday and that Friday comes after Thursday.

10. She sings, “we, we, we so excited”.  To make better use of her syllables and grammar, she could have sang “we are just so excited”, but chose not to.

11. There is a 40 year-old rapper (named Patrice Wilson) who evidently knows Rebecca and shows up at her parties.  Is he a clown hired to entertain the 13 year-old kids at the party? Like a “balloon artist”?

12. The same 40 year-old rapper explains that he drives in the fast lane, then immediately complains that he is passed by a school bus which slows him down. How in the world does that happen on a road with two lanes going in the same direction?!

13. Rebecca ponders a 2nd time whether she should sit in the front or back seat, but this time, she is already sitting in the back seat and the car is already moving, fast.

14. The camera pans again to the lonesome 40 year-old rapper who is unexplainably happy to be driving.  That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a rapper smile in a music video.  Is he going to the party?  Is that why he’s happy?

Lyrics to “Friday” by Rebecca Black:

(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

[Rebecca Black – Verse 1]

7am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

[Rebecca Black – Verse 2]

7:45, we’re drivin’ on the highway
Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly
Fun, fun, think about fun
You know what it is
I got this, you got this
My friend is by my right
I got this, you got this
Now you know it

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

[Chorus]

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday

Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

[Bridge]

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after…wards
I don’t want this weekend to end

[Rap Verse]

R-B, Rebecca Black
So chillin’ in the front seat (In the front seat)
In the back seat (In the back seat)
I’m drivin’, cruisin’ (Yeah, yeah)
Fast lanes, switchin’ lanes
Wit’ a car up on my side (Woo!)
(C’mon) Passin’ by is a school bus in front of me
Makes tick tock, tick tock, wanna scream
Check my time, it’s Friday, it’s a weekend
We gonna have fun, c’mon, c’mon, y’all

The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man: Appear to Be More Charming, Important, and Better Looking Than You Actually Are

I’m no fashion expert, just a guy who happens to be conspicuously clued in.

This past week, I had a job interview.  And I would say it went very well.  Plus, a few days later, word got back to me that the guy who interviewed me made a comment after I left that he really liked my suit.  People really do notice when a man knows how to dress nicely.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t actually wearing a suit anyway; it was just a good-looking ensemble.  A month ago I went to the Gap Outlet and bought a $30 black, slim-fitting sports jacket, $20 black, pinstriped pants, and a $20 dress shirt.  I already had a black-and-blue Tommy Hilfiger tie from TJ Maxx ($12) and a black pair of European style dress shoes from  the DSW Shoe Warehouse ($50).

Wearing an actual suit isn’t always the answer to knowing how to dress nicely, anyway.  By throwing together an ensemble like I did for the interview, it showed that I take enough care in my appearance, but that I don’t know too much or think too much about it.  Or even worse, that the only really nice thing I have to wear is the same suit which I wear to all “nice” occasions but then dress like Ray Romano on all other occasions.

In a world where effeminate yet culturally knowledgeable men rule the TV shows on HDTV and TLC that we watch only because our wives watch them, many of us guys have ended up shying away from knowing the basics of and the importance of dressing nicely.  We have let ourselves believe that light pleated khakis, a faded polo shirt, and Nike Shox account for “dressing up” for an event.  And if we dare attempt to push the envelope by wearing something more stylish, like a pink dress shirt, we ruin it for ourselves by wearing those same awful light pleated khakis with it, earning us a big red “FAIL” stamp.  (You should wear black, slate, or dark gray pants with a purple shirt.) A few months ago I realized that Scenic Route Snapshots was getting several hits a day from guys asking Google, “should men tuck in their dress shirts into jeans?” and “should I wear khakis to the club?” as they would click on the titles featured at the very bottom of this post.

It was then that I recognized my responsibility as an average guy who happened to have a quarter Italian blood and some distant Jewish blood in my veins (the Italians and Jews are largely responsible for leading the way in men’s fashion, like Versace who is Italian and Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger who are Jewish) to let other dudes in on what I know that they need to know.  And I’ve learned that the more I write about men’s fashion, the more that men find and read my website.  I can’t let these fashion-curious men down.

Dressing for Work: In season two of The Office, I learned this from Jan telling it to Pam: “Dress for the job you want to have, not the one you already have”.  Instead of finding ways to get by with the current dress code, find ways to slightly “up step” the expectations and your male coworkers.  For example, if you can get by with wearing “nice jeans” Monday through Friday, don’t.  Save those dark jeans for Casual Friday, but don’t just simply wearing a t-shirt then.  On Casual Friday, still wear a dress shirt, but don’t tuck it in, and unbutton the top two or three buttons.  The idea is that even on your most laid-back day, you’re still dressed nice enough to fire someone and be taken seriously.

Dressing for Weddings, Graduations, Banquet Dinners, Etc.: It mainly comes down to the belt, the shoes, and the necktie.  Rule- The color of your belt must match the color of your shoes.  In other words, it’s a sin to wear a black belt if your shoes are brown.  Which brings me to another rule- Do not wear black with brown.  While there are dangerous exceptions, like going “Black and Tan”, it’s too much of a gamble to wear black pants with brown shoes.

As far as the necktie, it’s safest to go with solid colors.  Rule: Just to be on the safe side, if your shirt is striped, wear a solid tie; if your tie is striped, wear a solid colored shirt. Regarding the shirt itself, make sure it is long-sleeved.  Last time I checked, it’s Dwight Schrute and McDonald’s cashiers that are wearing short sleeved, button down collared shirts with ties.  You don’t want to look like them; trust me.  You want to be taken seriously.  As far as wearing short sleeved, button down collard shirts, treat them like polos, not dress shirts.

Can you get away without wearing a tie to really nice events?  Yes.  Try wearing a nice vest.  Or as long as you have a good, newer suit, the matching jacket and pants will suffice.

The bottom line is this; there are certain items that every man should have in his wardrobe.  What’s not important is how much money you spend on these items or the brand names.  What does matter is that they are not outdated or worn out.  In other words, if you brag that you can still fit in the same suit you’ve had since 1993, there’s a good chance that suit is now out of style- likely, it’s too boxy and baggy.  Here are the items you need to get by:

A pair of black pants (no pleats) and black dress shoes, a pair of dark khaki pants (no pleats) and brown dress shoes, one good dress shirt, one good tie, one decent jacket that matches either the black or brown pants, a pair of nice dark jeans (not the kind that Jerry Seinfeld wore on his show), and a decent pair of casual shoes (Chuck Taylor’s, nice running shoes, etc.)  If you have these items, you can get through most situations with style.  So go to Kohl’s or TJ Maxx and buy them cheap.

I’ve got to where now I started dressing nice when I am traveling by plane.  People assume you’re more important if you’re wearing a nice jacket or a tie.  I like to think that one day my plan will pay off and I will be bumped up to First Class simply because I looked special enough to deserve it.  As for you, your quality of life will improve a small degree as you apply what you have learned today in this post and the ones I included as links.  It will be our little secret.  When you receive compliments on how nice you look, there’s no need to even bring up my name.  We’ll just keep it on the DL.

As the title implies, you will appear to be more charming, important, and even better looking than you actually are.  Your actual looks can be highly compensated for if you know how to present yourself, especially if you are consistent in your outstanding attire.  If you enjoyed and related to this post, there’s an 86% chance you will also appreciate at least one of these too, so just click the title itself to read more.

1) How to Wear Dress Pants, If You’re a Guy: Don’t Wear Them With Sneakers and Avoid Khakis

2) How to Wear Pink, If You’re a Guy

3) How to Wear All Black, If You’re a Guy

4) Sweaters are the Shirt

5) Long Sleeved, Button Downs are the Shirt

6) Are Jeans Really as Comfortable as We Think?

7) Being a Handsome Man Vs. Being a Hot Guy

8) The Perfect Haircut for a Guy: A Modern Day James Dean Hairstyle

9) Manspeak, Volume 9: Appearance



dad from day one: Will We Be Moving Jack Back to Nashville? (Part 1)

Week 17 (4 months).

*While this entry is actually the 5th chapter of my series entitled “God-Nudged Leap of Faith”, it is just as relevant to “dad from day one” as well. Therefore, I consider it a cross-over episode.

A few weeks from now, on April 4th, it will be four months since my wife and I took our God-nudged leap of faith.  We carefully planned and prayed over our decision to leave our secured careers behind in Nashville to live in a small blue collar town in Alabama where my family lives.  Having our first child, a son named Jack who was born on November 16, 2010, was a big part of the motivation to move.  It made sense to slow down our pace of life, not only for ourselves, but for him.  We wanted Jack to be surrounded by his grandparents, aunt, and uncle.

My wife and I both were born in 1981.  As children of the 1980’s, we were always told that you can do anything if you really believed in your dreams.  Maybe that’s why we were brave enough to take this leap of faith.  Maybe that’s what got us into this situation: Having almost depleted our savings and unable to land the right jobs back in my small hometown, we are now at a breaking point.

But in this moment, I don’t feel brave. Perhaps there’s a thin line between bravery and foolishness.  The way I see it, that thin line in my case is actually having a steady job.  It’s not a matter of the choice that we may have to move back to Nashville- it’s simply the only option if at least one of us doesn’t get a job within the next 2 and a half weeks.  We need to make the most responsible decision at this point.

That 2 and a half week deadline is both how long our savings will last us as well as how long it should take to know if the most recent job I applied for will be mine or go to someone else.  I can’t say that there were truly no job opportunities for me here.  The first week we were here, I interviewed and was offered a job that was similar to my one in Nashville for the past five years- however, I found out during the interview that it meant working every Saturday and three nights a week.  So I turned them down.  Looking back, it’s easier to say I should have jumped at the chance.  But at the time, I felt that it defeated the purpose of moving here if I couldn’t spend Saturday’s and many evenings with my family.

And the day I published the last chapter of this series, I interviewed and was offered a job as an account representative.  It seemed like the perfect fit at first, but soon I realized I was the wrong guy for the job- like an accountant trying to do a computer administrator’s job or a forklift operator trying to work in a cubicle on the phone.  I was very appreciative, and maybe too honest to not waste their time, but after a week and a half, I had to face the inevitable and re-entered the gloomy world of “much qualified but unemployed”.

My heart was set on raising my son in the same small town I loved while growing up.  But it’s starting to seem like I’m playing Red Rover and I just can’t break through the other side.  And while all of my family’s lives and futures will change if end up moving back to Nashville, I think of how Baby Jack’s life will be the most effected.  Nashville is a wonderful city; after all, it’s where my wife and I met and got married. But his grandparents (my parents) had set their hearts on seeing him nearly every day (the house we live now in is barely a half a mile from them).  And Jack won’t get to grow up with his cousin (my sister is due with her first child in July, who will be in the same school grade as him) as closely.

We chose love over money.  We chose faith over security.  I would love to believe that this story ends the way I intended.  But unless God provides a miracle, because that’s the only saving option, then we have to count our losses (emotional, physical, and financial) and abandon our simple dream.

In Nashville, Jack will have to be raised by babysitters while my wife and I work. As compared to living in Alabama, my sister was going to babysit him since she is going on maternity leave for awhile.  That’s hard for me to grasp.  It makes me think of a divorce in that Jack will only see his family (other than my wife and I, of course) on most weekends.  That’s not what I had my heart set on.

My intentions were good.  My heart was right. My faith was real. My God can still intervene.

One of the main reasons I decided to write this God-nudged leap of faith series was to show how God would provide for my family.  He has always provided for me before.  I just can’t imagine this story ending with this all being for just character building experience.  Not that God’s faithfulness and providence depends on my story.  So to be fair, no matter how this story ends, I will continue writing it- even if we have to pack our lives back up and return to Nashville (where I could go back to my gracious former employer).

I realize that our willingness to move back to Nashville away from family could simply be like Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  Maybe it’s simply a test of our faith.  But I also fully realize that despite all it took to get here, we may be required to actually make the sacrifice. For the next two and a half weeks, I will be looking for that ram caught in the bushes, like Abraham was given.  I’m counting on a miraculous whirlwind to catch me and carry me either to safety on the ground, or back up to where I leaped from in the first place.

Like Bruce Springsteen said in the first track of my favorite album of his, The Rising: “In God’s hands our fate is complete… I’m countin’ on a miracle to come through.”

It’s in God’s hands, where it’s always been.