I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

From your hundreds of Facebook friends, plus your dozens of coworkers and your handful of close friends and your immediate family, chances are… I’m the only vegan you know.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

More specifically, even if you do actually happen to know another vegan, they probably are female; since 79% of vegans are women.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

Therefore, by default, I am the most masculine vegan you know. I’ll talk more about that in a minute…

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

With about 2.5% of the American population being vegan, and only 21% of that group being male, it’s very clear that when it comes to my vegan lifestyle, I am in the minority.

To make myself even more of a rarity, unlike most vegans, I am not non-religious nor politically liberal. (I’m a Christian who is a Libertarian- which means I don’t endorse the Democratic nor the Republican Party, nor do I believe in forcing my religious beliefs on others.)

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

I am a very rare demographic. You likely don’t know any other vegan males in your social circle who are also both religious and non-political.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, but Probably By Default

And somewhere in the midst of all these labels, I’m by default, still masculine. I promote healthy masculinity; in fact, it’s one of the themes of my blog: celebrating masculinity as a dad. Of course, I recognize that the definition of masculinity varies based on who you ask.

I’m the Most Masculine (and Rarest) Vegan You Know, By Default

No, I don’t hunt or fish; nor do I care about sports. Plus, I’m useless when it comes to home repairs…

But I do love exploring the forest with my son, taking him to monster truck events, testing out new cars, and mountain biking- to name a few of my rugged hobbies.

I’ve noticed how our society has collectively accepted the idea that eating meat (especially beef and bacon) is masculine. So imagine what a strange bird I am, being masculine, yet denying any reliance on pork (including bacon) or shellfish for the past 7 and a half years, nor meat for the past 4 and a half years, nor eggs and dairy for the past 3 years.

But my own definition of masculinity has more to do with my role in society; more importantly, within my family of four. I see true masculinity as a set of paradoxes that I’ve collected.

I will close by sharing my concept of masculinity, which aligns with the traits I aim for daily, as a husband and father; all of which are rooted in emotional intelligence. This is my creed of masculinity. In my imperfect human state, I strive for and meditate on these attributes:

Strong, yet loving. Disciplined, yet merciful. Leading, yet serving. Assertive, yet empathetic. Adventurous, yet grounded. Dangerous, yet protective. Hard-working, yet laid-back. Structured, yet creative. Committed, yet free. Confident, yet humble.

Veganism

Dear Holly: You’ll Be Born in about One Month, Maybe on Earth Day!

35 weeks.

Dear Holly: You’ll Be Born in about One Month, Maybe on Earth Day!

Dear Holly,

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, when people celebrate a strange tradition in which Americans pretend to be more Irish than they actually are; in a loose effort to honor a Christian bishop and missionary in Ireland, who was actually born in England and who was actually of Italian descent… not Irish.

With Mommy and me both being ¼ Italian, that makes you and your brother ¼ Italian as well. But because people celebrate where St. Patrick lived as a missionary, instead of celebrating his actually ethnic descent, we celebrate Irish stereotypes today instead of Italian ones.

That explains why your brother and I are showing off our green attire in this picture.

With today being March 17th, and your due date being April 21st, we’re only about a month away from your arrival!

(You are now the size of a honeydew melon and that fact is becoming very obvious; as I look at Mommy’s tummy.)

Obviously, my 35th birthday is on April 20th; which is when I want you to be born. I want to share my birthday with you.

However, the full moon in April in 2 days later on the 22nd, which also happens to be Earth Day. There’s a theory that more babies are born near the date of the full moon because of the stronger gravitational pull; like the way the moon affects the ocean tides every night.

So in my mind, there’s a decent chance you’ll be born on April 22nd. I suppose that would be a pretty cool birthday to have, if you can’t share mine on April 20th.

Mommy predicts you’ll be born on April 24th, because of her work schedule.

As far as Mommy’s pregnancy, she’s getting to the point where it seems there’s no comfortable way for her to sleep. I’m sure that only gives her that much more motivation to look forward to you getting out of there.

A month is not a very long time. It’s just a matter of weeks before we see you.

Love,

Daddy

st-patricks-day-infographic-final

Big and Small, God Made Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

It is definitely one of my life goals to write a children’s book and eventually my own series.

Therefore, I am happy to see my friend of a decade, Ben Wilder, have his first book published. It is called, Big and Small, God Made Them All.

A couple of weeks ago, Ben visited my house and we made this video together to promote it:

Before the book was published, Ben asked me to write a quick synopsis for the back cover. I feel honored.

Here’s what I said:

“How do you begin to legitimately introduce the gospel to a young child? You present them with God’s creation of the universe. Then you explain that this same God loves them too. That is exactly what Ben Wilder has done here.”

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

In addition to being able to write an inviting children’s story through poetry, something else Ben did a great job of was finding the right illustrator; who happens to be Laura Watson. The pictures are very well matched for the story.

I am so proud of Ben’s new book. And… one lucky reader won their very own copy just from reading this blog post.

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

Congrats to Heather Tucker, who was the first to go on the Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog, where I advertised this blog post about Ben’s book, and leave this comment:

“Did I just win a copy of Ben Wilder’s children’s book, Big and Small, God Made Them All”?

(When this blog post was live for the first 24 hours, Heather was the first to respond to the then open giveaway. This giveaway offer is now closed.)

IMG_6406

I believe Ben Wilder has a bright future in writing children’s books. The main thing is, the word just needs to get out about his first book.

If you’re possibly interesting in purchasing the book, go here to Ben’s website.

And thanks for visiting Family Friendly Daddy Blog today.

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

Dear Holly: The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby

22 weeks.

Dear Holly: The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby

Dear Holly,

This week Mommy got your brother Jack a new book to help him transition into his upcoming “big brother” status: It’s called The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby; where Brother Bear gets a baby sister.

(By the way, you will be born into a family that greatly appreciates the folksy Jewish/Christian cultural perspective of the Berenstain Bears’ book collection.)

It’s important to me that I make sure your brother doesn’t feel left out when you get here. Whereas you’ll always know what it’s like to have a sibling, he will have 5 and a half years’ experience as an only child before that changes for him.

Mommy and I are going to be on the lookout for a special toy for him, upon your arrival; it likely will be a stuffed animal, as that’s the main thing he’s into.

My own parents did the same for me when my sister was born; I got a Garfield stuffed animal.

Similarly, last week Jack got you a doll for when you get here.

You are going to get so much attention from everyone once you arrive. You are our precious little girl.

I just want to make sure I do my best to proactively prevent this from being more difficult than it has to be as he soon will become a big brother.

Fortunately, he’ll be old enough to where I think it will work to his advantage; that he will be eager to use his “helper” skills.

Your personality will be formed, and his may be altered, as the two of you begin interacting; especially in your first couple of years together.

So as your Daddy, I feel responsible for creating the atmosphere and environment void as much as possible of competition, but instead, cooperation.

I think that this new Berentstain Bears book is a good way to help set the pace right.

Love,

Daddy

P.S. Here’s a picture your brother Jack drew of our family so far. Before too long, he’ll be drawing 4 people.

Dear Holly: The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby

I’m Not a Christian Who Cares about Starbucks Cups

I’m Not a Christian Who Cares about Starbucks Cups

This is something I’ve noticed about my daily Facebook feed: The top 10 posts (and therefore, the most popular, as determined by the free market of my Facebook friends) tend to be pictures of people with their family. Those are the things that naturally earn the most Facebook “likes.”

If I keep scrolling down past those, before I get to the comic relief categories of “sarcastic memes” and “cat pictures”, and eventually the underworld “domestic life drama,” there is what I classify as “pop culture headline news.”

Last night, a couple of the stories in this category were referring to how an “internet pastor” named Joshua Feuerstein is “outraged” about the secular coffee giant Starbucks (which is ran by a Jewish CEO, Howard Schultz) “removing Christmas” from their cups.

(With a name like Joshua Feuerstein, I’m actually surprised he’s not Jewish, himself.)

By writing this blog post today, I just want to take a moment to remind the free world that there are Christians in America who simply don’t care at all about Starbucks cups.

I believe it’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of Christians don’t care at all about this “issue” of the non-Christmas Starbucks cups. I am part of that 99.9% majority.

As a Christian, there are countless other issues that concern me which I can, to some degree, help for the better. By being involved in my local Christian church, I know that a portion of my weekly tithe goes to helping people across the world have access to clean drinking water; and for widows and orphans to be cared for.

For most of our 7 year marriage, my wife and I have been financially supporting a little boy in South America; via World Vision. I say this not to brag, but to show you that I am passionate enough about serving others, the way Jesus taught us to be, that I literally put my money towards actually fixing this problem.

It’s one thing to say the cliche to someone, “Have a blessed day,” but another to actually bless their day.

But those issues of serving others are boring. They don’t go viral with such over-the-top fascination. “Internet pastor is offended by coffee cups” is sensational, therefore it goes viral.

I believe that when someone is already indifferent about an issue, the way much of the “outside world” sees Christianity, it’s easier for them to examine the most extreme specimens of Christianity as a deciding factor on whether or not Christianity is legitimate.

This “Internet pastor is offended by Starbucks cups” story serves as perfect fodder to help paint all Christians as extremely right wingers who believe they are entitled to everything. I imagine that for an agnostic or an atheist or a person of a different religion, it could be natural to stereotype all, or most, Christians into the category of these Starbucks Cup Christians.

But in reality, this one Internet pastor does not represent the majority. By this story going viral though, it does potentially provide an opportunity for people to believe that the .01% of the population represents the 99.9%.

So allow me to be the voice of reason. It doesn’t.

This is simply another sensational “pop culture headline news” story that was just asinine enough to go viral. It’s entertainment and nothing more.

These types of stories often involve cartoonish characters, where it’s easy for people to pay attention to an assumed villain making a scene in a public square.

But no one can offend me with a coffee cup.

Not to mention, I stopped drinking coffee 2 years ago when I realized I was truly addicted to caffeine; the world’s most popular, unregulated, psychoactive drug in the world. And I was often paying close to $5 for a cup of this stuff; which is what a person who is addicted to nicotine pays for a pack of cigarettes.

Now, please go buy your coffee in peace, or don’t buy it at all. Whatever you do, just don’t believe that this Internet pastor Joshua Feuerstein represents my own feelings (or most Christians’ feeling) on the cups you see at Starbucks.

Why Family Friendly Daddy Blog is Unique

Dear Jack: Our Family’s Visit to Gentry’s Farm in Franklin, TN

It’s common knowledge there aren’t nearly as many daddy bloggers as there are mommy bloggers; but to take it a step further, I specialize in family friendliness in my documented male perspective of parenthood.

On my blog, I believe in keeping things upbeat, positive, constructive, and artistic; and in particular, void of profanity, violence, or innuendos.

Dear Jack: Our Family’s Visit to Gentry’s Farm in Franklin, TN

I want my blog to be an escape from negativity. I want to regularly expose my readers to a narrative featuring a traditional, loving, committed family.

Modern popular culture tries to sell us on this idea: “You don’t need a man in your life to raise a child or a family.”

Meanwhile, I instead see the invaluable importance of an involved husband and father.

Dear Jack: Our First Time to Carve Pumpkins

Billy Graham states it this way:

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets to our society.”

Therefore, those of us husbands and fathers who do sacrifice everything for our families, who I believe are the majority, not the exception to the rule, fly under the radar.

That’s because we’re not broadcasting our good deeds and our loyalty to our family. We have nothing to prove to the rest of the world. Our family is our world.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

Perhaps my role as a “family friendly daddy blogger” is to help celebrate fatherhood.

Most of my blog posts are weekly letters I write to my children. I enjoy, in real time, serving as their narrator; sharing picture collages to illustrate the stories I tell them about what is going on in their lives that week.

My goal is for my subtle stories to convey the message of the importance of family; and that the dad character is a crucial element in that formula.

Dear Holly or Logan: You’re Due on April 21, 2016

It used to bother me that the committed father and husband character on TV shows is typically either portrayed as a bumbling fool (Tim Allen of Home Improvement) or a widowed saint (Danny Tanner of Full House).

Apparently, the concept of an involved husband and father who is not a walking bio-hazard and whose wife is still alive is difficult to capture in a television program.

But that doesn’t bother me anymore. I can’t control that.

What I can control is my family friendly daddy blog and how I positively portray fatherhood to a sometimes skeptical world that tends to forget that we committed husbands and fathers really do exist; and that we aren’t such a rare breed after all.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden!

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden!

In the new book The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden! by Kevin DeYoung, and illustrated by Don Clark, the historic story of Christianity is brought to live in an overview “storytelling” format, beginning with Adam and Eve, and ultimately ending with the role of the modern day church.

I can honestly say I’ve never read a children’s Bible storybook anything like this before. The best way I can describe it is that it’s like a children’s minister explains how the stories of the Old Testament characters of the Bible are related to Jesus coming to Earth for the salvation of His people.

But the whole time, there’s this festive, Hebrew-ish artistic backdrop. The illustrations are simply amazing and unique.

Being exposed to this book actually reminded me of just how Jewish the Christian faith is; considering that 2/3’s, not half, of the Holy Bible is the Old Testament; the other half obviously being the New Testament.

This book explains how the Christian faith was ultimately born from the Jewish faith. It helps bridge the Old and New Testaments in a way children can begin to understand.

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden! is intended for children ages 5 to 11.

I recognize that with my son being 4 years, 9 months old, the content of the book is a little above his comprehension level; though he is definitely intrigued by the mystery of it.

However, I definitely look forward to my son growing into this book.

*Congrats to Matt Wright, the winner of my giveaway of Family Friendly Daddy Blog, who will have a hard cover copy of The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden! sent to hishouse.

He was the first person to go the Facebook wall of Family Friendly Daddy Blog and ask this question:

Did I just win The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden!?

OFFICIAL HASHTAGS:  #BIGGESTSTORY and #FLYBY

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”