Dear Holly: You Appreciate New Clothes the Way Your Brother Loves New Toys

2 years, 8 months.

LoDear Holly,

Your brother doesn’t have the ability to ever be excited about receiving clothes as a gift.

But it’s a completely different story with you.

Last weekend, Mommy presented you with the dress that was meant to be one to wear to church on Christmas Sunday; but we ended up not going that day.

So you got to debut your Christmas dress a few Sundays late. And you were so happy, and so proud, to be wearing it.

To you, a dress or new outfit is a toy. It registers the same in your brain.

Your Christmas dress happened to be one that Mommy found brand-new (and very cheap!) at a consignment store.

But it still had the tags on it, so it was completely new to you.

Look at you in your new dress. You are such a precious little girl!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Eating Culver’s Chocolate Frozen Custard for Breakfast, Thanks to Our Church…

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

As we exited through the front doors of our church this past Sunday morning around 9:20 AM, one of the executive pastors turned to our family with an unexpected solicitation: “Frozen custard! Right here! Chocolate for vanilla?”

There was no reason to even bother asking why our church was giving free Culver’s frozen custard to all the members and visitors of The Bridge. They are known for committing random acts of kindness; like during the first week of school recently, they gave literally every school teacher in surrounding cities a free cup of Starbucks.

Somewhat miraculously, Mommy and I were able to convince both you and your brother that it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and eat your ice cream during the 10 minute car drive back to the house.

But the moment we made it to the kitchen, the two of you set up shop. There wasn’t much conversation going on during your chocolaty breakfast. In fact, I don’t recall either of you saying one word.

Instead, it was simply a matter of how much chocolate ice cream you both could scarf down until the brain freezes started kicking in.

The answer? Not a whole lot, really.

You both made it about 5 spoons in when you realized that while it was indeed great stuff, it was probably a bit too much awesomeness so early in the morning; on a mainly empty stomach.

I noticed only as I was washing your face afterwards, that you had the perfect chocolate mustache!

It’s a rare thing to be able to start a Sunday morning off right, with Culver’s frozen custard. But thanks to our church, The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee, everything lined up just right.

Now that I think of it, you and your brother are pretty lucky kids!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Wore a Poop Emoji Band-Aid On Your Forehead to Church, While Your Parents Never Questioned It

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

The funniest part of this story is that it wasn’t until Mommy was making dinner last Sunday evening, around 5:30, that I even bothered bringing it up:

“So Holly’s been wearing a poop emoji Band-Aid on her forehead since I woke up this morning. We went to church, and then went to the doughnut shop, and the rest of the afternoon has now passed. Up until this point we haven’t talked about it.”

Mommy’s answer was everything I knew it would be. It was the explanation I didn’t need, since I already knew the answer because I know you that well. It was the very reason I never mentioned it all day:

“Yeah, Holly saw that I bought new Band-Aids and she wanted one on her forehead- so I let her. It wasn’t worth the fight.”

Needless to say, you’re going through that “wears Band-Aids excessively and unnecessarily” stage.

Earlier last week, I came downstairs from vacuuming, and you had two on each arm and two on each leg. You looked up at me in an attempt to earn all my sympathy:

“Daddy, I got boo-boos!”

You were the equivalent of a cartoon kitten who went skateboarding for the first time.

To you right now, Band-Aids are a fashion accessory. But you are also able to understand that in order to somewhat justify wasting them, you have to write a loose narrative as to why you’ve earned the right to wear the Band-Aids.

But you know good and well I’ll immediately settle for, “Daddy, I got boo-boos!”

Like Mommy said, it’s just not worth the fight.

In your psychological and social development right now, this is important to you.

Not to mention, I can’t deny it’s giving me access to being able to take some pretty funny and eventually embarrassing pictures of you these days.

Love,

Daddy

This is 36: I’m No Longer in Denial that It’s Difficult (and Stressful!) for Our Family to Make It To Church on Time

Is there any such thing as a family who doesn’t struggle to arrive to church before the service actually begins? Perhaps equally challenging is to show up without being stressed out or upset with each other.

The pastor of The Bridge Church, Josh Howerton, brings this up frequently- how ironic it is that it’s normal to fight in the car all the way to church, then put instantly put on smiles once the car ride is over and you walk through the doors of the church.

Last Saturday night, I decided to attempt to prevent this problem. And it actually worked- as simple as my plan was. Here’s what I did…

First, I initiated the conversation with my wife, acknowledging that our family is habitually late for church, and it’s typically a stressful morning, and that I wanted to do my part to change that.

So I asked her specifically what time we all needed to be up in the morning, so that everyone would have ample time to get ready in time.

Then I set my own alarm to the new time, to ensure that I led my family in our slight routine change.

I have to admit, it was a peaceful morning. It was enjoyable, actually. We even got to church early enough for one of the church greeters to take our family’s picture; to make up for the fact we forgot to do an obligatory Easter picture of our family for Facebook the week before.

So apparently that’s what it takes. It requires specific planning. But it all begins with the parents recognizing that an easygoing, on-time car ride to church is not the default.

I feel I am no longer in the denial of believing my family is the exception to the rule when it comes to the cliché stressful car ride to church.

And because of that, I am proactive enough now to change that for my family.

Here’s to getting the family to church on time and without the stress… for the 2nd time in a row.

This is 36.

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

6 months.

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

Dear Holly,

This past weekend while Nonna and Papa were in town for Jack’s 6th Birthday, as well as Papa’s 60th birthday, it just happened to also be when our church had its Baby Dedication Day. It was a very special time for our family- and for you.

Mommy and I acknowledged in front of our church, The Bridge in Spring Hill, TN, and in front of God, that we will do our best to raise you in a home where you see the love of Christ and where you know the ways of the Lord.

Obviously, we are imperfect parents. We have our flaws. We will fail at times.

But we have a special eternal hope and joy in Jesus. You are undeniably being raised in a Christian household- and the ceremony of the Baby Dedication makes that publically official.

Even your middle name, Joy, is based on our Christian faith; choosing to find joy in life.

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

Our faith is beyond going to a building once a week. Our faith is built on loving others as ourselves. How can we love God if we don’t love each other?

Mommy and I see you as a gift from the Lord. We are responsible to God for you.

Specifically, as your earthly father, I am well aware of the important role I play in being your spiritual leader.

Our church gave you a children’s Bible, as well as, a special letter to open on the day of your salvation.

http://bridgesh.com/

Just like I do with your brother’s children’s Bible that my Grandma gave me, I will be reading bedtime stories to you from this new children’s Bible. I am very proud to raise you in the Christian faith.

You are more than just a beautiful little girl. You are a soul to be nurtured.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

@howertonjosh