The Sobering Truth About Parenting and How God Sees You

I am a firm believer that as parents (and guardians), we are responsible for guiding and supporting our children towards fulfilling their life’s purpose, rather than manipulating their future life course.

Contrary to what some parents may feel, children are not prized possessions; they are on loan to us for a season. They were not created to be replicas of ourselves. Children, from conception, have their own unique identity and personhood. Therefore, it’s an honor and weighty responsibility to nurture children into becoming emotionally intelligent, compassionate, empathetic, and productive human beings. And this privilege comes from God.

You didn’t come from your parents, you came through your parents

While mulling over this truth, I came across an inspiring and challenging message by Lance Wallnau that speaks volumes about our godly heritage and how parents and guardians shape our life story. Please read on to uncover some deep truths.

Sometimes somebody might come into the world through parents that are divorced or a mother that put them up for adoption, or they could even be the victim of incest or rape or something terrible like that. You know, not everyone comes through the earth in a fairytale story.

BUT…

You didn’t come from your parents, you came through your parents, God is the one who brought you into the world. I love that.

You didn’t come from your parents. You may have had loving parents, you may have had good parents, but you didn’t come from your parents, you came through your parents. God is the one who brought you into history at this time.

  • Whatever age you are, you are exactly the age God wanted you to be in 2015.
  • Whatever gender you are, you are exactly the gender God wanted you to be in 2015.
  • Whatever race or nationality or color of skin you are, you are who God brought you into the earth to be in this hour in history.

You are at the right place in the right body with the right gender in the right nationality with the right skin tone. And if you are a Christian, then your parents may have been the delivery vehicle through which God brought you into the world.

You came from God. God wanted you to exist. God wanted you to be here. God has gifts and talents that he has given you. And he has given them to you because He wants you to be an extension and expression of the goodness of God to other people’s lives.

God is putting the fragments of your story together so that your story will have a better next chapter than you possibly could ever imagine.

God is positioning you in your prayers. Please pray. Pray for God to put you at the right place with the right people at the right time.

Be faithful in everything that God gives you. Be faithful to honor everything. Put your faith into fruitless situations simply because by serving as unto the Lord, serving as unto God, and not unto people, serving as unto the Lord and not unto a ministry or person, but making the Lord your client. Every time you work with a client, treat them as though it was Jesus and do it by faith because God will be working through those people to connect you to His divine appointments.

Tell me, were you as blessed by these powerful truths as I was?

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Because My Daddy Said So…

Ever had to contend with your kid’s reasoning:

Because my daddy (or mommy) said so?

As Princess Z continues to transition from toddler to “big girl” (because she’s no longer a “little girl”), her reasoning powers and surprisingly logical arguments keep me on my toes.

I find myself having to focus more on hearing and listening to what she says because tuning out the loudness doesn’t cut it anymore. When I don’t pay attention, I find myself in precarious situations having to explain a comment or promise I made while not listening—anything I say can and will be used against me!

In comes the “because my daddy said so” reasoning. Princess Z is fast realizing that she can pitch her arguments better when she uses daddy’s word as evidence to back up a need (because to her, everything is a need not a want).

So when she needs to watch TV, play iPad, go for a walk at bedtime, eat ice cream, not sleep…she’ll throw in “because my daddy said,” hoping that this justifies her need. And I can’t always say no; I have to choose my battles carefully, otherwise I’ll be constantly arguing; toddler kids are relentless!

All in all, this drives home the importance of being consistent as parents and keeping a united front. The kid is watching and listening and will use what we say against us!

Is your kid outsmarting you?

I Feel Way Up Blessed

My Princess Z gifted me with this gorgeous flower straight from her imagination. To some, it may appear simplistic; to me, it’s symbolic of her compassion and maturity.

She knows I love flowers, so this is her way of telling me she sees and values me. I feel blessed, wayyy up blessed.

Princess Flower

#Blessed #WayUpBlessed

365 Moments (D4): I’ve Never Been So Excited to See Poop!

Baby pooping

Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the actual poopy pile

The transition to solid foods hasn’t been easy for my Prince. He’s been plagued with constipation ever since beginning solids a few weeks ago. We’ve kept his nutrition pretty basic, offering fibre-rich veggies, fruit, and water, yet his digestive system remains somewhat sluggish.

Constipation sucks.

Especially in a frustrated lethargic infant. We’ve tried the usual tricks: leg raises, water, food holiday, but after 2.5 days, nothing.

Under doctor’s advisement, we gave our Prince diluted prune juice and waited for the tract-cleansing powers to kick in.

Hallelujah, after a few hours of stinky false-alarm farts, my baby boy pooped, a big ol healthy poo. You could immediately see the relief on his face followed by voracious hunger.

We accomplished sh!t today and it was a glorious.


This post is part of an ongoing series: Quick Tips for Creating a 365-day Motivation Guide

Tales From 2AM Feedings: Naps Are Overrated, Anyway

Sleeping Baby-2

There’s this sacred window of opportunity where I’m winning the battle of sleeps with my tired fussy baby.

I’ve fed him, changed him, shushed him, prayed over him; his droopy eyes and limbs seem to be cooperating.

As his body goes limp, I know it’s now or never. Delicately, I lay him to sleep, secretly rejoicing for this gift of solitude.

Success! I know he’s tired. He needs his sleep. I do the math and estimate about a 2-hour nap.

My heart races with joy thinking of all the things I can squeeze into 2 hours: reading, workout, writing, chilling, cooking, shower… excited, I brew some hot tea and open my laptop to maybe write or catch up on some reading.

Ahh, bliss.

“ahh-hek ahh-hek aaaa aaaa …” 

Annnnd the whimpering begins.

Quiet and faint at first, like a distant train. My ears must be playing tricks on me. He can’t be awake, I just put him to sleep 15 minutes ago.

The whimpering gains full steam and before you know it it’s full on wailing—the train has arrived.

“Wouaaa wouaaa wu wu wouaaaaaaaaaa WAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!”

As quickly as my dreams of mommy time formed, they fade away. The peace and quiet dissipate. Time to throw away that tea.

Naps are overrated anyway. I’ll dream again tomorrow.

365 Moments (D2): Writing Numbers is as Easy as 1-2-3

1234

Princess Z learning to write numbers

It’s so lovely to watch Princess Z get excited about learning new things.

Whenever we learn—because learning is as much about her as it is about me—I try to create a fun, safe, and non confrontational environment. My daughter is super hard on herself, so I’m quick to reassure her that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Today we practiced writing numbers. I wasn’t sure how she’d respond to the challenge, but boy was I impressed by her willingness to learn. It took her about 30 minutes to confidently write 1-2-3-4. What a superstar! This was definitely a magic moment for both of us.

I was reminded once again that the minds of children are like “little sponges” that soak up knowledge. I have to be way more intentional about the time we spend together so that she effectively capitalizes on this beautiful season of rapid neuronal development. #ProudMama #MyDaughterIsAwesome

That Moment When Your Child Outsmarts You

Truly, it’s got to be a privilege to watch children grow and mature before your eyes.

My 4-year-old Princess continues to astonish me with her wit and emotional intellect. She really knows how to navigate tense situations, even when I’m downright mad at her. Take this situation for example:

  • After rough handling her little brother, I disciplined Princess Z with a time out. Sensing that I was unhappy with her behavior, Princess Z decided to win me over using her armamentarium of mommy tools: crayons and coloring sheets. I watched her transform Peppa Pig from a white empty shell into a bold colorful life force, a process she calls “change the colors.”

Once she was satisfied, this is what she presented to me along with an innocent charming question, “Mommy are you happy now?

Peppa pig

Mommy are you happy now?

My heart MELTED.

Even though her actions were one part manipulation, one part intellect, and one part me being a total sucker for her charm, I couldn’t help but smile loudly. She knows me better than I realized. It’s commendable that this smartly colored Peppa Pig could overturn my mood so quickly.

Kids really do say the darndest things. What’s been a proud or witty moment with your child?

Tales From 2AM Feedings: How Crying It Out Impacts Brain Development

Lately my baby boy has been super clingy, refusing to sleep on his own for more than 2 hours at a time. I’m envious of parents whose babies are doing well in the sleep department; I’ve yet to experience 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Heck, I’m up every 2 to 3 hours feeding my baby boy.

Letting him “cry it out” is not an option for me, especially given the scientific evidence that leaving a distressed baby to cry on a regular basis could be damaging to their developing brain. Moreover, according to Psychology Today, “we should understand the mother and child as a mutually responsive dyad. They are a symbiotic unit that make each other healthier and happier in mutual responsiveness. This expands to other caregivers too.”

Psychologists believe that the “cry it out” concept comes from a misunderstanding of child brain development and offer the following reasons:

  1. Babies grow from being held. Their bodies get dysregulated when they are physically separated from caregivers.
  2. Babies communicate a need through gesture and eventually, if necessary, through crying. Just as adults reach for liquid when thirsty, children search for what they need in the moment. Just as adults become calm once the need is met, so do babies.
  3. There are many longterm effects of undercare or need-neglect in babies.
  4. Secure attachment is related to responsive parenting—meeting the baby’s needs before they get distressed, such as comforting babies when they wake up and cry at night.
  5. Caregivers who habitually respond to the needs of the baby before the baby gets distressed, preventing crying, are more likely to have children who are independent than the opposite.
  6. Soothing care is best from the outset. Once patterns of distress get established, it’s much harder to change them.

So the science supports what most of us have believed all along: You cannot spoil a crying baby. You cannot give a baby too much love. In fact, crying it out has detrimental effects on the baby and is more likely to foster a whiney, unhappy, and/or demanding child.

More importantly, I’m going to keep things in perspective by reminding myself why responsive parenting is critical, as wonderfully articulated by child development expert Penelope Leach in Your Baby & Child:

Why They Cry

You are the center of his world, the mirror in which he sees himself and everything else, his manager who copes with him and helps him cope with other things. When you go away from him, you know where you are going and how soon you will return, but he does not…he only knows that you have vanished and that he feels bereft.

This quote helped frame my situation. I’m in a wonderfully unique position to be the answer and solution to my baby’s needs. Not only that, it’s a huge boost in self-confidence to know that I am the “centre of his world” and my presence is enough. This feeling or perception will not last forever, so I’ll savor it while it lasts.

Tales From 2AM Feedings: Of Raspberries, Bubbles, and Sound

Before my eyes he utters a new language. Discovering sounds that were once foreign to him, but now constitute the fabric of his personality.

As he explores his voice, blowing raspberries (razzies), spitting bubbles, announcing “I am here,” I can’t help but be proud.

Minion blowing razzies

Razzies teach babies how to regulate their voice, how to turn it on and off, change the volume and the pitch. It shows them how to navigate the diaphragm, mouth, lips, and tongue (Tara Kehoe, speech and language pathologist).

We laugh, we giggle, we exchange razzies, we enjoy this back and forth communication, a wonderful foundation for future conversations.

A journey of self-discovery unfolds. Even at the tender age of 4 months, his voice is bold, his will unshakeable, his eyes curiously taking in this large, colorful, noisy world.

I can’t believe I get to parent this awesome baby boy. It’s a privilege I’ll never take for granted.

Let Me Not Die While I Am Still Alive: Lessons on the Grief Process

When grief strikes, most of us are caught unaware. The experience of grief is profoundly personal. It is a continuum of altered realities, deep unwavering sorrow, and tremendous life lessons. Through grief, you’ll discover real empathy and compassion.  You’ll gain an appreciation for life that you may have never known otherwise. It may sound crazy, but if you surrender, grief will grant you access to wisdom and understanding.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of Lean In wrote a beautiful emotional essay on grief and coping with the death of her husband Dave Goldberg. Her heart-wrenching story is one of the best essays on grief I have read. It talks about what it feels like to confront that terrible fear, and how to deal with the profound grief that comes from losing someone you love. She also shares about the valuable lessons she’s learned about life and motherhood.

She writes:

A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.

I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well.

But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.

As a mother, I appreciate Sheryl Sandberg’s vulnerability in sharing her deeper insights on motherhood:

I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain.

Additional sage advice and invaluable grief lessons from her essay are:

  • Learn to ask for help.
  • Be open with others.
  • Celebrate birthdays.
  • Life is ephemeral.
  • Resilience can be learned.

You can read this incredible essay on the grief process here or below.


Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.

A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.

I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well. 

But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning. 

And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy. 

I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.

I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes. 

I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not. When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth. Even a simple “How are you?”—almost always asked with the best of intentions—is better replaced with “How are you today?” When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.

I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it. 

I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last thirty days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.

I have learned to ask for help—and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children. 

I have learned that resilience can be learned.  Adam M. Grant taught me that three things are critical to resilience and that I can work on all three. Personalization—realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault. Permanence—remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better. Pervasiveness—this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy. 

For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why—they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say? I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be. I told those I work with most closely that they could ask me their honest questions and I would answer. I also said it was okay for them to talk about how they felt. One colleague admitted she’d been driving by my house frequently, not sure if she should come in. Another said he was paralyzed when I was around, worried he might say the wrong thing. Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing. One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, “It’s the elephant.” Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room. 

At the same time, there are moments when I can’t let people in. I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind—tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood. 

I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before—like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before. 

I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men—from those I know well to those I will likely never know—are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families. 

I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.

I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.” 

Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave.