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The Coble Family

May 4th 2007 was a Friday, and the day after Kyle Coble’s birthday.  He had just turned 5 and asked his mom if they could celebrate by going to the local shopping center to ride the Farris Wheel.

His mom, Laurie Coble, agreed and loaded up Kyle and his 2 little sisters in the mini van.  They made an afternoon out of it.  They rode the Farris Wheel, the Merry-Go-Round, got ice cream and stopped by the pet store to see the animals.  When Katie, the 2 year old, started to get crabby Laurie decided it was time to go home for a nap.

She loaded the kids back into the van, secured them in their car seats, started a new DVD for them to watch and got back on I5 to head home.  Like any mom, she did her best to drive and keep the kids happy.  Traffic was causing the trip to take a little longer, so she reached back to tickled Katie’s toes to try to keep her awake.

Just before her exit the traffic slowed so much that she had to come to a complete stop, only the semi truck behind her did not stop.  It slammed into the back of her mini van at 55 miles per hour and crunching the back half of the van.

Every person in the vehicle recieved seriously injured.  The family was split up and taken to different hospitals.

Chris Coble was at work when he received the dreadful news of the accident.  He headed to the hospital that his wife was at, not knowing what to expect.

The first word he received was that his youngest daughter Katie did not survive the crash.  Within a few minutes, the other hospital called with the news that they could not save his 3 year old daughter  Emma and that his son Kyle was currently having brain surgery.

Chris was able to see his wife, and she asked him to go be there for their son when he woke up.

5 year old Kyle’s eyes were slightly opened but he was on life support.  The doctors said that they were unable to get oxygen to his brain, but would artificially keep him alive until his mom could see him.  Later that night his mom came and did the best she could to get out of the wheelchair enough to hug him.  She stroked his hand and told him he was a good boy and that they were sorry that this happened to him.   They said good bye to their only remaining child and then sent him to be with his sisters.

That day, a parent’s nightmare became Chris and Laurie’s reality.  That morning they woke up with 3 happy, healthy, energetic children.  That night, none of those kids where there to be tucked in.  None of them where there to be snuggle with.

Lets face it, fate is out of our hands.  No matter the precautions we take, no matter how good of parents we are, we can’t protect our kids from everything.  We can’t control how long our children will be alive.  But we are in control of what kind of life they get to have when they are alive.

I don’t want to be a downer.  But I do want people, myself included, to realize what we have before us.  Nothing brings greater joy in life than the relationships we share with those we love.  But sometimes we forget that until it’s too late.

I have never lost a child.  I can’t imagine the pain.  I am sure I would be emotionally ruined for the rest of my life.  A child’s life being cut short is tragic.  But you know what else is tragic?  The thought of a child leaving this world without feeling loved.  A child leaving without really being able to enjoy their childhood.  That would be the worst.  And unfortunately, that happens.  But lets not let that happen to our kids.  They deserve the best.  They deserve the best life we can provide for them.  Lets start today and make sure they get to enjoy all the good this world has to offer.

If you are reading this, then think of a family adventure right now.  Google it if you need ideas.  Find something that your family would enjoy and then go make a memory.

With all the demands of parenting, it is so easy to procrastinate or wait until it is a better time to do something special for your family.  But there is never really a good time.  So just do it.  Do it before the kids are grown.  The older they get the less exciting things are for them.  So don’t wait.

And what if your kids never get to grow up?  What if their whole life will consist of only their childhood?  Then what kind of childhood do you want them to have?

What if you knew your youngest has one year left to live?  How would you live differently?

What if I told you there was a 10% chance that they will only live for 1 year?  Would you still live that way.

What do you want your kids to experience?  What are you waiting for?  Do it now!  Stop waisting time with things that don’t matter.  Your kids, your family is what matters.  Stop letting work distract you from what is really important.  Stop letting things distract you from giving your family your all.  I promise you won’t regret it.

The Coble’s won’t get to hear Kyle say “I love you.”  They won’t get the see Emma smile again.  They won’t get to feel Katie’s soft kisses.  They won’t get to hear their kid’s laughter fill their home.

But you will.  You get those moments.  Live them.   Cherish them.

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Have You Ever Seen a Homeless Person and Wondered How They Got There?

Saturday morning I was walking down the bread isle at the store and got the idea, “I should make some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the kids and take them to the homeless.”

And so we did just that.

We made about a dozen, and put them in baggies, and then we headed down town.

We walked around Esther Short Park one time and didn’t have any problem finding people who could use a sandwich and a bottle of water.  We gave them all away, but one.

I thought, “that is good enough” as headed to the car.  But then I decided to drive around a bit and see if we could find someone to give the last baggie of sandwiches to.  We drove a few blocks towards the train tracks and found a lady sitting on the side of the road.  We parked down the street and started walking towards her.

“Hi, are you hungry?”

“Yes, thank you!” she said before even looking over towards us.

Once she saw us and realized what we were doing, she said, “Wow that looks delicious? ”

“Did you make this yourself?” she asked looking at my daughter.

“Yes, it’s peanut butter and jelly,” she answered.

“My favorite,” she replied.

(Please understand, I wouldn’t normally feel that it is safe to let young kids interact with strangers on the street.  I would be extremely careful if you ever do something like this.  But in this instance, I felt like the dialog was okay)

She asked how old my daughter was.

“Seven.”  Lillian replied.

“Wow, I have a granddaughter your age.”

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know, I have never met her.”

Both my kids looked at each other with puzzled looks on their faces.

She went on to tell us that she was from Sacramento.  She was living with her pregnant daughter about 8 years ago, but they weren’t getting along so she moved to Portland to stay with a friend who was having some physical problems.  They had an agreement that she could stay there for free if she helped out around the house and would run some errands.  That lasted for about a year, and then her friend died.  She stayed with a few other people for a while, but ultimately ended up on the street.

She said that she didn’t mind sleeping on the street, she didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere else.  But the hardest part was that she couldn’t be part of her granddaughter’s life, she couldn’t give her the things a grandma should provide.  And that she doesn’t even know if she has any other grandkids.

It just goes to show, that you never know when you pass someone on  the street, what they have gone through or how they got there.

But at least I could say from this experience that service is an important part of raising kids.  They have a built in desire to help others.  And it is important for parents to provide those experiences for them.

Something as simple as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for someone will give kids a sense of purpose, it will make them feel significant and that they have something to contribute to others.  And that will build confidence and their self esteem.

And in this instance, it opened their young eyes to see the blessings that they have.  Food, beds, and warm homes are all things that anyone can take for granted.

I know that it is fun to see the lives of those you touch, but if you do something like this, it might be a better idea to take the food (or jackets or blankets or whatever you decide to share) to a 3rd party like a shelter or charitable organization, so that they can give them to those who needed it.  I say that because you don’t know what a homeless person is going to say or do, or what kind of language they are going to use.  And you don’t want your kids to have a bad or scary experience because that could ruin the moment you are trying to create.

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3 Ways to Give Your Wife an Epic Mother’s Day

Last week I got a text from a friend inviting me to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch a MMA fight for a guy’s night out.  I am not really a MMA fan, or a Buffalo Wings fan, but I texted back to thank him for the invite and told him it sounded like a lot of fun.  My plan was to wait until the last minute and then text back with a reason that came up why I couldn’t go.  But then I remembered that this would be the 3rd time that I would have done this to him.  So I decided that I would go, it was really more all about catching up with friends than watching a fight anyways.

I think this was the first time that I watched a whole fight on t.v.  I love sports, but for some reason, MMA never really appealed to me.  I guess I am just more of a lover than a fighter, lol.  But since I was there, I decided to make the most of it.  I was determined to learn something from what I was watching, something that I could use in everyday life.  And it work, I walked away inspired.  Here is what I learned,…are you ready for it???

Giving your wife an epic Mother’s Day, is like winning a Mixed Martial Arts fight.

I know what you’re thinking, and no I am not going to say you have to have the body of a MMA fighter to give your wife an epic Mother’s Day, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt.  You do have to do a  good job at a lot of different things.  You have to keep them guessing at what is coming next, and you have to have more than one thing in your bag of tricks.

You are not going to knock someone out with one jab.  And you are not likely going to win a fight with one kick.  You are going to have to connect a number of good punches until you wear out your opponent enough to take them down.  Then, with them on the ground you can land a few knees or elbows, and then finally they are messed up enough that you can put them in an arm lock, or choke them out or whatever (again I am not an expert, just a first time spectator).

The same is true with Mother’s Day, you are not going to make it great with just flowers, or just a box of chocolates, or just breakfast in bed.  It takes a whole process.  You need to keep the surprises coming and make each more intense than the last.

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Tip #1: Make it Mother’s Day Weekend

Give her more than one day.  Here are some elements that would be good to include in the weekend.

1) Give flowers the week before Mother’s Day, and the day of.  The flowers the week before are important because she will have a week to enjoy them and they will remind her of the weekend of celebration she has coming to her.  But you don’t want to just bring those first flowers home yourself.  You will get more millage out of them if they are delivered to her when she is at work, school, at a friend’s or getting her nails done.  If there are more people around to see her receive her gift it will seem more exciting to her.  Especially if she didn’t even know you knew where she was.

Include a note with the flowers saying that you have some exciting things planned for Mother’s Day and you can’t wait.  Your wife will be thinking about that for the next few days, the suspense and excite will build and make for an even more anticipated weekend.

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Here are more tips on buying the right flowers.

2) Give your wife a half a day for herself or to be spent with friends. Watch the kids and maybe clean the house while she is gone. It is more meaningful if you do the cleaning instead of hiring someone else to do it. Maybe while she is gone, ask her for her to do list of things she needs to get done. And then get as many of those items checked off for her as you can so she won’t have to worry about it later.

3.  Have Friday night be the time you celebrate mom as a family.  Have that be the time that mom gets the gifts from the kids and make Saturday the special date night.  But save you greatest gift for Sunday night, when she thinks all the surprises are over.

4.  For Saturday night, pretend you are 17 and trying to impress your prom date.  Dress nice and call a limo, especially if you have never done that before in your marriage.  Take her to her favorite restaurant and then take her to do something that she has never done before, preferably something that she has always wanted to do; a concert or comedy show etc.  If there isn’t anything like that going on that night then get creative.  For example, go see a fortune teller and pretend that you just started dating and ask if there is a future for you two together, or call a radio station and ask them to settle a fake argument between the 2 of you.

Tip #2: Teach your kids to celebrate Mother’s Day

Make your kids part of the celebration.  This will help them to recognize the important role that their mother plays in their life.  And it will also help your wife to feel more appreciated on her special day.

Take the kids out one at a time to pick out a gift.  Teach them to look for hints and clues of things that other people want.

Help your kids create something or write a poem for their mom.  Take a picture of them and then let them decorate a frame to put it in.

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Tip #3: Spend Money

I know every woman in the world will tell you that they don’t need you to spend a lot of money on special occasions, but don’t listen to them.  They are lying.  Either that, or it is a test.  They want to see if you will spend money on them even when you think you don’t have to.

Guys don’t think that way.  If my wife got me a guitar that I have been wanting, but then I found out that she didn’t pay anything for it because she watched it fly off of a derailed cargo train and was able to wrestle it away from a drunk hobo, I wouldn’t care.  In fact, I would probably cherish it even more.  But woman aren’t like that.  For them, the gift is measured by the amount of financial sacrifice you make.  They will never admit it but it is true.  So spend some cash and show your love.

Hope this helps, good luck and let me know how your Mother’s Day Weekend goes.

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Lessons from Full House

Our family has had our share of challenges over the past few years.  And we haven’t always been the best at the way we have handled those challenges.  I knew that was true, but sometimes your kids have away of slapping reality across your face.

I was sitting with my daughter enjoying an episode of Full House before bed time.  We just got to the end where the sappy music starts and the family gathers together in the girls room for the final conflict resolution with a touch of wisdom and life lessons offered by Danny, Joey and Jesse.

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Just then, Lillian looks up at me and says, “See how they work out their problems without yelling Dad?”

It would be nice if the only problems we had were an annoying neighbor and kids being nervous about their first day of school or accidentally giving a bubble bath to the new pet fish.  (It would also be nice if their was a crowd of people who’s job it was to laugh every time I made a joke and clap when I walked in the door)

Full House

But unfortunately not all conflicts can be fixed in 22 minutes.  And unfortunately I don’t have a team or writers that help make sure I say the exact right thing that will make people feel better, man how cool would that be.

But even still, it helped me realize that kids are observant.  They expect things out of us.  They expect us to know what we are doing.  They expect us to have life figured out and they expect us to be able to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts with those around us.  Is that so hard?

My kids are at the age now where they know when you are acting out of line.  So maybe I need to start being a little more like Danny Tanner at times.

If you are ever at a point where you forget what is important, remember that,…”Everywhere you look, there’s a heart,…a hand to hold on to! Everywhere you look, there’s a face of somebody who needs you!”

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Pictures credit to ABC

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The Do’s and Don’ts of a Good Marriage Proposal

My marriage proposal is one of the few things in my life that if I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing.

No one ever says on their death bed, “I wish I didn’t put so much thought and creativity into the way I proposed to my wife.”  It is one of the few moments in life, that you know in advance that you are about to do something that you will never forget.  So make sure you pull out all the stops and make it a story you will be proud to share for the rest of your lives.

Here are my do’s and don’ts for a good marriage proposal…

Do make it special:  Remember that this is the moment that she has been looking forward to her whole life.  She has thought about it, prayed about it, and dreamed about it.  Don’t make it a disappointment.

Do be creative:  Don’t do the thing where you go to a restaurant and the server brings her a glass of wine with a ring in it, or food with a ring in it, or the dessert with a ring in it and the plate has “Will you marry me?” written in chocolate sauce, or you have the wait staff at Red Robin sing it to her for you.  You know what, just stay away from restaurants.  You will loose creativity points because it’s all been done in every movie and t.v. show for the past 20 years.  Think of something original.  And if you can’t think of something original, then Google “Original ideas for marriage proposal.”  But just don’t tell anyone.

Don’t text your wedding proposal.

Thank you Hayley and Brad for the photo

Thank you Hayley and Brad for the photo

Don’t propose in front of a crowd:  Avoid proposing in front of a crowd of people such as at a concert or sporting event,…hmmm maybe at a wedding, that would be kinda funny…no better not do it at a wedding.  The bride would hate you taking attention away from her on her day.

Seriously, enough with the sporting event proposals.  It seems like every time you go to a professional game you have to put up with some guy with a jersey and a beer in his hand proposing to his girlfriend that he has probably been living with for 7 years anyways.  And who keeps agreeing to put these guys on the jumbo-tron anyways?  That’s what I want to know.  Can we please put someone in charge of these halftime shows that will have the sense to say no when a drunk guy in cargo shorts and flip flops asks to have the microphone and a spot light for 3 minutes so he can propose to the mother of his 3 children???   I am beginning to wonder if NBA players think it is bad luck to play a game without someone getting engaged.  What is the deal??? (End rant)

(No wait, rant continues)  Do these guys think that the more people that see them propose, the more special it is?  Or maybe it’s that this is the one time that they will ever be romantic in their life, so they want to show it off?  Or maybe they think that the girl will be too embarrassed to say no in front of 30,000 people.

All I know is that me, and the rest of the 29,999 people are annoyed that you are interrupting our lives to witness your proposal, but we go along and clap when she says yes to be nice, and because we are fans of marriage and are kinda happy for you, but not because we are overly impressed with your creative proposing skills, or because we are so blessed to be part of this experience.

I mean, are you planning on having your wedding at the next home game?  Will your wife be returning in 9 months to give birth to your first baby boy during half time?  Are we going to see you cutting the cord on the jumbo-tron?  No, so why are you thinking that we need to be a part of the proposal?

Here is an idea of who you should propose in front of,…your girlfriend.  That’s it.  Just you and her.  Make it special, make it unique, make it classy, make in intimate and make it personal.  Do it somewhere quite where you can share feelings and reflect without distraction.

Don’t just say “Will you marry me?” and that is it:  You have to say more than that.  Say why you want to marry her.  Say what you love about her.  Say what you are looking forward to most in your marriage.

Do stay on your knee for more than a few seconds:  Again, this is a moment that she has been looking forward to.  She has probably envisioned what it will be like to have her soul mate hold her hand, kneel before her and look up into her eyes as he yearns to be with her.  Let her have that moment.  Let it soak in.  Let her enjoy it.  When you are on your knee, share your feelings.  Compliment her.  Express how grateful you are to have found her.

Don’t propose on April Fools day.

Do make sure that she is dressed nice:  Propose at a time when you know she will be pleased with the way she looks, especially if you will be taking pictures.  You don’t want to put her on the spot at a time when she is dressed casually or just got out of bed, or is coming from a hot yoga class.

Do involve her pet in the proposal:  This is great especially if it is a pet she really loves, but don’t involve kids that she is close to.  If it doesn’t work out the kids will get confused or think they did something wrong.

Other ideas: Vacation proposals are a good idea.  Proposing at a place that is meaningful, like a fist date, or place you met is also a good idea.  Picnics or preparing a meal is also a good idea.  Giving meaningful gifts such as personal art work (unless you draw like Napoleon Dynamite) is a good idea.

I think airport proposals are cool.  Anytime your girlfriend isn’t expecting you to be there, or hasn’t seen you for a while is cool.

Like have a flight attendant tell her the captain wants to see her.  And then when she opens the door to the cockpit, you are there on your knee,…with a pilot captain hat on.

Or maybe have TSA at the airport take her to a room because she is smuggling diamonds.  When she says she isn’t, they pull out a diamond ring out of her bag and say where did this come from.  She will say I have never seen that ring before.  Then they will say we need to bring in a specialist to put the ring on your finger to see if it is yours or not.  Then you walk in, put the ring on and propose.  Then you both fly away on a romantic vacation.  I just thought of that as I was typing.  That’s actually a pretty good idea.  I wish I would have thought of that 10 years ago, lol.

Oh well, if you try it, let me know how it goes.  Good luck!!!

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3 Ways to Make Sure You will NEVER be Lied to

Last Saturday while having a conversation with a friend, he shared his frustration that his wife lies to him about little stuff.  One exampled he shared was that her car battery kept dying on her and she never mentioned it to him.  He found out from his son in law that he has had to go jump his wife’s battery 6 times in the past month.

My friend was so upset that other people knew about this problem, but his wife decided to hide it from him.

Another example he shared was that she had been driving without a drivers license for 2 months because she couldn’t find it.  And finally what really bothered him was that the vacuum broke in half when she was trying to clean out the bag.  She hadn’t been able to vacuum for the past 2 weeks.  Rather than tell him, she decided to hide that from him too and tried to keep the carpets  clean by picking up things with her hands until she could figure something out.

That last one reminded me of the old sitcoms I grew up on in the 80′s where the kids would brake a coffee table or vase while the parents were away and they would have to collect money in order to replace the item before the parents returned from their weekend trip, or they would have to keep the parents out of that room until the item was replaced.  It makes for some great television, but not so much for a great marriage.

My friend was scratching his head wondering, “Why isn’t  my wife honest with me?  Why does she hide things from me so then I have to find them out from other people?”

Well, let me take a stab at it.  I think the answer came pretty quick to me, and hopefully everyone else there.  But just incase, here is where I think the problem comes from.

My friend’s problem is that he did not create an environment where his wife felt comfortable telling the truth to him.  He probably got easily upset and over reacted to bad news in the past.  He probably snapped at his wife for things that weren’t her fault and she learned pretty fast not to do that again.  She would rather deal with having no vacuum, or a car that keeps braking down than deal with her husband.

This is really sad, and it is setting up for a disastrous marriage.

If my friend made his wife feel that she could be open and share anything with her husband, then she wouldn’t feel the need to hide things from him.

This can be done by not judging and by caring for your spouse more than household items.  Here are a couple of example…

Think how his wife would feel if the day after learning about the vacuum, my friend came home with a way nicer vacuum and a bouquet of flowers and said, “You deserve a better vacuum anyways, thank you for all your work to keep our home so beautiful.”

Or how would she react if when he found out about the car battery he replaced it right away and said, “Please let me know if that happens again, I care about your safety and it scares me to think that you might be stranded somewhere.”

I am guessing that my friend never did any of that.

It should be our goal to create a relationship where our spouses feel comfortable sharing anything with us.  Where they can come to us and say, “I need more of this, or I am struggling with that, or I messed up and accidentally broke your favorite golf club over my knee etc.” and not worry about us getting upset to the point that they regret their honesty.

I am not saying that if your spouse comes to you and let you know they are cheating on you, that you should be cool with it.  I am talking more about everyday things that we need to stop stressing about so much.

And if we…

1) Take the time to listen to what our spouse has to stay.

2)  Don’t judge when someone trusts us enough to open up to us.  Don’t get angry.  Don’t over react.

3)  Show more concern for the person, than for things.  If your wife broke the car or a vacuum, make sure she realizes that you care more about her safety than those things anyways.

This will create an environment where your spouse will not feel the need to lie or hide things from you anymore.

http://www.fabsugar.com

What Celebrity do You Look Like???

There are a whole bunch of celebrity look alike websites that claim they can find your perfect match.

Do  these websites really work?

Well, if you are asking my opinion, no they don’t.

If you are asking me scientifically and mathematically are they able identify attributes to your facial structure that are somewhat similar to famous people’s facial structure, then the answer is still, no they don’t.

Let me explain.

First I uploaded a 10 year old picture of myself.  At this time I had longer hair and usually a scruffy beard.  I remember getting a lot of people telling me I looked like a young Patric Swayze and Hugh Jackman, I know, I didn’t see it either.

Young 2004 Brandon

Young 2004 Brandon

But at least that was closer than what http://celebrity.picadilo.com came up with.  According to their search engine, in that picture I looked like John McCain, Richard Dreyfuss and Mike Myers (Didn’t specify Wayne’s World Mike Myers vs Church Lady Mike Myers).

Next I uploaded a more up to date picture.  I don’t know how, but I figured the results would have to be better, some how.

Current Brandon Photo

Current Brandon Photo

Celeb 2From this photo I found out that I look like Tara Reed and  Kurt Russell.  I never would have thought  to put those two together.  Nor would I thought to compare myself to them.

I have been told I look like a lot of different people.  Most of them I didn’t know.  I remember being on a plane and the person next to me said I looked like David Cook from American Idol (I did do my hair almost exactly like his back then).

I didn’t know who David Cook was at the time, so I made a mental note of the name so I could look him up later.  It’s alway interesting to see who it is that people think you look like.  It could either make you feel really good about yourself, or be a big insult.  For all I knew, David Cook could have been the guy that played Newman on Seinfeld.

Just for fun, I uploaded one more picture, one that I took on Halloween after I let my kids use the left over costume makeup on my face.

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From this I learned that I look like Brandon Flowers and Michael Buble.  Some how, what my kids did to my face helped the website get their most accurate connections.

I thought of one last test to figure out if “Celebrity Look Alike Searches” really work.  I uploaded a picture of Adam Levine.  Surely Adam Levine will look like Adam Levine.

It would be a simple test for the website to prove me wrong.  Make sure you are sitting down, because here are the results…

Adam Levine looks like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and….are you ready for it…Jim Carrey.

No Adam Levine does not look like Adam Levine.

So what did I learn from all this???

1) I really don’t have all that many picture of just myself, no family in them.

2)  The internet is a useful tool that can help you with almost any aspect of your life…but if you want to know who you look like, it is better to ask strangers on a plane.

Brandon

Cover photo from http://www.fabsugar.com

My Divorce Vows

Recently, I found out that a good friend of mine had gotten a divorce.  My first response was, “I loved hanging out with that couple.  This is going to suck for me.”  All selfishness aside, it does sincerely effect me when I see a good family not work out.

The next chance I got, I spoke with my friend to see if he wanted to talk about it.  He was surprisingly up beat and optimistic.  He told me that even though they were divorced, it wasn’t an ugly divorce.  He and his wife still had the same goals of supporting and raising their kids, and they were both committed to help each other do that.

I know that everyone who gets divorced says that they are going to get along for the kid’s sake, but this couple really means it.  In fact, he told me that he and his ex-wife both moved out and got their own small place.  They didn’t think it was fair that because they couldn’t get along the kids should be punished and have their lives turned upside down.  It wouldn’t be fair for the kids to have to moved from home to home every few days to be with a different parent.  Rather, the kids keep their house, and the parents were the ones to come and go when it was their turn to visit.

One thing that I could say about this friend is that he is an all around good guy, an old fashion guy.  He is the kind of guy where a deal with a handshake means something.  If he gave you his word, you knew that he would stand by it no matter what.

Because of this, it wasn’t a surprise to learn that it bothered him that he took wedding vows and later on broke them by getting a divorce.  He took “till death do us part” seriously.  He knows that a divorce was in the best interest of everyone involved, but still, he felt like he went back on his word.

So he decided that he would update his vows.  He changed them from wedding vows to divorce vows, a new commitment he was making to his ex-wife.

When I heard about his divorce vows, it made me think about all the ugly divorces I hear about.  All the times there is spite and effort to get back at the person you once loved.  It made me wonder why so many end up that way.  Why is it that someone can give so much of their self to you, being willing to risk so much to marry you, and just because things don’t work out you make it your mission to hurt them, and take what you can from them?  It all seems silly when you say it like that.

I asked if I could share his divorce vows…

My Divorce Vows

I am grateful for the time that I was able to share with  you.  You gave me your hand in marriage for 11 years.  You gave me my 3 children.  For this I will always be in your debt.  I will always respect you as the mother of my children.

I promise to be mindful of you, and the sacrifices you have made and will continue to make for our children.

I promise to work with you to raise our kids the best way we know how.  They will never hear me talk ill of you.  They will not hear me complain about you.  I will not talk down about you to them or anyone else.

When I married you I committed to provide for our family, and for me, that role hasn’t changed.  Don’t feel like you have to fight for what you need.  Don’t waste your family’s money on lawyers.  Don’t feel like you have to go after me for child support.  I am happy to provide all that is required of me and more.  You can keep your car, and above that, I will always make sure that you have the transportation you need to be an effective mom.  Like I said, you gave me 11 years, and my children, it is the least I can do.

I married you because I saw greatness in you.  And I want you to know that the greatness is still there.  I know you better than anyone else.  I believe in you and will continue to support you as one of your best friends.  Because I know that you will accomplish great things.  You will find happiness in other relationships and contribute much to those around you.

Thanks for 11 years.

 

Saige2

American Girl Doll Review

My daughter was never really into playing with dolls, and I was totally okay with that.  Not just because it has been fun that she is mostly into things that I am into, but because it really disgust me what kind of dolls there are for little girls to choose from.

As we walk down the toy isle at the store, it seemed like there were 2 choices,…do you want a lame poorly made baby doll, or a skank doll  that looks like it is dressed to be a decoy on the show To Catch a Predator?  You know what kind of doll I mean, they look like once you open the box you get to learn what secret STD your doll has.  Or maybe it comes with a matching sticker tattoo to put on your lower back, just like your doll.

Seriously, do the toy companies really think I would bring one of these tramp dolls home for my 7 year old?  It was a sigh of relief that my daughter had expressed no interest.

Lillian looks through the options for Saige's new hair style.

Lillian looks through the options for Saige’s new hair style.

This last Christmas Santa brought an American Girl Doll, and I thought, “That will be fun for her for a few minutes.”  Boy was I wrong.  The American Girl Doll is the one Christmas present that Lillian still plays with 4 months later (Mad props to Santa on that one).  In fact, Lillian has been obsessed with it; taking her Saige doll everywhere, dressing like her, taking care of her, buying the things for the doll that the doll is interested in etc.

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Seeing the way Lillian takes care of her doll is impressive.  She means business.  It is almost like she has a pet, a very high maintenance pet.

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And as I dad, I am thankful.  Thank you to American Girl for bringing back innocence to a child’s doll.  It reminds me of the dolls my sisters would play with in the 80′s.  To them, they were real.  Back then, there was a special bond between girls and their dolls.  Thank you for bringing that back.  Thank you for providing a quality, fashionable, innocent product that I can share with my daughter.

Brandon Judd

Adventure Waits for No One