Category Archives: Gratitude

Father’s Day Musings

Father’s Day is almost here. Our lives have been so crazy lately with David’s surgery and Matthias graduating Middle School, it’s easy to miss everything happening around us–especially a day like Father’s Day. But this time of year reminds me how grateful I am to be a dad and how grateful I am for my sons.

A few weeks back Matthias and I went on his school camping trip. I love getting out into nature with him and seeing him hang out with his friends. He seems to be growing and changing before my eyes lately. Honestly, sometimes I find myself freaking out that he only has four more years until he graduates. I think of the things I haven’t taught him yet, the things I neglected when he was younger, the things out ahead of him and feel like I could be such a better dad to him. Then I remember growing and learning is a life-long journey.

David has had a few bad colds and a hard time breathing this year, to the point I have worried about him many nights as I put him in his bed. Finding out he had a polyp in his nose the size of my index finger has explained so much. All these things remind me how inadequate I really am to keep my boys and my family from harm. No matter what steps I take to protect them, so much is out of my control. I have to admit the idea I can keep them healthy and safe is an illusion. And yet, I am grateful for those who surrounded our family and helped us help David get the surgery he needed.

People don’t really talk about this, but being a dad is vulnerable. Dads want to be strong for our kids and families. Dads work hard to provide for our families. Dads want to be role models and to teach our kids. We may not wear our hearts on our sleeves, but our love runs deep. Every dad, whether he drives a truck, works in an office, or stays home with the kids wants the best for his kids. And yet we all wonder if we’re up to the task. We worry the day will come when we can’t provide, can’t protect, can’t be there.

We want to be the super hero who can fly in and defeat our foes with lightning speed and the strength of steel. But we know we are flesh and blood. Our foes don’t use magic, or diabolical riddles, or elaborate scientific contraptions. Instead we fight to pay mortgages, pay for college and provide the best life we can for our families. Dads want the best for our kids.

In today’s world, being a dad takes courage. We have to withstand the pressures and fears we face. This Father’s Day honor and celebrate the dads you know who have shown their faithful love. Remember the dads who mentor and teach you. Let them know the difference they make.

 

Monday Musings

Last week was a busy week. It began and ended with David seeing specialists in LA. On Monday we went as a family to the pediatric orthopedist at UCLA to learn what’s going on with David’s scoliosis. The X-rays were shocking. His spine looks like a mlid today today, when only a few years ago it was straight. Apparently it’s classified as moderate, so we will wait and watch. Fortunately he’s not in any pain.  

Friday Lisa took David down again to Children’s Hospital LA to see the Ear, Nose, Throat doctor as he has developed a small growth in his sinuses called a polyp. We’ll be able to remove it with a simple surgery, but it means at least four more trips to LA for various doctor sign offs and tests beforehand.   

Saturday we took Matthias to see the new Avengers movie! I was thinking today, What do dads do who have daughters and no sons when movies like this come out? Do you play it cool and go with a friend who wants to see it, or do you just suck it up and admit, you’re a big kid who wants to go watch super hero movies? I love getting to share all these movies wit Matthias as he grows up. We’ve been able to see Star Wars premieres together, geek out over the Avengers and weep in frustration over Fantastic Four (why can’t they get that one right?).

I cook breakfast for our family every morning. Usually it’s our special protein rich pancakes, but sometimes I do bacon and eggs too. Our dog Louis always stands right behind my feet where I can’t feel him, but leaves me no where to go. I have tripped over that dog a hundred times if I’ve done it once! It’s our morning routine.

Fortunately, this week is a little less crazy than last week. I’m retooling my schedule and responsibilities to make more time to write, develop product and focus on my goals. Seems life is always clamoring to take over any time in the calendar. I didn’t get done everything I wanted to do last week, but I did get to be there for Lisa and the boys. As a husband and dad, I’m grateful for that.

Giving Thanks

I have been learning more and more about gratitude. I am wired to see problems and think about how to fix them. It takes discipline for me to see what’s good and right. This time of year is a time to stop, look around and give thanks.

I’m thankful for the reception to the launch of the new Stephen David Leonard brand! Many of you have shared kind and encouraging words with me and having your support means a great deal to me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to bravely engage life together—taking the risks necessary to fatherhood, leadership, and relationships. I’m grateful to provide product to inspire you in your journey—to live brave, risk and step into the life God created you to live.

I’m thankful for the noon crew at Gymnazo who inspire me to show up, work hard and live healthy through their presence and their own dedication to their health. In 2013, I knew I had to make a change in my lifestyle to get up from my desk and move. I needed a habit change—ideally one with accountability. In November 2013, a friend told me to check out Gymnazo and am proud to say I have been working out there 3-5 times per week for four years now! I feel better in my 40’s than I felt in my 20’s. Most important, I’m available to Lisa, to David with his physical demands, and to Matthias as he enters his teen years. I’m thankful to the coaches who encourage, correct and instruct us day in and day out to enjoy the God given gift of movement to its full.

I’m thankful for the conflicts, challenges and obstacles I have faced this year. They continue to teach me about myself—my blind spots, where I need to grow, where I am willing to give up instead of press on. One of my favorite books is Mindset by Carol Deck. Mindset talks about the difference between a fixed mindset (seeing intelligence, personality, talents as fixed traits) and a growth mindset (believing our abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work). This book taught me brains and talent are the starting point. A growth mindset creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. Conflicts, challenges and obstacles provide me the crucible to learn, work hard and increase my resiliency. I’m grateful for the (difficult) lessons I’ve learned this year.

I’m thankful for my advisors, coaches, therapist, pastor, friends and mentors who have pointed me forward when I have felt lost and down this year. You have been willing to critique, challenge, and correct me when I need it. I have consumed gallons of coffee, made my ear shine bright red from hours on the phone and learned every frustrating feature of video conferencing as you have spent countless hours engaged in my life.

I am thankful for my boys, David and Matthias. Ever since he was in the NICU after his birth, I have delighted in seeing David’s eyes lock onto mine. I am thankful for his spark evident in his eyes and his smile. I’m grateful for his love of music we share—and when we rock out together! I am thankful for Matthias and his creativity and his willingness to work hard to grow and learn. He has had to find a new gear in school this year and I have watched him embrace a growth mindset, engage, and experience the joy of his labors. I’m grateful we not only share our love for Star Wars, superhero movies, Planet of the Apes and the ancient world, but he also loves to discuss and debate their deeper meanings now!

I am thankful for Lisa. The last couple of years have been the hardest and best of our relationship. Raising children—one with special needs, running a business together, marriage, all take their toll. Add to that the perfect intersection of our “stuff” as we approach two decades of marriage and you have a recipe for disaster. I am grateful we have separately and together chosen to do the hard work we need to do as individuals to become whole and healthy. (One day I will write about why “working on the marriage” is far from enough!) I am grateful we have sought help together for our marriage. Lisa is my business partner, my parenting partner, my confidant, my wife and my best friend. It could have gone otherwise. For her I am grateful.

I am grateful to the Lord for His grace, strength and power that sustains me. My faithfulness to Him lacks, but His faithfulness to me is everlasting. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20)

What are you thankful for right now?