Tag Archives: Dad

Humble Baby

On a recent date night with Julia, I was handed a tightly swaddled and stomach filled Summit for burp duty.  Unsuspectingly, burp duty turned into an interesting course of events.  As I sat in the booth of the restaurant, I prevented Summit’s head from bobbing and weaving and patted his back to bring relief. Relief eventually came in projectile form and a muffled rumble from the diaper area.  So, the clean-up process began: projectile wipe down, unswaddle Summit, change diaper, caught pacifier from falling on the floor, plug pacifier back in, re-swaddle Summit nice and tight, and a big sigh of relief.  Just after the big sigh of relief came another muffled rumble from the diaper area, beginning the process all over again!  As I finished re-swaddling Summit and processing all that just took place, I was reminded about the fragility of an infant. This remembrance let me rethink the humility of Christ and His willingness to come to a lower place.

Previously, when I thought about Christmas or Christ’s birth I always saw Christ as the quiet tranquil little baby laying in a manger, surrounded by Joseph, Mary, and all the barnyard animals. I never thought about Mary having to hold His bobbing and weaving head because He was too weak to hold it up on His own.  I never considered Joseph having to burp Him, clean up His spit up, or change His soiled garments.  I never thought of His willingness to become a total and completely dependant infant.

 Compare this total surrender of control and ability with what we read in John 1:1-3.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and with out him was not anything that was made.

 This infant created the world, the sun, the stars, the universe, all things that are living, and, all things to sustain the living.  Without this infant we would not exist or be able to sustain our existence.  So, here we have the creator of all things seen and unseen and He completely humbles himself.  He humbles himself to the point of such weakness that He can’t hold His head up, burp on His own will, or control His own bowel movements.  Then again because He was sinless, perfect, and holy he probably came out of the womb potty trained, never had projectile vomit, and always slept through the night – just something to ponder!

 This moment with Summit was impacting, convicting, and encouraging. I was impacted by seeing the irony in people seeking for the higher when their Lord and Savior always chose the lower, convicted by my own arrogance in this life, and encouraged by knowing that Christ’s humility can dwell within me.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

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Male Nesting?

Pregnancy!  Can a husband feel anymore helpless than when his wife is pregnant?!  Sometimes I just felt ashamed because Julia was having to go through so much to bring our two sons into this world.  A lot of times I felt tremendously blessed that I am a man and not a woman.  There is NO WAY I could ever endure a pregnancy; hats off to all you Moms in the world.  So, what is a man to do as he watches his wife endure exhaustion, vomiting, nausea, hormone changes, vision changes, emotional ups and downs, body changes, weight gains, pregnancy brain, and all sorts of aches and pains?  Aches and pains such as feet swelling, back pain, hip pain, sciatica nerve pain, leg cramps, lack of sleep, heartburn, and not to forget the pain of actually having the child! 

I have heard of men experiencing sympathy pains and sympathy gains.  Mysterious pains that are an exact replica of their pregnant wife’s ailments.  Non-mysterious weight gains to equal their wife’s added weight.  I assume all of this is an attempt to mitigate that sometimes shameful feeling of complete and total helplessness.  But my question is this, have you ever heard of sympathy nesting?  Yes, sympathy nesting.  Instead of the pregnant wife preparing the home for the new arrival, the man turns into so much of a handy-man machine that he actually allows himself to see the end of the never-ending honey-do list.  I never thought seeing the end of the honey-do list was humanly possible, but when male nesting kicks in anything is possible.  Check out what I was able to knock out in about 10 days, just before Summit was born.

Not even included in this fancy slide show was my handy work in re-caulking the bathtub, extensive backyard fence repair, changing out broken deadbolt locks, and repairing the broken toilet paper holder.  You might be thinking, “Taylor, this really isn’t that much”!  But please remember, I haven’t done this much handy man work in two years.  Thanks to sympathy nesting I did all of this work in 10 days! (Infomercial coming soon)

This whole nesting thing might not be a big deal for a lot of you men out there, but this sudden burst of “get it done” intensity was a big thing for me in two ways.  First of all, home projects are not my favorite thing to do.  The last thing I want to do after a day at work is come home and rebuild the fence or re-caulk the bathtub.  The second reason, I am not the handiest guy in the neighborhood. I am so not handy that I use Handy Manny episodes as instructional videos on how to fix things around the house.  Never heard of Handy Manny?  Shepherd introduced me to him about 6 months ago.  Handy Manny is a cross between Dora the Explorer and Ty Pennington.  Check the Handy Manny trailer.

If I had to choose between sympathy pains, sympathy gains, and sympathy nesting, I would definitely choose the nesting every time.  I wouldn’t have to keep my feet propped up, ice down my lower back, experience a bad case of heart burn, or join Weight Watchers.  I think Julia would force me to make the same choice.  Think about it for a quick second, now she can add so much more to the honey-do list! 

So men of pregnant women get your nesting on, because after the baby arrives you won’t have time for anything else!


Lipstick and Six Years

Victim of a Shepherd Circumstance

This post begins exactly were the last one left off.   It was about seven o’clock in the morning and I believe the post ended with this line, “Now, off to clean up the lipstick  Shepherd just used to paint the carpet and himself! No joke – Julia is going to love this one”!  As I was finishing things up, I looked over to see Shepherd at my side, maroon lipstick all over his hands, giving his uh-oh uh-oh speech with an inquisitive “how in the world did this happen” expression on his face.   Since you can’t find lipstick at a BassPro Shop, I knew this was a job for Julia.  I walked back to the bedroom to wake Julia up for an amazing morning.  Her day began with a blurred view of my face and the muffled sound of my voice saying, “Babe, how do you get lipstick out of carpet? And by the way, happy six-year anniversary”! Yep, that is how far we have come in six years! No longer are anniversary mornings beginning with a good sleep-in, followed up with breakfast in bed and a peaceful cup of coffee.  It is now a 6:30 am wake up call from a two-year old down the hall, a uh-oh, and lipstick in the carpet that jump starts the anniversary.  The battle to celebrate six amazing years of marriage was officially a go!

Valentine’s Day and our anniversary day are big productions in the Faught marriage.  These days are usually celebrated by a weekend getaway, fancy dinner, or a crazy fun date night.  This is just one way we try to keep each other and our marriage first.  After six years, really after having two young children, these special days have become something we desperately have to fight for to make good on.  We have to fight our children, stress, sickness, and ourselves to happily celebrate these special days. 

Our day began with no rest or relaxation.  We jumped right into cleaning permanent lipstick out of the living room carpet.  We then continued to chase around, for some unknown reason, an extra ornery Shepherd through the house.   We had a lovely non-peaceful breakfast with scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, and tears being thrown on the floor.  Shortly after breakfast, the decision was made to attend the annual Siloam Springs Dogwood Festival.   So, we have a dirty house, a toddler on the loose, a crying newborn, and a mission to head out the door in less than an hour.  Of course, this creates an opportunity for an explosive marital conversation on who is going to do what and how we are going to get out the door with a clean house, babies packed, and diaper bags in tow.  We then leave for the Festival and return for naps.  Three hours later, Shepherd wakes up from his nap with a fever (this explains his extra craziness).  Not only does he wake up with a slight fever, but we have family pictures to attend with Julia’s family that includes 8 children, 6 out of the 8 being 2 years old or younger.  There is one word to describe family pictures with 8 young children and the word is INSANITY. 

So, here we are after a long stressful day wondering if we will even celebrate our big day.  Our plans for using family for babysitting are useless, since you can’t have a sick toddler around everyone else’s kids.  Our anniversary date night out on the town was doomed and it looked like we would be regulated to a big glass of wine and an early arrival to a good night sleep.  Thankfully, Julia had a backup plan and an amazing anniversary present for me.  Since I am extremely paranoid that life and children will come before our marriage, Julia gave me eight envelopes filled with pre-designed date nights from The Great Date Experience, provided by Married Life Online  (I highly recommend checking the website out, and more to come on this in the near future).  What an amazing idea and relief to a paranoid husband! We ended up putting the boys down early and using one of the envelope date nights for a home date to celebrate six years.  It turned out to be one of the best dates we have enjoyed in recent memory.  

A wise mentor once told me that marriage gets hard when you have multiple kids and each spouse is stressed from the events of the day.  It is at these times that your marriage is truly put to the test.  So many times throughout the day Julia and I said to each other, “We are not going to let this lipstick bother us!”  Wether it was lipstick in the carpet, food on the floor, a tense conversation about family duties, sick kids, or family pictures, we were going to fight for our anniversary and marriage.  Thankfully, by the grace of God, we conquered that battle and we have hope to win the war!


A Summit of My Own

 

 

Every summer a group of men from our church take a trip to hike a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado.  The name of the trip is creatively and cleverly dubbed The Man Trip.  This  trip is a “Man Trip” in every single way.  All done within 72 hours the round trip covers 1700 miles and spans over 25,800 feet in elevation change.  Some guys take off from Arkansas on an early Friday morning, arrive at base camp Friday evening,  hike the 14er on Saturday, and return home by Sunday evening.  Seems a little crazy? Absolutely, but this is what happens in a trip that includes over 20 men and 0 women or children to slow them down! 

I set my eyes on conquering Man Trip 6 months in advance.  I gained “clearance from Clarence” (aka Julia), scheduled a day off work, and decided on a training regimen. Of course, a trip like this takes some training to develop leg strength and respiratory stamina to handle the mountain incline and the thin Colorado air.  So, my training goal was to conquer the dreaded JBU stairs. The stairs located on the John Brown University campus are 100 hundred steps that have a monstrous incline.  I planned to conquer the stairs by running 10 up and downs with out a break; I was certain this would prove my readiness for Man Trip!  

In the six months leading up to Man Trip several hurdles were thrown into my path to impede my training and the hurdles convinced me to abandon the manly excursion.  The first hurdle was a badly sprained ankle, acquired in a pick up basketball game with kids half my age!  After a long and slow recovery,  I was still determined to conquer Man Trip and I quickly resumed my training regimen.  The second hurdle came way of a mysterious alignment to my healthy foot, later to be diagnosed as planters fasciitis, just another form of  getting old.   I could barely walk the stairs a month prior to the trip.  The third hurdle, everybody at work began to take vacations the week of my excursion – perfect timing!  And yes a fourth hurdle 10 foot tall was thrown my way.  It was a little tap on the old shoulder from Julia distributing the notification that Man Trip took place on “ovulation weekend”!  Of course she handled the notification very graciously and it was a notification that included no hint of a guilt trip.  She gave me total freedom to go or not go on the trip. 

He wasn't meant to clear this hurdle!

The fourth hurdle was different from the three previous hurdles.  A few months earlier Julia and I decided to try for our second child.  In our experience, this decision always brings its ups and downs.  We quickly received news we were expecting not one child but two.  In the same week we learned of our expectations, we lost our expectations.  So at the notification of “ovulation weekend”, I began to recognize a sovereign God moving.  As the last hurdle was thrown up, I recognized the three previous hurdles were cleverly placed by a higher being.  I recognized the fourth hurdle was not meant to be cleared and I gave up on my goal of conquering a Colorado mountain.  I knew God had something in store for us and sure enough he did!  We found ourselves expecting once again!  

As I look back on this time and examine all the hurdles placed before me, I began to contemplate one of the greatest theological debates of all time.  The absolutely sovereignty of God and the free will of man.  While I can not answer all of the questions that surround this long-standing debate, I do know what I have experienced.  It was a human choice to train for Man Trip, it was my human choice to jump the first three hurdles in my path, and it was my human choice to stop at the fourth hurdle and choose another path.  A different path that accomplished what God had planned before the beginning of time.  I experienced human will miraculously running in stride with divine will  to achieve God’s ultimate plan.  A plan that is greater than our hearts could ever dream. 

The heart of man plans his way,
   but the LORD establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 

My plan was to gain myself the summit of a mountain. God’s plan was to give me a Summit of my own.

                                                      David “Summit” Faught


The Emotions of Summit

 I will admit it, I am on the more emotional side.  I don’t know what it is, maybe it is the strawberry blonde hair?  It doesn’t matter if it is getting fired up or being excited, I tend to experience the full range of emotions.  Usually, my emotions are worn on my sleeve and I am told my emotions can easily be seen on my face.  I will also admit I do shed the occasional tear watching a movie, watching Extreme Home Makeover (I now refuse to watch the show), hearing sappy stories, singing certain praise songs (especially In Christ Alone), experiencing big moments in my life, and hearing/seeing big moments in other people’s lives.  Okay, so maybe I tear up more than occasionally!  It does seem as though fatherhood has brought out my emotions more than ever before and I think often of Jimmy Valvano’s quote from his famous “Never Give Up” speech. 

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

I can’t say that my emotions move me to tears every day, but I am finding it comes more days than not.  But Valvano’s quote does remind me of the fact that there is nothing wrong with being emotional.  

The most recent overflow of emotions in my life, of course, came with the birth of my second son, Summit.  Yes, the expected tears did flow, but something unexpected happened with my emotions.  There were two emotions that remained prevalent throughout different times of the day.  The interesting thing wasn’t that I experienced two emotions at one time. Rather it was a rare instance in life when I simultaneously experienced two emotions that reside on complete opposite sides of the emotional spectrum.  I can’t think of many times in life that I have experience two complete opposite emotions at the same time.  Although experiencing these emotions were different and unexpected, it felt amazingly perfect for the moment.  Thankfully, there was a camera in the room to capture the collision of two opposite emotions.

PRIDE AND HUMILITY

Holding My Two Boys for the First Time

 

 

 


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