Fashion Friday – Finding the Perfect Pair of Boots

Semi formal dresses for winters 2015-16
Semi formal dresses for winters 2015-16

Happy end of the week to you all!  Sorry (again) for the lack of material over the last two weeks.  My daughter caught an ear infection which meant less sleep than we normally get (which isn’t much to start with) and then she got sick adding to the drama.  Then of course I got sick and I have been out of sorts all this week.  Add to all that it being “busy season” at work and it has been hard to find time to write material for you all.  Hopefully next week I will be back at it.  I appreciate your patience.

Today is Friday so you know we will be talking about fashion again. Don’t worry, today’s blog will be brief but that doesn’t mean unimportant!

I personally believe boots are one of the most overlooked items when it comes to being fashionable.  However, let’s be careful not to go crazy.  When I am talking about boots and fashion I don’t mean these. Timberland’s are never fashionable, I don’t care who you are.

Boots have the unique ability to provide a timeless elegance usually reserved for dressier shoes.  For those not inclined for elegance, they can also add the rugged, ass-kicking toughness you would expect to find in something built for war.  How you like to wear boots will determine what style you should go for (again never choose Timberland’s.)

The Chukka Boot

Part knock-around boot and part dress boot. Chukkas are the ideal fall-weather shoe for anything from Casual Friday to Football Sunday.

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The Wingtip Boot

When you think of wingtips, most men things of the dress shoes and neglect the fact you can get a pair of boots with the same style of broguing.  It is the broguing that makes the wingtip shoe the most versatile of dress shoes because they can be paired with many different kinds of pants.

Obviously, the same logic applies to the boots.  Pair them with a suit, slacks and if the boots aren’t too glossy, denim or chinos.

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The Military Boot

There may be nothing that will announce how much of a bad ass you are then rocking a stylish pair of military boots.  If you pick the correct pair (and wear them right) you will have ladies thinking you are trouble from the jump.  And we all know women prefer bad boys over nice guys so you need a pair of these badly!

One of the best parts of the military boots is that the harder you wear them, the better they look.  You want to go for the worn in “I have kicked a hundred asses” look in these kinds of boots.  Wear them with jeans and a motorcycle jacket (motorcycle optional) and you will be getting a lot of attention.

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That is it!  Go out there and get yourself some boots!

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Devotional Tuesday – Facing Truth

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“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

Facing up to the truth always produces a loss of some kind of income, a pastime you enjoy, your image in the community, a wrong relationship, or the companionship of certain friends.  Jesus knows a man must risk, but He also knows what’s waiting on the other side: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35).

When we are confronted with the truth about where God wants us to go in our spiritual journey, we can choose the paths that leads to health, wholeness, and God’s glory.  Furthermore, we then have the confidence and humility to keep making the needed adjustments for Him.

God is in the business of confronting us for our benefit, to heal us from our bondage to whatever, guilt, shame, depression, and hatever brings us into self-absorption.  These surgeries of the soul require faith in the Surgeon and His promised outcomes.  Those who accept “going under the knife” often make the necessary changes to turn things around in their lives.

Winston Churchill once said, “Personally, I am always ready to learn although I do not always like to be taught.”  His point is that coming under the direction of another person has it‘s own built-in tension, despite the value of the truth to be discovered from the experience.  At least Churchill was being honest. Seeing and accepting truth requires action, but action – doing something – often produces tension.

Father, it is your will that I am free from the bondage of whatever brings me down. Tighten up my belt of truth.

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Why Daughters Need Their Dad So Much

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Most you know I am a sucker for blogs like the one I am sharing below.  This isn’t something I have written personally but did manage to find it in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago.  I held off reading because it seems every time I read something like this I get dust in my eyes and they water uncontrollably for several minutes. Sure to the outsider, it may look like I am crying but I assure that is not the case!

Anyway, the blog was written by Dr. Meg Meeker.  She has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for 30 years. It will certainly tug at the ole feels (if you have them) and isn’t for the faint of heart if you are a father of a daughter.  I hope you enjoy.  Get out the dust rags.

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Men, we need you.

We — mothers, daughters, and sisters — need your help in raising healthy young women. We need every ounce of masculine courage and wit you own because a father, more than anyone else, sets the course for a daughter’s life.

After more than 20 years of listening to daughters — and doling out antibiotics, antidepressants, and stimulants to girls who have gone without a father’s love — I know just how important fathers are. As a pediatrician, I have listened hour after hour to young girls describe how they vomit in junior high bathrooms to keep their weight down. I have listened to 14-year-old girls tell me they have to provide sex acts that disgust them in order to keep their boyfriends.

I’ve watched girls drop off varsity tennis teams, flunk out of school, and carve initials or tattoo cult figures onto their bodies — all to see if their dads will notice.snm-dad-daughter

And I have watched daughters talk to fathers. When dads come in the room, the girls change. Everything about them changes: their eyes, their mouths, their gestures, their body language. Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers.

They might take their mothers for granted, but not you. They light up — or they cry. They watch you intensely. They hang on your words. They hope for your attention, and they wait for it in frustration, or in despair. They need a gesture of approval, a nod of encouragement, or even simple eye contact to let them know you care and are willing to help.

When she’s in your company, your daughter tries harder to excel. When you teach her, she learns more rapidly. When you guide her, she gains confidence.

If you fully understood just how profoundly you can influence your daughter’s life, you would be overwhelmed.

Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.

Many fathers, particularly of teen girls, assume they have little influence over their daughters, or certainly less influence than their daughters’ peers or pop culture. They think their daughters need to figure out life on their own. But your daughter faces a world markedly different from the one you did growing up. It’s less friendly, morally unmoored and even outright dangerous.

After age 6, “little girl” clothes are hard to find. Many outfits are cut to make her look like a seductive 13- or 14-year-old girl trying to attract older boys. She will enter puberty earlier than girls did a generation or two ago. Boys will be watching as she begins to physically mature even as young as age 9. She will see sexual innuendo or scenes of overt sexual behavior in magazines or on television before she is 10 years old, whether you approve or not. She will learn about HIV and AIDS in elementary school and will also probably learn why and how it is transmitted.

If you’re reading this, you are a motivated, sensitive and caring father. You are a good man, but you’re probably exhausted. For you, there is great news and bad news.

The great news is that to experience a richer life and raise a fabulous daughter, you don’t need to change your character. You need only to indulge what’s best in your character. You have everything you need for a better relationship with your daughter.

Here’s the bad news. You need to stop in your tracks, open your eyes wider, and see what your daughter faces today, tomorrow and in 10 years. It’s tough and it’s frightening, but this is the way it is. While you want the world to be cautious and gentle with her, it is cruel beyond imagination — even before she is a teen.

Even though she may not participate in ugly stuff, it’s all around her: sexual promiscuity, alcohol abuse, foul language, illegal drugs, and predatory boys and men who want only to take something from her.

Don’t think you can’t fight her “peers” or the power of pop culture. fatherdaughterExactly the opposite is true. Yes, the four Ms — MTV, music, movies, and magazines — are enormous influences that shape what girls think about themselves, what clothes they wear, and even the grades they get. But their influence doesn’t come close to the influence of a father. A lot of research has been done on this, and fathers always come out on top. The effects of loving, caring fathers on their daughters’ lives can be measured in girls of all ages.

When you are with her, whether you eat dinner and do homework together or even when you are present but don’t say much, the quality and stability of her life — and, you’ll find, your own  — improves immeasurably. Even if you think the two of you operate on different planes,
 even if you worry that time spent with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt you are having a meaningful impact on her, the clinical fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts.

Your daughter will view this time spent with you vastly differently than you do. Over the years, in erratic bursts and in simple ordinary life together, she will absorb your influence. She will watch every move you make. She might not understand why you are happy or angry, affectionate, but you will be the most important man in her life, forever.

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When she is 25, she will mentally 
size her boyfriend or husband up against you. When she is 35, the number of children she has will be affected by her life with you. The clothes she wears will reflect something about you. Even when she is 75, how she faces her future will depend on some distant memory of time you spent together.

Be it good or painful,
 the hours and years you spend with her — or 
don’t spend with her — change who she is.
 Come on, men. We daughters need you!

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Devotional Tuesday – Playing to the Crowd

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” I Corinthians 10:13

When traveling the world one sees the definite sacrifice that Christians are making considering their faith.  As we have seen on the news, in many countries Christian are being beheaded, women are being raped, and children are being put to death because of their faith.  Why is it that here in America where we experience Spiritual freedom we fear not what others will do to us physically, but what people will think of us. If we have been given the mind of Christ, if we have been given the confidence of the Holy Spirit residing inside in us, what makes us concerned about being mentally rejected? These are questions that we have to look at both rationally and logically.

It does seem rational and logical that those who are enduring physical pain, being humiliated in front of their families, being raped and beheaded are not playing to the crowd.  Rationally and logically it does say something about others who are exhibiting a fear of rejection regarding the thing that is supposed to be the driving force of our lives?

This isn’t meant to condemn, but to open eyes to the growth that we all want to see increase.  We are at a time in our lives and in our nation’s history that this commitment may be called on. Grace has been offered to us and God never promises something that He won’t deliver on. I do believe that God will give us the grace to endure such testing if it comes. But it does cause one to think “How am I doing?” in my adventure with Christ.

Father, I want to grow, thank you for not holding back one thing. I trust you.

Better Men Parenting – Day Care Day 1

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Me and my angel.

I don’t often write about being a father.

I try to stay away from it because I prefer to write honestly about my feelings and observations about being a parent (among other things) and I have learned that most people don’t want to hear or read that kind of thing.

Personally, I believe if more parents spoke openly and honestly about being a parent it would only benefit those people who are yet to become parents.  Non-parents, if you are like me and my wife, have a whole lot of misconceptions about what it was like to be first time parents. Many of these misconceptions came from listening to our friends talk about their experience with children.  Now that we are parents, I am amazed at how many details our friends left out about what it is really like. Even the books I read in preparation for parenting don’t truly paint an accurate picture of what it is like as a first time parent.

Today, however, I write.

Today is Samara’s first day in day care. My wife has spent pretty much everyday for the last 12 months at home with Samara.  There was a two-and-a-half day stay in the hospital in April without Samara by her side but otherwise it has been those two together like white on rice.  It doesn’t take a magician to realize a day like today would be very hard on my wife and understandably so.  I could see this day weighing on her soul for the last four days and each day it got closer, her despair deepened.   Today was the worst (obviously) and I am sure it will feel like an eon has passed by the time she gets home to see Samara tonight.

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As for me?  Please, this was not going to be an issue.  First of all, our family really needs Samara in daycare.  It is good for her development  socially and generally (she doesn’t have much opportunity to socialize with other kids.)  It is good for my wife to get back in the workforce so she can have adult conversations outside of our wonderfully exciting discussions of poop, farts and a what we are eating for dinner tomorrow night.  It is also good for our marriage for a number of reasons I won’t get into here.  Outside of having to figure out a way to pay for daycare (Lord have mercy!) I didn’t have any misgivings about it.  It was because of those reasons, and a few others, that I was looking forward to today. I love my child, more than anything in the world, but I knew today was a positive day no matter how either my wife or I felt.

Everything was going so well this morning.  Samara managed to sleep relatively well even if Sharlay didn’t (there were vicious, unsubstantiated rumors of someone snoring all morning.) We woke up on time and managed to get out the door by 7:50am.  The drive to the day care center was easy, Samara was actually good in the car and traffic was light.

Then two things happened.  First, we arrived and the room was lousy with only male children.  Six of them to be precise – another dropped in as we were leaving to make seven.  My little girl and seven boys. Yikes.  Samara is already a flirt so I have reasons to be concerned even if the boys in the room were all homely.

Second, we were there in time for breakfast so they started to set up my daughter with a plate of food.  On her plate were generic Cheerios, a few pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (or whatever the poor man’s version of that is) and some really small, marble sized grapes, perfect for choking on!  Apparently, waffles were to be offered later.

I love my kid.  She makes me laugh.  We don’t use plates with Samara at home.  Everything goes on her tray so she can feed herself by the hand or if her parents are feeling adventurous with a spoon.  There is nothing my kid likes to do more when she eats, then to put whatever is in front of her on her head.  Avocado?  Goes in the hair.  French fries? In the hair. Chicken? Not in the hair she loves chicken (my kid is bi-racial after all).  Oatmeal?  That HAS to go in the hair.

Thus, the minute I see the plate I run over to where she is sitting (keep in mind I am trying to get us out of there before Samara or my wife, or both, have a total melt down) to prevent what is clearly about to happen.  I make it just in time to prevent her from lifting up the plate and dumping it on her head.  How can you not laugh? None of the workers there were going to stop that from happening and all looked very confused why I was even trying to help her.  Maybe they love cleaning up kids who dump crap on their heads all day?  Who knows?  Either way not an impressive start for the workers.

Did I mention they were going to give her marble sized grap2014094226jes to eat? Marbles.  I am pretty sure there is a reason you don’t give marbles to children.  Now granted grapes can be chewed and marbles generally cannot unless you are Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me.  My daughter has never really eaten grapes.  There have been a few times we pulled grapes apart so she could try them (she wasn’t a fan) but we have never allowed her to eat grapes on her own.  Why you may ask?  She has three teeth.  Also, she is adverse to chewing.  All not helpful tools if you are going to eat a grape.

I told one of the women working there she shouldn’t be eating those because they were so small and she was likely to choke.  She was surprised by my request and then clearly realized what I bad idea it would be to give her grapes.  It was all I could do to not scoop up Samara and flee out the door leaving my wife in the dust.

Did I mention she had to sit alone at her table?  The six boys at the other table didn’t have room and it made me so sad to see her sitting alone (flashbacks no doubt from my own childhood.)  Thankfully my little girl is amazing and sitting there alone she appeared unfazed. Having all of the boys staring at her certainly helped! She was no doubt plotting on which little boys ass she was going to kick later in the afternoon.  It wouldn’t be the first time.  She looks sweet but that girl is tough, just like her momma.

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Samara’s first bath at home. Ever since she hasn’t stopped giving people that look.

I soon realized I was about to lose it and there was no way I was going to start crying at the daycare center before my wife did! No sir!  I gave my sweet princess a kiss on the cheek and told Sharlay it was time to go.  We started walking to the door and of course looked back to say goodbye to Samara, confident she would see us leaving and have a meltdown (history was on our side with that one.) Instead she looked up, smiled to us and waived back like a big girl.  She was happy as could be.  That was it I had to leave.  It was that very moment I realized things had changed quite a bit from the day we brought the little nugget home from the hospital.

However, we still had to drive home to drop off Sharlay before I headed to work.  Thus, I had to remain strong for my wife who I knew would be hurting quite a bit by the time we climbed into the car.  It was a quiet 10 minute ride back home and even quieter when we were back inside our apartment.  I knew Sharlay probably needed to be alone to deal with her emotions so I didn’t linger long. Somehow I managed to make it to work without crying, although there were plenty of emotions going on in my head during the short ride to work and then again as I tried to re-engage with my occupation.

However, it wasn’t until I thought about how happy she looked as we were leaving (without having a meltdown) that I started to cry. In my office.  In the middle of the day.  My coworkers probably think I am nuttier than a Baby Ruth.  Oh well.  That is what life is like as a parent.  I am now counting down the minutes until I can go pick her up and bring her home.  The rest of the afternoon is going to crawl by.  I just hope I don’t get into an accident speeding out of the parking ramp on my way.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day.

Andrew

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