Culture

For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health

 

These past 11 days have been rather unique.  I recently had surgery on my hip… yes, I am 31 years old and had to get some work done on my right hip.  Even though it was outpatient surgery it still shook things up quite a bit.  I have been on crutches, unable to drive, limited in some of my functions and mobility, and have had to be far less active than I normally am.  Through all of these changes and issues, my wife has been a freaking beast and has killed it.

“For better or worse, in sickness and in health.”  Most of us whom are married have uttered these words, and over these past 11 days my wife has perfectly executed on them.  I am blown away at her level of service and how she so deeply cared for me.  She met my every need and then some. She was always there asking what I needed and offered up help and solutions to problems and wants I didn’t even know that I had

It’s in these inciting incidents, these moments of giant change, when we as people can really shine and make an impact, and that is what my wife did.  It has encouraged me to take my game up to 11 and serve her not because of what she has done for me, but because she is more than worth it.  When you are served and loved in this way, it only encourages you to do the same.  So please let this blog not only honor my wife, but be an encouragement to you to honor those words, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health.” Let this blog be an encouragement to look around you and serve well those that are in your life.

Who is in your life that you need to serve well, and how can you live it out today?

Culture

The Gift Of Valentines Day:

Valentines Day… it’s just another corporate holiday that marketers have taken over so that men and woman can be forced into passionless nights of pressure filled “romance” and spend way to much money on crap you don’t need.  Can I get an amen.

Oh, and by the way, I don’t believe anything I just wrote.  If you don’t celebrate valentines day with your significant other, that is totally up to you, but as for me, I see this day as a brilliant reminder to love and pursue that special someone.  I know what your thinking, “Paul, I pursue him / her every day,” And to that I call bull shit.  Lets not kid ourselves, thats just not true.  For most of the folks who would agree with the above paragraph, I am willing to bet that your significant other only feels pursued three to four days out of the year: Your anniversary, their birthday, Christmas, and maybe one other day thrown in there for good measure.

Valentines day is a gift, and it doesn’t have to cost you much, or any, money depending on what you actually do.  This is a day that is forced into our society for sure, but it is one that I take as a blessing because it gives me an amazing excuse to direct my attention not only to my wife, but my kids as well.

I want my kids to know how to pursue their love.  I want my son to know how to woo a woman and I want my daughter to know what it is like to be wooed. I want to build up in her this understanding that if a man doesn’t woo her, he is not worth her time.  She is a beauty to be taken on an adventure, not just to be looked at and potentially admired.  By the time my kids are really ready to date, I want to have given them an amazing example for them to follow.

So to all those haters out there… take a second look at this potentially under-marketed holiday full of sugar, delicious meals, and lots of trees sacrificing their lives so you can express your love via a card.  Take a second look and realize the opportunity you have been given.

Happy Valentines Day 

P.S. Let me know what exciting plans you have for your love.

Community

Patience: A Party 30 Years In The Making

Impatience doesn’t care about gender, race, or age and it reeks havoc on individuals, companies, and relationships.  My wife and I have had countless conversations and even arguments because one of us, usually me, is being impatient.  
It wasn’t until recently that we came to a realization about the word patience and how it relates to our lives.  A few months back we, along with so many others from Lindsay’s old neighborhood, were invited to a party to celebrate the marriage of the brother of one of Lindsay’s best friends from childhood.  As the day arrived, we packed up the family and went on the five minute drive to the neighborhood where my wife grew up. The home where the party was held was perfection.  It had gorgeous hardwood floors throughout and each room was perfectly furnished.  There was beer, wine, snacks, and desserts set up throughout the house and a local BBQ company had catered the event.  The backyard was beautifully landscaped and had a relaxing water feature and a stunning lake view to cap it all off.
As I mingled with the other guests, every single conversation would always turn towards fond memories from years gone by.  The memories would usually include how my mother-in-law taught their kids piano and stories about Lindsay and her parents.  This party, in every aspect, was perfection.
As we packed up the kids and started the five minute trek home, we talked about how beautiful the house was, how unbelievable it was to have refreshments all over, and how great the conversations were.  That was the type of party I wanted to throw.  I wanted to have the perfectly manicured landscape, food and refreshments flowing from all corners of the house, and conversations of moments long gone by.  As our tires hit our driveway, a different thought popped into my head.  That party, as perfect as it was, took over 30 years to execute.  It may have been a day of actual planning and follow through, but it took over 30 years for the whole thing to come together.
When the house was first purchased it wasn’t fully furnished with updated features throughout.  It took years to fully furnish, make updates and additions, to get the perfectly manicured landscape with that calming water feature. The conversations weren’t trivial because everyone had the base of 20 plus years of background.  About the only thing that didn’t take 30 years was the food and refreshments, but even having the ability to purchase them without blinking an eye takes years of putting money away so that you can have celebrations like these and not have to focus on the cost. 
In the weeks that have passed since attending this party, I have come to realize how I need to have the patience to see the small steps through.  When we look at the small steps taken over time, we get to see a big improvement. But in the midst of the shuffle, they don’t seem to matter at all. We all need to learn to deploy patience because it’s what helps give us perspective to see the impact we are making, and the legacy we are leaving.

Dad Life: Family

Life As A Stay At Home Dad

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I have found out something incredibly important… my calling in life is not, I repeat, is NOT to be a stay at home dad.  I mean Oh… My… Goodness.  This past Saturday Lindsay was out of commission over some stomach bug thing and by 11:30 my resolve was already wearing thin.  No truer words are about to be written: All you stay at home and single parents, I have no clue how you do it.  You deserve much more credit, praise, and help than you are getting.
My Saturday morning is usually a quite and relaxing morning for me, but when you are sent a barrage of texts from your wife about some “issues” she is dealing with, it makes for a unique start to the day and cues me up to know that I will be pulling a little more of the weight that day.  I think it should also be said from the beginning that I may not be the most nurturing person in the world, but we’ll get back to that later.
For the most part, Saturday started off without a hitch.  Lindsay wasn’t in dire straits and I was still able to take Sam to a Touch-A-Truck event in downtown Kennesaw.  I was super impressed with him because it only took about twenty minutes for him to warm up and touch all sorts of trucks and police cars.  He also got ton’s of free swag, including two balloons, because  in the midst of him reaching for a bike to play on, he released the first balloon to float magically away.


After getting all the stickers his shirt could hold, and stuffing his face with popcorn and his pockets with toys, we headed home.  As soon as I got home it was as if the wheels started to fall off.  I had to feed Emma her lunch, Sam became super talkative, I wonder where he got that from, Sam wanted a million and one things for lunch, Lindsay needed me to bring her something because she was feeling queasy, my stomach was growling, Emma was probably getting fussy, and as I looked around the house just seemed to be getting messier by the second.  Did I mention that it wasn’t even noon yet.
After lunch, I had to figure out something to do with both kids until I put them down for “naps.”  From after lunch, until I drove to Chick-fil-A to get Lindsay her chicken noodle soup for dinner, I have no idea what happened.  I mean I quite literally think the trauma of it all has blocked it from my memory. All I can seem to put together is that I Sam and I made something resembling meatloaf for dinner.

As the meatloaf was cooking in the oven, I took the kids to Chick-fil-A to get Lindsay her dinner and when I got back my world immediately got crazy once again.  The meatloaf was done 15 minutes early and I’m truly glad it didn’t burn. Since meatloaf must sound disgusting to kids I convinced Sam that it was really meatballs that we had made and he gobbled it all up.  During all of that is when I was trying to make dinner for myself and Emma and try to put the place back together.  As all of this is going down I hear Lindsay come down stairs, grab the T.V. tray grab her soup… oh yah, the soup I forgot to bring upstairs, and march slightly angrily back upstairs because I had completely forgotten to bring her her dinner.
The only thing that covered up that sin of forgetting Lindsay’s dinner is the fact that she got to watch me struggle more than usual as Emma was doing gymnastics as I tried to get her ready for her bath.
Now I know to some of you reading this little blog of mine that this is all old hat and you deal with it every day.  I realize some of you are laughing and saying “Finally, he knows that the #StruggleIsReal.”  I personally have no idea how my wife, and many others, deal with this every day.  I am so thankful for Lindsay and the fact that I get to go deal with adults everyday.
Lord, bless all these amazing stay at home and single parents because you know they need  it.

Dad Life: Legacy

Hopeful Legacy

Being intentional about building, sharing, and preserving the Stippich legacy is important to me.  I know the legacy that I am creating with my wife and kids may be a little different than the one passed on from my parents, but this is the one I believe God is drawing me and my family to.  It is a legacy built around community and story.
My heart is drawn towards sharing life with others and that is why I crave community.  I also believe that life is made infinitely better when doing life with others.
I love all of the mechanics to what makes a good story.  Truth be told, I used to be pretty arrogant and thought that I could help change other’s stories.  I  eventually came to the realization that the only person who can do that, is God.  What I can do though, is share in other’s stories and help others move along in their adventures.  Seriously, just typing all of this makes me giddy.
I want to grow this legacy of cultivating community and sharing in other’s stories.  I want to bring my kids into the fold and help them live it out and eventually pass it on as well.  I want them to cultivate community and learn how to best interact with others.  Now whether that means they become a ballerina, makeup artist, race car driver, stunt man, novelist, olympian or anything in-between, I just want them to be able to share in people’s stories within their calling.
img_0553
Building, preserving, and passing on a legacy is an epic challenge, but it is one that I believe we all should readily accept. In fact, I would love to hear about the legacy you are building and how are you planning on passing it on and preserving it.