“Did Jesus whine?” (And Other Questions We Probably Shouldn’t Ask)

Featured“Did Jesus whine?” (And Other Questions We Probably Shouldn’t Ask)

It started out as a perfectly good and pleasant morning.

I woke up in a good mood, with enough time to get ready and pull myself together before anyone (i.e. the kiddos) came to me with his or her most urgent and pressing needs.

Everyone was cooperative. Everyone was in a good mood. Things were running smoothly—perhaps too smoothly—for a Monday morning. There were no arguments at breakfast, no disgruntled appeals or impossible food requests. Everything was, as my mom liked to say, “copasetic.”

And then….*cue ominous music*…it happened. The whine. It came from out of nowhere, as it usually does for most three-year-olds. 

“I don’t wanna….[fill in the blank]…”

“Noooooooo……”

“I don’t wanna….[fill in the blank again]…”

Something hulk-like happens to me when I hear “the whine.” The nostrils start flaring, my fledgling biceps start bulking. The complete transformation to Parental Hulk however only takes full effect after I’ve asked the one question a parent should never ask:

“Why are you whining???”

We don’t ask because it’s not a good or appropriate question. We don’t ask because when said toddler is fully in the “whine state,” you will rarely, if ever, get a rational, coherent answer. 

You might as well tag on a few more for fun, like, “What is the meaning of life? Or, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

You get the picture. It’s a black hole. Just don’t go there.

Eventually, and without rhyme or reason, my son snapped back to his cheerful self and I apologized for going all green on him. As I began my personal debriefing to understand why I’m so easily triggered by whining and how I can respond better next time, a burning question entered my mind.

“Did Jesus whine?” And if so, “How did Mary handle it?”

I mean, if ever a parenting standard there was…Mary certainly sets the bar high as the mother of Jesus. What does it look like to parent the Son of God? Did she face the same challenges that we do? Did she have mom-fail days too? If you’re a dad, perhaps you’re asking, “Did Joseph ever lose his cool with Jesus in the carpentry shop?”

Truth is, we don’t really know if Jesus ever whined or what his childhood behavior was like until we catch a glimpse of him at age 12 having faith-filled discussions with the teachers in the Temple and amazing them with his wisdom and understanding (Luke 2).

And there’s probably a good reason for it. But I don’t have the answer for it and neither does anyone else. And that’s my point. 

It’s not the asking of the question that’s wrong here. But without an answer, the question itself becomes futile. Maybe for you it’s not so much a “why is my toddler whining?” question but more of a “why is this happening to me?” question. 

I’ve come to realize that both in parenting and life in general, there are just some questions that are better left unasked. The ones to which there are no helpful answers…the ones that drain your energy, leave you more frustrated than fulfilled, and keep you from moving on to better and brighter things.

Don’t get me wrong. I love questions. They are the gateway to knowledge and truth. What we need to be careful about is not allowing the answer—or non-answer—to keep us in a black hole of unproductiveness or perpetually stuck between the chicken and the egg, so to speak.

Ask your questions. Pursue the truth. But keep moving forward, friend. Whining and all. 

Is Your Cup Of Joe Turning You Into An Average Joe?

Is Your Cup Of Joe Turning You Into An Average Joe?

I love a good coffee mug. Not only does it need to be large enough to accommodate my daily intake (which happens several times a day) and have a nice comfy handle for endurance coffee clutching…but it’s also a major “perk” (pun intended) if it makes me smile or laugh.

The darker the better too—which goes for both my coffee and the humor.

The most recent gem I found? An all black mug with the following white text: “Good morning, I see the assassins have failed.” I left it behind on the store shelf, but dang if I didn’t cackle all the way out the door.

There is one mug in my collection, however, that has a semi-permanent place on my desk. It’s somewhat unexpected, unapologetic and, well, uninspiring. 

The message? “Today I’m going to give it my some.”

I laughed when I first saw it. And I loved it, mostly because it was the total opposite of all those annoyingly over-the-top motivational posters hanging up in offices across corporate America. You know, the ones that say “Excellence” with a photo of a bald eagle or “Make It Happen” with a man standing on the summit of a mountain.

Ick. Just the thought of one makes my productivity suffer. 

Not this mug. I sincerely appreciated its snarky nature. When everyone else is shooting for the moon and ready to crush some serious goals, I’m over here with my mug just saying with a chuckle, “Yeah, I’m not gonna give it my all today…maybe just a solid 47 percent.”

Maybe that’s because in part it accurately reflected my season of life—a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom with two kids under five trying to keep everyone fed, clean, laundered, and entertained. Even on my best days, giving it my “all” seemed an impossible feat, so why not just shoot for “some” so I too can have the satisfaction of feeling accomplished? 

It’s pretty much right on par with why I also prefer the medium level of Sudoku. Semi-challenging yet winnable. There’s no time in my life for multi-day expert level gaming—especially when as moms of “littles” we’re already playing Russian Roulette every time we attempt to take an adult bathroom break, knowing full well the odds are stacked against us. 

Crises inevitably and almost always hit while our pants are down. But I digress.

So what does this all mean? Does loving this coffee mug mean that I’m a champion of the under-achiever? That I’ve lowered my standards? That there’s just no more room for excellence in my life when average will do?

No, no it does not. I can assure you (as can my spouse and kids), that my expectations and standards are still well nigh into the rafters.

No, I love it because it makes me laugh. And because humor is almost always based on a bit of truth. And because the truth is sometimes raw—and in those raw moments—we need to give ourselves grace when we simply don’t have it all to give. Or when giving it our all still only gets us to “average.”

It’s in those moments that we need to laugh. Take a breath. Then shoot for better days ahead. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Babe Ruth didn’t always hit home runs. We give it our all—and if that means we give all the “some” that’s in our tank—then so be it.

Celebrate the wins. Dust off the losses. And drink to the “Average Joe” moments that earned you that coveted participation trophy. 

I’m raising my mug to you, friend. Now get out there and go give ‘em some.

#checkforfries #giveityoursome #averagecupofjoe #mugsandmayhem

The Woman Who Inspired The Name

December 7, 1941. FDR forever branded that day as a “date which will live in infamy.” The attack by Japanese air squadrons on the U.S. was sudden. Shocking. Our nation was left stunned and wholly unprepared.

Sixty years later, 9/11 happened and history seemingly repeated itself, leaving us once again in a state of horror and shock.

Then, nine years later, my own personal date of infamy struck.  Continue reading “The Woman Who Inspired The Name”