Tag Archives: faith

I Don’t Need 20 Bucks

27 Jul

I Don’t Need 20 Bucks

Prayer is a strange thing.
I wish I could say I understand it, but I don’t.
Despite our lack of understanding, we still pray.
I guess that’s what faith is all about.

I don’t know about you, but I live in a bubble.
Most of my days are insulated away from people who don’t know Christ.
I’ve been praying this would change.
Really praying.
Expectant praying.

You know what? God has been answering.

In just a few weeks we’ve been having crazy awesome experiences.

The other night my wife sent me to a house to buy a cabinet.
It’s not like me to go to some strangers house with a since of expectation that God is doing something, but I did. So did my wife.

The young couple invited me in and took me to the cabinet.
There was pain on their faces.
Even I could see they were in need.
I didn’t want the cabinet, and their faces dropped.
I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until I was in my car that I realized I don’t need 20 bucks.

I headed back into their house.
“Excuse me, I know this may sound weird, but I want you to have this 20 bucks.”
I should have bought their cabinet to help insulate them from shame, but God knows.
Regardless, they seemed thankful.
“Can I be praying for you for anything,” I asked?
She said, “yes.”

Call me silly, but I think that encounter only happened because of prayer.

At least, I think because of prayer I actually realized the need.

People desperately need to hear the words of life.

I got back in my car and wept.

I prayed.

And I realized, I don’t need 20 bucks.

What is it you are expectantly praying for?

Momentous Redemption

21 Jun

Wordle: Redemption

There are some things that stay with a person for a life time. No matter how hard you try to ignore, cover up, or just plain deny, some experiences burrow into the dusty crevices of the inner chambers of our hearts, leaving lasting impressions that secretly shape the foundations of everything we believe about the world, people, and most importantly ourselves. For most of us these impressions are formed early in our childhood and have a subtle craftiness to whisper doubts, fears, and accusations into our every thought, leaving us almost completely unaware of their lasting impact upon our lives.
No other experience has shaped and molded me more during the impressionable years of my Redemption Blog Pic 1childhood as the slow abandonment of my father. It hasn’t been until recent years that I’ve realized the effects of that abandonment on my heart and how it’s shaped almost every aspect of my life, including how I view God. Sadly, like a solitary drop of rain exploding in an ocean of water, my story is only one amongst millions of others that have yet to be told.
It was on a summer trip to Kansas of all places, where in the quietness of my soul, and the companionship of a best friend, that I discovered an invitation to be initiated into the greatest journey of my life, being fathered by the Father of Fathers. It was in a small two bedroom apartment in the middle of nowhere that the voice of God spoke courage into my fearful heart, and inspired me to look at the tragic experiences of my life through the lens of His love.
Like many who have gone before me, it was in the bareness of a desert that the Father extended a ladder to reveal his love, but as with Jacob long ago, it was not without a wrestling in my soul, and brokenness in my hip. Picture2Like a physician resets a broken bone, for years, God has been taking me back into the broken seasons of my life, especially the abandonment of my father, and showing me how he has always been there and always will be. It has taken the courage of His spirit to re-enter those dark places of my soul, but through obedience directed by love, my true Father has been sweeping out the voices lurking in the darkness, and searing truth upon my heart. A Whistle in the Dark: The Adventures of Eaner Pickernan, is a processing of that journey.
            In my wildest dreams, I could have never imagined that in the process of this journey of those dark painful years, I would not be traveling alone, but that my dad would be on the journey with me. When God enters those painful areas of our lives, it’s not enough just to bring us back into the memories, but He has to bring us back to the emotions. We have to hear with our souls. We have to feel what we felt. The searing knife destined to make the crucial cut was none other than my dad himself, and I too the knife in him.
            Although the story of my abandonment is filled with trauma, it is by the elegance of Gods handiwork that Picture3His grace is revealed to not only the victim, but the perpetrator. In this He weaves together a tapestry made of moments that, isolated, tell a story of pain and loneliness, but as a whole, of God’s momentous redemption in which the end story beautifully outshines the tragedy that enveloped it.

Pierced Ear

16 Aug

I’ve been thinking about getting my ear pierced. I’ve been contemplating it for years now, but finally, I think I’m ready to do the deed. I don’t want one of those tiny little shinny studs that most men get either. If I’m going to do this, I want to go big.

I recently saw a picture of a guy who turned his face into a tiger. When you see that, all you can say is, wow. Now, I’m not ready to commit on that level, but if I’m going to do this thing, it’s got to stand out. What’s the point in doing it half heartedly? It has to make a statement, right? Not the, I turned my face into a tiger statement that screams, “Woah, you got issues dude,” but something a little more subtle yet profound.

Now, I know everyone’s thinking; “this is just like that time you wanted to get ‘courageous’ tattooed across your forearm in Hebrew.” No, this is different, but for the record, I wanted to do that long before it was cool. I’m pretty sure I was the originator of that trend. I think I shared my idea with Al Gore right before he started the internet, and the idea spread like wild fire. That was all me!

No, this is more than a passing thought. I’m really going to do it.

The fact is I already did. And, so did you.

Right about now you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind. You would remember getting the top of your ear run through with giant piece of metal, right? Well, perhaps I need to explain myself.

You know when you read a verse, and no matter how much you try to juke it (yes, I just used the word, juke), it sticks with you? This is a concept that’s been with me since college and recently I ran across the verse, but it’s been marinating in my soul for quite some time now. The concept comes right out of Exodus. Picture this; you’re a slave. I know, stinks huh. Well, now imagine you’re a slave 4000 years ago (wow, this story just keeps getting worse). You weren’t always a slave. You used to be a farmer, but one year the crops dried up and you had very little options to keep your family alive.

By now you’re thinking, “wow Tom, you’re a depressing story teller.” Just stick with me, it gets worse.

So, in order to feed your family, you go to the wealthiest man in town and sell yourself as a slave (bummer).I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to conceive of a scenario in which I have to sell myself and my family into slavery in order to survive. Crazy! But something else happens that you didn’t expect. You actually like the master.

After spending years experiencing the goodness of your master, the time comes when he by law has to set you free. Finally, freedom is at the door. This is where you and I would do an awesome little jig just like that guy Matt who travels around the world doing a stupid little dance. You don’t know him, well, look him up. Where In The World Is Matt Dancing.

Okay, back to you being a slave. You’re about to be free. You would be elated, right? What if you had nothing to go back to? What if times had become worse over years, and now your freedom meant certain death. What would you do and would your new freedom be as great as imagined? When you begin to weigh your options, you begin to realize how good you have it. Your family is cared for. There’s food on the table and a roof over your head. Most of all, you love the master.

It’s at this point you realize you have another difficult choice to make. You have to choose a pill to swallow. Do you want the red pill or the blue pill? Sorry, I just got all Matrixy on you. You can have your freedom, if that’s what you want to call it, but there is a price you’re going to pay. If will most likely be the death of you and your family. Slavery’s starting to look pretty good, no? But, there’s a catch. If you decide to stay with your master this time, it’s not going to be for just seven years, it will be for the rest of your life. This is where the ear piercing thing comes in.

If you decide to stay, it will mean forever, and to solidify your decision you will be given a mark. This isn’t just any mark. It’s a mark that will be visible for all to see. It’s not only a testament to your decision to be a lifelong servant, but it’s a testament to the character of the master. Then, your master is going to take a metal awl, which is like a giant nail, and drive it through your ear. Ouch!

Exodus 21:5-6

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

Do you realize, you and I are the slave?

I don’t know about you, but this is a good reminder that my life is not my own. We have been bought with a price. Our ear has been pierced.

Who do you know who needs their ear pierced?

Disappearing Acts: A Whistle In The Dark Teaser

24 Apr

His heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest, and he knew if he didn’t act soon, he might not act at all. He counted to three slowly and then jumped up shocking the ducks like he was a human jack in the box with a gun. The sound of fluttering thunder filled the air as the ducks fled for their lives. Eaner’s legs wobbled slightly as he lifted his gun and took aim. Nervousness told him to shoot quickly before they were gone, but his dad’s reminder of the time he had steadied his trigger finger while he took aim. He flashed back to the round clay disc as he locked in on the bird letting his gun move a steady trail just ahead of the ducks projected flight pattern. His finger squeezed as he felt the instant impact shock his shoulder quick and powerfully, but not letting the force detour the guns pattern of motion until he saw the duck flutter and nose dive towards the golden brown ground. Just thinking back on it all lifted his countenance and brought a large grin to his face, but it slowly disappeared as the realization hit him that it would never happen again. His dad would never be able to take him duck hunting, or fishing, or too his favorite thing ever, a St. Louis Cardinals game.

The Lanyard: A Darn Good Poem

20 Apr

Excerpt from: The Trouble With Poetry And Other Poems by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricochetting slowly off the pale blue walls of this room, bouncing from typewriter to piano, from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor, I found myself in the L section of the dictionary where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist could send one more suddenly into the past–a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard or wear one, if that’s what you did with them, but that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand again and again until I had made a boxy red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts, and I gave her a lanyard. She nursed me in many a sickroom, lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips, set cold face-cloths on my forehead, and then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim, and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard. Here are thousands of meals, she said, and here is clothing and a good education. And here is your lanyard, I replied, which I made witha little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth, and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered, and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp. And here, I wish to say to her now, is a smaller gift–not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother, but the rueful admission that when she took the two-tone lanyard from my hands, I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless, worthless thing I wove out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Billy Collins

Underground Sanctuary’s: A Whistle in the Dark Teaser

19 Apr

“Over here.” Eaner exclaimed jumping off the side of the stairs next to the secret storm drain as Henry followed close behind.  “You’re going to get a little dirty,” Eaner warned, “but it’s totally worth it I guarantee.” “That’s okay; I don’t mind a little dirt.”  Henry stated, watching Eaner lower himself to the ground next to the entrance.  “Follow me.  There’s a little bit of a drop off, but it’s not bad.”  Eaner told him.  Henry just nodded and lowered himself to the ground as well, as Eaner disappeared into the hole.  Henry landed just as Eaner flicked on the flashlight, revealing the spectacular hidden world before them.  “Whoa!  What is this place?”  “It’s an underground storm drain that runs underneath the whole town.”  “This is so cool.”  Henry exclaimed.  “You haven’t seen anything yet.  Wait till you see my secret place.”  Eaner said, gesturing for Henry to follow him down the tunnel.  They approached the massive metal red door as Eaner grabbed his stashed tools out of the tin can, and began jimmying the door open.

Eaner had the door opened in a matter of seconds in usual fashion as he pulled with might exposing his sacred chamber to unsuspecting eyes for the first time.  Eaner watched Henry’s expressions of delight and awe like a proud parent on Christmas morning as he took in the magical sights and smells revealed to him.  He was speechless for a few moments as he took in the endless possibilities of adventure presented to him.  “This place is so awesome!” He said dumbfounded as he watched Eaner grab the lighter on the table next to the door and begin lighting the candles placed around the room.  “I told you this was the greatest place ever!”  Eaner replied.  “There’s more down here as well.  I’ve found so many amazing things.  Maybe you can help me gather more stuff for our fort too?”  “Yeah, that would be great!  We need some more furniture down here, and then we could just live here forever.”  Henry replied excitedly.   “Yeah, no kidding,” Eaner chuckled as he walked over to an old faded orange metal cabinet.  He twisted on the long slender handle jolting the door back and forth as it refused to relinquish its stubborn grip as Eaner put his full weight into the effort.  The bending door finally surrendered, sending Eaner shooting backwards from the sudden release.

Anniversary Dates You Didn’t Know Existed

18 Apr

Last night my wife and I brought our 1 year old over to some friends house for dinner. As new parents we are always freaked out about other peoples things since our little girl could careless about stuff and just wants to put it all in her mouth or throw it on the floor. Thankfully, last night was the perfect house to bring her since their living room was showcased with stuffed animals, Build-A-Bears to be exact, and a small wooden rocking chair placed in the dinning area just for her riding enjoyment. As my daughter man handled ever animal she could get her grips on, we soon discovered that every bear came with a story. Most of the animals were gifts, and after further conversation we realized they were anniversary gifts at that. Now, as a newlywed, I’ve discovered that the term ‘anniversary’ has a very loose definition that no man on the planet can define or fully comprehend. Remember that time in sixth grade when they separated the boy’s and girl’s to give you the ‘big talk,’ and each gender was wondering what in the world the other was hearing about. Well, I ‘m convinced that in that class all little girls were informed of anniversary dates that should be adhered too in a marriage relationship. These are not dates that will come up until after the wedding bells, so don’t try to figure them out before the big day. Remember these dates or suffer the consequences.

1. The First Date: I decided to start with an easy one. The first date is a no brainer, right? Well, this would be the case if you knew the first date. The fact is, you only think you know the first date. In her mind the first date actually started two days before the actual date. Why, you might ask? Well, remember that time you and her were out with a bunch of friends. You didn’t classify it as a date, but believe me, she did. If you don’t remember this date, which you won’t because you don’t even know when it is, you will be in the dog house. Good luck.

2. The First Time You Met: I bet you didn’t realize this was an anniversary. It is. Don’t make the mistake of over looking this crucial day, because if you do, you’ll be sleeping on the futon in the kids room. In your mind, this date ranks right up there with the first time you guys ate spaghetti together, but to her it’s the beginning of it all. If you don’t remember this date, find out quick.

3. The First Gift: One day you’re going to walk in the door from work and she is going to hand you a present. Panic will immediately set in because you’ll know you forgot something, and then she’ll remind you of the first present you ever gave her. It’s in this moment you’ll realize this is a special anniversary date you have forgotten. At this point it’s to late to do anything, but by now you’re starting to realize there are a lot of dates you don’t seem to have marked down. If you’re smart you’ll buy a couple presents, wrap them, and keep them in your car. This way you can always say, “Oh, I forgot your present in the car.”

4. The First Time You Met Her Parents: Remember this awkward day? This event is one of the official markers of commitment in her mind, so don’t forget it. The day she invited you over to meet the parents was actually the day you proposed and didn’t know it.

5. The First Time You Talked Marriage: Remember that time you were watching the Princess Bride, and that funny look guy that say’s “Mawage, is what bings us togeber today?” Well, that was your first official conversation about marriage and you totally missed it. I can only pray you don’t forget this while she’s pregnant.

6. The First Time You Talked About Having Kids: This one will be a challenge for you to remember because it wasn’t an actual conversation. You were at Best Buy getting ink for the printer and you saw a cute little kid and said something like, “Wow, that’s a cute little guy. I can’t wait to have kids.” She won’t even have said a word, but that date was just logged into the database in her mind as a new anniversary date you are now expected to celebrate.

7. The First Argument: I know what you’re thinking; why in the world would she remember this day? In her mind, the first argument marks the day your relationship went from being a surface level relationship to one of depth and true love. Forgetting this day is the equivalent of taking off your ring and stomping on it. Don’t do this.

8. The First Time You Didn’t Die: Remember that time you were driving home from her house and you got caught in traffic? You usually always call her to let her know you’re home, but that day you decided you didn’t need too. Well, the second you made the decision not to call was also the second she started thinking you were dead. With every passing minute she planned your funeral and her tragic life without you. Once she had figured out every last detail is when you finally got home and made the call. After an outburst of anger she then book marked that event into her mind as a day to remember forever. You forgot all about it, but she has immortalized the fact that you didn’t die.

9. The First Picture Together: Here is a day no guy remembers. In our digital age, the first picture was likely taken on your iPhone at Chipotle’s, but in her mind is was as significant as any wedding photo. You probably have guacamole on your lip, but she was mentally marking that photo as a day to celebrate.

10. The First Prayer: There is no doubt this was a significant moment, but once again she probably remember it differently than you do. You remember asking God to bless your burrito’s, but she heard was a quote from Pride and Prejudice. “Elizabeth quietly answered “Undoubtedly;” and after an awkward pause, they returned to the rest of the family. Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard.  It was a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins’s making two offers of marriage within three days was nothing in comparison of his being now accepted.  She had always felt that Charlotte’s opinion of matrimony was not exactly like her own, but she had not supposed it to be possible that, when called into action, she would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage. Charlotte the wife of Mr. Collins was a most humiliating picture! And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.” Scary stuff, but that’s the significance of the first prayer.

11. The First Time You Hurt Her Feelings: This day will never be forgotten because you’re a big jerk. End of story.

12. The First Time You Made Up: Need I say more.

13. The First Time Of Her Parents Anniversary: I know, right now you’re saying ‘what?’ Yes, at some point you’re going to celebrate the fact that her parents fell in love and got married. It’s going to confuse you, but go with it. It’s not that you don’t want to celebrate things like this, but you just don’t know what is celebratory and what isn’t. At this point it’s time for you to throw out an anniversary date of your own just to switch things up a bit. This is an opportunity for you to celebrate something like the first ball game you took her too. Once you tell her of the date, she will then inform you that you have the wrong date, and then she will go grab the ticket stub to prove you wrong.

14. The First Time You Made Her Laugh: This is a day she celebrates because once kids come along there is just a lot of crying and sleepless nights. The fact you don’t remember the first time you made her laugh will make her cry though, so be prepared.

15. The First Time You Did The Dishes: Before getting married we only did the dishes once, and that was just to wash off the mold growing on the side of our coffee cup. We probably didn’t even use soap to get it off. So you can appreciate the fact she celebrates this day. The day represents the day you as a man were domesticated and transformed from a disgusting bachelor to a well mannered family man.

16. The First Diaper You Changed: She celebrates this day because of the comic relief involved in it all. For most of us men we had no idea our babies could poop on their heads, let alone poop a sticky paste that is impossible to wipe off. This is the one date you don’t need to remember. She is celebrating this one all on her own.

17. The First Time You Touched: This one isn’t what you think. Remember that time you took her to Starbucks and ordered a triple grande four raw sugar soy latte for her, which she takes to sips of, and when you handed her the cup your fingers brushed. You didn’t think anything of it, but she immediately went to the bathroom and tweeted sixteen of her friends about the encounter. I hope you enjoyed that touch because during pregnancy her favorite words will be, “Don’t touch me.”

18. The First Time You Held Hands: Finally, a day you can understand, kind of anyway.

19. The First Time You Danced: 90% of men try with all their might to erase this moment from their memory, but she won’t let you. She might even make you dance in the living room. No doubt you have forgotten the moves you learned for your wedding, but don’t worry, she’ll remind you.

20. ?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve celebrated?

Lightening Sabers: A Whistle In The Dark Teaser

12 Apr

 

“Whoa!” Henry Thomas exclaimed at the sight of lightening bugs.  “Come with me,” Eaner said, leaving two of the eight positions in the outfield vacant as he and Henry Thomas scurried off to the grassy lot adjacent to his house.  “Take off your hat Henry and use it as a net and I’ll show you something really cool.  My sister hates when I do this because it’s a little gross, but you have to see this.”  Eaner waved his hat into the night sky, snagging unsuspecting fireflies in mid-flight.  “Here’s what you do,” Eaner said fingering an innocent bug.  “You see the light at the end here?”  “You mean the butt?”  Henry snickered.  “Yeah, the butt I guess.”  Eaner replied.  “Take the butt and tear it off.”  “That’s disgusting!”  Henry protested.  “Just wait and see.  I told you it was kind of gross.  So once you rip off the butt, as you call it, you squeeze the juice out of it and onto your hands.”  “I’m not squeezing the juice of a bugs butt onto my hands.  That’s gross!”  “You haven’t seen the cool part yet.  You see, you squeeze the juice out and smear it wherever you want it to glow, and then wa la, you have your very own light saber.”  Eaner waved his hand leaving trails of light behind wherever it had been.  “That’s so awesome!”  Henry gawked.  “See, I told you.”

Quickly, Henry caught a bug and repeated the act.  In a matter of moments the two boys were glowing warriors battling the forces of darkness with bug juice and boyish energy.  “I forgot to tell you one thing,” Eaner said, putting a pause to the galactic battle.  “What?”  “Smell your hand”.  Henry lifted his hand toward his nostril and let out a putrid holler as the scent registered in his senses.  “I was so excited to show you it that I forgot how bad it smells.”  “It’s horrible!”  Henry exclaimed.  “There’s one more thing though.”  Eaner said hesitantly as if he’d just snuck a quarter out of his mom’s purse and been caught red handed.  “What?”  Henry replied not really sure he wanted to know what Eaner was going to tell him.  “This glow juice is really hard to wash off,  I mean really hard!”  “How hard, Eaner?”  “Like, maybe a couple days to wash off hard!”  Eaner replied sheepishly.  “Awwwe!, Henry let out in a light hearted disgusted gasp of disapproval as the previous battle resumed with heightened intensity.  Soon the two boys were rolling in oak leaves laughing and stinking the night away.

 

Excerpt: A Whistle In The Dark: The Adventures Of Eaner Pickernan

 

 

It’s All In The Follow Through

11 Apr

Remember back in little league, or swim lessons, or basketball camp, or underwater basket weaving school, and your coach kept telling you, “it’s all in the follow through,” and you had no idea what in the world they were talking about? They always over emphasized the second syllable when they said it too, driving home to our eight year old brains that everything in life somehow depended upon that moment in time, and the swing you were about to perform. Never mind that 98% of us missed that swing and are still dealing with the emotional aftermath of our epic failure. To this day we still flash back to the moment our lives spiraled out of control because we missed that pitch. We didn’t follow through.

Well, years have come and gone, and whether or not we’ve healed from the traumatic experiences of our childhood, we’re beginning to realize what our coaches told us is true. Follow through is everything. No matter what we put our hands to in life, we soon discover that only the things we follow through on actually come to fruition. For once the grown ups were right.

I’m pathetic at follow through. There are so many things I’ve started over the past few years that I just haven’t finished. Those things are like a splinter in my brain. Doing anything worth while takes determination to see it to it’s end. Easter is the perfect example of the ultimate follow through. In a garden long ago our ancestors succumbed to the temptation to be like God, and through disobedience spiraled all of mankind into darkness. But, it was in a garden two thousand years ago that another battle ensued. A battle for our freedom. It was at an olive press where our Lord was crushed in taking on the weight of our sins. It was in this garden that He delivered a death blow to self and surrendered Himself to the will of His father. What was once lost through disobedience was recovered once and for all through perfect obedience. In this garden His mind was made up, and we know the rest of the story well. He followed through.

I’m so glad Jesus isn’t as horrible at follow through as I am, but he’s calling us to something more. Like our coach’s in the past, Jesus is calling us to follow through. To follow through with that conversation you don’t want to have. To follow through with an apology we need to give. To follow through with forgiveness we need to extend. He even wants us to follow through with those dreams we’ve put off. Everything depends on the follow through.

What is it you need to follow through on today?

The Car Seat: The Best Contraception Known To Man

9 Apr

Are you thinking about having children? You MUST read this: Yes there are ten steps, and there’s a 41 page book that explains it all, plus a page for notes if you need it.

1. Set the straps: This first step seems like such a no brainer, but if you’re not careful you may find a headache the size of the Grand Canyon. Whatever you do don’t flippantly bypass this step and think you’ll be able to do it in the car quickly. Here’s what will happen of you do; you will already be running 15 minutes late to some engagement, but messing with straps sounds like such drag. You’ll grab your kiddo with a diaper bag in one hand, a blanket, sippy cup, 3 Sandra Boynton books about barnyard animals, a ball, a hungry caterpillar stuffed animal, a snack cup that is supposed to minimize messiness but doesn’t, and the house keys all in the other hand. Good luck locking the door. Once you’ve made it out to the car you’ll drop everything in the seat, except the baby hopefully, and then realize the straps are to loose. You then have to figure out what to do with your infant child as you mess with those lousy straps.

Your baby barely moves so you think it will be fine to lay him/her on the seat. Once you feel like you have the baby in a secure position you try to reset the straps, but soon find out you have to take apart the back of the car seat in order to accomplish this. You’ll take off the seat cover, remove some weird foam, and a plastic cover that will rip off two of your fingernails because it’s on there so firmly, and finally see the spot to reset the strap.  By now, your baby has almost rolled off the seat, which causes you to dive to stop it. You’re able to save the disaster, but whack your shin and scrape your arm on the exposed plastic from the car seat. After 20 minutes of juggling your baby and the car seat, you’ll have reset the straps, but you’ll never make this mistake again. This leads us to our next step.

2. Front or rear facing: If you’re a new dad, you probably have no clue whether or not your baby is supposed to face forward or backward. If you’re anything like me, you didn’t even have a car seat as a kid. How did we ever survive? Well, just to keep it simple all you have to do is answer one question to determine whether or not your car seat should face forward or backward. Is your baby still puking on you daily? If the answer is yes, your car seat needs to face backward (Yes, I know the picture is forward facing). Some of you are asking, how will I be able to see my child? Well, right next to the baby spa section at Babies ‘R’ Us is the mirrors that attach to back seat. Just ask you clerk if you can’t find it and they will show you that and a million other things you never dreamed you would need. If your child can run faster than you and try’s to evade you at every turn, your child is probably ready for the front facing. This way they can thrown their food at the back of your head on every car trip. Won’t that be fun.

3. What are these hooks for: Now that you’ve determined which way you car seat should face, you now have the task of securing it in the car. You would think there would only be one way of doing this, but you would be wrong, dead wrong. There are actually four ways. Two we already discussed, forward or backward, but now you must decide whether or not to use the seat belt or hooks to secure the seat. Let’s talk about the hooks first. Dangling at the bottom of the car seat and in the back is three hooks you will try to shove in every crevice and crack of your vehicle. After spending five minutes, and feeling like a complete moron because you couldn’t conquer the hooks, you will resign yourself to use the seat belt. You know how to use a seat belt after all, how hard could that be.

 

4. Where does the seat belt go: It goes in one of the three holes that says “feed seat belt here.” Keep in mind there is only one right hole. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

5. Why won’t the seat belt tighten: Once you’ve wedged yourself into the tiny seat, pull on the shoulder strap with all your might. You need to get a lot of strap because once you start feeding it into the seat belt, the belt is going to lock up and not allow you to adjust it if you need more length. Most likely, you will feed the seat belt through hole and be about two inches shy of being able to clip the belt in. Repeat this process four more times or until you consider strangling yourself with the seat belt.

 

 

6. Should it move like this: Once you’ve pulled so much you’ve strained your eyeball and probably sweat drops of blood, you’ve finally clipped the belt in. With a deep sense of satisfaction and confidence, you will lean back to get a good look at the feat you’ve accomplished. As you lean back you’ll notice the seat moves with you. This is when you realize you used the wrong hole. Repeat steps four through six again.

 

 

7. Sit on it: Now that you’ve realized the error of using the wrong hole, you’ll feed it into the right place, but realize you need some weight to get the seat tight. The only way to do this is to wedge yourself into the tiny seat and pull with all your might once again, careful not to rupture any capillaries.

 

 

 

8. Pull your hair out: Now is a good time to loose it. You’re 45 minutes late to where ever it was you were going, your baby is creaming uncontrollably, you’ve ripped two of your fingernails off, and your eyeball hurts. The only thing to do at this point is to have a good old fashion conniption fit. After a few minutes of this you’ll feel like a new man. Once you calm down, it’s time to move on to the next step. This step could take anywhere from five to ten minutes depending on pain levels.

 

 

9. Read the manual: Now that you’ve calmed down it’s time to resort to the one thing you never thought you would have to do. After pulling out your hair it’s time to read the 41 page manual that’s attached to your car seat. Yes, I said 41 pages. After 45 minutes of feeling like a total moron, you should be encouraged that it took the manufacturers 41 pages to explain the installation process. You’re still getting your man card taken away for your failure to figure it out on your own, but that’s another story.

 

 

10. Ask a woman to put it in: You’re late, hurt, frustrated, and emasculated. You’ve read the simple 41 page book explaining the process, but still you can’t figure it out. It’s time for the 10th and final step. Pick up your baby and step out of the vehicle. Look around you, if there is a woman (it can be any woman), ask them to put it in. In 45 seconds you’ll be on your way. Mother in laws work great for this.

Hopefully these instruction will help you overcome the adversities of installing a car seat, and if not, at least it will serve as a reminder that, the car seat is the best contraception known to man.

If you liked this post, check out: 10 Lessons Learned The Hard Way

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