Story formed

As I sit down to blog today my heart is heavy and encouraged at the same time. Being a stay at home dad has opened up my life to a lot of open space and free time. I’m starting to see the benefits in this. My time is not spread thin and it’s given me time to reflect on what The Lord is trying to uproot in my heart. The main thing that I feel The Lord is teaching me right now is that I’m not in control. This is not a revolutionary discovery or something that was unknown to me but its something that as a parent I am ever more aware of. God is shaping my families story and it is my choice to be faithful where He has me and not try to control my circumstances.

Up until now I’ve been operating out of a narrative that has been so eloquently passed down to me from the culture we live in. Get a good education, find a good wife, buy a house, and have kids. All achievable tasks that I could map out and set out to achieve. The problem in all of this is the education I received hasn’t helped me get the job I wanted, my wife is great but she doesn’t make me happy… all the time, our house is a blessing but its a constant stress, and having a kid is awesome but as many parents know…. it’s hard.

The truth is life IS hard and it is ultimately filled with things we can’t control. I’ve spent a large majority of the past couple of years being frustrated with God for not carrying my plans out as I had mapped them out in my head. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve realized that God is mapping out my story in a way that is far better for me and my family. It has been in surrender to His story and His will that I have finally been ok with being a “stay at home dad”. I want so desperately to have control over our families circumstances because there are things that I want to be different. However, I’ve realized the importance of surrendering the control to The Lord. His plans and His will are better than mine and in this surrender I’ve begun to experience true joy.

My education led me to my wife, my wife to our new baby girl and our house… well that is something The Lord will keep teaching us through. The Lord is telling a story in and through our lives and the only response that seems appropriate is trying to live faithfully and trust Him in our circumstances. He is a good Dad after all.

Ross

Call me Maebyn.

photo(25)Today has been a good day. MaKenzie worked from home, Maebyn slept through the night, and I went to bed with the satisfaction of knowing that Ohio State lost in over time to Michigan. My allegiances fall to Michigan State when it comes to college sports, but living in Ohio has perpetuated my distaste for Ohio State and I cheer vehemently for whoever they are playing against. However, that is neither here nor there or the reason for this blog post.

Maebyn is 5 days away from being 6 months old. It’s crazy how time flies when you’re having fun (shout out to Alex Vogelzang – he said this all day the first time we played together in pre-school and that phrase hasn’t been the same to me since). It also becomes even better when you’re sleep deprived. I thought I would take the time today to explain how we came up with the name Maebyn. It’s a fun story, not a lot of depth but one that I enjoy telling.

When we found out that MaKenzie was with child, we immediately began to compile a list of names that we loved for boys and girls. Most of my names were very creative like Bob, Sam, or Bill. MaKenzie is more of the creative one so she came up with names like Electricity, Pillow, and Flowing Wind. Ok, I’m being a little bit facetious but it seemed at times that this wasn’t far off. At 16 weeks we found out that we were having a baby girl and thus our search had been narrowed.

Come February, with no names that really stuck out to either one of us we continued down our path of me coming up with ridiculously conservative names and MaKenzie coming up with names only crazy celebrities name their dogs. At the end of April, we headed down to Florida for family vacation with my side of the family. We had 18 hours together in the car so we decided to try and come up with a name once and for all. We had kicked around the name Maybe but we were concerned our child would be uncertain her whole life. Through talking about the name Maybe, we landed on Maebyn. I actually thought of it (I know, I was shocked too) because one of my favorite baseball players names is Cameron Maybin. We both liked the name but we weren’t sold. It wasn’t until hour 12 of 18 in the car that we finally decided on Maebyn.

I was driving at the time and it was somewhere between the hours of 3-5 a.m. I love driving at night but with MaKenzie fast asleep and nothing to keep my interest I began to fade fast. I wasn’t going to stop though and risk losing a couple hours of family vacation. So I did the only logical thing I could think of, I downloaded Carley Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe”. I have to admit, I love this song. It makes you happy and at 4 a.m. in the morning I needed something. As I listened to the song on repeat I kept getting butterflies in my stomach thinking about naming my daughter Maebyn. MaKenzie woke up about a half hour into my jam session and she felt much of the same way. Carley Rae had sealed the deal on the name Maebyn.

So what’s the meaning behind the name? Well, embarrassingly enough we chose the name because 1.) we had never heard it before 2.) we liked it and 3.) we kind of wanted a name with a “y” in it. Not exactly a strong case for a name right? Well, after we had Maebyn I began to look into the meaning of her name. Bear with me because the meaning is something that I came up with but I pray that it has set the course for her life. “Mae” means “bitter” or “bitter pursuit” and “Byn” or “Ben” means the “right hand of God.” Maebyn – the bitter pursuit of the right hand of God. I know this translation may be a stretch but when my little girl asks me what her name means, this is the response she will get.

So there you have it, the origin and meaning for my baby girl Maebyn.
Feel free to call her Maeby.

Ross

It ain’t easy bein’ Beazy.

Happy Monday.

Who has two thumbs, is a stay at home dad and didn’t sleep last night? This guy.  No, I didn’t drink too much caffeine during the Super Bowl and Maebyn actually slept through the night. So why didn’t we sleep? Well, we have an over protective, too Beazyalert, and even more determined pit bull named Beazy, who thinks its her job to protect the house at night. Last night was one of those nights that she was not going to let us down.

Sometime around 4 a.m. Beazy noticed there was some living thing on our property and this was just unacceptable. She proceeded to scan the perimeter of the house sniffing loudly, growling, and barking. My favorite part in particular was when she decided to scream-bark directly in front of Maebyn’s room. Honestly, this is nothing new for us. We are used to Beazy getting a wild hair up her ass and being weird, but at 4 am when you have a 6 month old baby, that has been struggling to sleep, it’s enough to make you want to euthanize your own dog (I know this is extreme but at 4 in the morning you can’t be held accountable for your thoughts). It turns out a small bunny had wondered on to our property and had gotten too close to the house for Beazy’s liking.

Was I frustrated with Beazy when she woke the house up to let us know there was a measly bunny outside? In a word… YES. However, there was a break-in at a neighbors house a couple weeks ago, and it does give me some peace of mind knowing that if someone were to enter our house at night, they would have to meet our pitbull Beatrice first. She would undoubtedly greet the stranger in vicious defense of her family (at least this is what I think would happen, although we have no proof since her usual greeting to strangers is constant licking). As crazy as she is, it’s really nice having a friend around to help with my SAHD duties. We’re still working on the diaper-changing but she’s getting close. Beazy loves us and brings our family a lot of joy. It’s great having such a loyal dog and 4 a.m. barking sessions are easily overlooked when you consider she is only trying to do her job as protector of the house. (This may not be entirely true but it helps ease my frustration from lack of sleep).

Here’s to the worlds best dog who has to be on a leash at all times while out side because she’s too crazy and adventurous to handle herself like a normal dog,

Ross

Friends helping friends, helping friends….

Being a stay at home dad has a few perks, I guess. One being that every day seems to look completely different than the day before, seems like that’s the life of a stay at home parent in general. The crazy chaos has a way of surprising you in unexpected ways, a nice twist to the mundane 9-5. I spent the majority of the day Friday with one of my best friends and mentor Mike Zimmermann. He had an apartment that he needed to get ready for a prospective renter and I tried my best to act like I enjoyed painting. I love working on home repairs and miscellaneous things around the house but I always try and push the painting off on my wife. I’m sorry, it’s just the truth. Although I was painting all day, I had a great day. I love spending time with my friends. MaKenzie and I don’t have a ton of friends together as a couple, but the few families that are in our lives we love very deeply and feel like God has very intentionally put them in our path.

I wish you could get paid for being a professional friend. Money, time, and overall responsibilities get in the way of one of the things we are called to do… LIVE IN COMMUNITY. I feel like if one of my friends families succeeds then I succeed, and if one of them hurts then I hurt. Jordan Stone, another one of my close friends, has said that friends/ families showing this kind of love for one another is what The Lord intended the church to look like. This has always seemed like an insurmountable task to me, to love everyone in my church family with this kind of love. However, if I start with my friends and family it seems like a much more achievable task.

All in all, I think I came out of the day with an incredible appreciation and thankfulness for the family and friends MaKenzie and I have been blessed with. Hopefully through our relationships the world will see something that is compelling and different. To all our friends and family, we love you very much. Thank you for all you do for us!!

To wrap this post up I think I’ll part again with the wise words of Clark Griswald… “The most enduring traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin.”

With love,

Ross

Help! … I’m Helpless!

sick mom and baby

The two sickies at the Dykstra household.

On Mondays MaKenzie works from home. They are generally pretty good days because I get to see her most of the day, I can run an errand or two, and we usually eat breakfast and lunch together. If she didn’t have to work all day, Mondays would be perfect. Today however, was a different story and it all started when the clock struck midnight.

Maebyn’s been a great sleeper ever since she was born (12 hours a night since 6 weeks Woo Woo!!) but the last couple weeks have been terrible and last night was much of the same. It’s not her fault. She just figured out she can roll to her belly and discoveries this monumental are enough to keep anyone up at night. All that to say, Maebyn has her first cold and she’s just not feeling well today. On top of this, MaKenzie has felt sick the entire day but has needed to work, thus adding to the frustration level in the house. I also may or may not have added to this stress by taking 2 hours to work out, a couple more to look at potential rehab houses, and generally just being out of the house longer than I should have on a day like today.

When I got home, MaKenzie and I calmly and quietly discussed a couple things that she thought I could do differently when she is working from home, particularly when she and Maebyn are sick. I politely agreed and thanked her for her correction and keeping me accountable to my responsibilities. I then led our family in a prayer where I repented for all my wrong doings and finally we all joined hands and began singing in perfect harmony. Pretty much the exact opposite of all these things is what actually happened. Use your imagination. It’s probably not far off.

I so badly wanted to take away MaKenzie and Maebyn’s sickness today but I couldn’t. I think it was my first experience as a helpless parent. There’s been plenty of times over the past 4 years where I’ve felt like a helpless husband but today was the first time I’ve felt it as a parent. Maebyn has a cold, so I know this is a very small scale to feel this on but none the less it sucks. I want to have control and on days like today I was reminded that I, actually, I have very little control over the day to day happenings of our life.

All in all it wasn’t that great of a day but a day spent with my wife and daughter can’t be categorized as a bad day. Till next time…

The only healthy one in the fam,

Ross

My first entry…

Hi, my name is Ross Dykstra and I am a stay at home dad. I am married to a smoking hott, brilliant, genius woman (MaKenzie Noelle) and together we have a daughter (Maebyn) who is a fresh 5 months old. The purpose for this blog is tell our family story and how it is intrinsically intertwined into the larger story of our Creator God.

Being how this is our first post, I think it’s only right to give a little background into our story. MaKenzie and I met at the one and only Taylor University, as two fresh-faced 18 & 19 year old kids. We got married the summer after she graduated, on August 23, 2008. We both entered marriage with the common American dream of career, house, dog, kids. These things were all I ever wanted and I had found the girl that was perfect to accomplish this with. Next up? Get a job, have two and a half kids and let the wife stay home. To make a long story short, this isn’t our story. Or at least our story isn’t the version I had dreamed of my whole life. It’s taken me 4 years to get to a place where I am no longer angry, frustrated, and upset about my failed dreams.

Like I said earlier, my wife (MaKenzie) is the cats pajama’s. She currently works full time to pay our bills and does countless other things for our family as well, like maintaining a side business she started (shout out). With out her I would be in a bad place. For now our roles are reversed, I’m the care taker and she’s the provider. Our goal is not to stay in these roles forever but for now we see how this is exactly where we need to be. God is discipling us through our unconventional lives right now and we can see him at work. This has probably been the toughest season we have had in our marriage but also the most rewarding. We see that God is on the move and we are excited to see where he leads us.

This blog is meant to show that God is a God of details. We hope that through the story of our family, one that looks much different than the American dream, we can illustrate how there’s more to each of us than what our culture and society defines.

So when you feel like culture around you demands you to be something you’re not, in the words of the beloved family man Clark Griswold, “Kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass.”

Happy Reading,

Ross