If you don’t already know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Michael. I’m a husband to a wife who doesn’t deserve me. (Seriously. Shelly deserves much better.) I am a dad. (That should be obvious based on the title of the blog, but, maybe someone hasn’t had their coffee yet.) And I am a follower of Jesus.
I started this blog because being a good dad is hugely important, not just for me and my children, but for all dads and their kids. I want to inspire and encourage other dads in this adventure of fatherhood. Being a dad can be extremely difficult at times, but it is also incredibly rewarding and oftentimes so much fun! If you are a dad, please know that I am praying for you and your family, even if I don’t know you by name. God does.
My hope is that you’ll get to know me a little bit here, and that will help you understand me and trust the things I say. Not that everything I always say is perfect, but I hope that my passion for Jesus and fatherhood is evident. And, hopefully, you’ll understand my quirky humor.
So, you should probably know that I’m a bit of a Seinfeld junkie. I can sometimes be a little sarcastic. (My six-year-old said to me this week, “I’m sensing your sarcasm.” Oops!) Calvin and Hobbes is my favorite comic strip ever. I’m a geography nerd. I have a soft spot for black labs. When I was young, I wanted to be in Boyz II Men. I used to drive a truck, but now I drive a minivan. I loathe white chocolate. I foolishly believe I could be an Olympic curler even though I’ve never tried the sport. And a squirrel gave me a high-five, once. (True story.)
Okay, so maybe those aren’t all that important, so, here are 10 important facts about me!
1. I love Jesus.
I don’t say this to boast about myself but to lift up Jesus. I am no super-Christian (if there even is such a thing). I am far from perfect, and some days I struggle in my relationship with Jesus (just like any relationship).
The number one thing I hope people will say about me is, “He loved Jesus.” I am still growing in my love and faith. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t always honor Jesus the way I want, but I have absolutely been changed by his love. One thing I have learned by experience is that life is always better with Jesus than without him.
My relationship with Jesus shapes who I am, including being a dad. While I believe this blog will be beneficial to all dads, it should be known that my faith will play a prominent role. It is never my intention to cram Jesus down anyone’s throat; rather, I hope that everyone will see how awesome it is to be on adventure with him!
2. I love being a husband and dad.
The number two thing I hope people will say about me is that I that I loved my wife and kids. As I mentioned before, I am married to Shelly. She is an amazing wife and mother. At the time of this writing, we have a 10-year-old daughter, a six-year-old son, an almost four-year-old son, and another son on the way. We live in St. Louis, Missouri, which is an awesome place to raise a family.
My family is hugely important to me. They are a gift from God, and I hope to honor him with the way I take care of my family. I am passionate about a lot of things, but I never want my family to doubt that I love and care about them.
This passion drives me to help encourage other husbands and dads. Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not. I am constantly trying to learn from others, and I hope to form a strong community of men who can encourage each other to be the best men we can be through Christ!
Guys, being a dad is one of the coolest jobs, ever! We have the privilege of helping our kids experience God’s love; we get to teach them how to make wise choices, throw a baseball, mow the yard, and drive a car. And we get to play with legos and lightsabers, build blanket forts and rocket ships, and have snowball fights and tickle fights. Like I said, “Best job ever!”
3. I am a travel junkie.
Travel is one of our family’s favorite activities. Our youngest son (three years old) has been to 35 states and Canada, and our two older kids (six and ten years old) have been to 38 states and Canada! I have currently been to 43 states, Canada, Mexico, and Grand Cayman. I am looking forward to checking off the last eight states (Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, North Dakota, and Minnesota) and doing more international travel!
We love visiting our National Parks, and I have currently been to 19 of the 60 US National Parks. We fell in love with the National Parks when we visited Yellowstone (and five other National Parks and Monuments) in the summer of 2016. In the summer of 2017, we visited eight National Parks in the Southwest!
Travel provides an education you can’t get in a classroom or online. In addition to allowing us to experience history, nature, and different cultures, travel teaches our family how to work together and helps us understand other people better. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
4. Music is deeply rooted in my life and my family.
My love of music comes from both sides of my family. Both of my parents have degrees in music, and my mom was an elementary music teacher for many years. Grandparents, aunts, and cousins are also singers and musicians.
I grew up playing piano, trumpet (and various other brass instruments) and performing in several singing groups. In college, I sang tenor and baritone in choir, and I played bass guitar and did vocals in a rock band. I have led worship in church since I was a kid, and I also play guitar. Music is one of my favorite ways to connect with God and others, and I am successfully passing this love for music on to my own kids!
5. I am an avid sports fan.
I grew up playing baseball, soccer, football, and golf, but I have learned that I am a much better coach than athlete! Today, I enjoy coaching our sons in baseball and football and cheering on our daughter in basketball and softball.
We live in St. Louis, which is baseball heaven. As a fan, some of my greatest live sports moments are being there when Albert Pujols launched Brad Lidge’s pitch into orbit during Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS and being right behind the Oklahoma bench when Adrian Peterson and the Sooners shut out Vince Young and the Longhorns 12-0 in 2004.
6. My friends and family describe me as a foodie.
And I suppose they are right.
It doesn’t take long before my conversations turn to food. I am on a constant quest to discover the best _________ wherever I go. I have found the best brisket in Kansas City, the best cannoli in Boston, the best burrito in San Diego, the best poutine in Toronto, the best Buffalo wings in Buffalo (duh!), the best lasagna in St. Louis, the best ch
ili dog in Los Angeles, the best biscuits and gravy in Pawhuska, OK, and the best pizza and tacos in New York City.
In addition to my love of eating delicious food, I also love to cook! I enjoy trying new recipes from all different cuisines, but my go-tos are Italian, Mexican, and barbecue.
7. I am slightly obsessed with coffee.
Some people might call me a coffee snob. Okay, some people HAVE called me a coffee snob. Coffee is one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed on mankind, so why settle for sub-par coffee?
Coffee shops are one of my greatest places to be indoors. Just the aroma of brewing coffee helps spark my creativity! At home, I prefer to use my Chemex to brew my coffee.
8. I crave the outdoors.
I have always loved spending time outside. Some of my fondest memories growing up are of our family camping or being out on the lake. I am no super adventurer, but hiking and camping are two of our favorite activities for our family. Some of our most memorable hikes have been Delicate Arch in Arches N.P. (Utah), Schoodic Point in Acadia N.P. (Maine), Navajo Loop in Bryce Canyon N.P. (Utah), Inspiration Point in Grand Teton N.P. (Wyoming), and an undisclosed location in Yellowstone N.P. (Wyoming). (Sorry, we didn’t see a single other person on this trail, and we would hate for it to get overcrowded!)
We are so blessed to live in an area with so many great parks and hiking trails. We don’t have to go very far to enjoy a great hike, and we are always discovering new parks and hiking trails in the area. When I am not out in nature, I am probably dreaming about it. I feel closer to God when I am out in nature than anywhere else!
9. I was in full-time youth ministry for 12 years.
During my time in youth ministry, I discovered a lot about children and parenting. I witnessed a variety of family dynamics, and I learned how important dads are. The kids who were heading down a good path almost always had a dad who showed his kids who Jesus is and gave them his time, attention, energy, love, and affection.
I loved my time in youth ministry. I stepped out of paid youth ministry about a year ago, and I still miss a lot of things about it. My wife (a high school English teacher) and I thoroughly enjoy working with middle and high school students. Many people think we are crazy, but we love them! One of my greatest joys is seeing students transformed by the good news of Jesus!
Our daughter will be in middle school next year, so I suspect we will be getting involved in (volunteer) youth ministry very soon!
10. I am now a professional photographer.
Okay, not on the level of Ansel Adams or Jimmy Chin, but I make my living as a photographer. I got my start about nine years ago when my friends recruited me to help with wedding photography. Today, I mainly focus (I truly did not intend on a pun here) on families, high school seniors, and events. I have always had a passion for art and creating, and photography has been a fun way to express my creativity and earn a living!
So, you can expect to see a lot of photos in this blog, although plenty of them will be not-so-perfect ones I took with my iPhone. For me, the moment and emotion are more important than the lighting and composition. And my boys (and sometimes my daughter and wife) don’t usually sit still long enough for me to frame the perfect shot.
I hope the helps you get to know me a little bit better, and I can’t wait to start getting to know a little about many of you! Let’s connect on social media:
I am excited to embark on this journey with all of you!