Monday, September 24, 2012


One thing that drives me nuts is kids who are ungrateful. You’ve seen them. They stand in the checkout line at the grocery store next to a mother who has a heavily laden buggy – usually filled with items custom tailored for said ungrateful kids – and whine and complain about what they don’t have in life. “But Mom, why can’t I have the chocolate bar??? But Mom. But Mom. Mommmmmm.” It is enough to make me seriously consider the virtues of a one-child policy or mass sterilization. In fact, for years Eric and I called those encounters “birth control” because we left the store so disenchanted with the whole parenting experience that our timeline for beginning a family got bumped back by six months every time we ran into one of those kids.
I suppose I am especially sensitive to the issue because Eric has devoted his life to non-profit work. He has always, for as long as we have been together, poured his soul into helping those less fortunate than the rest of us. I get a blow-by-blow of what happens in his world each and every evening, and this insight serves to drastically lower my tolerance for those who cannot appreciate the wealth they have been given in life.
Unfortunately, all of us fall prey to this insidious culture. Just the other day, after two hours of fun mother/daughter shopping for Easter supplies, Riley pouted in the back seat of the car because she wasn’t able to find exactly what she wanted. Let’s be clear, she didn’t come home empty-handed by any means, but that perfect item had remained elusive. I was seriously ticked off. As I contemplated my response, I ran through every scenario from grabbing her bunny ears off her head and throwing them out the window of the car to throwing all her toys into a trash bag and donating them to The Salvation Army to losing my temper and yelling at her to be grateful for what she has.
Thankfully, I didn’t do any of those things. And the reason why I didn’t was because, just that afternoon, I had watched Shawn Achor speak about real happiness…and real happiness entails cultivating a culture of gratefulness. So, instead of throwing a fit or stripping Riley’s bedroom, I decided that the Frans family is going to do an Experiment in Gratitude. Following on Achor’s suggestions, each night we are each going to share three things for which we are grateful. Instead of griping and complaining about lack of gratitude, we are going to start practicing it…together…because we can all use a dose of real happiness in our lives.
I highly recommend that you watch this video from Achor. Not only will you laugh your bunny tail off, but you might just find the keys to beginning an Experiment in Gratitude for your home as well.

ERYN-FAYE FRANS, Canada's Passion Coach ®

Monday, September 17, 2012


This week Mommyhood smacked me in the face in a rather unpleasant way (don’t worry…there is a happy ending).

Baby Boy turned four months old yesterday, and it has been a glorious four months! He is sweet and smiley. It is so fun to watch how much his daddy loves him. I steal kisses and snuggles every change I get. And as Caring Wifey and Mama Bear and Business Woman I have generally felt in control.

That is…up until this week. Baby Boy started running a temperature. I spent lots of time sucking snot out of his nose, rocking him when he couldn’t sleep, talking to doctors. I cancelled all of my plans for the week. And I had lots of time to think about how this New Mama business was influencing my life.

I realized that in general as a stay-at-home-mom I would actually need to start staying home sometimes (imagine that). With the birth of Baby Boy my heart priorities had changed, but up until this week my schedule was not reflecting it. I have been swallowing the hard truth that I cannot be the one in control. (Was I ever really?)

My sink is full: 

I can’t make plans without thinking through a feeding/nap/bag-packing schedule.


My workflow revolves around Baby Boy’s attention span with his current toy.


I think I might be swallowed by my to-do list very soon.


My emotions were starting to completely take over, and I knew I needed help. I opened my bible.


I still am surprised at how perfectly the bible speaks to my life. Psalm 90 reminded me to “number [my] days, that [I] may gain a heart of wisdom” (verse 12). I don’t have unlimited time on earth. Am I using it wisely? Do I love people well? Or do I get caught up in my own schedule – what I want to do?

“If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due” (Psalm 90:11). Am I taking God seriously? He wants me to have life to the fullest, and to know true love, so His anger should be a warning for me to return to Him.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). Instead of trying to satisfy myself with what I’ve accomplished (work, exercising, completing errands) which will leave me tired and empty, I can ask the Lord to satisfy me – and I will sing for joy.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17). This makes me want to cry. I DO have a purpose. I have work to do, and when God is the one setting it out for me, it is worth doing.

Lindsay Kaye Photography

Monday, September 10, 2012


There are moments in your life that you will never forget.  It's as if they are snapshots that are stored away in the attic of your mind.  Your first kiss, prom, your wedding day, laughs with your best friend...  The list is endless, and is different for everyone.  The thing each moment has in common is that it elicited an extreme emotion.  Excitement.  Happiness.  Thrill.  Sadness.  Grief...  I think that's the toughest one.  You remember the first moment, and even though the ones shortly thereafter are a blur, that first moment is a snapshot that will be stored for the rest of your life. 

I had never experienced grief personally until this year.  I've had grandparents pass, and stood by friends as they went through their grieving process, but I never really knew what it felt like.  When someone dies that you're close to, it's a game changer.  It's a life changer.  When I left work on April 3rd, and called Aaron on my way home like I do every day, I don't think I could have prepared myself for what he was going to tell me.  I don't think he could have told me any differently to make it less shocking, or hurt less.  I remember that I was driving down Regents and was almost at the light when he said, "I have some bad news."  I actually kind of joked with him, thinking that it was going to be something trivial.  Then he said words that I was definitely not expecting, "Jacob is dead."  Pause...  "What!?!"  "Jacob is dead."  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  He gave me the details he had.  I drove home.  I made a few calls to people that were expecting to see me that night.  Then as a family, we grieved the first night.  There were tears.  Lots and lots of tears.  There was a lot of praying, and more tears.  I actually thought after the first night that I would go back to work the next day.  Then, I woke up.  Text after text saying the same thing.  Each time we hit send, it was more real.  And there were more tears.  We met as a family the second day, and discussed what steps to take next.  I have to say, that as a family, we really pulled together during this time of great sadness.  I have been told that a death can really bring out the worst in people, but I would say it was the opposite for us.  What it came down to was; we wanted to honor Jacob, and we wanted to share his salvation with others and the hope that we each have because of it.  On Wednesday, April 18th with the support of so many family and friends, we did just that.  Our pastor delivered a wonderful message, a friend of ours sang beautiful songs, and the Holy Spirit was definitely at work that day.  

:: SIDEBAR :: I want to say, "Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!" from the bottom of my heart to everyone that helped put on the service and reception that day.  It was perfect.  There were so many people from our church that made snacks, donated money toward refreshments, and said prayers for us that day that we never properly thanked.  I bought a box of "Thank You" cards to send out, and as they sat on the counter staring at me, I thought it would make it too final if I wrote them out.  So if you were someone that helped that day, and I never properly thanked you, I am so very sorry.  Please know that it meant the world to not only us, but to our entire family.  You each were truly the hands and feet of Jesus in our time of great sadness. :: SIDEBAR END ::

Now, five months have passed.  We each go about our days in a fairly regular manner.  But it's different.  The new normal.  We're still sad.  I was praying out loud with Aaron, just a few days ago, asking God to strengthen us, and I started crying.  I don't do that.  I don't cry at random times.  That's grief.  I'm wondering when the thought, "You should be here for this." will stop, or if it ever will.  We miss him.  He would have turned 25 on Saturday.  And even though 25 causes mini-quarter life crises, it's a rite of passage to your late 20's that I would have loved to celebrate with him.  So...  Good.  Grief.  I think that's what I'm going through.  Grieving is different for everyone, and I feel so blessed to have people in my life that not only recognize that, but have taken the time to talk me through it.  Not every day is a great day, but I hear that as time passes, and we continue to lean on the Lord, the not-so-good days will be farther and farther apart.


Monday, September 3, 2012


I have a new addiction in my life. It’s a Vitamix blender. On our recent trip to Texas, we picked one up and since we returned, I have been using it 2-3 times a day. It is truly a glorious thing. You can even make soup in it. Blend for 10 minutes, and it is steaming hot!
My daughter is wholly on board with the new toy too. Every morning, she says to me, “Can I have a smoothie for lunch?” Of course I say yes, because it gives me another opportunity to indulge in my addiction. That, and the fact that she now – very happily – skips off to school to eat a staggering conglomeration of fruits and veggies without a whimper of protest. The amount of spinach that child has consumed is nothing short of a miracle.
But here is what my Vitamix has taught me. One of my passions, one of my “causes” in life is healthy living. This stems back to the fact that I became a cancer orphan at 21, my aunt is a breast-cancer survivor, my sister has had pre-cancerous cells and my daughter was diagnosed with Severe Chronic Neutropenia at 13 months. Pretty grim.
However, I have also realized that my cause stems from a deep desire to love my family. As Bell Hooks says, “To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility.”
I crazy love my family. I truly believe my husband to be the most amazing man and my daughter to be the most fascinating girl on the face of the planet. But loving them entails taking care of myself. When I choose to put down the candy bar and replace it with an apple, it is not because I am trying to look like Jennifer Garner (although she is gorgeous and there are days when I would really like to look like her), but it is because what I put in my body is my act of love for Eric and Riley. It extends far beyond speaking love and becomes doing love.
It says, “I choose to do all I can do to make it to your wedding and to the birth of your children.”It says, “I choose to sacrifice that candy bar so that I have more energy for you.” It says, “I choose to eat well so that my brain functions better…and I am thereby more patient, kind and compassionate with you.” It says, “Even though I would really like to go on a binge, I choose you instead.”
Some days, I do better than others. But that’s ok. Because it not about expecting perfection of myself, it is about choosing the journey.

ERYN-FAYE FRANS, ® Canada's Passion Coach