Coach Chapman's Blog

The new Fahlin? You will recall the acrimonious moments we’ve had with Fahl Fahl. The ups and the downs. The emotional outbursts. The tantrums. The power struggles. Well, the new Fahlin has emerged, and you will never guess how we did it. It was a stroke of genius most certainly. Even though it is early in this grand experiment, it would seem that Yolanda and I have once again solidified ourselves on the Mt. Rushmore of Parenting. How did we do it?

Fahlin had been asking why Jayne, Lydia, Izzy and myself get up so much earlier than her to eat and why we get to have better breakfasts than she has. She followed that up with, “Can I get up with them and eat breakfast with everyone?” So, I said, “sure,” not knowing what the outcome would be.

It started about a week ago with ‘test drive.’ “We will try it, Fahlin, but if you are going to be grumpy and uncooperative, we will not do this again. Understood?”

“Uh huh,” she nodded. The experiment began the next morning. Now mind you, while my wife gets that extra hour of beauty rest (not that she needs it because she is already so beautiful), I fix nice breakfasts for my girls. Plenty of protein, eggs mainly, sometimes fried, sometimes scrambled, sometimes omelets, but always eggs. Then there is always the accompanying whole-wheat toast, sometimes honey cinnamon toast, whole grain bagels, or sometimes the weekly bowl of oatmeal or Cheerios or Wheaties; no junk cereal for us. And then there is always the weekly Pancake Day or even French toast day. I do it up right. Izzy has bought in. Jayne will eat anything. Lydia complains about anything that is not made with 100% sugar or chocolate, and Fahlin, well Fahlin calls herself a ‘foodie’ because she will try anything.

So we got Fahlin up at 5:35. She got dressed, hit the bathroom, and came down all smiles ready for breakfast. I read the Bible like I always do each morning and prayed, and then we ate. She ate. No complaints. Excited. Happy. Who knew? The next day, same result. Next day, same result. Next day, same result. She still goes to bed at the same time, so she’s actually sleeping less, which I thought would make her grumpier, but noooooo, not at all.

So yesterday my wife texted me after she dropped Fahlin off at school. “I like the new Fahlin!” So far, so good. Who knew? Who could have predicted this? Even though we only one week into this grand experiment, I guess it really is time to get that spot ready for us on the Mt. Rushmore of Parenting!

Read More about April 19, 2018

Do you remember a while back when I referred to Fahlin as ‘The Puzzler” due to her prowess as puzzle putter-togetherer? Well, I have officially removed that title from her. Yep, I started a new 500 piece puzzle and was all excited to have some Daddy / daughter time but something unusual happened. Fahlin decided she was not helping with this puzzle. It could have been that she was intimidated by the small sizes of the pieces, or that the number 500 scared her off, or even that the picture looked difficult, but whatever the case, she was not interested.

“C’mon Fahl, let’s do the puzzle,” I would implore to no avail. That was three weeks ago. I have been plugging away at this stupid puzzle, by myself for three weeks. It turned out it was a rather difficult puzzle. The painting was of a French river lined with European styled row houses, townhouses and buildings done in a sort of impressionist style. Every square inch was covered in a plethora of colors. On top of all of that, the pieces were all tiny and were cut very similarly to every other piece.  Of course the outside edge pieces were the easiest part. They always are. But there were days when I agonized, sometimes only assembling four pieces.

“C’mon Fahl, help your Dad,” I would implore often, to continued no avail. It is lonely trying to do a puzzle by your self. Some would say peaceful. Others might say relaxing. Others might even say it’s better that binge watching a show on Netflix. I say frustrating. But nevertheless, I plugged away, day after day after day, with no help from my daughter, the former “Puzzler.”

So today, I was finally on the homestretch. The water and the sky. Guess who all of a sudden wanted to help? The former “Puzzler.” But guess what? She came, one piece, looked around for a while and took off, no longer interested. That didn’t take long. So I finally finished it. My daughter Izzy, cold hands and all, jumped in to the last few pieces of sky. Done! Finito! Only took me three weeks. She will probably try to take the credit at some point.

I only have one thing to say to you Fahl Fahl, “Ha, “Puzzler,” take that!!!”

Read More about April 15, 2018

Well, Fahlin has taken up songwriting. I found this out when I noticed the girls were quiet, the house was quiet and well, the house is never quiet; hasn’t been since our eldest was born. She says Jayne helped, but after watching the performance of the song, I was pretty much convinced that Jayne was just ‘in the room.’

I yelled upstairs, “What are you girls doing?” I noticed the door was shut.

The door opened, Fahlin’s head popped out, “We’re writing a song, Dad!”

‘Oh, okay, well, I want to hear it when you’re finished,” I said, expecting this to take a while. Five minutes later, they cane clomping down the stairs.

“We’re done,” they announced.

“What’s the song about?”

“God,” Fahlin responded. “We are writing songs about God because Uncle Steve writes songs about God.”

“He writes a LOT of songs about God, girls. Okay, who is going to sing it for me?”

“I am,” said Fahlin, simultaneously with Jayne’s “Fahlin is.”

I videoed the performance. “Hey, if this song is a good song, we need to send this to Uncle Steve.” She immediately faked acting shy, but she sang it beautifully.

Here are the lyrics:

Help us God, we know you can

Help us God, we know you can

Help us when we need it

You give us strength and power

Everyday oooooooo

God you made the world

And everything that’s in it

And it’s beautiful (It’s beautiful) Fahlin says if it’s in parenthesis, you repeat it…hahah)

I thought it was great. So after she finished singing, we watched the video. “Okay,” I said, “Let’s send it to uncle Steve and Aunt Mary Beth.”

[Note: in case this is the first time you’ve read this blog, Uncle Steve is contemporary Christian recording artist multi-Grammy and Dove award winning singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman and one of the most prolific, if not THE most prolific Christian singer/songwriter of all time.]

It didn’t take long for Aunt Mary Beth to respond first. She said she cried when she heard it. Not long after that, Uncle Steve, who was on the road and getting ready to go stage for one of his shows, also sent a video back to Fahlin telling her how proud he was of her and to keep writing songs about God and Jesus. It so sweet of him to take time out of his hectic schedule to text her back. Fahlin just smiled from ear to ear.

I guess we will see if this grows into a career, after all, ya gotta start somewhere!

Read More about April 9, 2018

Fahlin turns nine today. That’s nine years she was never supposed to have. Nine years of life. When something this miraculous happens I can’t help but wonder what it is the God has in store for this little girl?

“…For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 27:11

Now that I am progressing up the age the ladder, I look back on my life and wonder, is what has occurred in my life, the plan for my life? Was everything up to this point preparation to parent a bunch of little girls with serious medical needs? I am not quite sure how any of my individual experiences could have possibly been related to anything related to these girls, and Fahlin in particular.

I guess all those stupid things I did as a teenager somehow prepared me? Put it behind me and move on I suppose. Or all those mistakes I made in my 20’s? Put those behind me and move on I suppose? Or all the parenting mistakes I made with our first gaggle of children? Put those behind and move on as well I also suppose? What about all of those nights on the road singing away from my family? Did that help? Somehow I suppose? What about all the coaching I have done? Did that help? And what all the continued (alleged) bonehead things my wife continually points out to me? That all helps?

“…I know the plans I have made for you…” Jeremiah 12:11

I trust that God did indeed weave all of this together. For his master plan to work in connecting our lives, Fahlin’s and mine, God’s hand is deeply involved. How else could two lives come together from so far apart? How else could every roadblock we didn’t know about get broken down? How else could every detail be worked out in order for us to be here at this time with Fahlin?

And what about the medical advances that have happened in just the past nine years Fahlin has been alive? Apparently, two years ago, a 3D model of a patient’s actual heart was not possible, but is now. And who knows how many more advances have helped save Fahlin’s Life? For that matter, what about all of the lives we have crossed paths with in order to get here and all their past life experiences? Our family and extended family, teachers and professors, husbands and wives, pilots who flew us, flight attendants who attended us, the doctors, nurses, techs, receptionists, employers, well, if you try to think of every possible link or connection, you see that this would be never ending. All inter-woven and connected…and we don’t even realize it. The mind-boggling crisscrossing of all of these wires boggles my already boggled mind. Just what I need, a more boggled mind than I already have!

 “…For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 27:11

As I type this, I am sitting across from Fahlin at the table while she puts together her new Lego Friends Playhouse. Have you ever seen how many pieces these things have? And the instruction booklet is more like volume than a booklet. Anyway, as she sings songs from The Greatest Showman and works on her Legos, I stare at her. God’s miracle girl…and I am glad I’m here with her on this journey that will take our family and us to who knows where?

“…For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 27:11

Read More about April 1, 2018