It's about an hour until the interview now - I hope all goes well! Joni is on the sleep shift and I (Luke) am up and on baby duty. Bottles made for the day? Check. Diapers stocked? Check. Caffine sourced? CHECK!! All right - I guess we're ready for today! We update this website as often as the trips let us so check back often. Follow along here and/or br friending me on facebook!
Welcome to Grafted Gifts!
We are Luke and Joni Timm and we are very thankful that you've visited us here! Long story short - a few years back we felt as though God was calling our family of five to embryo adoption, and ended getting far more than we bargained for with the birth of our triplets! "What's embryo adoption?" you ask? Don't worry - we didn't know what it was two years ago! It's like regular adoption, only smaller. And it turns out there is a real need for people willing to have children grafted in their lives who otherwise would never have a shot at birth. So with three children, two cats, one dog and NO history with IVF or any sort of infertility, we embarked on the journey! We were matched with a couple with four embryos they couldn't transfer and adopted all four. Tow survived the thaw, and we transferred both. Then the impossible happened...two became three!! We pray that our story might inspire and inform - and maybe even entertain a little along the way!
Here’s what I think should be the outcome of the creation/evolution debate from last night. Both Ham and Nye should be convicted of crimes against humanity, locked into a cell with each other and forced to listen to the mating calls of various migratory and non-migratory waterfowl.
Because that’s what the debate between creationists and evolutionists feels like to me.
In all the reviews and various declarations of winners and losers one critical and age old falsehood was not only noted but promoted - the false dichotomy of science and religion.
There was much talk of a ‘reasonable man’ in the debate and yet this creature seems to be as elusive as the mythical ‘Lukedoesius Giveacrapus’ of the genus ‘Givememi Evningbaak.’
Religion and science begin with different premises and serve very different purposes and yet are not, in any way, mutually exclusive. And yet it seems as if an adherence to one ipso facto rejectimatico’s the other. That is just stupid. As stupid as making up a word like rejectimatico - even though you totally got it, am I right?
Anyway, we require this fantastical cohesion of agreement in no other competing disciplines in existence. For some reason, however, we believe that science must be reconciled by religion and religion must be verifiable by science. But why on earth would we ever hold these vastly different disciplines to each other’s standards of operation?
No one curses their photo editing software for not being able to edit a text document right? And no one has ever attempted to open a media file with Microsoft Word and declared ‘Aha! the file does not exist because MY program will not recognize it!’
That would not be a reasonable man. And yet we found ourselves doing just that last night and then pretending like it’s complicated, academic and really, really difficult to parse out in real life. As if science and religion present such appositional claims to one another that they could not possibly coexist. The reasonable man must choose, right?
Just like you can’t run Word and Photoshop on the same computer, as any reasonable man will tell you. The existence of one disproves the existence of the other, right? To prefer one means you must reject the other…just like science and religion.
Nye and Ham set out last night to illustrate how each other’s primary system of data interpretation was inferior to their own and ended up simply proving what we already knew - their respective systems are incapable of duplicating or reconciling the other’s results.
I’m tempted to digress into a discussion on the debate as commentary on our narcissistic culture of controversy that stares into the face of diversity of thought and screams ‘your thought can’t be right because it doesn’t sound enough like mine!’ I’m tempted to scold both sides of the creation vs evolution debate for not even attempting to understand the position of the other. But to do so only adds to the purposely over complicated and self-aggrandizing nature of the discussion. At the end of the day, this just isn’t so hard to sort out. Nerds on both sides of the aisle should be ashamed of themselves.
Instead, I’ll just apply my faith to that which can’t be known or is immaterial while fervently applying science to know and understand more. That which requires faith shall have faith applied. That which science is able to explore will be explored by science.
In other words, I’ll use Jesus to open a .faith file and Einstein to open a .science file.
Is that really so hard?
True confession: I’m in last place for ‘dad of the year.’ But I know something you don’t know:
There is no prize for 1st place parenting.
In fact, there is no parenting prize at all. I’ve checked the mail and have consistently found that I’ve not been invited to any parenting award banquets even though I’ve been in the competition for nearly a decade now and am competing in no less than six events. When people say ‘being a parent is hard work, but it’s rewarding’ they’re trying to trick you - probably because they feel duped themselves.
Parenting is rewarding? Really? Let me tell you something: if I possessed information that would lead to the arrest of the most wanted criminal in the country and the reward was long-term, total responsibility of a screaming, non-communicative butt-mud smuggler; I think I’d go ahead and lock that secret up in the vault.
And parenting is not ‘it’s own reward.’ I’ve won a lot of contests where winning is its own reward. Like the taco eating contest I won (19 home made hard-shells) or the cheese ball stuffed in the mouth contest (23 - though the results were contested based on pre-mature ball crushing). Those contests were their own reward because, hey, cheese balls.
Look, I get it. You want to make it sound like being a mom or dad is challenging, but that somehow all that hard work gets paid back to you in ways that makes it all worth it in the end. And the reason you want to make it sound like that is because you bought into that line of horse crap before you had kids and you don’t want to admit that you got sucker-punched by your own reproductive instincts. You’ve got ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ syndrome.
But this ain’t my first rodeo and frankly, after only one month of raising triplets, I’ve lost the capacity to polish this turd any longer. Being a parent is hard, thankless work and it is NOT rewarding. And that’s good.
Because anyone who does anything significant, important or profound expecting to be rewarded is either an egotistical, self-centered bonehead or an evil, narcissistic bonehead. Work isn’t sacrifice if you expect to be rewarded. It isn’t important or profound if it’s transactional in nature.
So I don’t want parenting to be rewarding. I don’t want to be an excellent dad so that I can receive from my kids some sort of mock emotional honorarium. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a good dad. In fact, I want to be an excellent dad.
But I want to be that dad out of a sense of calling and duty. Like anything else that is profound or deeply important I want to stand up and do my best out of a sense of moral or civil responsibility and NOT because I hope to be handsomely rewarded.
My kids owe me nothing. My family need not reward me for doing what is right. In fact, we may have stumbled upon one of the most caustic actors in the corrosion of our culture - the need to be rewarded.
There’s a lot of people out there, but men especially, who at first engage excitedly at the prospect of a new and growing family only to slowly disengage when they discover that all the hard work doesn’t come with a tangible reward. When hard work is followed by more and harder work we’ve trained ourselves to abandon our ‘fruitless’ endeavor and seek something that will provide what we deem to be rewarding. We are a people who want to get something out of everything.
And that’s stupid. Not surprising, but stupid.
We live in a culture that finds a way to make everything about ourselves and parenting is no exception. Even the over caffeinated, under appreciated soccer moms that could and would do ANYTHING for their jazz-choir singing, debate team captain, ballet dancing honor roll princess is, in reality, doing it for themselves. They fall to the temptation to give their kids every advantage in hopes of a selfish reward:
Freedom from judgment from all the mom’s with kids on the travel team. Freedom from the guilt of their kid not making the cut because they didn’t get them private lessons. Freedom from the fear that somehow they are going to screw up their children. Parents today are working overtime to win the best in show award in the children breed not to give them the best chance to succeed at life, but in an attempt to prove that they themselves have not failed at preparing them. The contest for best parent award is rooted in fear and insecurity of adults, not children.
To all you parents out there locked into this fabricated competition hoping for your reward let me ask one simple question: you free anytime this week?
The answer is of course no, you’re not free. Not only because of all the appointments and meetings and practices, but you’re not free of the fear and insecurity you attempt to defeat by filling the calendar. In fact, you’re a slave to that fear. You’re a slave to the idea of freeing yourself and it’s killing you. You’re coming in last place in the Healthy Self competition but first place in the Irony Man event.
The way out isn’t to stop being a parent, or even trying to be a good parent. The way out is to be a good parent for the right reason: because your kid needs you to be the best parent you can be. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because you love them even when your reward for all the sacrifice is a zit faced teenager telling you he wished he’d never been born. In fact, when the little life sucking booger eaters reward you for all your hard parenting work by pooping in your punch bowl; that is exactly the moment when they need your best parenting performance. You’re not going to do anything to free yourself from all the doubt, worry, fear and judgement - but if you’re a good dad or mom, your parenting ought to free your kid from the need to find fault, a lack of responsibility or general poopy-headedness.
Nope, there is no reward in this thing called dad. But there is a lot of really good stuff. There is satisfaction in seeing your child experience their own freedom from needing to be rewarded in order to combat insecurities. Their is the joy of seeing them embrace the same sense of honor and self-sacrifice you model in raising them. There is rejoicing when evidence is found that values are being transferred to the next generation. And there is an awful lot of fun along the way. It’s not my reward, it’s theirs - even though I do all the work.
It’s not unlike the dynamic we see at play in our God who sacrifices greatly NOT to be rewarded by our worship and glory. He gave all NOT because he hoped one day we’d return the favor. And he certainly did not give to us all we need because of his own insecurities. Rather, he did it for us. Salvation is the reward given to the children for the work of the parent. And I like it that way.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have a ‘dad of the year’ mug. I don’t want one and I’m not even entering the contest. Instead, I’m shooting for the ‘dad who doesn’t do what he does so that his kids like him or to try to impress others or even for a stupid coffee mug’ mug. If I get that mug, I’ll know I’m doing a good job.
But I will settle for a ‘Cheese Ball Face Stuffing Champion’ mug if you can’t find the other one. Cause hey - cheese balls.
Mack is in the HOUSE!!!
And the triple-decker-crazy-town-fun officially begins. I’ve been thinking about this moment for some time now - since Christmas Eve to be exact. I can tell you the spot where I was standing and the person I was talking to when a phrase burst out of my mouth that’s been plaguing me ever since. In response to a standard ‘man am I glad I’m not you right now’ comment I said something I’m not quite sure I like or agree with - and that’s really troubling. Because if I’m not sure I agree with it, I think I might have to argue with myself. And arguing with myself is likely to end up with me getting into an angry rage/rant with myself.
That leads to all kinds of diagnosis possibilities.
To cut to the point, without a moment’s thought I said ‘by no means do we even begin to entertain the delusion that we will be the same family as before December 17th.’
I mourned it as I said it…cause I like the family we were before the 17th. That family is a lot of fun, trust me. They play, laugh, wrestle like manics on the floor and occasionally throw caution to the wind; trusting God to make a way in all things. That family rocks.
All of a sudden, I wasn’t entirely certain how I felt about what I had absentmindedly proclaimed…but I couldn’t dismiss the kernel of truth that resided in the aphorism. After all, the most intelligent things I say tend to be absent my mind.
Surely it was true - the family was different. Three kids to six. Estrogen dominance to hormonal equilibrium. Middle of the night screaming and crying for snuggle time with Joni…and now I have competition from those babies.
But the real kicker is this: the family before December 17th was about the only one crazy enough to take on the challenge of adding triplets to our existing trifecta. Not only crazy enough, but strong enough, organized enough and motivated enough to actually get it all done. If we aren’t that family any more, will the family we are now be enough to handle it?
This is a big deal because, as you all very well know, I am not the kind of man prone to overstatement or overreaction…except that time in kindergarten when I told my class I took a hot air balloon from Minnesota to California to visit my aunt…and that time in high school I told the wrestling coach I could handle the whole team solo…the college Dean of Admissions I told to quit his job while only half of the student body disliked him…that incident when a seminary professor tossed me out of his class…that guy on Facebook earlier today to whom I said I would reach down his throat and pull out his heart…
O.K., there might be a pattern here somewhere.
Which I did know all along. Sure, a lot of things are going to change. Our sleep patterns for one. Also, I now mean something entirely different when I say ‘Hey honey, could you grab me a cold six-pack of bottles from the fridge?’
But at the core of our family identity, nothing has changed. Those are just details, the outer trappings that clothe those who know their true heritage. Not those born in the natural way by human ambition, but those born of water and the Word. Earthly heritage is of the wind, our lineage is with Christ.