Friday, October 26, 2012

#PayItFoward: Guest Post from I Hope I Win a Toaster

This week I bring you a special edition of #PayItForward. A guest post from one of my favorite bloggers. Bill, who writes a blog called I Hope I Win a Toaster, is a talented writer and stay-at-home dad who I now consider a friend. Talented because he uses real words like "wont" (not the contraction, either) and makes up cool words like "sillily" (as well as the title of the post below.) Perhaps most impressive, he doesn't sound like a tool when he does it like I am sure I would if I tried.

Bill is always thoughtful, often poignant, and consistently funny. He's insightful and self-deprecating. (Sound familiar?) A pure joy to read. In true #PayItForward fashion, he even mentions other bloggers that he admires and follows in this post. Please enjoy and find a way to follow I Hope I Win a Toaster:


I hope Peanut's dad will include my title. I like titles.

DKL invited me to do a guest post on his wonderful blog. And here I am. Blundering about, as usual, hoping I can find something interesting to say. At first I considered just vamping sillily as I am wont to do, showing the incredible, inexplicable stuff my kids do, and giving you my take on it, which is what I mostly do at ihopeiwinatoaster.

I also considered getting serious and writing about how blogs are so important to society; how the history of mankind is being shaped and rewritten through the words and images crafted poetically and lovingly rendered here in the blogosphere, which I call the "blogarena."  However, that would have just been a huge justification for how much time and energy I waste on this hobby. It's really no different than my buddies who build cigar-box guitars or are Civil War re-enactors, who go on and on about the significance of "their craft" or the historical importance of sitting in a tent on a sweltering battlefield in the middle of August.

I guess I'll split the difference and tell you about the community of incredibly talented folks who blog in this little corner of the internet. I know there are blogs on every known, and unknown, subject under the sun. Me, I like daddy blogs, as they have come to be known. (And mommy blogs. Some of them, I guess. They seem to be really thick out there, though, with that BlogHer thing and all).

The diversity of bloggers makes me wonder why we do this. It also makes me wonder why I am so drawn to blogs like this one and oh so many others - literally hundreds. I have bookmarked. DKL and I have just a little in common: he's a dad, I'm a dad; he, uh, breathes air like me; oh, I think he likes beer... (I do. - DKL.)

And he loves Peanut. And John at Daddy's in Charge loves his boys (and LEGOs). Rachel loves her girls (and being hands free). And the crazy Suburbia Interrupted chick loves her flock (and randy language), Dad and Buried loves his son (and irreverence), and, I love these guys.

You see, I do this mostly as a way to remember and, in a way, immortalize my sons. I do it out of selfishness as well. (I sometimes tearfully wish there was as much as a note of what my father thought of me as I was growing up.) I'm offering a glimpse of my soul to my future grown-up men. I do this as an homage; not just to my boys but to a whole generation of boys, and girls, of course, as a way to respect and honor, celebrate and, always, cherish them.

I read this book once, I think it was a novel called The Bible by some guy named King James. And this main character dude, Jesus, or Christ, or something like that, was getting a hard time from some of his followers. (He was a some sort of new-religion guy, a prophet or something). In response he plunked a kid right down in the middle of all of them and said something along the lines of,  "this is what's important, you shallow fools. All the other sh!t doesn't matter. Be like the children. Honor them and you honor me." (I paraphrase, but he truly knew what mattered and what was important.)

Sometimes bloggers make it big. Sometimes they win awards and accolades, mostly from other bloggers. Some deservedly. Some, not so much. I suppose when I introduced ihopeiwinatoaster I thought I would be one of the lucky few to get a book contract or a lucrative paid endorsement or a big check from some anonymous well-wisher, moved to philanthropy because of my words and images. That hasn't happened.

What I do get out of this is a sense of community, a sense that I am not alone trying to raise children in a seriously messed up world.

What I do get out of this is a deeper commitment to, and awareness of, my beautiful children because I pay more attention to them.

What I do get out of this is a new respect for my fellow man. (My fellow bloggers, at least.) And a deeper understanding of the depth of love that is parenting.

What I do get out of this is a chance to see love; see it through images and words, and hold it in my heart.

What I truly, truly get out of this is a profound kind of happiness that family can bring, when you notice it...

I know it is ill-advised to show pictures of my beautiful children, especially closeups, as I have done. And I certainly know better than to show the whole family in such detail in such an obvious setting. But I felt I needed to. Aren't they beautiful? (And yes, all of our shirts are that colorful. I wear that orange, blue-t shirt with yellow sleeves constantly.)

Thanks for the opportunity, DKL. Keep celebrating Peanut, and I'll keep reading. And let's all cherish the kids.

Please check out the I Hope I Win a Toaster site to follow this wonderful blog and find out why he named it that. You can also follow him on Facebook.


  1. I met Bill on our first day of college. He went through many highs and lows before he g̶r̶e̶w̶ ̶u̶p̶, married and fathered children, and found a new and fulfilling avenue for his writing. Accomplishments I have always hoped for but never managed.

    I am happy his blog is getting more recognition as time goes on, and I am pleased to discover new blogs because of Bill.

    You all enrich other lives in your effort share some of your own. Thanks.

    1. What a great friend you must be to Bill... especially to stick with him though his "childish" phase. ;-)

      Thanks for your kind words about him and us.

  2. Bill is great. A blogger that gets it. Honored to be part of his community!

  3. Well written as always. Myself, I love the Dad prospective. It's rare to find a "Daddy" blog (Can I call you guys that? Because I know I'm called a "Mommy" blog even though I don't feel much like one) that is well written, and truthful.

    In this day and age it is rare to find men that not only love their kids but CELEBRATE them in a hugely public way. Well done Bill, well done DKL and D in C.

  4. Bill found my blog and introduced me to some others I love to read, though less in the past month or two since things have gotten busier at our place.

    It's pretty cool to be able to share these things with each other.

    One of the reasons I blog is because I'm pretty sure my daughter is going to care about what kind of young dad I was. I would love to read journals of my own dad when he was raising me, but they don't exist. It's hard to imagine back that far...but whenever I find some relic of my parent's lives from thirty years ago, it's like opening a window onto a fantastic and mysterious wilderness.

    1. Seriously, if you get a chance check out Neal's blog, Raised by my Daugter on Blogger, it's an up-and-comer folks; funny, heartfelt, painstakingly illustrated and a bit irreverent (with a great template, I might add). It's really good.


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