Family 2015

Family 2015

Friday, September 16, 2016


I work as a dental assistant and our office is open Monday-Thursday 7-5.  I usually go to work at 8:00 (because my employer is flexible and family-oriented PTL!), but I do come in some days at 7:00.  It is a long work day/week to be sure,  and with after school stuff and 4 kids still at home; I am ready to raise the white flag of surrender by Thursday evening.   Every week though, the thought of Friday keeps me going strong.

I call it Friday-ing.

I absolutely use Fridays to get everybody to their appointments, to grocery shop, to clean, to run the million errands every family needs run....but, there are days; like this one, where there is no running, the errands aren't urgent and all the work can be done at home.  Magical.

I try to take these days to reflect, because time - it is passing.

Now that school has been in session for several weeks and the kids' activities are all underway, we have settled into the "school year rhythm."  I like my days to be predictable to some degree and I like the steady hum of family life, but I need to remember to soak it in and not just let it slip by.

This morning, after all the kids were at school and Nic was at work, I went into all the kids' bedrooms and laid in each of their beds.  I tried to imagine what they were thinking about and how they felt at night as they drifted off to sleep. I prayed for them - growing to adulthood isn't for wimps.

Then I did some computer work for the marching band, cleaned up the house and decided to just sit and be.

That is a tall order in this day and age, isn't it?  But, I feel in my soul we need to do more of it.

My prayer for all of you is that you have some time and space in your life to "Friday."  Love you all.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Good Christian or Bad Christian....?

So, I was reading a devotional this morning and it really, really, really bothered me.

The author was relating an instance where one of her children had gotten into trouble at school and it threw her into a whirlwind of feeling like a "bad Christian parent."  Now, she was being honest with her circumstance and trying to help others, that's not what bothered me; it bothered me that she had to spend one ounce of her time and effort trying to combat that feeling.

I mean, are there "bad Christians" and "good Christians?"

If there are, where can I find that measuring stick to find out who is who?  At what point do my struggles put me into "bad Christian" territory and which struggles are holy enough to avoid the label?

No, no, no...the very idea of that is ridiculous.

We are Christians because we follow Christ.  Period.  I will struggle, you will struggle, every person will struggle - but that is because we are human, it has no bearing on our Christianity.  Our Christianity comes into play in HOW WE DEAL with the struggles.

It is a waste of my time and effort to feel guilty for being human.  It does not matter what a terrific parent you are, your child will make some bad choices.  It does not matter what a great spouse you are, you and your partner will not always see eye to eye.  It doesn't matter how hard you work, sometimes money will be in short supply...etc, etc, etc.

WHEN these things come up, what do you do?

The answer to THAT question determines where you are in your Christian walk.

So, dear author of that devotional, please take the effort you are using to wonder where your Christianity is failing and put it toward helping your child deal with this situation.  Discipline him, love him, teach him, move forward.

That's what Christians do.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Self Help?

So, I read this quote in an article yesterday:

"The huge and punishing self-help industry preys on fear and adds guilt to the mix."

It stopped me dead in my tracks.  The idea of "self-help" has always bothered me...not the idea that we should try to better ourselves, to grow as individuals; but more the insinuation behind it that if we would just get our crap together, our problems would magically disappear.  I mean, clearly all of our challenges are self-induced, right?  If we were just more disciplined, more focused, were always positive, took these vitamins, ate no gluten, ate no dairy, ate no meat, trusted God more, worked harder, exercised more, drank more water....

It has always seemed a hamster wheel to me and I jumped out a long time ago, but I have assumed it was simply people judging and trying to one up each other...until I read that quote.

Like a lightning bolt to my brain - SELF-HELP INDUSTRY.  oh.  Oh.  OH. OHH. !!!!  

This is about money.

People, who are sincerely doing their best in life are being beaten mentally and made to feel unworthy and useless and stupid because somebody wants a paycheck.  Got it.

It made me feel angry and sad and helpless all at once.

Listen!!!  We cannot save ourselves.  None of us can.  The whole reason Jesus came is because there is no such thing as self-help.  We cannot, CANNOT do enough of the "right" things to make ourselves better, to make ourselves whole.

There is nothing wrong with trying...but there is something patently wrong with trusting your own effort.

My dear friends, eat as well as you can, exercise, sleep, take care of yourselves...absolutely.  But, at the end of the day, fall onto the rock, the great I AM, the lover of your soul and be convinced that He and He alone can save you.  Not only is He the only one who is able to, but He desperately wants to lift that burden from your shoulders.

This blog started off being about helping Moms who were being made to feel inadequate, but I realize now it's not just Moms, it's people in general.

 I declare war on the "self-help" industry.  I may be just one person, but I'm coming for you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Simple Faith

It is such human nature to want to figure everything out, isn't it?  The idea of "letting go and letting God" flies in the face of our need to control.

I am a fiercely patriotic person.  Yes, yes, our country has multiple issues, but I have always been and am still proud to be an American.  The national anthem never fails to bring tears to my eyes.  We are a messy bunch, but I wouldn't want to belong to any other place on this planet.

We are pretty stubborn though.  We came to this land and forged our own way, fighting against anything or anyone that stood in our way.  We were self-sufficient from the word go.  I appreciate how this attitude has shaped me as a  person...mostly.

But, it occurs to me that this attitude also makes it very hard for me to live the life of faith.

I have been taught, maybe not directly, but by observation, that I should be able to handle whatever life throws at me.  I should pull myself up by my bootstraps and soldier on, I should DEFINITELY have the answers.

But, you know, faith doesn't work that way.

Jesus wasn't an American and He doesn't change the way the kingdom of God works to accommodate our American-ness.

He calls us to follow Him and not be sure of where we are going.

He asks us to believe and trust before we see.

He asks us to be ok without having all the answers.

He asks us to trust that He loves us and will never let us down even when it looks like the exact opposite is happening.

I'll be honest, this used to make me mad.  I believed in God, sure, but I wanted it to make sense.  I wanted it to be logical.  I wanted to know what to expect.  I wanted a God that was predictable.

Instead I got exactly what I needed.

I got the blessed ability to look at all of the things life throws at me, close my eyes and say,

"I will be still, and know that you are God.  I don't need to worry about this or try to figure it out because you are the answer.  I hear your voice and another I will not follow.  You will never leave me or forsake me.  You are my shepherd, I shall not want."



Saturday, April 30, 2016


I think that because we've never experienced it before, each phase of parenting must feel like the busiest time of life.  I know I felt that way when I had bunches of babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  I definitely felt that way when I was homeschooling.  Then, it felt even busier when I was homeschooling some and some were going to school.   But, this....this time of life takes the proverbial cake.

Sometimes I feel like I am barely making it from one day to the next, much less enjoying the view along the way; so this morning I decided I needed to pause for a minute and take the time to think about all the great things that are happening in the midst of the craziness.

Thursday evening, we got to go and listen to the middle school jazz band.  McKinley only started playing the flute at the beginning of this year, but in true McKinley fashion, she jumped in with both feet.  She has progressed to the point that she caught up with the other flute players that started in 6th grade.  It was a true joy, not only to hear her play, but to see her interact with the other band members - it's like a peek inside her world and it made me happy.  She has big plans for high school (next year!) and beyond and I am proud and grateful that she has been afforded these opportunities.

Last night, we went to St. Paul's United Methodist Church where Reagan had been invited to dance for their annual dinner theater.  She has had many fantastic opportunities over the years with her dancing and I know there will be many more, but last night was significant because it was the first one that I had no part in.  She was invited to perform by a young lady I don't know, she went to rehearsals on her own and nobody in the building had any idea who we were.  It felt like the beginning of the next phase.  She has one more year of high school, but I miss her already.

In a little while, we will head to the fields at Wilson to watch Pierce play soccer.  Nic is his coach and has been for the last 2 years.  I have no thought that Pierce will end up being a pro soccer player or anything, but being involved in the sport has made him grow so much.  He is the baby of the family, some might say a Mama's boy, but his maturing is coming right along.

Tomorrow afternoon we will get to go and watch Carter play lacrosse.  We have always known he was very athletic, but we just couldn't find the right fit for him.  Well, I think we have found it.  He shines on that field, not only with ability, but with joy, it just pours off of him.  We don't know much about lacrosse yet, but his coach has told us he has a fair amount of natural talent and has invited him to play travel lacrosse in the fall.  I bet I will be a pro lacrosse fan in a few years. :)  

And then Kennedy, by the end of this week she will have finished up her freshman year of college.  I am so, so proud of her.  We moved that girl across the country right before her junior year and she rose to the challenge.  She has grown tremendously over the past year.  I'm looking forward to being able to spend some time with her this summer.

So, yes, I am so dang busy right now.  I get tired and I want everything to stop so I can sleep for 43 hours.  But, not really.  This is an exciting time for all of us and it is the fruit of many prayers and tears.  Thank you, God, for taking care of my kids. 

I will take a deep breath and do my best to enjoy every bit of it.  Now, off to get ready for soccer. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I am by nature an encourager, an incurable optimist.  I really love to be a good listener, to help people look at things from a different perspective, to remind them of all the good things in life when their road is tough, to just generally be the voice of "hey, this cup is half FULL!"

I'm also usually pretty good at being my own pep-talker, my own cheering section.


But, there are sometimes when the weight of life is hard to shrug off.

I used to run away from those feelings.  They were too uncomfortable to face and it seemed too self-defeating to admit I was, well feeling kind of defeated.  But, no more.  I am determined to grow through these times, not bury my head in the sand.

The first couple of weeks of 2016 have been kind of tough.  There is plenty in my life that is good and right, and I am grateful.  But, I am also tired.  Tired of some of the struggles that seem to drag on and on.  Tired of not being able to fix things for the people I love.  Tired of trying so hard and feeling like my try is wasted.

I know all the right answers, I know what to tell myself to chase away the voices.  But, tonight, I'm not going to.

Tonight, I am going to hold all of this up to my Father and say, "I just can't."  I know now, that that is ok with him, that in fact, He probably waits for me to do it.  Waits for me to come to the end of myself so that I will turn fully to Him.

I am with David tonight, and I add the cry of my heart to his:

"When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I."  Psalm 61:2

Good night, friends.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Finding the Whisper

So, a friend of mine tagged me in a blog earlier today and it reminded me that it has been ages since I have written anything.  Now, I have plenty of legitimate reasons for that, but I do miss writing and so here goes.

Since it is almost the New Year, it seems appropriate to look back and take stock.  I usually love doing that, but this year, I have had trouble settling down to do it.  Maybe that is where I should start.

Life is busy, there is no getting around it.  I am not one to preach to people and tell them how they should slow down, get more sleep, eat better, exercise, etc.  It's not that I don't agree with those ideas, it's just that I have a hard time doing it myself.  I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a dental assistant and a dance instructor.  Where exactly do I insert the time to do those other things?

And yet, as this year rounds out, I feel the need to be better at it, at all of it.  I can't control the crazy, but I can control my approach to it.

I need more time to center my soul.  I need more time to hear God's voice and I know that only occurs in the quiet - He comes in the whisper.

And so, that is my pledge as we step into 2016.  I will do my very best to live on purpose, not just allow endless activity bowl me over.  I will take time, everyday, to be quiet and listen for the whisper. Yes, all the things in my life scream for my time and attention, but I will serve all of them better if I take care of myself first.

Another friend posted a meme which I have made into my phone screen saver, here is what it says:

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art.  And, I hope somewhere in the next year, your surprise yourself."

Yes, yes, yes.

Here's to a more intentional 2016.  May God bless you all.  :)