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How am I?

We’ve gotten back into our normal busy routine. Life goes on even when you lose someone you love and somehow you move with it. I wasn’t prepared for how hard that part is. I start to feel a little more “normal” and then the sadness floods as the disbelief turns into realization. That realization can be debilitating at times, but then somehow I keep on.

People ask how I am and I say “okay” because I am. I’m functioning, finding joy in my family, and feeling God’s presence as I worship and tell Him all my thoughts. But, I never know when the sadness will hit.

Hank seems to struggle the most of our kids. He always looked up to his Uncle Jake and loved whatever Jake loved. The other night I found Hank weeping in his bed. His loss hurts my mama heart even more than my own. I asked if he wanted to snuggle or talk and he said, “Both.” Then, he said, “I just don’t get it, Mom. If God is so powerful, why does He even let us sin so that there’s death and sickness?” Oh Son, I feel this too. . . So much. . . All day everyday. WHY.

I called Ryan in because I knew I couldn’t do this conversation alone. I found myself somehow speaking, “Hank, if Mom and Dad forced you to do exactly what we said all day long how would that feel?” “Like a robot? Oh, God doesn’t make us robots! He lets us think and feel and make decisions! So that’s why!” And just like that, his heart was settled and he was able to snuggle in and rest on me.

My heart still struggles. I have to wrestle each day with why God did not answer our prayers in the way we hoped. Thousands of people were praying. But, God chose to heal Jake by taking him home where there would be no more cancer. Jake is better than he ever was. Jake is whole and his “faith has become sight.” This is the most beautiful truth and yet leaves us without Jake. It leaves my new sister without her husband. . . My parents without a son.

But, this is what I know today and how I am. I know that when I begin to feel like I can no longer walk, God’s presence fills my heart in a way that I can’t even describe. It says in the Bible that the Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit and I feel it so deeply. I know that the Bible says that when we are faithless, God remains faithful and true to His character. I know that I see evidences every day of His grace through the ways friends love and care for us meeting needs we didn’t even realize we had.

I keep trying to edit these thoughts and add a nice ending on and I can’t find it. I think because I don’t know the end yet. I have yet to see all the beauty that I know God will make from the ashes. So, I think I’ll just push publish.

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On Wednesday, we found out that my brother’s cancer had not been killed by the chemotherapy. We had been clinging to the hope of ZERO. . . Zero cancer cells in his body that meant he would be able to receive a bone marrow transplant that would save his life. My sister was a perfect match to be his donor so I felt so hopeful knowing how rare it was to have that perfect match ready and waiting. But, it didn’t work. All that chemo that wreaked havoc on his body hadn’t killed the cancer and he was sent home to enjoy the time he has left. He’s 24 and has been married for only about 3 months. Those three months have been spent in a hospital bed fighting for more time. It feels unreal that this is where we are.

I feel broken. I feel unable to breathe at times. Most of the time I feel numb. But, I still have this precious family of mine to keep going for. So, I’ve been pouring myself into cooking us great food, keeping the house clean, and preparing for our coming homeschool year. My prayers have been simple “why’s?” And “please!” The words are hard to get out. But, in the midst of my broken heart and confusion on how to react to this, I feel God whisper verses that I memorized as a child into my heart.

The night we found out I asked Ryan to take us somewhere we could walk so that I could be with the kids without having to interact with them too much so I could spare them some of my emotion. We went to Minto Brown Park. In the almost five years we’ve lived here, we’ve never gone there for some reason. The park was filled with wild blackberries and we ate our way through. It seemed at every turn there was another beautiful landscape or plant. It was breathtaking. An hour before we went to the park I had cried out to God, “Do you even care?” But, as I walked through looking at the beauty of creation, these verses popped into my head. . .

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” John 7:26

The more we walked the more I noticed each little thing that I felt like God placed just for me so that I could remember His goodness; remember that He’s got us just like He’s taking care of the all the creatures that enjoy those wild blackberries.

Grief is a lonely place. But, I’m so thankful for the words God whispers to my heart and the people that reach out throughout my day from texts, showing up at my door, messages, and cards in the mail. I’m not even sure how to end this. My brain is foggy and I don’t have it in me to craft a well written post, but I wanted to share if only so that I remember the good right now. Thanks for walking with us. You, friends, have loved us well and we feel it.

Here are some pics from our walk that night. I love that my kids are wearing clothes they chose. ❤️

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So, this is 10 years.



4 beautiful kids. 2 schools. 2 churches. 2 states. 3 homes. 3 cars. Those are the stats- How many kids do you have? What do you do? Where do you live?

Much more has happened between those stats though. . . more love than I ever dreamed or imagined, lots of fun and uncontrollable laughter, watching all of our kids’ firsts, watching as they grow up from babies to little people, beautiful friends, joining our families to one. But, there’s also been tears, loved ones hurting, figuring out how to pay for this beautiful life, moving, hard pregnancies, figuring each other out, and balancing this full life.

This is 10 years.
Seeing the amazing guy you fell in love with become a man who is respected by all who meet him. Watching this man sacrifice day after day for his family, his job, his friends without complaining. Realizing that this man makes you breakfast on Saturday mornings while you attempt to sleep in. Seeing this man not just become a dad, but a father- a man who works hard all day and comes home to care for, teach, play with, nurture, and disciple his kids and wife on his time off.

This is 10 years.
Learning that a marriage is not 50/50. A marriage is each person giving all they have to give knowing that sometimes that means it’s more like 10/90 (usually watching that man give more). Realizing that the fight is not worth it, not because you sweep it under the rug, but because you know that person may not get it and may make zero sense, but you love them and they love you and you’ve promised eternity. Learning that God is truly our provider and will meet all of our needs as we get better and better at being a little less selfish.

This is 10 years.
Life is full and constant. Rest doesn’t always come. Date nights are not as often as we hope. But, we find rest when we can. We lean on God’s promises and rest in Him. In the midst of the busyness purpose and joy are found by your side. This heart fills to the brim looking across the stage as we worship together with our church and as you teach and play with our kids. We enjoy the beauty of daily couch dates when the kids go to bed, so we keep ourselves connected and keep being best friends. We debrief our days, watch tv, eat dessert, and laugh uncontrollably at things that are only funny to us.

This is 10 years.
There’s no perfection. We’ve not arrived, but God has given us the most beautiful- sometimes messy- home in each other and the 4 little blessings He’s given us. A decade together of learning and growing and yet much more to learn and so much more growing as those gray hairs cover the rest of our heads.

If this is 10 years, I can’t wait for 60.


Our Jackson’s Miracle Birth 

Out little Jackson joined our family five days ago and we are overjoyed to call this little man our own. I’m not sure I have the mental capacity to write well, but I wanted to share his miracle birth story while it’s fresh in my mind. 

The last three weeks of my pregnancy were pretty miserable. I began having regular painful contractions every few minutes apart and would go to the hospital per my doctor’s instructions only to be sent home three times being told that I was experiencing labor, but was not dilating. It was a lesson in patience and learning to further lean on God for my endurance to keep taking care of and homeschooling our three little kids through the pain. At 39 weeks, my doctor decided to induce me mainly to “put me out of my misery” but also because I had slight gestational diabetes. 

My active labor with Jack was about as easy as it gets. I arrived at the hospital dilated to 5cm and only needed to have my water broken to send me in to full blown labor. I received an epidural before I was at that screaming pain point because the anesthesiologist was only available at a certain time. For the next few hours we relaxed while we waited for time to push. 

My nurse came in to check me and said his heart rate was dropping a little, but probably just because we were getting close and called the doctor. Then, she said she was just going to give me a little oxygen and then we’d see if it was time to push when the doctor came. I remember everything getting very calm. The nurse was calm, the doctor was calm, and I was quiet and calm. No one said anything, but when they told me to push when I wasn’t completely dilated, I knew something was wrong and began a constant inner prayer dialogue asking God to help me get Jackson out quickly. As I pushed, it was clear that it needed to happen fast and with about 3 good pushes and just a couple of minutes, out popped my very purple baby boy who was not crying and simply whimpering. They immediately placed him on me skin to skin and the nurse started roughly massaging him until he started to let out those first cries and turned to that good pink newborn color. 

Our purple baby
Once all was well, the nurse came and showed us the true knot in his umbilical cord which had also been wrapped around his neck. She said he was a miracle baby. 

Later that night, I researched the knot and discovered that a true knot is rare and often results in stillborn babies or at least emergency c sections. I confirmed this with his pediatrician who said it truly was a miracle and could have likely ended much differently.

From the time I was pregnant I had a strong feeling that something was going to be wrong and had to pray my way through the pregnancy. When everything looked fine in the ultrasounds, I relaxed and was nicely distracted by my misery and just anxious to be done. Now as I stare at my precious miracle, I am amazed at God’s sovereignty in orchestrating the exact details to bring him here safely. God allowed me to go through three weeks of painful labor which caused my body to be ready to quickly deliver Jack so that he could get out and begin breathing quickly. I believe God also gave my doctor compassion to induce me when it seemed like there was no medically necessary reason to do so knowing that more time in the womb with that knot could have meant we would lose him. I’m so thankful and grateful for a God who is the true author of our days and knew the exact time little Jack should join our family.    

  Pinked up on his birth day 




Five Things I’m Learning While Growing Baby #4

I always chuckle when I hear my husband comment that our third baby has been our easiest baby. She didn’t sleep through the night until she was about 14 months old, she doesn’t really like being with anyone besides my husband and me, and I got pregnant with our fourth just before she turned one. The busyness and exhaustion is always present. But, there has been an overwhelming peace this time around that has made it a joy to be a momma. Every moment just seems sweeter. Somehow, as our family increases and my load gets more and more full, my heart has learned to rest and enjoy these little years.

As I pondered this, I thought I’d share some thoughts in hopes to encourage other mommas out there. I’m a relatively young mom, with young kids,  so I’m not an expert. But, I started this blog with hopes of sharing where God has me so that maybe others might get something out of it too. So, here goes. . .

1. Rest in God’s Sovereignty

Just like that, I jumped into theology. But, I think the thing that has brought me the most joy as a mom is knowing that God’s got this. He knew my kids before they were even “inside my tummy.” He chose ME to be their Mommy, so He will equip me with what I need. He has a plan and purpose for each of them. I can’t mess that up, I can only trust Him and try to show them Jesus along the way. When they’re sick, when we deal with discipline, when we’re trying to figure out how to pay for this troop of rugrats. . . HE’S GOT IT. Whether things turn out awesome or what feels like the worst, He is the AUTHOR OF THEIR DAYS. And, He loves them more than I do.

2. There is Not a Right Way to Parent

This is where I’ll probably make people mad, well if I didn’t already by talking about sovereignty. With my first child, I thought there was a right way to do most things. With my second, that way still worked. With my third, nothing was the same. Remember how I said my third baby didn’t sleep through the night until 14 months old? Well, the first two slept through at 6 weeks old because of my awesome sleep training methods. However, those same first two children did not really begin to eat food until they hit about 4 years old. I seriously don’t know how they survived. Baby #3 eats more than they ever have (in a healthy way) and has since I started introducing food to her around 6 months old. Each of my children respond to discipline in different ways and need a different approach. It’s not a free-for-all and consistency is important, but MY CHILDREN ARE NOT ROBOTS. They are each a unique creation and God made them with their own personalities and needs. There is not a perfect way to parent each one of them, but there is often a right way to parent each individual child (at least for that day!) and it’s my job to strive to figure it out and allow God’s grace to comfort me when I don’t. I love gleaning wisdom and ideas from other moms-especially those who are older and have gone before me- but, we have to learn to filter out what advice is treasure to keep and use, something to put on the back burner for later, and something to throw in the trash because it’s not right for us. For me, humility is essential  in this as I seek God’s direction for us and also my husband’s wisdom as we do this together. I have found so much rest and joy as I let go of trying to “do it right” all of the time.

3. My Children are Humans and Sinners

Discipline can be such a controversial thing in the Church. As a Church we often succeed in creating our own Civil War over spanking vs. not spanking. I have my opinion on what I feel God has called me to, but this is not the end all of parenting. The word discipline makes me think of the word disciple. My kids each have their own wills and will choose to either do what is right or do what is wrong. In our house, we talk about wise or foolish choices. But, ultimately, they are choices. I cannot control their hearts and wills. I CAN pray for them. I CAN teach them what God’s word says and seek to use it as much as possible. I CAN show them that their choices have consequences by giving them consequences for their actions. I spent most of the first years feeling discouraged when I looked at other parents because I didn’t have those quiet spoken compliant children and feeling like I was either too hard on my kids or too soft. In this past year, I have experienced such peace as I let go of expecting a perfect outcome and instead seek to pray with and for my kids watching God change and grow them into little people who love and follow Him. It’s working too! I have seen a huge softening of my older two’s hearts and a desire to love others and God because THEY want to.

4. My Best Tool is Prayer

Why do we forget this so easily, Moms? We will all probably rattle this off as truth, but do we do it? Do we pray without ceasing for these little lives we have been entrusted with? This is something I’m learning. This parenting thing is all something I’m learning. So many times over this past year, I have found myself overwhelmed and wishing for answers. But, it’s not until I stop and pray, that the answers flow into my heart. This happens over and over- either my husband or a friend shares something that is exactly what I needed to hear, or scripture pops into my head that directly answers the questions. Don’t think for a minute that I am implying that if we pray, we will get an instant fix for every problem we face. But, in the hardest moments where the answers either have not come or were not good, I have then been given the peace and presence of Jesus to comfort my heart as I wait on Him. THIS IS GOLD. This whole prayer thing comes from watching my own momma. She raised five kids of her own and we were each completely different people. I watched as she would pray and God would give her the wisdom to lead us and speak His truth into each of our hearts in ways that we would receive. We have each taken different paths to following Jesus and needed her (and my dad) in different ways, but she had the tools to do that because she was armed with God’s word and His presence as she discipled us.

5. My Husband is My Best Friend and Teammate

This is not advice, but I am humbled by this blessing. I’ve had this mushy feeling in my heart these last few weeks as I look at all he does for us. We hit the 8 year mark of marriage and with almost four kids, it feels like so much longer. This has been our busiest and best year of marriage. We get less dates than we ever got and much less sleep, but somehow it just gets better and better. He’s still romantic and tells me I’m hot, but watching him build lego sets, make Baby grin her coy “Daga” smile, teach big girl to ride her bike without training wheels, clean the kitchen late at night, mow our lawn, finding my car filled with gas when I thought it was empty, and running to the store for ice cream at midnight because I had a craving. . . those are the things that melt me. So, shout out to you, Ryan! I could not do a day of this journey without you and whether filled with exhaustion or fun, each day with you is my greatest treasure. May we never stop treasuring each other and learning how to be a better and better team. May we always kiss first when you get home before you greet each of the kids trying to get in the middle and push us apart.


Momma friends, I hope you read this and find it laced with grace. I hope you stop feeling like you are failing and learn to allow God to make you the best mom your children could ever have so that you can rest and enjoy these quickly passing little years. IMG_6920


It’s Too Hot to Cook, But We’ve Still Gotta Eat!

When you live in the Pacific NW, there is a general feeling of elation when the rain goes away in the summer and is replaced with sun and heat. I do not share that feeling. I moved here for the rain and eagerly await it’s return. I’m also seven months pregnant with our fourth baby, so everything feels just that much hotter and I feel that much more lazy. That said, I still have a family to feed and I want to eat yummy food. All of this whining is making me tired, so I will instead share some of the yummy things we’ve been enjoying this summer!

Disclaimer: If you don’t already know this about me, I am awful at giving ingredient lists and exact amounts in my recipes because I don’t actually know. Good luck trying to follow them. 🙂


My husband got a new grill for this birthday, which was basically a gift to me because he’s enjoyed doing the majority of the cooking these days!

1. Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Fajitas

This is definitely my main craving this pregnancy! Here’s the link to her recipe:


We can’t handle the spice like she can, so I cut the chili powder and red pepper flakes considerably. I marinade the chicken for as long as I can- anywhere from 1 hr to overnight. Then hubby grills it while I relax! We love getting fresh flour tortillas from our favorite Mexican restaurant and top with sautéed peppers and onions, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. YUM!! We like to eat them with grilled corn and watermelon.

2. Steak Fajitas

  1. Place a skirt steak in a large ziplock and add enough soy sauce to barely cover it, 2 big spoonfuls of jalapeño salsa, lime juice, garlic (fresh or powder), and some pepper. Marinade in the fridge for an hour or more. It gets too salty if you leave it overnight.
  2. Grill and serve the same as the chicken fajitas.

3. Grilled Chicken with Mango Basil Salsa

For the Mango Basil Salsa:

  1. Cut a fresh mango into cubes (Nectarines were amazing in this too!).
  2. Chiffonade some fresh basil.
  3. Mix mango and basil with 1 tsp of jalepeno salsa, a splash of lime juice, a squeeze of maple syrup, and a dash of salt.

For the Chicken:

  1. Rub chicken breast with a little olive oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.
  2. Grill chicken and slice into thin strips diagonally.
  3. Top with the Mango Basil Salsa. Enjoy! This almost felt too simple to write out, but I could seriously eat this every day right now, so I thought I should share!

4. Grilled Pizza

We just tried this for the first time tonight. And, I’m in love. In love with the grilled pizza.

Here’s the link where we got the method for our pizza. http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2011/03/12/stockpile-meals-grilled-pizza-with-feta-caramelized-onion/

We made a simple pizza so that our kids would enjoy it too, but I have big dreams of Margherita Pizza with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, Sausage Blue Cheese and Carmelized onions, and BBQ Chicken Pizza.

For the sauce, I simmered together 1 can of crushed tomatoes, a splash of red wine, 1 clove of fresh garlic, salt, pepper, some dried oregano, and some dried parsley.

Then, we topped with ham, shredded mozzarella cheese, and shredded cheddar cheese.


1. Asparagus Caprese Pasta Salad

  1. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente. Rinse it and give it an ice water bath.
  2. Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces and place in a pot covered with water. Bring to a boil and then immediately drain and place asparagus in ice water to stop cooking.
  3. Toss pasta and asparagus with cut up tomatoes, cubed mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Taste and add more of each until its delicious.

2. BLT Salad with Homemade Ranch

  1. For the dressing- Mix together 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 T of apple cider vinegar, a few splashes of worchestershire, 1 tsp of salt, pepper, garlic (fresh of powder), 1 tsp of dill, fresh basil or 1 tsp of dried basil or whatever fresh herbs you have. Let this thicken in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Use kitchen sheers to cut bacon into tiny pieces and cook bits until done. Drain on a paper towel.
  3. Wash baby spinach (I like this way better than lettuce with this dressing!), cut up tomatoes, and toss with the bacon bits, and ranch dressing.

3. Ranch Pasta Salad

  1. Make the homemade ranch dressing above.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente. Rinse it and give it an ice water bath.
  3. Cube up whatever lunch meat and cheese you have (ham, salami, mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, etc.)
  4. Cut raw broccoli into teeny tiny pieces so your kids don’t have to bite into them.
  5. Toss everything together!

4. Chinese Chicken Salad

  1. For the dressing- Whisk together a few dashes of sesame oil, 1/2 cup of rice vinegar (or whatever you have), 1 T of soy sauce, garlic powder, a tsp of ginger, and 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar. Then, slowly add in 1 cup of vegetable oil as you whisk. Taste and add more soy sauce or sugar as needed.
  2. Heat a saute pan to medium high heat with some olive oil.
  3. Cook diced chicken breast in the hot oil in small batches until nicely browned. Don’t over cook. It will cook quickly. If you put too much chicken in the pan, it will not brown and the texture will not be as good.
  4. Cut up romaine lettuce (some cabbage is yummy with it too) and chop some cilantro.
  5. Toss together lettuce, chicken, cilantro, canned mandarin oranges, and toasted sliced almonds with the dressing.


1. BLTA’s- Bacon, spinach, tomatoes, sliced avocado, salt, pepper, and mayo on toasted white bread. No directions are necessary, but it deserves an honorable mention for it’s yumminess and easyness.

2. Chicken Mozzarella Panini

  1. Heat a grill pan, panini press, or regular pan to medium heat and rub with some butter.
  2. Spread white bread with basil paste (found by the fresh herbs in the produce section), put on a piece of leftover grilled chicken, some spinach leaves, and a few slices of mozzarella cheese.
  3. Grill until perfectly golden on each side and the cheese is melted.

3. Steak Guacamole Sammies

  1. Season a large sirloin steak with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (london broil works okay too).
  2. Grill or broil (To broil- I’m not sure what it’s called, but I have a pan with holes that sits over another one to catch the drippings. Put it on one of those and broil on high broil for about 6 minutes per side until pink inside.)
  3. Make guacamole- Mash avocado and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a small teaspoonful of jalapeño salsa.
  4. Once steak is done, spread butter on both halves of a french hoagie and toast in the oven.
  5. Spread guacamole on the roll and top with thin slices of the steak.


1. Copycat Chipotle Carnitas Salad

  1. For the dressing- I read a bunch of copycat recipes and looked at Chipotle’s website to see the ingredients. I can not take credit for creating this, but here’s what I came up with: Blend together 1/3 C of honey, 1/2 C of apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 cup oil, 1 tsp of chipotle powder, 1 scant T of salt, and some pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano.
  2. For the carnitas- Season both sides of carnitas meat (or other pork) with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and place in a crockpot. Add in a few big T of jalapeño salsa, a few spoonfuls of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, a few cloves of fresh crushed garlic, 1 cup of chicken broth, some lime juice, oregano, and cumin. Cook on high heat for 4-5 hours until it is fall apart tender.
  3. For the rice- Cook jasmine rice in a rice cooker. When done, mix in some fresh cilantro, lime juice, salt, and a few T of butter.
  4. To make the salad- Top romaine lettuce with some rice, black beans, carnitas meat, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Drizzle the dressing over the top.

2. Tamar’s Chicken Nachos

  1. Put some chicken breast in the crockpot, season with salt, pepper, and garlic power, and top with salsa.
  2. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or until done and shred.
  3. Use for taco salad or nachos. It’s so easy, but I’m always surprised by how much we all love it each time. Thanks, Tamar!

3. Italian Roast

This is a good one for when we want something more hearty, but don’t want to stand over a hot stove. We love it with roasted root veggies in the cooler months, but it also makes a really yummy beef dip sandwich.

  1. In the crockpot, rub both sides of a chuck roast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, a few spoonfuls of tomato paste, and a few dashes of Worcestershire.
  2. Add in one can of petite diced tomatoes, 1 cup of beef broth, and a few splashes of red or marsala wine.
  3. Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Until it is fall apart tender, it is not done.

That’s some of what we’ve been eating! I would love your ideas too! Good luck hot busy mommas!

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A Good Mom Would

A good mom would put away the laundry without letting Mount Laundry take over her bedroom floor.

A good mom would show up on time with children in matching clean clothes with hair styled.

A good mom would have children who sit still while they eat.

A good mom would have children who eat!

A good mom would keep her floors vacuumed and swept.

A good mom would have obedient children.

A good mom would be more consistent.

A good mom would do more crafts.

A good mom doesn’t let her children watch TV.

A good mom would have dinner ready at 5:00.

A good mom would. . . you fill in the blanks. We all do.

I have noticed a sad trend these days amongst moms including myself. Almost every mom I know seems plagued with the overwhelming feeling that she is indeed a bad mom. If she could just do_________________ then she would be one of those good moms and her children would grow into lovely little human beings.

I understand these feelings all too well. Today in the grocery store I had an elderly woman tell me that my children were well behaved and that I was clearly a very good momma. I was elated. I could have literally jumped for joy to hear those words from that sweet stranger. I did it!! I was a good mom today. I successfully bought what we needed and my children were relatively well behaved. . . Oh, wait. . .I forgot the laundry detergent and my husband just went back to the store to get it. So, I guess I’m not a good mom after all.

I’m still processing these thoughts, these feelings, but I feel compelled to call them out. With every part of my heart I think it’s time we put these thoughts where they belong, in the garbage.

When I find myself consumed with something, I have learned that the only way I can combat it is to view it through the lens  of God’s word as I find out what the Bible has to say about it. I weigh my thoughts against scripture seeking to understand what may be truth to grow in and lies to throw away.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

If God so intricately formed our babies’ little bodies, carefully choosing each of their days, then I’m pretty sure He knew who He was choosing to be their momma. Some of us become momma’s by carrying our babies in our “tummies” and some by adopting our sweet littles. Regardless of how, I believe that God knew who would be the momma for each child. Don’t you think the God who made our world is capable of choosing the right momma for the right child? Because of this, I am confident that He has equipped each of us with the necessary gifts to be the best possible mom for our children.

This guilt that we feel is not healthy or helpful. Guilt is really good at making us think all about ourselves as we focus not on loving and serving those around us, but dwell on negative thoughts and perceived failure. Apart from God’s saving grace, we are each failures and deserve a place in the Bad Mom Camp. But, through the work of the Holy Spirit living within us, we are empowered with everything we need to honor God in this calling to motherhood.

Let’s throw away the guilt. . . the lie that we are not good enough. . . Let’s quit letting Mommy Wars be a thing. . . And, let’s allow Jesus to teach us how to be the best mom we can be for His glory alone.

The list above about the good mom is just a sampling of thoughts that run through my brain on a regular basis.

Here’s my new list:

A good mom prays for her children.

A good mom fills her heart and mind with scripture.

A good mom shows her children grace as she receives it herself.

A good mom knows that God promises to thoroughly equip her for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:17)

So, Sweet Momma Friends. . .

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)


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A Full Busy Heart

I just read through an article called, The Fifty Things Moms Miss Most. I agreed with almost every one of those things. But, although I may have laughed and agreed, I can’t see how thinking about what I may miss in this mommy life could possibly be helpful. Sure, I’m exhausted and I don’t get to choose how I want to spend my time. In fact, in the middle of that last sentence I was hit in the face with an Ariel doll so that I could change her dress because of course getting Ariel out of her bathing suit was a life or death situation.

To contrast this article, I went through a study with some women in our church a few months back on a book called, Feminine Appeal. The book was awesome and the company wonderful.

Here are the two things that have been changing my mommy heart:

1. God has commanded me to be busy in my home. I am not busy because my husband expects it or my children demand it. I work in our home out of obedience to Christ.

. . .Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (‭Titus‬ ‭2‬:‭4-5‬ ESV)

2. I am called to be cheerful and kind as I serve my family.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭25-26‬ ESV)

I have spent the last few months trying to put these two things into practice- work hard and be cheerful. Instead of whining about how tired I am, I get up and work. When I start to grumble about the endless cycle of cleaning and the mountain of laundry to fold, I remind myself to search for the joy in the midst. It’s truly been a gift to put these things into practice. And it is practice. . . I try and I often fail, but ultimately I find that as I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me how, I get better and better.

Here’s the result on my Saturday morning.

Instead of drinking hot coffee and eating the waffle my hubby had made me while it was warm and crisp, I got to rock my sweet baby to sleep and was overwhelmed with the love I have for this spit up covered little sweetie who demands every one of my minutes. It was bliss.

As I attempted to watch a few minutes of TV, I was interrupted by a sweet five year old talking so fast I could hardly make out her words. I stopped and looked at her and saw a sparkle so big as she explained her next work of art knowing that I’ll probably have a big mess to clean up. And, my heart was full.

And, then there’s that messy little boy. The one who left a bruise on my leg as he climbed on top of me for “just one more blobbery kiss, Mom, ’cause you’re my girl.”

As I write, I’m pretty sure that I’ll have typos and I probably could have chosen more interesting words. But, I’m distracted by the two cute kids acting out their latest visit to Make- Believe Land and I know I better send this out now before I forget to edit and never send. Oh, and as I just re-read what I had written I had a pretend dog barking in my face and saw a little boy come out from the bathroom doing the “Naked Dance.”

This life of mine is so very busy and I hardly sleep, but the happiness to be found in it is almost overwhelmingly blissful if I just choose to find it.

This is what matters. It never ceases to amaze me how blessed and full life is when I live it in the way God tells me to. When I work hard in our home (more blogs on this to come) and do so cheerfully, my heart is full and my family is happy and taken care of.

Well, the baby is crying again. . .time to go!

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Not So Perfect Mom

God taught me a sweet little lesson today and as I sat down to write about it, you can imagine my shock to find that I have not written since November of 2013. So. . .

HELLO 2014!

Life in my world is completely different from when I last wrote on Thanksgiving. Days after Christmas, we met an awesome couple who shared our heart in so many ways. Fast forward two months to Valentines Day and we moved our little family of four to a new state to start a new life with my hubby as the worship pastor at their church. About a month later, on the first day of spring, our precious third baby joined us and life will truly never be as precious or the same. Every part of my little world has changed, but I have learned that the sweetest place to be is indeed right where God brings you.

Today, we took our sweet baby to her four month check-up and my oldest to her FIVE YEAR check-up. When did my babies turn into kids? When older mommas tell you that the time goes fast. . . oh my is it true! This morning, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. . . I played with my kids, fed them a good lunch, helped them pack fun bags to entertain themselves at the doctor’s office, and had them down for an early nap so that they could be on their best behavior when we were at the appointments. As we walked in the doors of the office, we reviewed the rules while we were there.

Ha ha. . . joke’s on this momma! The children who were with me in that office could not have possibly been my sweet little babies. They touched everything that they shouldn’t touch, they screamed, they fought, they talked over the doctor as she talked to me, they jumped on furniture. They were THOSE KIDS and I was THAT MOM. I left the office mortified at their behavior, horrified at what everyone thought of me, and beyond grateful for our sweet and gracious doctor who gave me extra encouragement as I ushered us quickly to the car.

We walked into our house and I sent my kids into separate rooms to wait for me. I walked into my room to find my five year old closing her eyes and sweetly singing the words,

“Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong.”

She knew that she had done wrong and decided that she would worship while she waited for me to come and let her know her consequence. As we talked, it was so clear that she got it. She understood her sin. She knew she been unloving to her doctor. But, even better, she knew that she needed Jesus’ help and to spend time with Him as she worked through that sin. We talked about repentance and we talked about the mercy that God gives each of us daily. How beautiful to get to live the truth of the gospel through your children.

After, some time in their beds I called the kids out to join me as I made dinner. Again, I got to learn through my babies. As I was trimming the green beans for our dinner, our baby girl began crying to be fed. I left the kitchen to get her and my big girl asked if she could trim the green beans for me. I then heard her teaching her brother how to do it.

I walked into the kitchen and found a pile of green beans (some on the floor) trimmed to many different sizes with two dirty kids beaming as they let me know what a big help they were to me. It took a while to sort out the broken ends from the beans, and as I sorted God spoke to this tired momma’s heart…

We are such a bunch of failures.

Every stinkin’ single day, I fail Him. I whine, I act nothing like the child He created, and I ignore all that He has taught me.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Not only does God forgive us, He also lets us keep trying to figure it out and get it right.

It would have been much faster and easier to cut those green beans for our dinner. I was tired after a long day of trying to be the “perfect mom”. Instead, I got to see my sweet girl go from stuck in her sin, to worship, to repentance, to choosing to serve. I may have been embarrassed that the people at her doctor’s office saw my imperfection as a mom, but instead I will celebrate that my baby girl turned big girl got to see the full cycle of God’s love and help for her today.

Being a mom is so very humbling and it gets more so the more kids we add to our family. But, that humbling is sure a beautiful place to be as I get to watch Jesus work in the hearts of these little sinners that I love so very much.


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Giving Thanks 2013

Thanksgiving has always been such a special day to me because not only do we eat delicious food and get to spend it with family, but it is my dad’s very favorite day of the year. From little girl to grown-up girl, I get excited the moment I wake up knowing that the special time of year has started. I’ve always loved Christmas. I didn’t totally understand why my dad would prefer it, but now I see just how precious it is to stop and thank God for all that He has done in our lives. As a party loving, gifts are my love language kind of girl, I love that Thanksgiving is the kickoff of Christmas and the beginning of time to celebrate.

Confession time: I’m not sure I should even utter these words, but as I have tried to keep up with the daily thankful Facebook posts, I have found it a bit of struggle. This has been true for me very rarely. I look at my life and I am overwhelmed at the blessings. This year, with different heartaches, worries, and just feeling plain crummy from pregnancy and illness, it can be hard to see past the blessings of my beautiful family and friends. And then I stop, return to my Bible and am remember what I am most thankful for this year. . .

The life-changing and constant life-giving power of the gospel. I have been a Christian for 25 years and this year alone has been a time of physically seeing the power of Jesus Christ in my life, the love of my Heavenly Father God, and the constant presence of Holy Spirit. I have known and experienced this all through my life, but God has given me an overwhelming dose of Himself and for that I am truly grateful. There are moments when I feel so discouraged and then I return to my Bible or think on the scripture that I memorized as a kid and am moved to tears by the love that God has for me and each of us. He looks at us in our pitiful state and says, “I love you and I choose you as mine.” He takes trash and makes a plan to turn it into priceless treasure. He forgives me of my pride, anger, selfishness, and worry and gave His own precious son to take my punishment so that I could receive blessing. When I am afraid or sad, I can hold “unswervingly to the hope” I have in Him. When I cry, the Bible says that He is near. Praise God from whom all blessings flow and when our eyes are clouded and it is hard to see His blessings, praise Him for who He is, a good God who never changes and will always be God.

I am also beyond thankful for my family. . .

The family I grew up with who taught me the gospel, daily point me back to it, and who love me for me.

The family who I gained through my husband who raised my man for me, adopted me as theirs, and helps me love and raise my babies.

The family God gave me in my precious gift of a husband. He is my earthly reminder of God’s goodness. I am so thankful for your strength, your faith, and for your constant love and care for me.

And, the beautiful family that Ryan and I are creating together. There is no greater joy to be found than in Heidi, Hank, and little Kate growing inside of me. My kids have a new favorite song that has been the anthem of my heart these past months. . .


Come and stand before your Maker
Full of wonder, full of fear
Come behold His power and glory
Yet with confidence draw near

For the one who holds the heavens
And commands the stars above
Is the God who bends to bless us
With an unrelenting love

Rejoice, come and lift your hands and
Raise your voice, He is worthy of our praise
Rejoice, sing of mercies of your King
And with trembling, rejoice

We are children of the promise
The beloved of the Lord
Won with everlasting kindness
Bought with sacrificial blood

Bringing reconciliation
To a world that longs to know
The affections of a Father
Who will never let them go

Rejoice, come and lift your hands and
Raise your voice, He is worthy of our praise
Rejoice, sing of mercies of your King
And with trembling, rejoice

All our sickness, all our sorrows
Jesus carried up the hill
He has walked this path before us
He is walking with us still

Turning tragedy to triumph
Turning agony to praise
There is blessing in the battle
So take heart and stand amazed

Rejoice, when you cry to Him He hears
Your voice, He will wipe away your tears
Rejoice, in the midst of suffering
He will help you sing

Rejoice, come and lift your hands and
Raise your voice, He is worthy of our praise
Rejoice, sing of mercies of your King
And with trembling rejoice

(By Dustin Kensrue)