Monday, June 23, 2014

Working vs. Staying at Home: Who Makes a Better Mother?

“I can’t believe you are going to waste your intelligence just to stay home with your kid.”

It was said to my face.  And it left me speechless, which those closest to me will be sure to tell you is rare.

In the speaker’s defense, she was just like me.  A lover of education.  Someone who was most content with a straight A bearing every intention of getting “Dr” in front of her name.  I liked sitting next to her because we were equally ambitious in our desire to learn and solve problematic situations.  We were on a mission to change the world.

Despite our similar end goals, we were also in different seasons of life.  She was a true undergraduate whereas I’d graduated college, married, completed my masters degree in medical ethics, and returned for the final few courses I still needed for medical school application.  I was also sucking down water and praising God for dissolvable zofran because my husband and I were finally going to be parents after painful years of waiting.  She couldn’t yet know how life experienced outside of the college bubble impressions a person.

Soon after that course, Grace was born.  I believe this happens for all women – those working outside the home and those who are not – but it was as though God pulled off the blinders of who I thought I was to reveal to me exactly who He made me to be.   Children have a way of driving us to pray more about our life, our leadership, our choices.  And, if ever I have heard God speak to me, it was when my MCAT results arrived in the mail.  Before I even opened them I knew success or fail I was not to go.

I became a homemaker – a role I never thought I would fill - and I thrived in new ways.  I started to cook more, network more, play more, dream more, write more, and reproduce more. J  Two more girls would be born and, to my surprise, God would also birth through my keystrokes two books for publication.  I felt as though God unwrapped facets of myself previously hidden.  Right work looked different and the education lover in me found its most comfortable home nurturing my children’s education while rocking the PTA.

And I learned never to limit God.  And I knew His ways were better than my ways.  And what life had previously taught me about my identity was reinforced.

Identity does not come in a paycheck.  It is not found in any earthly title.  It is not manifest in the makeup of our day. Those are all surface things to the heart which feels God’s love and says, “My identity comes in being Yours alone.”


To hear my answer and find encouragement for your heart today finish reading this post here

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

When The Storms Rage On

We’re glued to the radar again. 

Everybody around here has pretty much come to accept that we won’t see Jimmy Fallon on TV at night and “tornado warning” is now a routine part of three year olds vocabularies.

Damaging hail fell from the sky and torrential rains ceased to let up.  Waters filled the street and flooded foundations.  And the meteorologists would deliver yet the same forecast for the following day.  “Chance of heavy rain and hail.  Conditions may be right for a tornado.  Know where your shelter will be.”

The dings on our car exterior necessitate a phone call.

The next day I get a text from a dear friend, “Had to leave our house last night because of flooding.  Don’t know what this all will look like.”

With the turn of another calendar day friends lose windows from an angry sky raining ice and the most mature of trees are uprooted from their foundation.

A house on the street of my childhood home is struck with lightening.

The city goes on water restriction because the sump pumps run at an all time high in hopes of staying ahead while hundreds of others pull up carpets and remove valuable mementoes. 

Streets are closed due to stalling vehicles.  Neighboring communities look lost in lakes.

And just when we think we’ve had it all – seen enough – the tornadoes crop up.  We glue ourselves to media seeing if they will come here.  They don’t, but they get close enough.  My friend’s grandpa’s dairy is lost.  Homes are leveled Tuesday and then again Wednesday.

And then we woke up today - 60% chance of storms. - You can hear the groans.  It’s like life has become a bad version of Groundhogs Day.

We’ve raised our white flags.  “Enough, God, enough!”

And the storms that rage outside fire within our hearts.  And the water that sits sinks spirits.  And the intensity of life’s battle drum grows louder, LOudEr, LOUDER.

Lives are thrown into turmoil.

Lack of control shrivels hopes.

Dreams for tomorrow are lost.

Life demands a new work and outlook and vision.

In mere seconds everything looks different.

We go outside to look at our dwimpy tree that fights to grow.  Daily we’ve watched out the window as the leaves shook and trunk bent so far over it nearly cracked.  It seems miracle that it didn’t fall.

“There’s a nest in there!,” my Hannah celebrates.

My husband and I are sure she is wrong because there is seemingly no way that a nest could withstand the winds of life.

But, there it was,



Tight and protecting new life.

The radar says more storms may come.  I suppose it will always be true of our lives.

But, when the storms of life rage on - when we’re blown, bent, and nearly broken – we have a God that reminds us in the midst of it all, He will give new life. 
Remember: You only have until tomorrow to get this adorable handmade "dance" necklace shipped to you for only $10.  My girls' have arrived and I know without a doubt you will love yours.

AND, you can still enter to win "8 Great Dates for Dads & Daughters: Talking to Your Girls About Understanding Boys."  Get your name in the mix!
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jump: How to Live When You’re Caught Between What Is & What You Dream to Be

There is a line so fine between the belief in what you secretly hope for and resigning to what is that is nearly undetectable.

Most of us brush past it in our thoughts because if we stopped to give it credence it might rile up life as we know it. 

Dreams can feel easier with a “someday” vocabulary.  It still speaks of possibility without requiring anything of us now.  We don’t have to do the work.  We don’t have to feel the feelings.  We don’t have to risk. 

And yet, if most of us are honest, some of our biggest heart issues find home in that tiny space.

I can dwell in this shell of my body or I can labor my way to the healthier version of me.

I can resist failure with my ambition or I can throw it all out there knowing there is possibility for success.

I can keep going through the motions or I can awaken what makes me tick.

Significant meaning is brushed aside or wrestled with depending on how gutsy we are on a given day.

I was walking the treadmill when news stations aired George H. W. Bush’s triumphant jump this morning.  A 90th birthday wish to parachute from the skies.

It was a dream that from the outside appeared a bit absurd to me.  Why jump out of a plane at 90?  Why jump out of a plane at all?  His legs do not have full function.  He was recently in the hospital for lung issues.  He has a form of Parkinson’s Disease. 

All odds appeared stacked against him and, yet, that’s the thing about odds.  You don’t know where you will land until you take the jump.

Risk taking isn’t attractive on the outset.  It’s why we often resign to what is rather than plunging into what could be.  But when the “somedays” run out we discover a life lived in safety is hollow and dreams never chanced ultimately show distrust in the Giver of it all.

Because all passions, however small or large they may seem, ultimately come from a God who created us with gifts that motivate and energize, that give the world brighter color and life grander perspective.  This God offers us more than the rising of the sun and coffee to face the day (although that is a wonderful bonus not to be underestimated).  Yes this God offers constant encouragement saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21)

Will you trust Him? 

Will you jump?

Life isn’t about getting through the time we have but making a difference with each moment we get. 

“Somedays” create boring days but “I’ll give it a go” embarks on a Spirit-filled adventure of possibility, opening your eyes to new potential and achievement that will make life richer for you and all God’s people watching and benefitting from your living the life and doing the things God sparks in you to do.

Perhaps my favorite part of George H. W. Bush’s whole jump was not the leap itself but the landing.  From the standpoint of human expectation, it wasn’t perfect.  There was a stumble, but he was safe in the care of his tandem jumper.

So too when we take our leap of faith to live our life with passion there may be some wobbles and falls along the way.  The called road isn’t the easy road.  But, lucky for us, God is in tandem, protecting and cheering us on, until we land in the place He calls us to be.  The place we finally experience self-realization and triumph.

Reminder:  If you haven't entered to a win a copy of "8 Great Dates for Dads & Daughters: Talking to Your Girls About Understanding Boys," do so now right here!  Free is fun!

And, if your girl is a dancer, KraftyKash has this tiny dancer handmade necklace sale going right now that you shouldn't miss.  Thinks birthday & Christmas gifts :)

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

KraftyKash Tiny Dancer "Dance" Necklace Sale

Y'all know how much our family loves dance.

So, when my friend KraftyKash posted this picture yesterday

(photo credit KraftyKash)

I started my 2014 Christmas shopping.

Aren't they just the most adorable necklaces for the little dancer in your life? And right now she is running a sale where you can get the dance pendant necklace with the bead color of your choice shipped to you for only $10!

These are perfect for any 4-14 year old girl, although our three year old will be getting one too :)   The hand-clipped pendant comes on an 18" chain that can be clipped to best fit the age of the special girl(s) you are buying for so indicate age for each order in the notes.  Bead choices include pink, white, green, black or teal.


Why not grab one for each of the little dancers in your life and let them show to the world how they do ministry on stage?

This handmade deal is good through June 28th, and you can place your order here

If you want to hit a homerun in the dance world, this is how to do it.  They are sure to bring smiles to the little dancers you love.  I know I can't wait for our three to arrive :)   Shhhhh......

Reminder: If the girl you are purchasing these necklaces for is 8-12 you should also enter my "8 Great Dates for Dads & Daughters: Talking with Your Daughter About Understanding Boys" giveaway. Bob & Dannah Gresh did a great job of writing a memory making, character forming book for you and your girl(s) :)

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Friday, June 6, 2014

I've Officially Become My Mom

Yesterday the tornado sirens blew in these parts.

Since we didn't have the TV on I wasn't sure if it was a legit warning or if they were doing some kind of test so being a true media enthusiast of 2014 I went straight to Twitter.

Confirmation + striking images of damaging hail and funnel clouds, including one reported by a local meteorologist approximately a half mile from my house led me to get our sleep-resistant toddler from her room and take the panicking older two downstairs.

"What are we going to do?" Hannah cried.

"We're just going to hang downstairs & if a tornado actually comes we'll sit in the tub."

I almost rolled my own eyes as I said it, although somehow experiencing this from a mother vantage point was significantly less cool than impending storms are through the eyes of youth.

When I was as super cool, college planning, practically ready to take the world on on my own high school senior, my mom said those same words. 

Naturally it was a weekend, and I had plans.  My friend Adam had already made his way to my home and our next stop was to get my boyfriend, now hubby, Charlie.  But, before we got out my door the weather man got all kinds of excited, the alarms sounded, and my mom was not about to let us out the door.

Oh, no, not only were we not going out the door.  We were going to the inmost room with no windows - the bathroom - and sitting with pillows over our heads in the tub. 

In the mean time, my dad, who was an insurance adjuster, was out "assessing the damage" real time.  My mom wasn't impressed, to say the least, so she was yelling at the top of her lungs reminding him of his job to be a leader.

Adam was a long time best friend so there was no embarrassment to be had, but it was certainly NOT a memory I ever envisioned making together.

But we did.  And neither Charlie, myself, or Adam have ever forgotten the night weather left 2/3 of us packed like sardines in a tiny tub with a fluffy linen over our head.  It's a memory that will forever make us laugh.

Still, here I here I was.  Much older and certainly more mature than that high school senior thought she was.  Even more, the mother of three girls I want to keep safe with everything in me.  The possibility of tornadic danger held no hint of humor.

Suddenly my mom looked a whole lot smarter.

We'd just gotten puzzles out when the meteorologist announced that they were going off the air to take cover.  I knew then and there that if the very type of weather that seems to get them a kid at Christmas type of excited to report was being called, we needed to take cover.

In the bathroom.

(Doesn't Ava look thrilled?!)

I had the girls grab some puzzles and in we went.  We sat there while hail pummeled the roof and the sounds of swirling wind around the house drove me to silent prayer that all would be well.  Whoever invented all the functionality of the iPad became my new best friend because watching a movie brought instant calm to the girls in their most fearful moment while I continued to check Twitter for continual updates from the TV/radio free bathroom.  Technology is a beautiful thing.

Then my phone rang.  Charlie called a few times throughout the storm. In fact, the iPad suggestion was his (nice one, babe). But this time he told me of people stepping outside a moment to "check it out."

And out from my mouth came, "As the boss you need to set a safe standard.  Get everyone in the bathroom or break room."

Two for two. 

I've officially become my mom.

I'm grateful that we escaped the storm with only dings to an insured car and an emotional, nap-less toddler.

And I'm also grateful for a very wise mother.  If I'm going to turn into someone, she's a pretty great someone to be. :)

Reminder: I'm giving away a copy of Bob & Dannah Gresh's "8 Great Dates for Dads & Daughters: Talking with Your Daughter About Understanding Boys."  Enter here if you haven't yet!  Who doesn't love a free, character building book? :)

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