Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Love, even when its hard

img_9572My parents divorced when I was little.  My dad was not a constant in my childhood.  The older I got, the more I saw him.  I pushed for him to be in my life, especially in my early teen years.  As a kid I just saw my dad as this cool, music loving, hippy.  I didn’t understand the complicated things.  I just knew I wanted to be around him more.

When I was about 14 my dad decided to quit his job.  He walked out one night after getting upset with his boss.  He had no plan and his free spirit seemed to be leading him.  He decided he was done working for the man and I remember him vowing to never work for someone else again.  He lived off his savings and 401K that he withdrew.  Eventually that ran out.  He had no money for rent so he became homeless.  He had no money to pay for his truck, so they took it back.  I remember wanting nothing more than to help him.  I begged my mother to let him stay with us and she did- for months.

After he over stayed his welcome he started what he would keep up for the next 15 years.  He would live from place to place until he over stayed his welcome.  I was his advocate for a long time.  I would make sure he was taken care of.  I took him food and gave him some money over the years. He lived with us more times than I can count.  I wasn’t alone in this, as there were several of us who were constantly taking turns.

At some point, I started getting a little resentful.  I was always doing for him.  Each time he would come to stay with us, it came with a promise.  This promise was that it was temporary and that he would get a job and save to be on his own.  Each time his stay would end with us telling him we could no longer keep it up unless he did as he promised and each time he would leave without even looking for a job.  He bounced back and forth between several places over his last 15 years.

I don’t need to go into all the details of all the things that happened, but at some point, my heart changed from a caring concerned daughter to an irritated, inconvenienced daughter.  At some point I quit seeing my dad through loving eyes and just saw my dad as a constant irritation.  If I listed all the things, I could probably get you to say that I was justified in my feelings but I don’t want to be.

I loved my dad.  I miss my dad.  But when he was here, there were a lot of things that were a constant source of hurt for me.  I needed a dad my entire life and my dad couldn’t be what I needed.  I had slowly started to accept that I needed to view our relationship differently and morn the fact that my dad wasn’t ever going to be able to be that dad I had always wanted.  It was still hard but getting better.

But now, my dad is gone.  Our relationship will never have a chance to mend or be healthy.  Now I wish I could be inconvenienced by going to pick him up for a birthday party or holiday get together.  Each time I eat at a restaurant that he loved, I only wish I could buy him dinner, where before I would have been frustrated I had to buy his dinner because he never had money.  Now when I try a new dark chocolate, which was his favorite, I wish I could offer him some.  The list goes on and on.

The reason I am writing all of this down is to remind us all that we need to love others even when it is inconvenient.  Love others when it is difficult to love.  Extend grace and understanding even when people are frustrating.  I know we all have relationships that are hard.  We all have those people in our lives that we don’t understand and that seem impossible.  I am sure that right now you are thinking of someone who fits this description.

Here is what I would do differently if my dad was still here and I had the chance to do things over.  I would do my best to understand him.  I would spend more time trying to see his heart. I would ask hard questions to find out what has happened to land him where he is.  I would focus on him as a person rather than his actions.  I would make sure that he always felt loved and welcomed where he was.  I would make sure I stood up for him.  But I would also hold him accountable.  I would remind him of the steps he needed to take to better himself and I would encourage him along the way.  I wouldn’t do it all for him, but rather come along side him and cheer him on, lending him a hand when and how I could.  I would have set healthy boundaries sooner to ensure our relationship was healthy, even if he wasn’t.  None of these things are easy to do and hindsight is 20/20 and it is easy to see things different now, but I want to try to learn from this and apply it where I can now.

You see, Jesus loves us all.  He loves us when we are difficult.  He loves us when we are broken.  He loves us when we are at the bottom.  He loves us when we don’t deserve it.  He loves us when it is inconvenient, messy, ugly.  He loves us.  Love God and Love people.

I see my dad in every person I pass holding a sign on the side of the road asking for something- food, money, shelter.  When I stop and offer what I have to give, I want so badly to know them.  To know their story and to know what has landed them where they are.  I see my dad when I see someone hurting and in need.  I see my dad when I encounter a difficult person.  I just want to understand what has caused pain in their life.  I have learned so much after my dads death.  I see people different.  (I am a work in progress and not perfect!) I see people as more than their sin, their actions, their words.  I am working on loving deeper, extending more grace, and truly seeing people.

Today I want to urge you to love others even when it is inconvenient, messy, or difficult because that is what Jesus would do and you never know when that might be their last chance to be loved like Jesus loves.

Camper Living, Encouragement, Family, home sweet home, My Story, Uncategorized

Happy Camper Christmas


This year just hasn’t felt like Christmas.  We didn’t have a tree up or any decorations.  Time has flown by and it doesn’t even seem like it should be 5 days until Christmas.  A few weeks ago we were discussing a tree.  Every year we go and get a live tree and love that tradition.  But this year, we live in a camper.  Our tree decorations are all in storage and not accessible at all.  I had pretty much just decided that we were not going to be able to have a tree.  We are so busy, things are crazy with building, and time was running out.


Then one night I asked Joel if he thought there was any trees on our property that might work as a Christmas tree.  I told him I didn’t care if it was perfect, that really it could be a Charlie Brown type of tree.  We discussed how much fun it would be if we made popcorn garland and dried oranges to hang on the tree.


So that is what we did!  We decided to make the best of what we had and guess what?   It turned out to be amazing!  So much fun and so many memories.  The kids all talked about how we should make this a new tradition.  I bought one ornament and we all agreed that we will put it on the tree each year to remind us of the time we spent Christmas in the camper!


As we worked, Joel started crafting ornaments out of scrap wire from our house.  He even created a copper star for the tree topper!


I love that even though this camper life isn’t ideal, some how we all encourage each other through it and find ways to be thankful.  Each of us have bad days where we are tired of being in the camper, but it never fails that someone else reminds whoever is down, just how much we have to be thankful for!


Jesus is truly the reason for the season and without a tree or decorations that doesn’t change, but the memories made decorating this sweet little tree are irreplaceable! Camper Christmas has had many obstacles to figure out (like where do I keep all the presents until Christmas) but I sure am happy to be here with all of my family and our Charlie Brown tree!  And most of all this Christmas I am thankful for a savior who was sent to us as a baby on Christmas day!  Thank you Jesus!

Camper Living, Encouragement, Family, home sweet home, My Story, Uncategorized

Home Sweet Home: part 2

I am a little sad that I haven’t blogged more of our adventure.  Camper living while Joel literally builds our house is an adventure to say the least.  I am hoping to update on camper life soon, but this will be a long post updating construction over the last 2 months.   Slowly but surely, we have chipped away and gotten this far!

When I last wrote about the house, we had just finished framing.  Since then, a lot has happened but a lot of it wasn’t super noticeable so I didn’t even want to blog about it.

The windows went in and then then roof going up was the next thing.  This took several weeks to complete because it is really hard to roof alone.  Joel had to wait for help and when he didn’t have help, you can see he improvised.  It was nerve wracking at times watching him up there! img_4182


Thankfully his dad, brother, Kamden, and our nephew all helped out several days.  We chose a galvenized metal roof which I am excited about!  I love the way it looks and can’t wait to see it with our siding and rock.




We wanted a very open floor plan and our kitchen, living, and dinning are all one big room.  I was probably most excited about this part of our plans.  But, when it came time to design the kitchen layout, I found it very hard to envision what the big open room was going to be like.  I spent many mornings with my coffee, floor plans, Pinterest, and a tape measurer trying to make decisions.


I finally was able to communicate to Joel and my father-in-law (who is building the cabinets) what I was wanting!  Joel was able to roughly draw up what I wanted and I showed lots of pictures and I am confident that I will love the end result!  I am so excited to see them finished!

Over the next 2 months, lots of things happened.  Electrical was ran, as well as plumbing.  Joel did this mostly on his own with help and guidance from a few experts. Joel set bathtubs, installed outlet and switch boxes, and spent lots of time in the attic and under the house.   He also has run all the duct work for the heat and air and the units in place.




Any time I got a chance I was in the house writing scripture on the walls.  I knew I wanted to do this and had lists of scripture for every room.  I enjoyed praying the scriptures in each room and dreaming about how they would be lived out within those walls.




In between each step we clean up.  Kamden & Jade have been a huge help and we are so thankful they willingly help!  Vera Jane spent lots of time supervising!



Our fireplace was installed and the exterior doors went in as well.



Insulation was up next and we did pay someone to do that.  We decided to go with spray insulation.  We have been impressed that the inside temperature of the house is pretty nice, even without any heat and air!  It was so messy during the process but they came back through and cleaned all of their mess up!  img_7274

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After insulation we were ready for sheetrock!  I was so excited for this step and to finally see what the walls would look like.  We decided to pay someone to hang the sheetrock because they can get it done so much faster then we could.  They got here at 8am and were gone by 2:15!  I was impressed!



So here we are, sheetrock up!  Finishing should start next week and then we will move on to paint and floors!

Joel fell through the ceiling a few nights ago.  Luckily he caught himself and didn’t hit the ground, but there is a little patch job that will need to happen!  I am thankful that he was ok and just a little sore!

We have all had to learn a little patience through this project.  Each step has come with delays and unexpected things.  We haven’t met the deadlines we put in place and I have especially had to learn to just go with it.  I am not good at it by any means and I have spent more days disappointed then I would like to admit, but when this is over I know I will look back and be glad we chose to do things this way- even if it wasn’t the easiest way!

Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Not Measuring Up?

dsc_9374ccBeing content in life can sometimes be a struggle, am I right?  I find myself hating Thursdays because I run around a lot.  Preschool drop off, then preschool pick up.  Then dance, wait around for soccer to start, then soccer.  All the running, with all the kids is exhausting and when you add in that all 3 little ones need to poop during all the running around- the baby exploded and I used about 20 wipes to clean up her and the carseat,  Harvey pooped minutes after Garner used the lady bug potty in the van. (if you have small children and don’t have a potty training potty in your trunk, get one!  It will save you from all kinds of bathroom situations!)  By the time I get home on Thursdays I am at hot mess.  Lets face it, hot mess is just my word for this season.  I guess it is two words, but you know what I mean!

I seriously can find myself in a constant state of discontent if I am not careful.  It is always something at this house, ummm I mean camper.  I know that if I started listing all the things I would have lots of moms nodding their heads saying “yes girl, yes!” because the reality is, most of these things that are always happening are just part of it.  I just reread what I typed and sighed big.  My own words cause me to stop and sigh because sometimes I just wish that wasn’t the truth!

BUT- when I go to my trusty bible and start digging into what it has to say about being a mother and wife I find all kinds of fun stuff.  Like Proverbs 31.  Who is this lady?  She makes clothes and sells them.  She cooks good food, she keeps the affairs of her house in order.  She speaks wisdom and faithful instruction. She opens her arms to the poor and needy.  She makes profitable trades, she works vigorously, she gets up early.  Her husband praises her.  GOOD-NESS…… ummmm, I don’t sew.  Right now I don’t cook anything except toaster waffles (totally the campers fault), the affairs of my house are far from in order. wisdom? faithful instruction?  how about speaking pleas to the 2 year old? does that count? I am in survival mode most days so I know I am not extending anything to anyone.  Everyday I am awoken by a tiny human screaming “Mommy get me a waffle and milk” and I say  “ugh, I should have gotten up earlier”.  Needless to say, I am so not living up to that Proverbs 31 woman.

Most days, if you ask me, I would say I fail at more than I succeed at.  Through prayer I feel like God has encouraged me to see things differently though.  I hear His voice saying “you have what it takes.”  I am reminded that I need to quit focusing on where I don’t feel I am measuring up, and focus more on where I am getting it right, even if it seems like it isn’t much.  I need to extend myself some grace- enough grace to get me through the bad days so I can keep going and not give up!  In fact, something that has helped me in giving myself grace is this: Stop- think about the situation different.  If this were someone else telling you the same story your are currently beating yourself up over, what would you tell them?  Would you be quick to encourage them to give themselves a little grace?  If I take myself out of the equation, I am usually quick to see it different.  If you would extend others grace in the same situation, give yourself grace too!

When I was looking though all the verses on the subject of motherhood and caring for our families, I saw over and over again the message that God is with us in our time of need.  “I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me” Psalm 120:1  So many times throughout my days, I try to take it all on myself.  I try to do it alone and don’t call out to Him and ask Him for help.  But oh when I do, it can make the craziest of situations ok!

1 Chronicles 28:10 says “Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary.  Be strong and do the work.”  Although this passage is David talking to Solomon about building the temple, it really reminded me that God has chosen ME to be where I am now.  To be a mother and wife, and build this household up in Him.  Again in 1 Chronicles 28:20, David is encouraging Solomon- be strong and courageous, do the work.  Do not be afraid or discouraged, For the Lord God is with you, He will not fail you or forsake you until the work is finished.  I find this so encouraging where I am right now.  Sometimes the work of keeping our homes running is difficult and frustrating but we can’t stop working at it.  We can’t allow ourselves to feel discouraged.  God is with us, He does promise us that!

I love that The Lord doesn’t leave us to do this alone.  I have been entrusted with a mighty calling in motherhood and caring for this household.  It truly is a BIG responsibility and I am ever thankful that His grace, love & mercy are covering it all!  Today I am clinging to the reminders that it isn’t about perfection or always getting it right, but it is more about continuing to fight the good fight for our family and choosing to not give up!  I hope this finds you encouraged today!


Camper Living, Encouragement, Family, My Story, Uncategorized

Camper Fever


Camper Fever- just like cabin fever, you know, but for a camper.

It started with a stomach bug.  Some how this bug managed to strike me when the husband is at the fire department.  (actually, everything bad happens when he is at the fire station, I bet any fire fighters wife will agree!) So I am sick something awful, trying to nurse the baby and keep up but I have no strength left in me.  I guess the good news is the camper is small so the bathroom is close!  After a few days of being in the camper because the stomach bug was being passed around, it rained.  Maybe some people are excited for rain.  Me, not so much!  Rain means the kids are inside. the tiny camper. ALL.DAY.LONG

By the time Joel is home for the day, I am in a unique mood.  I remember sitting on the couch in a daze staring off into no where land as I hear the baby crying, a 2 year old jumping on my back, a 4 year old dramatically telling me why she should change clothes, and 2 preteens impatiently waiting to get to where they were going.  It was my first glimpse of camper reality. All 7 of us, in this tiny space, all fighting for what they need. In that moment I thought no way this will ever get better.  I will have to live this way forever! The inner drama I was creating was close the the 4 year old’s drama- unrealistic and ridiculous, but none the less, I just sat there in my moment.

*Just for fun, when the dramatic 4 year old was complaining about her inability to change outfits, I decided to sing a little song “you can’t always get what you want….. but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need”  With arms crossed, head turned slightly sideways, she replies in a very sarcastic tone “thanks for that, mom” If you need me, I will be trying to figure out how to parent a 4 year old teenager.

In the mix of my camper reality there is camper cooking.  I am not sure if we got a reject oven or if maybe camper oven’s are just wonky.  I can’t figure ours out.  Sometimes it takes forever for stuff to cook.  Like the time says 10 minutes but it takes 25 minutes.  But this particular day, 8 minutes into the 29 minute cook time, I smell burning.  I open the oven to see that 3 of the 7 personal pizza’s in the oven have a burning crust.  How do I reconfigure that?  Trying to save the pizza’s by quickly pulling them from the oven, one falls between the grates making a melty cheesy mess that quickly turned into a burning cheesy mess.  I have about given up on the camper oven.  Not to mention I have to get half way in the oven to light the pilot every time I need to use it.  Sounds like next time we want pizza, its Dominos!

Everyday someone asks me at least one of two questions.  “How is life in the camper?” or “How is life with 5 kids?”  Not sure if people are cheering me on or secretly hoping I have some really good story to tell.  Maybe both! You want the truth?  I have no clue which aspect of my life makes it feel overwhelming right now, but life is overwhelming.  If you ask how life in the camper is, it really isn’t that bad!  There have been very few moments I that the camper, by itself, makes me wonder what on earth we are doing.  If you ask me how life with 5 kids is I will tell you good for the most part.  Adding #5 hasn’t really shaken things up too terribly much.  BUT  when we add, less sleep + nursing baby + 2 teen/preteens who are busy and need to be taken everywhere + building a house +  2 & 4  year olds + the rest of life I am not listing, I am overwhelmed some.  So if you see me out with all the kids doing all the things, my hair is fixed and I am smiling, just high five me and know that even then, I am probably feeling like a hot mess.  If you see me out in the same situation but my hair is a mess, I have spit up on my shirt, and I look frazzled, high five me any way because I am showing you my hot mess!

Encouragement, My Story, Suicide Awareness

My Truths About Suicide & Depression


On October 4, 2014 my world was shaken, broken.  We went to pick my dad up to take him with us to our son’s soccer game, but my dad didn’t come to the door.  Fear filled my body and I rushed to the car to tell my husband he had to go in and check on him.  As I waited outside I will never forget the anxious, awful feelings I felt, but they can’t even compare to the feelings that came next when my sweet husband had to tell me that my dad had passed away.  In the split second before I knew how, I thought heart attack? It had to be a heart attack! It wasn’t.  My dad chose to end his own life.  The heartbreak, confusion, anxiety, the questions, it all came flooding in.  Like a rush of lies at first.  I laid on the grass making noise but not sure I made sense.  I was in disbelief and shock.  I wanted to cry but no tears came because my body hadn’t processed the fact that this was real.  The days that followed were full of tears.  Planning a funeral, cleaning out an apartment, and visiting with an overwhelming number of people was truly an emotional experience. 

I love to write and share my life.  It is a great joy of mine.  I have wrestled multiple times in the last 11 months about writing this but could never bring myself to do it.  See suicide is a touchy subject.  Not everyone can talk about it.  Not everyone wants to talk about it.  It is difficult to know what to say.  How much is too much?  Will I offend anyone?  Will I offend my family by telling this story?  But I feel now, more than ever that now is the time to share this story.  You see, in the last week I have learned of 4 suicides in our community.  One of which was the 2nd student in our town to take their life this year.  To add to this, in the past year, 2 students have taken their lives in the very tiny community where I grew up.  I am devastated, heartbroken, and just plain sad over this.  The day my dad died I was praying and telling God I wanted to wake up from this.  I did not want this to be part of my story.  I wanted nothing to do with suicide.  I wanted it to just go away.  But I felt peace after I was done praying and I felt as though God said to me “You will be better equipped for the purpose I have for you on the other side of this.  I will not waste an ounce of this pain.”

In the midst of all this tragedy, I want to share a few truths.  They are truths to me anyway.  I am not an expert on suicide or depression, in fact until my dad died I knew very little about suicide.  All I really knew was it seemed very sad and confusing.  My prayer is that these words, this story, could at least touch a few lives and help people see things a little different. 

Depression is real. It may not always look “text book”.  It doesn’t always play out like you see in a movie. People who are depressed often continue to live life normally on the outside.  A lot of times, depression is  an inward struggle. I have experienced it, felt it, endured it.  It is not fun and there were times where it felt like the world was just caving in around me. I wondered if I could go on.  I wondered if I just left if the people in my life would be better off.  I was in darkness.  It was all I could do to just take care of the absolute things.  I was not functioning like I use to or knew I could.  I battled hard everyday.  I cried a lot.  But everyone else outside of my house, they thought I was fine.  I smiled, I kept my responsibilities, I tried to be happy.  I even told several friends I wasn’t ok but they dismissed it.  “You are fine, you are just in a rough season” but it was more then that.  I was hurting, in darkness.  Sometimes when you are there in the darkness you can’t see any hope for the light. 

If someone asks for your help, please offer it.  Don’t try to down play their feelings or tell them they are not valid or real.  I promise, even if you can see the truth, they might not be able to.  Be supportive and loving.  Don’t stop letting them know how much they are cared for and needed.

If you need help, set your pride aside and get it.  I have been in counseling since my dad died and it has been a huge help.  I did a year at Celebrate Recovery to overcome self esteem issues, codependency, and lots of other things.  (Learn more about my Celebrate Recovery journey here) Getting help is hard.  Going to the difficult places it takes to get better are emotionally are hard, but you know what?  Hurting is just as hard.  The difference is  the outcome!  You CAN be healthy.  You CAN overcome things.  It won’t happen over night, but you can do it! 

Suicide is the most painful thing I have ever had to deal with.  I don’t understand why my dad chose to leave us and I never will.  If you are reading this and feel like suicide is an option for you, I beg you to please take that option off the table.  Check yourself into a rehabilitation facility.  Go see a counselor.  Just get help.  I promise that leaving those in your life behind will hurt them deeply.  It will create a hole in their soul.  It will leave them with guilt.  They will never stop questioning why.  Your loved ones need you. 

This is a plea for everyone to look around you.  This world is full of hurting people.  You may not see it, but the person you pass at the grocery store may be living in darkness even though no one knows.  The lady who greeted you at church on Sunday, may be dealing with struggles that she keeps to herself.  Your boss at work, his life may be a mess on the inside.  We are all human.  We all need to feel loved, wanted, needed.  Start looking around and seeing people.  Start giving out hugs, high fives, or even just flashing a smile.  Slow down, look people in the eyes, and be genuine.  I don’t know how to end this tragic thing called suicide, but all I know is, I want to do whatever I can to help and I ask that you join me.   

Encouragement, Family, My Story

The Perfection Infection


No more perfect Mom, Chapter 1 (These are my thoughts on the book “No More Perfect Mom by Jill Savage” along with quotes from the book)

I was introduced to this book after doing a 7 day devotional on YouVersion (bible app).  I loved every day of the devotional and wanted more when the 7 days was over and that is when I discovered there was a book.  The more I researched the book the more I knew I needed it and felt it was so timely for this season in my life.

Chapter 1, The Perfection Infection, hit home with me.  What I found was, a lot of what she was saying I already knew, but still struggle with.  I know that I can’t compare my life to ANYTHING I see on social media, but I still do it.  I know the “highlight reel vs. blooper reel” thing.  BUT, knowing doesn’t always make it easier.  It makes me more aware but it doesn’t solve the problem.  I am still tempted (and fall into the trap often) to compare myself- my appearance, my kids, my house, my craftiness, my pictures, and so on, to everyone else’s.  Social media really makes that easy doesn’t it?  I know we all wear masks that hide what we don’t want others to see and I know we generally only let out the pretty parts.

But, then there were a few things I had to break out my highlighter for and really think about.  “The thing about masks is that they never bring us closer to who we were created to be. Masks always make shallow what God has intended to be deep.”  This took me back and I had to stop there and read it again.  Wow- I don’t know that I have ever viewed it in that light.  She goes on to list Friendships, Marriages, Families, and Churches.  What would happen if all of those relationships were deep, like God intended them to be instead of sheltered and shadowed by the masks that we put on?  I can only imagine!

When she puts it in the context of “me” I really had to stop again and contemplate all I had read.  Cheating myself in my relationships by wearing a mask?  We live in a world that not only makes wearing a mask easy, but also makes it very normal.  It is easy to say “Oh I am fine, thank you!” and move on when really we are hurting on the inside.  For me, I fear that others don’t really want to hear what I have to say or that they really won’t care how I am doing, so I politely respond and leave it at that. But masks hide the truth.  They allow us to stay alone in our pain, frustration, sadness, brokenness, sorrow. Wearing a mask keeps us from having the opportunity to be encouraged, loved, and held up by one another.  It also keeps us from sharing our story with someone who may need to hear it.  Who may be feeling just like we are but they feel so alone.  “Not only that, but wearing masks breeds judgment.  It keeps us judging ourselves and others instead of living in and loving through grace” That line right there- the judgment that comes from wearing a mask is real.  I realize I do this and it makes me sad to think about.  I wear a mask to protect myself but wearing that mask causes me to look at others different.  That mask is a lie, and as long as I am wearing it I cant see the heart of anyone else.

Our world screams YOU MUST BE PERFECT IN EVERY WAY.  I know I strive for it even though I don’t like to admit it and I am getting better at letting some areas of my life be just fine wherever they are.  What happens when we let what others have, become who we think we should be? We may become discontent with our real lives. “Most of the time we don’t even realize that is what we are doing. It’s a subtle erosion of our satisfaction.  If we don’t recognize it, the discontentment can turn into disappointment, and then the disappointment can eventually turn into disillusionment.”  I have found myself in that place before.  Where it seems like all I am ever saying is “I wish….. my house was, my kids were, my marriage was” Instead of looking at all the things I do have, I end up focused on the disappointments.  There is no happiness in this. 

I don’t have anything figured out but one thing I do know is we are not alone.  Being a mom is hard.  There are days that I say more then once “I don’t think I can do this any more”.  I dream of being on the beach alone often.  My kids don’t always do what they are suppose to.  I yell at them and then have to apologize.  There are times when I am so tired I can’t seem to function properly and I feel so guilty that I can’t shake the exhaustion.  I have lost it over missing shoes, sippy cups, brushing teeth, and so many other things that seem so silly.  My house does not stay clean and I can’t seem to keep it organized like I use to.  The laundry falls behind.  I haven’t successfully meal planned in months or gone to the grocery store with a solid list. We eat out more then we should because I fail to plan.  But I bet that I am not alone.  Moms- we need each other.  We need to be able to say “I am having a horrible day” and not fear judgment.  We need to be able to stick together.  To love each other with grace.

I am so excited about this book!  The next Chapter is The Antidote.  THANK YOU for that, because I need it!  We are reading a chapter a week over the summer, so feel free to grab a copy and join us! 

Encouragement, My Story, Uncategorized

Dear Mom, you do not need to…


…..go to Africa, start a non-profit, rescue women from sex trafficking, adopt orphans in China……

Yes, those are all good things and there is nothing wrong with doing them, unless it is not the season for it or the calling God has given you.  Lately I have heard multiple people from different places talk about their passions and ministries.  These are BIG things that are changing lives and allowing God to show off big time.  I sit in awe of these women and how they have allowed their passion to drive them to doing great things.  I often feel guilty that I am not doing something note worthy.  I don’t have a mission trip to any where planned (unless you count the grocery store- hey anywhere can be a mission field!).  I am not starting a non-profit or rescuing women.  I am not in the process of adopting an orphan.

In fact, I am smack dab in the middle of motherhood.  I have 4 kids that God has entrusted me with.  I happen to stay home with them, but you may be a working mom.  Either way, if you are a mother, God has given you and me a big responsibility in that role.  I hear this statement and I have said it myself so many times, “I am just a mom”.  It doesn’t seem very glamorous or big.  It doesn’t have the wow factor I feel like it needs.

Guess what?  God planted you where you are for a reason.  He purposed you, right where you are.  You don’t have to do anything more then love your kids.  Be the mother they need.  Be the wife your husband needs.  We can make an incredible mark on this world by accepting the calling that is in our own homes.  We have the power to affect generations through our children.  The way we parent our kids today will reflect our children’s children, and their children and so on.  When you look at the big picture, you see that our jobs as mothers really are BIG.  They matter.  They mean something.

Today, your job as a mother might seem small.  It might seem as though no one notices or cares.  It might seem thankless.  It really might take 18 years for all your hard work to pay off, but one day, you are going to see the fruit of your labor of love and you will be able to step back and bask in it.

I think God wants us all to be obedient to the calling He places on our hearts.  He wants us to be willing and ready to take on whatever he asks of us but also to lay down things he hasn’t asked us to carry.  This one is difficult for me.  I have been on the search for a meaningful calling for so long and have neglected the fact that being a mom is a meaningful calling.  I feel strongly that God is saying “you are enough, who you are matters, lay down your search for meaning, and I will show it to you”.

I decided to share my thoughts on this for several reasons, but the main one is, I hear so many other moms who struggle with thinking they aren’t doing enough.  We compare our journeys instead of seeking God to see where He wants us.  We place our desire to be seen and accepted in front of the desires God has laid out for us.  We wrestle with the desire to feel significant and search for that BIG thing God is going to do through us.   For me, I have found that right now, that big thing is right in front of me.  Actually, it is at my feet, hanging on my leg, begging for another piece of candy. Ahhhhh Motherhood, right now, it is my BIG calling.

If you find yourself struggling with this season of life, please join me as I pray for other moms just like myself.  As I pray for other women who are serving their callings in Africa, in orphanages, starting schools, or rescuing others.  There is no woman who has a greater or better calling, just different.  We all need to band together and support and love one another.  My prayer is that we can become a big community of women who love one another deeply.

If you enjoyed this post please feel free to share it, and also check out this post on seasons.  {so glad I reread that and reminded myself of my own words!}

Encouragement, My Story, Uncategorized

The Social Media Snare

socialmediasnareI open up my Instagram app and start scrolling.  I see some cute kiddo’s, some clothes I would love to buy, then I try to quickly pass up this gorgeous photo of a perfect house.  It is clean and decorated so well.  I stare for a minute and suddenly I feel less happy with my house.  There are toys everywhere.  I just mopped 2 hours ago but some how there is mud or sticky juice all over it.  I fluffed the couch pillows and straightened the blankets but one of my kids came in and decided it looked more like a trampoline.  I had actually given up on my house looking together during the day….. until I saw that post on IG.

I was content with my life until I saw that person I follow on IG has started a new campaign to do something awesome! Now suddenly my life feels like it needs more of something.  I thought I was a good mom yesterday, but today I find myself feeling like we don’t do enough fun stuff.  My husband brought me a magazine home and I thought it was the sweetest thing, but then I saw that someone else’s husband surprised them with a weekend getaway full of planned surprises and gifts.  I read my devotional and wanted to share some inspiration, but now after reading someone elses post, mine doesn’t seem worthy any more.

Suddenly I am wondering why everyone else’s pictures look so much better then mine and I have decided that it is probably because they have more natural light in every room of their house.  I start plotting a way to take all the sheetrock out and replace it with windows so I can always have pretty light. I decide more windows is what I need and I will just carry my big girl camera around my neck all day.  Baby on the hip, camera around my neck, more windows.  This MUST be what they do.  Then I see that they are hosting a workshop to tell me all their photography tips and secrets to perfect pictures every time.  I am a photographer for goodness sake, but suddenly I am feeling like I don’t know anything about the subject, or certainly not enough.

The truth is, there is always someone I can compare myself to on social media (and in real life for that matter).  There is always going to be something I see that makes me feel like I should do something different.  I see what others are doing or not doing and I start second guessing myself (I should not be eating gluten, sugar, or any of the other junk I slip up and eat!).  Don’t get me wrong, I think we can easily let others inspire us to do better, but we have to be careful not to let what others are doing dictate what we choose to do.

“I have compared myself to you and felt like I could never measure up” “you really are super mom, really” In the last few weeks I have been told those things.  It honestly didn’t feel great.  I try really hard to be honest with my life and be upfront about my shortcomings and struggles.  I want to be honest because I feel like it is the only way to cultivate true relationships.  Pretending or sugarcoating our lives for social media only complicates things.  BUT, after reflecting on how others view me, I decided to really take a look at my posts.

I love to share and so I share moments or cute pictures that make me happy.  I get all of my IG feed printed in books so I like to make sure my favorites make it into the book.  I post things to encourage others and myself.  I try to post trials and struggles, but I see that I only post the hard things when I am finally at a point to get to the other side of it.  This is hard for me to admit but I have found myself wanting to post just because I think the picture will probably be well liked….. Why do I do that? Compliments feel good and everyone wants people to like their posts.

I’m not perfect or a supermom.  I am real.  I mess up all the time.  I get in ruts and can’t seem to get out. I don’t post all the yuck.  I don’t want to paint a picture of perfection for everyone to see. I allow my own insecurities to run my life most days.  This has become very obvious to me when I look at social media.  I don’t want to post things that make others feel inadequate but I also don’t want to stop sharing my life.  I am trying to find a balance and figure out how to share appropriately for myself.

I have decided to try hard (I’m not perfect so don’t expect this to be either) to post intentionally.  I want to make sure that the heart of the post is good.  That I am not seeking attention through my post.  That I am not fabricating things to make them look better then they are.  I know that I am not responsible for the way others perceive me, but I can be intentional about what and how I post things.  So what if my house is a complete mess in a photo, you may see it any way!  I want to find that balance of being honest and open without being negative and whiney.  I want to post things that bring me joy and at the same time make sure they are real.

I want to encourage you to step away from social media for a minute and evaluate how it makes you feel.  What are your true motives when you post and how do you allow what you are viewing to affect you?  Maybe you are like me and need to take a minute to remember that those who are posting are not perfect, even if they appear to be.  Most of all, to remember no one else is walking in my shoes and no ones journey looks just like mine- so I shouldn’t expect mine to look like theirs either.  I need to be able to focus on being thankful for what I have and where I am currently, and not so focused on what I am not.

Much love sweet friends!

Encouragement, My Story

The truth about happily ever after


Yesterday Joel and I celebrated 11 years of marriage. Really, it feels like a pretty big accomplishment now days. Every year of marriage is a reason to celebrate! This past year I have realized a lot about marriage.

There seems to be some sort of fairy tale perception of marriage. Some how we have these expectations to live up to and you must be happy all of the time. Your marriage must look like a story book picture of perfection and if by some off chance you slip up and let someone know that your marriage isn’t perfect, then you feel like you are going to be deemed a failure immediately.

I have seen and heard women over the years say things like “I can’t let anyone know my short comings or failures in my marriage because we know others look up to us” I started seeing a problem. We were setting a standard by hiding our problems. A standard that NO ONE can live up to. I realized that marriage was now made to be some unobtainable fairytale that was destined to fail with the expectations that are being placed on it. No wonder relationships are failing! You have all of these couples out there striving to be perfect and pretending to be too, because they are too scared to admit that it isn’t

I started trying to seek the help of other married folks a long time ago. People who had been married for a long time and who I knew had good advice. In asking over the years, you know what I found out? Marriage is hard. I always thought there would be some sort of magic number and that after that marriage got easy! I was even told that if you could make it to year 7, you could make it. I remember really thinking that if we could get to 7 we were golden! But guess what? Years 7-11 haven’t been easy either!

Marriage takes work. Continuous work. It takes commitment to stick it out and work out every problem that comes up. The hard truth is the problems in my marriage that I feel like should be resolved already, are just a result of two sinners being married and living in the same house. Obviously we want to work on our problems and not excuse them, but what I don’t hear anyone saying is “it is perfectly normally to have problems”.

I want to squash the lie that a good marriage means a marriage without problems. It is just not true. A good marriage communicates and works through problems when they come up. They find a way to navigate through their issues. They don’t give up on each other, they don’t point fingers and blame. A good marriage doesn’t hold a grudge. A good marriage chooses to see the good in their spouse and love them right where they are. To support them and commit to growing along side of them. A good marriage knows and understand that neither person is perfect and both individuals have strengths and weaknesses. It puts pride aside and lifts the other person up. It looks to biblical principals, leans on God, and puts their trust in Him. A good marriage just simply chooses to never give up.

So today, freshly entering my 12th year of marriage, I can say that my marriage isn’t perfect at all but it is good. It is good because we continue to choose to work on it. We keep evaluating ourselves and our actions, learning from our mistakes, and always forgiving one another when we make mistakes (because we do!) We are commited to making our marriage better, not perfect. We decided we will not give up on each other or our marriage, no matter how hard things get.

If you are reading this and feel like you are alone and maybe your marriage is the only one that has hard times, please let me encourage you that you are not alone! Please don’t give up! Know that it is hard work, but it is worth it when you put the work in and start seeing the fruit! Trust God, lean on Him, and find another couple you can trust and count on to give sound advice. On the other hand, if you are couple who doesn’t like to share your trials, can I encourage you to pray about opportunities to be honest with others, so that your experiences can encourage other couples to not throw in the towel when it gets difficult? To share with them that there are difficulties but they can get through them.