oh my word
real motherhood. real marriage. real life.
Posted on May 16th, 2017

Let's just acknowledge the elephant in the room here...if you know me in real life, you are shocked at my sporty title and wondering what on earth I hit my head on between my last post and now.  Rest assured, it's still me and I'm just as surprised as you that I'm about to use a sports analogy.  I'm sufficiently floored for other (super spiritual) reasons, too. (Have I successfully hooked you into this post?!)

When I was in junior high, I played basketball.  I'll give you a moment to laugh at the following photo... (I think at least a couple of high school friends read this post.  My sincere apologies for the embarrassment of this stellar and not-at-all-awkward time in our lives!  The hair alone...wow.) I'm number 33.  You'll see the hair height before the number...
As you might have guessed, I was not a starter.  (Shocker.)  I seem to remember my occasional presence on the court at tip-off, but I don't recall that being the case unless someone was hurt or injured or otherwise benched.  I was a mediocre player, at best.  I was basically playing basketball to be cool and not have to enroll in P.E. where I truly belonged.  I was decent at keeping up and I lived for a tie ball where I would wrestle the opponent to the death for the thing. My knees still bear the court-burn scar to prove I did my fair share of hustling (and likely just falling on my own two feet).  I was not a great endurance runner, up and down the court.  I never really got the hang of dribbling and running at the same time.  It wasn't uncommon for the ball to bounce clean off my foot mid-dribble and into the other teams' hands.  I was okay-ish with catching the ball, but not praised for knowing what to do once I had it.  My worst skill was shooting the ball.  Well, I would shoot it.  My accuracy was the problem.  Although I do recall that once, in Little Dribblers, I'm pretty sure I made a basket for the other team.  My achievements know no limits.

Suffice it to say that I spent a decent amount of time on the bench, the coach's back turned to me as she went up and down the court, encouraging and instructing the star players who actually knew what the heck they were doing out there.  For the most part, I was comfortable there on the bench.  Never one to love other people staring at me and watching me fall, I was pretty much content to watch from the bench for the majority of those games.  It was easy to just fall into the background and watch others run with endurance, make many of the shots they took, and come back to the sidelines greeted with high-fives by the coach.  I will say that a fair amount of envy of those star players tiptoed over my heart.  I wanted to perform like them, to feel less awkward and more confident like them (as I was convinced they must feel), and to receive the applause and favor of the coach and the other teammates.  I mean, good gracious, I was a junior high girl.  Self-critic, extraordinaire.
Cue super-spiritual transition here...

It's been a long time since I've posted.  Or really written anything for that matter.  

Why, you ask?  Well...

I've been benched. 

I'm not sure if I benched myself or if God benched me, or if it was a little of both.  Regardless, I've been sitting on the bench with what has felt like God's back to me, arms folded, His eyes intent and focused on the court before me.  I've watched as He turned, called others to Himself, whispered in their ear, and sent them bounding off onto the court.  I've watched as He pulled others off the court with a high-five and pat on the back, allowing them a season of rest on the bench, only to be put back in ahead of me once they had caught their breath and were refreshed.  

And just like that insecure girl in junior high...I've watched those star players with envy.  They played hard.  They attempted to score and were successful much of the time.  They ran, sweated, pushed, wrestled, and came out victorious many times.  I've watched as friends and family received assignments from God and faithfully followed through.  I've watched others being blessed and rewarded for a job well done.  I've watched dreams unfold and gifts bestowed.  I've watched them struggle, for sure, but with the assurance that their coach (aka, God...am I driving this analogy into the ground yet?!) had His eyes ever-present, scanning the court and speaking encouragement and instruction from the sidelines.  

At some point about a year ago, my God fell silent.  I prayed.  I pleaded.  I praised.  I worshipped.  I studied His word.  I cried out.  I prayed and prayed and prayed.  As I would look up from the bench, I'd see Him...back to me, arms folded, eyes intent on the court.  Never glancing back.  "Put me in!  I'm ready!  Hey coach!  Put me in!!!  Please!"  Not so much as an eye twitch in my direction.

This is the part that gets hard to explain without a lot of sloppy stories that weave together perfectly in my mind but that stop in a knot at my heart.  I cannot clearly articulate at what point the shift began.  I've tried to name it, to voice where I started to get tired and head for the bench.  I cannot pinpoint the words.  All I can say is that years of anxiety and fear and going, going, going...pushing, pushing, pushing...gave way to an exhaustion and darkness like I've never before experienced with God.  I looked up one day and realized I was fully engulfed in an almost tangible darkness that seemed to swallow me whole and has kept me captive for about a year and a half.  I think they call it depression.  

{{Interlude!  I know this post is so light and fuzzy!  I sucked you in with laughing at my tall bangs in a junior high basketball photo and led you to the D-word.  Depression. Will you stick with me?}}

Have you ever felt invisible to God?  Are you a God-girl who grew up in church and knows all the truth she is supposed to remember in times of suffering?  Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds!  He feeds the birds of the air...how much more he cares for you!  And my very favorite to hear a pastor or friend bring up (hashtag, sarcasm)... "Be anxious about nothing but in everything present your prayers and petitions before God with thanksgiving.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." {Philippians 4:6}  I know these truths.  I've memorized them, prayed them, yelled them, whispered them, tried to cram them deep into my heart and mind.  And here's the kicker...I believe them.  It is God's word, for heaven's sake.  I'm not attacking scripture... But man, how the Enemy's voice has yelled louder, whispered more often, and crammed lies further through the dark curtain.  I believe truth.  The problem is, in my flesh, I do. not. feel. them.

And that's it, right?  The battle between truth and flesh.  Here I stand, on the front lines, stripped of my armor, bare, and alone...staring at the back of God.  Have you ever been here?  Have you ever stood in this place, screaming to a God you can see, wondering why your screams fall silent right in front of you?

I've been there.  I am there.  I love Jesus.  I know I am a daughter of the Most High King.  I know I'm covered and sealed.  Yet, the battle rages on.  And I'll be honest...I'm pretty much sick of it.  The silence and the waiting and the stripping apart...it's getting old.  And this is not the point of the post that I wrap up this lesson in a pretty bow and tell you I've stepped out of the darkness and into the light.  Nope.  How I long to write that post!  I'm still struggling.  I'm still standing in the darkness.  I'm here, knee-deep in my story, waiting.  Waiting for Light to pierce the darkness.  I've hesitated to even share this, because I'm not to a point that I am on the other side, extending a hand of hope to you...but I can offer a baby step of hope if this is you right now...

I woke up two days ago with this post on my heart.  Do you know how long ago it was that God gave me a spark...an idea...a small something to share in writing?  A very long time.  I felt like God was speaking to me, very gently and quietly, telling me to come off the bench.  To rise up.  To move.  To begin again.  To step.  To do the Something He has for me.  

And it's not much, but maybe it's a step ahead of where you are.  And maybe your Something isn't pulling off the bench to write, but we all have a "Something".  Maybe you are waiting on God to move and respond and make The Thing happen, and your Something is H.A.R.D.  So this is my step.  This is me rising up.  And it's terrifying and wobbly and I feel like second-string.  But I'm up; I'm in the game for this moment.  I just want to encourage you, sister.  I know what darkness so thick you can't breathe feels like.  I know the painful silence.  I know the crushing weight.  Will you hold on?  Will you wait well and wait to be pulled from the bench?  I know it doesn't feel like God will ever say, "your turn".  I know it feels like rejection.  I know it feels like punishment.  I know it feels like others are more worthy, more faithful, more trusting, more obedient, more of everything you think you aren't.  I know that even hearing these things might make you roll your eyes and say that you've heard it all before.

I want to stand as a small testimony, raising a tiny Ebenezer stone today.  I'm just a half a step ahead of you, but want to tell you... He sees you and He will remember you.  I know the truth is that redemption is coming.  He is a redeeming God.  I don't see it now and you probably don't see it now, but you'll rise up again.  Stay in it.  

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. {Psalm 103:1-5}

Posted on June 7th, 2016

Hello.  My name is Martha.  Yep.  Here's the real deal.  I have been running around checking things off my to do list and wondering why Jesus won't just tell everybody else to get off their tuckas' and help a Martha out!  I have wrestled with this Mary/Martha post for months and months.  How fitting that I’m being all “Martha” about a post instead of just doing the thing God has told me to do…I’m stubborn like that.  I'm too busy these last few weeks couple years seven years all my life making sure to do All the Things instead of being concerned with making All the Things about Jesus.  I've invited Him in here and there, but overall...not doing too hot.  Anyone with me? 

It's so hard for me to stop and soak it in.  With making time to sit at His feet (the traditional Mary/Martha debacle), yes. But also making time to savor these moments.  Momma Moments.  It's just not natural for me.  I have to work at it.  I have to have an actual thought in my actual brain to say and do the actual things I need to do to slow down and enjoy and "store up all these things in my heart".  So I guess this is my Mary/Martha post, and my Stop Comparing post all in one.

I’m a Martha Mom.

(I want to throw up just saying that. That’s the truth of it.)

I don’t wanna be Martha Mom!  (Cue whining and frowning and kicking things.)  I want to be Mary Mom!  I want to chill with my kids and not worry about messes and not cringe every time I walk by my daughter’s room and see this:
This is Carson's bed that she "made".  Y’all, it takes everything in me – every.last.thing. – not to walk past that “made” bed, do an about-face, and rush in there and straighten up that bed.  Some of you have no clue what the problem even is…to you, I say…I wanna be you so bad!  You are a Mary Mom.  I watch you and I sigh at all my Martha-ness. 

I’ve made attempts to become a Mary Mom.  I’ve tried.  I give you Exhibit A:

One night at dinner I was rushing around and filling plates and wiping faces, and I had an actual thought in my actual brain that told me I should be just enjoying the meal instead of seeing the messes and ticking things off my checklist.  Oh, hello, Holy Spirit, prompting my heart.  I hear you.  Okay.  So, being the super spiritual, obedient Christian that I am (laugh, snort, laugh), I stopped what I was doing, sat down and smiled sweetly at Carson (who was being silly and entertaining Emerson).  In my super sticky sweet Mary, alter-ego tone I said, "Oh my goodness!  What sweet sisters you two are!  You make Mommy's heart melt."  Carson stopped what she was doing and scrunched her nose up and giggled, "Mom?  What. Are. You. Doing?  Why are you talking like that?" 

Caught.  I'm a Mary-imposter.  Part of me wants to crawl into a hole and bawl my eyes out that my own daughter knows when I'm forcing it.  But the other part of me knows that I can't be All the Moms to my girls.  I am Get it Done Mom, Crafty Mom, Organized Mom, Loving Mom, Read a Book Mom, Keeps a Tidy House Mom, Teacher Mom...but I am NOT Super Patient Mom, Laid Back Carefree Mom, Play with Me All the Time Mom, or Super Fun Mom.  I'm just not.  God made me the mom I am.  Not that I can't be improved (good gracious, no!), but I have learned am learning that comparing my momness to another mom's momness isn't fair.  Because, above all, God made me Carson & Emerson's Mom.  And that's the only mom I need to be.  I would be lying if I said I still didn't long to be a Mary Mom.  I do.  A lot. 

In fact, sometimes ridiculous people say ridiculous things that make me feel bad and guilty about the kind of mom I am.  (To those people, please know I’m always sticking my tongue out at you in my head and/or wanting to punch you like the wayyyy mature adult that I am.)  And those comments set me back and make me wonder if I'm doing all of this right.  If my kids are happy.  If I'm messing them up.  There's always the enemy's voice that lies and says, "You'll never be a good mom unless you stop being who you are."  And some days it's tough to not be seduced by those lies and throw my hands up, wave a white flag.  We blame each other for the lies being whispered in our ears, which is exactly what Satan wants us to do.   The very last thing he wants is for moms to stop the comparison game, but still we etch those lies on our hearts with permanent Sharpies.  Do you struggle with this too?  I do.

Because people say stupid crap like this:

“I don’t know how you do it all!" (Fact: This is my VERY LEAST FAVORITE COMMENT ON THE PLANET EARTH!  Well...that's a lie.  "What's for dinner???" is my LEAST favorite.  But the "do it all" one...definitely second.)


"You work, you are going to grad school, your house is always neat and clean.  I wish I could do all that.  Mostly, I just enjoy playing with my kids.”


“Wow.  You do so much.  Do you get to spend a lot of time with your kids?  I just couldn’t put my baby in daycare.  I don’t know how you do it.”


“I couldn’t do it.  I would go crazy being such a neat freak.  I’d rather let my kids make messes and have fun and worry about it later.”

Okay…first of all, let’s get one thing straight once and for all and forevermore ‘til Jesus comes.  I DO NOT “do it all”.  Please, people.  No one does.  No one can.  What you see is not always what is true.  What you think you see is most likely smoke and mirrors.  Sometimes this magic show is intentional.  We want other mommas to think we aren’t crazy and nuts and that we definitely have it all together.  So we play up the good stuff and frantically hide the rest under our bed before anyone sees.  We need to stop it.  Smoke and mirrors, the man behind the curtain, the slight of hand…it’s not real.  And so much freedom can come when we just let our honesty show.  Let our scars be known.  Let our imperfections become beauty marks.  I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve locked eyes with a momma in the grocery store with a toddler who is hanging halfway out of the cart wailing and moaning (i.e. screaming like a banshee) and we both just kind of nod with a sad, knowing nod and I feel like we both said in our hearts, “I feel ‘ya sister.  I hope you can have some wine later.” Hashtag honesty.  Hashtag solidarity.

Second of all…rude.  Come on, my friends!  By now we should all be VERY comfortable with the fact that God has a unique and perfect calling for each of us.  These comments (some of them innocent, I think) just allow Satan to divide us.  It’s the same with the Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom.  Are we REALLY still divisive about this?  Moving on.  Kick Satan’s butt on your way out, please.

Third…these comments always leave me feeling like I just had whiplash.  Was that a compliment?  Was that a dig?  What just happened?  Do I still get to keep my Mom License?   And it also makes me think about the things I might say to Mary Moms… “It doesn’t bother you that you have a sink full of dirty dishes?  Are you always so laid back?”  Here’s one I’ve said for sure, “Doesn’t being with your kids ALL the time make you nuts?!” So as I’m pointing the finger at others, there are three more pointing back at myself, I promise.

Here’s the bottom line.  Martha Moms, I see you.  I understand you.  I am your people.  But you know what?  Mary Moms, I see you.  I understand you.  I am your people.  I think you see my neat house and want that and wonder why YOU can’t get it together, go buy a label maker, and get your home in order.  I think you see my pictures of me cutting out bread flowers for my kids’ lunches and wonder why you can’t be more creative.  I think you see me going to work and running the teacher luncheon and think, I should be more involved.  What you don’t see is me being so exhausted from never saying no that I don’t give the best to my family.  What you don’t see is me crying myself to sleep because I yelled at my daughter (again) because of one thing or another.  What you don’t see is that I cannot just sit and be still and enjoy being home because all around me I see jobs to do, things that “need” to be done.

Here’s what you need to know, Mary Mom…I see you playing in the floor with your kids, mess all around, grinning like a big ol’ fool while your kids tackle you with hugs.  I see you reading the same book 317 times in a row because it’s their favorite.  I see you valuing time with your kids over a made bed and I deeply envy you.  I see you and I want to be more like you.  But I’m sure there are things I don’t see about you, too.  Things that would make me realize we are more alike than different.

Those things we don’t see are where our hearts get confused and jumbled and tangled into a mess.  What we don’t see is deep.  No one does it all.  Not one single momma.  We all have our sweet spots and we all have our hidden spots we don’t want anyone to know about.  We all struggle, the Mary Moms and the Martha Moms.  Let’s learn from one another and, at the same time, accept the kind of mom God created us to be for our own children.  Ask Him to sand off our rough edges and fill in our gaps with grace, grace, grace.

Martha Moms…chill the heck out.  Sit.  Relax.  Soak it in.  Enjoy.  Stop striving. (Preaching to myself.)  I’m with you, sister.  It’s hard.  It’s hard being Martha when all you want to be is a Mary.  Hard.  I’m praying for you! 

Mary Moms…help a sister out once in a while and show us Marthas the hard things, the struggles, the scars.  We need to know you aren’t perfectly content all the time.  We need to know you screw up, too.  Us Marthas need to know that our Mary friends see us, too.

I realize I took a bit of a theological hop (leap?) with the Mary/Martha thing.  Let me try to tie up this post in a bow and bring it all back…it’s not about us anyway.  Not our parenting, not our kids, not the way we work, the way we run our homes.  It’s only, always, forever and always about Jesus.  To serve Him AND to sit at His feet, both.  Grace upon grace to the mommas who need to learn to balance the two.  (And that’s all of us.)

You should also know this…I’ve grown in this area.  I don’t say that to brag, but just to give God a victory cry.  He is slowly allowing me to let some things go and just sit at His feet.  (He’s forced me, actually.  Which I really want to say is rude, but He’s God and I can’t say that.  So I’ll just say…I haven’t gone down without a good, hard fight.  That’s definitely another post for another day.)  What this looks like for me at this very moment is that there are Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal pieces in my carpet.  (Emerson picked one up and ate it right before nap, which I let her do and considered it an afternoon snack. #winning)  There is spilled coffee on my sheets that I plan to just let dry and go with.  There are three giant mountains of clean laundry piled in my hallway so that the front door won’t open. (The piles are neatly stacked, though, Marthas.  All is well.) All this is H.A.R.D. for me.  It makes my insides crawl.  But I just brush off the feeling and walk on.  I’ll get to those things. 

Less toiling.  Less negative self-talk.  Less pressure.

More Jesus.  More grace.  More breathing room.
And for goodness' sake...let's all pray my daughter learns to make a bed soon before my crazy starts to show and make my eye twitch.

Posted on February 11th, 2016

So, my youngest daughter enjoys a toothbrush.  Not so much the brushing of teeth with said brush...more of a fetish really.  She likes to locate toothbrushes and "brusha teef!".  Which means she sucks on them, drops them on the floor, picks them up again, leaves them on tables and counters and changing tables and toys, finds them again after eating a snack, sucks a little more, rolls them in dirt, and whathaveyou.  And she doesn't discriminate.  Any toothbrush will do.  Hers.  Yours.  MINE.

This is what I'm thinking has happened to my toothbrush because it wasn't where it was supposed to be this morning.

And I know what you're thinking.  Put them all out of her reach.  You, my reader, are smart!  I've actually thought of this, but here's the thing...


I know I just took a leap there, but stick with me.  Here's just a glimpse of what occurs in a mom's brain between the thought of a good idea and the follow through of that idea...enjoy a journey through my thoughts...
I should really gather up all the toothbrushes and hide them from Emerson.

Toddler: "Uh oh!"

Crap.  Someone just spilled their milk on the couch cushion.  I should really stop letting people have drinks on my furniture.


Sigh.  "SHUT YOUR DOOOOOOOR!"  Great, we're out of paper towels.  I should really go to the store because I know we are also down to two squares of toilet paper.

Text from a Student: "Mrs. Kennon, can you explain to me what being a highly qualified teacher means real quick?  Also, you haven't sent my corrected resume back.  Just reminding you..."

Sister, that cannot be explained "real quick".  That resume!  I keep forgetting to do that!  I should really bring my work to-do list home with me.

Text from Another Student: "Mrs. Kennon, are you going to observe me this week?  Because we have five field trips, two benchmark tests, and a Valentine's party all scheduled for Tuesday so you can't come then."

Argh.  I've got to check with John to see if he can pick up the girls next week on Wednesday so I can go see students.  I have GOT to schedule that.  Also, WHY did I give out my cell number???

1st Grade Mommas Group Text: "Can someone send a pic of the spelling list for the week?  My kid left his at school again."

CRAP!  Spelling. "CARSON, get off the iPad and do your spelling homework!!!"

1st Grader: (Wails despondently.) "MOOOOOOM!  I haven't even had my SNACK YET!"


Toddler: "Momma!  Momma!  I singasong!  B-I-N-G-O!"

I hate that dog.  What a stupid song. "There was a farmer had a dog..."

Text from Husband: Need anything from town for dinner tonight?

Gah!  Dinner!  They are always wanting to eat!  Every day!  Annoying. "No, I have frozen pizza."

1st Grader: "Mom, my spelling sheet says you have to dress up like a princess, and act out my spelling words like we are in a Disney movie.  But you have to use an accent.  You can't just be normal.  And you have to sing it opera-style.  OR we could drive around and find our spelling words in print around town.  Which one do you think?"

Spelling is overrated.  I should just teach her to use spell-check.

Toddler: "Mom!  Mom!  I singasong!  B-I-N-G-O!"

(((EYEROLL.)))  You know other songsssss! 

Text from Student: "Are you in your office?"


Toddler: (Loud Crash) "Uh oh."


1st Grader: "Mom!  Are you ready?!  Spelling!"

Toddler: "B-I-N-G-O!  Mom!  Mom!  I singasong!  Mom!"

Phone Rings: "Mrs. Kennon, you have dry cleaning that still hasn't been picked up..."

Text From my Sister: "Facetime?! :) :) :)"

What was I about to do again???
So, now you see.  I suffer from Mom Brain.  The time between inception of an idea and execution is a little...full.  This is the reason I'll probably find my toothbrush in a Barbie's hair this afternoon (or next week) and also the reason we always need paper towels in my house.

And it's super cute when people suggest things like, "Give yourself some down time!  Drink a cup of tea!" or "There's an app for lists that has changed my life!" or "Have you had your quiet time today?"  "You know, I deleted my Facebook and I've never been happier."  "Hire a babysitter and go do something for you."  All completely well-meaning advice, I know! 


...honest to goodness.  No.

Because the thing is...it's just hard.  Even with all of the conveniences we have, and apps, and even with a supportive and helpful husband and extended family.  Even with all of the organization I do have.  Even when I do find time to sit and pray or read my bible.  Even when I do steal a few minutes to drink a cup of coffee without interruption.  Even when I do put my phone down and remember to be present.  Even when I am covered in prayer.  Even with all of this, it's hard.

Motherhood is the hardest thing I've ever done.  Ever. 

It's hard in every way.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  I do it well.  I do it badly.  I have winning days and I have days I'd love to hit the "do-over" button on.  Some moments are brilliant and the very next moments bring me to my knees.  Some days (most days) I adore motherhood.  Other days (hang on to your seats, my friends, I'm about to say it)...I despise it.  It feels too hard.  Too much.  Too heavy.  Too important.  I feel inadequate.

I've been struggling lately and I figure someone else might be, too.  Here's what I've been thinking and praying a lot lately, and I thought maybe you could join me...

"GOD!  Where are you?!  HELP ME!"

Were you expecting a deep, profound prayer?  Nope.  Not here.  I'm fresh out of those.  I utter the words, "Jesus!  Help!" about 17,000 times a day lately.  Sometimes it's a gentle whisper and other times it's a (literal) yell (or "crell", if you will...wink wink).  I'm trying to bathe myself in Truth, even when I am having a hard time believing it.  (((I know, I said it.  Boom.  What?!)))  Sometimes my faith grows small.  Sometimes this Church Girl struggles with accepting Truth.  I doubt.  I flail around wondering where God is.  I even get frustrated at God.  I know the answers because I know the Truth.  But sometimes, if I'm being honest, I have to TELL myself that I believe them, knowing that I'll catch back up to Truth eventually.

I've made a list, in case you need to tell yourself you believe these things, too.  It's also what I've been reciting lately when I start believing the lies being whispered in my ear.  I'm reading Fervent (by one of my author BFF's Priscilla...last name, Shirer, for those of you not on a first-name basis with her), a book about prayer inspired by the movie War Room.  She talks about the Enemy's attacks on us...that they aren't just general missiles, aimed at Christians (or really, anyone) as a whole, striking whomever is in the vicinity.  No, ma'am.  His attacks are cunning, and sharp, and ruthless and absolutely personally tailored to each of us specifically.  He knows our weak points and makes his battle plan aimed at them.  He knows exactly where his fatal blows will hit.  Spiritual warfare is real, people!  And Mommas trying desperately to disciple and love their Little People are some of his favorites!  Man, I'm feeling his attacks lately.  Hard and calculated. 

Here's how I'm fighting back (even when I don't feel I can believe it):

He is near. {Zephaniah 3:17}
He gently leads the Mommas of Littles. {Isaiah 40:11}
He thinks about me...a lot. {Psalm 139:17-18} {Isaiah 49:16}
He goes before me and will not abandon me. {Deuteronomy 31:8}
He fights for me! {Exodus 14:14} {Psalm 46}
He loves me. {1 John 4:16}
He wants to give me good gifts. {Matthew 7:11}
His promises can be trusted. {Joshua 21:45}
He will deliver me.  He is my rescuer & refuge.  {Isaiah 46:4} {Psalm 61}
He will crush the enemy under me! {Romans 16:20}
He will show me what to do. {Isaiah 30:21}
His grace is sufficient. {2 Corinthians 12:9}
His burden is light. {Matthew 11:30}

Lord, this post is mostly for me and hopefully for someone else.  I need You every second.  I cannot take even one step without You holding my hand.  I feel the weight of this calling You've given to me as a Mom.  It's very real and very overwhelming.  Would you remind me that I am not in charge?  I do not have to do this alone.  Lord, be near to the Mommas!  Drown out the voice of the Enemy so that I can hear Your whisper.  Let me discern Your voice above the noise of life, God.  Speak to my heart.  Show me who You are.   Remind me to lean in when all I want to do is flee.  Holy spirit, remind me of the Power I can call upon in battle.  Fight for me, that I might shout Your name and bring You glory, alone. Amen.

I'm praying for you, Momma Warriors!  May you feel His presence today!
And also, may you remember to grab a toothbrush when you are at the store. 
Let it be, Lord.  Let it be.

Posted on September 30th, 2015

Sometimes, in the random middle of things, you look up and realize that God has answered the prayers buried deep deep {DEEP} in your heart.  It's those prayers that you really weren't even aware that you prayed, that Jesus prayed for you on your behalf {Romans 8:26}, knowing better than you what you needed, and when, and how, and who.  Has this ever happened to you?

And sometimes this realization happens when you are supposed to be feeling other things...

For me, this happened last week when my precious father-in-law passed away - a time when I am supposed to be grieving, and sad, and sorrowful, and maybe even a little hacked off and confused.  Yes.  All of those feelings.  But also...Joy.  Praise.  Rejoicing.  Thanksgiving.  It is so strange, death.  So odd.  So unfitting with our souls.  So sickening and fuzzy.  I just kept thinking all last week that this is not the way God intended for us to live.  Death was never supposed to be a part of our story.  That's why it feels so foreign and wrong to us.  It just doesn't fit with the image of God placed in our souls.

But God.

He is in the business of Redemption. 

I love it when I can tangibly see God working to redeem what Satan took from us.  Death took our dad.  But God.  He is redeeming and healing.  He is working and does not waste our grief or our lives.  Any life.

So...because I'm a Word Girl...it's going to take a lot of words to get back around to my point.  I think my husband would be the first person to tell you that I use too many words sometimes.  It might take me 30 minutes to explain to him why I snapped at him at dinner when I could have just said, "I'm tired."  That's okay though...I'm always telling him that I could use the Girl Version of the Man Version. 

I now present to you, the Girl Version of this blog post.  Buckle up.
So the beginning of this story makes me sound kind of like a pathetic loser.  But what I've learned is that I'm willing to look pathetic if even one person can say, "Me too!  Me too!"  So, whatevs.  I'm lame.  The end.

I'd say it was roughly seven years ago (math is hard after two kids)...somewhere deep in the cobwebs of my heart I whispered a desperate prayer...sort of.  It was wordless, but if I had to put it in words it would go something like this...

Dear Heavenly Father -

WHAT THE HECK?!  God!  I'm lonely!  I have a great husband and I have a wonderful daughter and amazing family and I love them.  I'm #crazyblessed and #countingmyblessings and all that jazz and THANKS for my people.  But COME ON!  Is a friend or two too much to ask?  My daughter can't talk yet and my husband...well.  You made him!  You know.  He doesn't use All the Words.  I need to talk.  Chit-chat.  Coffee sipping.  Back porch wine cooler sipping (sorry mom).  Random phone calling.  A venting partner. 

K.  I'll be waiting.  Probably impatiently.  And I'll probably put on James Taylor's You've Got a Friend and sob quietly on Friday nights while watching Friends reruns. 

Thanks a bunch.  Love, Me.

I know some of you can relate.  (This is what I'm telling myself so that I can keep my self-esteem intact.)  It's that awkward stage of life.  Too old to hang with the college crowd (they stay out past 10 p.m., which is insane), too awkward to hang out with your friends who don't have kids yet (they just don't understand yet why you smell faintly of baby poo all the time and look like you just woke up no matter what time of day it is), and too new to hang with the married-with-kids veterans (because they tell you things like "you just need to go on a date" or "take some time for yourself" and hearing these things kind of makes you want to punch them in the face pretty hard).  Your college friends all left town and you never really had to make friends because you graduated high school with the same people you ate glue with in Kindergarten.  They were just always there. 

So seven-ish years ago, that's where I was.  I was teaching full-time, had a new baby, and my husband was finishing school and starting a new career as a band director (we'll save The Band Director's Wife post for another day).  And I had no friends.  We had just joined our church.  Here is where I need you to know something if you don't already...I'm a total introvert that is really good at faking being an extrovert.  So while my Extrovert Side told me to "Just go make new friends," my Introvert Side said, "Crawl in a hole and maybe just stay there forever." 

Now that you know me, you can play a fun game with me the next time we talk.  I'll be smiling and laughing and talking on the outside, but if you look really close into my eyeballs, you'll see sheer panic.  Look for it.  (I've had therapy for this...so I'm fully trained and you don't need to be frightened.)  It's ALL genuine, I promise.  I just have to focus really hard to be normal.

I wasn't expecting to share the therapy part.  That was a surprise to us both :) Yay, transparency! (Also, that is sarcasm.) 

Okay, back to the point.  Friendless. 

Then God showed up and did some CRAZY awesome work in me and my family over the past almost-decade.  Those are all stories for another day, but I can say with tears in my eyes and a song in my heart that My God is so faithful and so good and so loving.  He gives amazing gifts.  Jesus groans to the Father on our behalf.  He heals places we didn't know were broken. 

And He gives us friends to walk this journey with us...
​I'm almost to my point!  Are you still with me???

Last week was awful.  I cried.  A lot.  Weird things like not having enough cheese for Taco Tuesday kind of made me freak out.  Emotions were just under the surface.  And, true story, I kind of cussed at some people at work.  By accident.  And I apologized and repented immediately.  But, yeah.  That happened.  It was a really hard week.  For me and for my people.  And it's not over.  We are kind of in that day-by-day, moment-by-moment phase still.  (This is good to remember if you see me in the grocery store, perhaps, and I am yelling at my kids or crying on the chip aisle.  Or if you see John and then you don't because he needed some space.)

And here is what I'm going to tell you I realized through Rick's death...

God has exceedingly and abundantly blessed us with dear friends.  These are not just "so sorry for your loss" friends.  These are "I'm bringing over food and you are not going to argue with me about it" friends.  These are not just "I'm praying for you" friends.  These are "I'm stopping my entire life at this very second and getting on my knees to intercede for you" friends.  These are not just "let me know if you need anything" friends.  These are "I'm showing up no matter what you try to tell me" friends. 

They are the kind of friends who know not to buy you a plant because you will just kill it and instead, buy bibles in Rick's memory.  They know us.   They are the kind of friends who take your very specific Chick-Fil-A order and bring it to your mom and kids when you aren't even at home.  They serve us.  They are the kind of friends who get on an airplane and fly hundreds of miles to grieve with you and hug you.  They love us.  They are the kind of friends who will still be your friend and will pray for peace when you text them that you maybe just cussed out your coworkers.  They understand us.  They are the kind of friends who will drive to a little country church on a Tuesday afternoon to be there as you say goodbye to a parent.  They show up for us.  They are the kind of friends who buy your daughters Elsa dolls while they are here and get the honorary "Uncle" title.  They are our family.

I have shed tears of gratitude for these people all week.  The thing is, I knew they were great before we experienced grief.  I've been grateful for them to the point of weeping many times before.  This event did not teach us that we have friends.  It's not like I was wondering about them and am in awe that they came out of the woodwork.  No.  They HAVE been awesome this week, but these are things they do on a daily basis.  They are faithful friends in joy, in sorrow, and all the in-betweens.  No, Rick did not pass away so that I would be smacked upside the head with realization.  His death has reminded me of God's redeeming love.  All those years ago, my heart cried out in desperation and hurt.  And this week, God allowed me to step back for a moment and whispered into my heart, "Look at what I have done.  See how I have provided.  Breathe it in and hold it tight.  I love you."  I am humbled and overwhelmed.

To our dear friends....thank you.  Thank you for loving us well and serving us with care and grace.  We do not deserve it.  You are God's gift to us.  Words are insufficient.  You are loved. 

Posted on September 5th, 2015

I forgot deodorant today.  And also brushing my teeth.

This is unfortunate for two reasons...

Number one.  People like it when other people wear deodorant and brush their teeth.  I had to stand at least three feet away from everyone I talked with today. 

Number two.  I was winning in every other working-mom department this morning.  We were even EARLY to school.  My beds were made and I had on make-up PRE-drop off.  But forgetting basic self-care kind of kills all that.

It's been a tiring few weeks 'round these parts.  Here's a fun fact for those that don't have school-aged children or who aren't teachers:  Back-to-School Season is hazardous to your mental and physical health.  One might think of the typical to-do list...supply lists, clothes shopping, backpack getting.  There's that.  AND.

For us, Back-to-School is a full on family affair.  We are education folks, so it's not just the kiddos to get crackin', it's Momma and Daddy too.  So first of all, take that clothes shopping list and multiply by four.  (I'm going to go ahead and say you haven't lived if you haven't been elbow deep in piles of folded mens' Dockers looking for a certain size and color while keeping up with various and sundry children, purses, and shopping bags.  Seriously, mens' departments everywhere...take a clue from the ladies and HANG UP THE PANTS.) 

Secondly, because we all get a summer break, we ALL FOUR experience what I like to call Summer Detox.  This includes things like NOT staying up til 3 a.m. eating cheetos while the rest of the responsible world sleeps and does not keep the hours of vampires.  It also includes showering at normal hours and wearing actual clothes.  Living in sweats and yoga pants all summer is one of the perks of our professions.  We have to be professionally dressed 99% of our working days, so yoga pants in the summer is standard wardrobe practice.  For Momma, this wearing-real-clothing thing also means laundry that I can't just shove in the washer willy nilly, dry on whatever setting, and allow us to forage for socks and underwear straight from the dryer like a family of naked racoons.   No.  I now have to pay attention to all the laundry.  I have to sort clothing, think about stain removal, and expend the energy to actually turn the knob on the dryer setting.  It's exhausting.

Summer Detox also includes the Waking of the Vampires.  This is a job delegated to Mom.  (John is strictly on his own.  If he doesn't wake up with his alarm and is running late, it's every man for himself.)  I have to get my own tail moving and also the tails of two cute (and sleepy) little girls.  For E, this is an exciting time of day.  We are up!  We are all awake!  It is a new day!  Let's play!  And this is how Carson and I feel about mornings...
We don't Morning. 

And here's the extra kick in the pants.  In order for us to have a smooth morning, I have learned (through muy mucho trial and error) that I need to be up, showered, and dressed before waking any of the little people in this house.  It just makes for a happier morning if mom isn't running around making lunches with wet hair, half my make-up on, and no pants.  Summer Detox is not kind for this reason.  My alarm starts being rude at 5:15 a.m.  No, thank you.  I would like to take this time to publicly blame my alarm clock for the reason all four of us are in bed by 9:00 p.m. on a week night.  (I'll be back for you in May my quiet, calm night-owl sessions.  Remember me.)

Among other things, Back-to-School Summer Detox includes grocery shopping, lunch planning, lunch packing, doctor visit paloozas to fit them all in before school starts, hair cut appointments, labeling of all the things (seriously...everything), and prayer.  Lots of prayer.  I honestly did not think school was ever going to actually start in our house.  We had such a staggered start for everyone at our various schools that it felt like it was going to drag on forever.  I felt like a dog chasing its tail, only less fun than that.

But school did eventually start.  Last week (I think?  It's sort of all a blur.)  Then we need to Meet the Teacher, have a conference, sign up to volunteer, learn how to go the right direction in the parent pick-up line (ahem...Lindsey), get the routine down for what folder and papers and books need to come home, and sign this, and bring that, and pray some more, and make sure people remember to feed their children breakfast (ahem...me again), and match the pony tail holder to the outfit, and remember which days to send your child in tennis shoes for PE, and maybe cook something for dinner that isn't pizza delivery or frozen fish sticks again, and figure out the hair washing schedule, and also be sure we don't run out of milk.  It's a lot, folks. 

We are one week in and I think it's going pretty well.  We have been consistently getting to school on time, everyone is dressed, fed, and generally peaceful each morning.  We have had a few battles and have come out of those with only minor scars. (I hope.  I may or may not have yelled excessively when my brand new make-up was destroyed by a child in my house who is old enough to know better.  I've begged forgiveness and hopefully this won't come up in her therapy sessions one day.)  Then there was today when I forgot everything I was taught in Personal Hygiene 101...but other than those few hiccups, I can report that I am cautiously optimistic about our ability to continue this routine for the next nine months. 

But I do have some thoughts to summarize the last few weeks...

1) I hate making lunches.  And I know...one day I'll be sad that I don't have little people to make lunches for.  I should pray for my kids as I pack their lunch.  I should be thankful we have a pantry and fridge full of food to make the lunches.  Yes.  All of that.  But listen...in the day-to-day nitty gritty of it all...I still hate the chore.  It's the planning and the shopping and the packing and the keeping it cold and the unpacking it and the spilling of open food in the lunch box and the wiping down of the lunch box and the repacking and and and and...

...and I do not enjoy it.  I'm admitting it.  Call me horrible if you must.

2) 5:15 in the morn is too dadgum early for a human to be awake.

3) We enjoy a routine in this house.  It's good for us and as much as I can complain, I'm happy we are back in the groove of normal life.  Summer is cool and fun and chill and loosey-goosey and all, but there comes a day when you feel like there should be more in your pantry than some Ritz crackers and Little Debbies and that maybe wearing pajamas for three days in a row isn't too normal.  When you look around and your house looks like a combination of a frat house, pool house, and a play room...maybe it's time to scrape the pizza sauce off the couch and go to work and do other adult things, like wake up before 10:00 a.m. and brush your hair.

4) I am so very thankful to have wonderful schools to send our girls.  I trust both of our schools with my whole being.  I know they are safe, I know they are learning, and I know they are loved.  Academics can be taught anywhere, but having my children surrounded by those of like-minded faith is so important to us.  We know that everywhere they turn, they see the Gospel being lived out.  They are nurtured and discipled and my heart could burst at the thought of it all.

5) I enjoy some alone time.  Can I admit that and still keep my Good Momma Membership card?  Yes, I'm a working mom who is admitting that I'm a better mom when I have some time away from my kids.  That's right.  I said it.  Over the summer, I'm with all my people 24/7.  I wake up with them laying on my head, I eat with their hands in my plate, I poop with them sitting on my lap and/or blowing bubbles to entertain me while I'm doing my business.  (True story.  That one happened this evening.)  When I go places, any place, they go with me.  And HEAR ME, PEOPLE...I love them with all my soul!  But I have enjoyed being able to eat a whole meal at one time, with no one talking.  I have relished the drive to my office each day. (This is my pray aloud time every morning and I love it.)  I have enjoyed not hearing that purple dinosaur singing and jumping up and down chuckling. 

And again...I know the days are long and the years are short.  People that have done this Mom Thing like to tell this to those of us that are smack dab in the thick of it.  I know when I am done, I'll do the same and look at the Young Mommas and say Southern Things like "bless their momma hearts" and "one day you'll wish those little tater tots were running around again making you crazy".  And most days we so appreciate that reminder and it does help!  But some days...y'all just need to let a Momma say her kids are driving her crazy. :)

6) GRACE!!!!  God continues to teach me that His grace never runs out.  He has enough grace to cover me.  I never have to search for it.  I never have to wonder if maybe this was The Last Straw and He used up all my grace rations on me yesterday.  No.  His grace flows and flows and flows and flows.  Amen and amen.  I need it every moment, Lord.  Thank you for Momma Grace. 


7) I'm going to start keeping mouthwash and deodorant in my car.  I feel like this is wise.

I'm praying for you, Mommas!  You are doing an amazing job!  You take care of the world, you go to work, you take care of your home, some of you go to school, some of you do all these and more.  You are doing it right.  Your kids love you.  You have a lot to balance and you are doing just fine.   God's grace is right there.  Reach out and let it fill in your gaps.

Please let me know how I can pray for you and feel free to share the most ridiculous thing you've said or done these last couple of weeks of the back to school madness.  I'll start...I yelled at one of my children, "Just pick the orange with the least amount of hair, put it in your mouth and eat it!" 

Yep.  Top that.

(But go put on deodorant first.  I know...I forgot today, too.)

Posted on July 22nd, 2015

I know the title suggests a parenting post, but hold on to your veils and cumber buns ladies and gentlemen, brides and grooms...this one's about marriage.   I'm going to go ahead and tell you that I don't want to share this.  Get ready for a post that makes me look like a horrid, sinful wife and my husband look like Jesus.  (I mean, YAY that I have a husband that shows me who Jesus is, but come on!  I'm still twitching a bit that God put this one on my heart.  He's ruining my sunshine-and-roses image.  As it should be, but it still stings!)  I feel like I should also share with you the alternate titles for this blog that I wanted to write, but didn't:
  • God Made Me Write This
  • Oh Yeah...Well...My Husband Sins Too
  • The Post I Don't Want to Write
  • I Hate Legos Forever & Ever
  • I'm Quitting the Blog
  • I'd Rather Be Watching Miss Congeniality & Eating Chocolate
This lesson didn't actually begin as a lesson for me.  It began as a lesson for my six-year-old, Carson.  I even quickly put some notes in my phone to document "her" lesson as a blog post idea started brewing.  This was back when I was safe and was planning on looking like a brilliant parent for you all.  (Have I mentioned I'm still twitching?  Sometimes Legos can be cruel.) 

This post requires a bit of an explanation for those of you that haven't experienced Legos in the past 20 years.  (If you haven't, I'd like to take this time to tell you...things have changed, my friends.) 

Carson recently came into a windfall from her grandparents and the Tooth Fairy.  She had $40.00 burning a hole in her pocket.  As you have likely already guessed, she elected to purchase Legos.  Specifically, the Lego Friends Jungle Tree Animal Sanctuary.  (This isn't a significant fact.  I'm stalling.)  Here is where I need to inform you about the "new" Legos.  This is a 320 piece 3D puzzle, basically.  Gone are the days of colored blocks and using your imagination to create a very rectangle-ish house with a flat roof.  (Or maybe I was the only creative engineer genius that dabbled in this particular flavor of Lego building?)  Oh no sir.  These things have a MANUAL you must follow to the letter, step-by-step, to make your tree sanctuary look like the sanctuary on the box.  I sat down with Carson one Saturday a few weeks ago and said we could build for "a little bit".


Four and half HOURS later, we were done with the tree sanctuary.  (I feel like this post should serve as a warning to new parents of little bitties who don't lose teeth and want to spend their Tooth Fairy money on toys that torture their parents.  Be warned.  No one warned me.  Rude.)  Actually, to be fair, Carson and I had a nice time.  The steps are very visual and easy to follow and all she really needed from me was keeping her on the right page so she didn't skip a step.  We got off track once and only once.  And here is where my shining parent moment showed up...

We got to a page of instructions and did as the pictures told us to do.  Only one piece wasn't fitting correctly.  Try as we might, it wasn't going to work.  We had to work backward, step-by-step for SEVENTEEN steps until we found the ONE piece we had placed incorrectly.  It wasn't off by a lot, only one little round bumpy thingy (I know you are impressed with my official Lego lingo.)  Carson had a bit of a "moment" as we were looking for our error.  She said dramatically wailed things like, "The whole thing is ruined!"  "We wasted our time!" "This is too hard for me!" "We'll never get this fixed!"

Oh y'all.  I heard God speak to me in that moment. I'm certain of it. 

One little mistake.  Only one tiny bump away from perfection.  Only one sin.  Just one.  Nothing big.  And look what happens...seventeen steps backward to find your mistake.  Seventeen steps forward, this time following MY manual, to get it fixed.

I wish y'all could have heard me.  I was Spiritual Super Mom!  SPUR OF THE MOMENT DEVOTIONAL, KIDS!  I've had a Word from the Lord!  Gather 'round my chickies!  Come hear the truth that God wants me to share with you!  Gold star for my spiritual leadership!  Shepherding my little lambs! 

(Cue a very grown-up, spiritually mature, Mommy Voice with my Teacher Tone thrown in.)

"Carson, this Lego block is like our sin.  Only one tiny little mistake, missing the mark by only a teeny tiny bit, gets us off track from God's plan for our lives.  We can't just quickly fix it either.  We have to retrace our steps all the way back to that one little sin, confess, ask for forgiveness, and then rebuild the damage we have done, step-by-step.  And God gave us one another to help us get back on track.  We don't have to figure it all out on our own, get upset and give up.  Mom was here to help you figure out where you went wrong and get you back on track, just like God can do for us."

That is parenting gold, y'all.  I don't care who you are, that's good stuff.  Carson agreed, was happy her jungle tree animal sanctuary was moving forward again, and we went on our happy Lego way.

You are self-righteous, my love.

Ahem.  Excuse me, God?  Surely you meant for that message to be sent somewhere else.  I'm good over here!  You just saw!  I heard your Word, I delivered it.  It was beautiful and meaningful.  I'm even going to write about this, God.  You are so faithful to continue giving me blog post topics.  It's all good.  I'm so in tune with you, Lord.  I made notes in my phone!  Don't worry, I've got it covered!

Lindsey.  Search your heart.  That Word was for you, daughter.

Stop. It.

Here is where I'm supposed to tell you that I fell before the Lord and wept tears of repentance and made it right.

Um. No. 

Here is what I told God. "Stop. It."  Because if I have to share this then it's going to be heavy and yucky and awkward and awful.  And I don't know if you've noticed, God, but so far I'm going for a blog that's real! but light! and fun!  This does not fit in.  "So, no.  Stop it."

Yeah.  That went over just as you can imagine.

I struggled with a convicted heart for the next several weeks to write this.  And truth be told (as I believe I have mentioned a time or three already in this post), I still don't want to write it.  Obedience kinda sucks sometimes. SIGHHHHHH...

Now you are all ready for a big confession, huh?  A big sin.  Something huge and irrevocably detrimental to my marriage.  I went back and forth on whether or not to post what it was, but ultimately decided not to.  Not because I think it's none of your business.  I'm pretty transparent in general.  I don't necessarily mind you all knowing what it was.  But I found that I wanted to tell you that it was "just a small sin" to save face and so that I can comfortably make eye contact with you when you tell me you've read my new blog post.  I wanted to say "it's no big deal" or "it's not what you might be thinking" or "it wouldn't seem that big to you if you knew".  But those are all just covers to bandage my own flesh.  Sin is sin.  There is no big and no small.  Naming it isn't the point.  It's the fact that it happened and it's sin, period.  I didn't want this to be a post about how I ____ and you shouldn't do ____ in your marriage.  I wanted others to be able to fill in their own blanks here with their own struggles and sins.  I've confessed to God and to John, and that's all I feel like I need to do with it.  The point in sharing it with you is this...

It was small.  So small.  And that's the problem.

A long time ago, I sinned against my husband.  I told him a lie.  It was so insignificant at first.  Just a tiny bump on a Lego board.  Then, as I tried to build on top of the small lie, things began to not quite match up.  This block fit, but not the way it was supposed to.  That block worked, but it looked a little off.  The next block and the next kind of made things look like it was going to be okay, but the final block didn't fit at all and there was no way to move forward.  It was simply not going to work.  I couldn't even build on top of it any longer.  It was hanging there, exposed.  Unavoidable.  Halting further construction.

I had a choice in that moment.  I could try to keep building, knowing full well it wasn't the kind of sanctuary I wanted to be building.  Or I could repent, confess my sin to God and my husband, and ask for their help to rebuild the mess I had made.  The first choice, initially easy but ultimately destructive.  The second choice, initially difficult and scary but ultimately redemptive and beautiful. 

Well, crap.

I confessed.  It was so very scary...and embarrassing...and shameful...and maddening...and HARD...

...and FREEING!!!

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  {Galatians 5:1 NIV}

So John and I had a bit of a mess to rebuild.  We had Lego pieces all around us and we are still turning the manual page-by-page, step-by-step to rebuild our sanctuary.  John was so full of mercy, so abundant with grace.  He didn't tell me my sin was okay.  He just promised that he forgave me, that we would work it out, that he would help me.  That I wasn't alone.  He was a beautiful picture of Jesus to me that day.  I didn't deserve it.  I had hurt him.  I had caused damage that couldn't easily be reversed.  I had bruised our relationship and it would take time to heal.  Yet he still chose to show me grace and mercy.  And it set me free.  We are stronger because of it. 

Even though I grew up in church and know all the right things to say at the right moments and  I know the verses to recite, the words to pray...I'm still blown away by God and how He redeems our stupid mess and makes it something for which we can be thankful and give Him glory.  I'm blown smack away by a God that loves me and sets me free, even when what I deserve is to be apart from Him.

So there you go.  Thanks, stupid Legos.  You dug up an old sin and confession that was done and buried and forced me to share it.  Now my mom is going to call me and wonder if we are in marriage counseling (after she also fusses at me for using the word "crap" again in a blog post.)  Now my friends are going to be wondering what I did and when and how and why and and and and...

And that's okay (I guess. Ha!) because maybe one person who has a bruised relationship might read this and start to retrace their steps back to that one Lego piece that went wrong.  Or several Lego pieces.  Maybe all 320 pieces.  All marriages have their issues and their sins and their struggles. 

What's your Lego piece?

Well goodness gracious, Dr. Phil.  How profound of an ending is that?  LOL!  I'm kind of laughing at myself for that line, even though I'm going to leave it, because it's true.  Cringe.

I have to also tell you that John has approved this post.  When I told him that I wrote a blog about marriage and that I needed his approval before posting, he looked at me a little skeptically.  I said, "Don't worry.  It is the one I told you I was writing that makes me look bad and you look great."  To which he replied, "Oh.  Good.  Okay then."  And he smirked.


And also...

I'm done with Legos.  They are dead to me.

Posted on June 18th, 2015

Some days (most days) I feel like I'm an adult-imposter.  On my very best days, I probably feel all of about 22 years old.  It's like I pulled one over on Adulthood.  I tiptoed in the door unnoticed.  And every now and then I do or say something very Adult and they let me stick around.  It's enough to make me seem like I fit for just a little bit longer.  I've learned to blend.

Anyone else ever feel this way?  Maybe it's just me.

So I've spent the past month or so thinking about this and I am very aware of when I am doing something that qualifies me to be this thirty-something that I am.  I've come up with a few things that I do, say, think, or feel that let me know I, in fact, do belong in Adulthood.  These are things that, if I hopped in my Delorean to visit my 18-year-old self, my 18-year-old self would stare at thirty-something me like I was speaking a foreign language (and probably point her finger at me and laugh rudely).

I have an extensive collection of light bulbs and I'm mad at them.  When we became home owners about nine years ago, I started my light bulb stash.  It is impressive.  I have on hand pretty much any wattage of light bulb you could need, in any size, for any purpose.  Fridge light out?  I've got it covered.  The weird lamp in the bedroom that only takes a certain size?  I have three bulbs ready and waiting.  Nightlight bulbs, flashlight bulbs, Christmas light bulbs.  I even took my little light bulb obsession to the realm of car maintenance.  As we speak, I can tell you I have an extra fog light for my car in a box in my garage.  Can you say that?  I know.  Prepared.  So, for the light bulb collection alone I can guarantee my 18-year-old self would call me lame. 

But to take the lame to a new level, I can also report that I am currently mad at the light bulb industry (and apparently the government?) for taking away incandescent bulbs.  Seriously, the new "better" (and I am using that word very sarcastically in case the quotation marks weren't clear enough) and "more efficient" (again with the sarcasm) light bulbs burn out EVEN QUICKER than the old incandescents.  AND THEY ARE QUADRUPLE THE PRICE.  Listen up, government...if you are reading this I am going to go ahead and tell you that at this moment I could care less about energy conservation.  I want my old light bulbs back.  Every time I have to change a bulb (which is often), I get mad all over again.  I just changed a bulb two weeks ago in my utility room.  IT IS NOW OUT.  And this one requires a ladder to change.  Extra work.  Thanks again, government.  Your new light bulbs are crap.

See?  Light bulb rants.  This would qualify me for levels of lameness my 18-year-old self didn't even know existed.  Adult.  Boom.

Pressure washing relaxes me.  I can't explain it, but I get a thrill out of pressure washing any and every surface I can find at my house.  It's like reverse coloring.  It's fantastic.  I'm pretty sure 18-year-old Lindsey couldn't have told you what a pressure washer even was.  And now I own one.  And I use it.  Often.  And enjoy it.  (Stop being jealous of my exciting life.  Not everyone can be this cool.)

Car repair and maintenance bills.  There was a glorious time period in my life when my car broke down or was otherwise compromised (ahem...I may or may not have a small handful of fender-benders on my driving record) and all I had to do was call my dad.  All I knew back then was that my car showed back up as good as new a day or few later.  And probably had a full tank of gas waiting for me.  Well.  Now I know.  There is nothing like forking over $800 for TIRES that will let you know that you are, in fact, Adulting.  Car repair bills are among my least favorite ways to spend money.  (Word to the wise.  When you are shopping for a new vehicle, buy one with a standard-size wheel or you will cry every year while swiping your debit for $800.  Adults aren't supposed to cry in public about money, in case you are working on being Adult.)

I know how to treat various laundry stains.  This was not so when I was 18.  Back then, I brought my laundry home because my mom is a true Adult and she knew all about laundry stain removal.  Even after I was married and doing my own laundry, I just threw everything in and washed it cold.  Now I can tell you how to get grass stains to disappear, just what to do with a blood stain, and how heat will "set" a stain.  What happened?  Adulthood.   

Jaywalkers.  There was a day when I was one of these delinquents myself.  And I didn't even bat an eye.  I was a pedestrian!  I had the right of way!  (Good grief.)  I am now the person that will stop, roll down my window, and request that these people kindly use the cross walk that is less than 50 feet away.  I'm sure I've gotten more eye rolls and mumbled obscenities from annoyed teens than anyone I know.  On a related note, I will also call out anyone who is openly cursing or being inappropriate around my children.  A few close friends know my tendency to be a bit outspoken and bossy about these things.  Good thing I'm channeling my passion toward Very Important Things like jaywalking, public cursing, and people who violate the city smoking ordinance. 

I own a Dustbuster and use it daily.  Multiple times a day, in fact.  Well, actually, let's be real.  Most people who have been to my house or my office know that I need things tidy.  (Further details about this are for another post, for another day.)   I was this way when I was 18 and I'm still this way.  But...I now have a TOP-OF-THE-LINE, premium, extra suction, extra-large dustbin capacity Dustbuster that I adore.  (It is very Adult to adore a cleaning tool, if you didn't know.)  It is hanging in my laundry room, always plugged in and charged, always ready.  It's like my Adult Superpower.  A mess can be made in my house and before you can say, "Where's the broom?" I have that mess sucked up, sanitized, and Dustbuster back in the cradle.  A mere memory of the mess is left when someone comes stumbling in the room with a dustpan. 

Neighborhood hooligans and shenanigans.  If you are Facebook friends with John and I, you might remember a few of our neighborhood kid incidents.  There were the freeloaders who were stealing our WiFi.  WiFi passwords are super Adult.  Then there are the Doorbell Ringer Bandits.  You might remember that excitement from last summer.  If you are a neighborhood rascal, your momma will be called and/or Old Lady Kennon will stop you in the street and ask where you live and follow you home to have a chat with your daddy.  (See my point about Jaywalking to remind yourself of my tendency to call people out.  Middle schoolers are especially not exempt from me.)  Basically, we either feel 22 or 97 around here on any given day. 

And that one thing I cannot remember.  Here's undeniable proof that I'm no longer 18.  I thought of a really great point to make about being an Adult.  That was about ten minutes ago.  And I cannot remember it even a little bit.  I even retraced my steps back to when I thought about it, like Dr. Huxtable made Vanessa do when she lost her history paper and she found it in the freezer.  I opened my freezer but didn't find the idea.  I have random notes in my phone that say things like "meet at 10:30" or "check the box before Thursday"  or a random phone number with no name.  I have no idea what these notes mean but I'm afraid to delete them in case they are important.  I don't even remember what my reminders are telling me.  I even have a note that just says "nebulous" and I have no clue why.  (How's that for irony?)  My memory used to be outstanding.  Now it's not.  Adult.

So there you have it.  I'm sure there are lots more but I'll stop there because 1) bad memory, and 2) I need a nap.  Clearly, the evidence speaks for itself.  I am not 22, but I still have my doubts.  For instance...I just ate slices of cheddar cheese and leftover bacon for lunch.  I'm no nutritionist, but that is only two food groups.  We also regularly consume Pop Tarts and fruit roll-ups around here.  Some people at work like to call me "Kiddo".  I still tend to procrastinate quite a bit.  I never have more than $1.13 in cash in my wallet.  And I could still sleep til 2:00 p.m. if my kids and husband would let me.  I have never once heard anyone call my dad "kiddo" and he always has at least $20 in cash on hand.  Just sayin'.

Basically, this whole thing has just got me thinking about "seasons" and how God places us where we are, when he wants us there, whether or not we feel qualified to be there.  And oh my, the lessons He teaches along the way.  I'm sure when I'm 50 (Which now seems kinda young to me!  What is happening?!) I'll look back on these thirty-something years (and this post) and laugh.  And think about all I've learned throughout these passing seasons.  Thank the Lord I'm no longer the narcissistic, impulsive, idiot that I was at 18.  Good gracious, just the jaywalking alone is enough to make me not want to revisit those times.  Maybe one of these days I'll start feeling my age.  For now, I'm going to go grab my Dustbuster and clean up the toddler mess left from lunch and start laundry.  (VERY Adult!)  I'm going to eat some icing right out of the can first, though.  (Very College Girl.  See why I'm confused?)

In case you'd like to see Dr. Huxtable in action again, I've included a link to the scene where he helps Vanessa find her paper.  See below.

And for Pete's sake.  Let's all write our representatives about this light bulb situation before I have to enroll myself in anger management.

How old do YOU feel?  Feel free to leave some comments to make me feel better about being in Adult Limbo.  ((Disclaimer...if you are 18, 22, 50, 60, or 97 please know that I think you are lovely people.  Please don't think my post is in any way knocking you.  Not every 60-something is an old toot and not every 18-year-old is a jaywalking idiot.  Probably.))

Posted on May 8th, 2015

Here I am at my second post.  Good grief, how I have agonized and prayed over what my blog should be "about".  Like, I feel like I should have some kind of theme.  I don't want to just ramble about my daily life because I'm pretty sure my readers (all three of them) are terribly uninterested in things like the fact that my garbage disposal is leaky and that I need to replace approximately 13 light bulbs in this house.  Riveting. 

I have no theme.  So I settled for asking God just for a subject for my next post.  Just that.  And I have some stuff...some ideas...some chicken-scratch thoughts floating around.  All this to say, when I told you last week that I had no idea where God was taking this, I was looking straight into your eyes and telling you every bit of truth I knew.  I still don't know.  So, yay!  This week's topic may be less than cohesive, but I'm just going to write it and trust.  I'd apologize ahead of time if I knew all three of your were still reading at this point...

Mostly, I kept thinking this week about being a mom.  (And not just because it's Mothers' Day Week).  I really don't want this to be a cliche "mommy blog", but I'm not making any promises.  This week, it's about being a mom.  It's what I know, people. 

Earlier this week, I had a "mommy moment" in the kitchen with my six-year-old... 

Back-up...momma's out there know what's up.  There are Good Mommy Moments and Bad Mommy Moments.  I don't even have to explain this to The Mommas.  They know.  For all of those that don't know, I'll offer a brief-ish explanation.  We'll start with the bad news first, because that's what people do.  Bad Mommy Moments explode out of The Mommas without warning.  Whatever our child just said or did was THE LAST STRAW and we react.  It can get ugly.  Sometimes we yell, sometimes we cry, and sometimes we do a scary and confusing combination of both a yell and a cry.  A crell, if you will.  While we are crelling, we say and do crazy things like promise to donate all our kids' toys to poor little children who have no toys and who don't even have a word for "bored" or announcing that, from now on, squash is the official vegetable of the house and we will have ice cream never. again. ever. if the squash is not eaten.  The aftermath of the Bad Mommy Moments might include Mommy hiding in the bathroom, holding her breath when she hears footsteps near the door.  Or perhaps the eating of chocolate.  (I may or may not have eaten chocolate while hiding in the bathroom.  Don't judge.  You know you've done it too.)  Bad Mommy Moments usually occur while you are "cooking dinner" (which is code for cooking, plus checking homework, plus doing a load of laundry, plus answering a work email, plus signing permission slips, plus...plus...plus).  Bad Mommy Moments happen during what I call Crazy Hour at my house.  Everyone is tired and hungry and downloading their day.  It's a perfect storm, really.

Good Mommy Moments are the crowning glory of The Mommas.  The same crazy might still be happening with the kids.  Whatever your child just said or did was still THE LAST STRAW, but instead of exploding and crelling, the Holy Spirit rushes in and fills us with patience and kindness and all-the-nice-words.  We remember to breathe.  We smile.  Sometimes we even bend down to our child's level and our voices are soft and ... angelic really.  We glance up at our halos, wink at ourselves real quick as if to say, "You've got this.  Look at you!  You are practically dripping with the Fruit of the Spirit," and speak wisdom and teaching over our children like we are channeling the Proverbs 31 Woman.  Good Mommy Moments usually occur right after we've had our morning coffee, a quiet time with our bibles, or have had a weekend getaway or girls' night out.

So back to it...earlier this week, my mommy moment was Good.  I had just had a weekend getaway.  I was feeling rested, connected with God, reciting scripture in my head from the weekend...all the good stuff.  So when my six-year-old came into the kitchen complaining that she had to pick up toys that her one-year-old sister had gotten all over the living room, I smiled (of course), bent down (naturally!), and beautiful words about serving our family as Jesus serves us came out of my mouth.  My halo was in perfect position, glittering just right, catching the light off the microwave.  I was delivering a sermon that preached real good.  It was full of wisdom like, "God gave us one another to rub off all the selfish edges from our hearts," and how we should, "serve with a joyful heart, as if serving the Lord."  My voice was steady, calm.  Birds gathered on the back patio to listen and chirped sweetly in agreement, the squirrels dropped their pecans and scurried over, and a light breeze swayed the trees outside.  It was a gorgeous parenting moment.  After my girl skipped away to pick up the toys, I paused for a few moments before picking up the spatula to flip my quesadilla on the stove, marveling at the beauty of the Good Mommy Moment.  I knew my people were going to come in, pray over the food, eat this nice meal I'd prepared, discuss the day's events with a casual ease, giggle a little, and end by pitching in to clear the dinner mess while we shared life and just laughed and laughed.  They would then rise up and call me blessed and I'd kiss the tops of their heads and send them off for bath time.


I really don't know what happened.

I am not exactly sure the moment I snapped.

I can't tell you at what point my halo slipped down over my eyes.

It all happened so quickly.  So suddenly!

I was left, blinking and muttering, "Wait. What???"

All I know is that not ten minutes after the Blessed Mommy Moment, I YELLED, "EVERYONE JUST SIT DOWN AND EAT. YOUR. FOOD!"

The rest of the evening...well you can fill in the blanks.  It wasn't pretty.  And not one single person looked up at me and called me blessed.  Shocker.

So, here is what I've been reminded of this week.  I've even ranked them in order of importance, for your convenience.  You're welcome.

1) I need Jesus.  Every hour.  Every moment.  I need Jesus when my halo is on straight and when it slips down and hides my eyes.  The good moments are His, not mine.  I cannot take credit and wait for accolades, nor should I desire them.  The Holy Spirit is the one and only reason Good Mommy Moments exist.  The bad moments are reminders to call out to Him, "I need you, Jesus!" 

2) My children need Jesus.  Every hour.  Every moment.  They are little sinners.  I didn't even have to teach them how to sin.  I need to remember that they are vulnerable to attacks from the Enemy, just as I am (more so since they are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit).  I need to offer more grace.  I need to remember to teach them (show them) how to call on Jesus. 

3) My children are watching me.  I hate this one!  (Just letting my honest show.)  I was just talking to John last night about how I'm not one bit surprised that Carson is going through a "selfish phase" (she is, by the way...whole other blog post).  Hellooooooooo.  Am I doing what I need to be doing to set an example?!  I can talk and talk and talk all day long, but at the end of the day, my actions scream so loudly that no one can even hear what I'm saying.  Conviction.

And, finally...

4) I'm pretty sure the reason I exploded can be traced back to the fact that I have been flipping pancakes, quesadillas, eggs, and other-flippable-things IN A PAN for the almost-ten years I've been married.  IN A PAN, people!  It's like I'm a savage.  Flipping one quesadilla at a time.  I'm nearly POSITIVE that the Proverbs 31 Woman never ever yelled, "EVERYONE JUST SIT DOWN AND EAT. YOUR. FOOD!"  And you know why?  I bet she had a griddle.

And so, I'd like to formally and publicly announce that...

MOMMA NEEDS A GRIDDLE FOR MOTHERS' DAY.  I'm certain that all a momma needs is a whole lotta Jesus, equal parts coffee, prayer...

...and a griddle, for crelling out loud.

Posted on April 27th, 2015

I'm writing a book. 

Wait, what? Good grief there it is in black and white and I just said it.  Just like that.  A bit of a band-aid moment...just rip it off, right? 

I have this document on my computer.  It's buried away in files so deep a computer archaeologist (I totally made that career up) might uncover it one day in a computer graveyard, hidden away on a thought-I-cleaned-it-off hard drive.  The file is called "My Book" and it was last edited on March 7, 2011.  I won't tell you how long it is or its content (neither are impressive and I have more pairs of underwear than I do pages in that "book").  What I'm interested in sharing today is less about what the file IS and more about what it represents.

Three or so years ago (probably further than that if I'm honest) I had a little thought pop up in my head.  "You could write a book," the thought whispered.  Just a thought, a seed.  And so the seed sat there.  It was 2011, so that means I was a momma to a two-year-old, had started a new job a little over a year before, and was applying to grad schools.  Plenty of time to squeeze in some writing!  (That's sarcasm, my friends.)  NO TIME!  I had all the words and all the ambition, but not all the minutes.  I was doing good to use the minutes I had for things like being a responsible parent, making people food to eat, sleeping, working. 

So my little seed just sat there.  No water.  No sunshine.  No time.  The desire was still there but life just kind of went on and I didn't make any moves.

(Yes, I did just go there with the plant metaphor.  I'm writing this in my kitchen while cooking dinner.  I have until the timer goes off or until my family's hunger pangs get the better of them and they start migrating into the kitchen foraging for a before-dinner snack.  I don't have time to be super creative with the metaphors here in Realville.) 

Fast forward to a few months ago (cue transition music and a movie montage where you see three years of our life reel by on the big screen)...

God began to speak to me about writing.  Trickles of stirrings at first so that I really didn't realize it.  I'm slow that way.   So when the confirmations kept rolling in, I finally thought, "Okay, so maybe this is a thing.  Maybe this is God telling me it's time."  As I write that, it makes me sound super spiritually mature and like I've got this God-girl thing figured out.  Truth be told, I have issues with discernment.  Is this God?  Hello?  Are you sure?  Is this just my nutso over-analytical brain?  Lindsey?  Is that you?  Echo...echo...echo...

Let's just have you believe me when I tell you that this is, indeed, a thing.  God has made it clear to me in a thousand little ways that this is what I am supposed to be doing.  I'm 1% excited and 99% terrified out of my skull.  Yes, I'm a word girl.  I've always loved words and reading and writing, even.  But for myself.  I don't know where this will lead.  Maybe it is mostly for me still.  But there is something inside of me telling me that God wants to use my words for His glory.  Does that mean I will publish a book?  Does that mean someone other than my mom and best friend will read what I write?  (Okay, Dad, you too!)  Does this mean I will always write?  What will I write about?  Good grief, I am the expert extraordinaire on not-one-dang-thing.  I don't know the answers to any of those questions right now.  I don't even think I will know the answer to any of those questions in the foreseeable future. 

All I know is that, for now, God has shown me that I am to start writing.  This blog is an act of obedience and I promise you this...I am doing it afraid.  I am, by nature, an introvert and a self-doubter.  No WAY would I be telling ALL THE PEOPLE that I'm writing a book if this were my idea!  No way.  Unh uh.  Who knows when that thing will be done?  Not this girl.  In the meantime, I'll write here a bit.  I recently read a quote that I love and that fits me to a tee, "Under promise.  Over deliver."  I can do that.  So what I'll tell you is that I do live in Realville.  I'm a wife, a mother of two, I have a full-time job, I'm a grad student, I have a to-do list that would make Martha Stewart leave the building, and I'm currently burning dinner.  Not that anyone but my momma and God care, but I'm not promising anything regular here.  I will write here, though.  That much I can deliver.  And don't worry...this is not all going to be about me writing (bor-to tha-RING).  I have ZERO ideas right now about what this blog will be about.  I feel like I should have a general direction, but I don't.  God wants me to write.  I want to be obedient.  I want to bring Him glory.  I want to reflect His light.  That is all I know.  And so...

...here. we. go.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man. 
-Colossians 3:23