Parenting

How I Traumatized My Children on Christmas Morning

The struggle to keep Jesus at the center of Christmas resurfaces every year. Christian bookstores present new Advent products at the beginning of each season. Mommy bloggers publish reading schedules and offer crafts to help point our little ones to Jesus. Our struggle reaches its pinnacle on Christmas morning when we try to balance the excitement of unwrapping gifts with the celebration of [Read more...]

Life is a Mess (But You’ve Got the Moxie to Handle It)

I’m writing this post from the surgical waiting room. I have two family members in ICU in two different hospitals today. My kids start back to school this week–three kids, three different schools. We’ve got “meet the teachers” and back to school bashes, fingernails to paint, lunches to pack. I have a list of work and home projects that need my attention. I’m [Read more...]

The Four-Part Plan to Save Summer Sanity

Congratulations! You white-knuckled your way through May with all of the final projects, celebrations, and awards days. Welcome to summer! Summer promises a hot sun, lazy mornings–and kids who bore easily and fuss often. Our sanity is seriously at risk! A solid plan and clear expectations help to maintain our sanity during the long summer days. Establishing boundaries around time and activities [Read more...]

Look to the Future

“What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. But what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday.” ~Condoleezza Rice I became a mother thirteen years ago. My first kid was a bit of a guinea pig. I tried several parenting strategies on her. Time-outs, counting to three, swift discipline, positive reinforcement—you name it, I tried it. As we enter the teen years, I see the [Read more...]

Stuck between Your Calling and Your Life: What Now?

My first decision of the morning starts around 10 pm the night before. As I sit on the edge of my bed, alarm clock in hand, I decide between sleep and an hour of quiet reading and reflection. I can’t do both; there is only enough time for one thing. When my alarm sounds the next morning, I face the decision again—snooze or rise and enter into that predetermined quiet space. These [Read more...]

The Weight of Worship

In 2004 I arrived. It was the year I accomplished everything on my wish list. After my high school graduation, I packed up my red Chevy Cavalier and headed to the city. I shook the small-town dust off my Birkenstocks and marched full speed toward my dreams. I pursued my degree with unequivocal focus. I landed my first professional job—one that required credentials after my signature. My true [Read more...]

How to Pray for Wisdom Using Scripture

In the first few months of motherhood, I felt completely in over my head. Being the oldest of four children, the mechanics of caring for a child were not new to me. However, being completely responsible for a baby around the clock was a shock. Add in postpartum hormones and the shift from full-time employee to full-time mother, and I was sinking. Things didn’t get easier as she grew. Soon, [Read more...]

How NOT to Panic When Your Kid Asks for a Cell Phone

“Mama, I want a cell phone.” The requests for a cell phone started around third grade. The list of friends who possessed this technological treasure started growing. By the time fifth grade rolled around, my daughter was sure she was the only one without an iPhone. I pointed out a few friends still on the outside. She relented, outsmarted once again. At middle school orientation, the [Read more...]

Is Real Life Getting in the Way of Your Big Dreams?

Do you dream big dreams about making a difference in the world? Maybe you see yourself behind a podium delivering a message that makes a crowd laugh, cry, and run to Jesus. Your dream may involve bandaging wounds or ladling soup for the sick and hungry in a developing country. You may quietly hope your pastor will choose you to head up an exciting new program at your church. My own dream [Read more...]

The Gift of Presence

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.” Thich Nhat Hanh Not many things motivate me to reach into a toilet. Through a series of mishaps involving my potty training three-year-old, his blankie, and my phone, my most prized electronic device took the plunge. My floating phone was enough to make me reach in the germ infested water without so much as an, “Ew, [Read more...]