Some Things to Remember When We’re Tempted to Judge

We walked into the library and made our way to the children’s room. Allie immediately went for the train set (she always does) while I found a safe place for my laptop case. I joined her on the floor and we started constructing an oval-shaped track. Another mom showed up with a preschool-aged boy and an infant sleeping in a stroller. (Until then we were the only ones in the children’s area, which is extremely rare). She parked her stroller, sat a table, and sent the little boy off to play. A few minutes later, I heard him struggling behind […]

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What to Do If You’re in Pain this Christmas

broken Christmas ornament

Sometimes the Christmas spirit just doesn’t show up. You can crank up the carols, light your fireplace, and deck the halls to the nines. You can burn Advent candles, read your Christmas devotional, and meticulously place your Nativity on the mantle. But it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. All that merry and bright, festive and fun, fa-la-la-la-la? It’s just not there. So you feel like a Scrooge because ’tis the season to be merry and you just can’t get your jingle on. Advent is a season of waiting, and for those walking through a literal season of waiting – one laced with uncertainty, anxiety, or grief – the […]

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Three Words to Calm Financial Worries

one dollar bill

I used to cry every time I sat down to pay our bills. At the time, my husband was a teacher by day and a graduate student by night, and we were living in a tiny farmhouse that we rented from my in-laws (and by tiny, I mean Reese slept in a partitioned area of the living room). After Reese was born I quit my job, which provided exactly 50% of our income. Although I had always wanted to stay home and I knew it was the right choice for our family, I couldn’t help wondering if we made a mistake […]

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The Early Fruits of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting

We rolled ourselves out of bed just after 6:30 on Saturday morning. Matt went off to help his dad in the field and the girls asked me to make scrambled eggs. I situated Reese on the couch with her pillow, blanket, and juice (she had one of her fevers over the weekend. More about that next time). Allie followed me into the kitchen, spinning herself in circles and singing a made up song about “God’s yellow sun.” I cracked the eggs into a skillet, buttered three pieces of toast and washed some grapes. Then I pulled the skillet from the […]

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To the Stylist Who Butchered My Daughter’s Hair

It was my fault, really. I had no business setting foot in your salon with my over-tired Kindergartener and her unruly little sister. Not when I was this tired myself. Not when I had already endured one of the worst mornings ever. I should have known better. My mom tried to talk me out of it. “They don’t need haircuts,” she said. “Just trim their bangs and be done with it,” she said. I should have listened. But I didn’t. Because we had family pictures scheduled for 9:00am the next morning with my husband’s whole family. Remember? I told you […]

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When Ten Years Seems Like a Long Time

pocket watch and flowers

Every year it’s the same. Everyone meets for breakfast–Matt’s parents, his sister’s family, and us. Then we take the same six-hour drive down the same roads through the same small towns. We park in the same spots in front of the same condominium complex in Osage Beach, Missouri; and we open the same door to the same condo. We unpack our bags, slather ourselves with sunscreen, and head down to the pool with a cooler full of drinks and nothing in front of us but the open water of the lake. At some point, usually within the first hour, Matt […]

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The Secret to Battling Discontentment

woman standing under a sunrise

We moved into this house in December 2011. Less than 3 months later, I was sitting on the couch staring at our stone fireplace crying into a beige throw pillow – not exactly how I expected to feel after buying what we considered to be our dream house. Why am I not happier? I wondered. Am I really that ungrateful? Don’t I realize how incredibly blessed I am to have this house? This family? This life? What’s wrong with me? I have always struggled with discontentment. Nothing has ever measured up to the expectations I set in my mind. My […]

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The Truth About (Un)Productivity

Yesterday I was digging weeds out of our landscaping while the girls played in the sandbox. Realizing I hadn’t looked up in over 30 seconds, I quickly scanned the yard. My eyes stopped on the wide open back door. Aw, shoot. They’re in the house. And they’re both COVERED in wet sand. I dropped my spade, shook off my gloves, and stormed toward the door. Too late. I followed the trail to Reese’s room where both girls were pulling out toys and dusting the room with sand. In a complete frenzy, I stripped both kids and ushered them to the tub […]

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What to do When Life Gets Messy

scrub brush with heart-shaped soap

I leaned my steam mop against the wall and scanned my work while I waited for the tile to dry. We spent all day Sunday shucking, blanching, and bagging sweet corn from my in-laws’ farm. It’s a fun process, but the cleanup? Not so much. We take the corn off the cob and man-oh-man what a mess! By the time we finished, we were running late for dinner plans. We did a quick wipe down of the kitchen and left the big cleanup for tomorrow. On Monday afternoon both kids fell asleep (a rarity these days). I hoped a quick pass […]

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