Friday, December 21, 2012


This voice behind action,
Cold, critical, harsh and self imposed.
Ever speaking, listening not
To truth and caring, wise words
Of those giving of the heart.
This voice bent on the tear down,
Hell bent on making a mockery
Of self, of worth, of accomplishment.
Whispering line of lie, shout of shame.
"You do too little, never enough."
This voice active in criticism,
Putting words in mouths not open
Thoughts in minds unthinking falsehood.
Insecurity a rampant hatchet
Marriage the bed of its hacking rage.
This voice speaking always, loudly,
Yet I have ears to never hear.
Truth words like tornadic wind surround
And set free a heart long jailed.
Eschet chayil, even the imperfection.

Friday, August 31, 2012


As I sit here writing, an empty glass once holding the contents of a modestly sized coke float keeps me company. A coke float makes me think of my mom. It's funny how so many of my happiest memories about her are connected to food and I'm not sure what to think about that. But I digress.

I've had this post on my heart, in my mind, for weeks now. As usual it is about my own motherhood journey, because that's who I am right now. My life energy is used up every day for them, so little left for me, and that's okay. It's who I am meant to be in this season of life. I have a short time to do this well.

I came to a painful realization while enjoying our month away in Bethesda, MD. I realized that in some ways, this season for me could be characterized by a terrible flaw. My children were starting to expect it of me at every turn, it was creeping into everything, showing up more and more and more until it slipped out without forethought or remorse.

Anger. Rage.

In and of itself it may not be a sin or such a terrible thing. It has it's place. I used these foggy perceptions of it as justification for myself. Now let me put this straight for you, this post is not about beating myself up. It is not about pointing the finger or self hate, it's about self realization. It's about a lightbulb, it's about filling a dark space with something bright and whole and healing.

So to start I want to get real. I want to put out in the open the things we are afraid, as mothers, to reveal. We confess snippets of our struggles in guarded phrases, "I spanked out of anger." " I yelled at the kids." Our confessions are heart felt, but I dare say they don't carry with them the true healing He wants to give. In my time away my sin became so glaring, I had no choice but to voice it. See it for what it is. In my anger I had sinned, often, against my children. Here is the part no one wants to say, because we're afraid no one else has struggled this way...

I had sinned by yelling at my children, screaming so loud my first thought was of whether the neighbors could hear through walls and closed windows and fences and yards. I had spanked in the moment, hot and fierce, angry hand slapping bare bottom, or tops of precious heads or backs of hands in moments of ugly and raging frustration. I have pushed little bodies in the direction I wanted them to go (at times causing them pain), I have yanked them quickly into car seats out disgust at how slow they moved (because I was running late). I have told my sensitive little boy that his tears were annoying, that friends would not like him if he carried on so much. I have crushed spirits.

But here is the light. I am made new. I write this and my eyes and my heart and my hands, they have been made new by the changing of my mind set. In the original Greek, Jesus uses the word metanoia when referring to repentance. More directly translated it refers to a mind change. Now this is not the same as a simple "change of mind" that might be considered when picking out shoes or ordering a drink at Starbucks. It's not an "in the moment" decision of rushed unimportance. This is an over haul of one's thoughts and the behaviors that follow. God did this for me, and sweet mothers reading this who have struggled, He will show you too.

On this fateful date in August I had a terrible, screaming, lashing out day with my children over petty things. Arguing about watching TV, dragging their feet when I was in a rush. Who knows all the justifications I may have fabricated, but instead of shrugging it off or telling myself I needed to stop this "bad habit" I felt a powerful conviction that I haven't felt in nearly a decade. I knew God was telling me, right where I sat, to "confess and be healed." I jumped on my phone and sent a mass text to ten other women whom I trust to guide me straight, confessing my struggles, asking for prayer. By noon that day the Lord was at work in me in a way I haven't felt since entering this world of motherhood. I felt physically and emotionally lifted, a sense that the spirit was truly moving within me, guiding me and empowering me toward what was true. A metanoia was happening.

I spent my time that day digging into the scriptures, hunched and hungry over my Bible, wearing out my iphone concordance app. I found verse after verse that showed me how deep my anger was. That it is sin. It is NOT a bad habit to break but a poison swallowing my heart, clouding my children from seeing the me I want them to so desperately remember. My anger was a slow trickle of toxin, dripping like slow, steady torture into their little hearts, manifesting itself already in acts of deliberate violence against one another. That day, the Lord paved a way for it to stop.

And friends, family, I feel healed. I realized so often that my anger was brought on by my own poor planning. Not being ready in time because I was distracted by something else (iPhone!). I saw that my harsh words came readily when I allowed disobedience to creep into their hearts because I wasn't tackling it at the first signs of waywardness. And just as I would never allow even a tiny drop of poison to cross their lips, so it must be with my anger. When I see it in this light, it is so much simpler. Cut out that which draws the anger near. No iPhone when I have a place to be, stop the arguing with immediate consequence, don't allow myself to get caught up in a back and forth with them.

Now have I slipped in the last two weeks? YES. But it is different, it's not to the extent it once was. I ask for forgiveness from them, I confess it as it is, I take a breath before I speak. Every time. Because isn't that very breath the sounds of Yaweh? The source of life itself? This is the difference between breaking a habit and holding fast to a conviction and I am here to tell you, it is possible for you. If you have struggled, if you have cried over your darkness of heart, confess these things. Confess them fully, let every dark space empty out in full revelation of where you're been, hold NOTHING back. Ask for prayer, immerse yourself in truth. We come from dust, our lives are but a breath. Don't waste it by trying to hold onto pretense. We've all walked there. We all want out. Take the first...sacred...step.

A few verses (NLT) that continue to steady my path:

Control your temper,
for anger labels you a fool. (Ecclesiastes 7.9)

Sensible people control their temper;
they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. (Proverbs 19.11)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4.2)

Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1.20)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

more, then less

My husband is a doctor, I find myself skirting this fact with people. Typically an encounter with some one just learning this fact comes back to words of, "It will really pay off BIG some day!" or "What a bright future you guys will have!" These things are meant, no doubt, as encouragement but it nonetheless some how draws a sadness. Our today, the future that will be tomorrow and the end of the week, those days pay off, those days are bright. Money isn't going to change it. If our marriage, our life together as parents and spouses and friends wasn't tight now, money would simply mask it. Money allows people to gloss over the true iniquity in their life, allowing them to buy an illusion of happiness. Retail therapy. That phrase puts a pit in me, I've used it myself.

I've been reading and reading and praying and pondering and the Spirit, it is turning me. There was a time when I allowed day dreams of future purchases to dwell in the recesses, my mind swirling with the wants. After finishing "7:A Mutiny Against Excess" and now diving into "A Divine Commodity" and "Affluenza" I'm starting to see that this obsession with want as a true illness. It's an epidemic in this land of the free where we use our freedom to puff up self rather than to spread about equality. I'm not talking a communist, Marxist type equality, just a desire in the God people to share and give away instead of obtain and hoard. I look at my house and wonder, would God walk in and see himself there?

So I write on this some what insignificant, rare read screen, that when we find our selves in a place of abundance even more so than the blessings of today, we will live the same. We will budget for needs, save for the occasional want and spread the rest. I dream of a day when the expenditures tell a story of hope for others.

Ann Voskamp recently wrote, "What will keep you from doing much good-is caring too much what others think...What would the world look like if Christians didn't care about keeping up with the Joneses but about keeping company with Christ? Maybe we'd keep our souls from insecurity and our minds from insanity?"

And isn't it such, that the things that worry us often have the minds of others at the center? We feel a need to have another shirt, different shoes, not because what we have is worn or used up, but because we desire to be seen. We desire the trend. A debt of different car for convenience of inches instead of stretching ourselves toward contentment. Is this who God meant for us to be. The Jesus I'm reading doesn't seem to approve.

I want to be esteemed more than envied.

I've thought about that lately. How I have this materialism brewing all the time, how I want to make nice, to redecorate, to buy new and have and how that feeling of some one complimenting the style of my home or wardrobe can fill me up. And now this growing, this pledge internal to be happy with less, to wear until worn and to find the needs we can meet where we're at by living a life free from want. Because really, aren't I already living this life? Free from want, with my full cupboards and bulging closet, stuff stored and usued?

Yes, I am free. And what will I do as I live in it?

My heart, it didn't use to be this way and in fact, it's still a work in progress. I want to be free from the bondage of guilt when I DO buy something that isn't need absolute, but what's more, I want to draw my heart to a place where the want isn't always there, isn't repressed. A place where I have a genuine want for others that imposes a want for self.

Little by little.

It will come.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I believe there is an innate desire in all women to make things beautiful. We find a satisfaction in sewing curtains to brighten a room, to write something lovely, to repurpose what was old and worn. We like to see our children clean and dressed well, we like clean kitchens and men of style and fresh cut flowers in vases. We were MEANT to make this world beautiful, to create.

I have never considered myself a creative person. I don't sew well, I don't "craft" and anything arranged attractively in our home is thanks to my husband's keen eye. Oh but I WANT to. I want to put together strange items that come together in a gloriously eclectic, Bohemian beautiful chic. I don't because the inevitable end is that I will spend hours on something that I don't like and feel like a failure. I'm so good at making myself feel that way. I never ever measure up in my own eyes. If you have ever thought that I think that anything about myself is better than're wrong. I've never thought that. I can fake a good confidence, but it's a sham. I feel like I am mediocre at many things, moderate at best.

Through my children I'm realizing something. I may never be an expert at anything, but I certainly won't if I don't step out and try. In teaching my son to persevere I am learning that I must listen to my own advice. If I want to sew well, I need to get off my sad tuckus and sew the mess out of some stuff. I need to make a cock-eyed skirt with backwards pleats, a dress that's four inches too short, just SOMETHING. If I never start I'll never finish and finishing could prove to be really really good.

So, a pledge. This month, I am going to make this.

If it kills me.

I am also pursuing the decor of both a newly moved bedroom/playroom for all of the kids upstairs, inspired by this, as well as a homeschool room of our very own. My goal is to spend under $50 on each room. $100 max. It's time to get my thrift on!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

a mess

I am on chapter four of this book and it's messing me up.

I've cried at least three times.  I'm not often moved by literacy, people.

My husband has, from the day we moved to Peoria and even some time before, desired for us to not be confined by our "stuff."  With the spirit prompting him, we sold nearly everything we owned to start our residency journey here in Peoria bare bones.  In so many ways this was a rebirth for us, a chance to start a chapter of living that took all the learning of the previous four years and applied it whole heartedly.  We moved into an empty house with a pledge to buy nothing new except a mattress for our bed (back issues *ugh*).  We found a dining table for $10 at Salvation Army, painted it and made it perfect.  A very new friend GAVE us her sofa.  God provided and for that first year we bought used.  We were even given a CAR for Corey to drive to work by our sweet neighbor.  It was an amazing year.

Then desire crept in.  I started wishing my kids could "dress better", wishing for a more "put together" home and I felt my heart creeping away from this desire to live intentionally, to give away and forget about getting.  I forgot.

And now here enter 7.  This book, ironically enough written by a woman leading a new church in Austin, TX, my home of homes, is a "mutiny against excess."  It makes me feel ashamed for all the things I've wanted.  For all the ways I've dreamed of a "better" future when Corey is done with his training.  I mean, when is it enough?  When I've exchanged my stained, hand-me-down couch for something pretty, will I be done?  Will I be happy?  There is ALWAYS one more thing to change, to better, to want. The best is NOW, how easy it is to let that slip away.  Jen Hatmaker writes, "Money is the most frequent theme in Scripture; perhaps the secret to happiness is right under our noses.  Maybe we don't recognize satisfaction because it is disguised as radical generosity, a strange misnomer in a consumer culture."  I read it and all at once I wonder, if my life was looked upon with the volume off, what would be seen?  Would it be evident that I live to please God, imitate Jesus?  So many of us talk a good Christ talk, but without the sound, would it be known where our hearts lie?  It matters little what other people see when they look in on me, but God sees it too.  Clearly.

So.  A recommitment.  My children will know that I am a passionate Christ follower not because I go to church and read the Bible in addition to a slew of other religious material.  They will know it because we live it together.  I will stop making them an excuse for not having my heart wrapped up in the poor, the marginalized, the hurting and hungry.  There are little things we can do together.  Little things I haven't done out of fear.

Now it starts.  This summer, I will invite the lost children of our neighborhood, the ones who wonder around aimlessly outside, I will invite them into our world.  We will have neighborhood slip'n'slide parties, show movies at dusk on our garage, feed popcorn to kids who may eat little now that school is not in session.  Oh spirit, help me know how to begin.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Today is my mother's 65th birthday. She can officially claim social security and medicaid and cash in on all the "great" perks our country has to offer to those who have managed to survive the perils of the standard American diet. I called her today as I drove away from sleeping babies, husband internet searching for camping gear. I wished her happy birthday and we chatted mostly about her abundant garden and what a great father my children have. I love that she loves that. She respects him and our life together and that matters to me. I hope that in a few years we will be in a place where I can take my mom on a great nature-filled vacation. That we can see sights she's always yearned for and that we can walk trails and admire wild life and just be. I've wanted to be able to do that for her for a long time. It being just within reach makes me ache for it every May 11th. Each year makes time seem more fleeting. Parents don't live forever, a fact that is both natural and painful to admit. In June she will drive the infinite roads of Texas to reach us in our little Illinois space. My children will love her and beg for her time and after a day or two she will grow tired from it. Their energy will both bring her joy and make her weary and she will move on to visit others for a day or two. She doesn't land long, but I'm glad she carves time, makes memories, drinks coffee and is content to just be. She is a woman of no pretense, little needs, content to simply be in the same room. Togetherness is simple with her, her silence is silence, no undercurrent. It has taken me thirty years to learn that, to not shrink inside my own insecurity. I am proud of who this woman is. I am proud of who she is able to become in her retired years, the woman she likely always wanted to be but couldn't manage the time, the energy. I love telling friends that she likes her solo life, that her garden is her new family and she grows it beautifully. Unlike some mother-daughter relationships I don't call her for parenting advice or tips on marriage. I "facebook" her random questions about gardening, growing seedlings, collecting rain water. I like this, it suits us. We don't have to talk often, we know the other is there. We know we need each other is different ways, we know things will always be familiar and pick up where they left off. We keep up with the ins and outs of daily life through photojournalistic social media posts and it is sweet and more than enough. Our relationship is quirky and different and not fitting into any mold I may have had and I am just fine with that. Just fine.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I can't stop thinking about stuff. Not wanting more stuff but instead, desiring to not care about stuff, and what that looks like. How far does one go in either direction and still justify selflessness, righteousness, living as a good steward?

When I talk about life, our situation, with most people there is an immediate jump to "but it will be great in a few years!" or "the pay off for all this hard work will be so worth it!" I agree with these things yet when I think of our future, of the change in our earnings, I feel fear, I feel anxiety, I feel the weight of what it means to be good with very little and to be great with very much. Right now, I feel rich. I live in a home, drive a newish car, have clothes to wear and bags to pack and children who have luxury in addition to satisfied needs. I have extra to give to others with needs, desires. This is enough for me and in this life I love that I am able to relate to others, there is no jealously, no pretension between hearts. We are all struggling together, we are all looking to fill our lives with love and goodness and deeds that bring those things to others. The people that matter most to me don't live their lives to acquire the best stuff, even if they can "afford it."

I never want to be that person who cares about the best stuff.
I used to be that person.
It was empty.

So where, in the circle of the Jesus followers, is this line to be drawn? For those who have an abundance is it a sin of the heart to keep buying, to keep filling up your home with pretty things, to clothe in trends, to purchase new vehicles or electronics or things that are not needs but rather just modern conveniences that make a strenuous life a little less so? Does feeling peace about a big purchase make it right? How much of our blessings should be shared? Saved? Invested? These thoughts are so fast and furious and covered in emotion for me and our 3 year prospects that I am overwhelmed.

I just want to live well.

I never want stuff to come between hearts. To change a person's respect for me, my husband, to garner disappointment, to be looked upon by all glaring eyes of disparagement. I want every choice we make to be a living sacrifice, I want to give more than I take, share more than I get. I want to use old, and give new. I burn for the Jesus way.

So for me, right now, it comes down to this.

What will I allow to fill me up?

Friday, March 16, 2012


We went to the park in Pekin today. Gibson met his Great grandparents for the first time today and my little crew enjoyed sunshine and breezes and each other. I took this picture today, the tidal of emotion hit, rolled over me, whispered within my own heart, "These are MINE." An unbelievable, beautiful truth.

Shiloh fearlessly climbed to highest playground heights, slid down slides, approached restful fowl, screamed at gnats. I caught her skipping and singing her own lyrics to a happy melody, she ventured into groups of peers with intent to play.

My son, he changes from minute to hour, but he has a sweetness at his core. He wants to impress, to be best, he ate his lunch while saving crumbs for hungry bills, he took care of Baby G. I see him wanting to hard to be good, to treat others well, being driven by something deep to be responsible, in charge.

The baby. Oh how she sheds her light today there were first fingers and toys in grass and mud, first sunburns and many smiles. She has two bottom teeth with the promise of more from swollen, purplish mouth.

So wonderful, this day.

Monday, February 27, 2012


There is a stirring happening, a slow change in my soul.

I wonder where God is taking it.

What is this I am circling around, and is it part of the answer I've sought?

Speaking life. Building the strengths. The tongue.

These ideas are looking for solid ground on which to land.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

That thing

I try not to be prone to complaint. Complaining is annoying, and when I find myself wrapped up in it I suffer feelings of disgust and disappointment but mostly I wonder what good was just lost in that moment. What blessing did I miss in my hour of dissatisfaction?

My thought life is often a mess, a true reflection of the fallen soul I am. While my outward strength may be self control of tongue in many a situation, there is a blur and buzz of judgement and rants and negativity under the surface. It's THAT tension I am finding so hard to release, to control ones thoughts is an arduous task, but, dare I say, a noble one?

Regrettably the silent beatings bear down mostly on two victims, two so dear to me: my husband, my son. They are my treasures, my golden blessings and thus the target of the evil one when it comes to controlling the thoughts and attitudes of my heart. I want most to do right by them, to raise them up for greatness, but my selfishness uses my thoughts to corrupt the motive of my actions toward them.

So, in light of this, I want to publicly proclaim one thing I love most about each of them. I will fill my heart, and my tiny blip of cyberspace with positive truths, and thus thwart all attacks from the dark side at war within.

For my husband. He is brilliant and creative, good at everything, but this is not the first thing that stands out. That thing I love most is the ease of expression of a childlike heart, that his title has not changed the core of the man, that he can still play freeze tag and ride on shopping carts and giggle at immature jokes and surprise tickle me when I least expect it. He is a blessing if not for all else, for that.

For Asher. He also is brilliant like his daddy and good at anything he takes the time to persevere at, but what I love most about him is his exuberant joy over things unexpected. The bouncing peels of pure excitement over bowling pins knocked down, the pride of writing and reading new words, the genuine love of cheering on little sister at potty tasks, the huge smiles and coos generously given to all babies. He has a deep sweetness. I want more of that.

And now dear friends, it's your turn. Let's encourage one another. Since you have read this I humbly ask that you speak up. Comment here and encourage us all with affirming words toward the one that your heart finds easy to criticize. Speak only the positive, within your mind and out, and see how the change begins.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Oh Lord, that you would awl ways be what I love, that you would always be enough.

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Often I feel like I'm parenting day to day, impulse to impulse. I think a good method is working, then it crumbles under the weight of my inconsistency. I have ideas that seem right, but then I get sucked up in this whirlwind of emotion and fear and frustration, it approaching unheard, unnoticed. All of a sudden it's spitting me out, leaving us all in tears, emptied.

Oh how I want to do this well. I want to give and give of myself; I want to perfectly balance care of self, care of husband, care of children and home.

I have to. I have to make this my best, this the life I've been given. It is what I have to live. It's all I live. It is the BEST life.

My fear, the one that swallows me, is Asher drowning in his own negativity. That it be found that I am the one that pushed him in.