Posts & Articles

Thirteen.

Thirteen years. Sounds like a lot and a little all at the same time. When we spent our very first anniversary moving, renovating, and hugely pregnant, we should have guessed that the majority of the ones to follow would be commemorated while doing one or more of those same three things. I guess when you love making homes and you love each other, you end up with a plethora of broken houses and babies. We sometimes joke with couples who ...
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Give me a Faith that Can be Planted in the Sea

Faith is able to pluck from the earth, and plant in the sea. That which could never root or stand among the waves and the storms, apart from the upholding and anchoring of our Almighty. It’s not our mustard-seed-faith that is great, it’s the great God whom our tiny faith is in. The uprooter of mulberries and mover of mountains… [Luke 17:6] Like this:Like Loading ...
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Parenting a Full Quiver with a Barren Heart

[Originally published HERE at www.DesiringGod.com] After years of running from God and doing the opposite of everything I should have been doing, I fell in love with a guy and we decided we were going to be Christians — really good ones. So we married young, celebrated our first pregnancy test about 180 days later, and I exchanged a career for  my new role as a Christian housewife and stay-at-home Mom. I’d always assumed I’d be a great mom. I ...
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The Art of Womanliness

[Originally published HERE at www.desiringgod.org] What does it mean to be a woman? Few things evoke such emotion as someone questioning, or attempting to define, what it means to be a woman — especially, in my case, a Christian woman. The overarching concept of womanhood trickles down into so many of our roles and relationships that it can easily become the currency by which we measure our worth. We vehemently resist anything that might threaten the foundation of womanliness we’ve ...
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Detox Your Soul

[Originally published HERE at www.DesiringGod.com] When times become turbulent, it’s easy to lose focus. We may feel like the disciples in Matthew 14 on a ship in the middle of the sea, tossed by angry waves and battered by contrary winds. We fear disaster, we question the trajectory of the ship, we forget to row, we overlook how our own sin or faith impacts the storm, we cry out in fear instead of truth, or maybe we fail to look ...
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The Ugly Snapshots

I tend to write what I’m learning. What I am being convicted of, or truths God is putting before me over and over until my slow processor at long last recognizes the patterns and repetitions as the pictures they were meant to be, or in the very least that they are pictures. Sometimes beautiful pictures, sometimes ugly ones — ugly in that they capture weakness or brokenness or messiness. Though stirring I suppose, in the way that they are snapshots ...
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Why We Count Baskets: The Heart of Abundance & Need

Mark 8:10. The scene has just shifted from the miraculous and climactic feeding of thousands with a mere seven loaves and a few fishes — Jesus filling the overwhelming deficit between his children’s needs and his abundance. He takes what little they had and gave them far more than they could ever need. More than enough. Some disciples and Jesus push off in a boat from the eastern side of the Galilean Sea, met on another shore by some Pharisees who want more. His healings ...
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Prayers Like Arrows

[Read part one HERE (and a shorter version originally published HERE at www.desiringgod.com)] My struggles with prayer run deep. The spiritual deserts in my life have always been accompanied by a parched prayer life. Eventually, I came to realize this was not only a symptom, but a cause. I was neglecting the very thing that would satisfy my weary, thirsty soul. I was ignoring the path that would not only lead me out of the desert, but keep me out ...
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Strong Emotions and Weak Prayers

Originally published HERE at www.desiringgod.com Prayer is hard. It’s always been the spiritual discipline I struggle with the most. I blame it on all sorts of things — my busy life, my easily distracted mind, my loud children, my personality, how I’m better at communicating through writing rather than verbally — the list goes on. “It’s not my gift,” I say. Some people are just gifted prayer warriors while I really love reading and studying God’s word, so God must ...
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J.R.R. Tolkien as an Artist

I love art. So in honor of J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday (January 3,1892), what better day to highlight some. Did you know that he was a gifted and prolific artist?? In October of 1936, Tolkien delivered the manuscript of The Hobbit to his publisher which included his personal illustrations. When HarperCollins began preparing for a book on the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, they discovered more than 100 of Tolkien’s illustrations, which had been buried in his archive at the Bodleian Library in ...
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Revolution for the weary

A Revolution for the Weary

I overheard one of my kids describing the New Year, as “that time when grown-ups make New Year’s revolutions.” It made me think. I’m not one for resolutions—the cold and dreary arrival of January rarely incites enough excitement for me to add things to my endless to-do list. The holidays are over, everything is starting up with a vengeance, the expectations of the new year are before me, and I am WEARY. And weary people have no business making resolutions. Those are the things I make every night ...
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Lord, Help My Daily Unbelief

Originally published HERE at www.desiringgod.com I once sat in a hospital room and watched my incoherent eight-year-old boy battle a life-threatening intracranial blood clot. I was oddly calm. I clung to the goodness of God and did my best to trust that he held my son in his hands — at that point it was essentially my only option. There were no more decisions to make, no actions I could take, and nothing I could control. It’s easy to look ...
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post-election church

The Post-Election Calling of the Church

I’m just going to say it, this election has been horrible. And the anger and division and conflict did not magically disappear on Wednesday morning—in a lot of ways it got worse. It has stretched the church in ways I have not seen before. We had the chance to show the world a people with a single alliance and a single purpose to demonstrate our utter need for that alliance, and if we couldn’t figure out how to do that ...
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Busyness Is Not the Problem

Originally published HERE at www.desiringgod.com Every so often, my head hits the pillow and I curl into a fetal position, trying not to hyperventilate at the realization that in not nearly enough hours, this finish line will become the starting line. And I’ll have to tackle life all over again. Oh come again, Lord Jesus. I wonder how I got here — the chaos, the mess, the failing — and I strategize how to make tomorrow better. This is just ...
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Let’s Teach Our Kids ‘Beautiful’

Originally published HERE on www.desiringgod.com On a recent vacation, I sat on the beach enjoying a sliver of one of those exquisitely designed days: clear sunny sky, warm breeze, the Atlantic Ocean that stunning mix of clear and steel blue. My four kids were content and un-requiring (for once), so I sunk into my chair to take it all in. Almost immediately, a child walked into the expanse of sand between me and the sea. I watched as he aimlessly ...
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The Finer Things Club

Every day at 2:30pm, the 10-year-old, and I drop whatever we’re doing and he makes us each a cup of tea. I clear off the kitchen counter and we sit. Usually we flip through art books, listen to music, or talk about books we’re reading. And we chat. Today it was about The Wind in the Willows, Manet, and our NCAA brackets. Hands down, the nerdiest thing we do. I love it. Like this:Like Loading ...
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A 4-year-old’s List for Her Future Husband

4-year-old and I hanging out in the kitchen: Nora: “So Mommy, what should we talk about? I know, let’s talk about husbands!” Me: “Sure, what about them?” N: “I wanna talk about how I’m going to get one. You know, in some more years.” Me: “What do you think he’ll be like?” N: “WELL. He’s going to be kind, funny…grateful. Tall like Daddy but more hairs. Not sprinkles like Daddy’s hairs. He’ll build things, like houses. And sometimes he’ll give ...
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My Brazil-Bound Baby

My husband, Kevin, went to Brazil for the first time 9 years ago when my oldest, Caleb, was one. I was pregnant with my second and could barely get out of bed or keep anything down. To top it off, Caleb came down with a stomach bug while Kevin was gone (with the rest of my family)…and it was rough. My heart was ugly and I remember laying on the floor watching my baby toddling around needing things from me ...
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c.s. lewis holiday at sea

From Slum to Shining Sea

Originally published HERE at www.desiringgod.com  Memories of my past often hit at unexpected times. Memories that are ironically vivid when compared to the haze of waking up with a splitting headache and no recollection of the night before. I also remember nodding off at the wheel and careening into an embankment on the way from the night shift of my second or third job, as I desperately tried to make ends meet. I remember sitting on the hard, cold floor ...
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Ode to My Fresh 10-Year-Old

Happy birthday my Caleb! The only thing crazier than my eldest turning 10 today, is the fact this also means we’ve been doing this parenting thing now for a whole decade. I had to take months of behind-the-wheel before they gave me my license. I had to sit through four years of classes and exams (on top of the thirteen I already had under my belt) before I could get my degree and diploma to prove it. I had to ...
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My June in December

Happy birthday June bug. I’ve been keeping you alive, and growing you, and getting to know you for a whole YEAR. You have so many fans. Loud and dirty ones, but lots of fun. And they may fight like crazy with each other, but they are convinced that YOU are the most adorable tiny thing to ever grace this earth and everything you do is either amazing or hilARious. There are benefits to being the youngest. I’m sorry you’ll never ...
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Introvert Raising an Extrovert

Starting my day with the 4-year-old: N: [Morning wakeup call, 3 inches from my face]…. SURPRISE!! Good MORNING, Mommy! Were you so surprised? Huh, were you? Me: Ugh. N: Yes? Did you say yes? What did you say? I can’t hear you. You said “yes,” right? Me: Yes. N: Great. Scooch over, I need covers, I’m cold. Me: Because you’re only wearing underpants. N: Clothes make me itch. Lift up your head, I need that pillow. It’s my favorite. Did ...
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Sweatpants Anniversaries

What anniversaries look like when you accidentally have too many kids, and leaving the house just feels hard… Plan B= Putting your myriad of children to bed at 6pm, and dining on Thai food takeout while we reminisce about the last 11 years and pretend we’re not wearing sweatpants. And loving it. Because this guy has my heart. Whether we’re honeymooning in Costa Rica, unpacking moving boxes for the 7th time, listening to our babies’ first heartbeats, remodeling our 12th ...
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Boys were here. Just a guess…

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Mudder’s Day Pie

N: “Hey Mommy! The radio said it was Mudder’s Day this weekend, and I’ve been thinkin’ about what I want. A pie! I’ve been really wanting a pie.” Me: “But it’s Mother’s Day. Shouldn’t you make me a pie?” N: “Uggggggh. Little girls DO NOT even know how to make pies! Moms have to make pies. And all I ever EVER wanted was a strawberry pie for Mudder’s Day. WHY IS MY LIFE SOO HARD??” …I’m so glad I birthed ...
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“Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones”

Heaviness. http://www.loudountimes.com/news/article/leesburg_father_of_golf_star_dead_of_self_inflicted_gunshot_wound898 There are many things I don’t know or understand. But some things I do. We are all just one decision or one second away from so many things. But by the grace of God, we are still here, and still climbing, and still on this side of that dark valley that separates us from the place we don’t deserve, and the place I know I’d be if I was left to my own devices. And I’ve seen firsthand ...
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Four and Fierce

Happy Birthday my Nora! You are FOUR. Live it up, kid, because four is my very favorite of all of ’em. You’re big, but not too big. Everything you say is still funny, and yet you’re old enough to empty the dishwasher. Out of diapers, but you don’t have to go to school. So independent, but you still rock a nap. I can snuggle you on the couch and then send you to go play outside. I think you’re going ...
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Boys and Babies

Boy conversations are my favorite. [6-year-old neighborhood kid who is here almost every day, and is apparently noticing the baby for the very first time]: K: “I didn’t know you had one of those.” Jack: “Yeah. It’s a baby.” K: “What kind is it?” J: “It’s a girl one.” K: “Is it yours?” J: “Yeah. And my Mom’s.” K: “Where’d you get it?” J: “In Birginia.” K: “Cool.” Like this:Like Loading ...
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Peter Pan with his baby.

Peter Pan with his baby. And Tinkerbell…being herself. I love my life. Like this:Like Loading ...
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“I be da Mom, and you be da girl.”

3-year-old: “Okay. I be da Mom, and you be da girl.” Me: “Oh hello, Mom. What sort of things do Moms do?” 3-year-old: “Well. Moms clean the dishes. Clean the family room. Wear necklaces. They work on computers. They turn lights off. And drink tea. They look at their phones sometimes. And do grocery listes. And do curtains. They doos the dishwasher. They make lots of food. And THEN they clean up, and clean up, and clean up, and clean ...
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10 Years Ago

Ten years ago, right before my Dad walked me down the aisle, he pulled Kevin aside and vehemently whispered that he had a “NO Return Policy.” Thankfully, Kevin must have listened because for some reason he’s kept me around all these years. We were pretty young and stupid. Thankfully though, God knew me and He knew who I needed. He knew I needed a husband who loved me a lot and made sure I knew that. Someone who was always ...
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What Not to Do When You Forget Your Child’s Birthday…

Oh mercy. It’s official. I think I’ve just experienced my two lowest parenting moments yet (which is saying a lot). TWO. In the span of less than thirty minutes. And I’m actually going to publicize what I have just done. Abridged transcript of this fateful morning: It all began like most of our days begin, with two-year-old Nora displaying her intense will and sassiness in all its glory. By wanting things that do not exist and not wanting things that ...
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