Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

The Journey

As this summer continues to unfold, I am excited to share new experiences with my children.

Every summer before this one, my kids have had to go to ‘camp’ all day. They’ve typically enjoyed it because the camp they’ve attended has kept them crazy busy! (So there’s less ‘mom-guilt’ for me.)

This is the first summer I’ve been able to stay home with them, and I’m not gonna lie, there are days where I’ve completely lost my ever-lovin’-mind, to the point where my kids probably wish they could go to camp…just to get away!

See, I’m pretty much an introvert, with a few extravert tendencies. I need time alone with just my thoughts, to recharge and get amped up for the next adventure.

Since my kids got out of school on May 20, I’ve had a total of approximately 3 hours to myself. And those have been spent in the bathroom.

To say I was beyond ready for a small break is an understatement.

Yesterday, we decided to do something new! Well, new for me…not the kids. We decided to take the bus around town. It was incredibly awesome for me, cause I didn’t have to drive or stress about stupid STUPID construction traffic in Lafayette. (If you live here or have to come here for anything, you totally get this.)

Our plan was to go to the Hanna Center. I know they have a small playground, and we had packed a lunch, so we were going to eat and just chill. I even brought the book I’m currently working my way through. Slightly wishful thinking.

Well, I wasn’t exactly sure where we needed to get off the bus, so we ended up missing our stop. I noticed as we were flying down Greenbush Street that I needed to come up with a back-up plan. i

“Ok kids. McAllister Center it is!”

This is where they’ve gone to summer camp before, so I knew they had a small park to play at, as well as a picnic area.

We ate and chatted about things and played for a while. My daughter, who goes to middle school in the fall, told me she is the most excited about lockers. And is the most nervous about getting around.

I could tell our time was winding down, so I began to look at the bus schedule to determine our next move. I decided it would be easiest to walk to Market Square and go from there. I’m sure some of you locals are thinking I’m crazy, and perhaps you’re right…but hear me out on this one…

The kids had traveled some of these roads before, when they walked to the pool from camp. So, I knew we weren’t going to be totally lost…plus MapQuest…an essential travel tool.

We started out, and I wanted to enjoy the walking and the scenery. For me, we were on roads I’ve never been on, surrounded by sights I’ve never seen.

What follows are some pictures of our expedition.


Our first selfie on the bus!


Emma posing (always!) at McAllister


Wild berries
Wild berries


It might be a little difficult to see, but the trunk of this tree is crooked!



This tree stopped me in my tracks. The owner has several bird feeders hanging from the branches. All at once, the kids and I agreed that it reminded us of Gloria Dump’s tree in ‘Because of Winn Dixie’ by Kate DiCamillo.


Some pretty flowers along the way.


Some more pretty flowers


And yet more flowers


The kids with their delicious truffles from Richelle in a Hand Basket


Two signs that really spoke to me!


Elijah and his red, white, and blue vanilla truffle. He LOVED it!


If you know me AT ALL, you know I love chickens! I knew my husband would NOT approve of an $80 chicken purse purchase, so I just had to snap a picture of it!
I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS PILLOW (except the $700 price tag). If you have to have this, you can find it at Interior Objects.


Meet you at Arni’s!
Emma loved what they did with their flag pole!


On the bus ride back to the depot!


My whole goal in this day was to just BE. Be present. Be in the moment. Be all-in with my kids. I had had a rough morning, and wanted to connect with them in a way I had yet to for the day. I wanted to document it so that we could reflect on it in the days to come.

This had been me...operating from zero resources.
This had been me…operating from zero resources.

When my hubs got home last night, he knew that I needed a break. So he agreed to take the kids off my hands for a few hours. (Remember how I said I’ve had exactly 3 hours in solitude since May 20?)

He knows how they enjoy fishing, so they went to Big Fish and Campground to have some quality time together.

My son really wanted to FaceTime me while they were fishing!
My son really wanted to FaceTime me while they were fishing!


He also wanted me to know that he loves me!
He also wanted me to know that he loves me!


Tad & Kids fishing
Tad & Kids fishing


Elijah's Fish
Elijah’s Fish


Emma's Fish
Emma’s Fish

Sometimes I have a difficult time ‘letting go’ of my desire to be needed. But, I find when I do, I am much more fulfilled. My husband gets to do his thing with the kids. I get to do my thing alone. And when we all come back together, we are all much happier people!

(Sidenote: my daughter is reading this as I’m writing it…she said that SOMETIMES we are all happier people…when I asked her what she meant, she informed me that sometimes she needs a break from the two of us. Wow…she is truly my ‘mini-me.’)

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Dear Mother…

Me and Kiddos
Me and my kiddos

Recently, a book came across my radar. It’s called ‘The Mother Letters.’ You can read more about it and purchase it on Amazon.

This book is a collection of letters written to mothers to encourage and inspire. In a society in which we are ‘trained’ to degrade one another and fight to get ahead, this book goes against the grain. And I love it. You can learn more about the project on the author’s website: Amber Haines. Her husband, gem of a man that he is, saw she needed encouragement for the hard days, and sought it in the form of letters from other mothers. They had no idea it would turn into the project that it has.

I encourage you to write your own ‘Mother Letter’ even if you have no plans to post it anywhere on the web or social media.

Here’s mine:

Dear Mother,

I see you. With keys and a cup of coffee in one hand and 3 bags slung over your other shoulder.

I see you. Juggling your hundreds of responsibilities for others.

I see you. Checking email on your phone, while trying to hurry your child along to get out the door.

I feel you. The internal struggles you have, trying to make the best decisions for your children.

I feel you. You’re single. This is not how you imagined yourself having kids.

I feel you. You’re questioning why God would choose you, of all people, to bear this child.

I am you. I try to be everything for everyone, all the while forgetting who I am.

I am you. I’ve been a single mama and now I’m a married mama.

I am you. I’ve wondered and questioned and mused over why God would choose me to mother any children.

I am you. I’ve worked full time (and then some) and I’ve worked part time. I’ve been room mom. I’ve been on the PTO. I’ve been involved, and I’ve sat silently on the sidelines.

I am you. I’ve critiqued myself in my head a hundred, no a thousand, times. Did I make the right decision to breast feed? Did I send them to the right preschool? Did I choose a good elementary school? Should we have participated in that activity, or should we have sat that one out? Do I get them to church enough? Do I spend enough one-on-one time with them each day?

See mothers, the truth is that in some way, we’ve all been where others are currently. We’ve all been wondering and questioning if we are making the ‘right’ choices for our kids, all the while feeling like we aren’t measuring up as women.

We are all part of this wondrous community of women, serving as the hands and feet of Jesus to the children entrusted to us. Motherhood is a calling, really. And as a calling, we are to rally around and encourage the mothers in our sphere of influence.

How, do you ask?

Instead of mentally criticizing the mother over her choice to bottle feed, encourage her. For by choosing to bottle feed, others can share in the joyous occasion of supplying nourishment to a growing infant.

Rather than shaming the mother who has no choice BUT to work, lift her up by offering to provide a snack or a meal to her family.

Better than creating barriers between yourself and another mother for differing ‘mothering’ styles, stop and listen to why she made the choices she did. I guarantee you will be enlightened. And you may even change your thinking on a thing or two.

Dear Mother, none of us are perfect.

Dear Mother, we are all questioning our choices.

Dear Mother, we are all just trying to get to the ‘other side’ alive.

Dear Mother, let us seek our similarities, so we can say, ‘Oh, you too?’.

Dear Mother, let us embrace one another’s distinctness so that we can learn from each other. We are all at different places on the same journey.

Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Summer Fun

Well, mamas of school-aged kiddos, that time is upon us…summer…in some households, I think it could be considered a curse word! 🙂

For our house, this is the first time since I’ve been a mama I’m not working full-time this summer. The work that I will be doing is part-time (and I can take the kids with me), and of course improving my writing craft.

In case you don’t know, I have a 10 year old daughter, a 9 year old step-daughter, and a 9 year old son.

summer fun

Here are a few things that we will be doing for activities this summer:

  • Free bowling. Yep, I said FREE! If you go to this website:, you can see if this is available in your area. The kids get to bowl two free games every day, and for a small one-time fee (I mean SMALL, like $20 or something) you can add 2 adults to bowl with the kids. So, we are basically getting two games of bowling every day of the summer for less than the price of a movie!
  • Speaking of movies, I know in the past, our local theatre has done free or reduced price movies during the summer. While it may not be the latest blockbuster, it’s sure to kill some time and entertain the littles!
  • Of course, there’s always the park and the pool. Our local pools offer discounted rates for swimming after 4:00 pm. You could see if your pool does the same.
  • There are also crafts to be done during summer. Especially on those gloomy days. Here is one I really like: Heart Wreath Craft.
  • One thing we did over spring break was go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. While we were there, we purchased a membership. Economically, it just made sense. For the five of us to go one time, it was over $100. For a full year membership for the five of us, it was just over $150. Plus, we get free carousel rides!
  • Other things that we will likely do to fill the days are: visits to the library, bike rides, walking some local, easy trails, and fishing (my son tells me that McDonald’s french fries make the best bait — which is good for me, since I don’t like slimy worms!).

The kids have some sports and church summer camps they’re planning to attend, so that will also use some time.

I know that, with a little planning, and some whitespace for down time in our schedule, we can make this the best summer ever!

I’m really anxious to see what kind of mischief we get into, since this is the first summer we’ve been able to do this. Don’t worry…I’ll report back as the summer progresses!

What about you? I would love to hear what your summer activities will be.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships

Hard Lessons Learned

Happy Wednesday dear friends.

After driving for 22 years (you can do the math on my age), I can proudly say that I’ve never locked my keys in my car.

Until this morning.

I went into the kids’ school to talk party stuff. Tomorrow is the big Valentine’s Day class party. I chatted with a few other teachers and was headed out the door.

Until I heard my daughter crying out to me from the front door of the school. I was *almost* to my van. She informed me that she needed money for the book fair today.

So, I did what every good parent does. I grumbled under my breath the rest of the way to my van, got my wallet, and grumbled the whole way into the school. Once there, I discovered that I had a five-dollar bill and a ten-dollar bill. No way this could be split equitably between two kids.

I stopped in the office, knowing they must be tired of seeing me already this morning, to ask if they had change. No such luck. My next stop was the book fair. I mean, after all, wasn’t the blasted book fair the whole reason I had to make a second trip into the school this morning? The least it could do for me is give me change for a ten-dollar bill, so I could split it evenly.

The volunteer working the book fair so kindly gave me 2 five-dollar bills and as I was leaving, two mothers from my daughter’s class asked what they could send in for the party tomorrow. Being so grateful for their donations, I shared with them what we still needed and continued on my way.

I made what I thought was my final stop in the school office, so they could deliver money to my children for the book fair. YAY!

As I’m just getting ready to walk out the door, I realize I don’t have my keys. Trying to play it cool to the ladies in the office, I’m all like, ‘oh gosh, I’m sure they’re in the van.’

I leave the office and walk out to my van. The walk, which normally takes 2 minutes tops, felt like an eternity. I was thinking to myself the whole way that I NEVER leave my keys in my van. Nor do I ever leave my van unlocked.

You’re a smart bunch of people, you’re my friends, after all. You know where this is going, right?

I get to my van, look in the window, and see that sure enough, my keys are in the van. In a split second, I look down and notice that the door is locked.


AWESOMESAUCE! I’m so loving my luck right now! I only had about a gazillion things on my mind for what I needed to accomplish the rest of this week.

See, my husband and I have been having some *ahem* difficulties with one of our children. I will NOT name names, but suffice to say, said child has had a little bit of an attitude lately. So, I’ve been thinking about ways we could improve things with said child.

We also have a legal situation with another child that is looming over us. I know that God already has that situation worked out for His glory, but hey, I’m human, right? And I can freak out and worry and stress with the best of them.

Also on my ‘list of worries’ is previously mentioned Valentine’s Day class party that I promised and swore to myself that I wouldn’t wait until the last. minute. to plan…but, well you know how that turned out.

Then of course, are everyone’s every day worries and concerns.




Weight. (I’m a woman, remember?)


All of these concerns and issues came together in a perfect storm to cause me to lock my keys (and my phone) in my van today.

When I realized what I had done, I called my husband from the school. I knew the odds of him answering the phone call were slim, for two reasons. First, it was an unrecognized number. Second, he was at work and I rarely catch him the first time I try to call. Typically, he sees my call and calls me back. I had to get my daughter’s iPod from her class to text him and ask him to answer my call.

He called a local tow company and they said they would be out as soon as they can. Y’all know what that means…

After waiting for over two hours, and many more trips to the office (I’m CERTAIN the lovely ladies in the office were really ready for me to go), they finally showed up to unlock my van. During this two hours, I endured multiple well-meaning individuals sharing with me how I might be able to avoid this fate in the future.

Also while waiting, not so patiently, for my rescuer to come, I did some thinking. I thought about how, when we are in the waiting rooms of life, we typically don’t wait patiently. Most of the time, we are trying to figure out how we can get out of our current situation as soon as possible, with the least amount of pain.

As I was waiting, it occurred to me that God might just want us to chill for a while…or two hours…

We might need to learn something in that waiting room.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something worse.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something better, simply because we’re not ready.

Perhaps He has us there because we are going to encounter someone else in that same waiting room and we can positively impact their life. Or vice versa. Maybe we need someone to be a positive influence in our life.

My point here is that, if I had my books or my laptop (or even my phone) with me when I locked myself out of my van, it wouldn’t have accomplished the same mission.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with reading or, in my case, writing, to pass the time, it would have distracted me from the lesson God wanted me to learn. The hard lesson learned.

That patience is a virtue. And one that doesn’t come easily or without cost. (To the tune of $68, as a matter of fact.)

One further point I would like to make is from a book I recently started reading called Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson. The subtitle to her book is ‘Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy.’ You can assume that this book was written to help free us from saying YES to everything that comes our way. Instead, we should select only those activities that He has called us to.

In her introduction, she says this, “Life is a gift. Time is a treasured commodity. When we open our hands and give what we have to Jesus–be it our moments, our gifts, our time, or simply room and space for Him to show up–we find life to be a sacred journey.”

This spoke volumes to me. When was the last time you had whitespace in your schedule? Whether it was for a lesson learned the hard way or whether it was to sit with your grandmother helping her figure out her phone–without having to rush to the next thing?

Either way, we all need to determine what our sacred YES is, so that we can truly be open to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Series, Soul Relationships


Originally published as part of #fiveminutefriday on March 7, 2014

Today’s Five Minute Friday topic is willing…so here goes, 5 minutes straight of writing, no questioning, no second guessing, no stopping and reading…

Willing – am I willing to do all of the things I need to do to be effective and good as a person and especially as a mother? Am I willing to be changed and molded into what Jesus has for me?

One thing that sticks out in my mind is the phrase, “Who you are at home is who you are.” Well, I can honestly say that I don’t like that person from the past few days. Two nights ago, my children were being their creative selves. Elijah was working on his Pinewood Derby car and Emma wanted to paint as well, so I found a little wooden crate for her to paint.

Now, let me tell you that Emma has expressed an interest in art. Me? Not so much; sure, I can appreciate art, but I am not creatively inclined. So, as she is painting and being creative, she gets excited about some paint brushes I found. After she pulls out the one she wants, she puts the case down…right in the paint…oh BOY was I frustrated!

So, naturally, I expressed my frustration in exasperated sighs…which she saw and heard. And then, when she got up, I noticed a blob of green paint right where she was painting…again, exasperated sighs…which she saw and heard.

Now, fortunately (for me AND her) this was as bad as it got. There was no yelling, no temper tantrums (from the momma)…just exasperated sighs.

I felt God convicting me…so, the following morning, I apologized to her. I apologized for making her feel as though her mistakes were the end of the world. For making her feel as though she’s not ALLOWED to make mistakes (never mind the fact that I make about a gazillion of them DAILY – that’s another topic for another day). I apologized for stifling her creativity by making her feel that her work space had to be perfect. I even shared with her that it was so easy to wipe up, since the paint was still wet. And even if it hadn’t been, it was WATER-BASED PAINT!

And then I gushed about how incredibly awesome her creation is. I told her that I wanted to start seeds in it…and put it on display for all of the world to see. And I shared with her that I love her creativity and how I wish I had some of it!

Then I began to think about the phrase “Who you are at home is who you are.” I don’t want to be the one who is so bent on the rules and things being ‘just so’ that my kids can’t express themselves.

So, today, I’m going to be a little more WILLING to bend. A little more WILLING to just let. things. go. A little more WILLING to focus on the relationship and a little less focused on the rules. Because that’s who I want to be…at home and in the world.

What about you? What areas do you feel the Lord calling you to be more willing in? I’d love to hear your thoughts!