Merciful Mornings
May 11, 2016

There are seasons in life. I’m beginning to accept that there are times when I am flooded with ideas and topics that I want to write about, but there are also crazy-busy times when it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. It has been driving me crazy that I haven’t had the time or energy to update this blog in recent months! Then this past week hit – and I can’t stop thinking of things I want to write about and share! Every day is different, so I don’t dare sit here and promise that I will continue to update as regularly as I’d like over the next few weeks. But for today, here’s one of the biggest issues on my heart. I hope you’ll take a moment to read and consider it…


I almost slugged a group of college-age kids this week. In church. Not my proudest moment, but the momma bear inside of me just almost took a few girls out right in the middle of a selection of worship songs.

We were at the back of the room, and my kiddos were singing right along with “10,000 Reasons.” They both love to sing, they both love this song, and I have always encouraged them to praise the Lord with everything they’ve got. Monkey #2 is 5 years old, and that boy loves to sing. Not only that, he’s pretty good at it! As he is praising the Lord with all of his precious heart, I notice that big sister is trying to quiet him down. She’s getting visibly upset, and I end up having to call her over so she will leave him alone. When I ask her what’s wrong, this sweet 7-year-old informs me that her brother is singing too loud. The “cool college girls” in front of them are turning around, pointing, and laughing. She’s getting embarrassed.

Let me take a moment to assure you that I know this is not the first or only time big sis will be embarrassed by little brother. I expect it will happen frequently, and I am sure it will often be justified. This was not one of those times.

I calmly let sister know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way her brother is singing, and that they should always praise God as boldly and as loudly as they want. We should never be embarrassed to sing praises, and I am sorry that those girls made her feel that way. I went on to let her know that I am so proud of her and her brother when I hear them singing these songs. She was still a bit reluctant, but she at least went back to her seat and left little man alone.

But then I notice that my sweet boy isn’t singing anymore. He’s looking at those ridiculous girls with the saddest expression on his face.

Y’all, I nearly lost it.

I pulled my sweet boy close to ask what is wrong and why he stopped singing. He says, “Mommy, I don’t think I want to sing anymore. Those girls are laughing and pointing at me. I don’t think I sound very good.” So after I reminded myself that we were in church and got right with Jesus so as not to attack anyone, I gave him the same speech his sister had just received. I let him know that his singing is beautiful to God, and he should never stop singing songs to Him. Jesus loves to hear us sing, and I’m sure those girls were just smiling because his singing was so lovely that they just couldn’t help but turn around and see where it was coming from. Thankfully, that was enough to soothe his precious heart, and he went right back to singing.

So there it was. My innocent baby learned what it means to get embarrassed. To feel shame in the presence of others. He was so confident as he praised God with every ounce of his being… until someone looked at him in a way that made him doubt himself. And how many of us get to that point? When does it begin? That moment when you start to be more concerned with how you are viewed by others instead of how openly and honestly you can worship your Creator…

I hope to always be in a place where I can encourage my children to give their all to the Lord, both with my words and my actions. And if you see a sweet child singing songs of praise and worship, please offer a word of encouragement or a quick thumbs up. Because other momma bears might not have as much self-control as I do. 😉

“Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

Photo credit: hiding by Alex Snaps (CC BY 2.0)

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January 14, 2016

Broken Oven

Sometimes the heating element in your oven explodes at 11:00 at night while you’re trying to make cupcakes for your 5-yr-old’s birthday party the next morning. Naturally.

A true friend says, “Girl, you bring those cupcakes and your crazy self to my house because I know you will die if you have to see disappointment in your kid’s eyes one more time. What temperature does my oven need to be on?”

And I’m grateful.

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January 11, 2016


There are a million jokes and memes out there declaring the misery that comes with Monday. The weekend has ended, work/school is starting back, and everyone is already wishing Friday was much closer than it actually is. Gird up your loins, pull up your bootstraps, and drink all the coffee – MONDAY IS HERE.

Today has been no different for me and my crew. If anything, I have been fighting the Monday-ness of it all even more than usual. And I’m TIRED. Things keep changing, difficult situations seem to pop up every time I turn around, and I have no idea how everything will work out when it’s all said and done.

So now I will sit here. I will take a breath, I will say a prayer for all the things, and I will intentionally remember the blessings surrounding me. Life is changing, but that doesn’t mean the changes will be bad. Most of the changes are crazy exciting, and I am thrilled at how God has worked in my life over the past several months. Even when the future seems uncertain, He always knows exactly what I need next. In fact, I can look back and see ways that He was working before I even knew what was coming. He has prepared me for new relationships, and many of the people in my life now can see how God was preparing them for me as they look back on the time leading up to it. We tend to get scared and anxious when we can’t see what is coming next – especially those of us who like to plan and prepare for everything. Any other Type-A planners out there? I feel your anxiety in the unknown, friends. It can overwhelm us if we let it. But then I remember that it isn’t my job to control everything. My job is to be open to opportunities that God might throw my way and trust that He will work everything for my good. Not my happiness, necessarily. But He will give me exactly what I need. And there is great comfort in that.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Photo credit: 4/365 monday by Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)

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November 9, 2015


I’ve been squirreled away from the world for long enough, I guess. I’m tired, I miss everyone, and I could use a few prayers. So here’s the deal…

I can’t breathe, y’all.

Not in a “take my breath away” or “stressed to the max” kind of way, but in the very literal “my lungs and chest hurt” kind of way. I’ve pretty much been hiding from the world, keeping my crazy health mess to myself and a few close friends and family members. Constantly trying to explain why I sound like a chain smoker is exhausting (and takes a lot of air!), so I’ve just been going about my daily life, seeing doctors, getting tests, and waiting for it to all go away… only it’s not going away. It’s been going on since August, and I am so very tired of it all. Original thoughts were bronchitis and pneumonia, but it’s not getting better or showing up on x-rays like it should. So far we have ruled out the regular respiratory infections and giant cell tumor (recurrence of the tumor I had previously has a tendency to metastasize in the lungs, so we had to rule that out). I have taken all the medications and used all the oils. It’s manageable to the point that I can function each day, but breathing gets hard sometimes.

I’m not sharing all of this to start a pity party. I know there are several people around me who think I have fallen off the face of the earth. Even worse, some think I’ve been ignoring them or don’t value our friendship anymore. Please hear this – It eats at my soul when I am unable to take care of others or reach out to the people in my world. I want to know what is going on with everyone. I want to laugh at the funny things your kids do, I want to cry with you when you hurt, and I want to help in whatever small way I can. I want to get together and share life over coffee. I miss you.

But I’m so very tired right now. And it has been pointed out to me (multiple times) recently that I cannot help others until I have taken care of myself. This is not a fact I accept easily, but I am being forced to give in. I might’ve ignored this a few times in recent weeks… it did not go well for me in the following days. Yes, I have also been told that my stubbornness will be my undoing. I’ve got a couple of monkeys who kind of need me to keep breathing on a regular basis, so I guess I need to scale it back a bit.

I am getting tested up one side and down the other this coming Thursday, and then I’ll be meeting with a pulmonary disease specialist. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I know you’re jealous. Prayers are welcomed and appreciated. I’m just ready for answers and solutions at this point.

So there you have it. I love you. I miss you. I hope to return to you in full health soon. Blessings, friends.

Photo: Breathe by Mae Chevrette (CC BY 2.0)

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October 12, 2015


Y’ALL. What in the world is going on with everyone?? It has been way too long since I have been able to connect with you all, and I just can’t take it any more. I miss you, friends. Should I be working on lesson plans right now? You betcha. Are there piles of laundry to be dealt with? Absolutely. The list of “do all the things immediately” is eternal, but I just need a moment to say hi.

Hi. 🙂

This has been a crazy year of LIFE for me and my monkeys, and I find myself still reeling to catch up and find some sense of normalcy for us all. God has sent the most amazing people into our little world, and for that, I am eternally grateful. It never ceases to amaze me when He reaches down to follow through with the promises that we often find ourselves doubting. He is so good.

In a moment of total honesty, I need you to know that this whole LIFE thing can be totally overwhelming right now. While I am dying to connect here and share my moments of crazy with the world, there have not been enough hours in the day to include all of the things that I love. I find myself wearing a million hats and carrying way too many labels these days, and I wonder when it will all calm down to a manageable level. First of all, this Single Mom thing is for the birds. It’s not supposed to be like this, and I am not a fan. Secondly, no one person should be doing the Single Mom thing while also attempting to juggle the Three Jobs thing. Can it be done? Sure. And when that is what has to be done, you suck it up and do it. Right?! Right. So I will continue to wear the hats and raise the kids and do ALL THE THINGS. And I will smile while I do it because God is good, life is carrying on, true friends are an amazing blessing, and I just really want people to see Jesus shining right out of my face.

Every day is different. Some days are much more manageable – they might even seem “normal” or easy. Others leave me wishing I could start the day over or add about 10 more hours so that the eternal list could actually have a dent in it before my head hits the pillow again. I am not sad, angry, or intensely grieving right now – I did that (to the highest degree), and I have graciously been walked through it to the other side. I am in a good place right now, and my current prayer is that I can find a good way to manage all the things that must fit into each day. And when the things don’t all quite fit, I hope I can grant myself the grace needed to move them to the next day or discover that they didn’t need to be there in the first place.

You might be glad to know that I do take a moment to come up for air every once in a while. Here is a recent moment I had with family at a craft fair… with my bucket of sweet tea. 🙂


So what about you, blog friends? Are you in a season of peace right now, or do you find yourself treading water each day?? If, by some chance, I am not the only one out there attempting to keep my head above water, I would love to hear from the rest of you who can relate. Say hello, vent about your own personal craziness, or share a bit of scripture that encourages you through the rougher times. I know that this is a season that will pass, and I am encouraged by the glimpses of normalcy and peace that are starting to appear here and there.

“Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5

Photo credit: I miss you! by Cali4beach (CC BY 2.0)

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September 16, 2015

esther-4-14When life hits hard, it’s always interesting to see what changes and develops. Maybe “interesting” isn’t the best word. Scary? Unexpected? Exciting? I guess it’s different for everyone. However you look at it, difficult life situations bring changes – whether you like them or not. And we truly do have the option to like them or not. I’m not one to believe that your circumstances determine your attitude or demeanor for each day. The devil might have a hand in the events that occur in my life, but he does NOT have control of how I react to them. Remember that whole carrot, egg, or coffee story? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

And sometimes the changes don’t end up being so bad. Maybe the events leading up to the changes are awful, but have you ever been in a situation where the end results almost made it all worth it? People change, life stages shift, and relationships must monitor and adjust. But as you mourn those changes and wish things could stay the same, can you also be open to the new opportunities that present themselves? Maybe you have had to move recently. There can be such grief that comes with that if you are leaving precious friends and/or family behind. But are you leaving yourself open to the potential for new relationships? What if your new best friend is just waiting for you to arrive?

God has this amazing way of turning what we see as horrible situations into blessings and opportunities. And maybe it’s not even a blessing for you – perhaps you were placed exactly where you are because someone else needs you. What if God is positioning you perfectly to bless another soul in need? This “it’s not all about me” mindset makes all the difference in the world… when I can get my thick head back into the right place. It’s hard to step outside of ourselves, especially when there is hurt or grief involved. Can you make that mental switch? If you look around outside of yourself, who do you see? How could God use you today to bless those around you – even if you don’t feel that you are in a place to serve in that way right now? God has promised to give each of us what we need for each day. If your day has been covered, how can you be used to provide that peace for someone else?

Love God. Love people. Blessings, friends.

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September 6, 2015


I was away from the world of technology and social media for a whole weekend, and I didn’t die. I even opened up a real paper book, and it was glorious.

For many people, that seems like a silly thing to say. “Well, of course you didn’t die! Who needs the interwebs, anyway?? Not me!” But you might be surprised.

We had a family retreat with our church this weekend, and the campgrounds are out in the middle of nowhere. Some people loved the idea of losing all contact with the outside world. No phones, no Facebook, no Twitter, no technological extension of themselves to keep up with all weekend. Is this sounding good to  you?

For others, it was more of a challenge. We still walked around with our phones in our back pockets the whole time we were there. Why?? For most people, these crazy arm-extensions now also serve as a clock, camera, notebook, and flashlight. Forgot your bible for the evening devo? No worries – there’s an app for that. And as we used our phones as cameras to capture the precious moments, you could hear people saying things like, “I guess I’ll just text this to you once we have signal again.” What?? I have to WAIT for my pictures?! That’s just cruel.

I realized very quickly just how reliant we have become on these devices. We all talk about it, and you can probably find a million articles written about the shift of culture as technology advances. Nothing new here. But I really wonder – could you do it? If I were to challenge you to lock up your phone for an entire weekend, what would your initial reaction be? Some would immediately dismiss the suggestion because who can go that long without it?? Perish the thought! Others would consider it for a moment… and then have a panic attack. There are a few who still have that sigh of relief when the connection is broken.

So here’s the question my truly curious mind wants to know: what’s your response to the suggestion of a whole weekend without a phone or social media? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Who knows – maybe I’ll have my third graders create a graph to show the results. 😉

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August 30, 2015

Noah's Ark

Control is a tricky thing. Some people love to have it, while others want nothing more than to give it away. I’m one of those freaks who feels the need to be in control of all the things all the time. How can I do it right if I’m not in control? Better yet, how can you do it right if I’m not in control?? LET ME FIX IT.

So here’s a list of things I have discovered over the years that I have no control over:

1) Other People

2) Bone tumors

3) My children (similar to #1, but much more frustrating)

4) The weather

5) Anything. Seriously, it’s all an illusion.

We can make ourselves think that we’ve got it all under control, but let’s get real for a minute, friends. It’s ok – you’re safe here. Take a moment to admit to yourself that even when you think you’ve got it all together and things are going exactly as you planned them, it could all blow up in your face at any moment. And there’s not a blessed thing you can do about it. Not One. Blessed. Thing.

I see your tears. This is a sad realization for many of us. And here’s the even sadder part: Even after you have come to this truth in your own heart, you still need a reminder from time to time. For some of us, it’s more like from DAY to DAY. I’m not the only one, right?? Solidarity, sisters.

When you look at the story of Noah, that man had a crazy task and responsibility put in front of him. Everyone thought he was totally nuts, and the instructions he was given by God were insanely specific. Do you remember how he handled it?? Here’s a basic summary:

“And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.” Genesis 7:5

That’s it. Obedience. No micromanaging, back-talking, rearranging, or second-guessing. Just faith, trust, and obedience.

So today, I challenge you to let it go. That’s right. Sing yourself a little ditty from Frozen and BE FREE. Take a moment to pray over all the things, and have faith that it is resting in the hands of the One Who Made IT ALL. Because there’s no one else who can handle it better than Him.

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August 25, 2015


I was blessed by others today. It wasn’t the most amazing day, but it wasn’t a bad day. It was a Tuesday. A Tuesday that was intermittently sprinkled with people who took time to be the hands and feet of Jesus in my world. I think that’s worth sharing with the interwebs, don’t you?

The day started with Monkey #1 realizing she forgot her lunch as soon as we got to school. Oh, I packed the lunch. I even reminded her to grab the lunch as we were leaving. Such is life. So here were the options:

– Let her suffer the natural consequences and make her go without food all day (while also expecting her to be able to focus at school and have energy)

– Allow her to buy crackers and chips off the snack cart to fuel her day

– Give her the lunch I packed for myself since I teach at the same school and will also be there all blessed day.

Yeah, I’m a sucker. Girlfriend totally got my lunch. It’s much better for Mom to live off of crackers and chips, right? My brain relies more on caffeine than nutrition these days, anyway. So as I’m getting ready to munch on some “peanut butter” crackers and a chocolate covered granola bar that I scored off the school snack cart for lunch, in walks our secretary’s husband with each of their lunches. I’m not talking about Lean Cuisine, friends. This was two containers filled with homemade Italian chicken, tomatoes, onions, and broccoli – one for the secretary and one for her husband. (Because they are precious and eat lunch together when they can. Doesn’t that just make you smile?? LOVE.)

As he walks in, my lunch options are immediately questioned, and I explain why I am being sustained by the snack cart. Bless the man, he warmed his lunch in the microwave and then gave it to me. Because LOVE. He insisted he could get food for himself once he got to work, but that was his wife’s home cooked meal, friends. And I am here to tell you that it was delicious.

For those who might be thinking that I’m a bit overexcited about some chicken and broccoli, I hope you see that it’s not just about the food. There was service, sacrifice, and a loving heart that went with that meal, and I feel blessed to have been on the receiving end. I firmly believe that God sends us hugs through His people, and I felt that one today.

Gift #2 came in the form of fresh, hot coffee from the local coffeehouse right as I was finishing off the cup I had brought from home. I don’t know who brought the vat of coffee into the school office today, but I’m thankful. Coffee is a hug from the inside. Every. Time.

My 4-year-old has a cough. We had to miss karate class today. I have a to-do list that could make the most productive person want to crawl into bed for a week. There is all manner of LIFE that must be dealt with right now.

But I’m ok. I’ve been hugged – inside and out – and I am sustained. Because LOVE.

Photo: Love by Bryan Brenneman (CC BY 2.0)

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August 19, 2015

As I wrap up my day and peruse The Facebooks this evening, I am blown away by the number of people who are bemoaning their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Seriously, did your FB wall look like that today?? Everybody and their dog is asking for prayers and hugs and chocolates and coffee (totally understandable under normal circumstances, FYI) and Sonic drinks and comfort foods. Get that girl a donut!!

I admit: My day was not quite so rough. It was exhausting, but it was productive. My house is a wreck, but school work got done and everyone was fed when it was all said and done. We call that success in this house. SUCCESS. I’ll take it in any little form I can get it.

So for those who are thinking it’s time to move to Australia (please tell me you’re getting the Alexander references here), I have this little token for you. I keep this image on my phone at all times. It is referenced often. By me. Because LIFE.

Rough Days(I don’t know the source of this photo, so please feel free to share if you know it’s creator.)

You’re still here. Keep going. Blessings, friends.

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