Tag Archives: MyBigJesus

Being Wild and Free in Jesus

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.


Y’all, I’m reading this amazing book right now. It’s called Wild and Free, and as you can imagine, it’s about finding your wildness and your freedom in Jesus. I was pretty sure I was going to know what the authors would say. I’ve read books like this before. I would know which scriptures they’d reference, and know where they were going before they got there. I’ve read and heard a lot about how Jesus set us all free. BUT Y’ALL. The Holy Spirit was ready to wreck me with this one.

When you’ve grown up in church, and you’ve been under similar teachings most of your life, I’d imagine that sometimes you feel like what you hear is a little watered down. You’ve heard 150 references to rams in thickets, and you know that freedom is in Jesus just as well as you know your last name. Even the most awesome miracles might seem to lose their luster once you’ve heard the story for the 101st time.

But as much as I felt like I already knew what was coming, I’ve been taken aback on every page, being beckoned into wildness in Jesus. I’ve reveled in the descriptions of how wild the first believers were, how free Adam and Eve were created to be before the fall, and how every single one of us is called back to a total belonging to the Lord, that can result in true freedom to be yourself and be wild in the complete love of Christ. The body of Christ doesn’t have to be a somber group of people, faces downcast, working hard for their salvation. And it shouldn’t be! The body of Christ should be individuals who are freely themselves, being together in community, encouraging one another, filling gaps, shaping and molding each other, just as iron sharpens iron, to share the Gospel and prepare the Kingdom of God! There is joyful news to be told, love to be shared, and lives to be healed! We sang this yesterday at my church: “You are stronger, You are stronger. Sin is broken. You have saved me. It is written: Christ is risen! Jesus, you are Lord of all!” There is no better truth to proclaim. The chains have indeed been broken – you are already free! Jesus has done the great work, and God is ready to do a great work in you, too.


If you’d like to get your hands on the book Wild and Free, here’s a link to get it on Amazon.

My Childhood Home

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I traveled to my hometown for an end of summer visit with my parents. It was a normal trip – we played in the pool, saw my grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousin, ate at our favorite restaurants and generally relaxed. But there was an undertone of sadness, or maybe nostalgia, throughout my week.
You see, my parents are building a new house, and moving out of the one I grew up in. We moved into that house when we first moved to what I consider to be hometown. I was 7 at the time, and so it’s the only home I remember very well. The house is too big for my parents, as well as the land it sits on, and the effort that taking care of a pool requires. My brother and I are planted firmly (or at least I am) elsewhere, and only come back for a few days at a time. So they’re downsizing, and I don’t blame them.

But still, I shed a few tears throughout the week, thinking of coming “home” the next time, but not to my home. Sure, I’ll be coming back to the same town, the same restaurants, and the same people… but it will feel strange to pull into a different driveway, and sleep in a different room. I still sleep in my childhood bedroom when we go, even though now it has a king-sized bed and my husband sleeps in it, too.

All in all, I’m glad we went down one last time, to the home I have loved so well, to let my kids swim and play, snuggle in my mom’s bed in the mornings, and wreck the driveway with chalk drawings. I’m glad I got to ask for a few things to be saved when they were packing up, and to make sure there were pieces of my childhood heart that weren’t thrown away. A lot of life has happened in that house, and I have so many memories tucked away there. The perfect last week there was like a promise from the Lord that even though the house wouldn’t be there for me to visit, my memories there won’t fade.

Don’t Forget the Sweet Moments

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

 Have you ever had one of those moments where your heart is so full that you think it might explode? One of those moments when you first realize you’re sure about the one you love? One of those moments that your children are playing nicely together and it makes you want to have another? One of those moments where everything in your life is just so, and you think, “All right, I’ve made it; it’s perfect.” Well I had one of those moments the other day.

My mom was in town for a visit, and she was rolling around on the floor playing with my oldest two kids, each dressed up in costumes (a princess and Mr. Incredible, of course). I had a sleeping two month old on my chest, and I was just gazing at my family, loving everything that was happening. I was looking at my little brood, and thinking, oh my gosh this is a lot, but I love it. My heart and my uterus were teaming up and battling against my mind on the grounds that we should have another. Obviously, I’m not thinking about that yet. (Cue my husband running for cover.) However, my heart was so full of love for the three little tinies I had helped create, playing so happily with my mom, making silly noises, and giggling till their hearts content. As Gary Chapman might say, this afternoon “filled up my love tank”.

I often get caught up in how difficult my days can be. Instead of appreciating things like giggles or silly mispronunciations, I can be bogged down by the messes or the shouts of “No!” when I ask someone to do something. I can feel like all I heard during the day were cries, even though that really isn’t true. I can look around my house, and think that nothing was accomplished. My sink is full of dishes. My sofa is full of laundry waiting to be folded. My bed isn’t made. My toilets have a ring in the bowl. But I should remember that moment of my children rolling on the floor giggling with my mom, and the feeling of a baby sleeping soundly on my chest. Life won’t always be easy; no one has ever argued that. But it won’t always be tough, either. Remembering each positive moment, committing to memory the sweet times and kind words, that will help the tough times seem not so bad.

My Kids Are Basically My Best Friends

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

I came to the realization the other day that my relationship with my kids is similar to that of best friends. Our level of closeness rivals that of Bert and Ernie or Thelma and Louise. I’ll tell you why. 

I talk to them more often than anyone else. When I’m constantly answering, “What’s that, mama?” and asking, “Are you ready for lunch?” I easily exceed one million words a day that’s we’ve exchanged. We literally talk about everything: foods we dislike, places we’ve left things, how bad our poops smell, and why we have to wear shoes to go to the playground.
I hold their hands a lot. We just love physical contact. Every time we’re in a parking lot, on a sidewalk, in a store, or crossing a street, we hold hands. We just can’t keep our hands apart.

We’re inseparable. I literally have one of my two best friends by my side all day long. We don’t even go to the bathroom alone! The only time they can bear to be separated from me is when they’re sleeping, and that’s only sometimes.

We know everything about each other. We’ve been in some seriously close situations together. Potty breaks, showers, laughing, crying and sleeping: we’ve done it all together.  There are very few things about each other we don’t know. For instance, we can read each others’ moods, get on each others’ nerves, and do the sweetest things for each other, all on purpose.

We love each other a lot, but bicker like an old married couple. We don’t agree on everything, and we’re completely honest about it. I don’t agree when they poop at inconvenient times or refuse to eat their vegetables. They don’t agree when I make them go to bed on time or share their toys. We aren’t afraid to speak our minds. Our family is a safe place, after all.

Having little stooges to share my life with is basically one of the best things I’ve ever decided to do. Now, if they’d just get old enough to swap off driving on our road trips, or pick up the groceries on their way home, we’d be all set.

I’ll Miss Just Having Two.

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

I AM SO EXCITED about this third child we’re going to welcome into our family. We prayed for him (a lot… that story is here.) and have been waiting and waiting for him to arrive. We knew we wanted him from the get-go. We’ve always said we wanted three or four kids, so we knew he was in our plan. We were not (all that) surprised when I found out I was pregnant, and we have not been a bit disappointed since finding out. Now. That being said…

I’m going to miss just having two kiddos.

Today, the three of us were on a walk. We were, as always, in my double jogger (Love it. Gotta have it. Couldn’t have lived my life this far without it.) just cruising the neighborhood with snacks and water bottles, talking about the color of the car that just drove by, the kinds of foliage we passed, and enjoying the not-too-hot-yet sunshine. I had a thought as we rounded the corner towards home: Our days doing this are numbered. Not necessarily because we won’t be able to stroll around the neighborhood any more. But because I’ll either be carrying one on my back/front, or letting EK walk beside the stroller (ie: freaking out that she’ll be running into the street at any moment) or having someone else to come with us to push another single stroller or push mine while I wear the baby. Hubby goes on walks with us fairly often, but usually it’s special time for the three of us. Soon, for a little while at least, our walks will be cut short because baby D will need to nurse, or he’ll have a blowout, or I will just plain be too tired for an hour-long walk like today’s.

I know – this seems like a first world problem, along with things like “Do I need to buy a different car to fit all those child seats?” and “It’s going to be tough getting out the door with three jackets and sets of shoes to put on.” I know that these phases are short. The time with these kids being so young and needy will fly, and I may even look back and wish it was still here.

But my walk this afternoon with my two amazing, curious, adorable sweeties shed some light on my feelings and changed how I’ll look at these last 12 weeks before my due date. I won’t try to rush through them. I won’t spend all my time preparing for the next baby – like I would have been able to anyway, right? I’ll be thankful for the time that I can lavish on my eldest two. I’ll cherish the one-on-one time I have with J while EK is at preschool. I’ll enjoy the long walks with just the two of them. I’ll love the girls’ lunch dates I like to have with just EK, or sometimes a girlfriend or two. I’ll love playing on the floor, amidst the giggles and tickles, right before bedtime. I’ll do everything I can with my two before I’ll be splitting my attention with another little sweetie who needs me.

My People.

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Village. Tribe. Support system. Club. Group of friends. My people.

No matter what you call them, it’s always so nice to have them.

A  group of people, in similar situations as you (for me, other parents), who are supportive, loving, relatable, and understanding. They aren’t judgmental, degrading, overcritical, or negative. They listen. They help. They care. They give advice when asked. They let you vent without judging. They respect your parenting choices. They love you for you. They love your kids for themselves. And you do the same for them.

These people are as inexorable to your survival as your coffee in the morning and your washing machine in the… all day every day. Their encouragement, interest in your life and feelings, and concern for you can help you get through the worst of days, even if you’ve already cleaned up several spills (of all sorts of liquids), survived multiple tantrums, and have silvery smears of snot all over your shirt. Having someone you can vent to, cry to, talk to, ask questions of, and plead for sanity from… or at least have a little confirmation that you’re not totally losing it.

Whatever your situation, your status, your goings on day in and day out, it’s likely that sometimes you need a pick-me-up, a funny story about how your colleague (read: mom friend) had the same thing happen to them yesterday. If you’re a working mom who’s dealing with childcare woes, a stay-at-home mom who’s dealing with scraped knees and stubbed toes, or a part-time working mom who’s going nuts trying to figure out the schedule of working time vs. naps and play dates, you’re probably, in a moment of frustration, shooting a text to your pals, sharing the latest thing you’ve been dealing with, or informing them about the most recent baffling news about a sale you missed out on.

But you’re also sharing your successes. You’re sharing about those moments you couldn’t love your kids more, the moments your spouse swept you off your feet again, and the moment the mountain of laundry (almost) disappeared. You’re cheering on your friends when they tell you about the whole day their toddler spent in big boy underwear, the fact that they didn’t forget to put on the trash on the right evening, and the promotion they just got at work. You’re praying for each other about struggles and praising Jesus for the victories, big and small. Having a few people who can totally get you, love you through your mess and in spite of your crazy can save your day.


If you’re interested in learning more about moms supporting moms, and changing the course of the mom wars, check out #mommitment on Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere, or read about it from Julie at Next Life, NO Kids. #mommitment moms are committed to spreading the love and support, and ending negativity towards each other. Here’s the link to sign the petition and join the movement!

5 Things I Can Do Now That I’m a Parent

This post also appeared on MyBigJesus.com!

Now That I'm a Parent...

There are some things that I do now that I would have never done before I had kids. There are some things that I do still more, now that I don’t work full time and I spend a lot more time with the kiddos. You might say I’ve had a bit of a etiquette backslide, but I’m enjoying it.

1. Snack all day. Mealtime is now about the kids, so I eat a little of whatever I fix them (mostly healthy) and then snack around whenever I’m hungry. When I say “snack around”, I mean snack around corners, behind closed doors, and in small increments. I can’t share those Cheetos.

2. Wear clothes even when they aren’t exactly clean. At this point in my journey, my life goal is to cut down on laundry. The more times I wear those yoga pants, the better. Because they’re black, that’s one more wear. And that toddler-height smear on the thigh? It’s definitely only a few minutes old. I haven’t had a chance to change yet.

3. Pass on the shower. I don’t mean that I never shower, or that I don’t like to be clean. On the contrary, now that it’s less a part of my routine and more like a luxury, I like it even more. I’ll tell you a little secret: when you see me with my hair pinned back, it’s because I haven’t showered since I’ve slept. It’s my thing.

4. Talk to myself. I never did this a whole lot, but ever since I had my first baby, I’ve felt like reading to them, talking to them and singing to them was good for them and for me. Now that it’s been three years of this, I’m used to narrating my life. So often, you may hear me giving a running commentary even when no one is around. This also may branch out to making a song out of basically any activity; included activities made into songs at my house include putting on socks/shoes, brushing our teeth, rocking in a rocking chair, and washing our hair, to name a few. Just let me have this one, okay?

5. Pee with the door open. In my house, this is a matter of safety. I need to shout commands, and be able to hear every sound my kids make at all times. If the door is closed, I’m suddenly in the dark about the mischief-making of my kids.

What do you do now that you’re a parent that you didn’t do before?

Today is the day.

  Today is the day. The day that I read scripture before my kids woke up (rare). The day that I resolved to parent with grace (again). The day I made a nice, big, healthy breakfast for everyone. The day I made a really, really great cup of coffee. The day I got a quick workout in after dropping my daughter at preschool.

It is also the day EK “needed five more minutes” before doing every single thing I asked her to do. The day my son took every item out of every drawer in my kitchen. The day Hubby didn’t feel so hot. The day it was so rainy that my motivation to get things done died at the start.

If I laid out every day like this, a moment-to-moment “things that happened” or “things I did”, how disappointed would I be? How many days would I say I had missed the mark, or wasted too many minutes or even hours? I doubt I would be impressed by my daily productivity or nominating myself for the “best executed day” award. (Thank goodness that’s not a thing, by the way.) I probably would no longer even be happy about the things I did accomplish.

But the things I did accomplish go without mention. The fact that my kids are clean, dressed and well-fed, the snuggles and kisses, the number of times I sang the alphabet song, and the fact that I took a shower. These things are on a list of “things moms should do without recognition”, even though these seemingly simple things are the hardest things I do all day. No one knows as well as I do the struggle it is to get pants on my son, or to get ten uninterrupted minutes to wash my hair or shave my legs. There are days that I feel like I should get a medal for doing those things!

Today, in fact, is that day. So, in honor of whatever your today held, here’s your medal – a medal and a hug for getting dressed today, for washing a dish or two, for getting the groceries, even though you forgot the eggs. Here’s a medal for any outing you made with the kids. Here’s a hug for any moment you were covered in some sort of bodily fluid, and a hug for any time that you’ve heard more cries than laughs. You deserve it.

Keeping My Cool When My Kid Can’t

This post also appeared on the My Big Jesus blog! 

A sweet Irish-inspired moment.
A sweet Irish-inspired moment.

Sometimes, your kid (read: toddler) gets upset. Really upset. Really, really upset. For me, when that moment begins, the first thing I want to do is the same thing my toddler’s doing: cry, throw something, run away… you get my drift.

I’ve heard all the ways to prevent these meltdowns from happening: make sure they aren’t tired or hungry, prepare them properly for whatever you’re asking them to do, let them help make the decisions, etc. All of these are well and fine, and may actually work, but every once in a while, the circumstances are out of your control, or things just look differently than you had planned. And your toddler doesn’t go with the flow like she usually does. She freaks out.

Now, in the depths of my OCD soul, I must have order. (Yes, I just sounded like Delores Umbridge in Order of the Phoenix.) I’m coming to terms with the fact that being a mom means not having it. But I like routines, and so do my kids. I like schedules, and so do my kids. But when our schedules and routines fail, we are all a big mess.

This week, my kids were sick. That meant a trip to the doctor (during naptime, because that was the only time they could get us in), humidifiers, Tylenol, movie-watching and trying extra hard to get to bed on time. It also meant no preschool, no church, no play dates, no leaving the house and no fun-having. FOR ANYONE.

On my list of priorities, right behind routines and schedules is getting out of the house. I get cabin fever in roughly 20 minutes. Even if all I do is go to the grocery store and buy one item (typically milk or bananas), I need to get out. Sometimes, putting the kids in the stroller and making laps around the neighborhood does the trick. (Note: this week was cold and rainy.) But I need to drop EK off at preschool. I need to let them play on the playground or at Chick-fil-A. I need to have friends over. I need my kids to have fun so that I can, too.

This week has been a whirlwind of crying, coughing, needing, snuggling, napping, refusing to nap, and wearing pajamas. I’m trying to appreciate these moments of relaxation and snuggling on Mommy’s bed watching Disney movies. I’m trying to appreciate a slow down, especially in the midst of a renovation and gearing up for a busy spring. But it’s been hard. I’ve been reaching out to the Father for patience and for health. I’ve been wrestling toddlers and sickness and the need for caffeine versus the amount I’m allowed to have while pregnant. I may or may not have subbed in sugar on several occasions.

But this is life. This is a season. It’s already almost over. Later when they’re sick, I’ll just hand them a Gatorade and they’ll sleep till they feel better. There won’t be extra snuggles and needing me. I will do my best to rest in these times, to enjoy the break in routine, with the help of Someone who knows the weight of being needed.

I am exhausted.

This post appeared on the My Big Jesus blog We spent today bopping around town, carrying kids to and fro, shopping for this and getting ready for that. Our house is a madhouse, like it often is these days. I don’t mind – really, I don’t. I know that it’s a season, and that things will return to a semi-normal. I know that my kids will be these ages but once. I know that my niece and nephew (who I also got to see this evening!) will be these ages but once.

Yet, my lovely and insightful mother-in-law said something to me, in passing really, tonight that made me think. She had spent the morning with my son, and part of the afternoon with my daughter. She said, “I don’t know how y’all do it with these two. I guess I did it with mine, but I’m exhausted!” Going on, she explained that she meant chasing them around her house, entertaining them, and making sure nothing got broken.

Well let me tell you, I understood her completely. While my house is basically baby-proofed and I can let them run free a little more in our home than she can in hers (split-level=stairs upon stairs) I am still frequently exhausted at the end of the day. Even if I haven’t completed a single housekeeping task, or didn’t get in a work out, or haven’t left the house, or if I did catch a little snooze during someone’s naptime, I’m often exhausted.

It isn’t simply that my back hurts, or that I’m sleep deprived, although sometimes those things are true. (Have you lugged around a 30lb sack of flour recently?) It’s emotional exhaustion. It’s mental exhaustion. I’m not a creative person, so EK really makes me work my imagination (ie: silly voices, strange scenarios, and telling her “stories” that I made up). I’m constantly trying to think of ways to educate – nay, entertain – two developmental levels, two totally different personalities. I’m trying to explain to my daughter why she should share, can’t push her brother, and shouldn’t scream in the house. I’m trying to distract my son when he just wants to be held – for the entire 12 hours he is awake. I’m trying to make healthy breakfasts and dinners that also look enticing and taste delicious. I’m trying to not lose patience with messes and attitudes and too-short naps and refused meals. It’s a lot. It’s trying, giving, sacrificing, and pushing myself.

So yes, in a word, I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted when I think of how much love I’ve got in my heart for these little beings that need me so. I’m exhausted when I think that by the end of this summer, I’ll have a third little being that needs me like these two do. I’m exhausted when I think that in 18 years, they’ll need me so much less. I’m exhausted to think they won’t always snuggle into my neck or say “mmmmmm-ah!” when I ask for a kiss. But being exhausted in the midst of right now is a fulfilled, happy exhaustion. When I slip into my bed, and don’t have time to finish one sentence in my book, I’m not really upset about it. I’m just wishing I had more patience, more creativity, more knowledge to share with those exciting, excitable toddlers that I call my own.