Happy Thanksgiving from my hot mess to yours…

There’s all kinds of Thanksgiving posts. Fluffy ones, sappy ones, ones that make you rethink all you have been through and are going through…and then there is this one. The random weird one. Nothing profound and nothing amazing. Just real life, lived by real people.

For me, the things I am most thankful for are often the things that cause me the most grief. I grieve over them, and worry about them because I care about them. And so maybe in that I – we – can also be thankful for the things we aren’t so certain about. Maybe we can realize good comes along with bad, and big red bows really ought to be left out of it all, because what we are truly thankful for usually comes with a hot mess. And that’s not just okay, it’s awesome. Messes keep us busy, and when it comes right down to it, they keep us sane.

So here it is, my messy, no so prefect thankfulness list.

1. A husband who makes inappropriate, but hilarious comments, like ALL the time. Who once ran around the block at Halloween dressed as whitey tighty man. Who can ALWAYS make me laugh, but also let me cry. I love you Kevin, and I’m so thankful to have you in my life.


me n kev

2. My son, Ryan, who didn’t fall to far from his daddy’s crazy-funny tree. If you didn’t know, he’s got some special battles to fight. His IQ score labels him intellectually disabled – but as if that could EVER hold his awesomeness back. He rocks the saxophone and rules the basketball court, and even when I get phone calls from the school that make me wonder if he even has a brain – I love him dearly – and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ryan sax ryan

3. My drama princess, Lauren. Yesterday she ran through the house screaming about who knows what – the girl knows how to rock a mood swing. And I love her for it. Because she is passionate, about everything. She’s not without her battles too, they have seemed to come at her right and left lately – but the girl handles it in stride. And I’m honored to say I’m her mom.

lauren lauren1

4. My mom and mama Jean who know how crazy busy I have been and have totally kicked butt taking care of the Thanksgiving prep and turkey cooking this week. Without them around we would be like going to Furr’s or something. I love you. Thanks for always being amazing.



5. Bella, my corgi, who does this…I mean what more could you ask for?


6. My friends who catch me on a tough day and send me monkey pics like this. You know who you are…and I know for certain I would never ever want to do life without you.

monkey monkey 2


7. And I saved the best for last. God. Ya’ll I’m a mess, and I don’t hide it. A big one. And for whatever reason God continues to bless me, love me, care for me, give me unwavering hope, and never give up on me. I don’t even know how to say how thankful I am. This song has been on my repeat list this Thanksgiving, and I think it says it best. I’m just so dang thankful for the cross.



So what are you thankful for? Both the pretty and the messy…because it’s all good. In fact it’s all great.

Happy Thanksgiving from my hot mess of a family to yours!

We can’t always get in the fire with them, but He can, and that’s more than enough…


The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one of my all time favorites. I adore the peace that comes from knowing even if I get thrown into the fire, God will be there with me. And life has felt like fire lately. I have been working incredibly hard to grow a private practice while working full time in a school district, in addition to my most important duties as a mom and a wife. Lately, the mom role has weighed especially heavy. It’s been rough.

My kids are amazing. They are. In so many ways, AMAZING! But they are in the fire. And although I know God is in there with them, it’s all I can do not to run in and try to rescue them myself. So badly I want to take it away from them. Any difficulty they experience – I would give my life a thousand times over to rescue them.

But here’s the thing, that’s not my role.

If I run into the fire to rescue them, I will burn up. Because it’s who I am…I am a human. My flesh is not designed to endure the fire. But Jesus is not man – He is God – and He endures the flames just fine.

I see Jesus with them, I really do. I see evidence of Him walking with them – over and over and over again. I see Him holding up his hand, looking at me, and saying “relax mamma, I got this.”

And I know He does. But it’s not easy. Because I have been in the fire, knowing Jesus is with me, but the fire is HOT none the less. And as a mamma we want to fight the battles for our kids. When they are small, we often can. But there comes a point we have to step back and choose to see them fight it with Jesus for themselves. And that is hard and painful and weird and challenging – and rewarding – incredibly rewarding.

Because of Jesus your kiddos will be okay. Your pre-teen will make it through her spells of emotionally charged craziness just fine. Your teen will slip up and do some crazy a** sh** and Jesus will be there to pick up the pieces. No mistake is too great as long as we learn from it. There’s nothing going on with them that is greater than the greatness of God. And because of that we can pray, love, watch, and even be still – knowing we can’t jump in the fire – but Jesus can. And He’s pretty dang good.

Visitors knock…unwanted…but we will not be shaken…


photo credit: Valerie Weiners and print available at www.valerieweinersart.com

So I heard somebody say one time, “you can’t control who knocks at the door, but you can control how long you entertain them.” And for the most part, it’s true. We can let visitors in…not let them in…sit down and have coffee with them…or tell them we are busy and it’s time for them to go home. But there’s really nothing, short of a restraining order or a fence, to keep them from knocking.

And the same with our thoughts…

It would be cool if we could put up an “awesomeness” fence. Only amazingly wonderful thoughts would be allowed to pass through, and all the negative junk would be filtered out. But I have found no such “awesomeness” fence, and I’m betting you haven’t either…so for now, all kinds of thoughts will continue to knock. Thoughts from the past, worries about the future, judgements about the present…things rational and irrational…they all have the power to knock away.

So what do we do? There’s some power in evaluating the validity of the thought and then correcting it to a more rational way of thinking. For example, if I am telling myself I am unloveable, I will remind myself of all the reasons I might be worth loving and the people who love me. It works for me sometimes, and it works for some people most of the time.  I like to try it as a first line defense, but often it ends in me beating myself up for having a weird irrational thought in the first place.


So what if we try to distract ourselves from the thought? Just let the knocking go on and on and on and busy ourselves with something else, hoping it will go away. But the visitor rarely leaves. Knocking just gets loader and loader until it overrides everything else and demands your attention. At that point you’ve made the thought angry and once you let it in the door, well it runs a muck and has a hay day!

And so here is what I have found works best for me, and maybe it will work for you…

I let the thought in the door, look at it, and just let it be what it is without judging. In fact, I try to have compassion. I notice where it came from, and chances are, it traveled a rough journey and came from a pretty difficult place. I appreciate the thought, because sometimes it’s hurting, and hurt just needs to be allowed to hurt. I don’t make it bigger, or smaller…I just let it be the size that it is…and then comes the fun part…

I choose to realize that just because a visitor is in my house (mind), I don’t have to drop the rest of my life and focus on it completely. I can pay attention to the present moment – the life that exists all around me outside the corridors of my mind.

If I am drinking coffee, I can notice the warmth of the cup on my hand or take in the fullness of it’s smell. If I am walking my dog, I can choose to notice the leaves or the feeling of the wind against my skin, or even the feeling of my feet as they hit the pavement. Because there is so much more we can attend to than our thoughts…we don’t have to shove them out the door…but we don’t have to let them run the show either…

Example…the thought I am unloveable might come knocking. My past reaction would be to cry, sulk, and tell myself all the reasons I shouldn’t have that thought and how jacked up I am because I can’t get it to go away.

But I have a choice.

Instead, when the visitor knocks, I can let it in, notice it, and simultaneously notice the present moment. Like the feeling of my daughter snuggling with me on the couch and the warmth of the fuzzy blanket. I can start talking to her and really focus on what she is saying. And then the best part happens, unlovable seems to shrink without me trying to push it away, and I feel loved without even trying (and the best part is, because I got out of my head and into the reality in front of me, my daughter feels loved and valued too).

So you can’t control who knocks. You know Biblical truth. You know what God says about you. You know your positive truths. But sometimes the junk comes to visit anyway. And maybe that is just okay. But we don’t have to let it stay. We can get out of our minds and focus on the reality in front of us, and the more space we give to the present, the mental ick will melt away.

And speaking of engaging with the present moment…why not let yourself engage with this truth for just a few moments…




because there is only one place confidence remains stable…

imageConfidence is my super hero outfit. I feel like it should have a gigantic “C” emblem and all kinds of special features. I put it on daily and suddenly every decision I make will be perfect and right, as long as I keep wearing confidence, right? Or is it right?

It disturbed me at first to have this thought, but here it is anyways. I do not have confidence in my own abilities. Scary thought, right? It sounds really self defeating, but hang with me. Because here’s the thing. Even with all the confidence in the world, we still run the risk of making mistakes.

Like it or not.

No matter how hard we try, how much we study, how long we stew, or how much wisdom we seek. There will be a time and a place where we will make the wrong call. And that’s just freaking impossible for me to accept unless I believe at the very core of my innermost being that I/we are not in charge – but God is.

He has to be sovereign. We have to believe that His power is greater than our biggest weakness. Because if we don’t, why have faith in the first place?

I believe He is bigger than myself. And because I believe He is bigger than myself, I know when I fail – God can and will pick up where I left off. He leaves nothing undone. His timing may not look like mine, but in the end, He always wins. Always.

So I don’t like messing up. I don’t. And I’m betting you don’t either. And we have this unreasonable expectation that we shouldn’t, or won’t mess up, or that if we do, all the negative things we once believed about ourselves now have evidence of truth.

But mistakes are bound to happen sooner or later, especially in the line of work I do. Not one of us can predict or perform with 100% accuracy 100% of the time, no matter how hard we try. And so there are two options.

Stop trying, because we might fail, and help no one…or put our whole heart into every step we take and rest at the end of the day knowing we did the best we could with what we had at the time. That is all. Nothing more. Nothing less.

And so this relationship with confidence, at least for me, seems based off reciprocity. We wear it the best we can and it gives us encouragement and authority. We dance back and forth, holding hands and moving in the direction we both feel is right. But at the end of the day, I personally make the choice to lay it down. Because as awesome as confidence is, it must bear witness to the throne of a King who is higher and greater. And so I lay it down trusting God will fill its empty shell with power before I suit up again tomorrow. Because the big “C” is just a letter of the alphabet imprinted on my chest unless God charges it full of things that are way beyond me.

So I have no confidence in myself. Because I have confidence in Christ. And Christ is in me. And as long as we are operating together, I can let the King be King and follow His lead. And I am okay with that. Flesh will fail and trials will come. I will fall. But the one who my confidence rests in will pick me back up and mend the pieces that were shattered. He is King. And even on my worst day, that’s more than okay with me.

Blessed in the process…


And so ya, sometimes I stop praying because I’m so darn frustrated. It seems like if prayer was going to work, things should have changed by now. So I get tired. And defeated. And I stop asking.

Then we went to church today and it was about the story of Cain and Abel. He spoke of how God blessed Abel’s offering, but all I could think about was one thing…

Ya, so God blessed his offering but Abel still ended up dead…and not just a natural death…he was murdered by his brother! 

Abel brought His best to God. His very best offering, but evil still came.

And so I sat in church a little miffed and dumbfounded.

Why would I even consider bringing you my best, God, if I’m just going to end up slaughtered under the hands of my enemies anyways? Why?

Because watching a few painful portions of my life continue to endure, despite my best efforts to help or control, has been brutal.  I was ready to be done with this season months ago. So I have withdrawn my best from God. Maybe not financially, but I’ve withdrawn portions of my spirit out of what I claim to be self preservation – if I don’t get my hopes up in prayer it’s easier to accept things as they are – but in reality it’s just bitterness and anger based on an outcome I don’t want or refuse to understand.

And so the girl who refuses to give her best offering robs herself of the blessing, and also stands risk of being overtaken by the evil one. And that’s just not okay.

These things I feel robbed of and angry over were never promised to me in the first place. They are God’s to manage, not mine. And Satan tells me God has ruined something, or doesn’t want the best, and stacks card after card creating distance from the only One that can give me any semblance of peace, rest, or understanding in the midst of it all. I find myself feeling robbed of the purpose in the pain and the blessing from the sorrow. And I’ve decided this is just not okay.

My lack of expectation from the One who wants to bless me has created distance. I have closed up my hands and folded them over like an angry 2 year old that is displeased with the speediness or service. I want it my way or nothing. But maybe it’s time to open my hands again.

Because there is evil in the world. And I know this. And it’s okay because Christ has overcome the world. And there is blessing. It may be followed up by tremendous pain, but if I never open my hands or bring God my best, I will never receive the blessing. And I don’t want to miss it. Nor do I want to miss the thousands of prayerful opportunities I have to tell Him what I think I want just because I’m afraid He won’t provide. Maybe He will, and maybe He won’t. But if I open my hands, regardless of the outcome, my family and I will be blessed in the process.


Because being terrified of losing something never really keeps it around…


So I have always known Lauren’s apocalyptic meltdowns leave me feeling a bit, or a lot, woozy. But I haven’t been able to understand why. Once the meltdown subsides you would think a sense of relief would wash over, but it doesn’t. I usually feel downright awful. I thought I was alone in this experience until I read this post by a mom of a kid with autism. She describes what she calls a post meltdown hangover. And that’s it exactly!

The more I thought about it, I began to wonder if my child’s meltdowns are triggering my stress response? And of course they are!

In those moments my body is trying to decide if it should fight, flight, or freeze. And I tend to be a freezer, so that’s what I do. I can’t fight with her because that only makes things worse, I can’t run away-although I certainly want to, so I mentally escape. I leave the moment, at least cognitively and emotionally,because digesting all that is going on seems too threatening to my panicked brain.

Some meltdowns last longer than others, but when it’s over for Lauren, it’s over. She moves on and she is okay. I, on the other hand, feel like I just got stripped down to my underwear and hung out to dry on a flagpole. I want to cry, scream, and eat 1,000 chocolate donuts all at the same time. I have to come back to reality because life is moving forward regardless of if I want it to or not, but my brain is still trying to wrap itself around everything that just happened.

And when it all boils down it’s not the actual fit that has my stress response activated and soaring through the roof. What I am terrified of, absolutely vomit inducing afraid of, is the death of a dream.

A hope and a dream for my child that never involved fits like this. What if these fits of anxious sensory induced rage take her under and keep her from accomplishing all God has planned for her life? And I know God is bigger. But in those moments it seems like He is not. And so I run and hide, because that’s a thought I just cannot stand. It feels like I must escape.

But what if I had a different thought upon the initiation of a meltdown? What if you had a different thought the moment something threatens your hopes and dreams? Because being terrified of losing something never really kept it around. What keeps something around is caring for it. Nurturing it. Watering it, and expecting it to grow. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever get sick, or weak, or need help – it just means we stay present to it in the process.

When we abandon our dreams out of fear we allow them to wither away. And I’m not saying ALL dreams need to hang around. Some need to die. But the ones that are good things, things God would want for us and for our children, we don’t let hardship or crapstorms threaten their right to exist. God knows the plans He has for us, and for His children, and the plans are good. We know they are good. So instead of trying to fight, run away from the threat, or just act like a possum and play dead – maybe we just need to stay present. To let  the hardships come and go, let them be what they are in all their weird glory, and know they will pass – but the dream remains. God does not abandon the work of His hands.

So I can’t promise I won’t freeze the next time Lauren has a fit…because I might. But I can choose to come back to the present quicker, knowing that my hopes and dreams for her haven’t disappeared. They still very much exist. And if I water them by spending time engaging positively with her and praying for her, they will grow.

because you can and will get through this…


This is how it went down this morning. New leggings for Lauren. Cute fleecy lined ones with reindeers. Adorable. But they had seams. And the seams bothered her. I reminded her of what her therapist tells her, “it’s a brain trick Lauren, nothing bad is going to happen, breathe…” And the screaming continued.

“I just want your to treat me like a normal kid,” she spouts.

“Then act like one and suck it up!” I retort.

And I am a therapist too, so the words “suck it up” are rarely in my vocabulary. I don’t like to use them. Because sometimes you can’t suck it up! It hurts too bad. But part of me wonders if after all the pain has been validated and worked through, if at some point we don’t need to just suck it up and move on.

And I get it. I’ve been a victim of some pretty crappy stuff. I parent 2 kids with unique needs. And it’s hard. And at times I want to curl up under the blankets and cry. Every now and then I do, but I also have to recognize there is a point where you have to put on your big girl panties (who knows what those are anyways, but we all have them) and move forward. Because there’s no use in staying here and wallowing. In the wallow spot things rarely – if ever – change.

And it seems to be what’s missing around here on earth. Everybody expecting everyone to accommodate their unique individual expectations. And I’m all about accommodations. I will advocate for them in my kids ARD like any other special needs parent – because sometimes they are needed. But sometimes they aren’t. Our expectations of life to be a big red bow wearing present aren’t always rational or reasonable.

Sometimes a good ole dose of distress tolerance needs to be swallowed. Sometimes we need to breathe through it, know it hurts now, but hurt will pass. We can address the need or injustice, if it’s truly an injustice or a need that needs to be addressed, and then keep walking forward!  A little distress is ok. It doesn’t have to paralyze us and it certainly doesn’t excuse us from doing the things we need to do to make our life feel worth living.

So ya, suck it up was a little harsh this morning. The girl has sensory processing issues and all sorts of other stuff swimming in her head. But she can wear leggings. And she will be ok!

And we can wear our proverbial seamed leggings! Because a little discomfort is ok! In fact, it may be what it takes to keep us running the race forward. Distress can be tolerated. It will pass. We can all move forward with and in Jesus name towards the life He has planned for us. A life for sure worth living.

down with the big red bow…


Because it really has to go. (the big red bow, that is) Not only is it unrealistic, but incredibly difficult to maintain. It’s fragility begs us to tiptoe, and if we try something new, we must be incredibly careful not to smash it. It’s painfully tacky. And who really falls in love with the bow anyways? It’s what’s inside that matters. Right?

But we slap on the red bow every morning like life is ok. We put on a cute sweater and some sexy heals and say, “Hey world, I’m good. I’ve got this.”

Maybe we do it because it’s what we grew up doing. Protecting others from seeing our pain. Maybe we do it out of vanity. We just want to look good. Maybe we just like pretty things! Regardless of why, the bow remains cumbersome.

And we slap it on our circumstances. Problem is, our circumstances don’t always like to wear the bow. And well, some circumstances are so dang ugly, a bow isn’t going to dress them up anyways!

So what is the alternative? A good dose of reality? Are we doomed to go through life with a slimy bow that keeps getting drug through the mud? We dry it off and reshape it over and over again?

And I like bows. Really I do. But when the rubber meets the road, the bow is seldom what matters. We don’t want someone to pat us on the head, fluff our bow, and tell us everything is going to be okay. Because sometimes it’s not okay. Sometimes the crap hits the fan and we just need someone to sit in the crap with us! To see past the bow to what is inside and say, “Hey, I love you AND your crap!”

Because we are messed up too. We all have our own ugly that we try to hide. And it’s not the bow that matters. It’s what’s inside that is the gift.

So see past the bows people! Love the person!

Maybe then we could let our vulnerable show. Because that’s the sweet spot. The special stuff. What God made us of. Imperfect people serving a perfect God. And what servant heart has time for a bow anyways? It’s okay to let it go.



Love them anyways…


I came home late tonight from working over 12 hours, and frankly, I’m exhausted. The last thing I want to do is sit down and write, but when God puts something on my heart I can rarely sleep until I put it on paper. And so here I am, tired, but with a message to share.

It’s been a weird day packed with variety.  I even did some public speaking today – and I only had to anxiously poop one time – which is progress people – PROGRESS! But at the end of the day, one single thing that mattered most. I walked in the back door at 10 pm to find my amazing adorable daughter halfway asleep, but out of bed to tell me she missed me and show me what she made at art lessons.

Hands down, best part of the day.

And it was a struggle with her this morning. I was frustrated. There were lots of tears and anguish over what she would wear and how it would feel against her skin. I wasn’t happy. All I could imagine were future visions of her choosing to live on a deserted island where they don’t require bras – or clothing of any kind for that matter.

Throughout my day I found myself drifting in and out of worry over her…

Will she be able to function as an adult? Will she choose a job where clothing is optional – because those are NOT GOOD jobs to have! And all joking aside, will she enjoy her life? Because that’s all any of us really want for our kids – for them to be healthy and happy – and know Jesus. We just want to the best for them.

And I worry and worry and worry….but at the end of the day…she is happy…and it’s me who freaked out.

She doesn’t care if she goes to school matching or not. And no one else really cares either. And if they do – well they need to find something else to be concerned about. Lauren is Lauren. She knows she doesn’t like the way certain clothes feel – and if it means not matching so that she can feel okay throughout her school day and not be bothered by elastic or itchiness – then she is good with that. And I can be good with that too.

The moral of all this is one thing.

Kids are weird sometimes – love them anyways.

They do crazy things – love them anyways.

Sometimes the make really awful decisions – and they really need us to love them anyways.

At times they make us want to rip our hair out. Go bald, and love them anyways.

Let them be who they are – even when you don’t understand – and love them anyways.

Because bottom line is, God loved us anyways. Even in the midst of our most crazy moments. He loves us anyways. Always – and anyways. And that will never change.

God, it’s a simple prayer, but please help us to be good parents to our kids. Help us to love them anyways, because you first loved us. Help us to be a living breathing example of what love is. And when we mess it up…thank you for loving us anyways.

if fear isn’t working…change your mind…

4f5308abbe9a9f058daa4d844198dd8ePhoto Credit: http://www.thornandsparrow.com/2015/01/iphone-wallpaper-he-makes-me-brave.html

sometimes change happens fast. like the weather this weekend. one day I was burning up in my short sleeve flowy tops. the next day I had to bust out the North Face and long sleeves. don’t get me wrong…I love Fall weather. it just came on strong and rapid. and I was surprised.

a warm chai tea latte, my cozy blanket, the fuzzy socks that make my feet happy – this transition feels like home. i’ll gladly stow away my flip flops and trade them for some ankle boots. but i wish all transitions came so easily.

sometimes God puts new things in our path. changes that are good. changes that may be expected or take us by surprise and we struggle to move forward. fearful of what lies ahead. or that we won’t be prepared. part of us knows we are, but we just don’t want to mess it up. do it wrong. step too deep. or too shallow.

change can be scary.

good. exciting. a breath of fresh air. and all at the same time scary.

i was listening to Graham Cooke this weekend and one thing he said stuck out. if your thinking isn’t serving you well, change your thinking. like it was that easy. and in many ways it is.

fear is a way of thinking. and a way of being. it’s a good thing to have around if a wolf is chasing us. not so much if there is nothing to be afraid of. and change, especially change we have sought and prayed about, is nothing to be afraid of. God desires good things for us and if His hand is on the change set before us, there is no reason to be afraid.

2 Timothy 1:7 has it right, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

if fear is part of our thinking maybe we need to look it at, realize it doesn’t belong here, and move on. we’ve got power. we’ve got love. and we’ve certainly got self-discipline. maybe self-discipline is what got us to this point of change in the first place. and now all the power and love we can shake a stick at is going to come flowing down from Jesus to help us be successful in this next chapter. because He is in control. and He is most certainly trustworthy. and worthy of praise.

and so you may be afraid, but there is no power in the fear. change your thinking. run the race with excitement. transfer fear energy into passion and compassion. you’ve got this. God wouldn’t have given it to you if you didn’t. go out there are be amazing. take the change for all it’s worth. and run with it.