An open letter to kids’ church workers

Dear children’s pastor,

You – and your team – are the reason we go to church.

This is a tough season. Three young kids, who all prefer to stay close to mom rather than enjoy the activities offered to them. Most Sundays I am sitting in a room alone, watching the service on a TV while trying to keep my children happy with snacks and small toys. Most Sundays I wonder why I still go, why I don’t stay in my pjs and watch the livestream instead of wrestling my kids into clean clothes and out the door. Most Sundays I struggle to see the point and purpose, when I barely get a hello to my friends or more than a few minutes to engage in the service without interruptions. Continue reading

Attention Management For Moms

This past week I listened to an interview with Maura Thomas.

Maura has a long career in teaching individuals and businesses how to be more productive and more effective by controlling where they focus their attention.

It was obvious to see why her advice would be helpful in any work place … but as I listened to her speak, I couldn’t help but think that as a parent, this woman’s methods have a lot of wisdom to offer.

The most impacting statement I heard Maura say was,

“The ability to focus is our most valuable resource.”

Time isn’t my problem. I just think it is. Continue reading

The eyes of a child

There’s a passage of Scripture that recommends we all become like little children.

That’s a preposterous idea if we think about those legit crazy adults that like to carry around pacifiers and dress in diapers. Or even the less extreme folks who live with their parents their whole lives, neglecting to learn real-life skills and contribute to society.

I don’t believe that’s what the verse was saying. I do think there’s merit to it, and my daughter is slowly teaching me what it really means. Let me explain. Continue reading

The perks of a sister

I always knew I wanted more than one child. I’m from a large family; so are my parents, so I’ve been surrounded by siblings and cousins my entire life. Thankfully, my husband is also from a larger family and has always been on board with having more than just one or two. We agreed we wanted to give our kids the experience of brothers or sisters, but it’s been even more amazing than I thought.

When we found out we were having a second daughter, I was beyond thrilled. I have two older sisters and one younger, so the reality of having two girls close in age was so special to me. I immediately decided they would be best friends for life.

And somehow, they are already. Continue reading

Learning Grace

It’s been a tiring couple of weeks.

I’ve finished some classes I’ve been taking, which is great, but they’ve been at the expense of my housework and regular meals.

Some days it feels like they’ve been at the expense of my kids.

It seems when mom or dad are extra busy, little people’s behaviors get out of whack. It’s probably part lack of routine and part boredom, but regardless we have all been having meltdowns. Frustrations. And exhaustion.

This is by no means in the top difficulties I’ve faced – it’s actually just a pretty normal life season – but it has had me thinking about rough patches. How we perceive them. And how we use them. Continue reading

What Daniel Tiger taught me

You know how in every Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode there’s a little ditty that drives home the lesson?

Okay, so maybe you’re not as well-versed in this Mister Rogers remake show as I am, but it’s super cute. And yes, in each episode a red-sweatered Daniel Tiger learns something and conveniently has a song to help us remember it (or it just become ingrained in our brains whether we wanted it or not).

Well, there’s one that goes:

“Do your best, your best is the best for you.”

I had it stuck in my head for days after my daughter watched the show. And I realized it’s just as relevant for me as an adult and a mom as it for kids competing in sports or comparing abilities. Continue reading

On Change

When I was a kid, I used to feel frustrated at my parents for what I thought of as their lack of consistency in certain areas.

Looking back, I realize it was stupid little things that bothered me.

Why hadn’t I played one sport that I could excel at all through high school?
Or taken an instrument for years at a time, so that I could really master it?
Why had I hopped around from a private school, to a public school, and finally been homeschooled?
We talked often about moving when I was a kid or about my mom working. I would get used to some of my parents ideas, and then get really disappointed if the idea fell through.

I vowed to run my own family like clockwork.
Consistent schooling, consistent extracurriculars, consistent peers, consistent expectations. No confusion.

It’s all very, very laughable now.

Continue reading

Purging Lesson

Today was the day. I had had enough of the clutter. Namely, my kids clutter.

(Actually, I had had enough weeks ago, but today was the first time a few free hours coincided with my frustration.)

It was too much STUFF. I’m sure you’ve been there.

Now to be fair, we live in a small space. (A very small space, if you don’t know. A 32 foot travel trailer.)

And we are a fairly big family.
(Two parents, 4 kids, 1 Doberman.)

As a result, my tolerance for “stuff” is pretty low.

Continue reading

This pregnancy is not like the other

Our second child is still a few months away from arriving, and I’m already feeling guilty about the lack of attention I’m paying her – at least in comparison to the first little human I grew.

When I was pregnant with our first, I read books and blogs and forums and all the handouts from my midwife. I sat around rubbing my stomach and researching what part of the baby was developing in my womb that week. I looked forward to my appointments, when we would chat about how I was feeling and listen to the heartbeat.

It’s slightly different this time around. Continue reading