I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

30 Sep

she’s gone …

She’s gone. Not gone, gone. But definitely, sorta, kinda gone. For two weeks now. And you know what? We’re doing okay.

Taylor & I on her first day of 2nd grade {I couldn’t find a kindergarten photo}.
And us a few minutes before I drove away, leaving her in Savannah.

Leading up to her departure, I kept thinking I must be in some kind of denial, because I felt like I wasn’t as sad as I should be. Over the last couple of years, I’d often wonder how I would react when it was time for her to leave. I wasn’t really sure if I’d be grief-stricken, or if I could gently let her go.

I’ve heard of, and personally seen mothers who are emotionally distraught for days – weeks even – when their children leave for college. I could get all philosophical and offer some deep thinking theory about helicopter parents who find their identity in their children. And others could argue those parents might just love their children more than those who can easily let them go.

But when I would think about Taylor leaving for college, I really never pictured myself emotionally distraught when the time came.

I was never a parent who cried when kindergarten started, or ended. Or they graduated one milestone or another. I would see other moms all weepy and … well … emotional … and I would secretly wonder if there was something wrong with me. Why didn’t I love my girls as much as those mothers loved their children? Surely if I was a good mom and loved them enough, I would be feeling more emotion over these milestones?

And then a deep discussion a couple of years back, with my good {and wiser than the wisest of wise-owls} friend Terrie, put it all into perspective for me.

She wasn’t a mom who got all weepy and emotional either. And she put into words for me, what I never could.

The reason she doesn’t respond to milestones in an emotionally distraught way, is because her excitement – for them – over the next milestone, far outweighs any sad emotion for the milestone they’re currently leaving.


Yes!! That’s it exactly!

Not in a way that I’m wishing their childhood away. But as they leave one milestone and prepare to enter another, I can’t help but feel excited for the new opportunity and growth I know they’ll be experiencing.

And so it was with Taylor leaving for college.

Here’s what I posted on Instagram the night I got home from Savannah:

i put the final touches to her apartment and made the long drive home. we both did better than i thought … just a few tears, and we pretty much chatted my whole drive home. we can be in the same house and use our phones to communicate. so I’m going with that. it’ll be like she’s in her bedroom texting or calling, and I’m in the kitchen getting dinner ready. there’s nothing wrong with pretending, right?

the thing is, right or wrong, for better or worse … taylor and I have been everything to each other these last few years. we didn’t have anyone else, and leaned on each other. without a spouse, companion, or best friend … she’s kinda been my everything. that person I count on at the end if the day to spill everything about my day. single moms of older teens, you must know what I’m talking about?

with taylor leaving, my daughter left, but I’ve also lost my companion and best friend. I’m going to miss her … so much … but outweighing any sadness for myself is the absolute, deep-down joy I feel for her! I am thrilled she is starting this next chapter of her life. a chapter full of wonder and possibility. the world is hers for the taking and I can’t wait to watch her soar!

taylor tried out for the scad equestrian team this morning. she found out this afternoon she made the team and she’s already had a team meeting tonight. to think back just a year ago and how uncertain her future was … to today and seeing her dreams start to come true. what a true testament to God’s promises in our lives.

tay … I’m a broken record … but I love you dearly and simply couldn’t be any prouder of you. congratulations on where you are right now, at this very moment in your life. take it in and celebrate how far you’ve come my girl.

It’s true. We had a few tears, we are going to miss each other. We have a deep, deep connection and bond {that I’m forever grateful for}, and it is going to be hard to not have her near me each day. But my excitement for her FAR, FAR outweighs any sadness I feel for myself.

Taylor deserves to have this beautiful next chapter in her life. She’s worked hard for it, and it’s finally here. How can I be anything but full-of-joy for her?!

And seriously, we’ve talked non-stop since she’s been gone. Endless texts each day – sprinkled with a few urgent phone calls – and it’s like she’s never left. Except I can’t hug her. That part we don’t like very much at all. Taylor‘s a girl who definitely needs her hugs.

So there you have it. A few people have asked how I’m doing, how I’m holding up, and that they’re praying for me. I’m so thankful to have you all in my life, and I’m eternally grateful for your love and prayers!

The short answer to how I’m doing? I’m really okay! My heart swells with joy each time I think of Taylor following her life path and dream. Sadness = 2 vs. Joy = 98 … those are odds I can live with!

All that to say … I’ve only called the police once to check in on her! True story. I wish it weren’t. But it is.

Stop back on Thursday and I’ll share my story of being that mom!

Posted in parenting, taylor

7 May

mom series interview

I interrupt my unscheduled silence to bring you a recent interview I was honored to participate in. When Christa asked if I’d consider answering a few questions on motherhood for a series she was doing, I rather jumped on the opportunity!

I hope you’ll stop by to read the other interviews as well. Soooo good!

Posted in guest post, parenting

22 Nov

the lord looks at their hearts

Join me this month as I share my thoughts on why it’s so very important to know who your children are. God’s created them individually unique and I believe it’s our responsibility as parents to dig deep into understanding their hearts and uniqueness.

And if you haven’t been to the new Mothers of Daughters site yet, I encourage you to browse through the beautiful encouragement and timeless truths so important in raising godly women in today’s world.

Posted in guest post, modsquad, parenting

11 Nov

bundle of the week :: christian parenting

Bundle #46: Christian Parenting

This week’s bundle includes encouragement for the weary mom, practical parenting tips and devotions to help you focus your heart even from the trenches of parenthood.

Get all five of these ebooks at a discount of more than 70% off:

Parenting from the Overflow by Teri Lynne Underwood
In Parenting from the Overflow, Teri Lynne offers a biblically-based framework for living in the abundance God has for each of us…and modeling that life for our children.Rather than focusing on tips and techniques, she explores how our lives can overflow with qualities such as love, patience, grace, and courage — all rooted in God’s work in us, not our efforts or abilities. This is a practical and encouraging ebook, filled with honest stories from her own journey of learning to lean into God so the overflow of Him pours onto those around her.

Devotions, Advice & Renewal for When Motherhood Feels Too Hard by Kelly Crawford
Motherhood is hard. That’s a fact. It’s labor-intensive, requiring the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of women who know much of their labor will not receive earthly accolades. Mothers are the “wind beneath the wings” of the next generation. If a group of people needs encouragement and help, it’s the mothers of our day! Kelly’s Devotions, Advice & Renewal for When Motherhood Feels Too Hard is a book you will want to read over and over, written in small snippets for daily renewal. It is refreshing and inspiring, casting a vision for motherhood you may have never known and offering practical “survival tips” for the overwhelmed mom.

The Heart of Simplicity by various authors
Today’s typical lifestyle is marked by busyness, consumerism, and stress. We, as women, often complain that there’s not enough time to “do it all.” Do we suffer from a lack of time? No. We suffer from a lack of eternal perspective. How we invest our time on earth will impact eternity in a million ways. In The Heart of Simplicity, more than a dozen Christian women share their experience simplifying their lives from the inside out to build homemaking foundations focused on Christ. When we are faithful to focus on what is truly essential in our homemaking, we can build an eternal legacy…one simple day at a time.

Refuel Your Inner SuperMom by Rosann Cunningham
Refuel Your Inner SuperMom offers practical advice and encouragement for the mom who strives to do and be her best but who, due to the often overwhelming chaos of life, has simply lost her focus, her motivation and her groove. Take the journey with Rosann as she shares the depths of her heart and her own failures in motherhood, marriage and life, while taking positive, intentionally focused steps to getting her SuperMom groove back. This isn’t your average “How to Become SuperMom” book; it’s written and designed in a way that allows it to be more of a journey of self-discovery and intentionally focused lifestyle change — for the better. And all for the glory of God.

The Family Table by Arabah Joy
The Family Table is a beautifully designed ebook packed with over 50 ideas, activities, games, and recipes to spark intimacy, connection, laughter, service, hospitality, and making memories as a family. Arabah gives you a sneak peek into what other families are doing to revolutionize their time around the family table as well as the tools you need to approach your mealtimes intentionally as well.

The Christian Parenting bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 11/18. Get yours today!

Posted in parenting, resources

23 Aug

why i wanted her to get a {first place} ribbon …

Wynter’s been riding for about ten months now. And really, she’s come a long, long way in a short period of time. Starting out as a timid eight-year-old afraid to hurt the pony she was on. She {like her older sister, Taylor} has what’s referred to as “soft hands” when they ride. They hold the reins very gently and don’t pull on the pony’s mouth.

Problem is, the pony — much like children — need to know who’s in control or they can’t do what’s expected of them.

And while soft hands are definitely better than being rough and possibly hurting your pony or making him cranky {who wants to be sitting helplessly on top of a 1000 lb. cranky animal?!}, there’s a time and place for being firm and letting him know he has to listen to you.

Wow! this does sound a lot like parenting, doesn’t it?

Anyway. Wynter’s been taking lessons 3-4 times a week this past summer. And if you follow me on Instagram, you know she’s done a fair amount of showing this summer as well.

When showing, Wynter started out doing “walk/trot” classes and hadn’t moved up to the next level.

Granted, we were still looking for just the right pony for her — she’s ridden and tried, six different mounts in the past ten months — it takes a bit to bond with your pony, especially at this age and level of riding. It’s not easy to just get on any ol’ horse and become an amazing team off the bat.

But hallelujah! The heavens opened about four weeks ago, and down came just the right pony for Wynt!

Wellllll … two shows ago, Wynter was signed up for two days of walk/trot classes. If I’m remembering right, it was her first show with the new pony who goes by the name of Spanky. I honestly don’t remember what place she got, but I do remember being disappointed she didn’t place better.

I stood at the fence jealous of the girl who got the blue ribbon. And then I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and even a little shocked at my feelings! What was going on with me?

I was really disappointed in Wynter.

If she ever wanted to move up to the next level of classes … walk/trot and … wait for it … canter! then she’d have to step it up.

That night in the hotel I had a talk with her. It was one of those fine-line kind of talks. I didn’t want to shame her, but I needed to know what was going on.

If a lackluster performance was all she wanted to give, then her 3-4 times a week lesson {at her request} probably weren’t necessary and we could go down to once a week. Not to mention, she probably doesn’t need to do all these shows if her heart really isn’t in it.

And for the record, if that’s what she wanted, I was totally fine with that. I’m really not that mom who pushes my kids into things they don’t want to do. On the other hand, when I know it’s something they DO want to do and are passionate about it, then I’m there to give them an encouraging nudge when they need it.

And that’s at the heart of what I needed to find out from Wynter. I had to think of a way to put the above thoughts into a tender talk for my sensitive girl, so I could find out where her heart and mind were. Through our talk, she assured me she loves riding and wants to continue to grow in it. I believed her and told her I’d do whatever I could to let her know I supported her.

Well, wouldn’t you know? That night, her trainer texted to ask if Wynter would want to move up to the walk/trot/CANTER class the next day. She’d be the third entry and it’d be good practice for her. I asked Wynter if she’d like to do it and she said she was ready!

As I stood at the fence watching her the next day, my heart bubbled over with happiness and pride.

Within the walk/trot and walk/trot/canter classes, there are three different rides and they’re judged three different times {looking for something specifically different in each ride that I won’t bore you with right now}.

In her first two rides, she got third place both times and y’all, I was beaming! Here’s the thing though … did you catch this? When she decided to enter this class, she was the third entry. Which meant there were only three riders in the class. Which means her third place ribbon was actually last place.

But I was beaming. Truly. I was so proud of my girl!

And then I figured it out. It wasn’t a first place ribbon I wanted her to get. I wanted to see her doing her very best. And when I knew she wasn’t “bringing it,” I was disappointed.

In their previous school, the girls used to get what was called an effort grade. So they got their letter grade, but then they also got an effort grade. So technically, they could get a D. But they could get an A as their effort grade.

Meaning, they could get a blue ribbon in effort … even though they scored a D.

As I watched Wynter that day, I realized she “brought it!” And even though she placed last, she had a blue ribbon effort.

And truly, isn’t that all we want to see in our children? To see they’re putting forth their best blue ribbon effort?

As Wynter finished the last of her three classes and the riders lined up, backs facing the judge, and the winners were announced, I was amazed to hear Wynter got second place. She brought it indeed. Her hard work paid off and she was determined. She wanted it, and she got it.

And for that, I couldn’t be more proud of her!

Am I the only one? Can anyone relate to wanting to see their children do their very best?

As a side note, at her last show she moved up to crossrails … say what?!?! I’ll share more on that soon! :)

Posted in parenting, riding, wynter