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Loving My Actual Christmas Releases Today
Loving My Actual Christmas Releases Today

Hey there. I know. Christmas?! Now? It hit 97 degrees this weekend in Denver, a bit difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. And yet, we’ve switched that calendar day over and we are now officially past Labor Day. Which means we are on one fast slide toward Christmas. What can I tell you about […]



A Mom’s Back to School Reading List
A Mom’s Back to School Reading List

It’s that time of year. Our kids get their back to school supply lists and we remember that August is an expensive month. But don’t you feel a little jealous? Those pencil boxes and Trapper Keepers get me in the mood for something new. A new challenge. New lesson. New reading. Because who are we […]



Join the Loving My Actual Christmas Launch Team! (Applications accepted through August 12)
Join the Loving My Actual Christmas Launch Team! (Applications accepted through August 12)

Who’s ready to be thinking all things Christmas in August?! No one really is I realize. But in just four weeks I have a Christmas book releasing into the world and I’d love a few friends to get in the holiday spirit with me (even if it’s happening in 85 degree weather while sitting poolside.) […]



Loving My Actual Christmas, The Group Leaders’ Guide
Loving My Actual Christmas, The Group Leaders’ Guide

The calendar has changed. And well it means it’s all downhill from here and soon we will be coasting right past Thanksgiving and heading into Christmas. If you’re like me, you’d like to be a planner, but usually you just wish you’d started a little earlier. This post isn’t for us procrastinators. It’s for the […]



Where I’ve Been
Where I’ve Been

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’m sure no one has been dying to know where I’ve been, but maybe those visiting this spot for the first time have found it a bit of a ghost town. And it’s hard to describe in words exactly where I’ve been which is why I’ve been […]



A Mom’s Back to School List for Loving Her Actual Life
A Mom’s Back to School List for Loving Her Actual Life

  I’m always a bit sad when my kids go back to school. In the summer that is. After winter break I am ready for a fresh start. It’s probably part the whole New Year’s resolution fresh start thing, part cabin fever being stuck inside with the frigid cold and lots of chattering children, and […]



Learning to Love My Overwhelmed Self (A guest post and book giveaway)
Learning to Love My Overwhelmed Self (A guest post and book giveaway)

Alex here and I will tell you I’m officially overwhelmed. Yep we still have almost a week of Christmas break left at our house (I mean really nearly 3 weeks of vacation for these kids?!) and I have a book deadline on the 15th. It’s going to be very cold and snowy around here the […]



A Letter to My Daughters on International Day of the Girl
A Letter to My Daughters on International Day of the Girl

The Internet tells me today is International Day of the Girl. Well every day is the day of the girl around here. My 24-hours are filled with waking, clothing, feeding, driving, praying for, rolling my eyes at, arguing with, laughing with and totally loving (perhaps occasionally smothering) my four daughters. And there is much talk […]



Once Upon a Time There Was a Podcast…(An Announcement)
Once Upon a Time There Was a Podcast…(An Announcement)

  This is a real life story that feels a bit like a fairy tale. Because had you told me a few years ago that I would be co-hosting a podcast that I record in my basement guest bedroom, I would have said it was make believe. The story goes something like this: Once upon […]



Using Loving My Actual Life Together (Group Discounts, Skype with the Author, and a Bonus Book )
Using Loving My Actual Life Together (Group Discounts, Skype with the Author, and a Bonus Book )

Summer is full on. (Dare I say half over? I’m writing this in a whisper text because I don’t want it to be true.) Which means it’s time for planning. Because let’s be serious, we all know the year doesn’t begin in January. It begins in September. That’s been true since we were in school […]



Loving My Actual Body This Summer
Loving My Actual Body This Summer

A week ago today I was headed to my 20-year college reunion. I packed my things in my college suitcase, the one I received as a Christmas gift my junior year.  (I know! The same suitcase! So much symbolism. Same bones, but with a few rips and wear and not very fashionable. Pretty much sums […]



Loving My Actual Summer: A Six-Week Series for Moms
Loving My Actual Summer: A Six-Week Series for Moms

It’s Day One around here. Of Summer. My children got out of school on Friday. I’m slightly terrified. Just based on how the weekend went. Sure we had lots of fun. Soccer games and water fights in the backyard with swimming suits and barefeet. And finally church after being gone a month of Sundays. Kind […]



In a world of comparison and discontent, it can feel impossible to be happy with life as we know it. Other people seem to have it all together, to be finding success, to be having more fun. But we weren't meant for a life characterized by dissatisfaction. read more...
Random Thoughts of a Sick Mom

I’m lying in bed as I write this. While my family is at one of the season’s last soccer games (okay so maybe I’m not disappointed to be missing soccer game #326 of this spring.) And I’m in a weird place. A scratchy chest, coughing, piercing headache kind of place. I am flat out sick. […]



How Parenting Has Changed Our Marriage
How Parenting Has Changed Our Marriage

Today we celebrate 18 years of marriage. No romantic dinner tonight. Instead captured glances at the sidelines of a soccer game will have to do. Because we are in the throes of parenting. The busy and the chaos. But we don’t mind. We will snatch our time together somewhere in the next week. So in […]



Let’s Talk This Wednesday
Let’s Talk This Wednesday

  My pastor Steve often refers to a “convo”. It’s a conversation in any form really. From the pulpit, to open mic during a Sunday service, to a coffee date with a friend. It’s always about the back and forth. The sharing and the listening. So let’s have a convo this Wednesday about the new […]



In this entertaining and relatable book, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rekindle her love of her ordinary "actual" life. After wiping her calendar as clean as a mother of four can, Kuykendall focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to more fully enjoy her current season. read more...
A Link-up to Help Us Love Our Actual Lives, One Small Change at a Time

A book came out a few days ago. A book about small changes in the midst of the ordinary. My ordinary. Changes that weren’t earth shattering or revolutionary, but ones that would push me toward enjoying the mundane a little more. Because I didn’t want to wish this one life away, I wanted to relish […]



Defining Success
Defining Success

“What does success look like for you?” My friend Janis asked me this just a few days ago. I was indulging in a whipped cream topped crepe filled with Nutella and raspberry compote because we were celebrating. And I wasn’t in the mood for holding back. In calories or conversation. It’s true Janis is my […]



Join the Loving My Actual Life Book Launch Team  (Applications Accepted through April 9, 2016)
Join the Loving My Actual Life Book Launch Team (Applications Accepted through April 9, 2016)

Hi Friends! I know I’ve dropped some hints. But in case you missed them, I have a new book coming out! Yes, May 3rd! Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me chronicles my nine-month experiment to accomplish exactly what the title says: loving my actual life a little […]



I’m Not A Machine, I’m A Mom
I’m Not A Machine, I’m A Mom

I did a workshop at a little writers’ conference last weekend. The topic for my breakout was Blogging As a Platform. Which, if you look around these parts, you may wonder why I was asked to present on such a subject. My last post was over a month ago, I hardly receive any comments, and […]



What It Means For Me to Be ‘Pro-Life’
What It Means For Me to Be ‘Pro-Life’

Yesterday was a Roe v Wade anniversary. Which means my Facebook feed was talking at me about it from two distinct standpoints: celebration (with a little bit of in your face, we keep winning) and despair (with a little bit of in your face righteousness). This is how the abortion debate has evolved. Black and […]



What if it was my daughter? #1MT
What if it was my daughter? #1MT

“Thumbprints, a defining biometric, prove that every person is as human as the next. They speak to the irreplaceable and unrepeatable nature of a single human life.” –One Million Thumbprints I’m writing this as I snuggle one of my girls into bed. The puppy is in her crate next to us. We have full tummies. […]



When You Didn’t Win the Powerball
When You Didn’t Win the Powerball

The conversation between my husband and my four-year old last night at 5:30: “Daddy can we play on the ipad?” “What did Mommy say?” “She left.” “She’s not here?” “No.” “She left?” “She went to go play a game where you get a ticket and then you win millions and millions of dollars.” On a […]



A Christmas Paper Chain, 25 Activities To Do With Your Kids
A Christmas Paper Chain, 25 Activities To Do With Your Kids

A paper chain. Remember those? Red and green alternating construction paper looped and stapled together to count down the days until Christmas? Since I haven’t done one since my own childhood the thought is part nostalgia, part simplicity of Christmas excitement. And since simplicity and Advent should go together, we’re bringing the paper chain back! […]



Girl Meets Change, A Conversation (And a Book) That Can Help

Change. It’s inevitable. It can be exciting, for a moment. It can be scary, especially as it approaches. It can be exhausting, almost always. And yet we rarely talk about how to maneuver through it. Weeks ago, when I was in the crazy of finishing my book manuscript I had a number of friends who […]



Why This Year My Christmas Service Project is the Non-Project
Why This Year My Christmas Service Project is the Non-Project

  I often speak to MOPS groups. They are my people. Moms who are exhausted and don’t care really what I say because they’re so happy to be eating a plate of food that is still hot when they sit down that they don’t have to share with anyone else. So no matter the topic, […]



Long Time No Post: What I’ve Been Up To
Long Time No Post: What I’ve Been Up To

I’m sure, just sure, you’ve been missing my thoughts around here, am I right? Okay, so maybe you haven’t noticed that I haven’t posted anything for a bit, but it’s because I’ve been busy with all kinds of fun crazy. I finished up my two big work projects for this year. Here is what I’ve […]



Hello, Beauty Full, A Book For Every Woman
Hello, Beauty Full, A Book For Every Woman

I promised on Tuesdays for the next few weeks I’d be adding to the Back to School Reading List For Moms. Well let me introduce you to this gem of a book Hello Beauty Full by Elisa Morgan. Elisa’s written a number of books, countless articles and spoken from many stages where I’ve sat on […]



Reclaiming Home, A Book For Modern Parents
Reclaiming Home, A Book For Modern Parents

  Well it’s officially back to school time. My youngest started preschool last week and now that Labor Day has come and gone, moms all over the country have their school-aged kids working at their kitchen tables or sitting in classrooms learning (hopefully) the magic of reading.   So it seemed fitting that I do […]



To My Friend Who Has Had an Abortion
To My Friend Who Has Had an Abortion

  I have four children. When one of them is upset she can make a ruckus. A loud, whiny, complainy ruckus. And when there is a clashing of ideas of how things should go or did go, often many voices speak at once. There is so much noise I can’t hear the truth. And the […]



The End of Summer and Doing Nothing
The End of Summer and Doing Nothing

  My neighbor made me feel better today.   He stood in our driveway and commented that my kids were making great memories this summer. He noticed how often we’ve been leaving overnight. Our camping gear in and out of the garage. Our blinds pulled for days at a time.   I pictured the scene […]



When Your Baby Turns Four
When Your Baby Turns Four

Yesterday was my youngest’s fourth birthday.* She is my baby in the sense that she is at the end of the family, but I don’t tend to think of her that way because they are all my babies. But yesterday I felt the sting that my “baby” is growing up. Summer at our house is […]



5 Friends I’d Like You To Know (Summer Version)
5 Friends I’d Like You To Know (Summer Version)

About 6 months ago I did a post about 5 friends I think more people should know (and follow in this cyber space world.) If you missed the post, you can find it here because they are truly lovely and I’d like to introduce you. Well it’s right about the smack dab middle of summer […]



A Prayer for Our Country
A Prayer for Our Country

    When I hear the term ‘God Bless America’, I sometimes assume meaning behind it that may or may not be true. That it has a political posturing indicating we are the greatest nation to ever be. As a girl I traveled the world. I learned that Americans, though we can easily convince ourselves […]



I’m Sorry, But I’m Done Apologizing
I’m Sorry, But I’m Done Apologizing

  I’m working on not apologizing.   I attended an event a number of weeks ago for working women. Women In the Mix is in its second year and supports women by helping them explore and manage their own version of the “mix”: family, home management, work, self-care and community. Each of these areas of […]



Summertime For Siblings When There’s An Age Gap
Summertime For Siblings When There’s An Age Gap

The latest issue of MOPS International’s Hello Dearest magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday. And tucked among the articles on friendship was one I wrote for moms of older kids on sibling relationships titled Summer is Sibling Time. Because longer days and more free time makes for a lot of togetherness. (Depending on how your […]



Here’s To All Of The Good Men
Here’s To All Of The Good Men

  Father’s Day is approaching. A hard marker for lots of people for lots of reasons.   I’ve spent the last two days in Kansas City talking demographic trends and though I’ve looked at the numbers before, I’m once again overwhelmed with the percentage of kids living apart from a parent, most often a dad. […]



Why I Put Myself Out There (or Your Details Matter)
Why I Put Myself Out There (or Your Details Matter)

  I spent a good portion of this weekend working. Editing some early chapters of a new book. A book that is well….all about me. Yes it feels like the second book about me which is awkward right? Who wants to read more about this girl? What is there possibly left to say? I could […]



Pretty: A Conversation With Tammy Strait
Pretty: A Conversation With Tammy Strait

I met Tammy Strait in real life last summer when I was on a family vacation visiting my friend Krista in Idaho. Krista and Tammy are neighbors and one day during our trip Tammy and her 3 sons came over for lunch. It was casual yet hardly superficial. Because though we were meeting  face to […]



The Definition of a Hero
The Definition of a Hero

We have celebrities in our lives, people we get giddy when we meet or see in person. But then we have heroes, those people who embody the character and grit we admire. They are the people we emulate because we want to be more like them. They don’t have to be famous, no big twitter […]



It’s The Mother of all Mother’s Day Giveaways
It’s The Mother of all Mother’s Day Giveaways

I love a good deal. And I really love a free deal. And I really, really love moms. And Mother’s Day is THIS Sunday! That said, I’m happy to be joining a whole bunch of other writer-types who also love moms in the Mother of all Mother’s Day Giveaways hosted by Grace for Moms. It’ […]



When You Drop Off Your Kids and Hope Today Isn’t ‘The Day’
When You Drop Off Your Kids and Hope Today Isn’t ‘The Day’

I put on the sweatshirt this morning. The one I was wearing a week ago. I haven’t worn it since last Friday and when I pulled it out of my closet today and over my head, I hoped to claim a new day for it. It’s grey and has a cowl neck (that’s a thing […]



Longing For a Kitchen Table
Longing For a Kitchen Table

As I’ve been preparing to speak at a conference in a few weeks on blogging as a platform, I’ve been thinking much about the idea of the kitchen table. The kitchen table used to be a place to invite your neighbors in to have a conversation. To make a cup of coffee or tea and […]



A Few Things From the Internet This Week (and It’s Only Tuesday)
A Few Things From the Internet This Week (and It’s Only Tuesday)

Derek and I paused our Sunday night Netflix consumption to watch a story on our local NBC station. This story about Purple Door Coffee Shop is filled with Derek’s friends and soon to be partners. Providence Network is in the process of buying a property to house young adults coming off of the streets. They […]



When You Feel More Like the Maid Than the Mom
When You Feel More Like the Maid Than the Mom

All around me there is evidence I have four children. In my house. My car. My garage. Even the stains on my clothes reveal motherhood. Depending on the day, my inner pendulum swings between embracing the mess and resenting every crumb maker in my family. Yesterday I looked at the kitchen floor and saw a […]



Why A Google Exec’s Resignation Is Good For All of Us
Why A Google Exec’s Resignation Is Good For All of Us

I know nothing about Google’s CFO Patrick Pichette except for what he wrote in a memo a few days ago on Google+ announcing his resignation. I’m not one to follow business news, (I know Google helps me find stuff and I use it every day) but I am a sucker for the human interest story. […]



5 Things I’m Giving Up In My Lost Hour
5 Things I’m Giving Up In My Lost Hour

It’s Monday the day after Daylight Saving Time. And though I know yesterday was the first official “spring forward”, the lost hour always seems to get absorbed in the relaxed nature of Sunday. So today is the actual day where I feel the crunch of only 23 hours to spend. Sleep is too precious to […]



March Madness (A Mom’s Version)
March Madness (A Mom’s Version)

How did this happen? That March arrived so soon? When the Christmas tree was just up yesterday? Or at least it seemed. I’m bracing myself for March Madness. There are no brackets involved (though our family’s Google calendar with it’s different color for every member looks as complicated as any bracket out there), no bets, […]



I Wish That I Could Be Like The Cool Kids
I Wish That I Could Be Like The Cool Kids

“I wish that I could be like the cool kids, Like the cool kids they seem to fit in.” Cool Kids, Echosmith The lines from the song get stuck in my head, repeated constantly. Partly because the tune and mostly because the truth resonates. No matter the age, we all want to fit in. Though […]



When Everyday Romance Is Better Than An Oscar
When Everyday Romance Is Better Than An Oscar

By Hollywood’s standards it may not look like much. Because it’s a steady love without a lot of upheaval. It goes to the grocery store together, pays for emergency room visits and once in a while goes on a vacation. It has none of the mystery. By Hollywood’s standards. But by real life standards the […]



What My Husband Does All Day And 50 Shades of Grey
What My Husband Does All Day And 50 Shades of Grey

My husband Derek and I are raising four girls. As far as we’re concerned the four most precious souls that walk this planet. As we parent, our intent is for them to grow up knowing their worth and our prayer is they live with the confidence of loved people. I write today as a mother […]



A Mom’s Guide To Taking Back Valentine’s Day
A Mom’s Guide To Taking Back Valentine’s Day

I’m a sucker for a party with a theme. Since Valentine’s Day is one big red and white, heart-themed event, I’m at risk for going into a dangerous Pinterest fury. Like all of the other wonderful holidays, this one has fallen to the marketing machine where we could each fill our own private landfills with […]



When Fear Keeps You From Being You

It was just a few months ago, typing away in a private Facebook group for an online class, where I used this phrase, “I am a writer.” Our instructor had challenged us as a group to claim the title, writer. For many of my fellow cyber classmates I appeared to have the needed resume, I’ve […]



The New Mommy Wars, Vaccines and White Privilege
The New Mommy Wars, Vaccines and White Privilege

The last week and a half I’ve seen a new conversation, a mommy war of different nuance playing out, that of the mom who has her children vaccinated vs. the mom who does not. In other parenting debates of working vs. non outside the home, schooling choices and discipline styles, I’ve been pretty neutral. I […]



Saying Goodbye to the Bravermans: How Marriage Wins in Parenthood
Saying Goodbye to the Bravermans: How Marriage Wins in Parenthood

I was first introduced to the Bravermans in Season 2. Working for a mothering organization I figured it was important to be up on a major network show called Parenthood. As I sat on the sofa, my legs curled around me, my own kids tucked into bed, I wondered how I’d let an entire season […]



When Silence Screams ‘I Love You’
When Silence Screams ‘I Love You’

Today I have a blog post at MOPS’ Hello Darling blog. I originally titled it When Silence Screams ‘I Love You’ because sometimes when no words are spoken you’re able to more clearly hear the message of care. It’s a story of when friends loved me and my children with actions more than words. And […]



News From the Internet: Daughters, organizing and blogging

The last week I’ve hopped around visiting a few places on the world wide web and in case you missed them (and are interested) here were some of my stops: First, the Hello Darling blog had a piece on one of my favorite things to write and talk about, mothers’ unique role in influencing their […]



I want to “see” you (through my computer)
I want to “see” you (through my computer)

Hi Friends, As a MOPS leader I know Spring semester arrives after the Christmas chaos and we often aren’t sure what to do with all of the meetings ahead. I’m frequently asked to Skype with groups around the world and I love it, but can’t always say “yes” because of my family’s schedule. However, I’m […]



What am I telling her? A mother’s message to her daughters
What am I telling her? A mother’s message to her daughters

“Mom…you don’t have to be perfect!” I sensed a tension in her tone, but I was unsure the reason. Judgment? Disappointment? Recognition of hypocrisy personified right in front of her? My gaze moved from the mirror and landed on this girl standing next to me. This mini-me. This one watching and figuring out what it […]



What if there is no word
What if there is no word

What if you are entering 2015 with no resolutions but survival? Or maintaining the status quo? What if there is no big word to live into? Or the word is something you don’t want to share? Like sobriety? Or grief? Just a shout out that if name it and claim it is not your game […]



Last Minute Christmas Money Savings Tips

In a panic about spending, gifts and Christmas? A few last minute basics on keeping Christmas about more than money. Today at MOPS International’s Hello Darling blog, 5  Tactics to Minimize Money Stress Over the Holidays. And a few ideas I didn’t include there that you can still put into practice this last week as […]



In Case You Missed It @MOPS this week: Kids and “the Gimmees”

Hi Friends! Happy 2 weeks until Christmas! As we hustle and bustle to get our Christmas ordering, shopping, and wrapping done, how do we help our children not go bizerk over their wish lists for Santa?! At the Hello Darling blog I wrote 5 Ways to Help Kids Avoid “the Gimmees” at Christmas. Just a […]



5 Friends I’d Like You to Know
5 Friends I’d Like You to Know

  This feels like one big introduction of friends, a holiday party right here. Because I want you to know these interesting, smart, talented women, and I want them to know you. Some might call this a “Ones to Watch” list, women who are on the rise in their writing and speaking. But I don’t […]



When the news from the other side of the world echoes in your heart

I have a friend at church from South Sudan. She watches the world news through the lens of how will this impact “my country” as she refers to her homeland. I listen to her prayer requests and am reminded what a sheltered, comfortable, American life I lead. My friend’s heart is tethered to South Sudan. […]



Mobile Hospitality
Mobile Hospitality

It had been the end of a difficult stretch. Not of days or weeks – but months. Sick parents and strained bank accounts left my husband, Derek, and me in a perpetual state of exhaustion. Throw in some major life stressors, and the good times weren’t exactly rolling at our house. We needed to be […]



President Obama, Moms, and the Choice to Stay Home

All weekend I’ve been thinking about President Obama’s comments about mothers and the choice to stay home. If you missed this sound bite media frenzy, you can quickly read up on it here. If you are looking for an angry post about why his words were scandalous, you can stop reading now. I’m not writing […]



When Change Happens in a Marriage
When Change Happens in a Marriage

I posted a photo yesterday on Instagram, one of two baby-faced people with the hashtag #childbride to highlight how young and completely different and dorky we looked 17 years ago. We were in our twenties, really not that young, but now looking at the picture it seems we were teenagers, much too fresh to know […]



5 Ways to Let Girls Know They are Beautiful
5 Ways to Let Girls Know They are Beautiful

There are a million reasons plus a million more why I think my daughters are fantastic and straight up beautiful. So I don’t think twice about talking to them about all the parts that make them who they are, like the choices they make, the things they like to play and who they are playing […]



Tell Your Daughter Who She Is, Go Ahead…I Dare You
Tell Your Daughter Who She Is, Go Ahead…I Dare You

I’ve been talking a bit the last week about joining the Daughter Dare that starts Monday, but I haven’t really explained what it is or why you’d want to. So it’s time to cover the basics and get psyched. First, what is the Daughter Dare? Well, my friend who I adore more than almost anyone […]



What it means to Be me, Bravely
What it means to Be me, Bravely

  In a world that screams what I should be, how I should look, what I should wear and how I should spend my time, this is what I choose to believe: I believe that I am…. …made for great things. For rocking babies, holding friends’ hands, praying on behalf of those who can’t mutter […]



Does She Know She’s Beautiful
Does She Know She’s Beautiful

She’s wearing her hair in a side braid today. It falls over her left shoulder. At risk of sounding cliché, I swear she grew taller last night. Her neon yellow shorts accentuate how her legs are almost as long as mine, those legs that were formed in the darkness, swaddled by my hips. She is […]



Back to the ordinary…a mom’s re-entry to life.
Back to the ordinary…a mom’s re-entry to life.

It’s the ordinary, the everydayness of motherhood, that waits for us today. We wake up in our own beds. Exhausted and refreshed at the same time. Four days of travel and laughing and talking for hours and listening for even more. Four days off from our regular routine where we are used in the most […]



A new website – same ole me
A new website – same ole me

A year and a half ago I had a book come out. A book that was my story where I tried to let women know they are not alone in the difficult parts of life and mothering. I figured some people would read and want to connect with me. And so I needed a place […]



Teaching My Children to Be Brave
Teaching My Children to Be Brave

It was one of those days when the details weren’t unfolding as I’d planned. But with each turn, I tried to make the best. Half way through the day I found myself having lunch with three of my four beauties at a Chick-fil-A while our minivan’s tire was replaced. Every unexpected twist afforded stress and […]



You Are Already Living Brave

The presence of fear is not the absence of courage, it is the soil of it. You Are Already Living Brave This post is also featured on the MOPS blog Hello Darling! today. Shhhhhh, it’s okay, Mommy’s here. Words I whisper often in the dark. During a child’s night terror. Or fever. Or middle of […]



35 Steps to (Prepare) to Go Camping with a Toddler
35 Steps to (Prepare) to Go Camping with a Toddler

35 Steps to (Prepare to Go) Camping with a Toddler (Hey friends this post appears today over at the Hello, Darling blog! Comment here and comment there!) Camping. It always sounds like such a good idea when you reserve the campsite in February. You are sure potty training will be successful and done and all […]



Mom Essentials: A Book From Kasey Johnson
Mom Essentials: A Book From Kasey Johnson

Last year at a dinner at MOMcon in Kansas City I found myself sitting next to a new friend, Kasey Johnson. Delightful is truly how I describe her. She is a woman about solutions but with a soft edge that is encouraging not guilt-enducing. I knew I could glean some tips from her and I […]



Walking in the Shadows of Heroes
Walking in the Shadows of Heroes

Sometimes travel takes you to sacred ground, a place you don’t realize is part of you until you arrive. This is a story of one of those places. Where this American girl knew her history was interwoven with the world’s history. From the section Legacy, chapter Heroes from my book The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir […]



Atlas Girl: A Book From Emily Wierenga
Atlas Girl: A Book From Emily Wierenga

It is a true treat to get a preview of something the world will love. That was the case with Emily Wierenga’s new book Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look that releases today. Emily and I have crossed paths in real life and writing life (you can find her […]



Ten Reasons Why Turning Forty is Better Than Turning Thirty
Ten Reasons Why Turning Forty is Better Than Turning Thirty

Ten reasons why turning 40 is better than turning 30 Last week I hit a milestone, well actually a milestone toward a milestone. I hit the month countdown to my 40th birthday. Now in a matter of weeks plus a few days I will have a birthday that honestly I am dreading. Why? I’m not […]



When A Shooting Is In Your Place or How to See the Invisible

There is something as a mother about hearing of a gun in a school. A mother about to send her first baby to middle school. Something that makes my jaw tense and my fingers twitch. I wrote a few weeks ago about the shooting in Santa Barbara. Because of the connection the story had to […]



I Need Some Help Here: Generous Words from Kathi Lipp

Last week Derek and I were invited to a retreat about generosity. I went mostly because it was a night away at the beautiful Glen Eyrie retreat center next to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. For two days a small group of us talked about holding things loosely because everything, EVERYTHING, here and […]



Union Hand in Hand: When sisterhood is forever.

I learned this weekend you can take the girl out of the sorority, but you can’t take the sorority out of the girl I’ve been out of the college life a long time now. Sixteen years of marriage. Four children. Lots of jobs. Those years of pins and letters and secret handshakes are not even […]



Me? That mom? Are you sure?

Me? That mom? Are you sure?




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How I Love My Kids by Loving their Dad

How I Love My Kids by Loving their Dad For Mother’s Day I’m over at the MOPS International blog Hello, Darling writing about how my marriage impacts my kids. It’s impossible for me to separate my mothering from my marriage, it’s all part of my family.



A new day. A new me.: Women in the Mix Event

A new day. A new me. Yesterday I attended a one-day event in Denver for women juggling work and family. Right from the beginning the event’s planners said they’re opposed to the notion of ‘balance’. That instead, they frame life in terms of “mix”. Women have a mix of work, family, interests and that everyone’s […]



It’s Friday….but Sunday’s Coming!
It’s Friday….but Sunday’s Coming!

It’s Friday…but Sunday’s Coming! There are some weeks when life goes according to plan. No one in the family is sick, there aren’t any snow cancellations and we move forward with all of the things we use to fill our days. And then there’s the opposite. The weeks when life is derailed, We’re not in […]



A Prayer on National Siblings Day

Happy National Siblings Day: A Prayer for Sisters It’s National Siblings Day, at least that’s what Honest Toddler tweeted and Google just confirmed. And today like almost every day I, an only child, consider what it means to raise a houseful of siblings. Do I let them fight it out? Push for apologies? Demand sharing? […]



The Bad Mom Persona

The Bad Mom Persona Writing over at MOPS about what we say when we say we’re bad moms.



A Prayer for the Day After Valentines Day

A Prayer for the Day After Valentine’s Day It’s a red and pink hangover With expectations met, but mostly not               Where we confess we want more love – more perfect love. Instead we got boxes of sugar marketed as chocolate, stuffed animals that serve no purpose and lots of questions about why one day […]



PURE Escape 2014

The PURE Escape Tarrytown, New York March 8 and 9 A retreat for women. I will be there. I’d love for you to be there with me. But you must register TODAY. Just click above to make it happen.



One of Those Days

One of those days. Ever have one? One of those days where your insecurities are flaring and you feel like a flag flapping in the wind, every gust snapping you back and forth with a crack that hurts? Yeah, me too. Today is one. And I’m not sure what to do about it. I know […]



A Christmas Pageant for a Broken World

A Christmas Pageant for a Broken World Last night I stood in the wings, the kind created in a living room with a sheet held up by a cord as curtains delineating where the stage ended and the audience began. I watched kids in costumes with halos and crowns and robes and ropes play out […]



Blossoms of Light: A Guest Post

  Today while I’m visiting the Great White North, my friend Annie Rim is visiting here again with some reflections on today’s Advent readings. You can find more of her writing at http://annierim.wordpress.com/. Today’s reading is John 3:16-21. The Denver Botanic Gardens hold a special place in the story of our young family. Frank and […]



Many Lights

Many Lights Today’s reading from 1 John 1:4-7 And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while […]



A Totally Imperfect Advent, Part 2

A Totally Imperfect Advent Part 2 So I set out to write every day about the daily readings for Advent that I’m following. And this weekend I failed. Last week’s theme for the readings centered on preparation. And this weekend I was preparing for Christmas in the tangible sense. Cutting down a tree, decorating it, […]



A Hike in the Dark. A Guest Post.

Today my friend Erin Schue is taking a risk and sharing her thoughts on our daily Advent readings here. My sister in mothering this is a story from her pre-mommy days. A story about being lost. ” Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you.  Walk by the light you have […]



My solution to not liking to read my Bible.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.” Psalm 119:105-106 I confess I’ve never been much of a Bible reader. I’ve struggled with keeping my mind on the words in front of me. I […]



Home

  Today’s reading is Psalm 27:1-4 Here is a snippet “I’m asking God for one thing, Only one thing: To live with him in his house My whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet.” Psalm 27:4 I’ve spent a lot of time in my house in the last week. There […]



When Christmas hurts. Then what?

Give me your lantern and compass,    give me a map,So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,    to the place of your presence,To enter the place of worship,    meet my exuberant God,Sing my thanks with a harp,    magnificent God, my God. Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?    Why are you crying the blues?Fix my eyes […]



Preparation: Joy, Peace and Confident Hope

I mentioned early on that I am doing these Advent readings with my friends from my home MOPS group at Celebration Community Church in Denver. A group of us committed to reading a tiny bit of Scripture every day leading up to Christmas to keep our hearts close to the miracle that marks this holiday. […]



A Prayer to Be Sent

Today’s reading: Isaiah 6 Here is a portion. “Look. This coal has touched your lips. Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out.” And then I heard the voice of the Master: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” I spoke up, “I’ll go. Send me!” Isaiah 6:7-8 My prayer: Lord send me when […]



Promises, expectations and Christmas perfection

Today’s reading Jeremiah 33:14-16 It’s all about promises kept. Promises that took a long time to fulfill. But eventually kept. I listened to the Doc McStuffins Christmas special as I made dinner this week. Girls curled up in front of the TV, totally happy to be listening to a conversation between the beloved girl who […]



The Life-Light

There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light. John 1:6-9 (The Message) I now understand why […]



I (mostly) don’t understand

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in […]



Watching

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the […]



A Totally Imperfect Advent

  So it’s Day 2 of Advent already (and the day is more than half over) and I’m already feeling behind. That behind feeling is creating stress, which is EXACTLY what I’m wanting to avoid this Christmas season. You see this year, I am NOT pregnant, I am NOT nursing a baby, I am NOT […]



Five Minute Friday: FLY (The Fear of What Might Happen)

She asked me today about the airplanes, the ones that crashed into the buildings. I knew what she was talking about. Those twin towers that I never paid any attention to until they weren’t there anymore. They came down before I knew she would ever be real, before her big sister was even in my […]



It’s Game Day or Returning from MOMcon

I stood up, grabbed my bags from under the seat in front of me and said, “It’s game time.” We were ending our plane conversation when I said the words. Me and my row-mate wearing his Kansas City Chiefs sweatshirt. It was a Sunday in October, so game day pride was shown all over our […]



Getting Ready for Amazing

One week from now I will be in Kansas City ready for Amazing to happen. In the meantime I’m emailing, packing, writing lists, making phone calls, buying food, buying earrings and double checking babysitters. It’s been quiet around here lately because I’m getting read for Amazing. See you at MOMcon.



Faith Is Believing When You Don’t Have All The Answers: A post on (in)courage

Today again I am honored to have The Artist’s Daughter featured on the (in)courage.me site. Talking about the things that make us question our faith. And that really faith is about NOT having all of the answers. Please come visit there and join the discussion.



Because I Loved You: A post on (in)courage

There are some things I can’t believe. Like I have four kids. That they’re all girls. That I wrote a book. And that communities of readers and writers like the ones at incourage.me are telling other people to read what I’ve written. Today the (in)courage site is holding a give away of The Artist’s Daughter […]



Sometimes The Church Is Doing Things Right

The Church is not a place you go, but a community united in spirit, the Holy Spirit. And I often join the bandwagon about what the Church, the body of believers who claim to follow Jesus, is doing wrong. Even that phrase “claim to follow Jesus” implies I doubt they truly are. The Church should […]



The Best Kind of Dog

It might be over eighty degrees today. No matter. We are ready for fall around here. And whenever there is any discussion about what types of dogs are good with kids I never hear statue dogs. I highly recommend.



Sleeping Beauties: An Interview with Dr. Tim Jordan (Part 2 of 2)

We pick up here for the second part of my interview with Dr. Tim Jordan, a seasoned pediatrician, who has worked with teenage girls for much of his practice. He has a new book: Sleeping Beauties, Awakened Women, Guiding the Transformation of Adolescent Girls. He asked me to review it and my review consisted of […]



Sleeping Beauties: An Interview with Dr. Tim Jordan (Part 1 of 2)

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MOPS, A Place Where We Take Care of Each Other (and a membership giveaway)

I am thrilled to be giving away a MOPS membership here on my blog today! Why? Because being part of a MOPS group has CHANGED my life. It really has. My first years of motherhood were shaped in so many ways by the women who loved me in MOPS. The skills I gained by leading […]



Girls and Marketing: In Defense of LEGO Friends

A year ago I was asked to do a workshop on raising girls for an audience of mothers with kids in the preschool years. There is lots of information out there about raising girls, but the books and advice really focus on tweens and older since that’s when most of us parents start panicking about […]



A Post You Will Only Find if You Come Looking For It

I want to be a writer. To put down words that capture the essence of something so difficult to put your hands around. To make the intangible, tangible through black and white and little letters and fonts. And I have so little time to do it. To write. Because I have so little time to […]



One Week Left of Summer – Time to Get Serious About Fun

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An open letter to my surprise baby.

This letter was originally posted six months ago on the MOPS International blog (MOPS.org/mom). Baby Giulianna has her second birthday tomorrow. It turns out she’s not a baby anymore. All of the sudden she’s a walking, talking, foot stomping, independent girl. And she is still a surprise to me. That she is here. And the […]



Why I cry in the grocery store checkout line.
Why I cry in the grocery store checkout line.

  It’s not unusual for me to cry in the grocery store checkout line. By the time I get to that point in the shopping trip I am trying to push a cart weighted down with food for a family of six with one hand, while wrestling a kicking toddler with the other. I’m throwing […]



The In Between

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And then one day I was on Simple Mom

If you are visiting here because you saw me on Tsh’s site SimpleMom.net, thanks for clicking over to find out more. More about me. More about the book I just had published. The truth is I didn’t set out to write a book. And I certainly didn’t set out to write a book all about […]



Book Clubs and the NOT Bummer Summer

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When courage doesn’t look like courage

She stood on the side of the pool, goggles on, swim cap tight, shivering and crying. Pathetic. Skinny. Meek. Might all be words that described how my eight-year old appeared. She stepped off the side of the pool and dropped feet first into the water. And then swam, arms flapping, slapping the water making waves […]



When Prayer is All You Can Do and It Actually Matters

I used to think “I’ll pray for you” was such an empty phrase. A recognition that I can’t really do anything that will change this situation, but I need to say something, so I’ll say this. It sounded hollow. Self-centered almost. Definitely ineffective. I was in the camp that you must do in order to […]



Song

Today I’m linking up again with the Five Minute Friday crowd. We all write for 5 minutes on  a word, no editing, just write and publish. This week’s word: Song. Song. Go. I had to look it up on my iphone, what was it? It had been so long. There it was, I did remember, […]



A Mom’s Celebrity Valentine’s Day Mailing List in May

I’m having a difficult time knowing what to say on this blog. (Tell me people what you want to hear. I know you can’t leave comments right now, so send me a message via twitter or facebook or the email feature here, you know how to find me.) To fight my writer’s block I’m using […]



Funny that my first post should be titled Comfort when it’s not comfortable at all

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Welcome!

You’ve come here I suspect because you’ve heard about a book that came out in April. A book about me. Crazy, I didn’t intend to write a book, much less a book unfolding parts of my life story, but here it is released. I’m humbled and grateful and surprised and overwhelmed that you would find […]



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