This too shall pass, eventually!

The good news is I am on the mend. The bad news is I was suffering from kidney stones. I can not adequately explain the pain those little suckers cause. I would gladly give birth to another baby rather than experience that kind of torture. In other words it hurts, bad.

I was going along in life just fine when wham my knees buckled with a familiar pain. My body instantly went into shock. I spiked a fever, my body shook, and I was nauseous. I went to the ER immediately. They have magical drugs there. A CT scan confirmed two evil spawns disguised as kidney stones were making their way through my *ahem* system.

I spent the next few days guzzling water, peeing, taking pain meds and sleeping. Mr. C, bless his heart, was amazing. I don’t even know what all went down but I know I woke next to filled prescriptions, the kids made it to and from school, homework was done and everyone was fed.

I repaid my families show of compassion by almost ruining Halloween. I let pride run rampant throughout my thoughts. I skipped a few doses of pain meds and told myself if I just suck it up I can take the kids trick or treating. Never mind the fact I could barely get out of bed, let alone walk around a neighborhood because I was somehow going to do the impossible.

When the pain became intolerable and I knew I had to raise the white flag, I called Mr. C, who was at work, and told him I was the worst mother ever and threw a first class pity party. I was spiraling deep. He reassured me it would all work out. He called a few minutes later and told me to take my meds and tell the kids to get dressed. His mommy was coming to our rescue.

True to our last-minute nature, the teenager looked up Halloween ideas on Pinterest and the kids put together costumes using items on hand. They worked as a team and without an ounce of my help. I am in awe of the character they showed that day. They even made sure to snap a picture of them as a football player, witch and scarecrow.


When I surrendered myself to the situation I reached out to some friends. They had welcomed our family to their house for dinner and trick or treating in our old neighborhood. I made them aware of the situation and they welcomed my mother in law in my place. Mr. C met up with them right after work and Halloween was saved.

Who knew the world didn’t revolve around me?

The stones eventually did pass and life has moved on. I will forever be thankful for my people and of course, pain meds.

It’s NOT the Thought That Counts

.Dear Self,

James 1:22 tells us to be doers of the word not only hearers and James 2:17 tells us faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead proving it is not the thought that counts

It’s time to start being intentional about your actions. It’s time to stop over thinking and start doing! I mean seriously how hard is it to send a text telling someone you were thinking of them, or buying a gift card while you were out and give it away, or double your dinner recipe and take a meal to someone, or look someone in the eye and say hello, or invite your friends over for dinner, write a note of encouragement to your waiter along with a little something above the normal tip, or pick your kids up early from school to go get ice cream and talk, or send an extra treat in your kids lunch so they can share with a friend, or say hello to the neighbor before rushing inside, or put the freaking phone down and be in the memory instead of instagramming it!

Perhaps just as important, for the love of Taco Tuesday, would you please just get over yourself already. No one cares if your handwriting is messy, it doesn’t matter if you are a mediocre cook at best, it doesn’t matter if your house is not housekeeper clean, it doesn’t matter if you are in a hurry, it doesn’t matter if you miss that perfect pic that will just be forgotten in your iPhone photo album, it doesn’t matter if they don’t say hello back, it doesn’t matter if it takes twice as long, it doesn’t matter if you miss that show, game, or twitter chat. Do you what does matter? Your actions!


A better version of you!

Miscarriages, They Happen.

Today is National Pregnancy and Loss Remembrance Day.  Although I have written a blog post or two about my own miscarriage it is a subject I shy away from in my everyday life.  Today my friend Jana wrote about her own story over at Jana Says and reminded me it’s okay to “grieve openly, that “miscarriage” is not a dirty word.”    We are not alone!

Here is my story:

On October 18, 2000 I miscarried. I had only been dating my future husband for three months when I discovered I was pregnant. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I could possible be pregnant. I was talking to a girl at work, who was pregnant, and she was describing how she felt in the beginning. Panic encompassed my body. That night I bought every over the counter pregnancy test known to man kind and they were all positive.

My dad died suddenly six months prior to discovering my pregnancy. Antidepressants, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers and alcohol had become my crutch. For the first time since then, I was sober. I did all the responsible things like go to the doctor, take prenatal vitamins, etc but I did NOT want to be pregnant. I was scared and ashamed.

I cried everyday. I was finally able to mourn my dad and dealing with the thought of bringing a baby into this world with a man I had only been dating for three months. Then one day my slight spotting turned into knee buckling pain. I found myself sitting in a pool of my own blood unable to stand. My future husband took me to the hospital and after nearly passing out at the check in I was admitted.

He called my best friend and when she arrived he left. She stood by my side as they pumped me with morphine and my miscarriage was complete. I remember being handed a pamphlet and being told, “ We don’t know why it happened, it happens” and was sent home. It was like I had some sort of common virus or allergic reaction.

I felt guilty. After all I didn’t want to be pregnant to begin with and I cried (and I mean cried) everyday. The hardest part not only getting pregnant at the same time as my sister but we had shared the same due date.  As fate would have it, I was in the room with her when she delivered my niece. I was very aware that I should have been having a baby too

At the time of my nieces birth I was two months pregnant. Yup, four months after I miscarried I was pregnant again and life went on. The thing is no one really talks about miscarriages. Plenty of woman admit to having them and they are often one liners in part of our personal stories (myself included) but nothing more is discussed.

I have never forgotten the date or the pain associated with that day. I struggle when I am in a group of woman (or even my husband) and we are talking about our pregnancies. I will say things like, “The first time I was pregnant…” and they assume I am talking about my daughter Karisa. The only reason I am writing this today is because there are other women in this world who need to know that they are not alone.

In 2013 I wrote a Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness series. I asked other women to participate. These are their stories:

Christine’s Story

Jackie’s Story

Jennifer’s Story


Take a Break and Get a Little Rest

take a break scripture

Writing for 31 straight days is hard. This is the second year I have attempted and failed early on.

My emotions have been all over the place. A few days ago I was convinced I should shut it all down. I planned on unplugging from a world where my failure was obvious to anyone who clicked on my little blog. Honestly, I’m embarrassed and want to hide. Self doubt and criticism run rampant and take over my mind.

Those dark moments are countered with glimpses of hope. I’m given encouragement in unexpected places. My mind quiets just long enough to hear the holy spirit remind me to stay the course., run my own race. My heart will cause my passion to spark my dwindling flame and I’m all in again.

This type of internal struggle between my mind and heart is real. It is exasperated by my depression. The truth is this cycle of depression has been harder than normal. It’s the worse it has been in a couple of years. I was on the verge of needing to be medicated, again.

I’m not an expert on the subject. I can’t explain why I am on the mend out of seemingly nowhere but I am. I do know that I continue to deal with cycles of depression knowing at some point there will be light. Some cycles just last longer than others. However, I continue to beat myself up for all of the things I intend to accomplish or the person I want to be but am interrupted by my mental illness.

Depression is a fact of my life. It is not something I can pretend doesn’t exist. I’m not sad about anything nor do I need to need to think happy thoughts. What I need to do is take a break and rest a little.

I need to understand this disease is bigger than I am. I need to acknowledge the lies it tells and put my trust in the Lord. I need to know it is okay to push pause on my ambition, passion, dreams, life and focus on getting well.

I will not give up. I will continue to run the race that was set before me. I will not be ashamed of my setbacks. I will not allow my mental illness diagnosis to be an excuse. I will instead use it to bring glory to God, the author and creator of my story. He is my redeemer and savior.

Honor You Father and Mother

Day Seven of the #Write31Days Challenge: 31 Days of Living Out Scripture

honor scripture

I was sitting at a Women of Faith conference when, in reference to God’s word, I heard Patsy Clairmont say, “You don’t have to understand it. You have to obey it!” I felt like I had been hit in the gut. The words stung my heart. An “it” I resist obeying is the command to honor your father and mother. It’s easy for me to ignore because my dad is dead and my mom left when I was seven. However, when Patsy spoke those words, I immediately thought of my parents.

When I was six years old my mom called while I was at my dads house. I called her by her first name, intentionally being disrespectful. My dad quickly told me, “You are to call her mom. She is your mother and will always be your mother. You will respect her.” I’m thirty five years old and I remember that scolding vividly. After my mom left, my dad never once spoke a negative word about my mom, nor did he allow us to.

Then I left home and let the world shape my beliefs. By worldly standards I have every right not to honor my mom. After all, she abandoned her first five children and played no role in our upbringing; she has tortured me emotionally with evil words countless times, and battles a drug addiction. I listened to the lies of the world. “She is not a real mother.” “She stopped being your mom the minute she walked out of your life.” “She does not deserve your love.” I let the lies consume me… until I became a follower of Christ.

I have walked down the very long road of forgiveness and the majority of time I am at peace with the grievances I have with my mom. My story of forgiveness will need to be told another day but know it was filled with failure, hurt, tears, hope and redemption. We still do not have a relationship, but instead have limited contact for the safety of my children. I have consumed myself with focusing on obeying God’s command of forgiveness so much so that I made it okay to sweep the whole honor your mother thing under the rug.

To forgive means to pardon or excusing an offense without extracting a penalty. Honor means to give great respect or hold in high regard. Do you see the difference?

That brings me to  a few  years ago on September 27. I was watching the show Parenthood with my husband. An overbearing mother was being depicted. I instantly reverted to my childhood. Growing up, my friends would gripe that their moms were too nosy, didn’t understand, or too controlling. You know the typical mother/daughter conflicts. Little did they know I yearned to have that mom because mine was not around. As those memories resurfaced, the date suddenly popped into my head. It was my moms birthday. I remembered the words, “You do not have to understand it. You have to obey it.”

I picked up my phone and I sent my mom a text that simply said, “Happy Birthday .” To which she responded, “…thank you so much, you bring tears of joy to my eyes. I love you.” I was so conflicted in that moment. Truthfully, I was angry because I don’t remember her once calling me on my birthday. Not once. It’s not fair that I should bring joy to this person who’s never brought me anything but heartache? The truth is life is not fair. Do I understand? Nope, not at all. If I dwell on my need to understand “it” I give Satan a foothold. If I obey “it” as God commanded, I am bringing Him glory.

Is there something in God’s word that you resist obeying because you do not understand it?

Give Thanks in All Circumstances



Day Six of the #Write31Days Challenge: 31 Days of Living Out Scripture give thanks scripture

Whenever I am struggling with having a thankful heart I am reminded of two things. 1.) The book One Thousand Gifts and 2.) 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

One Thousand Gifts will slowly transform your heart. I continually reap the benefits from putting what the author, Ann, calls Eucharisteo into practice. We know that we are to give thanks and praise. That we are to rejoice always but we don’t always grasp how to put that into practice. Especially when we are called to give praise and be joyful for the mundane task of being a housewife.

The book recounts her journey after she accepts a dare to write down one thousand gifts. In other words a dare to find joy and be thankful for the life she is living right now. It was refreshing to read her honest struggle with everyday life while working out the demons of her past. I think we can all relate to being in prayer with God and feeling refreshed only to find ourselves moments later screaming at your children. No? Only Me?

I will be honest. It took me a really long time to read this book and I even tried to give up a few times. Her writing was not easy for me to follow. She tangles her words together like poetry causing my soul to search out the meaning. Being forced to slow down to decipher and enjoy the beauty of the story was not what I had signed up for. I suppose that is the whole point of the book right? To slow down and enjoy life right now.

She is constantly reminded throughout the book that thanksgiving always precedes a miracle. She discovers it is impossible to be truly thankful without feeling joy. Is this what being in constant prayer feels like? Even in the mundane we are to give thanks for the clothes made dirty by healthy and spirited kids, dishes used because we have food to nourish our bodies and a house to clean because we have shelter. Is this contentment?

Years after reading the book I still find my heart searching for my own desire to be in constant thanksgiving. I challenge you to join me in our own dare to write down one thousand gifts from our everyday life. Let’s slow down and take in the world around us. Open our eyes to give thanks and receive joy.

Do you have a gratitude journal?

Do you struggle with finding joy in the mundane?

Will you accept the One Thousand Gifts challenge?


The Secret of Being Content

Day Five of the #Write31Days Challenge: 31 Days of Living Out Scripture content scripture

We know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made according to Gods plan but that isn’t enough for us. We continue to think the grass is greener on the other side. Who we are and what we have are no longer sufficient when we compare it to our neighbor.

Philippians 4:12 tells us, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” 

Below is a list of the most common areas I allow comparison to suck the joy right out of me:

My Husband: When I was newly married I would take note of how other husbands treated their wives. I secretly wished my husband would do this or that. In the middle of one of our many arguments as newlyweds I yelled, “Why can’t you be more like so and so (one of his friends)! He is always so loving towards his wife!” He was silent for a moment and then he proceeded to list the multitude of sins committed by his friend when he is not around his wife.

Remedy: I realize I start to compare my husband when I think he is falling short in some way. When I recognize that trigger I immediately remind myself he is made in Christ image just for me. He once told me he is the best man he knows how to be right now but is trying to be a better man each and every day. I hold onto these words.

Material Things: Being a stay at home mom is a priority for both Mr. C and myself. However that also means we live on his income alone. Even though we are more than provided for there are times when I get a bad case of the wants. Instead of celebrating the fact my friends were able to get new furniture, a new car or went on a cool vacation, I develop envy. All of a sudden being proud we saved enough to get my daughter braces isn’t worth celebrating. I want stuff!

Remedy: I have realized my triggers come from watching too much television or flipping through one to many magazines. We live in a world that has brainwashed us to believe we deserve just about everything. In reality we don’t deserve anything, yet Christ still died for us. Shouldn’t that be enough? To combat my wants I make a list of everything I am thankful for until the envy goes away.

Faith: This is embarrassing to write but I find myself comparing my faith to others. I find myself thinking, “Oh how I wish I had her prayer life” or “I will never have her knowledge of the Bible” or “She is always so calm and glows with the Holy Spirit.” It’s true. I want to be a good little Bible study girl but feel like a hypocrite anytime I flip off my husband or yell at my kids! Then I compare myself to the godly woman I know and wonder why I can’t be more like them.

Remedy: I stand firm in the truth that no one is without sin. We are all given different gifts according to the grace given to each of us (Romans 12:6). I celebrate my imperfect progress. Of course, I remind myself that eleven years ago I didn’t even own a Bible!

Whatever your areas of comparison are it is important to recognize what they are, what triggers them and how to remedy it. I recommend you start by praying for wisdom, discernment and for continued joy.

It is amazing how quickly my joy returns.

Satan loves when we do his work for him. I refuse to let him win. What area of comparison is sabotaging your joy?


The Plank in Your Own Eye

Day Four of the #Write31Days Challenge: 31 Days of Living Out Scripture

plank scripture

It is common knowledge that we are commanded not to judge others. I like to believe in the grand scheme of things, for the most part, I do a good job of living this out. In fact on most days I would say I go above and beyond to extend grace to the world at large.

However, on occasion, I have those days. The kind of days when I find myself wondering what the heck is just wrong with some people and/or making assumptions based on outside perceptions. Maybe you have had them too?

If I am being honest here, sometimes those days turn into weeks and even months. All of a sudden I appoint myself keeper of the moral compass others are to use to live out their lives.

The crazy thing is I often find myself being applauded for my beliefs as I pass judgment on others. It is easy to stand on a soapbox and rant about topics that already carry a bandwagon of others who think the same way. This is why we are called to live in this world but nor of it.

I am purposely trying to avoid naming the exact actions I tend to judge for the sake of living out scripture and all. Just think about the topics you have strong opinions about. Parenting, marriage, finances, politics or religion to name a few.

It is possible to have strong opinions and not pass judgment. However, it is extremely easy to cross the line when our hearts are not equipped to discern the beginning stages of Satan’s stronghold in this area. Which brings me to the whole point of this post. When I find myself passing judgment on someone else it is most likely because I am struggling with sin in my own life.

I love the way the message translates Matthew 7:1-5

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

Ouch! I don’t know about you but I tend to recognize the sin I am struggling with in others before I realize it for myself. I am blinded by the proverbial plank in my eye. Now that I know this to be true I am on alert for ways in which I can live out this verse.

My defense is simple. Anytime I find myself starting to travel the road of self-righteousness I start yelling, “Plank in my eye! Plank in my eye!” Look I am not an expert on how not to judge but I do know this silly little trick of mine works for me.

You must be willing to confess you’re blinded by a plank before you can stop yourself from passing judgment .

Anytime I find myself starting to say, “I would never…What was she/he thinking…How could they…I would too if…” chances are I’m about to pass judgment and it causes me to pause. I then start to search myself for whatever sin I might be harboring.

We could all use the following steps to live out Matthew 7:1-3:

1.) Acknowledge and confess we are susceptible to passing judgment.
2.) Set up safeguards to discern when we are passing judgment.
3.) Seek out the sin in our own lives.
4.) Confess and seek forgiveness for both passing judgment and our sin.

I’m not saying that once you admit your struggle you should be able to live a life without judgment. This is simply not true. We are not perfect people. None the less we are called in our walk to become more like Christ. This is an imperfect, progressive journey.

How do you live out Matthew 7:1-3?

I Will Meditate on your Wonderful Works

Day Three of the #Write31Days Challenge: 31 Days of Living Out Scripture

majesty scripture

Lately I feel like I have been going through the motions. I read my Bible, go to church, and tend to my duties as a mom and wife. Instead of seeing God, I see the multiple piles of laundry on the floor, a grocery list, a dirty restroom, emails to be returned, bills to be paid, bickering children and a stressed husband.

Psalms 145:5 says, “They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty
And I will meditate on your wonderful works.”

In his song “I Saw God Today”, George Strait sings, “I’ve been to church, I’ve read the book, I know He is there but I don’t look, near as often as I should. His fingerprints are everywhere, I just look down and stop and stare, open my eyes and then I swear, I Saw God today.”

Do you want to see God today? It’s simple. Do what the song says and open your eyes!

When is the last time you paused and admired His creation? Take time to praise Him for the morning sun, the night sky, the birds in the air and the mountains in the backdrop.

Has praying over your meal become routine? Seek to go grow closer to God and gain renewed heart of thanks for our food by fasting.

Do you ever look for God in your mirror? You should. God created us in His own image. I challenge you to look in the mirror every day and see God.

With my eyes wide open, I can see all the provisions given to me by God. My children are clothed and fed, I have able legs, indoor plumbing, friendships, an income, God’s precious gift to me and a man who loves me so much he bares the sole burden of providing for our family.

Shine Like a Star in the Sky

Day Two of the #Write31Days Challenge: 31 Days of Living Out Scripture

Shine Scripture

Parenting is hard. Mr. C. and I are lifelong members of the trial and error parenting club. There is plenty we get wrong. That is why we are insanely intentional about the words in which we speak to our children on a daily basis.

Now look, there are a plethora of things that come out of my mouth I immediately regret. Teenagers, anyone? However, I am talking about words or phrases that our children hear us say to them every day.

For example, every single time any of our children leave I will say to them, “Shine like a star.” Why? Philippians 2:14-15 says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “Children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

We very purposely pick phrases of scripture as a reminder of how we expect them to live.

. “We sang and discussed This Little Light of Mine a bazillion times when they were little. Their bedtime prayers to this day include phrases like, “Lord help them get a restful night of sleep so they can wake refreshed and ready to let your light shine through them.”

From a young age they knew when we said, “Shine like a star”  we were talking about letting their inner light shine by being examples of Jesus. When they discovered the verse was actual scripture they were blown away. “Mom did you know the Bible says to shine like a star?” It led to a great conversation about what the Bible says it looks like to actually live that out.

Naturally, the kids flipped the script and asked, “Mom does that mean you get to shine like a star too!? I love how they see this verse as a gift. Something we get to do.

I find that I am much better at being intentional about how we raise our kids and not so much when it comes to my own life.

So what does shinning like a star in the sky look like for an adult? Exactly the same!

We are told in Verse 14 to do everything without grumbling or arguing, contrary to how the dark world lives. In doing so we will be blameless and pure causing us to shine bright.

I love this visual of shining like a star in the sky. We are city people. Seeing stars shine bright doesn’t exist where we live. We have to literally drive miles away, out to the middle of no where, to fully understand how amazing and bright stars shine against the dark of the night. It is the perfect analogy for having to go in a different direction of the world in order to shine.

Are you shining like a star in the sky?

What keeps you from grumbling and arguing?

How can you remind yourself to live this verse out daily?