an open letter to the first trimester.

dearest first trimester,

i’m here because someone has to say it. you suck. like a lot. you make the sanest of women go completely insane. i hear you denying it. i see your coy smile, your whispered promises of the most magical miracle nature has to offer. i’m drawn in by the promises of the pregnant lady glow. i wish i could say this is the first time i have fallen for your charms. but that would be a lie. you keep women so wrapped up in pregnancy announcement ideas and promises that the nausea will go away before you know it, that rarely does anyone call you out. but it needs to be done.

i started planning for you months before you showed up. i counted days, tracked ovulation, held my breath each month waiting for my period to crush my dreams. then when my period showed up i secretly breathed a tiny sigh of relief because as desperately as i longed for a baby, a little part of me was thankful for one more month of freedom before the first trimester took over my life. then came the month where my period was a day late. probably nothing. just an off month. then two days late. i finally grabbed my box of thirty dollar pregnancy tests, because the insanity has already begun and i automatically assume that more expensive means more accurate. sneak a test into the bathroom for the first morning pee. take the test. the fancy digital kind. prepared for two words. after the three longest minutes of my life only one word stares back at me. PREGNANT. wait what? then i take approximately twelve more pregnancy tests, different brands and varieties, just to be sure. i’ll never be able to send my kids to college now, but at least i am almost positive that i am indeed pregnant.

excitement and horror intermingle and i think i might be sick. flashbacks to my first and second pregnancies cripple me with fear. why would anyone voluntarily make themselves ill for anywhere between four to nine months? oh right. me. because i love my babies. but it wasn’t until this exact moment that i remembered how desperately i hate being pregnant.

the next two weeks are a blur of waiting for the worst to come and praying maybe i’ll be one of the lucky ones this time. one of the ladies who gets to say, oh nausea? well one time i felt a little sick when i skipped lunch but then i ate a cracker and felt brand new! but i know i will never be one of those.

i feel like a storm watcher tracking tornadoes in oklahoma. no one knows when the next one will hit but everyone knows it’s coming.

it starts with the underwear check. no one wants to say it out loud but every single mama who has recently peed on a pregnancy test, and gotten that big fat positive, checks her underwear for blood every single time she goes to the bathroom. and sometimes goes to the bathroom for that purpose only. like two hundred times a day. it’s crazy. and insane. and it’s part of being a mother. because we already love that tiny microscopic life so damn much that the fear of losing that child is already a part of who we are. sometimes we make it through that season of fear and get to the ultrasound where we see a heartbeat and know all is well. for now. sometimes we never make it that far and hearts break and grief is our journey.

around ultrasound time, or for me long before that time, the exhaustion and the nausea set in. for most of us, the exhaustion is all encompassing and the nausea makes daily life nearly impossible. i see women online doing crossfit or running marathons through their pregnancy and all i can think is, someday i’ll have the energy to shower.

slowly my life becomes filled with rice cakes and ginger candies and peppermint tea. i lose weight. i lose the tiny bit of muscle i had. i scroll through facebook and instagram and envy my friends who are out in public and interacting with real human beings. i throw up basically always. this time with kids old enough to follow me to the bathroom, the one with the lock that doesn’t work. i throw up daily to a soundtrack of, “mom! can i have a snack!” “mom when you’re done throwing up i really need to show you something!” “mom can i sit on your lap?” and on the really lucky days they both crowd around and lean over my back while yelling, “I WANT TO SEE YOUR THROW UP!!!!” i want to scream at them. i want to tell them to get the crap out of the bathroom. but each time i try to speak i just heave and throw up more and more. so with all of my dignity gone they discuss the size and color and volume of my vomit. while i wipe sweat from my brow and remind myself that this is so going to be worth it someday.

you see, my dear first trimester, over four pregnancies, i can say with confidence, you are one of the worst experiences of my life. you have put me in the hospital multiple times just to keep enough fluids in my body. you have made me so physically weak that i could hardly stand. you have messed with all of my hormones and caused me to have debilitating panic attacks so severe i was positive i was dying. you have forced me to miss out on multiple weddings for some of my best friends. you have secluded me from real life for months at a time. you broke my heart when i lost a baby i loved so deeply. and i am only one person. i have heard countless stories from other women who have braved your horrors multiple times. each story is unique but almost always with the same theme. you are hard. you are often miserable and long and too often heartbreaking.

you are the worst.

but you bring the very, very best.

suffering through you brought me my boys. choosing you once again gave me the gift of my baby who i never got to hold but who forever changed our family. today marks the first day of my second trimester with our tiny rainbow baby and i mean it with all of my heart when i say i hated every second of you this time around also. but i chose you. because i needed you. you are awful. but deeply important. and the truth is, i would choose you all over again a million times.

we all would.

every mama i know. some who hate you as much as i do. some who have suffered loss after loss after loss. some who face debilitating health issues themselves. some who invested every single penny they had to endure you. some who still dream daily and ache just as often, because they long to have the chance to hate the first trimester as much as so many of us do. some women i love never personally lived through a first trimester themselves but another women somewhere else in the world did, and then my friends suffered through days, weeks, months, of waiting, hoping, and living through a different kind of first trimester just to hold the babies.

it starts long before we ever hold our babies.

the second the dream of being a mama enters our hearts, we are preparing for the first trimester. the second. the third. a lifetime of loving someone more than ourselves. a lifetime of worrying and fretting because that’s what we do. a lifetime of joy and heartache and trials and triumphs. a lifetime that is so very worth every single thing we have to walk through.

so the truth is, dear first trimester, i will never love you. but i would endure you a thousand times if that is what i had to do.

being called mama is so many dreams come true.

but know this.

i screw up every single day. i fall short. i am terrible at consistency. i lose my patience. i forget to play. but my prayer, and i’m certain this is the prayer of every mama reading this, is that every single day i will love better, laugh louder, forgive easily, admit my mistakes, and live a life worthy of my children’s respect.

happiest mother’s day to each and every mama heart out there. no matter where you are on your journey, you are uniquely designed to love in a way that only a mama can. and it is okay to hate the first trimester. or all of them. it is okay to struggle and ask for help. it is okay to mess up and apologize. it is okay to admit that it takes a village. because it does. and it should.

what makes mama’s so amazing is that motherhood is one of the hardest jobs in the world. it takes all we have and then asks for more. and the amazing part is that we would all choose it again and again. every. single. time.

marked by miscarriage. finding unexpected beauty in grief.

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There are things, as a writer, you cross your fingers you’ll never be able to write about from experience. When one of those things happens you know you have to write it down, because that is how you make sense of the world, but oh how you don’t want to read your own words. Today is that day for me. And with all of me, I wish it wasn’t.

Four weeks ago we found out we were pregnant with our third child. The day before Thanksgiving our beloved tiniest one was scooped up into Jesus’ arms without ever filling mine.

When I first realized what was happening I simply sat on the toilet. Time standing still. And whispered to myself. “Oh no. Oh no. Please. Jesus. No.” I sat there a long time. Knowing that if I moved from that place, I would have to face a new chapter in my life. One I didn’t want to read.

Then almost immediately I began telling myself how ridiculous I was. It was so early on. Countless people have suffered greater losses. How could I cry over someone I never knew? This world is such a mess, my problems pale in comparison.

And then the gentle voice of my Jesus. One person’s suffering is not to be measured against another’s. My grief is not less real because in my mind some else’s grief seems bigger. More acceptable. More deserving of tears. My pain isn’t invalid because I never kissed the perfect cheek of the child we dearly loved and had dreamed of for so long.

And so, because this is part of our story now, and because I believe too many women feel they cannot grieve publicly for a child they never held, I will tell our story. I will share the words I wrote in private, never thinking they would be shared. Because pregnancy loss needs to be talked about. The lives we carried need to be celebrated. And our tears need to be cried because the journey through sadness leads us to healing.

Below you will find words I wrote in the moment that our hearts broke. I pray they will offer others the freedom to grieve. And if my story connects with your heart, dear mama, please know that in our weakness, he is strong. May his praise ever be on our lips.


Sharing this photo is outside of every comfort zone I have. But from day one this space has been for sharing the real version of our life. Not just the pretty moments or the perfect days. So here it is.

I took this photo, and wrote the words below, the morning I miscarried. I couldn’t hide the sobs, and Hudson wouldn’t leave my side. He made faces, told jokes, drew me pictures, cuddled up, and let me cry. I took a photo for my husband. {See how sweet our boy is?} But I ended up capturing heartbreak, and love unwavering, all in one painful image. It’s hard to even look at. Yet it reminds that we are always better together. Even when we’re just letting someone we love cry as hard as they need.

“At 2:30 this morning I went to the bathroom. I was spotting. I laid in bed most of the night drifting between sleep and praying for a miracle. I crawled out of bed to face the truth that my baby is no longer this side of heaven.

I woke Johnny, who in a fog of sleep struggled to understand. I gave him facts. Cramping. Blood. I’ll call the doctor. I was scared to feel so I treated it like business. Then we sat silent. I felt it coming. Feared the words but had to say them.

I touched my aching stomach and whispered, “my little baby.”

And the tears, they came.

A flood of grief coursed over my body and took my breath away. My sweet little one. I’ll never see your face or watch you grow or hug you so tight. Oh how deep that ache is. How sharp the sorrow. It seems there aren’t enough tears in the world. My husband held me tight. Let me feel it all. And he prayed. The perfect words. The hardest words.

“Jesus we love you. We trust you. We love this child who will be ours forever. We want this baby here but are so jealous he gets to meet you first.”

His words were simple. And true. And words I never wanted to hear.

When glory comes, we will meet the child who has forever marked us as parents of three. But until that day we grieve our loss while we celebrate heaven’s gain. Because the risk you take in loving someone with reckless abandon and all of your heart, is that someday you might have to say goodbye. Maybe even before you’ve had the chance to say hello.”

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Truth be told, I was tempted to not share this story with you until I was pregnant again. I wanted my story to have a happy ending and the guarantee of dreams fulfilled. I wanted to say, see! God is so good because he gives us the desires of our hearts! I wanted to take a picture of a tiny baby bump and I wanted to tell you to never give up.

And then I remembered that it’s not about what I want.

My Jesus is good and he is faithful and he loves to overwhelm us with beautiful things. But he also knows we live in an imperfect world and he does not promise us perfection. In fact we are guaranteed hardship.

So the real question is this. Do we believe that, even if the dream we have clung to for so long never happens, He is still good?

It’s easier to say yes then to mean yes. And that’s okay. God can take our questions, our fear, our anger, our screaming, our tears, our four letter words, our silence. Because we serve a God who grieves with us and for us. He does not promise a perfect and pain free life here on this earth. But he does promise we never ever walk alone. So every morning I wake up and choose to dream and pray and hope for another sweet baby to fill my arms and call me mama.

And if not, if it never ever happens. I will say it even if my voice shakes. He is still good. So, so good.

motherhood. it isn’t what you think.


Motherhood is quite ordinary. My version is anyway.

It’s yoga pants and dirty dishes and diaper explosions. Motherhood is meal planning and mountains of laundry and a soaking wet floor during bath time. It’s being on duty every second of every day, never sleeping soundly ever again and being kicked in the stomach, by tiny feet, all night long. It’s cuddling a feverish toddler instead of mopping the floors. Motherhood is first steps and first dates and first jobs.

Motherhood is grainy selfies in the mirror with no make up on because your life isn’t glamorous but it is your own version of perfect. And that’s worth documenting.



Motherhood is exhausting and overwhelming and magnificent.



Motherhood is deeply personal and wonderfully unique to each woman.

Motherhood is a woman working two jobs and going to college online so she can take care of her little ones. It’s tears cried for the lives of babies lost or never held. It’s heartbreak in the doctor’s office when fertility treatments fail again. Motherhood is a mama flying across the globe to hold her three year old baby for the very first time. It’s a second grade teacher bringing snacks for her students who she knows didn’t have breakfast at home. It’s an auntie playing pirates because they asked so nice, how could she resist?

Motherhood is faithful. Motherhood is brave and courageous and strong. Motherhood is compassionate and gentle and home. Motherhood is a daily battle for patience and grace and joy.

Motherhood is love.



Every woman is writing a story, and in each story motherhood will look different. But whether a woman has twelve kids or zero kids isn’t the point.

The point is that every woman was created to give life.

The unending capacity for deep, life-giving love, is not only given to women who bear children. It lives in all women and is integral to every single relationship we nurture.

Where a woman plants her love, beauty will grow.

So, the simple truth is this…

Motherhood is the quiet place in a woman’s heart whispering that her love will change the world.

So today, on Mother’s Day, I’m choosing to celebrate all women and the gentle, compassionate, stubborn, and fierce way that we love our people. It’s a world-changing sort of love, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.


to the teenager who just drove 60 mph down my street.


I know you don’t know me.

In fact you were driving so fast I doubt you even saw me fly out of my front door trying desperately to catch a glimpse of your license plate so that I could call the police.

Yep. I’m that person.

I grew up. Got old. Became a parent. And now I’m out to destroy all of your fun.

Because here’s the thing. Your sort of fun? It gives me nightmares.

I was shaking as I watched you tear recklessly down my street with no regard for your own life, let alone the life of anyone else.

Let me tell you something I doubt you ever considered. Lean in and listen real close.

While you were taking a joy ride through suburbia, there was a three year old on a tricycle and a five year old close to outgrowing his training wheels, riding down the street.

I heard your souped up engine revving. I knew how fast you were going before I sprinted to my front door. I saw your used Pontiac for a split second. I heard your unnecessarily loud bass. And I caught a glimpse of you and your buddies having the time of your life.

You didn’t have a care in the world.

Can I ask you a question?

How would your world have changed if my five year old son, his name is Ezra by the way, had ridden off the curb? What could you have possibly done if my three year old, his name is Hudson but I call him Tiny, had disobeyed his daddy (as he sometimes does. I mean he is three after all.) and darted into the street?

You would not have been able to stop.

My world would have shattered because you thought you were invincible.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I was seventeen once. I get it. I know it feels like nothing can stop you. But that’s a load of crap.

Every single choice you make has a consequence. That freedom of choice is one of the most incredible and beautiful and terrifying gifts in this life.

Your choices determine your future.

Your choice tonight could have ended someone else’s future. And your own.

I know I said I wanted to call the police on you. And part of me still does. But if I was given the option I think I would make a different call.

I would call your mama.

Because even though you managed to piss me off in two seconds flat, once I knew my babies were safe, I had a thought.

You are somebody’s baby too.

Every single kid in that car is loved by someone, probably lots of someones, and if I were your mama or your aunt or your grandma or your fifth grade teacher, I would want to know you were being an idiot.

So I could slap some sense into you. (Not actually slap. Relax. It’s a figure of speech.)

I know you feel a freedom in being a teenager, probably almost legally an adult. But it’s only fair that you know the truth. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 21 or 45 or 73. You don’t ever get to stop being somebody’s baby.

Ezra and Hudson will never stop being my babies.

And tonight you helped me realize something. As they get older, become teenagers, start driving and dating and owning smart phones. As they search the world just to find themselves. I do not want to be the cool mom.

I always thought I would be the cool mom, but I just realized how desperately I don’t ever want to be her.

I want to be the mom who makes sure parents are home before my kids go to a friend’s house.
I want to be the mom who asks nosy questions and makes her sons talk to her.
I want to be the mom who holds her boys to the highest standards when it comes to how they treat women.
I want to be the mom who takes away driving privileges if I find out my kids are speeding through neighborhoods.
I want to be the mom who is aware of what my kids are doing online.
I want to be the mom who doesn’t look the other way when her kids act the way society says kids will act.

And if all of that makes me the least cool mom ever? That is fantastic.

Because I know that my boys were created to be amazing men and it is the greatest privilege in my life to be able to guide them on that journey.

And you, dear speeding driver, I believe that for you too. I don’t know you. Or your story. Or who is championing you along the way. My prayer tonight is that someone is. And my guess is that if I were to call your mama or your daddy, and tell them how reckless you were tonight, that you wouldn’t see your beloved Pontiac for quite some time.

See as parents, no matter what the media says or how they try to pit us against each other by talking about parenting styles and discipline tactics and organic vs non organic food, the truth is that we all know parenting is the single hardest job one could ever take on and we need each other.

I hope when my kids do something stupid (as they inevitably will) another parent loves them enough and respects me enough to call me. And I will do the same for them. Because it takes a village. A really freaking big village.

I don’t think you’re a bad kid. I think it’s quite possible you’re a wonderful, funny, intelligent, compassionate kid. You would probably call me ma’am if we ever met and I would tell you never to call me that again. It’s one of the things I like least about the south.

But tonight? Tonight you made a bad choice.

I am so thankful that for today the worst thing that happened is you left skid marks on my street.

But what about next time?

I’m crossing my fingers that there isn’t a next time, but make no mistake. If you speed down my street again I will jump in my minivan and I will follow you to your house. I will knock on your door.

And I will tell your mama everything that happened.

Because every mama deserves the chance to keep her baby safe.

Safe from others. Safe from themselves. Safe.

We can’t protect you from everything. But we spend every single day trying our very best to do just that.

Help us out, won’t you?

The owner of the voice you heard screaming at you from blocks away and the mama of these two babies.


a portrait of sisterhood: rhonda and rachel


When I decided to begin the series, A Portrait of Sisterhood, I knew the first love story I needed to share was Rachel and Rhonda’s. I work, and do life, with these two beauties. Their friendship has spanned decades, has walked through joyous mornings and the darkest nights, only to become stronger for of it. They have vibrant marriages and some of the most wonderful children you could ever meet. Rhonda has four girls, Rachel has two sons (plus a third in the adoption process), and the joy in these kids is palpable. They are such a testament to the way their parents love them.

Their story is the perfect way to launch this series. To know Rachel and Rhonda is to love them, like a lot. These two love well, laugh hard and when you’re around them it feels like home. They possess courageous spirits, they love so deep, and they embody the heart of sisterhood. I know you’re going to love them as much as I do.


A Portrait Of Sisterhood: Rachel and Rhonda

Okay ladies, what was your first impression of each other?

Rachel: When I was 16 years old my boyfriend asked me to go pick up his best friend’s girlfriend from the airport. I had never met her and all I could think was I don’t know how I feel about this. But I picked her up and we went to Taco Bell. Our first conversation ever was about how disgusting Taco Bell truly is. It bonded us together immediately. We laughed the entire two hour ride home. By the time she got out of the car I knew I loved her.

Rhonda: She was one of the people you meet and right away you feel safe and comfortable. You don’t really have to think about it, it just happens. That was us from the very beginning.


Since a lot of people reading this don’t know you ladies personally, tell me which celebrity or character the other reminds you of.

Rhonda: Easy. Angelina Jolie is one of the most beautiful women on earth and I love her heart for adoption. I always think that Andy and Rachel are like the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of our community.


Rachel: Okay, I think Rhonda is like Cinderella. In the new movie there is a part where Cinderella’s mom says, “You have more kindness in your little finger than most people have in their whole body.” I have never known a moment, even in the hardest of times, where Rhonda was not kind. Life could be going crazy around her, maybe someone is being anything but kind, but she still chooses kindness. She exudes love. 


Tell me a favorite memory of your friendship.

Rachel: When I was 18 we both went on a trip to India. I was really sick. There were a couple of times I thought I was going to die. I was in the hospital and… well how graphic do you want me to be?

I love the grit. Be as graphic as you want.

Rachel: Okay. I was in the hospital and so sick. They gave me a colonoscopy but didn’t put me under. Then they needed a stool sample…

Rhonda: I saw the inside of her.

Rachel: Yeah. That’s true. They needed a stool sample and I couldn’t do it because I was so sick. She literally picked it up…

Rhonda: I grabbed it with my bare hands. I was like we need that! We need it!!

Rachel: Yep. They needed to test it. So she did what I couldn’t do. And the whole time I was in the hospital she never left my side. Ever.


Rhonda do you have another memory to share?

Rhonda: There are so many but that story emphasizes a place where you can be raw and you can be vulnerable and you can be broken but you can still be safe. When everything is falling apart but that person reminds you who you are and doesn’t leave. I feel like that’s the way our entire friendship has been. We can call each other and be really real in the moment and when one of us is weak the other one is strong. And when we’re both weak we cry out to God together. There are so many times that I’ve thought, thank God I get to share that with Rachel. Because just getting it out and knowing she’s praying makes the weight dissipate. We have gone to hell and back together many times, but we have also celebrated the victories. When you’ve been in the pit together, the mountain tops are more beautiful. I’m always inspired. I feel like when Rachel is attacked she comes back with her best material. There are so many times that I have been in awe of her.

One of my favorite stories about Rachel is from several years ago. She was having the hardest time when they were living in Michigan, it was terrible. I think it was the lowest she’s ever been. She was driving down the street in the middle of winter and saw a homeless woman on the side of the road with no boots. She was wearing her favorite boots so she pulled over, gave the homeless woman her boots, and walked back to her car through the snow,wearing only socks, and drove away. That’s who she is. That’s what comes out of her at the lowest points.

Rachel you have two sons who were adopted from South Korea, and now you’re in the process of adopting your third son. Each process has been long and incredibly difficult, how has Rhonda helped to carry you through?


Rachel: Ahhh. I’m going to cry. Okay. With my first son, Tysen, it was really hard, and her prayer and support helped get me through. But with our second son, Pax, there were so many times I felt like I couldn’t come to work, I felt like I couldn’t do anything because there was a constant battle. We didn’t even know for sure that he was going to come in the end. We had fought for this child for years and the thought of him never being home with us was too overwhelming.


One day our adoption agency called and said that the officials on the Korean side were calling everyone they could possibly find in country, who might be connected to our son, to see if they wanted him. This was two years into our process with him and I had no idea it was even a possibility. I got off the phone and I remember thinking, this must be what a miscarriage feels like. Am I losing a child right now? I called Rhonda right away, I couldn’t even talk I just burst into tears. She stayed on the phone, and let me cry. I even went in the bathroom and threw up. When I came back she was waiting on the phone for me. After it was all done, she was still there.

And that’s just one example of the three years we spent fighting for our son and Rhonda was always right there with me. I would not have made it through without her.

Rhonda: I was actually overdue pregnant with my youngest while Rachel was in Korea waiting to find out if they would be able to bring Pax home. It was almost like my body wouldn’t go into labor until there was a breakthrough with Pax.

Rachel: She told me, “I will not go into labor until Pax is yours.” I kept telling her that it could be weeks. I almost lied to her and told her we had him so she would go into labor. But then we really did get him and the first thing I did was call Rhonda and tell her she could go into labor now. And she did.

Rhonda: I did. I had Wren immediately.




Rhonda your third daughter, Amiah, has special needs. How has Rachel helped to carry you through the challenges that have come as a result?

Rhonda: The day I found out that something was wrong with my baby, the first ultrasound where they knew there was a problem, I was alone. My husband was teaching, I couldn’t get ahold of him immediately. So I called Rachel. At that point they were saying she most likely had Down Syndrome, and when I told Rachel she was ecstatic. She raved about how they are the most precious and sweet children. Her opinion and perspective was what I needed to hear and it comforted my heart so deeply. She was right and she spoke what I knew in my heart to be true.



Then throughout the whole process of my pregnancy with Amiah and her actual diagnosis of Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, Rachel walked with me. Neither of us had spent much time around the special needs community, we didn’t have family members or close friends with special needs. We had compassion but not experience. Then suddenly our eyes were opened to an entire vibrant world we hadn’t realized was so beautiful, all thanks to Amiah. Together we gained a heart for this community and when I felt like I was supposed to start a special needs ministry at our church, Rachel came with me to help. She just came. Not because she had to. Because she wanted to.


Tell me about a time that your friendship was put to the test, how did you walk through that?

Rhonda: We haven’t had any major conflicts, but there has been distance when our lives have taken us to different places. Sometimes physical distance can create distance in a friendship but there is something about our friendship that has kept us tight knit. We have never drifted apart even when we’ve lived far from each other.

But we have said things to each other that are really really honest, really risky, and we can get away with it. I can say things to her that no one else can and she can say things to me that others wouldn’t.

Rachel: Even when there was physical distance, we always made a way to get plane tickets or to call or text regularly. We make each other a priority.

Rhonda: And you know that call you need to make when you’re in the depths of despair? We have always known we can make that call to each other no matter what. We don’t have to walk that struggle alone.



So, what does sisterhood mean to you?

Rachel: I have walked through a lot of struggles in my relationships with women in the past several years. Those difficult relationships have made me want to be even more of a true friend to the women in my life. I want to protect them. I want to protect their marriages. I want to protect their children. There are so many terrible things that happen in our world between women, how we treat each other, how we compare ourselves, how we compete, and on and on, so when I have a friend in my life I want to treat her with the deepest love and most faithful friendship.

Rhonda:  I love people. I can’t make it without sisterhood. I won’t make it. If I’m in a situation for too long where true sisterhood and real relationship don’t exist, something inside of me starts to die. I need those deep connections and those safe places. And I need to be that for other people too. I actually get homesick if I’m in a situation for too long without that. It doesn’t feel like home anymore. So often we hear people talk about their loneliness and it breaks my heart. I know that sisterhood is one of God’s greatest provisions for us as women, to combat loneliness, but we have to choose it.


You are both part of a movement within our ministry called Brave Love. Is there anything you want to share in regards to your passion for this movement?

Rhonda: Brave Love is sisterhood. It makes sure to chase down the coldest hearts and says that no heart is too hard to go after, to love, to pursue. Brave Love risks everything and allows vulnerability and brokenness. It’s how we were created to love as women. But so many of us are wounded and hurt from past relationships. Brave Love challenges you to fight for sisterhood even when you feel too weak.



What would you say to women who feel so hurt by past friendships that they no longer want to pursue sisterhood?

Rhonda: There is no breakthrough without sisterhood. To heal a heart hurt by sisterhood we need each other. If we give up altogether then we miss a whole aspect of what we need, of what God has provided for us. It’s a risk to put yourself out there after being hurt, but it is how you will find healing.

Rachel: I also think it’s an opportunity every time you walk into a room and feel uncomfortable, wonder what she is thinking about you, and your insecurities rush in. You can run or you can choose Brave Love, choose sisterhood. If you see past the outer appearance of a situation and search for the true heart of a woman you have an opportunity to break down walls and to fight for friendship.

Rhonda: Yeah, I was thinking how as women we are life bringers. We get to bring life to each other. There is life in our relationships but that also means we have the power to bring death. After experiencing that difficult side of sisterhood, it can be scary to open yourself back up again but that part of God’s imprint on us, to give life, is huge. We need each other, we need to lean in. It’s worth it to step out and try again. It’s worth the risk.


a portrait of sisterhood.


For a long time there has been a dream living in my heart. This post is just the beginning of seeing that dream come true and I could not be more excited to share it with you.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece called, Five Reasons To Fight For Sisterhood. I shared my story of resisting true friendships with women and my journey toward realizing how desperately women need each other.

With everything in me I believe that women were created for community. I know we were designed to do life side by side.

But so many of us put up walls. We feel the need to protect ourselves from other women. Experience has taught us that other women are the enemy. We compete, compare and judge.

Comparison is the poison that devastates community.

And to be honest, I’m over it.

We can do better.

And it starts right now.

The battle cry behind the “A Portrait Of Sisterhood” series is simple.

In a world where we are bombarded by stories of broken relationships and remnants of sisterhood, we need to hear some love stories. This series will feature interviews and photographs and videos of real women telling their friendship love story.

These stories do not paint an idealistic portrait of sisterhood. They will showcase the real, the raw, the struggle, the brokenness, the healing, the restoration, the redemption and the power of sisterhood.

I believe that as more and more women read these love stories, a movement of women realizing that sisterhood is worth fighting for will be born.

I believe we can save sisterhood and my hope is that these stories will be a catalyst for that change.

Tomorrow I will share the first portrait. The love story of two true beauties that I have the honor of doing life with. Rachel and Rhonda have fought for each other and walked together through some of the darkest storms of their lives. They have advocated in hospital rooms for each other, given away the shoes on their feet and raised some of the most amazing kids I’ve ever known. And they’ve done all of this with joy and determination and side by side.


I’ve shared a quick sneak peek of their story in the video below. Watch it, fall in love with them because they’re wonderful, and come back tomorrow to hear their whole story!

{oh look, i created a monster.} when spirited parents have spirited children.


2:30am this morning. I heard my three year old calling for me. Most of the time if I go lay with him he will fall back to sleep quickly. Other times he is awake for hours. I always know within ten seconds of entering his room which one of those scenarios I’m walking into.

If he cuddles up next to me and closes his eyes, I am in the clear. However, if instead of cuddles he blurts out, “I’m so hungwy!” I know I’m in trouble.

This morning he was hungry.

I got him a banana while he cried because, “it’s gonna take you a long time!” Typically getting a banana takes me anywhere from 12-15 seconds, but when you’re that hungry I guess it could feel like an eternity. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not.

I gave him the banana. He held onto the banana while he wiped his tears and sniffled, still recovering from the long wait and the trauma of it all. Then somehow, tragically, the overripe banana broke right in half.

His eyes grew wide with horror.

I gasped audibly.

All of the things hit the fan in that moment.


This kid is serious about his food. When he is hangry it is not pretty. I’m the same way, so I guess he comes by it honestly. But when you’re hangry, and you’re three, and you’re half asleep, there is no reasoning with you.

His hysterics woke the whole house. He needed a new banana RIGHT NOW! But, as fate would have it, that poor broken banana was the last banana in the whole house. (Note to self. Next time buy more bananas than you could ever possibly need. And then get one more just to be safe.) I told him so and knew that in his mind there was no reason good enough to warrant me not producing a new banana right then and there.

That scene lasted almost an hour.

Because when your banana is broken, the only possible solution is to get another banana.


That’s the thing with three-year-old logic. It is confident and sure and incapable of seeing how any other point of view could possibly be right. It knows what it wants and when things don’t go its way, the wrath is very real. Also, it doesn’t care who is watching. How public their display might be. They will fight for their truth no matter what.


This afternoon we went to Whole Foods. I quickly grabbed the two things I needed and made a beeline for the cashier. The day had already been rough, I had chased my kid around the salad bar island for too long while he laughed hysterically AT me, and for my sanity I needed to get out of there. Little did I know my tiny hurricane had the grand finale up his sleeve.

As I checked out his eyes fell on the carts from hell. You know the ones I’m talking about. The shopping cart with an entire kids car attached to the front. It’s long and impossible to steer and you will always clip someone in the ankles while driving it.

Hudson took off running and practically dove headfirst into the plastic police car. I let him sit there and honk the horn while I paid one million dollars for toothpaste. Maybe he could just get it out of his system.

Denial is such a wonderful place to be.

As I gathered my bags I told him we needed to go. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. He gestured frantically at my shopping bags, tears already coursing down his cheeks, and screamed at me.

“NO!!!!! Put all of that back on the shelf!!!! We have to start over!!!!!!”

I laughed. Out loud. Because I knew he was serious and I knew what was coming. And sometimes you laugh so you don’t cry.

I told him I was so sorry he felt sad, I know he loves this cart. Maybe next time we can use it.

“PUT THE FOOD BACK! We have to start over!!!!!”

Sometimes you can pretend no one is staring at you if you just don’t look up. I zeroed in on my boy’s face and tried to prevent a scene without restocking my sea salt chick peas. I told him I would put the grocery bags into the police car cart and we could drive the new cart to the car.

You would have thought I suggested he give up cheese.

He was now screaming at full volume, face red and tear-stained, I was pretty sure he was going to hyperventilate as he likes to do when he’s really angry. I knew what I had to do.

I crouched down and basically climbed into the cop car to get my arms around him. I wrestled him out of the car, he was flailing and screaming and furious. And the ridiculous thing is I understood why he was mad. He saw a problem. He knew how to fix it. And I wasn’t listening.

Three-year-old logic does not like to be ignored.

Spirited three-year-old logic becomes indignant, and a little violent.

I hoisted my baby boy, who is filled with so much fire, onto my hip. I pushed our cart with the malfunctioning wheel, out of the store, past the staring shoppers, across the parking lot, while   holding on for dear life to a flailing, and surprisingly strong, three-year-old who was not getting his way.

We somehow made it to the car, he eventually calmed down and fell fast asleep. My head was pounding, my nerves frayed, and I needed chocolate like now.


I realized there are four ways to handle spirited three-year-old logic.

  1. Scream and cry louder than them.
  2. Give in to their every demand.
  3. Never go out in public ever again.
  4. Be the adult, choose my words carefully, and help my baby learn how to be in control of his emotions. Understand that the process will be a long one and the journey will not always be smooth, but he is so worth it.

As much as number one seems easier and who doesn’t love a good cry? Today I realized all over again the gift that is my youngest son. He is wild, he is fire, he is spirited, he is passionate and he is strong.


It’s easy for me to see the naughty, to hear the defiance, and want to change his behavior. But once I’m calm, once I stop and breathe, I remember. My greatest responsibility as a mama is not to force my child to fit inside a box of stereotypes, or to make sure he conforms to a list of who he should be and how he should act.

As his mama my job is to love every single part of who he was created to be. I get to celebrate the person he is, encourage his strengths and challenge him in areas where I know he can grow.

I never want that fire in his spirit to be snuffed out. I want it to be used for the extraordinary things I know he is capable of. I just want to teach him how to not let broken bananas or police car shopping carts turn his world upside down.


And if I want to teach him self-control, I guess I better exercise my own as well. Because, if you ask my mama she will tell you. The child I call Tiny, the one who tests every limit and toes every line, the one who kisses me fierce and hugs me tight. This little person is the spitting image of his mama. Once upon a time I toed every line and tested every limit and made my fair share of public scenes. I knew I was right and hated to be told I was wrong. And God gave me a mama strong enough to handle my fire but gentle enough to teach that red-headed hurricane how to be the very best version of me she could possibly be.


And she taught me that motherhood is far from easy. There are days I will worry, days I will cry, days I will scream. There will be days like today where the battle of wills seems more like survival of the fittest. But the truth is, the beauty of seeing your child become who they were created to be, playing a role in shaping a life, cheering on someone you believe in more than you ever thought possible, it makes all of those days so very worth it.


On those difficult days, I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning.

Also, chocolate is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism.


if you’re wondering why i’m terrified of peanuts.

I haven’t eaten peanuts since 2008.

I used to eat extra crunchy Jif by the spoonful and call it dinner. I needed peanut butter like most adults need coffee. Now I won’t touch anything with peanuts anywhere in the ingredient list.

But why? It’s simple really.

I’m scared of peanuts.

I see that confused look on your face and I truly can’t blame you. I also know your next question.

Are you allergic to peanuts or something?

No. But that is a logical conclusion. Unfortunately anxiety is the opposite of logic.

Anxiety. My lifelong nemesis. A constant companion for most of the days I can remember. However in 2008 my chronic, but underlying, anxiety disorder became a full blown panic disorder.


I was pregnant. Hormones are more powerful than I ever realized. And I lived in crisis mode for nine months. I became paralyzingly afraid that I had developed a severe peanut allergy and if I ate one the worst would happen.

Honestly, peanuts were the least of my worries.

Every second of my life was shrouded in morbid fears that I could not escape. Daily tasks were now risky and dangerous. My physical symptoms spiraled out of control and I rarely left my bed.

And I knew it was crazy. I knew I sounded nuts. I knew no one else was worried about falling through a sewer grate or contracting every deadly disease mentioned on the evening news. I knew not everyone was convinced they were dying.

But you try reasoning with someone knee-deep in a panic attack. It is not typically an effective approach.

Someday I will share my full story of healing and restoration. It would be approximately 79,823,987,564 pages long, but the description on the back would read something like this:

“When an ordinary day becomes the day you have your first panic attack, life probably won’t ever be the same. Six years later I look back on my journey and see the darkest storms of my life but I also see healing, restoration, and hope. Those storms caused total devastation. I was obliterated and left for lost. But hope doesn’t give up. Hope believes, it trusts, it stays. Hope rebuilds what was destroyed. Hope sees what is impossible and knows Jesus still can. Today I can’t believe where I was, how far I’ve come or the beauty of the person rebuilt from that place of desperation and loss. But I know one thing for sure, there is purpose in our pain. Also, I still don’t eat peanuts, but I like to consider that a cute little battle scar.”

Anxiety tried to destroy me. It stole so much, and it will always be a part of my story. But it will not win. Maybe it’s a part of your story, too. Hear me say this. It does not have to win.

I’m not here to talk about how medication or therapy or acupuncture or diet or Jesus (well, I’m always a fan of Jesus) will be your quick fix. I’m not talking about how I beat anxiety and because this and this worked for me it will work for you. I believe with all of my heart that each story is different. Each healing journey is different. But most of all I believe that anxiety does not get to win. Once upon a time I couldn’t imagine beating it and I needed someone to remind me. Some days I still need the reminder.


I have two babies now. They hate it when I call them babies but I tell them to deal with it because they’ll be my babies tomorrow and when they go to prom and when they have babies of their own. I’ll always kiss them in public too. But I digress.

I have two babies. They are the best thing I have ever done, the most precious thing in my life and that is some scary business.

Mixing motherhood with anxiety?

It’s a perfect storm really.

Like I didn’t have enough anxiety ammunition before there were two tiny people I would do anything for.


Now I have to keep them safe? I’m in charge of them? Me? The one who is afraid of peanuts and taxi drivers? Now I have to worry about choking hazards and SIDS and correctly installing a car seat?

(Insert a myriad of colorful language here.)

But hold on. I didn’t see this coming. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you didn’t either. Yes you, mama. The one almost ready to give birth or with a tiny one in your arms while you read this. The one who fights fear all day every day. The one who maybe feels like less than a great mama because anxiety monopolizes your time and your sleep and your smile. I’m talking to you. Listen to me.

If you’ll let them, your tiny child will be the catalyst for healing in your life.


Life is terrifying. We need only turn on the news to understand that this world is broken and life is fragile. It always has been and it always will be. We worry because the worst can happen and someday it might.


Life is more wonderful than it is terrifying. Sometimes I just forget.

When I look at my boys I know that worry is not the legacy I want to pass on. Anxiety is not their birthright. Fear will not define them.

So I fight.

I have fought for six years. I have spent endless hours, and money I didn’t have, to find answers. I have prayed desperate and when words failed me I know Jesus understood my tears. I have doubted. I have questioned. I have been angry and defeated and fatigued. I have screamed at my God in one breath and begged him to save me in the next. I tried to walk away but he followed me.


And in the worst of the terrible moments, when fear was doing a victory lap, I looked into the faces of the babies I adore and I knew if I didn’t want to fight for me I needed to fight for them. I don’t want to teach them a lifestyle of worry. I won’t.

Today I can hardly believe how far I’ve come. The months of constant panic seem more like a bad dream than a life that I lived. But I did live them. I still worry more than most. Anxiety grips me when I least expect it and takes my breath away. But it no longer controls me.

I don’t know what your journey has been like. I don’t know how you will find healing. But I know it is possible. I know you are worth fighting for. I know my Jesus never leaves your side.

I know my boys may someday face fear that feels unbeatable. That thought brings me to my knees. Not my babies. Not them. Please, no.

I can’t protect them from everything. Including their own fears. But I can show them what it looks like to never give up. I can show them that prayer changes things. I can be an example of vulnerability and honesty and willingness to share my journey if it could possibly help one person. I can discuss anxiety like the true thief it is instead of teaching them to be ashamed or embarrassed by it. I can teach them that life is a gift and to celebrate the beauty instead of being paralyzed by fear.

I can teach them that if a day comes when fear feels too strong that there is always hope.

I will show them that sometimes true courage is driving a car for the first time in half a decade. Tell them that bravery is not just for knights and ninjas. Sometimes the bravest person is the one who flies across the country by herself, shaking and sweating, because anxiety sucks but Jesus makes me brave.

And who knows. Maybe someday I’ll show them that healing is eating a handful of peanuts. Unless you’re actually have a peanut allergy. Then please do not eat a handful of peanuts.


ten things my husband can sleep through. and why it makes me crazy.

You guys. I am so tired.

So very tired.

I blame it on the fact that I don’t think I’ve achieved REM sleep since my first child was born. That is almost six years people. Six years! That’s a long freaking time to be half awake.

Last night my three year old and my almost six year old took turns waking up every two hours just to torture me and also to remind me why another newborn is just not gonna happen right now.

Sometimes I think about how tired I am and I get angry.

When an Irish girl gets angry it is not pretty. Trust me. I get angry because no matter how hard I try, no matter how long my day, how busy we were, how excited I am for sleep, once my head hits the pillow at night I am just laying there waiting, expecting, knowing, that the second I give in to true deep sleep it will happen.

A child is going to climb into my bed and knee me in the gut for the rest of the night. Someone will need a drink. At least one child will develop a mystery nighttime only illness that will definitely be gone when the sun comes up but for now it is terrible and life threatening and the only thing that will heal them is for me to not sleep at all ever again. There will be a wet bed. A spontaneous bloody nose. Or a dog will vomit ON MY PILLOW.

If I go to sleep something will happen to destroy that sleep so I will just never let myself fully sleep again because then I can’t be disappointed when they literally rip my dreams away from me.

Then I glance over to the other side of the bed and I see my handsome, funny, smart, loving husband sleeping like it is truly his job and he is the employee of the freaking month.

How dare he knock me up and then get a good night’s sleep every single night for the duration of my kid’s childhood while I lay awake and do all of the worrying.

And honestly? I want to smack him. Right there in the chiseled jawline. 

Who am I kidding. He would just sleep right through it.

He has always been able to sleep right through it.

One time I handed him our newborn son because I was deteriorating fast under the pressure of being a new mom, having breasts that felt like they were on fire every time that little person tried to nurse, and zero sleep. I slept hard that night. It was bliss. Then in the morning my husband informs me that he has no recollection of actually being handed the baby and he woke up in the hallway, carrying my child, not knowing how long he had been pacing in his sleep.

He was never allowed to help with the children at night ever again. For their safety and my sanity.

And so he slept. And I let him. But I didn’t like it.

I did actually try to ask him for help at night one more time with our second son. I called his name. I didn’t yell. I didn’t shake him. Just tried to wake him up gently. We lived in Hawaii at the time and our apartment had recently been invaded by enormous centipedes. When he heard me call his name something in him assumed there was a centipede crawling ON him. He jumped out of bed to save himself and RAN INTO THE WALL.

That was the end of asking him for help at night.

During the day we are a team. A task force. An unstoppable parenting duo.

At night?

Not so much.

His sleeping skills are so impressive I’ve made a list of all the incredible events he has managed to sleep through.

10 things my husband can sleep through

  1. A screaming newborn at 2am. No matter how long they scream, no matter how long I laid there and pretended to be asleep to see if he would wake up and get his child, he never stirred.
  2. Being sprayed in the face by an out of control stream of breast milk while the baby screams because he can’t latch on and I cry because I can’t remember what sleep feels like.
  3. Middle of the night snack and drink requests. He snores while I’m a waitress at a 24 hour diner.
  4. Croup attacks, puking kiddos, and growing pains.
  5. Getting peed on by a three year old. The kid wakes up. Mama wakes up. Daddy sleeps in the soggy sheets. 
  6. Seventeen alarm clocks.
  7. Me, throwing the curtains open, and yelling that we have to leave the house in three minutes.
  8. Me, shaking him violently, and screaming that we have to leave the house in thirty seconds.
  9. Dogs barking two inches from his ear.
  10. Brothers fighting, biting, pinching, and kicking. On top of him. All 85 pounds of them crushing his skull. And he’ll never know.

But we all know the one thing he would wake up for. Every. Single. Time. I won’t say it here because my mother-in-law reads my blog. (Hi mom!) But you know it and I know it and that’s all that matters.

Almost seven years into marriage we have reached an understanding. He gets to sleep. He also gets to do the dishes. I’m still tired but I really hate doing dishes so we call it a deal. And we keep the peace.


See. Peace.

#helovesme #johnnyandgingerforever #heapprovedthispost

Okay now tell me, so I know I’m not the only one, what ridiculousness does your husband sleep through?

confessions of an impatient mom.

They say patience is a virtue. I looked up the definition of patience, just to see if maybe there was a loophole I could cling to for dear life and claim to posses said virtue.

Patience. The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Well crap. That settles it.

I am the most impatient person in the world.


I have never been a patient person. Growing up I would see something I wanted and immediately the obsession would begin. I would harass my parents, think about it constantly, there may have been some whining involved. Charming right? I was also pretty good with words so I could usually talk my way into things.

Just last week I found a three page essay I wrote to my parents when I was fifteen years old. It was typed, with proper heading, and entitled “The Pros and Cons of a Cellular Phone.” It included golden arguments such as, “If I am ever with one of my friends and they run out of gas or they have a flat tire, someone kidnaps us etc, and they don’t have a phone, I will have one.” I rocked that neon yellow phone hard.

One day I showed up at my house with a dog that my friend was giving away, because the second I saw that pup, I desperately needed a dog. We had Maggie for thirteen years.

Waiting for Christmas morning was torture. Forget about college application responses. And sitting by the phone wondering when that super cute boy was going to call me? No way. I would just call him. Patience may be a problem, but boldness I posses.

I think we all have stories like this. Learning patience is part of growing up. Controlling our reactions is part of maturing. Realizing when something is a want and not a need, I think they call that adulthood. Living with life’s little annoyances, is something we all do. Nobody enjoys slow drivers, or traffic jams, or long lines at target. But most of the time we don’t fly off the handle, yelling at the cashier to hurry it up or lay on our horn in standstill traffic because we think it will magically make things change. (Notice I said most of the time. There’s always that one horn honker.) So then we think wow, I’m a really cool, calm, collected, person. My patience is to be admired. At least that’s what I thought.

Then I had kids.


Two of them.


My days were suddenly filled with breastfeeding and cuddling and kissing and staring. My nights were no longer filled with sleep. It is so much harder to feel wonder and awe when your exhaustion is overwhelming. When I heard my tiny son cry in the middle of the night my immediate reaction was not joy and delight. It was frustration, maybe even a twinge of annoyance. Then the entire time I fed him, I was racked with guilt because I wasn’t loving every single second of this motherhood journey. I was tapping my foot and waiting impatiently for him to fall back to sleep so I could also. What was wrong with me?

Toddlerhood came quickly. So did my second son. Managing a two year old and a newborn is similar to climbing Mount Everest. But probably a little bit harder. In my postpartum haze, still nursing a toddler as well as a ravenous newborn, and sleeping almost never, I wondered how we would make it.

But we did, and now here we are.




The last five years have tested me and stretched me and broken me in so many ways. This journey of motherhood is not for the faint of heart. But it is for the heart who knows imperfection is beautiful and that in our weakness He makes us strong.

The reality is this.

I still sigh too often while they search long for the right pair of shoes. I hurry them more than I let them tarry looking at a tiny bug. My words feel sharp when they delay bedtime or don’t clean up right away. There are days my hands are too busy with a to do list and I know I have missed cuddles we both needed, giggles that bring joy uncontainable, and quiet moments that I cannot steal back.

You see I am still not a patient person. But I do pray for patience every single morning, the second my eyes open and I remember that his mercies are brand new right now and today is a whole new chance to love better, speak gently, stare longer, and choose my words with meticulous care.

I recently read these painful but beautiful words from Mr. Jon Bloom, the president of Desiring God. “The pattern in everything is this, the greater joys are obtained through struggle and difficulty and pain – things you must force yourself to do when you don’t feel like it.”

I always feel like loving my boys deep. But I do not always feel like fighting for the discipline and self-control required to exercise true patience. Sometimes it is easier to throw a tantrum when they throw a tantrum. Or yell at them from across the room instead of dropping my task and calmly discipling them in the way the should go. Too many times I have let words come out sharp and painful instead of breathing deep and choosing words that encourage and heal.

To live a life of patience takes energy and dedication and consistency and a whole lot of patience. It is mundane and exhausting and overwhelming. It is a battle with the strong will of a three year old who knows better than you. It is a struggle with the questionable logic of a five year old.

It is an opportunity to fall on your knees.

When the day is too long and the bickering is too loud. When you cannot do it all and the beds are undone. When they need all of you but you have nothing left.

When motherhood seems too tall a mountain to climb.


He is enough.

The God that created me and you, the one who loved us first and always. He knows our hearts, our hopes, our dreams, and our weaknesses. He invites us to come to Him. He wants us to ask Him to be strong where we are not. He gives patience. He gives self-control. He gives peace.

But sometimes in the busy I forget to ask. Which is really a shame because oh, when I do ask. When I remember that I cannot carry the weight of our tiny little world alone. When I lay on my face, words fall short, but tears are the cry of my heart. When I decrease so He can increase. Our life changes.

This surrender, this daily acknowledgement that I need Him so desperately, it’s not easy. It is a struggle. It is a daily choice. It is the breaking of patterns and pride worn deep into the fabric of who I am and who I do not want to raise my boys to be. So I work hard to remember, I fight long to die to myself so these boys can see their mama choose Jesus time and time again.

It may not be simple but it is so very worth it.

You see my boys don’t need me to be perfect. They need me to be a mama willing to admit mistakes, ask forgiveness, pray hard, then pray some more, practice what she preaches, laugh hard and love deep. They need a mama who may not be a patient person but who is committed to learning more and more every day how to practice the art of patience.

And that I can do.

So can you.

Along the journey, let’s always remind ourselves. Practice does not make perfect, but practice does become habit. And I want to be in the habit of living a life worthy of their imitation and admiration. Also all of their belly laughs.