“Mommy, I Want to Win ALL the Races!”

When she reached my legs, she was a mess of hot, defeated tears. Bumbling and mumbling, her sobs drowned out the specifics of her angst. I had no clue what was wrong, but I was confident that something was not right. With her head buried at my knees, her little body heave-ho’d with emotion.

Grabbing her from below and bringing her to my face, I wiped her tears and simply asked, “What’s wrong, girl?”

Attempting to gather some air and compose her words, she breathed out, “Mommy, I want to win all the races,” and then she burst into another round of tears. 

Holding her for a few more minutes and arranging her matted silk into its normal places on her head, her body stilled and her crying ceased. Again, I ventured into another round of questioning.

“Sweet girl, what happened?”

“Caden and I are playing airplane races, and he has the longest legs, and I don’t always win.” Her words were a tad huffy and her tone a lot frustrated.

“Ahhh. I see. It’s hard to lose, isn’t it?”

Nodding her head but refusing to affirm my answer with words, I could tell that she understood my empathic response.

“But I want to win ALLLLLL the races, Mommy. I don’t want to lose. I want to be the best!” 

I shook my head in complete understanding and simply said, “I get it, girl. Mama gets it.”

As I held her on my lap, my heart retraced its steps to the ball field where we had sat earlier in the weekend.

Wrought with frustration and ticked about our son’s current playing position, I had been mad too. For nine, straight games, he had been placed in the outfield. Moved from the action and his usual position at 2nd base, our son was occupying the grass and mama-bear wasn’t thrilled. In fact, I was straight-up annoyed. Since April, he had spent a majority of the game in the diamond of dirt and this unexplained change was hard for all of us.

Why wasn’t he playing where the action was?

Why was someone else getting the spotlight?

Why wasn’t he where he always was? 

Why weren’t they rotating? 

And though I wasn’t able to admit it in the moment, the Spirit had stirred my haughty heart after I left that field in a huff of my own. And as I sat in that Sunday pew (less than 24 hours later), my mind was finally able to own what my pride wouldn’t acknowledge when I had been sitting in that Saturday lawn chair

I, too, had wanted ALL the best. 

I, too, had hated SECOND best.

With my pencil in hand, I scribbled-confessed my sin on the pages of unlined white.

Lord, I confess that I was comparing while I was on that ball field. And while I was comparing, I was also tearing others down. Lord, I confess that I was coveting the position of other players. I confess that I was jealous and wanted what I perceived to be mine/his. Lord, I confess that I was angry when I didn’t get what I wanted or what I thought he deserved. Lord, I confess that my pride was idolizing that position and that my heart was angry in the face of what I perceived to be injustice. Lord, forgive me for being angry when I didn’t get the best. 

I know it’s not pretty and I know it’s not the perfect image that we want to proliferate on the pages and walls of our social media platforms, but it was true.

Mama doesn’t like the backseat.  

And truth be told, maybe you don’t either.

Because the truth is, our hearts don’t like the small positions and the tiny spots. Nope. Our hearts like the big spaces and the lofty places and when we don’t get them, our hearts can throw a tantrum that can look a whole lot like a little girl in tears, or an angry mama on a lawn chair, or vying brothers named James and John and their 10 cronies.

James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came up to him. “Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us. “What is it? I’ll see what I can do.” “Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory—one of us at your right, the other at your left.” 

When the other ten heard of this conversation, they lost their tempers with James and John. Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.” Mark 10: 35-37, 41-45

As I finished writing out that Sunday, sin-confession in the margins of my journal, I drew an arrow and wrote at the bottom, “Oh, how unlike Jesus, Jessica is!”

In the face of injustice, Jesus sacrificed.

In the face of injustice, Jesus served.

In the face of injustice, Jesus set down.

In the face of injustice, Jesus SAVED.

So unlike…so very, very UNLIKE Jessica.

In fact, Jesus sacrificed, served, set down, and saved the countless other “Jessica’s” that would vie for placement, jockey for position, and become undone by anything other than the very best and the absolute first.

Jesus died for ALL the “Jessica’s” who want ALL the best. 

As I held my little girl tightly in my arms, my mama heart felt deeply for the little girl who sat struggling in my lap. And so I did the same thing for her on Monday that I did for me on Sunday, I prayed for the Spirit to humble her heart; I prayed that He would conform her spirit into His image; I prayed that He would help her battle her pride and resist her need for position; and then I bear-hugged her little body.

Oh, Lord…turn our hearts of pride into hearts of praise and turn our eyes from our earthly positions and toward your heavenly presence. 




Babies, Bottles, and Our Broken Worship

Climbing the stairs to his room, I excitedly opened the door. With big, sleepy eyes and outstretched arms, he looked so cuddly in those terry cloth jammies.

The clock read 8:12, and I was so excited to see him. I was looking forward to those early morning cuddles and those silly giggles of his.

With all the sing-song sap that a mama can muster, I happily exclaimed, “Hi baby! Good morning!”

And what was his response to my excitement?

“BA-BA! BA-BA!! BA-BA!!!

With wild eyes and a shifty head, he turned his gaze from me and started surveying the room.

The truth was, he was looking for milk, not his mama.

And though I knew it probably shouldn’t sting as much as it did, it did.

After two nights of being away from him, I was excited to be together again. I had been looking forward to his excited smiles when he saw me again, and I was hoping for a squeal or three. I wanted to be with him, and I wanted him to want that too. But he didn’t. In that moment, he didn’t.

Focused on his wants and desirous of the milk, he wasn’t concerned with the one who brought the milk, he merely wanted the milk.

Trying again, I called out and even reached out to him with my arms. “Hey buddy! Mama missed you! I love you!

Batting my arms away and running to the other side of the crib, he shrieked again, “BA-BA! BA-BA!! BA-BA!!!

My mama heart sank.

Why didn’t he care that I was there? Why wasn’t he desirous of me? Why was the milk taking precedence over his mama? Didn’t I matter more than those 7 ounces of cow-produced liquid? 

As I reached for him, the initial sting started to feel a little hot with hurt and before I knew it, a bitter irritation had settled over my spirit.

I’m tired of being a vending machine. I’m tired of being a need-meeter. I’m tired of being used as a genie in a bottle of warmed milk! I want to be WANTED!

I really have no clue why it bothered me so much that morning because truth be told, it has probably happened before. But as I reached for that bottle and graciously handed shoved it in his direction, I feel like the Holy Spirit had orchestrated the entire moment…or at least my awareness of it.

As I grabbed for a clean diaper and a fresh wipe, the Spirit reached for my heart.

Jessica, I think there has been a time (or few) that you, too, have entered my Presence only to ask for my Provision.

The words were not audible but the whisper of conviction was loud in my soul. I couldn’t un-hear His whisper, and I couldn’t un-think the thought.

It was just as true for me as it was for the baby in the crib.

I, just like him, have looked past my Father and asked for the favor. I have shifted my gaze from His Presence and searched for the present. I have overlooked the Giver and sought the gift. I have neglected the Heavenly and reached for the handout.

And though God is entirely unlike me (a finite being who is easily wounded, often needy, and imperfect in ALL my ways and responses), I can’t help but think that the God of the Universe desires for us to want Him too.

Why do I believe that to be true?

Because the Creator of the Universe took the time to fearfully and wonderfully create us. Not only did He create us, but He sought communion with man and woman in the Garden. When man and woman sinned, He covered them and sent them out. Did He leave them? No. He loved them, provided for them, rescued them, delivered them, set their feet on dry ground, and covenanted with them. He led them, fed them, protected them, fought for them, and gave them an inheritance. He spoke to them, tabernacled with them, and even outlined the ways they could worship Him. He gave them judges, appointed them kings, sent them prophets, and promised a Messiah. He came to earth to be with them, performed miracles for them, discipled them, forgave them, died for them, resurrected for them, and even promised to come back for them.

From the beginning of time, He has been making a way for His people to know Him, love Him, fear Him, worship Him, believe Him, trust Him, and dwell in His presence.

16 times throughout the Old Testament, God refers to Himself as a jealous God–a God who is jealous for His Creations to worship, know, love, and delight in Him. Friends, God isn’t jealous for something that isn’t His. No, He wants all of us because we are all of His.

And though He delights in hearing our requests and though He is a good, good Father who wants to mercifully bless us with gracious gifts from His heavenly hand, He wants our worship before our want-list, and He wants our hearts before our hungry hands.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

SEEK HIM and HE will fulfill all your eternal heart-necessities. 

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

SEEK HIM and HE will give you what He knows you need. 

John 4:14 says, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never first.”

SEEK HIM and HE will satisfy your soul with all that is necessary. 

So when we enter His presence, may we not yell our want-list into His ears; may we not forego His presence to seek His presents; and may we not neglect His Name on account of our needs. But rather, may we seek His face and do as the Psalmist commanded in 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”

For truly, He is a God who deserves all of our delight and warrants all of our worship! And in HIM, all our needs are satisfied.





Fathers, We NEED You!

Every year, I see a plethora of advertisements for what we can buy the “dad” in our lives.

A grill. A Man Crate. An engraved beer tumbler. A funny shirt about being Batman Dadman. A set of golf clubs. A Bacon Box. A tie, a belt, a suit…a lawn mower that cuts the grass in 10 minutes while your dad naps in a hammock and sips beer in front of a TV the size of his garage while the competent mother runs the house.

You get the gist of the gift list.

And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these gifts (who doesn’t want or need a Bacon Box?!), I wonder if the gifts that are advertised in June are also a subconscious commentary on how we have begun to view the dads in our culture.

You’ve seen the TV sitcoms and watched the endless commercials; you’ve seen the memes and heard the comedy sketches. More often than not, fathers are often depicted as worthless and incompetent sperm donors who desperately fall short when it comes to parenting (if they’re even present at all) and that mothers are the very best choice when it comes to rearing and raising children.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that there are some men who would much rather sip a beer, tend to their grass, and eat bacon from a wooden crate than love their children and lead their homes and sadly, some of these TV depictions and memes are a fair commentary on some fathers…but is that really the case for the majority of men in our culture? And if it is the case (I confess that I didn’t do any pre-poll work prior to this post), is it possible that we have reduced dad-hood into a role where leisure is the aim and food the game? Have we lessened the importance of their role and made a joke of their parental value?

Is it possible that we (yes, women) have contributed to this demeaned and minimized role? 

Is it possible that we, as women, have unfairly usurped their roles and sequestered them into these unfair and incompetent boxes? Is it possible that in our frustration over their imperfections and in our discouragement over their weaknesses, that we have minimized their roles in our homes and our culture at large? Is it possible that in our pride and in our need for control, we have sent our men to couches, stadiums, bars, and out the front door of our homes? Is it possible that our expectations of how a man should lead and our perceptions of how a dad should love have sent our dads to the sidelines of defeat and to the bench of discouragement? Is it possible that we have reduced them to incompetent men who do best when they are grilling burgers, mowing grass, drinking beer, and leaving us to the responsibility of shepherding our children?

And I ask those super-ouchy questions of all of us because I know that I (hand definitely raised) have been guilty of this very thing, and I’m wondering if others have too.

I’ve been guilty of having unfair and unrealistic expectations of their daddy.

I’ve been guilty of pushing him aside because I want the parenting tasks done “my way.”

I’ve been guilty of taking the reigns and usurping his role when I’ve become impatient and frustrated with x, y, and in his parenting.

I’ve been guilty of criticizing, controlling, and containing him to the things I’ve decided he “can handle” while I care for the rest.

In all honestly, I’ve been guilty of minimizing his importance in our home and maximizing mine. And it’s yucky, friends. It’s really, really yucky.

But the Lord called our men to be leaders in our home, and I believe we need to let them do it.

Now here me out, I’m not suggesting that I believe we must take on the 1950’s culturally-assigned “barefoot, pregnant, and quiet in the kitchen” role where we never question decisions or voice our concerns to the men in our lives, AND I am not writing a post that describes or delineates the various views on our genders and how we should live those out and apply them in our homes. I AM NOT DOING THOSE THINGS.

However, I AM suggesting that maybe we have hijacked the leadership of the fathers in our homes and come to believe that we (mothers) are the best equipped for the duties at hand. 

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:21-25

In love, they lead and in love, we submit. It’s a mutual respect for one another where we (both) lay down our pride and humbly subject ourselves to the good of one another. It’s a loving relationship, not a dictatorial arrangement where women are silenced slaves and children are obedient chattel. It’s an arrangement where God has asked the man to take the lead on protecting, loving, caring, and providing for the people in their homes. This arrangement is meant to be a picture of Christ and His loving leadership of His Church.

Submission is not suggesting that women are voiceless souls who cannot provide feedback, encouragement, and advice on how to lead and love in their homes, nor is it saying that women can only ever be nursery workers who quietly wear head coverings in the back of the church. No, I am simply noting that God has asked women to submit and yield their leadership abilities to the leadership of another.

But if we (as women and as a culture) have pushed our fathers aside and relegated them to a role where their leadership has been gagged by ours, then I believe we are squashing, not submitting. And when we raise our children in homes where fathers are squashed by mothers, the picture of Christ and His Church have been marred. And when we lose sight of that picture, everyone suffers. 

So this Father’s Day, I am reminding myself of some of the other gifts I can give the father of my children.

Instead of criticizing and controlling, I can encourage.

Instead of pushing aside and taking over, I can advise.

Instead of usurping and squashing, I can yield.

We need you, fathers, and we need your leadership. 

In a world where truth is relative, money is supreme, fame is idolized, sex is extracurricular, terror is real, and Christianity is perceived as “irrelevant” and “intolerant,” we need you to be a different voice for our families.

We need you to remind us that our choices DO matter and that our values ARE eternal. We need you to remind us that there is nothing this world can offer us that will provide forever happiness or secure forever safety. We need you to remind us that sex is to be treasured, families are important, and money is just money. We need you to remind us that HE is our prize, not our political views and certainly not our possessions nor our positions. We need you to remind us of the Good News when our hearts are faint and our fears are big. We need you to rehearse His ways, remind us of His covenant faithfulness, and reiterate the truths that have been craftily distorted. We need you to speak up and speak out– reminding us of His truths, and His grace, and His sanctifying work this side of heaven. And in order to do this, we need you to immerse yourself in His word…feasting on His love and fancying His glory.

We need you to nurture hearts, discipline souls, and shape minds. We need you to provide stability, enforce structure, and promote integrity, perseverance, and courage in a world that promotes deceit, ease, and tolerance. We need you to model godly manliness in front of our children, reminding them that “being a real man” looks like following Jesus and making much of Him.

In a world where “me” is idolized and “my best” is at the center, we need you to demonstrate what it means to engage in humble, sacrificial love. We need you to show the world that forgiveness is the key to growing relationships and humility is the answer to a lot of our frustrations. We need you to model “taking up your cross and following Him” even when it’s hard, hurts, and doesn’t make a lick of sense. We need you to lead us in showing love to those who are “different” and even “undeserving,” being willing to lay aside your biases and opinions for the sake of modeling and speaking the Language of Jesus and His radical love for ALL PEOPLE and ALL NATIONS.

We don’t need you to be foolproof dads, faultless husbands, or even flawless followers of Christ, we just need you to help lead us to make much of Him, and to forgive us when we use our leadership to squash yours. 










I’m Evie, NOT Short!

Our girl doesn’t cry too often. In fact, she rarely cries. So when I heard the big sobs in the backseat, I was concerned.

“Evie-girl, what’s wrong?”

With a voice filled with anger and a face full of tears, she said, “That big girl in gymnastics told me that I was the smallest in the class!”

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. How did you feel when she said that to you?”

“I felt really mad and angry! And I felt really sad, too. That was NOT nice of her, and I don’t like that she said that.”

“I’m sorry, Evie. What made you angry and sad about what she said?”

“Well I’m NOT the smallest! I am five, and I am NOT a baby!!!”

Immediately, more tear-filled sobs came from the backseat.

“Did she say that you were a baby?” 

“Well no, but that’s how she made me feel.”

“Ahhh. That makes sense. I can see how you might have felt that way, but that’s not what she said. Right? And we don’t know that her intentions were to use her words to make you feel that way. Right?”

Still hot with some anger, she responded, “Well I am NOT the smallest.”

Knowing that she was indeed the smallest in her class and not wanting to avoid the lesson that could be learned from the “ouch,” I leaned in.

“Well…is it possible that you are the smallest in your class?”

Sheepishly but knowingly I heard her mumble, “Yes.”

“Evie, those words that she used were words to describe you, but they don’t have to define you. You are the smallest in the class, and that is okay. When God made you, He didn’t call you short, He called you fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

Quietly listening from the backseat, I went a little further.

“And when you introduce yourself to others, you don’t say, ‘Hi, I’m Short,’ you say, ‘Hi, I’m Evie,’ right?”


“And when God made Evie, He made her more than just short, right?”

With an edge in her voice, she agreed.

“What else does God say that you are?”

Reluctantly and with a fair bit of ‘tude, she said, “He says I’m forgiven and loved.”

“You’re right! And no amount of earthly words to describe you will ever define what He says you are and what He’s created you to be. And His words are the most important.”

It was silent for awhile, and I let it be.

As we drove, I couldn’t help but mull over my own words and the repeated Truths.

Jessica is not defined by a title; she cannot be reduced to her abilities; she is not the sum total of her size; she is not determined by her good and bad deeds; and she cannot be deduced to the roles she plays and the tasks she performs.  

Jessica is a treasure of the King, a chosen creation, and a forgiven child. Jessica was bought with a price, purchased with blood, and redeemed by a Savior who called and equipped her to bring glory to His name. Jessica is a heaven-bound daughter whose identity is defined by His unfailing grace and determined by His perfect mercy. 

Jessica is defined by His works and not anything else that she, or the world, attempts to describe her as. 

Interrupting my thoughts, our little gymnast spoke from the backseat.

“Mommy, it’s okay that I am the smallest. My name is Evie, not Short!” 

“You’re right, sweet girl. Your name is Evie, and your perfect Creator didn’t make any mistakes when He made you short.” 

“Yep! He’s perfect, and He can’t make any mistakes!”

Friends, may we fight to see ourselves through the lens of Him, and may we celebrate in knowing that absolutely no earthly description can ever define the value of His beloved creations.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 



“Mommy, Today is Not Tomorrow!”

The sky was blue. The clouds were puffy-white. There was a sweet little breeze, and my girl and I had the entire park to ourselves. Swinging side by side, talking and chatting about anything and everything under the Spring sun, a deep-mama sadness came over my heart. Like those clouds above, the sun disappeared, and I felt a heaviness in my heart. Deciding that I didn’t want to keep it stuck inside my chest (bearing the weight of it alone), I spoke the words out loud.

“Evie, I am so so sad that my days of having you at home…all to myself…are going away.” As I spoke the words, the tears came.

Silently, she continued to swing.

“I just love you so very much and though I am really excited for you to go to school, I’m just really going to miss you a whole bunch.”

My girl who loves to talk said nothing.

I continued. “I’ve just really, really loved having you home and being little.”

And then as if she had had enough of my sad speech stuff, she got off the swings and looked me square in the eyes and said the words I needed to hear.

“Mommy, today is not tomorrow! We still have today! School is not until the Fall time!” 

Nodding my head while squeezing back a boatload of more tears, I conceded, “You’re right, sweet girl. You’re right. Today is not tomorrow.”

And in that moment and for the rest of the moments at the park, I repeated that phrase (over and over) in my head.

As I watched her bravely ascend the climbing wall…today is not tomorrow. 

As I watched her blonde bob glisten in the sunshine…today is not tomorrow. 

As I watched her swing her pink kitty in the baby swing…today is not tomorrow. 

As I watched her arms grab each of the monkey bars…today is not tomorrow. 

And as I repeated that beautiful phrase into the recesses of my heart and mind, I found myself noticing all of the little details. Like a sponge, I was soaking in the moments…sopping up the beauty.

Instead of letting worry wring my heart empty and my mind dry, I chose to embrace the truth of my little girl’s words.

Today is not tomorrow. 

And as I spent the rest of our minutes soaking and sopping the beauty of the present moment, the Spirit impressed upon me the words of Matthew 6:34.

Since I memorized it in the NIV version, these are the words I recalled as I chased her around the park.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The spirit of her words reflected the Spirit of His.

Later, when I got home from the park, I decided to look up the words of Matthew 6 in other versions, and I found myself continually encouraged as I read. Same TRUTH, different words.

And then I landed on the MSG version of Matthew 6:34, and my heart was un-done.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.


I felt like the Spirit hit me over the heart with a 2×4.

Jessica, you are missing how the Lord is working RIGHT now.

You are missing the blessings of today when you are worried about tomorrow.

You can’t soak up the moments of today as you attempt to live in tomorrow.

Stop straddling, Jessica, and stand in the moments where I am working TODAY! 

All of it. ALL. OF. IT. was entirely true.

I know we’ve heard it a million times over, but the hard fast truth is…worry is a joy sucker; it’s a moment-stealer; and it’s a blessing-taker! It takes the fears of tomorrow and pushes aside the provisions of today, and it draws us away from the how the Lord is moving in our current moments…how He’s providing for our present! 

And isn’t that JUST what the enemy wants???

If we don’t see how the Lord is working and moving in our today, then aren’t we all the more prone to fear tomorrow?!? For truly, isn’t it His faithful track record that gives us hope and faith for the future?!?

BAM. There he is again. That devil! That real, deceitful enemy that thrives on stealing our joy and in turn, squashing His glory. That enemy that loves for us to question the goodness and provision of the Lord. That enemy that relishes in our buying into the lie that He’s holding out on us, and that what we have NOW is not enough for today or tomorrow.

Friends, He IS faithful and He IS enough. And because He IS, there is joy for both today and tomorrow!

As Hebrews 13:8 proclaims, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!

We can’t trust that our tomorrow’s will be the same, but we can trust that the same God who is working today will be the same God that is working tomorrow. And for now, we can soak up the joy and sop of the beauty of today’s provisions. For friends, today is NOT tomorrow! 



Toddler Life: 30, VERY NORMAL, Things

1. It will probably make more sense to start meal time by throwing all of the food on the floor and then let them pick up and eat whatever suits them.
2. You will be more wet after bath time than they are. I don’t know how, but you will be.
3. Buy a fake remote controller, a spatula, an empty box, and a metal bowl and just skip all of the Fisher Price toys because let’s be honest…that’s what they really want.
4. Your child will gain the strength of a wild boar named Samson when you go to change their diaper. It’s the truth.
5. When you utter the word “no,” it will sound like an appendage is being torn from their body. It’s normal; don’t fret.
6. Your food will always look better than theirs. ALWAYS.
7. It might make more sense to just start the day with dirty clothes from the laundry.
8. You may question if there is a possession of sorts that occurs between the time of 6:30-7:30 every night. Nope. That’s just normal. Even if their head swivels in weird directions, that’s entirely normal.
9. You are basically a walking napkin and breathing tissue because your wardrobe will see more food and snot than both combined.
10. If you want to look nice when your spouse arrives home, shower 30 minutes before they return home.
11. Go ahead and grieve the loss of hot meals as soon as they pass through your legs and into the doctor’s hands. Those days are gone. Unless of course you choose to pay $100 to go out for a meal and have a sitter for the evening.
12. So much of their responses will not make any sense to you. This is also normal. Nothing is logical and everything is a potential cause for dramatic hysteria. If you believe otherwise, you are entirely illogical.
13. You will spend a sizeable amount of your time clipping fingernails and toenails that do NOT actually end up being clipped. Do not be alarmed; this is normal.
14. Every SINGLE day they will try to eat inanimate objects that are not food and every SINGLE day, they will try to NOT eat food.

15. If you haven’t had people give you the “crazy-eyes” in public, then you probably don’t have a toddler in public.

16. Your body is a playground. Your arms are monkey bars and your legs are a slide; please don’t fight this.
17. When they start eating meat, their poop will make you want to die. THE END.
18. Teething makes you think and feel very scary things. VERY. SCARY. THINGS. Find a friend who will let you share those “very scary things” without judging you. Trust me; this is cheaper than a therapist.
19. When you open that refrigerator door, you have approximately 7 seconds to claim what you need before everything is torn out and de-shelved.
20. 90% of their diet will consist of puffs and puff-like food. The goal is to have them weaned from puffs by age 12. You’re good. It’s all good.
21. There will be a point where you want to go and apologize to every single parent that you ever judged. It’s okay; you’re forgiven.
22. The best time to talk with your spouse is not after you close the door to their bedroom. The best time to talk is probably 2 hours after that door closes–like once the hostage negotiations have come to a stand still and your eyes are automatically shutting.
23. There is little value in trying to cook a meal with both arms. Two arms are over-rated. Just use the one that is NOT holding the hungry child who will no longer be hungry once dinner is served.
24. There will be days when you probably question ALL of your parenting abilities. And then there will be all of the other days when you WILL question ALL of your parenting abilities.
25. Diapers are only meant to stay on children that are under 9 months. After that, it’s like playing Russian Roulette.
26. Weird things will start happening to you. For example, going to the grocery store will start to feel a whole lot like freedom and a lot less like a chore. Again, this is all normal.
27. If your child has not fallen out of a car seat, off of the stairs, or out of their high chair on your watch, you are probably not a parent of a toddler.
28. Books are for chewing; food is for throwing; and sleeping is for the birds.
29. Wipes are like Windex; they clean any and everything, and you will continue to use them even after they are out of diapers and studying for spelling tests.
30.  It is perfectly normal to count the minutes until bed time. And then once they are in bed and your body is now yours for the next 2-8 hours, it’s perfectly normal to look through super-cute pictures of said toddler and then oddly miss them. Again, this is ALL very, very normal.

My Maundy Thursday Mess

If my alarm went off, I didn’t hear it. In fact, the baby was the first thing I heard this morning as my eyes opened and saw the numbers on the clock.


It was 7:34 AM, approximately 34 minutes later than it was supposed to read. At this point on a Thursday morning, I should have been adding last minute things to the oldest’s book bag, feeding a baby a bottle, and helping the middle soul with a fashion crisis while securing my leather bag for a morning of work.

Instead, the clock is reading 7:34, and I’m still laying in a pile of disheveled sheets.

Busting down the stairs in our little cape cod, I clumsily greeted everyone and headed for my contacts. After a whirlwind of dry shampoo, toothpaste, and some new eye liner, I emerged with a messy bun and a need for coffee.

After kissing the oldest goodbye and feeding the baby, I turned my attention toward the clean load of dishes that was waiting in the dishwasher. Since I had a few moments to spare before needing to leave, I decided to tackle the cupboard-ready dishes. As I pulled, stacked, and placed the dishes, I realized I hadn’t seen or heard our Evie Rae for over 15 minutes. And if you know Evie, that’s a LOOOONNNGGG time to not hear or see her. Hastily, I called for her.

“Evie! Where are you? Evie?!”

From behind her brother’s bedroom door, I heard her muffled voice.

“I’m in here, Mommy!”

Opening the door, I found her sitting on the bedroom floor in a pile of organized Legos.

“Evie, what are you doing, sweetheart?”

“You asked Caden to pick up and organize his Legos last night, so I thought I would do it.”

I was speechless.

“But Evie, that wasn’t your mess to clean up,” I responded in humble shock.

“I know, but I decided to show love.”

Tears welled up. And just as soon as those tears welled up and the words reverberated in my head, I realized that there couldn’t be more apt words for a Thursday morning.

In the rush of the morning and in the chaos of the scrambling, I hadn’t remembered the sacredness of this symbolic Thursday. I had been busy and hurried and because of it, my heart hadn’t had time to reflect and ponder.

But as I stood in that room with my little girl, the one who was knelt on the floor in a posture of service, I couldn’t help but repeat the same words I had just repeated.

“But that wasn’t your mess to clean up.”

And as we finalized the last-minute Thursday morning details before leaving the house and driving to the sitter’s house, my girl and I marveled at the beautiful parallel of her selfless act and His sacrificial love.

It’s true; it wasn’t His mess to clean up.

Hanging on that cross, He died for my mess.

Suffering on that hill, He bled for my mistakes. 

In absolute perfect holiness, He cleaned up a mess that was NONE of His responsibility, but ALL of His choice. 

We created the mess.

We screwed up the plan.

We made a disaster of His beauty.

We rejected His offer of perfect communion.

And with arms outstretched and a will bent, He cleaned up the mess. 

He wiped away our guilt.

He took away our transgressions.

He bore our shame.

He received our stripes.

He took on the mess of the world, and He made it His very own.

And on those wooden beams, He redeemed our mess in a way that our best efforts could never, EVER do.

In a posture of humility and in an act of unmerited and undeserved grace, He took our tremendous mess and gave us infinite mercy and indefinite love. 

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11