What are you close to dropping your arms on?


Yesterday morning while sitting in church, we sang the song Lion and the Lamb. (Here’s a link to my favorite version of it if you haven’t heard it yet and want to know what I’m even talking about) The lyrics are beautiful, and the part that jumped out most to me in that particular worship was, “Our God is the lion, the lion of Judah, He’s roaring with power, and fighting our battles.” Especially that last part, fighting our battles…

As we sang through it and my mind was rolling that line over and over in my head. I imagined God fighting my battles and thinking of what that looks like, on my part and His both. We know that God will fight for us, but we also know He is often waiting for us to recognize our need and request that help too. And yet, we often don’t turn to Him or fail to stay consistent in our prayers. Also? if you’re like me, you may often fail to even recognize your struggle or hurt or worry as a battle. You may imagine battles as “big” issues other people deal with. I mean, look how blessed you are, what right do you have to act like this issue is some big battle and you’re in need of some giant victory and rescue?? …but..aren’t you? aren’t I?

So as I was mulling this over, one visual stuck out to me the most. It’s a story God included in His word from Exodus 17.

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.


The image of Moses with hands held high in surrender to God is what I kept seeing. Moses knew this battle was up to God, but in something as small as his aching, tired arms lowering, the battle would fall. This wasn’t because there was power in Moses arms, it was because God wanted Moses and everyone else to remember who was really fighting that battle, and that their dependence and surrender to Him was of utmost importance.

Then you have Aaron and Hurr beside him. First, they put a rock under him so he could sit down. Then, they held up his arms until the battle was won. I love it. I love it so much. You know they got tired too. Have you ever had to hold your arms above your head for any length of time? Try it. It’s no picnic. I have painted ceilings and it’s horrible work…and that’s with lots of rest breaks because I’m a total wimp!

They didn’t have to be the ones. They could have taken turns. They could have called on someone else. They could have brought up an entire tribe to take turns! But they didn’t. It was their job and he was their friend.

I was thinking of all of this, and thinking of a raging battle in my own heart lately. I thought of how I have tried fighting the battle on my own so often through “fixing” things here and there. I’m a tweaker. If this isn’t working, I’ll tweak something and try that, and so on and so on. I have taken this battle to the Lord, sure, but then I always put my arms back down and start trying it on my own again because the Lord was giving me a battle to watch Him win and not an instant victory. And then, I thought of how I have kept this battle to myself, when I have so many people in my life who would run up that hill and help. Even more, I have one or two who are my Aaron and Hurr, and I am theirs. They would gladly place a solid rock beneath me and stand with me until I could no longer stand alone. They would hold up my arms in a battle when I am hurting, and tired, and hopeless, and ready to give it all up.

What is your battle? What are you ready to drop your arms to, or maybe you already have? What do you need to take before the Lord in prayer day after day, and you know that you can’t do it alone? and who is it for you? Who are those one or two people, not a whole tribe, who will come together with you and give you a solid rock foundation, lifting their arms with you and helping to support you throughout this battle until you see victory at the end?

This morning before my kids were even up, I was on the phone with a friend, pouring out what God had shown me through that song. I told her my battle and asked her to pray, but first, I asked her what her own battle was and listened with completely open ears and heart as she cried and shared her own heart with me. We can hold up each other’s arms! We only have to take the first step in sharing our hearts <3

To the mother of the seven year old “mean girl” we met today

Hi. We don’t know each other, in fact, we haven’t even met. You weren’t there today. What I gather is that your daughter came to the city with a couple of friends before school starts. Fortunately, they weren’t homeschoolers from our area like we thought at first. I’ll fill you in on the details that you missed. The trampoline park was full of kids today. I have a feeling that the parents who brought their kiddos and your daughter weren’t expecting it, since schools here went back to school today, but the homeschoolers decided today was just the day to celebrate back to school with a trampoline day.

My girls were there, excited and anxious. They’ve wanted to go to the trampoline park since they first saw it when we moved here a year ago. They were also excited to meet some other homeschoolers, since they moved away from all their friends last year. When we got there, my youngest was scared of all the kids running crazy and literally jumping off the walls. My middle was struggling deeply with the great desire to play freely and join in, but terrified to speak to strangers or have too much attention put on her…she’s always been the introvert. Then, there was my oldest. She’s 7 and a half and the definition of “social butterfly.” We only went there today because of her. The other two and I are happy as clams to stay home and make our own fun, or only go to parks when we have it to ourselves. But, London needs interaction like she needs air. So..we went. Plus, she truly desires friends in a way I’ll never understand.

Right from the start, London spotted a group of three little girls her age. Your daughter was one of them. She instantly looked at me and said, “mom, can I go play with them? what do I say? how do I start a conversation with them?” I smiled and coached her gently telling her that they looked like they are in gymnastics. I told her to ask them if they are, and tell them she is starting gymnastics herself this week, but doesn’t know much yet. And see if it goes from there. Maybe they’ll even teach her some! I thought humbling herself would be the best fit, because who wouldn’t want to talk to a sweet girl approaching you about your hobby, and acknowledging already that you are superior to her.

So, she went over and started talking. And, I’m not going to lie, the girl can be awkward. She is pure of heart in a way I never have been. She does not read social clues well, because she always thinks the best of others, ESPECIALLY kids, which means she didn’t catch the vibes your daughter was sending immediately. However, the two sisters instantly welcomed her, even giving grace to her three year old sister who kept jumping in on the lane when it was their turn, waiting and laughing patiently as I hauled her off again. But, I could tell from the start that your daughter was a “mean girl”. I hate to say that, truly. Because, I love women. I don’t even say that lightly, I LOVE women. I have laid down my time, resources, and all of my energy at times to teach, lead, serve, and encourage women from little girls to women much older than me to women inside prison. And I am raising girls who will do the same, even if they don’t know it yet. So, when I see a mean girl, it breaks my heart. And from the start, your daughter undermined my daughters. She ignored London repeatedly, pushing for the other two to leave her and go play elsewhere. She cut in front of my smiling three year old who had no idea how rude it was. She cut in front of my five year old who knew exactly how rude it was, but felt helpless to do anything about it.

Everywhere we met them, the two sisters interacted, smiled, played with us. And your daughter usually left and went to pout elsewhere, even though my girls and I continuously tried involving her. Finally, I was jumping with the three year old on a tumbling lane. The five year old was off doing her own thing, just as she liked it. And London was playing with the other girls, but when I looked over, I saw her crumpled on the ground and crying. I instantly panicked thinking she had broken an ankle or something. She was crying so hard, but silently (which, you know as another mama means a much more intense pain than when they’re screaming and carrying on). I practically dragged the preschooler along, trying to get to London who was now alone. “What’s wrong?! ARE YOU HURT?!?” I couldn’t get there fast enough. I scanned the area to spot the five year old, thinking I’d need to call her in and get London to a doctor pronto.

I got to her, and dropped down beside her. “What’s wrong?!?!” And what I heard broke me in places I’ve never been broken before. London gasped between sobs, “She said they hate me.” Hate. Just like that, your daughter introduced hate to my daughter. She’d known hatred of the stories of people killing our police officers. She knew of hatred of people hating African Americans simply because of their skin color. She even knew of hatred of human trafficking, kidnapping, and other crimes, but this was her first personal connection. I couldn’t even process. I was so mad. So, so so mad. WHAT? She said WHAT? London cried, “she said they hate me and they don’t want to play with me. I tried to hold it in. I tried to get away, but she chased me and said it again. said that they all hated me. and she said that I was a cry baby when I couldn’t hold it in anymore.”

At the time, I didn’t want to even speak to your daughter. I couldn’t think of anything to say or do that didn’t include something I would do if I had ever heard my own daughter speak to another person that way, and that’s just illegal and frowned upon. I needed to be away to breathe, and I needed London away from prying eyes to process. I told London that we were leaving. I called in the other two saying that we were going. The three other girls knew instantly that they were caught, one for being the meanest thing I’ve ever met, the other two for allowing it. They ran over, the oldest sister asking what happened, as if she hadn’t been standing right there. I told her and the other two flat out what your daughter did, that it was NOT okay, that it was mean, and that we were leaving because we don’t play with mean girls. What did your daughter say? Did she apologize? Feel guilty for being caught in her hatefulness? No. She pointed a finger at one of the sisters and said, “SHE CALLED HER A CRY BABY!” And just like that, your daughter threw her friend under the bus. We left. The other parents came over as we were leaving and heard, but didn’t make a motion to right the wrong. We left with them all playing and laughing. Their lives will probably never be effected, but my seven year old’s world will never be the same again.

And yet, I do not wish for this to be reversed. Because, even though I wish your daughter hadn’t been so unkind, and I wish you had been there for me to speak to, I don’t wish the roles had been changed and your daughter had been spoken to as such. Hopefully, some where deep down, her heart took a snapshot of my daughter crumpled on the ground in tears, cut deep from the words your daughter spit out. I pray that the Holy Spirit uses this for God’s Glory, and she’ll be changed forever. It was our first day of school, first day of trying to make new friends, but we learned new lessons instead. I pray that you don’t brush this off if you hear of it like the other parents did, thinking of it only as something that happens with kids, particularly girls. Because your daughter is embedded in our memories. She will be spoken of for years, living eternally as a lesson of what not to be. My girls will hear mention of hatefulness, and instantly think, “right, like that girl at the trampoline park.” Because kindness and unkindness lasts forever to the recipients. And who in the world would want that for their child?

But, we are praying for you. We are praying that your family is safe and happy, and that you are blessed. We pray that the girls have a great start to school and that they do great this year in their gymnastics they’ve been working on for three years, as they said. mostly, we’re praying you know Jesus and that His amazing love warms the parts of your hearts that thinks so little of words and hurt. Because I’m not going to lie, today, your daughter was mean, but she is gifted with boldness…we can’t deny that for sure. She is made in the image of God, and contains His thumbprint in that boldness. With His love replacing her jealousy, she will be an amazing witness of His grace speaking truth to all, no matter the environment, audience, or expectations around her.

A tour of our homeschool classroom

Today marks one year since we came and looked at our house for the second time with our realtor.. I know that because timehop is fun and showed me pics of us riding the trolley last year while we explored our new city. In the months leading up to looking at houses in person, Lance and I poured over houses online and talked about possibilities.

We talked about things we absolutely wanted or needed, like how four bedrooms would be nice, but we really only needed three, if we had somewhere for the classroom to be. Then, after all the realistic lists were made individually and together, we talked one day in the car about what if’s. We said, “if you could have anything at all within a reasonable price, what would you want for a home?” and then we dreamed. we dreamed illogical, unlikely things just to dream. His list had a garage, not carport (not important to me) and a space for his office/music room to be, particularly if it’s away from bedrooms so he could play at night. I dreamed of a small nook for my desk and pretty pictures that I could call my own, to write, read, or whatever else. I dreamed of an actual laundry room (our last two houses had the washer and dryer in the kitchen and/or garage), but most of all, I dreamed of a classroom. A space without carpet so I wouldn’t be annoying about spills. One with lots of light would be awesome. Oh! what if it was a sunroom!? a sunroom classroom would be perfect. and on and on.

Months later, we walked into what is now our home. we didn’t get that fourth bedroom, but our girls like to share anyway. but, I have a little office nook in our master bedroom. There’s a music room downstairs on the opposite side of the bedrooms. there’s a garage big enough for two cars (not that we can park two cars in it…ahem) a laundry room. And….this. this is what we walked into that day.

sunroom before

My heart just swelled. Look at that painted hardwood floor…and that beadboard ceiling? and those WINDOWS. In my head, it was already decorated with colorful posters and stocked with art supplies.

Because today was our first day back to our summer school, (and because it’s my favorite room in the house) I thought I’d take some pics and share a tour of our classroom.

This is what the classroom looks like now that we’ve lived here almost a year.

sunroom after

The telescope was a gift from my dad. He got super into watching the stars and moon the last year of his life. seriously. He’d text me at like 11pm telling me to go look at random stars or the full moon, and if I told him it was too cloudy here (2.5-3 hrs from his house), he’d tell me to just wait it out and watch. …….yeah, that’s okay.

The paper chain has to be replaced in the coming months, haha. The sun definitely did a number on its pretty colors. The papers along the ceiling are of our memory verses that go with the alphabet. The boxes on the shelves under the table are some of norah’s hands on puzzles and toys.


A lot of our stuff is down for the summer, but the whiteboard is still up but looking a bit blank. This is Norah’s corner. The calendar beside her doesn’t have the dates up…because I’m lazy and refuse to do it until August ;). And also because I need new sticky tack…tact? hmm…that blue stuff that holds posters up. Norah has boxes for each day of the week. I saw the idea floating around pinterest in several different ways, and I finally settled on one I found from 1plus1plus1equals1 blog. She even gave the printables for the day labels for free! I love helpful people.  Her boxes stay stacked on the other side of the room.


The daily boxes have various things in them that rotate. Today’s had a leapfrog toy that fits letter pieces in and says the name and sound. One day has a small stuffed animal, bandaids, and a real stethoscope Lance used in PTA school. The pink boxes are sensory. One is filled with cotton balls, one has dry lentils and popcorn kernels and metal magnetic pieces, and the other dry black beans with stars and planets. the fourth box has scoops, spoons, magnets, and other things to play in the boxes with.


That shelf with the plant on top holds my sewing box, Norah’s drill toy, and our devotional bin. It’s filled with the girls bibles, devotionals, grateful journals, and a jar of popsicle sticks with prayer requests on them. The girls draw two each morning.


This is our corner with the telescope. We have lots of fun posers thanks to Amazon and Mardel’s.


We also have another corner of posters that have been so handy for the girls.


I am a huge advocate of posters. At least one of my girls is a visual learner, and so often, she has learned something just from it being so available to her often.

Then on the other side of the room is where we keep our supplies and my own workspace.


On the right is a giant pantry, and on that counter is our printer, my sewing machine, and all girls school books.


On the wall to the left is a large US map, the girls chore charts and necklaces, an space to hang any artwork they’re particularly proud of that day, and our year goals for the school year.


Then on the right is where we keep the girls bins of their own crayon boxes, scissors, and so on. The flash cards, science and math boxes, and a few other manipulatives.


Then, inside the pantry is my laminator, manipulatives, and loootttss of art supplies.


On top of the pantry are bins of wooden large beads with lacing string, mini markers, and musical instruments. In the two drawers, are more craft supplies and wooden puzzles.

And I think that’s about it for a tour. We love it. We spend more time in this room than all other rooms during our weekdays, and I love the freedom it gives them for me to just let them go on whatever artistic whim they have. I wish I could give you a personal tour in person with the intermittent yelling and playing of children, but since I can’t, thanks for following along while I gushed about my favorite room via blog post!



Summer Solstice Love

A couple of days ago was the summer solstice. The very first day of summer. We celebrated with playing in water and swinging on swings until little bodies all around me were drained of all energy (shocking, I know. who knew it was possible?) and eyes drooped while we read books. We spread a table of summery food and lots of flowers. It was perfect, except that once that full strawberry moon rose high enough to see its beauty, my girls were too sleepy to wake and take a peek at it. Maybe next year.

I love solstices and equinoxes. (In reality, I love all random and real holidays.) But, some holidays not only give you a reason to eat extra special food and celebrate, but they also signify something. I particularly enjoy the ones signifying something new. A new year. A new school year. A new season. and they make my spirit breath deep and sigh with relief. First day of…  it doesn’t even matter what comes next. It’s my first day of it.

I have another chance.

I am in constant need of another chance. I am desperate for them. And so, I am always grateful for them, even if only the symbol of them, because just because it’s officially summer now doesn’t actually change anything. But it does if you let it. I didn’t do everything I wanted to do in spring. That’s the way of life. But, once that solstice comes, it’s too late for what if’s and pouring over wishes. It’s time to dust my hands off from trying to catch up to my own expectations, sit and have a long day, a long dinner, a long anything that will make me laugh and let me look ahead to a new season. That also includes making plans…it’s who I am, after all. I love planning and laying out ideas. But, I know that even these new plans won’t be completed 100% either, badly as I wish they would.

And that’s okay.

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Because I’m human. Because some days look like waking early and drinking coffee while I read my Bible and watch silently as the sun creeps up. Some days look like marking off my to do list like a boss and answering my children patiently, gently rebuking and guiding them toward the right path in love. Then other days? Other days, it looks like me staying up too late the night before because I’ve procrastinated my homework or because I’m terrible at time management..or both. It looks like me being awakened by the screaming of small people, demanding that the other sister give a toy back and then I’m peppered by their tiny machine gun mouths that spit out incessant demands and questions before 8am. “I’m hungry, can we have pancakes for breakfast?” “Can I go swim in my pool while I wait for breakfast?” “Can I eat fruit snacks?” “Can we watch a movie?” “Are we going somewhere today?” “CAN we go somewhere today?” “Yeah! can we go to the park?” “the library?” “the park AND the library?” and so on. and because I JUST woke up and still have some patience, I squelch the urge to tell them NO to everything they just said, or that the library won’t let us in because it’s supposed to be quiet there. And then the day basically goes downhill from there. I have a to do list that I don’t even make out, because that would require motivation, and I lack the motivation to even make the list, much less complete it. I plan for nothing, look forward to nothing, and basically spend the day surviving until Lance comes home. Which of course makes it all warm and fuzzy for him coming home. all in all?

Some days, I lose hope.

Do you ever have days like that? When you feel behind before it even starts, and at every turn of the day, it’s one more mark on the list of mess ups instead of a mark on the happy “Done!” list? One more mark for losing my patience and responding in anger. One more mark for staring blankly or escaping with the help of my distracting phone instead of getting work done. One more day of wondering why in the world I can’t get a handle on my sin and JUST CONQUER THIS ALREADY. One more.

I have those days. The thing about those days, is that sometimes, they have a way of having a snowball effect. And a day rolls into another, and another, and another. Until it’s a week of being in a funk and not knowing how to shake it off. It’s a constant battle of trying to gain ground while you’re still slipping down a muddy hill. Shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard. Fighting your own anger and pride in a house full of people who need you to show them what serving looks like. Before long, I don’t even know what caused any of it or what the deal is. I just struggle against letting the way I feel affect what I know. Because what I feel is unhappy. and I feel useless. feel unappreciated, unloved, unimportant. and then, I base my decisions on those. On “what is the point??”

But, oh boy, am I blinded to the truth in those times. What I really need is a reset button. And I know. I know that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. I know every day is an opportunity to reset. shoot, every minute is an opportunity to reset. But, I am stubborn when I get stuck, and I need a big reset…or a slap in the face, but everyone around me is much too kind to do that.



Then, a shift comes in the form of something new starting, like my school semester or the girls school year. Or, a new season begins. *sigh* there is my reset. And I’m so grateful that God already knew how flakey we’d be when He created this world. He knew we’d whine and gripe about cold weather, and He planned for winter to end and spring to come. And then, He knew we’d whine about the rain. We’re human, and He loves us in spite of that, and that is just wonderful. He is kind because not only did He know we’d just need a change because we’re human, but He knows that we get so desperate to peel off these sinful bodies in this fallen world. He knew I’d get tired of myself. So, He gave us reminders that none of this is forever. One day, we will be free of the cycle of sin and the chains of time…never enough time. We’ll be made new as He makes us new again and again and again, until finally we are complete because we are with Him. and that is worth buying extra fresh bouquets of flowers from Kroger’s clearance rack and spreading a table to taste of His goodness while laughing with friends and family.

Dust off your hands, child of God. It’s a new day.

I’m still here: another lesson from grief

I just had to reset my password to even get into this website because it’s been so many months since I’ve touched it. In fact, it’s been months since I’ve written at all, except for the random papers on biblical worldviews or Israel’s kings I’ve had for school. But that’s not the same type of writing…

It wasn’t until I was asked to write a blog post for my church’s site on serving that I realized how little I’ve written, and why.

Overall, I’m good. Though the upcoming Father’s Day weekend doesn’t exactly make me smile, I have healed so much in my grief from the loss of my dad. I can talk about him with a grin and laugh about stories of him and the times he was so funny or silly, especially with my girls. I can see pictures my siblings post on social media now without it knocking my breath away each time I open up an app and see him smiling at me again. I haven’t listened to his music that was so much a part of him yet, but then, Jimmy Buffet wasn’t exactly at the top of my playlist before he passed either ;).

But, I have realized this week that the part of me still grieving without me fully realizing, is the writing piece of me. The part of me that looks down deep and spills my heart out for other eyes to see. He was my number one supporter. Truly, he had his friend giving the eulogy at his funeral remind everyone there to buy my book! And it’s hard not to let go of a dream when the one who pushed that dream is gone.

We can compartmentalize so well..some of us better than others. We can smile and live and breathe, while another piece of us is wounded deeply. And it makes me wonder about other people in my life and what they have pushed down deep or given up on, even if for only a time. We’ve heard that time heals all wounds, but that’s only true if you let it. Because past left unprocessed is still the present. You carry it with you through each moment of each day.

The strangest part is that I think I could have gone my entire life without really writing again. I had decided to let this blog go and file away the project I worked on for months before Dad got worse. There was even an idea burning in my heart he actually started during our last really great conversation before he was no longer as lucid that I had let go of.

But God doesn’t want that for me. And giving up on the life God has for you because it hurts or is hard isn’t what He wants for you either. Personally, I have a terrible work ethic…ahem., but my dad was motivated and an intimidating person. He was like having my own person writing agent with wayyy too much authority and I couldn’t fire him. And I loved him for it.

Now, I have to put one foot in front of the other. Open my laptop and notebooks. and get to work. Because I have a calling that may not last forever, but while it does, I want to be responsible with it. What about you? What would require a lot of self-discipline and work, but deep down, you know you should get to it?

We don’t just let go of dreams because of deep wounds or tragedy, sometimes, we just get busy. Sometimes, the gets are just. that. loud. Anndd they have a thousand demands. Sometimes, we keep meaning to look into it, to work on it a bit, or get organized for it, but something else comes up and we trade off the important need for the immediate need. But you can do it. So can I. and we’ll slip and fail…months will pass again with me writing only what professors require of me, but that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be perfect…it only has to be started.