Whale of a Life

I’m recycling some of my older blogs because when I read them I notice that I have made progress and that gives me so much hope – hope I want to share with you, because that’s what I’m called to do. If ever there was an overarching theme to my purpose it is to encourage, and also to give a voice to things about which many of us struggle.

2013: “I want to watch Christmas Vacation” said my 8-year-old daughter. She is teaching her “class” of invisible yet apparently very ill-behaved students suspiciously named after her siblings. During their school day she allows them to watch a movie. Best teacher EVER! So I put in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and let Chevy Chase educate them. For good measure I threw in a few beers and some pretzels to complete the experience. I’m joking, of course, but when I realize how accessible our kids are now that every device has Wi-Fi, it feels like that’s exactly what I’m doing. Add that reality to my already chaotic brain and you’ve got a perfect storm inside my soul.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I just want to put my children in a bubble and keep them from experiencing the harshness of this world. (And then we have 18 snow days and I completely change my mind. “ILOVEYOUGETOUT” I chirp as I spot the approaching blessed yellow bus and then dance around gleefully in my house that used to have visible floors. And food.) The control freak in me has made lists, as if somehow writing down what I think needs to happen to create order will solve the problem. I’d love to show you some of my lists, which include items like “Aubrey goes to bed at 8:45, big kids at 9:30” and “Mom will have dinner ready by 6pm”. I wish I was kidding. The urge to control is overwhelming at times. And exhausting. 

One day recently while I was obsessing over painting our new house that I can’t even enjoy because I’m too busy writing to-do lists, this peace washed over me. It was like God was telling me to breathe. I’ve been living small because when I’m in control that’s the only size life can be. I want to live HUGE and FREE. God wants me to live abundantly. That doesn’t mean material wealth necessarily, but that we see each day as an opportunity to have an adventure with God. He creates order from our chaos. The more I try to create order, the crazier I become. I’m dangling by thread as it is, and the more I try to be the captain, the surer I am that we will sink. 

Bad people exist. I can’t change that, or even fully protect my children because unless we teleport to 1850 or join the Amish in Pennsylvania, they will have access to the internet. And unless we all actually live inside a bubble, there will be schedules to arrange and things to clean and paint. (Besides, a bubble is a perpetual snow day. Please refer to paragraph 2.) I’ve realized I have to put down the pen and paper (and the paintbrush) and simply pray. Why do I make it so complicated? Because I’m human, and humans are stupid. Well, not you. Me. I’m stupid. But God knows that, so He fills in the gaps. I’m so grateful. Without God, I’m a goldfish in a bowl. With Him, I can live like a blue whale in the Indian Ocean. 

Hefty Embarrassment

When I was in 2ndgrade we lived at the end of a long dirt lane. Mom would walk to meet the bus with Alyssa and Jon, not yet in school. One day it happened to be raining and when the bus stopped, mom came up to the steps of the bus and helped me down, then proceeded to pull a black garbage bag turned poncho over my head. Alyssa and Jon, unaffected by their garbage-bag-raincoats, were jumping in mud puddles and giggling, but I was furious. I had to watch the kids on the bus laugh at me as I sulked away in my Hefty, madder than a hornet and planning revenge on the thoughtless woman who was my mother. 

Today I became aware of my own leprosy. It’s a sad thing when it finally happens and you realize you no longer belong in public view near your soon-to-be teenage boys and teenage-but-thinks-she’s-an adult daughter. I was just trying to capture the first day of school on camera and no one but Aubrey would cooperate. Sweet little Aubrey. She was my favorite from 6:45-6:48 a.m. The rest of these people I birthed seemed to believe their soul would disappear if I took a picture. So I did what any reasonable mother would do and stalked them like the paparazzi.

I waited for them to go outside and wait for their bus, then grabbed my phone and a sweatshirt and snuck quietly out the back door and around the corner and took some covert candid shots, because I had to have something; I have every first day of school picture since Addison’s first day and I wasn’t about to let uncooperative adolescents have the last word. Then they caught me. As they began to protest Ayden thought he heard the bus and got a look of sheer panic on his face. 

“Get inside, Mom!”

I smiled sweetly and replied, “Pose for a picture and I will. Don’t, and your friends get to watch me take a picture of you getting on the bus.”


I kind of get the whole being embarrassed of your mom thing. But I’m cool. Right? WRONG. Here’s a bitter pill: If you are a mom of any human aged 11-17 you serve a solely utilitarian purpose when in public with your children. Try to cross that line and bad things happen. Things that your kids will have to go to therapy about later in life. I can picture it now…

Addison: “It just…hurts. She has no idea how I felt when she hugged me in front of my friends. I mean, who does that?”

Or Ayden: “My mom is a loser. What kind of person says ‘I love you’ when she drops you off at school? My friends heardthat. Ugh. I can’t even talk about this anymore.”

Even my little Avery told me today I could only stand outside with him if I put jeans on. There are conditions now. I was dressed in yoga pants and a sweatshirt, but the way he said it you’d have thought I was wearing a floral housecoat with my hair in curlers. 

I guess it’s time to let them grow up. It’s hard. My heart aches for the times when they thought I hung the moon. But it’s not about me. And I want them to run to the One who actually did hang the moon, so I’ll step aside and let them grow. One day they’ll tell stories about me and laugh at the lengths I took to record their existence. Then they’ll have children and completely understand. 


Aubrey has now joined the ranks of embarrassed teenager and Addison is on the other side of it, so there’s hope for coolness recovery – you just have to be patient. In the meantime, I have to make sure what I’m wearing in public is acceptable by the youngest, who, might I add, used to wear her bikini top over her shirt to preschool and snow boots with shorts in July. I was never embarrassed. Just saying…

Repurposed Regret

2012: I’ve been plunged into the depths of the 19thcentury. It’s awful here. There are clothespins. Evil clothespins, taunting me from the clothes they hold up on the clothesline, which I happen to have because this house is older than my grandmother. I mean, I never thought I’d have to USE it. I never imagined clean laundry would have anything to do with the weather, but since the tragic loss of my dryer, the two are no longer mutually exclusive.

I exaggerate, of course. There is something satisfying about taking clothes from the washer and hanging them out in the sunshine to dry. And it could be worse. I could be hauling my clothes to the creek to scrub against rocks. That would lose its novelty before it even began, let me tell you. But it got me thinking about how much I take convenience for granted.

There’s a reason women used to not work outside the home. How could they? After they cooked, cleaned and did laundry, the day was over. If my dishwasher breaks, I’m jumping into oncoming traffic. Even in my current state, I’m better off than most people in the world. So why do I get irritated by the slightest setback? I read Jen Hatmaker’s book, “Seven”, and it convinced me of what I’d suspected all along: I’m kind of a spoiled brat. Read it. It will change your life. But be ready to feel convicted. 

The Holy Spirit has to remind me every day that I am not the center of the universe. He had to tell me that today, while I was stuck in traffic (in my defense, paving the road and painting stripes AND mowing simultaneously? Why?!) then again while waiting in line to pay behind an elderly lady who was in no hurry whatsoever. (I hid just in case Oompa Loompas were on their way to teach me a lesson.)

What I have come to realize is that God uses those minor inconveniences to train me for the major ones. Just when I think I’ve had all I can take, I realize that thing was nothing compared to this new thing. It really is true that no experience is wasted. Somehow they all relate back to our purpose. Don’t ask me how, I just choose to take Him at his word and trust that one day I will understand. In the meantime, I’ll kick it old school and hang my clothes out on the line. Addison, if you’re reading this, you must be mortified, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Fast forward to present day:

Garrett Kell preached this morning and reinforced the idea of this former blog. None of the negative things we endure are ever wasted. In fact, he made a wonderful point: they are the very experiences that make God’s grace in-your-face real, because without them we would not be able to truly appreciate the enormity of grace. Job didn’t get restored because HE was good, he was restored because he repented and GOD is good. There’s a difference. 

I spent the afternoon with my brother. We walked and talked about our lives, our shared past and why we (mostly me and Alyssa) have chosen to do some of the foolish things we have chosen to do. Our parents made some choices that affected our ability to develop emotional intelligence until much later than our peers, but my siblings and I share a common belief that has held us together all these years, and that is forgiveness and a desire to enjoy what time we have with our family before it’s too late. I never want anyone I love to die not knowing how much I care. Equally, I never want anyone who abused my love to ever feel like they’ve been victorious. In fact, just the opposite is true; everyone who has attempted to abuse anyone is now part of a larger story of redemption. 

God wastes nothing. I don’t claim to fully understand, but know this: everything you and I go through has a greater purpose. Let us never lose sight of that truth, and may we always believe that on this side of heaven or other, there will be a glorious unfolding and everything will make perfect sense.


Another blast from the past. As I read this, it occurred to me how much I miss the kids at this stage I thought would never end…

If I invented a car, it would come with soundproof pods for each passenger and an eject button. There’s almost nothing more irritating than a messy van packed to the gills with sports gear, plastic bags meant for recycling some day in the distant future, recently bought groceries that have to be shoved in the passenger areas because my hatch doesn’t work unless you hold it up (I opened it at hockey practice the other day and 2 bags full of leftover yard sale clothes fell out. Picture me picking clothes up with one hand and holding the hatch open with the other. If you’ve seen a green shirt sleeve hanging out the back, that’s why. I gave up.) Add to that 4 loud, obnoxious, quarrelsome kids fighting over candy and, well, it’s a recipe for complete insanity.

I tried at first to be calm and diplomatic, diffusing the tension and redirecting the conversation to less controversial topics. Like politics. Failure…

Aubrey: “It’s MY candy.”

Me: “You have enough candy for a year. You’re sharing with your brothers.”

Aubrey: “Fine. Then I will divide it.”

Ayden: (bending over to pick up Aubrey’s falling candy bag)

Aubrey (shrieking): “DON’T TOUCH THAT!” 

Meanwhile Addison, who “called” shotgun, was blasting the radio while Avery attempted to tell me a story. I turned it down, nonchalantly, so I could hear him from the “WAY back seat” among the bags. She immediately reached over and turned it back up. Apparently this person doesn’t get subtlety, so I gave her the “mom” look. You know it. And she values her phone, so she backed away from the volume. Peace reigned for exactly 28 seconds.

Did I mention that this was the ride home from our church’s AWANA Carnival? 

Honestly, if we were hamsters, they’d have met their Maker long ago. Diplomacy was pointless at this stage in their moods, so I pulled out the big guns. 

Me: “Listen, people. If you continue to fight and PISS ME OFF, the candy will be mine.”

I know, I know. Don’t judge. Desperation is that part of parenting when you do and say things you wished you hadn’t. I’ve gotten much better over the years, but there’s still room for improvement. The great part about my kids is that when they see that I’ve had enough, they generally respond by only being slightly irritating, or at least torturing each other more quietly. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. There’s not much you can do with a 7-year-old on a cotton candy sugar high except wait it out.

Desperation can lead us to bad places, but it can also bring us to exactly the place God wants us to be. When we are desperate for Him, He is automatically who we search after. He who seeks Him, will find Him. And He never gets angry with us for asking for help. He doesn’t have more important things to do than help you, or me. To Him, it is all important. Plus, He’s God, so He can totally handle all the chaos. 

My chaos threshold is higher than most, but even I have a breaking point. It’s when I get to that breaking point that I have a choice: pray and ask God to get me through it His way, or say bad words. I wish I could say I choose His way all the time, but then when I tell you the story about one of Aubrey’s first 20 words being “dammit”, you’d know I was lying. 

But Why?????

“Dead Like Me” is a TV series I watched several years ago. While I certainly don’t subscribe to its “theology”, watching made me particularly introspective about our time here on this planet. The Bible is clear about not being promised any certain amount of time on the earth. There are times, like Paul, I sincerely want to be with Jesus and just forget all this ridiculous earth drama. And then I realize I’m here for a reason, and so I do my best to be whatever it is I’m supposed to be though I’m not exactly sure what itis. Enter Oswald Chambers: every time I read his devotionals it’s like God gets right in my face and asks, “Now do you get it?”

Today’s devotional was about being not only ok with, but also excited about the inevitable uncertainty of life. I’m a “why???” person. I probably drove my parents insane as I tried to figure out the universe at age 3. I am equally sure God must tire of hearing me ask why and therefore sent me this tangible devotional in black and white. 

I can relate on some level to not being able to know why. When my children ask for something that may harm them, or desire a freedom they aren’t yet equipped to handle, I say no and even when I explain why they are still angry. They don’t understand, but I do. I wish they would hear me out, look at me and say, “Thank you, mother, for your infinite wisdom without which we would surely perish”. But the odds of that are somewhere around my winning the Powerball, as I’ve never purchased a ticket.

Don’t get me wrong; God can take all my questions, all my demands. He is patient as I stomp my feet and pout when the answer isn’t what I want to hear. But living in that state of disappointment, or worse still, entitlement, robs us of the joy of expectation. I don’t know why God allows certain people the privilege of breathing after the horrendous things they’ve done. I don’t know why children die and good things happen to bad people. I exhaust myself trying to attain that which I’m not meant to have. 

We live on the back side of the quilt where we are we see all the loose threads and the seams that look to us like chaos. One day we will see the right side. We will get to see how the chaos wove together to form one large tapestry. One day it will make sense. That is something I have to tell myself daily, because each day absolutely has enough trouble of its own. So, God, thank you for your infinite wisdom without which I would surely die.

E. Coli, Anyone?

Foreword – So much has changed during the 5 years since I wrote this, but one thing has not and never will, and for Him I am grateful beyond measure. 

2014: We are currently living in a home with E. coli in our well water, rendering the concept of running water useless, at least here. There is a chance it can be fixed, but in the meantime, we are using grandma’s water supply. You can imagine how frustrated I am. The kids, however, have not complained once about having to brush their teeth with bottled water or cross the street to shower. But yesterday when we ran out of mustard, life came to a screeching halt.

Avery was in the middle of making a sandwich when the mustard breathed its last. He became angry and declared it inedible by reason of insufficient condiment accumulation. I politely disagreed. “You most certainly ARE eating your sandwich,” I said softly with an eerie calm and a glint of hysteria in my twitching eye.

Maybe as a parent I am doing a good job of sheltering the children from the harsher reality resulting from fecal matter in our water supply that may or may not be resolved. That is the only explanation I can think of to explain Avery’s disdain for my inability to provide an adequate mustard supply in the face of such trying circumstances. And trying they are. I have about 35 loads of laundry left to do and yet the kids still have clothes to wear. Miraculous. Either God is providing clothing for my multitude from a sock and a pair of underwear given in faith, or these people have too many clothes.

This situation has reminded me of some things about God, however. Isn’t it just like God to use trials to teach us things? I wish there was another way, God, truly I do. But here’s what I know that I know that I know. He will provide. We have a place to shower and get clean water right across the street. We still have electricity, and heat, and food. It could be worse. All those times I complained about this house feeling like a big, nicely decorated shed are coming back to bite me. I had no idea how much I appreciated the house He has provided us until this happened. 

My natural tendency is to focus on what I don’t have. In reality, no matter how much we have, there’s always something we don’t have. Here’s another fact I forget about frequently. Even if we have absolutely nothing, if we are saved, we have everything we need. Talk about countercultural. So while we wait for the water situation to resolve, my confidence is in God and His provision, which includes many amazing friends and family that have offered to help carry the load, and that has a value that simply can’t be quantified. And now I’m off to get mustard…

Shut Up and Drive

(A Little Blast from the Past…)

This evening I shopped for a homecoming dress as “the mom” for the first time ever. I was under the misguided impression that I was cool and could help in this milestone event. What I discovered was quite the opposite. I am but a medium for transportation and money. My opinions are less than important and furthermore I have no right to have them. 

Me: “Look, Addison! This (short, fluffy, glittery ADORABLE) dress is cute!”

Addison: “Yea, if I was in 5thgrade.”

Me: “Okay, what about this (perfectly pretty, age-appropriate) dress?”

Addison: Gives me an Elvis lip and says in a very disgusted tone of voice, “I don’t think so.”

Many moms would know to give up. Not I. This is my first child. So I persisted in pointing out awesome dresses and she continued to shoot them down, as if anything I liked could not possibly be the right dress because I have social leprosy. (A fact long ago established but still hard to accept.) 

Hot Topic is loud, dark and full of strange clothing resembling Halloween costumes. I say this because I’m irrelevant. (And if being irrelevant means I’m not into 7/18” gauges in my CHEEK then so be it.) Hanging on the wall of this bizarre store from another planet was a dress that caught the eye of my blue-haired daughter. It looked like a sailor dress but had skulls on the pockets. If she was animated her eyeballs would have become giant red hearts. 

Me: “Are you serious? You can’t wear Halloween costumes to Homecoming.”

Cute 20-year-old sales girl ignoring me completely: “Do you know some girl came in and wanted that dress and said they weren’t allowedto wear skullsat her school?” Then she exhaled and shook her head, as if she was completely flabbergasted by the audacity of it all.

I wanted to say they could probably wear skulls with SKIN ON THEIR BONES AND EYEBALLS IN THEIR SOCKETS but I refrained and remained an invisible observer as Addison contemplated what shoes she would wear with this dress that was still on the wall of weirdness.

Being the persistent woman I am, I insisted we go look at Macy’s, “just in case.” What a waste of precious time. 

Me: “Look!!! This is so YOU!” I said as I pointed out a funky yellow and black dress with a zipper. “Or THIS!” as I shoved a black lacy dress that looked like something regurgitated from the 80’s in her face.

Addison, sighing: “Nothing is as good as the sailor dress.”

Whatever. Guess what dress she’s wearing to homecoming, people? She was bouncing around like a little kid, so I got over my disappointment of being no help pretty quickly. In yet another failed attempt to engage and be relatable I asked if she was going to “take a selfie and post it online.” 

“Mom,” she answered, completely exasperated. “I don’t wanteveryoneto see it!” 


As soon as I get this thing figured out a little more I’m writing a book called “Parents of Teens: Shut Up and Drive”. But seriously, I am glad she is her own person. I really am proud of the young lady she is becoming. God made each of us as individuals for a reason. If we were all the same, life would be unbearably boring. We absolutely need beige in the crayon box, but we also need electric blue. God must think so too, and teenagers are the proof. 

Side note: Let the record state that one day, teenagers, you too will have children who will see you as utilitarian at best. God also has a sense of humor. Enjoy your youth while you’re still cool. 

Broken Together

I used to spend a whole lot of time worrying about other people. What they thought, how they felt, what I could do to change and be what they wanted so everyone is happy. I think that’s called co-dependence, and I’m guilty to a certain degree. But as I grow I become less and less worried about that stuff and more focused on growing into the woman God has created me to be. I’m a work in progress, without a doubt. There are days when my choices and others’ choices have left me wondering if I’m good enough. Yesterday was one of those days. So if you’re offended by raw honesty, stop reading, because shit is about to get real.

Aubrey said some people in her class asked how many dads she was going to have. Ouch. I felt like someone had physically kicked my in the stomach. Teenagers are pointed. But it’s a natural question after your mom gets divorced for the 3rd time. I get it. I’d ask the same question. The answer, btw, is one. She has one dad. The sentiment is not lost on me though. What led me to make those decisions haunts me a little. Being free, however, makes the whole world a brighter place. And there’s no freedom without Christ. So if that offends you, stop reading. 

It’s time to bring authentic to a whole new level. Several months ago a stirring began in me that I couldn’t explain; as time went on it became clear the step I had to take and I took it. I had no idea where I would land, but it was clearly from God so I moved. If it hadn’t been for the past times I’ve heard and not moved, I don’t know that I would have been as obedient. Not knowing what’s next is one of the most difficult places to be, but am I ever glad I listened, because what was next I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams.

But it doesn’t come without its humiliation. There is no one on this planet who is has higher expectations from me than me. This was not the life I pictured, and I would change a whole lot of things if I could, but I can’t. There’s no hiding from reality, so here I am – here we ALL are. Everyone has made decisions, visible to the world or not, whose regret can cause us to get stuck in a trap laid out by Satan: codependence, promiscuity, domestic violence, excessive drinking, overeating, lying, cheating…to name a few. We all have a choice – keep moving forward or allow ourselves to stay imprisoned by regret. There’s only one way out, and His name is Jesus.

In every single place we lack, God fills us in and makes us whole. Trust me people, there are plenty of cracks in my armor. I’m not perfect. And I have made ridiculously stupid choices for reasons I don’t fully understand. But that beautiful day I fell to my knees and cried out to my God that I would submit my will to His, wholly and without reservation, my entire life changed. And as I move forward in this amazing grace, yesterday matters less and less. Through Christ ALL things are possible, but we have to start there. We have to let Him in. The Creator of the Universe wants to give us an abundant life, but we have to let him have access to the darkest corners of our heart, no strings attached. I allowed myself to submit to the King, be His princess and let Him to love me despite my shortcomings, and He is teaching me how to be the Queen I always knew I could be. 

After all, if God is for us, who could stand against us? 

Ridiculous Helen Keller

On Wednesday nights when I was a kid I used to fall asleep to the sound of bluegrass. Dad sang and played guitar; his voice would float on the sounds of the banjo, mandolin, guitar and upright bass, all playing in perfect harmony. If I could go back to any time in my childhood, it would be then.  Music defined those years in our lives, and one night a few years ago I got a chance to do something most of us never get to do.; for a brief moment, I was a little girl again, listening to my dad play music with the very same men that long ago stood in our living room.

It is a difficult thing to explain, but music is magical; it transcends all time and space. Somehow the notes acted as a time machine. Dad’s voice was as clear as it had been 30 years earlier, the mandolin as sweet a sound as ever, the banjo crisp and alive and the guitars filled in with a soft blanket of sound, all kept together by the steady bass. For a moment, there was nothing else. Only music. Only me and my brother and sister and grandma listening to dad, just like we did so many years ago.

Lately there has been a sense of urgency to slow down and enjoy life. Our breakneck pace has us cornered, depleted and discouraged. Writing is my passion, yet my words have been few until lately. Life chokes us out. That night listening to dad sing reminded me that the best parts of my childhood were not when my parents were taking us somewhere or buying us something. The best parts of our lives were always simply when we were together doing something we loved. 

I feel like I run around and chase my tail to obtain things and provide for my family, but when they grow up, what will they remember about me? That I bought them stuff or that we used to laugh our heads off playing Apples to Apples when Aubrey was in Kindergarten because she couldn’t read and gave the most random cards you could imagine (i.e. “Ridiculous”: Aubrey’s card – “Helen Keller”)? When they are adults and they come home with their families, it is imperative to me that they be able to have a plethora of stories to tell for their kids to roll their eyes at but secretly cherish.

We get off track when we race for the earthly prize. If we aren’t providing a safe place for our kids to make memories then we do them no good. Sitting there listening to dad and his friends play “I’ll Fly Away” I was reminded that there are plenty of children out there needing the stability we so often take for granted. Fast forward a few years and my sister and I sang that very song at my grandma’s funeral, bringing it all full circle. There was a song playing this morning that brought to mind a vivid illustration: One line was about Jesus taking the orphan’s hand and I had a light bulb moment. That child may have nothing else, but if she has Jesus, that’s all she needs. There is nothing even remotely comparable. In fact, all the stuff might very well be a distraction.

That evening we sat around my kitchen table and played Apples to Apples. Then we stayed and told stories and laughed until our sides ached. I sat between my siblings and cackled like a chicken as we told embarrassing stories to our children. They all shared equally hilarious stories and when we finally were able to breathe again, the house felt like a home, and no amount of money could even come close to reproducing that feeling. We are blessed beyond measure. Our cups are full and overflowing. This is what Jesus meant when He promised His children an abundant life. And it just keeps getting better…

Behind the Smile

I’m so righteous when I drive. I listen to Christian radio and sing along. Sometimes I even become emotionally moved by the words. I mean I need a halo or wings or something in recognition of my superior spirituality – until someone cuts me off or goes too slow. Then the halo goes flying off and the unholy words go flying out. Can you relate?

Sometimes I think if I listen to or read spiritual words somehow I’ll absorb holiness. If only it worked that way – I’d be Mother Teresa. It’s time for some transparency: I’ve paid attention to my thoughts hidden behind my “I’m ok – everything’s ok” exterior. For example, while driving with my kids one day, we got behind a car going 15 mph under the speed limit. I growled a little outwardly. Inwardly I said things like “Get the H*** out of my way.” I wasn’t even in a hurry. 

Driving is just one area in which I struggle with my thoughts. Sporting events are another. At my daughter’s cheer competitions you’d think that I’m calm and possibly even laid back. I sit back in my chair, smile, cheer and clap. But let there be an unfair score sheet and the inside of me ignites to full blown indignation. And, I hate to even admit this people, but a small part of me says “YES!” inside when our competitor’s team makes a mistake…I know…it’s a sickness…

What about our thoughts about our kids? Ooh. I’ll tread carefully here. Do you ever think your kids are ungrateful, entitled little monsters? Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you had bypassed parenting and just opted for goldfish? No? Good. Me either. Moving on…

My point is what we think about affects how we act. Every sin begins as a thought. Every single one. So I need to get back in the habit of taking every thought captive. It sounds difficult, and it is at first, but the more I recognize my thought pattern, the easier it will be to stop it in its tracks. It requires intentionality and purposeful decision-making, but I promise it helps to have those boundaries when temptation comes.

I’m trying to live as if every one of my thoughts could be heard by the masses. If I was exposed from the inside out, there certainly wouldn’t be perfection, but would it convey how much I truly love people, or would my toxic thoughts overshadow? I’m aiming for the former. I can’t promise I won’t make hollow death threats during sporting events, but I can promise I’ll recognize I’m crazy and tell myself to get a grip.