March 8, 2018

The name for this space, ‘the female collective,’ came to me in 2011. 7 years ago. I was 25 years old and full of dreams and ideas and I had this deep desire to create a space to celebrate womanhood.

I wanted this space to be inclusive. To share stories. To be light, and to be heavy. To be funny, and to be sad. I wanted a space for females to unite, and I wanted my words to empower all kinds of women. As a 25 year old I was only a few years into marriage and post undergrad, without any children at the time. I didn’t exactly know the fullness of womanhood, or the deep power that I know it to be now and the cultural climate was so different at the time. But in the most precious, most honest part of my heart, I knew I was built to celebrate women and to bring truth and grace to our journey. Both the individual journey and the collective one. Thus “The Female Collective” was born in my heart.

Flash forward 7 years. 2018. Mother of two sons, about to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, taking a hiatus from being a pastor to be a stay at home mom, and teaching group exercise classes at the local YMCA. The landscape of my life looks vastly different than I expected. In almost every way (besides my sweet Hubs, I knew he was a keeper from the moment I laid eyes on him), I am so different than I expected. Motherhood has changed me. Working as a full time pastor has changed me. Staying home with my boys has changed me. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. I’ve struggled to get pregnant. I’ve had a miscarriage.

Our culture has changed significantly as well. With the possibility of a female president being so close we could taste it. To the reality of who did win that election and how polarizing that event has been for our country. Then the rise of a woman’s voice through the Women’s March and the Me Too and Times Up movements. Times are changing and shifting and evolving and it is more apparent than ever that women are a force to be reckoned with. This was always true, but it feels we may finally be on the cusp of getting the traction we so greatly deserve and have worked so hard for.

And then there is me. Anonymous me. Stay at home mom in a small midwestern town. Most days, I feel invisible to anyone besides my boys. And I’m not saying that is a bad thing, because they are the most treasured humans in my world. But there are all of these thoughts, feelings, ideas, and dreams that have been living somewhere in me, below the surface… to terrified to come into the light. It is the joy of my life to take care of my kids and give them my attention and time and energy. But if I’m being honest, it’s not enough. I need more. I have more. More to give, more to share. More to BE.

All day long, I’ve read this quote on various social media outlets:
“Strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

I haven’t been able to shake these words. They are powerful and beautiful and also not passive at all. They call us to action. They aren’t just a nice idea, but a charge to see, be, and inspire.

I know so many strong women. Women that empower me. Women that build me up. Women that see me and love me and push me to be more.

I am committed to raising strong women. Although I do not have daughters, I have two boys who are being raised to love and respect strong women. To celebrate strong women. To advocate for equality.

But I had to stop and ask myself several times today if I am BEING a strong woman? I know I am strong. I know many would say they see me in this lane. And yet, I haven’t felt very strong for quite some time. You see, I know exactly who I want to be and exactly what I want to do… which is a gift in and of itself. An yet, I haven’t been doing it. I haven’t been writing, I haven’t been pursuing the deepest desires of my heart, I haven’t been honoring who I know I am built to be. If I’m not doing those things, how I am showing my boys what it truly means to be strong? I’m hiding from the very thing that gives me life, strength, and energy: my passion; this space.

So today, of all days, on International Women’s Day, I am restarting The Female Collective.

I’m saying no to fear, and yes to me. I’m saying no to hiding and yes to courage. I saying no to lies and yes to truth. Whether one person reads this or many … I need to do me. And I can’t do me without giving my all to this dream.

Thank you for reading, and please send me all the love and courage you can. I don’t want to take a passive posture in my life any longer. And I challenge you to do the same. Find you’re thing and go after it. Let’s do this together.

Featured, Motherhood

On perspective.

March 14, 2017

img_2722I need a change.
Correction: a lot of changes.

Depression and anxiety have come like waves over the last two years, moving in and out at times, but never going far. And as a result of that, I’m weary, and distant. And although there is so much joy, there is also pain. So over the last several months I’ve been trying to sift through my thoughts and feelings and figure out how to start a new chapter.

After a night away by myself and some much needed space and quiet, I was determined to wake up today and press reset. A new course starting NOW.

And then…

Eli woke up an hour early (thank you, daylight saving), and I looked outside to see a completely snow covered ground in the middle of March (thank you, Michigan)!  #moving.

So instead of sticking to my “fresh start” mantra, I grabbed a coffee and sat down to mindlessly scroll through instagram, like I do most mornings. And let’s just say, it didn’t necessarily “refresh” me. Quite the opposite, actually.

I went into a spiral of looking at all these other women who are skinnier, more creative, successful, ambitious, have 50K followers, and are “doing it.” They’re blogging and creating and sharing and making their voice heard. And somehow they always look amazing and their kids are even trendier than them.

Then there’s me.

Doing nothing. Wearing an over-sized nightgown that I wore through both of my pregnancies. Letting one kid have tablet time, and the other is emptying the kitchen cupboards for entertainment. My house is imperfect and I have too much cream in my coffee. And I’m spiraling deeper and deeper into a sad place. A place where I feel small and scared. A place where I feel useless. Where I not only feel unseen, but unworthy of being seen.
So at this point one of the kids interrupts me and I decide to go get up and drag myself through the daily routine.
Gym first. And as I walked into my room to grab my workout clothes I felt this strange prompting to open my devotional book that has sat on my shelf, unopened, for months and months.
I grab it. Sit down. And open to today’s date. And right there it was. EXACTLY what I needed to hear.
And not in the broad sense, but in a very specific and personal way.

Shauna Niequist’s words on the page speak of comparison and how when you’re feeling small and scared EVERYONE else seems to look shiny and bright.
When you’re low and gray, you don’t have the perspective to realize that people only share what they want seen. And there are also a lot of people who share raw truth, but when you’re caught in the dark spiral, you don’t zero in on the truth, instead you see what will feed the lie.

This miraculous intervention has stopped me in my tracks. There is no coincidence involved here. God graciously provided me with just what I needed.
I feel seen. I feel reminded that I don’t have to do anything to be worthy of love. It’s always there. Always available. I just need to step into the light.

And in the light… I’m still in my nightgown, my coffee is now cold, and I’m feeding Elias a day old apple fritter just so I can finish writing this. So life is still messy and murky and mundane. BUT, I have a choice in this. I may not be able to change all of my circumstances. I still need to feed my kids and change diapers and do dishes…but WHO I AM while I do those things is entirely up to me. Perspective is everything. So whatever is getting in the way of me “doing me” and sharing my voice and my story is just a lie. I have so much inside of me that wants to come out. I just need to get out of my own way.

I can find me in the midst of chaos, because I’m HERE. I’m in it. I have the power and authority to choose WHO I AM.

I’m loved. I’m seen. I have a place at the table.
Now it’s time to step and and take my place. No one else’s. Just mine.


on survival mode.

October 6, 2016


I hate survival mode.

When I spend my days working hard to keep my head above water, and I’m just treading and treading and treading … I begin to get resentful of every minute and hour and day. Because even though I’m living, and some days feel sooooooooo LONG, I can’t help but feel angry because I’m not actually LIVING.


These years with littles are tough. Really tough. I spend a lot of time covered in spit up, and eating peanut butter and jelly crusts, and dealing with tantrums, and reflux, and potty training, and nap schedules… head spinning, never really getting a second to breathe… It’s wild. This season is definitely spent in the trenches.

BUT, on the flip side, I know at the core of me, that this time is so so precious and fleeting. Watching Leo grow so fast the first 18 months of his life is what led me to taking a pause on my career in ministry and staying home during these early years. Because it is such a short amount of time. So why are the days so damn long?!?


Elias is our last baby. Banking on everything going as planned. And because of this, I have a weird mix of relief and despair.

I never have to pregnant again. I never have to give birth again. I never have to figure out how to live on very very very little sleep again.

YET, I will never get to hold my baby for the first time again. I will never get to see a first smile again. I will never use my teeny tiny newborn clothes again.

It’s a really shitty conundrum. This parenting gig. Like, can this go faster and slower at the same time, please?!

All of this to say, I’ve had to put some of my personal passions on hold for a bit. While I have been living in this strange relationship with time, and, you know, keeping two humans alive… I’ve had very little space to focus on my blog. And that is difficult for me.

I don’t blog for the hell of it. I don’t feel a need to be trendy or public or followed. I blog because I am a writer. Actually, I am a communicator. So if I’m really functioning as the woman I was built to be, it should always include sharing, speaking, writing… living out loud. It’s just who I am.

I know other women are somehow able to take care of littles, and have amazing careers. But that is just not my capacity. And honestly, I’m totally okay with that. I spent too many years beating myself up for not being able to “produce” as much as others. Then one day, I decided to put that garbage mindset to rest and accept that I am the type of person who does things with a full heart, so I just can’t have as many things on my list as I’d like… but if I’m loving my people well, and taking care of my heart… we’re good to go.

Which is why I’m writing and POSTING this. Because I realized, in the last several months, I have been taking care of my people, but not me. I need this. I need to express. I need to share. I need to make time for it.

So, although there is nothing amazingly profound about this post, just writing it and sharing it is profound enough to me. I’ve spent months trying to decide what my first post back should be about, and then I realized that the hype in my mind was making me avoid sitting my butt down and writing.

My one hope for this little snippet is a desire to give people freedom to acknowledge where they are at, and the season they are living… but also the courage to look at themselves and ask, what do I need? Please, pause for a minute, and give yourself some stinking grace, because life is hard and there is no manual for how to navigate whatever season you are in. But also pause and ask, what do I need? And then please, please, please, give yourself permission to not only answer honestly, but to also follow through and get that thing that will breathe life, and joy, and energy into the person you were created to be.

Can’t wait to keep writing. Please encourage me to keep it up!



on finding my stride.

November 23, 2015

IMG_8606It has been awhile.

A long while since I’ve shared.

Longer than I planned for. Longer than I wanted. But life has a way of doing things you don’t expect. Twists and turns. And sometimes, we’re just in over our head. Not sunk, but not floating.


I’ve been writing, but not sharing. In the recent months I’ve morphed from an external processor, to an internal. Not by choice. But it has been the only way to sift through these several months. Quietly, privately, and mostly by myself. A foreign concept until this season.

I typically like to share when I’m in the midst of the mess. But sometimes you just get the wind sucked out of you, and it takes a little bit to catch your breath and find your footing.

Day by day, I’m getting there. Finding my stride again. And part of my stride, part of me, is sharing.

In January, Casper and I decided we would try to have another baby. We didn’t try for the first baby (I know, such a HUGE blessing), and now, he is our most amazing surprise ever.

There were so many parts of my heart that were uncertain if we should have another child. I just wasn’t sure. But a lot of friends have told me they’ve shared in these mixed emotions. It’s a big thing, bringing a human into the world. Not a choice to be taken lightly.

After a ridiculous amount of talking and praying, Casper and I agreed we would give it a year. We would try in 2015, and if we got pregnant, great! And if we didn’t, then we would accept that our family was complete with Leo.

This is all a lot easier to see on paper. Sounds really nice and clean and simple. We’ll try for a baby, and we will either have one, or not, and it’ll be great either way.

If I’m being honest, I thought we’d be pregnant in no time. Leo wasn’t planned, so I assumed that if we were planning for one, it would happen super fast.

That was not our story this time. We aren’t unique in that. I know many, many friends who have a story of their own. Most more difficult and painful. But I think no matter how long it takes, my heart hurts for every single woman who longs to have a baby, and then has to look at a negative pregnancy test. Whether it’s once, or 100 times. My heart just breaks thinking of the loneliness and heaviness that comes with this deep disappointment.


After months of trying to get pregnant, and 6 negative pregnancy tests, our 7th one came back positive.

Late in May of last year, I had a creeping suspicion that I was pregnant, even though the timing didn’t quite line up in my mind, so I took a test, and there it was: POSITIVE.

We were thrilled. And scared. And overwhelmed. But thrilled.

AND, the icing on the cake was that my best friend, who had an extremely long road getting pregnant with her first child, was pregnant with a complete surprise baby!! And we were due days apart!

After bringing one beautiful, healthy, BUSY baby into the world, there was a naïve part of me that assumed things would go the same way.


About a week after I found I was pregnant, I had a miscarriage.

It stings typing those words. It stings because it hurts, but it also stings because I know so so so many women, some of you who are reading this, have experienced this. I’m so sorry to those of you who understand this word beyond a medical term that happens to ‘other people,’ but instead, it’s a part of your story. Of my story.

And that’s just it. Please know that this is my story. I cannot pretend to know what many of you have gone through. There are a million instances that I can think of that are easily more painful, and tragic, and dramatic than what we went through… but I can’t tell your story.

I can tell mine. In hopes that it will resonate with someone. That it will bring hope, or comfort. That it could bring courage, even. In hopes that you, too, would share your story. Maybe not publicly like this, but with someone. So you don’t feel so alone. That’s the worst part of losing a baby in my opinion: the loneliness.

The summer was filled with grief mixed with confusion.

Things I look forward to processing more and diving into on this blog, with each of you. Again, because I feel deeply inclined to use my love for writing and community to bridge some gaps through our stories.

Fast forward 6 month, and here I sit, 16.5 weeks pregnant. I know this is a gift. A crazy fast change from the loss of 6 short months ago. And I wish I could say it’s been dreamy and brought full healing…but it hasn’t. This pregnancy has been filled with fear and anxiety. Fear of loss. Fear of the unknown. It is a deeply vulnerable thing to be pregnant … knowing all that could go wrong, hearing horrible, heart-wrenching stories… it can be overwhelming. Couple the fear with the physical strain of this pregnancy. I have been so sick. Sicker than I ever was with Leo. And this sickness has worn on my body, but also my spirit.


So after months or quiet processing, I’m reopening myself and my story to this little community. Mostly because I am craving feeling like myself again. I’m not fully there, and not sure I’ll ever return to something of the past… but I know that as I forge ahead in healing and growing, I need to honor who I am. And part of who God created me to be comes alive on this blog. It is hard, and takes a big dose of courage… but it also brings me life and helps me find my stride again.

Thank you for reading. For sharing. For letting me share. Thank you for caring about my teeny tiny corner of the world, and allowing me to process with you. It is a gift to me, and I pray I can one day give you just a little bit of peace, or hope, or joy as you walk out your story.

We’re in this together.




On Mother’s Day.

May 10, 2015


Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing momma’s out there.  It is one heck of a ride doing this whole raising a human thing … hardest and best experience we’ll ever have.

I know today means a lot of different things for a lot of different people.  Which is fitting because although there is commonality in the term ‘mother,’ the way this role looks and feels is unique to each one of us.

Some of you have lost a mother, and you’re missing her today.  Some of you hope to become a mother, and you’re longing and aching for an unrealized dream. Some of you are grieving the loss of a child, a pain I cannot begin to know, and you are wishing for that little one in your arms on this day (and everyday).

Some of you are tired, caring for a newborn who demands all of your body and energy.  Some of you are frustrated trying to raise a toddler, and keep up with the chaos of a tiny human who has more energy than I could ever have imagined (obviously, this is close to home).  Some of you are raising school age kids and juggling schedules and practices and social lives.  Some of you are raising teenagers and trying to harness hormones and emotions into a well rounded individual.  Some of you are empty nesters, missing you’re kids as they are establishing their own lives.  Some of you are experiencing the joy of watching your children become parents, and raise their family.

Whatever season you’re in, we are all profoundly impacted by this role, this person: mom.

I have friends who conceive babies just thinking about getting pregnant. I have friends who have walked the journey of IVF to begin their family, I have friends who’s babies were born in Africa and I have friends longing to have a baby.

I have friends who work full time, and part-time, ones who stay home, and some are single mommas.

and to all of you, I just want to say, thank you.  Thank you so much for how much you’re doing to raise the children God entrusted to you.  Thank you for being an example, an encourager, a listener, a companion … thank you for helping me be a momma, and raise my child, and thank you for grace.

Although, at times we do not lead with grace, I am sometimes guilty of this myself, but GRACE is what we really need.

We can be so critical.  Because we’re insecure, or tired, or jealous, or just having a bad day and haven’t had any coffee yet.

We all do this mom stuff differently, and we should.  We have unique experiences that have shaped us, and all of our children are unique as well … so it needs to look different.

But as different as we are, we can all understand the heavy honor is it to bare the name ‘Mom.’ The amazing, exhausting, joy giving title that we are privileged to hold.

So on this Mother’s Day, give some grace to those momma’s you know and love, and even the ones you don’t know. Less judgement, more understanding. Less advice, more listening. Less comparison, more celebration.

Just Grace.

(and make sure to tell your husbands to call their Mommas!  Those amazing men we married are, in part, that way because they had a mom who loved them like we love our own littles.)



on the ‘sweet spot.’

May 1, 2015

IMG_9510My sweet Leo boy is 20 months old today.  To celebrate, he and I had a picnic at the play ground and spent the afternoon climbing and swinging and sliding.  It was sunny and we ate an entire carton of raspberries together.  It was really perfect.

You know that feeling when you are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing?

In my experience, it is a rare feeling.

I’ve found it is not typically something I plan to feel.  It actually creeps up on me.  I may have had other ideas of how things would look in certain seasons.  Or I may put a lot of hype on specific events or experiences.  And yet, out of no where, right in the middle of normal life, every so often I feel it: all is right. Not, all is perfect. But things are just really really good.

This feeling is the opposite to discontent, but not superior to it.  If we did not feel discontent at times, how would we be driven to dive deep and figure out what the source is, and consequently, make positive change (hopefully). But this fore-mentioned feeling is a beautiful treat we get to taste from time to time, it is what I like to call, the “sweet spot.”  I’m not always in it, but when I am, it is so so sweet.

I felt this before, when I was an intern at my home church, learning from my peers who gave me more grace and truth than I deserved. I was a sponge soaking it all up, and it was full and sweet.

I felt it in my early years of marriage, when we were risking big, and working hard and loving our community deeply.  Our house was always open, and filled with food and people we love.  I still linger in the memory of this sweetness.

I felt it in our first summer back in Michigan, when we were living in the most humble of places since we’ve been married (my grandmothers mobile home!!!) and we were dreaming big about the life that we’d build here. It was so sweet to feel like the world was our oyster on those warm beach-filled days.

Do you know what I’m talking about?  Call it what you’d like … but there are just those seasons or even moments when life hits you and you think: “WOW, I am totally in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. This is my sweet spot.”

This doesn’t mean everything outside of the sweet spot isn’t sweet, by the way.  It does not mean that you’re either in your bliss or you’re miserably discontent. I does not mean that really meaningful and special things can’t take place outside of this season or that the work your doing/the people your loving matter less because you don’t ‘feel’ you’re in your sweetest of sweet.

I’m simply saying that for me, a FEELER through and through, there are these snippets of euphoria as we walk our journey, and they are like little gold nuggets you find amongst the stones.  They are rare gifts that help add some sparkle to the everyday landscape.  They are to be treasured, but not pedastal-ized. Not propped up so we can compare everything to them, feeling like we aren’t living in between the gold nuggets.  They are sources of inspiration to keep running the race well, and with a full heart.

I’ve been home with Leo full time for 2 months.  And, honestly, I was terrified that after 2 weeks I would be like: What the hell was I thinking? Why did I leave a super rewarding job, with people I love to be with a spirited and sometimes thick headed toddler? Did I, the extreme extroverted, lose my ever loving mind?! What do I do?

Well, if it was the case, I would have figured it out.  It is totally acceptable to choose something and then realize it is not going to be the best for you, or it is different than you expected.  Like I’ve said before, just do what you feel is best for you and your family, and honors who Jesus built you to be.

But as I rocked my little boy to sleep for his nap today, I was consumed with a deep sense of joy and peace, and just like that, I find myself in a “Sweet Spot.”


Let me clarify, sweet spot does not mean this stuff isn’t HARD.  I’m more physically exhausted at the end of the day/week than I’ve ever been.  Leo is busy and curious and stubborn… but so am I, and sometimes we do not see eye to eye.  ALSO, I’ve always prided myself with saying ‘I have no personal space’ … WRONG, a clingy, touch oriented toddler has taught me otherwise. I do have personal space, and I didn’t know it until I had a one year old crawling up my legs for days (okay, maybe hours, but feels like a weeks worth sometimes).

But all in all, I am on cloud nine.  I have so much peace in my soul about doing what I’m doing. It is right for me. Not for everyone, and not necessarily forever for me, but right now: this is it.

IMG_9509 IMG_9508 IMG_9507

I spend my days playing with blocks, and picking up sticks.  I clean the house and change diapers. I stop on my running route whenever we see a tractor or truck or any other large/loud motor vehicle, because my little companion is mesmerized by them.  I am seeing the world through the eyes of a one year old boy … and can I just say, it is DREAMY!

I understand that I am abundantly blessed to 1. feel this way, and 2. have the opportunity to stay home. I know it is a gift, and I am doing my very best to soak it all in. God is so good and He has given me purpose and joy and a sense of deep peace through the precious little boy that is entrusted to my care for this blink of a season.

This was my long winded/over-commincator’s way of saying: we’re doing pretty good over here.

I know it won’t always feel this sweet, but right now it does. So I am savoring the smell of Leo’s skin, the rest I see in Casper as a result of my staying home, and the overall peace and excitement I feel as I get to be a mom and aspiring writer.  I didn’t know this was my dream, but it is, and I am basking in the sweetness.

For all my momma friends out there, I want to say: you’re doing awesome.  I know you may not feel like you’re in a sweet spot.  You may be fumbling with a new babies feeding schedule, or trying to find your footing with managing a career and your family, or you just feel a lack of joy in the act of ‘mothering’ in this season.  All of this is okay.  But whatever it looks like today, I want to say, you’re doing a great job. Momma’s, these long days add up to be very short years and there are so many gold nuggets to gather along the way.  Slow down long enough to see them on your path.

I pray each of you find your sweet spots, linger in them, give thanks for them and keep running well in between.  This life is so so rich.



on newness.

April 5, 2015


Last week as I ran past the lake, I could see the start of something.  The snow cliffs were melting, the water was moving, and there was sunlight dancing on the waves.  Things were shifting.

This week, as I ran past, there was even more moving water and my bare legs welcomed the brisk air but warm sun.  Something is on the horizon.  The seasons are changing.

I love the literal and metaphorical shift of the seasons.  After another torturously long winter, Spring is upon us.  There are signs of it everywhere …

It is in the longer hours of daylight, and the feeling that we have more time.

It is in the chirping of ‘birdies’ as Leo points up in the sky with wonder.

It is in the buds sprouting in my dear friends garden, as she scours with hope for what beauty is to come.

It is all around us. A literal shift of the seasons. Newness. Rebirth. Resurrection.

Winter was rough. It typically is. But this one brought challenges beyond the dreary, cold, darkness that comes with the season.  This winter was hard on my body, but also really hard on my heart. I experienced deep pain. Not that pain is foreign to me, but this pain was different, it was a new kind of hurt that I didn’t have words for, or tools to deal with.

I speak of this pain without specifics because I still do not know how to share it fully … but please know that the details are personal and I am not trying to be cryptic or build hype, I’m just trying to guard my heart and use discretion.  I hope you can hear my vulnerability through processing what I am learning without needing to hear the details.

I’ve spent the cold months doing hard work.  Going to counseling. Having difficult conversations. Making tough calls for my life and our family.  A lot of this season has felt exhausting and stretching and my emotional muscles are sore.

But all seasons come to an end.  And yet, when I am in the thigh high snow, both physically and emotionally, it is hard to remember that this too shall pass.

But it does. And it is.

I  find signs of this metaphorical season shift everywhere…

It is when I host a house full of people and realize I feel full and myself.

It is when I can say how I feel without apologizing or qualifying every thing first.

It is when I can look in the mirror and see more of me and less of the lies.

The physical Spring is coming, praise the Lord! But I also sense that Spring is welling up in my soul, and for that I am abundantly thankful.

I do not think it is coincidence that this season shift coincides with Easter.  A time that we remember Jesus, and the HOPE he offers in the Resurrection.

In this season of rebirth and newness I am choosing to cling to hope. I am choosing to bask in the sunlight and feel the warmth surround me. I am choosing to be a bud that longs for the water and light that will nourish it, grow it, and bring it to beautiful fullness.

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” -S.D. Gordon


Praying you’re basking in the warmth of the sun and the beauty of new life with me!


Featured, Lifestyle

from the weekend: starting to feel like spring

March 23, 2015

IMG_8353Happy Monday friends!

I’m kicking this week off with a new series: ‘from the weekend.’

The reason I love to take countless photos is because I believe they are the most beautiful way to treasure all the little memories that add up to make a very rich life.  I want this blog space to not only be a community where we talk about tough, honest stuff … but also a place where we can celebrate living. I’m excited to share more about my sweet little family here. I hope you enjoy a peak into our very spectacularly regular weekends. And if no one is interested … it is a great way for me to be diligent in preserving this season that keeps moving too fast !! Continue Reading…

collective, Featured

on being present with others.

March 14, 2015


The other day, my dear friend, who is also a pastor but not the one that typically preaches, got up in front of her church and bared her soul.  She told her story.  But not just a chronological recap of her life, she told a specific story. The most difficult, tragic time in her life.  A time when she suffered deeply, and lost way too much… but gained the gift of joy in the midst of suffering that only few really grasp, especially at our young age.  Living through this suffering and coming out stronger and better would have been more than enough, and yet she chooses to use her story to help other people.  She listens, she shares truth, and she sits in her own story and with others in their story.  It’s really amazing and beautiful and she is one of my heros.  (and a side note, she is going to hate that I’m gushing about her on my blog.  but I can’t give her the huge hug filled with pride that I want to because she lives out of state, so here you go my friend!)

Although I could write for hours about her specific story and the details of what she walked through, it is not my story to tell. But hearing her describe it again, even though I witnessed all of it, reminded me of a very important lesson I learned about being present in suffering.

I walked through that season with her.  As a really unequipped friend.  Often fumbling and probably dropping the ball … but I did the only thing that I knew how to do: I loved her really really hard! Most days this meant just being me and letting her be her.  I know that sounds simple, but at times when someone is suffering you want to do or fix or say of solve or advise or inspire.  Just don’t.  Don’t do.  Instead, just be.  Be yourself. Let them be themselves, whether that is happy or pissed off or tired or encouraged.  Just. Be. Together.

Today, as I read through my usual blogs, I sensed this overwhelming theme of really crappy things happening to really amazing people.  I read about the tragic death of a 30 something brilliant neurosurgeon as he lost his battle to lung cancer.  I read about a sweet momma who lost her baby boy before she even got to celebrate his first birthday and now she is trying to graciously and honestly grieve. I read about divided marriages and women struggling with body image issues. I read about exhausted mom’s of littles, who are barely holding it together.

When I think about the people in my life, in my circle … there is no absence of suffering.  Really crappy, unexplainable things happen.  It hurts, it is confusing and frustrating and can shake us to the core.

And then I was brought back to this beautiful lesson I learned while witnessing deep suffering:  You cannot escape or change the fact that the suffering exists, but you can choose to be.  To be in it.  With each other.

I shouldn’t be surprised by our need for each other.  I am admittedly a needy person.  I love people. I love touch. I love being surrounded and belonging. (Don’t we all crave this though, to an extent?).

But, man, no matter how needy you think you are or aren’t … wake up call: WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER.

My above mentioned friend was very sure she was not needy at all before experiencing this deep suffering that she walked through … and now, on the other side of it, she laughs and says, “I’m okay with being ‘needy.’  I’m okay with the fact that I need certain things at certain times from my people.” This is brilliant!

We need each other.  We cannot escape that just as much as we cannot escape the reality that we suffer at times in this life.  The only silver lining to suffering is that is makes us more aware of our need for Jesus and our need for OUR people.  Not all people, but the people that are ours’s and we are there’s.

Currently, I am not in the throws of deep despair.  I am so thankful to say we are in a season filled with so much hope and anticipation for the future, although not absent of challenges. In this season of good things, there are also things that hurt.  There are things that weigh on me, struggles that consume me, insecurities that haunt me.  Even though I wouldn’t catalog myself in a season of suffering, I still suffer from the typical woes of living.

After a morning of losing my temper, and feeling insecure and trapped inside my head, I reached out to one of my people.  We ran in the sun, and talked, and hugged (some of life’s sweetest things in my opinion), and after I got home, I felt lighter.  Just from being with someone.  Someone I care about and who cares about me.  She didn’t have advice or inspirational montras or answers … but she was just with me.  She was she and I was me. And it was good.

So whether it is deep tragedy or just a trying day, let’s commit to learning what it looks like to just BE.  Be ourselves. Be with others.  There is something so beautiful that takes place when we can be with one another. A peace and rest for the soul.

and I want more.

How can we ‘be’ together?



on being “just” a mom.

March 4, 2015


I spent the morning building train tracks around my living room, wiping a toddler sized runny nose while attempting to drink my room temperature coffee and ignoring my mascara crusted eyes and greasy hair.

If you had told me 3 years ago this is what my typical day would look like, I would have laughed. REALLY, REALLY hard. Continue Reading…