Monday, February 16

When Being a Mom is Hard

Have you ever felt like a failure as a mom because you got a not-so-great call from the principal’s office? Me too.

On the flip side, have you ever felt like the greatest mom ever because your child got some special recognition? Me too.

We moms should never build the stability of our identity on the fragility of our kid’s choices.

I need to let this crucial truth sink in. I’m posting about this today if for no other reason, sweet sister, than the fact I need this message. So, forgive me if the blog on this Monday preaches a message only to myself.

I’ve got five amazing kids. I really do. They are wildly funny, imaginative, moody, opinionated, strong, weak, happy, sad, good and sometimes not-so-good. In other words they’re pretty normal. And while I’ve done everything in my power to raise them to turn out amazingly awesome – and they very well might turn out amazingly awesome – there aren’t any guarantees.

Sometimes bad parents raise terrific kids.

And sometimes terrific parents raise kids that chase bad things their whole life.

So, what’s a mama to do?

Embrace the process. Learn from the process. Let God speak to us during the process. And see the process of raising kids as an ongoing opportunity to invest beyond ourselves.

We get to love our kids like crazy. Pray for them faithfully. Talk to them regularly. Listen to them tenderly. Model honesty and integrity. And point them to Jesus at every turn.

We get to do all that.

And tucked within these privileges is the reward. As long as I look for the reward within the process, I won’t misplace my expectations. I have to rest in the assurance that God sees everything I invest in these kids.

And He will use every step of this process for good. The process will be good for me. And this process will good for my kids. It will be good. But this process won’t always make me feel good or look good.

If I always expect my kids to make me feel good or look good, I am setting us all up for failure. My kids were never meant to carry the weight of a mama’s need for validation. I can’t let their failures send me to bed. And I can’t wear their successes like mommy medals of honor.

Motherhood is tough you know?

It really is.

However, it’s also our only opportunity to reach into the generations to come and make a difference. So, an imperfect but wonderful difference I will make.

Connect with other moms who are determined to make a wonderful difference in their kids’ lives at the Hearts at Home Conference, March 13-14! I’m excited to be a keynote speaker along with my friends Dr. Gary Chapman and Ken Davis. It’s going to be a fun time with other mamas who understand our struggles.

Today, I’m giving away one VIP package to the conference with gifts for 2 people so you can bring a friend with you if you win! The package includes:

- 2 tickets for the Friday conference
- 2 tickets for Mom’s Night Out
- Free parking passes
- A gift basket from Hearts at Home
- 2 backstage passes (so we can hang out!)

To be entered to win, leave a comment below telling me who you’d bring with you and why.

To find out more information about the conference and to purchase your tickets, click here.

Wednesday, December 10

I Found What I Want to Do the Rest of My Life

As a mom, I’ve always wanted to teach my kids how to embrace Biblical characteristics like generosity, loving others, etc. Maybe you can relate and you’re wondering, like I did, how to do it.

My friend Courtney DeFeo has done an amazing job of not just telling her kids about these things, but showing them.

I think you’ll love her guest post today. And be sure to take a few minutes to watch the video. I promise, it will make you smile and tear up all at the same time. Excuse me while I go get a tissue. Here’s Courtney…

I am 38 and I have just discovered what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It’s to show heartfelt appreciation for others in a way that shows them the love of God.

And for the next 10-12 years of my life, I intend to show my two girls how to do this while they are under my roof.

I believe our kids learn more through laughter, not lectures. They want to experience WHO we know not just WHAT we know.

This is exactly how my mom taught me about virtues. She showed us. She wasn’t perfect – and I am so thankful for her authenticity and mistakes. Those very moments taught me forgiveness and unconditional love and gave me the freedom to be the same imperfect person covered in God’s grace.

Just the other night, our family had a chance to go surprise Miss Curlie at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. She’s one special cast member who has been working there 41 years with 25 years of perfect attendance.

She had no idea that her love to my kids left a mark on ME! I was simply trying to SHOW my kids what gratitude felt like, and I was in turn blessed by this woman. She has cleaned the bathroom on Main Street for all these years and I didn’t want to assume someone else was thanking her.

As God’s children, I want our family to be courageous and generous with our kindness. The first to step up and out of our comfort zone.

When we do that, we just never know what hangs in the balance of our obedience.

Watch this video below and read the full story here – you’ll see. Of all the thousands of employees, God knew Miss Curlie needed a simple “Thank You.”

(If you’re viewing this post in an email, click here to watch the video.)

My girls respond so much better to my virtuous parenting attempts when I am not lecturing them on how to shape up or ship out. Instead, I am inspiring them to be more like Jesus. Because it actually feels good to serve! It feels great to give!

And when I invite them into these opportunities, I see their hearts swell. Everyone likes to be involved with something bigger than themselves.

I am taking an army of moms through 2015, one virtue at a time, with my new book, In This House, We Will Giggle. It’s got 12 virtues and 12 family fun activities. We will go slow and focus on one virtue each month. We will never be perfect but we will giggle.

Today, I’m giving away 10 copies of my book to randomly chosen commenters! Just leave a comment telling me one thing you’ve been teaching your kids lately to be entered to win.

Wednesday, October 29

If These Walls Could Talk

I was cleaning out my closet several years ago and casually tossed a black and white polka dot dress into the give away pile. My husband Art happened to walk by and ask what I was doing.

I knew I needed to ease into this conversation because he’s not much into giving away a piece of clothing just because it’s out of style. His theory is if it isn’t threadbare, it’s still perfectly good to wear.

Plus, he no longer grows out of clothes. That pretty much stopped for him in high school.

I, however, have a different body type. One that has issues which require size options…especially around my thigh, hip, and waist regions.

And I’m no fashionista but if people start asking to borrow things from your closet for the ugly Christmas sweater party or a throwback to the 80’s themed get-together, it might be time to get rid of some things.


So, I quickly replied, “Just getting rid of some things we no longer need.”

“Well you can’t get rid of this dress,” he stated with great passion.

And then just as I was about to explain what birthing babies did to the body that used to wear that dress he continued:

“I mean this is the dress you were wearing when I fell in love with you.”

Needless to say, I kept the dress.

But it no longer hangs in my closet.

Let me explain.

This past summer, as I was preparing for child number 4 to leave for college, I decided to do a little redecorating in our home. And as part of this process, I also decided I wanted the artwork in our home to tell the story of our family.

I didn’t want to purchase things to hang on the wall just because they looked cute and filled the space with a decorative flair.

I wanted my walls to talk and tell our story. It’s not that our story is epic. Not at all. But I love tracing God’s hand of faithfulness in our lives through the ups and downs of our imperfect love.

So, when you walk in the front door, you’ll find the dress.

This is where it all started. There was a crazy city girl in a polka dot dress that caught the eye of a farm boy from Alabama. And then all this happened because the two of them fell in love.

This is the copy of the prayer Art’s dad prayed over us on December 5, 1992. I wore a long white dress I got on the clearance rack for $200. My little sister, who was just 2 at the time, sang “happy birthday” at the top of her lungs during the lighting of the unity candle. And the first morning of my honeymoon I had to brush my hair with a fork because I’d forgotten to pack a hairbrush.

The first year of our life together wasn’t easy or blissful. But one of the greatest gifts we got that year was this letter from Art’s grandfather. After describing in great detail the homemade biscuits and giblet gravy Mamaw had made for him that morning, he wrote what has become our motto for marriage: “Life is more than just the living of it. Now, go discover it together.”

There were kids and dogs and beach trips with sunburns. There were sleepless nights and tears and a hormonal wife that threw orange juice across the kitchen. There was forgiveness and flirting and days we just pressed through.

And we marked how they grew on the doorframe of the kitchen. The days were long but the years so short.


There were old traditions and new traditions as we gathered around the sticky farm table. The food was never fancy but the conversations were long and linger to this day at our sticky farm table.

This is the making of an imperfect family who is still crazy about one another. So, I guess you could say our walls do talk. They tell a love story. Our story. My favorite story.