To the Mom Bathing-Suit-Shopping with Her Teen Girl

Houston, summer has landed, and as temps rise, clothes shrink. That means moms and teen daughters everywhere are facing off over short-shorts, sundresses, and bathing suits. I was just at Academy commiserating with another mom as we picked through swimwear, hoping to find something that complemented our girls’ changing shapes but didn’t get them dress-coded at summer camp.

It’s not always easy. Read More

Summer Is Coming. There Will Be Chores.

Well, we’re about two weeks from summer vacation here, so I’m still in End-of-School Survival Mode even as I share my kids’ excitement with each passing day. Mother’s Day was a great respite from the busyness, but as each petal drops from my wilting bouquet, I’m fully aware that I better make a few preparations for the months to come.

You parents know what I’m talking about: Your kids are going finish the school year, and within 5 hours of that final bell, they will have eaten all your food and generally trashed the place.

Then, they’ll need a ride to somebody else’s house so they can eat all their food and trash their place, too.

Welcome to Summer Vacation. Read More

The Ultimate End-of-School Mom Survival Guide

I swear I wake up in some weird, mom-style Choose Your Own Adventure story every day during the last month of school. I check my calendar and think I’ve got plans under control, but still, it feels an awful lot like this:

“You’ve wandered into a school gym full of parents. Are you
A) There for an awards ceremony but just realized you forgot to tell the grandparents?
B) Ten minutes late for a just-scheduled performance and fuming over another “extra” on the calendar?
C) Looking for your child’s missing gym shoes, but when you see the crowd, you wonder if you forgot some ceremony or performance?
Choose your own adventure in mom-stress and/or mom-guilt.”

So how’s a mom to make it through the last month of school with her sanity and sense of humor intact? Here’s my take plus some thoughts from other awesome moms I know. Read More

3 little known ways to amp up your joy

Cruising into week three of Joy30,  and one truth about joy stands out: some days you just have to choose it. As in, “This is the day the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24).

I’m not advocating that we fake happy feelings, but I’m learning that God’s perfect joy, the fullness of joy that always exists in His presence, is a gift He makes available to His people if we choose to unwrap it. So how do we connect with this gift, especially when circumstances are anything but joyful? Here are three ways that have helped me. Read More

when you face tough truth, let joy make you strong

“You need to put your armor on. You’re going out there spiritually naked.”  

Ouch. Spiritually naked? Me?

I had just confided to a ministry veteran that I was battling terrible doubts and anxiety every time I shared my writing online. Tottering out there on my “social media platform,” I had perpetual stage fright magnified by about 1000.

She listened with compassion, but then she gave me something I needed more than her kind hugs and reassurance that things would get easier over time. She started digging into my spiritual life (a.k.a. getting in my business) until she hit a place where I needed to hear truth:

I’d been letting Satan feed me a bunch of lies about God’s ability to protect and empower me to do what He’s called me to do.  Read More

let joy find you

I remember the first time Caroline ate blueberry pancakes. Sitting in a high chair at the grandparents, she grabbed fistfuls and shoveled them in. With gusto. Then, she caught me watching (camera in hand) and broke into full-on squeals of delight in the midst of a purply mess.

Joy snuck up on us, turning breakfast time into party time.

I’ve been looking for more of those joyful moments lately. In fact, I’ve put myself on a Joy30, spending the 30 days of April asking God to show me what it means to be

filled with joy,

strengthened by joy,

completed in joy,

led by joy, and

clothed with joy.

But what I’ve discovered this first week of Joy30 is that we have to open ourselves up to being found by joy, to allow it to sneak up in a surprise attack.  Read More

reading roundup: 4 books you’ll love to read and share

Looking for something new to read or recommend to your book-loving friends? There’s always a stack at my bedside or downloaded to my Kindle, so beginning with this first Reading Roundup, I’ll periodically share what’s impacting me. Here are four books to kick us off.  Read More