When Holiday Busyness Distracts, Battle Back

Happy weird week between Thanksgiving and December 1st! Maybe you’ve been more productive than I have, but I’ve treated it like the calm before the storm. I didn’t even do Cyber-Monday shopping like I normally do, opting instead to grab my dog and go play outside. Pretty sure I was trying to stay far, far away from the overflowing laundry after a great time with family last week.

But taking time to reset was good. I’ve needed to prepare mentally and spiritually for Christmas and to allow God to remind me not to lose sight of Him in the midst of the busyness. I’ve gotten the biggest soul boost from Him this week from the most un-Christmasy Bible passage you could imagine.
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Doc Answers: Angry God or Loving God?

In the last two posts I’ve been discussing the ins and outs of anger, including how to keep it in balance and when to pay attention to it. This week, though, I’m digging into the subject of God and anger. Sometimes God seems extremely angry in the Old Testament, especially with the people who are supposed to be his chosen ones, but he seems extremely loving in the New Testament. Does God have two different personalities? What’s the deal?

I asked my dad, Dr. Thomas Nunnally or “Doc” as he’s known to our family, to share some insights. Doc is a retired English professor who loves to fish and loves God’s word even more. He’s taught academic classes on the literature of the Bible as well as more informal Bible studies, and he consults on Bible translation projects. All that to say, I have an amazing resource for the hard questions of the faith! Here’s how he addressed the questions of God’s nature as angry or loving, and whether the God of the Old Testament is the same person presented in the New Testament. Read More

When to Give Anger a Green Light: The Ins and Outs of Anger, Part II

“Have you given yourself permission to be angry?” Several years ago a counselor surprised me with that question. Pretty sure my answer was a big, fat “Nope!”

McLeod and I had been in marriage counseling for two months, but I felt stuck like we weren’t making much progress. In fact, one of the things I most wanted was to STOP feeling angry and frustrated with our relationship all the time, so giving a green light to my anger seemed counterproductive.

Turns out, though, I was angry about quite a list of grievances. I was stuck because I’d been working so hard not to feel angry while I exercised what I thought was my Christian duty to be forgiving and understanding that I’d overlooked an important truth about anger: Anger often indicates that something needs to change. Read More

Toasty Warm or Too Hot to Handle? The Ins and Outs of Anger, Part I

A friend posted earlier in the week as we got our first real cold front of the fall: Texas will be closed today. We’re all looking for our jackets.

I would add, and our fuzzy socks.

There’s nothing funnier that watching Houstonians bundle up against 60-degree temps. We know we’re being a little ridiculous, but really, we don’t care. We don’t get a leaf change here, so we’re doing the best we can with whatever constitutes autumn. (And by the time I post this, pretty sure the temps will be back in the 70s or 80s.)

Perfect excuse, then, for my kind of autumn contentment: steep some hot tea and light a fire in the fireplace. Pure bliss.

I’ve been thinking about fire in general lately. Such a strong, important force. Contained, it brings warm, toasty goodness in my den, but let loose, it can bring destruction. Kind of like anger—it can be an indicator that something is wrong, a motivator for change, and a jumpstart for justice, all really good things. But good grief, anger can spread like a wildfire given half a chance. What, then, keeps anger in bounds? Read More

Why Every Super Hero Needs Her Team

A few weeks ago, we were just about to kick back for a relaxed Sunday evening of cooking out and watching the Astros play the Red Sox. While McLeod grilled burgers, I stepped inside to heat up some sides, but when I looked up from where I was stirring at the stove, I found my son at my side, grimacing in pain.

“Mom, I think I need to go to the hospital again.” Just like that, I turned off the stove, and within ten minutes we were on the way Texas Children’s.

He’d had surgery earlier this year and was having similar pain, so while I thought he was probably ok, I wasn’t about to wait around this time and let it get worse. I told McLeod he might as well finish cooking the burgers and start helping our other kid prepare for the week ahead. Then, I was out the door.

Believe me, my husband was on standby to join us at any moment if needed–he’d already gotten on the phone to call ahead to our doctor while we were en route, but I wasn’t sure what we’d need yet. I was in full-on Super Mom mode devising plans, issuing orders, filling out forms at the hospital, and answering the intake questions with precise medical history as only a veteran mama can. At some point, though, I noticed I’d started to shake a little bit from adrenaline. That’s when you know that though you’re doing your best to pretend you’re fine, you’re really worried and scared. Read More

5 Ways to Fire Up Your Prayer Life

We’ve been fired up around here lately. Not only did we replace our lackluster grill, but we’ve got a fire pit that’s proving to be a huge hit, and not just with the younger set. Fresh pop corn and marshmallow goodness, here we come.

Sometimes, though, it takes a few tries to get a fire going. The grill gave us some grief at first because turns out, the wire to one of the igniters was not plugged in. Nothing sadder on a football Saturday than a fire that’s not firing up at all. Read More

Top Gear Every Woman Needs for a Tough World

What’s it take to put on our “spiritual super suits” and be the wonder women that God created us to be? That’s what we’re talking about is this series of posts as we look at practical ways to live with purpose, lead with grace, and love with whole hearts. Tip number one? Go deeper with God’s Word than ever before.

It’s like the time I decided I’d had enough snorkeling and instead, learned to SCUBA dive. Don’t get me wrong. Snorkeling’s great. You float along the surface, feeling nice and safe while you watch the fishy world swim by your face mask.

However, when my family moved to southeast Asia for three years, I began to meet friends who did a lot more than snorkel. Read More

Where’s Your Super Suit? Check These Places First

1979 was a magical year to be four years old. You bounced around in your family’s barge-sized Chevy Impala, not worried about buckling up in the back seat, and you slurped water right from the garden hose, savoring the metallic tinge. Best of all, you zoomed through your house in your Wonder Woman Underoos, deflecting bad-guy bullets with the aluminum foil bracelets you just made.

Any girl could be star-spangled spectacular in the face of danger as long as she had her super suit.

Somewhere between four and forty, though, you can forget where you left your super suit. Read More

A Year after Harvey: 3 Ways We Still Need Help

It’s been one year since Harvey, and I still can’t take down the green Post-it from my fridge that lists the Coast Guard phone number. I’ll never forget the night we scrambled to move valuables to our second floor as the water crept closer and closer. We were the lucky ones. The water stopped short of our front porch. However, other friends wept as the water inundated, in some cases rising many feet, destroying everything. People had to call the Coast Guard for rescue, and when the Coast Guard couldn’t help, people in fishing boats like Louisiana’s Cajun Navy had to save the day. It wasn’t just houses that were affected, either. Churches, schools, and businesses filled with disgusting flood water, and some have never recovered. People still ask each other, “Did you flood?” in the same way you’d ask, “Where’re you from?” Read More

What Kind of Back-to-School Parent Will You Be?

Just saw on Twitter that a local elementary school is offering a Kinder Parent Information Night and thought, “How progressive to teach parents to be kind and compassionate this year!” Realized later that Kinder was short for Kindergarten. 

But what if it really meant learning to be kind? (Some of my teacher friends just sat up and thought, “HUGE MISSED OPPORTUNITY,” and devised about ten other parent nights you’d like to see. God bless you. You are in my prayers so much right now!) 

So here’s what I’d like to see us embrace as KINDer parents for the new school year. Read More

Access that Trust Fund You Didn’t Know Was Yours

McLeod sat down beside me on the couch the other day with a meaningful look. With the arrival of August, he made an important announcement:

“Just 30 days ’til Alabama football.”

Now the race is really on to finish the covered patio that I was convinced would be done by now–oh, how optimistic I was back in June. However, if game-day grillin’ isn’t happening, I have devised plan B for ribs in the pressure cooker. These have become a go-to meal at our house so you Instant Pot Warriors should check them out. Plus, per tradition we’ll have something like queso in the Crock-Pot, but that’s another sore point around here. Sentimental me just parted with my old version, a lovingly re-gifted 80’s model I received at my wedding shower 23 years ago, and I’m having a few qualms about the new one.

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10 Ways to Say “Be Careful” and Other Mom-ventures in Trust

OH MY WORD, my son is hauling himself around the suburbs as a newly licensed driver this summer, and I’m having an out-of-body experience.

It’s like I’m reliving all at once the angst of Kindergarten drop-off, the first day of sleep-away camp, and the time I sent him on a plane by himself. I know that in two weeks when he’s taking himself to band camp, I’ll be singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Right now, though, it’s like I’m willing myself to be in his passenger seat even though I’m actually doing laundry or sitting at my desk.

I’ve never checked my phone so often nor devised so many ways to say, “Be careful,” without re-using those words:
Check your mirrors.
Keep your mind on your driving.
It’s not you; it’s the other drivers that worry me.
Take it easy on that one particular road.
Don’t go some bizarre route.
Check your gas gauge.
Don’t get distracted.
Do NOT have your phone out.
Wear your seatbelt.
TEXT ME WHEN YOU GET THERE (but only after you’re parked). Read More