Archives for March 2013

Love Wins

In light of the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on marriage equality, I’ve wondered if I should/would address the issue at all on my blog. There are enough voices clanging through the interwebs and I’m not a fan of noisy blogging.

That said, I read an article today that really speaks to how I feel about the issue at hand and I thought I’d share it here. I hope we can have respectful dialogue…if you want to have dialogue at all about the issue. Maybe you’re done dialoging. In that case, just leave a comment and tell me your favorite Easter candy.

Either way, let’s remember that above all else, love wins. Love is the thing that always, always wins. It’s also important to remember that disagreement does not indicate a lack of love. 

There is no law that says we must all agree with one another in order to love one another well.


This is an issue without an easy answer, as much as many people want it to seem easy. But healthy, open dialogue is always a step in the right direction. No matter what the Supreme Court decides, I pray we can all remember that love wins.

And my favorite Easter Candies are those Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups shaped like Easter Eggs.


The Article: How Might Christians Respond To The Question of Homosexual Marriage?

On writing and grief and finishing that book

I finished my initial read through of the book last night. My first reaction? Thank God it’s not too bad. I’ve never done this whole writing a 450 page novel thing. This is my first rodeo, so I didn’t know what to expect. Couple that with the fact that it’s been almost three years since I started this draft of the book and you have a writer who’s a bit nervous.

I wrote the beginning of the book a long, long time before I wrote The End. What if it didn’t connect?

Now admittedly, there are a few gaps to be worked out and the ending needs some sharpening. I wanted to finish so badly that my fingers were literally flying over the keyboard. It took me a little over two years to write the first 150 pages of that books. It took me just shy of 9 months to write the final 300 pages.

The story finally came tumbling out.

In a lot of ways, the book writing process very much mirrors a birth process. Only, honestly, I think it’s mentally and emotionally harder to write a book than have a baby.

I am connected to this story in a way that no one else will ever really understand. The characters became real to me. I dream about them at night. I hear their voices in my head. It all sounds so strange, but it’s not unlike the connection I felt to my unborn children.

I knew them before I saw them. I dreamed of them. I was connected to them in a way no one else could be, because they were a part of me.

Parts of my story are connected to this story. I used to feel a little ashamed and embarrassed about how long it took me to write this book, but I realized in the last week as I read through it that I needed to take that time. There are parts of this story that I could not have written if I hadn’t had the experiences I had.

I needed to experience childbirth and motherhood.

I needed to experience the heartache of losing the hope of a child.

I needed to experience the darkness of depression.

Friends, the last few months have been very, very hard. I’ve tried not to overdo the drama of it all on the blog, but I have not been in a good place. I am always right on the edge of an emotional breakdown. Most of the people who see me on a regular basis know this all too well as I basically cry at the drop of a hat.

In truth, I hardly remember the month of January. It’s as though that entire month has been blocked from my subconscious. I have never felt more alone or experienced a deeper pain than I did in that month. I couldn’t eat, I was in a constant state of fatigue and I lived from moment to moment in a fog of emotional pain.

Feburary is a bit brighter, but the memory of that month is shrouded in fog. That was the month I began to process my heartache – to share it and open up about the depths of the pain I felt.

March has been a little better, but the wound is still fresh and the grief can be set off at any moment.

And in these two and a half months since grief crashed down on me, I’ve written 175 pages. The words poured out and they became cathartic and brought about healing in an almost beautiful way. I transferred my grief to my characters, people who were experiencing a darkness much deeper than my own.

I don’t know if I wrote the story well, but I do know that writing the story helped me heal.

Writing a book requires that you pour your heart out. It’s hard and long and arduous and painful, but in the end, a sort of life is birthed from the process. Your hard work produces a miracle. A piece of you is transferred to the outside and you have a tangible evidence of the labor and pain.

It is, indeed, like the birth of a baby…if you were birthing a baby while running a marathon and spinning plates on a long, tall stick. The metaphor gets convoluted – roll with it.

I’ve passed my book out to my first round of test readers. I have several people lined up waiting to read it and I’m both excited and terrified. I know it needs work, but I also believe in the potential of the story. There are edits to comb through and rewrites to prepare for. There are holes to fill and there’s probably more research to be done.

(Oh sweet mercy, how I hate research. Can I just take a brief moment to tell you how many times I wished I had been given something easier to write about? Why couldn’t I just make up my world and my people? Historical fiction?! Oy…)

But all of that is okay, because there is still room for healing in my heart. The world isn’t dark and lonely anymore, thanks to a few people who have stepped up beside me and begun walking through the grief with me, and also thanks to the process of pouring my heart out to the story that I was given.

I needed to write this story at this time – to give birth to the characters in this way. Soon I pray I will have the opportunity to introduce this book to the world, but for now I covet your prayers as I begin editing. I long to present a book of excellence – a story that brings honor not to my name, but to the God who entrusted me with these stories.

Will you pray with me?

As long as he doesn’t mutate, we’re good

Weeks ago, I looked in our bathtub and found a small lizard wandering around. I laughed because, you know…only in Florida, right?

Also, it was way better than finding a cockroach in my bed.

I briefly considered relocating the little fella, but decided against it mainly because picking those things up freaks me out. I know they can’t hurt me, but they’re wily and quick and I’m a coward so I left him there and figured Lee could deal with it later.

Only when we came back later, he wasn’t there anymore. Which disturbed me in other ways, but I pushed the thoughts of a lizard crawling in my ear or up my nose in the middle of the night deep into the recesses of my subconscious and went on with my life.

Until I noticed that he continued to show up here and there, always in the bathtub. And I finally figured it out – he lives there. Everyone, I’d like to introduce you to the newest resident of the Stuart House: Bernard (“Bernie”) Stuart – our lizard in the drain.

Yes, my bathtub is atrocious. It has been since the day we moved in. It is nasty and disgusting and I’m waiting (not so paitently) for the day when we can rip that sucker out and put in something functional.

We’ve never used our bathtub, but Bernie seems to have found a home there. He hangs out in the drain. Some nights, we even walk in to find his little head laying just outside the drain, eye closed, snoozing.

So far, we are all living peacefully together. Bernie stays in the tub and the rest of us leave him alone. It says a lot about just how disgusting our tub is that he can apparently live there comfortably. It’s like the friggin spa for lizards with all the crap that he can apparently feed on.

The only thing that gives me pause about the whole situation is my overactive imagination that has, at times, envisioned him mutating from the grossness on which he feeds. If he starts growing at an alarming rate, we’re going to have to move.

Bernie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Lizard.

It could happen…

Mom of the Year 2013 – Not Looking Good

Alternately titled:

I’m here to make you all feel better about yourselves

Photo by Avodah

We’ve had a blustery couple of weeks here in the Sunshine State. I love Florida in March simply because it’s unpredictable…but unpredictable in a good way. It can be warm and sunny one day and cold and windy the next, but by warm I mean 85 degrees and by cold I mean 55 degrees.

In case you were wondering, that is the perfect range of temperatures. It means that many days we have stretches of time where we hang out in the upper ’60’s/lower ’70’s, which I’m fairly certain is the temperature heaven will be set at. An eternity of 75 degrees.

Yes, please.

But this story isn’t about the weather. Oh, no. It is about my stellar mothering skillz. I spelled skillz with a ‘z’ so you’d really get a feel for just how much I’m rockin’ this Mommy gig.

Like any good mother, when the temperature dips below 60 degrees, I insist on pants and at minimum a light sweatshirt. This is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep up with because my kids don’t own many pants anymore since we only need them about 15 days a year.

But this post isn’t about pants, either. Well…not entirely.

It was a cold morning a few weeks ago, so I grabbed a pair of sweat pants out of Landon’s drawer. He is my child who hates wearing pants…and shoes…and underwear. He likes freedom. You can’t fault a kid for it, right?

We put on his pants and a t-shirt, then did all our morning activities. I had to actually get myself ready that morning as I was meeting a friend after I dropped Landon off, so it was a little more hectic than usual. We finally hopped in the car and drove quickly to his preschool.

Just as I pulled into the preschool parking lot, Landon pipes up from the back. “Oh no! Mommy! My pants!” I pull in and park and turn around to see what the problem is and almost choke on my own spit.

The crotch of his pants was caked in dried Nutella. It was half an inch thick and ran from the middle of his crotch down to the middle of his thighs. Dark, dry chocolate.

Now, after I got over lamenting what was an apparent waste of perfectly good Nutella, I asked Landon how on Earth that happened…and when.

“‘Member the other day when you gave me Nutella on bread and I accidentally sat on it?” He asked. No son. I DO NOT REMEMBER THIS!

“Well why were your pants in your drawer, then?” I asked.

“You told me to clean my room,” came his answer. “I just was putting everything where it goes like you said.”

People, this kid. This child of mine. Between his round face, his freckles and his love of snuggles, I’m pretty sure he will get anything out of me that he wants. Ever. I can’t get mad at him. Plus, he had a point. I did tell him to put everything where it goes.

Clearly I need to be more specific about where dirty clothes go.

I jumped out of the car and searched frantically to see if I by chance had a spare pair of pants or shorts anywhere inside. I had a half-empty bag of Cheezits, four single socks (of course), three pairs of shoes, a tennis ball and what I think may have been a ham sandwich at some point, but no pants.

School was about to start and I had to meet my friend, so I walked Landon in and told him to sit on his knees, not sit cross legged. As long as he kept his legs together no one would see. But as I left, I knew I couldn’t leave him in those pants all day. All it would take was one forgotten Criss Cross Apple Sauce and I had visions of him forever labeled as Poopy Pants Landon.

Because Nutella looks delicious on bread, but dried and crusted on a pair of grey sweatpants is a whole different story.

Thankfully, mercifully, Lee was in town that day and on his way home from having his oil changed. I called him and tried to be all cool and casual. “Hey Babe. So, can you swing by Target and buy Landon a pair of pants…and then drop them off at school?”

Lee: “Do I want to ask?”

Me: “Probably not.”

And THAT, my friends, is the day I lost my place in line as Mom of the Year. I think I solidified my low ranking this week when I got a text at 6:55 from Sloan’s baseball coach asking if we were going to make it to the 7:00 game.

See? Skillz.


Bearing with one another

There is a lot of talk these days about social media, technology and the effect that it will have on our children. They are the first generation to grow up under a microscope and with the world at their fingertips, it’s a legimite dialogue. How do we keep our children engaged in real life? How do we teach them to utilize technology to their favor and not to their disadvantage?

How do we show them that the world is real and yet still give them all the tools of expansion that technology provides?

It’s a constant battle and our children will have to learn to navigate life in a way that most of us who grew up without the internet, blogging and smart phones never even had to consider. But I think there’s something that we’ve missed and there is a dialogue that has been brought up less frequently that needs to be considered.

We are the first generation of mothers who are letting our lives play out online. 


This is an entirely new world for us, just as it is for our children and we are navigating motherhood under a microscope in ways that no generation before has ever done. Yes, it is mostly by our choice, but even those who abstain from documenting the day to day are affected by this world of online motherhood.

We’re all learning how to walk this journey together, but I wonder what kind of example we’re setting for the young mothers coming up behind us, not to mention for our own daughters who are watching and learning. This thought alone has given me a lot of pause in recent months. It’s why I’ve blogged less and held my cards a little closer to my chest.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to blend this technology with motherhood in a way that is healthy not only for me, but for those who are watching and learning. I didn’t have an example of how to do this – I am the example.

As mothers, and women, our natural instinct seems to always gravitate toward judgement – judgement of ourselves and of those who do things differently. This tendency is not new to our generation, of course. This ability to judge others, both negatively and positively, is part of the make-up of womanhood. Blame it on estrogen, I guess, but we are prone to gossip and judgement and that is a fact that cannot be denied.

Before us, these tendencies were confined to the playground or water coolers or the sideliens of the soccer games – whereever mothers congregated in packs, there was always the opportunity to share a tidbit, to vent a frustration, to share insecurities. Mothers lived out their offenses on a much smaller scale.

But now, these grievances are aired in such a public way that it leaves me concerned. I worry about what the young ones behind us are seeing and I wonder how my contribution to the noise might be affecting their perception of others and of the world around them.

The problem is, we are all different and different things will rub us all the wrong way. It must be very confusing for first time moms to figure out what should upset them and what shouldn’t. This viral post tells them to get their eyes off the iPhone, while that one tells them it’s okay. This Facebook post tells them to be upset when someone urges them to enjoy every moment with their kids because it goes by fast, but that Facebook post tells them it’s true! It does go by fast! You should enjoy the little moments.

This post says be upset if someone asks you if you are going to try for a boy/girl, if you are going to breastfeed, if you are going to homeschool or public school or private school and on and on the list could go. Every post written has a different one that contradicts it. The older generation must now walk on pins and needles lest they upset us young moms with our fast fingers, constantly ready to tell the world how offended we are.

It’s noisy, isn’t it? And I’ve contributed to the noise in my own way. But more and more I’m learning to just accept people for who they are. I’ve found that 99.9% of the time, people don’t mean to be offensive so I’m working on giving the benefit of the doubt and moving on knowing that my way won’t be the same as her way and that is okay! 

Can I, perhaps, offer a bit of encouragement to us all? Let us not be so easily offended. Let us not feel the need to publicly correct every stranger who says something that rubs us the wrong way. Let us try harder to give one another the benefit of the doubt.

What if we spent less time getting offended by others and more time simply loving one another? How would that look online? If a woman at the grocery store comments on our number of children, or asks if we “know what causes that” *wink, wink* what if we just smiled, thanked her for her interest in our family and moved on…without sharing it online? What if we bore with one another patiently, knowing that sometimes people say things that bother us not to be offensive, but simply because we are all different and are affected by different things?

I don’t know how good I am at this business of bearing with one another, but I’m learning. Even writing this post, I wonder if I’m helping the problem or perpetuating it. But my heart is to encourage myself, and all of us, to think before we type.

Because we’re being watched and we are the first to walk on this particular path of motherhood. Let’s show the generations to come how to do it well. 


Four days at Disney. A night with family in Orlando. A night with dear friends who stopped on their way to Miami. It’s been a whirlwind week full of laughter, blessings, grace, tears, love and pure joy.

And I am officially exhausted.

I’m also itching to start reading my book. I wrote it, yes, but I have never read it. I’m ready to dig in and see what it’s like. It’s scary and exciting all at once. So I’m going to take one more day today to recuperate – to rest and read and pray and meditate.

What are you up to this fine Monday morning? Are you recuperating from Spring Break insanity, or are you just entering into the crazy joy that is a week off of school? Any exciting news to share?

Happy Monday!

Spring Break Photo of the Day: Happy Happy Happy

What kids usually look like after days of overstimulation, junk food and little sleep.

The pictures parents usually take and share so that they can remember that the crazy was all worth it.

Happy Happy Happy Weekend everyone! May your days be full of smiles and laughter.

And perhaps a little more sleep than the previous days afforded…


Spring Break Photo(s) of the Day: Magic Kingdom

First time on Thunder Mountain Railroad: Nervous

IT WAS AWESOME! (So awesome, in fact, she made us ride it three times - once in the dark under the fireworks, which was a really amazing experience.)

Happy Thursday, friends! We’re headed to Animal Kingdom next. The kids are having a blast and are showing no signs of slowing down (if you ignore the fact that Landon passed out on my back tonight on Main Street). I, on the other hand, am completely exhausted. This is one of those vacations that require a second vacation to recuperate.

Or I could just send the kids back to school and lay comatose on my couch for a couple of days.

Yeah…I’m going to hold on to that dream.


See you soon!

Spring Break Photo(s) of the Day: Epcot

The flower festival started this week and it is really spectacular here!

Because we apparently cannot take a photo without bunny ears.


Spring Break Photo of the Day: The End


The End








I finished my book last night.

Over ten years of research – of starting and stopping, writing and tossing.




(Literally. I’ll tell you sometime about the day I fell flat on my face in Kiev…while five months pregnant. Good times…)

454 Pages.

139, 743 words.


What am I going to do now?

I’m going to Disney World! The kids and I leave today and yes…I think this week is going to be magical.

Because I finished.