I haven’t written in a while. I started a 31 day series and never finished it.

I have excuses but the truth is I just didn’t have the heart to finish it.

I am a mom of three daughters. They will be 15, 13 and 11 this year. They are great girls.

But can I tell you something? It isn’t easy. The world we live in is hard to go against the

flow. I feel like I am always picking my battles and finding that I am being judged when

I choose not to battle. Somethings, are best left to learn on their own.

There are many times I feel alone in this parenting gig. It is almost

like  parents have this understanding that once our kids hit a certain age, we all

go silent. We stop talking. And we struggle in silence.

Well, I am hoping that we here in this place can change that. I have all intentions of

writing about mothering teens. I won’t tell you things that will embarrass them but

I’ll write about things that work in my family with my girls. Hopefully, we can help

each-other out and open up about parenting.

Some will argue that cell phones and social media are bad, while I agree, thinking

your kid won’t have a cell phone isn’t real life. It’s not real parenting. I am not here

to argue over cell phones. I am here to tell you things that work in our family. For the

record I am not one to spy on my kids and sneak to look  at their phones.

I feel it breaks down the trust between us. However, they know when I ask to see

their phones, they have to hand them over. 

This winter break I desperately wanted to make memories with my girls. I didn’t want

another break to go by without being intentional about our time together. But it is hard

to make memories that don’t cost a lot or involve the mall or a movie.

I picked up a puzzle when I was out one day.I don’t know why that sentence sounds off.

But you get the drift. I bought a puzzle when I was at Target one day.

My first thought was they will never do this with me. They will think it is babyish. As a

mom of teens you get used them shutting down all your ideas.

One Sunday it was snowing and there wasn’t any plans that day and everyone looked

bored out of their ever-loving minds.There is only so much T.V. one can watch.

I took a chance and invited them to do the puzzle with me. Either out of

boredom or humor they came and  started the puzzle with me. To my surprise they didn’t

pick up their phones once. Now,  I won’t lie there was some arguing about how to put it

together, but God help me we kept going, I was determined to make this a memory.

That is until we found out there was some missing pieces. Isn’t it ALWAYS like that???

Life it doesn’t always go as planned and having teens has taught me to go with the flow.

After we picked up the puzzle, laughing that it was missing pieces. I thought we are onto

something here. No phones. Laughing. Connecting.

That same day at Target I had also picked up a new game called Scribble Heads.

I don’t know if you know about it but it is hilarious. It comes with a small wipe board

that you place around your head. Without looking at the board, you are to draw what is on

the card. Everyone has to guess before time runs out.

When I bought up if we should play it they were excited.

We ended up playing and laughing and having fun. Then something strange happened. I

mean really strange for teens. They had friends over the other day and they pulled out the

board games  and played for hours. I was so excited I texted my friend.

After I texted  her  I stood there in the kitchen staring at them like I was weird but I

couldn’t believe my eyes. Teens playing Battleship. Not even the cool electronic one. The

old boring one. The one I bought at a garage sale!

See, here is the thing. Our kids are craving connection. They just don’t know how to

go about getting there.They have no direction. We haven’t taught them how to connect.

They know how to get followers and likes on Instagram and they

know all the new SnapChat filters, but they do not know how to connect without their

phones. It seems like a no brainer when I look at how board games and puzzles were a tool

in getting our girls to connect without phones but we often forget that simple things

have a lot of value.







What small doesn’t mean

Last fall we drove past miles and miles of corn fields for the girls to com­peted in a one day competition.

A one day com­pe­ti­tion, great I thought to myself,

We will be in and out and home before dinner.

No hotels, no eat­ing fast food.

No awful ice rink cof­fee and no wor­ry­ing about who would take care of the dog.

Sign them up.”


Most com­pe­ti­tions we go to are a few days long, most times my hus­band can’t make them because they start mid-week.

And they are huge. With two rinks being used and hun­dreds of skaters,

it can be  overwhelming.

Nor­mally, the girls com­pete against nine to eleven girls but at this

com­pe­ti­tion there was only a hand few of competitors.

My girls were a lit­tle con­fi­dent that they would do just fine and have a spot on the podium,

that is until they competed.

They came off the ice a sur­prised that this small com­pe­ti­tion was in fact really hard and the skaters were really good.

And they were nervous.

Right­fully so.





Because  small doesn’t mean you are weak.

Or bad.

It also doesn’t mean that you can’t touch someone’s life.

Or that you are not influential.

Or that your voice doesn’t matter.

Or that you aren’t good.



I have it saved on my phone. This one minute mes­sage from a friend.

Just a small sim­ple mes­sage. Noth­ing grand or huge.

But in it is a whole heap­ing of encouragement.

I haven’t lis­tened to it since the day she left it but I smile when­ever I see it.



It is the small things that are the most powerful.

The most life changing.



I’ll never for­get it. The day the phar­ma­cist asked me twice, if I knew how old my daugh­ter was.

Didn’t he know this was one of the hard­est things we have done as parents.

With every ques­tion it felt as salt was being poured into a paper cut.



Just ear­lier that morn­ing my hus­band and I sat face to face with the Dr..

We had to swal­low our pride as par­ents and ask her how to help our seven-year old.

It’s not an easy thing to admit you had no idea how to help your child who was suf­fer­ing from anxiety.

The anx­i­ety had been got­ten so bad she could only respond out of anger.

A nor­mal response.



I know how old my daugh­ter is, please just fill it”.

Okay, but I have to call the Dr. first”.



I nod­ded.

I had lit­er­ally had just walked out of the Dr.‘s office.

My legs felt like dead weights

No one pre­pares you for that.

No one pre­pares you for the looks and the sighs and the questions.

No one pre­pares you for the nights you won­der if you are doing this par­ent­ing gig right.

If you’ve made the right choices for your child.

And no one pre­pares you for the talks you have with God, the ugly ones.

No one pre­pares you for all the emo­tions that you walk through when your child is suffering.




I could tell when I saw her sit­ting on the gym floor that some­thing wasn’t right.

That she was hold­ing in tears.

She would act as if she was okay but once we got into the car she would tell

me about a lit­tle girl who would push her.

We would talk about what she did and what the teacher did.

For weeks this girl would hit or push Elyse.

It was around this time that we noticed that Elyse’s anx­i­ety was to

the point that it was par­a­lyz­ing her.

Anx­i­ety and worry and fear and depres­sion, all those things  can do that.

It can crip­ple you, to the point where you can’t put another foot in front of you.

It’s just that no one can see what is keep­ing you from walk­ing forward.


I debated for the longest time if I should give her the medicine.

It made me sick to my stom­ach to have give her some­thing to help ease her anxiety.

Wasn’t I enough? Couldn’t I as her mom, help her?

All ques­tions I strug­gled with.

Maybe you know this all too well and are strug­gling right now with this.

Can I take your hand and whis­per in your ear that you are an amaz­ing parent.

It takes amaz­ing to say I don’t know what to do.

It takes amaz­ing to say help us.


And no mat­ter what any­one says, you don’t need more faith.

I’ll repeat that.

You don’t need more faith.

My old­est has severe asthma. I don’t tell her to pray more. To read her bible more.

I make sure she has her inhaler on her at all times.

I take her to the Dr. when she is hav­ing trou­ble breathing.

I’ve changed her diet and given her supplements.

I do what­ever it takes to help her con­trol her asthma.

Why is hav­ing a child with anx­i­ety or depres­sion or any­thing else any different?

Just today, I told Elyse that she is doing an amaz­ing job con­trol­ling her anx­i­ety and I know she is work­ing hard to over­come it.

I asked her what she has been doing and then I asked her if I could share it with you.


She says when she feels an anx­i­ety attack com­ing on, she takes deep breaths.

She says that she tries to find the source of where it is com­ing from.

Say for instance if she is anx­ious about a test, she will ask her­self what is the worse thing that could happen?

And if the worse thing hap­pens, then what will she do?

She says that most of the time the worse thing that will hap­pen really isn’t a big deal.


Over the years we lis­tened hard and looked deep to see what trig­gers her anxiety.


Bul­ly­ing was the top trig­ger and as par­ents we took huge mea­sures with the schools in gen­eral and to make sure that this girl would never be in a class with her.

There are some trig­gers as par­ents we need to fight for.

We need to stand up and make sure this trig­ger doesn’t hap­pen again.


Com­pe­ti­tions are another one.

One that she didn’t want to give up. And we agreed.

We learned and she com­mu­ni­cated that her being alone and lis­ten­ing to music helps her anx­i­ety before get­ting on the ice.

THIS WAS HARD FOR ME. This was hard for me to let go and not be there but I know this is what helps her.

Being respect­ful and trust­ing your child knows  deep inside what helps them.

It’s pow­er­ful.




Being late and not pre­pared is another trigger.

She found that hav­ing her out­fit and back­pack ready in the morn­ing helps ease any anxiety.

To start the day off smoothly helps tremendously.


Feel­ing as she must be per­fect to be loved and wor­thy. Is some­thing she strug­gles with and causes anx­i­ety if she feels she is less than or that she has failed.

She knows that closer she is with God , the more she can com­bat that lie that says she has to prove her­self worthy.

She has mem­o­rized her favorite scrip­tures,  she will repeat over and over  when she is feel­ing the need to per­form or when anx­i­ety is close to the surface.


And jour­nal­ing.

It was one of our first step in help­ing her with her anxiety.

When she was young and couldn’t get the words out or express her­self she would art journal.


And the last one. It’s hard for this mom.

Know­ing when she needs to work through a sit­u­a­tion and not com­ing to the res­cue every time.

Know­ing that I can not save her from every situation.

Know­ing that she has to grow and strug­gle some­times to learn.

It’s not easy but is needed.



Notes from my journal:


I dropped her off on the first day of school. A new school, twice the size of her last school.

Her big sis­ter was talk­ing some calm­ness into her soul.

Reas­sur­ing her only as a big sis­ter can. I’m so thank­ful she has a big sister.

But she still got out of the car in tears.My heart shat­tered watch­ing her walk in.

One part of me wanted to grab her hand and take her back home. The other part of me told me it was good for her to go, to take the power she knows to help her with her anxiety.

It was the worse moment, this torn mothering.

All day I paced the kitchen, cook­ing what­ever I could to pass the time.

I was the first car in the school pick up lane. I didn’t want her to wait another sec­ond if it was a hard day. Did we take her off her med­i­cine too soon? Is this too much for her?

And then I saw her walk­ing out. All smiles. Thank you Lord!!



** Friend. If you find that you or your child is strug­gling please go and seek pro­fes­sional help. There is noth­ing wrong with going and ask­ing for help. In fact, in doing so you are show­ing us that you are amazing!!**






40 ways to show others love.

1. Pray for them.

2. Fast for them.

3. Lis­ten but not to reply.

4. Ask ques­tions. Get to know their story.

5. Don’t offer advice-just be there.

6. Fol­low up.

Noth­ing makes me feel loved more than when a friend remem­bers some­thing I am going through and will follow-up with me on it.

7. Teach them to use their gifts.

If you notice some­one is has the gift of writ­ing and you hap­pen to write,

then by all means teach them to write well.

8. Give them places to use their gifts and let them shine.

march 2014 877

9. Look for the gold.

10. Ignore the dirt.

11. For­give.

12. And quickly.

13. Speak with kindness.

14. Offer grace. And then always offer a lit­tle more.

15. Don’t be easy offended.

16. Don’t hold grudges. Let things go.

17. Don’t seek revenge. Don’t secretly be happy if some­thing goes bad for them.

18. Cel­e­brate with them… go all out!

Don’t hes­i­tate to cel­e­brate even the small­est moment in their lives.

march 2014 499

19. Mourn with them… it’s okay if all you have to offer is tears.

20. Smile.

21. Give hugs.

22. Be respectful.

23. Con­sider their feelings.

24. Put your­self in their shoes.

25. Give them some fun in their grief.

Plan a fun date for them or get a funny movie for them to laugh.

Laugh­ter can be the best med­i­cine, at least for the time being.

26. Laugh with them. Not at them.

27. Offer wis­dom when asked for it.

Give truth­ful advice.

28. Don’t wait for them to ask, fill a need when you see it.

29. Cheer them on.

30. Accept them for who God made them to be.

Don’t try to make them who you want them to be.

31. Learn from them. Every­one can teach you something.

32. Say your sorry even if that means say­ing it first.

33. Appre­ci­ate them.

Appre­ci­ate what they can give. Even if it is a little.

34.Be real. Don’t hide behind masks, or walls.

march 2014 764

35. Have clear boundaries.

We all have that one friend, that we love to death, but give her an inch and she will

take a mile. Leav­ing you feel­ing resent­ful and taken advan­tage of.

Because you love them, set boundaries.

36. Be devoted.

37. Be faithful.

38. Be patient with others.

39. Have fun.

40. Enjoy them.

It’s okay if the only reason…

I feel as if I have lost my words. After weeks of writ­ing papers I am not sure I have any­thing deep to write about.

Hon­estly– my mind is mush and mak­ing a whole sen­tence is tak­ing too much work.

But there is one teeny tiny thing that has been on my mind and heart…

Work­ing out.

I warned you I had noth­ing deep to write about.

Work­ing out. It is some­thing I love to do. No. I lied.

I hate to work out. It totally is awful but I love the high I get from work­ing out.

The energy and the self-confidence.

And to be hon­est. I work out not only for myself but for my husband.


I want to look good for my husband.


That state­ment is going to cause a lot of uproar.

Because now a days it’s all about you.

What you want to do and what you feel like doing.

And I do believe that you should work out for you but

it’s okay to want to look good for your hus­band. Or even hot.

It’s okay to want to please him in the way you look.

It’s okay to  wear the dress or shirt that he finds you attrac­tive in.

Or even the undies he loves. Yes, I just said that. I debated that. Undies or panties?

Or to grow your hair out if he likes it long.


I almost think that we have for­got­ten to care about what makes our husband’s happy.


I remem­ber when Eric and I started to date and I was work­ing as a stylist.

One day I col­ored my hair bleach blonde.

In the nicest way pos­si­ble he let me know he didn’t like it.

Okay maybe he totally made fun of me but what­ever… I’m over it.

The next day I went into work a lit­tle early and  col­ored it darker.

Not because I am a door­mat or because what I like doesn’t matter…

but because I wanted to LOOK good for HIM.

His voice was the only one I cared about.

I didn’t care if the rest of the salon thought it looked great or made fun of me for chang­ing my color for a guy or my clients loved it.

It only mat­tered to me if he liked it.

Soci­ety tells us that we have to be every­thing to every­one but really I think we just need to be every­thing to one.

So friend. If the only rea­son you drag your­self out the door to run or work­out is to look hot for your hus­band… that’s okay.

And if the only rea­son you clean or cook or make his favorite meal or dress up fancy or you fill in the blank I am sure there is much we could fill in– is because you love him…

That’s okay too.

Flare up.

I call it a flare up.

I’m sure there is a med­ical name for it but for our lives that is what we call it.

It had been a long time coming.

She has been doing so well. In fact it’s been over a year.

I could see it bub­bling to the sur­face over the sum­mer. Lit­tle glimpses of it.

Show­ing its face here and there.

When it finally sur­faced this week­end I wasn’t sur­prised and then I was.

I’ve learned there is never a good time for a flare up and I have no con­trol over it.

I won­dered when she took the ice if she was going to make it through her free skate program.

( She did and placed fourth!)


Ear­lier in the morn­ing I was wor­ried as I watched her practice.

I can’t put it into words what hap­pens when your child has an anx­i­ety attack.

It’s heart­break­ing to watch and no mat­ter what you say or do it doesn’t soothe the anx­i­ety away.

All you can do is be there, with them.


At first glance a mom or a par­ent can blame them­selves when it happens.

We can won­der what we did wrong or where we went wrong.

A flare up can feel like a failure. 

It can eat away at us and if we aren’t care­ful we can let guilt set in.

But we shouldn’t.


My old­est suf­fers from severe asthma.

When­ever she has a flare up I never once feel guilty as a mom.

I never ques­tion where I might have made mis­takes along the way.

I call the Dr. and we go through what is work­ing and what isn’t.

Why then when  our kids suf­fer from anx­i­ety or depres­sion or any­thing else do we go there.

To the place that we blame and we judge our par­ent­ing skills and feel ashamed?



I look at anx­i­ety flare ups not as a fail­ure but as a way to slow down and to listen.

To take time to regroup and see what isn’t work­ing and what is.

To ask for help and call the Dr.

And to let her know that she is amaz­ing– anx­i­ety and all.


I am not sure if anx­i­ety or asthma is some­thing they will grow out of.

Or it will be the thing they will have to man­age all their lives.

But I do know that we will be here for them through it all.

We will hold their hands and sit with them.


I don’t have the answers to any of this but for now this is where we are…



When holding hands can change the world.

It’s been so long since I’ve writ­ten here I am not even sure if I should still write.

Or if I still know how to write.

There has been so much going on in our lives that I must admit friends,

I am feel­ing very fragile.




They kicked every­one out late last night.

The nurses telling my mom that she needed to rest before tomorrow.

As if any­one could rest with death so close.


The plan was for her  to go home today with hospice.

That was her last wish. And who could blame her. Isn’t that what we would all want?


To lie in our bed one more time.

To smell those famil­iar smells.

To touch com­fort one last time…


But as night grew darker she got worse and was moved to ICU.

There was no way to make it home.


In those scary moments, when we were mak­ing our way back.

There this nurse.

Who held her hand.

As she held her hand she held our hearts.

And against pro­to­col, she prayed.

She held her hand and prayed.

I knew I loved that nurse. That rebel, that rule breaker.


See, that sim­ple kind ges­ture– gave my grandma such peace.



It took just a few moments of her time to hold my grandma’s hand and pray.

It wasn’t big but it had a huge impact.

It didn’t cost any­thing but it changed our world.


Whose  hand are you going to hold today?



Is this missing in your marriage?

A month ago my hus­band and I went on a vacation.Just the two of us.

We came back say­ing this trip was even bet­ter than our honeymoon.

Because hon­ey­moons come with so many expec­ta­tions and dreams and let’s just be real.


You are try­ing to fig­ure each other out and at some point some­thing about the “love” of your life will irri­tate you like no other.

Like when they are brush­ing their teeth.


Soon after I posted this pic­ture on Face­book, my hus­band noticed that I had some­thing in my tooth.

Look hard, you will see it.

We couldn’t stop laugh­ing that  we cried.

And that is when we real­ized what was miss­ing in our marriage.


Just old fash­ion fun.

Laugh­ing and gig­gling and enjoy­ing each other.

This trip made us real­ize that fun is just as impor­tant as God and fam­ily and sex.

Even sex can becomes a chore when there isn’t any fun in your marriage.

Heck, every­thing is a chore when no one is hav­ing fun.

We talked about the dreams we had for the future and our bucket list.

We had some seri­ous talks to about how to keep the fun going in our marriage.

And what fun looked like to us.


Friends isn’t  it so easy to do? To stop hav­ing fun.

Both of you  going in dif­fer­ent directions.

We know, my hus­band trav­els weekly.

He is off work­ing and I am man­age the house.

When we come together as a fam­ily on the week­ends, we strug­gle to not

just worry about what needs to get done.

We fight against it all  the time.

Some week­ends we win and some we lose.

Put some money stress in there and  health bur­dens and throw in some kids

with their com­mit­ments and their friends.

And life stops being fun and becomes HARD.

You stop dream­ing and you start sur­vival mode.

Just try­ing to make it to the next sea­son of life instead of enjoying

this one.





How do we keep fun in our marriage?

The first thing we did when we got home was to carve out time weekly.

Let’s face it we would all love to jump on a plane and lay out on the beach every month.

But that is not realistic.

What is real­is­tic is find­ing time in the week carved out for the two of you.

And guard­ing it with your life.

For us it changes weekly because of travel and our girls com­pe­ti­tions but we find the time and we won’t budge. Even if that means other peo­ple get their feel­ings hurt.

And then define what is fun?

Some cou­ples love to read a book together and dis­cuss it.

Some of us love to jump in the jeep and drive around.

It can be any­thing from cook­ing together to play­ing golf to talk­ing a walk.

It is some­thing that you as a cou­ple have to define for yourselves.

And let your heart just be.

Free from expec­ta­tions and the what it should be.

Just show up and allow your­self to enjoy your spouse.








Maybe we all should.

This morn­ing I woke to an ache.

I take that back– I went to bed with an ache.

I’m going to be hon­est here, there are times that

I am frag­ile and painful words that oth­ers have said to me,

flood my mind and makes me ques­tion every­thing I do.

I won­der if I am a good mom, wife, friend.

I ques­tion any of my abil­ity and then I won­der if what they said to me is TRUE.

Instead of remind­ing myself that usu­ally hurt peo­ple will hurt.

I believe what they said.

Tell me you understand.

I know in time this will ease and I will stand on truth again.

But  some words pierce your skin and leave per­ma­nent scars.

And you can’t help but run your fin­ger over them once in a while.




But this has me thinking.

Who have I hurt when I have been hurting?

What have I said to oth­ers that has left a per­ma­nent scar?

This makes me cringe.

And I wish I could take back every care­less word.




And remind myself that all the things I want to say, that the words I have the right to say.

Will only leave me feel­ing good for a moment.




Maybe this sea­son, this month, this day, this moment.

We could all be more silent with our words.

Maybe we could all remem­ber  that we are all frag­ile and life is fragile.