The “Me Time” myth? Or not… 

The “Me Time” myth? Or not… 

For many years I bought the lie that desiring “me time” was wrong, sinful & selfish. Those were things I didn’t want to be. I remember reading an article entitled the “Me time myth” way back around the arrival of my second child’s birth. And I bought it….every single condemning word. 

I now have 8 children and I can tell you that it has only been recently that I have been free from this lie. 

I can now see believing this lie robbed me. It robbed me of relationships, my health, my personal worship and prayer times, my talents, my joy. But rather it replaced all those lost tings with exhaustion, self-doubt, hurt, inadequatacy, self righteousness and bitterness. I was being a good mom and wife, self sacrificing, pouring myself out daily, serving -always serving, but it was never enough. And I was empty. 

I think many moms in circles like mine fall prey to this lie. As Christian moms it seems that’s what we do. We neglect ourselves in the name of the Christ. But we are so completely deceived. 

Over the years I have felt so empty at times I was numb to the world around me. Not too long ago I found myself there again. Out of utter desperation I longed for something deeper. I have always loved music. It seems the thing that expresses my innermost thoughts. I find music soothing and connecting. Since becoming a Christian, my heart longs for intense intimate worship times. I normally find refreshment during worship. But, as a mom, I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself so I bet you can figure how often I get to spend time in deep adorning worship. But here I was again, empty…. desperate….and hungry for renewal.  So I fought the guilt of taking an evening of “me time” to go to church by myself. 

This might sound stange that I go to church by myself sometimes, but I do, and I really love that quite time by myself. We go as a family on Sunday but our church doesn’t offer a midweek service. My husband and I are different in many areas, what our relationship with Christ looks like is no exception. And that’s okay. Our foundations are the same but our expressions of faith are complimentary yet different. I can only describe it as my husband is a strong and steady man in all things. This is one reason I love him, he grounds me and keeps me focused. He’s old hymns, fully committed, deeply thoughtful and reserved, yet if asked will move to action. He’s the backbone and rock of our family. I’m the one who volunteers for everything, I get hurt easily, more of a visionary, a mover and shaker, I take on too much and when it comes to worship I’m the hands lifted on my knees type. We joke that God brought us together to balance each other out. And honestly, I feel awkward sometimes because very few people know this about me. The church we attend, more or less falls along my husbands comfort level and many times I have an internal battle every Sunday morning. Don’t get me wrong, the church we attend is soild. The saints who attend are amazing people who love the Lord. But for me to go somewhere I can be who I am in the aspect of outward worship is freeing and precious to me. I’m so greatful my husband honors and understands this part of who I am as a fellow believer. 

It was there God met me when I slipped away those few hours. I sat in the back of the sactuary, broken over my neglect of my relationship with Christ, empty and tired. I felt peace as I worshipped. Not just in song but in surrender. The message cut right to my heart. Gods word has a way of doing that. I left renewed. My heart was filled with his mercy and grace. But I was also convicted. 

Over the next few days God showed me, through his word and in prayer that I do need “me time”. The airline safety announcement kept coming to mind. Put the oxygen on yourself before your child or fellow passenger. God kept telling me put my relationship with Him first. Not to worry about all the million things I need to get done daily, put him first. He also showed me I have gifts and talents he gave me that I have far toolong forgotten or neglected. Gifts he gave me to bring Him glory.  I need renewal too. I can’t keep pouring out when I’m empty and there is nothing left. He also showed me I need to take things off my commitment list, so I can be refreshed and joyful. 

He showed me the lie I believed so deeply, that seemed so right, was so wrong. 

So it was within “me-time” with tears dropping , hands lifted, and outpouring worship that I was freed once again by my ever faithful Savior. 


“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”  -HA! 

“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”  -HA! 

The other day I was reading a Facebook post of a mom struggling with her 2 sons health and how it was destroying her family. One commentator replied “God doesn’t give you more than what you can handle.” 
Another gal stated “I hate that saying” and the onslaught of nasty remarks started toward her. What grieved my heart most is these hurtful nasty comments were coming from “Christian” women. 

Good-golly! If they were not trying to defend what they thought was a god honest biblical truth I would have never assumed they were Christian women. No love, no grace – just judgement. 

That’s my problem with that statement to begin with. It’s generally a blanket statement used when a person; 1) either doesn’t know what to say but feels they need to say something 2) has no clue what the reality of the situation is and has no real offer or solution or, 3) is said in passive-aggressive judgment. And guess what? Above all else, it’s a complete lie! 

God does give us more than we can handle. If you want to think God “gives” us horrible situations to begin with. (I don’t) what happens is we live in a sin cursed world and bad things -really bad things happen. 

It’s unjust. 

It’s not right. 

And, it’s surely not from God. 

It’s the result of sin and people’s choices in how they handle their free wills. And a lot of times it sucks. It affects the innocent. But it’s not God. God doesn’t dish out horrible situations to us, but he does use them to draw us closer to him. 

So does God allow us to bear more than we can handle? Yep. That’s often the thing that drives us to walking closer with and trusting him.

We all face giants in our lives – be the person to hand them the stone, not the one that points out how big the giant is. 

An Outcast

An Outcast

Have you ever felt like an outcast? Maybe even invisible?

Today, while I was unloading my 5 younger kids for a quick run into Sam’s Club, I was approached by a man in his late 50’s as I juggled 2 toddlers who felt compelled to run into the parking lot to test the laws of physics and see how far they could push my buttons today. 

“Excuse ma’am,” He began. Now, feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the situation and now with my children’s eyes glued on him, then me and back to him. I listened, shamefully I must admit, I probably had an irritated look on my face. I was obviously struggling with the crazy toddlers. But I had to be polite and listen to him. I knew already in my head what he was going to say. He’s homeless. He wants something from me. Money probably; slim chance this guy’s legit and will ask for food. But I listened because I didn’t want to be rude. My kids were watching. 

“I’m homeless. I am hungry, do you have any food you could spare?” he continued as he fidgeted with a couple of those squeeze applesauce packets in his hands. I quickly looked him over as he spoke, he did show signs of being exposed to the elements. Sunburned face, not dirty but dressed in shabby sweatpants and a thermal under-type shirt. His shoes were in bad shape. 

“Umm…”I studdered as I thought how am I going to handle his request. I had no food on me. My kids devoured their granola bar snacks hours ago. 

“Well….I can buy you lunch inside. I was going to get my kids a pizza your welcome to join us.” I still felt a little uncomfortable. My outspoken 4-year-old spotted his applesauce packets he has now shoving into his sweatpant pockets. “I like your applesauce! That stuffs really good!” “That’s good to know,” he replied, “someone gave them to me. I’ve never had them before.” She was happy to give him her recommendation and approval. He smiled at her. My 11, 9 and 6-year-olds were utterly silent, they were watching how this would unfold. 

While walking to the entrance of Sam’s I asked him where he’s staying. He told me in Marysville. “Oh,” I replied, “are you staying at the Salvation Army shelter?” “No, “He said with a lowered face, “I am living under a bridge in Marysville.” It was at that moment conviction flooded my heart. All I could get out was a crummy “I see.” We didn’t say much over the next few moments across the parking lot and into the store. 

God was dealing with me in those moments. I had cast judgment upon this man. I assumed things I knew nothing about from the moment he interrupted my wrestling match to get my 2 and 4-year-olds in the cart. I thought myself inconvenienced by his humble request. But I walked now side by side with this man whose only home was under a bridge. I wondered how people reacted to Christ as he traveled walking from village to village. He would have surely shown signs of being exposed to the elements, just as this man shows. As God spoke to my heart, I silently cried out to God asking for forgiveness for my judgemental attitude and hardened heart. 

From that point forward I spoke to him like a friend. I cared about and encouraged him, I asked him how he found himself in this situation. He was a businessman with a window cleaning business, but he had a stroke and as a self-employed person I clearly knew what he meant when he told me that stroke was his “instant retirement”. He knew he was able to get Social Security and disability payments, but time ran out before that kicked in. Money ran short, he had no family to fall back on and so he fell on the streets. He didn’t want to live this way but he had no choice right now. He told me about his life before the stroke over pizza and a coke. He was a competition dart player, but the Stoke robbed him of his hand-eye coordination. He loved poetry. He had written 100’s of poems in a journal, but they are since gone. His stroke left his mind a mess he said, memory is the hardest. He had remembered one though, He asked if I wanted to hear it. Half way though he had to pause for a long time to try to remember the rest. It was the most beautiful story of the work of Christ on the cross and God’s love for us. It was a poem that told the redemption story so beautifully. My heart rejoiced: this man knew his savior. He asked if I was a spiritual person almost as if he was going to share the gospel with me. I had said something to the effect that I am not spiritual necessarily, but I am a Christian and a believer in Jesus and the Bible. He smiled a warm smile, said “That’s wonderful” and took a bite of his pizza. We talked just a little bit more and I gave him information of what I knew where he could go to get off the streets and get help. As we said our goodbyes, and I asked him if I could get him anything else, He said, “No, but thank you for all you have done for me today.”

I was truly honored and thankful to share a table and meal with him.

But, I can’t help but think about his situation and how, had he not approached me, I would have likely noticed him, but avoided him. I would have tried not to make eye contact. He would have to some extent been invisible to me. You see, even as Christians, we become too comfortable in our little cushy God filled worlds. We have our churches, our worship bands, our nice cars, houses, filled cupboards, and paychecks, which of course, we thank God for. Nothing is wrong with having all those things as long as they don’t blind us from seeing the world and its hurting people through Gods eyes.  

I know I have been blinded. I can’t image the loneliness and despair that folks like the man I met today experience. I wonder how many people were rude to him, how many people that had plenty but didn’t give him anything, how many people ignored him, looked right through him and couldn’t be bothered or inconvenienced. These are the outcasts. Worthless to society; rejects, the mentally ill, druggies and alcoholics, and all our looking right through them, tells them is that they have no worth. But, they do. Christ came for them just as much as he did you and me. Thay have a story, we just need to slow down, unplug our faces from our smartphones, and show them their value, listen to their stories and validate them as human begins.   

And all the while our children will be watching us………what are we teaching them about the value of life? about humanity? Are we training them to be Sunday Christians or fully surrendered and sensitive to his leading all the time-even when it’s makes us a little uncomfortable? 

Advent: Peace

Advent: Peace

Today we light the second candle of advent. The candle that represents peace. Peace…. a word with a million personal meanings. A word that causes self reflection and sometimes a word that causes us to accept what we least want to. 

Peace. Breathe in the word, let it whirl around and exhale a quite stillness that calms the soul. 

Peace. This is a gift from the most high to us. That we can trust Him to bring beauty from ashes, grant our hearts calmness and security amidst the raging chaos. Peace. We need it just as the breath in our lungs.

I reflected back on the phone conversation I had with my brother today. He needs peace in the most desperate of ways. My brother has been fighting brain cancer for nearly 5 years now; far longer than he was expected to. While his cancer moves in and out of remission, the affects of the disease have taken a deep scaring tole. Not only on his body but his heart and spirit. 

I hear his voice come from the phone desperate for peace. “Why? I tried to lived like God wanted. I talk to him daily. I have helped many people. Why am I having to deal with this? Haven’t I been though enough??” Hearing this breaks my heart. He’s right -it doesn’t seem fair from where we stand. His life a compilation of hardships and now…..this?

But oh – for peace. 
This life crushing disease is not the end. No. there is so much more to his story and it will not end here. That is where peace comes in.

While my heart aches for my brother, I have peace. That still quite calming balm over my hurting heart. He says he can hear it in my voice and that it gives him peace too. We will walk this road together and learn to accept the things we don’t want to, and at the same time learn to trust and seek peace. 

I look back over the last few years-they have been rocky for many reasons, and I can see the hand of God moving. I see healing; physically, relationally and spiritually. I see brokenness restored. I see beauty from ashes. And the unwavering faithfulness of my Father God gives me peace that can calm any storm that rages on. But the most important lesson I have learned on my journey toward peace is that Peace and Trust go hand in hand. 

Senior Year…already?

Senior Year…already?

I helped my oldest, Nathanael apply for college this week. College. I have to stop to let that word and what that means sink in for a minute. I can’t believe we are already here. He’s the first to move forward and leave the fold of our home school. Fortunately, for now, it’s community college and he will live at home for a while longer – I don’t think I could handle anything else on my ma-ma heart! While he couldn’t be happier to take this next stop in life I have a million questions, doubts and fears swirling around in my head and heart. Funny thing is they are mostly about me and how I did as a home schooling parent. There are people in my life that have been waiting for this moment just as much as Nathanael for a long time. Waiting to see the product of a home school graduate. Waiting to see if his education was good enough. Waiting to see how he would fair in life and college. Waiting to see if I failed. And you know what? I don’t blame them. I’m not going to lie. I’m wondering those same things too! I am a first generation homeschooler. Everyone thought my husband and I were over the top crazy when we pulled our children from public school all those years ago. We heard it all and then some, from family, friends and the teachers and school staff who were all great people. I had no idea what I was doing. I was scared to death but looking back I wouldn’t have changed that decision. 

I feel that same kind of fear now. At the end of this school year – this is where the rubber meets the road. And truth be told I’m nervous. While I know his choices in school and life are his, good or bad, I feel like somehow they are a reflection on me and how I did as a homeschooling mom. If he struggles in a class – it’s my fault, I should have been a better teacher. If he makes some moral comprise – it’s my fault. I should have been more heavy in Biblical studies. If he finds himself in finical hardship – It’s my fault. I should have made him take more finical classes by Dave Ramsey. If…If…If…. It boils down to me thinking I was never good enough. That’s a familiar old lie, isn’t it?

Despite all these “if’s” and feelings of fear and failure; I do have moments when I can push all that away and find peace in I did what I was called to do. This was my grand experiment, and in those moments of peace I think we did well. I bucked the traditional education method and traded it in for real life experiences. That’s not to say the boy never picked up a textbook (he actually went through many of them) but we were never slaves to it. We learned through the experiences life brought us, we explored, we discover his passions and personal God-given gifts and we chased after those. In the end, I’d say he learned how to learn for himself. It is my hope that those are the skills that will inspire life long learning, not just in a college classroom but everywhere life takes him. 

I have learned a lot along this journey and I have a lot of learning left ahead of me. Nathanael is the first of 8 to graduate from Golden Oaks Academy. I see that I have changed in so many ways from those first years to now. A lot has happened in these 10 years. But one thing that remains the same is that the focus of our home school is Christ and in that, I find peace. I am not racing against some system to produce an student who can cram random facts, test well and think like everyone else. I am producing a moral God loving person who is strong enough to stand for whats right. One who receives a personal education designed around the unique calling God has placed on their lives. I am producing a logical self-thinking adult, a leader not a herd follower. I am producing someone who is invested in their community and gets involved from food drives to political causes. At these things I think by the grace of God we have been successful in doing this. 

Now, to finish well with joy and peace; and plan a celebration to honor this incredible young man and the journey ahead!

Preparing my heart for Easter: Lent

Preparing my heart for Easter: Lent

Lent began yesterday. For the last week I have been praying and listening for the thing God wants me to sacrifice this year. But nothing came. In the past I have given up sugar, coffee, electronics, etc. But this year this that sort of thing is not what was required of me. God was not silent; the answer just wasn’t as simple as refraining from something for the specified time period of Lent. What God did tell me was I need to add something: Faithfulness.

Faithfulness? Really God? When God impressed his answer in my heart, I doubted it was an answer at all. I consider myself a faithful Christian. I attend church nearly every week, pray daily; even outside of meal times,  do my best to read the Bible as often as I can – with 8 kids, I will admit it’s not as often and I would like, but God knows my heart.  You know- the normal Christian things. Dang, I even homeschool my kids. Talk about sacrifice. But God called our family to do that so it’s all good, right?


That is what God showed me to focus on this season of Lent; my wrong attitude. He showed me I need to take this period to be mindful of my attitude and intentions; to be active in cleansing my wrong attitude and restore faithfulness to him in my heart. I think I was already hearing His voice in this matter of my life before starting my Lenten journey. He had showed me my life was stuffed – and not necessarily in things that he intend for me. This left me tried, cranky and angry. This had a domino effect that left no area of my life untouched. And more often than not my attitude was not one the reflected the Lord, much less his love and grace.

Yesterday was tough. I really was mindful of my heart attitude throughout the day.  I found myself justifying my thoughts and actions. It was in those moments I found conviction and realized I am not as faithful as I would like to think I am. This journey is going to be hard. I know it will require so much self-examination and repentance. But in the end I look forward to being closer to God. While the stripping away and exposing sin in my heart is going to be painful the end result will bring freedom and joy. In a way I’m grateful for this difficult journey, for this will truly mirror the purpose of the journey of my Savior. Isn’t that the point of Lent anyway?



I was talking with my friend Christina on the phone last night. We were talking about kids and life and the insanity of it all. While she has adult children and mine range from 1 to almost 16, she understands. I shared how I have no time for anything….nothing. But most of all I shared how much it hurts my heart. I feel like I’m missing out on my kids. I dare say the word …..neglected. While my children are not neglected in the sense the word is often used, that is how it feels to me. I told her about all our Christmas season plans, that stayed that; just plans. My advent activity calendar hangs on the wall as a painful reminder of how I am failing to focus on what matters – time with my loved ones. I know that these are years, moments, that can never be taken back. But somehow, in the busyness, they slip away. And now here we are – 2016 is looming closer and closer. The sad part is I look back at this last year and while there are moments that stand out to me – most of it is a blur.

Now, you have to understand my friend Christina is a gem. She is one of those people who most everyone can relate to. She has a heart of gold that wants to help people. So naturally she offered me this book to read. (in all my spare time right?) But I thought ‘What the hay – sure, I’m normally sitting around waiting for a kid to get out of a meeting or practice so why not?’ Then she told me the name of the book – “Oola; Finding Balance in an Unbalanced World”. My Conservative Christian radar went off and I thought to myself; ‘This sounds new age. I hope its not about embracing my inner bring and all that jazz’. But I accepted the offer of the book loan with great skepticism.  Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just the title that threw me off but some of the other words and things that came from our discussion.

Tonight I picked it up and thumbed through the pages and to my great surprise the forward was written by Kurt Warner, an NFL MVP and a Christian man. He is a household name in my house – if your born or married into the family your a Rams fan for life; through the good, often bad and sometimes ugly world of football.

The introduction to the forward reads;

“Not where you want to be in life? Are you feeling lost, stressed, overwhelmed or our of balance? Do you lack purpose in your life? Now is the time to quit pursuing happy and start pursing Oola.”

I could have been jumping up and down on my couch answering “yes, Yes, YES!” to all those questions.

So, I read the forward, Warner spoke of making God his center, or HUB as he called it, he spoke the name of Jesus and how this Oola lifestyle is about finding balance and passion for your purpose in life. Investing quality into 7 key areas of your life. Passion and purpose where the overall theme.

Passion. That word hit me like a train. That’s what I need to find again, passion. Passion in my purpose, passion in the things and people I love. Finding what God has gifted and called me to do and passionately pursue it. While not getting distracted by all the noise of the world than surrounds me. In a word it hit me – I have lost my passion for life. My focus. I have traded in what I love for what I think I need to do, or be or have – and now my life is cluttered. Sucked dry and passionless.

I’m now excited to read that book. Not because I think it has the answers to life – I know where to find those – but because I need inspiration in my day to day. God has been speaking to my heart for sometime now, I know what I need to do – clean the clutter out of my life so I can see clearly again. But its easier said than done, it will take time. I will not be making any New Years Resolutions this year (I personally think they are silly anyway) but I will be setting out on an adventure of freedom and relighting my passions. I want 2016 to be my year of freedom. A mark in the road of life I can look back on and see the hand of God working as I move in faithfulness toward Him. I want this year to become a year of testimony and renewal.

That begins with writing. I love writing. I tend to be able to express myself better in words on paper that in conversation. While I can speak well, writing is like fireworks in my heart. It one of my passions – sadly it was put on the back burner while I taxied kids here and there and sat in meeting after meeting, all the while winning the most involved parent of the year award.

For my friends who read my blog – you will find me without my super hero-mom cape you all think I wear. Which for the record; the super-mom comments only remind me of all my short comings. I know its not meant like that. I love you gals but I’m no super-mom. I’m a mom who is missing out on the joys of living life. It’s not super at all. In all honesty, I envy your slower pace. You will likely learn of my insecurities and my growth as God stretches me. I ask now for your grace and understanding when I use the words; ‘no thanks’. Please don’t take it personal – its not you, its me. I would be blessed and honored if you would walk this journey with me and give me a swift kick in the rear when I fall.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I hope though my journey you find encouragement.  Maybe you can relate with me and be inspired to start your own journey. I think there is more to life than we moms are living. There is more than diapers, messes and never ending piles of laundry. I don’t know about you but I want time to read a book to my kids, snuggle up and just be together, not feel rushed or always behind the clock.