When a Season of Simplicity Feels Scary…


It’s Saturday morning, and I am wrapped up tight in a blanket, because it is finally chilly outside! I’m enjoying the peace of the morning, and my stomach is full of butterflies. I’m excited for May Lee to wake up, because if she is feeling well enough, we are going to go hiking this morning.

The ebb and flow of parenting can produce enormous swings, can’t it? Last weekend, I was out of energy and in need of a break. This Saturday, my senses are tingling with anticipation and my soul is singing as I listen to the birds chirping. I am excited for the day. I am excited to go on an adventure with my daughter.

While summer has stubbornly refused to give way to fall, there has been a real change of seasons in my life and in the life of this little family. After much resistance on my part, the Good Lord finally had His way and the events on my schedule have been drastically reduced. Even when I say yes and put things on my calendar, I’ll be on the phone calling in cancellations the very next week.

I have finally recognized and given into the fact that I am in a season of simplicity. This is not a season that I would choose to be in voluntarily, because I operate at peak performance when there is enough on my schedule to keep me in consistent activity. When my schedule has prolonged periods of nothingness, that is when the danger happens. The danger being boredom, depression, low energy, low activity, and a complete feeling of apathy. Thus, all the bad habits come out of the shadows with their bogus promises to “make it all better”.

To give into a season of simplicity felt really risky to me, and I fought it. The Lord and I have been going round and round on this one. I realize now that He has been doing work in me over time that would make a season of simplicity enjoyable and not dangerous. He has been leading me to this season so that I may rest and know that He is Good, He is God, and so that I may have an opportunity to slow down and really feel the change He has made in me.

Being able to experience that internal change in my external world is only going to make me stronger. It is going to take my trust in Him to a deeper level. Fear and anxiety will be driven out of my life to an even greater degree. I don’t expect a season of simplicity to be completely comfortable, but by the end of it, I know that I will be in closer relationship with my God and that is a joy beyond compare.

Well, since my baby girl just woke up, it is time for me to shut this down and get to living it. It is time for May Lee and me to get out there and enjoy God’s beautiful world. Happy Saturday, y’all! Get out there and take some Godly risks of your own!

Gratitude & The Blessing of Health

After reading The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown, it is has been on my to-do list to create a practice of gratitude that May Lee and I could and would consistently do on a daily basis. November 1st ushered us into the season of Thanksgiving and provided the catalyst for simply doing something to express our gratitude. The something we came up with was verbalizing one thing we are grateful for as we drive to school in the morning.

With the daylight changing in step with the season, it has been really easy to contemplate our many blessings as we drive toward the pink and lavender hues of the sunrise. In fact, that was our first statement of gratitude. Yesterday, May Lee stated that she was thankful for playgrounds. Feeling the sore muscles and aching joints from running, I said that I was thankful for healthy bodies that allowed us to play on playgrounds.

Those sentiments rang in my ears and pricked my heart today when I received the text message from St. Jude that it is officially 30 days until the race. So many children and parents are battling cancer instead of playing on the playground together. I am so grateful for my daughter’s health, and I am working daily to increase my own. What a blessing to know that if our family ever does hear the word “cancer” that a place like St. Jude exists.

If the blessing of health is on your gratitude list this year, I invite you to honor that by supporting St. Jude.


St. Jude 10K: Hiding a Mountain of Sin Behind How Well I Comply.


All the dynamics of the physical overhaul of my life have been at play this week. I would love to simply report my compliance to my running schedule, because I am highly skilled at hiding a mountain of sin behind how well I comply. Yet, the truth remains that a person can truly go off the rails internally while appearing to be right on track externally, and that, in a nutshell, sums up the last few weeks of my physical health.

Therefore, in an effort to bring my internal and external world more in line with each other, I’m going to lay the truth out there. First, I fell off the food tracking wagon about 3 weeks ago. My life got really busy, and I would legitimately forget to check in. I was still losing weight, so I felt no need to change my behavior even after my life slowed down. Thus began the slippery slope…

Next, the short morning exercise routines started to become less consistent. It is no surprise that I began to gain weight back at this point. Unfazed, I continued to be lax about my food intake and my exercise routine. When I was well enough to get back to my running schedule, the consistent running allowed me to justify increasing my food intake, i.e. allowed me to justify eating large quantities of junk food.

For 3 weeks, I have gained weight back. Not only that, I have experienced the aches and pains and physical complaints that had just resolved when I started consistently eating well and exercising. I ignored all the evidence and justified carrying on in my old patterns. To wrap this neatly in a bow, the old habits still live, and I still have work to do on my mental and emotional game to really care for my health the way I am called to care for my health.

The plan for week 4 is to shift my course to get back on track, which means once again going through the painful process of killing the sugar monster. That beast is my greatest nemesis. It also means finding a way to increase my personal accountability and taking a deeper look at this pattern of self-sabotage I have going on. Ironically enough, I had a video in my email this week about that very issue, so it seems like a good idea to unbury from the mountain of emails and actually watch it. Finally, I’m going to let myself feel the victory of recognizing I was off course and taking the initiative to make a change after 3 weeks rather than letting it go for 3 months or 3 years!

That last piece is crucially important. Overhauls of any sort do not occur in big pieces or in short durations of time. It is all about the long game. It is about incremental change over a long period of time to reach an ultimate goal. As much as I rail against our culture of immediate gratification, I’m lying to myself when I believe that I am somehow above that particular struggle and that the greater culture hasn’t affected me in that way. It is that lie that keeps me incrementally sliding down the slippery slope of my bad habits.

This week, I make the turn to begin the climb back up. If you have any personal experience with this struggle, I’d love to hear your experience, your victories, your struggles, your strategies, and most of all, your heart change through the process.

As always, if you have heart for the work St. Jude does for children battling cancer, please visit my fundraising page: http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=3466532&pg=personal&fr_id=59186


A Much Needed Sunday Rest

trailSaturday was tough. I had a lot to do and my brain was short-circuiting at every turn. If you read The Saturday Morning Struggle, then you know the backstory. That night, I ended up staying up until 11 p.m. finishing a novel I had been reading. To be completely forthcoming, I was reading a novel, munching on Cheetos, and savoring lollipops.

It must have been exactly what I needed, because I woke up refreshed and in a much better frame of mind. Even though we both stayed up later than usual, May Lee and I still made it to early service at church and got to spend the morning with our family, including a lunch of delicious Mexican food.

After a stop at Kroger for groceries, we came home and unloaded the car. I’ve been trying to be more intentional about requiring May Lee to help with things like putting away groceries and such. She was actually a big help today while we were at the store and then again when we were putting things away. She is growing up so fast!

Once everything was put up, I promptly reclined on the couch to close my eyes “for a minute” and opened them again an hour later. I was a little foggy when I woke up and struggled to accept that an entire hour had passed. Once I shook the cobwebs off, May Lee and I watered our flowers and got ready to carve the jack-o-lantern.

jackcarvejpgMay Lee drew the design on the pumpkin with a sharpie, and I carved to her specifications. We even decided to separate the seeds and later roasted them. We tried to do the seeds in cinnamon and sugar as suggested by Food Network, but after tasting them, we decided that we weren’t fans. This was surprising, since we both love pumpkin seeds. Apparently, we need to leave the roasting process to the experts. 

After that, I went for my long run while May Lee played at a neighbor’s house. The run itself was really terrible. A belly full of taquitos and chips and salsa is not ideal fuel for running. My hands were rather swollen by the end of the run, not to mention that I was also terribly thirsty. I ended up having to walk a few steps a couple of times and shake out my legs, but I kept going until I had run a total of 2.5 miles. It was my slowest mile time yet.

Despite all of those challenges, I really enjoyed being out there. As I was walking to warm up, I watched a deer cross the road ahead of me and gracefully bound over a fence. When I started to run, I came to a curve in the path where a man was petting a beautiful paint horse. A pony was also at the gate, waiting for his or her turn for attention. Many families were out enjoying the day, and that just made it a pleasant atmosphere to be in. It also provided motivation to keep going when all I was feeling was the pain of this run!

I guess the moral of this story is that God hears our cries and provides rest when we need it. It may not come in the form we fantasize about when we are in the thick of it and looking for an escape. But rest does come, and you know, today was a lot more enjoyable than hiding out at the Holiday Inn with snacks and Netflix. Isn’t that just like God to deliver beyond our expectations? I really love that about Him. 

The Saturday Morning Struggle


The idea of a slow Saturday morning is what keeps me going through the week. If I can just get to Saturday morning, I will have time. Blessed TIME. Time to let my brain decompress and organize the trillions of pieces of information that it has been bombarded with throughout the week as I slowly sip my coffee.

I cling to this hope with such white-knuckle intensity that I go to bed somewhere between 8 and 8:30 on Friday nights, so that I can “sleep in” until 6 a.m. Doing this serves 2 purposes: it allows me to catch up on sleep by getting in 9-9 ½ hours and it allows me to wake up before my daughter and have some quiet time.

couch-cushinsThis is where I need to confess that feelings of resentment rise up in me when 7:30 rolls around, and I hear her doorknob turn and her little feet start to walk down the hall. Because at 7:30, my brain is still not ready for the non-stop action. I will go to the kitchen to fill up my coffee cup for a 2nd time and return to find that all the cushions from the couch and chair have been removed to make a magic sidewalk that can identify whether or not a person belongs in this house by how they step on the cushions.


Having my spot to curl up with a blanket and chill now removed, I begin to sort the dirty laundry and fold the clean laundry still in baskets from the previous week, all the while being interrupted by the constant talking, singing, question asking, and good old-fashioned arguing for no reason. Not to mention, the bed jumping and flopping that sends my freshly folded towels into disarray.

Let me pause for a minute to tell you about an enormous pet peeve of mine. I cannot stand it when people yell from different rooms in an attempt to communicate something. This happens everywhere I turn, and I thought it was the younger generation, but I see it occurring between people of my generation also. Why do people do this? I know that when I was growing up, I was taught to go find the person and speak with them at a normal volume if I had a question. Has this piece of etiquette become old-fashioned and outdated? If it has, I fully plan to wage a one-woman campaign to bring this form of manners back. It seems wildly disrespectful to me to yell across rooms and also wildly absurd to believe that anyone can communicate effectively this way. When my child yells at me from across the house, I will not answer her by yelling back. I instruct her to come to me and then I will answer her question. I understand that other families operate differently, so this is just an FYI that in this family when it comes to yelling across rooms, we kick it old school.

So yes, the yelling across the house was working my nerves this morning. I realize that I complain about both sides of this argument. I complain that I don’t have enough time with my daughter during the week, and I also complain that I don’t have enough time to myself. Both sides of the argument are true, and there’s the rub. I realize that this is a problem common to all parents, single or married, but I also believe that single parents have this problem to a greater degree. I believe this because my Facebook feeds tells me that some of you married parents have spouses that take the children for the morning so that you can sleep in. That spouse may even take the kids out for breakfast one morning, so that you can have the entire house to yourself. On behalf of single parents everywhere, let me exclaim “THAT SOUNDS GLORIOUS!”.

I do fantasize about using my hotel rewards points to simply stay at the local Holiday Inn, where I might spend an entire 24 hours in an incredibly comfortable bed with snacks, Netflix, and books completely vegging out with no interruptions. No urging myself to “relax faster!”, because she will be waking up soon. It’s insanity, isn’t it?

I have created color-coded excel spreadsheets of my time trying to find margins for more time for myself and for more time with my child. I believe that you’ve already been introduced to my nerdy love of my Franklin Covey planner. Despite my best efforts at time management, there is simply never enough time to get it all done. I realize that in 13 short years I won’t have my child at home anymore, and I really do want to make the most of the time I have with her. Still, sometimes I can’t help but believe that a Saturday morning all to myself might make me a better mama.

If you have any tips or tricks or wormholes in time that you use to create more margin for yourself and for your child, please share!

Also, if you’d like to indulge your inner time management nerd, Franklin Covey is offering 20% their Binders with the promo code BINDERS through the 31st:  <a href=”http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=XjpitHTpd0Q&offerid=459242.22&type=3&subid=0&#8243;






The Weekly Recap:

Hello, friends. It has been quite the week. I haven’t had any stories to tell you about Stax and Emmy Lou, because they have done nothing outrageous as of late. Stax has taken to barking non-stop between the hours of 5 and 6 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. This has earned him some extra time in his crate, but other than that, he’s been mostly well-behaved.

Emmy Lou has also cycled back into a demeanor that is relatively easy to live with. Interestingly enough, she has taken up a new habit of running everywhere she goes. There is no smug, feline saunter through the hallway anymore; it is a full blown sprint on those tiny, little legs. It sounds as if a couple of speedy garden gnomes have taken up residence in our house. Come to think of it, this started right after I flea treated her. Perhaps the chemicals went to her head, subsequently stabilizing her mood and igniting her motor system. The running seems like a small price to pay for a nice cat.

img_2480Speaking of igniting, the biggest story of the week is my shower door, which betrayed me greatly. I finished my shower, turned off the water, and opened the door to exit the shower. Hardware flew with all the popping and jet propulsion of 4th of July fireworks, and with no hardware left on the hinges, the door pulled away from my grasping fingers and fell sideways leaving me exposed and completely perplexed by what was happening. Once I picked my jaw up off the tile floor and wrapped myself in a towel, I removed the door from its sideways resting place in my wall. Now it sits behind the bathroom door, waiting for me to move past my feelings of betrayal and into forgiveness so that I may return it to its rightful home.

img_2455May Lee kicked off her week with a surprise teddy bear sitting on our front steps that we discovered as we were getting into the car to go to church on Sunday morning. We don’t know who left it there for her, but we have several suspects in mind. My little girl is blessed to have so many people that love on her and pour into her life. In the afternoon, we attended the Fall Fest for our church. May Lee dressed as a renaissance princess, ran off and played with a boy most of the time, ate a bucket full of candy, and generally ignored most of the things I asked her to do. This independence thing is hard on both of us!  


As far as school and work, it has been a busy week for both of us. May Lee was able to attend a musical, and she recounted the entire plot to me with her own brilliant theatrics later that day. The girl has real talent in the arts and drama department. She also had a field trip to the zoo. My work has a whole lot of construction going on, and we are all very excited to see the progress. Our schedule has also changed, and I am still in the middle of transitioning to new job responsibilities. So, deep breath, we have been off of our normal routine this week. To compensate, I’ve been eating lots of treats. What can I say, old habits die hard.

A new, delicious, life-giving treat crossed my path this week and turned my world upside down. I have no self-control with these candies. I shamelessly ate them by the handful and made multiple trips back to the box for more. If you like peppermint and taffy, you need to try Lammes Peppermint Kisses. They are amazing. https://lammes.com/product.php?web_item_id=20

Tomorrow is May Lee’s last soccer game, so our Saturdays are going to feel pretty empty after this. She has been blessed with a great coach, great teammates, and great parents of those teammates. It has been a pretty great first experience with soccer, and we’ll be looking forward to the spring season starting. In the meantime, we will enjoy the break and the slower pace.

I hope you all have plans for relaxation and fun this weekend! Blessings!

St. Jude 10K: Week 2


I’m happy to report that I am mostly recovered from whatever illness attacked me so ferociously. For most of the week, I still had a major cough and no stamina. By the end of the week, I was feeling like I could do a little something without completely collapsing into a coughing fit. To test out this theory, May Lee and I went on a little jog on Saturday. We ran for the whole 6 minutes, and I was fine. No coughing. Inspired by that little bit of success, I also threw in a set of crunches.

saturdayjogOn Sunday, I went for a longer, slower run and was able to get 2 miles in. There was definitely some coughing after this run, but more importantly, every muscle in my body now hurts. Tired and grumpy are additional adjectives that come to mind, but also glad to be on the mend and back out there.


All in all, I have high hopes for this week. To prove that, I added push ups to my routine this morning using another Fitness 22 app. I love those apps, because they are so beginner friendly. The app has 3 different levels: counter push ups for beginners, knee push ups for intermediate (this is where I am starting), and full body push ups for advanced. This is the link for the app: https://appsto.re/us/YxOkH.i

To be completely candid, blogging about this training process really has kept me motivated. It has created an out of this world level of accountability! Thanks again for all your support! The link to my St. Jude fundraising page is below. If your year has been anything like mine, than it has been full of people you know and love fighting cancer. What better way to honor the fight than supporting St. Jude! 



Sunday Reflections


I had full intentions of going to 8 a.m. Sunday service, as we usually do, but it is currently 8:03 and I am sitting on my couch in flannel pajama pants. My child, who I put to bed at 7:30 yesterday evening, is still sleeping. I attempted to wake her up, but she was dead to the world. My motherly intuition is sending up the flag that this little family needs another morning of being slow and peaceful before the Monday rush hits. So here I sit, reflecting upon the changing of the seasons.

It’s getting to be that time of year. Really, it is already upon us. The time of year when schedules get really full and budgets get really tight. I don’t know about you, but the demands on my time and on my bank account grow exponentially as the holidays approach. I’m already stressing about it and trying to figure out some boundaries that will keep us sane this season. Figuring out what to say yes to and what to let pass can get complicated, but I’m determined to create space for peace during the holidays.

Then, there is the change in the light. If there is a roster for seasonal affective disorder, sign me up. Nothing makes me relate more to Kipling’s fable about the rhinoceros with the dry, stale cake crumbs under his skin than the longer periods of darkness. Already, I pine for the surplus of sun and the pace of life provided by long summer days.

Finally, there is the season of change in me and in my life. I don’t know if it’s just my age and stage in life that has increased my ability to sense when a change is coming or if that is due to a deeper walk with the Lord. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both or an amalgamation of many other things I don’t yet realize. Whatever the case may be, when the icky feeling of discomfort creeps upon me, I no longer react with full blown anxiety, fear, and agitation. Those things are still there, don’t get me wrong. I am still very much human. The difference is that those emotions are short-lived and far less intense than they once were. The greater difference is that now those emotions cause me to look up and talk to my God about this new thing He is doing in my life. Now when fear and discomfort hit, I don’t camp out there. I saddle up and get ready to ride, because I know a new trail is opening up ahead.

Writing this blog has been one of those new trails that I never expected to open up in my life. Yet, here I am, getting to know some lovely new people and getting to reconnect with people  that I haven’t been able to catch up with for far too long. I’m blessed to be here and to have this avenue to connect. I’m grateful for all of you who have reached out with encouragement, kind words, ideas, suggestions, and candid stories of your own lives and experiences. It makes me a better person to have the feedback.

I hope you also are finding some time to enjoy and reflect upon the changing of the seasons. As always, I’d love to hear what the Lord is putting on your heart and mind as the seasons change. Blessings on your Sunday!







Stax Ate the Internet & Emmy Lou Needs Deliverance

Because I do not fear fate or learn from experience, I seem to continue to invite disaster upon myself. This week I caught myself thinking, “Emmy Lou and Stax have really been low-key this week. I don’t really have any stories to tell about them.” This set off some sort of alarm in my animal’s highly developed foolish owner radar, and they immediately set about creating all sorts of havoc.

img_2265Emmy Lou has continued her reign of terror by sitting upon or lounging across items May Lee and I are currently trying to use. We have both received small yet painful puncture wounds as a result of attempting to retrieve our items from beneath that cursed animal. But it is not only the two of us that have been on the receiving end of her hostile attitude. When the pleasantly outgoing and super friendly pizza man came bearing the large pepperoni and black olive pizza that May Lee and I adore, the cat proceeded to hiss and spit at him as if he were delivering a box full of snakes or trying to baptize her with fire and water.

The new set up with PVC

During most of this time, Stax had been a complete joy. We were back to throwing the Frisbee and snuggling like old friends. Then, I came home on Friday looking forward to and in deep need of a restful weekend only to discover that Stax had eaten the internet. This was not his first time to eat the internet either, so measures had previously been taken to ensure that he could no longer reach the cable running to the house. In order to eat the internet this time, he had to some how work around the modified fence placed around the cable and the lawn chair turned upside down and placed against this fence in hopes of discouraging his mighty Labrador nose from butting into any crevices that may eventually open up with consistent nose-prodding and allow him to access the cable with his teeth. Somehow, without disturbing the upside down lawn chair, he managed to find and chew the internet cable.

By now, the true tragedy of this occurrence has probably made its way into your consciousness. No internet means no Netflix and chill. No Netflix and chill while I am battling illness and have weekend plans that revolve entirely around pajamas and movies. I made it through part of the weekend by viewing May Lee’s selections of Brave, Strawberry Shortcake, and Madagascar 2. When that got old, which happened quickly, we made a trip to the library where I stocked up on books to tide me over in the absence of internet access. The tales of the Kennedy men kept me entertained the rest of the weekend.

You may think that since the dog was in major trouble that the cat would have again taken the opportunity to secure her place as “the good child”, if only temporarily. Instead, she saw what the dog had done and raised the angry owner factor to the next level. She took a golden opportunity and quite literally pooped on it, and that was only after she was done urinating on it. And by it, I mean my bedding while I was happily sleeping underneath it.

At this point, I’m not really concerned about the fact that the geriatric cat may have finally lost her final marble. As far as I’m concerned, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

Y’all pray for this cat. She needs deliverance. Deliverance and a new home, preferably in heaven….if she can get in the gate.

St. Jude 10K: Week 1


As is the story of many a runner, I started training for a race and then promptly fell ill. What started as allergies moved into a sinus infection, which I chased out of my sinus cavity with a mix of over the counter medications and essential oils. The illness then took up residence in my chest, leaving me to sound like a whiskey-soaked, chain-smoking lounge singer.

Early in the week, when I was still in denial about this infection that was growing stronger by the hour, I did complete 45 minutes of yoga. It was “very easy yoga for beginners” that I found on Amazon Prime, and it primarily involved a lot of twisting. My back felt great after that, but as for the infection, the next morning I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Needless to say, super easy yoga for beginners has been the extent of my working out this week.

A couple of days ago, I worked really hard to convince myself to get out there and run again, but I was so wiped out that I resigned myself to simply eating Aunt Bunny’s Chicken-ladas and going to straight to bed. On Sunday, I actually felt much better, and still I had to lie on the couch and nap for 20 minutes after church. Then, the trip to the grocery store required a 30-minute recovery nap. Bedtime has been promptly observed at 8:00 each evening.

Week 1 will have to go down as a recovery week, and I’ll be easing back into working out during week 2. As it stands currently, inhaling too briskly can send me into a coughing fit that feels and sounds like death, so strenuous cardio is not on the schedule for this week. Even so, I still appreciate your support as I work toward the St. Jude 10K. You all have been a great encouragement!