Tuesday, March 20

When Anger Overwhelms Us

We had a conversation several weeks ago with one of our kids who is struggling with anger, specifically towards God. It’s understandable, since three of our five kids are adopted from foster care, and came to us with lives they’ve lived without us, unknown and unshared. We know this on one level, and yet as parents it can be so easy to forget.

The anger came out as a comment during a recent discussion. It was spoken offhand, as though daring to share it aloud meant fully committing to this truth, looking for a bad reaction from us. Instead my husband and I sat with the statement, unwilling to scold or judge. After a few moments I whispered, I can understand why you’d feel this way.

Anger can be a natural reaction to things that happen to us or to the people we love. When hard questions about life and why things have to happen the way they do go unanswered, often anger is there running right alongside the longing for why couldn’t things have been different. All too often, no one dares to ask that question aloud, but it whispers to us in the hollow of night, with no response back. It’s heartbreaking to not have answers for our kids. Especially answers that could soothe their heartache.

We’ve realized, as we see it play out before us, that anger is also a way to hide or to not feel the emotions that are buried deep below the surface. Anger is a way to ignore the pain and hurt. And I understand this, too. I—like my children, like all of us—am adverse to feeling pain and conjuring up old hurts I’d rather not remember. I'd much prefer to forget. And yet, left alone and unchecked, anger can destroy us from the inside out. A cancer to our hearts, minds, and very souls, left to fester it will eat away at our joy, our peace, our very lives. Anger, when allowed to grow, can easily turn to hate—hate of self, of others, and of God.

Monday, February 26

What My Sugar Addiction Taught Me

I thought I was doing the 40-day sugar fast for health reasons. After all the holiday cookies I had eaten, resetting my body by avoiding sugar sounded like a good idea.

It was the morning that I found myself crying in my bathroom, searching out “Bible verses when you feel like a bad mom” on my phone, that I realized what I had actually gotten myself into. Because it wasn’t about the fact that one of my children had a raging tantrum not two minutes before she needed to get out to the bus stop. Nor was it about my less-than-patient response, or the mom guilt that immediately ensued. No, what struck me was how in the aftermath, while grabbing something else from the pantry, I caught a glimpse of marshmallows in my peripheral vision. And a voice inside whispered, “You’d feel better if you ate those.”

Here’s the thing. I like a good s’more, but I don’t sneak marshmallows. Ever. So where was this impulse coming from?

Monday, February 12

We all Need Grown-Up Girlfriends

I have been blessed with a core group of friends since my early 20s. Brought to me through the love and prayers of my sister Katrina, I’ve known the richness of women who’ve walked with me these past several years.

So imagine my surprise when, last fall, Jasmine joined a competition dance team—something she is passionate about—and I found new friends. Good friends. They didn't replace my old friends; I have room in my life and heart for both. Friends I didn’t even know that I was missing until I met them. 

They are friends who don’t care that you aren’t perfect. Who step in to help you with your daughter's hair because they’re so much better at it than you are, anyway. Who make all the hotel arrangements, and bring the drinks, and tell you not to worry when you forget something because they’ve got your back. Women who offer to sew things for you (because your sewing skills are seriously inept), who text you recipes and tips for cooking.

Women who let you be you. Imperfectly you. 

This is a gift. 

Women who laugh with you. Who listen to hard stories. Who welcome your family and distant family members and don’t ask too many questions. Who hold your daughter's tender secrets.

And can I tell you something?

Friday, January 26

The Intentional Kindness Community {An Online Network of Support}

Friends, we are SO excited to introduce something new today: The Intentional Kindness Community! 
This no-strings-attached Facebook group has been on our heart for a while, and we can't wait to share it with you. Our goal is to inspire generous, purposeful living through everyday acts of kindness--and we want YOU to be there! 

Together, we hope to learn, grow, and connect through conversation prompts, occasional live videos, challenges, links to articles and inspiring acts of kindness, and more. Our goal is to make this community a safe place for YOU to ask and answer questions, share resources you come across or ideas you’ve had that have been successful, and encourage and support others in our mutual quest to live a full, abundant life of intentional kindness and generosity. 

Click the group link to join us!

Monday, January 8

10 Ways to Be Kind to Your Neighbor

It’s the time of year that people make resolutions–things they hope to achieve in the coming year. I don’t like the word “resolutions” because I can never seem to keep them, but I do like the word “goals.”

One of my goals for 2018 is to live a life of kindness and generosity and teach my children to do the same. With that in mind, we've come up with a list of 10 Ways to Be Kind to Your Neighbor as a starting point to kick off the new year.

If you’d like to print it instead, here’s a handy link to a PDF file, courtesy of our amazing publisher Tyndale House.

Friday, January 5

25 Days of Kindness Complete!

Another year of Advent Acts of Kindness is complete! Below is a list of all the kind acts we did this past month!

Day 1: A small gift to celebrate a friend pursuing God-sized dreams. Let us be women who cheerlead and encourage one another, who celebrate, who whisper “do it” when she wonders whether she can. 

Day 2: This week we gave away our dining room table to a young single mom who was moving into a new home with her two littles. 

While we were cleaning the table to get it ready, Kyle decided we should also recover the seats. As we worked to do so, one of our kids asked why we would take the time to recover the seats if we were just giving it away. Kyle responded, “we wantto give away things in the best condition we can. We want to give people our best.” It’s a good reminder as we start this Advent season, let’s give people our best.