Good morning, friends! We're so thrilled to feature our friend Kate Washleski today, who asked us almost two years ago Where is Everything Going and Who Am I Without It? Kate's back to talk about motherhood and what she's learned along the way:

Last time I guest blogged here, we were in the middle of a very tiring and challenging journey, looking for answers to our son’s medical diagnosis. After 18 months of visiting specialists and running a battery of tests, we found out just before his second birthday that he has a rare genetic abnormality. We’re now about 18 months from that point and have learned so much about what that means for him developmentally and how we can come alongside him in his growth and in attaining new skills. He is doing so well and has grown so much; we’re so proud of him and thankful for all God has enabled him to do so far!

Today I am so pleased to be able to guest post over at Busy Being Blessed for their Imperfect Mom Confessional series! Here's just a preview of my post:

Last night as I was getting dinner ready my 19 month old toddled in to the kitchen from outside where she’d been playing with her older siblings, grinning from ear to ear with dirt smudged all across her mouth.
I paused for a moment, deciding what to do, shrugged, and kept making supper as an, oh well, thought fluttered through my mind.
To read the rest of my post, just click here.

And if you are in need or some more encouragement for your mothering, check out our new book, Grace for the Imperfect Mom, a daily devotional written from moms who know what it means to need a little grace.  

I see it often in my social media news feeds—judgments made, people dismissed and labeled. Opinions vary far and wide on anything and everything, and people are easily discarded if they act in a way we don’t think is right or believe something different than us. We distance ourselves—conveniently unfriending others—when it suits us.

And something about this doesn’t sit quite right with me.

Blame it on my upbringing, because my parents epitomized to me what it looked like to extend grace to others: Quick to offer understanding. Always recognizing our own humanity, our tendency to err.

Even as a child who saw things as black and white, my parents would quickly disarm the snap assumptions made on my part.

That child who wasn’t always nice to you and got in to trouble at school? You never know what his home life is like, my dad would say. What if he has parents who don’t show him love or aren’t there, or worse, what if he isn’t cared for or abused?

The family members who struggled with mental health issues or addiction? You don’t know the road they’ve walked. You don’t know the pain they’ve suffered.

And the friend who got pregnant right out of high school? My mom offered to host the baby shower at our house even as she shrugged her shoulders and said, Who hasn’t ever made a mistake? We still love her and the baby.

I found it in my closet again the other day. Pausing, I pulled the coat from its place in the darkness, running a hand over it to look at it in the weak light of the spare closet. The dusty collar, the fabric-covered buttons, the slightly worn cuffs, an interior liner that reminded me of a picnic table.

It’s more than ten years old, now. But the color – that bright red, a beacon of a color and the reason I bought it when I saw it at TopShop during the semester I studied abroad – is still true.

The red coat in 2004
It was in the spring of 2004 that I stumbled out of a bus into Gloucester Green in Oxford, England, fresh off an overnight flight and fighting jet lag. The bus station was close enough to St. Michael’s Hall that we were able to trip along to the place we’d live for the next few months, suitcases bumping over cobblestones. It didn’t take long to settle into a rhythm: Sweaty hands and a pounding heart when meeting with professors one-on-one for a semi-terrifying hour once a week, hours and hours (and hours!) of homework, falling in love with Jane Austen’s novels, eating chips and cheese, feeling daunted by the Bodleian Library, hearing church bells toll, living on a college diet of digestives (cookies) and cold cereal, attending vespers, watching a fencing match, seeing Michelangelo’s drawings at The Ashmolean Museum, sharing pints with friends at pubs.

I was out shopping with friends when I saw it. It was £60, a dear amount at the time, nearly double that price in American currency. I hemmed and hawed over it, leaving and returning later. But it was winter, and then spring, while we were there. And with temperatures rarely dipping below 30 degrees, the balmy weather lent itself well to our incessant walking, necessitating a mid-warmth coat.

I loved it, so I finally talked myself into it and bought it. It became my favorite coat, a symbol of being young and happy and part of a world that felt full of limitless possibilities.

Shenanigans, even during the photo shoot.
This month, we celebrate our third anniversary of The Ruth Experience.

An anniversary is the coming together of the past, present and future in a way that allows us to view all three at once. It's a moment to reflect, to regroup and then to cast the revised vision before us.

And that is exactly what we have been doing these past few months.

We are less starry-eyed and more seasoned after having had a few failures (most of which we now recall with chuckling and head shaking). We are more savvy and less swayed by fancy promises.

And, we are having more fun than we'd ever dare imagine those three short/long years ago!

We write because we love it, because it is compels us, because we are as passionate about our topics of faith and generosity and living intentionally as ever. We write because we've discovered a community of readers and fellow writers who feel the same - and whose same commitment is a breath of fresh air to us when life feels a little lackluster.

As we kick off our fourth journey around the sun, we've overhauled our website.  We're digging the simplicity and tranquility of our new look. And, we have a few other fun things in the pipeline!

As we reflect on the past and pray over the future, we are so very thankful to all our family and friends who have joined us in this space and in this community.  We are looking forward to another year of adventure, of learning new things and of journeying together.


Two months ago, we at TRE saw another dream come to fruition in the publication of our second book, Grace for the Imperfect Mom. Then -- just last week -- we realized a dream on a smaller scale, updating our website.

Both of these dreams realized are the result of seemingly small steps, taken over weeks and even months' worth of time. As we near the third anniversary of TRE and I look back over these last few years, I see the amazing progress we’ve made by taking one simple step after another.

Image by Martin Fisher on Flickr
Thanks for being with us as we co-host for Make A Difference Monday, a place to get intentional about starting our week focused on the positive and dream up ways we can make a difference in the world! Today's post is on change...

What happens when the future you so carefully planned out suddenly looks like nothing you had imagined?

A phone call from the doctors office with the test results that made you feel as though a thousand lifetimes had passed while you waited to for the phone to ring.

A causal conversation with someone who suggests that you should apply for that open position you've been secretly pondering but had talked yourself out of.

A spouse who comes home one day to tell you that he thinks perhaps it's time to pack up and move across country on a new adventure. 

Insert any one of a million different ways life can change in the blink of an eye, for better or worse, and you are suddenly set adrift in an unknown future.