You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Motherhood’ category.

Summer arrived here in a rather loud fashion last month, bringing the raw energy that comes with the end-of-the school year, daily trips to the pool for swim practice, and the usual first few weeks of anxious adjustment to new rhythms.  After years of pushing through the difficult transitions that accompany my boy and his autism, you’d think I would be used to this reality, but I still find myself feeling blind-sided each year. That said, we all survived those first few weeks of discord and even managed to create a few fond memories along the way!


My girl  would live in the water all summer long if she could.  And it seemed like we ALL lived at the pool for the first 6-weeks during swim team season!  I often call Emma “My Little Mermaid.”  When I ask her what she likes  best about swimming, she declares that she “loves the way it feels to glide through the water!”  I have to say, Emma really does look beautiful gliding through that water and I admire the perseverance that she demonstrates in trying to become a better swimmer.

On any given Monday night, my husband or I could be found poolside, fulfilling our volunteer duties with a timer in our hands.

And, Ben did his best to  be patient  and entertain himself with lots of snacks and good fact books.  He was an especially good sport when rain drenched his bag of books at the end of the very last swim meet.  Especially the notebook of President facts that he compiled over the past several months…

I usually try to plan a few craft projects for us to work-on together throughout each summer. The clay was actually Emma’s idea.  My block of clay had become dry after sitting for too long, unused, so after wrapping it in a moist towel for a day or so, I was happy to see Ben and Emma enjoy making a few things with it, even if their projects ended-up cracking and landed in the trash later.

I plucked this stick-weaving idea off of Pinterest earlier this summer.  Ben and Emma were really into collecting “v-shaped” sticks on our nature walk the morning I told them about this project.  I had planned on the project taking place over a few days, but they could not wait to get started…

I love Ben’s focus here!

Benweavin g
Ben and Emma insisted on carrying this humongous branch back with us that morning…Now, over a month later, it looks like I am the only one interested in finishing the weaving.  A new piece of art for their tree fort!

Amidst the swimming and crafting, Ben participated in a Friendship Skills group.  His final homework assignment was to arrange and carry-out a play date (with a little help on my end).  By the huge grin on his face, I think you can tell it was a success!  My heart fills with joy when I see Ben enjoying the company of his peers…For so long, he only felt safe talking and playing with teenagers and adults.

Lina and Emma have remained best friends since their first days of preschool.  This summer marked the first-time that Lina spent the night at our house.  These girls are quite the entrepreneurs!  They love to make stands to sell just about anything.  Tap water.  Junk from Emma’s drawers.  And this time around, lemonade.

Thanks to our good-spirited neighbors and few passersby, the girls made-out pretty well!

Not one to sit idle, Emma also delights in entertaining us with her many shows.  Awkward gymnastics routines.  Silly-nonsense plays with Ben.    Here, she is holding a puppet show featuring an “Emma” puppet and theater (decorated as a swimming pool, of course) that she made in summer art camp.

And, Ben entertained us with his “Worm Circus!”

For obvious reasons, my art production slows-down quite a bit during the summer.  I did  make it downtown recently, though, to see a few of my earlier creations displayed at the Suntrust gallery in Richmond.

This week, I started on a new piece called “Ben’s Dream.”  I am loving using the collage and paint combination to create the background!  You can expect to see the beginning of this process in a future post, after my family and I return from our annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks next week.  May we all continue to notice and savor the special memories unique to our summers.





I’ve never felt very comfortable admitting or expressing anger, even with my own family.  I am much more likely to share sadness or sorrow than to allow someone to witness my anger or take part in a confrontation.  It somehow, just seems more acceptable for a “nice” girl like me.  So, when my girl and I continued to struggle with epic power struggles earlier this year and my own anger got the best of me, I decided that it was time to approach a counselor to hone my parenting skills.  “I just need to learn some new tricks,” I told myself.   My counselor asked if I was familiar with the book Parenting With Love and Logic, to which I chuckled, saying that yes, I read it in graduate school, before having kids.  I even wrote a research paper on Love and Logic because I thought it made so much sense!  But after having my own children, I tossed most of what I learned out the window, as it just didn’t seem to work…

Desperate to restore peace in my household, and in my soul,  I humbly purchased another copy of Love and Logic and began reading it again, one chapter at a time.  Once again, the essence of the book made sense.  When our children feel valued and loved, even when given logical consequences, they are more likely to treat us with that same value and love.  I began trying some of the strategies with my girl and experiencing positive results.  I reported improvements to my counselor.  Things were getting better, BUT I still felt this gnawing anxiety squeezing at my heart.  Why?

So, we began focusing on the anxiety itself.  Relaxation.  Breathing exercises.  Meditation.  And then my counselor suggested that we try something called “brainspotting.”  She explained that it is a somewhat new technique that is being used to treat victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.  I wondered how it related to me, as I had not experienced any sort of trauma…at least, nothing that I would have labeled as trauma.  The premise of this technique is that even though we may have intellectually moved through a traumatic event, the energy can sometimes remain trapped in our brains and continue to affect our bodies/behaviors.  In a nutshell, brainspotting involves following a pointer with your eyes until you feel a more intense feeling in your body and then focusing on that point and going with the feeling, recounting whatever comes to mind.  It sounded pretty “woo-woo,” but I figured I would at least give it a try.

During the first few sessions, I half-heartedly followed the pointer, skeptically recounting various memories and wondering how this was going to relieve my anxiety.  And then I noticed that after these sessions, the pressure on my heart would subside for a few days before returning again.  I felt peaceful.  Maybe we were on to something.  But really?  What kind of trauma had I experienced?  “Life itself can be traumatic,” my counselor would say.  And then during one session, as my eyes followed the pointer, they reached a place where I felt like my heart might explode.  And the memories poured-out in tears.  The day the word autism was said in conjunction with my boy’s name. I could barely speak.

Without going into all that had taken place around that time, I will just be honest and say that the first few years with my boy and girl were so very hard.  My husband and I had overcome infertility only to be catapulted into a virtual nightmare which I tried to hide from the outside world because this was supposed to be the most joyous time of our lives.  I  felt guilty for complaining and did not want anyone to see my boy’s unexplainable meltdowns that I felt I should be able to control.  I remember crying-out to God in despair at times, but for the most part, I stuffed my feelings and tried to focus on the positive.  Everything was under control.  I was surviving.

That said, I am now realizing that I never truly grieved that time in my life.  I suppose as therapies were put into place and my boy began making good progress, I didn’t want to look back.  And yet, my role as a mother remains much more involved than the layed-back hippie dreams of motherhood I had imagined.  While I know that I am wiser and more compassionate because of these experiences, I need to acknowledge the hurt and pain of all that we went through.  The struggles that we continue to face head-on alongside our boy each day.

And just because I admit that I feel angry or cry, I can still love my boy with all my heart and believe that God created him for a very special purpose.  As I heal in the days ahead, I look forward to living with my whole heart.  Not one that is squeezed with anxiety, trying to hide pain, but a heart that is free to be honest, vulnerable and joyful, all at the same time.




I sit cross-legged on the floor of my bedroom closet, a freshly made cup of peppermint tea in one hand, the white pages of my art journal splayed across my lap and a bag of crayola markers plopped by my side.  Word on the street is that I am either deaf or dead, according to my girl.  Truth be told, I am in Mommy Time-out.  I have  endured an epic day of parenting and there seems to be no relief in sight as my girl stands outside, pounding on the bedroom door.

And then, I just start drawing.  Drawing the fire burning in my belly.  The hand inside squeezing my heart tight.  The cup of tea meant to quench the fire.  Praise me in the storm.  The words keep repeating inside my head.  Praise me in the storm.  I form a body around that belly on fire and she manages to stretch her arms out, offering-up a tired heart in need of restoration.  This gesture is my act of praise.  Thank you for sitting right here with me in the storm, Lord.

Some seasons are like this, aren’t they?  A rough patch of parenting.  Marital discord.  Job stress.  Chronic health issues. When the only thing left to do is to tentatively offer-up our weary hearts and pray for the strength to endure the ache in the hopes that we will witness the beauty and character that is promised to us at the end.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 2: 4

Oh, what a God we have who can and does use these hard seasons to birth even more beauty!  A God who provides us with peppermint tea for our anxious hearts.  A God who knows our own ache through his son Jesus.

I imagine Jesus felt this same longing during his time here on Earth.  Frustration over his people not listening to the message he wanted to give them.  A pained heart as he witnessed physical and emotional suffering all around him.  He didn’t just give-up and walk away, though.  Jesus persevered.  He responded with love and patience even as he cried out to his Father during those final agonizing hours on the cross.

As I travel in and out of these winter seasons of my life, I want to practice the art of praising God for the opportunity to grow in love and patience so that I might be more mature and complete.  Even if it means sipping tea in my bedroom closet.



I am dependent.  Dependent on a God I cannot see, but who shows himself to me in a million little ways.  And so, when I started thinking about a word that I might focus on throughout the New Year, a word that encompasses the areas of my life that I feel the need to work on, I was reminded of all the ways that God has loved on me when I finally sat at his feet in surrender.  The really really big and the seemingly small, but not unnoticed  ways.  The big things hold stories all of their own, stories that are too long for this post;  however, the small things are those to which I bring my attention more recently.

For instance, in the aftermath of the holidays in my household, I just felt mean.  Plain mean.  My boy and girl, bless their hearts, were just being kids with an extra helping of intensity, but their behaviors just really started getting to me.  If I were in a contest where giving “the look” and throwing-out words of sarcasm were being rewarded, I  surely would have won.  I am, in no way, proud of this tendency of mine when I am a mama worn-thin.  This stubborn streak.  A reminder of my humanity.  A reminder of a mama in need of God’s strength when hers runs dry.  At the same time, if I don’t find myself down on my knees begging for a clean heart every so often, I might be convinced that I can do it all on my own.  A lie that almost always leads to discontent and despair.

All that said, I have done a fair amount of soul-searching and stepping out into the unknown over the past several years with my writing and art.  If I had to describe this journey, I’d say it has been a bit like riding a roller coaster.  Peaks, valleys, fear, and excitement all rolled into one glorious ride.  And while I’m not wanting to step-off the roller coaster all together, I find myself needing to establish more balance along the way.  Along with my stubbornness, I also become distracted easily.  Being a stay-at-home mama who gets to make her own schedule is a gift.  A gift that my husband has afforded me and one that I do not take for granted.  So, when I sit at the end of a day or week and wonder why I haven’t made time for art or why the house is so dirty, I have to consider how I am using these gifts that I have so generously been given .

For the most part, if I am committed, I really do have enough time to do what needs to be done on a daily basis.    But here’s where my humanity kicks-in again.  I sit-down to check my e-mail which then leads me to check Facebook and from there, I go off on some tangent watching a You Tube video that someone posted.  Before I know it, I have allowed what could have been a 5-10 minute check-in to steal an hour away from the time I could have been finishing a few chores and enjoying a long stretch of creating in one form or another.  I am totally aware of this tendency and yet I still fall prey over and over again.

So, this year, my focus word is “steward.”  I want to be a better steward of my time and talents.  Just because I like to have all my bases covered, I did order a copy of Julie Morgenstern’s book Time Management from the Inside Out. I imagine that a lot of what I will read is already inside me;  however, I sometimes need to be reminded of what I know.  Past that, I am counting on God to help me surrender my time and talents to His plan each day.  I am dependent.  Beautifully dependent on a God who created me to live for his glory!


The holiday season seems to have snuck-up on me this year and I feel rushed.  Rushed to put-up decorations.  Rushed to shop for gifts.  Rushed to write and mail Christmas cards.  Rushed to get into the holiday spirit.  I lay in bed this morning, praying for an attitude adjustment.  That I might replace my shortness with my boy and girl with a loving, gentle disposition.  My boy and girl are just about to burst with anticipation while I snip and snap at them, trying to maintain some sort of control.  At our house, the normal childhood excitement mixed with autism and ADHD produces some pretty intense energy around here, usually in the form of fast, incessant talking,  impulsive little bodies, and an insatiable desire for attention and entertainment.

Needless to say, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with all this unbridled energy, desperate to slow the pace down just a hair.  I need to slow-down for me.  I need to slow down for my family.  Since becoming a mama, I’ve always tried to make sure that the birth of Jesus stay right up there with the arrival of Santa. Surely, an uptight and irritable mama is not the best example of Love come down on Earth.  My boy and girl happily decorated our tree this afternoon (I didn’t move even one ornament!), I finished a batch of cards to be mailed and now that the majority of the gifts have arrived via USPS (Thank you, God, for online shopping!), I gratefully feel myself beginning to relax into the Season.

Each year, I find myself in this same conundrum – Part of me really does enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  And the other part of me, screams for quiet and calm.  Thankfully, the latter part usually gets to settle-in once the initial preparations are made.  Now that the advent wreath graces the dinner table’s center, I enjoy watching the flicker of the candle each evening as we follow Mary’s journey to Bethlehem.  And thanks to my friend Cheryl sharing her family’s tradition with me, we have started our very own “20 Books of Christmas.”  All of the holiday books collected throughout the years are now individually wrapped and lovingly sit in a basket near the hearth.  Instead of devouring all the books at once, as in the past, my boy and girl look forward to choosing one book to unwrap each evening when we can cuddle together on the couch and rediscover an old favorite or maybe even a new one.  Llama Llama, Holiday Drama was quite a hit yesterday evening!

I imagine that most of us mammas carry an extra load of stress around the holidays.  At the same time, if we can intentionally weave quiet moments amidst the busyness, we allow our hearts to truly prepare for the coming of our Savior.  So, go ahead and take that bubble bath, sit-down for a cup of tea, close your eyes for a few moments, and remember to breathe.  It’s all good.

SewingkitI’ve been working (or should I say, “rockin’?”) my mama muscles pretty hard over the past month or so.  Attending back to school nights, taking my boy and girl to multiple doctors’ check-ups before and after school, taming my girl’s after school meltdowns over homework, troubleshooting my boy’s renewed obsessive compulsive want/need to go to the bathroom at least 3-4 times every waking hour, and wondering how it can be 9 o’clock in the morning one moment and 4 o’clock in the afternoon in just the blink of an eye.  Throw a week of house renovations into the mix and you have one tired mama.  Don’t get me wrong, I am super pleased with the facelift our house received with its new Hardiplank siding and cheery red front door; however, when you dash for the bathroom on the side of the house where you think you’re safe from public viewing only to hear someone calling your name (Senorita?) from the front door, it certainly does not make your home a haven amidst the hammering and Mexican music.TodayIknowanxietyThat said, renovations are now complete and I am still breathing.  I think my mama muscles may have a chance to relax for a little while, at least.  I have learned that life is just like this sometimes.  The crazy intense marathons balanced with a brief victory before the next marathon begins.  And while I try my best to refuel during the calm times, I am also learning how to nurture my spirit even when I think I don’t have the time.  Several weeks ago, I joined a group of beautiful women across the country for an online course offered through the Brave Girls Club called Soul Comfort.  Here, we are learning ways to comfort our souls on a regular basis through art journaling from a variety of prompts and stitching inspirational words and images on small pieces of fabric, soul patches!  I have to admit, I felt a little overwhelmed, at first, trying to gather all my supplies and have it fit inside one portable tote bag, but once I did my gathering, I realized this comfort bag is going to be my ticket to sanity during the weeks such as the one from which I recently emerged.  I have toted my bag with me to Starbucks in between errands, to the basement during family movie time, and to the couch alongside my husband while he watches the football game.  Because everything is all in this one bag, I don’t have to think about what I need.  All I have to do is open a journal or thread a needle.  I am learning that 15-20 minutes of soul comfort can go a long ways, especially when I am unable to fit-in large blocks of art time with messy supplies.latte&successentriesFor an “all or nothing” type girl like me, accepting that a little bit of comfort each day is better than none at all is one step towards living a more balanced life.  As we enter the holiday months ahead, I am challenging myself to validate and practice my soul comfort, even when I feel I don’t have the time.  How about you?  How do you bring comfort to your soul?


Three weeks before the school year came to an end, our clothes dryer broke.  Evidently, the first repair man did a “patch job” 8 months earlier which wasn’t meant to last.  I was so happy to have it working again the first-time around, I didn’t question how quickly the first guy made the repair.  He didn’t even have to order a part!  Needless to say, when I noticed it taking almost 3 hours to completely dry a load of clothes again, I was beyond irritated.  How dare the dryer break with only a few more weeks of school left!  I have much more important things to do with my precious time than haul loads of clothes back and forth to the laundry mat!  

As usual, I had already started bracing myself for summer days where I would be on call 24/7.  The few weeks before school let-out were often spent scurrying around town trying to finish my “to do” list while I could run errands by myself, hardly stopping to take a breath.  And then, the dryer broke.

The first week without a dryer, I “borrowed” about $5 dollars worth of quarters from my boy’s piggy bank, lugged my baskets of mile-high laundry out to the car, and arrived at the laundry mat only to realize that I forgot to bring detergent and my stash of quarters would only pay for 1 load of clothes to be washed and dried.  Luckily, the convenience store beside the laundry mat sold $4 bottles of detergent (in only the smallest size, just for scattered laundry mat users such as me) and even had a coin machine!  My lucky day!  Once I gathered all the necessary supplies, I tromped back to the laundry mat and lugged my baskets  inside.  The regulars sat relaxed in the hard plastic chairs that line the walls while I scanned the room trying to figure-out which machines were washers and which were dryers.  Once I settled on 3 washers all in row, I tried not to look too conspicuous as I studied the machines, unlocking the secrets of where and how much detergent to add and what buttons to push to make it start.  I imagine some of the regulars wondered if I’d ever washed a load of clothes before now.

After fumbling around for a few more minutes, I relaxed in satisfaction as my clothes swished around in the sudsy water.  I settled into a chair with my journal and started to write about my frustration over having to wash our clothes at the laundry mat.  A mother and her little girl were washing clothes, too.  With big eyes and a beautiful smile, the little girl delighted in dropping the quarters into the slot and pushing the buttons to make it start.  A while later, her daddy surprised her on his lunch break from work.  She told him all about helping her mommy with the laundry.  On the other side of the room, I spied a mother, father, and their two small children waiting for their laundry to finish, little ones scurrying around the baskets giggling amidst the whirr of the machines.  I wondered if they did laundry together as a family every week.

The second week that I showed-up at the laundry mat, I came better prepared – detergent, $15 worth of quarters, and a few dryer sheets.  Realizing that I forgot to bring some reading on the way over, I decided it was a good excuse to buy that Somerset art magazine that I’d been wanting to read at Barnes and Noble.  And, what the heck, a green tea latte would be nice and relaxing in between washing and folding.  After getting the laundry washing, I settled into the comfort of my car, right outside the window, and perused the creative pages of my magazine while sipping my latte.  When it came time to dry and fold my three loads of clothes, I noticed a lovely African-American lady reading her Bible while waiting for her own clothes.  And then there were 2 more ladies folding clothes side-by-side, one giving the other advice and encouragement over a difficult family situation.  I witnessed a sense of family.  Community coming together around the common household ritual of clothes washing.

Now, I am three weeks into waiting for the dryer part to arrive and I was over hauling baskets of clothes up and down the steps to our deck.  Hopeful that the part would arrive before the end of the week, I decided that I would wash everything at home and just hang it on two drying racks in the guest room.  This required a bit more planning than usual, making sure that I did a load of laundry every day so that it had time to dry in between.  In the past, I have been quite guilty of drying the same load of laundry over and over just because I forget to take it out and then it’s all wrinkled.  Now that I was hanging each article of clothing to dry, I not only gave thanks that we have so many clothes to wear, but I also become more aware of how much electricity I  probably waste drying the same loads more than necessary.  I vowed to do a better job keeping-up with the laundry once our dryer is fixed.  And each time, I took a stiff pair of underwear or a scratchy towel off the drying rack, I thought of my grandma and the many ancestors before her who washed and dried their family’s clothes by hand every day.  Once again, I gave thanks and found comfort in the rhythm of hanging and folding.

I would be lying if I told you that I was not ecstatic to have my dryer working again on the very last day of school.  But, I will say, those 3 weeks of going “dryerless” prepared my heart and mind for these summer days with my boy and girl in way that being able to check-off everything on my to-do list could not.  During that time, I first remembered to adopt the attitude of gratitude for all that we do have and the conveniences to which we are accustomed.  Because I had to slow-down (I couldn’t  just throw a load of laundry in at home and go about my day.), I recognized the value of being present in whatever I am doing, whether it be chores or playing with my children.  I even find myself being more open to involving my boy and girl in preparing for activities instead of  just trying to do it all myself beforehand.  And finally, I was reminded that when I am flexible and open to God’s promptings, when I set my priorities according to what is really important, everything else falls into place.  At least most of the time.

CircleBen and Emma

Last month, I began praying circles around my boy and girl. Prayers that their hearts might feel more peaceful and less anxious. Prayers that they might recognize their unique strengths and be at home in their own skin. My boy has courageously struggled to fight anxiety since the age of 2 or 3. Just falling to pieces over changes in schedule or a change in the environment, the hallmark of his autism. While he has developed much better coping strategies for these realities over time, he still comes face to face with anxiety on a daily basis. Lately, the sight of his sister’s untied shoes can send him over the edge. And then there’s my girl who would run and tremble, gripped with fear, at the mention or sound of someone throwing-up. She’s come a long ways, too, but being the product of a long line of anxious genes on both sides of the family, she still does her share of worrying.

This decision to pray circles around my children and their anxious hearts came as a result of a study that I completed with my girlfriends around Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker.  Mark tells of the legend of Honi, the circle maker. Honi was a sage who brought rain to his drought ridden people after drawing a circle, stepping inside it, dropping to his knees in prayer and vowing not to move from that circle until God provided the quenching rain which had eluded them for the past year.

When I chose to pray circles around my boy and girl, I had no idea that I was about to be blindsided by a telephone call a week after beginning my challenge. My children’s principal called and asked if it was a good time to talk and the alarm bells immediately started going-off in my head. Uh oh. What did my child do? What has happened to my child? Did something happen to his/her teacher? After reassuring me that my boy was fine, the principal explained that due to a new autism program being started at another school  in the fall, my boy was going to be moved on the basis that we lived closer to this new site. Actually, we live .25 miles further from said school; however, the real issue is that a blanket decision was made, requiring my boy, with autism, anxiety, OCD, and ADHD, to leave a school where he is thriving to transition into unknown territory, likely causing significant regression academically and behaviorally. This decision would not only affect my boy, but my girl, as well. For she attends the same school as my boy on a waiver so that they can be together.

My initial reaction was to sob off and on all day long. My husband, on the other hand, was ready to fight. And while I appreciated his passion, I wasn’t there yet. I really wasn’t sure how to read the information in front of me. Could this change be an even better opportunity? In spite of looking for the positive, though, I really didn’t see how a school could be any better fit for my boy and girl than where we are now. After a day or two of grieving and praying for guidance, I felt like God was leading me to “go to the mattress” for Ben. I needed to advocate for Ben to stay where he is in order to support the peaceful hearts for which I had begun praying on behalf of my boy and girl.

This is where The Circle Maker really kicks into high gear. Once I jumped on board with my husband, we spent the following days and weeks writing letters, seeking guidance from advocates, making comments at a special education advisory committee meeting, and checking-in with the staff at Ben’s school to let them know where we were in the process. While we received full-support from the school staff, our letters and pleas with those in charge of this decision were met with silence. No recognition of having received our letters. No calls. Nothing. The more time that went by without hearing anything, the harder we began to fight, forwarding our letters onto school board representatives and finally the Superintendent. In the meantime, I am fervently praying circles around our situation, praying as if my prayers are already answered. I refused to leave my circle until we were heard, reminding myself to pray through, as we so often tend to give-up right before the miracle is about to occur.

Our final plea was to be made at the School Board Meeting. The night before we were scheduled to speak, my husband and I submitted our comments along with a heartfelt letter written by my boy’s teacher on his behalf. Mind you, I am totally ill-at-ease with public speaking, but I needed to advocate for my boy. Exhausted, but at peace with the knowledge that we were doing all we could, our heads hit the pillow around midnight the night before the meeting.

That morning, I joined several of my girlfriends on a visit to a nearby retreat center to wrap-up our last session before summer break. Tired and distracted, I considered opting-out this time around, but figured it might be a good thing to get away from everything for a few hours. After finishing our study together in one of the retreat rooms, I climbed the stairs to the cupola overlooking the city. There, I opened my Bible and silently prayed for our meeting that evening. I prayed that our words would be met with a compassionate response for what is best for Ben.

Driving home afterward, my cell phone chimed, interrupting my thoughts. My husband and I aren’t in the habit of calling each other much throughout the day, so I figured it was something important when I answered. “I just got a call and it looks like they are willing to work with us.” The decision had been made to allow Ben (and Emma) to continue attending their current school, minus a few logistical transportation issues! All I kept thinking was, “Thank you Jesus!” I felt  like I had won a major court case!

Later that afternoon, upon letting the clerk of the school board know that we no longer would be speaking, we learned that it was the clerk, herself, who acted as the pivotal person in our case. We’re not sure whether she chose to speak-up for us as a result of reading our comments or if she received directives from above; however, I am convinced that God used that clerk to bring about a resolution on Ben’s behalf.

This circle is not the first and certainly won’t be the last to be drawn around my family. And when the time comes, again, I will find strength in God’s faithfulness amidst the many circles drawn and answered throughout my life.

No one could have prepared me for the journey my heart would travel upon becoming a mom over 9 years ago.  A journey bursting with love for my long-awaited child, a little boy entering the world in hushed awe with wide open eyes – windows to an old soul. And, at the same time, a journey fraught with  uneasiness over the feeling that my beautiful boy did not seem comfortable outside the womb.

To continue reading this post, please visit, where I am honored to be a guest blogger today.

IMG_3721Several weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to spend a weekend away at a mountain cabin with four very special girlfriends.  There were late nights spent chatting around a great stone hearth, mugs of hot tea, glasses of wine, delicious meals, whispers from God, and hours of art making.  And when I think back to that weekend, I keep returning to the way it all unfolded so naturally.  The way a collective sigh following one person voicing the need to get away from the busyness of life quickly turned into a mountain retreat just over a month later.

This circle of friends started out as a small group of two several years ago.  IMG_3737Cheryl and me.  Both of us, exhausted from the impact of raising small children with challenges, were searching for a place to share our journeys and to spiritually recharge with no further expectations.  Cheryl, being the grassroots girl that she is, offered the stools around her kitchen counter as a meeting place, a cup of coffee and the promise of being heard and that’s how it all started.  During that first year, we spent a good portion of our time together airing our challenges and tossing around different ways to approach the parenting of our spirited children.   This was the year of learning to be present and showing grace both to ourselves and our families.

The following year, our dyad grew into a cozy group of four, as Megan and Michelle joined us on our Tuesday mornings.  Megan shares her  beauty and life challenges with us, as well as her precious little girl, Anna Grace, who is an angel in our  midst.  And Michelle, brings a liveliness to our gatherings with a love of  Southern Living, Diet Coke (from McDonald’s in a large styrofoam cup) and accounts of her own spirited little ones.  It was  Michelle, who offered-up her family’s mountain cabin for our weekend get-away.

This fall, God expanded  our Tuesday morning family with the presence of Kim and Sonya.  Each week, Kim shares her nurturing spirit with us.  And being a few years ahead on the parenting spectrum, she provides a loving model for us to follow.IMG_3730  During our weekend getaway, Kim nourished our bodies with her carefully planned and lovingly made meals:  fresh fruit, egg casserole, chick-pea and onion soup, fresh spinach and pea salad, and lemon pound cake that melts in your mouth.  Seriously.  Sonya, our resident “God Whisperer,”   dresses like a fashionista and prays over people with fervor.  On this particular weekend, Sonya prepared a morning devotional entitled, “Who Am I?” which called us to worship by living-out God’s purpose for our lives on a daily basis.IMG_3753

When Sonya shared  the idea that worship sometimes leads us to step-out of our comfort zones, she offered the perfect segue into my contribution to the weekend.  Art.  While I find great peace and joy in creating art on my own, I still feel a bit uneasy leading others in this realm.  As God does so often when we allow Him, though, he knit Sonya’s devotion and my art activity together  beautifully…Unknowingly, I named the art project “I am…”  During a period of four peaceful afternoon hours, I facillitated my friends through the process of collaging  a visual of the unique person God created them to be.IMG_3766

This beautiful circle of women and the retreat we shared?  It did not happen on the merit of just one individual’s gifts.  Community happens when we recognize and celebrate the unique gifts that we each have to offer and we combine our efforts to create a whole. For “as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.”  (1Corinthians 12:18)   It is my prayer that we all seek to know and celebrate who we are, allowing ourselves  to experience the  joy and fulfillment of working together as the body of Christ.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Follow Me on Pinterest

Brave Girls Club

In Courage

%d bloggers like this: