To the 8-year-old who Told My Daughter the F Word

I’ll admit that when I learned that you asked my daughter if she wanted to know what the F word was, then told her even though she said no, I was livid.

How could any child believe it was okay to say that word to another child? To teach it to them. To whisper it in their ear even when they asked you not to. Maybe no one has taught you that no means no. If so, then let this be your first lesson.

When my daughter told me what you said, apologizing to me as though she had done something wrong, I ached for her. I wanted to protect my children and my family from your 8-year-old poison. I wanted to tell you that you were no longer welcome in our home.

Then I thought about what it must be like to live in your house, and I realized I was mostly sad. My anger turned to heartbreak for the childhood you have lost. And I ache for you.

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Just a Mom: More than Motherhood

“I’m just a mom.” How many times have I sighed and said those words as an answer to the question, “What do you do?” I’m just a mom.

You see I have friends who are insta-famous, running large organizations, CEO’s of businesses, big-time makeup artists, authors of international best-selling books. And here I am a homeschooling mom of four, struggling to write new words between “Mommy, mommy,” interruptions, get my current books in reader’s hands, blog when my computer somehow deletes 1000 words that can’t be recovered, oh, and be a human.

Sure, I am a mom. But the word just adds a connotation that it’s the only thing I define myself as. I am no longer a woman or a wife or anything else valuable. I’m just a mom. A living being whose only purpose is to feed little mouths, clean little bottoms, referee little arguments, etc. Like the momma pig at the state fair who lays in the corner while all her little piglets tumble over each other to suck momma dry.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying anything against being a mom—stay-at-home, working, work-at-home, or otherwise. In fact, I’m very much for doing whatever you feel is right for your family, for you, and for the calling on your life. Us moms, we’ve got to stick together.

That being said, don’t we sometimes categorize ourselves less than who we really are.

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Book Review: Happily Even After by Crystal Sparks

“Insecurity is the cab driver taking you in the opposite direction from God’s intended destination for your life.”

“It’s time to be who God created you to be and not who others expect you to be.”

And those are just a couple quotes. I could go on and on.

In a beautifully raw way, the author treats a familiar Biblical story as a story friends might tell over coffee. The truths shared in Happily Even After are deeply needed in our world today. Women of all ages need to know their value and the love their Father God has for them, regardless of where they have been or what they have done. Crystal Sparks is a voice to those women. She speaks to the deepest, hidden secrets that most women share, draws them out and shows us how God can heal those wounds.

P.S. I also love the nod to the author’s love of Disney in the title!

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You Can…

 You can do it. Whatever IT is, you can.

“But I don’t know if I can.”
You can.

“But I don’t feel qualified enough.”
You are.

“But I don’t have the time.”
You’ll find it.

“But I don’t know if I have the courage.”
You do.

How do I know? Because I’ve said and felt all of those things. It took me FOUR years to write my last book (which was considerably less time than it took to write the one before that!). And I hit wall after wall, setback after setback. But I just kept going. You wanna know a few things that went on those four years?

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Surrender

This word, surrender, it has ricocheted around me for weeks. I’ve been lamenting, crying out for an answer. But the answer has been around me all along. Surrender. I can’t do this life all on my own. But I wasn’t meant to. We were meant to lift our hands to our Creator and let go. And surrender. Our control. Our will. Our desires. Our complacency. Our timeline. Oh that we remember that we are not alone in this world, this life.

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Book review: Declutter Your Way to Success by Terri Savelle Foy

Grab a highlighter and journal for lots of notes on this one! With Declutter Your Way to Success, Terri Savelle Foy has put out another practical guide to cheer you on to excellence. Her unique voice is sweet, funny and brutal at the same time, cutting to the core of why we aren’t in the place we want to be, then inspiring us to get there, then giving a clear path as to how we can become our best us. I could hardly get through a chapter without wanting to get up out of my chair and get to work.

Even the minimalist can find inspiration in Terri’s clean up and clear out message.

It is the most practical look at decluttering your life (not just your house), and opening yourself up to even more excellence, joy and peace. Y’all don’t want to miss this one. I’m ready to read it again!

Find out more about Terri at terri.com.

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Book review: Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner

…by page 3, Jennifer Weiner was writing my heart. “We could no more change the kind of work we do – the voice in which we write, the characters that call to us – than we could our own blood type.”

This memoir, Hungry Heart, is just as snarky, sarcastic, meaningful and hilarious as her fiction. I love her quirks and the way she can make the smallest statement raw with emotion. I’m not a fan of her politics, but I can skim over them because I will never agree with everyone.

My favorite part is that she includes her early writing published in college papers or other magazines. As a writer, especially, but also as a fan of hers, I enjoyed seeing the pieces that brought her early success and where her writing has grown from.

Little Earthquakes is still my all time favorite work of hers. But it was as interesting finding out the backstory to how she came up with the characters and struggles of each of my favorite women in the novel. 

Overall, JW’s story is heartbreaking at times, makes the reader laugh aloud at others, but always honest and genuine. 

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Am I Enough?

Ever feel inadequate in your career, relationships, parenting, life? I’ll admit I feel inadequate on a near-daily basis. This morning I was looking back through my journaling and found this entry from early on in writing my second book, Shrapnel. I felt so deeply inadequate to tell the stories of the beautiful characters that I had come to love.
My journaling went something like this, “God, I feel inadequate for this thing you put in front of me. Give me depth to move the reader. And that’s the point, isn’t it? What other reason would I write? To touch someone. To reach into their depths and prick a spot in them and open something closed off within. So move in me. I give you my hands to move across the keys as you will. Use me. Write through me. There is simply no other way.”
Sometimes we have to get out of our own way, let God flow through us. That’s when we become enough.
What are you feeling inadequate in? Let me remind you, friend YOU are enough. You can do what you need to do. You have in you all that you need. Now go do you!

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I needed to make contact with a girl I don’t know well (and maybe am a little intimidated by) to ask for her help with a project.

What if she thought my project was stupid or beneath her? What if she thought I was stupid or beneath her?

I started with an email that I deliberated over for hours, edited, bit my nails, then finally pushed send with my eyes closed tight. But she didn’t respond, for days. “Call her,” someone said, but I cringed inside. I sent a follow up email (in one sitting!). When I didn’t get a quick response, I finally approached her in person.

Each time I faced the uncomfortable situation, it got easier to contact her and the intimidation melted away.

The point is, fear holds us back for silly reasons. My fear might seem ridiculous to you, and your biggest fear might not effect me. But they are real to us. And once we take the first step, the next one gets easier and easier until we can run, full force toward them and not even flinch.

Step today, friend. Take a step today, even if it freaks you out beyond belief! Even if it makes you cringe inside. Even if it’s as little as a phone call or an email, or as big as signing up for the course or applying for the job.

Have the courage. Take a step. And laugh in the face of your fear.

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Book Review: The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron
A gut-wrenching true story of a polygamist cult from the eyes of a child born into it. It is the truest form of beauty from ashes, a child born into and living through trauma finding freedom, both physically and spiritually. I cannot fathom the emotional trauma she must have faced. Moments of the book feel emotionally detached, written very matter-of-factly, which I’m sure was a combination of time passing and emotional necessity, because she describes the way victims of polygamist cults must emotionally detach to survive.

The fact that she can tell her story at all is such a testament to her healing and God’s grace. 

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