Finding freedom

Raising whole-hearts in a half-hearted world…

Caleb means “whole-hearted” in Hebrew.

Who doesn’t want their kids to be “whole-hearted?”
We live in a society of half-hearts. Flippant devotion. Insecurity.

God, give us an army of “whole-hearts.”

“But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God.” (Joshua 14:8)

This is why we named our second son Caleb. And I pray it for him nearly every day.
“God, make Caleb a “yet person.”

Because yet people are whole-hearted.

But then the words change…
“Because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 14:14b)

Here’s what I’m learning between these 2 verses…Caleb wholly followed the Lord HIS God, not the God of Israel.

For our kids to be “yet” people who follow the Lord whole-heartedly, He has to be their God….(wait for it)….not our family’s.

And that has led me to this question…
“What’s the ‘one thing’ I can do this month to foster real relationships with Jesus?”

And here’s the answer…
I have no real idea.

But I do have clarity. The blinds have been pulled back a little more. And I can see the goal. The thesis. The big question.

God, help us not to raise little rule-followers. Help us not to raise “and kids” or “but kids.” Help to raise “yet kids” who whole-heartedly follow someone they know…not something they’ve been taught.

God, help us all to follow You…the One who said “nevertheless (yet)” in the Garden of Gethsemane for us.

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’.” (Matthew 26:39)






Our Summer Favorites

Well, this post isn’t the norm. I’m just gonna list some of our favorite “stuff” this summer as promised. Here goes…

This summer we’ve gotten into books…like big time. Part of this is due to me finding the Podcast Read Aloud Revival. We’ve maxed out library cards. Gotten addicted to audiobooks. And the free app “Libby” from the library was a game changer!

Our favorites have been (there are links but most are at the library):
Mercy Watson series (Jonathan)
39 Clues series (Caleb)
Big Nate (Stephen)
Squish & Amulet (comic books…all the boys)
Madeline series (Esther & Kenan)
Iggie’s House (read aloud)
The Green Ember (read loud)
The Color of Water (Me)
The ONE Thing (Me)
Essentialism (Me)
The Power of Moments (Me)
12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Me)

The boys have a varied taste in music that I’m a little embarrassed to share (you would judge us). So I’ll share 3 of my “cling to” songs this summer:

Great is Thy Faithfulness by One Sonic Society
Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United
Build My Life by Housefires III

Jen Wilkin’s Genesis study was great!

It’s been a fine summer. Really. We’ve made simple memories together. Taken only 1 trip. But it’s been sweet.

I’m thankful for what was. What is. And what’s to come.

And super thankful that He knows about all of it!

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” (Proverbs 27:1)


(That time we rode with Jeremy to a wedding rehearsal thinking it was near one of our favorite stores. Only to find ourselves in the middle of nowhere with an hour and a half to spare. Sigh. Thankful for GPS and random parks and trails!)




More Alike Than Different

Jeremy and I joined the pool. For exercise. For our “core.” For our scarred up knees that hate (HATE) treadmills.

It’s fine. Kinda. Bathing suits aren’t my friend. I refuse to get my face wet. It’s fine. There’s a hot tub.

I’m a scanner. Especially at the pool.
-You look awkward…we should be friends.
-You’re tugging at your suit…we should be friends.
-You just finished your 1000th lap…move along.

I do that with the kids also.
-You wanna read a book…Mom’s available.
-You’re begging to bake cookies…Mom’s available.
-You pooped your pants…I’m in the middle of fixing dinner.

And with Jeremy.
-You wanna go out…I’ll be ready in 5.
-You wanna keep the kids while I go out…I’ll be ready in 5.
-You wanna preach your upcoming sermon to me…I can’t put this book down.

What if our differences are separating us from connection?

Esther asks why her skin is brown and mine is white. I sit there dumb.

Then respond.
-Our skin may be different colors…But we both like smelly lotion.
-Our eyes may be different colors…But we both like pink.
-Our hair may be different colors…But we both prefer ponytails.

Because there is more that connects than could possibly meet the eye.

Y’all…a Jew named Jesus suffered for me.
He could have (should have) looked at me and said move along.

Y’all…a part of the Trinity died for me.
He could have (should have) looked at me and said I’m too busy.

Y’all…a perfect, holy God offered His Son in my place.
He could have (should have) condemned me to Hell and started fresh.

But grace.

Today…let’s live in that grace. Let’s love in that grace. Let’s see others in that grace.

Because grace makes us more alike than different.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)


(And yes…I’m finding things in common even at this stage.)







Summer, Fortnite, Infinity War, Orbits…It’s Been Awhile

It’s been 3 months. Maybe I planned on taking the summer off. I don’t know.

But summer’s almost over (sigh). Half of 2018’s over. And Jeremy read my yearly goals to me the other night.

“Blog twice a month.”

Clearly, I’ve missed that one (and maybe the “get in shape,” “lose weight,” also).

So here I sit. On a rainy Friday. In the public library. Did I mention my computer also died?

And I don’t know where to start. Really.

This summer I’ve read a ton. Maybe a book a week. And we’ve played “Family Fortnite” (everyone run around the house with guns…don’t judge). And picked berries. And walked with neighbors.

And tried to do “One Thing” each day that moved us in a positive direction.

I’ve realized that I want the kids to be “yet” people, not “and.” I’ve found individual verses to pray over them and written them down.

We’ve listened to good music. Pecked at the piano. Watched multiple Marvel movies (What…Infinity War…were you thinking?)

There’s a new desire in me to do everything for God’s glory, not mine. To know nothing but Him crucified. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written.

Y’all…sometimes (most of the time) I write for you. For your praise. For your likes. For your shares. And I just want to stop doing that. To live and breathe for Him. To orbit Him as these little planets slip in and out of “our” orbit (I have a sketch of this in my journal…seriously).

And there’s been anxiety too. Weird. Like go to the doctor and ask what is happening to me. Out of nowhere. And I’m fighting it with all I’ve got. With all He’s got.

So there…you’re caught up. Starting again is the hardest thing, right?

Breathe. Log out of this computer. Live for only Him today…As my “One Thing.” And decide what to share with you next…summer books, movies, music??

Can’t wait…


“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:7,8a)

Where Moms Fail (Confession Time)

I hate (HATE) to use the word fail. But can’t think of a better one. This has been burning a hole right through me lately.

Every time I utter the 2 words–“I’m fine”–when I’m really not…I fail.

I fail you because I’m lying. I fail my family because they’re getting fragments. I fail God because I’m relying on my own strength.

You know what the kids get most days…me. Like…FULL–ON–ME.

I’m mentally counting the minutes I spend with each kid, making sure they get equal “Mom time.” I’m stressing out if it’s near dinnertime, and we haven’t read a single book. I’m beating myself up over sunny days we’ve spent inside.

And this blog is titled bumps, bruises, and GRACE.

Sigh…still so far to go.

God’s grace seems big enough for my kids. It seems big enough for my marriage. But often it seems too small for me.

Y’all…lots of days…I’m just not fine. I’m really not. I’m meeting needs on the second all  while trying to live simply and be still.

I’m offering grace to others but not letting it spill over onto me.

Father, forgive me. I admit that I easily swing back toward works-righteousness instead of grace. I confess that lots of days I consider you my Savior but not my friend. I’m tempted to make You a thing I do instead of a relationship I bask in. Be my strength. In your beautiful grace, redeem these bumps and bruises.

Friends…let’s be fine with not being fine. Christ came for “not fine” people. He uses “not fine” people.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)