Who knew what the best Mother’s Day gift would be this year?

So, what happens when you get an unexpected gift? A humbling gift, one that exposes your heart and yet fills you up at the same time? 

Berkley is a Daddy’s girl. She’s also a sibling’s girl…if there is such a thing. When she’s sad or tired or sick, she wants Dada or brother or biggest sister. She has never been a Mama’s girl. Yes, she loves me. Yes, we spend time together and we have a special bond, but it’s different. When Shelby was a baby, I went back to work for a semester and worked part-time as a night-school administrator for two years, but for the 9 years after Jesse was born until two years ago, I was a Mama. A full-time homeschooling Mama. They all adored their Daddy, but Mama was the super hero parent who was there all the time. Dad worked long hours in teaching and in ministry, coaching in the evenings half the year. He was fun-time Daddy, there for the tuck-ins & the important moments, but just like most dads, he was working most of their waking hours. 

Tables turned for us almost two years ago, right before Berkley was born. It was no surprise that swapping roles has flipped the kids’ emotional connections to us. I mean, I should say, it  should’ve been no surprise. I honestly had no idea what to expect because everything was so new. So different. But, I’m awake and aware now. I’m engaged again. I’ve rearranged my work time and I’m as present as I can be. I’ve been working hard at this. That’s embarrassing to admit. It should not be something a mother has to “work at.” It’s the truth, though and I want to voice it.
So, this brings me to last night. We are out of town. New place. No routine. Bedtime came and Berkley fought it hard. Like, she deserves props for how hardcore she fought it. No nap, up till 10:00. Then, everyone took turns trying to get her to sleep, but the only person she wanted was me. She cried for me. Me. Mama. 

As I type these words, with tears streaming down my face (no exaggeration) I realize how ridiculous it sounds. Every baby cries for her Mama, right? James just asked me what I was typing and I told him I couldn’t talk about it without completely losing it. It’s that big of a deal for me. I laid down with her and sang to her like I have hundreds of times before, but last night, she was looking deep into my eyes, rubbing my face and hair with her tiny hands and singing along. I was choking out the words through my tears. I fell asleep with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and peace that God is redeeming the time I lost. 

The coolest thing about this whole situation, though, is that with Berkley, James has had the opportunity that most fathers never have with their babies, to spend most of his waking hours with her. He has had the tender moments that usually only mothers have. That’s a gift he is keenly aware of and that I would never take away from him. It has all unfolded beautifully, even if I have regrets and feel like I have missed out. She’s not the worse for it. She has a unique experience that will shape her to be the woman God created her to be. She’s so very loved. 

I’m just so crazy over the moon about her and all of these stinkin’ kids I can’t stand it. I hope she and I continue to bond like mad, and the rest of them too. 

Personal growth. Gosh, I need it.

If I’ve learned anything at all over the last 6 months of intense personal growth and introspection it is that success without purpose is meaningless. John Maxwell says that growth in character with right priorities always leads to success in all areas of your life, not just your career. Sometimes I have to ride the pendulum from one extreme to the next to find some semblance of balance in the middle. I went from 100% focused on my kids (for years) to 100% focused on our difficult life circumstances and my depression to 100% focused on my career and I hit a wall in November. The Lord woke me up and has been using this book in hardback and on audio to help me get all areas of my life in order. I’ve also blown through a bottle of Magnify Your Purpose oil and just got my second in the mail today. It is the most heavenly scent that calms me down and brings about feelings of hope for the future. It literally gives me butterflies when I smell it…like a knowing feeling that great things are in store for me & my family. That may sound weird, but we all connect scents to emotions. Scents trigger emotions. It’s a thing, and I feel it! 

Dandelion wisdom…

Dandelions are the most hated weed by adults and the most favorite of children. Wishes are made upon dandelions. Hope is placed in their ability to heal various human ailments and support most body systems and science supports their effectiveness. Herbalists and natural health driven folks dry and encapsulate their leaves or  make them into tea or cut up their roots for salads. What the typical landscaper or gardner plucks out and destroys actually has a purpose…many purposes. Do children instinctually know this? Why are they so drawn to these puffy magical weeds?

 A dictionary definition of a weed will read something like “an unwanted plant” or “a plant out of place.” From the human perspective that may be true, but from the ecological perspective they have an important role in nature and they are quite good at it. That role is the early colonizer of disturbed sites. When a natural disaster such as a fire, flood, geologic disturbance, or extreme weather destroys the vegetation in an area, it is the weeds of the world that quickly re-vegetate the site. By stabilizing the soil and preventing wind and water erosion, along with providing cover and food for animals, they make it possible for the pre-disaster community of life to return and re-establish itself. Once the dandelion or other weed has completed this role, it leaves only its seeds in the ground, waiting to emerge after that next disaster. – UCC Biology Professor Dr. Ombrello

A few weeks ago, I met with a woman who gave me a fresh perspective for those who’ve been cast out of ministry. People don’t go into ministry for the money or the prestige. There is none to be found. Ministry is a calling and I have never met someone in ministry, especially early on, who didn’t believe with their whole heart that they were sent on mission. In their humanity, no ministers or minister’s families are perfect, but the passion flowing out of them for the people they are ministering to is evident and contagious. 

Any person who has been despised, plucked out of a place where they thought they’d been called and throw away knows how the dandelion feels. Just like the dandelion, you came on a mission. You did what you were created to do and then, once people noticed that you were different and that your impact, an impact that wasn’t wanted in that environment, was spreading, you were taken out. In some cases, maybe your job was finished so it was just time to move on. In others, the soil was still a hostile environment that needs much healing and restoration but the owner of the yard would rather focus on constantly plucking the weeds than restoring the soil. 

If you are a weed or you have been a weed in your ministry or maybe in your current job, circle of friends or even your family. Just know that you have value. You have purpose. Even if you feel cast out, despised and forgotten, you are not any of those things. The Lord hasn’t forgotten you. He’s created you for a purpose and he’s not finished with you yet, even if others are. You are set on new mission. Say goodbye to your old yard and move forward believing that you are just as beautiful as God says you are…as beautiful and full of hope for the future as a child sees a dandelion. 

So, speaking of the gut…

blog food

For the first 3 months of this year, I have buried myself in studying about wellness and the biggest topics I have jumped into so far are emotions and gut health.

I had such amazing success with the last major gut cleanse, that I decided to step it up a notch. It is more than a little overwhelming to me, because I am not a super organized person. Planning out a specific meal schedule with foods I don’t normally eat on the daily is a challenge. I am an overall healthy eater, but my gut needs repair from all of the hundreds and probably thousands of “A bombs” I have taken over the years. It literally makes me feel physically ill when I think of all of the unnecessary antibiotics I took because doctors couldn’t find bacteria, but felt the need to “treat” me with something anyway…Just as a precaution. With the last cleanse, I only had to add a few supplements and avoid sugar, dairy and grains. Nothing else was off limits. This time, I am getting strategic. I knew I would never do it on my own, so I asked a friend who geeks out over nutrition to create a menu and grocery list for me. She did! James and I are beginning this together. Today was shopping day. Tomorrow will be prep. The menu includes all of this produce, plus lots of probiotic fermented foods, spices, oils and organic chicken. The meals look yummy, so all I have to do is dig in and prepare. I am always “too busy.” Well, a simple shift in priorities handled that situation. Let’s get it. Candida, I am coming after you.

Eczema and the gut…


People are always asking me what essential oils to use for eczema. First of all, I cannot recommend oils for ailments or diseases because that would be like prescribing, but I can tell you my experience. I tried every recommended essential oil I found in reference books and on websites. Nothing cured it or even relieved it. The only “relief” I ever found was from straight up coconut oil or a manuka honey face cream I found. Those two things merely relieved the pain and itching. I had so many food sensitivities, but what flared up my eczema the most was night shades. If I hadn’t already had experience with other food sensitivities and learned as much as I have about natural health, I wouldn’t have even looked at my diet.

Every single dermatologist or other doc I went to said it was from contact dermatitis or just “unexplained” causes. I asked if there could be a connection to food and the answer over and over was no. I was prescribed creams and given samples and nothing helped. It would only calm down if I avoided night shades…and I LOVE SPICY FOODS. I couldn’t help myself. So, I suffered, and I kept trying all kinds of remedies to no avail.

Then, in January of 2015, I did a gut cleanse. (To lose weight and kick start my digestive system because I have other issues I wanted to tackle, not for my skin.) I eliminated all grains, sugar and dairy for that month. I didn’t give up coffee, because I needed it to survive. But, what I did give up made a huge difference. In addition to eliminating those foods, I used some cleansing products for my gut. There are many products out there if you do a simple search, but be sure you are incorporating probiotics! I found a trio that worked well for me. The thing is, I had used those products before and while they got things moving, I didn’t see the improvement that I did when I combined it with eliminating grains, sugar and dairy for a full month.

I didn’t lose weight, BUT, my eczema cleared up. Like totally cleared up and has not returned over a year later! Tell me skin related issues do not start in the gut.

I have read a ton of literature since having that experience that validates this connection. I wish someone would’ve told me sooner, because I would have done the cleanse right away. I was constantly humiliated by the redness, swelling and even oozing of my skin. My face…

I just did a quick google search and found these two articles. Search it out for yourself or your kids if you have skin problems. They almost always begin in the gut.




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