Behind the smiles: on wanting to be “normal” and having a broken Easter

I just finished reading the best Easter blog post ever written. Jacque’s words met me here in this mess yet again. When I thought I was the only one hurting, the only one feeling broken – I was reminded that not every smiling face is what it seems.

behind the smiles 1

To see our “Resurrection Day” pictures, you would think our Easter was like everyone else’s: celebrating the Risen Savior and the gift of the resurrection, the pinnacle of our faith as Christians and the reason we have hope – all amidst balmy spring weather, fresh flowers, and pastel colors. Continue reading

Hopeless no longer

I just finished tidying up the bathroom. Sweeping the floor, straightening the rug, straightening the decor that hangs above the toilet that’s always crooked because Ezra is always messing with it.

It’s a very strange thing – being in a “new” home but having seven years worth of memories to go along with it. Strange indeed.

One such memory involves this rug.

hopeless no longer Continue reading

Room to breathe, room to live

We moved into our new home over the weekend. After five days without internet, I’m finally back online and ready to write.

To start with, I’d like to share a bit that I wrote in my journal the day before we moved in:

settlingApril 5, 2014

Continue reading

When babies become big boys (and random ramblings about summer)

As I start this post it’s 6:58 am. I’ve been awake for approximately 30 minutes (when I awakened to the sound of pots clanging around in the kitchen. Any time my husband does the dishes that’s music to my ears…but I digress.)

I tried to fall back to sleep, but I couldn’t because I was thinking about Roller Skating and Bumper Bowling and Other Things I Want To Do With My Son This Summer.

This shift toward warmer weather (it was 85 degrees here yesterday) has turned my thoughts toward summer and I keep thinking about All The Empty Days on the calendar.

When Ezra started preschool I immediately thought, “OH NOES! SUMMER IS IN FOUR MONTHS! WHAT AM I GONNA DO?!?!?!” Because I quickly started loving all of the alone time and #whitespace after 3 1/2 years of being around this child 24/7.

But now that we have settled into a routine… Continue reading

Guest Blog: How to not have an affair at work

[Russell's Note: this is written at 1am.  If you find any part of this confusing, just read the conclusion first as I am sure it will contain my most lucid thoughts]

To begin, let me offer a few disclaimers:  This post is just my observations and in no way a guarantee that you will not have an affair, so there is no “full refund” policy attached to this post.  Also, as it seems that mostly women read this blog, my comments, being not-a-woman, are both aimed at that specific audience, as well as intended to offer a perspective that is not innate to the reader. Additionally, I have not desired, nor possessed the desire, to have an affair at work, but being “analytical” as a defining characteristic I see certain patterns readily apparent. Even at 1am when I am suffering from insomnia.  Which leads me to my last point – take this post for what it is (p.s. thank you Bebeh for editing for spelling and grammar).

How to not have an affair at work (some advice for women in the workplace from a married man's perspective) | Continue reading

this #whitespace is a mighty work because I’m moving a mountain

Today at 3:15pm I purchased Elizabeth Esther’s book Girl at the End of the World: my escape from fundamentalism in search of Faith with a Future.

I finished the book approximately 6 hours later. If you know anything about me and books, well…that says something right there.

I expected to find myself in the words of her book, just as I have found myself in the words of her blog over the last three years. And I did. Her story is vastly different from mine, but there are enough parallels in thought and dogma to draw me back to her story time and time again. If there was ever a blogger who has had a life-changing impact on me, it’s her.

I finished the book and then laid on my bed face down crying quiet tears. Not huge emotional sobs, just a little bit of a release. It’s a lot to take in.

Then I pulled out my journal and started writing. Some of the stories that she recounted of her childhood stirred up some painful memories of mine, and I had to get at least one of them out on paper. The words came, the details vivid, as I poured out a memory of a very fearful experience I had as a little girl that caused weeks if not months of anxiety and paranoia for me. Continue reading

What this OEF Veteran’s family wishes you knew

I started “writing” (in my mind, because I do that) this post months ago, when I decided that building bridges was going to be my thing. While I was a military spouse, it became apparent to me through some very painful circumstances that there is a gap between the civilian community and the military community. I’d like to see it close.

And so, my thoughts were rallying around how people could support active duty military spouses, especially during deployments. That post, still in my mind, has not yet made it to screen. (It’s coming, I promise.)

But now I’m on the other side. Still a military spouse, so they say (once a milspouse, always a milspouse), and yet a civilian spouse too. And that’s all kinds of weird.

I still feel that gap.

And so, I’d like to share a few things from that perspective.

What this #OEF veteran's family wishes you knew Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 03.16.14 {in which I post 40 photos and hope I don’t break my blog}

Once again I find myself a little bit “late” on getting this posted when it’s “supposed to be.” But I’m okay with that as long as you don’t mind putting up with a little bit of an excessive photo dump. No? Okay, good. Let’s get on with it then. 

The Mess

I feel like to fill this space with my mess and struggles would be slightly redundant. I’m starting to really get a complex about being the-most-depressing-Christian-mommy-blogger-ever. So instead, I’ll direct your attention to that post where I talk about being chronically mentally overwhelmed, the most depressing anniversary post you will ever read, that post where I talk about marriage not always being amazing, that post about mothering through chronic fatigue…you get the picture. You’re welcome.

The Beauty

Now, to share the beauty. Because in spite of all the mess I have spewed forth recently, my life really is pretty blessed.

I have proof.  Continue reading

the crowded mind (when mental #whitespace can’t be found)

If I could compare my mind to anything it would be a multi-level mall with lots of stores and even more people.

The department stores are the big things – husband, child, house, blog.

The little stores are the other things – appointments, preschool, bills, taxes, insurance, friends, playdates, baby showers, big projects, and more.

And the people are the tasks.

I walk through this crowded mall and can’t breathe. Every two seconds someone (a task) comes up to me and asks me to complete it.

I start the day getting breakfast for the little man, turning on the TV, making coffee – all the while my brain processing the dirty knife and spoon by the microwave, the dishes left undone, the laundry left in the washer last night, the phonecalls that need made, and more.

For every person I send away (either by saying “not now, come back later” or by actually completing a task) another one comes to take its place.

I seek a place in the mall where I can find rest, quiet, whitespace but there is none. Continue reading

Options for the mom who is too tired to cook…

I feel like there is a perpetual war going on within me. The players are the checkbook, my and my family’s digestive systems, my knowledge of healthy eating, and my energy levels. And I feel like there are always more losers than winners.

My ideal is to have my family on a grain-free, allergen-free, all-organic, non-GMO, “real food” diet.


But, when your grocery budget for the month is less than $500…

…you and your son have severe food allergies…to different foods…

…and most nights you are too tired to cook…

As I said. Haha. 

I’ve spent the last year trying to find a balance of it all. For months, every time I checked out at the store I felt sick and near tears (a few times, I actually cried).  There was always too much “unhealthy” food in the cart and the bill always rang up higher than I felt we could spend. Every time.

What’s a mom to do? Continue reading

He’s gonna have all of me {an anniversary post}

“I don’t feel ready…I’m so scared of getting in over my head…I’m just really scared.”

This past week, I found these words written in a prayer journal I had forgotten about that has sat on my bookshelf for years. They were written a mere seven months before I got married.

Our dating relationship was very tumultuous. We are just two so totally different people. We fought a lot and misunderstood each other constantly. He wasn’t adjusting well to the Army, even in his first few months in, and I could just sense that our marriage would not be an easy one.

Life did not disappoint. Continue reading

The so-called “real mom myth” – and a little glimpse of my reality

I have used the phrase “real mom” in past blog posts. I’ve show you my cluttered home. I’ve shown you my mess - on more levels than one.

“Real mom” is really a poor choice of words though.

I’m no more or less real than the mom who keeps a tidy home, the mom who rises early each morning, the mom who never gets behind on laundry, or the mom who exercises every day.

I used to think that those moms weren’t being honest with the world, hence the phrase “real mom.” But it turns out that some of these moms actually exist. I’m friends with a few of them, and we’ve talked about some of these things.

While the phrases “real mom” or “keepin it real” may not be the best choice of words, they are true to the extent that here, on my blog, I show you my reality of mothering through chronic illness and family stress.

The so-called "real mom myth" - and a little glimpse of my reality #CFS #chronicfatigue #motherhood #fibromyalgia Continue reading

I felt like a good mom today

Today we had Ezra evaluated through our public school district’s special needs department as a candidate for special-needs preschool.

I don’t think I have felt so proud in a long time.

Ezra excelled and shined in every single evaluation. It did my heart good.

Much as I expected, it appears that he will not qualify for the services that they offer in their department (although they haven’t give us a final answer on that as there are still some other processes that they need to go through).

In spite of that, I am so glad we followed this trail of research. Each woman who spoke with me and evaluated him was so full of encouragement and understanding. They heard all of my concerns. They were so impressed. They told me I was doing a good job and that they were amazed at how much I have taught him. They told me that my son didn’t have autism or aspergers or any other behavioral or cognitive deficits, yet didn’t make me feel like I shouldn’t be there or act like I was crazy for wondering.

There was one test that they gave him in which they took him to a higher level than they had ever taken a child before.

I heard a lot of wow and that’s really good and I’ve never seen that before.

And I sat, only able to hear him, not see him – but sat there smiling, beaming, swelling, and laughing at his precocious answers to their questions. Today I just felt so glad to be Ezra’s mommy. And I haven’t felt that way in a really long time. Continue reading