Category Archives: uncategorized

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

Last night was conference night at the middle school. I saw teachers for both boys. 

The child referred to in this post shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. 

[Said child is obviously doing well in his math class. He’s a hard worker.]

Said child’s math teacher (who is fabulous and has control of her classroom – this is not a concern of mine) reported that she gave him a Satisfactory instead of Outstanding for citizenship because he and his best friend talk so much…like she recently explained to them, jokingly, what “cut the cord” meant. 

I cracked up because this is atypical for this child. I also told the math teacher that while I support whatever she needs to do to make class manageable, and that I will discourage the talking, it deep down makes me *so happy* that said child has such a good friend (a few, actually) because he could not always say this. 

Also. 0% of my former teachers would be surprised to hear that one of my offspring talks too much in class. Sooooo there’s that. 

On Fire.

Remember how I had the privilege of working with an amazing team of people to help Jen Hatmaker launch her book?

I like having access to books before they’re published and getting a chance to help spread the word about them when I strongly believe in the message. Since I didn’t steer you wrong last time, I need you to trust me today when I tell you about an incredible book that you must read.

John O’Leary is a lifelong St. Louisan with an amazing story to tell. When he was nine years old, he was burned over 100% of his body – by a fire he set in the family’s garage – and was not expected to live. In fact, shortly after the fire, he asked his mom if he was going to die. (I have to pause here for a second as a mom every time I read this, because it takes my breath away to think about having to answer that question.) Her response, which John says changed everything as he laid in the hospital in excruciating pain, was, “John, do you want to die? It’s your choice, not mine.”

Miraculously, after months of hospitalization, and multiple surgeries that included the amputation of his fingers and repeated skin grafts, he was well enough to go home. Obviously, he had years of physical therapy and recovery ahead of him, but he persevered with the support of his family, his faith and his community.

I have had the honor of hearing John speak (and play the piano!), as well as meet and talk with him, and I promise, you simple will not find a more inspiring, encouraging, real human being than him. His story, and outlook on life, is one you need to hear or read to believe.

And fortunately for all of us, he has written his story. His book, On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life, is available starting today.


Friends, it is so beautiful, and so clearly conveys his message of hope, faith, love, gratitude and living boldly to impact those around you. You will laugh and cry at his honest storytelling as he walks through his entire experience, including the key players in his recovery (his family and Jack Buck, the legendary Cardinals broadcaster), and what his life – challenges and blessings alike – has been like in the thirty years since the fire. Spoiler: he has a lovely wife and four beautiful children. You’ll be inspired to embrace today for the gift that it is, and live #OnFire.

Oh, and there’s this. You know how much I love Brené Brown. Here’s what she had to say about John’s book:

This is a book about coming alive – about practicing courage and fully showing up at home, work, and with the people we love. John is a storyteller, change-maker, and cage-rattler. Reading this book is like having a good friend look you square in the eye and say, “The time to be brave is now.” 

So you don’t even have to just take my word for it…Brené loved it, too!

Click on the link above, and order a copy of the book for yourself. You won’t be able to put it down.

Click on the link above, and order a copy of the book for yourself. You won’t be able to put it down. You can also follow John on Facebook and/or Twitter. He writes a blog post every Monday, has a short vlog every Wednesday, and posts to Facebook a few times a week. You won’t want to miss these doses of inspiration!


To Quote Jen Hatmaker…

Hi all. I’m still here. Honestly, I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk lately, hence the lack of posting (I have several unfinished posts floating around). Trying to finish my book, trying to write a proposal for it*, which is making me all sorts of crazy, and then, you know, just life and holidays and such.

But today? Today I committed to writing for a while. In a spot I often do, so there are other “regulars” here that I see, well, regularly (see? I’m fantastic with all the words right now).

There’s a middle-aged woman who counsels a couple of homeschooled teen girls, and it’s obvious she’s leading them in a Bible study. I’ve overheard her for months while I work, and I often disagree with what she’s saying, but whatever.

This morning, while I was sitting across the aisle from them, I had my earbuds out of my ears for some reason. (I generally write with music on – but only music I know all the lyrics to, and with the same song on repeat for a long time.) I heard the woman preaching to these girls about how trashy tattoos were on women. Double ear piercing is also, apparently, undesirable, just so you know.

Look: I get it. I knew when I got my tattoos that there are people who feel this way, and I really don’t care. Really. It’s my body, I love my ink, and I intend to get more. If I wasn’t comfortable with the fact that I may be judged for this, I wouldn’t have gotten them. And I double-pierced my ears when I was (gasp!) 16, and have lived with the obvious societal consequences ever since. Eyeroll.

But that brings me to the title of this post, and the title of one of my favorite chapters in Jen’s book For the Love (which I told you about here). In the final copy it’s called “Dear Christians, Please Stop Being Lame,” but in the advance it was called “Dear Christians, Please Stop Being Crappy,” which I much prefer :).

I overheard this comment today, and I was able to put this in the context of this woman’s other “teaching” and dismiss it.

However. What about the other people sitting around her who don’t know the context? What if they are new Christians with tattoos? Or what if they aren’t Christians and are curious? What are they thinking when they hear this lady talk?

All I could think of was that title of Jen’s chapter.

I was feeling a little sassy and nearly said something, then changed my mind, because HELLO…I don’t want to be crappy. And let’s be honest, I probably would not have said something very nice. Bonus points for self-control.

So that’s it. I’ve just officially written more words (more than 500!) and paragraphs than I have in weeks, so maybe I should thank her for the inspiration.

*Here’s the book update: the process of writing the proposal has exposed some holes in the story. Which I think is great…I want to find those myself and fill them in before I try to submit this thing, but it’s meant so much revision, taking a breather from it when I get frustrated, then getting back to it when I feel ready. And today I found another big spot that needs revision, but I’m choosing to look at that as a positive.

The Middle. 


When you have insomnia, and at 2:54am (while sitting on your closet floor, reading) decide that you are making the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls that day, and then your kid ends up with strep, so you can’t go to your other kids’ baseball games, and you’re home alone with the sick kid for lots of hours and he goes to bed at 7pm, and you finally make the cinnamon rolls, you get the middle one if you want it. 

(Also. There are seven other pans of these. Thankfully I stopped at one.)


This morning, in anticipation of the impending snow, I decided to wear my snow boots. They go best with my leggings so that’s what I wore.


I had to go to Walmart. Sidenote: people the aisles work just like streets. Stay to the right, don’t pull out in front of someone. It’s not that hard. End rant.

I was nearly finished shopping when I stopped at a bin full of tiny Lego sets. A man stopped behind me and picked one up, too. I made small talk about it being a good stocking stuffer (what can I say…I try to make the Walmart shopping experience friendly and less painful) and went on my way.

A few seconds later I realized he had followed me into a rather remote aisle of the store. He immediately told me that I had nice, muscular calves, and he wanted to know: was I a runner? Did I work out?

Initially, he seemed harmless. I answered that I run a little and workout. I asked if he was a trainer.

And then it got weird. He said no, he just has a “thing” for women with muscular calves.

He asked me if I’d flex my calf and let him touch it. I said no and turned away to attend to what I was shopping for. He remained in the aisle, clearly not taking a hint from my social cues.

He asked if my quads were strong, too (see picture above: thank you Jesus they were covered completely) AND IF HE COULD TOUCH THEM.

I whipped around with the most disgusted look on my face, and said no with more than a little ewwww in my voice.

By now I put what I was looking at back on the shelf and made a beeline out of the aisle as he headed the other direction. I watched carefully during checkout and leaving the store to make sure he wasn’t anywhere nearby.

My next stop was Kohl’s, where I took the above picture. About 10 minutes after I got there, I spotted this creeper again. I ducked behind a display; I was pretty certain he didn’t see me. I watched him head the other direction and to the checkout. So I really think that was just a disgusting coincidence. Which is good because I was ready to call the cops.

Here’s what’s funny…he must just have a fetish for girls with thick legs. Because despite my hundreds of hours of working out and 28lbs lost, my legs are still holding onto a disproportionately large amount of fat. They’re better than they were for sure but they are not muscular.

Weirdo. Seriously.

Tooth Fairy?

Last spring, we cleared up any confusion Luke might have had over the Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy/Santa with the talk mentioned here.

Shortly thereafter, Bennett figured out, completely on his own, that the Easter Bunny could not be real. Because I’m not going to lie to my kids, when he asked me, I told him the truth. But I didn’t give him any more information than he was asking for (i.e. I didn’t also blow the Tooth Fairy or Santa’s cover).

Funny sidenote: I pulled Luke aside at the time and told him that B knew about the Easter Bunny, but nothing else, so that he wouldn’t accidentally tell him. Luke was like, “Well MOM, the Easter Bunny IS the hardest one to believe in. I mean, a bunny? Really?” 🙂

Fast-forward to vacation.

Bennett had a pretty loose tooth that he was wiggling a lot. It got bumped by Luke, which made a little more progress on the wiggliness (yes, that’s a word. It is now.). On our first night in the hotel in Colby, KS, I asked B if he wanted me to try to pull it, and he said yes.

In retrospect, I should’ve waited until it was a bit looser. It came out easily, but bled a little more than usual, and that kinda freaked Bennett out. He recovered from that, and as he was lying in bed (which he was sharing with Luke – JH was awake on the floor of the hotel room on an inflatable mattress) a few minutes later, he asked, loudly, “Is the Tooth Fairy real?”

My eyes got huge as I looked over at Matt, who deftly distracted Jack Henry by asking him to come look at something on his computer. I ran over to the bed, and whispered a bit with Bennett.

Me: “Well, what do YOU think?”

B, smiling from ear to ear: “I think she’s not real.”

Me: “Why do you think that?”

B: “I have 20 teeth that I’m going to lose. And so do all of the other kids. I mean, how many dollars can she really have? It has to be you.”

I just grinned, and told him he was a stinker for figuring it out before I could even pretend once to be the Tooth Fairy for him.

Isn’t he so cute? He immediately shows the gap in his mouth to everyone he sees.

There’s not a chance we’ll get to Christmas without him figuring out Santa. I only hope that Jack Henry can make it to 6 and losing his first tooth so that the Tooth Fairy can visit him at least once!

Home Sweet Home

We are back from vacation.

Just wait until you hear about this trip.