Monday, May 19, 2014

Crying in the Costco Bathroom Stall . . .

I have been told that I was a "strong-willed" child. I've also been told that entering into parenting my past faults would come back to haunt me. I guess you could say it's the circle of life or whatever, but the truth is, it's becoming my reality.

Sample Incident Report
Don't get me wrong, my children are amazing! They surprise me everyday with glimpses of hope. But I'm also in the trenches right now. I'm walking through the messy parenting stages of life with a 4 and 2 year old. I cross my fingers daily as I go to pick up Izzy from preschool that she hasn't had a rough day. My stack of incident reports is growing (the only competition is my sister-in-law with my niece Ella- ha). My parent-teacher conferences are getting scheduled more frequently. It's no joke. I'm in the trenches.

I'm sure you are wondering what this all has to do with crying in Costco- so here goes. My cute little family of four adventured to Costco on Saturday before heading to a few family and friend BBQ's last weekend. We had to pick up "the goods." We like to think we have our shopping trips mastered at this point. Joe grabbed a cart and stuck Judah in it. I grabbed another cart and stuck Izzy in it. Divide and conquer, right?! Well, everyone needed to stop for a potty break so we headed to the bathroom. And so it begins. . .

Izzy is smart. Izzy is potty trained. Izzy is independent. She opened a bathroom stall and proceeded to go potty all by herself. I headed to the stall next to her (TMI-sorry) rushing quickly to make sure she didn't have any escapades crawling between stalls (cause that has happened before) I was done and waiting for her to finish. She started taking her time and I was in a little hurry to get our shopping trip done. I knew for sure at this point the boys were so far ahead of us, that I knocked on her door and offered to help her get her pants up. She insisted that she could do it herself which was fine for the first minute that passed. But with the clock ticking, I opened her door to which she responded by screaming loudly in the echo-y bathroom. I continued by pulling up Izzy's pants and carrying her out of the stall to her dismay. Those in the restroom (and outside the restroom) heard her disappointment and frustration. To me, it wasn't that big of a deal (maybe it should have been?). Just a battle of the wills at this point and I was going to win.

Well, I take Izzy up to the sink to wash her hands and she's still upset, but I'm #winning. I guess not only was Izzy upset, but an older woman also became very upset that I wasn't doing anything to put Izzy in her place. Washing her hands next to me, she looks over and says "Aren't you going to do anything about that? You know there is something you can do!" (I'm guessing she's referring to "spanking" her). To which I turn and say, "Thank you," very kindly as to not enter an altercation.  She grabs paper towels on the other side of us and turns to Izzy and says "Brat." I think more than anything at this point I was kind of in shock. No words came out of my mouth. She continued to exit the restroom and then turned around back to me and said, "You know the only reason she is like this is because of you." Still in shock I said, "Thank you, you have been very helpful." And she walked out the door.

She then runs into Joe and asks, "Did you confiscate my cart?" To which he replies (not knowing any of what just went down inside) "No, but your husband confiscated our extra cart and moved down that direction." She muttered under her breath and walked away.

I actually did not end up crying in the bathroom stall (just thought it would be kind catchy) but I know plenty of young, tired moms (without much support) that easily could have ended up defeated and crying in a stall. I probably felt a little deflated, but I won my battle with Izzy (even though it wasn't a quiet win). I explained to Joe what took place and he laughed. He said, their home must be really lame and not filled with much life. I guess the husband was standing by Joe (after the husband confiscated our extra cart) and when Izzy uttered her first frustrated scream the man said "Jesus Christ" to which Joe replied, "No sir. It's not Jesus. It's just Izzy." The man then walked further down the lane to remove himself from the scene of the crime.

Well, I know I don't have parenting figured out. Seriously, I don't. My children don't always listen to me at my first request. Sometimes there are tears, timeouts, spankings (we actually do spank sometimes) but I do try to ask God for help along the way. I know that He has given me my kids for this time in history. I know that He has equipped me to be their mom. To win some battles of wills, but more importantly to teach them that Jesus loves them. That Jesus has created them to show love to those around us. That Jesus has blessed us, so we can in turn bless others. We are walking life out together. I just wish that the nice old lady could have looked at me instead and said "I've been there. Keep fighting the good fight. You've got this."

I hope my little story sparks something in you today! Don't be discouraged. You've got this! My little fighter (her name is Ireland people) is going to be something mighty! This will be a story I can tell her when she ventures into parenting and has one just like her. Good luck!

My everyday life.

MOPS Be You Bravely . . .

MOPS International announced their theme for 2014/15 not too long ago, and everyone is buzzing with excitement. It's a great follow up to A Beautiful Mess. We have wrote out our stories, we have dug down deep to find our callings and what we are good at; now, we get to live it BRAVELY!

Here are just a few graphics we created (with the help of the leaders idea board on

Our leadership team is getting ready to start planning our retreat to get away this summer. We are excited about the future, and ready to live Bravely.

Download the PSD (photoshop) files for the images above here from Dropbox:
1. Facebook Cover:
2. 5x7 Postcard Front Image:
3. 5x7 Postcard Back Image:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What Does Jesus Say? (Free Scripture Printables!)

Lately, I've been getting asked some tough questions. Questions about grey areas in life. I don't consider myself a Bible scholar by any means, but I keep coming back to the simple thought - "I wonder what Jesus says about that?" This isn't a profound blog by any means today- just something that's been on my mind lately. I want to know what Jesus says. I want His words to matter and change me. Change my thoughts. Change the world. 

I've asked a couple of "leaders" in my life to help me figure out some of these grey areas. Each of them keeps saying to me. Go read the Gospels. The first 4 books of the New Testament. Jesus has a lot of good stuff to say in there. I was thinking they might just give me a quick answer so I wouldn't have to go study on my own, ha- but after pondering those instructions, it's been inspiring me. Bringing some new life to my outlook on how I read the Bible. 

I happened to stumble onto Ann Voskamps instagram account (@annvoskamp) on accident as she was tagged in someone else's post. I'm glad I did. Because not too long ago- she posted this amazing blog about bringing scripture to life. It's long, but it's good! A couple of her quotes that moved me:

  • "Is Jesus merely useful to you — or is He ultimately beautiful to you?" When Jesus is merely useful to me, I want Him to move my world. When Jesus is ultimately beautiful to me, it’s my heart that is moved – and this begins to change the world.
  • What if Jesus’ Word was more than useful to us? What if it was beautiful to us?
This inspired her to create a project she titled "The Jesus Project" where they are taking 24 verses from the book of John and making them art for the purpose of memorization. Isn't there something so new and fresh about Scripture when it looks pretty? I hope that doesn't mean I'm a little materialistic here, but it's so much more fun to read when it's artistic. So, head over to her blog- you can download the 24 prints for FREE! If you get stuck here and don't know how to print these out, let me know- I'd be more than happy to help give a tutorial on how to print these! (Her blog is long- they are located at the bottom of the page).

Then to leave you with something else. This is a key verse that has become one of my "life verses" lately. I used it in "my story" that I shared at MOPS. Not only is this scripture thing going to challenge me to read the gospels more enjoyably (or fresh) now, but it's also inspiring me to potentially create some more Scripture prints myself. (It's something I like to do in my spare time- at like 2am in the morning, ha!)... 

Stay tuned! God is changing me through His Word and I hope you allow Him to do the same for you! Download my print quality scripture for free here!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

uniquely prepared for someTHING . . .

Ever have those moments where you look back at the past few months and can see God's incredible touches of grace and preparedness for what's to come? I don't know if it's because I'm 30, because I have two ridiculously amazing kids and a husband who lets me live out my dreams, because of the way I was raised, because of the way I'm choosing to do life, etc. but the only way I can get through day-to-day stuff is by recognizing this world is way bigger than just ME and only God's grace is amazing enough to carry me through each moment.

I'll catch you up to speed here since it's been a minute since we've last chatted. Once MOPS started (last blog post) and my work load piled up, it's been a wild ride with not much space in between. (I can't believe I never posted about MomCon either it was an AMAZING part of this "THING" I want to share with you.

If you aren't a detail person you can skip all of my jargon for the reveal of the THING down below. If you don't mind reading all the how to's this THING came into existence...I'll take you on a little journey.

A huge challenge I've been faced with lately (strongly in 2013) was trying to surround myself with people who don't think like, act like, or believe like me. You see, I grew up in the church. I went to private christian schools the majority of my education experience. I now work in a church. My friends all believe in God and we talk about Him often. But, what good am I doing, living in these safe environments? Don't get me wrong, I'm highly appreciative for all that I've been given, blessed with, even protected by growing up the way I did. But, I'm pretty sure "my story" (past and present) has uniquely prepared me for what's ahead.

The theme this year for MOPS is "embracing your story." I was super excited about it and a little nervous all at the same time because I don't really feel that I have a very interesting "story" (my friends would say otherwise) but I just felt it was really "safe" and kind of non-impressive. Another challenge to myself from last year was to figure out how to SHARE my story. To talk about what makes me who I am and believe the way I believe. So, I've been writing it out. I even went as far as sharing it at a MOPS meeting last semester (I guess I'm due to blog about that now too, huh?) Anyways, it's all led me to a place where I just feel extremely "called" (there's a churchy word for you) to reach moms. Like seriously passionate about it. Like it can keep me awake at night sometimes, and it can keep me loving my kids too when they are driving me crazy- ha! I guess you can kind of see it's impact on my choices too from the launch of Capital Moms and Capital MOPS. But, it doesn't stop there. If you notice before each of those words (moms and mops) came the word Capital. That's not a bad thing. But it's all a church THING. I now want to help our church moms reach our community moms in this new THING. Moms that have no clue what hope looks like. Moms that have addictions. Moms that need to be loved right along their life journey. Because, regardless of where we are all at along the path; we can all relate and find a common ground on the defining word "MOM."

So, (fast forward) we are in a fasting small group study (going to admit here I didn't take it as seriously as I probably should have) but God is way cooler than me - so He drops in a new couple to our group on 11/6/13 which has spurred a unique bond between us. Jen and I head to brunch to catch up on life and share where we are at. Low and behold, God connected me the "church mom" with an advocate for the "community mom." You see, Jen works in a program where she heads to a moms home before CPS comes in to take her kids away and rescues the mom as a last resort into various programs (detox, residential, etc). She works alongside the courts, the social workers and the moms to figure out a better way of life because they don't know any better. They have never seen anything different. Most are repeating life cycles from previous generations. So, we get a brilliant plan together to pair the "church mom" with the "community mom" in a partnership as a "mentor mom." (our THING)

What is a mentor mom? Glad you asked! We are kind of making it up as we go along, because each situation will be organic. But the gist of it is the "church mom" would be meeting up with the "community mom" for playdates, being available by phone to help give advice in times of need, a model if you will, an example for what life "could" look like. Being a friend. Most of these moms don't have a support system. They don't have family members to turn to for help. Most have never seen what a healthy lifestyle looks like, not even a glimpse. The mentor mom would also share her struggles and advice on how to deal with crazy kids in a healthy manner (not perfect, but healthy). We give a mom someone to stand next to her and hear the words "I believe in you, you can do this!"

I know it's a lot to swallow. It's been building and progressing quickly. We feel it's far bigger than anything we can do on our own, but we also know that God is walking before us. If your heart was stirred at all while reading this, I would love to connect with you! as Jen would say, "The suffering never stops. The need will always be there." That only means one thing, we need more mentor moms to jump on the journey with us. It's something that requires a little training. We will help provide the how to's and a life-line along the way. I'd be more than happy to share more details if this peeked your interest. Pray about it. God could be telling you to try it out. On my book list this year is "She Did What She Could" by Elisa Morgan (spoke at Mom Con and I just bought the book- you can read the first chapter by clicking the link)...Being a "mentor mom" is nothing more than offering friendship at this point. Saying you are available to meet the need of a hurting mom. Is that something you could do?

So, for those who didn't want to read all my other ramblings- here's the short version of my life since October:

1. Mom Con - Jen Hatmaker - this quote has haunted me since: "I'm sick of serving saved people and blessing blessed people. Are we obsessed with our neighbors? Are the hurt, lost, broken people around us welcome into our home?"
2. Small Group - Wednesday, November 6 Jennifer Turney and her husband stumbled into our group (only a God thing) which led to the two of us catching brunch together.
3. Brunch with Jen - we each share our stories (which are vastly different in a good way) and we share what we are passionate about.
4. Share my story at MOPS- and I believe "my story" has uniquely prepared me for things only God can get all the credit for leading to this "mentor mom" THING
5. Jen and I meet an amazing mom and daughter who've come out of addictions and much more for a playdate with our kids.
6. Jen, the director of a VOA residential program, and myself meet at Chipolte to talk about how we could potentially all work together.
7. I head on a tour of a residential and transitional home to get a feel for the moms I could be getting connected with.
8. A Mentor Mom program is birthed!
9. Maybe you are part of the rest of this story?
10. If you say you don't have enough time, read this blog over here, by Shauna Niequist (daughter of Bill Hybels, Willow Creek), my new favorite: What My Mother Taught Me

There you have it. (It's hard to put four months in one blog.) I hope it's not another 4 months till we chat next. Email me at if you want to get connected on this THING!