Our Father

Did you ever watch Mad Men?

There’s a scene where Betty Draper is watching TV. President Kennedy had just been shot. The country and the characters on the show are still reeling from his assassination. Everyone is glued to their televisions, watching follow-up stories and trying to make sense of it all, including Betty.

In this particular scene, she’s mesmerized by the screen, shell-shocked from days of grieving over the earth-shattering loss of the president. She’s searching the face of the man on TV, Lee Harvey Oswald, as he’s being transferred to another prison. Her face is fierce yet fragile, obviously shaken by the recent tragedy but also teaming with anger. Then shouts ring out. And she shouts.

“What is going ON?!”

My sentiments exactly. In the shadow of recent events, with my own eyes glued to various screens, the questions I can’t help but repeat is: What is going on?


Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us of our trespasses,
as we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

I grew up Catholic. These words are familiar in my mouth, nostalgic and comfortable.

When I accepted Christ in 1998, these words took on new meaning. The were no longer meaningless ritual. They became powerful and precious. They are the words of Christ pulling the veil, providing an open pathway to the Creator of the universe. They represent our ability to approach our Lord through our Savior, to speak directly to our Maker in conversation, worship, gratitude and communion.

Our Father, who art in heaven

I don’t know about you, but I’m overwhelmed with our world. With the tragedies of late and political climate of our country and world. I’m weighed down on all sides by the life directly in front of me (like getting my kids to PUT THEIR FREAKING PANTS ON ALREADY!) and the big, bad world beyond. I find myself moment by moment in need of a Father, a loving Parent, listening, caring, comforting me from on high. I find myself crying out to Him and desiring Him more than ever when everything I can see is nothing short of terrifying.

Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.

In the wake of bathroom controversies, presidential debates, parental criticism, horrendous massacres, we all cry out. The news, social media, conversations overflow with a call for God to come, to bring His kingdom, to step in, here and now. Save us, help us, show UP, Jesus. Rain down on the injustice, atrocities, ignorance, bigotry, just plain sin. Rain down, bring Your kingdom, bring Your peace, bring Your justice, we plead. Bring it here, bring it now.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And deliver us from evil.

We edit this precious prayer of His. I know I do. Unknowingly, unintentionally, or maybe more intentionally than I’d like to admit. Keep me safe, keep me comfortable, make life easy and carefree. Remove the evil that I see around me. In other people, other lifestyles, other choices, other cultures, other beliefs. Remove the judgement and the hate and the stupidity and the opposition to my way of life that surrounds me. But not IN me. In me? For me? Just provide, please. Keep me comfortable and safe and easy breezy. Keep my fridge full, my gas tank full, my weather good, my children good, my home large and clean and cute and cool in the summer months. That’s all, amen.

As mothers are losing their babies to alligators and gunmen. As men and women and children seek refuge from Syria and suburbia alike. As my countrymen gather ’round at hate-filled rallies and form sanctimonious sisterhoods online. As we, all of us, myself included, prove daily our need for forgiveness and regeneration and God’s patience in waiting before He brings the final judgement. In this place, I edit my prayer.

My precious prayer to my gracious Lord.

I forget the Hallowedness of His Name. I forget my need to receive forgiveness. I forget my role as an intercessor on the part of my so-called enemies. We ask for justice and peace and comfort and judgement on this earth, forgetting to whom we speak.

I have no answers for the news. The events of our time seem more gruesome and heartbreaking by the day. The only answer that seems to make any sense ever is the Sunday School one.

Jesus.

And in His instruction to prayer.

A prayer that starts with recognizing our hallowed Lord, giving Him glory and honor and praise. A prayer that includes confession of our sins and intercession on behalf of other sinners, as well.

Sisters. This world is making me sad. The way things are, these last few weeks especially, and this year to come. It’s so easy for me to cry out,

“What in GOING ON?!”

“Where are you? Do something! Go get the bad guys, and don’t forget to keep me safe. I’m worried, Lord, and scared. Bring heaven here. Make this life easy and peaceful. Give me a leader that makes sense. Give me sane neighbors who won’t shoot me. Give me protection from people and predators by land and by sea. I want ease and peace and comfort, oh please. Amen.”

That’s not a BAD prayer, but I know I’m missing out. I know I’m missing real comfort and peace by not praising His name. I’m missing real ease of spirit by not interceding on behalf of crazed gunman and politicians who could use the same forgiveness I receive.

Through my fear for our future as a nation and a culture. Through my fear for my future as a stay-at-home, soon-to-be homeschooling mom, with chronic depression. Through my fear of so many things locally and globally.

Because there will always be sin and injustice in this terrifyingly worrisome world. Because I will always be ill-equipped and unable to control my children or my country.

Through all this, because of all this and more, I need to pray this prayer. This WHOLE prayer. Unedited and unfettered.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are His, not mine. Now and forever. Amen.

Preparing Your Heart for Motherhood

Motherhood.

I remember that very final moment, just before the birth of my son. The climax of anticipation for this very second. The pureness of fear and fullness of heart. If ever there were truly a time in my life when I thought my heart would actually burst, the split second before I crossed the threshold into motherhood.

Then I held him in my arms and wave after wave of new emotion crashed. The relief and joy and shock and awe. And tears. Of course, the tears.

I had everything I needed in my hospital bag, a nursery at home fully stocked, friends and family eager to assist with meals and visits, but in no way was I prepared for motherhood. Not even close.


I’m honored to be a contributor over at Beauty in the Mess. You can read the rest of this post over there!

The Comfort of Home

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Downy Fabric Conditioner for SheSpeaks/P&G.

We moved to a new home recently. It’s been a little rough on the kids.

I’ve noticed their sensitivity, rivalry, bad attitudes, and unexpected fears. My son doesn’t like the noise the house makes after the toilets get flushed. My daughter doesn’t like the darkness of her room. Everyone is just a little tender at all this newness.

Mostly, we all love it here. Really, we couldn’t be happier. The neighborhood is beautiful. The house is light and airy. Lots of space, a great layout, plenty of storage. The kids really do love it, too. It’s just plain nice here.

But.

They are all still tender. It’s all still new. It’s all still a little bit hard to adjust to.

I’m trying to make things as comfortable and familiar as possible, even in this drastically new space. The same beds and books and toys and schedule. The same foods and tv shows and life in general. Just a new house.

My son was so funny the first few days. He would recount all the things that were the same.

“Hey! Same family!”

“Mom! Same toys!”

“Look! Same Time Out Chair!”

Yup, buddy. The Time Out Chair made the move, too. It’s just a new house.

I can tell how incredibly thankful they are for the sameness, how much they cling to the familiar. Their dolls and books and clothes and blankets. I don’t know where we would be without their blankets.

I’ve carried their trusty, old blankets up and down these new stairs more times than I can count. In our old house, overflowing with the familiar, my kids would gladly leave their blankets in their rooms to remain until nap or bedtime. (Well, accept Katie, but she’s our little hoarder.) But here, with the overwhelming newness, the blankets travel hither and thither, never too far out of sight.

I could barely squeeze in a wash using Downy Fabric Conditioner, because you’ve gotta #ProtectClothesYouLove. (Which, P.S. MOMS: You can get at your local Walmart! You’re welcome.) I need to protect the familiar. Keep safe the comfortable. Carefully guard my children’s security when surrounded with so much change.

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I need these blankets to last. I need them to serve my children (and maintain my sanity) when changes occur. I’m thankful that Downy Fabric Conditioner protects these precious treasures for me and my children, keeping safe their most prized possessions.

It may be a new house, but the things that matter stay the same. Their family, this love, this comfort, THIS is home. And the softness of their beloved blankets, the color and shape and texture, all remain the same as well (with Downy’s help, of course). These things mean so much to my little ones, the security of an unchanging security blanket reinforcing the never-ending love and support of the parents who wrap them in it.

We sat on the floor today, eating apples and reading books, each one wrapped up in a soft blanket of love and comfort and safety.

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Even after they’ve outgrown these blankets, THIS will be with them forever. This family, this steadfast comfort, this unconditional love. It is unshakeable and unchanging, and it’s my gift to them. May the care I take of these special blankets be a reminder to them of the unshakeable comfort and love of this little family of ours. Because no matter the building, with one another, we are home.

How to Know Your Children Are Growing in Their Faith

My son is entering Kindergarten this year. It’s a big step for him socially, educationally, and also spiritually. As he’s growing into a real “big kid” I wonder often, how can I tell if he’s also growing in his faith? How will I know that he’s growing closer to God and not just assimilating to Christian culture?

I didn’t grow up in the church myself, not like my husband did. I don’t know what it’s like to grow in faith as I grow from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. I don’t know what it’s like to be surrounded by good, loving, God-fearing people in a safe, silly, God-fearing home like ours.

For me, becoming a Christian after high school, I felt the difference. I felt the disparity between my life before and my life after Christ. I felt my intense need for Him, His forgiveness, His grace. I understood the stark contrast between those who were walking in obedience and those who didn’t know Him yet. But my son doesn’t have that comparison…


I’m honored to be a contributor at iBelieve.com. You can read the rest of this post over there…

BFFs & Breakfast for Dinner

This post was sponsored by ALDI as part of Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

ALDI came to town recently, reminding me of what I missed most about the Midwest.

We had (have) this wonderful group of friends there, and every Sunday night, we would gather together for dinner and bible study. Mostly dinner and chatting and laughing. Not so much serious study, but always serious friendship. Always seriously fun and welcoming and loving and warm. Always delicious food and delightful company. We would leave every Sunday night with hearts and bellies full.

As I shopped at our new local ALDI, I was reminded of those people and those times. How food can bring us together and bring us out of ourselves. How we can get to know one another through our dislike of basil or penchant for sour cream and mayo in our guacamole. How these seemingly trivial palate preferences can lead to deeper conversations over plates piled high. How recipes shared can lead to hearts and minds and lives interconnected.

I brought home my NeverAny! Kirkwood Mild Italian Chicken Sausage, SimplyNature® Organic Grade A Large Brown Eggs, SimplyNature® Organic Baby Spinach, Sweet Potatoes & Goat Cheese with Breakfast for Dinner in mind.

Our Sunday night Midwest dinners would always be themed. Taco night. Italian buffet. Asian cuisine. I have particularly fond memories of breakfast for dinner. Of Candace’s Creme Brulee French Toast and how I dreamed of excuses to have her bring it again. (Creme Brulee goes with tacos, right?)

I opted to celebrate my friends and honor our time with them with a Sweet Potato Sausage Hash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Eggs. I laughed to myself, wondering who would like what portion of my meal, what their individual reactions would be and what they would each bring now, 5 years later.

And as I piled my families plates high, with our own themed weekend meal, I remembered the sweet souls that gathered with me around plates like these. That opened their homes and fed me with their love and their lovingly prepared meals. And I raised my fork to them.

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Sweet Potato & Sausage Hash with Spinach & Goat Cheese Eggs

Ingredients:

2 Sweet Potatoes

1 Curry & Company Onion

2-3 garlic cloves

NeverAny! Kirkwood Mild Italian Chicken Sausage

8-10 SimplyNature® Organic Grade A Large Brown Eggs (depending on your family)

1/2 to 1 cup SimplyNature® Organic Baby Spinach

4 oz. Happy Farms Preferred Goat Cheese (or more to taste)

 

  1. Peel & chop sweet potatoes into cubes. Dice Curry & Company Onion and mince garlic.
  2. Sautee garlic and onion in about 1 tbsp coconut oil for a minute or two, then add sweet potatoes. Cook until potatoes onions are soft, and add Stonemill Essentials Salt & Pepper to taste.
  3. Chop 2 NeverAny! Kirkwood Mild Italian Chicken Sausage and add to sweet potato mixture. Sautee until sausages are carmelized & potatoes are soft.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk SimplyNature® Organic Grade A Large Brown Eggs with Stonemill Essentials Salt & Pepper.
  5. Add SimplyNature® Organic Baby Spinach by handful to sautee pan, then add eggs when spinach is slightly wilted. Scramble eggs & spinach together.
  6. Serve hash and eggs together with a generous helping of Happy Farms Preferred Goat Cheese sprinkled on top.