Jesus and Mama Tears


There is something extraordinarily healing and powerful that takes root inside of me knowing that Jesus wept.

The other night I had my head bowed in shame as I sat at the kitchen table. I had just overreacted to one of my boys climbing on the outside of the steps, resulting in a broken thrift store umbrella holder. After I cleaned up the mess, I sat there alone and began crying so hard that my tears dropped down onto the kitchen floor. I think it could have been classified as “weeping.” I mentally backed myself into a corner and beat myself up about all the ways I fail as a human being. As a mother. As a wife.

Because isn’t that we do? Beat ourselves up when we don’t have the strength to go grab a Kleenex or some toilet paper to soften the blow of our tears. And when the tears of guilt flow, they sure know how to awaken the dried up wells of inadequacy, loss and despair.

In my heightened emotional state, I texted my husband and a friend letting them know what an asshole I had been. They each kindly offered to help me out of the pit of doom. I thought it may be helpful if I created a hotline for parents, “1-800-ILOSTMYSHIT.” The operator could have a file folder ready to remind you of all the other times when you handled chaos better, a bit more gracefully. The kind person, probably a volunteer, on the line could perhaps console you and tell you about a time that they also overreacted to routine kid chaos.

The thing is that I usually can cry it out, apologize to my boys and hope and pray for their forgiveness and God’s strength to do better next time. Then, we move on. To the dog park or to a game of checkers. Or whatever. My boys, thankfully, have this crazy awesome ability to forgive me and love me through my guilt and shortcomings as a mother.

In hindsight, like a few days later, who really cares about a thrift store umbrella holder? Obviously not the person who donated it to the thrift store. I don’t want my boys to be wreckless and purposely break stuff, but if anyone should understand breaking stuff accidentally, it should be me. I realize that I had some built-up, constant mud and mess-cleaning up anger that I should have released at ripple glass therapy.

Sadly, and not so sadly, sometimes, those we love the most intensely get to see the yucky, jagged and broken sides of us. Inside of our homes. Our cars. Unfiltered, not touched-up, the raw ugly-cry moments. The moments when we feel exhausted, sad, hopeless, helpless and burdened by our own imperfections. The difficult and painful moments of growth, roots shifting or branches getting pruned.

As I did my Lenten sharpie marker art this morning, I realized just how grateful I am to cling to the belief that Jesus gets me the most. So, I am reminded to grab on tightly to the hope offered in the extra soft, aloe-infused Kleenex He hands me. Time and time again. Today, I’m humbled and gratefully aware that his grace daily protects, strengthens, and carries us.


Spring Break Snowflakes


I held our new shivering puppy, Patch, tightly as I watched and listened to my boys race up and down the slippery slides at the school playground. They all giggled nonstop as the cold wet slides launched their bodies onto the turf below. Time and time again.

“This is FUN, Mama!” they shouted.

I looked down in amazement and wonder at the beauty of the snowflakes that landed on Patch’s black fur. How can each one be so different? So beautiful. So perfect. The tiny, intricate, unique patterns and designs of the snowflakes that became gently trapped into the hairs on his back. He nuzzled his nose under my arm.

Each of my boys ran over to pet him or attempt to temporarily shield him from the snow. Their pink cheeks, grown-up front teeth and their bright eyes quickly peered into mine from beneath their stocking caps. They each tried to tell me something different. I can’t remember what. They looked so happy, so perfect. And then they each ran off.

I sat there, temporarily stuck in the moment, mesmerized and overwhelmed by their existence and the beauty held in their precious freckled faces. I will never tire of looking into their big brown innocent and smiling eyes, framed by their gigantic snowflake-trapping eyelashes.

“Do you feel the snowflakes trapped in your eyelashes?” I asked one of my boys.

He responded by blinking. The snowflakes melted or disappeared. Gone.

I will always thank God in these outside, overwhelmingly peaceful and joyfilled moments. I will count them. My boys. My blessings. Over and over and over again. I will marvel and wonder and nearly implode with thankfulness for the gifts of their lives. I can’t help but feel a varying combination of being utterly humbled, confused, worried, imperfect and beyond grateful for the privilege, the honor, and the responsibility of being their “mama.”

And then, most likely, later in the day, I may be tired or short-fused, perhaps even close to near-exploding at their fighting or complaining. But I promise myself that I will take a deep breath. I will gently tap myself on the shoulder and whisper in my head,

“Hey, you tired mama. Remember sitting at the picnic table earlier watching your boys like the most proud mom in the universe? With the spring snow flurries drifting down. And a new puppy on your lap as the confused birds sang, the highway traffic buzzed, and the irresistible sounds of those three rosy cheeked, giggling boys bounced around….”

I will tell myself to remember the powerful moments and my prayer of thanks. And I will shape up. I may even need to take an extra deep breath or two to activate my secret stash of patience.

Spring break snowflakes.

Remember their beauty, the quiet power they possess. They disappear too quickly.

I will slow down and remind myself to notice, to pause and to embrace the ever changing, beautiful and raw moments of motherhood.

“The Birds”

*This is a guest post written by my eight year old son, Asher. I sat across the table from him this morning as he gripped his pencil tightly and excitedly wrote and wrote these words down. I felt my eyes well up and my mama heart nearly explode with joy and pride as he passionately filled his page. Please leave any comments you have and I will happily share with him.


The birds have colors that are mixed together like yellow and orange. Mixed it makes beautiful. The colors make you feel relaxed. Have you wished to fly? I have wished if I could fly. Soaring through the air, the wind up in the sky is soft. And the birds make a great song. It calms you down. It makes you come outside. It is high.

We have a big window and tons of birds come to the window to get some seeds and sugar water. My favorite bird is the hummingbird. It is one of the coolest birds to me. It has beautiful colors like red, orange, yellow together. One time, my mom had one fly so close to her.

The hummingbird could hover. I think that it is cooler that it could fly upside down. But keep bees away from hummingbirds because if a bee stung a hummingbird, it would die. So keep bees away from hummingbirds. One time, a dog saw a hummingbird on the sidewalk. The dog wouldn’t let his owner go so the owner picked up the hummingbird and took the hummingbird home. They found out the hummingbird was alive but he wanted the hummingbird to stay. He feeded the hummingbird sugar water. He trained the hummingbird. I was so amazed. I could watch it again.

When we saw hummingbirds, we would call them super heroes like Flash and Green Lantern and Batman and Robin. We called them those names because they had red and yellow for Flash and green for Green Lantern. Black for Batman.

DSC09510My second favorite is the cardinal. It has light red and black. It is funny that some male cardinals have mohawks. I think it makes them look cool. Some of them have black spots on them. My favorite colors are red and blue. Red and black are cool mixed together.

The blue jay is light blue with some white and some black. It has a cool beak. It has black close to its eyeballs. It looks like it has pretty scales on its wings. It has cool designs. The white with the blue looks beautiful.

I have seen a ton of birds in my life. Some are blue, red, green, yellow, pink, purple and a ton of colors that are beautiful. One of the hummingbirds has light colors. How hummingbirds got their name is because when you listen closely, you hear a humming sound.

Some woodpeckers sometimes peck on our house. Do you know why? Because they get worms out of trees. Have you went on a trail? You see tons of birds and you hear tons of sounds. But when it becomes winter, all of the birds have to go because they can’t survive in winter. Its too cold. But in a couple months, they’re back and maybe you see the same ones!


I’m sorry, Brownies


I’ve learned that when the hummingbirds migrate for the winter, brownies are my best friend. You know the Ghiradelli kind, of course, the ones with triple chocolate chips. They are unlike any other. Warm. Gooey. Messy in all the right ways. But lately, I feel I like I purposely lost my half to our best friends necklace. I’m sorry, Brownies. We have to friend break up because I learned that I have an amoeba infection. Apparently, the microscopic amoeba bastards like sugar. A lot. It appears that I have been providing them with the perfect environment for an orgy of sorts. They have been getting it on like rabbits. Or amoeba, I suppose. I don’t want my body to be a fancy vacation rental home for amoeba whose credit card is declined. I don’t want the pain of cramping, the annoyingness of diarrhea, sleeplessness and fatigue that amoeba tend to carry in their duffel bags.

So, I have now been eating a no sugar diet for ten days. I think. It’s not like I am counting the days or remembering every dessert that I have had to no longer leave room for in my belly. You see, for a girl like me, dinner has always been the home-town opening act of sorts. And well, dessert has always been the headliner. My Justin Timberlake.

Ever since I was a kid, my brain focused on one thing. “Must. Get. Dessert.” Do whatever you must do to get dessert. I would sneak food in my pockets, under my napkins, in my mouth (to go spit out in the toilet) and so on. One time, I remember cramming some food under the coffee mug at a Cracker Barrel restaurant on a family road trip because, “if you don’t eat your dinner, you don’t get dessert.” I should probably write an apology letter, decades later, to the waitress who had to clean that up. But, did I get dessert? You bet.

There are only a few sugary things I have missed out on this past ten days. Most of which, I have strangely chosen to make from scratch for my family. Similar to the weird and addicting trend to watch somebody play with toys on Youtube, I have found some amount of comfort in watching others eat sugary foods. I am also pretty competitive so I have inner dialogue with the amoeba folk. “You think I can’t make chocolate chip cookies without eating one? You’re on, amoeba bitches.”

Then, I show them who is boss. Self control, I need you now tonight. And I need you more than ever. Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I’m only falling apart.

There’s nothing I can do. It’s a total eclipse of the heart.

It’s me. Not them. I’m in charge. It’s my body. And my body belongs to me. The party is over, sugar addicts.

I thought I should jot down my sugar diary lodged in my memory into a bullet format:

  • I have baked brownies which is my go-to dessert move. But this next one was new, I made homemade caramel sauce for said brownies. Then, I scooped ice cream. Brownie sundaes. Duh.
  • A few days later, I made chocolate chip cookies. Holy hell. Do you know how hard it is to NOT taste-test the batter? Thank goodness, my five year old could do it for me. I should have YouTubed it.
  • To celebrate Mardi Gras, I made two cinnamon King cakes. We had friends over so there could be an even bigger crowd for me to watch eat the cake. Maybe I have a problem.
  • Later in the week, I thought we should use those free Lamar’s donuts coupons. And I may be in withdrawal and hearing things due to the lack of sugar, but I am pretty sure I heard several of my favorite donuts crying behind the glass. I turned my back on them.
  • Oh man, at a family birthday party, I even had the self control to skip out on my mom’s homemade strawberry cake with it’s best friend in tow, Costco vanilla ice cream.
  • Typically, when I pick up laundry in my boys’ rooms, I usually snag a piece or two of their candy (don’t get all judgey. It’s kind of like I imagine them giving me a tip in candy form for doing their laundry. “Thanks Mom, for picking up those clothes right next to the hamper. Here’s a snack size twix bar.”) I haven’t eaten any of their candy. In ten days. Doing laundry really sucks now. Maybe my husband will accidentally leave a five dollar bill in his jeans pocket. A girl can dream.
  • Enough of these bullets. This is getting more sad than I intended.

The point is, if I must have one, that it’s really hard to change behavior, make sacrifices, stand out or do things differently. It’s challenging to alter the way we think, feel and act. Eating is a huge part of our lives. Physically. Emotionally. Socially. Spritually. We plan our next meal, think about food, indulge in food and perhaps, as I have learned about myself, over-indulge in food. I have had my momentary pity parties, but for the most part, I have kept a great attitude because I truly feel better. Just don’t tell Brownies yet. It has helped tremendously that I have a supportive husband and sweet kids to cheer me on. Stevia, (the only sugar substitute I have approval to use) has not helped. That stuff is just nasty. I will take my coffee black, thank you very much.

When my 21 days of eating and drinking a no sugar diet are done, I hope to stay in tune and conscious of my sugar intake because I think it’s a healthy practice for my body, mind and soul.

In breaking fickle best friend news, my current new best friend is Bengal Spice tea. Celestial Seasonings doesn’t play around when they make their tea. They must have people on sugar-free diets in mind. All the flavor, no sugar. No caffeine either. Say what? Get ya some.