Top Ten Parenting Surprises (So Far)


Parenthood. No not the TV show (I’ve never seen the show). I’m talking about actual parenthood and the funny/somewhat ridiculous things that come along with it. I’ve only been a parent for 7 months but that has been time enough to gather fodder for laughter. So here are my Top Ten Things (So Far) I never realized parenting involved:

  1. A much larger percentage of your time is spent on the floor. Ever wonder what’s down there on your floor? Wonder no more because you’ll be getting up close and personal with all your dust bunnies.
  2. Cold coffee. Always the coffee gets cold. Always. This is because you pour the coffee when baby is happy but by the time the cup reaches your mouth baby needs something. So you put the coffee down and that’s the end of that story.
  3. Speaking of cold coffee, don’t ever try to drink coffee straight from the pot because you don’t want to wash another dish. It will burn your face, trust me.
  4. Rocking the baby and talking yourself down from scratching the itch on your face because baby is almost asleep. I mean I knew parenting would involve sacrifices but not itching that scratch is akin to waterboarding if you ask me.
  5. A new vocab that includes words like Boppy, Bumbo, WubbaNub, Infantino, and ExersaucerYeah this kid is not learning english.
  6. Clipping a toddler’s toenails should be an Olympic sport. Or at least a rodeo sport. It’s like hog tying except with more tears.
  7. Similarly, it is humanly impossible to simultaneously eat a cinnamon roll and care for a newborn. ‘Nuf said.
  8. Rescue RemedyThis natural pain reliever came highly recommended by other parents and the pediatrician. We picked some up for Charlotte and she made a funny face when we gave her the recommended 2 droplets so Richard and I tasted it. I don’t want to give away Rescue Remedy’s secret or anything but we’re pretty sure it’s just whiskey.
  9. Baby buggers could be harvested and sold as industrial adhesive. What I’m trying to say is that they are sticky. So sticky that if you get them on your hands or clothes you’ll be like Chevy Chase in that scene from Christmas Vacation.
  10. The enormous love I have for my baby. All kidding aside, I have been surprised by just how much I love my little bundle of joy. I wouldn’t trade any of it!

Thanks for the laughs, Charlotte. I’m sure there’s more to come!

Letters to Charlotte

Dear Charlotte,

As I type this you are supposed to be napping in your swing in the nursery. You will likely fuss a couple more times before you actually fall asleep but you need to power down for your morning nap. It’s funny that as time goes on, it seems to me that you will always be suspended somewhere between newborn and now. What I mean is that unlike you, I will always have that point of reference. You won’t remember when you stop taking a morning nap but I will. And even now I compare it to when you slept most hours of the morning. You won’t remember when you went from Size 1 diapers to Size 2 or when you sat up by yourself the first time, but I will. And I compare your Size 2 diapers to your newborn ones and weep because you’re growing so fast. I understand now what moms and dads mean when they say, “You’ll always be my baby.” I know you’ll grow up Charlotte, you’re doing it before my very eyes. But I have known you from your very first moment onward and I won’t be able to help but compare backwards to see how far you’ve come.

What I want you to know right now is how hugely and deeply I love you. When your dad and I decided we wanted to bring you into our lives we knew it would mean challenges. We are prepared, and have already had to do things “for your own good” (like vaccination shots…and getting dressed, you hate getting dressed right now). And there will be plenty more discipline down the road but just know that you are a precious gem to us, a treasure of invaluable worth, and whatever we do in discipline it’s because we love you and want to be faithful parents to you. God has given you to us as a gift and we want to be good stewards of your life. I hope you can understand both that kind of love we as parents have for you and the kind of Never-Stopping, Never-Giving-Up, Unbreakable, Always and Forever Love God has for you.

Now may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.




My Love for All Things Antique


My husband knows me and loves me well. For Christmas this year he found me Spode Stafford White dinner plates to match my lovely Spode tea cups. To be perfectly honest, I wanted this specific pattern because that’s what they use in the Downton Abbey TV series. The pieces are timeless and classic and, in my opinion, are exactly what china should look and feel like. I also received a set of Wallace Baroque silver plated candlesticks. They are perched beautifully on our dining room table. I used to love the look and smell of brand new things but more and more I’m attracted to all things old and antique. Why?

I love the character, the longevity, the history in the pieces. I like the idea that these pieces might actually last for my children and their children. And I’ve also come to a “carpe diem” place in my day to day activities. I’ve decided never to keep things I love boxed up or hidden only to be brought out for “special occasions.” No, God has given us each day as a gift and so everyday is its own special occasion.

We ought to live life to the fullest and gratefully drink up all the blessings He’s given us. So in my little world that means brewing tea and sipping it out of my fanciest Spode china cups, joyfully as unto the Lord. And lighting the candles in the silver candlesticks and not worrying that the baby will knock them over or put them in her mouth. And using cloth table linens because folks, there is always bleach. In fact, our family is very seriously considering buying a white couch…AND having more children. Sound like a contradiction? This lady helped me see the light. But I digress.

Antiquity has given me a better perspective on things as a new stay-at-home mom. People were required to do things differently before technology. I am truly grateful for dishwashers and washing machines and microwaves, not to mention computers and iPhones. But I brew that cup of tea and drink it slowly exactly the same way some great lady did several hundred years ago. I feel connected to her. I think to myself “If she had time to make this tea AND hand wash all her laundry, surely I can get through a few thousand more disposable diapers.” Amen.


Recovering Perfectionist

Ok folks. If I’m honest, I’m really only okay being a needy sinner for a few minutes, a few hours, a few days maybe. But at a certain point I feel like I’ve wallowed in that gospel-neediness long enough and it’s time for me to get out there and DO something. Old habits die hard.

I know it’s cliché, especially in a job interview, to say you’re a “recovering perfectionist”—maybe in Christian circles it’s just a nicer way of saying “repentant judgmental Pharisee” (very likely)—but truly, I am. Here’s the problem: I see my deep, gaping need for a savior. All the things I’ve heard mature Christians say for years (The more you walk with Christ, the more you realize you need him. Greater knowledge of God leads to greater humility.) I see and understand. But the problem is:

I really, really, reeeeeally, REEEEEEALLY want to be good in and of myself.

I am so tempted to just try harder. I hope I’m not alone in this. I deeply believe the truth of the gospel, I understand that my righteousness unto justification is found in Christ alone. But I desperately want to add my righteousness to this. Especially when I see some area in my life that I’m lacking.

Here was my old legalistic pattern:

1. Identify a sin in my life.

2. “Repent” and develop steps to overcome it.

3. Implement steps to overcome the sin.

4. Fail, go back to Step 1, and Repeat.

Notice the lack of Jesus in this pattern? I put “repent” in quotes because what I was doing wasn’t so much turning away from sin to the gospel of Christ (to a substitutionary need for Christ) but a turning away from sin toward an attitude to do better, for God’s sake.

Here’s my new pattern:

1. Identify a sin in my life.

2. Repent and acknowledge the gospel (i.e. recognize Christ’s substitutionary righteousness over and above my own. Thank God for my status of justification IN Christ).

3. Implement steps to overcome sin…attempt not to fall into legalism.

4. Fail, Go back to Step 1, and Repeat.

See what I’m saying? I so, so desperately want to be good in and of myself that I feel like every time I even take a step in overcoming sin, I fall back into my same legalistic pattern as before. I haven’t figured out “gospel-empowered sanctification” on the ground. I believe that grace propels us to obedience, I just don’t quite know what that looks like. Am I missing something?

Is my problem in “implementing steps to overcome sin”? I think not, because Paul exhorts us to work out our own salvation and I am no Antinomian (I don’t believe grace negates the law). And how could we ever change our actions without actually doing something? I am overthinking this, I realize. You guys are getting a small taste of my analytical craziness.

Perhaps I’m missing a step between 1 and 2. Maybe I need to pray that my repentance would be genuinely grace-fueled and that the motives of my change of heart and actions would be pure, God-glorifying, and not out of disgust for myself and my “gospel-neediness” as described above. But, (look out, here comes the crazy) then that prayer could easily become another legalistic step I would create for myself. And if I do need that step, then if I didn’t pray for my repentance before I repented I’d have to repent of my wrongful repentance.

I’m gonna stop now before I scare you away for good. Thanks for listening. Help?

Suburbianty: Book Reflection

Suburbianity: Book Reflection | Roots like Oaks

What have we done to the Gospel? Can we find our way back to Biblical Chrisitanity?”

These are the subtitle questions Suburbianity by Pastor Byron Yawn seeks to answer. I would sum up the term “suburbianity” as nominal, culturally-defined Christianity which preaches and believes a false gospel of self-esteem boosting spiritual jargon, loosely tied to Jesus. This book was convicting, thought-provoking, and a great conversation starter. In just over 200 pages, Pastor Byron basically makes the case that suburbianity is not the gospel; indeed, the gospel is the gospel and we ought not forget it.

In his introduction, Pastor Byron makes a series of statements designed to gauge your understanding of Christianity as compared to suburbianity. They are statements like:

Being a Christian is not about being a good person.
Wealth is not a sign of God’s favor.
There is no essential difference between local and world missions.
Jesus would be confused in many of our church services.
Vegetables can’t sing. (p. 11-13)

While I agree with most of his statements wholeheartedly, some (most even, I would argue) need more fleshing out than 226 pages can contain. He counters the critic with “A Rejoinder” at the end of the book which gives one scriptural defense for each statement. Pastor Byron is attempting to “pull evangelical fish out of water” in order to objectively look at what we’ve been swimming in (p. 14). I think it’s obvious that he is going for shock value with many of his statements, sort of a big wake-up call to those inundated with Christian subculture.

Byron Yawn pastors in Nashville, TN: the heart of the “Bible Belt.” I live in one of the most un-churched, socially liberal (but highly “spiritual”) regions in the U.S.–that is I live in the suburbs of Denver, CO. But fascinatingly enough, his descriptions of suburban folk in Nashville fit pretty closely with suburban folk here. Though they may not consider themselves Christians, suburban Denver folk are usually middle-class, affluent, conservative, and heavily emphasize family values. So maybe our contexts are not quite so different as geography and demographics would suggest. There are certainly plenty of people in Denver, suburbanites or otherwise, that need to hear the true gospel.

The rest of book is broken down into three parts: The Gospel, The Bible, and The Church. In the first chapter of “The Gospel,” Pastor Byron relates the story of Joe approaching him after a church service to tell him he had brought his unsaved parents with him, to which Pastor Byron replied:

“That’s great. Thanks for joining us here at Community.”

“Well actually it’s been a huge mistake. I’m sorry I brought my parents here. You’ve reinforced every stereotype they have about Christianity. I can’t believe you preached for forty-five minutes and never mentioned the gospel. This is tragic.” (p. 68)

Joe then walks away with slumped shoulders before Pastor Byron can form a response. I loved this story because of the impact it had on Pastor Byron’s life and preaching. I know I’ve felt this way before in church services and wouldn’t be able to say it with the genuine love and concern that Joe did. But I just love hearing peoples’ stories of “gospel wakefulness” (to borrow Jared C. Wilson’s term). Because, as Pastor Byron says, once the lightbulb comes on, it owns you. (p.71)

“The Bible” chapters were by far my favorite of the whole book. Here you really feel Pastor Byron’s passion for the gospel as the central message of the Bible and the point of our existence.

According to Calvary, our greatest need is not a better marriage, an improved self-image, financial success, or any other of the suburban daydreams. It’s reconciliation to a holy God. (p. 95)

He explains with zeal that Jesus is the central theme of the Bible and it is impossible to overemphasize Him. He hammers that the main point of Biblical stories and characters (Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David) is not to mimic them morally, but to see how their lives point to and culminate in Jesus.

At some places the Bible gives us a 30,000-foot view (as in the Old Testament histories), and at other times it plummets to ten inches off the deck (as in the New Testament epistles). But every book of the Bible is a description of events leading up to or disclosing Jesus and the implications of His life, death, and resurrection. (p. 115)

The Bible is either revealing [the gospel], explaining it, defending it, or encouraging us to live in light of it. (p. 115)

It is so helpful to read the Bible from this perspective. When you come to it with the self-help attitude of how-do-I-apply-this-to-me-ism, it’s so difficult to consistently read the Bible. But when you come to it with an attitude of how-do-I-apply-this-to-Jesus (and his life, death, and resurrection—i.e. the gospel) all of a sudden it all makes sense. I can attest to this personally.

“The Church” chapters are probably the most controversial because they touch on politics, strategies, ethics, missions, and what it means to have a “Biblical worldview.” These chapters are a great launching point for further conversation and are probably not intended to be the final word on how the church in America should look. He raises some excellent points about evangelizing our neighbors and considering the man in the suit and tie just as needy (for an atoning substitute) as those living in shacks in Haiti.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone living in the suburbs and especially pastors or others in ministry. I would recommend it to folks subscribing to suburbianity knowing that this book will likely offend them, but with the prayer that it might open their eyes to see Jesus. I’d also recommend it to folks newly “gospel-awakened” as an encouragement to keep on keepin’ on making Jesus a big deal.

Thankful Thursday

Today I join with other bloggers who devote space on their site each Thursday to gratefully acknowledge the Lord’s providences and blessings of the past week. I thank the Lord for…

  • His Faithfulness. God is so faithful to hear and answer prayer. My husband has been working diligently to procure a position as a firefighter and a couple of weeks ago was offered a position. We were able to attend his graduation from fire academy where he asked me to ceremonially pin on his badge. Very proud of him and very thankful to God for this blessing.
The badge was actually very difficult to pin. The Fire Chief had to help me haha

The badge was actually very difficult to pin. The Fire Chief had to help me haha

So proud of this firefighter.

So proud of this firefighter.

  • Surprises. After that long day of graduation festivities, my sweet husband surprised me with reservations at the hotel we stayed at before our honeymoon. We happened to be close by for the graduation and he knew that I would enjoy a little “stay-cation.” I did! The hotel is a restored castle and is absolutely beautiful. We got to spend a wonderful day together in the gorgeous spring weather. Speaking of spring…
The Cliff House | Manitou Springs, CO

The Cliff House | Manitou Springs, CO

  • Spring Weather. I feel like I talk about the weather as much as I talk about family on Thankful Thursday. But I feel like C.S. Lewis in that I see God’s glory in “the quiddity of things”–the “this-ness.” The essence. I’ve been known to declare each new season that begins to be my favorite. Spring is my new favorite. I’m blessed to live in a place that actually experiences four seasons for the most part. We’ve had thunderstorms, light breeze, sunshine, and budding blooms.
Big horn sheep enjoying the fine spring weather.

Big horn sheep enjoying the fine spring weather.

  • My mom. I already told her on Mother’s day that I’m thankful for her, but for the record I still am! She’s the greatest. I got to enjoy spending a lovely “girl’s day” with her last weekend which included a high tea, shopping, and manicures. Good times.
My mom and all her girls.

My mom and all her girls.

  • Wellness. I’m getting there. I mentioned on the Facebook page that part of the reason I haven’t been posting regularly is that I’m fighting some sickness. Not sure what it is exactly, but I’m finally starting to feel better. Thank you LORD.
  • Spontaneity. Even though I haven’t been feeling that well, my husband and I have been able to have several spontaneous adventures in the past couple of weeks. We’ve attended a concert (unplanned), stayed at a hotel overnight, and saw a midnight movie premier! I know these kinds of things would be more difficult or impossible if we had children or were in different financial circumstances. So I’m grateful to enjoy the stage we are at right now.

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

What are you thankful for today?

Thankful Thursday

Today I join with other bloggers who devote space on their site each Thursday to gratefully acknowledge the Lord’s providences and blessings of the past week. I thank the Lord for…

  • My Husband. He is just patently awesome. I could name off all the things he has done for me (and others) in the past week, but he is more to me than what he does. He is a constant and faithful friend, like Christ. Also, we are both so thankful to God for the new firefighting job he has been offered this week! It has been a long journey for him and God has been faithful.
  • Prayer. Today is our National Day of Prayer for these United States. I’m thankful that we have this designated day to join together as believers for our nation. I’m thankful for the effectiveness of prayer to change my heart and attitude toward things. I’m thankful for a sovereign God who hears prayers. And I’m so thankful He is a loving Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children.
  • New Houses. Not for me, mind you, but for my momma. We helped her move this past weekend and I’m thankful for God’s provision for her! It’s a beautiful new place. Check out her awesome remodeling:

Thankful Thursday | Roots like OaksThankful Thursday | Roots like Oaks

  • Memories. Because my mom moved, we were forced to go through all of my dad’s clothes and decide what to keep and what to donate. We were all kind of dreading it, but it actually turned out to be a good time. My dad’s clothes brought back many good memories and all of us were able to keep some items that were special to us. I’m thankful for these memories.
Just a trash bag full of socks? No no my friend. Those are memories.

Just a trash bag full of socks? No no my friend. Those are memories.

  • VBS. I’m excited that our church is going to be hosting Vacation Bible School for the kiddos this summer. My younger sis and I are in charge of learning the hand-motions/choreography for the praise and worship songs to teach to the kids. Not gonna lie, I love VBS.

And my God will supply every need of yours
according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19a

What are you thankful for today?