Back to School, IRL version

IMG_5059This week, a piece I wrote on Christian Parenting about going back to school. This year, my baby is going back for her last year of college. Let that sink in. (Meanwhile, I’ll be over here ugly crying on my keyboard and short circuiting it. But whatever.) Enjoy — no matter where you fall on the spectrum of sending anyone (including yourself) back to school.

I’m not here at the take-out end of sending kids back to school to give you great tips for kale salads that look like ostriches playing kickball. I’m not going to tell you how to color-code your school supplies with brads and die cuts and washi tape. This is not something I am an expert in.

I’m here with five tips for life in all its beautiful feelings when you say goodbye to those kids, whether it be to kindergarten or college. Whether those kids are going on a bus, driving themselves to high school, or headed right back into your living room to go to school—remember these things.

Click here for the rest of the article.


Failing Successfully


It’s Throw Back . . . Um . . . Monday. Whatever. What that means is that I’m going to be running some articles on the blog that I’ve written for other publications.

Because vacation.

And life.

So here is an oldie (in internet terms, anyway)–Parenting for successful failure.

What the what?

New York Times Parenting blogger Jessica Lahey points to research that most of our kids’ inability to deal with failure, and therefore succeed, stems from our generation’s unwillingness to step away from our kids.

Helicopter parent. Raising my hand right here. Guilty. I did once practically bribe other kids to come to my daughter’s birthday party.

How do we give children the skills they need to fail successfully, (Yes, that’s a thing.)

I loved working on this piece for A Fine Parent, and I hope it’s helpful to you today.

You can also click here.

Scars That Teach Me Who I Am

Plenty of people have slapped labels on me in my life, and I allowed many of them to stick. The quiet one. The little one. The fearful one. I believed these labels. I thought they defined who I was, and who I would always be.

Until ten years ago, when I got these scars.

In the moments I doubt who I am, I look at those scars. . . 


This week,  I’m over at the MOPS blog talking about identity. Do we have to always be who people say we are?Do we have to stay the same and keep the same labels we once had? I can tell you from real life–that’s a definite NO. Our identity isn’t some rock solid thing that isn’t malleable, and labels fall off. They don’t wear well. We can let them slide away if we choose. Come join me at MOPS to read more.

There’s Enough Mess and Moxie for Us All

You may not believe this, but there has been enough mess in my life to require help getting out from time to time. Some of it may even have been self-inflicted. (See photo above, with exercise hair and a forgotten headband around my neck. Plus the two-armed selfies my kids like to give me grief about. Don’t judge.)

There is also enough moxie in my life to say the morass is worth the time we spend in it, and the ability to eject ourselves from it is not so far from us as we think.  (There is a lot of moxie in that beautiful cuff from a friend. “Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly.” Yes.)

Does that sound like a book title? Well it is.

Tomorrow is the release of a book I’ve had the great fun of being on the launch team for. Jen Hatmaker’s next book, Of Mess and Moxie, releases August 8th! Here is the review I’ve already written, if you want to know what I thought. (Even if you don’t, it’s here, because my blog, so, my review.)

I met Jen Hatmaker in 7, resonated with her soul in Interrupted, fell in love in For the Love, and now, in Of Mess and Moxie, I know where she’s been and of what she speaks. Life is surely so much of both if we’re really pursuing the Kingdom. I know her intense heartache at having your children be the moment’s mess. (Nothing hurts like that. Nothing.)

I’ve been through the transformation of finding out you don’t actually know all the things. That, too, hurts, but it’s so good. (And oh, the grocery store section. Does she shop with me?) I know how humor like Jen’s is sometimes the only option when the mess is so deep you don’t know if you’re swimming up or down.

Beyond it all, the moxie she talks about—that strength God gives women to power through and make beauty from mess— what happens when that is unleashed, and we do as she says— “Flatten your feet—nothing in your life is too dead for resurrection”? That’s a freedom I pray this book brings to its readers.

Being on Jen’s launch teams for the last two years has been a game changer. It’s not just the woman and her work. It’s the team God assembled through her. We women have joined with one another. We have been for one another. We have laughed, cried, fought for, cheered on, financially supported, and gutted it out with total strangers on the internet, until we have become church. Real church.

Believe me, I know church. I have just completed a 15-page paper on the theology of the church for my doctorate classes, so I. Know. Church. (Yes, i still have feelings about the entire process.)

Because church is defined as called out ones for Jesus, people who hang together in community and show the world that, by their ability to hang together no matter what, they are His. We have done that. We are freaking amazing, really.


We don’t always agree. Before you ask, I don’t always agree with Jen, either. I don’t have to to admire her heart, talent, and ability to connect with people who need to hear the words that they possess the moxie to handle the mess of their lives. I don’t have to always agree with someone to promote words that bring healing. I don’t have to agree with everything to call someone my sister and stand with her side by side in the battle for justice and mercy and Jesus’ kingdom.

Heck, sometimes I don’t agree with myself from one day to the next.

That’s why this group, and this book, make church. We are so different, but we rally around one thing–God can make a beautiful life and world out of people who decide that differences can help us move forward rather than keep us divided.


So is this post more about our amazing group or about the book?

It’s both. We could not have assembled this community without the words of Jen Hatmaker telling us that it’s OK the have big feelings, big hearts, big hurts, big disagreements, yet still be a big force for Jesus. Together.

I wish I could give you all my favorite quotes from the book, and maybe I will in coming weeks. But I think this is my favorite, perhaps because I have lived it.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, nor has he saddled us with a spirit of defeat. We live because Jesus lives, because he is real and present and moving and working and he will not have us conquered. This is not hoodoo; it is a powerful reality. Flatten your feet, because nothing in your life is too bad for resurrection. It can be worse than you think and more crushing than you imagined. And even then, we live.

You can find Of Mess and Moxie here. Have a week filled with both!