Monday, May 13, 2013

Don’t Pass the Buck

The topics are endless…the friends she’s hanging out with are poor influences, she doesn’t care about her grades, the guy she is talking to is bad news.  But the conversations I have with the moms of teenage daughters almost always starts out the same.

“Will you talk to my daughter?  She won’t listen to me, but I know she’ll listen to you.” 

While the truth of the matter is I will talk to your daughter, it’s critically important that you talk to her first.

Unfortunately, it is true that a lot of teen girls go through a period of time where they aren’t interested in listening to their mother.  However, just because it doesn’t appear they are listening that you, this doesn’t get you off the hook as a mom from correcting and offering guidance.  Please, I beg of you, speak truth into your daughter’s life.  It will be hard.  They may roll their eyes or stare out into space.  They may say you have no clue what they are going through.  I mean, I don’t even have a child and I know how hard it is to put it all out there and offer guidance to only have them do the opposite.  But, that’s not the point. 

You are the mother of your daughter for a reason.  Please don’t put your mothering on hold for a season just because you are fearful she won’t listen…or even worse, you just want to be her friend instead.  You are her mother. 

Just think about it.  If you choose not to speak, she won’t have the opportunity in a few years to say, “When I was a teenager my mom told me that…I didn’t listen…but, she was right.”  You want that.  I promise, you want that.  Because when that realization happens, your daughter will realize that you have some wisdom to offer and you will find her willingly coming to you with her struggles. 

But, if you choose not to speak and instead pass the parenting buck on to someone else, it’s much more likely that your daughter will continue to go to someone else when she has passed through the teenage waters and is seeking wisdom. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Know Your Role

Well, it has been A WHILE!  I could start with a laundry list of excuses, but who wants excuses? 

Since my last post, my days have been busy, and one of the first things that had to go was blogging.  Not just writing, but even reading the blogs.  I pared down my “must read blogs” from the hundreds to a few handfuls.  It was one of the wisest things I’ve done.  Mainly because it has allowed me to really focus on me---on what is going on in my life, and the lives of those around me---not just what’s going on in the lives of some people that I will likely never meet. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good blog…and some of my favorites to read are written by people that I will likely never meet.  But gone are the days of hundreds of mindless posts. I have been mighty selective with the blogs I read.  In order to make the cut, they must be truthful and honest, push me to Christ, and challenge and convict me.  While I do laugh from time to time reading through my blogs, that’s not a requirement—I can get laughter from other places.  The blogs full of shopping deals and posts that make me say “I want that” have gotten the axe as well. 

As I’ve gone thorough the weed-out process, I’ve realized that if I was someone else doing what I was doing, I would cut my blog right on out of my reader.  So I thought the blog may be a good thing to add to my prayer list.  Is it something that I should just shut down?  I mean, there aren’t lots of people that read it…especially since I blog about once in forever…surely I wouldn’t be missed.  While that may be true, after a few months of prayer, I felt like God was saying not to shut it down, but to use it to share wisdom. Wisdom that is truthful and honest…will push others to Christ…and challenge and convict. 

I kept praying.  Quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in all of that.  Surely I had heard wrong.  I didn’t feel like I had much wisdom to share.  Then, over the course of the next months (yes, months…I’m not always the quickest to obey), the Lord made it quite clear that I had heard correctly.  He showed me through countless conversations with people that I respect and admire.  Conversations that I had not initiated.  Conversations where people said things like, “you have so much wisdom in that area…you should really share it with others” or “the experiences you have in that area are enough to write a book…have you thought about that” or the one that cut me to the core “you may want to pray about sharing some of that wisdom with others…we need it!”

So…after almost 6 months of prayers and conversations…this blog is about to be revived.  Then,when the posts start showing up they will be different.  Instead of it being a random compilation of whatever I decide to write about, it will be a blog to share some of my experiences. 

Here’s the disclaimer, and the whole reason why despite the Lord’s clear instructions to do this that I didn’t want to follow. I’m not an expert.  Even more so, the topics that I am most often asked to share about are being single in my late twenties and how to raise children and teenagers.  The thing is, while I may be single, I have never had a child.  Yes, I’ve been a baby-sitter for 17 years.  I’ve even been a nanny and done some overnight baby-sitting…but I don’t for one second think those things qualify me to give advice to parents!  I’ve worked with youth for 7 years, but never have I had one of my very own.  While I love that age with all my heart, they also bring me to tears and send me to my knees almost daily. I’m not an expert!! In fact, more often than not any “wisdom” I have comes straight from Scripture and watching a lot of other parents that I love and admire raise some pretty great kids!

All that being said, the Lord has made it perfectly clear that when He reveals things to us and gives us wisdom, it is sinful to keep it to ourselves.  For that reason, from here on out, the goal of this blog will be to offer ideas and encouragement to single ladies as well as moms and people that work with children and teens.  I don’t know all the answers, but after years of experiences with children and teens, I have some ideas…and lots of encouragement…and I’m ALL FOR encouraging singles and moms!! While it makes me a bit sick at my stomach to share, I am excited about it because I know that I am being obedient to what the Lord wants me to do. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

If I Could Write A Letter To Me

I can’t remember how I stumbled across Emily Freeman’s blog, but I feel like I have been reading it forever.  I find myself nodding along and wiping away tears at almost every post.  She truly has a way with words.  Well, last year she wrote a book that rocked my world…and now she has done it again.  This time, for young girls—I’m talking teenagers.  And all those people with a heart for teenage girls said AMEN!!  I’ve only had the chance to read the first few chapters, but whoa…it’s good.  I can hardly wait to get this book in the hands of my girls…and journey through it with with one or every single small group of girls that I lead from here on out!  It’s a winner for sure. 

This week on her blog. she has gotten different people to post letters to their 15 year old self, and today she is hosting a little link up for all that want to join. I’m not usually one for jumping on the link-up bandwagon, but something inside me told me that I needed to.  After all, teenage girls are my people.    Then I started writing, and whoa, it was difficult.  I mean, it wrecked me.  When I think back to high school, there were so many WONDERFUL memories, but if I think about it long enough, there is so much yuck in there too.  Thankfully, I have grown and learned from much of it, but if almost 28 year old me could speak into 15 year old me, I would do it in a heartbeat, and it would go something like this…


Make a B.  That’s right, I said make a B.  No need to freak out, I didn’t say make all B’s, one will be just fine.  Just make the B.  Doing your best is important, but you have gotten to the point where you are no longer just doing your best, you have created an idol out of your grades.  Unfortunately, the idol will continue through college and it will take you starting Seminary to get over it.  It’s not worth all those years of A’s.  More importantly, it’s not worth all of the effort to make it appear to the outside world that you are perfect and have it all together.  You don’t, and you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.  So, just make the B.  You may get in trouble for it, but the trouble will be much shorter lived than the ramifications of the perfectionist idol you have created for yourself.

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Keep babysitting.  I know people think you’re weird because you would rather spend your Friday and Saturday nights changing diapers, playing board games and coloring. Let them think that.  You know you love it and you know you’re good at it.  In the years to come, you’ll enjoy it even more and people will really start to think you’re weird.  Just keep baby-sitting.  You know that having younger kids watching your every move keeps you on the right track, and the families you’ll get to meet will be part of your life for years to come.  Let the people say what they want to say about you, baby-sitting is your thing…and that is mighty okay!


Tough love is just that…TOUGH.  During the next year, a situation will come up where you will have the opportunity to choose to keep your mouth shut and go with the flow, or offer tough love to a friend.  You will pray about it for months and will decide that it is more important to be honest with your friend and you will give the tough love.  While you know it will be hard, nothing will be able to prepare you for what will happen next.  Choosing that tough love will cause one of your dearest friends to stop talking to you, and in turn it will totally turn your social world upside down.  You will often doubt if it was worth it…or if you did the right thing.  First, let me say kudos to you for following through on what you knew the Lord wanted you to do.  You learned a lot through that experience.  You learned what it meant to earnestly seek the Lord.  You learned how hard it is to follow in His steps.  You also learned what it meant to fervently pray for a friend, and you did it faithfully for 6 years.  Then, 6 years later, things worked themselves out.  Your friend apologized and told you how much she appreciated you saying what you said.  Your friendship was restored and you got to learn a new lesson—forgiveness and grace.  So, keep seeking the Lord…and keep doing what He asks…even if it’s tough!


Tell your family how much you appreciate them.  I know you may not always think they are the best thing ever, but just because you’re a teenager doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to be disrespectful.  Soon you will go to college and then will get a job in the real world.  You will begin to see what an absolute blessing it was to have two wonderful Christian parents and be right in the middle of an older and younger sister.  No need to waste time now complaining, just be thankful. 


If you want something, go for it!  Don’t make your Dad threaten you within an inch of your life of moving to another state to get you to finally put your name on the ballot to run for SGA.  If you want to hold an office, put your name on the list.  Someone else may win, but that’s okay.  You don’t always have to win to be a success. 


Don’t worry about not having a boyfriend.  Really.  Don’t.  I know you think you’ll be married with kids by the time you’re 25, but you won’t be. Heck…you’re about to turn 28 and you don’t have any real prospects.  So do yourself a favor, and quit worrying about it now.  Embrace the non-boyfriend life with all you have.  I know there are times when a boyfriend will be all you think about, but they aren’t all they’re cracked up to me.  Just trust me on this.  The older and wiser you has listened to more teenagers than she can count and wiped so many tears that she should purchase stock in Kleenex!  More times than not, it is because they are pouring out their broken hearts to her.  Hearts that have been broken by a boy.  Despite wanting to just forget the part that you have been taught about guarding and protecting your heart, don’t do it.  I promise you it is worth it.  It is worth it at 15…and it is still worth it now! 

Most of those were pretty serious…but please don’t skip this last one.  I think about it every day, and I do mean EVERY DAY. 


Put some effort into learning how to fix your hair.  Please…I beg of you…LEARN HOW TO USE A ROUND BRUSH!!  Otherwise, you’ll be in your late twenties and won’t be able to do anything with it other than put it up in hot rollers or pull it back in a ponytail.  Don’t worry, all your friends will come to you for advice on how to get the best curl…but if you keep up your lackadaisical hair ways, that will be the only thing they come to you for in the hair department!  The hot roll is great, but a few other styles would be helpful. 

I know this won’t fix all of your problems, but that was never my intention.  Basically, that thing your mentor told you about keeping an eternal mindset…she was right.  If you keep that perspective, everything else will fall into place. Even still, there will be times when you mess-up.  Don’t get too hard on yourself when you do…that’s part of life.  You’ll learn from the mess-ups just like you will learn from the successes, and maybe even more so. 

Blessings and prayers,
The older and wiser You

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When Expectations and Reality Don’t Meet

How many times have you walked into a situation hoping and expecting one thing and then something totally different comes from it?  If you’re like me, it’s a number much too high to count.  While expectations aren’t necessarily bad, the problem is the disconnect that ensues between the expectations and reality often leads to confusion and discontentment. 

Not making sense?  How about an example?  Nine years ago I was a freshman at the University of Alabama.  I eagerly went through Recruitment and pledged a sorority.  I had heard the stories of sorority sisters being your best friends and had even seen it in my older sisters friendships.  I had great expectations that I would walk in those doors and find instant friends.  The problem was, that wasn’t the case for me.  I immediately doubted my decision to join a sorority.  If I wasn’t going to meet my best friends there, what was the purpose?  I seriously contemplated dropping out multiple times.  Thankfully, I chose to listen to someone older and far wiser than me.  While the conversation was years ago, I vividly remember being told that just because I thought the purpose of joining a sorority was to meet my best friends didn’t mean that it was the purpose that God had for me joining a sorority.  Maybe, just maybe, He had some other things that He wanted me to learn in addition to meeting friends.  At first, I didn’t want to hear it, but lots of prayer helped me to see that she was right.

Looking back, I can’t even begin to list the lessons that I learned from being in a sorority.  However, even now, if I compared my expectations to what actually happened, very few things would line up.  Through that experience, I truly learned the importance of taking all of my expectations and laying them at the foot of the cross.  It’s fine to dream, and it’s only natural to have expectations of what will happen…but in the end, we have to take those expectations and trust that God is far greater than any of them. 

I was reminded of this last night when I was talking to one of my newest “college girls.”  While her situation is quite different than mine, I could tell from her words that the issue was her expectations and reality just weren’t lining up. The discontentment and doubt had practically taken over every aspect of her life.  With each word, my heart ached more and more because I knew.  I had been there.  Even more, I knew that the area of doubt and discontentment is where the enemy loves to get the children of God because it practically paralyzes us.

Despite the tears in my throat, I encouraged her to think about her expectations, and then make the decision to erase those and replace them with the truth that God is sovereign and His plan is far greater than any of our expectations.  Unfortunately, it’s not a quick fix.  It doesn’t mean that things are going to be better for her overnight.  But, I know that learning the truth of expectations and reality is one that will benefit for her for years to come…just as it has me.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen…He Is Risen Indeed








What a wonderful Easter Sunday it has been!  Church.  Seersucker.  Friends that have become like family. Family that are some of my best friends.  A delicious dinner…complete with strawberry cake.  The Masters.  A nap.  The Masters playoff. 

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!

Spring Has Sprung

Sorry for the break.  Life has been crazy…filled with papers, tests and lots of things that I can’t really post to the world wide web.  Instead of putting my words out for others to see, I’ve filled the pages of my journal.  It’s been wonderful, but now I’m ready to jump back on the blog bandwagon. 

I’m 6 weeks away from being completely finished with my second semester of school.  Not gonna lie…there have been many times during the past few months that I doubted if I would make it this far.  If my count is correct, I am 3 papers, 2 tests, and 3 finals away…I CAN DO THIS.  I WILL DO THIS!!

While lots of my time has been filled with school, there has been time for some fun. 

One of the best parts of school is you get a spring break.  Mine couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  I got to spend part of my time at the beach with some sweet high schoolers and finished up the last part recuperating from the lack of sleep and relaxing at home.  I even got to read a book for pleasure!!  Such a novelty!


I’ve also taken full advantage of the beautiful spring weather in Alabama.  Lots of walks…and even some runs.  Lots of baseball games.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Grocery Store Trip To Remember

Growing up I loved going to the grocery store.  My Dad and I went together on Saturday mornings.  It was our time.  While I still enjoy it, I don't look forward to it like I used to.  Since I don't enjoy cooking for one, the foods I purchase are much more mundane, so the trips themselves often leave much to be desired.  

After putting the trip off for more than a week, there was no getting around the grocery store today.  I proceeded to get my cart and scurry through the aisles as quickly as possible during my lunch break...head down so as not to be distracted by anyone.  Thankfully, the lines were short today.  I began to place my items on the conveyor belt...happy to be in and out in record time...when I heard a voice from behind me.  

The lady behind me in line appeared to be in her mid 50s and said she couldn't help but notice the book in my purse and wanted to know what it was about.  Now that I'm back in school, it's not uncommon for a book to find its way into my purse, so off the top of my head I had no clue what book she could be talking about.  A quick look brought a smile to my face.  She was looking at my copy of Made to Crave.  

Made to Crave was written by my sweet friend, Lysa TerKeurst, and it uses the idea of food to show how we were created to crave more than just food...we were created instead to crave God.  While many tell of pounds lost due to journeying through the book, Lysa is quick to point out that the book was not written as a weight loss book at all.  The book was written to help all of us get to the core of who we are and what we are wrongfully craving more than our Heavenly Father.  

As I explained the premise of the book, the sweet ladies eyes filled with tears.  She began to tell me that she had struggled with bulimia for years and had only recently gotten out of a treatment center.  I stood in the check out lane in awe.  As she spoke, I knew that this was no "chance" meeting.  This was God ordained.  I began rifling through my book...pulling out all of the little post it notes that I had stuck in it along the way.  With underlines and highlights, it wasn't brand new, but I knew that this book was supposed to go to my new friend.  Despite her protests for me to keep the book, I placed it in her hands and quickly prayed that the Lord would bless her reading it just as he did mine.

Thinking that was as good as it could possibly get for the day, I turned around to the cashier to pay for my groceries.  I slid my debit card and typed in my pin only to find out that it had been declined.  How in the world could that be?  I knew I had much more than enough.  Embarrassed, I glanced down at my card and noticed that it had expired last month.  As I was trying to see if it would be possible to hold my groceries while I ran down to get cash (the grocery store I was shopping at only takes cash and debit), my new friend stepped up and insisted that she pay.  I tried to stop her, but her card was run before I had the chance to put up a fight.  

As I fought back the tears while bagging my groceries, I couldn't help but smile as I heard the cashier discussing the series of events with the gentleman behind us in line.  The man mentioned he could hardly wait to get home so he could tell his wife all about it.  The cashier was just surprised that things like that even happened anymore.  

Before I left, I gave my new friend a hug, thanked her for her generosity and assured her that I would be praying for her.  While it's true I may never know what becomes of the book or my friend Linda, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God ordained every detail of the grocery store encounter today...and that leads me to believe that He's not through working in the situation!