Category Archives: Parenting

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Penicillin Allergy

It had been a full holiday season and all of the Christmas gifts had been opened and played with. My sweet 3 year old son had come down with an ear infection and we went to the Pediatrician to get our routine prescription of penicillin. A few days later, he had full body hives and we discovered he had a penicillin allergy.

My trusted Pediatrician informed me that there are two types of allergies to antibiotics: mild or life threatening. She determined my son’s allergy was life threatening and immediately removed the bottle of antibiotics from the room. He was to never have another dose of penicillin or any of the other forms of penicillin again because it could trigger anaphylaxis shock.

This was serious, and I knew all to well how serious it truly was. Three years prior, my husband went into anaphylaxis shock as he entered his local Dr’s office.anaphylaxis shock We were both clueless that he was so close to death at this point that I was driving him to the clinic, not the emergency room. He was posting on Facebook.

I walked out of the Pediatrician’s office feeling panicky because I never wanted to relive another event like that. Up to this point in my motherhood, I had always relied on antibiotics to treat common childhood illnesses like ear infections. I knew there were other antibiotics on the market he could use, but they were stronger and scarier. They were unknown. None of the other mommies I knew had dealt with this and I was at a loss.

Fast forward one year to an essential oils class that my friend had invited me to. I was interested in holistic healing, I had been visiting a naturopath myself recently and wanted a more natural approach to illness and disease.

Up to that point, my son had not experienced another ear infection, or anything else that required antibiotics and I was grateful, but I felt like my luck would run out at some point.

As I was sitting in my first oils class and learning about all of the benefits of using essential oils, I knew that I had found my answer. The relief was palpable and I didn’t have to secretly sit and worry about when the next ear infection was going to hit. I had new tools in my tool belt.

The words penicillin allergy were no longer a threat in my mind.

This is the number one reason why I choose essential oils to treat my family’s sickness. It’s #mywhy; my motivation for teaching others and sharing them with friends. Even this week as I fill out the medical forms as school is starting, I still have to mark down “penicillin allergy” on my son’s forms, but it serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come.

If you’ve never tried using them for yourself, what are you afraid of?

Email me today  ddeirdre (at) yahoo (dot) com and we can find a class together for you to learn and ask questions in. You won’t regret it!

penicillin allergy

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From Maleficent to Big Hero Six: A Memoir

Category : Our Story , Parenting

The movie Maleficent was released in May of 2014, but in true Hopkins’ form, we did not go to opening weekend. We waited until August after it had been released to the dollar theater. As we were driving home processing the movie and the story line in the car, it hit me; our new puppy’s name was Beasty. We had adopted him from a litter where he was the runt. Still projected to be a big guy once fully grown, he was 5 weeks old when he entered our house. We had toyed around with names and every family member had their own favorite but none of them were sticking and I knew we needed to agree on one fast.

In the movie, Maleficent nicknames the baby girl Beasty. It’s a bit of a play on words as Maleficent is a fictional creature in form and this human child a beast. She begins her relationship initially detesting the baby and wishing it dead by placing a curse on her. But after time, Maleficent’s heart softens and the little girl makes a place in her life. Much like my relationship with our new puppy, I fought it hard. I never considered myself a dog person, nor did I want more responsibility. But, eventually my kids desires and my husband’s prodding won out and the pup made his way into our home. I could relate with Maleficent’s feeling for the child in the movie and his name became Beasty.IMG_1910 IMG_1912
And with that the 2014 school year began.





He schooled us. I never thought we could learn anything from a dog, but he taught us about ourselves. We found new areas of self discipline and compassion and love in our hearts.  He was there for the first day of school and the first family camping trip that we took. He celebrated Christmas with us.IMG_2031 IMG_2242  IMG_2245    IMG_2534 IMG_2602

After a particularly normal week, Beasty woke up with his left arm paralyzed on a Saturday morning. As he limped out of his kennel, Jesse and I thought he had injured his paw. We carried him outside to his food bowl. But as the hours wore on, we noticed his fever of 106 degrees. We urgently took him into the only vet clinic open on a Saturday afternoon and hoped for the best.













We were told it was neurological. Blood tests were inconclusive and they recommended we check him in overnight for intensive care. We chose to take him home and give him the round the clock care he needed. We gave him cold baths to keep the fever at bay and kept him hydrated via syringe feedings. No one wanted to leave his side.

IMG_2614 IMG_2613He withstood all of the prodding and discomfort because he was a fighter. We could tell he wasn’t done yet. We held out hope but the pain was too unbearable. Anytime he laid on his left side, he would whimper and holler. The antibiotics weren’t working and the anti-inflammatory pills would wear off within the allotted time. I even resorted to using essential oils to try and find some pain relief for him.    We were trying to buy more time to find an answer.

After 2 weeks of fighting to keep him alive, we faced the reality that had been staring us in the face the whole time. The vets were perplexed and we didn’t want him to live in pain. As we said goodbye to our 7 month old puppy, it was clear to me that he had made his way into all of our hearts with his unending loyalty. IMG_2620 IMG_2619 IMG_2625 IMG_2624 IMG_2626Ainsley made paw prints for us to remember him by and she took his collar off to keep in her room. We all drove to the vets office together on a Friday night to say goodbye. As we drove away, I had to count my kids twice to make sure we had everyone because it felt like someone was missing. We all cuddled upstairs together to watch Big Hero 6, a movie about loss and grief. It was fitting and comforting all at the same time.

They say it’s good for children to experience grief because it won’t be so foreign for them later on in life. They say that kids bounce back faster and move on quicker. I’m not sure if I agree yet. Ask me in a few years. I am learning a lot about grief and the different ways my kids express themselves. There is no right or wrong way to go about it and everyone does it differently. We will often share our memories of Beasty when they come up because they are always good ones. He gave us an adventure filled with lots of laughs and we will forever be grateful.


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Word of the Year 2015

Every year, instead of resolutions or goal setting, I focus on finding one word.

Just one. A word of the Year.

It’s a word that I want to guide me through the year. Something I feel the Holy Spirit speaking directly to me, for me, about me. When I come to a decision, or a rocky place, I often go back to my word for the year and contemplate what to do form there. It’s been very helpful for the past 3 years.     201220132014… and this year’s word is…


images-7How many choices in a year do you think a person encounters? How many choices of those, are life altering? I’m 34 years old and I have finally come to the conclusion that my life is the sum of the choices I have made. Marriage problems? I chose the man I married. Health problems? Excluding genetics, I made food and wellness choices that have affected my body up to this point. When I feel overwhelmed in parenting and I wonder how I have 3 kids living under my roof, I remind myself that I chose this. Sex makes babies. I’m a doula, I know this. When I’m stressed out because my calendar feels too full, it’s the reality that I choose what gets added onto that little screen with boxes on it. These things are what represent and make up my life. And they all have a common thread; my choice.

images-6You always have a choice. Stop the pity party and the blame game. Take responsibility for the choices or lack of in your life and recognize the opportunities everyday to make new choices. Today is a new day and it doesn’t have to look like yesterday. The Bible talks about this in several places. But when you look up the word “choice” in the Bible, it is most often referred to as an adjective. The choice meat. The choice offering. The best of the bunch or carefully selected in other words.

Proverbs 21:20 NIV

In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.
images-8In order to take leadership of your life, I believe we have to grasp this concept of making wise choices. There’s always options and curves in the road and it’s hard to know which choice is the right one. My remedy for this is to give my first consideration to Jesus. Just by simply asking Him what He wants is the best first step. His leadership is perfect. His ways are higher than our ways and he’s altogether wise. Jesus? It’s a simple question.
In 2015, may I inquire more of Him and realize that my life is the sum of my choices.

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Killing Head Bugs With Essential Oils

You know that dreaded feeling; the moment you realize your child has a head full of bugs. Ahhhh! I secretly wished that we would be able to dodge that bullet as a family, like entirely. I mean, I wash my kids’ hair for goodness sake! How did this happen? killing lice with essential oils
Well, regardless of how clean we think we scrub their heads, it turns out bugs like a clean head. Go figure. This is what I found crawling through my four year old’s head. I could see it as I sat next to him eating my dinner. Nice right? In traditional mamma monkey fashion, I instinctively picked it off his head and started combing for more. When I found the second and third one, I started freaking out which led to a swift buzz cut.12485_10154347645530273_6653311468769641878_n
After we removed all of the live adults, I felt a bit better, but then it dawned on me that they lay eggs. Oh geeze! I didn’t have the first clue how microscopic those little devils could be, or how long it would take to kill them. (Newbie here.) As my husband turned to Facebook for advice, I turned to my Essential Oils Desk Reference; the encyclopedia of oils. Thankfully, there is a protocol and I had most of the oils listed for bugs. That’s when I started feeling some relief. I didn’t have to run to the store and buy a special shampoo, I already had an arsenal on my counter-top. AND, I didn’t have to worry that I was soaking my four year old’s brain with hazardous pesticides.

“The most common remedy for lice is lindane, (gamma benzene hexachloride), a highly toxic polychlorinated chemical that is structurally very similar to hazardous banned pesticides such as DDT and chlordane. It is so dangerous that Dr. Gary Sansfacon, head of Quebec Poison Control in Canada has requested that lindane be banned.”


What I appreciated about our Facebook community was that no one suggested we use the bug shampoo. Either they understand my level of crunchiness, or they understand the caution when using pesticides. Either way, they all had some really helpful solutions that were all natural and easy. Things like:

  • Running the stuffed animals through a hot dryer cycle
  • Put all of the bedding and pillows in a trash bag. Squeeze the air out and tie it tight. Leave this for a few days to suffocate the vermin.
  • Mayonnaise or Coconut Oil all over the head will suffocate them
  • Tea tree shampoo
  • Vacuuming the car and the cloth seats
  • Boiling all of the hair brushes and combs
  • Treating all members if the family (infested or not)
  • And the best- BUZZ CUTS

That flower pot sitting on the mattress is my diffuser from Young Living. It pumps essential oils and water into the air and can cover up to 1000 square feet.

Basically, I did all of these things, with the addition of essential oils. I vacuumed the car and then sprayed the cloth seats with oils. I also coated my sons’ heads with coconut oil and essential oils for the following 5 days. I ran my diffuser, (essential oils and water) in their bedroom to disinfect the mattresses. Only one son was infested, but they share a room so I treated both boys.

So which oils did I use? The Essential Oils Desk Reference recommends:

  • Melaleuca Alternifolia- otherwise known as tea tree oil. I didn’t have this single oil, but I did happen to have Melaleuca in a blend called Melrose.  3378

Melrose also contains rosemary, clove and Niaouli.

I keep this on hand for blemishes, skin conditions and ear aches. It’s also very effective for killing bugs!



  • Lavender- known as the Swiss Army knife of oils. It covers just about everything3575.

Outdoor sneezing, all skin conditions, rashes, bug bites, minor burns, & sleep aid!




  • Geranium- I didn’t have this single on hand, but I did have the blend called Joy.3372

Joy has 10 singles in it, including geranium. It’s included in the Starter Kit and is commonly used to combat feeling blue. When you know what’s in your bottles, blends are helpful because more than likely you will already have what you need.


  • Cinnamon & Rosemary- these oils are combined in the blend called Thieves.3423

This blend is highly effective against viruses and bacteria of all sorts. I did dilute it with coconut oil when I applied it to my son’s head so that it wouldn’t burn.

Click here to read more about what Thieves did for my family.

Other essential oils listed: peppermint, nutmeg, & thyme. I didn’t have any of those, but I trusted that the ones I did have were enough. After I applied the oils diluted with coconut oil, I covered our heads with shower caps. For the first night, we all slept with this mixture and the shower cap on our heads. For the following days, I applied the oils during the day, 3-5 times per day.Lice2 Lice1He wasn’t overly excited to wear the shower cap, but once we all were fashionably sporting one, he warmed up to it.

After 3 days of treatment, all of the little eggs were gone. They turned black and died. I did have to pick them out one by one in mamma monkey fashion, but it felt good to know they were dying. On day 3, my good friend came over who is an elementary school nurse to check all of our heads. She didn’t find any eggs on anyone’s head. Success!  I have heard of stories where it takes weeks to get rid of head bugs, but not with the oils.

As the new school year approaches, I’m planning on stocking up on my oils. They are multifunctional and for me, it’s a no-brainer. I also have started thinking along the lines of prevention. There’s a few stories about kids attending parties where everyone walked away with head bugs except the ones with lavender on their scalps. It’s a natural deterrent, and Young Living makes a wonderful lavender shampoo. Perfect for the upcoming school year!5100 If you are interested in purchasing some for your family, feel free to send me an email and we can chat, or you can use my online order form. YL_ID_alt_full_color







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Welcome Home, Hopkins Family!

Three weeks ago, we closed on our very own house! This is the second time we’ve ventured into this process of mortgages and commitment, and even though it’s a huge debt, I have an abundant amount of peace this time around. It feels like a gift from Jesus, straight from his heart. Have you ever just been blown away by how He loves you? Here’s the story behind the bricks….photo 2

For 2 years I’ve been admiring this house, or maybe more specifically it’s twin. For the past 2 years we have been in limbo; moving to a new city with our three kids and renting until we had more direction for our future. I can’t even remember how many conversations Jesse and I have had about moving. Where do we want to live? What do we ultimately want for our kids? What are the consequences of being nomads?

It was exhausting, but it was a good lesson in learning to live in the moment.

Living with intention, being wholeheartedly content with the limbo was a challenge and I had my days, but we’re all human. I had thoughts that we were going to stay in limbo forever, forgotten by God, without vision. I even scanned for an oil called Into the Future. The zyto never lies! But in the midst of it all, I had to believe God had it under control. He hadn’t forgotten us and I had to praise Him in the middle of it all. If He can move mountains, He’s totally got this.

About 2 months ago, we came to a cross roads and had to make a decision. Stay or go. For various reasons, we decided to stay. We have to believe that there’s no wrong decision when Jesus walks by our side. He’s there and He will guide us faithfully. We can trust His leadership because it’s perfect.

So for 2 years I had been investing into my relationships; meeting neighbors, beginning to trust people, integrating myself into community. I had been in my neighbor’s house a few times and fell in love with it. Prefect floor plan, gorgeous floors. And every house I toured with our relator I compared to my neighbor’s. The problem was I didn’t find anything comparable. My neighbor and I had a deal; if she happened to move, I would buy it, but we both knew that was a long shot. Or so I thought…  In our neighborhood there are lots of similar floor plans, trust me, I think I’ve looked at every single one. But there was only 1 house that looked similar to my neighbor’s. As we were nearing the end of our lease, I secretly contemplated knocking on the door to the twin mystery house and asking if they would consider selling. I did feel a bit crazy and talked myself out of it.

No less than 3 weeks later, the mystery house had a Coming Soon sign in front of it. I almost screamed when I noticed it, but decided to be patient because they obviously weren’t ready for showings. That weekend I was talking to my neighbor about it and she said, “yea, that’s the twin house.” That WHAT?!?

Two twin sister’s built twin houses, seven years ago. TWIN houses; like same flooring, same cabinetry, same paint colors. TWIN HOUSES. The house I had been coveting admiring for the past two years was finally for sale! I could hardly believe it. She encouraged us to knock on the door because she knew the owners as she had bought the other twins’ house via For Sale By Owner. The very next day, we walked over to the house and knocked on the door, mentioning the sign and asking for initial information. We found out that the owners were very sweet people who also happen to go to our church. An insta-friendship developed and we ended up buying the house via For Sale By Owner.

Two identical twins, building identical houses, selling them in identical ways. Wow!         And can I just tell you, this has been the easiest, most pain free process I have ever been apart of? Almost as if God had been preparing my heart for two years for this, and the sellers have expressed the exact same thing. Even agreeing on a purchase price has been simple. No back and forth negotiating, no stress, no worry. Thank you Jesus.

Over a decade ago, I remember a conversation Jesse and I had with Pastor Mark. We were talking through the verse in Psalms 34:7. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”   His question to us was, does God give us our random desires when we delight in Him, or does He plant those desires in our hearts when we delight in Him already knowing they will come to pass? It’s an interesting idea to 3

Either way, we feel planted, home and at peace. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I do know who is in control of it and I trust Him. I’m learning to grow where I’m planted.

Welcome home Hopkins family!


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Labor and Delivery [5 min. Friday]

A birth quote for you! When thinking about labor and delivery, think on this…

“The family is born in the delivery room.”  -Johnny Lind, M.D.

Labor and DeliveryHere I am, days before my daughter was born; days before my family was born. As I look back on my growing family, this quote remains so true. God talks about marriage and the union of the husband and wife as two becoming one. They are of one flesh and one body. Marriage is a holy union in which I highly respect, but it’s in the delivery room that the family is born.

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Birth Story {2nd addition}

Dear Ashden,

My sweet baby boy; as we waited in the living room for the line to show on the pregnancy test, it was decided that your Dad and sister would look at the test and deliver the results. I was much too nervous. You were a surprise from Heaven, a gift from above and I was a wreck. At that time in my life, I didn’t know how to take the present God had graciously gifted to me and unwrap it with care. I didn’t know how to receive good things from the Father; but I know now that the Father only gives good and perfect gifts.

As Daddy and Ainsley emerged from the bathroom, I tried to read their faces and listen to their words but I was in shock. This wasn’t according to plan, I was not in control. As the news sunk in I revealed my true feelings to only those most trusted in my life. Processed. Absorbed. And then the bleeding began. Within the hour my heart had accepted this precious gift from above, I was facing the reality of loosing it: of loosing you.

As I raced to the OBGYN, I prayed my guts out. Only a momma knows what it’s like to pray for her baby. This literal life growing deep within you, wholly dependent on you. That’s when I knew I had finally unwrapped the gift from God, as my prayers for your body and soul drenched my cheeks.

The 10 week ultrasound showed an intact gestational sac and a strong little heartbeat. I was relieved. The bleeding was a result of a placental abruption; partially separating from the uterine wall resulting in blood loss. Miraculously, the bleeding stopped and the placenta remained attached to the uterus. I had bonded and wanted to meet this little life on this side of Heaven. So I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for a little boy with blue eyes and that’s exactly what God gifted. You are fearfully and wonderfully made my son.


7 weeks

As delivery time neared, I realized your due date was Easter weekend. A beautiful time of year for a birthday; the trees are budding, the grass is greener and flowers have emerged from hiding but Easter weekend also meant that my OB was out of town. So at my 39th week appointment, she routinely swept my membranes to get the party started. Her office called and asked if I wanted to schedule an induction, in order to avoid going into labor while she was out of town so that I could stick with my trusted Doctor. My gut said no. My mind and my logic said yes, it was the best thing to stick with the person I had trusted for 9 months. After much deliberation and prayer, I decided against the induction and I am so thankful I listened to my gut. I had possibly just avoided the largest risk factor for an unplanned C-section.

As the weekend began and Easter preparations were being made, I knew the slight cramps were the beginning of labor. After coming very close to an epidural free delivery with my 1st labor, I knew that was the goal I wanted to set my eyes on. As the cramping became heavier and Good Friday became dark, I found myself on my bed, unable to talk through the contraction and unable to yell to my husband to announce, “it’s time!” The hospital was an hour away and the drive to the hospital was excruciating. Folded into the front seat of a Honda civic, we arrived at the hospital at midnight. Good Friday had passed, but my thoughts were continually drawn to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The amount of pain I was experiencing, I knew, would be the closest I would ever come to empathizing with my Savior. As He hung on the tree for me, and endured the cross out of love, the parallel of a mother’s love ran deep.

After being admitted, I was at 5 cm dilation. Praise the Lord for those contractions! They had been doing the hard work of opening the cervix and for that I was grateful. It had not been for nothing. The on-call doctor had been advised, and I was scared. My trusted advisor was out of town and I felt like I was flying solo. My husband was helpful, but also tired and we were not educated well in pain management. If I had chosen a midwife and a doula to accompany me on this journey, I believe the rest of the story may have been much different. I needed more support, more advice, more knowledge and more encouragement in those wee hours of the morning. The nurses were only so helpful, and the on call doctor was no where to be found until the pushing began. And so as any woman who enters the transition phase of labor, I began to believe I couldn’t do this anymore.

Transition As the body adjusts to accommodate the last few centimeters of dilation, just before you begin pushing, the hormone levels are so high that you will see undeniable physical signs. The major emotional marker for this stage is giving up. Another physical sign is the inability to relax or be comfortable. A woman who was handling labor well may suddenly find that she has no idea what to do and nothing is comfortable any more. At this point, it is the job of her coach or labor partner to assist her into various positions in an attempt to find the one that will keep her most comfortable.  –

At 2:40 am I had felt defeated and asked for the epidural. I was 7 cm dilated with very strong contractions. The nurses wanted me to stay on the bed, but I was very uncomfortable. I was hooked up to an IV and they did not want me to walk the halls or get into the shower, or try anything to manage the pain naturally. I had wanted this birth to be different from my first. After the epidural had taken effect, I tried to sleep, but was overly anxious. I couldn’t feel my toes, legs or abdomen. I literally was so numb that wiggling my toes was impossible. This was the very thing I wanted to avoid and it had happened again. As I told the nurses that I couldn’t move my legs, my complaint was dismissed. The out of control feeling I had felt during transition, did not go away after the epidural was administered. I still felt helpless, numb, paralyzed, without a voice.

At 4:10 am, my baby’s heart rate dropped. I faced the possibility of an unplanned C-section yet again. As the nurses rushed in and rolled me over because my muscles were too numb to do so on my own, we listened intently for the little heart beat to rise again. I breathed the oxygen, praying silent tears alone as my husband slept on the couch. I felt helpless, paralyzed, without a voice and so I spoke to the One who I knew would listen to me. I prayed for my baby again just as I had done at 10 weeks. I asked for health, protection and sovereign grace.

As the heart beat raised, so did the back of my bed. I had dilated to 10 centimeters and was ready to push, or so they told me. I needed help from the nurses to raise myself up, to get into the stirrups, to bring my bottom forward. Still overly numb and paralyzed, they each had to hold a leg in order to keep them from falling out of the stirrups. Dead weights, I felt like an inconvenience to them. At 5:00 am I started pushing, but with little feeling in my abdomen, bottom or legs, I couldn’t tell if I was pushing right. How hard? How long? The ring of fire was absent. Feeling very inadequate, watching the doctor’s face as he waited impatiently and on-call. Knowing in my head that it did not take me this long to push out the first. At 6:32 am my sweet blue eyed baby boy was born with the routine episiotomy preformed. My husband and I had objected, firmly stating that in our birth plan; routinely missed by our care providers.

The baby was born and I was relieved, but even as they whisked him away for the routine newborn procedures, I struggled with my sense of loss. Still feeling a strong lack of control, numb from the waist down and unable to voice my concerns. I became the patient in the recovery room who stayed too long. Can you feel your legs yet, they said. Are you able to walk? Do you need to use the restroom? Longing to get out of bed, but still paralyzed, the patient who stayed in recovery for 6 long hours. I finally regained feeling in my legs and was able to transfer to the new room with my baby.0077What I learned from this birth I took into my next. Just as I had gained experience and knowledge with my first birth to bring with me this Easter weekend. My redeeming grace was that my sweet baby boy latched on like a pro and had a strong suck reflex. Thankful that the breastfeeding problems I had with my first baby were not repeating themselves, I began my new adventure in mothering a blue eyed, sweet baby boy. IMG_1337

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Echoing Words

“Ok”, she said looking very serious. And with one sly smile she takes my thumb in her hand and she says, “Mom, you can look at your thumbs when you miss me tomorrow too.”

We had a deal. I had given her a manicure and pedicure the night before school started. We painted sparkles on our thumbs and I told her that if she missed home or missed me at all during the day, to just look down and remember how much I love her.

I had given her the most reassuring words that I know, and then she gave them back.


“It’s ok mommy. It’s me, Balin. It’s me, I’m here,” he says as he’s climbing into bed with me at 6 am. He’s echoing the words I give to him as he’s awaking from a deep nap and trying to orient himself into reality. He knows them to be helpful and so he uses them.


He’s just found his desk and we’re standing side by side on the edge of a new school year. He’s holding my hand, and he tugs it downward as if to say he wants to whisper in my ear. As I bend down I feel him give me a kiss on the cheek as if to say the words that he cant muster in the moment. His eyes are slightly wet and he focuses on his crayons as he sits down. Echoing words, echoing actions. It’s a gift to hear our words echoed from our children’s hearts. It tells me that sometimes, I do get it right as a parent and I do choose life with my words. Please don’t be misled dear reader as this isn’t always the case, but in order to recognize the successes we must also be aware of the failures. I’m thankful for this gift of reflection, of echoing words and actions.


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When Motherhood is a Porch Swing

I have fond memories of my Grandma’s porch swing. The time we spent just gazing into the distance, the mountains and blue skies of Colorado are a memory I will hold dear forever. My Grandma is a strong woman, always up for the remodeling task at hand, but after she would get done working I could always count on those familiar words.

“Hey, let’s go swing out back.”

It was an invitation to be and nothing more. An invitation to talk, to be soothed by the back and forth rhythm of the chains gently creaking against themselves. I knew that to be a constant in my childhood.

When Jesse asked my what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I knew the answer- a porch swing. I want to give my kids the same thing my Grandma gave me, herself. I want to just be with my kids; to give them that space to fill as they wish. That constant, soothing rock and presence of Mom.

Now, of course I also remember the times when the swing would fall from the porch and each time after that it was a gamble to sit on as a group. (We still tease my Grandma about that.) And the times as a kid when we would swing a little too high and knock into the brick wall. (Discipline usually ensued after that.) But, isn’t the journey of motherhood similar to the porch swing?

Most days it’s all routine; back and forth, back and forth. Wake the kids, dress the kids, feed the kids, occupy the kids, bathe the kids and do it all again the very next day. Wash the laundry, make the meal, load the dishwasher. It’s a constant, a rhythm. And then there are those days when you hit the brick wall or the swing just falls out from underneath you all together. Oh yes, those days when it’s hard to find the soothing rhythm but you long for it so.

Motherhood is the great equalizer. It’s a great teacher, a 200 grit piece of sand paper to the selfishness of the will and a testament that God still performs miracles inside the womb. Today I am so thankful to be on the journey.

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Dear Ainsley, I will let you down

We had a short visit with Jesse’s Mom this weekend for Easter and it was great. My kids were able to spend time with another generation, always an invaluable activity. I really place importance on joining the generations because there is a richness and a heritage that comes from it. As I said goodbye to her and exited the airport, I was struck by the new song from Shane & Shane titled, The One You Need. In the song, the Daddy is speaking to his little girl. He pours his heart out explaining how he wants to be the one to protect her, to show her love and affection and be her knight in shining armor. As the song progresses, he confesses that as his ambitions are high and his love for her is great, he knows he will let her down. And it struck me as raw, honest truth.

Isn’t it so parents? Oh how we love our children and want to do right by them! We want to protect them from every pain- the bruises and the harsh words. We want to be the one to comfort them in the nurses office when they walk in with a scrape. We want to be the one they call in college with a broken heart, but the truth is we will let them down. `And the truth that accompanies that is that Jesus is the One they need. He will never let them down. When we aim our kids in His direction, as arrows in the quiver, we do right by them.

We all feel like we make mistakes, and we do. Some of us wish we knew more than we did when we started this parenting journey. Coincidentally, I contributed to this topic at MommysOrganics today in the post, Why didn’t someone tell ME it would be like this?!

Parenting is hard, and we all will look back with regrets no matter how diligent and “on top of things” we are. If I can grasp the fact that I will let Ainsley down, then I can allow myself to make mistakes with grace knowing that if I point my kids to Jesus, His grace is sufficient. Jesus is the One they need and Jesus is the One I need- he covers my blunders.