A new spot.

I have found a new place I want to hang out. Not a new, cute coffee shop, or delightful corner at a restaurant. My new place is going to be my closet That is, of course, if I can get over the smell of Brandon’s shoes. I mean really, no one should be wearing shoes without socks, especially not in a warm climate. But this is happening, regardless of that, um, minor set back. I’m not on an organizing kick, or having typical girl trouble picking out an outfit for the day (why is that so hard sometimes?!) Nope, it’s going to be dual functioning, half closet, half new place where I’m going to commit to meeting with Jesus. I’m going to start meeting with him the way Priscilla describes how her grandma meets with Jesus. “The way she’d meet with any important friend-faithfully, personally, punctually.”

I used to have a little nook in my closet. I watched the movie War Room about two years ago, and it took me a little bit to get past the warm cheesyness that I only like on my pizza. But once I did, man, it did something to me. I wanted that kind of prayer life. So I started making changes. I created a little spot in our guestroom closet in Katy. I say little, it was huge because of course even the closets are bigger in Texas. This was the place I went to for my quiet time. I cleared one wall of rubbermaids, and beneath the adorable hanging onesies, I started writing out prayers and posting them there. New prayers, old prayers. The cries of my heart. Thanking the Lord. Begging the Lord. Praising the Lord.Reminding the Lord. Reminding myself. It was a beautiful time in my life, but I immediately stopping going into that closet when my third was born. I lost all ability to find a spare moment for myself, and when those rare moments came, for my sheer survival, I slept.

However, my youngest daughter is now one. One whole year has gone by with zero time in my prayer closet. I’ve still been praying, but not nearly as regularly, and not at all strategic. And my prayers more so feel like a desperate cry. Please help me____. Please forgive me for ______ again. There is less thankfulness than there used to be. Less time just basking in His presence, and more so a feeling of just doing it because I am desperate and need Him. Which, of course, being desperate and needing Jesus isn’t a bad thing. Hello, that’s life. That’s real every day life if you are breathing. But I feel like I’ve been in this state, this pure survival mode mentality, for just a little too long. It’s almost as if the crisis has passed (ie the mayhem that was packing up life in Texas, living out of a suitcase for 3 months, and moving internationally with three little kids) and I’m still in survival mode.

It’s time to breathe. It’s time to form new habits and disciplines that my heart, mind, and body need in order to not just survive, but thrive.

I ordered Priscilla Shier’s book, Fervent, over 4 months ago. I re-discoverd it when I cleaned out my nightstand. Is anything more delightful than finding a book you’ve wanted to read just hiding and waiting for you? Okay, maybe money. Or a new nail polish. Oooo or earrings! Anyway, I digress. The book is amazing. I’m only on chapter 3, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a game changer for me. The way Priscilla talks feels like she’s speaking right to me. She’s sassy, strong, and determined. She isn’t messing around, and her desire in writing this book is to help others figure out how to find their own “Battle Plan for serious, specific and strategic prayer.” Ya, I’m going to say an emphatic YES to this.

I’m still working on Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide for the year, click here to check it out. Because man I just love it. But every time I sit down to dream and think through the year, I can’t seem to come up with anything. So, I’ll be patient and wait for that. Because right now I’m tempted to just put whatever comes to mind down, just so I can fill out that blank white paper staring back at me. But I will not succumb to my own peer pressure. I am not going to make goals that I’m not convinced are what I need to be doing for the year. So I’ll wait.

In the meantime, I’m starting the prayer closet. I’m pretty sure any time spent alone and undistracted with Jesus won’t be time wasted. Oh! And I also got a treadmill for Christmas. Does it mean I’m getting old, or am just boring, if I am really excited for this? I haven’t found my rhythm in working out yet here in Nicaragua and I have a sneaking feeling it’s messing with my mental well being! I need to get some stress relief in! I need some time to pound the preverbal rubber, and get some endorphins released!

So cheers to starting new things. Here is to creating new disciplines and habits. Here is to saying, um yes, I’d like 2018 to be different. I’d like to be a stronger, wiser, more passionate, kinder, more loving, version of myself. Who is with me?


The Front Seat Husband

I just wrote an article for a lovely online magazine and adorable shop called Charming House Market. Click here to check it out.  I think you will find what they have created to be well, charming, and it’s also a fun place to shop! They have a blog too, and that is where they just published my article! I’m so excited!!!!


Since the birth of my firstborn almost five years ago, my husband has slowly moved from the front seat of my mind, my day, and my routine, to barely hanging onto the rear bumper. We said ‘I do’ almost fifteen years ago, and while my love for him has only deepened through the years, it’s recently that I’ve come to see this slip from his rightful place in the lineup. I think it’s because he doesn’t need me to dress him, bathe him, feed him, wipe him, fix his hair, or brush his teeth. And that means his needs come last to the other three in our house who cannot perform any of those tasks on their own.

Sure, everyone says it will change. As my kids get older and they don’t need all those basic needs met by their mama, I’ll have plenty of time and energy to give to my husband. In theory. Because I have a feeling that I’m forming some bad habits. And while it’s 100% true that my kids are young, and at very needy ages, does that mean my husband and I just have to put each other on hold for the next year? Or Two? Because, while I don’t have any children over five yet, I’m pretty sure kids don’t get any less needy, their needs just change over the years.

And that’s okay. I am their mother, and it’s my job to take care of their needs. A job that, most days, is kind of the best job ever. And I am busy filling the storage on my phone with videos of them and creating any sort of art with their handprints and footprints because I am aware that these precious ages where fun is had collecting rocks as we walk around the block, and being completely enthralled with bubbles isn’t going to last very long. But I fear this season has been longer than just a season, and it’s taking a toll on my most favorite person.

But change is possible. And I think this particular change has to start in my heart and mind and move into what I say, think, and do. I have to stop thinking that because my husband doesn’t need me to feed him or dress him that he doesn’t need me. My children, even at young ages, need to see their daddy being loved on, being made a priority, above them. Even if it means they are ignored sometimes. Or told to wait. Or served last at the dinner table, while they squirm and use their utensils to serenade us. And to keep up good habits, like “table time”, a magical time after dinner when we send the kids off to play on their own, for ten whole minutes while we talk about our day.

It’s almost as if the daily grind and routine, as inconsequential as it feels, is exactly where the change needs to occur. Because every parent knows regular date nights are a necessity, but since that usually only occurs once a week if the stars align and budgets allow, I think the greater concept of date night, of putting each other first, of serving one another’s needs regularly, needs to happen on a more micro level.

What have I done, today, to show my children that I love their daddy? How did I, today, demonstrate to my husband that he is special and thought of? How did I speak to him, today, in front of the kids, neighbors, and these four walls? Because those are the moments that make up a lifetime together. The minutes that turn into days, that span months and years, that ultimately decide what kind of marriage we are making. The good news is; tomorrow is a new day, a brand new chance to get my heart right before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me afresh so I can, indeed, love and serve my husband in way that I cannot possibly do in my own strength. And I will take it one day at a time until new habits begin to form and the love of my life knows he is loved by me, not because I tell him but because I am now showing him. Every. Single. Day.



I have never in my whole life been so excited to do laundry.

We’ve been without a washer for about two weeks now, leaving the giant job of cleaning clothes to A. hand washing or B. trying to be casual about asking to bring over dirty clothes and use new friends washing machines. No, that’s not awkward at all. “Hello, nice to meet you. Yes, we’d love to come over for a play date. How has life been since we arrived? Do we need help with anything” YES. Actually. I’m going to say YES. When we come over for a play date, and we’re just getting to know each other, would you mind if I bring a load of dirty clothes to throw in your washer? Cool. Thanks”

Oh my word. It’s been so hard for me to do this. But for my own survival, I’ve gotten over it. Hand washing isn’t fun, but it’s not the act of the washing that isn’t working for me. It’s the fact that you can only get clothes so dry when you wring them out. Then, try to get those babies dry when it’s been raining every single day. It adds up to a lot of not dry laundry that ends up not even smelling that great because it’s been taken inside and outside and back in again. Trying to get it dry but avoiding the raindrops that come on suddenly has made for some pretty entertaining moves that the kids find hilarious.

I, on the other hand, am exhausted. Have you heard of something called the poverty of time? To sum it up in one over simplified sentence, it’s this:  one of the many reasons poor people have a hard time rising out of poverty is the loss of time doing basic things like hand washing clothes, collecting water, farming with only basic tools, cooking over fire, etc. The poor cannot attend basic school, or continuing education when they have to help the family simply do basic chores and survive.

And I’ve seen this time and again living abroad. But it’s funny, or rather ridiculous that I still forget that fact. I have spent the last two weeks doing nothing but thinking about, working on, moving towards one thing: doing laundry. Each day, as a family of five, we go through at least five outfits. That is of course best case scenario.

Take yesterday as an example of worst case scenario. In the middle of the night last night, Eliana wet the bed. Poor thing. (I think this is due to both processing new things and she’s SO tired when she goes to bed (because she’s not napping anymore) that she doesn’t wake up to go pee like normal). In the morning I access the situation: now I have an extra sheet, blanket, underwear and pj’s to wash. Naptime comes, and poor Audra wakes up crying. I give her a few minutes to see if she’ll go back to sleep and when she doesn’t I go into her room and get a lovely surprise. She has had a legit blowout. I pick her up before I realize just how bad it is, so now I have poo on my arm. And only until I lay her down, on my bed (since we don’t have anywhere else to change diapers) with newly washed sheets do I see and smell the gravity of the poo situation. Now there is poo on my bed. Insert bad word.

If I had a washer at my house, I’d simply be annoyed. Throw them in the washer and what’s another load? But here, minus a washing machine, not enough rope to line dry everything and rainy weather so nothing actually dries and it’s real kill joy. Well, that’s not entirely true.  Said baby was then smiling and coo’ing at me for the next hour since she had lost half her body weight in poo and felt like a million bucks.


So I met a new friend at church, who after she found out I didn’t have a washer she offered for me to use hers. She happened to be going out of town and told me to come over whenever I wanted to do a load, or twenty. Normally, I’d hmmm and haaaaa over it, and feel bad for saying YES, but not this time. We brought them pizza for dinner before the left, got the low down on her house and washer and I’ve been making daily trips to her house to laundry every day this week.

It’s solved 90% of my laundry issue. The other 10 is minor, but man trying to dry clothes during the rainy season is a problem. Of course I’m still playing the mix up change-a-roo game as I try to capitalize on the sun and breeze but am trying to avoid the rain. I have moved these four loads of laundry around the house and outside and back in now about 6 times in the last 24 hours and I’m glad to say they are all, finally, dry!! And remember, this is coming from a girl who lives in a nice house, with room to spread line and clothes all over when it does rain. I have to admit, that is one thing I love and also don’t love about living here. Not for one second can you feel sorry for yourself. Ever. As a foreigner that is. I mean heck, it’s like a rich person complaining about which car of their 5 they are going to drive because it’s just so hard to pick. Gag. I feel sorry for myself until I remember, duh, most of the people living here don’t have a washing machine. Most people don’t even have running water in their homes. (to be more exact about 37% do not have water in their homes)

So boo hoo poor me first world problems in the third world. They are no different than first world problems in the first world, you just can’t wallow in it very long here. And considering sometimes I’m the dramatic, wallowing type, I tend to think this is a very good thing for me. I’m then forced to suck it up and deal with it. And instead focus on what I do have, and choose to be thankful for that. Because, the fact is, I have three stinking adorable kids (even if said kids are the main culprits of my laundry woes!), I have a handsome and hard working husband who loves us dearly, and I live in a safe and beautiful home. These are not small things.