When you toss a pebble into a lake, the ripples reach much more lake than the initial stone. 

An overused metaphor, yet I can’t find a better one. 

I talked with my friend, Lisa, yesterday who I met in the 3rd grade. She is my laughter partner. I have never laughed as hard or as much with anyone else. My husband used to say, “I knew it was Lisa on the phone by how much you were laughing.”

She is a teacher in Texas now. She is spunky. Funny. Wise. Loving. She is one of those people that it doesn’t matter if it has been a month or a year, we always catch up where we left off with ease. Familiarity. Family like. We were family growing up. We still are.
As we were catching up, she told me about the war she is fighting at her daughter’s school. Her girls play high school volleyball and have a coach (with administrative backing) that is unprofessional and possibly more dangerous than that. 

She told me, “Because of your story, I cannot let this go unchecked. I am documenting dates, inappropriate conversations, and concerns of other parents.” 


I was sexually abused by a coach. And Lisa let that story open her eyes and change her. She has become an advocate for her girls and others because she saw me toss my pebble and felt the water move over her.

It made me cry. Sometimes I am not sure my pebble had any effect. Lisa reminded me it mattered.

On that same day, my daughter and I were at a weekly gathering where we talk a little about Jesus and life with four teenage girls. 

She told the group, “I help lead a group of middle school girls at youth group. They thought God made them sinners. And that he is mad at them. I stood up to a girl who is older than me who was telling them incorrect things. I told the girls that God intended us to live in Eden. He made us good. It was the fall the screwed things up. I told the girls that God likes them, thinks they are beautiful and made a way for them to come back to their Eden-like selves. That way is Jesus.” (I did my best at recreating the conversation).

Shock and awe. 

My girl, who I know has a deep heart, is out there demolishing the works of religion by telling students who God really is. 


I talk about these things. I try to expose my kids to people who believe truth. But I don’t know if it sinks in. I know God finds my kids and whispers in their ears through people, literature, songs, and movies. I felt so glad to know God’s pursuit, as well as my input, is affecting my daughter who affects others.

Later on in the month, I talked with a young mom who I have mentored from afar. We have had seasons of talking often, seasons of talking once every six months, and a season where I hurt her and we did not talk. As I spoke with her, I heard growth. 


Her fierce, I-am-unapologetically-me voice is strong. Much stronger than in years past. This girl is brave and funny. Kind. She loves Jesus. She is a loving mama. It is by her own choices that she has grown. And yet, I recognize my touch in it. There is a bit of her tender fierceness that reminds me of me. It shocks me. I am not surprised she has grown. She is that kind of woman. But I am stunned that I had a little part in it. 

Sometimes the good we give out fades and seems impotent in our own eyes.

I spoke with another friend who was brave enough to send her daughter to counseling. I am so impressed that she would risk that. I told her so. I often watch individuals be too afraid to risk opening themselves up to counseling. I am grateful to anyone who has the courage to look at their life. Let alone invite their child to that self-reflection. After I leave, she sends a text: “You do know that you are probably one of the biggest influences in my life in the area of self-care and caring for our family, don’t you?”


No. I didn’t. All I do is talk about the real-life things I live through. Yet, somehow that was enough. 

I feel embarrassed right now. Like I am being my own cheerleader and asking you to pick up a pom-pom too. And I feel grateful to be given a glimpse of the ripple of my life. Our choices have an effect on our world whether or not we see them. I want my choices to bring life and no-bullshit-goodness to those around me.

Keep tossing the stones, darling. 

What Do I Need?

I was watching a parenting video today where the teacher explained the value of inquiring, “What do you need?” All under the assumption that the stress in our reactions with our kids (or anyone for that matter) are unmet needs.

Or maybe you are the type of super parent who does not have stress in your reactions with your kids? That's not this writer-lady. Just today, I had to tell two of my kids that I cannot hear their questions any more or my head is going to explode. I don't think that would be in the parenting books. Unless it was a what "Not-to-do."

I immediately realize that it does NOT matter if I ask my kids what they need when I am not sure how to ask my self that very question.

It appears to me that most of my life, I have been under the guiding principle that I will not receive what I need, therefore it is my purpose to figure out how to live denying my need. And that is what I have done. 

Need safety? Not available, so don’t trust. 

Need help? Don’t ask, everyone has ulterior motives. 

Need to be heard? No one is really listening.
What a shift, to understand my needs are God-breathed, and worthy. This is not a simplistic thinking that I will always receive everything I need. Of course not. Our lives do not afford that. But it is a mature belief to recognize my needs are real. 

And worthy of being met.

How I wish this maturity was already bed-rock solid in my heart so I could give it away to my kids. But it’s not. I have to live in the mess of learning what it is to be me while trying to teach them to be themselves.

Just to be. 


I could tell you a thousand ways I have failed. I could also tell you a thousand ways I have not given up and so have succeeded. 

Want to know what I need right now at 4:20pm on a Monday? A Lights Out Stout (thank you Worthy Brewing) and to write this blog. To wrestle with my mind and tapping-key fingers, what does it mean to ask, “What do I need?” while inviting those I love to ask themselves the same question? 

It means that two answers can be valid at the same time. Maybe my husband needs something from me I can’t give. That breaks my heart. His need is worthy AND so is the reason I can’t give it. 

May we live in that tension with love. 

It means that my 7-year-old wanted me to take him to the pool but I paid his brother to do it so I could sit out on the patio, drink my beer, and wrestle with you.

I hear your response, or maybe I hear my own response, “You are so selfish. You beer-drinking-it’s-not-even-5pm mother who thinks she is more important that her kids.” 

If we acknowledge our need, we submit ourselves to other people thinking we are selfish. Or the contempt of thinking we ourselves are selfish. But the crazy reality that we cannot give one single thing we don’t possess keeps me from believing that. I want with all my heart to ask my those I love, “What do you need?” with the ability and desire to meet them. And I cannot move nearer to that without embracing my own need. 

So today. Monday at 4:28pm. I need a community of friends. I need God to show up loud and big. I need kindness. I need direction. I need to be understood. I need kick-ass adventure. I need playfulness and big dreams. I need to know my life has an impact on others for GOOD.

I bless every need I have AND I refuse to punish those I love when they are unable to offer the hoped for response. Instead, I will live in tension of belief that we are all worthy of receiving what we need, whether we receive it or not.

May we learn to articulate need with artful precision.

Mother's Day 2016

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I am posting what I penned last year. Maybe tomorrow, I will write about 2017.


I had my favorite kind of Mother’s Day. We packed up the kids and dogs and went on a new hike in Eastern Oregon. It was warm, sunny, and there was a tickling breeze. The drive there and back was exploding with intricate green creation.

The day wasn’t about perfection. It wasn’t about finishing the hike. It was about play. Beauty. Enjoying each other. There were moments I was frustrated. I always yearn to finish the summit. But with four kids, sometimes you just can’t. And I was able to let it go and look around me.

I saw my daughter. Beautiful. Curious. Her favorite moments where digging up crystal in a trickling stream bed. And laying in a rock bed, made just for her, with her feet in the creek. She was irritated by the heat and the hiking.

My oldest son found himself a bed on moss and stretched out for a nap. He climbed rock faces and complained now and again about his flat feet hurting.

My 10 year old son was happy and adventurous, glad when we turned around, but never did complain. He likes to keep the peace like a true middle child.

My 6 year old son was his chattering little self, always trying to keep up with the big kids and finally succumbing to tears when he got too hungry and too tired.

My husband was his gentle but loud self just pleased with the beauty and enticed by his prospecting heart to dig in the crystals on the hillside. We got annoyed with each other on the drive home and had a few “snappy” words before remembering the things we were choosing to let grate on our nerves, were indeed, small. 

It wasn’t a perfect day. 

Is any day perfect? 

But it was beautiful. Restful. Adventurous. Joy-filled. And I am coming to understand perfection is never the goal. I just want to call the day good. And not all days can be called that. 

Some days are awful. 

And it makes me think. 

For me, every day is Mother’s Day. My four kids are around me all the time. I can see the beauty of them and be glad to be a mom, every day. It’s not about a gift. A card. Or even a day set just for me. It’s about the practical day in and day out living that makes me a mom. That’s not to say celebration isn’t good. It is. I love to celebrate. It’s a reminder of the goodness in life. 

I just think the real beauty is forged in the day to day and commemorated in our hearts. 
And as always, when I think of mothers, I think of women. Women are life-givers. You can give life to a baby. A career or dream. A friendship or book. A movement. or painting. A vision or garden. A meal or vacation. A classroom or an adventure.

Women bring life in a thousand ways every day. I champion that. When I pay attention, it takes the pressure off trying to fill my heart up with one day. How could that ever work?

Let's open our eyes. Look around. Where are we birthing life? How? Cheer for yourself and cheer for the women around you who are doing the same with their God-breathed abilities and lives.