More and Less


I have a very good habit of thinking of the perfect thing to say after the fact. This was the case as I drove home from the radio station on Thursday morning. I had been asked to be a guest on the “Samaritan Truth” segment of the show “In It Together with Lori Lynn Green.” This was a first for me and I walked up the steps to the second floor studio with my stomach twisted in a knot of excitement and anxious nerves.

Speaking on the radio is very different than delivering a prepared message. I enjoy getting up in front of people. It’s fun to interact with those listening. And although, I might not always follow my speaking notes to the letter, I like having my notes available as a dependable, helpful guide to remind me of the key points I want to make.

On the radio, you cannot see who is listening. There is limited audience interaction. Radio shows provide on-the-spot questions and answers and the conversation can change direction quickly all of which can be challenging.

I was nervous during the first segment but did my best to hide my anxiety. However, by the end of the second segment, I felt more comfortable, had found my confidence, and sharing became easy. Before I knew it the third segment was over and the hour had gone by. Lori Lynne wrapped up the show and our wonderful discussion on finding purpose and loving our neighbors. I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to share about MOPS and was honored to be asked to be on the show. It was a great experience and I was so glad to be part of it.

On the way home from the show, it didn’t take long for my thoughts to drift to what I said, or didn’t say. What I could have said and what I should have said. Ugh?? Why does that happen? (Does this happen to other people too?) Truth is, I was very happy with what I said. I did not regret anything. I only wished I had thought of more to add. The miles until I reached home decreased but the conversation going on in my head increased. Enough!! I shut down my self-talk.

Here’s the thing, there can always be more. More thoughts, more words, more regrets, more action, more skills, more, more, and more. Unless we are talking about love and Jesus, which we always need more of, I am kind of sick of more and I want less. Less stuff, less divisions, less lies, less violence, less hurt, less pain.

While I realize that it may not possible to live in one extreme or the other. I hope life can be a better balance of more and less. More love AND less hate. More forgiveness AND less division. More embrace AND less rejection. More hope AND less fear.

It all begins with an awareness, a little healthy self-evaluation and shift in perspective. We focus on and reflect the things we see and hear. Will our eyes reflect hope and light? Will our mouth speak of restoration and kindness to ourselves and others? When will we stop trying to control situations and outcomes and allow the One who created all things to weave our imperfect words and stories into His, the greatest story of all?

My short time on the radio station allowed me to meet some new people, work on a new skill set, and spread some awareness about things I am passionate about. I pray it was an encouragement to those who listened and I am praying for you too.

Yes, you, the one who is reading this blog post right now. If you beating yourself up over should-have-beens or could-have-beens, please stop. If there is something you tried that did not work out the way you thought, please try again. If you are you holding on to something that you should let go, please release it. If you are not being kind and patient with yourself, please start now. There is One who is more patient, kind and loving than you could ever know and He wants you to know that you are loved.

You do not have to be perfect and you are enough. Keep moving forward. Keep trying new things, learning, and shifting your perspective. I will be praying for you. Take heart and be encouraged!


You can listen to our conversation here:  Please excuse my “ummms” in the first segment…I corrected myself in the second and third segments. What a great experience.

PS If you listen to talk radio, please call in or send an email. People hosting the show LOVE it!


Notes on the Presidential Debate- Some Unsolicited Advice (which may or may not include a Snap Cup)

It’s Monday morning. I am waiting for the coffee to finish brewing and I’m feeling a bit punchy. (That should say something about where this post it going.) The reality TV show I watched last night, also known as the presidential debate, left me feeling like this….


Normally, I shy away from writing about politics but as a teacher (and a mom) I feel the need to give some unsolicited advice to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Just a few little things I teach my children to help build character and improve my children’s social skills. I sure hope Trump and Clinton were once taught these skills but it may be in their best interest to practice and (re)learn some of them before the next debate.

  1. It is polite to shake hands.
  2. If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.
  3. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. (Abraham Lincoln and Proverbs 17:28)
  4. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
  5. Listen politely (even if you do not agree.)
  6. Control your temper.
  7. Play by the rules.
  8. Do not lie and do not exaggerate the facts.
  9. Do not seek revenge.
  10. Be kind to others.

My absolute favorite question came at the very end of the debate from a man named Karl Becker. I clapped and cheered when he asked, “Regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?” Cue Elle Wood’s pink, glittery Snap Cup. How awesome would it have been to see Anderson Cooper pass out pink scented paper and fluffy, pink pens to write with. I can just imagine Martha Raddatz singing the “Snap Cup” song. It would have totally improved everyone’s moods.

I am sure it was very difficult to think of positive things to say with such clear dislike from both opponents but Clinton went first and managed to get out how she respects Trump’s children. Trump had a slightly longer answer and said he respected Clinton as a “fighter” who “does not give up.”

In the spirit of being helpful, here are a few “Snap Cup” worthy answers for both Trump and Clinton, you know in the case they were ever presented with a question like that again.







See, that wasn’t too hard to do!

In all seriousness, I still think this country is great. I still have hope. I am sad we have such a divided nation but I am not afraid. My hope is not in any candidate or even in the process. My hope comes from the Lord and He is not surprised by any of this. My heart is turned heavenward and my eyes pointed forward. I will keep on praying.  Praying for this country, for Donald Trump, for Hillary Clinton and praying for the leaders of the world. Whoever wins this election, I will continue walking in faith and doing the things that I am called to. There are people in need and people to love. A younger generation is watching and learning. I plan to do what I can to be a good example of what it means to love people and teach my children to do so too. I think we all can agree, despite political stance, that this country needs more love. May God give us what we need and may God bless America.

****If you are looking for free resources on character education. Check out Character First . Their elementary curriculum provides timeless character traits in a bold, fresh manner. Lessons are designed for students in public school, private school, home school, day care, summer camp, or any other educational setting.

The Power of Words and Opinions- My Reflections and Thoughts of MOMcon 2016


Oh, how easily and quickly words can spark suspicion and uncertainty. How quickly can suspicions catch ablaze, words and opinions spread like wildfire and gain the attention of a divided audience. How easily are relationships strained (some destroyed) and alliances built by thoughts and opinions. How quickly do we forget that we have great influence and our influence is best used in building up and not tearing down.

I have been thinking a great deal about people who share their strong opinions in very public ways. Strong opinions seem to be everywhere- in politics, in ministry, in the world- and with the opinions come conflict and disagreements. I strongly dislike conflict and disagreement. (I could never be a lawyer.)  After much thought and consideration, I have decided I am truly grateful for those who boldly share their opinions because they prompt me to think strongly about my own beliefs and convictions. These people challenge and inspire me to read the Bible for discernment and wisdom. I may not agree with their opinions or their methods of sharing but I am finding out there is always something to be learned. By listening to each other, being careful to not react rashly, and always leaning toward the side of grace, I am realizing people with different opinions help me to be a better leader and person. I call these people fire starters sometimes helping to reignite holy sparks and keep them on fire.

MOMcon (MOPS International’s Leadership Convention) was a blaze of gracious, wise words that outshined and burned down walls that were built by harsh opinions and questions MOPS has recently received. The words given by speakers and MOPS staff and received by leaders were life-given, Holy Spirit driven, and love oriented. MOMcon reestablished MOPS vision and mission and propelled leaders to embrace Jesus and others. MOMcon equipped us to release fear, walk boldly in faith, and be prepared to think differently and creatively to reach those who need the hope of Christ. I cannot help but wonder if the opinions and criticism of fire starters acted as a catalyst for such a passionately driven conference. Last week, many holy sparks were ignited and to God be the glory for the great work to be done.

Just as easily as words can produce uncertainty and suspicion, words can also spark reassurance and confidence. Words can help unite an audience with facts and ignite enthusiasm of a shared purpose and calling. Relationships can be mended, strengthened and refined by truthful, gracious answers and humble responses. All these things were evident to me at MOMcon.

MOPS International has been and always will be Jesus followers, kingdom enthusiasts, advocates for motherhood and the influence of women, expansive in inclusion that every mom has a place, multilingual, and sisterhood cultivators. In five years, MOPS International has a vision to see 1,000,000 moms reached with the hope of Christ. I am so excited to be part of this vision in my role as Co-Coordinator in my own MOPS group and as a MOPS Community Coach to the MOPS groups I coach in New England.

My MOPS calling has been reignited. I am comfortable in my skin and confident in my faith. I feel more equipped than ever before to lead in love and use my influence to cultivate and build communities of women who love each other and who can make a difference in this world. I want to love people just as they are and in every messy way they come. Most of all, I will not be defensive of other’s opinions (in all areas of life) but plan to use misunderstood information and perceptions as a challenge to make sure that the way I am living is one in which others can see Jesus. A holy spark was ignited and fanned to flames and I am so excited to see where God will make room for the flames burn.

****The views expressed on this page and blog are mine alone and they do not necessarily reflect the views of MOPS International. They have not been reviewed or approved by MOPS International*****






I wonder how many “firsts” or beginnings there are in life. First breath, first step, first love. Beginning of the month, beginning of a new school year, beginning of hopes and dreams. If every day brings a fresh beginning and every end a start of something new, the number of changes and adjustments we make through our lifetime must equal an infinite number.

The beginning of our homeschool year started on a high note. The first days were excellent. Our schedule flowed smoothly and we were excited to dive into new books and curriculum. But as things often go, the novelty soon wore of and by Thursday reality hit. Summer was over and the idea that a good part of our day would be consumed with schooling started to sink in. We were exhausted from reigniting parts of our brains that seemed content to linger in vacation mode.

Grumpiness and discontent started to weasel their way into our Thursday morning activities. Short answers and ungracious responses added to the rocky start of the day. With determination, I pushed through my planned activities and the lessons. The activities and lessons I was so sure we “needed” to cover. My kids tried to keep up but the whole day felt forced. This was not why we homeschool or how I like to teach or how I wanted my children to learn. We managed to get through the day but I decided to call a time out and push the reset button. Friday was going to be different.

My Friday lesson plans looked like any other day of the week but it was my expectation of what “needed” to be completed that was different. The pace was led by my kids. If one subject was dragging on or frustration levels with a new skills were rising high, we stopped and moved to something else, returning to the subjects and tasks later. We spent more time on science and read alouds, which we all enjoy, and we focused on our attitudes. I was convicted of my role in modeling a good attitude and gracious responses and my children soon followed suite. I am not saying that it was a perfect day. Curriculum still needed to be covered and some difficult skills still needed to be mastered but there were other things needed to be addressed first. The foundation of an ideal learning environment needed to be rebuilt, one that included a whole lot of grace and a lot of love.

With every new beginning, I think it is important to remember these things:

1.) Make space for grace. Give grace to yourself, to your co-workers, family members, strangers, whoever else may be joining you in a new start. Beginnings and starts require change and adjustment. Adjustment takes time. There may be new things to learn and new ways of doing things. Shifts in mindset may be required too. Allow grace and patience in the process.

2.) Take time to breathe. Deep breaths. It sounds simple but few people take more than a few deep breaths a day. Deep breathing helps your muscles to relax and delivers oxygen to all cells in your body. It also helps attention and concentration. For an even better and more impactful result, pray while you are breathing!

3.) Stop and reflect. Contrary to popular belief, we need to pause, stop, and rest. Allow time for reflection and think what can be done differently. Ask yourself, what is my role? How can I use my gifts, talents, and personality to help improve this situation or make this adjustment easier?  Can I be a good role model for others even as I make mistakes and am learning through the process? Focus on the good things. There are always good things to find.

Now in our second week of school, skills are getting more difficult and the amount of curriculum to cover is increasing but there is a sense of peace. I am trying to keep a gentle pace to our day. We are still adjusting, slightly mourning the loss of summer, but we know there are some new exciting things are to come.





Kat, Mexican Buddha, and The Scarlet Knights


The other day someone asked me if I was going to finish writing about my June hiking trip. It’s true, I never concluded the adventure in writing. Back in June, when I stepped off the trail and into the sunny parking lot, I thought it was the end of the trip. In actuality, the step turned out to be only a pause, a short rest, to catch my breath before continuing down another trail.

I have been “hiking” all summer. Each smaller adventure an extension of the mountain hike with different landscapes to view and different people to hike with. “The Summer of Adventure” has truly lived up to its name. I have experienced many wonderful, challenging adventures. From finding the wonder in small, daily tasks that required great feats of patience and faith to fearlessly jumping out of perfectly good planes with my grandmother.

Reflecting back, something stands out greater than all the adventures. Each adventure acted as a catalyst for community. My summer days were graced by unique and beautiful people who allowed me to visit special places and belong to groups of special people.

Take Kat, for instance. I met Kat and her family at Galehead Hut, 3,800 ft high the White Mountains. Her clear blue, twinkling eyes and her warm welcoming smile invited us (fellow hikers) to join her in celebrating the completion of hiking all of NH’s 48- 4,000 footers. Her family had packed a bottle of wine to celebrate the accomplishment and the bottle was passed around and poured into chipped, plastic camp cups. With plastic cups raised, we all joined in a song led by the hut croo, “For she’s a jolly good hiker. For she’s a jolly good hiker, for she’s a jolly good hikerrrrrrrrrr, which nobody can deny.”  As I swallowed my sip of wine, I was overwhelmed by the special moment and how strangers had suddenly become a family (even if for a moment) sharing in Kat’s accomplishment and inspiring us to hike higher mountains. Communities do that. They celebrate with each other and inspire each other to greater things.


We continued our hike the next day and cleared the tree line sometime mid morning, that’s when we heard trumpet music. (Trumpet music 3,000 feet up on top of a mountain sounds beautifully out of place.) It didn’t take us long to find the source of the music. Mexican Buddah and Honey Bear, two thru-hikers, one with a guitar and one with a trumpet, had stopped for lunch, to rest, and to make beautiful music. Surrounded by breathtaking views, the wind as their accompaniment, and the White Mountains as their audience, we stopped to chat with them. I remember thinking how absolutely wonderful the meeting was. I felt like Alice in Wonderland stumbling upon the most interesting of characters running after the White Rabbit (or in my case the next White Mountain.) Communities embrace one another and respect where each person has been. Communities are made up of many different, uniquely talented people who share a love of a common interest. And communities benefit from those unique talents and gifts which each member has to offer. Mexican Buddah and Honey Bear’s music was a gift to us and their serenade was a reminder to continue on what ever journey you find yourself on but to remember to stop once in awhile to take in the views.


Towards the end of the summer, I had an opportunity to revisit a community that was forged and formed 20 years ago. My 20th year high school reunion of the EWG Scarlet Knights. So much of who I am now was shaped in those few years of high school (the good and the bad.) The impact of those years and the people I shared them with have somehow come along with me like no other time in my life.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked through the doors of the function room. Would I remember people? Would they remember me? What would they remember about me? All of my anxious thoughts dissolved when I was greeted with smiles and big hugs. I know not everyone has a good experience at their high school reunions but mine…well, mine was awesome and I think that has to do with the special people that were in my class.


I was especially impacted by one of my classmates who worked so hard to make the reunion happen. She reached out to all of us, kept sending Facebook messages and reminders, and genuinely made you feel special and you were wanted there. She went out of her way to interview former teachers and collect pictures for a slide show. She pulled people in from the outside and strengthened the community from the inside. Community takes leaders who are willing to put in the work and remind its members that they are special and needed.


I could write all day about all the other people I met, the friendship formed, relationships which were strengthened, and the communities I was welcomed in. I had set out to be intentionally adventurous and it happened in more ways than one. The last adventure of the summer started where it all started.

My last adventure was shared with my most important and most intimate community. My family-my husband and three beautiful children. We were in the White Mountains, hiking on a trail that was the complete opposite of the trail in June. This trail was wide, flat and there were no inclines. The weather was perfect for hiking and exploring. We stalled along the trail watching chipmunks eat mushrooms and searching for heart shaped rocks. It was completely peaceful and I felt so loved and blessed to be sharing it with these four beautiful souls. These four people show me unconditional love on a daily basis. They make me want to be a better mother, wife and Christ-follower. These four people make the path (whatever it looks like) worth taking. All communities should be like that. Loving each other and making the trail easier. They should walk in grace and extend grace to the other members.  Communities should encourage each other to be better each and every day.

As summer of 2016 closes,  I am committing myself to community. I want to build up the communities I belong to by using the talents and gifts I have been given. I want to embrace my community members by encouraging them to use their unique gifts and callings. I want to help people find their value and their purpose in life to make the world a better place. And I want to keep hiking. I want to hike with my communities in truth, grace and most of all love. To celebrate with them and mourn with them and hike beside them on whatever path we find ourselves on.

You Are Never Too Old to Try Something New-Skydiving with My Grandmother


Tuesday will be a day I will never forget. A day filled with adventure, friendship and inspiration. Inspiration provided by my eighty-six year old grandmother, Gammy, who continues to surprise me with her resilience, endurance and her energy.

Gammy has been living with us since the beginning of July and at the beginning of the summer I made a promise to her of a summer she would never forget-The Summer of Adventure. She loves to be “on the go.” Seeing new things, meeting new people and going out to eat are some of her favorite things to do and I have affectionately hashtagged our adventures as #gammyonthego.

We have chanted “Gammy on the Go! Gammy on the Go!” on our way to visit mansions in Newport, RI, chasing sunsets to gorgeous views, and road tripping to NY. Most of all, I think we have enjoyed the good company of family and friends and getting to know each other better by living life under the same roof. My kids and I have been blessed by this time we have had with her. I have heard stories never heard before and we both have been stretched and grown in different ways. I am trying to take it all in as I have become increasingly aware of not knowing how much more time we have with each other here on earth.

We arrived at Skydive Pepperill  under gorgeous, clear blue skies. A warm breeze was blowing the various flags decorating the Skydive Center and skydivers with colorful parachutes were gracefully landing with expertise in a large, adjoining field. Three other fun-loving, adventurous souls from our church family were jumping with us and some other church members had come to watch. The whole experience was made even better with them there and I was again reminded how much I love my church. The relationships that have built over the ten years at Centerpoint have become some of the most treasured relationships in my life. When it comes down to life, it really is all about relationships. Relationship with Jesus, with your family, with your friends. Relationships and trust take time to grow, through good times and hard times, but it is so worth the time put in. Life is better with good people around you and we have a whole church filled with good (FUN) people.


I could try to describe our experience. The multiple-page waiver we had to sign, the video that stresses multiple times how you could die, the gear, the plane, the 45 second freefall, and the landing BUT a picture is worth a thousand words. So….here are some pictures and the “most awesome video in the whole world” to take you on our adventure with us.

Our Skydiving Declarations
Gearing UP
Walking Up To The Plane


The Queen of Skydiving


The plane

In the Plane
At the Door
Free Fallin’


The Coolest Grandmother in the Whole World
Parachutes Deployed
The Landing. Look at Gammy’s legs. They are in perfect position, better than the instructional video.
Our Instructors
Our Instructors- Vinny and Keith




PS The record for the oldest female jumper at this center was 94. Gammy said we will be back on her 95th birthday (if not sooner.) I hope that am half of what she is when I am 86. So incredibly blessed!


You Two Remind Me of That Couple…..



With all the advancements in technology, I find it hard to believe no one has invented a more comfortable and less awkward way of taking dental x-rays. I am not talking about film versus digital or the actual x-ray machine used. I am talking about the “bite-wing-bit-block.” You know, the extremely intrusive and sharp plastic objects strategically placed in your mouth by a stranger who then directs you to “bite down and hold.”

Until today, I had been on a two year hiatus from dental care. I know, I know. I should have been to the dentist every six months but whatever…life happens. The more important thing was I was back in the chair, wishing the x-rays were over, dreading the news of how many cavities needed to be filled, and preparing myself to hear how I should floss more often. My husband (who had been on a longer hiatus than me…just saying) was talking with the dentist. We had decided to schedule our appointments together, one right after the other. He had gone first and now was in the x-ray room saying goodbye to me and bragging reporting that he had no cavities.

The dental hygienist, a pretty woman in her late twenties, came into the x-ray room and led me down the hall. Once seated in the chair, she instructed me to open my mouth and stuck the suction-straw-thingy that hangs out of your mouth. I think my kid’s dentist refers to this tool as “Mr.Thirsty.”  As she worked, she began to share with me about her life and ask questions about mine. I mumbled back and shook my head “yes” and “no.” Amazingly, she understood my incomprehensible syllables and sounds.

The cleaning and exam continued and she continued to share. I continued to mumble. This pattern continued for awhile. Some of the details she shared were very personal and private. She had recently been through some dark times in her life. A single mother, trying to make her life better for herself and her son. There was an incredible sense of sadness and exhaustion about her.

As she talked, I wish I could be free to speak without all the “stuff” in my mouth. To touch anything besides the chair and the cup they give you, seemed off-limits. But as she talked, I felt moved and could not be silent any longer. I don’t remember exactly what she said but I knew she needed some encouragement. So when she went to clean my top teeth, I stopped her. I defiantly closed my mouth, yanked Mr. Thirsty out and started to ask her deeper questions about her life. Amazingly, she answered them. She listened to my advice and I tried to encourage her without seeming to like a counselor. She seemed a bit surprised by all of it but at ease and I felt some peace seep into the air. By the end of the exam, we were good friends.

“You know,” she said. “It’s funny to meet you and your husband on the same day. You remind me of that couple on TV… know the Fixer Upper couple. You both are so cute. You seem so happy and…well, like you have the perfect life.” 

Oh, my sweet girl! Bless you for the compliment! Joanna Gaines is beautiful and I love her style. Yes, we are very happy but we are far from perfect. There are a few things you need to know.

I cannot speak for the Gaines. I can only infer they might agree with me. There are some similarities between us.The Gaines have a reality TV show, sometimes our life feels like a reality TV show. The Gaines are in the business of seeing the potential in “fixer-upper” houses, we are in the business of seeing potential in “fixer-upper” people. We are not perfect couples. We are not perfect people. We both have faith in Jesus Christ and He is the only thing perfect in our lives.

Everyone goes through dark times in their lives. Everyone experiences trials, temptations, consequences of poor decisions and challenges. Each one of us is navigating through life, have hopes and dreams and wants to be loved.

Sweet girl, the difference is we have found peace in Jesus-perfect peace. We walk through the dark times with The Light. We are loved beyond measure and rely on Someone greater than ourselves for strength. Jesus is “fixing-us-up” daily. As he “fixes” us, we hope others can see Him. Light, love, hope, restoration, and peace (all to God’s glory not our own.) Our smiles are wide and bright not because everything is perfect or we have great hygienists, we smile because we have been redeemed by the blood and love of Jesus. And that my friend, is worth more than anything the world could ever give you.

PS One more thing sweet girl, (yes, I can call you that since you are ten years younger than me. Thank you for referring to me as your age and I am sorry I did not correct you right away! That was wrong but I still feel like I am 28 in my head!) I will be praying for you and I will see you in six months. The appointment is booked but I believe it was booked a long time ago before we both knew it. There is a God who loves you and is perusing you. xo