I tell my children all of the time to, “Play nice.” Do you know why? Do you know why I teach this lesson to my children? Because how we interact with others matters, because compassion is important, and because nobody likes a bully.

I get a lot of hate mail. No, really… I get countless emails saying terrible things about me and my family. You might be surprised. There isn’t much I say on this page that would seem to come across as aggressive or deserving of hate. As a matter of fact, the sole mission behind all of my writing is to bring healing and hope to the hearts of others.

I guess, sometimes, hope is hard.

Sometimes, people don’t like hope… Or at least they don’t like how I offer hope to them or to others.

I could choose from many examples, but take this one for instance. I wrote article about a mom I saw at Chick-Fil-A. When scrolling through comments awaiting moderation, I was shocked (to say the least) to find that I had been called something that I read on the wall in a dirty bathroom stall once when I was in middle school. I was just as shocked to read it 20 years later in regard to my hope for the momma who wanted to eat her chicken nuggets while managing her small children.

I couldn’t understand why someone would stop in the middle of their day to say how angry they were about something that had nothing to do with them. Why would they seek out an opportunity to destroy hope?

I protect my readers passionately by not publishing every comment and by carefully moderating conversations on this page and my other social media accounts. I treat these places like my living room. I keep them safe for me and for my friends. Do you know why? Do you know why I care so much? Because this is my small corner of the internet.

And this is an area where I get to say no to hate.

I remember one time in about the third grade playing on the playground at recess. It was a warm day, and I was collecting ladybugs in my juice cup that I had saved from the cafeteria. A friend of mine was nearby when I looked up and saw a few other girls walking our way. They asked my friend a simple question, and then began singing her response louder and louder until she cried in frustration.

I can’t remember all of the details of the event, but I can tell you that I remember walking over and standing in front of her and telling them to stop.

The truth is, some bullies never learn to quit, and too often parenthood is far too much like the playground. Not just here on my page, but across the internet people attack one another with their keyboards while hiding behind their computer screens. They forget that the people reading the words on the other end are real – real mommas and daddies and women and men. Real people all doing the very best that they can.

They believe that just because someone does something differently than they do, that it is wrong. They forget that we are all on the same team. This parenting thing is tough. No, really. It’s no joke. But there is no place on this playground for bullies, and we will not tolerate it any longer. I can say no to hate here, but I think that this is bigger than this page. I think we can say no together. What do you think?

I think that we can link arms and look mommy bullies in the face and say, “Stop it,” and then look one another in the eye and accept each other and our differences.

We teach our children that they can’t be silent when they see others being bullied. I think it is time that we remember this lesson for ourselves. Won’t you join me? Share this with those you know who will link arms with us.







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The Day My Husband Bought Me a Little Black Dress

“I want to buy you a LBD (little black dress) for our trip to Colorado. Any input?”

The text message from my husband flashed across my phone. He was working out of town, and I had just gotten three babies in bed by myself. I was tired. No. I was exhausted. I had been on mommy duty all day long (while also trying to meet my deadline on my book, and keep up with my blog, and encourage the hearts of mommas everywhere.)

I wanted to open up my computer and put my feet up and not think about anything. I was ready to check out. Truth be told, I’m not sure I had even showered yet when I received his message. The baby had woken up at 5:30, my oldest right behind him at 6, and I never even had a chance to stop and take a minute for me. The last thing I wanted to do was talk to my husband about getting dressed up and trying to be sexy.

I first thought about replying, “Yes. You may buy me any dress that you would like… so long as it’s not little or black or a dress.”

I did not feel like picturing this body in anything that showed it off. My youngest is 8 months old, and while the scale tells me a number that is close to what it said before my three kids came along, my mirror hasn’t gotten the memo. The mirror still shows me a body that has been growing people for a total of 27 months in the last five years. I have grown and shrunk and stretched and lost and gained and dropped and… well, had three babies.

I’m a momma now.

I would have been much more comfortable with putting on a cute pair of jeans and a blouse with a jacket and enjoying a dinner out with my husband… and there would have been nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with putting on what makes you feel good and wearing it proudly no matter your shape or size.

But as much as I wanted to tell my husband, “Look, buddy, that’s not happening, so just forget about it.”

I stopped and I listened to his heart for a minute.

See, while it’s so easy for me to see all of the things that have changed, and all the areas that I need to “fix” (that don’t really need fixing,) that sweet husband of mine apparently doesn’t see things the way that I do when he looks at me.

He has this crazy way of still seeing me… His wife.

He still sees the woman that he fell in love with, and apparently, he is still attracted to her – (baggy t-shirts and extra baby fluff and all.)

I think that’s the truth for a lot of husbands. They know that our roles change when we become Mommy, but when they look at us they don’t see mommy. They see the woman they fell in love with. They see the woman who said, “Yes” to becoming their wife.

But I don’t think they really know how to tell us, “Hey, remember when you were mine?”

And honestly? It feels so hard to remember how to be theirs, when we don’t even remember how to be us some days… when we put ourselves last over and over… when we look in the mirror and don’t even know where to start.

So, as I held that phone in my hand, deciding how I would respond, I made a choice, and I replied, “I think I would like something that has a little bit of lace on it.”

Because while I could have pushed my husband away, I chose to remember myself. I chose to remember a woman worth caring about, who has a husband that loves her and who is a person beyond being a Mommy. I chose to remember that I am worth my own attention. And I chose to remember that if my husband thinks I’m attractive, then I am. And sometimes showing him (and reminding myself) means letting him buy me a little black dress.






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Have You Seen This Couple? (They’re Not Missing)

I remember waiting by the window for Jared to show up for our date. I was ready early (a shocking truth for anyone who knows me now.) It was going to be our last date before I packed up and went back to school across the state leaving our summer romance behind.

I always wondered if Jared knew deep down that he wasn’t going to let me go.

He pulled into the parking lot in his truck, and climbed out, looking at his hair one last time in the reflection of the truck’s windows. He took a deep breath and walked toward the door. I ran over to the couch to sit and act like I had been waiting patiently for him.

I always wondered if Jared knew that I couldn’t wait to see him.

He walked inside, and I got up and hugged him, complimented him on how great he looked and we were off to see what the night would bring. (After we snapped a few pictures of course.)

And when the end of the night came, and said our goodbyes, (knowing that they might be more permanent than any other night) something inside of me said, “Hold on just a little longer.”

I always wondered if something inside of Jared said, “Hold her a little longer,” too.

The truth is, even though I thought it was over that night, that sweet boy decided to change his entire life for me. I guess that’s what happens when you fall in love… because love doesn’t give up.

There’s a longer story, one for a different day, but as I picked up this picture this morning, and I looked at those young, fresh faced, crazy in love kids (with questionable hairstyles),

And I wonder where they have gone.

Nearly a decade has passed since this photo froze time, and all of the minutes have been pressed down together to build a few mountains. And while we sometimes feel buried beneath babies and jobs, and obligations and laundry, we haven’t been covered up. We have been carved. Those have all been the tools that chisel away and sculpt us into these people we are today –

People that can’t go back to the beginning, but who can look back, and find lessons that help us move forward.

So while I wondered before, I don’t have to anymore. I see now that we are so much more in love today than we were back then, because we have learned that love doesn’t let go. Love says hold each other a little longer. And love doesn’t give up.

We aren’t lost, friends… And you aren’t either. May we continue to find ourselves a little deeper in love today than we were the day before…





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