Fill our homes with humility

I love it when the seasons change and get excited when I go into a home furnishing store and see all the seasonal décor. Last weekend I found myself oohing and aahing over all the beach and seaside home goods. I love the light blue and turquoise colored candles and even though they don’t really match our home décor, I found myself picking them up.


And then a little voice (no, not my husbands) said, “Do you NEED that?” I answered in my head, “Ugh… But it would be so nice to have if we had friends over.”

I recently heard a staggering set of statistics. Last month, Americans spent 8.96 billion on home furnishings and last year Americans spent 338 billion on home improvements.


This got me thinking; are we that desperate to feel good about ourselves that we need to fill our homes with nice/ improved things? The real question is, do these “things” add value to our home or life or are we just trying to look good for others?

What if someone invited me to their house for dinner and great conversation and didn’t have many furnishings at all? Would I love them less?

This led me to think about being humble. Humility is counter to our society and human nature, but the Bible is clear on the subject.

 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” Phillipians 2:3 (NLT).

As Americans, we are consumers and tend to collect “stuff” to make our homes look nice.  But what is the real value of it to anyone but us?

I learned this as I was going through my parent’s house after my father died. He liked to spend money on nice things and as I saw the very low price tags at the estate sale, it made me realize that our possessions don’t matter to anyone but us.

So next time I find myself tempted to buy another thing to fill my home with, I’m going to ask, “Do I really need this? Will it bring me joy? Could I spend my money on something else that will add value to my life and contribute to my memories?”



Coming Out of the Fire

I had the opportunity to talk with crisis coach Faydra Koenig on her podcast recently. You can join Faydra, America’s Crisis Coach, on iTunes as she interviews high-achievers who faced unimaginable obstacles and came out on top. She presents a bold approach to crisis management. I hope you’ll take a minute to listen!

Grab your listen here:

Tissue Damage (another 4BOYMOM adventure)

This memory started out as a very scary incident. It began as a wonderful summer day at my in-laws cottage overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Our day had been full of splashing in the small waves, digging in the sand and looking for sharks teeth. My husband and I were on the beach talking with the neighbors and our sons were playing happily while his parents were up at the house. Son #3 (4 years old) wanted to get a raft and asked if he could go up to the house to get it from the shed.


We agreed and continued playing and chatting. A few minutes later my father in law (who had been in the house) was waving frantically at the top of the stairs that led from the beach up to the house. I made eye contact with him and it quickly became apparent that he needed one of us to come up to the house. My husband went up the tall flight of stairs taking two at a time. My heart raced as I imagined that my mother in law had fallen and was hurt. Then I remembered that our son was up there and started to panic. I quickly asked the neighbors if they could keep an eye on our other 2 sons and ran as fast as I could up to the house. I quickly scanned the yard and shed and didn’t see anyone but did see the raft laying in the grass. I ran into the house and heard sobbing and a low grunting sound coming from the bathroom. As I entered the small bathroom, my nose was immediately filled with the smell of gasoline and I saw my 4 year old son standing in the shower dry heaving. I let out a cry and wailed, “What happened?!” He had knocked the gas can off the shelf and it has spilled on him, getting in his nose and mouth. I completely lost control and started shaking and screaming. I had no idea what to do and my husband directed me to call poison control. I went to the kitchen phone and couldn’t remember the number so I dialed 911. As I pushed the three numbers on the phone, everything was suddenly in slow motion. Fortunately, the dispatcher reassured me that we could flush out my son’s mouth and nose with water and that there should not be any tissue damage. She suggested that I follow up with my pediatrician. Once we all calmed down and my son stopped heaving, we were able to return to a fun day.

A few days later that same son developed a cold and sore throat. I wondered out loud if somehow it was connected to the gasoline incident. A few minutes later he came to me in tears, holding out a used tissue. I asked him what was wrong and he held the tissue out to me and said, “Look, it ripped.” When I didn’t respond immediately he wailed, “They said there wouldn’t be any tissue damage!”

Out of the mouths of babes…..

The Ultimate Goal

What’s your goal? Do you have more than one? If so, are they short term or long term goals? As a writer and a fitness junkie, I like goals. I find that it helps me move forward and stay motivated.

I think we can all agree that it’s a great feeling when we reach a goal. Whether it’s running a race, writing a book or doing 20 push-ups, it’s exciting to meet a goal when you have worked hard for it!

But sometimes we can get in the way of reaching our goals. For me, I find myself comparing my achievements to others. I feel great that I just ran 3 miles on the treadmill and then notice that the guy next to me is barely sweating and has gone 5 miles. I’m happy to have 500 followers and then see that my friend has 5,000. I sell 100 books at an event and then guest speaker sells 1,500.

Do you ever feel this way?

Why can’t we just be happy with what we set out to do? Why do we let comparison bring us down? Why do we let our goals shift to what others have accomplished?


In a society that is focused on social media statistics, it is important that we remember what our ultimate goal is as Christians while we are here on Earth. That goal is the one that truly matters.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” {Hebrews 12:1-2}

God wants us to do our best to be spiritually and physically healthy. Keep running and doing push-ups. Read the Bible and share the love of Christ with others. Do your best each day and be happy with the progress that you’ve made! The truth is that there will always be someone faster, stronger, richer and better looking, but I need to remind myself that God formed me to be exactly who I am and I am thankful for that.

My new goal? Continue to make progress in all areas of my life and celebrate meeting goals. Stay focused on the ultimate goal and stop comparing myself to others.

Sharing at #HisStory

Food Fight!

This past weekend my family and I were able to take part in a very special event called 2016 Food Fight at the Dulles Expo Center in Virginia. The NorthStar Church Network and my church (New Hope Church in Lorton, VA) hosted a 3 day mobile pack for Feed My Starving Children. Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and they ship these meals to their distribution partners.

In 3 days, volunteers came with giving hearts and packed four simple ingredients into each bag: dried vegetables, protein powder, soy and rice. When mixed with boiling water, each bag feeds 6 children.


Over the course of those 3 days, we saw many different churches, youth organizations, families and individuals donate their time and energy to pack the meals. In the end we cried tears of joy as they announced:

Number of meals packed for 2016 Food Fight: 5,044,248!!

Number of children to be fed for a year: 13,819!!

I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

13179372_10153519156451969_271801579122191706_n12631505_10153320951521969_6850529860977729953_n13119029_10153495564356969_2648733358523230242_nFeed My Starving Children provides life-saving meals to people who need them most all over the world — from countries affected by natural disaster to places enduring economic despair. FMSC meals have been distributed in nearly 70 countries through missionary partnerships at orphanages, schools, clinics, refugee camps and malnourishment centers.


FMSC believes in sustainability – they don’t simply send one shipment of food to a country. Instead, they continue to provide their mission partners with the food they need to maintain their feeding programs.



If you would like more information about this amazing organization, I would recommend visiting their website

Fun memories

Can we all agree that being a mom is tough? One of the best memories that I have from those difficult, exhausting days with little ones was the playgroup I joined. A group of moms got together weekly and while the kids played we chatted, cried and wondered how we would survive 18 more years. As the kiddos unloaded the toy chest and drooled on each other, we moms would sit and enjoy coffee and real conversation. We talked about everything and quickly became fast friends. Sometimes met at a playground, park or the local zoo, but during the winter (in Massachusetts) we rotated houses. As the highlight of my weekdays, on playgroup mornings I would shower, get dressed in real clothes and put on mascara.

One of our favorite memories from our younger years was on a rainy Spring day. We were sitting at my friend’s kitchen table enjoying tea and coffee cake chatting and thankful to be out of the house. Mid sentence one of my friends asked, “why is it so quiet?” We all bolted up from the table to find that our toddlers were not in the house. We raced out the back door to find them all happily splashing in puddles at the end of the driveway. Once all the kids were accounted for, dried off and back in the house, we all laughed and thanked God that everyone was safe.

A few years later, just two weeks after I gave birth to my third son, our group met at a local park with a private beach. My mother in law was visiting to help with the new baby and joined us. The kids all lined up with pails and shovels and played nicely in the surf. My mother in law and new baby sat back in a shaded area. The rest of us sat close by and every so often we did a head count to make sure that everyone was accounted for (see previous paragraph). I heard my friend ask,” Where is C?” (My #2 son) My eyes scanned the edge of the water and then along the beach area. I yelled to my mother in law to see if she had seen him. She stood up and scanned the beach. Suddenly we were all searching and I could hear my heart pounding. He was a fast 18 month old and wasn’t on the beach. I looked towards the water and tried to remember what his bathing suit looked like. I said out loud, God, please….this can’t be happening. I had been a lifeguard as a teenager and instinctively walked into the water, frantically searching the surface with my eyes. I was having what I can only describe as an out of body experience when I heard my friend yelling something. I turned to see her holding my son’s hand walking from the parking lot towards the beach. As I exhaled I noticed that the lifeguards were all holding hands and walking in the water. They were dredging for my son! My eyes filled with tears as I ran out of the water towards my friend and son. I sheepishly apologized to the young lifeguards while dripping wet in my clothes (did I mention that I had a two week old?)

Seventeen years later I am still in touch with four of these amazing women and we have met up several times over the years and marveled at how fast the years have passed. This past weekend we were together at a cozy house on a lake in western Massachusetts. We celebrated Mother’s Day and enjoyed sitting, talking and relaxing together. I am thankful that God led us to each other and kept our kids safe all these years.

To my husband on Mother’s Day

On this Mother’s Day I want to take a moment to reflect on the years that I have had with my incredible husband and father of our four sons.


An oldie, but a goodie!

We started our journey together in 1989 as freshman on a large college campus. First we were just friends, but quickly our relationship blossomed and we became inseparable. He was encouraging, fun, and very loving. I had never experienced the type of friendship and bond that we developed and as our love for each other grew over the next five years, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man. We were married in 1994 and began our journey as husband and wife together.

My life before meeting my husband was full of shame and guilt as I was raised in a home that was far from normal. My mother was an alcoholic and my father sexually abused me. My life at home led me to have low self esteem and I never told anyone what my life was really like. I was good at hiding my pain and no one ever knew, including my new husband. The night I finally told him the truth was the best and worst night of our young marriage. I feared that his anger towards my parents would suddenly disrupt all my attempts of denying and avoiding the truth. As we clung to each other he promised to protect me and love me as I deserved to be.

Fast forward to today…almost 23 years of marriage together. We have been together every step of the way as we have navigated through many wonderful days and some storms along our journey. Our faith has grown as our relationship has and I believe it has brought us closer together. My husband supported me as I chose to forgive my parents and was there for me when I had to bury my father. He understands my frustration and difficult relationship with my mother and is always ready to listen when I need to vent.

He gave me the biggest joy of our lives, our four sons. It w6830a16418f573f5e701e02c93527f45asn’t always easy, but now that they are older, I am so proud of the young men that they have become. I know their kind hearts, strong work ethic and success is in part because of the wonderful father that they have. The daddy who took them to get donuts on the weekends, cheered them on at every game and worked hard so that they could have everything that they need. My sons know that their pancake maker, grill master and workout buddy will be there for them no matter what. I love my husband for being that father and for blessing me with the title, “Mom”.

I hope that this will encourage all the hardworking dads out there. Remember that you do each day matters. It matters to your kids and to your wives. Take time to enjoy your family and be proud of the kids who you are making into wonderful people.


Table 26

Today I really feel like a writer.

I normally work from home, but today I needed a change of scenery and I am sitting in a coffee shop. I’m hiding in the corner, in running pants and a headband hoping that I don’t see anyone I know. I have my earbuds in, typing the beginning of my 2nd book (did I just say that out loud?)

I’ve been here for almost three hours and am sweating slightly due to being over caffeinated. I wonder if this is considered loitering…..I need to go home and switch the laundry and workout, but now it’s almost lunchtime and I’m getting hungry.

If I order a salad they can’t ask me to leave, right?



A Journey to Heal

I am so excited to introduce you to Crystal Sutherland and her newly released book, A Journey to Heal. Crystal and I met as a result of our similar journeys and her book is a wonderful resource for anyone who has been affected by sexual abuse. Journey to Heal is a path of hope and healing for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Book cover

In this book, a woman who was sexually abused as a child is confronted with many internal questions: Am I worthless? Will I get past the pain? Do I matter to God? These and similar questions can carve a deep hole in an already wounded soul. Too often, the lies of worthlessness are believed, the pain becomes too much to handle, and survivors find themselvesmaking choices that lead to more heartbreak. With over 42 million survivors (both male and female) in the United States alone, the need for a clear path to healing is great.

11143532_10208014282210795_3670148504723465899_oCrystal Sutherland-herself a survivor of CSA -knows that while the recovery process iscomplex, healing is possible with God’s help. For women who want to progress from simply coping to living abundantly, this book guides readers through seven essential steps to recovery found in Scripture.Candid and open about her personal journey of healing, Crystal comes alongside her reader as a friend who understands. Infused with biblical truths, stories of hope from other survivors, and practical wisdom, this book leads women to discover the life of wholeness God has for them.

The adventures of a 4BOYMOM

My husband and I have been on this crazy parenting adventure for almost 19 years now and it’s so much fun to look back at the moments (that weren’t funny at the time) and laugh. We have been blessed with four wonderful sons and are very proud of the young men that they are becoming. Since Mother’s Day is approaching, I thought I would share a favorite memory.

First, I must preface this with a word of advice for any young(er) women out there: I DO NOT RECOMMEND HAVING 3 BABIES IN 3 YEARS! With that said, please join me….IMG_2501

I had spent the morning in the pediatrician’s office with my 3 sons, ages 3, 2, and infant. My oldest had an ear infection and sore throat and needed an antibiotic. So for the second time that morning, I bundled them all up, got everyone in to the car and headed to the pharmacy. I knew I needed to hurry as nap time was approaching and I had run out of goldfish. I put child #2 and the baby in the double stroller and took the hand of my oldest as we headed down the aisle of the drugstore towards the pharmacy. Immediately I let out a groan as I saw a group of elderly people in line. I smiled and nodded as I took my place in line. Upon my turn, I handed my slip to the pharmacist and she said it would be at least 30 minutes. I tried my nicest to explain that my son had been up half the night crying because his ear hurt and really needed the medicine as soon as possible. She said that she would try to get it filled quickly but had several others as she motioned to the senior citizen posse standing behind me. As I pushed the stroller away from the counter, son #2 started to whine and fuss. He wanted to get out of the stroller. My oldest was holding his ear and started to whimper. I had a strategy: I would stand next to the counter and stare the woman down so that she would fill our order first. Five minutes later the baby started to wail and we were entering full meltdown mode. I decided that my strategy was failing and proceeded to pace the aisles. Child #2 was leaning out of the stroller trying his best to grab items off the shelves and I began to do what looked like a slalom course up and down the aisles. I quickly realized that this was not working and returned to the pharmacy counter to resume Plan A. The elderly group were entertained by us and I nodded as I heard the comment, “Wow, you have your hands full.” Yes, thank you, that is very helpful. As they continued to stare and watch me try to distract the squirming toddler and soothe my hurting son, I was thinking some not so nice thoughts. Finally, the pharmacist called my name and I quickly thanked Jesus and proceeded to move forward to pay. What occurred next replays in my mind in slow motion……I heard a sound and from the side of my vision, I saw things falling from the sky. I turned and saw son #2 holding on to a display, which he had pulled over and hated to die as I realized that it was raining condoms. I couldn’t bring myself to look towards the geriatric section. To make matters worse, the small packages were now stuck and wedged into every possible space of the stroller and in the baby carseat. The pharmacist looked annoyed and gave me a questioning look as if to ask, “Are you going to pay for those too?”

The rest is a blur, but I’m fairly sure that a bottle of wine was involved!