a time of need.

there’s a proverb that i particularly like. it has made a lot of sense to me lately. its chapter 17 verse 17. it says, “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” another translation reads, “a friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in the time of need.”

the lesson of loyalty is one of the best things my dad taught me. he lived out loyalty daily. he stuck up for his friends. he did the right thing. he was no nonsense when it came to his family and his loved ones. you crossed one of them and you crossed him. he was old school. he paid no attention to this “i want to please everyone and be nice all the time” crap. if someone treats another person wrongly, you stick up for them. you call each other out, you do what is right. he was a brother in times of adversity. if you were a friend of my dad’s you knew wholeheartedly that he would have your back, no questions asked.

that’s the kind of friend i want to have.

and thankfully, i have a few of these friends. they have stuck by me during tough times. they pray for me. they encourage me. they challenge me to be better. these people get upset when their friends are mistreated and they are willing to stand up for what is right. no matter what. they don’t consider sitting back and doing nothing. they are friends born for a time of adversity.

that’s the kind of friend i want to be.

when i was young, i had a friend with down’s syndrome. i grew up with her and our families went to the same church. i considered her a friend, even though she was very different from me. during recess one day, a mean girl in school was making fun of this friend. she was calling her names and yelling at her; the regular mean girl routine. i went up to this chick and told her to stop making fun of my friend. the mean girl looked at me, paused, and spit a huge, gross, slimy wad of saliva in my face. right in my face. i was shocked. but i wiped it off, told her not to talk to me or my friend that way again, and walked away.

i’m thankful to have grown up in a family that passed on the value of loyalty. there are times when i may take it too far and am loyal to a fault, but i don’t care. i’d rather have a friend like that than a wiggly, no spine, piece of spaghetti friend who sits back and lets people do whatever the hell they want.

loyalty is often lost. that needs to change. forget about consequences and hurting feelings and losing your job when it comes to being loyal. just do it. life sucks sometimes. bad things happen, people choose wrong over right, and selfishness wins many battles. so let’s find loyalty and embrace it. hands down. the right thing will always be the better choice. it most often is not the easiest, but it is the best.

we were all born for a time of need. its what you choose to do during that time that matters.


dear jude.

I haven’t written in a while. I regret it. But life gets busy and things have changed.

A few weeks ago you finished your first year of school: kindergarten. There’s no way for me to accurately express how proud Daddy and I are of you. You have changed so much since the beginning of the school year. You’ve grown physically and emotionally and I’m just so PROUD of who you are becoming. You started the school year very nervous and timid and ended with so much confidence. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

Looking back on your kindergarten experience, a few things stick out to me. On the first day of school, Daddy and I walked you to your classroom and you were such a champ. You hung up your bag and started playing. That was it! We waved goodbye and I breathed a sigh of relief. The second day was a different story.

On the second day of school, Lucy and I walked you to the entrance. At that point, you were expected to walk to your room by yourself. In your eyes, this was not part of the deal. You were terrified. I don’t blame you a bit, you had to walk down a hallway, enter another long corridor and walk through four classrooms before reaching your own. That’s scary! So Mrs. Erickson, the guidance counselor, was there and could tell you were struggling. I did my best to convince you to go ahead, but you didn’t. Mrs. Erickson took us into her office and we talked for a minute. You started to cry as I attempted to break away from you. I cried, too. Lucy stared. Eventually, Mrs. Erickson literally had to rip you away from my arms as I made an escape. I walked towards the doors as you yelled repeatedly “Just one more hug!” It was horrific. I went to work that day. I cried a lot as I replayed the mornings events in my head and worried about how you were doing. I got several texts and emails from school telling me that you had recovered fine. What a day!

From that point on, the first few months of school were a struggle. Every morning was hard. Mrs. Erickson walked you to your classroom each morning until finally you were brave and did it all on your own. I was so proud on that day. And from that point on, you continued to grow and change into a confident boy who truly enjoyed school and had tons of friends. I volunteered at lunch a few times a week and was always shocked at how many kids you knew that weren’t even in your class! You were totally yourself with your friends which made me so happy. Ms. DeBeck praised you over and over about how much you had grown and learned.

At the beginning of the school year your class did a poetry project. It was about picking apples with friends. Every student had to draw 5 friends and write their names down on their poem. Ms. DeBeck said that every single student in your class had chosen you as one of their friends.

That is so huge, Jude! I know I tell you this all the time, but being a good friend is so important. I think you’ve got the basics down, that’s for sure. I was able to watch you interact with your classmates a lot and you were definitely loved by everyone. You really bonded with Isaac, the son of a friend of mine from high school. You guys were connected at the hip! You picked a good best friend. Shelley, Isaac’s mom, told me that Isaac couldn’t have chosen a better best friend. I totally agree.

At the end of the school year you had a field trip to the beach. I wanted to go, but also wanted you to try to go without me there, to prove to yourself that you’d be fine! And you were, of course. You bonded so hard with your little friends this year…I knew you’d be fine. You had fun and apparently loves riding on the bus because from that day in you begged me to let you ride the bus…something you hadn’t done and had previously been a scary thought for you. So, the last three days of school you rode the bus in the morning. It helped that Lillie was riding as well, so you guys sat together. You weren’t nervous at all and loved it!

Ms. DeBeck told me one day that she had chosen you to receive an end of the year award. It was the McGraw Paw Award and went to a kid from each kindergarten class who best displayed respect, responsibility, caring, honesty and safety. She said she was so proud of how far you had come since the beginning of the year and what a great little guy you are. You were so deserving of this acknowledgement and I was just overflowing with happiness for you. I went to the assembly when they called your name and recognized your hard work and it was one of the best moments ever.

In other news, you have another little brother or sister coming in December. You are so excited! You often rub my belly and talk to the baby. It is so sweet. You want a boy, of course.

I love you, Jude! I love who you are becoming. We still have our moments, that’s for sure, but I’m so proud of the progress you’ve made as a 6 year old. Biggest year yet!


dear jude.

dear jude,

you amaze me. honestly and truly…you do. you are SO smart, it blows my mind. you are kind and sensitive. you are a tenderhearted boy and i couldn’t be more proud. you feel your emotions HARD. very hard. and that can be challenging to you and me and everyone around you, but we are figuring that out.

you love to listen and to be listened to. in fact, when you are trying to speak to someone and they aren’t listening, it upsets you. i get that. that’s something that frustrates me as well. when i observe you, i watch to see that others are listening and when they aren’t it annoys me, because you are so worth listening to! you crave a good, thought out response and you deserve it, too.

jude, your mind is like a sponge that never leaks. you soak everything in and lock it away, remembering it all. that can be good and bad, i suppose. i have to be on my toes at all times, mindful of what i say. but i like that about you.

i know it sounds cliche or sappy, but you remind me so much of my dad, your bampy. it’s UNCANNY! many people say so. your memory is on point, just like his. you have a clever way of solving math equations and you memorize bible verses in no time at all. you are tall and wiry with bushy hair. i’m glad you are like bampy. it’s good for the family. i see you in him and that’s special.

jude, you have the most AMAZING eyes! the shape is just gorgeous. you are handsome.

you love to play ninja turtles and star wars. there are two things that you take EVERYWHERE: either your light saber or your ninja turtles gear (mask and sword). your imagination is infinite. you don’t care who is watching and you do your ninja/fighting moves all over the playground. it makes me happy to see you so carefree. sometimes you can be uptight and nervous, but not all the time, and i love that.

i love to laugh with you. in the car yesterday lucy had the biggest scream fest of her entire life. you and i just looked at each other and burst into laughter, which of course made her even more upset, but we couldn’t help it.

you give the best hugs! you’re a huge hugger. and believe me, i will always hug you, no matter what age…i’ll never stop!

you and lucy have become fast friends with the kids next door, luke and lillie. it’s so great having best friends as neighbors! i always wanted that for you, because i had that as a kid and it was awesome. you, lucy, luke and lillie play outside for hours on end and you get along very well. it’s great and makes summer even better for you.

gramma and papa bought a camp in april. we have had a blast there and have gone nearly every weekend since. you love camp. you and lucy play on the dock all day long. we fish, eat, go for boat rides, and explore nature. it’s a little slice of heaven. we all went there on the 4th of july. at night, the men gave us a fireworks show. we had some leftover and you said, “i think we should save the rest for the fall because i start kindergarten in the fall!”

so yeah, you start kindergarten on september 1. i’ve struggled big time, off and on, since you turned 5. kindergarten is a huge step. i’m excited for you. i’m sad, too. its new territory for me. i love you so insanely much, it’s really unreal. but we’ll navigate this world together, our family and jesus, and i have nothing but confidence that you’ll grow to be even more amazing than you are right now.



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dear jude & lucy.

jude & lucy,

you could never possibly know how much i love you. my dad used to always say, “you’ll never know how much i love you until you have kids of your own.” and that is so true. but yet, i still don’t think you’ll understand it because you, jude & lucy, are both just so YOU. you’re perfect, in every way. i mean, not literally perfect. you’re annoying sometimes. you’re loud, you fight, you make a mess, you don’t listen, you drive me nuts. but you are perfectly YOU. you’re just as i’d have you.

i had one of those moments tonight when i just wanted to press a button and freeze time. jude, i found out today that kindergarten registration is next week and that really got me worked up. lucy, you’ll be having your first ever school experience next year and i can’t imagine leaving you with someone other than family. so after dinner i was cleaning up the kitchen, daddy was playing guitar and you guys were dancing and eating candy canes and i just cried. i cried because i don’t want things to change. i cried because there are so many moments that i never want to forget, that moment being one of them. i cried because life is short and fleeting and i know that in the blink of an eye things will be so very different.

jude & lucy, these precious moments are what makes life worth living. i never, ever want to forget how completely perfect the two of you are right this very second…innocent, carefree, confident and safe and loved in the comfort of our home’s walls. i love you way past the moon, beyond mars, and into infinity!




dear lucy.


i can’t even describe how adorable your face is. your cheeks are so squishy. i could kiss them all day long. i know i’m partial, but seriously, you have the cutest face. you’re like that classic cute little girl in commercials or something. i’d think that even if i wasn’t your mom. your bangs, your huge brown eyes, your kissable cheeks and super high voice. i think you get the point. but i just never want to forget how insanely perfect your little two year old face is.

i love getting to know you. you are so sweet and nurturing. you’re also bossy. and you’re quite an instigator. you do this thing where you pretend to be mad and you’ll put your hands on your hips and frown. it’s hilarious.

you are a terrible eater. i forced you to take the tiniest little bite of a green pepper today (obviously i bribed you with a chocolate kiss) and i just about peed my pants. i think that’s the first vegetable you’ve ever eaten, with the exception of baby food.

you love to sing. we sing every night before bed. usually its jesus loves me, oh how i love jesus, the raindrop song, the butterfly song or something like that. you woke up in the night once recently and had a very croup like cough. you sounded terrible…wheezing with every breath. i stayed in your room for a while to try and calm you down. you tossed and turned for a while and then said, “mama, sing to me.” it was so precious. so i sang one of the usuals…”jesus, jesus, jesus. there’s just something about that name.” it reminds me of my dad and my childhood so i like singing it to you.

you’ve been quite an actress lately. you’ll act out the “do you want to build a snowman?” song from frozen and it cracks me right up. you do it just like they do in the movie, including going to the closet doors and pretending your ana talking to elsa. it is the cutest thing ever.

a couple weeks ago meme was downstairs visiting. you were sitting next to her at the island. you leaned over and put your arm around her and said “meme, you’re my best friend ever!” we just about died. so now you say it quite often to a variety of people and its just as cute every single time.

i hope we are best friends, lucy. perhaps not all the time, because i’m not supposed to be your friend…i’m supposed to be your mom. but i know that if i put the hard work in while you’re young, the reward will be a great friendship. i so look forward to it. i want you to always be yourself with me, lucy, and i will do the same.

jude is obsessed with teenage mutant ninja turtles right now. its rubbed off on you a tiny bit. you play ninja’s with him and its sweet of you. you think jude is the coolest kid ever, and you’re right, he is. he loves the theme song and sings it constantly so everyone in the family knows it by heart now. i was singing it the other day and you piped in, “michelangelo is a party dude…AHHHHH!” it was hilarious.

like i said, you think jude is the best. you want to be just like him. i love overhearing the conversations you have. for the most part, he is really sweet to you. he calls you “sweetie” often and it just about makes me die. i love it. he’ll be playing with something, or talking, and you’ll pipe in and say “oh jude, that’s so cool!” its the most adorable thing. you fight like crazy, at times, and other times you give and take and play what the other one wants to play and those moments are wonderful.

you’re so affectionate. you love to give hugs and kisses. you randomly come up and wrap your chubby, soft arms around my neck and its one of my favorite things ever. when daddy leaves for work in the morning you run the length of the kitchen to jump into his arms. and every morning i tell myself that i will never forget it.

that’s why i write these letters, really. i’m always telling myself “this is a moment that i never want to forget.” but life is crazy and sometimes i do forget. so i will continue to write. so we can both remember life as it is right now. because i want to remember you like this forever.





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