A realistic to-do list


Ever feel like you worked all day but didn’t actually accomplish anything? Ever looked at your to-do list, known you’ve been working and productive all morning, but have nothing to check off?

This happens to me!! And I finally realized *something needs to change*! Either I need to write down what I actually need to do, or I need to stop writing down things that I realistically can not do. Maybe both.

I used to make long, ambitious lists of all I wanted to do in a day; but currently, I write down lunch and dinner and give Eden a bath and sometimes even make my bed and get a shower if I can tell it’s that kind of a day. Not only does it help me to not write in extra things that will never realistically get accomplished, but it also motivates me to do those seemingly obvious things that tend to be forgotten in the daily plan. (Ever forgotten to take a shower? Or forgotten that the little people were planning on eating dinner?)

These seasons do not last forever, but it is very tempting to feel that they might.

It’s okay to write “clean up from breakfast,” or “put dinner in the crockpot,” or “read with ‘Zoe'”on your list. If it needs done and you’re in a crunch season (or if it’s a rather undesirable task that tends to be overlooked), then write it down.

Now you might not write “change diapers.” But think about it – even if it’s only five minutes – that multiplied times five or ten takes up a good little chunk of your day. The same could be said for nursing or potty training. Leave room for those things. And especially leave room for discipline, conversation, and sweet times with the kids.

We have to figure out how to still do laundry, errands, meals, etc., but don’t plan beyond what is reasonable with so many other responsibilities.

I wish I could tell you this post will help you accomplish more… but it won’t. That’s not even my intention. But I do hope – if you find yourself in such a season – that you will recognize how much you do accomplish, and feel a tiny bit more encouraged at the end of the day.


On the benefits and drawbacks of being tired

I found this fun little draft from awhile ago. Hope it’s an encouragement to someone today! 

If there is one physical state of being I have experienced most in the last ten years, it is being tired.


I’m not speaking of the worked-all-day-in-the-yard good tired or the ran-a-marathon-that-I-trained-for-for-six-months good tired, but rather the I’m-making-a-baby-and-carrying-around-a-one-year-old-and-up-and-down-and-bending-all-day-and-woke-up-three-times-during-the-night tired. You will have to decide for yourself what brand of tired you are.

But every stage has benefits and drawbacks. Every one! Maybe pausing to think about the graces given through this “difficulty” could be encouraging.

Here are a few things I can see as benefits:

When you’re tired it is often easier to say “no” to frivolous, external engagements. This is a good thing. No, I don’t want to scroll on facebook for forty-five minutes; no, I don’t want to watch the last three innings of that baseball game; no I don’t need to watch my thirteen billionth episode of Chopped. So there’s that.

When you’re tired it is easier to see yourself as weak before God. This is an especially good thing. Yes, I can do nothing good in and of myself. Yes, if I make it ’til tonight it will be God’s grace that has sustained me; yes, your mercies are new every morning; yes, God’s faithfulness shines brightest against the backdrop of human faithlessness. Relying on Him moment by moment becomes not something we know we should do, but our basic survival instinct.

When you’re tired it can be easier to be compassionate with others. Sometimes you just don’t have the strength to be bothered with the foibles or eccentricities of others. Getting upset may take that last shred of energy that you will need to load the dishwasher that night. Or whatever. Relationships can be the precious comfort they were intended to be through the weariness of life.


Lest you pull an all-nighter to be on the receiving end of all these benefits to being tired… here are my views regarding the drawbacks.

Tiredness accentuates the difficulty of the spiritual disciplines. It’s hard to gain from reading the Bible when you fall asleep after the second sentence. (and yes, for us mamas of little ones, there will be times when no matter what we do, we will be this tired)

Tiredness exposes our hearts (perhaps this could be a benefit). If bitterness or selfishness or impatience have been lurking under a well put-together surface, being tired will probably bring those to the forefront.

Tiredness keeps our minds from working like normal. And we all collectively groan.

Tiredness keeps us from keeping up with routine tasks leaving us to feel overwhelmed and incompetent.

Sometimes being tired hurts – headaches, soreness from our body not having enough horizontal time… bleck.

Maybe there are things you can do to get a little more rest or maybe you just have to hang in there. Living in community with your husband and other sisters in Christ will help you know if you’re more in the “I need to work at getting more rest” stage or the “I’m doing the best I can and have to fight for joy and contentment” stage.

But there will be times (#youngmoms) when being tired just becomes a part of your life. We can rejoice in God’s sustaining grace and rest in His faithfulness that reaches the sky.



The lovely transition from baby food to solids

My sweet little Zoe finally has a few teeth! Okay, one official one and one so close I’m sure it’s already useful. = )

For several months she has been eating cheerios, crackers, and scrambled eggs, as well as gnawing on big chunks of apples or vegetables. Her main source of food though was baby food (which I decided to go back to good, old store bought baby food with her and we both loved that just fine).

Now we’re working on that lovely transition where solids will become her main source of nutrition.

Cheerios in milk, blueberries, banana chunks... and coffee and water to keep mama going.
Cheerios in milk, blueberries, banana chunks… and coffee and water to keep mama going.

Baby food, solids, teaching kids to feed themselves and use utensils – these are all my very least favorite stages of parenting.

So in the spirit of trying to be thoughtful and proactive regarding this transition I’m going to write down carefully everything I feed her for a week. Or try.

It’s posted on the refrigerator to help me remember. = )


Why am I doing this?

I find it tricky to know if you’ve fed them enough. A baby food container is easy to measure. You had your fruit, your vegetable, you’re done. Usually in less than ten minutes.

But when it’s some cheerios, some blueberries, some cooked carrots, etc., I sort of lose track. And there’s the fact that it takes approximately four times as long. Or at least it did when I measured it out for breakfast and lunch today. One reason for the length of time is that I’m still actually feeding it to her. I’ve found there to be a huge benefit to your baby opening their mouth when you present something on a spoon or a fork, so I’m sticking to that method as another way to make sure she gets enough. When I put things on her tray she picks them up to eat, but doesn’t always stay interested long enough for a proper portion.

Hopefully all this will make sure she stays nice and chubby through this ten-eighteen month period that has always proved a little difficult for me.

So far, so good. Not even too bad on the neatness end.


But spaghetti’s for dinner. = )

10 Ways to entertain small children at long, boring doctor’s appointments

Ever been taken back to a room at the doctor’s office, have a nurse weigh your child, ask if you have any questions, and then say the Doctor will be right in?


Ever found yourself wondering if that nurse remembered to tell that Doctor that you were even there?

Here are ten ways to be proactive at entertaining your children while waiting in the doctor’s office. (Please note: these would not really be appropriate for the waiting area, but are fair game once in the room.)

Edited 10 ways photo1. Play I-Spy. The rooms at our pediatrician’s office are very colorful, so this is always something the girls want to do.

2. Play Simon Says. My girls are a little too young for this, so it’s really just a glorified version of “Do what Mommy says.” Hey, why not throw in having them respond with, “Yes, Mommy!” and make it a training exercise as well?

3. Play Ring-Around-The-Rosie. It’s okay, I promise.

4. Give bumpy horsey rides with the kids on your knees.

5. Explain the different “doctor” equipment in the room.

6. Play Peek-a-Boo.

7. Sing songs softly. Especially ones with fun action or hand motions.

8. Play copycat. Do something and have the children imitate you. (Jumping jacks, standing on one foot, turning around, making a silly face… they love this one; especially once they get to be “the cat.”)

9. Play thunderstorm. Pretend it’s raining and everyone has to huddle under an umbrella to stay dry. (The girls actually made this one up; they love to make rain noises by slapping their laps.)

10. And if the doctor is still not there, Repeat.

Stick out your tongues!
Stick out your tongues!

The point is to be creative and be happy. If you are impatient, your children probably will be, too.

Sad faces
Sad faces

Really the sky is the limit.


Last time we went, I happened to have a brush in my purse because we rushed out so early and I hadn’t had time to really get them ready. So we played beauty shop; I fixed their hair while talking to them in my awful imitation Brooklyn accent. They thought it was hilarious. (If they only knew it was helping me stay sane as well… )

Silly faces!
Silly faces!

What do you do to occupy your children while waiting?

Oh yeah, and if all else fails, tell them to make faces and take pictures. = )

Janine: A life for a life

Hello, and thanks for stopping by to celebrate Mother’s Week with us here. On Monday, we heard from Kristin about how God led her from being a successful Ob/gyn doctor to being a happy, fulfilled stay-at-home-mom

Today, we are so privileged to hear the testimony of another dear friend of mine, Janine. Can I invite you, dear reader, to read all of this amazing story? Especially if struggles with rape, abortion, or depression are troubling you as a mother or wife. There is hope; there is help; and there is unconditional, unchanging love waiting for you. I know this post is a little long, but I wanted to include it all because it is so helpful and encouraging. You will be glad you took the time to read!

Janine, your friendship and example mean so much to me! Thank you for sharing with us a glorious display of God’s grace and redemption. 


Who’s hands are these? Will all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands? No, instead my hands will stain the seas scarlet, turning the green waters red.

I can remember reading this scene from Macbeth aloud in my tenth grade English class.

There was something so profound in that scene – the thought of one selfish, horrible decision swayed by emotion and weakness that now haunted this person with unthinkable guilt and shame.

Little did I know how profound one quote from Macbeth would become in my own life and how I would one day repeat those words over and over again in my mind.

There are moments in your life when events will change you forever; they can be words or decisions. The act of another person or your own. But this moment has the power to help form your beliefs whether they be true or false. They seem to go down deep inside and can slowly destroy you, or better yet have the power to heal you by bringing life, peace, and joy.

I grew up in NY in an “American Christian” family. My parents were married in a Lutheran church where they baptized all seven of their children, of which I am the youngest. I believed in God, and I knew about Jesus. Because I was baptized, I was taught that I was safe and going to heaven. I stopped going to church by the time I was eight.

When I was in tenth grade, my English teacher (the same one we read Shakespeare aloud with) shared a time in her life when someone had jumped into her car to attack her. She said she had used the heel of her shoe to strike him in the head to get away from him. I remember thinking how scary that must have been, but how brave she was to defend herself in such a way.

Two years later on January 4th, a dark rainy day, while running errands for my mom, I remember walking to my car feeling like someone was watching me; I even looked around to see if anyone was there. When I got to my car I saw I had left my car unlocked and grumbled to myself for being so careless. I visually checked the car once I got in. A second later the driver side door opened and a man holding a box knife grabbed my wrist and pushed me into the passenger seat. I was trapped in the car for about forty-five minutes.

This is when I remembered what that tenth grade teacher said about how she used her shoe to defend herself, but unfortunately he had me remove my shoes. I had to beg to keep my innocence and my life.

I walked away with my life.

In just forty-five minutes the act of another person changed my life. It brought fear and depression to a once vibrant life.

When I was twenty-one, I met my husband, Jerry, and we were engaged at twenty-three. Jerry was an Italian Catholic, but he was very angry at the time with God and claimed he no longer believed in Him. I would cry and plead with him to please believe in God. I wanted to be in heaven with him. Remember I believed as long as you went to church and were baptized you would go to heaven. Little did I know we were both on the path to hell.

Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of god our Saviour toward man appeared.

My first experience of hearing about the gospel and God’s mercy was in counseling with the pastor who was going to marry us. Since I never made my confirmation or communion I had to take classes with the pastor and fulfill these requirements in order to be married in the Lutheran church.

We met in his office once a week for about 4-5 weeks. At one of these meetings I remember him explaining to me what had happened to Jesus and how he was persecuted, beaten, and then hung on the cross. I remember tears coming to my eyes as I began to cry asking him, “How could they do that to him? He was there for them.”

At that moment I believe I would have been ready to accept Christ into my life as my Savior; but, unfortunately, the pastor responded by shaking his head and saying, “I don’t understand why they did that to Him either.”

I completed my classes, made my communion, and was eligible to be married in the Lutheran church.

Four years later we were living in Georgia and had a beautiful three-year old daughter, Amanda. The rape that happened when I was seventeen was now finally catching up to me. We had moved away from all family, friends, and familiar surroundings. On the news every night there would be a story of a gang initiation rape and murder. Jerry was working from 11pm until 11am every day and it was just me and Amanda all night. I was becoming very depressed and fearful. I would wake up every morning thinking “OK, we made it through another night, no one broke in.” I became so depressed that I was now thinking very seriously about suicide. One morning those thoughts were so strong that I woke Jerry up and told him I needed help. I went for secular counseling for about 2-3 months, put a band-aid on my emotions, and moved on.

Then in July of 1994, I became pregnant. We were so happy and eagerly awaited our new addition. In October I received the phone call that every expectant mother dreads. My blood work had come back; there was something wrong with the baby.

I was told that the results indicated I had a very high chance of delivering a baby with down-syndrome or spinal bifida. I needed to go in for an amino fluid test. I was scared to death but had the hope that maybe I was pregnant with twins (a very big dream of mine) or maybe it was a mistake similar to what had happened to my sister. With her, the tests had been proven wrong and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. So I had hope!!

Hope turned to heartache with a painful decision we needed to make. The baby had severe kidney damage and hydrocephalus. The doctor walked into the room with this statement, “If you were my wife I wouldn’t let you have this baby.” We had family calling Jerry advising, “You can’t have this baby – it’s selfish – it’s wrong to do! It’s wrong to bring a child into a difficult world with deformities.”

I was scared… And I was a coward. Jerry was a confused young man and also scared, not knowing what to do – but he did want to protect the woman he loved. We were facing financial difficulties on top of everything.

So we made a selfish horrible decision swayed by emotion and weakness – to abort.

On November 15, 1994, I became a murderer! I became a woman I despised! I was now looking at my own hands and seeing blood that couldn’t be washed off. “Blood enough to turn the green waters red!”

Here was yet another action of my own that was going to change me; take me further down the road of despair and unrest, with a complete lack of peace or hope.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

My search for forgiveness began! I didn’t want to go to hell. But how could I not? I was a murderer! Didn’t murderers go to hell? Hadn’t I heard quoted from the Bible one time words that I never forgot – “A life for a life?”

I would need to give my life for taking a life, right? I didn’t know what that verse meant. Did it mean that I would have to die? Did it mean that I would need to take my own life? What did I need to do?

We moved three months later and with the new change once again I fell into a deeper depression. I was unable to leave the house. I was terrified that someone was going to attack me or Amanda. I would drive to the stores to go grocery shopping and then would not be able to get out of the car. I can remember feeling like everything was so dark and terrifying. I was becoming bitter and angry. I hated the man who raped me. I hated the doctor’s that counseled me with the pregnancy. I hated myself for the things I did.

Still searching for answers, I sought help from our Lutheran Pastor. But he left me with no hope, turned his back, and never spoke to me again.

Then we began attending the Mormon Church. They all laid their hands on me and prayed for me and told me that because of their prayer and the laying on of the hands I was now forgiven. But that gave me no sense of forgiveness or peace.

All the while, going over and over again in my mind were the words “a life for a life… a life for a life.”

We found the courage to have another beautiful baby girl, Briana. What a precious gift she is! But the whole time I was pregnant, and then for about the first six months of her life, I was sure God was going to punish me. He was going to take this baby from me. He was going to allow her to have health issues. One way or another God was going to punish me for taking a life. It would be her life for the life I took.

About that time, my sister went on a retreat back in NY and heard the gospel – she said she’d found Jesus! I didn’t understand what that meant, but the happiness she expressed, the way she talked, the look in her eyes… I wanted this!

My marriage had begun falling apart. Jerry and I were moving further and further apart from one another. I was thinking about divorce. The weight of the abortion was constantly haunting me. We needed this retreat and I wanted to go. But in order for me to go, Jerry was required to attend first and then two weeks later I would be allowed to attend.

After quite a bit of arguing and threatening, Jerry finally agreed to go. So off he flew to NY.

Four days later I went to pick him up at the airport and there I greeted a different man. The same husband didn’t get off that plane and come home to me. A man with a calm sense of peace came home. He was so different from the man who had just left four days ago – he had become a new man. And once again… I wanted this!!

Spouses were asked not to share too much of what went on during their stay, for the benefit of the impact on their spouse who would later attend. So with very little knowledge of what this transformation was in my husband and not really knowing what to expect, we packed the car and Jerry drove the girls and I to NY.

The retreat started Thursday night after saying good-bye to Jerry and being on my own for the first time in my life. We were led to a room where we had a devotion and then were told for the rest of the night to take a vow of silence and just spend time with God. This wasn’t what I had expected. I didn’t want to be alone with God! I didn’t even understand what
that meant. I was miserable.

Friday we went to about six different sessions and everyone was really emotional – I think I must have looked like a deer in the headlights watching these people and listening to their testimonies; and again I was miserable. Throughout the day one young lady started coming up to me asking me these questions:

“So do you know Jesus?”

“Yes” I said.

“How long have you been friends with Jesus?”

I stayed silent and thought –“She’s crazy!”

“So, how often do you talk to Jesus?”

Silence! But in my mind I’m screaming “She is crazy!”

I wanted to go home. I hated everything about this retreat! I was now actually angry at Jerry for making me come to this thing!!! I hated the crazy lady’s questions! Not only because I didn’t understand them, but there was something in it that was making me sad! I was missing something, something very important.

Then at another session the leader was saying how God loves you and sent his Son to die for you. I remember sitting there thinking these people are so lucky – that they were loved that way… And I wished that I could be worthy to be loved that way, too.

Well Saturday evening this same young lady and another woman ended up sitting on either side of me during dinner and they started asking me questions. Before I knew it I was telling them about my abortion.

Our conversation continued down the hallway as we were led to yet another talk. This one was different though. We were asked to write on a piece of paper a sin or a problem in our life that we were dealing with and then, one by one, we were to walk forward and nail that piece of paper to a wooden cross. When everyone was finished, a pastor came, and while he was speaking he tore off each piece of paper and placed them in a bucket and then proceeded to burn them. We were told that Christ suffered the wrath of God and Hell for our sins and we were to leave our sins at the foot of the cross. The session was over.

Everyone got up and walked out of the room quietly – except me! How could I leave my child there? How could I get up and not think of him again? If I don’t suffer for the rest of my life, if I don’t carry this burden, for the rest of my life, doesn’t that make me even more evil? Doesn’t that make me a cold-hearted person? How do I get up and leave?

And then here came those two women! Each one sat at my side, asking me what was wrong. Why wasn’t I leaving? I told them, and they held me, cried with me and then went on to explain that Christ, yes Christ, went through all that suffering, all that pain… the cross, for ME!! FOR ME! He knew back then what I was going to do; He knew two-thousand years earlier that I was going to abort my son; and He loved me so much that He came and suffered for all my sins and for that sin, too, so that I could be forgiven and spend eternity with Him.

And finally, finally, I had a peace wash over me! I realized then that God did love me that much. I now knew I could be forgiven.

But I still wasn’t ready… I still thought “It can’t be this easy. There has to be something more I need to do.” Not long after I returned home, the Lord led us to a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church, and it was there that I heard those same words spoken back to me when the pastor said, “Maybe you are one of those people who think the gospel is too easy; maybe you think there is more that you have to do. No, just believe! Just believe that Jesus Christ is enough and surrender to Him alone.” And so I did. I bowed my knees and acknowledged that Jesus is Lord and Savior, and that his death and life was for me.

It was indeed a life for a life – His life for mine.

Now, my life has not gotten easier since embracing the cross. But the difference today is that my trials are not without meaning. I have my Lord and Savior with me – and I know that trials are His work in me. I have moved from hating the man who raped me, to forgiving him. This was a very powerful moment in my life when I had to fully surrender the hatred and bitterness and realize through the Holy Spirit, “Who am I to hold onto these feeling when I have been forgiven a greater travesty?”

And when I did let go… Wow! It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I went from being a fear-based person to now living with the hope and peace of Jesus Christ, who dwells within me. I have not arrived at being perfect or going through my days without fear creeping in. What I do have though is God’s Word to guide me in all things and with that knowledge I know that whatever comes my way, I can rest in Him.

Psalm 27 is a psalm that brings me comfort, and I have held onto it as my own.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. 

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. 

Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. 

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Teach me they way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. 

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. 

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Kristin: Ob/gyn to stay-at-home mom

Hello everyone and welcome to Mother’s Week! 

I’m so excited to pass along a story today from one of my dear friend’s here at our seminary. Kristin is one of the kindest and most caring people I know. Her love for Christ and her service to others were evident the first time I met her! She organized meals for our family after Mckayla was born, has babysat our children just so we could have an evening together, and regularly encourages all who know her with her sweet spirit. Several months ago, she shared her testimony with our seminary wives group. It was so touching; I asked her right after if she would let me put it up here. She was so sweet to say yes, and so I’m been saving it for this Mother’s Day week. I know you’ll love getting to know her and be blessed by the story of God working in her life.

Hi! My name is Kristin, and my husband Kevin is a Masters of Divinity student here at Shepherds. We should hopefully be finished by May of next year.

I appreciate the opportunity to give you all my testimony and share with you what God has done in my life. I, like many people, do not feel comfortable speaking in front of people so when Lucy asked me to do this, my hands typed back “sure” while the rest of my body said “NO!! Are you crazy?!” The very next day, we had a Seminary Wives Fellowship and our very own sweet Marsha gave us a talk on how to give a presentation. What perfect timing! Well, she talked about how important it was to have an illustration that could relate to people. Well, my mind began thinking of what I could possibly use…and in 5 months, I could only come up with one thing. And after my testimony, hopefully it will make more sense why this something is near and dear to me!

****At this point, Kristin held up a diagram of a uterus! We were all like, “Wha?” but just hang on, you’ll soon understand, too. = )****

Does anyone know what this is?

Right! A uterus!

Just in case you don’t know, it is the female organ which is responsible for our lovely menstrual cycles but also the wonderful organ that carries babies!

The uterus is an amazing organ. When a woman becomes pregnant, the uterus will stretch up to 500 times its normal size! 500 times! And it doesn’t bust open! That is amazing!

Well, God may choose to stretch you more than you think you could ever be stretched, but don’t worry, you won’t bust open either!

Let me tell you how God is stretching me!

I was raised in a Christian home. I heard the gospel, and at the age of 8 years old, I accepted that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. And that God had sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sin, so that I could spend eternity with him in heaven. I continued to believe this throughout the rest of my childhood and into my adult years. There were several years when my walk with Christ was not close, and there was little fruit in my life, but by God’s grace, he drew me near again about 10 years ago.

Let’s back up about 15 years.

I was in medical school pursuing my life-long dream of being a doctor. I knew I would get married someday, but I figured it would be when I finished medical school and then started my Obstetrics and Gynecology career in Denver, CO. The man of my dreams would be found skiing in the newly fallen snow on the slopes!

And then before I was able to finish medical school, I met my future husband, at a billiard hall. Oh, and by the way, he hates cold weather and certainly does not like to spend all day in it skiing! Good-bye Colorado….Hello sunny Florida!

Kevin was not a believer when we met, and he subsequently met weekly with the pastor of my parents church and by God’s grace, he accepted the gift of salvation. We were married in 2001 and then moved to Jacksonville, Florida for my residency. When we moved to Florida, we had no idea how to look for a church. The Lord was so kind to us and placed us in an amazing Bible-believing church where we could be mentored and our faith began to grow.

Kevin was immediately on fire for Christ and he just couldn’t get enough. He would get together with guys from the church and talk theology into the wee hours of the morning. He had truly put off his “old self” and was putting on a “new self.” And it was a totally different Kevin than the one I met in a pool hall and married!

I was pretty consumed with work, practically living at the hospital delivering babies day and night. That made it easier for me to avoid dealing with the fact that we were not growing in Christ together. I began to resent that he was trying to be a spiritual leader when he hadn’t even became a Christian until recently. I was the one who had been a Christian for a LONG time, who is he to tell me about God? However, I was becoming to feel more convicted about the double-life I was living, outside of church and inside church. And my now “goodie-twoshoes” husband wasn’t helping any!

Thankfully, God spoke to my heart, and with His help, and Kevin’s patience, we, as a couple, began to make some big life changes and grow together in the knowledge of Christ.

One big change was the desire to have children.

We didn’t think kids were for us. Whoa, being stretched here! Kids? Really? But God laid the desire on both of our hearts, so…well, I won’t get into that- you figure that one out yourself. But then we had our first child, Brendan in 2005, right before we moved to Virginia so I could join a private practice there.

OK…so now the uterus has been stretched a bit. That is good, right God? No more stretching necessary!

This is great! Picture this! I’m now a partner in a private Ob/Gyn practice. Did I mention it was a Christian practice? We gave Bibles to all of our 6 week postpartum patients with their baby’s name in it. I have the BEST office staff, the BEST hospital staff, the BEST patients. I have no financial woes. I am able to aggressively pay off my student loans. We have a nice house. I have a husband who has quit his job and has joyfully devoted his life to raising our children. We now have 2, Kayla was born in 2006. My parents live 5 minutes away and are available to help any time we need it.

Everything is great on the outside…except that inside, my heart is hurting.

I don’t get very much time with my family at all. Being responsible for the lives of moms and babies is taking a toll on me. I want to do everything right, I don’t ever want to make a mistake with a patient. I am obsessed with every detail of every labor, every delivery, every annual exam, every surgery. But in return, I am missing my own baby’s first steps, and first words, and preschool plays.

But Lord, who goes to school for all these years and then finally is a successful doctor, and then quits? To do what? Be a stay-at-home mom? What will my husband say? We agreed that he would stay home and I would work. What will my office say? What will my parents think? I can’t stretch that much Lord. I’m not going to say anything. I figure this is probably just a phase, and I’ll get through it.

Well, little did I know, that God had laid the same thing on my husband’s heart. He had heard a message by Alistair Begg about motherhood. And he became convicted that we were not following the Biblical guidelines for how a family should run, with me working and him staying home. Now, I understand that there are reasons that a woman works outside of the home and I am not passing judgment on anyone else or making a blanket statement. But for our specific situation, ours was purely by choice. Our debts were now paid off, there was no reason why I had to be the breadwinner anymore.

So, Kevin dropped the bomb and spoke to me about quitting my job and becoming a stay-at-home mom. He was so worried that I would have a negative reaction! He had no idea that I longed to be home with my children but I was just too scared to say anything. God had prepared both of us for this idea…unbeknownst to the other person! Wow God!

But let’s keep stretching that uterus. I start the process of quitting practice. It takes almost 2 years to jump through all the hoops and stop work. I’ll spare you the painful details. As we worked all of that out, Kevin and I started discussing what he would do. Would he go back into the secular work force, or would he pursue this growing desire to attend seminary? We prayed and felt that seminary was the way God was leading us.

Also, during that time of transition, God blesses us with an unexpected pregnancy. Yes, an Ob/Gyn doctor can have an unexpected pregnancy! My last day of work was the day my water broke with Josie on June 30, 2010. And then Kevin started seminary 2 months later.

And here we are! Josie will be 3 in June, her sister is 6, and her brother is almost 8. I am a full time stay-at-home mom and I love it. My uterus is still stretching but not because of any more babies (I think!), but now because in a little over a year, we will be done with seminary. And then I may find myself as a preacher’s wife! What??? Me? Sometimes I wonder if I can really stretch that much. But I know that God is in control and I am so thankful for Seminary Wives Fellowship and the ladies that pour into us here.

Maybe some of you always thought you would end up here, but I sure didn’t. But I know that God will equip me and I already see how he has provided such wonderful people to help me along. One last uterine fact, the uterus starts out about 2-3 inches big, then expands to up to 500 times its normal size, then after birth, it goes back to about 4 inches big. Not the original 2-3 inches, but closer to 4 inches. God will stretch you, sometimes farther than you ever expected, but he will be with you the whole time and will protect and guide you. And you may never be the same again, but it is all part of God’s sovereign plan. God is molding you and making you just what he wants you to be.

I want to close with a verse. I have carried around an index card in my purse for many years with the scripture verses Philippians 4:6-7 on it. As my life goes in directions I never thought it would go, it is easy for me to be anxious about the future. What does God have next for me? His Word says, “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

Thank you so much, Kristin! Your story is an inspiration to me every time I hear it. 

Happy Mother’s Week!

My husband once shocked a congregation by announcing from the pulpit on Mother’s Day, “I think Mother’s Day is silly!”

After everyone recovered from their indignation (not really) he continued to say something like, “After all mother’s do all year long we say, “Okay, you can have one day.”

So here at small steps, big picture, we’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day all week long! I’m so excited!!

I have several posts lined up that will encourage and compel women and mother’s from all walks of life; so check back during the week and celebrate with us.


To start it off, today I have the lyrics to a song I’m working on inspired by my sweet little Mckayla. Her little breaths and contented sighs while nursing melted my heart. Is there anything as sweet as a newborn?


For Little Breaths

For little breaths and contented sighs,

For kicking legs and smiling eyes,

For this new life we thank you, Lord;

For all the months we had to wait,

And for the fire of curses pain,

For mercy great, 

We thank you, Lord.


For words to teach them wrong from right,

For hearts to show a love for Christ,

For lives to be their salt and light; 

For wills to yield and sin to shun,

For hearts to be by your Spirit drawn,

For new life given

We ask you, Lord.


For hands to hold and walks to take,

For times to cry or celebrate,

For gifts of grace we praise you, Lord; 

For seasons new and memories past,

For wings they spread and bonds that last,

To be so blessed

We praise you, Lord.