No One Told Me It Would Be This Hard

She returns from a long day of school and plops her too-heavy backpack on the counter, grabs a honey crisp apple and heads to her room. My table used to be her sanctuary, my presence her guide. But I hear her bedroom door close and I wonder at the other woman who lives upstairs and seeks solace rather than mother.

Her flute keeps her busy and now basketball practice and games. She babysits for family friends and studies in-between.

How did we get here so quickly?

She is growing up and I feel the world pulling her away.

My grip is loosening. She wants more freedom, I’m slowly learning to give it.

But no one told me watching your daughter become a woman would be so hard.

Or so beautiful.

Her little sister in her shadow, these two strong girls cut from the same strong mold, both turning a year older, one shadowing the other.

They are my daughters.

They take my breath away with their drama and demands one minute and I’m humbled by their love of others the next.

My youngest adding the Muslims of the world to her bedtime prayers and my oldest carries the burden of knowing the pain in our world…I see it when she questions if child slaves made her costume jewelry.

It’s hard fitting back into junior high girl stuff when your world has been expanded. We navigate these uncomfortable waters together. I’ve introduced my children to The Struggle (the one I wrestle with daily).  At 6, my little one doesn’t know any difference and I’m proud her heart knows no limits.

We do the mother daughter dance and we have good days and bad ones. We say things we regret in anger, we forgive in the quiet places. We live with passion because we don’t know another way.

I try to remember how my mom and I journeyed this road. I know why she cried when I left (and maybe rejoiced a little).

And rejoiced each time I returned (and maybe cried a little).

My baby reads now and has a wiggly tooth. She is hardly a baby, but when she brings me a book or asks me to pick out her clothes, I answer. Because she’ll go thru a period of not asking or liking my answers.

I let go of my daughters a little more every day.

Because I know they will return to me.

As my friends.



Fun Little Stocking Stuffer

My first book, Don’t Make Me Come Up There! is on sale for only $2.99 on Kindle today.


You can also get a hard copy here for only $5.99!

Some nice things people have said:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your book! I finally ordered it a couple of days ago…(not sure what took me so long)…got it today and started reading while waiting the car line at school! I’ve already laughed (out loud) (to which my little boy asked why i was laughing) and cried! I can totally relate to what I’ve read so far! Thank you for sharing your stories…and for being real…” -Melissa


Don’t Make Me Come Up There”– makes me cheer! And it makes me get down on my knees and thank Jesus for this vocation of mothering. Because this book’s take on motherhood is with a fresh honesty, a deep humility, and always has Christ firmly at the center of it.

Each chapter can be read easily in one sitting (or standing at the stove, stirring soup :) by a mama of many. I’ve been picking it up right in the middle of it all — and it’s guaranteed to bring a smile of recognition (“I’m not alone!”)… (or flat out laugh.) And it’s guaranteed to encourage and turn a chaotic day to Him who really matters.

This book is making me laugh and it’s making me kneel and it’s making me love.
I can think of no higher compliment of a book for a mama down in the trenches — or at the bottom of the stairs :)” -Ann Voskamp


This product has helped me so much with my boys. I have a two year old and a 4 month old and there are so many times when I feel like I am failing as a mother. This book is perfect because it only takes a few minutes to read, cause we all know Mom’s dont have an hour to read their devotional, and it gives me so much encouragement. I highly recommend this book for all mothers (especially of little boys!). -anonymous


As a parent, I’m every Reading teachers nightmare. I hate to read! However, I sat down with this book at a point where I needed encouragement and needed to know I was not alone. I read through the entire book–twice in one day! I continue to read it about once a month and gain new inspiration for my parenting journey each time. I have also given it as a gift to several friends and used it as a give-away at our church on Mother’s Day. I appreciate Kristen’s perspective and transparency which helps me think I’m more “normal” than I thought, whatever “normal” is. I laughed til I cried and I cried until I smiled at the amazing way God has used this book to speak life to me. Thanks Kristen- for showing us that one person can make a difference, in our homes and in the world around us.” -Pam R

WFMW: Last Minute Christmas Deals from My Sponsors

-Hope for the Weary Mom:   The Kindle version of Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess will be $2.99 on the 11th and 12th of December. Join the book club! Starting Jan. 7.

-One of my long time favorite companies (and advertiser), Show Off Arts is having a fun Christmas deal:

– The Vintage Pearl has an amazing assortment of READY TO SHIP silver stamped jewelry below. There’s a little something for everyone! Plus, use this code: watfam20 for 20% off til 12/15

– Union 28, my favorite t-shirt shop is featuring their new shirts, plus a great sale. Use code: U28TFK15 for 15% off your order.

– Don’t forget the Kitchen iPad Rack for the cook in the family. $5 of every purchase through Christmas goes to Mercy House!

It’s Christmas {Mandisa Giveaway}

UPDATE: The winner is comment #61! Congratulations, Tara.

Our tree is trimmed with the oh-so-classy theme of kiddie ornaments from the last 4 decades. My hubby and I have favorites from our childhood and my kids have carefully placed their “special” ones at eye-level. I just can’t do anything fancy or grown up. And all these people who have multiple trees HOW? It was all I could do to get one together.

But my tree does spin.

So, there’s that.

I bought the tree stand spinner when it seemed crucial one year to true Christmas happiness. Every year when my hubby drags it out and we roll our eyes at my silliness for buying something so unnecessary, he says, “I’m so thankful you were rescued from wealth.” But we have it, so we use it.

I sort of have a thing for Nativities too. I just love them. But besides the festive colors and twinkly lights, it’s the music that makes it really feel like Christmas in our house. I love Christmas music in the background of our busy life.

My new favorite Christmas album is by Mandisa, called It’s Christmas. It has an great selection, including the song Somebody’s Angel. Have you heard it? The movie footage in the video below is from the Gospel Music Channels original movie Christmas Angel that premiered this month. It will be playing throughout the Christmas season. This song is a simple reminder in a hectic time, to be somebody’s angel this year.

I know there are so many needs right around us if we’ll just look. I’m so excited about our family adopting a local single mom to secretly deliver gifts and groceries too.

I want my kids to feel the magic of Christmas, get something from their list and enjoy the wonder of it all. But more than anything, I want them to remember the reason we celebrate.

It’s Christmas.

It’s about Him.

Today, I am giving away Mandisa’s new Christmas album PLUS the Christmas Angel DVD and her entire collection of albums to one lucky winner:

What If We Were Real


True Beauty

Remixed: Get Movin’

Leave a comment as your entry.

This giveaway ends Thursday. Winners are announced on giveaway posts once they close.

{Getting Ready for Christmas in Texas}

A cold front is on it’s way. We hope for frigid air in the morning to turn our 80 degree weather into winter.  But Texans celebrate Christmas in all kinds of weather.

We light our Advent wreath each night, share a thought and a verse and are keeping it simple this year, trying to make it about Jesus.

I took my little one to sit on Santa’s lap, a favorite tradition. I have 12 years of pictures of my kids with jolly old St. Nick and I love setting the frames out each year to see how much my kids have grown.

My big kids couldn’t resist this year and when Santa asked my son what Christmas was really about, my 10 year old boy answered confidently JESUS. It made this momma proud.

But then when I heard Santa respond, “you better believe it! If it weren’t for the gift of Jesus, Santa wouldn’t be.” I smiled wide and thanked God for good men who help spread the good news.

My vintage Santa nesting dolls were a garage sale find from years ago:

Kenya Christmas corner:


I hope it’s starting to feel like Christmas in your house, wherever that may be.

Tell me where you live in the comments and your favorite Christmas tradition.

Linking up here and to The Nester’s!