My Favorite Day of The Week

The older I become (and the older my kids get), the busier our lives have become. I’m so thankful we held off on a lot of extracurricular activities when they were little, because, whoa, hello Jr. High and High School.
It’s especially crazy this time of year, with marching band at football games and music contests and when you throw in science fair projects and AP classes, it’s exhausting in a wonderful –I love watching my kids do what they love– kind of way.
I think that’s why I cherish Sundays so much. It’s our family day. We go to church. We take a nap. We eat a nice meal out. (Okay, so maybe I love it because I don’t have to cook. Don’t judge). We declared it a media free day years ago and the quiet reading and togetherness is my favorite.

As first world as it sounds, deciding where we are going to eat after church is always fun (and by fun, I mean, I usually say whoever is paying gets to choose).

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Last Sunday, there wasn’t an argument or complaint since Red Robin sent me a gift card for our family to try out their Gourmet burgers and bottomless sides, which include bottomless broccoli, side salad, cole slaw, garlic herbed fries, and sweet potatoes fries. For a great meal at a great price, Red Robin offers the Red’s Tavern Double Burger starting at just $6.99, including bottomless fries. Two classic-sized fire-grilled patties topped with American cheese, Red’s Secret Tavern Sauce, tomato and lettuce.

Holy moly.

It was our first time as a family to eat at Red Robin and it was such a delicious treat! I think what I loved most was there was something for everyone. My teen son has a bottomless stomach, so he was especially excited about refilling his fry basket over and over. My teen daughter has been trying a gluten free diet on for size and she was happy to find a hamburger bun that fit the bill. My hubby and I try to be low carb eaters, so we opted for the no-bun option on our gourmet Bleu Ribbon burgers topped with bleu cheese and crispy onion straws (yum!). And our youngest was pretty excited about Chicken Stickens (chicken on a stick). All you can drink freckled lemonades (pink lemonade with strawberries) were a huge hit too.

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We ate and talked and caught up on each other’s lives. Good food and family just go together. And then we went home and took a nap.

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What’s your favorite Red Robin Burger? Share your pick in the comments section below and be automatically entered to win a $100 Red Robin gift card!

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The Bravest Person in America

I called my family into the living room and told them we had to have a meeting, my voice pinched and shaky.

They looked nervous.

I took a deep breath, “We have family pictures this weekend and we have to talk about outfits and coordinating them,” I said as I pointed to the wild assortment of clothes spread out on the couch.

“I’m serious. We haven’t had them in two years and this is important and I need your help!” They looked at me like I was crazy. I half felt it.

I felt a meltdown coming for days. I had held it together with off-and-on company for months, my husband in Africa when school started along with three carlines, a car wreck, broken appliances, speaking engagements, the pressure of our Mercy House fundraising Gala, stress from turning in another book manuscript, and now, I was going to lose it over clothes.

As I stood in my living room trying to get a grip on reality, the words hanging in my entryway caught my attention. You make me brave. They made me think of the young mother who approached me at the ladies retreat where I spoke recently about Mercy House who waited to tell me, “how brave I was.”

I looked at the clothes and I could almost hear the words mocking me.

the bravest person in america

Little did I know, the next day the bravest person in America would remind me that life is about more than clothes and busyness and everyday stress. It’s about more than my momentary troubles and sometimes hectic life. It’s about more than me.

The headlines read “School Shooting-Again,” and we flinched at the senseless deaths. This time, the news hit closer to home as we learned those who admitted to being Christians were killed on the spot.

I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder just how brave I would be with a gun pointed at my head. I wonder if I would hesitate or declare my faith boldly-knowing it would mean death. I want to believe I would lay down my life to stand for Christ, but it scares me just to think about it.

I’ve imagined what it must have been like for the second and third and fourth person to answer that questions as their classmates died at their feet.

I go days and weeks without thinking of losing my life to find it or picking up my cross to follow Jesus. I’m a Christian. I choose to follow Christ but I don’t know where He will lead me.

And we don’t have to travel to an oppressed country or militant region to find out, we just have to send our kids to English class at the community college down the street.

It’s terrifying to think that by raising our kids to follow Jesus, we might also be putting their lives at risk.

I wonder about this country and where it’s going and I worry about my children’s future.

No, I’m not brave.

But I know I live for something worth dying for.

As we stood and posed for our family pictures, I didn’t think about our outfit choices or how we looked or the crazy month we had. I looked at my husband and kids and whispered a prayer of thanks for the fake smiles and awkward poses.

And I asked God to make me braver.

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I'm always amazed at the love and support this community shows me, but more importantly, the love and care you offer to impoverished girls and women around the world through the work of Mercy House. It is beautiful. You have given The School Girl … [Continue reading]