Anger Management

My parents used to say things like, “There was a lot of yelling happening at our house when you were little. We’re so sorry! You’ll probably have some issues when you’re older.” That seemed laughable at the time. I got TONS of love and attention and I generally have great memories of my childhood. But then my dad would follow it up with, “You never think you have anger issues until you have little kids.” Still I was sure, that was definitely not me.

Well, here I am in my mid-30s and I am so sad to find they were more right than I thought.

My mom was visiting last month to help me run everything while Josh was out of town… the whole week went great and then on the last day I lost it when a kid refused to take the bus. My mom called me out. “That’s not ok.” “I see all of the wonderful thing too, but they can’t carry the weight of your anger.” That generally feels the worst. Embarrassing. Humiliating. Makes me want to hide and cry and give up… Makes me not trust myself.

But, I’m glad she said it. I needed to hear it. With the weight of a millstone, it made it clear for me that I need to make a change.

Here’s the thing… I love my kids, more than life itself. I care about raising them and parenting them and investing in them more than anything. It’s my main priority. I consciously purpose to be patient and calm… And a lot of times I am! Actually most of the time! But things build up… I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. And then I’M NOT FINE. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like it’s all starting to spin out of control and my voice comes out like a ROAR…Then huge regret.

Where do you even start with making a change? After I got feedback from my mom, I realized I might not have an accurate understanding of what is normal and ok. First I needed to take stock of honestly how often it’s happening. Also I needed to do some research to understand more… When does it cross the line? And how can I possibly change?

Cue googling things you don’t even want to say out loud like, “angry mom help” and “how to stop yelling”. I found this course online called, “Momma’s Anger Management”. While I don’t even want to put myself in this category or raise my hand for needing help on this particular issue, here we are! After some grief, the best I can do is be honest about where I am at and embrace my reality. Let’s do this!

So I signed up right away. And it is THE BEST. It is answering all of my questions, helping me understand where the struggle is coming from, and most importantly showing me a way out.

Here are 3 of my top takeaways.

(1) There is a difference between “mom voice” and rage.
She breaks it down into 4 different levels — mom voice, a spurt of yelling, anger venting, and ranting/raving. What level of anger is okay? There can be a bit of a gray area. Think about, pray about it, draw a line and set a personal boundary on what is too much. Set a goal to not get to that level.

(2) Recognize my triggers.
What specifically gets me angry and pushes me over the edge? After thinking about it, it was so helpful to notice that there is a pattern. Now to chart out the danger zones. For me? Things like…
-4pm (#amiright!?!?)
-A crying baby (I just can’t even think straight)
-Volume level (kid chaos escalating)
-No sleep (things feel more aggravating than normal)
-Overwhelm (hours in front of me without help)

(3) How I react as parents is directly connected to how I am doing emotionally.
I am kidding myself if I think I can run on E and then still be awesome with my kids. Maybe this should have been more obvious to me? Taking this class was kind of like pulling a thread that starts unraveling a sweater. It’s not just that I need to try harder and have better self control. I needed to move some big rocks in my life if I don’t want to be an angry mom. So really, this was just the beginning. The tipping point the triggered more changes. (More blog posts coming.)

There are some funny things too. We included the whole family in this. I think it’s good for the kids to see that there are I things I am still working on too. We made a sticker reward chart for Mom. At the end of the day they get to give me a star if I did good keeping my cool. THEY LOVE THAT PART. haha. They decided I should get a “coffee and massage” as a reward. And they are actually more generous in their estimation of me than I would have thought.

Overall, if you are struggling with yelling, you are not alone. I am learning that if you grew up in a yelling home, it will be a natural impulse for you to yell at your kids too (even if you love them and try not to). But, good news, there are things you can learn and you can change! If you find yourself in the same place I was in check out Momma’s Anger Management.

Feel free to reach out. I would love to offer my support.

Oh, hey, here’s the bottom.

I kind of bottomed out towards the end of this year. It all just started to feel like too much. Not one specific thing, just all the little things started to team up and then they climbed up on top of me. And I just started to pull apart at the seams – stuffing coming out through the threads.

I think I might not be the only one feeling the weight? Sometimes all that stuff jumping on your back just forces all the issues we didn’t think we had out into the daylight. It’s just a lot, you know?

So what do you do when it all hits the fan? Well, that’s what I’m sorting through right now and I thought I would share a little series with you on all of this.

Today is a little about my process on working through this stuff. And then starting tomorrow I am counting down my top 5 disaster areas I am working to change along with my top take away tip on how I am working to recover these areas if you happen to be struggling with the same.

So for today – here is where I am starting…


Get Honest
It’s good and ok and right to recognize when something isn’t working. “I don’t like this! This isn’t what I want for my life!”… You can’t make a change until you can get honest.  It doesn’t help you or anyone else to put on a smile when it’s just not awesome.  That discomfort, that pain… It’s a red flag and it’s a gift clueing us in to PAY ATTENTION. Do some soul work. What is out of place here? Why am I whack right now!? Write it down. What specifically feels bad? What isn’t working?

Dream For Your Future
It’s important to have the base level belief that you can change. That things can be different. That I can heal and grow and step into more. That God has goodness for my future. This is what will give you the courage to choose to make a change instead of just hiding. So out of this place here at the bottom… what would I rather have? What does God have for me? Specifically – what’s my best case scenario? If I could set this up exactly the way I want it, what would my life look like? Who would I be? How would show up, act, and what role would I play?

Bust Through Barriers
Why is that not my reality? What are all of the things in the way? List out all of those reasons. One by one.. Why am I acting like this? What’s keeping me from my best? What’s holding me back? What specific roadblocks are between here and there?

Research and Problem Solve
That one barrier. That big thing in my way. Is it solvable? Do I need more training and tools? Do I need support and accountability? Do I need to make a major change like consider a different job? Or let go of a relationship? Or clear my schedule to make some space? Sometimes we already know the answer when we take the time to think about it. But, sometimes I am just at a loss. The whole thing seems impossible. This is when I get online and start googling. Surely others have faced the same and someone has found victory. Talk to a friend or coach. “Here’s my problem… I want to bust through this. I don’t want to be stuck here. Help me think through how I can get this thing under control.”

Make a Plan and Commit
Follow through. Actual action items. What specific things need to change? How am I going to do that. Take the first step. Tell close friends and your support system. All of it. “Here’s is what I am struggling with. I don’t want to get stuck here. I am researching and reaching out. Here is what I am going to try to change. I would love your encouragement and support. Do you want to do this with me?”

So counting down to the end of the year I am going to share some of these with you. The places in my life that just FEEL BAD that I want to be different. I am doing my best to be honest, to dream, to bust through those barriers and make some major changes.

Check back for my top 5 disaster areas I am working to change along with my top take away tip on how to recover these areas if you happen to be struggling with the same.

**A couple of these have guest contributors and a bonus or two. Tomorrow is about the wake up call I got that helped get my butt into gear.


“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

― Bob Ross

Whew! Are you surprised!? We are! We told everyone we know that we are definitely done, made fun of our friends with 4 kids, gave away all of our baby stuff… and then surprise!!! You guys, 4 kids just looks crazy. Am I right!?

We still aren’t exactly sure what happened?! Immaculate conception? Michael Phelps swimmers? We successfully waited for 5 years after we got married before we had kids, so it’s not like we don’t know what to do. However, funny note, the due date is Aurora’s birthday – April 22nd. In both cases that pretty closely correlates with our anniversary – July 22nd. Darn you Portland anniversary trip!!

I kind of thought I would be devastated if we got this news at this point in our lives. It did hit me as shocking, but surprisingly, I wasn’t devastated, I didn’t even cry. After the shock, I just mostly felt thankful for Josh. While we weren’t planning on doing this again, if we’re honest didn’t really want to do this again, I know that we can. We know what to do. We have been doing this whole pregnancy/baby/exhaustion thing for the past 7 years now. We were just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and imagine life in a new season. We will still get to that new season. It’s really just a 2 year delay.

I love that Gwyneth Paltrow says to plan your family around how many people you want at the Thanksgiving table in 20 year, not the difficulty of infancy. Yes!

So, how am I handling it? First line of defense is denial. Round 4, do you really even notice you are pregnant!? I can probably just ignore all of those pregnancy symptoms, right? Status quo. Probably can just skip prenatal care. I am imagining just showing up at the hospital in labor and saying, “Hey guys, round 4, we all know what to do, let’s do this!” And honestly, I just kind of want to live normal life. Those first 6 months with a baby can be rough for me. I know we will get through it, but I don’t really want to live in dread or dwell on it this entire pregnancy. I just want to enjoy life as it is for the next 9 months and then we’ll handle it when we get there.

So far this strategy is working terribly. Despite my best efforts to be in denial the “I feel like I just got hit by a truck” tiredness has arrived with the nausea as well. Thankfully, I usually just feel like this the first trimester, and we are just about to the second.

You guys, we’re not even going to try to be tough about this. PLEASE SEND MEALS AND PRAYERS. Forget the warrior princess natural birth thing – epidural all the way! If we gave you baby stuff, yeah we’re gonna need that back (mostly joking). After about 2 minutes of disbelief, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s get a bigger house and an au pair.” Not even joking! Here is what has happened since we found out.

  • Week 4: Positive pregnancy test
  • Week 6: Put in an offer on a bigger house
  • Weeks 7-8: Josh finishes the entire basement of the house we are buying
  • Week 9: We move into our new place
  • Week 10: Our house goes on the market! (Today)

Just to clarify here, Josh is the completely crazy one. I was voting to wait until after the first trimester, right!? Well, I guess your houses sell better in the Fall than the Winter, and we found a place we really like. My mind is still trying to catch up with everything and Josh is charging ahead with the stamina of an ox. Now that we’re moved in I feel super grateful. He pretty much did all of the heavy lifting to make this happen.

Also, not even joking about the whole au pair thing. Have you heard of this? It is big in bigger cities and we got to see it first hand in DC and it looks pretty amazing. I think I will write another whole blog on this, but here are the highlights – It is a foreign exchange program for women 18-26. It is a full year long commitment. Someone comes from another country and lives with you as part of your family and wants a full immersion experience. In exchange for room and board + a stipend you get 45 hours of childcare/help. *This will actually be less expensive than what we are currently doing. Will I be gone from the house for 45 hrs/wk. Nope. I just don’t want to dread this season or feel complete overwhelm for the whole next year. I think having another person in it with me will make the whole this next season less stressful and more of a fun new experience for the whole family. I will keep you posted on how it goes! We are currently connecting with some awesome girls in Brazil and the Philippines.

Last note – despite the shock and major change in our plans, I was still struck with the awe of new life. Even unplanned, unexpected, (I don’t even want to say unwanted), there was still the sense that the Lord is in this. That the miraculous just happened.

I think John Piper states it perfectly “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life that you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life that he’s given you.”

There is a loss of the vision and plan we had for the next 2 years. We will grieve that and let it go. From here on out we are fully on board, embracing this new life, and trusting God with what He has given us.

PS – our house is for sale (Including the tree house, rope bridge and play place). Check it out >>

Add Waiting to Your Faith

Two years ago, I ended the year heartbroken. There was so much we had prayed for, hoped for, believed for that just had not happened.

Not that God wasn’t good, or wasn’t faithful. But, He had planted specific things in our hearts that we had labored for and we had not seen the breakthrough that we had faith for.

The end of the year is always a time to assess, realign… I needed to balance the books. Somehow make sense of it all. Make a decision on how to move forward.

What do you do with disappointment? I think this is an important question. Left unattended, I think disappointment grows into other things….. anger.. bitterness………unbelief…. You just stop believing.

I didn’t want that. I needed to hear from the Lord. I needed His word. Something firm.

Our precious friends from our time in DC, Justin and Kristin Ruzinok, amazingly offered to bring us out to visit them in Florida. I was hoping it was a divine appointment. It was.

The night we got there was New Year’s Eve. After we got two cranky kids to sleep, we all found ourselves gathering around a campfire in the backyard to bring in the new year. We sang songs, worshipped, shared stories. We talked about our year. At one point in the night Kathy Kurpe (Kristin’s mom) shared part of her journey and said the words “Add waiting to your faith.” I knew it was the word of the Lord for my year.

While we were there, they had a well worn copy of “God’s Promises for Your Every Need” sitting around their house. It is a book of all of the promise scriptures in the Bible. I opened it up and leaned into my “waiting” word.

His speaking voice in scripture soothed my wounds. Eased the pain. It sustained my hope. It gave my feet footing. Something firm to face uncertainty.

These words became treasures to me. I read them, wrote them, reviewed them, prayed them. Meditated on these until they sank deep into my soul.

If you have been full of faith and find yourself ultimately disappointed ending the year, I pray these truths minister to you the way they did to me.


Psalm 62:5
My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him alone.

Hosea 6:3
Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord, His going forth is established in the morning, He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the Earth.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Psalm 138:8
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the work of your hands.

James 5:7-8
Therefore, be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the Earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Hebrews 6:12
…do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

1 Thes. 5:24
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word do I hope.

Hebrews 10:35-37
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. “For yet a little while and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.”

Habakkuk 2:3
For the vision is for yet an appointed time. But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come. It will not tarry.

Hebrews 3:4
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

1 Peter 1:7-9
(Faith) tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


I will add that the year to follow did include breakthrough. It was a banner year in every area. We got to see fulfillment, at least partially. But, I will save that for another post. Because even without the ending to the story, these Words hold power. As is, they are strong enough to stand up to an uncertain immediate future.

Here is the book God’s Promises for Your Every Need >> on Amazon.



Dirty Pants & My Breakthrough Moment

In honor of Lucy on her birthday. Happy birthday Lucy! Love you.


I homeschooled for most of elementary school y’all! And by that I mean by the time I landed in middle school I had an abnormal amount of confidence coupled with a lack of self-awareness. But, eventually the home school bubble started to wear thin and I slowly became more self-aware… painfully so. Things like… ROXY is preferred to shirts with horses running through fog (you know the ones!?), most people wear jeans instead of stirrup pink leggings, greasy hair isn’t a good look for me, bras are for everyday, and the list goes on! By the time I got to eighth grade I was feeling embarrassed, completely uncool, alone, insecure… I figured out that there were all of these social rules I had been unaware of and I was subpar. I think at that point I started to believe I had to be perfect for people to like me.


I met Lucy at a pre-season volleyball camp the Summer before eighth grade. She was the coolest. I remember thinking she was so pretty and fun and generally everything I wanted to be. She lived right up the street from me. I don’t remember how it happened, but she invited me to her house one day. Glory!

I remember we were getting ready to go to a football game. Of course, I was hoping to put on my most perfect self. As we were picking out outfits she started digging through her hamper of dirty clothes. She pulled out a pair of crumpled, slightly visibly dirty, stinky jeans. She gave them a little shake and put them on. It kind of stunned me in the best kind of way. She wasn’t embarrassed. She didn’t make an excuse or apologize. She wasn’t trying to be perfect. She was just about to rock some dirty jeans. With me watching. No shame… And I loved her for it.

I guess that was a small thing. I don’t know if she was even conscious of it or if she would remember it, but it changed my whole world. Here is what happened for me in that moment:

I adored her. I think showing imperfection openly like Lucy did is actually counter-intuitive. Instead of judging or criticizing or thinking less of her, I actually liked her even more. I had already admired her, but this made me relate to her and feel like we could actually be friends.

It set me free. Seeing someone else be imperfect showed me that it was ok for me to be imperfect too. Wearing the right outfit wasn’t a requirement for people to like me. Even the “coolest” people are flawed, and I could go ahead and let go of that standard.

I wanted to set others free. That moment gave me a bit of a strange passion for doing that same thing for others. No ones wants to be around perfect people. Now, I like to go ahead and shatter that intimidation that comes with an image of perfection right away. Having a great hair day? Go light on the make up. Having a friend over? Don’t stress about making your house look perfect. Killing it at work? Feel free to skip shaving your legs next week… Just filling you in on some of my tactics.

Needless to say, Lucy and I became best friends. So many fun, hilarious high school memories. Later, in life she continues to bring freedom and joy in each new season.

She had babies before me. She invited me over and showed me her C-section scar, her stretch marks, what happens to your boobs… Later when our kids were toddlers she led me to her basement and opened the door to a huge room covered in toys. “We don’t clean this,” she said. Ha. Brilliant, right!? Our next house included a basement free-for-all area inspired by Lucy. She had 3 kids before me. When I asked her “What do you do?” She told me that crying helps.

This is the best kind of friend. Feel free to loose yourself from a standard of perfection. When you show your flaws you bring freedom to others and win real friends. So rock those dirty jeans with a smile sister. You might change someone’s world.

8th grade graduation

8th grade graduation

Braces and drivers license together

Braces and drivers licenses together

Getting into trouble together

Getting into trouble together

Dances. Sophomore year?

Dances. Sophomore year?

Sport and silliness

Sports and silliness


First day of school


Pregnant with round faces and bellies

coffee cup in Monument, CO

Coffee Cup in Monument, CO