….And He Shall Direct Your Path

This image of course looks nothing like reality, but in my mind, I’m totally an Indian princess warrior every time I run. Or the character Cora, from Last of the Mohicans, running after her love through the war-torn forest. There is nothing more freeing and inspiring than running for me, and since most of the time I’m leaving three boys behind for an hour; my little mountain running trail is truly a nature-filled sanctuary of glorious solitude and freedom.

Running has always been one of the few constants in my life. Since the age of 15, I’ve laced up the Nikes through the coldest winters and hottest summers of Connecticut, through every season of life and every time of joy, loss and transition. Running in nature has always been spiritual for me, receiving inspiration for writing, answers to prayers and experiencing some borderline profound thoughts (keepin’ in real) while running through that narrow, winding path so far away from the oppression and distractions of this ridiculous world.

I’ve always considered that trail to be a symbol of God in our lives. No matter what I’m going through, that path is always there, offering beauty, rest, comfort, restoration, and a gentle reminder of who I am, what’s important in life, and just a consistent sense of “it’s all going to be okay.” Through the years I’ve showed up in every state of mind imaginable- defeated and worn down, sometimes full of joy and energy, coming off an exciting success of the day and sometimes half-heartedly dragging myself there to burn some darned calories. That path has seen every side of my makeup-less self, and I’ve come out of those woods at the end of my run changed, and in a better state from when I began.

To me, it’s the ultimate analogy of God’s nature. He’s always there, waiting for us to run to him. He doesn’t care where we’re coming from, why we’re running to him or how long it’s been since our last run. He’s so unmoving, so comforting, and so good for us, no matter the state he finds us in. And just as I’ve always exited that trail feeling changed for the better, our spirits are always transformed after walking alongside him. Even if it’s just a wave of peace and assurance he’s there, we simply can’t spend time with him without parts of our hearts being awakened and delighted. And what’s amazing is that although the path never changes, the revelations I receive when running are always new. Just like Him. One of my favorite attributes of God is his ability to remain constant-his faithfulness mercy and continual grace- yet he always grows and evolves in the way he relates and speaks to us.

He’s always waiting to show us something new about ourselves, him, and the world around us. Every time I notice something new on that same five mile stretch up a mountain-the way the ice half-freezes over the river, the way some branches hang just low enough for me to get through a narrow turn, I can’t help but think what other parts of the trail I’ll discover and how cool it is to find continual discoveries on a path I’ve known, for so long.

But of all the amazing and wonderful revelations I’ve had through running, the best has got to be my ever-astounding record of never falling on my face while sprinting down snow and leaf- covered rock trails, despite my egregious clumsiness. Knowing the comedy of errors that is my life, I’ll most likely get hauled down that trail on a stretcher the day after this posts, but I remain convinced: I don’t fall, because I’m too busy delighting in him. I have practically run down that steep path with my eyes closed, combating potential wildlife threats by belting out worship songs, and I have remained essentially fall-free. This might seem less than special to the steady-footed folk, but coming from the clumsy sort who constantly closes her purse strap in the car door and trips down stairs at work because mama’s never giving up her stilettos…this is quite the miracle.

The more I’ve thought about it, this non-falling phenomena really is the mantra of my life. When I’m focused on Jesus, literally doing nothing but praising him and focusing on joy, he’s got it. He directs my steps without me even having to ask. How many times have I “fallen” after making bad decisions or forced to travel the hard road because I’ve taken my eyes off him? How many times have I allowed myself to be distracted by the things of this world like fear and stress, and fallen flat to the ground? And how many trials and potential traps has he saved me from, most likely with me not even knowing- because my eyes were looking up towards him, instead of the steep, icy descent before me?

I’m not saying I’m never going to take a digger. Or that when we fall, it’s a sign of spiritual weakness. All I know is God’s always there, he’s never boring, and all is good, when we delight in him. Plus I’m sure the best of warrior princesses have taken a digger or two… Psalm 37:4.

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5 Things Only Mothers of Boys Would Understand

Ah, boys. Where butt jokes, head butts, and near death antics never lose their luster. Before any woman is blessed with a male fruit of her loin, we’re at least mildly prepared for the chaos. We know from witnessing friend’s kids or nephews that they’re wild, messy, and full of more energy than a Kryptonite tank. However I’m three boys in so far, and I find myself baffled to this day, over these five evergreen qualities of boys, we’re never quite prepared for.
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To My Bestie, on Her Wedding Day

I’ve always been so glad God made me a girl. I can’t even imagine hair loss after 30 or being expected to innately handle a drill gun. But of all the reasons to love being a woman- the thrill of carrying babies, the joy of wearing boot heels, sniffling our way out of speeding tickets- the blessing I’ve been most aware of lately, is the deep kind of friendship women tend to share, because, well, we need it most.
I have always been extremely grateful for the amount of wonderful women in my life, and for the level of depth I’ve been blessed to have, in my friendships. But lately it’s all I can think about, as I’ve watched not one, but three of my best friends get married, ironically all within the last month. With each last “single friend” hug before they skip down the aisle towards a new adventure, two things have come to mind: God is faithful. And friends are the treasure of life. Read more...
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Some Things Unfortunately Never Change…I’m Just Glad God Doesn’t

I’ve never been much of a city gal. The chaos and hustle, coupled with the fact that I have the directional skills of a yard goat, pretty much guarantees every visit to the city feels like an episode of survivor…will the flighty girl from the suburbs realize she’s walking in circles past Grand Central for all eternity, or will she break down and ask the NYPD for help? Thank you, men in blue. I have to travel from Connecticut to the city about four times a year for work, and it’s always full of special moments, like unknowingly hailing a taxi from the restricted police horse area …WHY are these cabs ignoring me?!… or walking barefoot down the Madison Ave. because wearing brand new pumps to the city seemed like wisdom. But one stellar day last week when I found myself in the city once again, sprinting in four inch heels down 43rd East 71 street after missing the early train, was probably the most priceless memory, to date….Read More…
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Why Moms Need Prayer Even More Than Sleep

What makes the best kids is the best you. At the risk of sounding all Joel Osteen, I believe the number one way to be your “best self” is by remaining close to God. You + God = happy mama, and everyone—the colleagues, the kids, and the snarky school secretary you almost assaulted during last month’s estrogen surge—really does agree.

It makes total sense—when you’re with God, you manifest His characteristics: patience, long-suffering, kindness. Did I mention long-suffering? And you’ll be much more equipped to handle your two-year-old dispersing fireplace ash around the carpet or your son telling you his waterfowl report is due tomorrow. And he needs pictures. And the printer’s out of ink. At times like these, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” translates to not crashing your car in fury while driving to Staples for HP tricolor economy ink. That quiet-time dose of 2 Peter might just have saved you. Read more…

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My Epic Back-to-School Manifesto

Ahhhh, back to school. The only three letter phrase delivering more dread to my soul might be “Beach is closed.” As much I love summer, the sadness I feel bidding adieu to strappy sandals and the blessed shore has more to do with the fact that soon I’ll be running through the house at 7 a.m. like a rabid cheetah, violating every motor vehicle law speeding the kids to school after forgetting their water bottles and nearly choking on pancake parts. Seriously. For less organized, frazzled mothers like myself, it’s all out madness.

I fully realize it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to the pain of social media, I see the parents out there managing to send their children off with French braided hair and consistently matching socks. These are the same parents Instagramming their first day of school experiences with chalk board art indicating the grades each offspring is entering and what they aspire to be when they’re older. I just have to know, what time are these children waking up in the morning? I literally have to piggyback my nine year-old down from his top bunk like an underpaid sherpa, and practically water board them awake just in time to eat an Eggo and look non-homeless in 20 minutes. Read more...

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My Baby Went on a Date…And Now I’m Ready for Jesus to Return

It is amazing to me, how many high and holy standards I’ve lowered over my 16 years of parenting. From my stalwart pledge against processed foods at the birth of my first, to ardently vowing I’d never give a child under 15 a cell phone (tapped out at 13) the amount of platitudes I’ve let slump or even tossed out the window, when parenthood gets real, is near shameful. I realize the slumping of standards only increases as we have more kids and it’s not like we’re not talkin’ moral decay or safety risks, but seriously, the things I let my youngest do compared to the bubble my oldest my first dwelled in, is pretty egregious. I think Jack’s bedtime was 8 p.m. ‘til 13, and I actually couldn’t find my youngest for about ten minutes last night. “WHERE is Kenai, guys?!”

But of all the parenting fortitudes I’ve let slide due to a lack of time, energy, and the general decay of first time parent delusion, I think I’ve seen the most extreme veer from my own rules after receiving the most shocking answer to a very common question in our house, every time an action movie comes out in the theaters…..Read more

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Ode to Jen Hatmaker (Apologies in Advance)

We all have those special people inspiring us on our personal or professional journeys along the way. It could be spiritual leaders, athletes or overcomers in addictions and struggles we’ve faced, like Joyce Meyer, whose Battlefield of the Mind helped me realize nicknaming myself “black cloud” wasn’t the best way to usher in spiritual blessings. I’m also one of the millions of women who’ve sobbed their way through inner healing workbooks thanks to another great, Beth Moore. But of all the great leaders, writers and thinkers I’ve connected with through the years, Jen Hatmaker has to be my number one fav. Read more…

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You Know You’re an Un-Mom When…

For those of us who find motherhood a bit less ‘natural’ than expected, life can feel more like a circus than a life choice. While some women seem to be bred, or at least appear successful at managing the daily tasks of motherhood without having break downs in the produce aisle with toddlers, us “un-moms” find parenthood a little more challenging and a lot more ridiculous, depending on the amount of children napping at the moment. However contrary to what some might believe, un-moms don’t consider themselves victims of our ovaries, whining about motherhood and counting the seconds ‘til bed time every day. We love being a mom, and cherish our kids, but we’re a bit less Proverbs 31 woman and more Lucille Ball when it comes down to it. But rather than feeling defeated or “less than,” when compared to those more organized, ‘together’ kind of mamas, God’s showed me how to let go of my need for perfection and appreciate the free-spirited, joy-centered mom I am, despite endlessly burnt dinners and the amount of times my kids board the bus with mismatched socks. Here are ways that you can identify, and celebrate, if you too, are an un-mom…

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This One’s for the Single Mamas…We’ll Laugh, Some Day

Ah water. The Lifeblood of the human race. The bringer of hot showers and the main ingredient to radiant skin. And the reason one unhinged single mother almost lost her marbles when preparing to chisel away at the evergreen pile of sink-dwelling dishes one recent morn. Because instead the gush of water one normally expects upon commencing this terrible chore, I was met with an eerie silence from the faucet, and zero H2O. No no no no no no

Now a responsible woman in her mid (okay, late) thirties might ask herself, what could possibly be causing this sudden lack of water? Some kind of pipe dysfunction, or perhaps a municipal shutoff? I however, being the 12 year-old equivalent of a homeowner new exactly what it was… Read More

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