Let Me Tell You What My Roommates Did-

I work with the sweetest kids. I only say “kids” because they are younger than me and all of them are super precious. My co-workers are battling through the tough years of late teens-early 20’s. We’re talkin’- college classes, girlfriend/boyfriend drama, roommate horror stories, you get the idea…

I just love this age group. Some are still living at home and wondering how to get out on their own. Some moved out on their own and now have a job, roommate, and manage to make it to some classes but still don’t know that you actually have to pay for car insurance in order to have car insurance.

Some of them, I am sure, look at me like an old married lady- but, I love our little pockets of “free time” that I get to talk to these kids about life.

Me: How are you??

Them: Umm…fine.

Me: Yeah, but like HOW ARE YOU DOING?!

Them: I mean, I have a test that I have not studied for, and Snap Chat (Don’t know what this is? Me either.) isn’t working, but, I do have enough money for a Snickers bar for lunch. So, it is actually a pretty good day.

See?!? How can you not just adore this optimism for life??

In my struggle and need to fit in I often tell them stories of what goes on at our home. That is how my husband and children are now lovingly referred to as my “roommates” at work. Because living with Lydia and Betsy is basically like living in a mental institution for little people, my co-workers are oddly interested in what my roommates are up to almost on a daily basis. All too often now I am asked, “Any more stories of what your Roommates are up to?”

My latest stories from the home front have included:

  • Lydia telling us that when she wears her green ring she can only speak in Spanish. (My Spanish speaking co-workers love when I tell them the new words Lydia is trying to say. They also are teaching me some words that I can then teach to Lydia because Lydia’s Spanish right now basically sounds like she is summing spirts from the dead and speaking in tongues.)
  • Worms. (This will be another story for another time. Let’s just say its not the kind of earth worms you would bait a hook with.)
  • Lydia coming home from dance class and telling us that she will not be going to class next week because she has been told she just needs to enjoy Spring. (Or, more commonly known as SPRING BREAK.) I told them that if I know Lydia, and as her Momma I like to pretend that I do, I bet you a whole $1.00 she wakes up next week on the day of dance class and says something along the lines of: “Ahh, Spring. I am ready to enjoy you.” One thing about Lydia is, if you tell her something to do-most of the time she will do it as if her life depended on it. Let me clarify though, if you tell her to enjoy Spring, she is all over it. If you ask her to pick up toys or to put something away, all of a sudden she has developed a hearing problem. (Note to self: get her hearing checked.)
  • When my sweet husband called up to the store to ask about what was in the Crock Pot for dinner, that sparked a story about Joshua. Remember me sharing with y’all about how these kids are young and figuring out relationships? Well, often times they ask me how I knew I was ready to get married? Or how long did Joshua and I date before we got married? (This is another reason why I just love this age: they are information seekers!)

What I hope my co-workers see in all of this is that I love my roommates, dearly. I hope they see how much Joshua and I love these little ones and pray they follow Jesus.

Betsy Lou

We are fast approaching Betsy’s 2nd birthday (What. The. Heck?!)
Here is where we are right now with Miss. Bets:
  • She out eats everyone in the family.
  • She thinks her nipples are in her armpits.
  • She has a favorite spot on the couch and if are sitting in it, she will straight up body slam you until you move. Just ask Lydia.
  • If you burp or fart in front of her- she will congratulate you with a thumbs up.
  • She knows about 20 words and one of them is “TV show” because we have our priorities in order around here.
  • If hotdogs are served for the meal, she will have AT LEAST two, please and thank you.
  • She loves all the animals.

Our sweet Betsy is challenging, and stubborn. She is kind, and beautiful. I can tell she will be a leader. I hope she chooses to lead others to Jesus and always ALWAYS gives people a thumbs up when they burp.

Dear, Lydia

I had the best intentions to get this letter to you on your birthday but, life. It once again has bested me. Even so, my words to are still true- I love you sweet, Lydia Belle. 

You are five now. Writing that out is just as weird as saying it out loud. FIVE. I remember, so clearly, being wheeled into the NICU sobbing and praying for you to be big enough for us to finally be able to bring home from the hospital. Prayers heard, and answered. Now I wish for time to slow down. Just creep along a little slower so I do not miss anything. 

I am thinking back to the time when I found out that you were growing in my belly. What I am realizing now is the incredible lesson you would teach Daddy and me. You taught us both so many things, but one of the biggest things I learned from you is how powerful love can be.

I do not remember a lot from when I was five so I thought I would jot down some notes for you to reference as you get older.

  • It can be 90 DEGREES OUTSIDE and you will insist on wearing long sleeves, pants, and some sort of sweater because, “I feel a bit chilly, mom.”
  • Every evening around 6:30/7 you want to make sure that we are on track to have milk and watch a little TV before bed. Especially if we are not home at the time, you will want to make sure we will leave at the appropriate time.
  • Speaking of evening TV..you are partial to “black and white shows” ie: The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Andy Griffin. We recently have introduced you to Full House and you are a big fan. 
  • You can count to 100, but you always leave out number 16. 
  • You love my (the recipe actually comes form my momma) tortilla soup something fierce. 
  • You are very into speaking Spanish lately, even though you do not actually know any Spanish words.
  • When you ask for a cup of juice, you ask us to put water in it because “it tastes better that way.” (Who are you??)
  • You do not care to eat salad any longer because “it takes too long to eat.”

You are my best friend, and I love you deeply. I pray for you daily.

Love forever,


We Are Called To Be paRENTs.

I slowly open one eye. 

Yep, morning. 

Begrudgingly, I open both eyes and roll out of bed. I make the walk, still half asleep, to the bathroom to potty. Morning came too quickly. Why does it always do that?

In the kitchen, I guzzle down some coffee while starting the kettle to make some oatmeal. It is September, after all, which makes it the first month even remotely cool enough to have oatmeal for breakfast. 

Here is where my mornings can go one of two ways. 

Scenario one: It is the ungodly hour of 5:30 IN THE MORNING and I scarf down my oatmeal, dress for work in the dark (we are in a season of weird sleeping and have the oldest in our room), and scoot out the door. I have a seven minute drive to work. It is in those brief moments I can do what I want. Podcast? Music? Silence? Yes. SILENCE IS GOLDEN. 

Scenario two: The kids hear someone stirring in the kitchen and come running like hungry lions ready to devour their prey. My oatmeal, you wonder? It is now their oatmeal. This is okay. I am told that there will be a time when they are old enough to make themselves their own food. THINK OF ALL THE FREE TIME I WILL HAVE. SO MANY ACTIVITIES. 

Our days with these two girls in our little home by the river have been so good for us. We are renting our home from a nice couple who have taken such great care of us. 

A few weekends ago, I started a project of painting the window shutters outside. The way I tend to do projects is to start about 2-15 more projects in my head while working. I go from painting the shutters, to wanting to paint the entire house, to thinking we could use a front porch, to wondering how great life would be if we added on a second bathroom?? 

It was while I was taking a painting break and picking a few weeds from the garden, that I thought: this is not our forever home. At some point we are going to have to turn our keys back over to the owners. Instead of feeling bummed that I will not get to enjoy the fruits of our labor forever, I do have a bit of pride about returning the home to the owners and them being able to see how well we loved and cared for their space. 

In a way, that is how it is with my baby girls. They are mine for just a short time. God picked Joshua and I to raise them for this season, but they are ultimately His. 

I have been reading about Kintsugi (means, to patch with gold.) So, Kintsugi is a Japanese tradition in which broken pieces of pottery are repaired with metallic-infused lacquer. The potter takes no care to hide the cracks. There are no attempts to cover up the cracks that were made. Instead, the crack is shown off in all its glory. Illuminated with gold. With respect. 

Pieced together – not to be made new but to be changed. 

I am thankful for a God that will take my broken pieces, and patch them back together. To see the breaks I have made in my life and as a mother and call them beautiful. Worthy of gold. 

Just breathe. 

I have reached my limit. 

I am maxed out. 

My patience has long been depleated.

My list of chores is growing longer with no end in sight. 

Bills are arriving daily in the mail and the countdown to their due date begins. 

What do you do when you feel like you are reaching your breaking point?

Stand out in a field where the wildflowers are as tall as you are and take a couple of deep breaths?


Just me?

Rainfall and Reading Lists

This evening we finally got that rain we have been hoping and praying for.

A banana tree, once limp with sadness,  is now standing tall and proud. The cilantro in the garden that was beginning to change to a light yellow color, almost instantly shines green again.

The girls and I were running some errands when we felt the temperature change and the clouds start to hang down low above our heads. The sky changed, almost too quickly, from sunny to grey. If that was not enough to tell you that the weather is changing- the wind picked up and blew in the cool, sweet smell of a summer rain.

We hurried home, all while keeping an eye on the sprinkles beginning to fall and scatter on the windshield. After piling out of the car, we huddled together on the back porch to listen as the rain grew stronger and began to pour down on the tin roof.

Rain makes me feel cozy and feeling cozy makes me want to snuggle up with a book.

“What are you reading these days?” -That is one of my favorite questions to ask people. I love a good book. I love a bad book. I just love all the books. I understand that reading is not for everyone, and that is okay. We will be praying for those people.

The books on my bookshelf can be broken down into 4 catagories:

  1. Books I have already read.
  2. “Book Club” Books. (I use quotes here only because while we are basically just a membership fee and t-shirt away from being an actual club, we really just pass books back and forth to one another. Along with little notes, and underlining favorite quotes we know the other one will love.) **Note to self: Buy Book Club t-shirts.
  3. Books to read with Lydia and Betsy.
  4. Books I have yet to read.

My preferred way to read books is two at a time. If I am reading a deep book, packed full of intense ideas and references, I like to read a funny and lighthearted book along with it. My current combo? Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner and Bossypants by Tina Fey.

From Chasing Slow- “Authenticity, I think, is simply trying to find the kindest way to tell the whole truth.”

From Bossypants- “Crotch Biscuits. That is what I call the wobbly triangles on one’s inner thigh.”

Interested in these books too? Here you go!

Chasing Slow

Listen up. 

One of my favorite spots in our new home is standing at the kitchen sink. 

See, right above our kitchen sink is a window. Right outside that window is a large pecan tree. (This tree makes pecans the size of my fist, for realz.) (Okay, not for real, but close.) 

I stand here often, because I guess I am the only one in my family who can wash dishes. (Eye roll.) I stand here, going through the motions of washing dishes, and my mind starts to wander. 

Sometimes, it is little things like: did the plants get watered? Did the kids eat enough vegetables today? And sometimes it is more pressing issues like: Should I get bangs?

As I dip the dishes into the warm, sudsy water- my mind has drifted elsewhere again. I have been consumed, lately, with the thoughts of things I wish I could tell my younger self. You know, the me that thought she had everything figured out at the ripe ol’ age of 18? (Okay, 16.)

  • You cannot leave your house for school 10 minutes late, stop for coffee, and still think you are going to get you and your brother to school on time. (Sorry, Marshall.)
  • Shorts can cover your whole bottom AND still be cute. 
  • Your parents know that you are lying. Just tell the truth, for the love.
  • Please do not stop going to class for a boy. School is sexy, too. 

I reached out to a handful of my sweetest friends- curious about what they would tell their younger self. Most had just about the same answer:

Do not worry so much with pleasing everyone around you, and love yourself for who you are.

They are so right. Those things made my list, too. 

But, here is the thing: would we have listened if someone tried to tell us this when we were younger? Not me. But, then again, I knew everything already at that age- remember?

Young girls, put the cell phone down and pick up a book. Stay in some nights and play a board game with your family. Listen more, and put on sunscreen, for crying out loud. 

Oh my, deer.

I knew that 2017 would involve a move for us. It was a good time to sell our home, and my dear husband has been counting down the seconds until we could make the move outside the city. Literally. He is like Dick Clark watching the ball drop in New York City.  I have participated in my husbands dreams mostly because I want to support him, but I also believed deep down that we would never find a place outside the city.  Honestly, I was not sure where we would end up. I never dreamed it would be here:

Our home sold quickly, and it was time to find a new place to live. Because of Joshua’s job, he could not take off work and look at houses with me. So, I scooped up the girls, grabbed my list of homes to check out (located across six different towns, mind you) (see! I had no clue!), and set out. I was determined to find a new home that day. I looked at quite a few, and as my list of potential homes grew shorter and shorter, my arm pits got sweatier and sweatier. I was nervous. The pressure of knowing you need to move and not knowing where you are going to end up is enough to leave you constipated. 

As I approached the last home of the day, my hopes were high, but I was still doubtful. 

I pulled into the drive, parked, and stepped out of the car. You would think that my first instinct would be to check out the inside of the home. However, the back porch took hold of me fiercely and I was drawn to the back yard immediately. As I stood frozen watching a small herd of deer make their way through the grass, a gust of wind blew past me. The smell of the air was fresh and new, yet familiar and comforting. This was it, right? It had to be.

Our Realtor met me out back, and before he could even get the door unlocked for us- I told him this was it.

We toured the inside of the property anyway. It was at the moment I was discovering that the girls would be sharing a bedroom…


You might be thinking, “What is so wrong with that?” Well, our oldest is a very loud and weird sleeper- Bless her. And Betsy is barely one and such a light sleeper. So much so that we are afraid to even breathe loudly outside her door at night. 

un pause                                                                       

…that our Realtor informed me that the back pasture has access to the Colorado River. Well, sold. Who cares if we never sleep again, WE HAVE ACCESS TO THE RIVER. I did not even know this was something I wanted or even cared about. But, my face lit up with excitement as if you told me tacos were on sale two for one.

After much back and forth, more nervous armpit sweating, and even more anxious constipation- we were handed the keys to our new home. 

The boxes are now unpacked. The clothesline is hung, pulled tight and ready for the weight of clean, wet clothes. The cast iron skillet is seasoned and ready to bake some homemade buttermilk biscuits. 

Being here is like taking a bite of something that you didn’t even know you were craving. 

I am excited for what God has in store for us out here. I feel like we are being called to a season of slow. Slow down to realize and appreciate what the Lord has provided for us. A slow season to reconnect as a family. 

You are not all that. Now, pass the chips. 

I have sort of this running joke with my parents about having an “all about me” phase when I was a teenager. They ask me if I remember certain things that happened back then, and I would have to tell them that if it took place during a time in my life where was only concerned with myself, then no. I more than likely do not remember. I think this is normal at that age. Hopefully I was not the only one who thought that the most important thing in the whole world was how I looked, and if my cell phone had enough battery to text with my friends all night. 

Because I was the master of only caring about myself, I believe it has given me the ability to notice when others are in their prime “all about me” phase. Lately I have had several interactions with grown up, adult, human beings who have shown me that maybe some people do not ever grow out of this phase.

I bring this up, not to shame anyone. Oh no, that is not my intention at all. Maybe just to bring to light: Hey, that was mildly cute when you were a teenager but not so much anymore. 

Now, this has been pressing on my heart (hard) for a few days. The frustration I get when I see others being selfish with their words and actions has been at an all time high lately. If I can be completely honest, what I would love to do is: remind some people that the world does not revolve around them. Maybe I could remind them of this with a “love punch”? You know, just lightly. So they can remember for next time. However, I feel like the Lord is calling me in another direction. (Honest recent prayer: Jesus, are you sure I shouldn’t just slap a little sense into this person? “No, Andrea, let us show them grace and forgiveness.” Okay, but are you sure that you’re sure?)

I understand that it is human nature to care about our own feelings first. But, what if….I know that this might seem crazy……we stopped and thought about how this might negatively impact someone. 

I have been teaching Lydia (age 4) to think about others first since she was old enough to understand. IT IS HARD. Plus, it is really hard to teach this lesson to someone when you yourself are trying to learn it. Y’all, we have got to though. As grown ups, we have to set an example. It is not all about you. It is not all about me. Think about your people. Love them and cheer them on.

Have you done anything resently that was hard or that made you uncomfortable but helped someone else? Made someone’s day? Could be something as small as a few words of encouragement. Or something HUGE like letting your husband have the last slice of pizza. I do not know what could be more selfless than that. 

Flowers & Friendships. 

Let me begin by mentioning, quickly, how I used to feel about flowers, house plants, or basically anything you could drop some money on but has a 50/50 chance that it could die. I believed that it was a total waste of time and money. Why? Why invest in something that may or may not work out in the end? I cannot tell you how many times I have said, “I don’t care about flowers. They just die, and then you throw them in the trash.” SO MANY TIMES. It is similar to why Phobe from Friends did not like to receive flowers. Although, I do not hold a funeral for them when they die- I just might hold a funeral for that $20 that was wasted, though. I mean, that’s like FOUR of my favorite drinks from Starbucks. I just did not get it. However, do not lose hope in me yet, people…

Several years ago, I was a wishin’ and a hopin’ for a good friend to come into my life. Maybe another wife and/or momma, that loves Jesus,  and donuts. Oh, and someone who would sip iced coffee with me while we laugh about dumb things. That is not asking too much, right? Well, prayer works y’all. I’m going to tell you about my friend. Let us call her: “Shelly”. Now, Shelly does love Jesus, and donuts. She can drink iced coffee while quoting hilarious scenes from Friends or The Office with me. But, Shelly also likes FLOWERS AND HOUSE PLANTS. 

Our friendship, over the years, has formed a sister-like bond. She has taught me many things, shown me how to love and care for others with a happy heart, having just ONE MORE DONUT is completely fine and that it’s okay to cough up some money on fresh flowers.

I think for me- I would always look at the flowers and wonder how many more days we have before they start to wilt and die. I was only focused on them dying. Part of what I believe I have learned from Shelly is to enjoy the time they are alive. Do not look at them and think about their death, but the beauty they are offering now.

These succulents above come from a morning well spent at the succulent farm with Shelly. I was reading about house plants one evening, way past my bed time. I became extremely interested on the idea that house plants can help clear the air. Y’all, I know it COULD all be in my mind, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t start choking right then and there on the thick, unclean air in my home. HOW HAVE WE BEEN LIVING IN THIS FOG?!

The great thing about Shelly is I can wake up the next morning, tell her we are choking on death air, and she will drop everything and meet me at the farm. So, with our babies in tow, we walked the whole farm in search of the perfect additions to our home. 2 Friends, 3 babies, 1 stroller, ALL THE SNACKS, diaper bags and a wagon filled with plants and veggies. We made our way through the whole farm touching all the things, reminding the littles that cacti are pokey, and finding a tiny, wobbly table to change diapers.

People,  hear me when I tell you: whatever your stance may be on fresh flowers and house plants, having a sister-friend like Shelly is a no-brainer. Someone to remind you to calm down and enjoy beautiful things.

So, if you usually walk past the floral department of your favorite grocery store- go in next time. If you end up spending $20 on flowers, feel free to blame it on Shelly.