The Truth About Arguing With Your Husband

I want to begin this blog post by saying that I come to you as a student of God’s word.   I am ever learning, ever praying, ever seeking His answers. I am by no means in a position to be a teacher.  I’m a talker, a think-out-louder, a sharer.  All of my blog posts are written in that spirit.   TRUTH has become a motto for my life.  Without HIS TRUTH, I am nothing.  My life would have no meaning.  Because of HIS TRUTH, I matter.  We all do!  God cares about all of us.  He cares that we choose relationship with Him over relationship with the world.  I will always be a student of this relationship, eager to share what I am learning.

Several years ago I read a blog post where someone described choosing a word for the year.  This word was a theme for their quiet time thoughts and the driving force behind what they studied. Five years ago, I chose the word TRUTH.  I chased TRUTH, sought TRUTH, pleaded with God to give me TRUTH, no matter what the cost.  The word for that year ended up being my word for three years.  Apparently TRUTH takes its own time, revealing itself in small doses as you are ready to hear it. TRUTH is kind of like an  onion. It reveals itself layer by layer.

TRUTH became much bigger than I realized it would be.  Before I had ever read about choosing a word for the year, I had FAITH.  I studied what it meant to be FAITHFUL.  I chose to have babies as they came as my worship to the Lord, my giving of my life over to Him fully.  It was my act of worship.  Of FAITH.  Of TRUST.

TRUST came after FAITH.  TRUST was tough.  FAITH (believing in the unseen, the physically unsubstantiated) may seem, on the outside, to be difficult to wrap one’s mind around.  But TRUST.  TRUST was much tougher!  TRUST meant walking out my FAITH.  And that’s where I am now.

Remember my post about regrouping?  In spite of loving each other deeply, David and I have always argued way too much.  We have had a few short seasons in marriage when we didn’t argue as much, but, inevitably, we always get on each other’s nerves and the bickering starts again.

Whatever it is that we are disagreeing about is usually real, relevant, important.  Recently,the arguing has gotten even worst.  Somehow, I fell into the trap of arguing to stand up for what is right.  I came to the belief that it was ok to fight back, as long as I was defending something noble, something true, something right.  But, every time I looked into my children’s eyes, something. didn’t. feel. right.  My soul has felt so unsettled.  I have spent many years praying to the Lord, asking Him for some sort of revelation that will “fix” this part of David and I’s marriage. No matter how sincere I was in the desire to stop arguing, eventually, I would get frustrated with whatever discussion David and I were having and verbally let him have it.

Several weeks ago, I resolved to start reading  my bible every day.  Before I even get out of bed in the morning, before I check Facebook, Instagram or email, before I speak to David or the kids, I read a couple of chapters on my phone.  I chose to start with my favorite book of the bible:  James.  I was trying to outsmart myself.  I have resolved to read the bible many times before and always F-A-I-L, eventually losing interest because I prefer to go through the bible bible-study fashion, with a topical book of some sort walking me through.  Last week, I made it through James and 1 Peter and found the perfect prescription for my arguing with my husband.  Check this out:

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that EVEN IF ANY OF THEM ARE DISOBEDIENT TO THE WORD, they may be won without a word BY THE BEHAVIOR OF THEIR WIVES as they observe your CHASTE AND RESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR. [emphasis mine]”  (1 Pet 3:1-2 NASB)

There is more, but for now, I have to stop and just let this part seep in.  It is so heavy.  I have read this before, but it never hit me as hard as it did this morning.  For whatever reason, I always thought this verse was directed at unbelievers.  I am sure it came from some sort of misunderstanding during my single days. I probably thought it didn’t apply to me and the verse was most likely being used as a supporting verse for some other topic.  Either way, after 15 years of marriage, I realize that I didn’t understand that verse AT ALL.

And that’s how we arrive at my word for this year:  PRESENT.  God.  Abba Father.  He’s always present.  Always watching.  Always cares.  Always provides.  He gave me the answer to David and I’s arguing when I was ready for it.  I would love to be able to paint a rosy picture and say that David and I aren’t arguing any more, but, alas, I am human.  This fifteen year old bad habit is dying a slow and painful death.  I am working on it.  Overall, I am better.  Things are definitely less stressful over all.  When I blow it, God is there to comfort me, to remind me that He isn’t dependent on my perfection to complete His good work in both me and my husband.  He simply loves.  And forgives.  And that is enough.   I follow His example, and strive to do the same.





Life With a Child With Trichotillomania, Part 2

Adjusting.  That’s what we are doing:  adjusting.  Allison  has gotten comfortable with her problem.  Her issue.  Her whatever-it-is.  We have gotten past the stage where it was causing her major emotional distress every time she realizes that she has just pulled some of her hair out.  Now, she takes it in stride, letting me know if it is feeling like she is pulling out more hair than usual.  Allison has trichotillomania (trich).  Trich is a compulsive desire to pull out one’s hair.  To see my previous post about Allison and trich, go here.

As I sit here watching her roller skate on the church playground, I’m a little sad for her.  And full of regrets.  I know that it isn’t specifically my fault that she has trich.  But, I also know that this last year of ignoring food allergies likely played a part in this latest flareup.  Two years ago, we learned that three of my nine children tested positive for food allergies on blood tests.  The biggest downer was that they were each allergic to different foods!  One child was allergic to milk, wheat, corn, and sesame, one was allergic to eggs, and Allison tested positive for wheat, soy, and peanuts.  Our gluten free diet pretty quickly revealed that another child got a stomach ache if I fed her anything with tapioca flour in it, a common ingredient in gluten free processed foods.  I tried desperately to keep my chin up and maintain the preciousness of family mealtimes.



Allison and her little brother. Notice the allergy rash on his face. He has had it for three months, almost half of his life.


Pretty quickly I felt like a disgruntled short-order cook.   This kid could only have the meat and potatoes, the next kid could have the meat and the veggie, and another kid could have all three, but hold the sauce.  I made so many mistakes.  Once, I cooked a birthday meal for the birthday child and accidentally used one of his allergens.  After a particularly tough, busy week I cooked a special breakfast for my family on Saturday morning, forgetting that one of the kids couldn’t have eggs and that the gluten free toast had tapioca.  My tapioca free kiddo had stomach cramps for the next 6 hours.   It took about a year before I finally bottomed out, sick of the ever-present allergies and missing our comfort foods.  Christmas 2014, I gave up.

Looking back, I don’t really blame myself for making the wrong decision.  What we were facing was real.  And it was tough.  Sadly, this last 14 months of eating regular foods with a superficial nod towards avoiding known allergens was most likely the trigger for Allison’s trich flareup.

Perhaps that’s actually a good thing.  I have spent the last two months researching, researching, researching food allergies and nutrition.  As of today, Allison and I have been refined sugar and all of her allergens free for a week. I am so proud of her willingness to tackle her food allergies head on!


Really, all things considered, Allison is doing great.  I suggested she start a video diary as a way to work out her feelings about trichotillomania.  Most importantly, I feel that she needs a voice.  We don’t get to choose our challenges in life or when we have them, but we can choose how we walk through them.  And my girl is walking through this challenge with grace.  Check out her first entry here:


Regrouping-How We Are Doing

For my family, regrouping will encompass several areas:  home organization, diet, home schooling, and outside activities.  I have been tackling home organization for several months now and I am happy to report that things are significantly better!  The move from 2700 square feet and 2 garages down to 1700 square feet has been interesting!  If I were to count, I bet we have taken no less than 200 bags of stuff to donate.  I know for a fact that we took 70-80 bags that first week in our new house and have continued steadily taking bags of things that no longer fit our lifestyle for the last 16 months.  Other than one wall about 4 feet deep of storage stuff of my husband’s, we no longer have any clutter.

Diet.  Hmmm.  Diet.  Frankly, I dread our upcoming changes in diet.  Throughout the last 15 years, I have bounced back and forth between eating organic and eating conventional food.  Since we moved to Floresville, it has been easy to put off addressing our diet.  Now that I have had yet another baby that will be carrying on the family tradition of food allergies, I can no longer put off serious dietary changes.  First up, through a saliva test, I confirmed that David and I both have candida (yeast) overgrowth.  At about the same time as we did the saliva test at home, we learned that the polyp my husband had recently had removed was considered precancerous.  Because both candida and cancer feed on sugar, we are going to have to temporarily cut sugars, both refined and naturally occurring, as part of our healthier diet.  My beloved hot sweet tea in the mornings is now a thing of the past.

Second, after weeks of praying and asking the Lord to show me which “diet” my family should follow to begin healing from what is most likely a leaky gut, He showed me pretty clearly that we are to use the GAPS diet.  I am starting to read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD today.  (GAPS is the commonly used acronym for the diet the book explains.)   Fortunately, I have a friend with a family as large as mine ready to undertake this journey with me.  This week I will officially cut all refined sugars for the second time.  I was successful cutting refined sugars three weeks ago, then let myself drink a Coke and have backslid since.  Tomorrow is Day 1, again (just gotta finish this Coke I’m drinking right now….)

I am in the middle of a fantastic book by Sally Clarkson right now:  The Lifegiving Home.  I haven’t always been a Sally Clarkson fan.  Ten years ago, a group of ladies and I studied her book, The Mission of Motherhood.  At the time, I found it to be too touchy feely and artsy.  Now, with many more years of motherhood under my belt, I realize that I could have stood to be a lot more touchy feely myself.  Alas, you live and learn.  Thank goodness it’s okay that we are all just works in progress.

I bought Sally’s book, Own Your Life, to read after the birth of my last baby and fell in love with her sincere, honest, and gentle style of writing.  Nursing my new baby became a time I looked forward to each day not just because it gave me time to snuggle my new little guy, but because I was excited to see what Sally had to say!  I left that baby moon inspired and didn’t end up going through my usual bout with post partem depression!  I am confident that this is because of the encouragement and direction Own Your Life offered!

The Lifegiving Home is a lovely book.  To give you an idea of the topics Sally addresses, there are chapters titled “Creating a Framework for Home:  Rhythms, Routines, and Rituals”, “A Culture of Love:  Lifelong Relationships”, and “The Art of the Ordinary:  Finding Beauty in Your Own Backyard”.  This book isn’t just for moms, it’s for women all ages and stages.  If you are in the season of redefining like I am, The Lifegiving Home is a must-have book!

Last, my family is addressing the relevancy of each of our extracurricular activities.  Both of my teenagers are working hard doing odd jobs to help pay for their extra activities.  The act of helping pay for their extra activities has matured them in ways that a parental lecture never could!  (Not that I lecture…)  We are certainly in a new season now that my oldest two children at home are now in their teen years.  As is natural, some of the kids  (and us!) have burned out on some of what they thought they would enjoy doing.  I explained to them last night that although we need to follow through with all of their spring commitments, they need not continue on with certain activities that aren’t adding as much to life as we previously thought once this season is over.

I am happy to share that my family’s mission to serve others is going strong!  This spring I have started a moms group at my church and am in the process of setting up a food co op (a group of people that gets together and buys food in bulk at wholesale prices, then splits it up).  As a result of these two new service opportunities, I am going to need to gently drag my kicking and screaming self away from the homeschool group that I started in a neighboring town several years ago.  I love my momma-friends there, but it is time for us to put down roots in our new community.  Plus, the homeschool group is going strong and has great forward momentum.

I purposefully left out the most important aspect of regrouping:  my relationship with my husband.   Truthfully, I am just so ashamed to admit how far I had pulled away from him and put my marriage on the back burner.  No matter how many babies you have, it’s always the same after birth:  life-altering.  Silas is a difficult baby.  Fussy, doesn’t sleep well, at 7  months old he still nurses every 2 hours day and night, passed baby food right up and eats whatever I am eating (and doesn’t “let” me eat without him.  I have to hide!), is way too mobile to take your eyes off of him for a moment (he is letting go of the furniture and standing), and his eczema and food allergies are a gift that, unfortunately, keeps on giving.  He is up frequently at night because he is scratching his eczema in his sleep, and often wakes himself up.  It is not uncommon to see dried blood on his sheet.  My heart goes out to him.  And me.  David and I are finding our way through, as we always do.  My heart goes out to all new parents out there. One thing I have learned after being here 9 times, there just isn’t a right way to navigate this season in life.  You. just. get. through. it.

January has been a great month, full of wonderful, peaceful change.  I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us next.

Nothing Left to Give

I have nothing left to give.







I’m fed up with just getting to the end of each day, happy to have gotten through it.  I’m tired of


That’s what I told my husband on New Year’s Day.  And I meant it.

That was 6 days ago.  I was at rock bottom.  I have been off and on for several months.  After I typed the above words, my kids came inside from the jumping on the trampoline.  I put my happy mommy face back on and moved on, hoping I would get back to the computer and finish my blog post.  Somehow, I managed to get the kids in bed on time that night.  The next couple of days continued on crappily (yes, that’s a word, just in case you were wondering).  The crap culminated when David and I had the worst argument that we’ve had in years, ending with him leaving to cool off, because we’re mature like that.  After the door slammed, I turned around and looked into the faces of my kids.  Each one of them quickly pasted on a smile, and we all acted like none of that had just happened.

In that moment, life came to a screeching halt.  THIS was not where I had seen myself when I was in my forties:  fighting with my husband more often than not, frustrated and overwhelmed with life.  This was not the life I wanted to give my husband or my kids!  Yet, here I was.  Rock.  Bottom.

Why am I sharing?  Because it happens.  If you don’t jealously protect your marriage and make it a priority, it changes before you know it.  All that busyness in life causes marriage to erode in the same way as water flowing down a riverbed erodes away the rock it is flowing over.  When your first peer into that beautiful crystal-clear river, the water seems to be innocently flowing down a beautiful, rock-lined path.  But appearances can be deceiving, right?  There are so many good things to do that it’s easy to have too much on your schedule, all of it pulling you away from your first calling in life:  your marriage.  That slowly flowing water is actually relentlessly chipping away at every rock in its path, slowly eating away at the rocks’ surfaces.

Life needs balance.  Craves balance.  Are you making sure your marriage is your top priority (with the exception of your relationship with God, of course)?  Do you put your marriage first, even over the kids?  Are you taking care of yourself, making sure that you aren’t so busy that you unload your exhaustion on your husband when he gets home from work?  Are your children a blessing (I’m not asking this in the God’s gift sense.  I’m asking in the are-they-enjoyable-to-be-around-sense.)?  Are you making sure your children are well-mannered?   What about your home?  Is it a haven, a sanctuary, a place of peace?  Do you set aside at least a few moments each day to collect your thoughts?  Is your family over-committed to activities outside the home?  You get the idea, right?

That day that my husband left to cool off, I wrote him a note saying I was sorry and made a list of what I was willing to do and not willing to do in marriage.  I asked God to show me what I needed to confess to my husband, what I needed to work on.  I wrote down things like, “I WILL stop explaining myself when you haven’t asked me to,” (for me, trying to explain why I do something he is frustrated with is a slippery slope.  Before I know it, I kick into lecture mode), and “I WILL stop trying to fix you when you are having a bad day” (Ugh!).  My WILL NOT list had things like, “I WILL NOT list every wrong thing you have done to me when we are arguing ,” and “I WILL NOT make excuses for you when you are in the wrong”.  This list is so important.  It helps me keep things in perspective.  Writing it down makes it non-negotiable, unlike just trying to remember what I thought I needed to do, then reasoning it away when the time comes.  Before I know it, I am carried away by my emotions and fall into that same old trap that eventually causes the argument.

My marriage will be fine.  I used that time that David was gone to refocus.   I remembered that marriage is my calling, my dream, my blessing.  The look on my childrens’ faces after the door closed behind my husband reminded me that my marriage isn’t just about me, it’s about them, too.  I lost sight of that for a while, caught up in the fussy baby, the kids, busyness.  Today, I will regroup.


I haven’t been around much.  My brain has been over-full with life.  After a quiet year living in a new community, all of a sudden our calendar is overly full with wonderful activities!  Fourteen year old Patrick joined Civil Air Patrol at the beginning of summer.  Silas joined our family a few weeks later.  Brook Lynne (13) and Allison (11) have begun taking voice lessons and Patrick (14) has begun piano lessons.  David’s job is slowly getting busier and busier.  All of the school age kids are participating in their age-appropriate choirs at church.  And Brook Lynne and Patrick are in youth (a first for them!).  I can’t say enough good things about our new community.  We love our run-down, fixer-upper-that’s-not-getting-fixed-up home (we’re too busy living in it!), our 1 acre yard, our church home, and our new friends.

Five month old Silas DOES NOT SLEEP.  EVER.  He tosses and turns all night, aggravated by a perpetually itchy face.  He has persistant eczema on his cheeks and chin that is itchy and won’t completely heal.  He is obviously a food allergy kiddo.  I shed a few tears over that, but then put on my big girl pants and moved on.  I was hoping that my better diet and awesome pregnancy would help, but alas, the pesky food allergies are still plaguing each new baby that I have.  Now, we are muddling through, trying to identify what his allergies might be.

I have started working with an integrative nutrition lifestyle coach.  And found out that I have a systemic yeast issue.  I’m not surprised.  The lifestyle changes she is suggesting make my head spin.  I decided to argue with God and put off the necessary dietary changes.  Instead, a month later I walked in the nutrition class a friend was teaching at church, rebellious Coke in hand, and left convicted that I need to get my head on.  Or out.  Whatever.

An argument between David and I yesterday escalated to the cray-cray, what-were-we-even-arguing-about-anyway level. It ended with him walking out the door.  Eleven-year-old Allison said, “Mom, is it a little weird that we’re just used to Daddy disappearing?”  Boom.  There it is:  the elephant in the room.  David and I fight too much, too often.  Maritally speaking, David and I have had a tough time since we moved to Floresville.  I have even uttered the D-word a couple of times in an effort to explain to David how much I am struggling.  It has been difficult coming to terms with our mistakes in life and the perpetual financial poverty that it has caused.  But, WE ARE coming to terms with it, and, really, rebuilding our marriage from the ground up.

So, here’s to quitting sugar cold turkey.  Here’s to sharing TRUTH in my blog posts.  Here’s to David and I starting over, forgiving hurts from the past.  Here’s to change.



Because I surely need His mercy and grace.

If you feel led, pray for me.  Pray for all of us.  Life isn’t easy.  But we’re in this together and have a Heavenly Father that adores us, takes care of us, provides for us.  I’m so glad we have Him.  And each other.


#Momlife-Learning to Enjoy Your Kids

OK, ladies.  Time to come clean.

We all  have those moments when we






So, what should we do?

Grin and bear it.  You don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them sad.

Hide in the bathroom with your favorite book.  Don’t forget to estimate how much time you have once their Netflix movie starts.  The 2 year old’s attention span isn’t notoriously long these days, but you could probably get a chapter in before she scribbles on her sister with the permanent marker she found on the kitchen counter.

Buckle them babies in.  Thank heavens it’s Happy Hour and Sonic has somewhat sugar-free slushes!  If they are buckled in they can’t wreak too much havoc, right?

Take them to Target.  The Dollar Spot always has some fun little trinket for the kids that won’t break the bank.  Wandering the aisles at Target while your little ones play with their new toy satisfies both your need for retail therapy and keeps them busy.

There is always the dump-them-on-daddy-when-he-gets-home-from-work technique:  “Babe, I need to run to the grocery store to get something I forgot.  Corn dogs are in the microwave.   I won’t be gone long.  Need anything?”

Admit it.  We all do it.  E.S.C.A.P.E.  Some days those precious little blessings have the ability to reduce you to quivering, hot mess in 3 minutes flat.  Fortunately, there are some things you can do that can make life feel easier.

First, don’t forget to spend time with your kids each day. This might seem counter intuitive, but it is exactly what you and your children need. Sometimes I get to the end of my day and realize that I haven’t sat down and hung out with my kids that day.  I’ve been so busy cooking, cleaning, and getting the laundry done that I forget to attend to the obvious:  my children. Robot mode got me through the day, hurrying through each task with the baby on my hip/in the saucer/in the high chair, Netflix on, every interesting toy I can think of out, trying to keep my kids busy while I try to catch up with my ever-growing list.  No one’s needs are getting met that way.  Stick-a-fork-in-me-I’m-overdone.  And so are they.

Stop.  Breathe.  Grab your favorite book and read to them.  Pop in a new movie and let them snuggle in your lap.  Sit in your favorite chair and ask your toddler to tell you a story.  My son, Aaron, loves it when I write the story down exactly as he tells it and then read it back to him.   Last month, 4-year-old Aaron created a “recipe” and had his daddy write it down on an index card.  He carried that “recipe” around for a week!

Second, after the kids go to bed, take the time to write a list of those precious things you love about each child.  The list for my Aaron would include that his creativity knows no bounds (I am always amazed at how imaginative he is), his facial expressions can be so dramatically over-expressive (especially his lips), and he loves to include anyone in his games, including 5-month-old Silas.  Next time you are feeling frustrated, go to a quiet place  (the bathroom?) and read your list.  Doing this brings a smile to my face and calms my anxious spirit.

Third, learn to laugh.  Find humor in the stage in life that you are in.  I’m not suggesting that you inappropriately laugh at the mess your toddler just made while you were putting in the next load of laundry.  I’m referring to a private chuckle because, well, it really is humorous.  As I’m typing this up, my 2-year-old is in my lap and I’m trying to see past the ponytail on top of her head.  As I lean left, she leans left.  As I lean right, she leans right.  It is funny when you stop and picture what is happening, right?  You can find humor in almost any situation.

A few moments ago, as I was carrying my sleeping baby to bed, I tripped over a paper shopping bag that was left over from sorting out hand-me-downs yesterday.  As I breathed a sigh of relief that the sound of the crinkling bag hadn’t woken up the snoozing baby, my husband’s alarm clock went off.  Five-month-old Silas popped up on all fours in his bed and gave me a huge grin.  Where did that bag come from anyway?  I had walked back and forth from my rocking chair to the baby’s bed several times during the night and that bag hadn’t there.  You have to admit, it is kind of funny.

Third, don’t forget to fill your cup.  You can’t pour more out than you put in. It  may seem impossible to set aside time for yourself, but YOU CAN DO IT.   Instead catching up on chores while your little ones are napping, take a few minutes several times each week to do something you enjoy.  If you enjoy reading, read.  If you enjoy painting, paint.  If you enjoy drinking a cup of coffee on the patio each morning, try to fit it in.  Meet a mom-friend at Dairy Queen for a Blizzard one evening after the kids go to bed.  Watch a  movie with your husband.  You get the idea.

Some seasons in life are tougher than others.  It’s important to keep your perspective and focus on your long-term vision:  to raise intelligent, caring, productive members of society.  You can’t change the season in life you are in, but you can change your response to it.

Taking Inventory

This has been a rough week.  Due to itchy eczema on his face, Silas isn’t sleeping.  On average, I am up 8-10 times each night putting him back to sleep.  For now, it’s quiet in the house.  As I sit quietly taking mental inventory of my life, I am amazed at differently life has turned out than what I expected.

David and I have lived in 8 different homes during the time we have been married.  The have ranged from 550 sq. ft. (with 5 kids) to 2700 sq. ft. (with 7 kids) to 1700 sq. ft. currently (with 8 kids).

I have been pregnant 10 times.  I had my first child as a single mom living at home with my parents.  David and I got married when Bryan was 6 years old.  Since then, I have given birth 9 more times and had one miscarriage.  Although I have always loved children, I had no idea I would want or have a large family.

During the 15 years that David and I have been married, there have only been 8 months (cumulatively) that I have not been nursing or pregnant.

I have AMAZING friends.  You don’t get to choose the friends that stick with you through thick and thin.  They just do.  Sometimes your best friends are those that you didn’t care for very much when you first meet them.  Sometimes that life-long friend is someone that you met in kindergarten.  Sometimes that life-long friend is someone you met during  your current season in life.   I have friends that I love dearly in each of these categories.

I’m always fascinated at what God can do when you are broken. The months after my oldest son ran away from home were some of the toughest I have had to walk through.  In spite of the emotional roller coaster, I managed to pull myself together and teach a bible study to recovering drug addicts and reached out and purposefully formed friendships with several young pregnant girls/single moms.  I still feel affection for each of these women and enjoy hearing how they are doing.

Sounds of an itchy scratchy baby are coming from down the hall.  Duty calls.