The post about Dreams and Goals… {a giveaway}


greaterMy youngest is a senior in high school, this year! That is insane and incomprehensible, honestly. There are so many things about this which I am not ready for. What really overwhelms me is that next year I won’t be school supply shopping for anyone at home.

My older daughter Amanda has two school aged step sons. I love having a reason to peruse the back-to-school stuff again. It’s so fun and I want to simply buy all of the things. Of course I do not, but I want to. Crisp paper, colored folders and the air cooling a bit all play together well creating my favorite season.

Back to Gen and her senior year though- The entire school year ahead feels like a challenge. It’s her senior year and she made the decision to finish high school online. She has goals that involve college and a career in marketing, but staying in a traditional school seemed to be taking her farther from these goals. She’s also a young seventeen year old so it is quite possible that those dreams may change a few times over the months that follow. I know that I am trying to keep my heart afloat and not stress too much over the two semesters ahead. If it matters, my dream for her is simply that she finish school in a way she is proud of and that whatever happens between now and that cap & tassle day is the stuff that confidence is made from. If you’ve read here for long, you’ll remember it’s been quite a difficult journey for my wee girl. She deserves the best, I pray every morning that she will find belief in that, for herself.

That is one of the things I really loved about Brandon Burlsworth’s story in the film Greater. He shows us the value of, not just the goals and dreams themselves, but of the hard work that goes into them. As a mom I have a lot that I can do to make this heart vision I have for her a reality…

I’m partnering with Grace Hill Media this week in anticipation of the theatrical release of the film Greater. We would love to hear what challenges, goals or dreams you have as this school year begins. One lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card to WalMart, perfect for those school supply needs! Deadline for entries is Saturday August 27th at midnight.


A life of character…


I am not sure if any of my readers have heard of the football player Brandon Burlsworth. Without knowing the details of Brandon’s personal life, he might not seem like that big of a deal in the grand NFL scheme of things. Most of my football friends and family, whom I’ve asked, had no clue who this amazing kid was. It sounds a little cliche to say that, now that I am aware of Brandon, my life will never be the same. It has been a couple of weeks since I screened Greater with my 17-year-old daughter Gen, and I can honestly say we reference Brandon or compare our own motivations and actions to bits of the film on an almost daily basis.

Chris Severio got the opportunity to play Brandon in the up and coming film Greater. Chris himself says that actors often wait a long time to play a role as meaty and meaningful as the role of Brandon. Though I plan to talk more one day next week, about the film itself, today I want to touch on the character of Brandon. I’m also going to share some quotes on the character of Brandon, written by Chris Severio, along the way.

From an outsiders perspective, Brandon had a dream football experience, but he had this because he believed he could and then he was willing to work hard for it. I don’t mean to come down hard on this current youth-to-young adult generation but the spirit of hard work and earning your way seems to be lost on the majority of them. As an “old grown up”, (I turned 40 this year) it comes across as geriatric nagging when I talk about it, but most adults seem to get it.

Brandon never let anyone convince him that he couldn’t. This idea is misconstrued a lot of the time, by people using that as a reason to make self-centered or poor choices. I need to point out that isn’t what I mean. I mean simply put, Brandon had a goal and he worked really hard for it, maybe more than hard. Even when the people around him thought it was a lost cause, he still worked for it. From Chris, Brandon was not the most physically gifted athlete. He struggled with being overweight, wasn’t naturally graceful, was a pretty unlikely candidate to be a college football All-American and then drafted into the NFL. He was able to do it all because he refused to listen to those who doubted him or his abilities. He always believed in himself, knew that through hard work and dedication, he could be anything he wanted to be. The only thing standing between you and your dreams is how passionately you’re willing to produce them.

Brandon dedicated his entire life and the things that he did to bigger than himself. As Chris says, It’s no coincidence the film of Brandon’s life is called GREATER. As a Christian, he believed he was called to be a man of integrity and honor off the field as well as on – he dedicated himself, first and foremost, to God.  Your faith can strengthen you, and like Brandon you can choose to be a role model on and off the field.

He believed in others and this way of living motivated other people to do great things too. He lived a life of putting others before himself, even when it wasn’t comfortable. As Chris states, Brandon Burlsworth was a giver. He didn’t just play football, or live his life, focused exclusively on his wants. He made others’ needs a top priority – family, teammates, friends and fans. As he dug in deep to reach his potential as an athlete and a man, he encouraged and supported those who were taking that same journey alongside him. Brandon didn’t just make himself better; he made others better, too, because he was intentional about finding ways to help them.

Here’s a clip from the film GreaterThe story of Brandon is a moving one. When one looks at the dreams he had, the drive he had to make them real, and the many ways this one person’s life has changed to many others, is almost unfathomable and so unbelieving motivational. At the end of the day it isn’t because he was great in his sport, which he was. It isn’t because he was an unlikely hero, or because he had such a powerful success story. The legacy of Brandon lives on and on because of his character. As an avid reader and writer, I am addicted to highlighting. I love to highlight things written which really stand out and stir me. If films could be highlighted, this entire movie would be orange and neon yellow and brought to you by BIC. 

I have a couple of Jerseys to give away, in honor of the film. For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on the blog or FB post! Good luck!

Hello, August…


I’ve been back in Michigan for a little over two months and after moving, and moving, and sitting on the brink of moving again, I’m finally starting to find a normal feeling. Everything still feels fragile and a bit surreal, but I’m attempting to move forward-one foot in front of the other- and here’s my hopes for this month we call August.


upcycling a serving tray

Being inside less and outside more

downsizing to a capsule wardrobe

experimenting more with essential oils



get back to a good work-out routine

swim, swim, swim

yoga, at least once a week

bike rides


quality time with my husband and kids (when possible)

me time

evening walks

reading, poolside



handwritten letters

remembering birthdays

attending a book club

going on a photography adventure


focussing on fresh & locally sourced meals

loads & loads of sun tea

grilled fish with fresh herbs

scones with lemon curd & Devonshire cream

homemade ice cream


Present Over Perfect

Kisses from Katie

Where’d you go, Bernadette

The Jesus Centered Life


Season 7 of the Good Wife

Season 3 of Parks & Rec

Suicide Squad

Ben Hur

What I learned… {July edition}

IMG_1214July was a big month and, while jumping back into this post sharing adventure, I wanted to focus on the things I’m taking away from this month, and the profound moments and lessons I’ll try to remember always…

  • No matter how many births you are able to witness or share in, nothing will be more indescribable than witnessing your daughter’s.
  • holding my newborn grandson, fresh-faced and new to this world, was world shattering.
  • it is never too late to fulfill a promise.
  • sitting down and reading a book in a genre you wouldn’t normally ready can be well needed.
  • Just because you have a beautiful pool doesn’t mean you’ll use it. (this point needs to be rectified.)
  • Korean TV shows are better watched with someone.
  • Sometimes it’s the simplest things, like sitting in bed at the end of the day, and watching an episode of Parks and Rec with someone you love that make the harder moments worth it.
  • Water is everything. Clean water. Good water. Pressure water. I am beyond blessed.
  • writing and receiving letters is the absolute best thing ever.
  • A lesson I’ll continue to learn, and learn and learn: life truly does begin at the end of my comfort zone.
  • making lasagna on a 98 degree day, with no AC is maybe not the wisest choice.
  • My daily quiet time does not have to abide by an agenda, which always led to guilt if I couldn’t quite do it all. It’s about taking the time to be still and know, listen, speak then and learn.
  • July is a rough month for the AC to break…
  • Micro visits from loved ones are better than distance. Stay grateful.
  • Simple isn’t always better.
  • My favorite cd of all time really DOES sound better on vinyl.
  • The Ghostbusters remake really was awesome.
  • How to make Devonshire creme. (and how it tastes awesome on fresh-baked scones with lemon curd.)

What did life teach you this month???

Then & Now…

I know an amazing man who I look up to. I am not alone in this, as there are literally many in the world who value this man’s opinions and perspective. I could get into an entire post about him, and why, but I won’t. I think, periodically, about the different advice I’ve heard him speak over the years. Most recently I’ve been recalling a talk he once gave about New Years Eve and personal reflection.

Reflection… It’s hard to not reflect on what my life looked like a year ago, in contrast to today. I would imagine the idea behind this reflection exercise is one of encouragement, and probably at any other point in my life, had I done this, I would be feeling some. Today though, right now, I can not.

This time last year I was renovating a house I loved, with my husband (whom I also loved). Our youngest was getting ready to begin her Junior year of high school and our older daughter was a newlywed. Believe me when I say that I have no disillusions of a perfect or filtered life, I know it wasn’t perfect but I also know that I was present and grateful. I loved Saturday brunches, day dates, inside jokes, bantering, having someone who held me at the end of the day, etc. I knew there was a weakening of my husband’s presence in our marriage but, at that time, I still believed his promise of valuing me and loving me before anyone else. Having been abandoned by every significant relationship in my life, he had earned my trust and faith that he would never dispose of me. Though, deep inside, I still felt disposable and ugly, I believed him when he said I was not and that he could never be without me and that he found me beautiful.

I had a mother. Was she perfect? No. The majority of time, in fact, she was incredibly verbally abusive and cruel. I still, however, had a mother. I could still pick up the phone and call my mother to placate the defeaning truth that I was without a family.

I had an exciting vision of what I wanted, as both a writer and in my career. I had direction and drive, though to be honest, I was feeling a little numb due to house repairs, the significant debt that was accruing due to our fixer upper’s unimagined needs, and the impending arrival of my mother to live in our house. I had a husband who, though he was not a reader, was supportive and believed in my writing. We also, together, had a little podcast with a pretty solid little following.

I was straddling the fine line, then, between the benefits of my mother living with us, and the negatives. The benefits? She could live out the rest of her days without the sadness and stress she’d been under; I could eradicate her worries; My daughters could have a more regular presence of extended family thus increasing the quality of their lives as well as my mom’s; we could maybe actually have some chance at having some resemblance of an in person relationship. I tried to see the glass as half full, I guess. The negatives were crowded, but the three largest were her verbal abuse and treatment of me, how she could possibly emotionally wound my daughter and her overwhelming pessimism. I mean, wasn’t it my responsibility to take her in, even if she had never identified with any sense of responsibility around being my mother?

Today? Today things look very different. Predominately, every day I am well aware of the reality that I am disposable to my husband. I am not his choice, nor am I someone he could see himself fighting for. I have no confidence in my dream/passion for being a writer. My youngest was deeply wounded by my mother, and then by us as our marriage failed, and by me as I failed her as a mother. Her life changed exponentially and I am faced, every day, with the effects and consequences of that which have shaped her immeasurably… I have no relationship with my mother, despite the proximity in which we live. (It is the least amount of miles separating us, since I was twelve.) It is a small apartment without any of my belongings in which I live, in a town where I have no friends. And while I still find myself filled with gratitude and awe, I also walk through every day with the weighted burden of the hurt and damage I am responsible for, all that I’ve lost and can not get back, and my own worthlessness in this place.

As a woman and I person I know that I have value and worth. This is the one positive. I did not know this last year, at this time. I could not feel this or identify with its reality. As a mother, daughter or wife, however, I do not. I had wrapped myself up in my wifehood and motherhood before. I existed in them and they were my world. Beyond that, I believed some in myself and the mediocre talent I had for writing. Now? Now I do not really exist within my motherhood or marriage, but I also do not exist outside of it. I have no faith in my writing and I also know, at 40, if it were up to me to support myself, I would starve to death in complete destitute-homelessness…

What has changed between last year’s today and this one? Everything. Everything has changed. I have changed. I once grasped a hope and lighthearted something in conversations about tomorrow or the future that I simply cannot fathom now. As with a child learning about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, I feel deceived about life, love and commitment. I have finally come to realize that I will never be THAT PERSON. Not to anyone. I have really wonderful friends who care about me and have been awesome sources of support, but what I have ached for is more than that. It is that feeling of belonging to someone who will not let you go. I have been let go so often that I’ve finally realized that being held on to is not in my life plan. This is said with so much less woe-is-me and more in the tune of ok then, I get it, so now what?

In so many ways I have lost everything. Not the majority of my friends, but certainly everything I thought I was. I have gained too. My sense of self-worth. My willingness to fight for myself, even if no one else found me worthy. This is a good thing, a beautiful and courageous thing. Unfortunately it doesn’t pay the rent or keep bread on the table. It also does not bridge the gap between my possessions and myself. (Sidenote: anyone have a few grand lying around that they don’t need? Ha…)

Most mornings I wake up, overwhelmed by the heavy awareness that I no longer know how to feel hopeful or navigate a day. I am battle weary and ache from head to toe. Still I move forward. I try. I listen, I am open to learn. That’s the best I’ve got. This time last year, I’m not sure I did those things…