Us vs Them vs In-between

I’ve been working on this post for a while now in my brain. I want to talk about the mommy wars that are happening around us. Why is there this constant battle between stay at home moms, work out of the home moms and anyone who falls in between those two roles? It drives me batty.
I have worked outside of the home and I have recently become a stay at home mom. There are things I liked about both. I can tell you that I am happier now being at home than I ever thought I would be but….there are days when I still miss working in the hospital as a nurse in L&D. But I have learned, for everything there is a season and now is not the season of my life where I need to be outside the home.
When my oldest son was born, I was a full time nursing student. I had him right before Thanksgiving break and went back to school the following Monday, I was fortunate enough that my mom could watch him and would bring him to the school in between classes so that I could feed him. When I graduated he was 6 months old and I went to work full time night shift right after I passed my boards. It wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed my job. It was perhaps made a bit easier for a time because he was watched by family members (I realize not everyone has this luxury), but when I had to put him in childcare…I felt torn. I hated leaving him crying in a room full of children. I hated tearing myself away, seeing pictures of him taken with a sadness in his eyes and worrying about what he was hearing from his providers. I walked in one day shortly after I dropped him off because I was called off due to low census. They weren’t expecting me…and I heard his teacher yelling at another little boy in the hallway. She was yelling at him because he couldn’t pull his overalls down fast enough and had an accident. I walked passed him with tears streaming down his face, wishing I could hold him in my arms and tell him it wasn’t his fault. I picked up my son and never took him back.

My oldest son and I shortly after I graduated nursing school.

I have worked full time outside of the home for the last 10 years in one form or another until we moved this past summer. I never felt defensive about my decision, I never felt like I had to make others moms feel bad because they chose to stay home or work or whatever. The truth is, I envied moms who had the opportunity to stay home. I didn’t like leaving a feverish child in the arms of someone else (even if it was Daddy or Grandma).
When we lived in Pueblo and I was teaching nursing full time I started to feel convicted about working out of the home and being away from my children so much. Kerry was miserable, although he was (and is) a great dad, he got depressed about being home full time. He wanted to provide for his family. And I wanted to be home with my children. I remember driving to clinical rotations at 5:00 am crying and praying to God to find a way for him to work and me to be home. We weren’t financially in a place for that to happen and we felt hopeless. But God (my favorite two word ever), slowly showed us we could do it and I began to cut back at work and Kerry began to work outside out home. We worked hard to pay off a lot of debt in that time as well. God has always provided for our family. And in spring of this last year I quit my full time teaching job. It was freeing! Kerry didn’t have a job and didn’t have any prospects. But I was going to stay home. God has provided employment for him that provides for our family and I still teach part time online. It was an adjustment to be sure. It has been hard for me to make new connections in a new town without working outside the home. The first few weeks we were here I cried because I felt so lonely. There are days I still do. But the truth is, I am delighted to be here. I feel “right” for the first time in years. I keep my nursing license current because one day, I might decide to go back to the hospital…I do miss witnessing mothers bring their babies into the world. For now though, this…right here…right now is where I’m supposed to be and I’m thrilled.
This picture was taken in spring of 2012. The week I wrote my resignation letter.

Here’s my beef though…
What is with all the fighting? I read several blogs and participate in several online forums and there seems to be this constant war between Stay at home moms (SAHM) and work out of the home moms (WOHM). Someone on a blog will post something about her conviction to stay at home and she gets blasted for “wasting her talent” or being “old fashioned” or “judging” others. A WOHM will post a question asking about how to choose a childcare provider or about an issue with childcare and she gets blasted for not “being obedient” to God or ignoring the mandate to “love her children and her husband”. And it gets nasty. Words are not being spoken in love or kindness, instead they belittle and hurt and wound.
Both sides feel like they have Biblical support for their beliefs. SAHM point to Titus 2: 3-5 as the Biblical mandate to stay at home.

Titus 2: 3-5

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

WOHM point to Proverbs 31 to make their case.

Proverbs 31:16

She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Proverbs 31: 24

She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

Proverbs 31:27

She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Back and forth the arrows fly between camps. The truth is this…we all want the best for our children. We all love them. We all do what we can and what we know to give them what we think they need. And…we’re not all at the same place in our walk, God is working differently in all of us. Sometimes we can’t see a way out of our current financial, work or life situation. Sometimes our choices (past and present) make it necessary to work. Sometimes we think we’re better people because we work or because we stay home. Sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re wrong.

What I hope, is that every parent will seriously consider what is best for their family and put thought into why they’re choosing what they are for their children and the results of what those choices are. I wouldn’t want either “side” to just do something because it’s what someone else tells them to do. It has to be a decision made, ideally because of a God given conviction and leading from the Holy Spirit for what is best for their family, not mine, not yours but their family.

One thing I’ve learned is that making others feel lousy for their choices doesn’t change their mind. It makes them dig in their heels and fight for their position…right or wrong. I can tell you it took me years to get to the point where I could quit my job. I praise God for women in my life who showed me that I could be just as valuable at home as I could in the workplace. I’m a huge positive reinforcement person, I love to hear “job well done” I worked hard to please those around me and to be the best at what I did. I can tell you that when you stay at home…”job well done” isn’t uttered often by the little children gathered at your feet. My husband had to learn why it was important to hear it from him and I had to learn that my rewards will come later.

The women who God used to guide me and show me where He wanted me didn’t tell me I was wrong, they didn’t hit me over the head with scripture or even come out and say it most times. They lived it. They lead by example, they shared advice with me and encouraged me when I was upset.

I drives me bonkers that there are even lines drawn in the sand. That moms feel like they have to attack each other. It’s hard enough worrying about your children and their well being. It’s hard enough questioning your own decisions about what food you’re feeding them, books their reading and friends they’re with, without having others question you too.

Here’s the deal…Do I think the best place for me to be is at home? Absolutely. Do I think children are better served when moms are there to take care of them, teach them and guide them? Yep. But am I going to berate a mother who works outside the home and sends her children to childcare? No. When she posts a question asking about childcare or balancing work and family, I will respond with what I would do or encourage her…because I’ve been there. My job is not to be the Holy Spirit and convict, my job is to speak words with love, show with my actions and let God do the convicting and convincing. I can be a resource, a sounding board, provide suggestions and tell other moms how we did it (it did take some sacrifices) but I will not, I refuse, to participate in the mommy war.

Proverbs 31: 26

She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Some days aren't perfect, but the blessing of being home is worth it.

Easy Cheese ball

This year for our very first Christmas open house I tried a few new recipes. This cheese ball was a huge hit and even the boys asked if I would make it again for snack time. It was super easy. I made it ahead of time and froze it, I took it out 3 days before the party to thaw and it was delicious.


2 (8 ounce) packaged of cream cheese, softened
1 package ranch dressing mix
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I omitted these).


  1. In a medium size bowl, mash cream cheese. Mix dressing mix and Cheddar cheese into the cream cheese. Shape the mixture into a ball. Roll the ball in the chopped nuts. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve. Yum!

I thought it might be good next time to add a little bacon to the cheese ball, but it was good just how it was.

Did you know? 2.0

Did you know that…
boys make a bathroom really dirty in a very short amount of time?
Legos can be used effectively as booby traps for robbers (and parents) when spread strategically in the doorway and the hallway? So can Hotwheels, army men and K’nex.
Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be where I am right now.
When I was growing up I thought I would have 4 children…3 girls and 1 boy? (I still thought I could order them back in the day). I am DELIGHTED with the 4 (#5 pending) boys I have!
When Kerry and I got married (at 19) we wanted 6-8 children. I still remember Pastor Mark sitting across from us looking a bit shocked when we told him that during pre-marital counseling. We would take more than that now and pray God blesses us as He sees fit.
I would much rather stay up late at night and sleep later in the mornings?
I would much rather freeze at a football game than watch an entire basketball game indoors?
I never ever tire at the miracle of birth. I love seeing babies being born, helping mommies give birth and that new baby smell. It is way amazing, every.single.time. I’ll never forget the first baby I saw born, I knew that moment that I had found my “place” in nursing. I miss it terribly, but know that I’m not in that season of life right now. Someday I will go back to helping mamas have babies and witnessing the miracle every day. For now, I’m going to have my babies and marvel at the amazing body God gave me and revel in the blessing of being home with them.
I miss singing in a choir. I miss 4 part harmony.
I worry sometimes that I’m not doing a good enough job building character in my children. That someday they’ll grow up and people will ask “where were their parents?!?”
My children teach me something new everyday. That their personalities are very different from mine (thank goodness!) and they push me to think about things from a different perspective.
I admire people who can quilt, can vegetables, play piano, garden and in general do all the things I wish I could do well.
Kerry painted my parent’s barn to earn enough money to buy my engagement ring.
When I type my blog I’m always secretly afraid someone is going to read it and edit it for grammar and proper punctuation. Seriously, I am. I halfway expect someone to send me a copy of my blog with red marks on it.
I don’t tell those I love, that I love them enough, I don’t say “thank you” enough to those who have made a difference in my life.
Teaching nursing students reminds me of drama performances in highschool. It’s like standing up in front of a bunch of judges and they tell you (on their anonymous evals each semester) exactly what they thought of your performance. I loved drama, the judging not so much.
I am happier than I ever thought I would be staying home with my children. There are things I miss about not working in the hospital, but I know that those things will wait. My children will not.
Sometimes I have a hard time thinking about something non-controversial to write about on my blog so I come up with “did you know…” lists.

New recipe Monday — Cookie Dough dip

I was searching for recipes this week to serve for our Christmas open house and ran across a recipe for cookie dough dip. It was was pretty tasty and really easy to make!
Cookie Dough Dip
1 brick cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup toffee chips (optional, I didn’t have these so didn’t include them but will next time)
Mix all together. Chill in fridge before serving and top with chocolate chips. The cream cheese and butter mix better when softened slightly.
I served this dip with Graham crackers, animal crackers and apples.

24 weeks — How much longer?

I think I get asked this every day by one of my children. They are so very anxious to meet their baby brother (as are we) that they ask “how many more weeks?” on a regular basis. 16 weeks (ish) to go. Sometimes it seems so far away and sometimes it seems like time is going quickly.
Everything is going well. I am every so thankful for every kick and wiggle that I feel. I pray, thanking God, often. There are still moments where I am fearful or when I get anxious about what the future holds. So I focus on being thankful for every moment and every gift I’ve been given. I think that was one of the things I under-estimated about loss. The messed up brain stuff. Always waiting for the other shoe to fall or for something to go wrong. I wonder sometimes “Why is it so hard to believe God would give me something good again?” I am working on finding the joy and not being stressed.
So today, I am thankful as we count down the weeks…getting ever closer to meeting this little one God has given us.

Is Christmas Common

Below is the article my husband wrote this month for our church newsletter. I think it’s a worthy read and reminder about the Christmas season.
Is Christmas Common?
Every year after Thanksgiving we start to think about Christmas. This is the next big event in the month to come. We think, “Can Christmas really be only a month away?” This is something that we all go through and we see it become the focus of everything on TV, Radio, and in every store that we walk into. I would like to give you a challenge this Christmas.
One great challenge we face is to not view the birth of the Savior as something common, even though Christmas is celebrated for weeks every December year after year. We need to remember that despite how routine our celebration may be at times, what we are actually celebrating was never meant to be something routine or ordinary. We have heard some form of the birth story told in so many different ways, that sometimes we may even be guilty of skimming over parts of Scripture because we have heard it so many times before.
We can easily forget what God says in Matthew 1:22-23, “22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” This is the amazing aspect to this story; God became flesh and dwelled among men (see John 1:14). This is what sets this story apart from other stories. The Eternal One who created the universe and all that is in it, came and lived among His creation.
It is nice that in Matthew’s Gospel “Immanuel” is defined; it takes out the possibility of having a mistaken meaning. Scripture clearly says, “God with us.” This is an astonishing truth that should continue to amaze us year after year. We should be in awe of what God did in the incarnation.
Now we all understand that we cannot and should not be absorbed with the materialistic themes that the world pushes on us at Christmas time. Only the youngest still believe that Christmas is about the stuff. Yet we still get caught up at times and fret over not getting our decorations up in time. We can get bent out of shape when things do not go the way we think it should at our Christmas gathering. We may have objects that we get out at Christmas time or have traditions that we enjoy. These may be reminders of what Christmas really means, but the objects or traditions are not why we celebrate. Christmas does not have to do with the stuff, the decorations, or even how good the food may be. It is all about Him.
As I said earlier we have heard the story many times and many ways. Have you told your children or grandchildren what Christmas means? What if we shared about the first coming of Jesus Christ with someone that has never heard it before? I am asking myself this Christmas season, “Is how I am spending my time, energy, and resources really useful to God? Is this obedient to Him? Is this effective at making disciples?”
I would like to leave you with a couple questions and final thought. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do my Christmas celebrations have to do with celebrating the birth of the Savior?
  • How does the way that I celebrate Christmas praise God and bring Him glory?
  • Is the Savior at the center of our celebrations this year?

I ask these questions not that you owe me an answer, but because I believe they are good for all of us to answer and ponder. May we each hear from God in the month ahead. May we look for the Savior this Christmas season.

One year–not forgotten

I have written this post and re-written this post several times in my mind. Sometimes I find myself at a complete loss for words and sometimes I could write a book. I don’t want to forget…
A year ago today I had a baby, Knox Cornelius. I was 16 weeks pregnant when he was born and that day was one of the most difficult days of my life. And that single event seemed to have kick off one of the most trying years we as a family has ever experienced.
I will never forget what it was like to see the sonogram confirming our fear that he was gone. I can still vividly see what that screen looked like with an empty silent chest. It is all still very vivid and very real. There isn’t a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought of Knox, how that pregnancy ended and the fears that came along with losing a baby.
God used the experience of losing not one, but two, babies in the last year to teach me a lot…to grow and stretch me…something that is never easy or comfortable.
As I sit here writing this I am 23 weeks pregnant with my third baby in a year. I thought I would be writing this post with a new baby in my arms…she was due November 15 but that pregnancy ended as well in May, on his due date. The trauma of so much loss in a year has had a profound effect on me and how I’ve viewed and navigated this pregnancy. Kerry asked me the other night if I still thought about and feared losing this baby. Through tears and held back sobs I answered “Every day”.
Yet I know that God is in control, I know that He has a purpose for what ever the outcome will be and it is so hard not to be afraid. I trust that God will provide what I need every moment. God helped me navigate the anger (and I was angry!) and worry that followed in the days and weeks after Knox died. He continues to guide me through the anxiety that comes with being pregnant again after loss.
I have learned much in the year that has passed. I have made connections with people and have been able to offer support to people I wouldn’t have without Knox. We have been able to teach our sons the gift of life and how important babies are. We have had conversations we would have missed, they understand why we grieve our babies and that we anticipate seeing them again in Heaven. We were also reminded how deeply we were cared for and I learned to let others take care of me (something that was incredibly humbling and difficult to embrace).
Most of all though, I have learned to rely on God more fully. It has been reinforced that I am so not in control. My job isn’t to direct the events of my life, but to be obedient to what and where God has called me to be. He has used this time to strengthen my trust in Him and to remind me that comfort comes from Him…not doctors, hospitals, money or even health.
In losing Knox, God prepared me and built in me the faith that I would need to navigate the coming year… yet another loss that was to come in May, quitting my job to stay home, moving to a new community and the transition that comes with that and a new pregnancy (that seems to be going beautifully).
I do wonder what life would be like had he lived, I wonder what he will look like when we are reunited and I wonder what else I have to learn yet as part of losing a child (I am continually learning about this territory I find myself in). I wonder still, what the purpose has been…if it was just to grow me or if there is more. I can’t say that I’m “thankful” in the typical way, because I’m not thankful I lost a baby or that I had to learn the lessons I did…but I am thankful for what God has done in my life despite (and because of) the hurt.