*update at end of post*


In my defense, I only ran in to grab a pair of clearance pajamas for Charlotte.

But the entire store (GYMBOREE!) was $12.99 and under so I got a little distracted. I was alone for the afternoon and before I knew it I was knee-deep in outfits that involved plastic fruit.

Judge me not, friends.

They had matching hair gear.

So anyway, I was there for a little while and there was a kind woman (read: the type who would gauge your eyes out if you reached for the last pineapple tankini in a 5T) next to me trying to do some shopping (warfare) in the sale section.

Unfortunately for her two children, this meant she was unavailable for much more than “Sit still before I MAKE you sit still,” and “What is your DEAL?” (Yes. Actual quotes.)

I considered asking how she was going to make them sit still when she didn’t know where they were hiding and also, what parenting book suggested the sage advice regarding usage of the word “deal” in the context of public discipline techniques.

I didn’t ask either, mostly because I was afraid of her.

Sadly, the children were not.

I’m just saying if your children aren’t at least a little afraid when you are yelling at full throttle, you might want to invest in a new bag of tricks.

At one point the older one (maybe 6?) ran under my legs and almost knocked me over. I made some solid eye contact with him and he smirked at me. SMIRKED! I am not a fan of the smirk.

His mom must have seen it happen but she didn’t say a word. He wandered to the front of the store and I watched as he walked out of the store and right out of eyesight. I was about to try and get her attention when he stuck his face in the corner of the display window. The sales lady told his mom he had run away. She was less than pleased, as evidenced by her shouting, “Don’t make me put this stuff down!” Yeah, awesome. That should definitely take care of things. Kids HATE it when you set stuff down.

He wandered back in and she told him to try on a pair of shorts. Due to the fact that there is no dressing room at Gymboree, she asked him to walk toward the back of the store, slip off his pants and try them on. Shockingly, he went unattended to the back, took his little jeans off, and proceeded to come back to the front in nothing but his teeny-tiny tighty-whities.

He walked up to his sister (who was about 5), turned around and pulled his underwear up into his buttcrack and started screaming, “Look at it! Look at my hiney-hoo!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!”

She looked at him and snapped, “No, Michael. NO!”

Finally, their interaction got momma’s attention. She dropped the flamingo capri pants (hello, business!) and whipped around to face them. The sales lady and I exchanged quick glances, grateful that the little sideshow was finally over.

I promise you that what I am about to say actually happened.

She bent down, scanned right over bootylicious, and looked her daughter dead in the eye.

“Nicole. NICOLE. We say NO thank you.” She shook her head, turned back to her loot, and didn’t say another thing.

The woman behind the register was standing frozen in time with nothing but a stack of $1.99 accessories and ruffle socks to hide her shock.

I was paralyzed. The kid just kept laughing this evil little laugh while the girl walked toward the back to watch whatever was playing on the T.V. She slumped over in a tiny plastic chair while smirktastic continued his nude streak.

I am a woman who appreciates justice, and also a woman who (while I certainly have MANY, MANY less than stellar moments) at least strives to pay attention to what is happening with my kids before I snap at one them. And it takes a WHOLE lot to get me to threaten setting down a good bargain.

This is an extreme example, but it smacked me upside the head because I was so frustrated with this woman for completely neglecting her kids that I was beside myself for the rest of my Gymboree experience. She, on the other hand, couldn’t care less, and as she dug through her Dave Ramsey envelopes, emptying hundreds of dollars from each of the carefully labeled envelopes (you know, like groceries, electric bill, and YMCA fees) I noticed something interesting.

She hadn’t bought the pair of shorts for her son.

In fact, she hadn’t bought a single thing for him.

I watched as she handed the bags, one after another to her daughter while telling her how pretty she was going to look.

And it hit me.

I do that.

Not to this level, certainly, but I do it.

I slack on my parenting and I try to love my kids in ways that are convenient, superficial, and as useless as a fruity skort-set with no matching headband.

That might be a little dramatic, but it’s true. I go away for a night for work and I have to bring them each back a special treat. It’s pitiful, actually. I have been convicted of the way I try and “make up” for my perceived weakness as a mom before, but for some reason it clicked as I watched them walk out of the store.

Am I loving them well? Really, really well? Because I’m running out of time and there isn’t anything the new Fall line can do about it, no matter how many leaves are hand-stitched on the front (It’s 11 for the record. ELEVEN! Wait, where was I?)

I’m being really transparent with you all here, and it’s something that really troubles me. Apparently my insecurities aren’t that closely guarded because the Mother’s Day card Abby made me said this:

“Mommy I wunt you to no that you are the best mommy in the world. Even tho you don’t thing so, u relly are.”


I mean about the grammar, not the sentiment. But yeah, that was a dagger too.

I’m relatively sure I’m not going to walk my daughters down the aisle and whisper, “Did I make you cute enough during your life, hon? What about the IPod? Were you happy about the pink even though I promised you green? And our house…I mean, you didn’t feel cramped in there with your sisters, did you? Mmmkay, love. Now go change the world!”

I want to be emptied of everything I had to give them.

I want to feel like I gave them more than matching dresses and surface-level manners.

I want them to go on to do more with their lives than show their butts to people.

That last part came out wrong. It kind of ruined the emotional vibe I was tapping into, but I have a feeling some of you are still with me.

I’m praying tonight for all of my fellow mommies as we navigate the waters of child-rearing. Lord, help us to soak them up, squeeze out every good thing they have to share with the world, and let them remember more than the time we tackled another mom to get to a froggie raincoat.

Did I mention it was $12.99?!?!?!

Judge me not, friends.

Judge me not.


*If you read this and felt sympathetic for this frantic mom, you aren’t alone. We have ALL been the mom trying to do the best we can…this was about someone I felt was symbolic of a culture that sometimes places more emphasis on what our kids are wearing than what they are feeling. Please don’t think I would ever bash a fellow mommy who was having a rough time…I have been there WAY too many times to do that!!!! I think that a majority of you understood that, but I just wanted to make a point of it so that nobody would feel like it was a personal attack…honestly, I saw this as a prime example of my faults and wanted to share my own insecurities. I just wanted to clarify!!!



Awhile back I told you all about Seeds Worship and I am so excited to tell you all that they have a new CD called “Seeds of Character.” The CD’s are some of our family favorites and have helped my kiddos learn a ton of Scripture. I don’t even remember how I came across them but I called the office to tell them how much I appreciated the music and the heart behind what they do.

One of the coolest things about the CD’s is that they come in a pack of 2-one for you to keep and one to give away to someone else. It’s an awesome way to bless someone with the word of God, and trust me, you will bless them :) The music is SO catchy that I may or may not listen to my Seeds CD’s when my kids aren’t in the car with me…

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of promo/giveaway stuff lately, but this is one I just can’t pass up on…I really believe in what they do and want to help spread the word as much as I can!!! So please forgive me and I promise to do some real writing on here soon :) But of course when they asked me to join their blog tour I jumped at the chance!!! Here are our friends the Morlan’s talking about the song “Perfect Example.”

Here is the way the rest of the tour schedule looks in case you want to pop in and learn more…

I can’t recommend these highly enough…make sure and hop over to hear some of their music…you might find yourself learning some more Scripture along with your kids!!!

If you want to order anything from seeds, put ASMITH in as a coupon code and you will get 20% off your purchase!!!!

I’ll announce the winner of the Beth Moore book very soon :)



You Might Have Heard…

That I’m a little bit of a crazy stalker fan supporter of Beth Moore’s.

I plead the fifth.

I will say that I got to go to one of her tapings for her upcoming Bible Studies about the book of James and I got a little bit overexcited when she saw me in the audience and came and sat on my lap while she told everyone there who I was.

I blacked out for a little while, so I don’t remember the details, but I do know that she read from my book in the taping the night before, so if you buy that study you will get to hear it. I have no words for that. Let’s just say I’m going to go to jail for harassment honored.

I am so excited to be a part of the Lifeway Women team, and I can’t wait to tell you about the simulcast event that they will be doing with, well, you might have guessed by now.

A moment of silence, please.

OK. Moving on.

If you have your church book this event before July 1, you will save $250, so get crackin’! It is an incredible opportunity and I have been so blessed to have heard some of the testimonies that have come from being a part of her simulcasts. I have had a chance through my own writing to really get to know the women behind Lifeway Women and I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am to be partnered with them.

Years ago, I sat in my first Bible Study. Overwhelmed and convinced it was not the place for me, Beth’s words spoke freedom into my hopelessness. As many of you know, this study was a huge part of my becoming a Christian, and I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the woman who first showed me the tenderness God has with women who are broken and desperate for the Lord.

I don’t talk about things like this on my blog because it’s a revenue opportunity (it’s not :)) but because I genuinely believe it has the potential to radically change your relationship with Christ, and if I’m not focusing on those opportunities, I am totally missing the boat with this blog.

To see Lifeway Women’s Facebook page, click here, and to learn more about us and about this incredible event, please click here.

You won’t regret it.

Almost a dozen years after I first heard the Gospel from a stranger, I’m still chasing the God Who forgave both of us and allowed us to share His love with so many others.

I would love for you to spend this September day with Beth…so get your church to sign up. You’ll be so glad you did!!!!

And for those of you who have done a Beth Moore study or read one of her books, go ahead and leave a comment about something you were blessed by…maybe a particular lesson/study or anything she said that has stayed with you. And because I know you all need some motivation, all of the comments will be entered in a contest to win one of my copies of “So Long Insecurity.” This book is AMAZING…

If you haven’t read anything by her or don’t even know who she is, go ahead and just say hello and I’ll put your name in the hat to win :) Contest will end at noon on Wednesday….have a great start to your week!!!!



Bloom Announcement!

So, do you recognize the gal sitting between me and Jess? It’s time for our new book club announcement!!!! Hop over here to watch and hear more about it :)



Hello friends!!!!! Well Todd and I head out bright and early (note…bright. and EARLY) for Des Moines and I am still trying to figure out a way to meet all of my blog friends there. I have your emails in a folder and if I can pull anything together I will send out a message!!!! In the meantime, please pray for me. You would think that it would get easier but I am seriously sick to my stomach with nerves. Trying to remind myself to breathe!!!

I also neglected to blog about this post I did for (in)courage and I want to send you over there in case you didn’t read it. It’s so funny how you write something because it’s working in your world and then you feel like other people got something out of it. Sometimes I think, “Well that’s silly. They are going to think I am so lame for even posting this…” and usually those are the ones that get the most feedback. I love that. We are all trying to figure it out, aren’t we?!?! This one has really affected my interactions and daily life…I hope it speaks to you as well.

And I have a new post up today (You will NEVER guess what it’s about. Because I am not at all consistent in my search to simplify…) and the comments are super helpful. One of the things mentioned as a resource is this book, which has become one of my new favorites. Honestly, there are a billion books that look just like this in the bookstore and I probably would have just thought it was another pretty book, but it is so much more. You will LOVE it, and you will love Tsh’s take on simplifying life. She is an amazing lady and is doing incredible things for the kingdom of God. I can’t recommend it highly enough! I noticed how many people referenced it over there so I wanted to share it with you here. So. So. Good. I have a stack of notes from reading it…thank you, Tsh. Your gifting and your heart are both out of this world.

OK, friends! I have another post rattling around in my head from an experience I had yesterday. It involves homeschooling, my friend Heather, and some of the best people-watching moments this side of the Mississippi. I will try to get to that soon….and yes, I have pictures. Well, not of all of it. That’s a good thing.

Love to everyone! See you soon :)

Go on and do one better!!!!!!!



The only thing I remember about house-hunting as an 11-year-old is that I might get a bedroom with rainbow pillows.

We were mostly looking at new homes, so they were all perfectly decorated and impeccably neat, which I also liked.

And even now as I look back I can feel my stomach doing flip-flops because the smell of freshly opened boxes means that life is going to change again. It means new friends and new enemies. It means something new outside my bedroom window. It means I won’t know the bus driver and I probably won’t fit in. Years have passed and many boxes opened and closed, but they still make me weepy.

Truth be told, I don’t really like new adventures. I like old, worn, sit on the same spot of the couch with someone you love kind of things. Because even though new is good sometimes, it’s still, well, newer.

As a sidebar I just got a flashback from my first day at a new school in Conneticut. I was in kindergarten and at lunchtime a teacher came out to the cafeteria and announced, “Miss Sandy is here with her sweet treats, kids!!! Come on in!!!”

Well hot DOG. I had a feeling I was going to dig this place. I ran to the back of the sweet treat train and braced myself for goodness.

I watched the kids go through the line and noticed that they only picked up one item each, so I followed suit. I kept trying to catch a glimpse of this Miss Sandy lady because she was single-handedly changing my kindergarten experience and I wanted to tell her I was happy to meet her.

As we got to the end of the line I noticed that the kids were handing something over to a woman who did not look a)sweet b)conscious or c)like the Miss Sandy of my five minute-long daydream.

And as the girl in front of me handed over her wad of cash, it dawned on me.

We had to pay. With real money. Which I didn’t have.

And because I like to be subtle (have you noticed?), I threw my muffin across the divider, turned and ran back to my table while several dozen children giggled and called me names that involved violence and pastries.

My mother gave me a crisp dollar bill the next day for sweet treat time, and I got an ice cream sandwich. It was divine, but it wasn’t any different than the one at the grocery store. It even came in the same wrapper. To this day I don’t know why they made it such a big deal, but it was an unfortunate kick-off to a school year. Later that same year I threw up in front of my entire class. For the record, it had nothing to do with the lunch selection.


Now I’m really having a hard time focusing because I can smell fresh boxes, ice cream sandwiches, and the smell of barf on velour. This is obviously going nowhere good.

Anyway, I’m not a fan of moving.

So today was a bit of a difficult day. And I really thought I had prepared myself, but I was wrong. I knew it as soon as I walked into the almost-empty house and felt my eyes get hot.

It wasn’t just anyone’s house, but my Audra’s.

And it’s empty because on Monday they are moving to Colorado Springs.

And it’s exciting and wonderful and all of those great things because I know God is faithful and they feel called to go there, but for me it just plain stinks. For those of you who are new to my blog, Audra has been my best friend since I met her in Buffalo almost 16 years ago. We have lived so, so, so much life together and it’s ridiculously hard to think about her not being in the same city as me.

And those stupid boxes did me in today.

It wasn’t the first time I had seen her with boxes. Once, it was because she was packing up to get away from a bad boyfriend. Another time we packed because she was coming to Nashville a year after me to start graduate school with me. There were boxes when she came to live with us, boxes when she got married, and so many others in between.

How do you measure the love of friends who have shared this many boxes?

I don’t know, or else I would have said it when I was stammering for words, crying as I pulled away from her house and watched her little girls run to her. I watched them being born and now I had to watch them carry piles of clothes up the long ramp into the moving truck.


I need to drown myself in sweet treats now.

Please pray for Audra, her family, and for what God has in store for them…and if you are in Colorado Springs and want to meet an amazing girl, I know of some boxes you can help unload.


My First WOF!!!

I am happy to report that I am still in one piece after my very first Women of Faith experience. It was honestly such a great weekend and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I was out of my mind nervous but the other women on the platform were so loving to me that I just felt like a little sheep that was being taken care of. I feel at home with them in a way that totally defies the amount of time I have been a part of the team. I thank God every day for such an awesome opportunity.

The audience was incredible and really made me feel at home…partly because I kind of was at home! My first official event turned out to be Columbus…I’m from Cincinnati and went to the University of Dayton so I felt like a hometown girl. That was really special for me. Lisa Harper, Sheila Walsh, Luci Swindoll, Nicole Johnson, and Kim Cash Tate were the other speakers, and we were blessed to have Mary Mary and Natalie Grant as well as the incredible WOF worship team for our music. It is amazing to see 11,000 women coming together to celebrate the extravagant love of Jesus.

But still, it’s totally scary!!!

My next event is in 2 weeks and it’s in Des Moines. This is going to be a really special event because it is the only one I get to do with Selah…if you are planning on coming, could you please send me an email to angelac519 at gmail dot com and let me know? If I can figure out a way I would love to set up a way to connect with you all. One of my readers said it should be called “Sunday Brunch,” which I think is precious. Let me know and I will get back to you if I can figure out a good plan.

Here’s a quick picture of me just as I got off the stage, with Sheila Walsh giving me a big squeeze. She is such an encouragement…have I mentioned how much I love these ladies?!?!?! OH MY GOODNESS. If you haven’t gotten tickets for an event this year, I hope you will. It is such a great weekend to share with girlfriends…

Sorry it’s so small! A sweet lady sitting behind us sent it to me…I will make sure and add more when I get them :)

Love to all!!!!



Well, we are still setting up shop over here at WordPress but I think you all are really going to like it. It should be a lot easier to find posts by topic and all that good stuff, so feel free to hunt around and make yourself at home. I am going to be adding lots of pictures of Audrey and recent ones of the rest of the family but I am waiting to get some back from a recent photo shoot, so get ready for some cuteness. As of now, the search bars haven’t been fully connected to what they are supposed to be, but shortly it will all be seamless and good. I am loving it so far…many thanks to Kelsey for her help designing the header as well (you have to check out her new blog…brilliant and you are going to love life through her eyes…lots of great kid stories and all sorts of creative goodness :))

While we work out the kinks, let me know if you spot anything that needs adjustment or if you have any suggestions :) I think it’s going to be fantastic!!!

I absolutely must introduce you to Franchesca Cox of Small Bird Studios, who has been working with me to get this new blog designed and running. She has worked so far above and beyond that call of duty that words fail me. We were told by many, many people that I would lose all of the comments from my old blog in the process of transferring over here, and all of my friends had exactly that happen. Because of Fran’s perseverance and many extra hours of research and work, I am so over the moon excited that she found a way to bring them all over.

I am always happy to recommend people I have loved working with, but I don’t ever think I have seen devotion, kindness, and a genuine gift in someone the way I have with her. Many of my readers had recommended her but I didn’t realize when I hired her that she had lost a baby as well. It has been an emotional transfer over to this blog and she was so tender with me and so ridiculously responsive with email…I’m telling you, she is the BEST. She doesn’t know I’m writing any of this but honestly, I am so grateful for her and I had to share this amazing experience with you all.

And here’s the best part! She has agreed to let me do a little giveaway, so if you click here to re-route to my giveaway page, you can enter to win a FREE BLOG REDESIGN!!!!!!

Her prices are extremely reasonable, so even if you don’t win, keep her name in your back pocket. She does Blogger and WordPress, which is fantastic :)

WELCOME!!!!!! Make yourself at home, friends!!!!

With love,