Merry Christmas! Starbucks Card GIVEAWAY TODAY

Friday, December 19, 2014

UPDATE:  Congrats to Anna Cushingham who won the giveaway!  Enjoy your lattes!  :)

Merry Christmas!

Less than a week until the big day, and if you're like me, you could use a BOOST!  While I can't personally hug or high five each one of you, I can give you a chance to win today's giveaway - a $10 STARBUCKS CARD!  Woohoo!

Caption this silly vintage Christmas Ad below for your chance to win!  

"Beers and Bows: Holiday Staples since 1942!"
-Anna Cushingham


I'll reveal the winner on MONDAY MORNING (12/22) so you'll be caffeinated in time to stay up until midnight on Christmas Eve as you assemble that toy with a million pieces and four missing screws.  (How does that always happen!?)

Leave a caption in the comments here, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram or email me directly at

Here's to keeping our spirits merry and bright!  Have fun and Happy Holidays!

Christmas Wars: Why Everyone Needs to Chill Out About Santa vs. Jesus

Monday, December 15, 2014

We've got ten days until Christmas.  Are you feeling overwhelmed? *hug*

I don't know about you, but it seems like every day I see a new article or blog floating around the Internet about people's take on Christmas traditions:

Why we don't let our children do Elf on the Shelf.  Why we don't lie to out kids about Santa.  Why our kids only get three gifts just like the wise men gave. Why the way we celebrate Christmas is the way Jesus intended it to be celebrated. (Okay, maybe not the last one, but they all pretty much have the same subtext!)

And on and on.

People are all OVER the spectrum on the whole Santa vs. Jesus topic, and their not afraid to spill their guts out about why their approach is the most intricately considered method that will deliberately help mold their child for the better.

Well, that's all quite fine.  But, frankly, as long as you are keeping Jesus and family at the center, then I. JUST. DON'T. CARE. how you go about doing it.  Santa, no Santa.  Elf, no Elf.  Candy and presents, simple Stockings.   Gluten free fruitcake, gingerbread houses.

I'm over it.  I read these articles and I start doubting my parenting.  I get fearful I've already gone too far down the Santa path.  I get anxious I'm accidentally raising spoiled rotten heathens who will grow up to  be liars and thieves.  Am I a hypocrite for hiding the Elf and then taking my kids to church?  Geesh, you gotta be careful who you tell your approach to these days or you might be eternally judged for where you lie on the Santa spectrum!

The number of Nativities in my home makes me no more of a Christian than before.  Asking my kids what they want from Santa for Christmas makes me no less of a Christian either.  And, my kids will not grow up to be psychopaths - well, at least not because our Christmas traditions steered them down the wrong road.  Of this, I am certain.

I'm not here to defend the Elf on the Shelf or tell you that you should hop on the Santa bandwagon or even to get you to realize that (hello?) JESUS is and always will be the true reason for the season.

Choosing Christmas traditions has become just as distracting as the new Target commercials (I can not get "Marshmallow World" out of my head!) We're ALL inundated with ads for toys and deals and food that distracts us from the precious miracle of Christ.  Must we add to this dilemma by filling up the cracks with fear and doubt about how we survive this season?  Do we need to criticize each others' parenting approaches and Christmas customs as part of our Christian duty?  I'm gonna say "um, no."

Parents.  Simmer down

As a mother, I absolutely love this season of celebration with my kids.  As a consumer, I like the glitz and glam and the hubbub of finding the perfect gift for someone. As a Christian, I weep at the thought of how miraculous the true story of Jesus' birth affects me to this day.  As a future Marriage & Family Therapist, I sleep well at night knowing that Santa or Elf on the Shelf are not to blame for the corruption of children everywhere.

There are far more important battles to fight here, folks.  We've all got plenty to lay down at the feet of Jesus and lift up in prayer.  We've got burdens and worries and broken hearts aplenty.  No doubt this world is filled with enough fear and guilt as it is.  Let's let this one go.

Every Christian family celebrates the birth of Christ differently.  And as Believers, we can keep Jesus on center stage while still watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with our kids.  We have the freedom to worship the birth of our Savior and then eat an entire plate of peppermint bark.  We can teach our kids our family traditions (from grandma's cookie recipe to Elf on the Shelf) while keeping the reality of Jesus fresh all year round.

We need no less balance this time of year than any other season in our lives.  Period.

Chill out, guys, it's gonna be okay.  Be merry.  Be bright.  If we can all team up and keep Jesus in our traditions, however that looks, then December 25th will be all the more miraculous.

Separating the Man from the Myth: Why It's Okay to Love Cliff Huxtable

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Like the rest of you, I've been shocked, saddened, and totally in denial of the allegations regarding Bill Cosby that are flooding the media everywhere.  I can't bear to pick up that new People magazine or read any more articles about the 21 (and counting) women who have come forward with horrific accounts.  It makes me sick to my stomach, and not because I know Bill Cosby at all.

But, all I desperately want is for someone to stand up and say "It's okay to still love Cliff Huxtable!" So, that's what I'm doing now.

I don't know Mr. Cosby.  I got to see him perform once, years ago, at the Orange County State Fair.  It was silly, nostalgic, and kind of surreal to see such a legend create comedy out of thin air.  But, beyond the occasional TV interview, I know nothing of the man himself.  To me, Bill Cosby is the myth - unknown, distant, and now completely unrelatable.  I don't know him.

But, I know Cliff Huxtable.  I've seen every episode of The Cosby Show multiple times, like many of you, and I vividly remember wiping tears off my cheeks when I watched the finale on TV.

Cliff Huxtable was kind, brilliant, hilarious, respectful, responsible, and would be completely disgusted at the despicable acts that Mr. Cosby is being accused of.  It would sicken him.  It would make him sit his five children down and discuss the importance of integrity in this mess-of-a-world.

Cliff Huxtable is NOT Bill Cosby.  Cliff Huxtable is the man.  A good man.  The man who brought laughter and truth into my heart and home every week of my childhood.  The man who loved his wife with humor and grace.  The man who taught his children how to make the world a better, safer place.

The Huxtable family didn't just teach me about family dynamics, it taught me about diversity and gender equality.  See, I grew up on a farm in the middle of Kansas.  I went to a high school of 98 kids and graduated with a class size of 16.  (Did I mention this was a public high school comprised of three neighboring towns?)

The reality of growing up like this is that I didn't get to know anyone who wasn't white until college.  (I know - it's even hard for me to believe.)  And almost all the moms I knew didn't work outside the home.  But, because I grew up in a home where love, equality, and integrity were held in high value, I didn't bat an eye when I welcomed the Huxtables into our living room each week.  The Huxtables weren't an "impressive African-American family with a working mother and father" - they were just a family!  They set a norm for me - and an expectation that a "healthy family" can look a lot of different ways.

These truths, these positive memories, these endearing and nostalgic attachments I hold to the television show have nothing to do with the reality of Mr. Cosby today.  Nothing can take that away from me, or you, or our children who might watch reruns with us in the future.  And while I fiercely cringe at the horrifying thought of what may have gone on behind the scenes of his personal life, I refuse to let the headlines strip me away the virtues of the Huxtable family.  You don't get to do that, Mr. Cosby, you can't take that away from us.

So, if no one else is saying it - I'm saying it:  I love Cliff Huxtable.  And when I see hoagies or crazy sweaters in the future, I'm going to smile and embrace my memories with open arms.  In the meantime, I pray justice is served for Mr. Cosby while peace and insurmountable grace be given to those women who have come forward - that's what Cliff would have wanted too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Breaking the Internet and the Hearts of Mothers Everywhere: An Open Letter to Kim Kardashian

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dear Kim,

Let me admit right off the bat that I have zero expectation of you ever reading this.  I understand you are in the one-zillionth percentile of celebrities who could probably care less about normies like myself who have an opinion about our perception of who you are.  This is more than a letter, it's a format for me to use my tiny space on the web to get the word out on how I feel about your recent actions.  So, let's call a spade a spade and get that out of the way.  Fair enough.

You broke the internet this weekend.  You posed for a cover of a magazine and fully exposed your derriere for the world to gawk at.  It's not the first time you've given the masses something to get bug-eyed about, and I'm certain it won't be the last.  But, you broke more than the internet - you broke my heart.

From what I can tell, you and I only have one thing in common - but, it's a big thing (no, not that big thing, my flat booty holds no contest to your curves).  We're both mothers of girls.  We're raising females in a world where individuals with money, looks, and power are considered "successful".

We're raising girls in a society that values dominance and accumulation over integrity and virtue.  And while you and I might stand at very opposite ends of these spectrums, I would gather that you know these things to be true even more than I do.  You're in it.  You're living it.  You are the proof that these things get noticed, shared, and applauded.

But, here's where we part ways.  I don't get how you can do use your platform in that way and raise your daughter in this world.  Why, Kim, why?

There's an astronomical amount I want to teach my daughters, and not one of them has to do with the size of her ass.  I want my girls to know they can be smart and beautiful, full of integrity and authoritative, compassionate and assertive, and while they can play with their Barbies and watch Disney Princesses fall in love, they hold so much more in their unique little hearts than their body will ever ever ever be able to reflect on the outside.  They are more than their booties.  More than their someday-breasts.  More than their clothes, hair, or perfect skin.  Barbie ain't got nothin on my babies!

Kim, you are more than your backside.  You may have first been noticed in the celebrity world because of your curvy booty, but you are greater than the sum of your parts (or one part in particular) if you'd give us a chance to notice that too.  We have NO IDEA who you really are, and you aren't helping us get to know you.  In fact, your backside is preventing us from seeing who you might actually be, and the platform you've been given in this life could be used for so much more for our daughters.

We live vastly different lives, no doubt.  But, you and I have girls who would laugh and play and share silly stories about tutus and dolls if we got together, I guarantee it.  They would color pictures, sing songs, and at the end of the day the glare of the world's view of their value would melt away in the sound of their giggles.  We're not just raising girls, we're raising future mothers too.  No matter what they grow up to look like - whether they have model curves or model noses or model waistlines, let's remember this - we're raising the next generation of role models.

If you could do me and mothers everywhere a favor and just sit on that truth (pun intended, of course) then maybe you can gain some perspective of how crazy and massive this whole parenting thing really is.  I'm not here to hate you cause you're pretty or bash on you cause of the choices you've made.  This isn't some call to judgement about why I think you're a terrible person.  It's an invitation.  An invitation to engage more than your looks and your power - an invitation to take a step towards empowering the girls we're raising to someday become leaders and rockers and artists and musicians and scientists and engineers who change the world for the better.

Then maybe we'll see magazine covers of women exposing their brilliance rather than their bodies.  Maybe it's possible.  Maybe you could help.


Emily Pardy

Thank You: A Veteran's Day Re-Post

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Original post 11/11/2013

Today is Veteran's Day, and I just got off the phone with my dad who served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in the Army.  He helped to change the world before I was ever a twinkle in his eye, and I'm forever grateful to him for his patriotism and sacrifices he made as an American willing to do the unthinkable for the next generation.

But, my dad is only one amazing example of the selfless acts that happen every day among military families around the world, fighting for our freedom and paving the way for liberties that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Veteran's Day is our chance as "regular folk" to not just stop and recognize how blessed we are to live in a free country, but for us to stop and recognize the individuals that make that possible.  In a way, it's just as vital as the Fourth of July:  it's not only acknowledging the history of what our country's been through, but the very present of how we are affected by it.

Thank you to all service men and women past and present and future...we are indebted to you, and may God be with you.

Yesterday, I got to witness an incredible act of kindness in the most unlikely of circumstances.  I've recently taken on a seasonal position at Pottery Barn Kids at a local mall.  If you've never been to PBK, it's a jolly shop full of overpriced, exquisite children's merchandise.  It's lovely, and while it attracts the most pretentious of clientele, it makes for a spectactularly-Christmassy place to work.  Merry and bright, indeed.

I had just started my shift, when a pregnant, well-to-do woman approached me and my co-worker at the cash register.  She had been shopping for a few minutes with her young child and husband, and she had a peculiar look on her face as she walked up to us.

"Do you see that family over there?" she quietly spoke and glanced behind her as my co-worker and I leaned in to hear what she was saying.  We both nodded, curious what she was about to say.  The family she pointed to was a young family as well: a very pregnant woman, her husband, their little boy, and grandmother.

The woman turned her back to the family and continued to speak quietly.  "Well," she said, "I overheard them speaking, and they are a military family.  I have a strange request, but I'd like to do a sort of random act of kindness.  Could I buy them a gift card and have you give it to them for me?  I don't know them at all and I'd like it to be anonymous.  But, hurry if you can, because I think it might change what they decide to purchase today."

My co-worker and I were stunned. Yes, of course we were happy to help.

"Great," she smiled and got out her wallet.  "Go ahead and make the gift card for five hundred dollars."

Five hundred dollars?!?!

My co-worker and I both audibly gasped.  I told her outright how inspiring I found her act, and she kind of shrugged and smiled.  She bought the card and left immediately.

I watched as my co-worker walked it over to the family and changed the course of their day (not to mention, their nursery) in a single moment.  They were shocked.  We were all shocked.  Never before had I seen such a spontaneous act of generosity in that magnitude.  I thought about the woman who bought the gift card and thought to myself, Wow, those are the kind of people you want to be wealthy! And I was instantly convicted of my tendency to judge the rich.

Maybe we don't all have $500 to gift to a veteran today...but, chances are good that we all know someone who has sacrificed for our country, and we can take time out to thank them in our own way.  It's no coincidence that I was there to witness that yesterday.  I instantly thought I've got to blog about this! and I couldn't wait to tell you all such a wonderful story.  We can all pay it forward in some way, and not just today.  Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places, and you never know when the opportunity might fall in your lap for you to thank a stranger.

Thank you, Veterans. Your lives are filled with random acts of kindness that inspire generations of spontaneous generosity.  I pray we can all be humbled by your courage and have a chance to pay it forward.  Happy Veteran's Day.

Check out Venn!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hey gang, have you heard about Venn Magazine?

I'm privileged to have written a few articles for them, and today I'm featured again talking about the process and pain of waiting.  Ugh - does anything feel more futile than when life hits the pause button?

Check out my article here...and be sure to stick around the site and scope out all the other fascinating articles Venn has to offer.

Who is Venn Magazine?

From their website:
At Venn Magazine, we are captivated by the intersection of faith, culture and our hearts and souls and are compelled to both hear and tell real life stories of these encounters.

I love that at Venn they strive to hear the experiences and the stories that we all can relate to.  By hearing and sharing our views and narratives, we can help each other gain perspective and purpose for the lives we live.  I hope you check it out and share it with a friend today!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Hey friends!  Thanks for stopping by!

Today you can find me sharing my heart and insanity over at A Wide Mercy, a blog run by my very talented friend Stephanie.

I hope you check it out, share it, and stick around her site to read more of her wonderful stuff too!

Matilda Turns Five

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On Saturday my firstborn will turn five years old.  I know I will blink and this moment will seem like a lifetime ago, but for now, I am reveling in the present instead of the reality that the last five years have flown by unlike any other in my life.

Having children is like having my own, personal time machine that catapults me into the future faster than I could ever imagine.  While the weary days inch by, the memories pile up at lightning speed.

Too quickly, there is a past created by a mountain of moments that hold a piece of my heart forever.

Matilda is turning five.  This feels monumental.  My brain and heart are having a hard time reconciling sentiment and reality.  I let myself get carried away with thinking how soon more milestones will crowd  my maternal memories.

So, what do I do to cement this moment into my own story?  How do I make my mark on this day to let her know, in her own time, how special this phase of life is to our family?  Well, of course, I write her something!

I'm not much of a poet.  I can spew truth for days, lay out my soul for others to read, but when it comes to eloquent speeches I'm often at a loss.

Nevertheless...indulge me.  This isn't for you.  This isn't for anyone but my Matilda.

I pray someday she will read this and see my heart.  In all my mistakes as a human, as a mother, as a friend, I pray she knows in her core how deeply I depend on Jesus for how I raise her.  I hope her bones feel their worth in His eyes alone.

I have faith that through all the ups and downs we will have as mother and daughter that above all she will hold on to the fact that when I met her, I loved her, and nothing will ever change that.

Through the years and forever, I can't wait to get to know her more and more.  My first girl.  My Matilda.


Wonderful You

There are so many parts that make up wonderful you.
Your humor, your beauty, your wit.
You are silly and mischievous, loud and fierce.
You will grow to know these parts of you,
And I hope you let them each shine bright in your own way.
You will develop more parts, some lovely, some challenging.
All parts needing refinement by the grace of our Creator.
But as the world surrounds you, confronts you, inspires you,
Remember this:
Each of us is fearfully made, wonderfully different.
Some people are smarter than you.
Some people are funnier, some prettier,
Some richer or more popular.
But none of them are more you.
No one else is all you.
Only you are you.
You hold your very own wonderful.
Hold it closely, dearly.
Use it well, let it shine.
God made only you to be wonderful you.
And you are greater than the sum of your parts, my darling.
That's what I love most about you.
All of wonderful you.

Happy Fifth Birthday, Matilda Hazel Darling.

Stormy Weather

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's rained a lot here lately.  It seems like the chance of rain is always looming, and while it's been a refreshing break from the heat, it makes for an unpredictable day of weather.  Should I bring the umbrella?  Do I wear the rainboots?  Can we schedule the get together on the patio?  etc.

These are not difficult questions.  They barely interrupt my day, and are merely annoying at worst.  But, then, night comes and thunder booms and tornado warnings scroll across the bottom of my TV.  There's always a chance it gets worse.  There's always a possibility this downpour turns into something scary.

Sometimes life can feel like that - like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Do you know this feeling?  Just because the storm missed us last night, doesn't mean we'll be the lucky ones next time.  I can play a superstitious game with myself, thinking that I had something to do with my own good fortune, when most of the time it was just the blessing of God's protection and fortunate wind in the right direction.

Reality is, nothing keeps me from misfortune...but, nothing separates me from God either.

A lot of life happens within the boundaries of two questions:
Why me?
Why not me?

I don't know about you, but too often I'm asking one of those questions.  Something good or bad happens to me or someone I know, and all of a sudden my mind is struck with winds of doubt, and my worries are blown out of proportion to my God.  Bottom-line reminder:  GOD IS BIGGER.

God is bigger than my needs.  God is bigger than my loss.  God is bigger than my questions.  God is bigger than my understand, my hope, or my fears.  God is bigger.  He cares, He's in control, and He is never changing or leaving.

As I look out the rain-streaked window, I notice how blurry and confusing the outside world appears.  It's splotchy and unclear, and I lack the whole picture by just looking through the frame I have.  God is clarity.  He's all-knowing and all-caring, and by trusting in Him I can put aside my silly superstitions and wholeheartedly believe that the clouds will part soon.

Sometimes it rains.  Sometimes it pours.  But, thank goodness, our hope is not in a "sometimes" God.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Q&A: Counseling Career?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dear Pardymama,

A lot of my friends come to me with their problems or asking advice.  I've thought about going back to school for counseling, but I'm not sure I'd like it as a career choice.  Can you tell me what it's really like?  
Counseling Career Confusion

Dear CCC,

Absolutely!  If there is one thing I never get tired of talking about (besides my children) it's counseling. Several of my classmates and colleagues have that same gift of being the "go-to" friend for advice among their peer group.  Clearly, your friends perceive you to be trustworthy, empathetic, and a good listener.

You've probably felt wise at times and totally uncertain at others.  Sometimes it's hard to know what to say or how to say it, and your investment in your friendships and concern for those you care about can make it difficult to clearly know how to handle a situation at times.  That's relationship.

Becoming a therapist absolutely utilizes those natural gifts you already possess.  But, the client/therapist relationship has a secure boundary held by professionalism and confidentiality that can allow for process and progress that's quite different than any other kind of relationship.  An education that hones your skills as well as equips you with tools you couldn't otherwise learn outside the classroom, can provide you the next step to really expand your abilities into an expertise.  Therapy is quite different than advice giving, and it does require an endurance that will sharpen your listening skills to a fine point.

Though I've barely dipped my toes into the client-pool, I can tell you so far what it is like to actually sit in a room week after week and listen for 50 minutes straight to someone's story, issues, questions, confusion, anxiety, worries, hopes, or hurts.  It's exhilarating...but, it's not for everyone.  I can certainly understand why others would find it draining or boring, just like how I'm not meant to be a firefighter or accountant!  But, I find therapy strangely exhausting and energizing at the same time.  It's like reading a good book, when you read late into the night and feel tired but just can't help but want to keep going and find out what happens next.  When I'm there in that moment, I always want to be there.

It's intimidating, and humbling.  Sitting with someone in a little hub of vulnerability, where the whirlwind world sits just outside my door with the "In Session" sign hanging on it, I recognize the intrinsic privilege I have of getting to be "that person" for the clients that sit before me.  Though it might seem daunting at first,  I have a peace that surpasses my understanding when I sit in that room.

I rest on the security of God's purpose for my presence in that moment, and on the education I've invested in learning - leaning on the wealth of information, tools, and support that my Supervisors and classmates provide me.  I trust the science and the data and the Holy Spirit all at the same time.  And I prayerfully do my best to balance my life inside that room with the one I live outside it.  I'm still me...just looking more thoughtfully through the lens of "therapist" and less as the invested friend I would be if I had a connection to the client I'm helping.  This is a really important difference to note, because it's what allows me to leave this emotional context at the office, and not bear it when I go home.

I would suggest you go to therapy if you haven't already, so that you can get the client's perspective on the experience.  Then, speak with local counselors you trust about their own practices.  There is a wide range of motivations behind why people become mental health professionals, and the audience that they serve can vary just as much.  For me, I feel like I'm fulfilling something that has always been percolating inside me.  It will be a lifelong pursuit to grow as a therapist, as it's an ever-changing field that appears limitless in its study.

Whatever you choose to do as a career, keep on being that wonderful "go-to" friend that people can trust with their hearts.  Empathy is a gift that can't be overused.  Trust God with your gifts, and you can't steer wrong.

Dead Weight

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The other night, amidst the wind and the rain of an autumnal thunderstorm, we heard a crrraaack followed by a THUD in the middle of the night.

Sure enough, when we looked out the window in the morning, a giant tree branch had split from one of the trees in our backyard.  It was giant and dangling precariously, so my husband got out the saw and put it out of its misery.

I didn't even know that branch was dead!  I had no idea that somewhere inside it was rotting and weak and doing no good whatsoever for the tree.  It was just hanging on, waiting to meet its demise.  It had no purpose.  It just was.  And now, that it's safely removed and out of the way, the tree can continue to be fruitful and grow as it is meant to.

[Hmm.  Suspiciously sounds like I'm about to make an analogy here.]

Now that I'm seeing clients on a regular basis, I'm so privileged to get to join with them in their various journeys.  I get to witness brokenness, growth, confusion, compassion, and progress - sometimes all in one day!  But, most commonly, I get to see dead weight fall to the side.  Dead weight they didn't even know they were carrying.  Dead weight that had no purpose but to take up precious energy and resources from them, stealing joy and creating roadblocks in their journey towards real growth.

Dead weight comes in many forms.  I'm constantly challenged to hand over my worries and concerns to God.  Again and again I am reminded that God is in control, and my weakling efforts to predict and protect my own future are zapping me of my opportunity to stretch my trust and faith in Him alone.  Sometimes my dead weight is a rotten self-image, or a jealous thought that corrupts my core.  Sometimes my doubt drains me dry and I can't help but feel forgotten.

Then, something wonderful happens.  Truth sets the dead weight free.  Truth like "You are fearfully and wonderfully made" or "For I know the plans I have for you" or "Perfect love drives out fear" and even those bits and pieces of a larger picture of Capital-T TRUTH that are deeply rooted in my soul help me shake free from the burden of deception that tries to hang on for good.

Sometimes those dead branches take years and years to rot until they are ready to truly break off.  Sometimes we don't even know they are zapping us dry inside.  Sometimes, like the branch in my yard, it can appear totally normal and part of the whole...until one day it becomes so obvious it was only standing in the way of progress.

We all have dead weight.  And sometimes it will take a thunderstorm to shake it loose before we even know it's there.  But, when that happens, get ready.  Sunshine and new growth are on the way.

Fall Y'all

Friday, October 3, 2014

It's FALL!  This is when I start singing "It's the MOST... wonderful time... of the yeeeeear"!

The leaves are changing color, the temperature is dropping, and the hot beverages are flowing!  Hooray!  It also means that the holidays are right around the corner and before long we'll be wrapping presents and narrowing down new year's resolutions.

As much as I adore autumn, there is something both nostalgic and urgent about it that makes me cherish every moment. It's the beginning of the end of the year, and a great time to look back on all that has changed over the last several months.

How has your life changed in 2014?

Between a new home, a book deal, and starting my final year of grad school, I can't imagine a more transitional year (oh yeah, except for the year before when we moved across the country and started grad school....right.)  Turns out, each year has it's own ups and downs.  Each year, as the leaves turn yellow and orange and brown, I reflect on the beauty and challenges that have led up to this season.

People will talk about "seasons of change" as if there are periods of time where things stand still...but really, does that exist?  Sure, there are times of more tangible, obvious adjustments - but truly, we're all in the middle of transformation in some way or another.  Underneath all our surfaces lies a developing soul that is processing and growing and affecting the souls around it at the same time.  It's both creepy and wonderful, knowing that something is constantly at work "behind the scenes" in all our lives.

This fall, as you sip that pumpkin spice latte and get out that first scarf to keep you warm in the chilly autumn breeze...take a moment to recognize your own changes from the inside out.

What has affected you most this year?  How have you affected others?

And as we think through the ups and downs that will propel us through these final months of 2014, remember that that the pains and pleasures of our past aren't just a process we're experiencing...they're progress we take with us into the ever-changing seasons of our lives ahead.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I'm a planner.  I'm one of those freaks who likes lists and schedules and routines.  I make big decisions carefully, with lots of annoying research and consultations to back my reasoning for doing something so I can justify it later if need be.

So, when I bought a new car within two-and-a-half-hours of walking onto the CarMax lot, no one was more surprised than me.  Whew!

So long, Sparkle.
Saturday night, I drove to work at Pottery Barn Kids at the mall as usual.  My 2004 Chrysler Sebring named "Sparkle" was fine.  Then, I turn the key in the ignition to go home....and nothing.  My husband and girls came out to give me a jump, but still nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Sparkle was toast.

The next day, we had her towed to a local Firestone where they discovered the entire "Power Control Module" (whatever that is - apparently it's like the heart and brain of the vehicle) was shot.  We could've had it towed to the dealer, spent hours and probably an arm-and-a-leg to find out whether it would be super-expensive or super-duper-expensive to fix her...or, we could bid farewell to ole Sparkle and trust God to provide something right for our budget/family/timing.

It was a stressful weekend, I won't lie.

We had kicked off the weekend by getting up at 5:45am on Saturday and having a miserably unsuccessful garage sale where we made a whopping $20.  I was already tired and annoyed by the time I got to work, I never would have guessed my inconveniences were just beginning.  Ugh.

Days like that are rough.  They feel SO FRUSTRATING, and yet I'm left at the brink of insanity trying desperately to remind myself that really, truly, seriously this is NOT A BIG DEAL.  My family is safe. My family is healthy.  My needs are met.  God is in control and working for my good.

These are all true things.  True things that I had to repeat in my mind over and over and over again Saturday, Sunday, and Monday as my car met her demise and my anxiety rose to new levels.  It was a big deal to me, in this time and place, where my worries were all muddled up into dollar signs and mechanical lingo that was far beyond my realm of understanding.  Not to mention we hadn't even LOOKED at cars or considered what we might get if this ever happened.

But, God knew.  And, fortunately my brother is a Consumer Reports Guru, and my dad has actually built cars, and my husband has a level head that makes practical decisions under pressure.  So, when we came across a solid Toyota Camry that fit our criteria, the clouds parted and we finally felt like a clear answer was in front of us.

Meet "Sprinkles" - yes, my girls named it of course.
I'm glad it turned out to be a rip-the-band-aid-off kind of decision.  I simply do not have the time right now to stay up late reading reviews of cars and building up all kinds of concerns I have no control over (which I seriously would have done if given the opportunity!)  I'm so grateful my car just went ka-put! and I wasn't stranded somewhere unsafe or worse, with my kids with me on the side of the road or in some kind of dangerous situation.  If you have to be stuck somewhere, the mall parking lot is not the worst place in the world.

It was a whirlwind weekend.  God provided a car, and for that I'm grateful.  But, more than that, He shook my faith just enough to bring it back into focus just how well He cares for me.  I pray He provides me the faith to trust Him with a tighter budget, with the care of this new car, and hopefully not have to go through another crazy weekend any time soon to stir-up my gratitude for His provision.

Sometimes the car doesn't start.  Sometimes the future doesn't make sense.  Sometimes plans and budgets and expectations get stalled or stuck or go ka-put.  But, thank goodness, even if the Check Engine light comes on, the Power Control Module of my faith is safe and secure in the hands of the One who restores it constantly.  There's no better warranty in life than that.

Q&A: Therapy For My Friend?

Friday, September 26, 2014

I have a friend that could probably benefit from going to therapy.  She's going through a difficult time in her life and I feel like my help and advice as a friend has reached it's limit.  How do I encourage her to go see a therapist?
Frustrated Friend

Dear Frustrated,

For anyone who is wanting someone they know to go to therapy, I have three important words for you:  Go to therapy.  Yes, you.  

If you've never been to therapy before, then this will be a new adventure for you - one which you can take back and share with your friend each week and offer her your experience on the topic of "What's therapy like?"  If you have been to therapy before, then you know it can benefit more than just your own life - it inevitably affects those around you as well.  (If it doesn't, you might consider changing therapists). 

By going to therapy, you can flat-out ask your therapist to offer you some deeper insight into your friendship and how you can encourage your friend throughout this difficult season of her life.  Your steps towards a healthier life might just rub off on your friend and inspire her to take some action as well.  

By sharing your positive experience with therapy with your friend you automatically do two things:  1) diminish the shame and stigma that therapy is solely reserved for those who "have problems" and 2) endorse that getting help is a strength and not a weakness.  You might even offer to go with your friend to therapy if or when she decides to begin that process.

In the meantime, take a deep breath and a step back.  You are not responsible for your friend's process or actions.  You can't fast-forward time, make decisions for her, or burden yourself with things that are beyond your control (or hers).  But, you can pray for her, pray with her, and just SIT with her.  Don't underestimate the power of being present.  Often, the deepest friendships are built more in the silences we share than the words we speak.  You sound like a great friend - sometimes just being present with her is best therapy she could ever get.

Ice Cream for Dinner

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I don't particularly believe in "finding balance" in this life.  I think balance is a myth that's mostly idealized in our minds as an un-obtainable reality we long for.  BUT, I do believe in the ebb and flow of chaos!

If parenthood has taught me anything (and of course it has taught me many, many things) it's that my expectations in this life are forever blindsided by these little humans.  Mostly it comes in incredibly rewarding ways - but, flu bugs and bad dreams muddle up the best laid plans in this business.

When the chaos ebbs, life is normal.  There are the occasional storms of tantrums and troublemaking, but for the most part the routines sustain us.  That is, we coast through the normal in preparation for the possible hurricane lurking in the distance.

My oldest daughter will start kindergarten next year.  (That hurricane will come with it's own challenges, but it's still a ways off.)  But, due to schedules and insurance and a whole mess of unimportant details, I decided to go ahead and get her "Kindergarten Shots" taken care of just a couple weeks ago.

I'm a two-birds-one-stone kinda gal, so I brought both my girls into the Pediatrician for their annual "well" check-ups.  What I thought would be a weigh 'em, measure 'em, sort of experience turned into a full-fledged work up.  I'm thankful, don't get me wrong.  I'm SO grateful we live in a time and place where my kids can get their eyes and ears examined, blood pressure taken, etc. and it's part of a normal check-up and not some extraordinary gift that comes once in a lifetime like it is for too many children in other parts of this world.  We take it for granted so often, and I recognize this is an amazing privilege to just "go to the doctor" when they are not even sick!

However, I did NOT prep my eldest for her shots...and the time had finally come.  I wouldn't advise someone to necessarily not tell their kid about getting shots or not - my advice would first and foremost be "You know your kid best."  Period.

So, knowing my kid, knowing that she would have worked her anxious, sensitive-little-self into a tizzy (and by tizzy I mean blood-curdling-scream-fest-panic-attack that would sound like I was skinning a jaguar, yeah...kind of dramatic) I chose to hold off the news until the very last minute where I could plead innocence and blame the doctors instead.  (This may be a parenting cop-out, but at the end of the day I'm the one who she needs to trust most.) Whew.

So, I had laid awake all night before, worried that my precious child would find out I was a total TRAITOR as I gradually nudged her into the arms of the nurses and doctors who held her fate in a silver tray of FOUR shots they needed to inject into her little body.  (Please do not send me letters about vaccinations, sorry and thank you.)

It could have gone worse...but I'm not sure how.  It was over in probably a few seconds, but it felt like an entire decade went by as I held her and the extremely kind nurses held her down as she screamed in terror.  Yes, I'm making this sound awful - cause it was awful - but, then it was over.  It was over and I held her and assured her she was safe and okay and very, very brave.

And, as I explained to her in the car later, it was "a little bit of very bad for a whole lot of good".  How many times do I need to learn this lesson in my own life?  Again and again, apparently.  There are hard decisions in this life that seem impossible in the moment, but you know it will add up to long-term joy.  There's endless examples of foregoing temporary, instant gratification in exchange for greater goodness later.

The chaos flowed that day.  It was one of those weird days where nothing seemed quite right, schedules were off, and nothing else mattered beyond my reach.  We rented 3 redbox dvds, picked up Happy Meals and headed home emotionally exhausted.

But, as the eye of the storm came into sight and we restored our normality slowly, I took with me the reminder of how God provides us the bravery we need when the hurricanes come, when our days are blindsided with chaos, or when hard decisions don't always seem to make sense.

And then we ate ice cream for dinner.  

Not all instant gratification is bad, you know.  A little bit of good can go a long way at the end of a day covered in band-aids.  The waves of chaos subsided that night as we recovered from our weird little day.

We went to bed with bellies full of dessert and hearts full of relief, and I thanked God for the crazy days that help me appreciate the normal days.  The hard days He uses to shape and grow me.  The difficult days that seem full of terror and confusion.  The burdensome days that seem futile and never-ending.  Those are the days that bring the greatest rewards long-term.  The days that end in ice cream.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Some nights, I just can't sleep.  It's no wonder my girls are zombies since I'm a terrible sleeper myself (thanks, insomniac gene pool!)  It is not rare for me to get up in the middle of the night after tossing and turning and attempt to relax or even be productive.  No doubt, many blogs have been written in the wee hours of the morning.

Last night, though, after catching up on some reading homework for school, I needed to reset my mind.  Nighttime tends to be highly emotional or worrisome for many of us, and I'm no exception.  If I let my mind wander, it usually ends up in worst-case-scenarios or jumping-to-conclusions or guilt-ridden-doubts...not exactly conducive to sweet dreams!  (Ya hear me?)

There's only one reliable source I know to turn to where I can always calm my anxious heart and find peace, and that's the Word of God.  Too often I turn to it as a last resort rather than my first resource...but, last night was a perfectly timed reminder that it is absolutely the best place to seek my refuge.

Sometimes I feel like I avoid the Bible because it seems too daunting - I don't know where to start reading.  It seems confusing.  I don't want to think that hard, I just need hope right now.  Do you ever feel this way?  I know I'm not alone in this!  Even after years of studying it and reading it, I have to combat doubts that keep me from it's active, living truths.  Then, as soon as I start reading it, all those doubts drift away.  The Holy Spirit breaths new life into the words my eyes see and my heart starts to interpret the truths before me.

It's not always tranquility and hope that stir my soul.  Sometimes, it's conviction.  The active, living Word of God is meant to MOVE us, to get us looking inward, outward, and putting into practice the faith it restores.  For some reason, I was led to read Galatians last night.  I chose The Message translation because it was 3am...and my brain needed to just rest in the easy absorption of a new lesson.

Anyway - it moved me.  It reminded me IN BOLD PRINT that I'm not in control.  It spoke to me so clearly that it might as well have begun "And, EMILY, this is for you..."  So, I'm sharing it with you today, hoping some of these words are meant to hit home for you as well.  I encourage you to read the whole chapter, the whole book of Galations...well, the whole book of the Bible for that matter!  But, for right now, just let God rock your heart with these verses below.

Letting go of control is a heck of a way to kick off the week!  So, here we go:

Paraphrased from The Message, Galatians 3:

2 Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it?…
5 Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?…
11The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him.

Q&A: Time-Outs

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dear PardyMama,
My son is almost 3 and I can't seem to get him to sit still or listen to me.  His pre-school teacher complains about the same thing, and nothing seems to work.  Do you have any discipline suggestions? I don't want to spank him and I keep trying time-out but it seems to have no effect on him.  
Fed-Up Mama

Toddlers!?! They drive you crazy, right?  They can be the sweetest thing under the sun one minute with the hugs and puppy-dog eyes, then the next second they are screaming and running around like maniacs.  I feel ya! This reminds me so much of my daughter, Daphne, who just turned 3 last summer.  

Granted, some of this inability to sit still is simply their phase of life.  Toddlers (the busy ones anyway, and I really don't know any other kind) seem to have fire ants in their pants at all times.  If they don't MOVE they won't wear themselves out, and if you're like me, then of course you want your child tired at the end of the day!

But, sometimes over-stimulation can have the opposite effect.  Children who are too busy can get amped up or suddenly crash into an emotional oblivion - neither of which amount to sitting still or being good listeners. 

If time-outs seem to have lost their effect, gauge your sons surroundings for how stimulating they are.  Surprisingly, if he's fine with being sent to time-out, it might actually be because he enjoys it.  If this is the case, each time he is sent to time out, you are reinforcing the behavior that precipitated the punishment and telling him it is actually "How to get what you want"...which is exactly the opposite of what you're trying to do!

I know this sounds crazy, but try using time-out as a reward rather than a punishment.  

First step:  Change the name.  
Instead of "time-out" start calling it "alone time" or "calm time" or something more positive that he won't associate with discipline.

Second step: Change the location.
Don't have his new quiet moments in the same spot where he used to contemplate his faults.  

Third step: Change the purpose.
Give him something he enjoys to occupy himself - a storybook, a game, or a puzzle will work fine, just make sure he doesn't need your help in order to have fun using it.

Once these things are established, start implementing the new "alone time" as a reward.  When he starts to act up, simply and sternly tell him that he will get some special calm time in a few minutes if he can pay attention.  Then, follow through when you see him responding appropriately. (Do your best not to expect too much the first several times!  After all, most three-year-olds have the attention span of gnats.)  If nothing else, you've started to incorporate more time and space in your environment that breeds calming, self-soothing.

My Daphne was acting up so badly at her Mother's Day Out that one day she received 15 time-outs!  (No joke, see below!)  

I prayed about it, put my "therapist goggles" on, and spoke with her teacher about the situation.  The teacher tried the time-out-as-reward strategy as an experiment, and Daphne had a great day (no time-outs)!  I can't promise your boy won't have wiggly legs or wandering ears from time to time...but, pursuing opportunities for quiet might be just what his busy little self has been wanting all along.  Good luck!

Older Than Jesus

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Well, yes, today is my birthday.  It always sneaks up on me somehow, just like Christmas or Easter or any other "holiday" that are like spokes in the calendar wheel of my life spinning way too fast.  Here again already? Wait, what?  I trust you know exactly what I mean.

A few years back, I remember that Coca-Cola had a ad campaign about celebrating the 25th anniversary of Diet Coke.  It was then that I realized I was older than Diet Coke.  This seemed unfathomable.  Like a staple in my life that I figured had always been around suddenly told me I was a fossil.

Today I turn older than Jesus.  The big 3-4.

me and my people.  we tough. 

Okay, let's not get into theological semantics about how Jesus has actually existed forever, etc.  I get it, yes yes yes.  But, we know He lived on Earth in human form and was crucified at the age of, in my head, in my image of who Jesus is as a man on this planet - He is sort of eternally 33.  Does that make sense?

My whole life, Jesus has been older.  When I was a child, He was just flat-out old.  Then, as time will have it, we aligned to be peers more and more.  While my understanding and wisdom is severely (severely) lacking in comparison, I could imagine life more and more as a human adult the closer and closer I got to it.

Now, there's just no denying I'm a grown-up.  Now, when I look at paintings or drawings of the imagining of what Jesus looked like - I'll always be older than Him.  I will have a new perspective of imagining what it would have been like to know and live with Jesus as an older-than-Him friend.

This is bizarre for me!  I don't know about you, but for me, I haven't followed the example of a lot of people who were younger than me.  Most of my life, I look to those who've lived longer; I turn to those who have greater experience than me to teach me the most.

Yet, now I can sort of imagine a new perspective of a person in the Bible - the person who met Jesus and may have thought "THIS guy?  But he's so young!  He's only been doing ministry like a few YEARS or so!?  Why should I follow him?  How could He understand my life?"

It's tempting in this life to think that only the oldest, wisest, most experienced people could teach me the most.  It's been nice to have the excuse of youth to fall back on when poor choices are made.  But, there is so much greater freedom in embracing the idea that I will never ever be perfect in this life; and there is such insurmountable hope found in the fact that God exposes me to grace and love and wisdom from the most unlikely of places and people.

Granted, I might not yet be old enough to yell at the neighbor kids to get off my lawn or eat dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon.  But, I'm old enough to know that I don't know everything and I never will.  It's refreshing and relieving, and not at all disappointing like I would have thought many years ago.  At this point in my life, as a grad student and mother, I'm humbled daily at how much there is to learn (over and over and over again) in this life.  And I look forward to spending the coming years (hopefully many!) learning from the unexpected.

After all, the most important lessons of my life came from some young carpenter chap who had the reputation for stirring up trouble in the temple.

Signs of Life

Monday, September 15, 2014

Do you ever look around and wonder whose life you're leading?

Sometimes I'll glance at these strange little faces in front of me and remind myself "these are my children".  What?!  I have kids?  But I'm too young for that...too crazy...too spontaneous.  Who would ever entrust me with the care of two humans who depend on me to teach them the ways of the world?  This is INSANE!

Raising little humans reminds me that there is a lot of wonder left to be discovered in the nooks and crannies of life.  Days full of whining and laundry and cleaning up after their "creations" again and again can begin to feel like a dead end.  I want to throw my hands up and shout "That's it!  I've hit the ceiling here!  There's nowhere to go and nothing new under the sun.  My sanity is somewhere at the bottom of a laundry basket which will never be found since those shirts won't fold or put themselves away.  I'm spent."

And then I look around.  I take a deep breath and just observe for a moment.

The cuteness is real, but it's often hard to tell
whether the illness/injury of the day is or not.
I can't decide if I'm raising actresses or hypochondriacs half the time.
Isn't this beautiful?
 It's a drawing my daughter did of her and her sister...
on the OTTOMAN in their play room.
Signs of LIFE are everywhere.  Life that is happening NOW.  Life that is active exploring, questioning, growing...all the while deepening my appreciation of the very present that I'm drowning in.

Scribbles on the wall.
Mountains and mountains.
These crazy days of exhaustive motherhood (you know, the I'm-needed-every-second-of-the-day-for-something) are greater than the sum of their parts.  You add up whining + chores and somehow it equates to magical memories you will be more nostalgic about than most other moments of your life.

Parenthood is a great mystery.  It's silly, boring, unpredictable, inspiring, ugly and completely glorious.  It's life.

Q&A: Remote Relationship

Friday, September 12, 2014

Q: PardyMama, 
When my hubby gets home from work, all he wants to do is chill.  Why does my husband zone out when we're watching TV??? Why can't he talk to me?  I wish we could communicate more, but I don't know what to do.
Remotely Uncontrolled

A: Dear RU,
It's frustrating to vie for anyone's attention, especially a person you love.  The TV is tough competition too, with its ability to be all-accepting, non-judging, visually stimulating, and totally entertaining.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to veg-out and relax for a little while, but it's no fun when it's at the cost of someone feeling left out.

Let's give your husband the benefit of the doubt and assume his TV watching has more to do with avoiding everyday pressures than it does with avoiding you.  The TV most likely offers him a chance to decompress and distract himself from the burdens of his day.  Consider his context:  whatever his job may be, chances are good he's being pulled in a lot of directions mentally, or challenged in his cubicle with tasks, or having to prove himself to a boss and provide, provide, provide all day.  The last thing he wants to do when he gets home is provide.  Just like the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is hear the theme song from Veggie Tales (again).  

I would also venture that your needs have to do more with him listening to you talk than actually having him tell you about his day.  (Engagement from both of you is ideal, of course.)  If you are at home with young children most days, chances are good you are eager for human, adult connection by the time he gets home from work.  You've had your fill of cartoons and whiny voices and sippy cups, and finally when you hear him walk through the front door you are offered a mind that has more than Cheerios and Caillou on the brain.  Hallelujah!  Daddy's home!

Two Tips:  
1. Welcome Home
When he first walks in the door coming home from work, HUG.  Hug until you feel the tension of your bodies release.  (Maybe warn him about this new addition to your routine so he isn't blindsided by your assault of affection!)  Now, I know this might sound crazy, but as you hug each other, your bodies will literally "sync up" into a calm state and help regulate one another.   It will help set the tone for the rest of the evening and be an easy first step with zero pressure on either of you to say anything!  You will feel closer to each other regardless of whether the TV gets turned on later or not.

2. Shared Meaning
In order to engage in conversation, you need one thing:  something to talk about!  The more meaning a couple shares, the more they have in common to care about.  In other words, you're going to need to find things you both love together.  This doesn't have to be as hard as it might sound.  You don't have to love football and he doesn't have to love HGTV.  
But, if you want to get to know what's inside that head of his, you have to take part in what's going into it!  Get into a rhythm of enjoying things together again.  Maybe there is a TV show you can both watch together, or silly clips on YouTube, read film reviews on the Internet, read the same books or magazine articles, listen to a podcast you both like, or take part in any activity - be it video games, lawn care, or kayaking.  The more you both mutually care about, the more you find meaning in things together, and the more you will naturally have to talk about.  

Behind the Design

Thursday, September 11, 2014

So, now you know the BIG NEWS and you've seen the NEW LOOK!  Hurrah!  Whatcha think?

This blog relaunch would NOT have been possible without the help of three insanely talented people.  At the heart of this process was one creative genius who has blown me away time and again.  Lehua Noëlle Faulkner has such finesse with design.  Her touch is so unique and heartfelt that she makes people like me (who sit on the sidelines drooling and trying not to say the word "Amazing" too many times in one sentence) actually feel like I contribute to the process.

To say I had something to do with this fresh new look would be quite misleading.  I dealt her out a few adjectives and she developed an entire vision behind it.  Her design of the main logo was crafted by Joyce Chai, who specializes in hand lettering.  Yes - that logo above was originally drawn by hand (I know, I'm spoiled).  The crossroads of Joyce and Lehua's work has brought just the right amount of charm and modern feminity that I wanted the new site to convey.  Bravo, ladies!  Thank you!

The third creative force behind this new site is my very own husband, Josh Pardy.  Josh took my photos for the site, and they turned out amazing!  That's awkward and difficult for me to say - since, you know, they are of MY FACE. (Hello!) But, portrait photography is a new angle for his creative strengths, and I'm thrilled with our collaboration.

I make that sound so breezy, right?  Like we just smiled and snapped shots and voila! New headshots.  Welllll, of course I happened to choose the hottest, most HUMID weekend to shoot on and let's just say it was a toss up as to whether my heart or my hair was more cranky.  Two days, three outfits, and four hair styles later...I had a handful of pics I wasn't grimacing at when I looked at them.  THAT, my friends, is reality.

It's a real trooper and a heck of a man who will sit patiently behind the lens of a camera and focus more on the way the light is hitting my face than my overbearing complaints of how my hair won't obey.  I sure love that boy.  Honestly, we had fun with it, and we both gained experience creatively and in our marriage that serves us well in our relationship.  Team Pardy, rock on.

I hope you get a chance to check out the new ABOUT and CONTACT webpages above.  You'll see in the Contact page that I mention a new Q&A series coming up.  From time to time, people tend to randomly ask me about relationships, parenting, or marriage, so I figured it was high time I began channeling those into a new Q&A open to all readers.  The first Q&A will be up tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Author! Author!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Welcome to the new site!!!

I promised you BIG NEWS, and I'll cut right to the chase:

So, I wrote a book...and it's getting PUBLISHED!  

(Ahh!  Squeal!)

Yes, it's true.  I wrote a book and someone read it and they are actually for real totally absolutely one hundred percent completely going to publish it.  Can we take a moment to FREAK OUT a bit?  WHOA. Seriously? Yes.  It's happening, folks.


What's it called?
The title is still a work in progress, but I promise you'll be the first-ish to know when it's nailed down.

What's it about?
It's a non-fiction memoir of my journey into MOTHERHOOD and the chaos that ensued.  As usual, I'm brutally honest about how motherhood changed my life and affected ALL my relationships - my friendships, my marriage, and my relationship with God.

Who is the Publisher?
Mountainview Books, LLC in Hopeland, PA.  They've published Christian fiction up until now and are branching out with my book into the world of non-fiction.  They publish "Fresh books to inspire your faith" and I'm grateful to have my book fall into that category. 

When can I buy it?
I'm so glad you asked!  It will be released around MAY time for MOTHER'S DAY!

I can't WAIT to share more and more details about this exciting development as it happens.  This has been a lifelong goal and a prayerful journey that I'm so honored to be part of.

THANK YOU for all the support and stay tuned to the all-new-improved PARDYMAMA to keep updated with what's happening!

Classy Gal

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School!

Just weeks ago, I crossed a major threshold in my education and met the halfway point in my Masters Degree!  Last night I officially became a "Second Year" student in the Marriage & Family Therapy program, stepping ever closer to my goal.

Whoa.  Guys.  The first night of class is always overwhelming, and last night was no exception.  I've had many "first days of school" and yet it felt like the first time all over again as I held the fire hose - err, I mean Syllabus - and felt my brain numb inside my skull.

Assessments, Exams, Papers, Interviews, Videos, Community engagement, and books upon books of reading to accomplish.  Really?  All of this will get done in the coming weeks?  By me?

Yes. It will.  But, not without your support.  All of you - any of you - who read PARDYMAMA and reach out to me and pray for me and encourage me to no end....we are on the home stretch!  The final year is here!  But, at this very moment I can not imagine it all getting done.  The mountain is before me, and I'm weary, and I'm in awe, and I'm oh-so-curious what is on the other side.

I struggle with the insignificancy of my life/complaints/happenings/problems/issues.  I know that there are insanely unexplainable horrific things happening in the world that are far, far, far more urgent and important than my needs.  I am beyond blessed, and it feels selfish to pray for myself amidst the news that surrounds us all of someone else's pain or persecution.

But, our God is bigger than it all.  God is the God of "heal my friend from a terminal disease" and the same God of "help me not lose my temper with my toddler".  It's bewildering and humbling to me that I can lay my stress at the foot of the cross the same as I can a global crisis.  WHAT?!  Yep, He's the God of it all.  He cares just as much.  My needs are valid, even within the context of this crazy-fallen world full of mystery and evil and challenges that run the whole spectrum.

Do you have a significant need in your personal life that seems too insignificant to ask others to pray for?  I do.  I have many.  And I'm dumbfounded at the reminder of 1 Peter 5:7,
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Catch that?  ALL your anxiety.  All MY anxiety.  Not just the global crises, the terminal illnesses, the broken relationships, or the catastrophes...but, the stresses of work, the frustrations of motherhood, the never-ending to-do list that keeps you awake at night, and the financial concerns that keep piling up.  All of it.  And this gal is going back to class needing your prayers.

Would you pray for me in this season of crazy?  Can you let me know how I can pray for you?

I can't do this alone, and I knew that going into it.  But, at this very first day of my second year in, I'm overwhelmed with the duties before me.  The next 365ish days are going to push me to the edge, and I want you all there holding my hands, helping me remember why I'm here in the first place and helping me enjoy the view.

Please pray for my ability to maintain healthy boundaries, to be able to keep my priorities and time management reasonable.  Please pray for my family as they endure the brunt of my attention being spread thin, that we can work together toward this goal and grow closer through it again this year.  Please pray for mindfulness for myself, that I can be in the present and maintain a grateful heart amidst the chaos, not wanting to fast-forward through this experience and just skip to the end.  Whew.  Thank you.  THANK YOU.  Your prayers mean the world to me.

Prayer changes things...but more powerfully, prayer changes people.  And, it is such a unique and brilliant privilege to get to communicate directly to our Creator about our specific needs, no matter how great or small.  I would LOVE the privilege to specifically pray for you as well - we're in this TOGETHER after all!  Don't hesitate to shoot me an email with a prayer request.  I promise to lift you up to our great big God who will tackle all our anxieties better than either of us ever could on our own.  

Gonna be a great year - here we go!

Email me: to exchange a prayer request!

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