Are YOU Living?

A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call that would shake me to my core. Kelley Ann Bostic, one of my dearest childhood friends was found dead in her home. WHAT? How could that be? We were trying to get together. We needed to get together. We were supposed to have a reunion here in Atlanta with our friend, Donna. Surely, this wasn’t true. Tragically, it was true and that reunion will never take place. Kelley Bostic was a vibrant woman, with a big heart. Everyone describes her the same way; full of love, life and laughter. Sadly, her life came to an end all too soon and served as one more reminder to me that life is short, so very short!

I don’t know about you, but often I make comments such as; life is short or time is precious, but it doesn’t impact my daily decisions. Lately, I have been trying to change that. I have been trying to make the conscious effort to intentionally live. As I travel and speak to women (and men) all over the country, I hear stories of lives being put on hold and dreams not being chased due to a variety of reasons. My question to you is WHY? Why are we putting our lives on hold? Why do we give up on your dreams? As I have analyzed this subject for some time now, I have come up with five reasons I think we fail to intentionally live:

  1. We make small concessions with our life that slowly eats away at who we are.
  2. We believe (often because we are told by others) that our dreams are unattainable and frivolous.
  3. We make excuses for why the timing is not right.
  4. We fail to say yes to opportunities when they arise.
  5. We believe we always have tomorrow.

I have chosen to face these reasons head on and GO FOR IT ALL. FULL BLOWN INTENTIONAL LIVING! Won’t you join me? Consider the following:kayak

  1. Stay true to YOURSELF. Invest in YOU. Spend time doing things that YOU were meant to do. God designed YOU, your likes, your personality, your preferences. The people, who love you, love YOU.
  2. Don’t stop chasing your dreams. One day, you might just catch them. I believe that God gives us dreams because they provide hope. Hope is a beautiful thing!
  3. The timing can be right! Think of ways to make it happen instead of reasons it can’t happen. I am known as a glass almost full girl. I always believe things can and will work out. I kinda like that about me.
  4. Simply, say yes. God is full of surprises. When we dare to say yes, we are opening ourselves to what just might be the best surprise of our life. We will never know what something could have been if we say no. SAY YES!
  5. NOT ONE of us is promised tomorrow. Do not put off ANYTHING that can be done today. We have to live TODAY!

Ways I have been intentionally living this past year…


  • Booked a trip to hike Machu Picchu. Wanted to see those ruins since I taught JM about them in the first grade and decided not to put it off any more!
  • Took a trip to Seattle, alone.
  • Said yes to meeting a friend for coffee, when I wanted to say no. So glad I did.
  • Started playing tennis again, even though I suck at it.
  • Moved to a tiny house on the lake.
  • Rode a scooter through Montreal.
  • Dancing… a lot of dancing.
  • Willing to say I am sorry a lot sooner and more often.
  • Offering grace (to myself and others). Even had the words, Fearless Grace tattooed on my arm.
  • Journaling the good times and the bad. Looking back at journal entries is incredibly therapeutic.
  • Bought a kayak.
  • Taking the time to stop and be present in the moment.
  • Went hiking, alone.
  • Went Mountain Biking (fell and bruised up my body, it was awesome).
  • Choosing to say I love you, I miss you, and other mushy stuff more often.
  • Bought heels, very high heels.
  • Tried podcasting.
  • Said yes to my daughter getting her nose pierced  for her 16th birthday.

journalHow will you choose to live intentionally today? Tag me in your posts/pics by using the hashtag #intentionalliving.


We NEED Each Other

Thoughts from the Road - THSC The Woodlands

When three precious ladies asked me to meet them for dinner in The Woodlands, I was fully expecting to talk about motherhood. What I didn’t expect was their answer when I asked them to describe the most challenging part of motherhood. And, if most moms feel the same way these three do, we have a major crisis on our hands. I hope this post will serve as a challenge to women everywhere. WE NEED EACH OTHER!!!!

For several hours, I sat and listened to these ladies share their desire and longing to have a seasoned mother walk alongside of them. They all emphatically shared that they longed to have someone to call, someone to watch, someone to listen. One mom even referred to it as “Reviving the Village.” I was stunned as they described the abandonment they felt from my generation. One mom shared that she had reached out to several women, asking them to mentor her and was turned down each time. She said that the responses ranged from, “I don’t have anything to offer, I am not qualified, or I don’t have time.” My heart broke. As they talked, I reflected on the women who impacted me in my early years.

As I thought about the variety of women who mentored me, I asked myself… Did they have time? Did they feel qualified? Did they feel as if they had anything to offer? These women ALL contributed to the woman I am today. Some met me for TCBY yogurt to talk about life and others invited me to join their Bible Study. Some invited me into their lives, their homes. One woman even invited me to join her family on vacation. Did they know they were shaping me as they spent time with my young self? Did they know that I was watching them, listening to their every word, and immensely learning from them?

I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude and sadness at the same time. I am so grateful for what I had and completely devastated at what they don’t. I decided I needed to write a public thank you to one of the women who impacted me the most. Her name is Debbie Mabry and she needs to know what she did for me. You all need to know what she did for me!

Dear Debbie,

I am pretty sure I met your husband (Dr. Mike Mabry) before I ever laid eyes on you. I remember thinking he was the funniest doctor I had ever met. He joked with me as he examined the cyst on my wrist and helped me not worry as a young college freshman away from home. Soon I would meet you at church. I remember thinking you were stunning, so put together. You had such a soft voice and presence; I was in awe of you. At that moment, I had no idea that you would impact me in such a profound way. I am pretty sure that you never “chose” to mentor me, you just did. You invited me into your home, making me feel I belonged. You introduced me to your children, to adoption, to a loving family. As I watched you parent your children, I took note of the way you gently corrected them. As I listened to you talk like a giddy teenager about your husband and “get your makeup on” before you saw him, I knew true love existed. As I drove with you to the campus health center to deliver your husband’s dinner (so he could have a home cooked meal), on a tray with real silverware and a napkin, I took note of the helpmate you were to your man. When you invited a young, pregnant girl to live with you and I watched you love her as your own, I was forever changed (chills ran through my body as I just typed that). I witnessed unconditional love. I learned that giving is so much better than receiving. I was called to adopt, because of what I saw in you.

Debbie, I am grateful that you took the time to take me fishing, to sit at South Farm with me, and to cry with me. I am thankful for our many talks. The way you encouraged me to forgive those who had wronged me, to love those who were difficult to love and to befriend those who needed a friend. I am most grateful that you allowed me to just be with you… to absorb so many things by watching a seasoned wife, mother, and friend. I had NO idea at the time, what a gift those few years would be to me. Sometimes I wish I could just go back and sit at your feet a little longer.

Debbie, every time I share my tiny bit of wisdom with a young mom, I think of you. Every time I don’t feel I have the time to answer a call, text or message, I think of you. YOU always made time for me. I am sure you didn’t always feel like having a young college student sitting in your kitchen, but I never knew that. I never felt in the way. Thank you for pouring into me, so that I could pour into so many. YOU are impacting generations because you simply said YES to this one, college girl. I love you, Debbie. I pray that I grow up to be just like you!!


Mike and Debbie during a visit to MSU a couple of years ago. We had to eat at Lil’ Dooey’s, one of my favorite restaurants during my college days.

I am not sure where you are on your journey. Are you a young woman/mom longing to have this type of relationship with someone? Are you further down the road on your journey? No matter where you are, this post is for YOU. This post is to encourage YOU to connect with one another. If you are a seasoned mom, consider inviting a young woman or mom into your home. You ARE qualified. The only thing this job requires is willingness. I beg you to be willing to share what you know. Even if you are just five years further down the road than someone else, you are further. You have wisdom. You don’t have to add something to your calendar. Just invite her over to be a part of your day. She will learn so much just by watching and living alongside you. She isn’t looking for perfection. In fact, the imperfect you will speak to her in a powerful way. She will learn from your imperfections, from your honesty. She will learn that she has what it takes to do this, too.

If you are a single woman or young mom, be willing to ask a more seasoned woman/mom to mentor you. If she says she is unqualified or doesn’t have time, send her this post.

LADIES, let’s REVIVE the Village… we all need a Debbie Mabry in our life. This mothering gig shouldn’t be a competition, but a collaboration…we need each other!


My IMPERFECT Homeschooling Journey

Thoughts from the road...Texas Homeschool Coalition Association - Arlington

Thursday arrived and I was back in the beautiful state of TX, speaking at one of my favorite conferences (THSC) of the season. This year I had been asked to share my homeschooling journey (from a mom who has been there) with potential homeschooling parents. Since I was slated as the second speaker of the day, I decided it would be wise to listen to the speaker before me. I sat in the back and enjoyed hearing Frederic Gray share about his family’s beautiful life of homeschooling. He shared of leading his family and seeing struggles as an opportunity to stretch he and his wife. He did a fabulous job spurring these parents on to accept the challenge and join the homeschool movement. As Frederic began wrapping up his talk, panic set in…I knew that parts of my talk were in direct contrast to Frederic’s and I feared that I was the absolute wrong person to follow such a positive message.thscblogIf I am being honest (and you should know by now, that’s what you get with me) I haven’t seen every struggle as a chance to be stretched. Sometimes, I have seen my struggles as just that… STRUGGLES. I am sure I was eventually stretched by them, but usually after some type of fit had been thrown. I knew I planned on sharing that there had been days I wanted to chase down that yellow school bus, put my kids on there as quickly as possible, drive to the nearest tennis court and play all day long! I knew that I planned on sharing that some days I questioned if I was screwing up my kids, my family and honestly feared that I had made a really, big mistake.

If you are a THSC board member reading this, rest assured that I never discouraged the participants from homeschooling, but I knew my journey of homeschooling had been FAR from perfect. I knew I had to be truthful. I wanted to share with these parents that the woman standing before them was just a hot mess, trying to live out this homeschooling gig with purpose and passion. My prayer was, that just maybe my honesty might encourage a hot mess sitting in the audience to give it a go, even if she/he felt completely unworthy of the challenge.

thscI shared that I believed homeschooling was a personal calling, a right that I was thankful we had, but not a requirement. I shared that I believed God gave each couple their children to parent in the way they were convicted. I shared that homeschooling did not guarantee that they would raise successful, caring, spiritual adults. I shared that homeschooling would not shelter their children from “the world”. I shared that my children had been exposed to many things; from mean girls, drugs, cheating, etc… in our homeschooling circles. I shared that I believed our role as parents was to help children become who they were meant to be and that didn’t happen simply by homeschooling. Many parents raise amazing adults that were schooled at home, in public schools, in private schools or a combination of all three. I encouraged these couples to be grace filled with their children and themselves and to refrain from parenting out of fear. Lastly, I shared that I wouldn’t change this imperfect journey for anything. Really, I wouldn’t! 

I know that many were spurred on by the steadiness and strength of Frederic’s message last Thursday afternoon, I sure was. However, if only one mom or one dad could relate to my hot mess reality and dared to homeschool anyway, it was worth my vulnerability and honesty. 

Next up… FPEA in Orlando!!

To the mom (and dad) Parenting out of FEAR…

Thoughts from the road - Indiana Home Educators Association

A few days after I returned from Hearts at Home, it was time to pack up four of my children (and all their stuff) and head out to the Indiana Home Educators Association (IAHE) conference in Indianapolis, IN. I had the privilege of speaking four times at IAHE this year. I spoke about language arts, motherhood, lifelong learning and our curriculum, A Year of Playing Skillfully. It is not unusual to have moms and dads come up and speak to me after my talks, but one particular group of parents grabbed my heart last Saturday afternoon.


I love taking my babies on the road with me!