you are enough.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat across the table from a friend who inspires me. Her words are beautiful. She mothers with grace. She teaches with conviction and love and reaches out to friends when they need it most.

We sat at that table together and shared our struggles and our hopes and talked about how excited we were for the upcoming summer season. We talked about dreams and letting go of dreams. And we talked about our mothers and grandmothers, and we wondered what kind of pressure our mothers and grandmothers have felt.

Over the past year, I have been so inspired and stirred by looking at others’ dreams and goals and successes. The books people write. The speaking opportunities people have. The art they make. I see these things and I love them. I cheer and encourage. And then I want that, too!

So then I had all the thoughts that I have to have a thing. She has a thing. And he has a thing. And that person has a thing. I need a thing, obviously.

But also over these months and then time spent with dear friends who love me and see me, I truly believe that I am enough. I am enough without a thing. I don’t have to have a thing. I am most alive when life is simple.

you are enough

Isn’t that a relief? Some people just have it! They’re talented. They’re inspiring. They can speak to the masses.

But I know that I can play it small and I can still use my influence for His glory. Because I am enough. He paid the ultimate price for me, and He sees me, He created me, and because of those reasons alone, I am enough.

I can love my husband and serve my kids and have strong friendships. I can serve my community and love those around me. And then I can cheer for those around me that are doing big things.

As we step forward into this summer season, the people I want to influence are the ones that live in my home and the ones that walk through life with us.

Making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. Folding six loads of laundry. Driving in the car and listening to “I’m in the Lord’s army.” Catching up with a friend over coffee.  Having “Let it Go” dance parties in the family room after bath time. Sitting at the kitchen table and building Legos and coloring. Date night with my husband. Falling asleep while watching TV with my husband.

It’s the every day. It’s the ordinary. It’s simple.

What I do doesn’t define me. I am who He created me to be. And someday, I may stumble into my dream and things will completely change.

“But we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”- 1 Peter 2:9

So let’s quit striving. Let’s stop doubting. And let’s walk in the truth that we are enough.

Hayes is 3!


Dear Hayes,

We woke you up this morning to sing happy birthday to you, and brought you downstairs to open your presents and have a donut fiesta. You were so excited. It’s like you couldn’t believe that today was actually YOUR birthday. Finally!

We all call you Hayesie. Your classmates, Hudson, and all the teachers, too. So sometimes when we ask you what your name is, you’ll say, “Hayesie.” It’s hilarious, but then sometimes I think we should stop so you don’t grow up thinking your name is Hayesie.

Being your mother is one of the sweetest privileges of my life. You are my sweetheart. You are the little light in this house that is always shining. Always beaming. Always laughing and looking for the party.

When someone is sad, you hug them. When someone is laughing, you tell them how funny they are. You greet everyone you meet with a smile. When we have visitors at the house, you want to take them around and show them your room and your favorite toys. You want everyone to feel as welcome as possible, and I just love that about you.

You’re our little wild card. Sitting still is not your favorite. You love to move and dance and do anything physical. You talk all the time and you don’t have a mean streak in your body. You’re not always obedient, but you are always sweet. I could cry just thinking about the way you hug using your whole body. And the way you grab my face to kiss my cheek. Totally unprompted… just because you’re you and you’re so loving.

If Hudson taught me how to be a mommy, you have taught me how to slow down to enjoy every single day. You’ve reminded me what a gift it is to be a mommy and what a joy it is to be your mommy and Hudson’s mommy. You love to enjoy everything for what it is. We take walks and hold hands. You soak every little thing up.

Even though you’re always running, you’re never actually in a hurry. When we opened your presents this morning, you wanted to stop and savor that first present. You weren’t ready to see what was in the next one. I get all teary thinking about what a good friend you will be and I just know that you’ll be the kid that everyone wants to be around because you treat everyone like they’re special.

I’m so thankful for your sweet little spirit and I’m so thankful for the way you rub off on the rest of us. I look at you and I still see my tiny little baby. Watching you grow up has been tough because I know you’re still really so little, but the time sure does go by quickly.

There aren’t enough words for me to tell you how wonderful you are and how much fun you are. But I will love you, love you, love you for as long as I live, and because of you, I’ll slow down a little bit more every day. You are such a light. Happy birthday, my sweet baby boy!




a sweet rhythm


I can’t believe that Hayes will be three in a month and Hudson will be five in two months. And that means that it has been three years since I’ve had a baby. Since I’ve carried a baby to term.

And, y’all. Life is in this super sweet spot. I don’t have tons of stories of meltdowns and tantrums. They cry and there are behavior issues, but the weary mom days are a thing of the past. (I’m almost laughing at myself for writing that. I’m absolutely going to regret writing that.)

They talk their heads off at the grocery store and I think people can hear Hayes from the other side of the store. They love to chase each other and push each other down. Hudson is in a phase where he doesn’t really ask for things, he just immediately jumps to whining and demanding things. But I feel like we’ve got a handle on this. I know that the seasons are fleeting.

Each season, I remind myself that I can fight a bear for a little while. So that bear may be the phase of grocery store parking lot meltdowns over fruit snacks. I’m fighting that bear. And I’m going to win. And I know that the end is near.

But right now, in this sweet spot, I’m loving all of our new freedoms.

We can travel as a family! We’ve always wanted to travel as a family.

We can go to the park on a moment’s notice without disrupting the schedule or sending someone into distress.

We can say “yes” to random requests like donuts for lunch or carriage rides in Charleston because the boys are old enough to handle change in routine.

We can go out to eat after church! I repeat… WE CAN GO OUT TO EAT AFTER CHURCH!

Hudson and Hayes will sit and entertain each other, and laugh and play while I cook dinner. I  can cook dinner and stay relatively stress-free!

I should know better than to write something like this because Hayes is about to enter the “terrible threes” and we’ll potty train him in the next few weeks and move him to a big boy bed. The boat is going to be rocked and I’ll be kicking myself for ever admitting that things had actually gotten easy!

Hudson is about to start kindergarten and we’ll have a whole new adventure and set of issues that come from school work and routine and structure.

But here’s the truth. I want another baby. I want that boat to be rocked with sleepless nights and bottles and baby gear explosion. After last year’s miscarriage, though, I’ve been so afraid to try out of fear of rocking the boat.  I want to rock it and I’m afraid to rock it. I’m afraid of disrupting the sweet spot and the tidy little rhythm we’ve established. And, of course, the fear of losing another baby is the most terrifying thing of all.

I know that as soon as I admit that it’s gotten easy and I’ve got this under control, I’ll quickly remember that I was never actually in control.

Motherhood is constantly changing and I’m just thankful that I can change and adapt with it, and enjoy the adventures in each new season. And every day I’m asking God for clear direction.

on pride and perfection

We all know that pride can be an ugly thing. But what I don’t always remember is that perfectionism can also be an ugly thing.

grace, not perfection

via Emily Ley

I’ve been feeling really good about being organized in 2014. We’ve been sticking to a budget. I’ve been planning meals and we’ve stuck to the meal plan. The laundry has been manageable and things are getting done.

And that feels good!

One of my favorite things is to sit down and map out the week. And this year Todd and  I have been going on weekly breakfast dates to catch up and make sure we’re both up to speed when it comes to the family budget. We make sure we both know which nights we have a meeting at school or church, and which nights we’re eating at home. It gives us a good chance to sit and have uninterrupted conversations, too.

And I’ll admit, that I’ve been pretty proud of myself for getting it done.

Every week Hudson has a letter for the week, and on Fridays he brings in something that starts with that letter for Show and Tell. I picked him up on Friday after school and noticed a lot of things in the other kids’ cubbies that start with the letter P. We had spent all week talking about what he was going to bring that started with the letter P. And Friday morning came and I didn’t put his plane in his bag to take to school.

I felt awful about it. I apologized to him and he said, “it’s okay, Mommy. I found something in the classroom.” Oh that sweet boy.

We had a great weekend at home. We took it easy. We ate a crock pot meal. We watched Disney movies and played board games. On Saturday night, I laid out the boys’ clothes for church the next morning. And on Sunday morning, I took a shower, washed my hair, dried it and got dressed while Todd fed and dressed the boys for church.

We’re feeling pretty good. We’re on top of it. We’ve got it together. Until we walk into church and I immediately notice that the other kids are all wearing their pajamas. It’s Pajamas and Pancakes Sunday for the children’s ministry. And the sweet Carroll boys are in Sunday clothes.

My heart sank. Mostly for Hudson because Hayes really doesn’t know any better. But 4.5 year olds know these things. I wrapped him up and told him I was so sorry that we forgot, but I promised him that I would run home and get some jammies for him and bring them back to church.

I forgot pajama Sunday. I had everything written down for the week. But not show and tell. And not pajama Sunday. I had that feeling when I was driving home that I might cry. I was disappointed in myself for forgetting, and I was actually embarrassed that someone might think of me as the mom who let things fall through the cracks. The mom who didn’t have it together.

After rushing home and getting back to church, I helped Hudson change his clothes in the bathroom. I told him I was so sorry that we forgot. And he said, “Mommy, thank you for going to get my jammies. I’m so excited about pajama day.” I mean. Seriously.

I hugged him and apologized again, and he said, “It’s okay. It was Daddy’s fault. He dressed us.” And I just died laughing. (And couldn’t wait to tell Todd what Hudson said. Because we know it wasn’t Daddy’s fault.)

I may not always have the chance to fix my mistakes. I won’t always be able to run home to get the jammies. But that day I wanted him to know that it was important to me that he felt included.

I won’t always be able to make it right.

But I know two things to be true in this situation. My value and my worth are not found in how “together” my life is or may seem. And I need to check that pride at the door.

And I know that God’s grace covers me. Oh, and my little boy’s grace is pretty sweet, too.

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