Category Archives: Friendships

Friendship Takes Time

Friendship Takes Time :: EverydaySmallThings.comI began attending MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) when Rilyn was six months old. I really didn’t have any “mom” friends and was craving same season friendship. My mom was going to be speaking at a local MOPS group in a few months and I wanted to attend incognito for a while. I wanted them to know me for me and not for who my mom was. I was the only one with an infant at my assigned table and so at times I felt like I didn’t belong. I questioned whether or not I should continue to attend, as I didn’t seem to have much in common with these women because our children were in different stages of life. I decided to stick it out, and as the year continued I learned a lot from these women but never found a connection of friendship.

img_0560It took me three years to find my Strawberry Pink girls. Our table just clicked, all eleven of us. We shared tears, laughter, struggles, and encouragement. We rallied around the friend whose husband was deployed, encouraged the friend whose husband was living and working in a different state, and supported the friend whose son was killed in an accident. We prayed for one another, played in each other’s homes, and had girls night outs together. These friends held me up when my dad went through a midlife crisis and left for a few months. I had never experienced friendship like this and was relishing in it.

The following year, I moved away and was brokenhearted to leave these dear friends I had made. Facebook has been great in keeping us connected, and several of us make attending the Hearts at Home conference our annual reunion. I am so grateful I stuck it out with MOPS even when I wasn’t initially getting the deep connection I desired. I’ve learned that connection takes time. In our “instant” society, we are often inclined to believe that great friendship happens just as fast as “Confirm” is pressed on a Facebook friend request. That’s not the way it is in real life. Friendships take time to find and nurture. Then once we connect, it’s both the highs and lows of life that make us better together.

How about you? Have you given up too easily when you didn’t find instant connection with a group?

Neighborhood Block Party

Block Party ::

Block Party :: EverydaySmallThings.comI think it’s safe to say spring weather is officially here to stay! Our neighborhood has started becoming active again with the sound of lawn mowers and friendly waves at people walking by. But let’s be honest, how well do you know the people you live by? In a world of garage door openers, its far too easy to pull into your garage, shut the door and never make any connections.

When a job change took us to a new city, we tried to make connections with our neighbors but we weren’t having much success aside from one or two of them. No one seemed interested in the act of neighboring. So we decided to take matters into our own hands and host a block party! We created an invitation and knocked on each door of the neighbors on our block to personally invite them.

I considered the block party a success when, out of twenty-five houses, we had eleven represented. We learned about one another’s families and learned a little bit of history about the neighborhood. Several of our neighbors have lived here for close to fifty years and they kept telling us how wonderful it was to get together and that no one had ever done anything like this. One neighbor even told me, “I’ve lived in my house for fifty years and I’ve never met any of my neighbors.” 

Block Party :: EverydaySmallThings.comBeing intentional about fostering relationships in your neighborhood is a benefit for you and your neighbors! Have you ever considered hosting or organizing a block party? If not, I encourage you to put a date on the calendar right now. Matt and I decided to do it again this year, but instead of August, doing it in June to allow for more connections over the summer. 

Something as simple as an intentional gathering of neighbors can make your neighborhood a better place to live.



To The Mom Whose Family Doesn’t Look Like What She Imagined

To The Mom Whose Family Doesn't Look Like She Imagined |

To The Mom Whose Family Doesn't Look Like She Imagined | EverydaySmallThings.comEver since I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a mom.  
I also knew I wanted a lot of kids. Like. A loooot. Mothering instincts have always come naturally to me. Younger children were drawn to me and I enjoyed babysitting. In fact, I took babysitting so seriously that I created a “Babysitting Kit” full of fun activities!

I am the oldest of 5 children. Hustle and bustle was the name of the game in my house growing up. Dinner was loud, but fun. There was never a lack of playmates. I love looking at family photos and seeing how large my family is.

In college, I remember telling a friend that I wanted 15 kids. I was only half-joking. When Matt and I started dating, children were an important part of the conversation. I wanted a large family and Matt understood my dream.

Four years into marriage I had a baby.

Holy moly was my world turned upside down.

When she was 4 months old, I returned to work and that is when I began recognizing that I am a medium-low capacity momma. Capacity is the physical and emotional energy you have. It also may indicate how many balls you can juggle before it’s too much. By the end of the work day, there was hardly anything left for my little family.

When Rilyn was an active 23 month old, I gave birth to Landon. From the beginning, he had issues nursing and it didn’t help that Rilyn knew she could get away with anything when mommy was trying to nurse. At 4 months old he fell below his birth weight and was labeled “failure to thrive”. Between this and the toll pregnancy had on my hormones, I found myself deep into the baby blues.  So much so, that it took me nearly two years and trying different medications before my emotional and mental health was normal again.

Walking through that tough season was incredibly hard on my marriage and my motherhood. I am so grateful to have had a husband who stood by my side through the ups and downs. He understood this was not normal for me and fought for me and our family when I couldn’t.

Because of all of this and after a lot of prayer, Matt and I made the decision that, at least for the foreseeable future, we will not be adding to our family via pregnancy.

Enter grief for the loss of a dream.

Experiencing the loss of your family dream can look a lot of different ways. Maybe it was the dream of one boy and one girl and three boys later, you’ve decided not to try a fourth time for that girl. Maybe like me, for unforeseen personal reasons, you have made the choice not to get pregnant again.  Or maybe you’ve experienced infertility or the unimaginable loss of a child.

It’s ok to grieve the family you always dreamt of.

While I know and trust that we have made the right decision for our family, I have still had to grieve the loss of what I always dreamed my family would look like. When we make a decision that is best for our family, it does not take away the loss of our dreams. So you and I have to allow ourselves to grieve but also not lose out on the moment of now. We can’t let what we don’t have cripple us or define us.

Just yesterday, I was going between anger with God and grief yet again as a friend with 6 children posted family photos. This is what I dreamed my family would look like. While it could be easy to look at another mom with more children and feel inadequate,  I can’t allow Satan to steal away the joy of my family and you can’t either.  Regardless of whether your tendency is to shut down emotionally or dwell in your emotions, you can’t fall into the trap of not being the woman your family needs while walking through the grief.  

Recently, the longing and grief were weighing heavily on me and I finally shared what was on my heart with a friend of mine. Wouldn’t you know, I heard the words, “Me too!” What a reminder that none of us are alone in this journey of motherhood. There are other moms who may have a different story, but understand the emotions.

Better Together | EverydaySmallThings.comIn our book, Better Together, my mom writes, “Sometimes just having someone to listen can make all the difference in the world. Most women long to be heard more than to have their problems fixed. When we can be a safe person for a friend to be real and raw without judgment, we give them an incredible gift.”

Caring for others allows us to more easily share with others because we know that we all go through hard times. Taking off our masks is an important part of taking friendship to a deeper level.

So here I am, mask removed. Letting you know, “Me too!”

Better Together Launch Team!

Better together Launch Team ::

Better Together Launch Team :: EverydaySmallThings.comFriends! I am so stinkin’ excited about the launch of Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone (comes out March 1!). Never in a million years did I think I would be co-authoring a book.  That’s my mom’s thing. While I love to blog, my posts are only an average of 800 words. There’s something daunting about filling a book with words.  Thankfully, I partnered with an expert in the field of publishing books…my mom.

This has been an eye opening experience for me, seeing just how much it takes to get a book through the publishing process. I have so enjoyed a “behind the scenes” view!

I’m even more excited that you, my friends, are able to be a part of the launch too! Moody Publishers has agreed to allow us to pull together a large launch team to get the word out. We’re looking for 400 moms who love Hearts at Home, love books, and love to share with their friends! 

This a book about friendship. No matter whether you feel like a friendship guru or a friendship flunky, Better Together is for you! As you read, you’ll learn all kinds of wisdom for moving your friendships from TBF to MBF to GGF to BFF (yes, you’ll learn what all those mean!) and you’ll exhale a deep breath and whisper, “Wow…I’m not alone.”

Isn’t this cover gorgeous!? I just love the vibrant colors!  Eek!

cb81a3b5-btcoverNow the book is in its final editing stage and we have an electronic version to share with our launch team so it’s time to put this in the hands of some moms who need it!

Let me give you the inside scoop on this launch team opportunity!

So what is a launch team? A launch team is a group of people who help spread the word about a new book. They read an electronic copy of the book, participate in a 6-week online discussion as they’re reading the book, and share along the way about the book in social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Periscope, on their blog (if they have one), on retailer sites like Amazon and, and in person with friends, at their moms group, or with the random stranger she’s standing next to in the line at the bathroom at McDonalds.

What would I need to do if I’m on the launch team?

  1. Read an electronic copy of the book before everyone else! This is a pdf you can read on your computer, your phone, or even on your e-book reader (most e-book readers allow you to download a pdf!)
  2. Tell your world about Better Together during the month of February! Share quotes, graphics, and things you are learning as you read the book. (Don’t worry, we’ll give you graphics and some fun things to share plus we know you’ll find some of your own as you read!) You’ll also want to let your girlfriends know all the wonderful freebies they can get if they pre-order the book before it’s March 1 release!
  3. Post an honest review online. It can be on Amazon,,, Goodreads, or your favorite online retailer! This helps other moms find the book when they are needing the encouragement!

What do I get?

  1. You get to read the book first! Wahoo!
  2. You get inside scoop about the book and all kinds of goodies to share!
  3. You will have the possibility of earning all kinds of free stuff like a free signed copy of the Better Together book, free mp3’s of Hearts at Home conference workshops, free Hearts at Home conference tickets, and more!
  4. You’ll get to experience a Better Together six-week online moms group led by Anne and I where you’ll find out you’re in good company with both the joys and the challenges of being a mom and forging friendships!
  5. You’ll get the satisfaction that you were part of something bigger than yourself! You helped make a difference in the lives of thousands of moms!

How do I jump into the launch team pool?

You can apply HERE! We’re taking applications through January 15, or until all the spots are filled. There are 400 spots and we want YOU to have one of them! If you are selected you will receive an email from Hearts at Home by January 15 (check both your inbox and your spam box just in case it accidentally lands in there!)

If this isn’t for you but you think a friend would be perfect for the job, please share it with her!

We hope you’ll join the fun, because even when it comes to launching a book, we’re BETTER TOGETHER for sure!

The Unconventional Guide to Finding Mom Friends

An Unconventional Guide to Finding Mom Friends2 years ago, my family moved to a new city and I knew absolutely no one.  This was a first for me.  The only other time I had moved to a new city was when I got married, but my husband had already been living there for a year, so I had a ‘head start’ of sorts.  In college, at least where I attended, they provided ample opportunities to meet your peers.  Plus, if you had a roommate you at least went in knowing one person’s name.

Find out more about mom friendships in our book releasing in March 2016. You can preorder now!
Find out more about mom friendships in our book releasing in March 2016. You can preorder now!

Finding new relationships can be daunting, even paralyzing for some.  Maybe it’s not finding friends in a new city, but you’re in a new season of life and want to make similarly seasoned (Is that a thing?  going with it…) friends.   Which brings me to 5 Ways to Meet Mom Friends.  But honestly, these pertain to any friendship, so if you don’t have little fingers wiggling under the bathroom door when you’re trying to use it in peace, you can still utilize these!  If you’ve ever had a toddler permanently attached to your hip, then settle in for a brief moment of girl time.

Be Brave
If you’re anything like my introverted self, hearing “Go make friends” makes me immediately relate to the Wicked Witch of the West where she screeches “I’m melting! I’m melting!”.  Not the wicked part, the screeching and melting part.  Putting myself out there and meeting new people is incredibly intimidating and draining to me.  What I’ve learned about myself is that because of this, I choose to avoid these situations at all cost.  I would rather stay in my house.  But this is unrealistic.  We were built and wired for relationships.  We need them.

So the next time you are at a park and there’s another mom there, start chatting with her.  Begin with a common experience. “How old is your daughter?   Mine too!  We are looking into local preschools, have any suggestions?”  You may not walk away with a friend, but you’ve been brave and that’s certainly worth being proud of!  And consider this, what if she is looking for friends too?  You may be what she’s been looking for!

Be Approachable
Did you know that it can take just 20 seconds to detect whether a stranger is inclined to being trustworthy, kind or compassionate?  It’s true!  Backed by science.  So that means you have 20 seconds to make the best first impression to your future BFF.  And let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen if you have Angry Resting Face (yes, it’s a thing and you know what I’m talking about if you’ve been diagnosed with ARF) or you’re buried in whatever is way more interesting in your phone.  So make a habit of smiling and putting away your phone when you’re out in public (it’s a good practice for home too).

Be Creative
There are many different ways of meeting others from joining a group or signing up for a class. Here are a few places to begin your search:

Be Open
Remember how it takes 20 seconds to size up a person?  Take this opportunity to put your judgement aside when you see that she has different parenting techniques than you.  Or maybe she’s actually dressed in real clothes (not sweats) and you instantly think you know she has it all together. There is no way to know someone’s insides by the look of their outside.  We have an incredible chance to learn from one another and our differences.  Who knows, she may have a great tip on how to transform last night’s leftovers!

Be a Coordinator
Don’t be afraid to start your own group!  Put something out on Facebook or start a group on  Being a coordinator means setting the place and time.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to put on an event, just a casual time of meeting other moms.  Maybe that’s setting the place and time for a park playdate or a kid-free coffee time.

Do you have any other suggestions for meeting new mom friends? I’d love to hear them!

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It’s {not} the thought that counts.

It's Not The Thought That Counts | EverydaySmallThings.comDo you ever have those moments where someone pops into your head randomly?  Or you know a friend who is struggling and you continually think about and, if you’re a person of faith, pray for them?  But here’s the thing…

How do they know they’ve been thought of?
How do they know they’ve been prayed for?

Life’s struggles are often accompanied by loneliness, discouragement and/or anxiety.  We aren’t meant to carry these loads alone.  We are built for relationship.  Yet, in the midst of trials, it is often the last thing on our mind to seek out friendship and encouragement.

So this is what I’ve come to realize…it’s not the thought that counts.

There have been countless times where people will randomly come to mind or I just can’t stop thinking about them.  As a person of faith, I’ve begun to recognize, many times, this is God laying them on my heart for the purpose of praying for or encouraging them.  Therefore, it’s a call to action.

Relationships can be hard.  Especially for an introvert, like myself, who values depth in friendships.  Because of this, I find it doesn’t come naturally to casually “check in” to see how someone is doing or let them know I was thinking about them.  I know some people who are incredibly gifted in this skill in relationships.  And this is what I’ve come to identify.  This is a skill.  And skills can be mastered with practice.

My neighbor is a wonderful example of someone who utilizes this skill well.  On several occasions, she has brought by little gifts for the kids or overstock from her pantry.  To me, it says, “I was thinking about you.”  

When my parents separated, the outpouring of love I experienced was incredible.  And while I may have not responded to every single message or text, the fact that someone took a moment to let me know they were thinking about me was appreciated.  I felt like I had a community around me…that I wasn’t alone.

So, I am challenging myself to intentionally exercise this skill.  How about you?  Not even sure what to call it.   The skill of “letting someone know I was thinking about them” is a little lengthy.

Some everyday small things to keep in mind…
The next time you interact with a young mom and think “She’s a good mom!”…tell her.

The next time you are baking cookies and think “I should double this recipe and take some to the neighbors.”…go for it.

The next time you can’t get an old friend off your mind…let them know.

The next time you see someone with fabulous hair…be bold and tell her!

The next time a friend going through a difficult time comes to mind…pray for them and let them know.

The next time you think “I would love to do coffee with her.”…text her and make a date.

You never know what that person is going through or experiencing in that moment.  Your text or quick encouragement may be exactly what they need.  And they’ll never know…unless you tell them.

How have you engaged the moments people pop into your head?  If you’ve been on the receiving end, what imprint did it leave?