Tag: josh


As far as blended families go, we never had it very rough. It never got very complicated.

But that doesn’t mean we were always a smoothie.

Sometimes we were blended about as much as oil and water, particularly when it came to a certain teenage boy and his 15-years-older stepmom.

That would be us:


Oh, we had some things we enjoyed together: amusement parks. superheroes. Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. guacamole. But for a few years, there was pretty much nothing we could talk about without one or both of us getting mad.

Thank God, we made it through.

I dropped the “step” from his title long ago, around the time the first of his baby sisters was born, and I realized that our kids are our kids. I did not give birth to Josh. I didn’t have the frogs-snails-puppy-dog-tails part of his growing up; I never got to dress him in cute overalls or help him learn to ride a bike, but nonetheless, I was going to help guide him toward the goal of being a man… a good man. And with that realization, he became my son.

With maturity, I could also embrace the difference between having him for my son and being his mom. There is a distinct difference, and it’s all good. He has a mom, who did have his babydom and childhood and who doesn’t need to be replaced. That’s part of the blend, folks.

This week, I will likely share some stories with her. I will stand beside his dad as we watch him become a man in a very important way… as he makes vows to his new wife… as he takes steps to do something we did not: have a family that never needs blending.

(Although… is there such a thing? I mean, even though my parents have been married to each other for 40 years, they still had to blend as my brother and I brought our spouses, stepkids, kids, in-laws into the family. Hmmm… Maybe we need a different term. But, we definitely pray that Josh and Kirsten are only married to each other, for their lives!)


I am so grateful, so proud, to have inherited the boy he was, to have grown with him and butted heads with him and helped shape the teen he was, to have the man he is for my friend and family and ally, and for my babies to have him as their big brother.

When I watch him take those vows this week, when I dance our “non-special” dance at his reception, when I bask in our C-RA-ZY blended family this Christmas (think Four Christmases, all in one house!), every time we get a few minutes to have Starbucks or a warehouse shopping trip by ourselves or a Chipotle/Abuelo’s/beach/movie date with the whole family, it won’t really matter to me whether he is my stepson or son or whatever we call it. I am his, and he is mine, and thanks to God for all the gracious and unexpected ways He chooses to bless our lives!



upon riding the tidal wave

A year ago we were in Colombia. It was the farthest and longest I’d been away from the girls, along with a totally perspective-changing and passion-sharpening experience. Hard to believe it’s only been one year.

I feel like I have been swept along by a tidal wave over these last few years. Compared to many other lives, mine is calm. So I wish I could allow that to make me feel at peace. Everything changes so much that the only thing I’ve come to expect is more change.

I believe the steps of the righteous are ordered of God. (Psalm 37:23)

I know that as children grow up, then grow away from us, whether it’s to an apartment in Joliet, a dorm room in Lexington, or a pre-school down the street.

But I miss us, the way we were…’two tots, two teens.’


Quite honestly, I used to look forward to a time when our family would be ‘uncomplicated,’ with no explanations of who is whom, no weird looks, no confusion. Now, the prospect seems a little boring.

I know, as I like to tell others, the best is yet to come. But right now, those sweet few years of two in high school, two in diapers, seem like the ones we’ll look back on as our golden years.

I am grateful for every opportunity, but mostly grateful for the one that lets me have them as my kids.

The fatted calf

About a year ago, I wrote this, about working on a boat with no appreciation.

About 5 months ago, I wrote this, wondering how the prodigal’s mom might react upon his return.

Today, I simply write this:

Rockwell-HomecomingTwo very happy little girls are in our family room right now, after a day of dance classes and a trip to Gramma & Papa’s, no naps and lots of energy, dropping temps and a coughing, cabin-feverish Mommy with little patience left, jumping on the lap of their brother, sharing cake, beaming.

…because he is spending the night here tonight…because, when Randa asked, “Did you bring your pillow?” he said yes.

Because he has come back to live with us again.

There is no dramatic statement. There is no divine healing of all past hurts or perfect answer to all disagreements.

What there is: peace, understanding, four siblings aged  ‘almost 3,’ ‘just turned 4,’ ’17-and-a-half,’ and ‘nearly 20’ under one roof for a little while longer, and two parents who feel, at the end of a season fraught with the peaks of righteousness and affirmation and the valleys of criticism and doubt, like the right thing has happened.


That said, thank you to some very special friends, family members, and even acquaintances and internet “strangers” who reached out to us and helped instill wisdom without judgment during this last year in terms of  “loving our prodigal.”  The fatted calf was a pleasure to prepare and indeed tastes yummy.


About 5 weeks ago, the night before we left for Colombia, after I had left the girls with my parents, before Rod & Paige returned from Rod’s concert four hours away, I had a lot to do…including packing…but there was something at the top of my list:

Writing a submission for incourage.me

I love this site (‘home for the hearts of women’). I love the writing, the style, and all that it stands for. And I was in love with the opportunity to share, to be published, on a site that had (sorry, Honey! sorry Rob!) but nothing to do with gospel music or anyone that I know. Whether my submission was accepted would be all about me.

The night before we left Colombia to return home, I received an email that it was accepted. Not only that, but Lisa-Jo (the Community Manager for the site, and in a related note – a Compassion blogger!) sent me a  personal response to it, relating to me on my chosen subject, Prodigals.

Yep – this one if for Josh. And in some ways, my Mom and Dad, too.

If you read this blog or any of my other writing, you are such a support to me. Today, please go and read at this site. I know you will want to return to it!

Certain moms

Favorite time: Enjoying something princessy on the tele and 'holding.'

There are always ‘certain moms’ I think of on Mother’s Day. I know it’s a sad day for those who have lost their moms or lost children, or for those who want to be moms or are simply away from their family. For several years, it was a sad day for me, too. I of course did not spend it with my stepkids, for they spent it with their mom.. Infertility on top of that was not exactly fun.

Now Mother’s Day, for me, is like Superhero Day. It’s a day that we won’t complain or even mention good-naturedly the labors and guilt and emotions of mothering. It’s a day to focus on the joys of it, and truly, the gifts we are given in being moms and having moms.

This year, the certain moms I am thinking of include…

– My sister-in-law and fellow FORMERLY infertile stepmom, who gets to be happy this mother’s day because her miracle was granted, and she/we all will meet that miracle in October!

– Rod’s cousin, who met her miracle about a month ago. We love baby Emma.

– My cousin, a new single mom. Not easy work, at all, but I know she will persevere and thrive for her sweet girl.

Ma & me at Cinderella's castle.

– My mom…who is doing one of the bravest things a mom can do, because she’s letting me go. I hate to think that a move for us might mean a Mother’s Day apart. My mom, even when I was young and stupid, was never estranged from me on Mother’s Day. My mom has done nothing but support me in my adulthood, even when it wasn’t ‘sensible’ or popular and even when it cost her. I am proud of her strength, I am so happy that she knows even in letting me go, she will never lose me.

– My Mommy Friends…so many women for me to learn from, laugh with, cry on. We may never get our commune, but we’ll always have the marathon coffee-play-picnic dates and even that occasional wonderful dinner…and my friends who are not mommies yet are every bit as important to me…thank you for reminding me who else I am!

– My new TN girlfriends, whether moms or not (I think I’m up to 3). I’m going to need them more than they probably know! Motherhood is not a job for one, and even when we have great husbands, like I do, the support of women is essential.

This mom, another whom I don’t know in real life, not that it matters. Every time I see her pictures and read her words, I am reminded to just drink in the beauty and purity of my children, to love the color and silliness and even the unexpected challenges they bring.


And of course, on Mother’s Day, I celebrate my kids. We have an unbalanced family, a weird-looking one, some might say. But we’re zany and lovable, and once upon a time, we deemed ourselves happy, brave, and free. It still holds:

Randa, from our fun time along together feeding the ducks.
On our last bus trips, KK has loved sleeping on me, like she hasn't since she was a newborn.

Miranda and Kaity are so easy, with their toddler-ness and adorable-ness. They made me laugh and sigh and they sap all I have and fill me up again. I spent most of my life wishing for them, and now I cannot imagine and barely remember what life was before them.

Paige became ever more mine when "I let her go" to Europe in March...

Paige is my bonus daughter. My daughter. I feel like I don’t show her enough, and I hope I give her enough. We call me “the glue,” and perhaps I do hold our family together, but in many ways, she holds me together.

Josh & I agree on lasagna! Summer 2006

And Josh, our son. Things are different this year, and maybe not so different. Things have never been easy with us for all sorts of reasons, I guess. But nothing changes the love of a mom…and though I am not his mom, and though I may not even be in the role of supporting mom for now, he is my son by choice, and in some ways, that is just as powerful.

For me, the last year has seen accomplishments and adventures I never fathomed. That’s cool, it’s great, I’m happy about it. But being Mommy, being part of that community, is the single most grand and proud and amazing title I’ve ever carried. I’d wear a sparkly cape if I had one, but instead, this mother’s day, I will just be grateful.