Things That Aren’t

Finn’s so smart. I know, I know…your kid is smart too. But Finn is really smart. ;) His brain is most impressive because we were told in the NICU that he may not ever be able to communicate with us. He would be severely mentally handicapped.

Not this kid! He’s truly a miracle. We can read a library book to him once or twice and he will recite it the third time. His mind is a steel trap. He reminds you that two days ago you said he could go to church and that he could have chocolate milk at Starbucks. He knows all 43 of his trains by name.

With Daddy at Easter!

With Daddy at Easter!


But he’s also emotionally intelligent. If my brow is furrowed while I’m strapping him into his carseat, he’ll ask, “Why are you frustrated, Momma?”


Landscaping problems...

Landscaping problems…


We recently read a library book called “Some Kids Use Wheelchairs.” I was hesitant to read Finn this book, worried that a conversation about his disability might ensue. I’m not sure I’m ready for that discussion emotionally. Anyhow, the first few pages discuss why some kids are in wheelchairs.


Some kids use wheelchairs because their legs are weak or they had an accident. They can’t walk.

I sheepishly asked Finn if he could walk. “Yes I can.” Oh? Can you stand up? “Yes.” So why do you use a wheelchair? No response. He turned the page…

We read this book many more times before it returning it to the Book Drop. Each time, Finn was adamant: he can walk.

Whether this is a display of faith or ignorance really doesn’t matter. I count it a blessing that Finn is confident and relatively unaware that he’s not like everyone else. I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought we were the weird ones…walking around on two feet and whatnot.



“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).

In Finn’s mind, he is able to do anything. I believe this is a result of prayer, God’s lavish grace, and decent parenting. God gives life to things that aren’t alive. He redeems the broken. Makes the sick well. He bestows honor and power and courage on a child in a wheelchair. I’m so thankful to be Finn’s momma. I can’t hardly wait to see all God continues to do in his little, important life.


I stood in front of the sink and huffed, rinsing cilantro. I hate how the green leaves stick to my fingers. It’s a mess to chop, much less sprinkle into a soup or fresh guacamole. Plucking the tiny leaves off the stem one by one is the definition of tedium. I have better things to do with my time. ;)

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While chopping cilantro for my brothy chicken tortilla soup, I realized something:

Cilantro will never change.

If I want to continue cooking with it–and I do; I love cilantro–then I’ll have to de-stem it, rinse it, peel it from my fingers and chop it. For the rest of my life.


Nothing will ever change about cilantro. I either have to give it up, or get over it. This simple truth applies to so many of life’s frustrations, tediums and obstacles.

Brothy Chicken Tortilla Soup

(This is a light, healthy and restaurant-quality soup recipe from my girl, Laura. One of our favs!)

Ingredients: 1 T olive oil, 1 c. chopped onions, 2 tsp chopped garlic, 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped OR 1 green bell pepper, chopped plus 1 jalapeno, chopped, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 T. tomato paste, 6 c. chicken stock, 1 lb. chicken breast, juice of 1-2 limes, 1 avocado, 1/4 c. chopped cilantro

Directions: Heat oil in large stock pot and add onions, garlic, peppers and seasonings. Cook until onions are clear. Then add tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add chicken breast(s) until fully cooked. Remove chicken breast(s) and shred. Return shredded chicken to pot. Simmer 20 minutes. Add lime juice and cilantro, stir. Serve with tortilla chips and avocado. Optional: sour cream and cheese.

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Fitness and Social Media

Ethical crisis here.

I have a tendency to over-analyze things, and I’m certain this issue is no exception…However, for months, I’ve felt that it’s time to take my fitness career to the next level, expanding my training services to the online community and my former/long-distance clients. Friends and acquaintances ask me weekly for workouts and/or fitness advice. I love to help people on their fitness journeys and am grateful for their trust. I consider it my calling; my ministry. (I’ll be launching my online training site very soon, so stay tuned!) A sure-fire, convenient way to promote myself is through social media. Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, YouTube and Twitter offer free marketing and easy access to thousands of potential clients.


Here’s my dilemma: I’m prideful.

In the fitness industry, my body is my advertisement. I wouldn’t train to become fit with someone who isn’t fit. Sorry; that’s common sense. The most obvious way to show your fitness progress via social media is through pictures. But these are snapshots of our outcomes, not our processes. An Instagram of the twist-iest, most beautifully silhouetted yoga pose, a Facebook before/after bikini pic, or a #fitmom ‘s blog post doesn’t give you the whole story. It’s a glimpse into the person’s proud moments, not their failures along the way. Not the hours, months or years it took to reach their goal. Cellulite is filtered out. The crow pose blunders are deleted. I show you my best angle.

Flexing and posing and flaunting are normal for my industry, and it’s what my flesh desires to do. I’ve craved attention and been a show off since the glory days of my neighborhood rollerblade girl band. I see this desire in Finn as he pops wheelies and zooms fast for strangers. Or says things so others will laugh, like, “Hi. I’m Finn Joseph Applesauce.”


We like to do what we’re good at and we want others to notice. I took a picture of my flexed back in the gym locker room about a month ago. Embarrassed by my vanity, I deleted it the next day. No one cares about my back.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:30)

I want to be praised for my faith, not my flex.

Don’t get me wrong…visual exposure is not all bad. Maybe these pictures inspire someone–motivate them to get off the couch or eat a cleaner diet. It’s encouraging to follow others’ journeys and to know that a six-pack is possible after babies. Or that there are people out there rejecting processed foods and losing hundreds of pounds as a result. Many of my close friends follow (or post as) fitness fanatics via social media.

But for me, social media can be dangerous because it feeds my desire to self-promote. This is my own conviction. It shouldn’t necessarily be yours. I get addicted to your “likes,” enticed by your compliments and encouraged by your following. If I’m not careful, my workout becomes about you and not about my health. I run so I can take a picture of the impressive distance on my watch, not so I can keep my heart healthy, declutter my mind, or pray.

Last Tuesday, I fell victim myself. The weather was nice and several clients were on Spring Break so I got to go on a long road ride. All alone. It was heavenly. At the end of the ride, I took an exhausted picture of my helmeted self (actually I took three and looked like a 12 yr old boy in all of them), then checked Map My Ride so I could boast about my stats online, but the app was blank. I must not have “started the workout.” Distance: 0:00. Average MPH: 0. Bragging Rights: 0. I smirked. It would be just like God to teach me a lesson in this way.


Is it possible to blend fitness and social media (particularly photos) in a manner that glorifies God and not me? Probably. I just haven’t figured it out yet. I guess a lot of it depends on my motives–and a purpose beyond my own love for affirmation.

1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

I’m passionate about my physical health–and yours. But as a Christian, I’m acutely aware that my spiritual health (and yours) is so much more important. More valuable. And I don’t know about you, but I’m in need of spiritual training two-a-days.

We Prayed for You

Teachers, we prayed for you tonight. We prayed that you would equip Finn with challenging thoughts and more questions than answers. Teach him that his mind is powerful. Help him find what he’s good at and excel at it. We prayed that you would make accommodations for him but not isolate him. Empower him, please.

LifeKids volunteers, we prayed for you tonight. We prayed you would engage Finn in meaningful play; that you would encourage him to join the kids in the bounce house or at the tiny tables, even though it is difficult and unnatural. We prayed that you would show him who Jesus is: that He’s good and kind.

Kids, we prayed for you tonight. We prayed that one or two of you would be kind, inclusive and accepting of Finn and the ways he’s different. We prayed you’d be brave enough to stick up for him, make a place for him at the lunch table, pass him the ball and hold the door. Be his friend.

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Girls, we prayed for you tonight. Take care of your body. Then cover it up. Let your inner beauty shine brighter than your outer beauty. We prayed that one of you might fall in love with the boy in the wheelchair. You’d love his humor, his hazel eyes, and his tenacity. He would be your hero and you’d be his.

Doctors and nurses, we prayed for you tonight. That you’d sleep well and be clear-minded to keep Finn and other kids like him healthy and strong. That you’d know what to do in emergencies and save his life if you have to. Be patient with us parents…we’re sensitive.

Thankful for a great neurology appointment this week.

Thankful for a great neurology appointment this week.

Jesus, I prayed to you tonight. My boy isn’t like other boys. Most of the time I love that; I’m thankful for that. But for a minute tonight, I hated it. Sometimes I’m strong, but today the kids pointing at Finn and the stares and the exclusion made me weak. Please help me be the best mom to him (and Paisley) that I can. Thank you for my angel and the miracles you’ve displayed in his life. Thank you for all you will do with his future.

A Story of a Three Year Old

“Tell me a story, Momma.”

There once was a boy named Finn. He was the fastest little boy on wheels. He had the happiest smile and the sweetest voice. He loved his sister, Paisley, even though she took his trains. Chicken nuggets and chocolate milk and puzzles were his favorites.

When he was born, his spine was hurt and it made his legs weak and his brain swell.


So he stayed in the hospital for 14 days.


His family and friends prayed a lot.



Finn was a brave little boy. He had 8 surgeries before his first birthday.

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He learned to use a wheelchair to zoom around the house.

So proud.


He was not like other kids, but that’s okay; he was unique. God made him so smart. So important. So special.

On Finn’s third birthday, he went with his family in their jammies to get coffee and donuts.



He ate a chocolate silly face donut.

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Then he went on a scavenger hunt for his birthday gifts.

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He was very lucky: he got a mini iPad from both his Nana’s and Papa’s a couple weekends ago at the Rosells’ house in Arkansas.

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Gigi made him a birthday coffee cake and Poppy made a fishing game for Finn to play.

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On his birthday, Finn found a dinosaur puzzle, a sticker book, some cool jeans and sunglasses, and Batman walkie talkies hidden around the house.

After breakfast, he went with his family to the Oklahoma Aquarium.


He loved the otter. It was cute and did flips in the water.


He saw fish and alligators and turtles.

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His sister, Paisley, was amazed by all the sights and sounds.


Finn’s favorite was the shark tank. He was hesitant at first, but he decided to be brave and zoom through the tunnel with sharks swimming all around him in the blue water.


He went back and forth through the shark tank, up and down the ramp. His arms were so strong.

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Other kids at the aquarium thought Finn was cool whooshing around in his wheelchair. He cried when it was time to leave.

After a nap, Finn and his family went to Nana and Papa Armstrong’s house for a birthday dinner. Nana helped Finn and Paisley decorate a box to play in.


We sang “Happy Birthday” and ate Ludger’s cake.


It was delicious, but Finn’s tummy got upset. He didn’t normally eat that much sugar.

After reading a bedtime story, Finn fell asleep on his Thomas the Tank Engine pillow and dreamed about his happiest third birthday. The End.

Life at Church

Okay; I can’t hold it in any longer. I’m bursting inside…


And I don’t care who knows it. ;)

I feel a little like a teenager, gushing over my newest crush (, but trying to play it cool so as not to run off all my friends. I don’t want to seem obsessed or anything.

But seriously. EVERY Saturday night/Sunday morning/Sunday night I attend or serve at church, I love it more. I find some other nuance, a core belief or one of Pastor Craig’s messages that I can rally behind.


People from all walks of life are greeted warmly by nearly a dozen people in Host Team t-shirts; they grab a cup of Starbucks coffee, and enter the service. An hour later, they (we) walk out the doors changed.

As a body of believers, we are challenged weekly to live life more like Christ...not to necessarily know more or read more or serve more, but to obey more.

“If you love me, obey my commands.” John 14:15

Pastor Craig’s bold message this weekend really spoke to Joey and I. He spoke about how our learning should not exceed our obeying.


We can scrutinize Scripture, lead or attend Bible studies, graduate from seminary even, but if this learning does not translate to obeying, it’s for nothing. Am I changed by my faith? Have I grown spiritually since this time last year? Am I allowing God to refine me, stretch me and mold me into His child, no matter how uncomfortable?

The people at are real. The staff are fun and earnestly seeking Christ. The messages challenge me EVERY week. The music is loud and powerful. The ministries at are legit…as volunteers, we “huddle” before each service, praying over it and the people who will attend. Finn asks almost daily if we get to go to church.

Have you downloaded the Bible for Kids for your kiddos yet? Finn loves playing David and Joseph.

Have you downloaded the Bible for Kids app yet? Finn loves playing David and Joseph.

Two weekends ago, 124 people were baptized at just our Broken Arrow location, celebrating new life before their friends and church family.


The weekend before that, more people attended church at a location than attended the Super Bowl. At the end of each service, people are given an opportunity to respond to the Holy Spirit. In the past 3 months we’ve attended a service, someone has always responded. Usually several.

The Lord is doing big things with He’s pouring into local communities, reaching people all over the world through church online, healing hurting families, providing community for broken people, and spreading practical truth through Craig’s messages weekly. I am so honored to be a part of this Body. So thankful Joey gets the opportunity to call this “work.”

If you attend a church you love and are challenged to obey Him, I’m so happy for you. If you aren’t, consider attending one of the 20+ locations all over the country or attend church online.

I’ll warn you though…you just might fall in love.

Just a Phase

So here’s the thing:

We’re all struggling in some way. We’re all hurting, healing, hoping, failing.

I’ve had several conversations with clients this week–and it’s only Tuesday–about personal demons they’re wrestling, addictions they’re battling, marriages they’re fighting for; working mothers who are experiencing complete exhaustion, and way too much physical illness. They’re trying but it’s not working. They’re running but their feet are tripping.

Finn’s in this weird clingy, fearful phase. It took us a literal hour to get him to sleep Sunday night. We eventually had to tell him if he didn’t stop crying, we’d take away his trains. It worked. Drop-off at school has been terrible. He bawls as soon as he wheels through the door.



He covers his ears every time Paisley (or any other kid) cries–and it’s not an ear issue. He won’t let me go through the garage door before him; worried I’ll leave him behind. I have to take deeper breaths and pray for more energy, more creativity and more patience to be his mom lately. It’s just a phase. He’s a kid.

Maybe you’re in a “phase” yourself. Maybe you need an extra dose of grace and love from your Father lately.

We are such broken people, so hourly in need of our Savior, Redeemer, Friend.

Sunrise at the lake this weekend

Sunrise at the lake this weekend

I cling to this passage:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Write this on your mirror. Tattoo it with ballpoint to your palm. Post-it-note-it to your dashboard. Text it to yourself. My natural tendency is to try and try and try until I stop failing. This is futile. I’m so thankful for His invitation to come to Him, to breathe deeply, inhaling His peace and exhaling our stress and pain. Heal us, Lord.