Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Well, it's not really a thankful post even though I could say that most of us are pretty thankful for Adele's awesome voice.

I admit it: I am OBSESSED with Adele's new song, Hello, and I am even more obsessed with all of the Hello parodies and scenes inspired by Hello. So, I thought I would compile my favorites together for your enjoyment (in no particular order).

Shelby's Favorite:

Now, if you are anything like me you have Lionel Richie's Hello stuck in your head, you're welcome. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Oh So Thankful

Every year around this time I see daily posts on Facebook that document what someone is thankful for this month and then I always see these:

So, I refrain from the 30 days of thankfulness, not because I am not thankful for all the blessings in my life and not that I care what other people think of me (well not too much). Let’s be honest - I have ADD (seriously and for true) and have a HORRIBLE issue with not completing things (but please don’t tell that to my employer because I may have checked that box that says “completes all tasks assigned to me”). 

The last few days, though, have really led me to lift my hands up the to Lord and say “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” So, I feel like I really want to share some of my thankfulness as we get through the next few days. Please note though, I may write this post and be missing until next week because, again, I have an issue with the follow through. 

Today I am thankful for the community that God has placed me in - for my friends (old and new). 

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold. A circle’s round, it has no end - that’s how long I want to be your friend.

Sorry, my mind lunges into song most of the time. 

As I moved last year from North Texas to Houston I thought I would never have relationships like I had with my girlfriends in North Texas. And part of that thought process is so true - the relationships I have in North Texas are so unique and can never been replaced, but God opened a door and gave me additional, new, deep relationships with women. That is what I am thankful for today. 

I am thankful to feel so at home, so comfortable, so loved and so free to be me (every broken edge) in my community. I am thankful for open homes, free flowing tears and warm embraces that we share. I am thankful for the realness, transparency and grace that these women poor out. 

I am also thankful for the wise (because hey they married amazing women) husband’s of these women. The strong leaders of our families, the brave men who put up with our craziness and pass boxes of Kleenexes around the room as we cry for each other. 

It really is crazy how God masterminds our relationships, giving us just what we need, just when we need it . I am so thankful for his timing. I love you my dear friends! 

And just because:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It’s Good to Be Queen - Book Review

When the opportunity to review Liz Curtis Higg’s newest book, It’s Good to Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba, was presented to me I may have squealed. It may have taken me less than two-seconds to click “accept”.  Why? Because I absolutely love Liz!

Liz Curtis Higgs is an award wining wittier of historical novels. She is able to take that talent and pair it with her over flowing passion for the Lord to produce AMAZING books about the women of the bible. 

Just as she has done in her other best selling books, like the Girl’s Still Got It, Liz takes a passage of scripture and breaks it down sometimes by one to two words at a time. It’s Good to Be Queen focuses on the 13 verses of the tenth chapter of 1 Kings. The story of when the Queen of Sheba (known in this book as just “Sheba”) visits King Solomon (the son of King David).  Thirteen verses told in 163 pages of amazingly descriptive writing. We learn about Sheba’s visit to the breathtaking palace and grand temple at Solomon built. We are with her as she gains overwhelming knowledge from Solomon and when Sheba’s heart is transformed by God.  It’s Good to Be Queen does not disappoint one bit. If you are looking for an ounce of negativity towards this book, you will not be pleased by this review. I am trying my hardest to not make this a pure love letter to Liz herself. 

But on that topic (my love for Liz) let me just tell you two things she does perfectly in this and all her books. She is an uncanny ability to place you right in the middle of the story. You can fully see the gleam off of Sheba’s crown, you smell the aromas of the oils that were carefully packed for her visit with Solomon and you can feel the movement of the camels as The Queen of Sheba makes her long trek. I love that! I love that she’s helped me to understand each detail that you just can’t get from the black and white print of the bible. How does she do this so perfectly? I say it is months, sometimes years of hard work on Liz’s part. In this book, as with her others, there are over three hundreds notes of her sources. The girl researches her little heart out, from commentaries, to bible archaeology, to referencing many different scriptures of the bible, she is able to pull all of this together to form a true account of these women’s lives. 

As a part of that research Liz pulls multiple bible translations for each verse. For instance part of 1 Kings 10:1 states “to test Solomon” which Liz follows with, “Her intent was to ‘challenge him’ (NET), ‘try him’ (DRA), ‘prove him’ (ASV) and so ‘put his reputation to the test’ (MSG).” She even throws in a few LRV (the Lizzie Revised Version) of verses. By taking his extra step Liz not only helps us to fully understand the meaning of this passage, but proves she has taken the time to fully understand the context of these scriptures. Never once have I hesitated in believing Liz’s portrayal of these scriptures. 

As Liz tells us the story of the Queen of Sheba she also gives us a glimpse into her own life, her own personal struggles - places where God has met her, picked her up and brushed her off. Liz places these autobiographic pieces so perfectly into her books that it in no way feels like a memoir, but you are still so blessed by those stories just as if she was sitting next to you telling you the stories of her life. I have always loved how Liz also includes responses from hundreds (may less than that) of women that she has posed questions to through social media has she has written this book. She shares these voices in the hopes that we would say the one thing that brings me delight when people come to me and say, “You put words to how I felt, what I thought and to my struggle.” It is a such calming feeling to know we are not alone in this journey, to know there are women out there that are in the battle as well. 

I wish I could give you every passage that I underlined, circled, put a star next to or just summed up with “Amen!”, but then you would lose the pure joy of reading this book. Just know that my copy of this book is very much written on much to my husband’s disappointment (strict follower of the rule “do not write in books”).  This book lead me to questions like, “How did I miss this story before?” and has stirred in my the motivation to dig deeper into so many topics. It has been the motivation I’ve needed to begin different journeys in my own personal writing. 

As I turned what would be the last page of this story and saw a blank page I almost cried. Liz did as she has done so many times before, she sucked me in and left me with a urning to sit and hear her stories for hours, even days. When you finish this book you will sit in awe at just how absolutely amazing Liz is or shall I say how perfectly the Holy Spirit is working through this woman.  You will also learn what it takes to be “as bold, gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba.” 

To learn more about the this book please visit this website,

You can purchase a copy (that you can write all over) here:

And to learn more about this AMAZING woman, please visit this website:

To read me thoughts on Liz's book The Girl's Still Got It read this post:

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Way to Go Girl: Encouraging Your Fellow Mother

Hey fellow mother! You’re doing a great job! You are awesome! Fist Bump! 

Oh, there are so many ways that mothers discourage instead of encourage each other. This can be true of women in general (unfortunately starting at a really young age). 

I know this to be true because

I didn’t breast feed all of my daughters

I let my girls watch TV, sometimes too much (by my own standards)

I have a two and a half year old that isn’t potty trained

My middle and oldest daughters used pacifiers past their 2nd birthday

My children eat at Mc Donald’s, Whataburger and even Taco Bell

Many times our dinner does not include a green vegetable or vegetables at all

Somedays my girls never set foot outside

My four year old cussed during our recent missional community group gathering and it wasn’t “shoot” or “crap” it was two words that I blamed on my father, but more than likely she heard from me

I feed my kids sugar

I am happy when my 14 year old gets C’s because at least she is passing. (I do stress the importance of that maddening GPA, but I am just relieved when she passes)

My two year old does not attend Sunday worship with our family and my four year old attends half of the time (I’ll have a post on this subject later this week, since it is the cause of some of the largest mother shaming lately)

I’ve received judgement on all of these statements and this is just my parenting - my past and my life today receive even more judgement. I have received direct, indirect, and just blanket discouragement and shaming through avenues like social media (I am starting to believe my father when he says that Facebook is the devil). Unfortunately, I’ve received a majority of my discouragement from my fellow Christian sisters (and even some of my Christian brothers - to whom, “I say walk a mile in the shoes of a mother”). 

I admit, though, I too have also passed judgement on other mothers. We all judge - unfortunately, it’s the truth. 

The bible compels us to “accept one another, then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

So, what is it? What makes us discourage more than encourage each other? 

Encouragement is a selfless act of love that gives hope. Encouragement costs nothing (and there is no coupon that you have to keep up with). 

Discouragement is one of the top reasons I block media and sometimes people on Facebook. I have enough in my life and really don’t need your post about how I am a horrible mother because I didn’t breast feed to damper my self-image. I shouldn’t have to defend my parenting online or even in church (where I should be accepted with love). And really I don’t think you should have to do those things either. 

If your four year old can’t recited the Lord’s Prayer, but at least got dressed today then I say, “You Go Girl!” 

These little version of ourselves are not easy to raise and if you are hanging in there, even if you take at least one “mommy time out” a day, then I say, “You rock!” 

And, oh my, if you have mastered Come Core Math (other wise know as HELL for any parent of an elementary school child) then you deserve twenty gold trophies! 

The fact is there is only one perfect parent (God), so lightened up on your sisters (and yourself). If we all lived through no seat belts and life without parental controls on our T.V.s, then our kids are bound to turn out at least half way better than we have, right? 

Give some encouragement today. Hug a mom you love and tell her she is Awesome! 

Remember, the only opinion that matters, is the opinion of our little people. 

For those of you who live to judge: I wrote this while eating a cinnamon roll drinking coffee with artificial sweetener and sitting in my unmade bed with last night make-up still on my face. Are you praying for these things or are you praying that I know that today I am a great mom? 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Your Birthday Gift to Me: Kara Tippetts Foundation

Today I am 38. 

Thank you for all of your birthday wishes, cards and sweet texts. 

I’ve sat thinking a praying about this post for a week because I don’t want it to come across the wrong way at all. 

I am not expecting presents from anyone on my birthday - I am blessed with so many things and so much love, but I want you to please consider something for me. Would you please today watch this video and if you are so inclined please donate to this foundation. Even $5 would help. 

I am sure if I launch into another post about what Kara meant to me that you will surely roll your eyes, so I want to tell you what this foundation will mean to others. Kara’s brother Dennis started this foundation to help others with Stage IV cancer live life to the fullest. Kara was blessed to be financially able to travel and make many memories with her children before she left this world, many others who battle cancer do not have the same opportunity. The foundation was started to bless others as they travel down this difficult road. 

Please consider this today and think of it as a birthday gift to me. Because (and I type this in tears) that would mean the world to me. 

“Let’s be a reminder of grace in their hard. And please—share the word.”
 ~from Mundane Faithfulness 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Pasts

Happy Halloween! Why don't we take a trip down memory lane and look at my girls through the years!

Starting out with my first baby.

Shelby's 1st Halloween

Shelby's 2nd Halloween - She was sick, so no costume, but check out those cheeks. 

Shelby's 3rd Halloween

Shelby's 4th Halloween

Shelby's 5th Halloween

Shelby's 6th Halloween

Shelby's 7th Halloween 

Shelby's 8th Halloween

Shelby's 9th Halloween

Shelby's 10th Halloween

Shelby's 11th Halloween

Shelby's 14th Halloween

Then, the sisters

Bekah's First Halloween

Bekah's 2nd Halloween

Look at that tail! 

Bekah's 3rd and Morgan's 1st Halloween

Bekah's 4th and Morgan's 2nd Halloween

And just for the fun of it, here are some of me!

I'm the princess and my sister is Princess Lea

Don't you just love these!

Oh yeah...the Bunny. Fifth grade at my sister's birthday party. 

And Dorothy...a very young 18 year old me!

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Story: The Only Boy that Could Ever Reach Me

The Only Boy Could Ever Reach Me was the Son of a Preacher Man. 

If you know the song, then it’s probably stuck in your head. You are very welcome. 

Almost six years ago when I started to communicate with a recent widower through eHarmony, I never imagined that we would actually hit it off. I mean he was a pastor’s son and I was, well, broken. Very, very broken. Most of the year before was a blur of horrible pain numbed by alcohol and self abuse. As Matt replied to questions with the most studious essay length answers I knew for sure that he was out of my league. When he asked if I believed in God I quickly went into my testimony (as any good Assembly of God girl does) or at least the abridged version of my testimony (because my true testimony was still hidden by years of shame). Surprisingly to me (and to much humor now), he stopped me and said “we don’t need to get into all of that, I just needed to know that you believe.” I think in that moment that Matt was thinking the same thing I was, how far can an internet dating site relationship actually go?

On a Thursday night, as I sat in the corner of our local Starbucks (because we lived like five minutes from each other) and watched him search through the crowd for me, I never imagined that we wouldn’t be able to stop talking to each other.  That night our “safe coffee date” led to dinner around the corner at one of his favorite places. We were both taken back by how comfortable it was, how it felt like we’d known each other for years. 

I never imagined that I could open my heart to someone, again. In the years before meeting Matt a hard shell formed around my heart, I went into possible relationships with very little hope of finding the love that would last me forever. But there was something different with Matt. I wasn’t sure if it was the 29 dimensions of compatibility (that eHarmony claims to use) or the long talk I had with God the week before where I gave it all up to Him and said, “Lord, your will be done.” 

There was no hesitation, I felt God in every step we took and looking back now I can see God’s timing. 

First off, I was ready. If I had met Matt at any time before that week I would not have been interested. I mean he really only met two of my requirements, he was un-married and he was a man. He had no tattoos, no facial hair (at the time) and didn’t drive a truck. I am telling you my requirements for a husband were set pretty high. Matt just oozed intelligence and owned (and had read) more books then I could ever imagine one person could. I, on the other hand, learned more from life then from the pages of books owning maybe six at the time we had met (it’s a different story today). And really, Matt was just the quintessential “good guy”. Good guys and I didn’t normally mix - I was a self proclaimed bum magnet from a very early age. I lived to fix the broken. 

Matt was broken, but in a far different way then I had ever experienced. God, being God, had already given me the tools and experiences to prepare me for Matt’s brokenness (or at least the parts of it that were exposed while dating).  Losing one of my very best friends, James, the year before helped me to understand the heart wrenching feelings of grief. We both knew what it felt like when someone tried to help by saying, “Everything will be okay” after our loved one passed. As Matt said to me one day while I sat anxiously waiting for news about how extensive my father’s cancer was, “Everything may not be okay, but you will be okay.” Life after losing someone you love is never okay, but he and I both know that though the pain still exists you survive. Through Matt’s journey he was able to support and help me to understand my father’s cancer treatment. He didn’t bat an eye meeting my father for the first time even though my father was at his sickest. Matt was not taken back at all by frailty we saw in my father that day or how my father’s appearance seemed to have aged twenty years from the pictures he had seen. Matt held me through the tears and rejoiced with positive results of my father’s treatment. 

I never imagined that after five short months of knowing each other he would ask me to marry him. As we drove back from a week in Houston, meeting his parents and spending time with my family at MD Anderson, our conversation was full of “if’s”. If we are together next year, If we come back here together, If we ever… Then Matt said, knowing as well as I did that God had a plan for us, “Let’s get if insurance. You know to insure that all of our ‘if’s’ will come true.” A few weeks later he held out a ring and ask me to marry him while  Johnny Cash’s Would You Lay with Me (in a field of stone) played in the background. The song that was once banned from country music radio for being too suggestive is actually a love song about being together for the long haul…would you lay with me in a field of stone, would you walk a mile through burning sand, would you wipe the blood from my dying hand - it’s a “till death do we part” song. With giggle I’ll say it freaked Shelby out as she also stood in the room, she could not grasp the lyrics at all and still to this day calls it “the death song.” 

Today, the rings that rest on the third finger of my left hand have such a different meaning than they did five years ago. You see, I never really felt the permanence of marriage before joining in union with Matt that perfect fall night on the green grass of a country club. Looking back, I know without a shadow of a doubt that that night God said, “My dear child I am going to prove to you how much I love you and this man is part of that proof.” I’ve never been loved like my husband loves me. I’ve never seen Jesus’ love shine so distinctly through another man. I never in all my life thought I could spill my brokenness, every single piece of it, out on another human and not get one single, “you did what? how could you have?”. I am telling you, everything single time Matt has matched with my broken parts with an “I still love you” and sometimes a “I love you even more.” Never, never have I received such unconditional love from someone (who was not my mother - of course) (because I know she’s reading this saying, “hey, I love you too”). 

All of our days are not perfect and we’ve probably done a few that’s that were not “right," but I want you to know that the one thing we did do is build this relationship on a strong foundation. From day one God has been at the center of our relationship. I am giving every piece of this to Him, to Him be the glory. 

I never imagined I would be here, I never imagined I would get to feel love like what I have today. I never imagined that I would have three beautiful daughters, two added in our five short years together. I’ve never imagined, but God has always known. He knew these plans at my lowest, when I could not see myself living into my twenties, He knew. I am so overwhelming thankful for His grace, for the restoration I’ve received and for the blessing I received five years ago.