How to Change your Life on the Cheap


Those that know me, know that I passionately pursue simplicity in my life. It’s not that I don’t want anything, instead I’ve developed a heightened awareness towards those things I really need in my life. This has led me to sell things I own at a rapid pace, clear out closets and basements with abandon, and learn to live with perfectly dependable “old” things in my life.

In the spirit of a new year, and as we approach the end of our “setting goals” month of January, here are some totally foolproof ways to improve your life. I’m serious friends, these are game changers!

  • Buy new socks and underwear. Trust me, it’ll change your life.
  • Kiss your wife everyday. (After brushing your teeth of course.)
  • Buy a new razor. If you’ve got an electric razor, go ahead and order new blades every 6 months. It’s worth the effort.
  • Only drink one cup of coffee a day. Like real coffee, not those sugary chocolate drinks from Starbucks. Those are great, but save them for special occasions…and breakfast isn’t a special occasion.
  • Train for a 5k with your 10 year old. On a personal note, my 10 year old is kicking my tail.
  • When you first feel hungry, instead go drink a glass of water. If you’re still hungry, then go for it.
  • Eat an apple a day.
  • Hug your middle schooler. You’re still bigger than them, force it on them. They’ll thank you for it later.
  • Read out loud to your kids as often as you can. And yes, even the middle schooler.
  • Turn the TV off after 9pm.
  • Take the 2 minutes necessary to tuck your kids into bed every night.


Rusty Tools

Rusty tools
It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.

I love the above quote.  Against all odds, we make our way in life, and it’s good. So good.

Friendships. Prayer. Conscience. Honesty.  These are our tools.

I am not always the greatest friend….and occasionally my friends aren’t perfect either.  My best friendships aren’t shiny and pristine and without flaw.  Our conversations don’t always read like a movie script; sometimes there are not tidy resolutions.  But I count my friends among the biggest blessings God has given me.  I learn so much about the character of God by watching my friends nurture and love and forgive and celebrate.  It’s amazing.

My prayers don’t always get answered.  Sometimes God seems  inattentive.  Prayers that I’ve prayed for years start to sound old, and yes, they seem rusty. But then, suddenly, God moves.  He  acts  on my behalf.   I keep hammering away with that seemingly rusty tool, and God begins to build something.

Conscience and Honesty: Mamas are so grateful when we begin to see these things in our babies.  An apology rendered earnestly.  A confession given freely.  A tear shed over an injustice.  Conscience and Honesty are, to me, proof of our soul.  Telling the truth and acting on conscience isn’t always an act of self-preservation, especially when you’re 8 or 10 or 11.  It’s hard. But good.

Somewhere to Belong


My children have grown up in two different college towns, and it has never taken long for them to figure out which football team everyone is rooting for. My kids have experienced Saturday game days with tailgaters everywhere, flags flying on every corner, the sounds of the marching band in the distance, and the chants of so many different organizations all rooting on the same team. They ve learned which side we are on, by which jersey we wear to the games and which logos are on the hats. In the two college towns we ve lived in, it takes all of five minutes for my kids to join the tribe of whatever team calls our city home.

The excitement of college football breeds it s own lifelong tribe, but there are other tribes they quickly wanted to be a part of as well: the kids they eat lunch with, the girls who pass secret notes during school and the kids who round up a kickball game in the neighborhood each weekend. They want so much to be known and to belong to the tribes they see around them…

Read the rest of my contribution at the Lead Small blog at: