A Wife Loved Like The Church

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Have you ever had words forming in your head, in your heart, only for them to get stuck? They just can’t move through your fingers, through to paper. I feel like that is where I have been for months.


I looked up stuck in the dictionary. It is the past tense of stick, which means to hold, cleave, or cling; to remain persistently or permanently.

I have to ask myself, “what am I clinging to? what am I refusing to let go?”. When the words won’t come, when what I am thinking or feeling just won’t release. What keeps me stuck?

Often I wonder if I’m afraid to feel all the feelings. Those feelings of pain, anger, fear. Those feelings of joy, happiness, relief. Afraid of the bad because it hurts so. Yet afraid of the good because it is so fleeting.

But what growth do I have if I stay stuck? Even if unstuck means pain, at least I’m moving.

So bare with me as I attempt to get unstuck. As I attempt over the next few weeks to let the words flow. They are sure to be confused, to be jumbled, as they unstick and move out of the muck. But move they must.

Do you want to know a secret? I love New Year’s resolutions. While I front by calling them pretty ridiculous, deep down I really love them, sorta like watching Hart of Dixie. It’s the idea of setting a new course, of improving yourself no matter how small, that is really exciting to me. 

This year I set out to stop wearing makeup. Weird, right? I mean, why makeup? Because I’m an odd duck like that and do really bizarre things. Actually, the full story is – I found myself unwilling to leave the house without makeup on. I’d do it, mostly because it’s not always feasible (8 am school drop off is just too dang early sometimes, ya know?) and who actually puts make up on to go running? Still given the choice I didn’t leave home without wearing at least coverup. What better way to break a habit than to give it up completely? I’m extreme like that. In fact, our family calls it “being Atwood”, since being extreme runs on my side of the family.

So when I felt this little makeup demon rise up inside me, I knew I had my 2014 resolution – The Year I Stopped Wearing Makeup.

Now, in all fairness, I’ve not sworn off makeup completely – mostly because I just can’t (or rather just don’t want to). Here are my two makeup rules ::

1. Only wear mascara and lipstick – I can remember my mom telling me that all the makeup a woman ever needed was mascara and lipstick. Who knows why, but I figured there has to be some deep, philosophical reason. Or, maybe my mom just knows that mascara makes our genetically light eyelashes look normal and lipstick is always a good idea. So I made the rule that I can wear mascara and lipstick anytime. Funny enough, out of sheer laziness I actually haven’t been wearing either one lately.

2. Special occasions – Now, this one could have some loose interpretation, but here’s how I define it – Any major event that calls for me to look more dressed up than usual (think special date night or large group event, but not just a typical date or GNO). So far, I’ve only had one special occasion earlier this month when I did in fact wear makeup.

A good three weeks in, and I’ve found that the less makeup I wear, the prettier I feel and the more self confidence I have – ironic, huh? Though, truthfully, when my face broke out like a teenaged girl for certain *cough* reasons *cough* (thanks for that part of the curse, Eve) I found myself longing for makeup. I felt awkward and silly with all those pimples covering my cheeks for the world to see. Good thing I have Invisalign braces and not traditional braces. Things woulda been real bad then, am I right?! 

And just so the whole world can see, here’s me sans makeup ::

Makeup Free Selfie #nofilter

Makeup Free Selfie #mascaraonly #nofilter

What’s the strangest/funniest/weirdest New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

Wednesday I started my first paying job since Julia was born.

The story is one that has been woven together by God. Truly and completely. I have pieced together how it all happened, seeing the story through different eyes. It’s all quite amazing when you hear it and realize how God orchestrated every little detail.

In December, I contacted the director of Hannah and Joseph’s preschool to ask about any job opportunities teaching. She wasn’t aware of anything but promised to keep me updated if something became available. At the same time in December, Sharon, Hannah’s co-teacher from last year, felt the Lord tugging at her heart to step down from teaching to focus on her family’s new ministry at church.

In January, the director emailed asking if I would be interested in subbing. At the same time in January, Sharon informed the school of her decision to focus on her family’s ministry. While sad (because Sharon is an amazing teacher with a warm, loving heart), everyone knew Sharon was doing what was best.

When I went in for my interview for subbing, I had been praying that a teaching position would be open. So when I was informed one had opened, I was thrilled. I wasn’t given much information, just the age range of the students. When I got home, I told Jonathan that while I had no idea of which classroom I might be in, I really hoped it was with Hannah’s other teacher from last year, Pam. I had gotten to know Pam well during Hannah’s time in her class and had just fallen in love with her. 

The next week I met with the director. She told me a bit more about the role and the classroom. I jokingly shared my hope of working with Pam, when she told me… The co-teacher position was indeed with Pam.

Funny, how something that seems so insignificant in the “big world” means so much to me. How God, even in the small things, is providing, is comforting, is showing how deeply He cares. How He laid it on Sharon’s heart to move in a different direction. How Sharon’s obedience to God opened up a position for me, with the teacher I hoped to lead alongside. How the classroom I’m in, already feels like home.

There are times when you get to see a glimpse of your story unfolding. How each step lead you to where you are. How each detail has been covered, each loose end tied up.

While this new job may seem small to others, it is ever so big to me.

What’s that? Christmas is less than a week away and I still haven’t finished getting/making all our gifts? Me falling behind on tasks? Puh-lease, that never happens. Except pretty much all.the.time.

The day after Thanksgiving, I spent about an hour looking through endless cards websites, trying to craft the perfect Christmas card. Our pictures this year were cute and hilarious {not that I’m biased}, but I couldn’t decide on a single card I liked. In a moment of frustration, I announced “That’s it! I’ve had it with this dump!” and vowed to not send out cards this year out of sheer stubbornness. Way to go with the grinchy attitude, am I right?!

Fast forward a few weeks and we start having Christmas cards arriving in our mailbox. Oh stars. I have some sweet, beautiful friends and family.  It warms my heart to see all those faces and relive some amazing memories. It simply makes this time of year even sweeter.

And then it hit me – I haven’t ordered a single Christmas card. By this point, it really is too late {unless we call them New Year cards – or if we’re really honest, Memorial Day cards}. Which means, I’m missing out on sending cute little cards, with cute little festive stamps, to all my sweet friends and family. Le sigh.

But, I’d hate to deprive you of the great pictures my friend Erika took, so I thought I’d share them with you all the same ::

Family Picture




Jonathan and Sarah


Kids - Joe Joe Crying

Merry Christmas y’all!

Today has been a hard day. I’ve felt anxious and overwhelmed. There isn’t any specific reason for it, just a tugging at my heart of heavier things.

I want to curl up and sleep, block out the low feelings for a little while until my cheery self returns.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

I read those verses today. Delivered from the domain of darkness. Transferred to His kingdom. Redeemed. Forgiven.

There is such comfort there. Comfort that this darkness can’t hold me. I am redeemed from it.

I may still feel like curling up, resting from the world a bit. But in that feeling, I can cling to the hope that this world is not my world, this darkness does not have dominion over me. I am redeemed. I am forgiven. I am His.

I’m starting to think that perhaps the most divisive issues among Christians aren’t theological issues but holidays. Celebrate Halloween? “Shameful! Pharisee!” Tell your children about Santa or that dreaded Elf? “You should tie a stone about your neck! Jesus is the reason for the season!”

Listen, I’m not knocking celebrating Christ’s birth. If Jesus wasn’t born all hope would be lost. We would be in utter darkness. In him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). Without the pivotal moment of Christ’s birth, everything would be for nothing.

Here’s what I am saying – lighten up. Celebrating Christmas isn’t a command. Nowhere does God tell us to celebrate Jesus’s birth with a holiday. Nowhere does God say that Jesus is the reason for the season. Actually, if we want to become pedantic, Jesus is the reason for ALL seasons. Perhaps {and this is a super radical thought} rather than harping about celebrating Jesus at Christmas, we could, I don’t know, celebrate Him all the time? Whoa. Mind-blown.

Honestly, our family doesn’t do Santa. Or that elf {which I harbor really negative feelings toward. But that’s a whole other post. Ha!}. While we decorate, things are kept low key. Our kids get just a few presents. We use December as one more chance to talk a lot about Advent. But, we also blare secular Christmas songs, watch Elf and Charlie Brown’s Christmas, bake dozens of cookies and bask in the beauty that is this time of year.

Ultimately, Christmas is just one more chance to talk about Jesus. It shouldn’t be seen as the only time we celebrate Christ’s birth. It’s just one more chance to celebrate it. Putting Christ in Christmas is ridiculous, because Christ is already in Christmas. Just like He is in Memorial Day or Grandparents Day. He’s there because He is always there, in everything. Because in Him and through Him all things have been made. We don’t need Christmas time to celebrate Jesus. We celebrate Jesus all the time because He is worthy of our praise.

This Christmas let’s make a truce. Let’s not shoot arrows at one another for our personal Christmas celebrations. Let’s not grumble when a parent lavishes their children with gifts {“spoiled brats!”} or roll our eyes when someone doesn’t “do Santa” {“ohh… so high and mighty! Pish.”}. Instead, let’s realize that Christmas is one more chance to talk about Jesus, not the only chance to talk about Him.

Julia turns 6 today. Excuse me as I curl into the fetal position and cry. Because 6? 6 is a big age. Already, she seems too old and I miss those days of when she was small. I can’t even imagine what an emotional mess I’ll become over next 12 years.


Dear Julia {Julia Mabel, Jules, Mabel, Mama},

Oh baby love. I’m not even certain I can write this post without shedding a few tears. You are incredible. Your loving heart, your compassion, your ridiculous sense of humor. I can’t begin to tell you what a treasure you are in my life. You are an old soul, who cares so deeply for those around you. Because of you, the Lord has taught me so much about how to love those around me more than myself. Thank you for always being you. For always surprising me with your strength that is wrapped in tenderness.

As you just begin your life {with starting school, making friends, starting “big girl” activities} I pray that you stay tender but strong. That you remember that God comes first, that your family is always for you, and that if you work hard enough you will succeed. This past year has seen you coming to terms with who you are in light of Christ. I’m excited to see how you grow in your understanding of God and biblical truth. I pray that you bury it deep within your heart and never stray from Him.

You are my delight and joy. Thank you for giving the chance to be a mama.

I love you,


Joseph turns two today. Two years old. I’ve written before that having my girls turn two is so much harder than when they turned one. One happens. Two is a milestone. Joseph is no exception. My mama heart aches.


Dear Joseph {Joe Joe, Judea, Papa},

Oh sweet boy. There are not enough words in the world to describe how much I love you. You are a delight and a joy to our family. Even as you hit the infamous “terrible twos” and learn to bug your sisters {as only a little brother can}, we wouldn’t want anyone but you. You have a sense of humor and desire to make others laugh {clearly a trait you got from your dad}. Then your sweet snuggles that you seem to save just for me {and I hope you never shy away from}. And the way that you fiercely defend your sisters when you think they are hurt/in trouble/need help. You protect them with all your might, which you firmly believe is much bigger than it really is. But I love it. I love that you have a heart for your family and go to such great lengths at your young age to show your love.

As you get older and the ways of this world tug on you, my prayer for your life is that you strive after God even harder than before. That, just as you defend your sisters, you defend your heart. That you fight off the lies this world want to tell you, and instead cling to truth. I pray that you learn what it means to serve and love God wholeheartedly and that you live your life always wanting to reflect your Creator. And I pray that daddy and I have the wisdom on how to guide you on that path.

Joe Joe, I love you. You are my sweet, sweet boy. While you may only be two, I know the years are fleeting and far too soon you’ll be grown. It will be bittersweet, so for now I’m going to soak up all of it I can. And I’ll try not to get upset when you pull down your pants and pee all over the kitchen floor. Again.

Love you, love you, love you,


Have you seen that new video of Louis C.K. and his rant on cell phones?  If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. In a nut shell, he aptly tells us to put away our cell phones and just be in the moment. Whether the moment is happy or incredibly sad, let those emotions wash over you. Allow that Jesus sized hole in your heart to radiate through your body. And he’s right. We really do need to stop filling our emotional needs with social media and the internet.

But can I tell you something?

Having a cell phone keeps me sane as a mother.

Like all mothers, I’ve used my phone as a “pacifier” at some point in the past 3 years. But frankly, our family views iPhone/iPad/tv watching as a right to be earned, so our kids don’t use it all that often. The chances of you seeing one of the Windham bambinos watching Daniel Tiger on my phone while we grocery shop is pretty much none {but I understand why mamas do it, so no judgement on my part}.

My cell phone keeps me sane because it connects me to my girlfriends. At the touch of a button, I can connect with a friend, send an SOS text, or just laugh at something hilarious a kid just said. Yesterday I sent out this text ::


My situation didn’t change after I sent out that message. In fact, because of a flat tire, Jonathan got home an hour later than expected. But, knowing I have women standing beside me, telling me that they understand and are right there with me, helps. A whole, whole lot.

And yesterday is just one example. Every day my cell phone keeps me connected to my mama friends who find ourselves on the brink of going completely cray-cray, letting each other know we aren’t alone. And it keeps me fighting. Keeps me grounded. Keeps me sane.

While Louis C.K. makes a valid opinion {and one I do strongly agree with}, I can guarantee you I won’t be giving up my phone any time soon.


I love the rain. Even when it’s inconvenient, there is something soothing about rain. It washes away the dirt, bringing life to the earth.

Austin Rain{photo credit}

It’s been raining here in Austin for the past two days. And it’s lovely. We need the rain so badly that there is something even more soothing about the downpour.

While my kids are going slightly cray-cray and might be watching too much t.v. {hey, there are only so many indoor games you can play}, I’m loving today. Sitting back, sipping tea, while listening to Nat King Cole and watching the rain. I’d call that a recipe for a nice, calming Friday.

Enjoy your weekend!


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