Today, I am so honored to join a few of my local blogging friends to continue our series about

I can’t wait to check out their take on parenting and see what encouragement they provide for each of us. What a blessing to glimpse into their lives! They are each wise, beautiful, and joyful mamas.

The White Buffalo Styling Co.

Eileen and Co.

Grace While We Wait

A lot of times when I read a book, more words seem to fill my mind.

Almost like a reflection.

Maybe all those years of teaching and encouraging children to “respond to what they read” is seeping through the edges of what all I have to learn.

Maybe that’s why when authors are writing their own books, their own memoirs, for example, they choose not to read another author’s writing that may be too similar to theirs for fear of sounding like another.

Whatever the case may be, I knew today I had to write a post about my kids.

And I had no idea where to start.

So like I did almost every night when I taught school and did photography and had no idea how I made it all work, I took a bath. But instead, I took a bath at 1 pm and thanked Jesus that I even had this opportunity.

And now as I write this, the verse when David calls out comes to my mind,

‘Who am I and who is my family that you have brought us this far?”

So I know you may tire of hearing my gratitude but I will never have the adequate words for how thankful for how God has written our story. It continues to blow my mind.

But hear me when I say: my prayer was to stay at home with my kids.

But in God’s way, He knew I would need a creative outlet. So He gave me this blog and He gave me photography.

And now, four years into this work-from-home-mom life, in this particular fall season, some days I am probably spending more time away from my kids now than I did when I was teaching. (Just don’t tell my dad because he kept telling me that would happen.)

Don’t get me wrong, Callie and I still have our Tuesday/Thursday mornings together. I still have the amazing opportunity to take her and my boys to school. I have the amazing blessing to get them off the bus or be here when my mom brings them home (she teaches at their school!). But in reality, it is not only Russ and I that raise them.

Let me give you an example.

A few weeks ago, Russ was already at his morning coaches Bible study and my carpool partner came to pick up my boys. Because we car pool with our very best friends that we have known for 20 years of our life, the ones we are able to DO LIFE with, we obviously know each other and our kids quirks well. On this particular morning, I had not seen the clothes Cray picked out the night before and so when he came downstairs dressed, I realized the pants were too short. Because this is a HUGE deal for him, I tried patiently to get him to change. But then I lost it. And I yelled and I ran out of patience. So by the time Daren got there, Cray was dressed in pants that were long enough (in hindsight, I should’ve just let him wear the pants, I know!) but Cray wouldn’t come to the car. Daren went all the way to the back of our house to retrieve him and he proceeded to carry him out the front door. He walked out the front door, put him down and Cray took off! He ran away and circled all the way around the opposite side of house until we found him alllll the way in our garden to which Daren and allll of his patience followed, picked him up AGAIN and took him back to the truck.

And ten minutes later, I got a text that he was laughing by the time he got to school.

And I could’ve cried.

When I texted back, “Thank you…”

Daren replied, “It takes a village.”

Oh man, how it does.

My children have baby-sitters and grandparents and great-grandparents that help.

They have basketball players and Sunday school teachers that love them. That pick them up for lunch and that take them to plays for their Christmas presents.

THIS is how we raise them. It’s not just us pouring into them! It is our community.

Callie’s biggest debate right now is whether Bubba or Bess is her best friend.

Who is Bubba? Her favorite basketball player.

Who is Bess? Her Monday night baby-sitter.

When you ask her what she wants for her birthday, she replies, “Get my ears pierced. Mrs. Lindsay will take me in her tiny car.”

Mrs. Lindsay has children that are already in school all day. But I can name a list of people that not only to take care of my kids, but they take care of ME.

THIS is parenting.

It’s knowing each other well enough to stop by, pick up the kids and go to dinner.

It’s knowing each other well enough to say, never mind, I’m bringing dinner over….without asking.

It’s letting them spend the night after pumpkin carving because they’re having too much fun.

It’s seeing them on Sunday morning in Sunday school and knowing them so well, you help them get dressed because they’re running late OR overlooking the way they ARE dressed.

It’s dropping off cleaning supplies because there just wasn’t time to go to the store before the cleaning lady came.

It’s picking up the candle in the store because it made you think of your friend.

THIS is our life.

And our open door policy not only makes our lives so much fuller,

it opens our hearts to a door we never want to close.