Life and Culture

My Most Embarrassing Moment

I began babysitting for my high school cheerleading coach, Toni, when I was about 14 years old. At that time, she had one boy, Carter, and was pregnant with Lauren. By the time I graduated high school she had three, beautiful children whom I loved and cared for as if they were my own little brothers and sister. Right before I went away for college, Toni asked me to go on vacation with her family and her brother’s family of four to help with the kids. I said yes, and we had a great time. However, on the very last night of our trip, something went terribly wrong… I woke up that last morning to someone nudging my shoulder and saying my […]

When Body Image and Swimsuits Collide: A Guide for Every Woman

Sitting here with a bad sunburn after a day at the lake for Father’s Day, I can tell you one thing that has changed my life and my summers with my children: not caring about my size or what people will say when I slip off my bathing suit cover. I was 5 feet 5 inches tall and 95 pounds in high school. My mother was 5 feet 3 inches tall and 100 pounds, so I was a small girl. Back then I would lift weights to bulk out a little. All those wonderful kids I went to school with gave me the nickname ‘Toothpick.’ Oh, if they could see me now. I was skinny and never had a weight problem, but […]

The Beauty of The Declaration of Independence

Here at Grit and Grace Life, we want to take this opportunity to share the document that paved the road to the formation of The United States of America. The Declaration of Independence was written in July of 1776 by a group of men who fought valiantly against rulers who wanted to usurp authority over the forming nation. This document is worthy of review, and we do so in remembrance of the sacrifices made and challenges overcome by the brave husbands, women, and children of that day… The Declaration of Independence IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the […]

Why This Kind of Dad Makes a Strong Kid

My husband and I were watching a singing competition the other night, and I noticed an interesting trend during the competitors’ interviews. Time after time, the contestants made similar claims. The reason they were standing there, taking a televised risk, was because of their father or father figure. For most, the influence of a positive male role model made a difference in their lives. It’s what made them a strong kid, promoting an overall confidence and a healthy self-esteem. The kind of confidence you need to pursue big dreams. This observation sparked a new curiosity within me. Why do fathers make such an impact? What is it about a dad’s role, specifically, that seems to almost make or break a child? While Grit […]

Faith

What to Do When the Holy Spirit Whispers to You

Many of us have a desire to live lives of purpose and meaning. The Bible is full of messages about loving our neighbor and serving each other and God. But when it comes to taking a leap of faith to answer a quiet calling, that is when things get much more difficult. If the Holy Spirit has ever whispered to you, chances are you were inclined, at least in some small way, to ignore it.  Those whispers can feel inconvenient, unexpected, and uncomfortable. They call us to projects and ideas we feel we’re unqualified to do anything about. But the genius of those Holy Spirit whispers is that they are impossible to ignore. They keep whispering until we’re left with one question: […]

Can We Know God Loves Us?

I have walked with God for a good many years. I met him as a child, ran from him as a teen, surrendered to him as a young adult as he relentlessly pursued me, and I have sought to follow him since. There have been seasons filled with faith, believing every promise, and feeling so confident in my purpose and the warmth of his presence. I have also had seasons when I felt as if I was drowning in heartbreak, despair, and discouragement, wondering if he was even there or heard the cry of my heart. Wondering as I have believed if God loves us. In the discouraging times, when God felt so absent from my life, I immediately thought that I […]

Marriage Advice That Will Change Things More Than You Think…

A wise friend once told me that before you get married, ask all the couples in your life whom you respect and have a marriage worth emulating what their best marriage advice to you would be. I thought this was quite brilliant, and I spent the months leading up to my wedding doing just that. My favorite words of wisdom came from my mother-in-law, Pam, who has been happily married for 40 years and who is involved in marriage ministry. She told me four simple words: “Weed your own garden.” Needing some elaboration, I asked her to explain. She said one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your marriage is to constantly focus on what is wrong with your spouse, on their […]

Bible Verses From the Grit and Grace Team on Grace

What would we have if it weren’t for grace? Where would we be? Only through grace can we receive God’s love, and be forgiven for our mistakes. In His grace, He sent His son to die for us, so we would be saved forever. It is through His grace that we receive hope and peace for the day. Grace is in our name because we cannot live a balanced life without it! Read below to see how much of an impact God’s grace has had on the team at Grit and Grace Life. Verses that teach us about grace: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your […]

Motherhood

Raise Your Boy to Become a Strong Man

As a mom of four boys, I am thinking of the attack on manhood lately. It seems like I know a lot of great women and not too many great, strong men. I guess it depends on what your definition of a great man is, but I think most of us can agree on what it is not. And that’s not who you want to raise your boy to be! Unfortunately, due to cultural influences and the period we live in, I believe there is a rise in the number of passive, lazy, and entitled “boys who can shave.” Men who still live in their parent’s basements play video games for as long as possible, thus putting off such beautiful privileges such […]

Old School Parenting Makes Happier Kids—and Moms

Recently, our neighbor across the street recounted a conversation he had with a friend about our four boys. At first, my eyes got wide imagining what he said as images of my naked 4-year-old on a skateboard speeding down our driveway last week flashed through my mind. He quickly put me out of my angst, however, by sharing with me that he tells people it’s like 1969 at our house. I laughed in relief but then said, “Wait, what do you mean?” He smiled and responded, “Your boys are always outside, always laughing and dirty and don’t even know what a video game is! I love it! Reminds me of my childhood.” Such kind words. I wish my kids didn’t know what […]

You Need to Talk to Your Teen Girl About Sex, Here’s How to Do It

Are you that mom who would rather stick an icepick through your eye than talk to your teen girl about sex (seriously, it doesn’t have to be that bad!)? Or maybe the idea of sex conversations makes you squirm a little. We need to talk, girlfriend! First, let’s talk about why you need to have the conversations. Notice I said conversations. This really should be an ongoing conversation that starts in preschool. But if you are behind the 8 ball, and even if you fear that your daughter may have already had sex, take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. It’s time to talk. The reason why research has demonstrated that abstinence programs have not been successful (teens who participate in […]

Sure, It Was a Disaster… But Not a Failure

Lately I’ve been feeling like a failure and I just can’t seem to shake it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been with my kids for six months straight and I literally can’t remember the last time the house was clean and quiet. Or maybe it’s because we’re smack in the middle of a pandemic and every single decision I make (or don’t make) has me questioning whether or not it’s the right one, and whether or not some crazy butterfly effect will take place six months down the road, where I’ll look back and realize I have done something terribly wrong. Either way, I just had to sit down and write about it because I have a feeling I’m not the only one, […]

Relationships

How to Become Friends with Your Neighbors

It’s one thing to dream of neighbors gathering around your table when you have ample, decorated space, freshly cleaned bathrooms, and kids who keep their toys in their rooms and their crumbs on their plates. It’s a different kind of story when you’re renting a humble home with upside-down outlets. Unforgiving, flat-painted walls. Nicked linoleum. Then the dream gets turned round and round in your heart as you ask, “Why?” and “When?” and “How?” But the best dreams don’t wait for us to be ready. They meet us in boring, over-tired, spilled cheerios, right-now moments. When we feel most inadequate. When we most need hope. That’s where our family’s dream started. It’s also where it began to collect dust. If I could […]

7 Dating Tips for Successful Relationships

Looking for a man worth your time? Here are a few tips that will help you avoid wasting time on Mr. What-Was-I-Thinking. 1. Make a man list. Every woman has a few non-negotiables. Write them down as your top “not going to settle for less than these” traits. Also add character traits that are important; those that will complement yours. Remember no man will meet all your criteria, but if you don’t know what you’re shopping for then you just might buy the wrong thing. 2. Relax. Dating should be an enjoyable, relationship-building exercise, not a pressure cooker ready to explode. Enjoy getting to know someone, without constantly second-guessing and being filled with insecurity. 3. Don’t lose you. If you have to become someone […]

Marriage Advice That Will Change Things More Than You Think…

A wise friend once told me that before you get married, ask all the couples in your life whom you respect and have a marriage worth emulating what their best marriage advice to you would be. I thought this was quite brilliant, and I spent the months leading up to my wedding doing just that. My favorite words of wisdom came from my mother-in-law, Pam, who has been happily married for 40 years and who is involved in marriage ministry. She told me four simple words: “Weed your own garden.” Needing some elaboration, I asked her to explain. She said one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your marriage is to constantly focus on what is wrong with your spouse, on their […]

If Your Man Didn’t Propose (But Should Have) Read This

To the girl who didn’t get the engagement you were expecting, this is what you need to do to finally get a commitment… You tried not to get your hopes up, but deep down you feel like it is time. He’s the man of your dreams and he says you are the woman of his. You’ve been together long enough for him to know if he wants to make that big commitment. And it doesn’t help that it seems like everyone’s boyfriend is popping the question these days! Maybe you were hoping it would happen over the holidays… Then, Valentine’s Day… Or, perhaps you were daydreaming about the perfectly planned summer proposal leading to a beautiful fall marriage. You even dropped some […]

Purpose

5 Helpful Tips for Loving Your Body the Way It Is

My body shaming started in fifth grade shortly after a classmate made up a “clever” little saying about my breasts. She recruited a group of boys who all chanted for days: “Rachel’s so flat a pancake would be jealous. Flatty cakes, flatty cakes!” Good one, sister. I was 11 years old… of course I was flat. As junior high came into full swing—and then high school—I noticed when friends blossomed as my own adolescent development seemed to lag behind my peers. When I finally started my period at the age of 15, I felt defective for showing up to the puberty party late. Over the years, I’ve abused, neglected, badmouthed, overworked, and shamed my body. Some of my shaming was induced by […]

Have a Dream You Keep Putting Off? Here’s How to Make It Happen

What have you always wanted to do? What do you dream about doing that you dismiss, put off, or tell yourself that it can’t happen now or you just have to wait until the time is right? Everyone has a dream. Everyone. I don’t care if you are 100 years old. I know you have one. If you think you don’t, you are lying to yourself. I’m just being honest here. I know that we are often too self-critical, but there are parts of our lives where we just flat out lie to ourselves, keeping us from living the life we were designed to live. Our words are the most powerful tool we humans have. So powerful that they can destroy generations—yes, […]

How to Create More Balance in Your Life

“Finding more balance” didn’t make it on my list of goals last year, but it’s near the top of my list this year. “Balance” is the oft-touted buzzword that can appear like an idealistic antidote to an overextended life. To create more balance in your life is the sought-after state of being that lies buried somewhere beneath our packed calendars, productive natures, and overstimulated selves. It’s the common prescription for what ails us, the ideal overall condition: “Stressed? Re-evaluate your work and life balance”…”High cholesterol? Try to maintain a balanced diet”…“Women should balance it all.” You can create more balance in your life! Though we may yearn for schedules and lifestyles that foster equal measures of work, play, and rest, the question […]

Here’s Why You Should Question the Stories You Tell Yourself

“The most powerful stories may be the ones we tell ourselves.” —Brené Brown¹ It wasn’t the loaves of homemade bread she’d bake for our family, the way she’d serve me Ovaltine in bed before school, nor the daily schlepping to swim practices and other after-school activities. These acts of devotion certainly made her a fantastic mother, but what earned her the title of “The World’s Greatest Mom” was largely due to the stories she told. With creativity and ease, her words flowed into dashing tales around similar themes. There was always a high-stakes rescue coupled with unassuming heroes who overcame weaknesses, flaws, and fears. Even though the settings, outlying characters, and storylines varied each time, the hero protagonists did not — they […]

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