PC: Hian Oliviera via Unsplash

It was October 2006, the year I walked everywhere because I didn’t have a car.

I left my downtown office late that night, and by then it was dark. On foot, I passed pass one dark corner and then another, winding my way through autumn-colored streets to a coffeeshop in the bar district. On my right, the low-income high-rise spread out over most of the block next to the post office, fortunately still lit up.

I was alone, and I felt it. I walked briskly as the darkness and the nighttime chill called for it. And then I heard footsteps…

While leaders and parents are busy caring for their families and organization, but who is watching out for those who watch over others?

Nearly 2000 years ago, the Roman poet, Juvenal, asked the question, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Or, “Who watches the watchmen?“ Five years ago, after my husband and I birthed two babies and a church plant, I started asking the same question.

It didn’t happen overnight, the fear and hopelessness that carved a hole in my insides in the fall of 2014. We celebrated our small but seemingly sturdy church plant launch in the summer of 2012. Our…

For the last four years, I’ve indulged a guilty pleasure: watching television shows from the 80’s and 90’s. Everything from Cheers and Frasier to Seinfeld, Friends, and lately, The Golden Girls.

I felt cynical about this habit for the first few months, especially since I’d vetoed Fuller House before it even landed its first season on Netflix. Where was our commitment to art and originality, I’d mused self-righteously? Yet I’d become one of those nostalgic people I’d already judged. I rolled my eyes at myself.

But after coming up for air after an extended bout of postpartum anxiety several years…

PC: Philippe Murrary-Pietsch

It was just after 5 a.m. and still dark as the steel gray Amtrak squealed along the tracks into the Topeka train station. My three year old, barely awake, sat uncharacteristically proper next to me on the bright red bench seat, his feet dangling over the edge without touching the floor.

His car seat with the five-point harness leaned against my tired, pregnant legs. I normally wouldn’t get up at 3 in the morning to catch a train, but my second baby would arrive in two months, and I wanted to cram in as much adventure with my oldest as…

PC: Alex Guillame via Unsplash

Today I de-cluttered, just a little. It wasn’t by choice. It was forced upon me when my son dragged out a drawer from my nightstand, gutting its contents. I guess this was his way of saying, “Mom, do you really need all this?”

As I took two bags of unnecessary stuff out to the trash, I wondered to myself why I tolerate so much clutter, especially for a self-proclaimed stuff-purger.

The sock without a mate for years. The paperwork, teaching CDs and manuals collecting dust in piles in corners.

I guess I keep it because I think, If I ever…

A dream fulfilled is a tree of life, they say. But they forgot to mention it can be a burden too.

PC: @helena_cook via Unsplash

Five years ago, I found myself pregnant with a dream fulfilled. A little boy, our second child. There are three and a half years between our kids, but we didn’t plan it that way. I expected our second to come sooner.

Waiting and praying for the first child used up all the minerals of hope in my heart. I cried and prayed the prayers desperate mothers have prayed for all of human history. I wrung out all my faith…

When we receive something from someone, we give value to them and what they offer.

PC: @evankirby2 via Unsplash

“Where are my Christmas presents?” my son whined in the kitchen a few days before the holiday festivities began. Nervous I was raising one of those kids, you know, the demanding ones, I reassured him Christmas was coming, but quickly tacked on a reminder that Christmas is not just about gifts.

“We want to be givers,” I retorted to his distracted ears. But that was mostly for my benefit.

I want to be known for my generosity. And not just that — I want to…

PC: @tanjaheffner via Unsplash

My husband and I experienced quite a bit of conflict in our early years of marriage, and it could be distilled down to one reason: our love languages. He experiences love through encouraging words and acts of service. I feel loved from quality time and physical touch. The short story is these differences initially created tension and misunderstanding about how best to love each other.

One of the lessons I learned early on, however, is the power of gratitude for the small things. …

PC: Mikail Duran via Unsplash

I used to mind the wrinkles gathering like old fabric around my middle. I cringed at the stripes I earned from one baby and then two, stripes that left once and then came back and never left.

I used to pull and tug on the undesirable parts, holding them in proper position, wishing they’d obey and just stay. right. there.

But as soon as I let go, argh. They’d retreat back to the places gravity inspired them to rest. I would sigh, disappointed. Thinking the best years in this body must be over.

After my sons were born, I used…

PC: Emma Highfill

When I was pregnant with my oldest son, John, I felt lovely. As soon as I learned I was pregnant, I knew his name and that he was a boy. My friend took maternity photos of my blooming belly. I read to him, sang to him, and blessed him. I wanted to have a glorious welcome into the world.

But not everyone in my world joyfully anticipated the changes children brought. In fact, the nearly unanimous decision of my friends without children was that parents used their children as excuses to leave parties early or go to bed by 8…

Sarah Siders

Therapist for families in early childhood years. Boy mom. Writer. Co-pastor of The Well with my husband. Connect at www.sarahsiders.com

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