Family, Life lessons, Motherhood

Fearfully and wonderfully made

She is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Listen y’all…I snapped at my daughter last night, not because I was angry at her or anything she had done, but because what she said made me very angry at the world. Let me explain…

We’ve always encouraged our children to make healthy choices and we regularly exercise as a family. This is not an overly-obsessed, zero sugar, no processed foods, no Happy Meals, all organic all the time kind of home…far from it (kudos to those who are that…you do you). We believe in moderation, but working out is just something we enjoy doing together and helping the kids understand healthier food choices now will (we hope) set them up for an easier future. What I have been very conscious of as a mother is never obsessing over my weight or size or using the word “diet” in front of my children and especially in front of my young daughter. Sadly, that doesn’t mean I don’t obsess about those things in my own mind, but simply that I have done my best to keep that burden from her.

I am angry that we live in a world that, despite my best efforts to protect you, has somehow convinced my beautiful 8-year-old daughter that the skinnier you are the better you are.

So, when my daughter came into the living room last night and proudly proclaimed, lifting the front part of her shirt to show me her progress, “Mom! Look how skinny I am after my exercise!” I lost it. She is 8 years old. My reply should have been more calculated and calm, but what came out was a blur, “Stop worrying about how skinny you are! You are 8 years old and you are strong and smart and healthy and beautiful! Life should never be about how skinny you are!” She looked at me stunned as tears filled her eyes. She slowly walked back upstairs and quietly closed herself into her room.

I stood there stunned and unsure of what to do or say next, knowing that this was a big life moment. Once my own tears dried, I lightly knocked on her door and sat down at the foot of her bed to explain. “My love, I am not mad at you or angry at you. I’m so proud of you. I am angry that we live in a world that, despite my best efforts to protect you, has somehow convinced my beautiful 8-year-old daughter that the skinnier you are the better you are.”

I did my best to explain to her that I’m so mad that somehow our society has convinced us that as girls and women we all have to look the same and that perfect look should start with being skinny. I’m mad that despite my efforts to shield her, these ideas have crept into our home like a thief stealing her childhood innocence. I’m so mad that the world feeds us fake images of perfection and makes us believe that anything less is unworthy. I’m tired of a world that has taken our happiness captive and held it hostage until a certain size is achieved.

I told my little girl that the world is hard enough on women and sometimes the world is unkind, so we have to learn to be kind to ourselves. We want to be strong so that we can help others. We want to be healthy so that we can run and play with friends. We want to eat good food so that we can have focus and energy to learn in school. I want her to be fierce and loyal and caring. I want her to be confident in who she is and fearless. But, skinny is never the goal. I told her over and over that she is beautiful just the way God made her and if she takes care of herself the way God instructs us all to, then she will look exactly the way God intended. Above all, she is so very loved and perfect in my eyes and in God’s eyes.

As a mom, I wish I told myself those things more often. I wish I looked at myself and saw what God sees and not the insecurities that this world has given me. I want to be a better example, but I want my words to be true for myself as well and not just something I tell my daughter. I want to be fierce and loyal and caring. I want to be confident and fearless. Ladies, love yourselves. Everyone, love your girls and any young girls around you. Love exactly who the Lord made you to be and embrace whatever it is that makes you special. Take care of what you have so that you can live your best life no matter what size jeans you live that life in.

Family, Life lessons, Uncategorized

Thank you Quarantine

Dear Quarantine,

You’re getting a lot of hate right now. You’ve turned our entire world upside down. Because of you and that virus we’re scared, overwhelmed, restless, unstable, lonely, unsure of the future. Amidst the chaos let me be the first to say, thank you.

Thank you for forcing me to slow down. Thank you for reminding me that “essential” has lost its true meaning. Thanks for the time to snuggle and learn to ride bikes and for the silly moments that we would have rushed through. Thanks for giving me time to work on my passions. Thank you for the time to complete some of the endless projects that have only been building to this point.

Thank you for the hours of laughter that I would normally miss during the day. Thank you for the milestones I may have missed and for the lifelong memories. Thanks for forcing us to find new ways to connect and for reminding us of what we’ve all been taking for granted.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Thank you for highlighting those among us who are fearless defenders of our health, safety, and comfort. We salute them.

Thank you for turning many in our world to the Father – the peace-giver – when our peace could no longer come from the world and comforts we’ve built around ourselves. You have reminded us that the world is mostly good and that the Lord created us to be overcomers. Thank you for pointing us toward the One who never lost control amidst the chaos and for reminding us that there is a peace that passes all understanding.


A grateful quarantiner

Family, Life lessons, Uncategorized

To the man who loved me first…

Maybe it’s because as the youngest child I spent much of my youth with just you and mom. Maybe it’s because we’ve always shared a passion for sports and music. Maybe it’s because we both cherish tradition. Maybe I just simply never lost the wonder a little girl has when she believes her daddy is a superhero. Whatever the reason, even after three children of my own, I’ve never stopped being a daddy’s girl.

I still hear your voice and words of wisdom almost desperately pleading with me, lingering long after I walked out the door as you tried to hang on to your little girl, “Remember whose you are,” not only as your daughter, but as a daughter of the King. Your words remind me still to live worthy. You prayed over me as I stepped out into life on my own and I’m certain you continue to pray for me today.

I chose a man who treats me like his queen because I grew up seeing myself as your princess.

You encouraged me to be strong, to practice hard, and when the time came to put my game face on. You taught me to make no excuses. I only know my own strength because you brought it out of me.

You taught me to work hard, pray hard, love hard, give everything, and then when all is settled, take a nap.

A little girl will never see herself with more worth than when she looks at herself through her daddy’s eyes. I chose a man who treats me like his queen because I grew up seeing myself as your princess. I’m lucky to have had such an incredible example of a husband and father and friend. And though he stole it years ago, you were the first man to have my heart.

No matter what, I’ll always be your little girl.

Your sweet pea


Life lessons, Motherhood, Uncategorized

What soccer gave me…

Listen y’all…I know that many young women (even those who desire to have children someday) cringe at the term “soccer mom.” The term invokes images of minivans filled with stinky, noisy children, and Capri Sun straw wrappers everywhere. For me, there is nothing better. The only thing I ever wanted to be was a soccer mom, both literally and figuratively. I love Saturday mornings gathering up gear, rushing to games, cheering on the sidelines, bringing team snacks. I love it all.

As a lifetime lover of soccer myself, I dreamed of kids that loved the game as much as I do. As a kid, my dad was always my coach and my mom never missed a game. My brother and sister also played. We were a sports family, but soccer was always #1 in my heart. Because of that, I always hoped my own family would be the same.

I don’t want my kids to play soccer, I want them to have all of the things that soccer gave me.

This weekend my daughter took the field for the first time. She was the one
with the beautiful brown ponytail all the way to her bum swinging with every
step. She was the one dancing in the middle of the field with the pink cleats and shin guards, and the giant matching bow in her hair. She’s not quite the tom boy I was growing up. She didn’t score a goal. I’m pretty sure the few times she touched the ball she dribbled in the wrong direction. But, still, as I watched her on that field my heart was happy. She was laughing with her friends and she really loved that bow. I’m almost certain this soccer mom somehow gave birth to a cheerleader.

I’m not living vicariously through my kids or trying to force my passions onto them. Playing soccer was not a chore, it was what I loved to do and I want my children to find that for themselves – even if it does end up being cheerleading. These are some of the most cherished memories I have growing up. On the field is where I met my dearest friends, who are still my closest tribe more than 20 years later.

I learned more about myself in those 90-minute games than in any classroom. I learned to push myself both mentally and physically. I learned how to balance my time and how to fulfill commitments as part of a team. I learned how to be a good teammate by relying on people and “leaving it all on the field” for something bigger than myself.  I learned how to encourage others and I learned how to suck it up when I fell flat.

Soccer taught me how to be tough. It taught me that “practice like you play” carries over to the real world in so many ways. I learned how to be coachable and how to be a valuable member of a team even when you aren’t the most naturally talented. I learned that everyone has something to give and nearly everyone is stronger than they think they are.

I don’t want my kids to play soccer, I want them to have all of the things that soccer gave me. If in the end the game turns out to be baseball (Lord help us) or ballet or cheerleading or any combination, I’ll be happy as long as my children find something that they are passionate about. I want them to love something that isn’t always easy. I want them to fail and I want them to win. And I want them to cherish the memories they look back on.

But, also, I really want them to love soccer 😉

Life lessons, Marriage, Motherhood

To the one whom my soul loves: I see you.

To the love of my life and father of my children – I see you.

To the one who comes home from a long, stressful day and musters up the energy to wrestle on the floor and play Barbies – I see you.

When I’m feeding baby, helping with homework, and praising songs and you aren’t sure where you fit in any more because God and country have pulled you away for so long – I see you.

When baby is crying, dinner is burning and the bigs are fighting I see you wanting to help, but feeling mostly in the way. I see your heart wilt just a little every time the baby reaches for me out of your arms when I walk in a room because mom is most familiar.

I see your desire to be the man God would have you to be, so that when our children follow in your footsteps their paths are straight.

When my emotions are high from a lack of sleep and a day of chaos and you have to bear the brunt of my frustration or feelings of inadequacy – I see you. When I’ve given everything I have to every other piece of our lives – our children, our household, church, friends, and family – and you’re wondering if there will ever be anything left for you again – I see you. When most words escape you, so all you do is give a lingering hug and say “I miss you” – I see you.

When you catch a glimpse of them playing sweetly or sleeping silently and a smile of awe and wonder appears on your face – I see you. After every moment of discipline or parenting struggle when you’re second guessing every decision and hoping you’ve made the right choice – I see you. When your heart fills with sorrow because you want to teach and guide and mold, but disciplining is hard – I see you. I see your desire to be the man God would have you to be, so that when our children follow in your footsteps their paths are straight. As you hold the baby and pray that you can do right by him – I see you.

I get to see the you that most do not have the privilege of seeing. I see the you that is most afraid of the tiniest of humans because they are the most important things in your world. I see the you that sometimes feels lost in his own home; the you that is simultaneously needed for everything and nothing. I see the man that wrestles with balance and prays that every word is spoken in love and in lesson. I see a man identified by strength crumble at the cries of a child.

This season of our life is not easy, but what a joy it’s been to navigate it by your side. I know that you feel like you are constantly taking a back seat to everything else in life, and more times than I’d like to admit, you are. But, I promise, I see you. And I promise this season of our lives won’t last forever. Although, something inside me tells me that when it’s over we’ll only wish we could have it back.

But, for now, to the one whom my soul loves – I see you.

“I have found the one whom my soul loves.”                                                – Song of Solomon 3:4 

Joe and Andrew

Life lessons, Uncategorized

Her hands…

You can learn a lot about someone by looking at their hands. Our hands tell the stories of our lives. In our family, these hands have been passed down from generation to generation. These hands remind us that we are family. We are unbreakable. These hands remind me that to be a “Wilcox girl” is both an honor and a responsibility.

Today, she is no doubt holding her daddy’s hand at the feet of Jesus. 

The Bible talks a lot about the hands of God because the thought is relatable, and comforting, and a powerful reminder. There’s nothing more personal than someone’s hands.

Today, my Aunt Jan went home to be with the Lord, but the lives touched by these hands will continue to love her until we see her again. Today, she is no doubt holding her daddy’s hand at the feet of Jesus.

There are many things I’ll remember about Aunt Jan. I’m sure everyone has their own precious memories that they will cling to. I’ll remember her laugh. It was the kind of laugh that could fill a room and brighten 1,000 suns. It’s the kind of laugh that stays with you. I can hear it even now and it makes me smile. I’ll remember her hugs. An embrace that surrounded you and was so full of the love that just poured out of her. I’ll remember her love for her family and her God. I’ll remember her hands.

We love you Aunt Jan. While a piece of our hearts went with you, we carry the truth that we will see you again. Until that day….


Life lessons

Life is now.

Listen y’all…

Too often we spend too much time anticipating the future that we miss out on the beauty that is right now. As I searched through rows of quaint shops in a small, charming German village for the perfect sign for my new home’s entry table I stumbled across a vintage-style sign that simply read, “Life is now.” It was everything I was looking for. I was so proud of my find that I rushed home and carefully placed it on the easel that had sat empty for weeks. Then, in true male fashion, my husband burst my bubble with one question: “What does that even mean?”

Let me back up before I give you the answer.

I’m a planner, and though he doesn’t fully realize it, my husband is too. As active duty Air Force, our life isn’t always suitable to planning, but in 2016 we had a great life going. We were stationed close to home and surrounded by family. We found a family in our church home like nothing we’d ever known before. I had a career I loved. We bought our first home. We started our family. One boy, one girl. Our family was complete and our world was turning out perfectly as planned.

Wherever you are, whatever season, whatever place…life is now. Don’t waste today waiting for tomorrow.

Then, in July 2017, a surprise came in the form of two pink lines, which meant the family we planned was expanding. We felt blessed, of course, but thrown off track at the same time. Then, as we prepared to wrap our minds around this new future, in October 2016 we received orders overseas. An adventure no doubt, but an adventure that would tear us from the family and friends that we loved so dearly and the world that was easy to plan.

As we made our way across the sea with our new beautiful and perfect addition to our family, another boy, I found myself constantly thinking about how I couldn’t wait to get back “home”. It was a strange feeling because after 13 years in the military I had come to know that “home” is where the Air Force sends you. I kept thinking about the travels we could have when the kids were older. I found myself just holding out for the days when the newborn in my arms was no longer nursing, or the little princess was no longer napping, or all three kids were in school. I was looking forward to final orders and a forever home. I longed for Sundays when we’d be able to worship with our church family again. I held my breath for the days and weeks our kids could enjoy with grandparents and cousins. I grumbled at the reality that my career would have to start from ground zero once again.

And then, in the back room of a quaint shop in a small village in Germany I received a sign, literally and figuratively. Life is now, and if I wasn’t careful, I was going to miss it.
How lucky are we to be able to give our children the opportunity to experience life overseas? What a blessing it is to be able to rely on God to uncover the plan he has for us to serve Him in our new surroundings. What a treasure our young children are, at their wonder of the world and how desperately we’ll miss them when these fleeting moments are gone. There are so many adventures we can go on now.

So, listen y’all. Don’t wait for your children to grow. Don’t wait for your forever home. Don’t wait for the comforts of the life you once knew to return. Don’t wait for life to get easy or for your job to get more stable or for your bank account to grow. Don’t wait for whatever it is that you think is better in the future. Life should never be put on hold.

Wherever you are, whatever season, whatever place…life is now. Live it. Love it. Be grateful for it.  And hang on, because if you allow it to be, this life can be a grand adventure right now.

Life is Now