Wife to the world’s most patient husband, Kevin—I call him Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome, which might be why he’s so patient with me. Mom to the Crazies, our four sweetly wacky kids—kids we never thought we’d be able to conceive: Cassidy, Blake, Avery, and Sawyer. I write fiction and nonfiction for tweens and teens, and Christian inspiration books for women.
When I’m not inhaling Starbucks mochas and plotting my next book, I work from home as an editor and volunteer youth minister, and as a full-time snack maker, couch snuggler, laundry slayer, floor mopper, not-so-gourmet chef, homework helper, kid chauffeur, and tantrum tamer. I am living proof that geeky girls can live happily ever after.
Who are the Crazies?
We’re a wonderfully imperfect family, fighting to do this Christian parenting thing God’s way. We do a lot of random gymnastics at inappropriate moments. We have epic sock toss battles, and frequent dance-party-related injuries. We call ourselves the Crazies, because we really are—but most days, we mean that in a good way. I pray the lessons we’re learning, trying to wrestle Christ into the chaos of family life—will give you hope, practical help, and a lot of good laughs.
After three years of marriage, my biological clock wasn’t just ticking; it was firing off hourly cannon shots complete with fireworks displays. But let’s back up a little.
In 1999, I married my college sweetheart, Kevin Thompson, after several years spent swooning over him from the passenger seat of his Dodge Avenger as he gave me a ride to church every Sunday morning.
It took a church trip to Paris and a bite from a candy apple offered to me by another boy while Kevin stood there watching to make Kevin realize, “Hey wait a minute. I’m in love with that girl, but she’s here in the most romantic city in the world, on a date with someone else, and he’s feeding her candy apples. Maybe I should get a move on.” So he did. A year later, we were engaged, and nine months after that, there we stood at the altar, in front of my dad and eight hundred fifty family and friends. (That’s just what happens when your dad’s a preacher at a big church. We weren’t really that popular.)
At my wedding, my dad read this passage from Joshua 21:45: “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed. Every one has been fulfilled.” I was crying my makeup off; Dad was trying to cram 22 years of parental wisdom into 8 minutes; my about-to-be husband was trying not to faint.
But what a moment that was, looking back on a beautiful family life that was closing its childhood chapter. My dad could say with confidence that God had fulfilled his every promise to our family, as my parents had put God first.
I look back on the way my parents raised me and my three younger siblings, and I shake my head in wonder. God’s ways worked. My childhood was spent as a Preacher’s Kid, moving up and down the Eastern seaboard of the United States, serving churches from Boston to Miami and many cities in-between, and yet . . . we were—and are—happy. We still love—and like—each other. In spite of our countless foibles and flaws, God helped my parents to build a family filled with laughter and friendship and faith. So as I stood there on my own wedding day, a semi-grown-up making vows, how I longed to build the same kind of rich family life with my new husband!
Three broke-but-happily-married years later, once the baby-cannon started firing, I turned to Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome and said, “And now, let there be babies.” He looked at me with vague panic haunting his eyes, but said, “Okay! That sounds fun. I think?” I expected that we’d just get off birth control and four weeks later, we’d be doing a happy dance around the bathroom, positive pregnancy test in hand—I mean, that’s how the get-pregnant thing seemed to be happening for all my friends. Only it didn’t happen that way for us.
Four weeks later, we were like, “Huh. Bummer. I guess we should play more romantic music this month.” Six months later, a seed of worry started burrowing into my heart. One year, two years, two-and-a-half years later—still no baby. Not even one false alarm convincing enough to make us run out and buy a single pregnancy test. Our struggle to conceive lasted two years and nine months, and we felt every minute of every day spent waiting. (One day I’ll tell you more about that painful time in our life—for now, we’ll move on.)
When God finally, finally (finally!) gave us the baby we’d wept and begged and bargained for, on Christmas night 2005, our world flipped upside down and life changed forever, for the good. (You can read the so-amazing-it-sounds-like-we-made-it-up story of Cassidy’s birth here—her story has also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas!)
Sometimes we joke that all those thousands of prayers for children got accidentally routed the wrong way, and then they suddenly found the right path and slammed into heaven all at once, until God was like, “OKAY! You want babies? I’ll GIVE you babies! Here! And here! And HERE!” Before we could say “birth control,” we’d had three babies in less than three years. We call it the Turbo Family Plan. We were launched into parenthood so fast, we could hardly breathe. But breathe we did, and laugh we did, and learn we did, and eventually, we got a full night’s sleep. And then we decided, “What’s one more?” (That must have been the full night’s sleep talking.) So now we’re a family of six: Two parents, three spunky girls, Cassidy (9), Avery (6), and Sawyer (2), and one sweet boy, Blake (7). (And the kids would insist that I also count the book-eating dog as a second son. So . . . yeah. There’s him too. His name is Cole.)
We’re an imperfect family, fighting to do this godly parenting thing God’s way. Our house is too small and our kids are too loud. There are a lot of random gymnastics at inappropriate moments. We have frequent dance-party-related injuries, and epic sock toss battles. We call ourselves the Crazies, because we really are—but most days, we mean that in a good way.
When I write about family life and Christian parenting, I come at it from two angles: From the perspective of a girl who was raised by wonderful Christian parents, and who had the privilege of watching what they did and why it worked; and from the perspective of a mom-in-training, learning as I go.
I pray the lessons we’re learning, trying to wrestle Christ into the chaos of family life—will give you hope, encouragement, and a lot of good laughs.