The One Truth You Need for Parenting

I could come up with a lot of names for that first year of baby-raising. The year of no sleep. The year of caffeine. The year of hormones. The year of no time alone. The year of craziness. The year of depression. The year of joy. The year of I-must-be-insane-because-how-can-I-be-fine-one-minute-and-full-blown-angry-the-next?

Honestly, I wish we would call it “The Year of Grace”. Most moms don’t give themselves enough. They’re trying so hard to be super mom, they don’t realize their kids already think they are.

I was about three quarters of the way through our first year with baby #3 when I realized Josh and I were both yelling at our kids way too much. And then I started seeing our bad actions replicated by our children… that’s a yucky feeling.

I was carrying the weight of my guilt and making sure Josh saw our mistakes too. Doesn’t every husband want a wife to point out his flaws? I owned my share of the flaw, so I thought it was fine.

Over and over, I’d tell Josh we have to control our anger. What is happening to us? Why can’t we get it together? We need to do something about our parenting. Our parenting is the problem. How can we fix it? Read books and blogs and research. Try methods from this expert or that mom.

But in one moment of my desperate search, I stumbled upon this truth. If I take care of me, I’ll take care of my kids. If I make sure Lisa is okay, then my parenting will be okay. If Lisa is well, then my family will be well.

As I feed and fill myself, I can feed and fill my kids. It’s kind of like breast-feeding. I have to take in sustenance to make milk for my baby. If I don’t get enough calories and water the milk will dry up, and I will have nothing to feed my child.

If I don’t feed myself I will dry up, and I will have nothing left to give my family.

This is where the grace comes in. At some point I recognized I was still in YEAR 1 with my baby. That first year is not easy. It’s freaking hard, and that’s OKAY. When I let go of the impossible standards I was holding onto for myself, my whole family benefitted from it. I had to allow for my flaws and Josh’s. Grace for myself and grace for my husband.

Breathe that in.

You have permission to be tired and grumpy with a messy house. You, also, have permission to get away and go be you – not mom or wife – just you. While you’re away don’t beat yourself up for all the things you’re doing wrong and don’t worry about the baby – he or she will live. Instead, focus on the things you’re doing right. And tell the guy you’re doing life with that you appreciate him too. Gratitude goes a long way in changing one’s attitude and outlook.

Gratitude and grace. Hm… that combination could change my whole life.

Here’s to you, sister! You’ve got this. You’re doing great. No one else expects the impossible from you, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. Your kids already think you’re super mom. Go feed yourself and be filled. Breathe in that grace, and extend it to others.

I’m cheering you on!

What is a Woman’s Worth?

Do you ever feel invisible?

Like you might be doing the most important work in the world, but no one notices.

You could be raising the next great scientist, artist, human rights activist, or just decent human being that treats others with kindness. Lord knows we could use more of those (i.e. Charlottesville, Las Vegas, Orlando, [insert city of choice here]).

Here I am trying to raise those decent human beings. I’m trying my hardest, and it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. It, certainly, isn’t glamorous. This morning I cleaned pee off the floor RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TOILET. Take two more steps, kid! TWO!! You’re a dude. All you have to do is stand in front of the toilet and aim!

I am so immersed in feeding, wiping, cleaning, teaching, disciplining, I can hardly find myself in it all. Where is Lisa? Who is she? Have my duties so absorbed me that without them I am invisible?

I find myself searching for answers in wrong places that seem right… my job, my husband, my kids.

”Job, did I do well? Pay me what I’m worth. Give me the recognition I crave.”

”Husband, who am I? Tell me I’m valuable. Tell me I’m worth your time.”

”Kids, am I doing this right? It seems like this all-consuming role is my sole identity, yet I feel like I’m constantly failing.”

I know I am not alone in this. I am so sure of it. Our worth as women gets attacked over and over again in this world. In the workplace. On the Internet. Among friends. In our own minds. How do I battle this?

This week the unsettled feeling grew stronger, and I entered church Wednesday night with expectation. I desperately needed to meet with God. My feeble attempts to make time for Him at home had not been enough. It was during the song Reckless Love when the Holy Spirit so clearly spoke,

“You are priceless. I gave everything for you. I gave everything for you. I gave everything for you.“

My worth is not found in others’ approval of me. It is not in sweet accolades. It is not the number on my paycheck. It is not even in the words or actions of my husband and children.

My worth is found in One who is greater than I, and, yet, He gave everything for me. Sacrificing His very life that I may live. I have to meet with Him daily. I have to lean in and listen to His voice. The approval and recognition for which I long, flow freely from His mouth. And how much sweeter are those words when they come from someone who knows my very best and my very worst?

He has seen me parent well, and He has seen me yelling at my kids at 5:00 when I’m trying to make dinner and the baby is fussy and Josh still has another hour of work. And He says, “You are priceless.” He has seen me pull off a damn good event, problem-solving the heck out of a wedding, and he has seen me flub my way through stuff I know nothing about. He says, “You are priceless.” He has seen me display patience and kindness with my husband, and he has seen me be downright mean to the man I love. He says, “Daughter, you are priceless.”

It was in that moment of worship with tears streaming down my face that my soul found rest. In Him. I find rest. In Him I find my worth. And while that moment was transformative, the attacks will not stop. Daily, I enter a world that tells me a woman is worth nothing. Daily, I must meet with the One who tells me a woman is worth everything.

A Father’s Day Letter To My Husband

You’re in bed next to me with our little mini-me-man curled into your side as we both type words onto a screen. I am proud of you. For so many reasons. For stuff like building a business, growing a business, and selling a business. For starting a podcast and sticking with it for a full year even as we both wondered, “Will we ever make money again?” For taking risks I couldn’t fathom – and I would certainly never take on my own if not for you saying, “I have an idea…” For taking the biggest risk of all: choosing to be a dad; raising little humans with the hope we don’t screw them up somehow.

I think it’s the biggest risk one can take. Being a dad. You go into it with no experience and almost as little knowledge on the subject. I’ve seen you in some rough times – difficult seasons. But you had wisdom to reach out to men who have been there – men who traveled the path before you. Thank you.

This season though… you’ve found the sweet spot. You are relishing and treasuring. You are enjoying dad-life to its fullest. And I? I am relishing and treasuring. The shared smiles and laughter when our kids do something precious. The nightly wrestling matches on the living room floor. The soft, sweet dad-voice reserved only for your little girl.

You are an amazing daddy, Joshua. And I am proud of your many accomplishments, but they are nothing compared to the love you have for your children. Your achievements only enhance the love you have for your kids, because I know the motivation behind them is providing for your family and leaving behind a legacy.

Most of all, thank you for modeling to our children the true nature of a man. For being the type of husband I want our son to be and our daughter to marry. Thank you for showing our children how a dad loves his kids and how a husband cherishes his wife. And last, but certainly not least, thank you for bringing fun into our family. Because what is life if we aren’t enjoying it?

Happy Father’s Day.

josh and kids


Why I Can’t Sell the Rocking Chair

Dangit! That thing is falling apart and used and worn. I’ve wanted to carry it out on trash day more than once. The community yard sale was the perfect excuse to get rid of it. I was all set to sell it and then…

I tried to rock my baby (read: 2 year old – who will soon be a grown man, graduating college, and getting married) to sleep in a different chair, and it just wasn’t the same. It was bumpy and not glidey. Pokey and not cushy. All I could think of was how I’d never again rock in the chair that I’d rocked both my babies to sleep in for the last 4 years.

The chair where I’ve nursed my babies and snuggled them close. The chair where I’ve read Bubbles, Bubbles and Mr. Brown Can Moo. The chair where I’ve spent hours wishing children would fall asleep so I could lay them in their crib and so many more hours wishing I could hold them forever, willing them to never grow up.

It’s the same chair I’ve sat in time after time with an aching back or sore feet from going all day long. I’d finally take a moment to stop, to rock my little one, and that’s when I’d hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. I can’t tell you how many times the Lord’s whispered to me in that chair. Mostly because it was the only time I was still and quiet; not distracted by the to-do list or the TV.

And oh how many prayers have gone up from that chair! Prayers for protection over my family. Prayers of blessing on my children. Prayers for their future spouses and even for the parents that are raising their future spouses! Prayers for my husband. Prayers for guidance. Prayers that call upon the Lord to act – to do what he has promised!

So much of my life – the parts that are rich with meaning – has happened in that chair. So many precious moments. Heaven help me, but I don’t think I can get rid of that ugly, beautiful, falling-apart, old chair.

Italy Trip: Day 7 – Family Legacies

We started our day by attending mass at the smaller of the two churches in Gallo. We entered late and took a seat behind the only other four people attending. All older ladies.



Michael, Josh, and I all wanted to go. Even though we knew we’d be unable to understand it, we wanted to sit in the place where perhaps Joseph Muccio attended as a young man. I’m learning so much family history through this trip and I can’t possibly share all the details, but here’s the basics…

Joseph Muccio was born in Gallo Matese and is the grandfather (or Puppo) of Michael Muccio, which makes him Josh’s great-grandfather and our children’s great-great-grandfather. He left Italy when he was just 17 years old to come to America where he settled in Pennsylvania and married his wife, who was also Italian.


As I sat in the little church I don’t think God could’ve spoken to me more clearly if I had understood the words the priest was saying. Continue reading “Italy Trip: Day 7 – Family Legacies”

Italy Trip: Day 5 – Galleria Borghese & Pantheon

Today was lovely and restful. We weren’t trying to bang out a bunch of tourist spots and driving ourselves to exhaustion because of it. I am not a fan of feeling the pressure to see everything that’s here just because you are here! You’ve gotta build rest into your vacations.

The time difference has been hard when waking up in the morning, and in Rome restaurants don’t open for dinner before 7 or 7:30. Since you don’t want to go to sleep right after eating dinner, you stay up late. Plus, at home it’s not bed time. Our buffet every morning is from 7 to 9 AM. Today we made it down there at 9:05 AM. Aye… It’s like waking the dead. But, oh how I love those heavy blackout drapes!


Josh napped after breakfast and I relaxed before we walked to Galleria Borghese. We ate a block of cheese and fresh bread on the way.

Continue reading “Italy Trip: Day 5 – Galleria Borghese & Pantheon”

Italy Trip: Day 4 – Pienza, Tuscany

Today has been amazing! We drove all over Siena, Tuscany tasting wine, climbing castles, and buying pecorino cheese & Italian leather. I am satisfied.




I was growing a bit weary of the city and longing for some green. Josh and I booked a tour with Walks of Italy and I recommend it 110%. We’ve learned so much and enjoyed every single part of it. The views are gorgeous. The wine is delicious, and the lunch with the Italians prepared on their farm will be a forever memory. Continue reading “Italy Trip: Day 4 – Pienza, Tuscany”

Italy Trip : Day 3 – the Roman Forum & Colosseum

Today was both good and disappointing. Basically, the colosseum closed for a special event before we could get inside to see it. We did, however, see the Roman Forum and used the Rick Steves free audio tour to learn about it all.



I purposely picked out a novel with Rome as the setting for this trip. Of course, I read the whole thing on the flight here, because I’m a book nerd, as my loving sister Kati calls me ?. Ancient Rome is intriguing and depressing all at the same time. Continue reading “Italy Trip : Day 3 – the Roman Forum & Colosseum”

Italy Trip: Day 2 – Rome & the Vatican

Food and art. Mmm… The two things that have drawn me to Italy. My sophomore year of college I took Art History with Professor Opp. And thanks to him I fell in love with Renaissance art and the Baroque period. Art History was not an easy course – it was challenging, which made me appreciate it all the more. I learned so much and knew that one day I’d have to see the works for myself.

When I stepped into St. Peter’s Basilica today and saw Bernini’s baldacchino (the bronze pavillion) I was amazed at the size! In class, I memorized artwork and artists and dates based on tiny pictures, and to see this piece in real life and so massively huge brought tears to my eyes. “I am here. I am in Italy,” I thought. It finally hit me.


Continue reading “Italy Trip: Day 2 – Rome & the Vatican”