That Phase of Friendship I Wasn’t Ready For

It started with a bunch of giggling girls putting on make-up, sipping from Red Solo cups while ready for a night on the town. Our friendship was formed through fun and blowing off steam in college.

Then we took turns throwing bridal showers, bachelorette parties, donning bridesmaid dresses and walking down the aisle. Our friendship was strengthened as we grew from girl to woman to wife.

Our friendship was strained a bit as we struggled to find the balance of marital bliss and maintaining friendships. The strong, true friends grew even closer.

Before we knew it, we were taking turns throwing baby showers. We rocked babies and shared new mama advice. We cried tears of sadness for those of us that struggled to get pregnant. Our friendship was nurtured as we cared for each other.

Careers and life Girls Trip!has spread us across the country, but we keep in touch almost daily through texts. And one glorious weekend each summer, we get together. We are once again a bunch of giggling girls only with a few well-earned laugh lines.

Now we are in a phase that we weren’t prepared to hit us so quickly. A time when instead of our texts being light hearted with private jokes and summer plans, they are filled with tears and requests for prayers. Almost half of our group of girlfriends are dealing with serious illnesses with our parents or in laws. As you get older, you know that you will have to deal with the natural progression of your parents aging, but I wasn’t ready to deal with it in my 30s.

Although I hate that we are faced with this phase already, I am so grateful for their friendship. We are all fortunate to have wonderful, loving, and supportive husbands. But sometimes you just need your girlfriends. Husbands have it engrained in them to be “fixers.” Unfortunately, there is no “fixing” this situation. Sometimes you just have to talk it out….cry it out…and even laugh.

That is why God gives us girlfriends.

Because my close friends, Jodi, Nancy and I are all facing similar battles with our loved ones, we are able to support each other unlike no other. Nancy and I sat on the phone last week and just cried together because we understood exactly what the other was feeling and because simply…we could. That is just what friends do. God works through Jodi to call or text just when I need that pick me up. I like to think He does that through me for her too. After years of friendship, we are so in tune with each other that we know when to reach out to each other despite the 1,000 miles that separates us. But most importantly, we pray for each other. We know the importance of prayer for the patient but also the family surrounding them.

Although I wasn’t ready for this phase of life or friendship, I am thankful for my girlfriends that help me get through it sane.

As I write this, I am listening to my own daughter giggle and sing as she and her friend, Bonney, are making a dance video. It makes me smile. I pray that Ella is blessed with girlfriends like mine that will be there for her through all the ups, downs, and phases of life

Was My Diploma A Waste of Time?? SLM Collective Post

When I went away to college at The University of Tennessee, I didn’t know a soul.  At my mama’s urging, I went through Sorority Rush.  I was hesitant.  I didn’t want to feel like I was “buying” my new friends.  However, my mama’s argument that it would be a good way to meet a lot of people quickly was compelling enough for me to look past my naive notions.

And how glad I am that I did!  On the first day, I met my friend, Becky.  I don’t know if we hit it off so well because we were both from Kentucky or our mutual love of Days of Our Lives.  Nonetheless, as I sat with her on Preference night with tears running down my face, I knew I had a friend for life.  Of course ours were tears of muffled laughter while others surrounding us were much more serious 😉

I am lucky to have a lot of strong women in my life that learn from every day.  Becky is one of those people to me.  I have selfishly been looking for something for her to write about for my blog, so I could share some of her wisdom and wit with my readers.  She posted something on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it was my aha moment!  As a Stay at Home Mom, it really resonated with me.  Enjoy!

Recently, an older gentlemen asked me what I studied in college. I answered in a humble manner explaining my degrees to which he replied “How does that help you raising kids?”

Awkward silence.

When he asked me this question, I just made a face and shrugged it off. I am not one to engage or confront.  His question insinuated that I wasted my time going to college. I allowed this thought to rent space in my head for a few days. Now, I am thankful he asked me.  It gave me the opportunity to put words to my convictions.

There is so much to say. Where do I start?

Children are sponges.  Ever heard that phrase?  Well it is true.  You pour more into those fast changing little beings with your actions and example than with the lectures you give them.  Want them to be kind to others, be that kind person.  Want them to work hard?  Show them your hard work, past and present.  Want them to have skills and succeed?  You continue to build your skills and help those around you doing the same.

Example to Pursue Learning – I hope I never stop learning.  Of course it may have started in the classroom, but those habits to follow my interests in a meaningful way are still very much alive in me.  Never stop learning, folks!  It doesn’t have to be at an expensive college, but never stop moving your mind forward. It is invaluable for your kids to see those efforts. Who wouldn’t want their children to love learning?  They are more likely to follow that path if you go first.

Discipline to Achieve Goals – School was not always fun and certainly not always easy. I had bigger goals. I set and achieved those goals.  My kids know that I worked diligently to achieve my goals and with hard work, they can too!

Equipping for Employment – I provided for our household while my husband pursued his higher degree full time.  My income bought our first home and helped us save for the flexibility to stay at home after our first child was born.  We worked together on a seemingly endless path to make a better future. I consider it a tremendous blessing for my kids to understand the partnership of hard work and mutual support involved in those early years of pursuing degrees. Unfortunately, that future we build towards is not guaranteed to be easy. I have two friends who became young widows in the past two years. Life can change so quickly and dramatically.  If I had to go back into the work force to provide for my family, then I would be better equipped to do so. It is about creating better opportunities for ourselves and our families.  My kids will understand this more and more as they mature.

Community – The future we were building was for our family, but also for friends, church and community.  We serve in different ways inside and outside our home.  Was my college education part of preparing me for that? Absolutely. If I can teach my children to place a high value on serving my community, then I consider that a huge win. My pursuit of higher learning showed me the larger communities out there to serve in ways that I never would have realized otherwise. I have friends of various backgrounds and cultures. I was blessed to see perspectives outside my immediate circles.  That sense of community holds value in the way that I influence my young children.

I do not currently earn an income outside the home. A person’s education should not be considered irrelevant base on that fact. I may never get another paycheck in my life.   I have no regrets about the time and money I spent to get those little pieces of paper called diplomas.  The whole experience shaped me for the better into the Mom I am today.

Countless blessings can come from a lifelong dedication to learning for my family and myself.

~ Becky Thomas


Becoming a Special Needs Mom: Autism…From Diagnosis to ADVOCATE

The SLM blog has been an unexpected blessing to me. At first it was a means to an end…building my platform. However, it has evolved into a place for me to encourage, inform and just laugh. I am also blessed to have some of the most amazing women as friends. Women with inspirational stories and motivating messages. I love that my blog has allowed me to marry the two, so that I can share my platform with some of these fascinating women so they can touch more lives.

When I started asking some friends to contribute, Beth was at the top of the list. She is another one of my girls in my “book” club that doesn’t read books 😉 She is a mother of FOUR boys. When she was faced with adversity, she not only faced it, she took the bull by the horns… 


Becoming aA few years ago, I was a stay at home mother of four young boys. Life was crazy and hard. At that time, my boys were 6, 4.5, and my twins were 18 month olds. My job consisted of countless diaper changes, feedings, and messes. Just to keep my mind from melting to mush, I tried to keep up a blog. There is one particular entry that I posted when my husband was on a business trip.

My dear sweet husband went away on a business trip last week. While I do understand that he was working, I still can’t help from being a little envious. The thought of leaving my house and all the work that goes along with it, just to go to an interesting place, stay in a hotel, be around adults and have adult conversation. To worry about just me, for a change. To get myself ready for the day, to watch what I want on TV, and to have some peace and quiet.

From If SAHMs Went on Business Trips

What I didn’t know at the time was that a year later, my life would become much more complicated and stressful. That is when I went from being that mom of four, to adding “special needs mom” to my résumé. About a year after I wrote that post, one of my twins was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. It was the hardest thing I had ever been through in my (early) 30 years of life. Being a pediatric nurse, I knew what Autism was. Since it had been 10 years since I was in nursing school, my information was outdated. I had worked with patients at various ends of the spectrum, but it is so different when you are looking at your Beth and sonown child. Your hopes and possibilities about their future begin to blur. I guess if you want to get honest, that really is how it is with all children and their futures. We really have no control over how their lives will be. There was just something so humbling about looking at my young son, who was then only 2.5 years old. He wasn’t talking, he wasn’t communicating, he had serious fits (beyond regular toddler tantrums), and he did all of these behaviors that I just didn’t understand. It felt like the uphill climb you take while raising your kids, just became a very steep and slippery hike. I had worked with families who received life-altering diagnoses. I knew that I wanted to be the type of a family that circles around my son and grows stronger while supporting him. You know, the kind of stories that you read about in “Upworthy” or “The Mighty.” The thing about striving for that is that it takes a lot of work, a lot of faith, and an unwavering commitment to achieve it. I have come to realize that even then, there is no “happy ending.” We are just making that decision everyday to stay strong. It is out of this realization that I became my son’s advocate.  

Over the last two years, I have done a lot of research, talked to therapists and special education teachers, read books, and participated with my son in a research study. All of this was in an effort to understand him so that I could understand his needs. the psychologist that diagnosed him prescribed for him ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy. Even though it is the most effective, evidenced-based treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders, I have avoided it.

The reason I haven’t sought this treatment for him is because it is very expensive and my insurance doesn’t cover it. I was very shocked to find that out when my son was denied. For me, it was like denying anyone the medication or therapy that would help any diagnosis. The most simple way to explain this is to say that medical science is further ahead than the rest of the systems. Essentially, the laws need updating to include Autism. Most states have started recognizing that, and consequently, have passed laws to mandate the coverage.

Unfortunately, my state, Tennessee, is not among the 43 that have done this. I recently attended a conference about Autism Law, to learn more about advocating for these changes in my state. The insurance is just the starting point for a long list of needs for the Autistic community. It is a good place to start because if more children were diagnosed earlier and had access to these therapies, then they would be better prepared to enter schools in Kindergarten ready to learn. If they were able to learn language and social skills around the same time that their peers are naturally picking up on them, then they wouldn’t be as far behind other children in developing these skills. The goal isn’t to “cure” children of Autism, but to give them the opportunity to learn how to calm their minds so they can learn and express themselves.

So a year after I wrote my post about business trips for moms, I found myself on one to help myself, and other parents in my state, to advocate for our children. Of course, I still did manage to enjoy some of the things I mentioned from that post, because none of my children came with me!

What can you do to help? Pay attention when you hear about these needs in your state by going to Autism Speaks and sign up to receive emails. You can also inform others about the need and have them sign up as well. If you are in my state of Tennessee, feel free to contact me to get more involved in making this change. The truth is, everyone will be touched by someone on the Autism Spectrum. Your children will be in class with them, your coworker may be taking care of a family member on the spectrum, you will be among them in everyday society. You will be fortunate to know these remarkable people, so let’s help them and their families get them the treatment they need.  

Then they can learn to share themselves with the world too.


Moses, the Nursing Mother

I am honored to have my good friend, Jessie Weaver, guest post this evening.  She has been a great friend and prayer partner for almost ten years.  Thanks Jessie 🙂



Breastfeeding has been a very sweet part of my relationships with my kids. I know it’s not that way for everyone, or even many. But for me, it’s been relatively easy (at least until the kids hit 9 months or so). And it feels like something I thrive at!

I can supply all the nutritional needs of a human being! I make milk! I make babies fat! My own body gives my children what they need—for free!

I can’t deny that it does begin to wear on me after awhile, though. My precious David has always been a major Mama’s Boy. His whole infancy, he just wanted to nurse. All the time. And he continued to nurse until he was 20 months old. (About when I got pregnant with Joshua, which I think is probably why he stopped.)

By the end of our nursing experience, I was pretty over it. He no longer needed those nutrients, although they didn’t hurt, of course. But I was tired of being screamed at every morning as he cried for “GAGA!” 
I was tired of being exposed in public as he pulled on my shirt.

The nursing relationship is very give, give, give, and you don’t get a whole lot from it, except some good snuggles and bursts of oxytocin.

In Numbers 11, Moses is plain fed up with feeling like a nursing mother. I can’t blame him, really, given that he was a pretty old dude responsible for what was probably more than a million people.

In this chapter, the “foreign rabble” traveling with the Israelites have begun to wish for Egypt—the food, in particular. Then all the people start complaining to Moses, wanting the vegetables they left instead of the manna God was providing miraculously every day.

In his complaint to God, Moses says, “Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? … I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!” (vv. 12, 14).

No one can nurse a baby forever. Children are meant to detach from their parents.

It’s beautiful that God gives us leaders who are willing to carry us along like infants for a while, too. But leaders, just like parents, can’t carry that burden forever. Before God even took care of the “meat issue,” He assembled a pack of leaders for Moses to rely on, to ease his burden as a “parent” of these people.

Read Numbers 11 and see what happened to the Israelites and foreigners who succumbed to their whining and desires. It’s not pretty.

There comes a time for children to stop nursing and for Christians to stop being weights for their leaders.

Of this passage, Matthew Henry’s Commentary says, “We should not indulge in any desire which we cannot in faith turn into prayer, as we cannot when we ask meat for our lust. What is lawful of itself becomes evil, when God does not allot it to us, yet we desire it.”


Jessie WeaverJessie Weaver is a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home mom to three kids: Libbie (6), David (4), and Joshua (2). She and her family live on a private high-school campus in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her devotional, Parenting Parables, leads moms through 30 days of quick writings and some journaling to help them see God in the everyday moments and think about the Bible in new ways. You can grab it for $2.99 for Kindle or on PDF. You can also find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

Girls Night Out is Not Nice…It is Necessary!!!

GNO is not just is NECESSARY
Feather Boas. Bride and Bridesmaid tshirts. Blinking tiaras. Plastic, tacky necklaces. Loud giggling women. The Bachelorette Party is the mother of all Girls Night Outs.

Somehow Nashville has become the Bachelorette Party destination in the South. Every weekend Broadway turns into a sea of Bachelorette gals ready to have a night to remember…or not 😉 Although you couldn’t pay me enough money to get in the midst of that crazy today, I thoroughly enjoyed it 13 years ago at my own Bachelorette Party!

My Girls Night Out has changed drastically since I got married and especially since I have had three kids. They are fewer and much further in between. In fact without a concerted effort, they could easily disappear all together.

I have come to realize that having a Girls Night Out is not just nice… it is necessary.

Sometimes you just need to take a night away from the responsibilities of your family and just be YOU. No one tugging on your shirt. No one asking for more milk right when you finally sit down. No one saying “Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Maaaaaammmmaaaa!!!” until you turn around. No one who needs his food cut up.

You need a chance to get dressed with no spit up on your shirt. Maybe you will even wear a skirt because you won’t be sitting on the floor!! You deserve a night to be able to sit and finish a drink (or 2!) before the ice melts. You may even be able to have a conversation, and the only thing that interrupts is your laughter. You eat a meal that is hot, delicious, and not prepared by you. It is amazing how I can go from 10% battery to fully charged after a night out with my girlfriends.

Although I feel so blessed to me a mom, I admit it is stressful. No one told me that once I became a mom, I would instantly become vulnerable like I had never been before. Now there is a piece of my heart that is living outside of me. Sometimes that can be a bit overwhelming. My oldest son, Ethan, slept in this morning for the first time in forever. I actually stood outside his door at 7:45 contemplating if I should go in and put my finger under his nose to see if he was still breathing. Like seriously. I was so close to going in.

Being a mom can make you straight up crazy. Your husband doesn’t understand that, but your girlfriends do. You can talk about your crazy, laugh and realize that we are all crazy together. Even though we try hard to keep up this persona of the mom that has it all together, we are all a wreck sometimes. There is a comfort to hear that you aren’t the only one that struggles on occasion.

There are times when laughing through the stress isn’t going to cut it. Your girlfriends can also be a strong source of encouragement for you. I always talk to my husband, Eric, first. However, even he will admit, that there are times when he just doesn’t know what to say or do to help me.

When I was going through a particularly hard time a couple of years ago, it was my girlfriends that were the rays of sunshine that helped me through the day. A sweet card with a mason jar filled with chamomile tea left in my mailbox. A pretty bunch of daisies with an encouraging Bible verse left on my back porch. Praying with me on a bridge outside our kids’ gymnastics class. Seriously outside of a fictional romance novel, most men don’t do that kind of stuff. And those things are needed when times are tough!

All of these things encouraged me and reminded me that I had a whole support system. Sometimes you spend so much time inside the walls of your house with your immediate family that you forget that there are others who care for you too. Your girlfriends can help dry your tears (or let them all out when you really need a good cry!) or laugh until you forget what you were upset about.

God gave you your girlfriends for a reason. They can relate to you unlike anyone else. And like all blessings that God gives us, we should care for and nurture them. Sure texts and FB posts are nice, but just like any relationship, you have to invest a little time and effort.

Sometimes Girls Night Out isn’t a night out at all. I have a group of girlfriends from church that meet every other week after our kids go to sleep for Book Club at my house. We haven’t read a book in over a year, but we won’t stress about that 😉 As us Baptists say, we “fellowship.” Loosely translated: we meet, eat, chat, and “cackle like hyenas” as Eric describes it. Some of it is silly and frivolous, but it always ends with how we can support and pray for each other. We have become each others rock during the most trying times. I can look at each girl in our group and see how God brought us each together to support each other in our own unique way.

So we are all busy and getting a night out just isn’t in the cards. I also have girlfriends that I just meet and go on a walk with. Sometimes it is just us. Sometimes we watch our kids play while we circle the playground talking about life. You already know how refreshing I think a good walk is! The setting isn’t important. It is the time spent on the friendship.

As I have gotten older, I have learned that I would rather invest my time in a small group of good friends than spread myself thin among several shallow friendships.

My best friend, Jodi, lives way too far from me. I am in Tennessee and she is in the New York. Once a year she gets visits her parents in Kentucky. Yesterday I loaded up the kids and drove 4 hours to spend the day with her. It went entirely too quickly, but it was a blessed time. The rest of our crew from college is getting together this weekend for our annual girls weekend. I am missing it because I am traveling to the She Speaks Conference. It makes me sad I will miss this fun filled weekend, but I feel so blessed to know they will be praying for me and cheering me on from afar.  And I will laugh twice as hard next year to make up for it!!   😉

Girls Trip!

2014 Girls Trip. This photo was not at all staged 😉

So go ahead. Set a Date. Make it a reoccurring event on your iCal. And make spending time with your girlfriends a priority too. It isn’t just nice. It is NECESSARY.