10 Uplifting Things About Being A Single Parent


There is much out there about how depressing and tough single motherhood is. I'm a single mom and the sole support of my children, which includes college tuition (YOUCH).

Seriously, I can't think of one bad part of single parenthood. It has been way healthier for my kids and me than life 2 years ago and prior. The only time I sit on my bed and cry as a single mom are the days when I think about my mom. My bedroom is full of her art, furniture, and rugs. Memories of her abound everywhere, and there are days when I miss her and just cry.

But to cry over the frustrations that come with being a single parent–why? For what purpose? God has it. He brought our family through FAR tougher times. I used to cry for my marriage, for love, for companionship, for a healthy emotional life for my children, for the ability to actually pay the electric bill and cell phone bill. Now, my children are healthier, and I know God has great plans for our future.

Do we have our days of "Mom, I got a speeding ticket." or  finishing the 9 a.m. math lesson at 11:45 p.m. or slamming bedroom doors. Yes, those do happen. But compared to life just 2 years ago and the years prior to that–this is a cake walk! Thank you, Lord!

He led my kids and I through it–and trust me, there are some unbelieveable stories–if He lead us through THAT, I now have peace knowing He isn't going to abandon us.

Let's not dwell on "where is God now?" but "What good is God doing with this?"

Trust Him…He has this ladies and gentlemen. 

Here Are 10 Things I Have Learned About Single Parent Life

1. God is all that is needed in life. He is faithful. His grace gets us through anything. He will provide. Have there been days where there is $3.14 in the checking account and someone needs gas for their car and there is no bread, milk, or edible fruits and veggies in the refrigerator? Yes, I am having one of those days today. (I"m actually writing this and should be at Aldi.)

2. I was lonlier married than I am single.

3. My children are happy. They have struggled, but we are working through it, and they are fantastic human beings. They are compassionate, non-judgemental, funny, and say I love you and give wonderful hugs. The struggle did not turn them bitter. 

4. We all laugh more heartily.

5. I actually have more money to cover the bills, incidentals, essentials and that relieves a lot of stress. I am the sole support of my children, including college tuition. It takes planning and discipline, but the peace in the hearts and lives of my children is so worth financial sacrifices.

6. Life is so much simpler. I love living in a smaller space with MUCH less. 

7. My kids are more engaged in life–because there is less stress, they have more time and energy to pursue their interests and talents. They are making good use of their time.

8. The discipline is going well. Since they are happier, there just aren't many issues.

9. My daughter's and my self esteem have soared. We love who we are, including our respective quirks.

10. Struggling marriages are epidemic. So many struggling wives (and there are husbands who are married to drug addicts, alcoholics, unfaithful wives, etc.) have shared their stories in the last 2 years, I have been stunned by the stronghold satan has on marriages. My advice – open your marriages to God, get counseling. If you are in a physically abusive relationship or one that puts your children in physical or emotional harm–remove yourself and the children. God called us to love, nurture, and bring up our children in His ways–beating or verball/psychologically abusing a spouse or child is not the Lord's way. Don't keep yourself or kids in this dangerous situation because you want it to look good in front of the Christian community. Leaving the situation doesn't necessarily mean divorce, leaving gets your children and yourself safe. Being safe allows you to think more clearly and address the root of the issues and begin to work on a solution. Getting to a safe place doesn't mean the family permanently separates.

If you are a single parent and struggling, my prayers go out to you.

And . . .  I'd like to share something that helped me conquer the frustration and the feelings of being overwhelmed. I identified some key struggles and then went about tackling the top 3 so I could gain some control back of our lives.:

 Here are my questions for you:

  • Do you have regular time every day with God?
  • Do you have a supportive family member or friend who can bring you dinner once a month or keep the kids for an afternoon?
  • Do you have a supportive church family?
  • Can you simplify life–move to a smaller home, drop a few activities, get rid of the stuff you don't need–why clean and straighten up stuff that isn't necessary?
  • How can you cut expenses? Cut out the trips to Starbucks. Use the library over purchasing that $9.95 book on Kindle. Before you know it, you've saved enough to pay the power bill. 
  • How can you use what you have more frugally?
  • Can you get a part time job either from home or outside the home? Think creatively! There was a time when I worked two jobs. My night job was as a clerk at KMart. All of the jobs in my adult life came easy to me, this was the first job where I had to apply for the position. There I was at 48 walking into a new job surrounded by teenagers. It ended up being a fun job where I had the privilege of working alongside some very real and hardworking people.

Depending on your answers to these, make a plan. Looked at as a whole, the individual problems are overwhelming, but tackling them one at  a time–well, in 6 months you can look back and see progress!

 Find out what your top 3 struggles are and formulate a plan to handle one at a time. Pray over these; listen for His voice and direction.

This is what I did. I had 3 goals. It took me 3 years to reach them, but I did it. My three were related to finding a job that would at least pay the bare essentials, getting my daughter to a healthier environment, finding a supportive church family. 

Let's focus on the GOOD… God is good, faithful, and is doing sometihng beautiful with our struggles and triumphs. My struggles were DIFFICULT, but the beauty in life now is His glorious grace and love.

He brings us to a peaceful place.

Put up those tissues, single parents…Remember, #Helovesyoumom #Helovesyoudad

\What Many Emotional Eaters Are Missing

Women’s fitness magazines flood the Facebook newsfeed with tips for tightening the abs, toning biceps, and getting a killer back side. The weight loss testimonies energize those struggling to live healthier so we won't go through another year of our lives categorized as overweight or obese.



There are monitors to log our heart rate, count our footsteps, and track calories burned—every minute of every day, we can be tuned in to key pieces of information that help us determine calories expended.

So, with all of this information available to us why are so many of us still overweight?

Afterall, it’s really just math, isn’t it—calories in exceeds calories burned?  So, if we just do more time on the treadmill, swim more laps, and increase dumb bell reps, we’ll burn more off than we take in. It’s that simple, isn’t it?

For those of us who struggle with weight despite the bicep curls and Zumba class, it’s deeper than the calories in vs. calories expended equation, because despite our best efforts, our eating always puts a heavier emphasis on the calories in part of the equation. It’s about the WHY we tend to take in more calories—some days FAR, FAR too many calories.

It’s called emotional eating.  Many of us struggling with our weight overeat because we seek solace, calm, or control by eating. We are relying on food to fulfill an emotional void. Some emotional eaters have been told most of their life that they are fat (although they really are not), and they are just living up to the label.

The Typical “How to Cure Emotional Eating” Advice

 “Experts” advise emotional eaters  to overcome their behavior by keeping a journal of eating habits. Then, we’re directed to look at the journaled information and analyze it for emotional triggers and behavior patterns.

Another suggestion for curing emotional eating is to find alternatives to food that you can turn to for emotional fulfillment. This is akin to asking an alcoholic to simply replace the liquor with water.  Food, for emotional eaters, is a drug. There are deep-seeded emotional causes and simply advising an emotional eater to find an alternative to fulfill the emotional problem is useless advice. Emotional eating has an emotional weakness behind it.

Why The Typcial Emotional Eating Advice Doesn’t Work

 Despite keeping a food journal and taking long walks to fend off eating, the emotional eating continues.

Why? Because with both suggested “therapies” we are placing the burden of curing the problem right back on ourselves.

Rather than turning inward and trying to resolve this ourselves, we should cast the burden of emotional eating on God—He is all we need.

“Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

More Effective Stategies

  • In place of a food journal keep a prayer journal. I caution against a detailed food journal, because you are going to slip up. There are going to be days when you slide back into a binge, having to write that in a journal or skipping that day in the journal will make you feel like a failure.

By keeping a prayer journal, you are focusing on the the positive–your relationship with God and total reliance on Him. There is no failure in that. 

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

God wants to wipe away the emtions that are stealing your joy so that you may live unencumbered by the pain that drives you to overeat. He wants you to be able to enjoy the people in your life. He wants you to be able to play tag or enjoy a pick-up game of kickball with your kids.

There is a pain or burden that is the root of the emotional eating, be on  your knees in prayer to recognize the emotions, thoughts, experiences that are keeping you from loving yourself enough to treat your body respectfully.

  • Find pieces of scripture that remind you of the strength He provides and write them on prayer cards you can keep in your pocket. When you find yourself wanting to eat out of an emotional need, stop, read the scripture, and pray.

He is on whom we must rely to walk us through this struggle of emotional eating and the underlying cause—be it fear, loneliness, anxiety, emotional abuse, physical abuse…

Truly, what we need to overcome the cause of our emotional eating is peace in our hearts which only He can provide. There is a pain, an emotion, a years-long pattern that needs healing.

  • Come to truly realize that it is okay to love yourself to see yourself as a good person, deserving of a healthy body.

    Whatever is keeping you from treating your body well, it’s time to give it to God.

    In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” 

    God planned you and He wants us to be happy. We are His works and He put us here for good things—this He had planned well before we arrived here. Rejoice in that—you were wanted here, you have a good purpose.  Trust in His plan for you. 

    So, love the person He has made in you. Release what is keeping you from loving yourself enough to treat yourself well. You deserve to be able to play kickball in the back yard with your children or enjoy a family hike on the weekend…and you can achieve the level of physical health and fitness to do these activities.

“You will keep in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever.” Isaiah 26: 3-4

As we read the weight loss sites, blogs, magazines and view videos, it can be difficult to remember that while those are good tools for physically caring for your body, there is the underlying emotional and spiritual health that requires a total reliance on God.

The exercising, the healthy recipes, and the FitBit are all tools for helping you reach the physical fitness goals, but we first need to be at peace with our past, who we are now, and who God made us to be.

We find that peace only by relying on God for strength, mercy, and grace.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Downsizing and Prioritizing

We recently down-sized from a  just-shy-of 3800 square foot house to a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment.

We were used to having 6 couches/love seats, now have 1… 5 big, comfy armchairs, now…1.

If you didn’t want to watch Neflix via the projector casting a 12’-wide image onto the wall? Go to the den and watch the big, flat screen hanging on the wall. Or go upstairs to the playroom and watch TV. Or maybe lounge in the game room and watch TV. It was crazy. Over the top…sinful, in my opinion.

"And he said to them, 'Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions' .” Luke 12:15 ESV

In the apartment, there is one TV, tucked in a television cabinet. No satellite. At the moment Netflix isn’t streaming properly through the DVD player, so we don’t even watch Neflix on the television.

Life has simplified, and I love it!

It takes about an hour to clean from top to bottom, including baseboards. No worries about decorating the house or redoing the kitchen.

I wake up in the morning and can focus on priorities—time with God, time with family, homeschooling, and the career with which I have been blessed

We’ve had the granite countertops, the beautiful stone walls in a custom-landscaped yard, and the $3000 built-in refrigerator (that literally broke the day before our house closing. It cost us $1000 to fix).

 I do not miss it. I’m not saying we shouldn’t own a home or have things in it. What I am saying is to keep it simple. Don’t focus on how your house doesn’t measure up and can be better or how the furnishings are in need of updating.

What I’m saying…quit pinning those $50,000 kitchen makeovers on Pinterest. Seriously? Does your husband need that kind of pressure? You know what happens when you do get that kitchen? You fret over keeping the granite from looking hazy; you compulse over the children running a riding toy into the door of the $3000 refrigerator.

This past February my mom, my last surviving parent, went to be with the Lord. Some of you shared the journey with me in real life, others via Facebook and my blog. Wow. Both parents gone.

Guess what? I’m now the older generation—no longer someone’s daughter. No mom to call up and be comforted by. My siblings and I are now the glue holding the immediate and extended family together.

Couple this with all your children being on their own, except for 1. My daughter is now the only one of the nieces and nephews that is under 18. Where did life go? How did all of the children grow up so fast? How did we become “the older generation”?

Talk about perspective. God has really been working on me and priorities. He has provided some long periods of reflection. He showed me that I did some serious time wasting in my 30s and early 40s.

 I don’t want you to land in the same place.

 He has laid it on my heart to share what He is showing me these days. Perhaps something here will plant just a tiny seed for you. He is still working on me, with a long way to go. But this social networking thing, it's about encouraging others, iron sharpening iron. So, here is what He has placed on my heart to share with you:

  • Every second of every day with our spouse and children absolutely counts. Do not waste it. Not.one.second. If this means blogging less, do it. If you only get on Facebook once every 2 weeks, do it. Time is slipping away.

By the way, here’s how you know your children think you’re online too much—when you walk into a restaurant, they take your phone and turn it off so you won’t check email, Twitter or Facebook. Take those hints.

Stop and look around right now. Are your children in need of your arms around them, your lap to sit in, and your words to comfort them?

If you answered yes (or yes is nagging at the back of your mind), for heaven’s sake, stop reading this blog post and go to your family!

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33 ESV

  • When it comes to possessions, be happy with what He has provided for you and your family. Do you really think in 30, 40, or 50 years people will really care about your fashionable wardrobe or dreamy laundry room? Put your energy and time into God and family. Period. If you are blessed enough financially to do a remodel, good, do it. But don’t fall into the pattern of focusing too much on the material. If it's taking away from family, becomiing an obsession, or draining your finances…walk away from it.

Looking back 9 years, during the prime of our homeschooling days, I would spend several hours each morning cleaning before starting school. What a waste. Such precious time we could have spent doing fun projects or snuggled on the couch. But when you are focused on a big house with pretty things, your priorities get misaligned

Keep your home, your furnishings, what you desire to have simple—don’t let them suck time away that could be spent with your family.

  • Most importantly, life is about God, His gifts, and His promise of eternal life. That’s it. We can get too busy to spend time with Him in these busy, younger days of ours. Or some may choose not to believe. However, when you are faced with death, all the sparkly doo-dads in life are of no use. When you can’t drive that beautiful car anymore, are too sick to even sit in that $40,000 kitchen, your only wardrobe is pajamas, and you can’t even do basic biological functions without two people helping you out of bed, that’s when you are down to the ONLY  hope, the hope that has been there all of our lives. The gift awaiting you is God and the eternal life He promises.

As we sat with my mom the last months of her life, it’s as if I could see all the materials things fading and dropping off in the background, what remained were the great memories. And that’s what we talked about. We laughed about the funny times in our childhood. “Whatever happened to Mrs. So-and so? Remember the 4th of July picnics with them and our Greek friends from church?” “Remember the camping trip out west and the time the water moccasin got in the Coke machine? And then the wind was so strong, we thought the camper would blow over, so Dad had some of us sleep on the floor.” Smiles all around, fighting bittersweet tears.

When people talk about you 5 years after you die, are they going to say, “Oh, she had such beautiful and organized closets filled with the cutest collection of flats. And love the way she lined her oven with foil…brilliant!”

Or will they talk about the kind, compassionate children you raised who have your warm smile and caring heart for others?

That’s it. It’s about God, the family He gifted us, and the eternal life He promises. Go seek Him and His will for your time, your heart, your family.

Live for Him. Live simply.

Now… A  P.S. My two cents about Pinterest.

The above post had been rambling around inside of me for weeks. Tonight, after seeing shoe after shoe after exhorbitantly-priced dress pinned on Pinterest, the words just flowed.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy social networks; they can bring us encouragement and helpful information to better serve God, our families, and others. Facebook has helped us stay in touch and enjoy family and friends in a way we couldn’t 7 or 8 years ago. Love that aspect of social networking.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Psalm 27:17

 I want to challenge those on Pinterest to rethink what you pin. Consider pinning only links that will encourage and support others to be better parents, spouses, friends, providers. Pin ideas on spending time with your children. Pin recipes. Pin ideas for teaching our children. Pin ways we can serve others. Pin words that will make people smile. Pin links to blogs that can be an encouragement to others. Pin information on jobs and careers to help someone who may be unemployed or struggling to provide for their family.

But please don’t pin “stuff” to acquire—clothes, furnishings, decorations, houses, cars—things that are out of your family budget. Ladies, how would your husband feel if he saw you pinning photo after photo of an updated kitchen or a wardrobe that just doesn’t fit your bank account. Ouch. That might make him feel like he’s not providing enough for your family.

Plus, how does it look to our children when we pin 50 pairs of outrageously priced shoes. Are we sending our children the message of, “I want, I want..” or “I’ m not happy with what God has provided.”

"For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world."  1John 2:16 ESV



A Letter to Mom – Please Don’t Use That Word

Dear Mom:

As we sat having breakfast you said, “I want you to go home. I’m fine. You have been here 4 days.Your family needs you, and I am not going to be a burden to you or any of my children.”

Ugh, that “b” word. Burden.  Mom, you are not and never have been a burden.

You know what is a burden? NOT being with you every minute of every day right now is a huge burden on my heart. To know you are sitting in your living room, knitting or doing puzzles, by yourself, with the cancer tumors growing daily, breaks my heart.

As I push the grocery cart through the store, I remember the grocery store you took me to when we lived in upstate New York. They had a little café where you’d buy me a powder doughnut and grape soda. It was such a treat…what a sweet memory. Then I’m snapped back to the present, and I visualize you by yourself, your tumors hurting you, and I cry.

When I’m pumping gas, I remember the big white Chevy station wagon we had when I was 5.  Then, I look back at my own car, snap back to the present day, visualize you by yourself, and I cry.

How can I let these days go by and NOT be with you. Each second is so very precious…

Being with you is not a burden—it has always been a privilege and a joy.

You see mom, I love you so very much, and I’m going to miss you.

You want to know what “b” words you are?

You are a blessing and you are brave.

You bless others with your servant’s heart and your sweet demeanor. In what would be your last visit with your head and neck oncologist, you took him homemade bread. You had promised him you would bring him some, and although the first batch didn’t work, you were determined to make another.  As you walked in that office, one hand gripping the gift bag, your other hand gripping  my arm, my eyes filled with tears. What a bitter sweet moment.

When your Hospice nurse was visiting last week, two other Hospice employees called, rather than get annoyed, you thanked them profusely for calling and told them how you looked forward to their visit.  With your stomach hurting, several tumors being aggravated by the simple act of sitting, you were polite, humble, and friendly. (I was annoyed–they knew you had someone visiting form their office, why did everyone have to call right then and there??!) What a blessing to have such a positive outlook amidst so much pain and suffering. You bless us with the lessons of love and patience you continue to teach us.

This past Christmas you knew would be your last, and you wanted to host it at your house. You decorated, you cooked, you smiled, and you laughed the whole day. But I saw you doubled over and holding your stomach when you thought no one was looking.  We gave you extra long hugs that day because we all knew it would be the last “Merry Christmas” we’d say.

You were so very brave that day.

When you had your first surgery, we knew it was ground breaking, but it wasn’t until a follow-up visit, that we found out you were only the second person in the world to have this surgery. Dr. Z asked if he could film you with his iPhone. You were so sweet on that…I teared up because you were so sweet and innocent. I wondered at what medical meeting he would show this, and would the audience know just what a brave, sweet, dear mother and wife you had been?

And you were brave through every appointment, scan, surgery, and consultation. With every doctor’s visit, each test result, each procedure, you said, “God has His plan for my life, and if this is His plan, He’ll take care of it. I’m not afraid to die and be with Him.”

The doctors didn’t know how to respond—how do they respond to someone with such incredible faith?

And your faith is the GREATEST gift you have given us. You always told me that no matter what happened, God had a perfect and good plan. And even now your strong belief in God carries you forward. Your Bible is always with you near the couch or near  your bed. Each night you read and study it. When I come in to give you a good-night kiss and you are sitting there, your small body on that big bed, with your Bible open on your lap, I want to freeze time, I want to cry, I want to scream out to God.

You are such a blessing, why does God have to take you now?  I’m not ready? Where did life go?

You bless me with stories. You give me small things you want me to have – a figurine, a bracelet, a Christmas ornament. I hang onto every word as you tell me the story behind each. You lovingly wrap things up and tell me to give it to my children. I write down each story and pack it with the item. I want to hold onto every moment of your life.

How did those moments pass so quickly? Why didn’t I appreciate them more?

Mom, one last favor before you are called home to Jesus, please don’t use the “b” word – burden—again.

You blessed us in so many ways…

Love you always.