Tag Archives: family

Benefit of the Doubt

CJ hockeyLast week my daughter, Celina, worked on a hand-written letter (with a colored picture) to the two ladies who serve lunch at her school. It was kind and sweet. She thanked them for fixing the food and also mentioned some of her favorites. I didn’t think much about the note because every once in a while she will write a note to her teacher.

Now, I wish I had taken a picture of the note and here is why:

I went to Celina’s parent-teacher conference this morning. Academics, math, reading – she is doing great at school, but the thing Joe and I care about most as her parents is how is she BE-ing at school. She is kind, gets along with others, takes leadership, and she is loved and respected by her teachers and fellow students. She has a great reputation in all parts of the school.

Two things caught my attention today. First, her teacher explained how when it is Thursday and they go to the library Celina walks in and says to the librarian, “I love Thursdays because I get to see you!” How sweet is that? She makes people feel good.

The second story that really caught my attention today was about the lunch ladies. Apparently before Christmas Celina had a “run-in” with one of the lunch ladies. Celina had taken two scoops of veggies instead of one (seriously kid!) and the lunch lady “got in her face and yelled at her.” Another teacher witnessed the incident and told Celina’s teacher that she might want to check in with Celina. As her teacher told me the story she got that mother bear look in her eye as if saying, “Nobody messes with Celina!”

CJThe immediate thought going through my head was that I can’t believe she didn’t tell me this happened. And, I thought about the note she wrote last week that was full of kindness, without an ounce of anger or condemnation.

How would you respond? As the mom? As the teacher? As the kid?

I’ve seen plenty of poor reactions in life, as a teacher myself, as a coach, and watching my kids play sports. When people over-react “in our face” it doesn’t often sit well and it impacts the relationship in the future. I wrote about forgiveness last year and how the steps of forgiveness take intentional action and thought. Forgiveness is not natural.

Yes, I’m pretty sure I thought through all of these things in the short time this story was told to me, but then came the kicker.

When Celina’s teacher asked her what happened at lunch and if she was ok, Celina’s response came with a wave of her hand and a shrug of her shoulder. “It’s ok. She must be having a bad day.” And off she went.

Have you ever heard the phrase “benefit of the doubt?” Does anyone in your path need to be given the “benefit of the doubt?” Are you too intent on being right or having justice that you are unable to just let something go? Imagine all the conflict (and internal anger) that could be eliminated if we reacted today with a little more “Celina.”

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Be the Best Mom Ever!

best mom everWe will never be perfect, but in order to live the extraordinary life, we must become more and more like Jesus. Let’s say I want to live an extraordinary life by becoming a better mom . . .
How can I be a better mom?
  1. Read a book about being a good mom.
  2. Make great dinners and after-school snacks the kids love.
  3. Learn from other moms who seem to be doing it right.
  4. Take a parenting class.
All of these ideas are great and even important; however, there is an important factor to consider. We, as moms, are all unique. Our personalities, likes, dislikes, upbringing, gifts, and talents are all different. The child we are striving to love better is also unique. They are not the same as we are and they are not the same as any other child on the planet, even their siblings (even if they’re twins!)
With all of the unique, like-no-other factors, how can I become a better mom? How can I increase my capacity to love, nurture, and train my one-of-a-kind child? How can I learn to have greater compassion, kindness, gentleness, and love toward my child that is more challenging? I’m an imperfect, broken human being . . . what can I possibly do?
The question that begs asking is not what can I do, but rather who can I become?
Mark 10-14I must become more and more like Jesus.
When I become like Jesus
  1. I will hear His voice. (not in parenting alone)
  2. I will know what to do. (wisdom)
  3. I will be filled with the fruit of the spirit which will change my actions and reactions in everyday situations. (The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23)
Many questions in life do not boil down to one simple answer, but I believe this one – “How can I be a better mom?” – does.
As a mom, dad, husband, wife, co-worker, or boss be more like Jesus. . .

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Braces or No Braces

BJ bracesTuesday, January 19, at 10:20am my beautiful daughter Bethany was scheduled to get her braces off. She is about one month shy of having had her braces for 18 months. This process was much quicker than anticipated, but getting them off was still very exciting. Bethany has been counting down the days since her December appointment, when Dr. Schultz told her the thrilling news: “Let’s take your off your braces at your next appointment!”

But when Tuesday, January 19 came, and so did a sudden migraine. This is a fairly common occurrence so when I received the call from the school, just 15 minutes before I picked her up for the ortho appointment, I winced. Because we moved recently, the orthodontist is almost an hour drive away. I hoped that she could sleep it off in the car and be ok – that’s what I prayed. However, ten minutes down the road, she sat up in tears and said, “I can’t do it.” Within ten more minutes she displayed the full effects of the migraine.

Her appointment is rescheduled for the next possible time: February 22. Ouch!

Bethany was excited for January 19. She and I had great plans – a lunch date (without braces), the purchase of a promised bag of Skittles (if she got her braces off before I was done paying for them!), and shopping for a much-needed pair of pants. I was excited for her and I was excited to give all my attention to her.

I am so proud of how Bethany has managed her disappointment. She was sad. She was disappointed. She told many people this was coming and now must face them at school and church, telling them why she still bears her shiny smile. However, this disappointment did not knock her out.

Disappointment weighs differently on each of us. (Read about Celina’s bout with disappointment HERE.) The disappointment itself is different for each of us, but Bethany’s response challenges me and I hope it challenges you too:

  1. She acknowledged the disappointment.
  2. She grieved the disappointment.
  3. She engaged others in processing the disappointment.
  4. She moved on in spite of the disappointment.

It reminds me of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

In the face of disappointment (which will come),

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Say “Yes!”

Imagine with me for a minute what it would be like to tell your children (or your spouse, boss, or co-workers) “yes” in response to all of their questions today. And beyond the “yes” words, actually allowing the answer to be yes and permission to be fully given for what they requested. The first time I was presented with this thought, my kids were young. I didn’t even have teenagers yet and I thought, “No way!” I could think of all the reasons I need to tell them “no” and I could think of all the reasons it would complicate my life to say “yes.”

The idea of saying “yes” has surfaced in my thinking and I want to process it with you today.

YESThe answer “no” is easy and it is often a habit. I often answer “no” without any thought as to why and sometimes without hearing the full request. Beyond it just being a habit, why do I say “no” so often? If I am honest, here are some of the possible reasons:


When I say “no” I am maintaining control over my kids. I retain control of their schedule, who they talk to, what they eat, what time they go to bed, what time they get up, what books they read, what movies they watch, what activities they participate in, etc. We are the parents, right? We should have control over all these things.


I want my kids to know that I am the authority in their life. I want them to be obedient. I want them to respect me. The way to gain that respect is by being the decision maker in their lives. Their job is to respond correctly.


No is definitely more convenient than yes most of the time. Saying “yes” often requires more effort, time, mess, clean-up, and less time for me to get work done (or stay comfortably on the couch).

Consider these questions:

How many times each day do you say “no?”
Is “no” your first and most natural response?
Recall the last few times you answered “no.”
Why did you (or do you) answer “no?”

What good things would come from saying “yes” to others?
Good things for them? Good things for you?

Side note: There is a time and place for the word no – absolutely! But, perhaps our “no” would be more firm and powerful if we answered “Yes!” more often.

Will you try it out? Say “yes” today and notice the changes – notice what good things are created within yourself and others – and then post your findings on my Facebook page. I can’t wait to hear what happens and learn from your experience.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)


Tears are words“Tears are words that need to be written.” -Paulo Coelho

I believe I shed more tears in 2015 than I have in my entire life combined. I often put those tears into words – prayers and cries to God, conversations with family and friends, conversations with people I barely knew, and in the pages of my journal. A few times I expressed my words through this blog, but more often I couldn’t find the words to express the heart-felt tears that frequently flowed. 2015 was tough.

Today, January 5, is the first chance I’ve had in 2016 to be home alone for a few hours. The kids are at school, Joe is at work, the dishes are done, the house is picked up, and I am out of excuses – out of reasons to put off this expression of my tears. One of the biggest challenges of blogging is getting started. Sometimes I have a great idea that’s been rolling around in my mind for a while, but not lately. My recent pattern is to sit down, open up WordPress, take a deep breath, close WordPress, and walk away without writing a single word. Writing the first paragraph is definitely the hardest. In order to get a post written, I simply must start writing.

This applies to so many areas of life!

BC clean roomTake a messy room. I’ll use my girls’ room for example because it is seriously messy! My two daughters are sharing a relatively small room. They are both convinced that if they had their own rooms (like they did for the previous 5 years), their rooms would no longer be messy (even though they were messy for the previous 5 years). I can nearly end their little lives with the words, “Clean your room!” It is usually such a disaster that they honestly don’t know where to begin. BUT, magically, when they start with one thing (i.e. pick up all the clothing) it suddenly feels more doable.

Wow! Kind of like this blog post that began with thoughts of “I have nothing to say today,” and “What is there to write about besides how crappy last year was?” has suddenly turned into a couple of paragraphs that are motivating me to create a fun, lets-get-it-done plan for helping my girls clean their room. Oh, and while I’m at it I could take one positive step in the direction of meeting my health goals by doing those push-ups . . .

What is something you want, but have not yet started? It might be as simple as doing one thing, writing one word, or making one phone call to get the ball rolling. There is much to accomplish in 2016. There is joy to experience, family to love, friends to make, books to write, places to travel, and so much more! I have tears to turn into words and into blog posts so that I may experience complete healing, become everything I am supposed to be, and hopefully encourage some of you to do the same.

Don’t wait! Start now with that “one thing” and live 2016 without regret.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

First Day . . . Again!

First Day of School 2015

First Day of School 2015

It is the first day of school in our new little town. I just returned from dropping the kids off at their new schools, with new teachers, and soon-to-be new friends. Leaving the car one by one were three kids with three very different perspectives on the day. One absolutely loves school and is a total optimist when it comes to school and learning. She set out full of massive amounts of nervous, excited energy. I have no doubt that she has already made a friend and told her teacher everything about the latest book she is reading.

The other two have different battles to face. One in middle school, one in high school, and both full of hormones and unpredictable emotions. They have real concerns about how they look, who they’ll eat lunch with, and if they’ll remember where their classes are.

One of my kiddos has been plagued with anxiety ever since we moved to Michigan two and a half years ago. You would never know it if you encountered him in a variety of contexts. You would see confidence, humor, and even a little arrogance, but the first day of school brings out a beast like none other. Anxiety is a terrible thing and I watch it take every piece of confidence out of this amazing kid. It breaks my heart. He cries. (He’s even thrown up more than once.) Then I trust the people at the new school once again to take care of my kid as I drive away . . . in tears. I keep my phone on me, hoping and praying that I don’t receive a call from the school.

As much as I communicate with the school and trust the office, teachers, and counselors to take care of my child and do what’s best for him, there is a bigger trust for me. I am choosing to entrust my kiddo, his growth, and his future to Almighty God.

He sees. He knows. He cares.

Just as the difficulties in my life are working, pruning, and developing character in me, God is growing, strengthening, developing, and creating an extraordinary story in their lives. As much as it hurts and breaks my heart, I don’t want to take this away from my kids. I remember when this anxiety first reared its ugly head in a major way.

It was the first day of school after moving to Michigan. It was April, the day everyone went back to school after spring break, and it was our kids’ first day in the new school. It did not go so well. As I talked on the phone with the counselor or sat in the drop-off line praying him out the door and into the school, I just wanted to quit. I wanted to pull him out of school, home-school him, and protect him from the loads of pain he was feeling. Then he survived, learned, grew, and was strengthened in his character. I could see it!

Then that fall when school began it happened again. And the next fall it happened again. And now, here we are at a new school . . . again.

Through my tears, as I write these words, I still believe it is worth it . . . for me and for my precious kiddo. I refuse to rob them of the lessons God wants to teach them. I refuse to control the situation in hopes of avoiding hurt because I will not withhold from this kid all that God has for them. It is through our greatest pains and sorrows where we learn to truly depend on and trust God. I want to learn those lessons for myself and I want my kids to learn those lessons too – even while they’re young, especially while they’re young.

Parents, do you need to allow your kids to experience the natural pains of life? I’m not talking about throwing them out to a pack of wolves or not standing by their side in full love and support. I am talking about how often we over-protect our kids from hurt or potential hurt because we think that is helping them. Do you need to help them by letting them strengthen their own spiritual muscles?

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

2819 Miles of Healing

The healing journey is not complete after 2819 miles, but it sure is a great start.

Columbia GorgeLast Friday we began a three week trip that takes us from Traverse City to Flint, MI to Salem OR, to Seattle, back to Salem, and finally back to Northern Michigan. The purpose of this trip is multi-faceted:

– Joe speaking for an all-nighter in Flint

– Joe preaching for Sunday mornings in Flint and in Salem

– Time with Joe’s family (lots of cousin time for the kids)

– Visiting friends from 17+ years of ministry in the Pacific Northwest

– Presenting Overboard Ministries to friends in Oregon and Washington

– Presenting Overboard Ministries in one-on-one contexts

– Connecting with USANA teammates

– Healing, resting, relaxing, and processing the events of the past three months

– Attending a Mariner’s game in Seattle (very important part of healing process!)

I have no intentions of rushing the healing process. As my friend, Amy, reminded me, this is the “Traci Process.” It does not have to follow a specific direction or a specific time frame. The point of the process is to allow myself to be IN it and to heal.

multnomahI learned many things driving 2819 miles these past few days, but the heart of the learning  came in the final travel day to Salem. As we drove along the winding road through the Columbia Gorge, my eyes were met with lush green cliffs, waterfalls, varying colors of green grass, the sun setting across the Columbia River, and the clean air following a stint of rain. It was stunning and I was overwhelmed with emotion.

This was my first drive along this familiar path in two years and my first visit to Oregon in 15 months. So much has happened in our family this past year and I felt the full burden of the journey I have been on since moving away two years ago. I took a step in the “Traci Process” on this drive and I understood a small bit of what it takes to heal.

Creation. God’s powerful, mighty, and beautiful creation is healing all by itself. I can in no way capture the beauty I witnessed on this drive. The green was deep, the hillsides mighty, the river wide, the sun bright, the clouds silver-lined, and the air fresh. God was visible and close in everything my eyes gazed upon.

Home. There is something comfortable about home. I know the roads and I know where items are in the grocery store. It is so familiar that it doesn’t require much thinking. The people at home know your past, your story, and your quirks. No explaining is required. Northern Michigan is definitely becoming home to our family – we deeply love our “family” there. And yet in this season of healing there is a different kind of comfort that comes from being with the family that’s known us “forever.”

Distance. Removing ourselves physically from the daily demands connected with our current situation is allowing our hearts and minds to rest. Do we still face decisions, work, and sharing pieces of our current story? Absolutely! Yet, there is an ability to rest that is different when there is distance. Those of you that head to Florida or Hawaii for your vacations know exactly what I’m referring to here.

family road tripPausing and putting distance between ourselves and whatever situation we are facing are good practices throughout life. Our bodies, minds, and souls need continual renewal if we are going to be extraordinary individuals and do extraordinary things. How is your body, mind, and soul? Are you in need of some rest and refreshment? Do you need to slow down long enough to take in God’s creation? Or do you need a hike in the mountains, a trip to the beach, or a 2819 mile trip across the country to rejuvenate your spirit? All of these things take time and all of these things are worth it!

Be Extraordinary!


(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Closing One Door

This past week has been incredibly full. Full of packing, cleaning, sorting, storing, remembering, laughing, crying, and saying farewell. We are now fully in transition.

Closing DoorsYesterday we drove with the kids through the camp property sharing memories of our two years (exactly 2 years!) in this place. We enjoyed so many new experiences, met amazing people, built lasting friendships, and lived deeply. We held nothing back and we have no regrets. Finally, we walked through our empty house then huddled in the living room for a tearful prayer of gratitude.

This sounds kind of dramatic as I write it. And as I lived it these past two months, it actually was intense. This chapter of our lives was both amazing and heart-breaking. So much growth took place in our entire family. The kids went to new schools, a new church, and lived in a new home for the first time ever.

*Celina learned how to ride a bike, become a rockstar reader, and learned to be more independent!

*Bethany is thriving in middle school, joined the dance team, and is becoming a young woman!

*AJ has grown in confidence, worked his first job (shoveling snow), and gone through a voice change!

*Joe stepped into a new role (after 17 years as a youth pastor) and I must say he rocked it! I watched him thrive and grow in his gifts of generosity, connection, and preaching the Word of God with power!

It’s easy to love all of the amazing parts of life, but I can honestly say that in spite of the deep heartache, I would never remove this chapter from our lives. It is part of our story, part of what God is using to shape each of us into the men and women He wants us to be. I am so thankful He knows what’s next and, therefore, He knows exactly how to equip us!

Many have asked where we moved since we are now officially out of our camp housing. As I said at the beginning, we are now in transition! Here’s what it looks like for the next few months. (If you want to read more head over to Joe’s blog.)

Dog-sitting Ruger is a sweet blessing for our whole family!

Dog-sitting Ruger is a sweet blessing for our whole family!

*We are house and dog-sitting for a couple in our church. They are in Florida until March 25.

*March 27-29 we will be in Flint, MI where Joe is speaking at an all-nighter as well as preaching at the Sunday morning service.

*March 29 we will leave for Oregon. We have some appointments set up for one phase of raising support for the launch of Overboard Ministries. Again more details on Joe’s blog.

*We return to Michigan on April 16 and will be living in a mother-in-law apartment of a couple we met through the camp until the end of the school year. This allows us to keep the kids in their schools!

*June 19 I leave for my mission trip to Thailand while Joe and the kids head out west. I will meet up with them after my trip. We have two nephews and one niece getting married in California and will also be taking some vacation, visiting family, and continue support-raising if needed.

*When we return in August we will open a new door at Starwood Ranch in Kalkaska, Michigan. Starwood Ranch will be our ministry location, housing location, and home-base for Overboard Ministries.

Thank you for following the journey, caring about our family, and supporting all of us through words of encouragement, prayers, gift cards, and even cash. You have truly been God’s love in visible and tangible forms.

No matter what chapter we are living, it is an opportunity to Be Extraordinary!


Check out some recent Be Extraordinary! favorites:

Springtime Creativity

Plant the Bulbs

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)


Words of Affirmation

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Said no one ever! Ok, I said those words in elementary school and heard others say those words in a singsongy voice, but I know those words are not true. Words are so powerful! Words are capable of tearing people down and they also have the power to lift, encourage, and build people up.

lips powerfulI realized recently (not the first time) that it is so easy to be flippant with the words I speak to my kids.

Do any moms (and dads) out there use any of these words with your kids?

-Sarcasm at an inappropriate time

-Verbal jabs

-Ignoring ‘another’ story

-Disregarding teenage drama

-Telling the kids, with or without words, to “suck it up!”

I think, if we are honest, most of us are guilty of speaking to our own kids in one of these ways at one time or another. We get so caught up in our own adult world with our own adult problems that we don’t actually see what is happening in the life of our kids. Let’s be real: Sometimes it’s hard to engage!

What is the solution? I’ve thought about this, and, as with many things I’m working to change in my life, trying harder doesn’t usually cut it. I can commit and vow and promise to eliminate my harsh words and poor listening habits toward my kids, but I inevitably end up failing. This seems to send me into a spiral of behaving that way even more. (Ok, maybe I’m really good for two or three days, but then it is triggered again.)

I am really bothered by the thought of what my actions and, especially, my words are doing long-term to my kids. Remember, I love them! But, more than knowing in my head that I love them, I want THEM to know that I love them. And I don’t think stopping the bad behavior is enough.

What if we (moms and dads) committed to daily words of affirmation?

Here is the definition of “affirm” from the Webster dictionary:

to say that something is true in a confident way, to show a strong belief in or dedication to, validate, confirm, to state positively, to assert (as a judgment or decree) as valid or confirmed, to express dedication to

Using this definition as a guide, what will you do to affirm your kid(s) this week? Will you commit to intentionally affirming your kids one or two times each week?

Affirmations are part of living an extraordinary life. These words of positive, true, thoughtful, and intentional kindness will change your life, your family, your marriage, your workplace, your church, and your community!

Intentional affirmation is not always easy or natural, but it is worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

From Bitterness to Betterness

I recently wrote a journal entry that I think is worth sharing with you today. I hope it challenges you in your own journey toward an extraordinary life. This is not edited. It is raw, real, and straight from the heart. If you want a little back story, you will find it here.

In the past six months I have had three different people from three different states invite me to look at different parts of Beth Moore’s study, Children of the Day. Last week I watched the video for lesson one and the culminating point was for us to be directly taught by God.

The gist of this final point was that God uses things in our pathway – even painful experiences and people – to move us where He wants us. He uses these things in order to speak truth into our hearts. The problem is that often I am focused on the problems and the people causing the pain so much that I miss the teaching and voice of God. I must push through the crap and the hurt . . . this active fight to put myself at the feet of Jesus.

I have been so distracted this past week by my hurt and my pain. It resulted in being physically sick which resulted in lots of down time, lots of thinking time, and unfortunately lots of stewing and brewing time over all that transpired these past 4-8 weeks.

I realized today, that in some crazy way, I am still holding out hope that this will be resolved and we will be asked to (and want to) stay. I can’t comprehend how it would even work, but I hold out this hope that Joe will be acknowledged, justified, and that all will be “well”. It’s so crazy! The thinking is not very logical, but I think I let myself think that way because I don’t know what to do.

Interesting words Joe sent to me from the Message, Hebrews 12:4-11:

“In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you . . . So don’t feel sorry for yourselves . . . My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also correct. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. . . embrace God’s training so we can truly live . . . God is doing what IS best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet!”

My heart and mind have been drudging and dragging into bitterness this past week. It is time to stand back up, stand firm, and fight the good fight in front of me. It is time to stop fighting (in my mind) against those who’ve hurt us and to figure out what, in this moment and in the weeks to come, I am going to fight FOR! Will I fight for my health? Fight for my business? Fight to create solid residual income so we can pay off debt? Fight to have a rockin’ marriage? Fight to bring joy back into our home? Fight to get my butt back in the game?

What are you forI’m not talking about pretending that the pain no longer exists, but I am talking about no longer wallowing in that pain. I’m talking about finding purpose and pleasure in the moments I do have right now. I will not get this day or this week or the next month back. This is the one I have. This is the opportunity I have to learn the lessons I need to learn, in order to be the woman I need to be in order to do all God has for me and my family.

We are beyond grief survival mode. Yes, there is still grief, but I don’t want to live constantly in that grief. I don’t want it to become my badge of honor. I want God’s goodness, mercy, love, and kindness directly from Him and through His people to be my banner. It’s time to wave that banner high. Time to hold my head high, stand in confidence, find order and self-control, and move passionately toward what God has for us next.

I am praying Lord, that You will make the next steps crystal clear. I am praying that You will allow clarity and forward movement each day, even if it is just a little. I am asking that You guide us, draw us, and lovingly take us into the best possible next steps for us individually, as a couple, and as a family.

I choose to Be Extraordinary!


(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

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