Motherhood, Truth

Some Scrappy Audacity

I’ve been mulling in the unknown. There have been hundreds of questions with little direction. It’s exciting and intimidating. It’s both broad and narrow. I’m writing a book. I feel like I’ve been writing the same book since high school with 23 versions. Sitting at our dining table now, I think back to one of my communication classes in college. I remember my professor, a woman of wit and intention and admirable depth, identifying her moment of stuckness. It’s muddled and murky. All of you urges for movement and yet, you are knee deep and stuck, feeling cemented to the center of the earth. What do you do?

Our middle daughter, Abby, just goes for it. After school drop off on both Wednesday and Thursday this week, I forced myself to stay home. It’s easier to move along, building lists and checking them off to feel secure in my productivity. But this week was different. I kid you not, it was like God Himself stepped in, revealed my hurriedness and thoughtlessness in an unpleasant slideshow, and stopped everything.

Process. Daughter, did you hear me? Process.

Yes, really, right now. Sit down. Process.

Do not make one more list or one more plan until we’re done. 

So I sat. I sat for longer than I feel comfortable with. I sat with coffee and then with water. I sat with one kid on my lap, and then two fighting over my sacred space. I sat without a book, without a phone, without paper and pen. I felt lazy and unproductive. I felt unsure and unmotivated. But there I sat. Process.

I recently finished, “Girl, Wash Your Face” by media queen Rachel Hollis. She is fierce and unapologetically honest. Her journey to success hasn’t been an easy one to come by. She had to fight, mostly within herself to pull up to the bar and then throw herself over it. What I admire most about this book is Rachel’s urgency to encourage readers with, enough. Enough. Enough letting _____ make you feel like you can’t or won’t or shouldn’t amount to anything but your best life. Enough quitting on yourself. Enough quitting on others. Enough making excuses. When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don’t really want something, you’ll find an excuse (Rachel Hollis). Whatever, ladies, it’s $13.79 on Amazon today. Go buy it. Buy 2 and gift the other one.

I kept thinking about Rachel’s book as I sat there, borderline bored out of my mind. So I processed the book. I processed another one while I was at it. I thought about the words I had read, the words that inspired articles and movement in this field. I thought about what I didn’t agree with and why it bothered me. I thought about why a Trinity. What’s the value of three in one? I thought about Eric. I thought about Izzy’s safety at school and wrestled with my faithlessness and fear. Mostly I thought about writing. I love using the written word to express emotions and creativity. I love the depth of story. I love the intention of connection and seeing how far it reaches. I feel less anxious about being an introvert when I write. I feel less anxious about everything when I write. I thought about new dreams and refocusing in on pre-existing goals in this platform. I processed and processed until all that was left were feelings of gratitude and evidence of eagerly impatient toddlers begging for attention and strawberries.

No sooner did I step away from the couch did Abby leap for my slippers. Why do kids obsess about wearing adult things? She snatched them up, laughing hysterically and running to hide in my bedroom. Unlucky for her, I too, am like a cat. I jumped into the closet, where she sat on a pile of Eric’s dirty laundry, and grabbed them back from her, jumped on my bed where she can’t reach and squealed. Not my most mature mom moment, I’ll admit. But you guys, she hoisted herself onto Eric’s black leather swivel desk chair, aimed herself towards the bed and jumped. Even watching it, I knew she wasn’t going to make it onto the bed. She was a good distance away. Her chin hit the bed first and she slid onto the ground. Without a breath, she got up and rushed the bed again. I was so impressed, I just gave her my slippers. She’s a scrappy little one.

Over the years, I’ve talked myself in and out of writing. I’ve talked myself in and out of a lot of things, some for the better, most definitely. But as I sat to process on Wednesday, examining my excuses for what they are and have been, I noticed the rooted pattern. I noticed that they come from a place of stuckness. There were sticky situations of feeling like a less-than Christian. There were days of fighting through the muck to prove myself worthy. There were years, moving slowly out of the mud of an abortion. Stuck in insecurity. Stuck in wordlessness. Stuck in fear. Stuck in pain. Sometimes the stuckness felt more comforting than the rescuing. Some days it’s lighter to sink into the mud than to move towards sandy shores.

I think of my friend, Cassy, a woman of unparalleled grit and heart. I think of her stuckness. In January 2013, U.S. Air Force Major Lucas “Gaza” Gruenther was forced to eject from his F-16 during a routine flight over the Adriatic Sea. Luc did not survive the ejection. On the night of his memorial, his wife went into labor with their daughter. Mourning the loss of her husband, while living overseas with a newborn, she dared to rise. I believe it was painful. I believe everything in her felt stuck and rivaled her own willingness to try. But she moved home to be with family. She dove in to connections and community for both herself and her daughter and I can’t believe any of it was easy. The Major Lucas Gruenther Legacy Foundation was founded in 2015 and provides scholarships for education and development goals, through events like Luc’s Run. Out of her stuckness, she rose and is changing the game for herself and their daughter.


{This morning at Luc’s Run in Tuolumne, CA}


Sometimes I need these reminders of audacity. More often than I like to admit, my own stuckness makes me want to quit. I see the lifeline but I know it’ll be hard. And most days, I don’t want hard. Then I see my four year old give it everything she’s got to snag my dog slippers, and that tug out of the muck gets stronger. I watch my friend champion the hundreds of runners who came in the name of Luc, and the tug nearly hauls me out entirely. I get nervous. I’m not near as daring as our four year old. I don’t feel as strong as my friend, Cassy. After 6 years of collegiate writing, I can’t not think of grammar and rhetoric and, oh Lord save me from my Google docs tool bar. But I should sure be willing to dive off the chair, even if I miss. And so should you. You’ve got this. 


For more information on Luc’s Run and the Legacy Foundation, visit

2 thoughts on “Some Scrappy Audacity

    1. Lisa / Dr. Gates – your voice continues to encourage me through the years. Thank you for all you did for so many of us! xo

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