My mom and I

I’m pressing ‘PAUSE’ on the Something About a Coffee Shop story to honor my most kindred of spirits. Every story, every poem, and every serif on every letter I’ve ever written owes something to her. Today’s spotlight is on my mom. Lord knows she’s earned it.

Don’t know her? Well…

She is a woman of limitless grace, unmatched compassion, and dauntless work ethic.
She’s taught me everything I know about English, women, laundry, and making the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet. Seriously.

I’ve seen her bear the kindness of Jesus, the compassion of a Samaritan, and the fury of a thousand whirlwinds (like when I was riding my bike and she rescued me from crashing headlong into a chain link fence a half-second before impact).

She’s an artist, a poet, a ready shoulder to cry on, and she’s beautiful. She’s fierce, funny, and brilliant. She has been my spiritual compass, line editor, and my biggest fan.

I love you mom!



My mom LOVES stories. But she isn’t just the sort of person that likes to write them, she likes to bring them to life. Did you know that she had her own costuming business for ten years? Yup.

And when I was cast as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol for a local theater company, she volunteered to do the costuming. That was over 200 costumes across two completely different casts. Yeah…work ethic.

She has three different sewing machines, and swears all of them are for something different.

Okay. That isn’t completely honest. I know they are all different because she taught me.

She owns a serger, and embroidery machine, and an old-school Singer workhorse. I’ve seen her sew through 100 layers of denim with it (…or was it 5?).

Definitely 100.

When I was little she would have me thread the needle and take brushes and clean out all the cloth scraps from the machinery.

I loved that job.

And…she likes to dress up our dog. Here, Nana is modeling a chic pearl necklace with bohemian undertones, a fur coat by Russian Sable, and a doily from our coffee table.

It was actually pretty hard to decide on this picture. I had to choose from our dog dressed in a tuxedo, as a band member, and as a children’s author…ISN’T THAT HILARIOUS???

If you’re not laughing, you’re broken.


Whenever I’m home my mom and I love to talk. Most of the time we talk about God, Christian education, and writing. She’s able to see His hand in the power of stories, and it’s on these subjects of English that we’re able to bond late into the night.

She’s faithful to listen, and to speak life into my life when I need her to.
She was faithful to make a few thousand double-decker sandwiches for lunch every day when I was in school.
She was faithful to be there every single time some girl had crushed my heart to powder.
She never backed down from being an advocate or ally.
Not once.

And she prayed. Oh did she pray.

Faithful to pray for the woman I was going to marry…probably since the day I was born.
Faithful to pray for the man I was becoming.
Faithful to pray for anything I would put my hand to.
And faith-full to believe that God was going blow us all out of the water with his goodness.

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I Love This Picture

Silly? Check.
Am I grateful for her? Deeply.

And she’s grateful for life. Two years ago I gave her a copy of Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, a book that has changed my life more than any other piece of non-fiction barring the Bible.

It was then that she joined me in the daily counting of gifts.

And I got to watch that blossomed grace unfold last Christmas when I heard her relate story after story after story of how a faithful God delivers joy to the grateful.

I watched her heart overflow with testimony. God is faithful. God is good.

And that message is everywhere.

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Humble? You bet.
I’m so proud to be called her son.

And to think of all the days she spent with this view:

Making breakfast before coming up to my room.

“Ave? It’s seven.”
And the bell rang at eight.

Tea made at 6 while she let the dogs out,

and fed our ducks.

And looking forward to her ice-skating lessons on Saturdays.

And then there were these memories I have only because they were recorded on a technology that doesn’t exist anymore.

And that memory has Amy Grant’s ‘Baby, Baby’ playing in the background and my mom holding me (I think I was 3 or 4) dancing to the rhythm of Amy singing about her daughter.

We were, then, and will forever be, the closest of friends.

Which brings me to my next point…

Tori Kelly is Awesome

The story goes like this…NGEN radio plays this 25th anniversary edition of the track featuring Tori Kelly and the radio hosts are like “Call in and tell us how you feel about the track!”

So I did.

Turns out they mixed Amy’s vocals from when she was 25 with Tori’s in the co-op tribute.

And then I told them about the dancing. And they were like…

“You should totally figure out a way to give this to your mom for Mother’s Day”

And I was like…

“DUDE!! That’s a great idea.”

So mom, I’d like to dedicate this next song to you…