A Letter to Our Sons: On Locker Room Talk

Preface: On the blog I have frequently written Letters to my girls, but have yet to do so with my son. I’ve written him letters, things about his adoption, and other sentiments, but so many elements of his story should remain his to tell and then there are other letters that haven’t felt quite right to hit publish until his adoption is finalized. So it brings me great pain and sadness that this is his first public letter. But I’m publishing this one, because it’s important and it's not just for him. I wrote it with him in mind, but truly it’s for all of our sons. 


This weekend the topic of “Locker Room Talk” has been all across the news because a man, who is an actual nominee for the President of the United States, was recorded saying some incredibly inhumane things about women. He talked about women like they were his to enjoy and then toss away afterwards. He talked about using his power to abuse women (call it what you want, grabbing a woman’s body parts without her permission is abuse). And to top it all off, the vulgar language he used to describe a woman’s body was enough to make your grandmother blush. And then he excused his behavior, by calling it “Locker Room Talk.” 

Instead of lecturing you on the statistics of sexual assault (which I highly recommend you research), I have a personal story to share with you instead. 

When I was in college I took a summer job working for an extremely affluent and well-connected family. A week or two in, a married man with power started to make advances at me. At first they were subtle and I questioned if I was just imagining it, but sadly time has taught me that the pit in my stomach is usually right about these things. I don’t really want to talk about all the details of his multiple advances on here, but I want to share one brief story. It was the moment I realized I wasn’t overreacting and that my gut was 100% right; it was also the day I quit my job. 

I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I realized I was actually in danger. 

I was on the clock and answered a phone call for the man described above (it wasn’t my job to do so, but he asked me to as a favor because… well, he frequently found excuses to ask me to work for him). The man on the line was a nationally known business man who I had never met in person, and I was multi-tasking so I placed him on speaker phone while I was waiting for my boss to pick up (side note: no, it wasn't Trump but someone else a lot like him). It makes me sick to my stomach now, because I was totally geeking out about who I had just spoken with. I was across the room doing my actual job when my boss picked up the phone in another room and before I could get over there to hang up, I overheard the following, “Is that the hot piece of ass you have working for you and have you f&$^#@ that b&%$! yet?”  I dropped what I was doing (quite literally) and ran over to the phone but before I hung up I heard my boss confirm his intentions with extremely crude language and I heard the other guy ask if he could have a turn with me after he was done.  

Trump would call it “locker room talk;” I call it intent for sexual assault.

So I resigned that day and made arrangements to get my HOPA out of there as fast as I could. When I arrived at my parents home without a job for the summer, I was as skinny and as stressed as I had ever been. The reality of what I escaped laid heavy on me. But fortunately for me, my story turned out well. My community and family, although they didn’t know all the details of what had happened, they loved me well and I knew I had a safe space to escape to. 

And please let this reality sober you for a moment: There are many stories like mine, but not all of them have the same ending. 

Now, I know you have a hard time imagining your mother, now tired and aged, the object of “locker room talk.” But that’s just it, every woman you look at has the potential to be someone’s mother one day. She’s someone’s daughter, someone’s sister. She’s adored by family and friends. But who she is loved by doesn’t define her worth; her mere humanity demands it. She is worthy of respect and love, because she is one of God's precious creations. He made her in His image like He made you in His image, like He made us all. That alone is the foundation of why we treat all humans with dignity and respect. There are a many other good reasons why we do so too, but until you understand that you won't fully understand the "why" to all the rest.

So here’s the thing, I’m not the mom who is sticking my head in the sand saying that you and your buddies will never find a woman attractive.  I know that there will come a day, when you’re in the car with your friends or you’re at the mall, and someone is going to say something incredibly offensive about a woman. And as your mom, I am compelled to give you some advice.

Don’t be that guy. 

Be the guy who says, “Hey, dude, that is someone’s daughter, and yes, she is really attractive, but please don’t talk about her like that in front of me.” 

Be the guy who is willing to take a few jabs from his friends in order to protect the dignity of another.

Be a man who sees women as equal, brilliantly gifted members in our society. 

Be like your Papaw and Gdaddy, who have loved your grandmas so well over the years and have cared for the women in this family.

Be like your Dad, who has taught you how to love and see people like Jesus sees them. 

And mostly, when all earthly examples fail you (because none of us are perfect), be like Jesus, who loved and fought for women in every city he went to. 

But whatever you do, don’t be like Trump. “Locker Room Talk” isn’t “just words” like Trump would like us to imagine.  Words are so important. They are windows into our very souls. And when we disrespect a group of humans with our words, our actions will always follow suit in time.  There isn’t a shadow of doubt in my mind that had I stayed at my job that summer, I could have become a victim of an attempted sexual assault.

So when the time comes, and trust me when I tell you that one day you will be faced with the choice of what kind of guy you will be, I want you to imagine your mom. Imagine me, 21 years old, at a dinner table with a man who keeps filling up my drink when he thinks I'm not looking in order to get me drunk so he could take advantage of me. Imagine me rejecting gifts from a married man twice my age, repeatedly. Imagine me awkwardly avoiding advances and weird physical contact. Imagine a man using his power and prestige to control me in my job. Now, use your imagination and think of the crude words he used when he described what he wanted to do to me to his buddy on the phone. 

You have a choice. 

Don’t be that guy. Don’t ever be that guy. 

And while we’re at it… Don’t vote for him either. 

Much love,


Posted on October 10, 2016 and filed under Letters to My Sons.

Falling Free - A Book Review & Giveaway

Preface :: Every now and then I get all crazy obsessive about a book or something and go ballistic on social media outlets. #Sorrynotsorry I just love sharing the things I love with you. But all that to say, I want to clarify again, this blog & my social media outlets are not for sale. I choose to NEVER get compensated for my reviews because I like to keep this space as authentic as possible. I want you to know and trust that when I say I love something, it’s because I REALLY LIKE IT, not because there’s an ulterior motive. This has been an intentional choice of mine… so carry on friends and know that I’m about to totally 186% recommend something, and regardless of whether you click on the link or not… I will still receive ZERO dollars at the end of the day. So you should probably just go ahead and click on the link and buy the book anyways. YOU’RE WELCOME.


Y’all, I posted an article by Shannan Martin a few weeks ago YELLING at you to go pre-order her book and I wasn’t kidding. I have officially finished Falling Free, and I cannot tell you how much I love it. (But I can tell you that if you’re related to me, there’s a 100% chance you’ll be getting this book for Christmas. So SURPRISE! Get excited.).

if you know me well, you know I love to read. A lot. And I’ve noticed a trend in Christian literature as of late. There are a lot books about Jesus that are inspiring, self-help books that give tips on how to make our Christian lives better. This book isn’t that; in fact it’s opposite. Falling Free is a memoir about how letting go of the perfect Christian life freed Shannan to live the life Christ had always called her to. In Falling Free you’ll hear stories of infertility, adoption, loss, hard relationships, beauty, meals spent with people with addictions, jail records, and sending kids to that school with the bad reviews. You'll hear her successes and her failures, her dreams and her crushed plans, but mostly you get a front row seat to God wrecking her calling and giving her a new one. It’s funny, relatable, but mostly convicting. 

In an age where the American dream is mixed together with Christian moralism, this book strips away our tendency for more and pushes for less. Shannan does a fantastic job at not writing a “how-to” book, but rather a collection of life experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. Her storytelling inspires readers to pursue Jesus and his love for the marginalized, all the while examining our own hearts. 

Here are a few quotes from the book that hit home for me:

“It’s hard to pine for heaven when you already believe you’re there.”

(Oh OKAY Shannan, don't pull any punches now.)


“We so often say we believe that there is no safer place than the center of God’s will, but we refuse to believe he would ever lead us to places of brokenness or danger.”

(Welp, I had to sit on that one for a while & really evaluate my prayer for God's will in my life).


Y'all, as you can see from just the quotes... this book kicked my tail in the best of ways. 

So much of my hard-wiring as a southerner who values hospitality was challenged. Shannan’s realistic perspective about home, life, and community really convicted me to care less about what was served around the table and to care more about who should have a seat at the table. And as our family embarks on a move to Texas, it really has changed the way we look at the housing market, schools, church, and the many other choices we’ll make during this upcoming transition.

I could go on and on, but the truth is… you need this book. I need this book. The church needs this book. My only regret is that I haven’t lived a life that would qualify me able to write it. 

So do yourself a favor and meet Shannan Martin and pre-order Falling Free. You won’t regret it. 


And BECAUSE I LOVE YALL & IT SO STINKIN MUCH. I'm offering a give away over on Instagram. The rules are pretty simple:

1. Follow me on Instagram

2. Just comment on the post on Instagram and leave your email address in the comment below! If you don't want to post your email address publicly just DM it to me!

I'll post the winner on Friday by noon on Instagram. 

Much love y'all,

Posted on September 14, 2016 and filed under Things I love---, Reviews.

A Post for The Fallen & The Shamed :: There's Room at Our Table for You.


I’ve noticed a trend on the interwebs as of late. Many feel-good blog posts are for folks who have been wounded or walked through immense suffering. Don’t get me wrong, as someone who has seen grey days, I resonate 110%. But lately God has opened my eyes not only to the wounded, but to the wounders as well. 

So today I have a message for those of you with BIG mistakes. To those of you weighed down with guilt, shame, and regret… 

You are wanted, you are loved, and there is room for you in our homes. There is room for you in our churches. There is room for you in our social circles. There is a seat waiting for you at the table of grace.

Did you mess up big? Have you fallen from society’s good grace? 

No worries, me too.

And I have a word for you today.

Get back up and come sit with us at the table. You might believe that you’ve utterly messed up your life, but I’m here to tell you that a feast is just around the corner. 

“No, you don’t understand what I’ve done,” you say. And you’re right, I don’t know the details of your shame. But what I do know is that God does His greatest work in the most broken places, during the darkest hour. Redemption has always been His strong suit. 

Our hodgepodge heroes of the faith were prostitutes, liars, doubters, adulterers, and murderers (just to name a few), and trust me when I tell you that there’s nothing you can do to out-sin some of God’s best. Not to mention, when Jesus walked this earth, He ate with tax collectors and sinners, people like you and me. And when Pharisees, the religious rule followers, rolled their eyes about the company He kept, Jesus replied, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick… I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

You see, it feels good to sit in church and hear how David, a man after God’s own heart cheated, manipulated, and killed. But it’s much more difficult to do the hard work and say, “I am David, and He loves me still,” or equally hard to be like Joseph and say, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. I forgive you.” 

This is the Gospel and the table of grace you’re welcome to. It’s a table full of misfits and mistake makers, rebels with restored hearts, and I want you to know that today, there’s a seat for you here. 

But before you sit down, let me first say this. 

I’m sorry.

You see the church has this beautiful messy job of being the hands and feet of Jesus, and sometimes, (ahem most of the time), we don’t do it perfectly. But in spite of our brokenness, Jesus left the keys to His kingdom in the hands of a bunch of zealous misfits who rarely get it right. 

And sometimes, in pursuit of holiness we get caught up in our self-righteousness, instead of His righteousness. We “do good” to those it feels good to “do good” to, and forget that the greatest good we could ever do is love our neighbors as ourselves, even if... no, especially if our neighbor is that guy who was charged with embezzling, or that girl who has a reputation. Or what about that brother or sister who wounded us? We can forgive others, but not them; the wound is too deep. Instead of grace upon grace, we heap coals of shame and cries for justice upon each other’s failed shoulders as we pridefully thank God that we’re not like that person.

 Jesus loved the outsider, the doubter, the guy who stole money from others, the woman who had been with multiple men. The broken, messed up people that religious folk turned away, these were the people God-incarnate sought out. Yet we hide our reputations behind the appearance of holiness and keep the folks Jesus loved most at arms length.

We forget that it’s not our reputation we boast in, rather it’s in the one we’ve been given. Not earned by any good deed we’ve accomplished, but by one good deed done once and for ALL. We bought the lie - hook, line, and sinker - that we aren't one of you. We believe the lie that we're all better now, and that the sin nature we were born with is gone now that we've said a prayer. 

And for that, I say, We Are SORRY. I am sorry. We have failed you by making you feel like you aren’t good enough or cleaned up enough or like you don't belong here. The truth is, none of us ever were good enough and we still aren’t.

We’re sorry for creating A-teams and B-teams, varsity and jv, when the gospel says ALL of us are big sinners in need of a BIGGER Savior.

We are sorry for pushing you out, rather than drawing you in. 

But that’s the thing about this beautiful messy table of grace, we all are wounded and wound each other. And all at the table must learn to both dish out and receive forgiveness like it's Thanksgiving Pie. 

So today, I’m begging you. Come sit with us, forgive us, find your place of rest here amongst other sinners like you. Start the journey of healing with us by your side and a God who is fighting for you always, because we’re all healing from something. And by sitting with us, sharing your story, letting us walk these messy days with you, you bless us. You help us see Jesus better by letting us sit with you in your broken story, as we ask you to sit with us in ours. Because make no mistake, regardless of pretense, everyone at the table of grace has a broken story and our common denominator is that we are all deeply loved by a gracious God.   

So today, if you’ve fallen, get back up.

Have you messed up big? Redemption awaits. 

There’s room for you at this table, always has been, always will be. Have a seat and enjoy the feast. Be known, be loved, you are welcome here. 

Posted on September 1, 2016 and filed under Story, Spiritual Journey, Suffering.