Amy Lanham

finding beauty in the middle of the mess

Tag: motherhood



The offending clothes.

“Mom! Tomorrow is dress like a grown up day at school. I need you to help me put an outfit together.”

This from the mouth of my youngest son as he was getting ready for bed. He was already going to be late turning in as it was.

I had that momentary mom debate. Do I draw the line and tell him we’ll take care of it in the morning, or just say sorry, he should have told me earlier? Or, do I take a few minutes to help him gather some things? I opted for the latter, mainly because he rarely wants to participate in events such as these, so I actually felt a little encouraged.

He proceeds to pull out a white dress shirt from the closet and put it on. Next, he hunts down a tie he is happy with. Third on the list is pants. Keep in mind, the seasons are beginning to turn. I haven’t pulled out all of his brother’s hand-me-downs yet for the new season. I trudge into his brother’s room and dig through a storage tub in the closet for a pair of dress pants that will hopefully fit. Now, he digs through the drawer for a belt. There are two and we have to make sure which one fits him now. At this point, he begins insisting on a jacket. His brother has a black suit coat and he wants to wear one like that (which we don’t have in his size). I remember we have a nice dress coat hanging in the entryway closet. I drag it out and he tries it on.

People, this has now been a nearly half hour process. I woke up at 4:30 that morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I am beyond ready to crawl into my own bed.

Finally, he’s satisfied and I tuck him in. I sing him the two songs I have sung every night for as long as I can remember and say the prayer I always say. As soon as I head to his CD player to turn on the audiobook he is currently listening to, he begins to cackle. Not a gentle chuckle. Not a snicker. A full-blown, laughing his head off guffaw.

“Why are you laughing?” I ask.

He laughs harder.

“What is going on?” I press.

He looks at me with sheer glee. “It’s not dress like a grown up day tomorrow!! I tricked you!”

Me: Silence. Dead, furious, livid, stunned silence.

He sees my rage…a bit of a look of panic on his face.

Quietly, “Um, I’ll still wear it tomorrow if you want me to, Mom. Anyway, all isn’t lost. Now we know what I can wear for my school program.”

I maturely leave the room with no words and a slam of my own bedroom door, much to my husband’s dismay. As I relay the story, he sees more of the humor than my distress, which doesn’t help. The ridiculousness of it all strikes me and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I choose to laugh, although I’m still pretty darn mad at this point. How in the world did I give birth to this kind of menace?

A word of warning if you have children. Do not under any circumstances allow them to watch YouTube videos about pranks. I can’t help but think that’s what made the idea enter that little head of his.

I still remember as a kid pretending to be a spider, crawling out from under my bed at bedtime and biting my dad on the shoulder. Unfortunately, I bit way too hard and took a chunk out. No joke. Let’s just say that didn’t go over too well.

Parenting is dangerous, no question about it. At least I get good blogging material from my kids.

Oh, and if your kid tells you it’s a certain dress up day at school and you haven’t heard anything about it, be very, very suspicious.



The Wait Is Over!




One Mom Can Change the World is no longer a figment of my imagination. As of August 17th, it made its official appearance into the world after many painstaking hours had been put in by numerous people.I am not ashamed to admit I shed a few tears when they placed it in my hands. It was quite the relief to see all of those hours of labor have a tangible outcome. If my husband hadn’t given me a swift kick in the pants at one point, it might never have seen the light of day.


Because I have some awesome friends, we celebrated with a party. My friend, Jen, runs a baking business out of her house called Corporate to Cupcakes. Her treats are beyond compare. She made lovely cookies and cupcakes to match the colors of the book cover. Can you even?? Additionally, I had this crazy idea to make bracelets to go along with the theme of the book, and she did those for me, too.  I would love to list everyone here who helped with the endeavor, but I’m afraid I would forget someone. Let’s just say that even my friend’s daughter came to help, and she admitted she was exhausted afterwards. From social media, to babysitting services, organizing, and playing hostess, a wealth of gifts were used for the evening.



food table


The project has demonstrated love and gifts in action in so many ways.

I have to share two of my favorite stories so far. First, we offered a buy one/give one opportunity the night of the launch. People could buy two books, keep one for themselves, and gift one to the Hannah Center, our local crisis pregnancy organization. We managed to collect 8 books. The organization runs a home from women in crisis to stay in, and guess how many residents they currently have? Yes, indeed, 8!! So good to know the message of grace will be extended to women who are truly in the trenches battling the disfavor of friends and family.

My second story is a little closer to my heart, but only because it has to do with my son. At the end of the evening, when he noticed there were books with bracelets still available, he asked if he could take two of them to his junior high teachers that are moms. I hesitated for a second, wondering how they would be received since the book is faith based, but I just couldn’t tell him no. The day after he gave it to one of the teachers, I came home to a message on my answering machine. It was one of the teachers he had given the book to calling to say how much she appreciates him as a student and that she had already started reading the book, and knew it was going to be very helpful. In a follow-up email she even said she would probably buy some for Christmas presents! I just love the faith of children. Maybe I’ll let him be my agent!


If you click on the One Mom tab at the top, you’ll see a link where you can order the book. This is mainly for people who are outside of my hometown. Otherwise, you can now purchase books at the Sherwood Oaks Bookstore which is open Mon-Thurs from 10-4, and on Sunday mornings.

Please, please, please spread the word. We have about 520 of these books to sell and the entire purchase price goes to support Monroe County United Ministries. This book can feed a mama’s soul and a hungry belly at the same time!!



Hope for the Weary Mama: Carry on Brave Soldier


The book I used during my middle of the night feedings with my youngest.

Are you in a phase of parenthood that has you worn out? Do you get to the end of the day, flop onto the bed, pull up the covers, and long for sleep to come in order to escape the weariness of the day?

This afternoon I hung a new picture up on my bedroom wall. It had been sitting on the chest of drawers for at least a couple of months waiting for me to cross it off my “get around to it” list. After I hung it up, I laid down on my bed to admire my handiwork. I could hear my sons playing together downstairs.  A sudden realization settled upon me. Over the last couple of days I have accomplished quite a bit. No longer am I my sons’ soul playmate. They either enjoy the company of one another now, or head off on their own to do something to stay occupied. They are 5 and 8 and this is just now happening! Some of you are blessed with children who self-entertain well. I have not had that blessing. This is huge, people! I didn’t know if it would ever happen.

I love to teach the women I work with about seasons. Usually I am referring to seasons of plenty or want, trials or ease, growth or drought. As each year goes by I see seasons with my children as well. Some stages are much easier than others.

Honestly, I have no idea how I survived the baby stage. I’m not a baby person and had no idea what I was doing. My goal was to simply keep them alive. Then, there was the most exhausting toddler phase of not being able to take your eyes off of them for a second without the threat of major catastrophe. Of course, I thought the age of three would be better, but that is when my children decided to throw tantrums and demand their own way. Whoever coined the phrase “terrible twos” should be put in jail along with the person who came up with the phrase “morning sickness.” Both lead to woefully false hopes and expectations.

The questions like, “Why won’t he sleep? How do I get him to stop blowing raspberries when I feed him? How do I get a shower? Will I spoil him if I hold him too much? Is that kind of poop normal?” are behind me. Right now I ask questions such as “How do I get him to eat more vegetables? How can I speed up this bedtime routine? How far can I let him ride his bike alone? Is it safe to let him go to that friend’s house?” These, in many ways, are easier for me to deal with because I feel like I understand this age so much better. I know that isn’t the case for all of you. I dread the thought of some of the questions to come that will be far more difficult. As I watch my friends parent through the teenage phase I think, “Dear God, please prepare me!”

The bottom line is they are all seasons. Moments in time that will pass even when they feel like they won’t. In the midst of distress, no one wants to hear, “Enjoy this stage while it lasts. They’ll be grown up before you know it.” We all know this to be true, but such advice doesn’t help when you are cleaning up another accident while potty training.

I look back at some things that happened and laugh now. What seemed so monumental at the time is a mere wisp of a memory. Grocery shopping is so much easier now that I don’t have a toddler threatening to throw up because he wants to leave.

So how do you make it through those phases that drive you bonkers? Here are a few tips that have helped me make it to the next season.

1) Give yourself a timeout if you need it. Sometimes adults need them, too…even when they have grown children.

2) Have a physical or creative outlet that you enjoy. Don’t feel guilty for it, because it may maintain your sanity.

3) Make time for friends, even if that means a play date with kids around, but girlfriend time is valuable.

4) Meditate on a helpful scripture such as Isaiah 40:29,”He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

5) Pray for wisdom. James promises God will give it to us when we need it. (Whatever you do, don’t pray for patience. The spiritual laws dictate that you will only be further tested if you do this.)

6) Do your best to focus on the positive. Give thanks for “even this.”

Last night my husband was out of town. I usually let the boys take turns sleeping with me when he is gone, but he was only going to be gone one night. So, instead, we all camped out downstairs sleeping bags and all. As I lay there with them snuggled up against me I did my best to ignore the hard floor and appreciate these few hours of together time that are truly a gift.

There are some days I feel like if I hear, “Mom, mommy, or mama” one more time I will run screaming from the house. But, when I take time to refocus, I realize I wouldn’t have it any other way and I am richly blessed because of this roller coaster we call motherhood.

*A side note for some of my dear friends. Some of you have circumstances that make motherhood all the more challenging. As I pondered this post I thought of friends that have children with special needs, husbands in the military who are gone for long periods, husbands in dangerous jobs that work long hours, husbands that travel a great deal, single moms doing this on your own, or life-changing illness in your family. All of these may make you feel you are in a season of perpetual winter with only rare glimpses of spring. I wish I had the perfect advice to give you, but all I can say is that to every introduction there must be a conclusion. Some books have more pages than others. Stand strong!

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