You’ve seen the memes.

You’ve seen your girlfriends boasting about their RBF.

But, what even is RBF, you might ask?

RBF is an acronym for Resting B**** Face.

Oh, how lovely, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some women that OWN this and are PROUD of it. But, what if we spun it for a minute? What about the women that are always smiling and always friendly and approachable… what about them? Where’s their acronym to wear and share like it’s some kind of prize?

Ladies, let’s be honest here… do you REALLY want to be labeled in such a negative light?

Let’s go back to when you met your spouse or significant other… Is this how you greeted them, with RBF? What about when we walk into a staff or board meeting? “Oh, hey everyone, RBF here.” Or how about when we visit our grandparents in the hospital on their deathbeds? RBF then too? Meet the Teacher night? “Hello, Mrs. Barnes, I’m so excited for 3rd grade! This is my mom, RBF.”

Ladies. STOP.



There’s nothing attractive or becoming when your facial expression speaks before you do.


Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Colossians 3:12


The Cactus and His Spittoon

For as long as I can remember, the Fourth of July was the biggest holiday in the Carter family. As big as Christmas was, the Fourth of July was bigger. We were always at the lake house and even after I grew up and had a family of my own, we would travel to the lake house for the Fourth. I associate the Fourth with my dad.

Here it is… my second Fourth of July without him in my life.

The last time I saw my dad alive was the Fourth of July holiday in 2012. We made the 600 mile trip from Tulsa to Kermit and instead of the lake, we celebrated in town, at his new house. He worked so hard to have it ready to accommodate all of his kids and their kids. He was literally still installing the shower in the shop guest house when we arrived. He had a new home, a beautiful new pool, and he was beaming with pride when showing it off to us.

I was four months pregnant with his namesake, Jaxx Henry, and that was the closest he would ever be to my fourth child. We enjoyed our time there and vowed to keep it an annual “reunion” before heading back to Oklahoma.

He died, suddenly, 29 days later.

Continue reading

Destin: With My Ex-Husband’s Wife

There is a general look of shock that you get from people when you tell them you are going on vacation with your ex-husband’s wife and the kids you share. Yes! That’s it! The face you just made when you read that. It’s just not “normal,” right? Baa, whatevs!

Now that I’ve reeled you in with that dramatic title, let me tell you about the dream vacation I just had with my children and their stepmother, Aly.

(I don’t journal… I blog.)

Long story short, this vacation was planned for the kids by their daddy and Aly. Due to an unforeseen job transition, he was unable to go, leaving an adult spot to fill. I’m not sure who suggested that it be me, but I am forever grateful! Plans were finalized and we counted down the days like school girls texting back and forth about bathing suits, restaurants, and photography.

We were 95% successful in keeping the destination a secret from the kids so, we set off to the great unknown on Sunday morning… only 3.5 hours later than I originally wanted to leave. I take full responsibility for that, by the way. I’m a terrible procrastinator.


Brennen and I drove the almost 900 miles in about 15 hours.



You can’t imagine the delirious excitement seeing the palm trees!

We woke up the next morning ready to go! Destin was only 35 miles away and it was almost time to check-in to our condo. Aly and I had read reviews and gathered tips and hints from our friends and we requested to be on the 7th floor or higher for “the most spectacular views.” The kids wanted the room key, of course, and as I walked towards the door, all I could hear were screams of excitement. I knew they were looking at a view I had never seen in my life. I walked through the door, dropped our things, and went straight to the sliding glass door on our patio. Before me was the most beautiful sight I had ever laid eyes on…

IMG_2924I had tears in my eyes.

Continue reading

Beauty: An Inside Job

The centuries old saying “beauty is only skin deep” is merely a simple way to say that external attractiveness has no relation to goodness or essential quality.

That “goodness” and “quality” stuff… It’s important.

My mother wasn’t there to walk me through very important steps towards becoming a young woman. I taught myself how to braid and curl my hair. I taught myself how to ruin a pair of eyebrows so that they’ll never grow back (even 20 years later). I experimented with makeup without my mother and without YouTube tutorials. I started my period without my mother. I was humiliated by a boy in 7th grade because I didn’t wear a bra… because I didn’t know I needed to.

The other day, my eleven, going-on-sixteen, year old daughter hopped into my car with about 6 coats of mascara on. She wore her bright and bubbly smile and batted those sparkling green eyes at me without a care in the world. Upon meeting her, conversation or not, you’d never believe she’s only a fifth-grader. And just last year, in the fourth grade, she tried with every ounce of her soul to wear mascara to school, but just like her sister who is four years older, she was told she had to wait until fifth grade to wear “a light coat of mascara and lip gloss, but nothing else. Less is more.”

I think that’s what “good moms” do, right?

A hundred scenarios flashed through my brain, but before I could process a single one, the words “those look like hooker eyelashes” rolled off of my tongue and right into the ear of my child. And in a valiant attempt to somehow undo what I had just done, I said, “Well, maybe more like clown makeup.”

0 for 2, Mom… you’re about to strike out.

An embarrassed little girl looked straight ahead and muttered “Thanks, Mom.” 

Dang it.

Back to the hundred scenarios rumbling around my in my brain… I’ve got to say something! This is my chance to explain what I meant to say. This is what being a mom is all about!

“I said that wrong. There is a reason young ladies, and older women for that matter, don’t need to wear that much mascara. Less is more. Although you would never know it from the constant rush of contouring and eyebrow videos shoved in your face every day, makeup should look natural… and if young ladies are going to wear it, it should definitely be minimal because your face is the first thing people see when they look at you. Let them see YOU.”


Moms, take pride in your job to inform, teach, and enlighten these girls before we send them out into the world. Be thankful you were trusted to guide them! Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! Yes, they can and will learn the hard way, but so much can be said with so little… less is more. We, as parents, have to teach them that their beauty does not come from the clothes they wear or how perfect their hair looks. It doesn’t come from caked on makeup either. Beauty comes from within – it’s a heart thing, an inside job. If they know their value at home first, they won’t be looking to fill their cups outside of your walls. Tell them they’re beautiful… but not only when they walk out the door after two full hours of hair/makeup… tell them when they are fresh-faced, rockin’ a messy bun. Better yet, show them. Be the example you want for your daughters!

They are watching, even though they’d never admit it.


Whiskey On My Breath

If you were to ask a room full of people to raise a hand if they had personally been affected by a loved one that has struggled with alcoholism or drug addiction, I’d be willing to bet that 8 out of 10 would raise their hand. Killer of families, destroyer of lives… drugs and alcohol are ruthless. I have a precious aunt that once told me to love the person, not the disease. Easier said than done.

On my way to work every morning, I listen to The Bobby Bones Show. This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about a song that they featured, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Why, you might ask? Music runs through my veins. It is my heart and soul and it speaks to me in a way that I can’t describe to someone who isn’t wired this way.

Love and Theft is a country duo composed of Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson. Not necessarily a new song, but Whiskey on my Breath has taken off in the past couple of days and when I heard it this morning, I felt like it reached into my chest and ripped my heart out. I HAD to share it! There’s something very real about an alcoholic singing about meeting Jesus with whiskey on his breath; It just gets you. It’s honest.

And those old school church hymn harmonies that haunt the chorus… CHILLS.

I woke up with a pounding head
With a bottle laying in the bed
There was a little, a little bit left
So I picked it up and I killed the rest

Oh I know I’m going to heaven
But I can’t go with me like this
I need to pull myself together
Before then
No and I ain’t afraid of dying
But what scares me to death
Is meeting Jesus
With whiskey on my breath.


You Get What You de(SERVE)

I want to preface this with a very real statement:

Someone will be offended by this.

Not my intention in any way, but this could easily come off as judgmental. Believe me when I say that it is merely an observation I have made and there is no judgment here. More so, curiosity drives today’s writing.

Why do YOU serve?

Through serving we glorify God, build up the church body and reach out to others. When each of us does our part and uses our God-given gifts, we help to build up the local church and the larger Christian community (Eph. 4:12, Eph. 4:16).

Without sounding excessively critical, it has peaked my attention that more times than not, a certain “type” of person is serving/volunteering at church. This is in no way 100% of the time or something I have sought out, but I’ve just taken notice. I understand that it takes a serving nature to take on such responsibility, and that that very nature does not encompass all types of people. But, who wouldn’t want to be a blessing to others? Exactly! We ALL do!

Continue reading

Hooker Boots

Christmas, a few years ago, my husband and I took our kids to Oklahoma City to stay the weekend with his mother. She was a member at Victory, a church I have heard many stories about, as my husband played music there in his youth. They spoke very highly of Victory, and I was excited to finally check it out.

As we pulled into the parking lot, we had to wait as a man and woman were crossing in front of us. My judgmental eyes went directly to her legs because she was rocking some black, leather, thigh-high boots with her miniskirt. She was heading into church… NOT walking the street, as her boots would lead me to believe. I know, right? Pick your jaws up off the table! I don’t think it took a full two seconds for me to blurt out a rude comment about her choice of outfit for Sunday service.

Now, let me just tell you that I am not normally this person… or am I? I mean, I didn’t even blink before that rolled off of my tongue. What does that say of my heart? Sadly, I was unaffected by the stone I had just cast until my husband spoke up and shut me down. He came to her defense and I have never forgotten that conversation. Here I sit, 5 years later, still reflecting on his words.

He simply said, “What if she’s a stripper and someone invited her to church and this was her very first day? What if she was scared to death to come today because of judgmental people like you? What if that outfit is her Sunday best? What if she is a very successful woman and she just happens to love those boots?”

Umm… brake check.

Continue reading

A Missed Opportunity

I missed an opportunity last night… and it has bothered me for exactly 13 hours and 31 minutes……. and counting.

As a parent, is it not our job to build up and encourage our children? How many times are we faced with the agonizing task of actually telling them the truth or padding it to protect them? I have been a mother for just over 15 years now, and it has become more apparent in recent years that as my babies grow older, this “task” of brutal honesty vs. loving parent rears its ugly head more and more often. Yes, I know the politically correct responses are to “tell them the truth!” “don’t coddle them!” and I’m “doing more damage than good!”

There’s an old cliché saying that falls right in line here – easier said than done.

Continue reading

Don’t Puke on Santa!

As I drove home from work today, exhausted from elfing way past my bedtime for too many nights, I was thinking about how awesome it was going to be to get home and relax. But, as I often do, I suddenly thought, “what can I do to make this night more busy than it has to be? Oh, I know! It’s a great night to go see Santa and get the kids’ picture with him!”

So, after rounding all four of them up, we were off! The line is 500 miles long, but hey I would walk 500 miles (see what I did there) for my kids to have their picture with Santa so, we waited… and waited.

Finally, about an hour later, we’re fifth or so in line.

Suddenly, I hear what sounds like liquid spilling onto cement and turn to see that Jaxx has vomited, Linda Blair style, ALL OVER Avery, and himself, and the floor, and Santa’s fake snow. Standing frozen, Avery’s eyes are about as big as apples, as she is completely soaked in puke. We clean them both up with wipees and a receiving blanket that I had stashed in the bottom of the diaper bag just for disasters like this. Lucky for me, Avery’s scarf caught the majority… not so lucky for her so, off that went.

Third in line.

Jaxx is pale and I’m on my hands and knees cleaning the floor. Avery is beside herself because she reaks of puke.

Second in line. Continue reading

Exciting Eleven Months

Baby to toddler, right before our very eyes!


Exciting doesn’t even cover it…


November was so jam-packed full of milestones, that I don’t even know how to list them in order of greatness! I’d have to say walking takes the cake this month, but before that, you stood!

Standing was very exciting and you are a superstar at it!


It is so neat to look down and see my little person standing at my feet, reaching my knees! Look how tall you are already! Falling right in line with the Carter side of things!

Continue reading