Just Do the Next First Thing

3:48 am

I think I’m almost tired enough to fall asleep but he’s awake now, turning the TV on.

I try to cover my head with the sheet but it doesn’t help. I try a pillow, but it’s already so hard to breathe I’m afraid I might suffocate.

I ask him to turn the TV down but either he doesn’t hear me or he’s asleep again.

I turn over and let the tears fall on my pillow again, start to wipe my eyes and remember I didn’t take my makeup off.

My suitcase lays beside the bed, still packed. Knowing I’m only home for a few days. Thinking if I don’t unpack the days will go by more quickly and I’ll survive them.

5:14 am

He’s awake, out of bed. I hear the familiar sounds of him getting ready for work.

I want to get up and tell him we can’t just pretend life is normal again, but I can’t move.

6:25 am

I hear him walking up beside me to kiss me goodbye. Like he does every morning. Like this is a normal morning. I protest his leaving. It falls on deaf ears as he walks away.

8:22 am

I must’ve finally fallen asleep. I am awakened by a text message. I pull my laptop onto the bed. The world hasn’t stopped. I still need to work.

A friend who knows this world I live in first hand texts me. Prays me through surviving the morning. Reminding me to just do the next thing.

I can’t. Not yet.

So she tells me to remember to breathe. She tells me I can do that.

She has no idea how important that reminder is right now.

Eventually I make it from the bed to the chair in the living room. Make my coffee.

The tears won’t stop.

More texts.IM’s. Emails. Work.

Offers to come here. To pick me up. But I can’t face people right now.

I need something out of my bag but I can’t manage to get up and get it.

My phone is at 9% and I am sitting here waiting for it to turn off. One less way for anyone to reach me.

11 am

I join a conference call for work and I have to say hello. I hit mute as quickly as possible. The call goes on and the laughter is just more evidence of life going on around me and I can’t control the tears.

But I can control who hears them.

I don’t even hear them myself. Silent tears. I don’t allow myself to make a sound.

11:52 am

I keep expecting a text from him. I try to decide what I will say to him when he gets home.

Nothing is all I can think of. I think maybe I could just hide in one of the girls’ bedrooms this weekend.

He kept telling me last night I can’t blame myself. It’s all I do.


This is happening to me. I know it’s happening to him too, but I am not an active or willing participant. I am just a casualty with a front row seat and with no say on what happens next.

I try to imagine how this weekend will go. A dozen scenarios if he keeps drinking. A dozen if he doesn’t.

They don’t matter. It’s all outside of my control. My needs are second. Always. My wants…I can’t see that they even matter.

I play this song on repeat in my head.

Thy Will Be Done (Hillary Scott)

“I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done


I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store”

That’s the only next thing I can do.

I try to remember how I survived this the last time. I think I must have been stronger then.

Or maybe just not broken in to so many pieces. I remember telling him the last time that I couldn’t go through this again. Then quickly changing my words to – I will, but I don’t want to…

I try to remember feeling like I couldn’t pick up the pieces but always managing to find a way.

I can’t remember yet. I can’t remember what the next first thing is.

Except writing. Writing is healing to me. So I sit here and write.

And breathe.

I can do that.


Posted in Addiction, Addiction is a family affair, Alcoholism, Dealing with relapse, Marriage, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Saturday Thoughts

My husband is at a men’s retreat so I thought I would mow. 

When Rob mows, the yard is so pretty. Nice straight lines…

When I mow…curves…yep. That’s the word that comes to mind. 

I think when I mow. My mind is apparently pretty curvy. 

My neighbor started mowing his yard too. His grass is greener. No. Literally. 

Also. He mows in straight lines. 

I wonder if we’ll go get a spreader and some seed after church tomorrow. I think it’s supposed to rain in a few days and we should do it the day before it rains. 

I should write a blog post about the thoughts I think while I’m mowing. Wait. Who am I? Jen Hatmaker? No. I am not. Everyone wants to hear about JHat’s thoughts. Me. Probably not so much. 

I should’ve worn something with pockets so I could have my phone with me. 

I should probably move the grill so I can mow that little section. 

Is that line from 2 seconds ago or the last time Rob mowed? 

I should probably mow in between the lines just in case. 

I should really move the grill. Where is the handle to roll it?

I should probably figure out what to make for dinner. It would be nice if I actually cooked. The girls won’t eat anything I pinned on Pinterest this morning. 

I hope I’m getting some sun. Maybe I should go back to tanning beds. I don’t have time to lay out. But tanning beds = skin cancer. And they are not free like the sun is. 

Maybe I can start coming home at lunch and laying out. 

Do I need to move the grill?

Whoa. The property line is way further over than I thought. Is that a new wheel line or old wheel line? 

We need a fence. 

And a pool. I can see myself jumping in the pool after mowing. 

I wonder if I’ll finish the yard before Rob gets home. 

How is it a retreat when it’s less than 24 hours?

I need a retreat. 4 days. In a hotel. By myself. Preferably at a beach. 

Rob should take the girls camping soon. Then I can have a retreat at my house. Alone. 

I can’t  forget to put the gas can back. 

I need to move the car before Rob gets home. And the tetherball. 

I really need to work this weekend. Maybe I can just get up really early and go into the office early Monday and get some work done before anyone gets in. 

I really don’t like getting up early. I’ve been getting up really early the past few weeks. I’m ready for that to be over. 

I wish the girls liked spinach. Spinach dip would be good for dinner. 

I wonder what time it is. 

Yeah. I’m not moving the grill. 

Don’t forget to put the gas can back. 

I need to move the car. 

Oops. Guess I should’ve moved the tetherball first…

Wonder if anyone will notice?

Yay! 44 minutes and 4,982 Fitbit steps just for mowing! 

We need a pool. 

Happy Saturday y’all! 

Posted in Family, jen hatmaker, Marriage, Our Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Growing Up Fast

My baby went to her first formal tonight. 

We did makeup at Sephora (they’re amazing btw)…

Hair at Cosmetique (even more amazing!)

Went home and she got all dressed up. 

And I’m sitting here wondering when she grew up…

Happy Friday y’all! 

Posted in Family, First Formal, Mom of girls, Our Life, Social Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Silent Sunday V Day


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Friday Night Party 

The girls are off to winter retreat with our church youth group which means it’s just me and Buddy until 3:00 tomorrow. 

I can’t remember the last time I had the house to myself for 22 hours. 

Yes. I am counting. 

Since the house is clean, dishes done and the laundry is…washed and dried…close enough to being done…I decided to throw a party tonight!

First, I stopped and got fancy food…otherwise known as food my kids will not eat. Also known as pretty much everything. 

I thought about eating on a real plate. But the dishes are already done…So out of the box it is. 

Since I live on the edge, my DVR is currently at 100%. I don’t wanna brag, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have it down to at least 60% before the girls get home. 

Around 9 is when the real fun begins! I’m going dancing with some new friends who have awesome moves! 

I may even stay up all night. 

I mean. At least til 10. 

No one parties like a momma with an empty house! 

Happy Friday y’all! 

Posted in Family, Marriage, Mom of girls, Our Life | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Devotions from the Front Porch

I am so excited for my friend, Stacy! Today is release day for her new book, Devotions from the Front Porch.

I’ve had it for a couple of weeks and it quickly became my new favorite morning read!

I fell in love with the cover before I even had it in my hands – and when I showed the beautiful hard cover book to my husband he had the same thought I did – THAT is the kind of front porch we need!

I consider myself an honorary southerner. I’ve lived in the south more than half my life now.

I make sweet tea that would give a northerner a toothache after one drink.

“Y’all” has replaced “you guys” in my everyday speaking. And writing.

I wear flip flops more months than I don’t.

I don’t make blackeyed peas and cornbread, but my husband does!

Also. I married a southerner. And we’re raising three southern girls.

So I completely relate to Stacy’s southern front porch devotions.

She mixes in a lot of southern front porch living with even more living in The Word.

You’ll read a devotion and remember a moment you shared with your own family.

You’ll see one of the beautiful illustrations and bug your husband to get busy making that swing for your front porch. Or build a front porch so he can build that swing. Whichever.

You’ll read verses that know exactly where you are right at that moment and you’ll snuggle back under your blanket and talk with Jesus like you talk with your best girl friend.

When you finish the book because maybe you read more than one or five, whatever, devotions in one sitting because obviously Stacy has been sitting on your porch and not her own and somehow knew exactly how to join God’s word with the reality of southern living and you can’t even put the book down…then you’ll set it on your coffee table because it is so beautiful and a great conversation starter.

Then one day…ok. The same day…You’ll pick the book back up and start it all over again and you’ll read it with fresh eyes and something you can’t believe you missed the first time will jump out at you and you’ll start reading it through again.

This is a book you’re going to want to grab a few of and share with your sister-in-law and best girlfriends and pastor’s wife.

And as luck would have it, you can head over to my Facebook page and enter to win a copy for you and a friend!

If you can’t wait, click over to your favorite online book retailer and order one or ten to be delivered right to your own front porch.

Also. Check out Stacy who writes on Facebook  at Servant’s Life – you’ll want to read her series on Living Unafraid or Mom Talk Monday over on her blog at Servant’s Life!

I’m linking up!

Literacy Musing Mondays

Small Victories Sunday Linkup

Tuesday Talks

Inspiration Thursday

Posted in Bible Study, Book Giveaway, Book Review, christian books, Facebook, Mom of girls, Our Life | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Raising Grateful Kids – Review and Giveaway

I found Kristen Welch’s blog, We are THAT family a few years ago and have been an avid reader ever since. Her book, Rhinestone Jesus was the first book I had ever read and then immediately bought multiple copies to share with friends and family. Kristen writes about real life, the good, the bad and the wedontreallytalkaboutthisbutwearetalkingaboutitnow…

Because I was on the launch team for Raising Grateful Kids, I got an advance copy of the book and have been devouring it for a few months now. I started highlighting immediately and several pages possibly border on highlighter abuse….because this book is that good.

To be completely honest with y’all, I did not start this book thinking our family had a good grasp on the whole grateful thing. I expected to be convicted. I expected to feel some serious mom guilt.

I did not expect to find myself…my family…our struggles…

There are some amazingly practical tips at the end of each chapter, called “Going Against the Flow” that are broken down in to parents, toddlers/preschoolers, elementary and tweens/teens. Ways that we as parents can guide ourselves and our kids, no matter what age, to put others first and be more grateful.

But…This is not an instruction manual on how to get it right all the time.

Kristen shares not just her successes in parenting, but the failures too. Isn’t that what we need as parents? Not someone telling us what to do or judging us for getting it wrong, but someone to come along beside us and say, for as many things as I think I’m doing right, here’s twice as many things I’ve done wrong…

You’ll find your favorite story to relate to…mine is the sand story in chapter 9, Where the Rubber Meets the Road. “We know hard work not only teaches kids to be grateful for what you as a parent do all day long, it also creates a work ethic in them that will carry them into adulthood.”

Like most of what Kristen shares in the book, this is not an example of her getting it completely right. It’s a mixture of good intentions, kids being kids, and a mom wondering “Whose ridiculous idea was this anyway?”

What resonated with me the most though, was “Parents who want to raise grateful kids need to start by living grateful lives.” I have never thought of myself as an ungrateful person. By society’s perspective, maybe I’m not. But when I started intentionally choosing gratitude…over entitlement…over how I wanted things to be…over how I wanted my life to look…I realized that my whining over having to clean the house…complaining about other drivers…wishing out loud we had more of this or a better that…ALL of those things look and sound like (and are) symptoms of an ungrateful heart.

The beauty of this book though is the grace. No one gets it right all the time. Most people don’t even get it right most of the time. Reading this book though will remind you that it’s ok. Because you do get it right sometimes. Sometimes in small ways…sometimes in big ways that you won’t even know are big until your kids are at school and make a decision on their own that goes against the flow – because you got it right.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will see yourself and your kids…you will find new perspectives and get confirmation that you are doing things right and you will be convicted and change some things you’re doing.

Raising Grateful Kids is full of humor, heartache, truth, perspective and hope.

Today is release day so if you haven’t pre-ordered Raising Grateful Kids by Kristen Welch yet, you can buy it at your favorite bookstore, online retailer, or at http://www.raisinggratefulkids.com.

You can also win a copy! Head over to my Facebook page and look for the #RaisingGratefulKids giveaway! Winner will be drawn Tuesday, February 2nd.

More chances to win this must read book:

You know it’s a great book when multiple people are giving the same book away at the same time! Head over to the links below for another chance to win!

We are THAT family

Leslie Ann Jones

Life in Lape Haven

I’m also linking up with other launch team members at #LookInABookClub

I’m also linking up at Tuesday Talk! and #LMMlinkup

Here’s where you can find Kristen:

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  Blog  Pinterest

Here’s where you can find me:

Facebook   Instagram   Twitter  Pinterest



Posted in Book Giveaway, Book Review, christian books, Raising Grateful Kids, Uncategorized, we are that family | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Too Hard

Source: Too Hard

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Choosing Gratitude

I’m so excited to be sharing a blog hop with y’all today! As some of you know, I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of Kristen Welch’s (We are THAT family) new book launch team for #RaisingGratefulKids and some of us have joined up to put all of our thoughts on gratefulness in to one huge blog hop so you can “hop” from one blog to the next.

These ladies are amazing wives, moms, writers, givers and doers…The links are at the bottom of this post. Don’t forget to use #RaisingGratefulKids when you visit the blog hop!

Grateful Parents

If you had told me a year ago today I would soon be purposely choosing to be grateful in the midst of the struggle 2015 was…and if looks really could kill…well, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now.

A year ago today I had dropped Rob off at rehab and given up on any of the dreams I’d had for 2015.

A year ago today I tried to be grateful that we found a place that didn’t have a waiting list…that was long term…that Rob agreed to go to.

It was not a situation I was grateful for. It was not how I would have chosen to spend the last 12 months…My husband in rehab for alcoholism, 10 minute phone calls a few times a month…monthly weekend visits…two trips to bring him home for a few days…solo parenting our girls…struggling to pay bills…struggling to function some days…

I didn’t try very hard, but I tried.

Fast forward a month…Valentines Day…spent making 60 treat bags, picking up a cake, driving to take it all to rehab…By chance getting to see him, talk to him.


This is where my journey of choosing gratitude began.

It was easy to be angry…hurt…resentful…

Those feelings seemed acceptable and expected.

I could have spent 2015 allowing those emotions to control me. I don’t think many would have blamed me.

I would have missed out on so many beautiful things.

Unscheduled visits with my husband…words I never let myself dream he would ever say…shattered faith restored…a renewing of our marriage…reconciliations…stronger relationships…

Choosing gratitude isn’t easy…not for me at least. I know others who do it so well.

I used to want whatever it was they have that makes it easy for them to be grateful in spite of their circumstances.

Now I know what they have. What I have. What we all have.

The choice to be grateful. Making the decision each day to choose gratitude. Not to let situations, relationships, struggles…define and destroy our joy.

I fail at choosing gratitude daily. Just this weekend I failed in a big way.

Things happen that overwhelm us and instead of stopping to realize we can still choose gratitude in the middle of the hard, we give in to the negative.


People disappoint us. Situations out of our control worry us. Bills seem to grow monthly. We lose people we love. Friendships dissipate. Work stresses us. Husbands relapse.

Deciding to choose gratitude does not make any of these things not happen.

Some days, it doesn’t even make dealing with the unexpected easier.

Some days though, it does.

Some days, when it’s Valentines Day and you miss your husband and you’re mad at him for relapsing and maybe you’re mad at God…

And maybe you haven’t quite chosen to be grateful yet because you can’t see a single thing to be grateful for…


Some days God gives you some really beautiful, unexpected joys…

An unexpected visit with your husband…where he tells you he loves you and he’s sorry and he’s doing everything he can to make sure this is the last time you have to go through this.

60 treat bags and a cake that you didn’t really have money for, but you did it anyway and then worried these grown men would think it was all silly…but they didn’t think it was silly at all. And it made a difference to some people who felt thrown away and forgotten by the world.


A box of chocolates from friends who didn’t want you to feel forgotten on Valentines day.

And in the middle of all this, you make a decision. You decide to choose gratitude. For the good things…for the hard things…for the everyday, mundane things…


You decide because the best way to teach your kids to be grateful is to model choosing to be grateful when it’s hard and honestly, it’s the last thing you want to choose.

You still forget and give in to the old feelings sometimes…but it doesn’t take you as long anymore to bounce back and remember that while it may be easier to hold on to anger and injustice and hurt…it’s not who you are anymore.

You made a choice to be grateful…in the good…in the beautiful…in the hard…

And that, my friend, will make all the difference. In you, in your family, in your kids, in the world…

RGK book cover

Have you pre-ordered Raising Grateful Kids yet? Launch date is January 26th, so hurry and pre-order from http://www.raisinggratefulkids.com or Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any of your favorite book retailers. You’ll love the truth you find in this book!

Join me over on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest

Hop over to these #RaisingGratefulKids blogs and show some love❤

RGK Blog Hop

What’s Good for the Goose – by Heidi

Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude – by Alison
Rasisng Grateful Kids – by amanda
Why You Can’t Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store – by Andrea
Missing – Gratefulness in our home – by Ange
Choosing Gratitude – by Angela
Gratefullness – by chaley
5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family – by Christa
Practicing Grateful Parenting – by Dana
Sing a Song – by Hannah
Cultivating gratitude in our family – by Jamie
Gratefulness In Our Home – by Jana
Gratefulness In Our Home – by Jana
Let It Begin With Me – by Jen
Choosing Gratefulness – by Jennifer
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World – The Book – by jeri
Eradicating Entitlement – What are you rooted in? – by Jessica
Gratefulness in our home – by Kate
The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us – by Katelyn
7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful – by Kathryn
Raising Grateful Kids – by Keri
How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude – by Kishona
Grateful – by Kristy
Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie – by Leigha
The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids – by Lindsey
Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? – by Marie Osborne
Gratitude, A Practical Definition – by Mia
Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home – by Nancy
Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness – by Rachel
Being Grateful – by Rebecca
I’ve Found Something I Can’t Live Without – by Sarah
The Power of Naming our Gifts – by Sarah
Outfitted – by Sarah Jo
Growing Gratitude in our Family – by Sondra
Teaching Gratefulness – by Stephanie
How Grateful Looks From Here – by Alison
Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us – by Leah
Entitlement Problem – by Karrie
Grateful Today – by Krystal

Posted in Addiction, Alcoholism, Blog Hop, christian books, Dealing with relapse, Raising Grateful Kids, Uncategorized, we are that family | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

Choose Your Own Road

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference

~The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve questioned whether the decisions I’ve made on this journey were the right ones.

I’ve listened to countless opinions about my marriage. Rob’s drinking. Recovery. Relapse. Our family. Our girls. My parenting.

I’ve learned to finally say without apology that you don’t really know what you’ll do until you’re living through it. You can think you know, just as I thought I knew what I would do if Rob relapsed again, but until you’re faced with trying to survive your world falling apart…again…you don’t know.

You can make plans and threats and promises and run through every what if scenario – in your head, with your spouse, with your best friend, a counselor…But until your heart is shattered and you have to choose daily which road to walk down, you don’t know.

Friends and family and even counselors can tell you what they think you should do…what they’d do…

Friend, please hear me. They aren’t living in your home…in your marriage…in your heart.

Being married to an addict is hard. Raising children with a husband you no longer recognize because he has become his addiction and you don’t know how to separate the addict from the addiction is hard…unbearable…


Unexplainably hopeless…

If you stay, you will be judged.

If you leave, you will be judged.

Even by people who love you, because they can’t understand.

Friend, please hear me. They aren’t living in your home…in your marriage…in your heart.

Your decisions are not theirs to understand, agree with, disagree with.

Your decisions may look like mine.

Your decisions may be the opposite of mine.

Your decisions may change daily until your decision becomes an action.

And even then. Your decisions may still change.

You’ll question every choice you make. Especially when the choice is not to do anything…yet.

People who mean well will offer you advice, opinions and prayer.

Accept the prayer.

Listen, if you choose, to the advice of those you know to have your best interest at heart or who have walked or are walking the road you are on.

Friend, please hear me. Even those walking this same road aren’t living in your home…in your marriage…in your heart.

I don’t know what road you will take.

Perhaps you’ll turn down one road that seems to bring you the peace you so desperately need.

Perhaps you’ll pick one road today and make a U-Turn a week later.

Perhaps you’ll stop and rest right where you are until you find the strength to take the right road for you.

Perhaps you’ll run with renewed faith down the road you know to be winding and full of thorns and disappointment.

Whatever road you choose…wherever that road leads…however that journey looks…

My prayer for you is that your road is filled with peace, love, forgiveness, renewal, hope…and that you never forget that whatever road you choose, you aren’t walking it alone.

You are loved, friend.

Posted in Addiction, Addiction is a family affair, Alcoholism, Dealing with relapse, Marriage, Recovery | Tagged , , | 6 Comments