So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

Dear son,

These days, the sound of the television turning off is like music to my ears. I get the same feeling of elation when I push the button on my iPhone, sending the once vibrant screen into black oblivion.

When that happens, the silence that surrounds me is near perfect. It’s not quiet, by any means—you and your rowdy brother make sure of that. Still, it’s silent. Void of all the noise this world seems to throw at us so frequently now.

It wasn’t always like this but, as you know, things are different now.

It seems 2020 has taken something from many of us that we fear we may never get back. Our peace of mind. 

Because with every turn of the radio dial, television channel surf, or scroll through social media, there it is again. That noise that screams louder each and every day this year brings.

2020 is awful!it shouts. 

RELATED: If Anything Survives 2020, It’ll Be the Mothers

COVID, wildfires, riots, elections! The world is chaos, and we are stuck smack dab in the middle of it all. Right?

Maybe, but let me tell you one thing . . .

Someday, years from now, you’ll look back on this year through a different colored lens. History will tell you that 2020 was nothing short of horrendous. Dreadful. Trying. A flaming dumpster fire that never seemed to cease.

But, oh, sweet boy, I hope your memories prove otherwise.

Because today you are five. Old enough to form memories that will last forever, but still young enough to glaze over the rough parts.

And in the future when you think of 2020, I hope you don’t think about the masks we had to wear, the friends you couldn’t visit, or the plans we had to cancel.

Instead, I hope you remember 2020 for the abounding good that was there resting just below the surface. Still present even when the world was raining nothing but darkness.

I hope you remember the hours of Candy Land we spent playing on the living room floor. With nowhere else to go, we finally had what we always complained of being so short on—time! Time at home that gave you the chance to snuggle with mommy, roughhouse with daddy, and forge a lifelong, unbreakable bond with your new baby brother.

RELATED: What if 2020 is the Year God Sets Our Hearts on Fire?

I hope you remember the many walks we took through our neighborhood. Smiling and waving from a distance at people we used to never even notice. 

I hope you remember that when playgrounds were closed, you found trees to climb and stones to skip. No longer limited to the tangible world, you let your imagination soar, finding no limit to what could serve as a means of entertainment.

I hope you remember the joy that came with going to school in the fall. You didn’t care that you had to wear a mask in the hallways, sit a little further away from your friends, or sanitize your hands with every outing. You were seeing people (in person!), playing games, and learning new, exciting things.

Above all else, I hope you remember that every act of hate we saw in our world sparked an even greater amount of love. 

When cities were being burned to the ground, there were always people ready and willing to build them back up. When hateful words aimed to tear others down, soft-spoken kindness stood resolute. We cooked meals for sick friends, video-called grandparents, and hosted drive-by birthday celebrations.

I hope you remember that 2020 was tough. But we were so much tougher.

RELATED: I Want to Remember This Time So I’ll Never Be Ungrateful Again

History will tell you this was the worst year ever. In many ways, and for many people, that may be the case.

But I hope your memories prove otherwise. Because for all the bad that showed up this year, 2020 still brought with it plenty of good. 

And I’d like to think that maybe—just maybe—we saw that good . . . because of all the bad.

Kayla Runkel

Kayla is a former marketer turned stay-at-home-mom to two sweet boys. You can follow her blog, The Rustic Hideaway, or her writing page, K.C. Runkel. When she is not writing, Kayla loves teaching fitness classes, reading books, and spending time with her husband and sons exploring her favorite place in the world, Wyoming. Or as she simply calls it: home.

Jesus of the Rock Bottom Rescue

In: Faith, Living
Sad woman sitting on floor

Have you ever hit rock bottom? I have and it was the scariest place I’ve ever been but that’s where I found Jesus. Where I truly encounter the Holy Spirit and the healing power and life He can give. I was raised in a Christian home by good parents that would have given their lives for me. I was raised in the church and loved by my church family. I enjoyed going to church as a child and I loved Jesus my whole life. At the age of 8 years old I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized....

Keep Reading

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Even as an Adult, It’s Hard When Friends Move Away

In: Friendship
Woman looking out car window

I grew up in an anomaly of a small town where no one moved away. Seriously, I can count on one hand the number of friends who left during my childhood. Granted, most of us hightailed it out of that one-stoplight town as soon as we had our high school diplomas in our hands, but I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I made there. It never occurred to me how much it would hurt down the road when, as an adult, my friends would move away. RELATED: The Heartache When Your Friend Tells You She’s Moving I remember reading...

Keep Reading

Setting Boundaries Has Side Effects No One Talks About

In: Living
Family walking away

I cut off my brother a few months ago. Easter Sunday, to be exact. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but it was a choice I had to make for my sanity, for my family, for our peace. If I’m being honest, it was something I should have done long ago, but I’ve never been one to rock the boat. I typically avoid confrontation at all costs, but that particular day was the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced me to take action. I was prepared for the anger. I was prepared to feel uncomfortable. I was...

Keep Reading

A Mother/Daughter Bond Should Be Unbreakable, but Sometimes It Isn’t

In: Grown Children, Living
Frowning woman holding phone

It’s OK to grieve your absent parents while they’re still alive. I see so many articles or well-meaning posts from people who had beautiful relationships with their parents and are now grieving their loss. It’s amazing to read about such incredible parent-child relationships, but it also usually comes with guilt for me. “Call your mom, I wish I still could.” Yeah, me too, I want to say. I stare at my phone, my finger hovering over her name, and sigh. I let the screen go black instead. My birth mother is alive and well but I chose to end my...

Keep Reading

My Grandma Doesn’t Remember Me but I Visit Anyway

In: Living
Elderly woman embracing young bride

Today I went to see my grandma in the memory care facility she now calls home. Visits now are nothing like they used to be at her house. There is no kitchen stocked with my favorite snacks or comfortable room of my own with a fold-out bed stacked with hand-sewn quilts. It’s just her, an armchair, and a twin-sized bed that creaks up and down with a remote control so she can be bathed and dressed in the optimal position. But her face lights up when she sees me and her small body relaxes into me when I hug her. ...

Keep Reading

“Yours From the First Moment I Saw You.” Read the Tributes To Olivia Newton-John That Have Us Tearing Up

In: News
Olivia Newton-John Instagram photo

“Tell me about it . . . stud.” I’ll never forget the iconic ending scene of “Grease” when the camera pans from the shocked face of John Travolta as bad-boy Danny Zuko to his high school sweetheart, Sandy, who has literally transformed from an innocent transfer student into a leather-clad cool chick, complete with massive perm and sky-high heels. In the starring role of one of the most successful movie musicals ever made, beauty icon Olivia Newton-John stole America’s heart and never looked back over the course of an awe-inspiring five-decade career, which included both movies and musical hits like...

Keep Reading

The Rollercoaster of Foster Care and Adoption

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother daughter photo on beach

After spending most of their childhoods in foster care, Addy and her brother Dominick had never been to a birthday party or down a water slide. They missed out on many childhood staples, but it was the least of their concerns. Addy was riddled with anxiety and panic attacks—crippled with fear that she would age out of the system before getting adopted. She carried a backpack full of anxiety fidgets to cope with her uncertain years in foster care. She had such a bad case of TMJ that the kids at school mocked her for adjusting her jaw every ten...

Keep Reading

While I Wait for Another Door to Open, I’ll Hold One For Someone Else

In: Faith, Living
Woman teaching another woman by computer

I’m waiting for another door. All my life, I’ve been told that when God closes one door, He opens another. And here I am, staring at the imminent end of the business I’ve built from nothing. Closing down what I started up from sheer willpower, too much caffeine, and the bold determination to work for myself. Scratching out what I made from scratch . . . and it feels horrible. God didn’t just close this door. He slammed it shut, boarded the whole thing up, and hammered the nails in where I cannot pry them open. Believe me. I’ve tried....

Keep Reading

The Pain of Loving an Addict and the Power of Love

In: Living
Couple embracing in hallway

Mental health is no joke. Addiction is no joke. In my experience, these things go hand in hand. People often turn to things like alcohol and drugs when they are looking for an escape from reality. And people with certain mental health struggles are more prone to addictions than people without. These behaviors are a cry for help. They are not attention seeking. They are not purposely trying to hurt the people in their life. They are saying in the only way they can they are drowning and they need a lifeboat. And it is hard on everyone involved. Having...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.