Ornaments, Candles, Tees and More! Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

My sweet kids,

I know there have been times you have felt poor. There are vacations we can’t go on, the hand-me-down wardrobes, the times we didn’t send you to a friend’s birthday party because we couldn’t afford to buy a gift. Little expenses that have seemed to be no big deal to other families have been enough to discourage us from participating in the activities you’d love to do or joining in on events other people are doing. When money is tight, every decision feels more weighty.

But while there are times you have felt poor, we have never been truly poor. We’ve done what we could to shield you from the stress of it all. As adults, we know the reality is that you’ve never been without food or shelter. Our bills have always been paid and we know where to go for help if we need it. We live within our means which have at times been meager.

When one of you children came to me to ask if we were poor because a kid at school had said something to you about it, my heart broke. I never want you to feel like you are less than because our income is less than. I never want you to worry. I don’t want you to be teased or to feel self-conscious about the car we drive or the clothes you wear or what you bring for lunch. But the truth is, I can’t protect you from what the other kids will say whether that’s about our financial situation or your skin color or your weight or your test scores. People can be cruel and in some ways, I’m thankful for this opportunity not to change the world to make it easier for you, but to teach you how to be tough enough to survive it while staying tender enough to love those who are struggling next to you.

When another kid says that you’re poor, you don’t have to own that. Our finances aren’t your responsibility. And you know that while we may seem “poor” compared to some, we are rich in the things that matter. We have love and safety and stability and family. OH DO WE HAVE FAMILY. We have chosen to have lots of kids and lots of kids means lots of expenses. And that’s OK! We knew that would be the case and your needs are always met, but we know we may not be able to do the extras other families can because WE ARE EXTRA. We’ve got extra kids and extra love to spare. 

The truth is, I’m not even sorry for this season of financial struggle. While it has been hard, there have also been lessons we’ve all had to learn. We’ve learn how to eat nutritiously and inexpensively. We’ve learned to be patient as we’ve had to intentionally save up for the things we need or want. We’ve learned to enjoy fun in our own backyard when we can’t afford to travel. We’ve learned to not judge others by their appearances. We’ve learned that some restaurants have a kids eat free night. We’ve learned that if someone offers help, it can be wise to accept it even if it feels humbling. We’ve learned empathy for others who are struggling financially too.

I’m not going to ask you to be proud of our struggles or even to be open about them with your friends, but I trust that they are making you into the person God wanted you to be. As much as I’d love to shelter you from these issues, I think you are stronger and wiser because of them. You are resourceful and easy to please. You are thrifty and thoughtful and even generous when it comes to your own money. You are aware that life can be expensive, but fun can be free. You know our financial worth doesn’t determine our actual worth.

You children are the most valuable things I have. I will never regret the resources we’ve invested in you. I am the richest woman I know in all the ways that matter. And I will work like crazy to be sure your needs are met, even if your wants have to wait.

I’m thankful we are slowly exiting this season of financial struggle. It’s great to have a little breathing room and an ability to not worry quite so much. I hope it has been a time that has a longterm positive impact on your life and I hope you won’t ever be the child who calls another kid “poor” because you know that someone’s financial status isn’t who they are.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at www.amusingmaralee.com.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading