Tag Archives: raw and unedited

The Top 15 Posts of 2015

Many of these posts were difficult to write. They came from very raw places. Most are completely unedited. Just a warning: They are not easy to read. But they were the most-read and the most-shared, so they must resonate with someone. Looking forward to sharing 2016 with you. Thank you for being part of our little community, here at Little House In The City.

Love, Lyndse


  1. On My Molestation and MacBeth
  2. 5 Body Rules {from a molestation survivor}
  3. So I Broke Up With Mother’s Day
  4. The Hypotonia Prop
  5. Because Not All Babies Are Healthy And None Are Perfect
  6. We Need To Change The Way We Deal With Abortion
  7. My God Didn’t Make My Baby Disabled
  8. The Truth About Diapers
  9. Your Essential Oils Can’t Cure PMG
  10. When People Stop Looking At You
  11. Sex After Three Kids
  12. When My Life Changed Twice On Tuesdays
  13. Holy Week
  14. When Your Molester Tries To Implicate You
  15. Five Minute Friday On A Monday


our family



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Five Minute Friday | Try

Ready, set, write…

As we unwrapped Graham’s personality day by day, we discovered that he was a perfectionist. And the most strong-willed child I had ever encountered. And overly critical. And so hard on himself…harder on others. And difficult to please. And pointed out every flaw with everything in the known and unknown universe.

It scared me. I was new at parenting, and I had ended up with a child who made me feel completely inadequate. And I cried so many times out to the Lord, begging him to give me some sort of wisdom to raise such a hard kid.

But I was also terrified that Graham would be afraid of new things. That he would be so critical of himself, that he wouldn’t be able to find the joy in learning…even when it’s hard and we aren’t naturals.

When he started drawing, I thought, “This is the end. He’s going to spend days on one doodle. He will wear out erasers before I’ve sharpened the pencil for the second time. He’ll throw away all his drawings and life is going to be miserable.”

But the opposite happened.

Graham loved drawing. The flip side to his difficult personality is this beautiful creativity. And passion. Graham filled every space with something new or trying the same thing 50 times in a row with slight variations. Crossing out what he didn’t like and yelling for us to come see what he loved. Which was most of it.

He draws what he imagines, sees in the world, and wants to see in real life. He draws his favorite things. He draws what scares him. He draws for at least a couple hours a day.

And the personality I get when I try to teach him a new skill is not present when he’s drawing. He’s open-minded. Open to suggestions. Open to not being perfect.

And he drew this eagle for me.

An eagle from my favorite boy in the world.


Time’s up. Joining me at katemotaung.com with your own five minutes of unedited thoughts.


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Five Minute Friday | Ten

Ready, set, go…

Ten Things I Hate About You

1. You call me fat. You use other words, like large and flabby and unfit. Unfit. That’s the worst. Because the connotation is there. Unfit for everything.

2. You call me sloppy. I just rolled out of bed, while she looks put together in matching workout clothes. With her perfect ponytail to match and her purse that wasn’t chewed up by a three-year-old who will eat anything.

3. You call me undisciplined. You laugh that I download every app out there to get on track, as my house and schedule-keeping and Bible reading all take turns on the backburner. I need a crash course in being a homemaker. Or even in being a human.

4. You call me lazy. Always tired. Weary. Lacking that energy that drives other moms to tackle splash pads. Or museums. Or even the backyard.

5. You call me old. Too old to have a fresh purpose. A new dream. A God-sized goal. Too old to learn a new anything.

6. You call me selfish. I spend so much time thinking about myself. Why can’t I do more for others? Think about her? Help him? Everyone else does…what’s my problem?

7. You call me needy. I can’t keep friends, because I drive them away with my prayer requests and problems and rants and crazy. She didn’t return my text because she no longer wants me in her life. Bothering her.

8. You call me unread. Unpopular. No one cares about my story. My journey is a dime a dozen. My words are just hot air. Apathy is the response, because I’m not compelling enough to warrant attention.

9. You call me untrusting. Because I have more questions for God than answers. Even after almost 3 decades with Him, I still don’t understand how all this will work out. You say I can’t think those things. Just have faith.

10. You call me late. Late for church. Late for life. Why even show up some days…when you’re always late. And juggling more kids than you have hands. All to choruses of you’ve-got-your-hands-plate-heart-full ringing in my ears.

I would unfriend you on Facebook, unfollow you on Twitter, block you from my blog, and get a restraining order from your verbal abuse. But you’re me. My flesh. And I don’t know why I let you stay around so long. If you had been anyone else, you wouldn’t be given the time of day.

Ten Things I Hate About Myself. And not one of them is true.

Time’s up.

Join me for your own five minutes at katemotaung.com … Okay, in all honesty, this was ten minutes. Graham asked me 17 questions while I was frantically swyping away.


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Five Minute Friday | Hope

Ready, set, go…

I have a love/hate relationship with Adelaide’s progress. When she does anything new, I practically throw a ticker tape parade. But then I quickly remember just how far behind we are. How we are so far from where she should be. And when I’m honest about these feelings, most people try to say stuff about how God will work through it. Or the dreaded ‘normal is just a setting on a dryer’ bumper sticker response. I can’t just pour out my heart about how incredibly difficult it is to watch my kid try to stand a hundred times in one day and not succeed. Before someone says that she will inspire others with her deficits, I double dare them to spend one day watching her try. Or not try. Some days, she does nothing. Nothing at all. And I post all these positive inchstones to avoid the label of Negative Nancy, but there are days when my hope is gone. There are days when I realize I will still be doing the beginning stages of mothering when all my peers are grandmothers and great-grandmothers. I get the opportunity to raise this incredible person, who will most likely live with me until I am too old to care for her. That’s not what I thought would happen. No thought of disability was in my mind until it was our life. My plans were changed for me. And I still battle with that reality, while people migrate in and out of her life. I am the constant. And I can’t do it all or even delegate it all. So, I rejoice that she said ‘walk’ today. But she can’t even do what she said. She can’t walk. And we don’t know if she ever will. I keep the hope, but I also cry at the irony and wonder what I can do, if anything, to get us closer to independence. Whatever that looks like for her.


Time’s up.

You can join me with your five minutes of raw and unedited thoughts. No judgment from me if you feel like you were sucker-punched today.


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Five Minute Friday | Rise

Ready, set, go…

“Her children will rise and call her blessed.” I remember hearing that verse as a kid and thinking that I would love to be a mom that awesome. To have your kids praise you like that…phenomenal. I’ve been a mom since 2009. Today was the closest I have ever come to this verse.

Yesterday, something I really wanted didn’t pan out. I missed the film competition while I was sick with three sick kids. Dave kept saying he would come home and I made him go without us. He had worked so hard on that film and I didn’t want him to miss the viewing, voting, and awards. I refused to let him stay with us. Flat out refused. I solo parented for 17 hours. I was not in the best place physically or emotionally, but I didn’t let the kids know.

Last night, Dave came home and announced that they had won first place. I was thrilled. Dave loves film and I love the sparkle in his eye when he works on a project.

I was actually in the film this year. My mom came over at bedtime, so I could go be Dave’s love interest. It was amazing to be a part of it this year. Usually, I am home with the kids from Wednesday night to Saturday night of the competition week, which was Mother’s Day this year. Every year, Dave practically lives at his friend’s house and I basically hunker down until the project is turned in. This year, Dave woke me up to say I was in the movie. I was happy all that day. My directions were to “look like a woman from somewhere between 1890 and 1940, but not too much like a specific year.” Um. I did my best. Graham said I had princess eyes.


The filming is almost magical. There is so much adrenaline during the FilmSpiva contest. They pick up their criteria after work on Thursday and have exactly 48 hours to write, film, edit, and drop off a 3 minute film. We put it on the calendar every year, but each time May rolls around, I am nervous and excited for them. Mostly nervous.

To miss the conclusion was heartbreaking. I also felt like I was letting Dave down. I didn’t even get to vote. Then, I was up again at 4:30 this morning with another vomiting kid. My princess eyes were definitely gone and replaced with mombie eyes.

“Mama, fank you for always wiping mine butt when I’m sick. And yous are da best mom cuz you do all the yucky fings and don’t always get to do da fun fings.” Graham’s words this afternoon. While I was washing poop out of yet another diaper. This was a five-year-old’s way of rising up and calling me blessed. I cried in the bathroom.

I love that God sent that little bit of encouragement via my firstborn blessing. Being a mommy isn’t always fun. Some days you are literally up to your elbows in poop. Like 15 times. But it is so amazing to be a mom to these three.

But I am already hoping no one is sick next year…because I look forward to this for months.

And congratulations to Dave and Jim. I am so proud of them! First place. So wonderful.

This year’s criteria: harmonica, a shot of the Gryphon Building, and the phrase “Did I ever tell you about the time?” Every year is an adventure.

Time’s up. Join me at katemotaung.com for your five minutes of unedited writing. You don’t need to talk about poop, but no judgment if you do!


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Holy Week

Perfume, palms, feet. Bread, robes, and roosters. Lent is almost over. Holy Week is half done. I am getting Resurrection Sunday outfits ready. And outfits for a visitation that could take place anytime now. The hospice nurse shook her head. Days? Weeks? We never know. There is no end date. No false dignity in pretending you can choose the time. Just the slowness of it all. We won’t get the miracle. The tumor won’t disappear. His body won’t un-atrophy. Once he passes, we won’t get our Lazarus back. But we know the One who did it the first time and we cling to the promise that my dad-in-law will be healed soon. Ultimate healing. Lazarus died again. Countless people have died. Organs shut down. Hearts stopped. No one ever wants to talk about it. We don’t talk about the creeping of cancer. People who end it all become famous. Others just keep holding your hand, whispering for more water, touching their grandkids’ feet, and participating in this naturally unnatural process. During this Holy Week, that is flying by me, I remember that the same One who can empathize with my pain of losing this man I love, also empathizes with the dying. Because He took on death. He didn’t end it quickly when things got scary and messy. He followed through to the very end. Body completely changed and broken and not resembling the Jesus they all knew. Thirsty in a way only the dying understand. Wanting to be home, but thinking of the ones at his feet. Care for Mary. And my dad-in-law has asked me a million times to make sure his wife is cared for. And a million more times he has begged me to reassure him that his grandchildren will be safe without him. These kids he has seen twice a week since their births. These men spend their last breaths focusing on others. That doesn’t make headlines. Going out in a blaze of glory does. But the real glory is at the finish line. Finishing well. “I don’t fink gwown-ups understand dat Papa Bob is all sick and almost dead here but he gets to die and be wif Jesus and gets to walk again on a new Earf and have a new bwain. If gwown-ups knowed dis, dey wouldn’t get to sad and cwy so much. Papa Bob gets better stuff when hims dies. It just takes lots of time. So I’m gonna keep coming to see him and tell him bout Angwy Birds.” And a five-year-old speaks the truth that the world is too fearful to even whisper. It takes time. And we are preparing for Friday. The goodness of it all. It took time and suffering. And nails, crowns, tombs, angels. So many angels. And we are halfway through Holy Week. Looking forward to that resurrection and fish dinner with the people He loved so much. And the hope. “Mawy dumped da perfoom on Jesus’ feet and dat’s why he gotta cwean his duh-sciples’ feet. Cuz do for ovvers da good fings you get.” Jesus did for others. What we couldn’t do for ourselves. And my second mom of more than ten years bathes her dying husband and whispers inside jokes to him and they chuckle together. The glory is in the finishing well.

sense of the resurrection 1

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Mom Confession: I Need A Heart Transplant

I saw a photo in my Facebook newsfeed the other day. It was a dog. Some beautiful professional shot. This dog has seizures and his owner is trying to win a contest. 300,000 likes. This dog had 300k people actually click a button to help him win something. My first thought should have been compassion for a dog facing a struggle. Or at least indifference. Deep down, I don’t want dogs to deal with seizures. But instead, I found myself hating that dog. (I am a horrible person.)

It was Rare Disease Day. The one day a year when we get to raise awareness for our daughter and her friends. We make a blip on social media for one day. A day when we remember that our daughter will never be cured. Can never be cured. She has seizures, too. And she is a human. I don’t have pets, and I will not even pretend that I love animals. I am not going to intentionally hurt or neglect or abuse animals, but I am not the person who God has called to be their advocate.

But I do have a little person who is affected every day by her seizure meds, which have now been increased. Again. And if this increase doesn’t work, we are starting another med. One that causes cognitive delay. So, in order to keep our daughter from having something horrible, we are going to allow something horrible to happen to her. And her current meds already have side effects that are bad. And I am looking at this dog and thinking, “I hate you for being so popular.”

If I posted Adelaide’s photo and said she had seizures and could win money for a charity if we got enough likes, she would get fewer than one hundred likes. And that would include people who logged into their husbands’ accounts and clicked ‘like’ without their husbands even knowing. I know, because Dave has unintentionally voted for things. (Yes, I am a horrible person.)

On Rare Disease Day, I was just reminded that my rare and unique daughter is just as unpopular as her Mama. And that is the root issue. I feel like attention for Adelaide equals her self-worth. And that people don’t care about Adelaide, because they don’t care about me. Since I am unlikeable, people don’t like her. Or they are indifferent. Somehow, both our self-worths are tied together and tied to things that don’t matter. At all.

I didn’t enter Adelaide into the Great Bike Giveaway, which is a popularity contest to get adaptive bikes to kids with special needs. I knew Adelaide wouldn’t win. I knew people wouldn’t vote for her. So, I didn’t even try. I was so afraid of the rejection. I thought for her, but now I realize it was for me. I had, once again, allowed love and approval to become idols in my life. It’s a hard idol to slay.

You see, I have received messages from people. Strangers. Acquaintances. Not friends, because {Thank you, Jesus!} none of my friends are dumb enough to say things like this: “Adelaide would have more followers if she was worse.” “I read your blog and Adelaide is way better off than other kids. That’s probably why people don’t read your blog.” “I think more people would follow your blog if Adelaide was missing something we could see.” Instead of hitting delete right away and moving on with my life, I allowed these messages to take root in my heart. Complete nonsense. But they grew. People don’t care about Adelaide because she wasn’t in the NICU. People don’t care about Adelaide because she hasn’t had visible surgeries. People don’t care about Adelaide because she doesn’t have a trach/gtube/prosthetic/fill-in-the-blank-with-anything-else-you-can-think-of. And all that is poison in my heart.

That’s why I need a heart transplant. Because apparently mine is dying. When you find yourself jealous of a dog, you know things are at a critical level. I need God to remind me at every moment that I am completely pre-approved by Him. That He chose me. That He loves me. That He loves Adelaide. And even though we aren’t popular people, we have all that we need. And we may get one day, not even a week or a month, to make our disease known to the world…but it doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, none of it matters. So, next year, when Rare Disease Day is competing with Leap Day, I will just sit back and remember that God loves Adelaide. Every single day. Not just on the last day of February.

And I guess it is time to reread one of my favorite books from last year. Because Adelaide and I are already pre-approved.

love idol 3Photo Credit: jenniferdukeslee.com

And maybe I should go vote for that dog…

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Five Minute Friday | Open

Five minutes of completely unedited and slightly unintelligible writing.

And GO…

Bess is walking around shirtless, in hot pink leggings, playing with an Angry Bird made from K’Nex. Seventeen months old today. And I am not sure how we lived life seventeen months and one day ago. She is so perfect in our family. The third child, who is slowly morphing into a baby-in-the-middle. A strange role that is unintentionally, yet unavoidably, thrust upon the younger sibling in her position. A little sister to Adelaide, but teaching big sister new things everyday.


I was fearful to have another daughter. Someone who would be a constant source of comparison. I cried after our morphology ultrasound. She said it was a girl and I realized that I hadn’t even allowed it to be an option. I had already unpacked Graham’s clothes into the drawers. I had decorated Baby Ballew’s side of the double nursery as gender neutral. I hadn’t even thought of girl names. We were having a boy. We needed a boy. Adelaide couldn’t have a sister.


Our physical therapist was so excited when we told her. “Adelaide will learn so much from her! She will urge Addie on and help her reach her potential. Two sisters sharing a room! But you are worried that people will compare them, aren’t you?” Only a few people knew my fear, because it felt like a monstrous thing to admit.


But in that therapy room, I was finally excited about having another girl. Not because it would benefit Adelaide, but because I was able to hear how silly my thoughts sounded. I released it into God’s hands. I opened up my fist so tightly closed around this secret fear about their future relationships and roles.


This baby had been a girl for months. I asked God to take away all the worry and replace it with joy. And He did! The joy of having two daughters often overwhelmed me in a beautiful way. Although they were bound to be different, which isn’t so different from most other pairs of sisters, I started to daydream about all the things they would do together.


My fear wasn’t unfounded. People are naturally prone to compare siblings. But it doesn’t matter what others say. Each of our children are completely unique, yet bound together. Our little family got another girl, and it was cause for celebration! Graham had predicted another sister from the beginning. She was already his best friend before that early morning in September when she was taken from my body.


And as she chases him while nursing her Yoda doll, I think, “Of course God gave us a girl. You were exactly what we needed before your mommy even knew it.”


Time’s Up!
Write your own five minutes of openness at www.katemotaung.com


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Five Minute Friday | Send

It’s time again for five minutes of unedited writing. This one is hard to write. So many tears.


Timer is set.

We got a letter today. One of our four sponsored children was released from the program. We have been sending gifts, letters, photos, and unspoken prayers to a little boy sharing our son’s birthday. Two boys on opposite sides of the Earth. The letter from WorldVision explained that our 5-year-old Indian sweetheart is now financially stable. After 3 years under our sponsorship, his parents have managed to actually get out of poverty. Sobs. I couldn’t stop. I was rejoicing and grieving with the same tears. My stomach was heavy and full of butterflies. This little boy who stole our hearts one night on a computer screen is now healthy, stable, and succeeding. He learned to wash his hands, brush his teeth, play with others. Through the local team, we gave him books, clothes, food, animals, solar lanterns, blankets, medicine, a water pump, school supplies, and mosquito nets. We sent him countless toys and random sticker sheets from his Missouri counterpart. We sent birthday parties in five separate envelopes. He sent his handprint. Drawings. Scribbles. Thank yous. Thanked us for meat at dinner. But I am the one who is full of thanks. I am so thankful that God sent him into our lives. Our paths crossed in the middle of my night and his day. I saw him on a bright monitor and knew he was ours. But he never was ours forever and ever. Just for a season. We have prayed for him more than 3000 times and we will continue to pray for him until Jesus returns. And now I need to explain to my Graham that Dishan is happy and healthy and well, and we have a new little boy…just a toddler…who has been sent to us. We will send him gifts and letters and photos, but he will send me a constant reminder through his little handprints that God wants us to be His hands and feet in a world where $35 a month can change the entire course of a child’s life. A child who becomes a part of you.

Time’s up.

Please join me at katemotaung.com


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What I Learned About Friendship in 2014

It’s no surprise that I was named Miss Sensitivity in my Junior High Homeschool Co-op. I could, and did, cry at the drop of a hat. And I cried for three hours after being given the award. No one ever bothered to find out why I cried so much. And, truth be told, I couldn’t tell them anyway. I was in an impossible situation and learned that it was better to just shove everything into the deep, dark recesses of my mind and focus on other things. And I did eventually start to forget, but the symptoms of disease are still evident even if a child’s brain has used a form of protective amnesia. But I had spent a lifetime making and losing friends and the pattern continued for almost two decades. I either befriended the right people and ended up pushing them away, or I attached myself to the very wrong people and ended up hurt. As I aged, it didn’t seem to get any better. I read books about my issues. Relationships, bitterness, perfectionism, people-pleasing, body image, and on and on. I made New Year’s resolutions every year to make myself a better person. A better daughter, friend, volunteer. So when I started to remember unspeakable things, I didn’t know who I could turn to and I was scared of the reaction I would get. I was finally having some healthy relationships, and now I was going to wreck them. Once you tell someone, they can’t be untold. You have burdened someone with your truth. And talking equals crying which equals the Miss Sensitivity Award over and over again. But the truth also sets us free. All the failed relationships started making sense. Befriending toxic people made sense. Pushing away healthy people made sense. Crying, feeling fat at 110 pounds, getting only As for 16 straight years. It all made sense. 2014, the hardest year of my life, now presented me opportunities to shine light in the darkness. And I quickly learned that friendships fall into one of four categories: people who relate to your nightmare and love on you, people who relate to your nightmare but choose to distance themselves, people who don’t relate to your nightmare but love on you, and people who don’t relate to your nightmare and choose to distance themselves. I can’t control people’s reactions, and I don’t blame them for the black-out period during this time. In the past, I would’ve cried for hours and hours trying to understand why someone didn’t love me or didn’t want to love on me. Now, I understand that everyone has their own dark corners and stuff to process and time will either heal a friendship or two people move across some imaginary line to acquaintances. And 2014 taught me that God placed amazing people in my path for such a time as this, but not a one of them was meant to replace Him. Only He knows every single detail. The ones I can and can’t remember. And only He knows how to heal this broken girl who was robbed. But He gives me friends as a gift and reminds me that crying is not always a bad thing. That Jesus wept. And tears are bottled. And being sensitive isn’t a bad thing. And I am equipped to sob with someone else walking the same path. Or walking a different path. Because part of good, life-giving friendship is being able to mourn with someone when they mourn. Even if your only words are, “I have no words.” Thank you to the friends who stayed by my side in 2014. The hardest year of my life. You kept me going as I dispelled darkness with scary, scary truth. And did brave things. And discovered that I am more than the symptoms or the disease. And that God can heal a heart and memory. I am God’s daughter. And He has set me free from myself. In many ways, 2014 has actually been one of the greatest years of my life.

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman today.


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