Our Redemption Story: Addiction -Part 2


Prologue, Part 1

I have my husband’s full support and permission in sharing the details of our story. He and I are completely different people now and are eager to share our story of redemption, because our desire is that God would use it to give others hope.

     Whether or not he was coming home that night, I was leaving. On the nights when our 7 week old, colicky baby who rarely napped would finally sleep, I slept fitfully, worrying when or if my husband would come home. I was exhausted. My pastor’s wife invited the baby and me to sleep over so she could help with him while I rested. They were having home group that night, and we hadn’t been there in a few weeks. I knew if I showed up our friends would wonder where my husband Will was, but though I was ashamed of the answer to that question, I was too weary not to say yes to the invitation.

     I took a nap during the Bible study, but when it was over, once again I hardly slept. I wished with all of my heart that Will would come home after work and worry about the baby and me since I didn’t leave a note. I wanted him to get a taste of what it was like to wonder where your spouse is when they should be home. He never called. I called the house multiple times in the middle of the night just to get the answering machine. When I returned the next morning, he came home after me, never to have had the chance to worry.

     Let me back up a bit. At some point during our yearlong engagement, Will told me he needed to talk to me. I knew it was serious, and I was a little afraid that he might call off our engagement. After all, he had broken up with me once already. He told me that his roommate urged him to come clean after he had found pornography on the computer. Will cried. He said he had had this addiction before he was saved, and it recently reared its ugly head once again. He told me that he would do whatever it would take to get free, and I agreed to help however I could. I got rid of the internet in my apartment, so if he came over to work on school work while I was at work he wouldn’t be tempted. We went to our pastors for counseling. They gave us a few books, some counsel, and referred us to another couple who had walked through addiction. Things were looking good, and the few times Will would get caught up in porno again, he’d always tell me and repent.

     Though we didn’t have sex, we did not stay sexually pure before marriage. I was helping him feed that sin, and I didn’t even know it. I didn’t understand how those two things were related, because in my mind, one was fantasy, and one was real life. I thought they were separate sins. James 1:14-15 says, “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” We were trying to heed to our counseling and “starve the beast” by getting help for Will to stop his addiction, and at the same time, we were participating in things that fed it, giving birth to death rather than freedom.

     I was naïve. I wouldn’t realize until later the power addiction can have over a person, even over someone who desperately wants to be free. I thought he could repent, get counsel, and it would be behind us. A few months after we got married, it started happening more often. First, he’d secretly keep one of those AOL CDs that would come in the mail, and he’d download the internet without my knowledge. Then he’d buy a TV and hide it in the attic for a few days before telling me. One night, I found a tape he had bought and watched. It made me sick to my stomach. While he was at work, I walked down the street and threw it in someone else’s garbage so he couldn’t find it.

     This is how the cycle went. He’d mess up for a few days, tell me, ask for forgiveness, and then desperately beg God to be free. He read every book we could find on how to be free from sexual addiction. He saw multiple counselors. He thought he must be more messed up than most guys since he couldn’t kick this. He’d fall into a deep depression, then eventually have a good week. We’d move on with life hoping this was behind us, until, boom, the cycle would repeat itself. In another post I’ll talk about what I did during these cycles.

     We got pregnant with our first baby 7 months after we got married. Sometime during the second half of my pregnancy, there were times Will wouldn’t come home after work. He would leave his late night serving shift and drive up to Canada to go to a strip club because, “They are allowed to do more than they can do here,” he told me with remorse one day.

     I remember calling my mom close to Thanksgiving and crying. Our baby was due in about 4 weeks, so the doctor didn’t want me travelling, and my parents lived 5 hours away. I was trying to figure out if I should make the trip and stay with them, transfer my medical records, and plan on having the baby in their town. I decided to stay home for the time being. Then, a few weeks before our son was born, I heard Will come home in the middle of the night. He fell asleep on the couch, but I woke him up and asked, “Do you realize the stress and worry you’re causing me? I’m really worried that it will affect the baby somehow. What am I supposed to do if you are hours away up in Canada, and I go into labor? Do you even want to be at the hospital when the baby’s born?” He said he didn’t know.

     When our baby boy was born, he was so happy to be a father. He loved our little guy so much, and the excitement of all the newness carried him for about a month. Sometime during my maternity leave, he quit his fulltime job and picked up more hours at the restaurant. Our plan was for me to be a stay at home mom as soon as my maternity leave was over, but the pressure of taking care of and providing for our new family was too much for him. Depression hit, and he fell deep in the addiction once again.

     Sometime before Valentine’s Day, I called my parents and asked if our son and I could stay with them for a while. I decided that it was one thing to hurt me, his wife, but I wouldn’t let him hurt our son. I didn’t want to raise a baby in that kind of environment, and knew it was my responsibility to set up healthy boundaries whether or not my husband would change. My dad rented a car so he could later help me drive down to their house, drove the 5 hours, and helped me pack up what we would need for a few weeks. We would come home for my baby’s next doctor’s appointment and make more permanent decisions after that.

     Will and I had been staying in a house my parents still owned in our city. To my surprise, my dad told Will he’d have to find a new place to live while we were separated. He scrambled to find a room to rent. I left him with no apartment, no working car, and after closing our joint bank account, little money. Oh, and I was taking his 2 ½ month old son away from him. He was so angry. He was sure divorce would be our only option, because he knew he could never forgive me. I didn’t want to divorce him, but living together would be condoning his sinful behavior, and as a wife and mother, I couldn’t stand blameless before God if I did so. My desire was that a separation would help us work toward an eventual reconciliation. The problem is, as I had learned during our break up, he had free will. He could choose not to work toward reconciliation.



Our Redemption Story: Part 1

Prologue, Part 2

I have my husband’s full support and permission in sharing the details of our story. He and I are completely different people now and are eager to share our story of redemption, because our desire is that God would use it to give others hope.

    It was a few minutes before midnight on Valentine’s Day. We had been studying for an upcoming test in our college Spanish class together, and I walked him to the door. Will turned around and timidly asked me to be his girlfriend. I was so giddy! He was my first boyfriend.

     We had both decided we didn’t want to date unless we were going to pursue marriage. He had had a few relationships before becoming a Christian, and until he met me, he was not looking for a girlfriend. I was set on marrying a youth pastor, so when I first met him, I just thought he was a nice guy I could be friends with.

     We spent the next two months in mental turmoil, him more than me. Many times he would question if I really was “the one” for him which would make me second guess our relationship, then a few days later, he would decide we were on the right path. And so we went, back and forth for a couple of months.

     Finally, we decided to take a day away from each other and pray, asking God to reveal to us if we were to continue our relationship or not. I went to a park, and God confirmed to me that it was OK to marry Will. That evening, I confidently drove to his house, and we both joyfully told each other we had heard from the Lord that we could walk toward marriage in our relationship.

     A week later, out of the blue, he broke up with me. He said he felt like he wasn’t ready for a commitment, that he needed more time to grow in his relationship with the Lord. Will went through a time of trying to run away from his relationship with God. He felt like if he was wrong when he heard I would be his wife, then he didn’t know how to hear from God at all. He had a hard time having a relationship with a God he couldn’t have communication with.

     I was devastated. I knew I had heard from God, but I also knew that people have free will. If Will decided not to date me, there wasn’t anything I could do about it. We went to the same home group with people from church. I saw him there on weeks his relationship with God was on again, and I worried for him the times he didn’t show up. When he did come, we often led worship together. Everyone said we had a special dynamic, an anointing, when we led together. Can I just tell you how hard it is to have powerful spiritual experiences with someone you aren’t dating anymore?? There was a connection there that I tried hard to not let my heart feel.

     As I said, I worried a lot about Will as I watched him come in and out of church activities. I knew he was struggling, and I really wanted to see him get his life right with the Lord. I’m pretty sure if I had sought counsel that I would have been told that my next decision wasn’t a wise one, but I decided to buy the book The Power of a Praying® Wife and pray through it, inserting Will’s name in the prayers. My deep desire was still to marry him, but I wouldn’t do so if he wasn’t firm in his faith. I knew that God could bring someone else along my path before Will stopped straddling the fence. I chose to give God my desires. I told him, “Yes, I’d love to be his wife someday, but more importantly, I want him to walk with you with his whole heart. I’m going to use this book to help me pray for him to become the husband you want him to be someday for whoever his wife will be.”

     During this time, I met with a friend who mentored me. My goal was to work on me and find healthy ways to get over the heartache while finding out who I really was. We studied a book called A Woman of Strength: Reclaim Your Past, Seize Your Present, and Secure Your Future (Women of Confidence). It really helped me. I remember that I also really wanted hope. When I found the verses Romans 5:3-5, I was upset and said, “why does hope have to be last on this list?? Hope is what I really need to keep going.” The verses say, “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” God used that time, through Bible study and book study to develop character in me that wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t suffered a little.

     Through various events, Will knew that I was concerned for him and praying for him. He saw that I was able to put my feelings aside and remain a loyal friend. About a year after we broke up, our pastor’s wife told me he still had feelings for me. I said, “I really don’t want to know that. Please don’t talk to me about this until I see that he has made some life changes and there is commitment behind his feelings.”

     That summer, we started hanging out more often, first with friends, and then alone. He confided in me that he wanted to marry me someday after he got his act together. We talked about the far off future and about things he needed to work on before we could be in a relationship. You know those TV shows where someone says, “I love you,” and the other person says, “Thank you?” That was us. I didn’t say, “Thank you,” but I didn’t say it back either. He knew I loved him, but he also knew I was looking for a lifetime commitment before I would open my heart completely to him again.

     Back then, every summer my parents would go to a revival camp meeting in Virginia. I told Will I was planning on going with my dad, and I invited him along. They often had signs and wonders there that I hadn’t seen anywhere else, and this was my way of seeing what he was open to spiritually now that he was trying to walk with God again. Of course, I also wanted my dad to get to know him better. When he had broken up with me, my dad’s Papa Bear’s heart hurt for me, and he didn’t want to see me get hurt again.

     While we were there, Will committed himself to pursuing me completely. He confessed a lot of things from his past and from the year that he was floundering. He even told me about a few times he had almost had sex with someone that year, but because of various circumstances (sudden sickness, declined credit cards, etc.), their plans were thwarted. He told me that each time it happened, he knew it was because his future wife was praying for him, and he was so mad, mad at her and mad at God. What a testimony to my faithfulness to pray for him and his future relationship with his wife!

     We came home from camp in an official relationship again, ready to get my parents’ blessing for our future.

     Ladies, he wasted no time! He set up a time to talk to them within a week. They told him, yes, we had their blessing, but could we please wait a little while, take things slow, and not get engaged right away? Well, he wanted the whole world to know that he was completely committed to us, so he proposed the very next day! One year and a day later, we were married. And that, my friends, was the beginning of our journey which would only get rockier.

If I Told You My Story – Prologue

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do a series of posts called “Our Redemption Story.” I believe we all have a story to tell, and when others hear it, it can bring hope, encouragement, healing, and can even break chains. Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

The story my husband Will and I have includes a break up, surprise babies, addiction, separation, restoration, and transformation. When I hear this song, I think of all of the amazing things God has written into the story of our life together, my very favorite story!

My Story

Learning to Become Who I Am

I am an angry, miserable, not fun mom. I yell, I have a tone when I shouldn’t, I don’t laugh enough, and I see my children mirroring all of my shortcomings.

God says that if we are followers of Christ, we are a new creation. Paul often wrote about the difference between living in sinful nature and living in the spirit. The person I described above most often lives in the flesh, or in her sinful nature. I’m supposed to be dead to that nature, dead to me, and alive in Christ. Hmm.

Ok girls, I know I’m not alone here in this quandary. I want to live in the spirit as a new creation. The Bible says a whole lot about who I am in Christ; I just don’t see her very often. How do I get from point A to point B?

I think the biggest step is getting what my brain knows into my heart. I know so many verses and have declared many times who God says I am. Sometimes things just become so familiar that we don’t take time to really chew on the meaning or the reality of those verses. If God said it about me, he’s describing the real me, the me he made me to be! When I describe myself, the person I am day in and day out, it looks different, because the truth isn’t getting into my heart in order for me to continue to transform into that new creation.

Not very long ago, I blew up at my daughter’s behavior, realized I wasn’t calm enough to handle the situation, so I yelled to my husband, “I can’t do this right now!” After he spoke with her about her behavior, he confronted me. He told me that there are things that I do each day that make me less approachable and that is why we are seeing certain behaviors in our children. He wanted me to work on me, and I wanted his help to come up with consequences so in the future I could discipline without blowing my top. He told me working on me was more important than what I wanted. Ouch.

So, I started reading the book, Triggers: : Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. It is a daily devotional to help moms react and respond biblically  instead of with anger toward their children. The book has two parts. Part one gives ideas for handling our children’s behavior that pushes us over the edge, and part two talks about internal triggers, what’s really going on inside of us that makes us react angrily. I started reading part two first, because I knew I had to fix me. I’m not done with the book, and I will go through it a number of times, I’m sure, before I can implement many of the suggestions. But that first day I picked it up, I found hope.

One of the authors was encouraging us moms that we don’t have to worry about how our kids will turn out or if they will run to therapy because of the way we have been parenting. Instead, we can have hope, because if we let God transform us, our kids will get a front row seat in seeing the power of God make us and change us into who he says we already are.

So between working on me and getting help with some parenting strategies, this summer is “Operation Mommy Transformation.” My kids, by the grace of God, are going to start to see me bloom into who I was created to be.

A few weeks before I picked up the book Triggers, we sang a song in church called “Ever Be.” Please take a listen. 


The chorus says, “Your praise will ever be on my lips.” As we were singing, my prayer was that those words would be true even when I am home parenting my children. I want my words to be seasoned with love and grace toward my children so every word and tone I speak can be an offering of praise to God.

Remember Claire’s post, Broken With Him? The “Motherhood is my worship” quote she posted with it is now my motto. Lord, let each part of my mothering be a form of worship to you.
I have hope, because God says I’m a new creation. I’m becoming who I am.

Triggers: : Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A Father’s Legacy


Today, on this Father’s Day, I have our nation’s fatherless epidemic on my mind. There are three groups of parents I want to encourage today. First of all, to the fathers who have learned how to be dads, who have an active, loving role in the bringing up of your children, I want to say, “Thank you. I salute you.” You may or may not have had a good male role model in your own life, but you have chosen to walk in part of your destiny – fatherhood. If you had not chosen fatherhood, you would never feel complete when trying to find out who you truly are. You are leaving a legacy of love and security to your children and future generations. This day is about you, and I want to let you know how much I respect you.

To the men out there, whether fathers or not, who have mentored and loved children who are not their own, God bless you! You have felt the calling of God to be his loving hands to the fatherless who are so very valuable and special to the Lord. You know what it means to multiply the kingdom of God when you leave your own four walls to go and pour yourself out and live the gospel in front of precious children who so desperately need to see what good fathers are like. You are leaving an incredible legacy that generations otherwise would not have. Happy Father’s Day!

To the mama who had to wipe tears off of her child’s face tonight or whose heart tore just about in half when her little one acted out in anger, because this day reminds him that he has no daddy, I was praying for you and your child today. I prayed that God would give your and your children peace. I prayed that you both would feel God’s arms around you. God sees your child. The Bible says he will help and defend him, that he is a father to the fatherless. Dear Mama, I leave you with a few verses I pray you find comfort in. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11. God will lead you and give you wisdom as you parent your children. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3. Your love and prayers, plus everything that our good, good Father has for your family, will leave a miraculous legacy for your children. It will be a legacy of hope, security, love and change – a legacy much different than the one past generations have tried to leave behind.


Crow Is Nasty

Yesterday I ate crow. Not the way most people do. No one but me knew it, but I ate it just the same. I watched a funny Facebook conversation turn sour when someone ignored another person who said they didn’t want to debate, then proceeded to correct the person who tried to call them out on it. I made a comment that I deeply believe. “Honor should come before your need to be right.” The problem is, though I believe it, I don’t often live it in my home.

Why do we insist people listen to us when we think we are right? Why can’t we just let it go when, though we might be right, the situation isn’t the right setting to spout off our beliefs or opinions? I had to contemplate that yesterday. Here’s what I came up with. Maybe it just applies to me, but I think you’ll be able to relate.

I want to be right when I’m emotionally involved. I might be emotionally involved because I have a deep relationship with the person and want them to see my side of things.  I also want to be right when something touches my emotions. In my house, it’s usually that someone has set off a bad emotion in me, I blow up, correct the other person, then play the blame game, because I want to be justified in my actions and words. Though I completely lost it and handled it the wrong way, I feel a little justified because I also corrected the other person where they were wrong.

What makes me react this way? It’s usually unmet expectations, because I have a control issue. (Time for me to learn from Ginger’s post.) Perhaps it’s because my to-do list is not going to be completed because of the needs of one or more of the other people in my household. Or maybe my children’s behavior doesn’t live up to my ideals. I mean, they’re my kids. I expect them to think and act just like me, right? Actually, I expect more from them than I do from myself. I often expect perfection, as if they are robots made to do my bidding, rather than complex and extremely valuable individuals.

My kids see the real me, the me I don’t hide from others. They see me when I’m tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, stressed, angry, etc. Then they hear me nag, correct, yell, and make excuses for my words and actions. So after posting, “honor should come before your need to be right,” I have a few questions for myself. When did it become ok to not practice this with my own family? If I can’t lead by example, how can I train my kids to honor people more than they love opinions and beliefs?

I honestly haven’t figured out a solution. The only answer I’ve come up with is this prayer. I’d like to pray it daily for awhile and see if some changes are made around here. If you’d like to join me, here’s King and Country’s song Proof of Your Love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgqYYk-0wDs


Hats of a Minivan Mom


We moms wear many hats every day, but have you ever stopped to name the hats you wear while driving your kids from place to place? I bet you can relate to these and will even come up with a few more after reading mine.

Megaphone Hat: The one you wear while trying to have a conversation with someone in the way back seat when everyone else is making noise while driving down the highway.

Referee Hat: Remember those kids sitting way in the back? Now they’re fighting about a noise someone made or an arm that crossed the invisible line.

Elastigirl (Mrs. Incredible) Hat: Worn when tantrum throwing toddler whines and cries for the toy he dropped and wants you to reach, because he needs it this second. Also worn when contorting your arm to either reach for a snack at the bottom of the diaper bag (which is behind the driver seat) or to stroke your baby’s cheek when he’s crying.

Chef Hat: When you have to pass snacks and drinks out to everyone because they are soooo hungry!

Losing My Mind, Maybe It Fell Into My Lead Foot Hat: The baby’s screaming and neither your Cooing Hat or your Singing Hat are doing the trick. You can’t take another second. You look down and see you’re going 15 miles above the speed limit, because, even though this feels like an out of body experience, your foot’s brain says, “the faster I drive, the faster this torture ends.”

I’m starting a petition. You see, I’ve never gotten a ticket and I should be rewarded for that. Moms can’t just wear the Driver Hat when going from point A to point B with only the slight distraction of the radio. How on earth do we get our family anywhere safely when so much is going on in our vehicle? Because on top of all these hats we wear the Super Mom Hat, that’s how. So insurance companies, we moms think you need to start a new deductible incentive just for us –  the “many hat wearing momma clean driving record” deductible.


What is God Saying About your Children for 2016?

Before the new year began, I was praying for my children by calling things that are not as though they are and calling things that are as though they are not. One of my children has been telling little lies. It’s sometimes hard to tell if this child is doing it on purpose or not, because it is often masked with confusion, confusion about the situation and about what others are speaking to said child. I was praying this way: “Thank you God that (insert name) is a truth teller. Thank you that he/she knows how to speak clearly and to understand what is spoken without confusion.”

Another child made a habit of talking back. Apparently, this mama is always wrong…until I’m right. “Thank you, Lord, that _____ is respectful. Thank you that when he/she gets frustrated he/she will still be at peace. Thank you that he/she accepts correction and has a teachable spirit.”

Here’s a mama mess up story with my oldest. Our toddler left a toy out that we all kept tripping over, but no one would move it. My oldest tripped on it, then about 10 minutes later, my husband did. I sharply said to my son, “Could you puhleeze go put that toy away?! Everyone is tripping on it!” After he quietly obeyed, I said, “I’m sorry I spoke so harshly. You didn’t do anything wrong.” He said, “I’m used to it.” Ouch. Yes, I speak with an accusing tone a lot.

The next day, I was reading in Luke 1 where Zechariah is visited by Gabriel who tells him very specific things about the son he and Elizabeth will have. When John was born, Zechariah’s mouth opened when he agreed with the word of the Lord by saying the boy’s name was John. Zechariah then prophesied, by the Holy Spirit, to his family and friends about what kind of person John would be and the call he had on his life.

Since reading from Luke, I’ve been thinking about seeking God for a word for my children, something I can pray over them for this new year. My friend Traci, at http://www.tracimichelle.com, challenged her readers to think about what one word God was speaking to them for 2016.


When my son called me out, I realized the word God is speaking for our children for 2016 is “loved.” He (and I) want them to feel so loved, loved by Him, loved by us. I can’t snap my fingers and suddenly fix my bad habit of responding or correcting my kids with a harsh tone. I need God’s Spirit to change me so they can feel my love for them and His love for them through me. The beauty of that is, I have a whole year to yield to what the Holy Spirit wants to do through me to make the changes needed in my relationship with my kids.

Sit down with a journal, music, and your Bible. Ask God what word or phrases He wants to you to pray into existence for your family. Then ask Him to help you get out of the way, so He can bring those words to pass.


If Mama ain’t Happy, ain’t Nobody Happy

Usually someone has an attitude
Usually someone has an attitude

Isn’t that how the saying goes? We were in a hurry to get out the door, and I was stressed. We’re always in a hurry because I don’t do well with time management. I got up late because I’m trying to catch up on lost sleep from the past 4 months after our baby was born. The rest of the morning had me running around gathering things for the diaper bag, changing diapers, and making sure everyone was fed and dressed. Chaos and loudness were happening all around me. My volcano finally erupted. After I threw up with words all over my kids, I tried to calm down and just give in to the fact that we weren’t going to be early and maybe not even on time. I took a few deep breaths and resolved to talk quietly even if the lava was still bubbling inside of me.

Then it happened. Recently it so often does. One of my children mirrored my attitude and gave it back to me. I couldn’t correct him because I know I had created the frustration. Immediately I knew I had just witnessed my house falling down all around me. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” When I thought to myself, “I just tore my house down,” I was filled with dread but also hope at the same time.

I knew I had made the wrong decision moments before, but I felt that God had pointed it out to me so I could correct it by responding a different way in the next few minutes. As I said, the lava was still bubbling. I remember talking very quietly and slowly as I fought my toddler’s kicking legs while trying to diaper him. As the baby cried and another child voiced their frustration, I raised my voice to say, “I’m trying really hard right now to not lose my temper. I’m choosing to take deep breaths, but believe me, I want to scream and yell, and if you continue to add to this bad attitude that’s in our house right now, I will.” Hey, at least I was being honest and showing my kids how to fight their feelings and thoughts, right?

Now let’s get back to the feeling of hope. God had shown me what just happened but that my house didn’t have to remain in shambles. After the “ouch” that came with correction, my next thought was, “His mercies are new every morning.” As long as my kids are living in my home, I have the opportunity to practice reacting with peace and calmness to the chaos they or myself bring to our home. Just because I tore my house down in that moment doesn’t mean I can’t choose to rebuild, even if I have to start over a million times. In Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued, she coined a phrase that has been a lifesaver to me; “Imperfect Progress.” If I’m making steps in the right direction in between each step backward, I’m still moving forward; I’m still working at building my house.

Can I encourage you to not give up? No matter how many times you’ve lost it with words, thoughts, or attitudes, He offers a gentle reminder to make the decision to change course and start building again. Then when you have joy in your heart and see joy in your home you can smile, because you know that, “if Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.”