Hey, friends!

I miss old school blogging.  My posts reflect that, meandering from current events to family updates to long form articles.  I know, I know. . . current blog gurus say Find your audience! Write in your niche!  But whatever. It’s my website.  

Still, you're probably here for some mommy-encouragement or theological talk.  Welcome! 

Hero Mother

Hero Mother

With four boys in tow all holding hands, I remember hurrying to the metro in Kyiv in the early 2000s.

“Oh, a Hero-Mother!” A babushka would stop me, exclaiming over them, tightening one boy’s scarf and straightening another one’s hat.

They shared with me the joy of motherhood, the blessing it truly was.

Soviet-era women commonly had multiple abortions. Post-Soviet families often only had one child, with multiple generations sharing an apartment.

The joy of motherhood was mixed with the discomfort of being the “rich American” who could afford my then-four children.

The son who first made me a mother was born nearly 23 years ago, and as I write this my three-year-old and only daughter is pretending to be “a baby who doesn’t cry.”

I’ve made so many mistakes. I haven’t cherished every moment. I’ve sinned against (and hidden from) my kids.

And I’ve loved them. Snuggled them. Read to them. Watched each of them grow into the person God has created them to be.

These six persons in my life who have made me a mother? They delight me, humble me, and bring me to my knees before God.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

“Hero Mother” medal, presented to me by my husband one Mother’s Day in Ukraine.

The Dreaded Teenage Years

When I was a teen, I balked at the idea of being a “teenager.” I remember discussions that the idea of “teenager” was a social construct that ought to be rejected.

It was as if rejecting the term could also do away with the cultural associations of teens being rebellious, struggling, having a hard time in life. It was almost as if people wanted to exchange that set of cultural norms for the idea of people being able to grow from early adolescence to responsible young adulthood with no struggles.

Transitioning from childhood to adulthood, however, is generally a process — regardless of culture — and doesn’t just happen over night. I believe it does a disservice to teens and parents to not allow space for the natural challenges which may arise from the transition from child to adult.

There are very real physical changes going on — especially with hormones and in the brain. There are very real changes in societal expectations, as well. Very real changes in self-perception and self-identity. We don’t have to accept the worst stereotypes of teenagers to accept that this can be a challenging time for the teen himself, as well as his family and community.

Much of this is internal in the teen. . . Introspection is common. Who am I? What do I REALLY believe? How do I want to live my life, how should I live my life?

“Children are born persons,” as Charlotte Mason said, is true. God has created us in His image. Our children are people in themselves from the beginning — and yet there is as aspect of “becoming” that is part of life and development.

The image of a butterfly struggling to free itself from a chrysalis helps me want to be patient and understanding with my kids. It’s a true struggle, hard work, growth. .

April 2019

Our nature display changes more with the seasons, now that we are in a more traditional winter/spring/summer/autumn climate.

It’s spring now. See the twig that had new buds on it, before A6 dissected them? He added a green ribbon to stand for the green we can see from our apartment window, more each day. H3 found the hawk feather when we went for a hike through our friends’ woods. The rock holds amazing fossils — my friend Sarah and I found it during a nature walk at the #AOCM2019 getaway.

I made it through winter, and the hygge and the candles helped. Spring has entered slowly and I feel at peace.

Corporate Housing Woes

We are staying in corporate housing while Hubby is learning Albanian.

Downside? Tacky furniture and decorations, and our “stuff” is in storage.

Upside? Housekeeping comes every Friday!


We Remember Lydia Schatz

Photo of a smiling little girl from Liberia, "We Remember Lydia Schatz"


I’m not crying today, as I have in years past.  Is that because my compassion is waning? Perhaps it is simply that time and distance soften grief.

Those who knew Lydia describe her as a vivacious little girl with the most heart-warming smile.

Lydia was adopted from war-torn Liberia. She was one of nine children–six biological and three adopted. In so many ways, her family was lovely and loving. And yet, she died of rhabdomyolysis, in which her muscle tissues were broken down by repeated spankings from her adopted parents.

Each year I do my little part to try to remind the world of Lydia.

Each year I try to warn parents to not follow false teachings that lead to abuse.

Parents, hold your children tight. Be gentle with them. Nurture them.  Be discerning.

Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19



From the TG archives:

When I found out about Lydia Schatz, 2010
Lydia’s Birthday and Autopsy Report
The Connection between TTUAC and Lydia’s Death
Remembering Lydia: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

God’s Favorites


My 6yo: Do you know God’s favorite football team? The Saints!

(He was listening to this morning’s sermon, intro to Philippians addressed to the saints if God.)

Snow and #ShutdownStories

Hubby took the kids out to play in the snow — and they were out there over an hour!

No pics, but they were adorable.

Best dad ever.


World’s Best Macchiato?

A friend summarized one of the reasons I’m so excited about our next move:

Kosovo has the BEST macchiatos in the region, rivaling Italy. This is a coffee culture, and most can be had for 50 euro cents, up to a Euro in the expensive places.”

(Check out these pics. . . I bet you’ll want to come visit!)


As I write this, I realize that this is good for me. . . It’s “Thinking Ahead,” the T in Building a RAFT.  I think I’ll pour a cup of my drip coffee, look forward to macchiatos, and browse Pintrest for more things to enjoy in Kosovo.



Schedule an Event

Whether it is facilitating a workshop or speaking to a group, I'm available to help you develop practical skills to help you connect with your teens.  


Always happy to do audio, video, or written interviews on topics related to connecting with teens, covenant theology, and expat living.  tulipgrrl@gmail.com

Reach out

I love connecting with friends -- old and new.  Feel free to email.  I try to respond quickly.  Try.  tulipgrrl@gmail.com

Hi, I'm Alexandra.
I write to encourage us as we become the people God has created us to be -- especially in the realms of nurturing our children and using our talents right where we are.

Six kids. INFP. Reformed & covenantal. Liberty & justice for all. Speaker. Current project: Helping parents connect with teens.

I started blogging as TulipGirl in 2004. Tech crashes and life derailed the site. The archives are gone, but I'm glad to be back.

Hey, friends! Sign up...

Subscribe here and I'll email you when I have new blog posts or something exciting to share... not too often, and never any spam. -Alexandra
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

I’m blogging for fun, not profit.

On occasion, I’ll use an affiliate link and try to remember to mark them with (aff).  This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  I am not running ads.

Transparency is important to me, and I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

From the Archives