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  1. Hi Monica, I’ve been going through serious medical conditions with my two oldest sons for several years now. It’s emotionally draining and financially devastating for our family. (I also am a mom of 4 boys). When I have time to talk with friends I always choose my friends that are the most spiritual. I’ve prayed and prayed for God to heal my children but he hasn’t heard my prayers. Sometimes I feel Maybe God might hear and answer their prayers over mine. They have been my lifeline for several years now. They also have things going on in their life that we talk about as well. At least for a brief time I can honestly express how I’m feeling and I always leave feeling a little bit closer to God. It’s such a blessing to have friends that know just how to lift you up even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. I would want to talk about how these 40-something hormone changes are no joke! LOL! I would talk about how, even though I really miss the baby/toddler years, it is so great to watch my kids turn into young adults. I recently read All the Light We Cannot See, which I really enjoyed. I am currently reading Mere Christianity by CS Lewis and also Peace Like a River by Liam Enger. So far would recommend both!

  3. I love that our version of the coffee date is sitting at the beach watching our sons compete. Our conversations go almost exactly like you described. I’m so happy to call you friend.

  4. Over coffee I would admit I’m struggling more than I want to admit. I’ve been on such an emotional rollercoaster (partially because I hit 40 in October) and that is why I’ve been MIA lately. The mom guilt of not taking care of myself or making sure my two boys are eating right and staying off electronics like they “should be”. Worried if I have fallen short with their schooling is constantly on my mind. The hubby and I feel like we are on auto pilot after 16 years. Our oldest dog just turned 15 and is starting to show his age and it kills me to think of him not being here. I’d blurt that all out then suck it back in and help you with anything you were going through.

  5. Hi Monica! I love this post and I would love to share coffee and conversation with you 🙂
    Being a fellow “boy mom” I would imagine we would talk about our boys. But, that would lead to my two grandbabies, so that would go on for a few minutes (or more) and then my 19 year old being in a serious relationship (yikes). Our faith would be a topic – because Jesus 🙂

    Right now I’m reading “Make Something Good” by Ben and Erin Napier and “Fail Until You Don’t” by Bobby Bones (did you see him on Dancing With The Stars???) I can’t read just one book at a time, for some reason!

    Right now, in life, I’m trying to settle into our new house, plan for Christmas, a baby shower in January for my 3rd grand girl, and my husband’s 55th birthday next Friday.

    When the notion hits me to be stressed, I remind myself how blessed I am to have people 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for the chat! (and by the way, did you try the Texas coffee I sent?)

    Blessings to you and all your guys!

  6. Victoria Ruddy says:

    The usual. Balance. Being a better mom. More balance. Not being a total Christmas fatty😂. Grace. Marriage with grace. Parenting with grace.

  7. Monica –
    Having coffee with you would be a dream! I would reassure you in a couple of ways. (Or at least try 😉) You will get so many positive reviews that the negative ones are easier to push off. Also, be careful because Amazon lets you do this terrible thing where you can follow by the hour where your book falls on the sales list and watching that list… Yeah, it can be addictive. That might be a feature only available to your publisher though. You will pour over those reviews as they come in, but just remember that people have different tastes in books and I promise (I can personally assure you) one good review outweighs the bad ones by two or three! You won’t get many bad ones but everyone is always afraid of them. They don’t hurt as much as you might think. Prepare yourself for them, they’ll be there, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. And you’ll be fine. I PROMISE. You won the biggest two battles – you got a publisher and you got through the dreaded editing phase. The rest is cake. 😘
    I would tell you that our Christmas season is marred this year because there’s no space left in my brain for holiday thoughts. My youngest (the hard one) is having a rough year and we’re fighting a losing battle with the school. We are facing a huge decision. But that pales in comparison to the health issues with our oldest – the “easy one”. He was born with a birth defect that wasn’t supposed to be a problem and is suddenly a problem. Now he’s facing major surgery in a hospital far from home with months of recovery. I’m not feeling very Christmas-y this year at all. It’s a bad time of year to tell your friends about this stuff. They’re feeling too Christmas-y. But if you asked that “How are you… Really?” question, that would definitely be my answer.
    I’m excited for you to have all four boys home for a bit! Enjoy this time with your family! And celebrate letting go of your book! It’s in good hands now and it will be amazing!

  8. Hello Monica,
    It is very true that being vulnerable is never fun. However, we all have gravitated to your blog in search of hope, direction, and wisdom in the complex world of raising children. That accounts for a big something. I am extremely excited!
    As for your family, I am happy to hear all is well. It is exciting to see your kids stand on their own, even if we miss them while they are busy making their mark on the world.
    I hope all the best,

  9. I’d love to hear about how you are squeezing in your quiet times? And how you are slowing down to enjoy every minute of this season. I am really trying, my oldest is a senior and I am trying not to get too sentimental and call everything ‘our last’ with the whole family; without tearing up and blubbering. 😄

  10. Hi Monica
    I would be so excited for our coffee date ( I like a blonde flat white)… all the things you brought up in your blog- gosh, they would have been on my list to talk to you about. I know we call talk circles about our first borns ( your son, my daughter) and their first semester in college. We could talk about your other 3 boys and my 1 teen boy… I’m so glad you brought up being overwhelmed because that’s where I am and you have touched a nerve- one that I’m trying to work through and need friends to help. Like most of us, my plate runneth over and I’m definitely feeling it at the moment. Luckily I have support from my husband.. and friends.. I miss my kiddo, I have one at home and my parents are a mess which is adding to my stress level.. but having a friend who grabs your hand and says seriously talk to me- yup that’s where I am right now.. as for books- looking for some new ones at the moment! Until our next coffee date! Hugs Bonnie fromVA

  11. Katie Bering says:

    Love when you talk about being madly in love with your boys. I totally get you there (and lots of other areas as well :)). In our coffee date we would freely gush over our kids to each other (how they both got to move from jv to varsity bball because they were working so hard!), while mixing in those hard mom moments from the last week (how the one who just got taller than me gets so angry when he has to stop playing video games, and he knows it, and it makes him sad too), knowing that the other understands how the two intertwine. Then we’d turn the challenges over to Jesus and bask in how good God is to give us these boys and these husbands who love us so much.
    With much love,

  12. Oh Monica, as I was reading this I found myself wishing we lived closer. I would love to have coffee with you! We’d talk about marriage and how we can be more Kingdom oriented in our marriages. We’d talk about running because we both enjoy it, and I’d ask if you have any tips for shin splints. We’d swap Christmas cookie recipes 🙂

    So much love to you!

  13. Hi Monica!! As always, love your (our) coffee dates 😉🙃 I am excited with you about Josiah coming home from college for the first time. Wow, I can not even begin to imagine all the emotions…. but also, how fun and how nice it’ll be to have him sleeping under the same roof again. I would definitely tell you that I’ll be first in line to purchase your book when it comes out and will most likely be recommending it and gifting it to other boy moms I know.
    I would also tell you that my doctor is sending me out for further exams for some lump he found in my breast that he didn’t like very much. But I would also tell you that I’m not worried or scared, at all. Come what may, I know my Jesus is with me and will take care of everything before I even think.. I am in Florida now, with my husband and our little girl and we are enjoying the beach and the warmth. And I don’t want to go back home to Washington…. it’s been our dream to move here for many years now and hopefully someday soon we will… it is all in the good Lord’s hands 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Wishing you happy holidays, laughter and joy ❤️ Thank you for sharing your heart with me once again 🥰 blessings dear Monica!!

  14. That was an absolutely hilarious read for me today. Feel like I just had a chat with you for real. I don’t get to have coffee alone with a friend nearly enough. Always seems when I do I get done and think of all the things I was going to ask but got distracted by the tangents. Like the idea of making a list on my phone because really…mom brain is terribly distracting.

  15. Aww, Monica, I loved that post! So very insightful about how many of us are feeling at this time of year. Well, I would tell you that we are trying to slow it down and savor the holidays this year instead of rushing through it; I would tell you my house looks like a construction zone because despite saying we would slow it down we are doing a bunch of (technically unnecessary) home improvements in anticipation of having guests .. and I would tell you how I’m trying my best at the teen years but I was honestly better with babies. Then I would tell you that your book is going to be amazing and sometimes, when you are stuck in all the details of editing what you’ve written you can no longer see the brilliance of what you’ve written but DON’T WORRY because we will all see it! I love your writing, and I’m going to tell all my friends to read your book. Enjoy a Hawaiian sunset for me, and I shall enjoy a California trip to Trader Joe’s for you, ok? 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  16. Monica Carter says:

    Hi! Along with all the chit chat I would TOTALLY insist you download the audio book Becoming written and narrated by Michelle Obama…her voice and stories are amazing! Since it’s on audiobook you actually look forward to folding laundry/unloading the dishwasher or driving all day! 😘

  17. We would have a blast!!

  18. This was a great post! You pretty much described to a T my coffee dates with friends. I always also try to squeeze in there the question of “What is God teaching you right now?” He is always teaching us something but we sometimes forget to realize it 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  19. I would love to chat about raising teenagers to buck the culture and how to feed teenagers well without losing my mind!!

    I am currently reading More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell, The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp, morning homeschool devotions include the book of Luke and Indescribable by Louie Giglio (definitely check it out if you haven’t), and night time reading is Walking the Road to Bethelehem by Adam Hamilton.

  20. If I were meeting you for coffee, it would mean I was visiting Hawaii for the first time. Oh, it’s a place I really really really want to visit. So, I’d likely monopolize your time, making sure I had all of the “must do” sort of things planned. But then I’d want to hear more about your boys. In your pics and posts, your boys remind me quite a bit of my nephews. (My sister has 4 blondies, with a Caleb who reminds me so much of your Levi. My brother has 2 blondies as well.)
    As for what I’m reading, I find myself in a self-improvement kick during this time of year. I suppose it’s the coming of the new year and all that. Right now, I have bookmarks in Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins and How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I recently finished reading Origin by Dan Brown. I also listened to A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid. I’m a sucker for short, cute Christmas stories during this time of year, especially if they involve dogs.
    As for the Enneagram, I hadn’t tried that one yet. I just did a free quiz online, and I am #1, the Reformer or Perfectionist. Yup, that’s me. It’s not good for my mental health.

  21. Wow. I just loved everything in this post…coffee, friends, books and worrying about our boys. Thanks for the love today! Congratulations on the hard work you put into your book and the final stages!

  22. Melinda Nawn says:

    Monica! I love this post. I have followed you for several years and would hope we would be “in person” friends if I lived on your island! This dialogue sounds exactly like my many coffee dates with friends, I even do a few virtual dates with out of town dear friends. You are an inspiration with your faith, honesty and charm. Hoping you get lots of precious time with each of your boys this Christmas season.
    Hugs and Cheers from Hudson Ohio

  23. I would talk about issues surrounding taking care of elderly parents.

  24. I would talk about everything EXCEPT the ‘college application/waiting for decisions’ process. And you’d understand that I don’t want to talk about it because you’ve been through it. 😘

  25. Susan Marancik says:

    We would have to talk about school, for ourselves (I’m taking some masters level courses. – should I get the whole degree?!) Also high school for boys and the approaching college years. How can we afford it, college level sports, and what will my son study as he launches into the world!

  26. Jamie Ahrens says:

    I just read “it’s not supposed to be this way” by Lysa terkerust. It’s amazing and so very inspiring. I know you’d love it if you haven’t yet read it. Also, I adore Tim Tibow’s books and have bought them for others this Christmas. Books can make great gifts.

  27. I would love to chat with you about toddler boys, all the best coffee drinks and what we’re reading!

  28. Renee Walton says:

    First of all, I’d order a spicy chai tea, the creamier the better as I never get out for coffee with a friend so moderation is out the window today. 😉
    My topic of discussion is a bit gloomy as I’m dealing with some pre-empty nest syndrome & wondering what my purpose will be after my baby girl graduates in May and leaves home not too far after. I’ve identified as a bit of a “helicopter mom” for almost 30 years now and by September, I will surely feel quite lost and incredibly sad. I know God only gives us our children to raise & guide for a few short years and then we’re supposed to encourage them to fly away & spread their wings, but I’m feeling incredibly selfish & I want to rewind time by about 15 years. I am so not ready for this even though, I’m working hard at encouraging her to finally pick a school & get those scholarship & application essays complete & sent off.
    Ok, my comment got a bit lengthy but I’m struggling with this topic and I needed to share my thoughts with a friend today.
    Thanks for inviting me out for coffee and I hope you have a truly blessed Christmas season. Hugs!

    1. Renee Walton says:

      I should add that part of my anxiety is due to the fact that my son, his wife & my beautiful grandpups live nine hours away & we hardly get to see them. I’m fact, we won’t be together this Christmas which doesn’t help matters in my heart.

  29. Tracy Garner says:

    So fun! Reading this reminds me that we are all more alike than different. The coffee date sounds so familiar and comforting. Thanks for sharing as always. I love your insight and encouragement. And I am so excited for your book!! Can’t wait sit to mark it up and read it over and over.
    Much aloha,

  30. Kari Zamarripa says:

    Hi Monica,
    I so wish we could sit and have coffee in person!
    I live in OC California and I am a member of Seacoast Grace in Cypress. I missed seeing you at our church over the summer because we were on vacation.
    Im a mom of 2 (Sarah-30 and Ryan -15) and a grandmother of 2 ( Ella 3 1/2 & Nolan 1 1/2)
    Life is busy for me with my family and working fulltime as an Rn. Im looking forward to reading your book next year!
    I love your blog and have learned ao much about raising boys through you!
    Thank you for aharing your heart!

  31. Oh, Monica, a giggly coffee date with a good friend is exactly what every boy mom’s soul needs! I would be so eager to pick your brain about raising all those wonderful boys of yours. You see, you and I, we became friends unexpectedly…I (over here in Texas) stumbled upon your site (over there in Hawaii) one day looking for boy mom advice, and you’ve encouraged my heart ever since.
    I’ve got three little guys 3, 5, and 7), and most days I am struggling to be patient, to discipline consistently, to be gentle. I would probably do a lot of listening, asking you to tell me how you manage quiet time with God, a blog/business, and rowdy little boys.
    I’m pretty sure I would leave our coffee date feeling refreshed and grateful for all the Lord has blessed us with and the great privilege of being a mom and wife.
    And I’d realize what a gift God had given us in friendships with other women who have been through what we’ve been through. And even more so, when their hearts are knitted in Christ, there is always a common ground and encouragement to be had!

  32. What a lovely post! If we had coffee, I would want to ask you for tips about homeschooling high school. And maybe talk about cooking – we’ve really enjoyed the recipes of yours that we’ve tried. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  33. I am answering this for sure! I am excited about Josiah coming home for you and excited about the all of the growth and experiences your boys are having!

    What we are reading:
    Me: Nothing but trying to go back and finish The White Queen and on of the 5 David Sedaris books I have on the ready.

    The girls: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Keeper of the Lost Cities Series, and Scardey Squirrel.

  34. Merry, merry Christmas Monica! I LOVE the coffee date posts. I can hardly imagine your excitement to have your favorite college freshman home on your rock in the Pacific. Here’s hoping time will slow down and those weeks will pass sloooowly. If we were having coffee I would want to drive to you and have coffee some place in Turtle Bay, overlooking the ocean, early in the morning. Maybe someday… Let’s see what I would want to talk about? First I would want to pick your mind about Oahu holiday “must-dos” because we might spend Christmas 2019 visiting Hawaii!! When I got control of the giddiness, I suppose I would ask you how in the world you fit in writing time? I have ALWAYS wanted to write- but I can’t seem to be disciplined enough to find the time. It’s super cool that you do find the time! Then I’d ask you, like I ask everyone else, about Christmas gift ideas. I have perfectly nice and generous gifts to give but nothing I am SO EXCITED to give. My favorite part of Christmas is that one special gift that you can’t wait to give! I need to keep thinking. It brings me so much joy to have a Christmas surprise up my sleeve. Then I’d ask you about the homeless on the Waianae coast. I recently read two different accounts of the situation. Having lived there 24 years ago, I am curious what a local’s take is on the situation. The Waianae community is diverse and strong and I hope things are going well. Then, enough of the heavy chat, I’d asl if you ever made candied pecans and chat about recipes. If we had a ton of time I’d love to talk about laying down ground rules for my 11 y/o and the phone he will get at some point in 2019. He is the final buddy w/o a phone, but it makes me sad that tweens have this pressure. Big sigh… By then my kids would need to be picked up, or fed, or something I would have to go home and all the way I’m sure I would be smiling and thinking about how your outfits are always so cool…. Oh – I am reading Educated (very interesting) and Class Mom ( very funny). Also, loving my millionth read of Wonder w/ my 9 y/o.

  35. Hey Monica! I love this post – mainly because I am also a homeschool mom who tarely gets out for a cup of coffee. I had to remind myself while reading that This was just a blog post and not a real conversation. 😉 If I could have coffee with you on your island, I would talk to you about how to thrive in a place that is beautiful and amazing (the mountains, for me), but also very lonely. I’ve been here for over six years and still haven’t found a “tribe” or even one close “heart” friend. I know it’s possible, so I would spend time discussing how God can grow me in this place. I would also want to know if you are still pursuing the vegan lifestyle. Just out of curiosity. 🙂
    I can’t wait for your book to come out ! With love, Heather

  36. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but reading your words really does make it feel like I’ve found a good, inspiring friend. This year has been hard (but that’s not the same thing as bad, right?). Pregnancy & baby with a tumor, her surgery coming up fast, public school issues leading to brand-new homeschool in our house, unexpected expenses, ppa/ppd, not feeling like I’m good enough for/at anything, feeling bad for even writing this here. I struggle to remind myself HE is with me, even if I get too self-involved and unappreciative. So yes, this year has been hard, but my life is FULL of blessings. All I need to do is put my faith in Him and focus on what matters.

    Also, I know your book will be FANTASTIC! I have two boys and can’t wait to read it. I also just read The Nightingale and was blown away by it. It’s been awhile since I read a book that evoked such emotion.

  37. I would talk about how you handle raising your kids and keeping it calm, together and stress-free. I notice moms have their own advice, suggestions and I like to hear mom/kid advice. thanks!

  38. I would tell you how sparkly and bright your personality is, and how much grace you have for yourself and others and it makes you age so well. I’d tell you-you should be so very proud of all your hard work, God sees it all and you have honored him with your diligence in writing this book. I would say please pray for me as I receive my 21, 22, 24 year old children/young adults back home. My sweet Sophia, tomorrow at noon. I love you, Monica! You bless me! Melissa from Sherwood, Oregon.

  39. I would also express how important proof reading is and how my last message had so many words that were incorrectly autocorrected.

  40. I would tell you what a till my health has taken on our family this year. How having a baby, an ADHD toddler and a kiddy pre-teen is sucking the life out of me. How having 5 surgeries in 3 months has been so difficult and has caused a lot of stress to everyone, especially my husband.
    But I would tell you what a blessing my family is and has been. How God have us a sweetest baby boy who is a good sleeper, much unlike his older brother who has been a struggle from day 1. But he’s growing up and starting to get a little easier also, praise God. I would tell you that my oldest has enjoyed his first year of middle school so far which surprised us all. We are so thankful. I would say that even tho I’ve been in so much pain and it’s taken a toll on me mentally I am thankful for being able to have these surgeries and didn’t have to pay anything for the last 4 bc our deductible has been met for the year.
    I would tell you how excited I am for 2019. For better health, for time with my family, bike rides, picnics, swimming.
    I would tell you how we would not have survived nearly as well if it weren’t for the community that God has placed us in. Friends who have come along side us to help when they could. Whether it’s making meals for us, watching our boys, taking us for coffee and talk or be silly with and get our minds off of things for awhile. Who have prayed for us and reminded us to keep running to God through the good and bad times.
    And then I would feel really bad for hogging the conversation and listen intently as you spilled your heart!
    I would order a grande lattes…. a drink I discovered I love this year. I guess 2018 had some perks after all.

    1. I would love to have coffee with you and would totally invision it going the same way. 😉 I can’t wait to read your book cover to cover and find all the nuggets in it. I am so excited you get to see Josiah soon!
      I would tell you about reading Here Now by Kate Merrick (early release copy, due out in April) and my break from social media is going very well. I have time back and stopping the comparisons (huge for me)
      AND I have lost 7 lbs this month and thank you for writing “Skinny Friend’s” super helpful with the mental challenge of getting healthy and in shape.

      Love you friend!