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My 20th high school class reunion is quickly approaching. The countdown is most definitely on.

There’s not much you can do to prepare for a class reunion, but I’ve prepared for the day as best as I can. I sent in my $45/couple fee, RSVP’d on the Facebook event page, and engaged classmates in conversation about who’s bringing a spouse to the reunion and who’s not. I bought an outfit I hope I’ll feel comfortable and beautiful in for the evening’s events, and we arranged a place to stay overnight.

So now I sit in wonder, waiting to see who will be there and who won’t, who I’ll connect with as an adult, and who I won’t. Questions of identity beg to be answered. Who was I then? And who am I now? Am I any different? Or am I really just the same? Will I be stuck in the box of who I was? Or will I be embraced for the person I am today? Will I be comfortable in my all grown-up adult skin, or will I tuck some of that away for the day? I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s wondered and questioned as the big day approaches.

As I look at the picture of our graduating class of 1994, I can’t help but notice one thing. There are invisible lines dividing the class into circles of friends. Our class was small, most definitely. So we knew everyone and everyone was cordial to one another for the most part. But still, I know who was friends and who wasn’t, who hung together and who didn’t. For the most part, it’s all right there in that picture.

In high school, our identities were largely wrapped up in our friendships, social status, and all the things we did or didn’t do to keep ourselves busy when we weren’t in school.

In adulthood, our identities are much more rich. Our lives aren’t centered around whether we’re the cool kid or jock, the wallflower or fringe folk, the academic or party animal anymore. Our lives are, hopefully, grounded in the authenticity of who we’ve discovered ourselves to be over the course of 20 years living as full-fledged adults.

With that in mind, my hopes for this 20th high school reunion are high.

I’m hoping those invisible lines will be erased, division and discomfort eradicated. All that comparing, contrasting, and jockeying for position? Forget about it. A 20-year high school reunion is the perfect place to let down guards, crumble walls, heal hurts and erase all the bad memories that remain. My biggest wish is that we’ll remember the days of the past with fondness, embrace each other for who we are now, and discover what bonds us together today.

I’m excited to see the real you, whoever you are, now. The authentic you is the best you. So forget putting on face, and step confidently into who you are for the whole night long. We need you to be you.

As for me, I’ll do my best to hold up my end of the bargain. You’ll find me slowly sipping on a glass of wine, quietly connecting with you and you, whoever you are.

And if all goes well, we’ll have a ton of fun.


photo 2

I was in my car.

The music was loud, but slow, spiritual and soulful. Just the way I like it.

The sunset stayed right alongside me as I drove. It was gorgeous, breathtaking in fact.

I couldn’t help but think that God was gracing me with a taste of heaven in those moments.

All I wanted to do was pull over and photograph the sunset, forever etch this memory in pixels. But the time was never right. One car or another followed me the whole way.

And then, I passed a cemetery. What a lovely place to stop and view the sunset in peace, I thought. So I pulled over, drove in and parked.

I got out of my car, but stayed near to get my bearings. The sunset was my guide. For some reason, I felt compelled to determine where the sun was shining most clearly down on a grave site. I moved my body to the left, then again to the right. A clearing opened between some trees across the way. Light shone on a site right in front of me.

I moved forward and sat down next to the grave site, all the while intending to take a photograph of the sun peering through onto the site. That never did happen the way I imagined. It was much, much better than that.

I kneeled before the grave. I looked down.

photo 1

Teresa Marie Hennen Moksnes was the first thing I saw.

The next thing I noticed was her birth year, 1974. And her death year, 2009.

Then Loving Wife And Mother.

This woman was nearly my same age. And she was a mother. I was honored to have been led to this site.

I saw the bouquet of flowers and thought how lovely, someone’s been here to visit just recently.

I looked up at the sun.

Then looked back down at the site.

I sat quietly, pensively.

Then, as I sat reflecting, I looked again at the stone and saw the thing I hadn’t seen before.

July 24.

Today was her birthday.


Today would have been her 40th birthday.

And I immediately began crying. And praying.

365 days in a year, and I found myself sitting at the grave site of a woman who was born on July 24th and today was July 24th. Not only that, out of all the years I could’ve been led to that site, I found myself there in 2014, the year that would’ve marked her 40th birthday.

Only God himself could arrange a divine encounter like that. There was no way I could’ve ever known.

The Spirit had led me to this place, on this particular day, for a reason.

So I prayed for Teresa. And I prayed for her family even more. Tears streamed as I sat in disbelief that God performed this crazy, ever so gentle 40th birthday sunset miracle.

This was holy ground. For me, for Teresa, and for her family who had visited, likely today.

They visited. They left flowers. They love and miss Teresa dearly. Even to this day.

And I thought about God. What an amazing, loving and gentle God. How He presses on, how He continues to care for our loved ones, even when we’ve passed to our heavenly home. He cared enough to send little old me, a random woman passing on the way, to pray for Teresa and her family, to mark the special day that would’ve been her 40th birthday.

Teresa, I pray God gives you eyes to see that your family is being cared for, even when you’re gone.

And for you. I’m compelled to share this message. It was clear, so very clear as I stared down at Teresa’s grave site.

God wants to lead you. But he needs you to listen.

Where might God lead you if you simply listen? And obey?

He needs you, He’s calling you, He wants to reveal His sovereignty and lavish grace upon you.

Where oh where will He lead if you listen?

Today, he led me to Teresa.

Happy Birthday, Teresa.

May you rest forever in peace.



Pederson 92

To mamas known and mamas unknown. This post is for you.

I’ve wanted to write this for a while, for mamas undecided, for mamas who aren’t quite sure whether they’re done having kids or not.

So mamas? Let’s chat about this question that’s pressing on your heart…

How will I know when I’m done having kids?

But before we get started, I want to take time to acknowledge special groups of mamas out there because this post may or may not be for you.

For mamas who have grieved the loss of an infant or child, I hear your cries, I feel your pain, your longing to see, touch your baby just one more day. This post may or may not be for you.

For mamas who are experiencing infertility, who have tried for months, years to conceive? I pray you will be blessed with child. This post may not be for you.

For mamas who have been called to adopt, and are in the seemingly never-ending waiting process, bless your soul. You inspire me. This post may not be for you.

For mamas who are unable to bear children of your own, can’t afford adoption or infertility treatments, or are “too old” to be considered a candidate for such things, but long for a child to love? My heart goes out to you. I pray that God will work a miracle, I pray He’ll place children in your life through other means, and that those children will bring you great joy and fulfillment. This post may or may not be for you. 

For mamas who whole-heartedly embrace natural family planning, for those who hope to bear as many children as the Lord will provide until He carries you gently into menopause? You are amazing and an inspiration as well. This post may not be for you.

For mamas who became pregnant due to rape, incest, sexual abuse, prostitution or trafficking, and you’ve made the incredible decision to birth, raise or place this child for adoption? May peace and blessings be poured out on your life. May you find the freedom and healing you need. Press on mama. You are incredibly brave. This post may not be for you.

For mamas of children who have special needs, who have to weigh and measure your decision to have more children NOT based on your heart of hearts, but on your reality of caring for your child with special needs? You are precious, a rare gem. Follow your heart, trust your instincts, take your time, and engage God, medical professionals, therapists, and those closest to you about your decision to have more children or not. Whatever decision you make, it will be the right one for you and your family. This post may or may not be for you.

For mamas who have a history of abortion, who want to heal, overcome, create, birth and raise a little life someday, but aren’t ready, aren’t sure, aren’t feeling worthy of the call to be mama? This post may not be for you.

For mamas in other special circumstances – pregnant in your teens, pregnant in your forties, pregnant after years of infertility treatments, living in extreme poverty, living with mental illness or a significant medical condition, living amidst chronic trauma? This post may or may not be for you.

For all you mamas who KNOW you’re NOT done having kids, awesome. This post may not be for you (yet).

So who is this post for?

This post is for any mama who’s debating…

How will I know when I’m done having kids?

Pederson 20

Let me tell you a quick story. Our two oldest children are 11 and 9 years old. Our “baby” is 2 years old. So there’s nearly seven years between our second and third child. During those years in-between baby two and three, there were a couple things that made us question whether we should have more children. I sought answers, I sought wise counsel, and I wasn’t sure how to answer when people asked if we were done having kids. The truth was, I didn’t have confidence I was “done,” and my husband was willing to consider having another. So while the questions still lingered, our biological clocks were ticking. Finally, we committed to pray hard about it for one week. We felt led to try for a third child and became pregnant within months. Our third child has been a significant blessing for our entire family, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. But now I’m 100% confident that we’re done having kids.

So I thought I’d share with you today what that looks like, what that feels like…to know, to be confident that you’re DONE having kids.

Here are 11 signs you MIGHT be done having kids…

1) You just KNOW you’re done having kids. Yes, you just know. This is hard to describe, but is the best all-around indicator that you’re done. It’s a feeling of complete clarity.

2) When another mama announces she’s pregnant, you’re happy for her, but her announcement doesn’t compel you to have another child yourself. In other words, other mamas’ pregnancies don’t stir in you a desire to become pregnant anymore.

3) When your “baby” is still your baby, and other “babies” her same age are becoming big brothers and sisters? And it hasn’t even crossed your mind to give your “baby” a baby brother or sister? And you don’t have any plans to give your “baby” a baby brother or sister any time in the future? Ya, you might be done having kids.

3) Maybe you’re the kind of mama who loved being pregnant. You still admire pregnant mamas’ beautiful, round bellies and glowing skin, and maybe you’d even choose to be pregnant again (just the pregnancy part). But you can’t quite picture yourself doing that newborn stage all over again, and you can’t picture yourself doing another round of middle of the night feedings, and you can’t picture yourself going through any of that all over again.

4) You remember labor and delivery all too well. You haven’t forgotten. In fact, you remember that last labor and delivery quite vividly. You promised yourself you’d never do this again! And you’re still confident. You won’t ever do that again. 🙂

5) When other mamas give birth and bring that little babe home, you’re glad to greet, hold and help with the baby, but not so quick to want to step in their shoes.

6) When it’s time to start putting away the baby stuff, you realize it’s actually time to get rid of it. And for the most part, you have no problem selling it, donating it, or giving it to someone. In fact, when any of your kids grow out of anything, you want to get rid of it right away, because you’re just ready to move beyond this baby, toddler, little kiddo clutter.

7) You’re willing to consider longer-term and/or permanent options for birth control. (Yes, I know this is a private, sensitive and potentially controversial subject, but I’ve seen many age/stage peers discuss this openly within a trusted group of friends when they know they’re done having kids. So I’m confident this is a significant sign.)

8) Your own dreams as a woman start moving to the forefront again. You look at where you’ve been, you look ahead at what’s to come, and the years flash before you. Time is ticking in a different way than before you had children. Life is only so long. So as much as you adore your children, you also know you need space to pursue the desires of your heart, space to make your way again.

9) You’re suddenly open to expanding your definition of “motherhood” to include children you engage with at work, in the neighborhood, at church, at family gatherings, and anywhere else you can get your hands on kids to fulfill those motherly instincts and desires you have. You don’t have to be everyone’s mother to be satisfied; being a motherly figure is just fine with you now.

10) You start daydreaming, just a little bit, of becoming a grandmother. And it sounds awesome, even better than motherhood. You know this isn’t the end. More than likely, you’ll have an opportunity to grand-mother your own grandkids or someone else’s grandkids down the road.

11) On good days, you feel perfectly in control of the children you have. Everything’s dandy. On bad days, you feel like you’re barely maintaining control of the children you have. And in the midst of very bad moments, you feel like you’re hanging on by a shoestring; you could truly use a little help. In your heart of hearts, you know that if you had one more child, you wouldn’t be able to care for your children the way you want to. Just the thought of that makes you very, very sad. Reality sets in. THIS. is the number of kids I’m supposed to have. You love your kids. You want to care and nurture your children to the best of your ability. And you want the best for your kids. You also know how much work it is to raise human beings, how much effort it takes to be a mother on call 24/7. So you know, this decision is for the best. It’s time to be done having kids. Because you want to love the children you’ve been blessed with oh so much.

So mamas, I’m not a psychologist, a doctor, or a child development researcher. And I’m certainly not God. But I am a mama. So mama to mama, heart to heart, I ask you to consider the points above and make your way accordingly. If you’re torn and confused, pray about it. The answer will become much more clear.

This isn’t so much a science as it is a matter of the heart.

Be gentle with yourself, mama. God has a plan for you and your family.






I’m aware of the sensitive nature of this post. I could have easily written this post with a snarky, comedic tone. But that is not my nature. Rather, I have been careful to approach this subject with due diligence and honor, knowing there are many different views on child bearing.

I am also fully aware that I neglected to address fathers’ influence and involvement in this post. Obviously, fathers are critical to this discussion. My decision to keep fathers out of this post (for the most part) does not in ANY WAY downplay their significance in parenting or decision making. My desire was for this post to be written for a mama’s heart. Dads, if you would like to hear a dad’s opinion on this matter, perhaps I can talk my husband into writing a similar post from a male perspective?!

The 11 points I listed in this post do not represent every woman’s experience. But I wanted to put something out in the blogosphere for the woman who’s seeking answers to this age old question. How will I know I’m done having kids? I hope and pray this post lands on the screen of the souls who need it most. 

If this post finds you in the midst of questioning, feel free to email me at and I’m happy to chat it through with you in a more “intimate” setting. I’m honored to say I’ve walked one mama through this questioning, and she and her husband ultimately decided to have a fourth child, a decision they have clearly delighted in to this day.


We had one cold, windy and dreary day on Monday. According to the weather forecasters, it was the coldest day we’ve seen in Minnesota on July 14th since 1884.

We were all cold. And quite honestly, we didn’t have much to do. Yep, the good ‘ol mid-summer phrase “I’m bored” came out for the first time that afternoon.

So what’s a mom to do when she has three kids who are acting bored out of their minds, it’s the coldest it’s been in 130 years, no friends are around, and another DVD just won’t cut it for mom or anyone else?

Think of a wholesome, very boring activity, and do it.

Boring, you say? Yep. Boring. Boring to them. Incredibly brilliant to you. Because mom? You know “boring” activities aren’t really boring. The kids just don’t know it yet.

So break out all the boring things from here on out. Like that boring, old fashioned activity where you all get down on the ground and draw with some sidewalk chalk. Color hearts until they shine like the sun, then let the toddler doodle right over them because it doesn’t matter anyway. Draw flowers in pots with blue skies, write your name in bubble letters layered with red, green and blue. Let her bring her furry blanket outside on the driveway and tuck away under it like a turtle for as long as she wants. And don’t even make a big deal of it when the pre-teen shows up. Because he’s too cool for sidewalk chalk. If you stay still, if you don’t say a word, he’ll join in for a little fun too. And let them get dirty, because there’s no reason they need to be clean at the end of this boring old day anyway.

And mom? Make sure you soak this moment in. Because this is boring. Truly boring stuff. It’s mid-summer. And life is boring. As boring as it’ll ever get.













Four months ago, I met with wise counsel in a coffee shop. She sat with me for three or four hours. I hadn’t had anyone spend that much focused one-on-one time with me, be so patient and gentle, listen so intently, or ask such thoughtful, deep questions of me for a long time.

I needed somebody to listen, hear the whole story, help me filter, discern without judgement or bias. I needed someone to process with me, and I needed it to happen organically, without feeling like we were under some sort of time crunch. So I scheduled more time than I thought necessary, and we filled it all. Obviously, I needed that wise counsel.

The words we shared with one another that day will always remain confidential. But there’s one thing from our conversation I would like to share with you today.

She asked me to spend some time thinking about my identity. Beyond wife, mom, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt, blogger, speech therapist, former nonprofit board member, and all the other roles I’ve played in my life…

Who am I?

Strip away the roles, titles, and responsibilities. Strip away the masks and dreams of what could be. What remains of my identity? What words best describe the core of who I am?

I love questions of identity, so this really got me thinking. Add to that, I’ve spent nearly two years in an awkward in-between, more than ready to embrace and live out my true identity. So what would I say? How would I answer this question? Who am I? Who am I, really?

Here are the words that come to mind…




Deeply intuitive.




Observer of people and life.

Rapport builder.

Fairly serious.



Justice seeking.

Hard working.


Detail oriented.

A little obsessive.



Deep thinker.


Can be quiet.

Can be really talkative if the stars align (setting + personality match + subject matter).


Child of God.

So what’s the point? Why identify your identity?

1) We need to keep our identity grounded in what’s truly significant. Our worth comes NOT from what we do, how much we accomplish, how many kids we have, or how big our houses or bank accounts are. Our identity is what remains when all the things of this world are stripped away. What remains at the end of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? You. What remains at the end of a beautiful, marvelous, spectacular, very good day? You. Our worth is best judged based on our identity rather than our circumstances. As they say, you’re so much more than what’s happened to you.

2) Our lives should, ideally, reflect the whole of our identities. God created you for a reason, to fulfill a specific purpose during your time here on earth. All the intricate little parts of you come together to create all of you. So does your day to day life reflect your true identity? Do you feel like you’ve been wearing a mask, trying to please, living a life others created for you, hoped for you? Was your identity trampled on somewhere along the way, have you stuffed it away in hidden places nobody knows but you? Are the most authentic parts of your identity yet to be tapped? Are you desperate to embrace your identity rather than reject or half-heartedly live it out?

Let me share one great example of how identity recently showed up in my life…

This week I’ve been reflecting, yet again, on my trip to Haiti with Compassion International. In all my deep thought, I realized something important. One of the reasons I loved Haiti so much was that the trip was 100% in line with my identity. Every aspect of my identity was tapped during that trip. I didn’t have to work hard. I didn’t wear any masks. I was at peace. And I was filled to the brim with joy of another kind. Because I was living out my true identity. Who I am flowed out naturally during that week in Haiti. I didn’t have to reach out, grab onto, or construct some false, half-hearted identity. To have that opportunity, to live 100% in line with my identity was a beautiful experience. So from that point forward, I committed to living differently, fully in my identity. The best way to express gratitude to God for creating us in the first place, is to whole-heartedly embrace our unique identities and live accordingly.


So I wonder…

What’s your true identity?

Who are you?

Who are you, really?

And remember…

Our identity is what remains when all the things of this world are stripped away.

Take time for you. Give yourself a gift.

Identify your identity.

Grab a pen, sit down on a comfy chair, and take a few minutes to identify all the things that make you, you.

Then, be intentional about living your life in a way that taps into every bit of that identity.

Because this world needs ALL of you.




  1. Katie Anderson Nyberg says:

    In the process, I realized that my identity was my foundation in her. Everything that she did, planned, decided, accomplished was all on her own. Through example she gave me a priceless foundation and plenty of room to grow as a person in my identity.
    And that foundation was built without her ever saying a word. It was all example of strength, handling things on your own- independent strength and confidence.
    My having no hesitation with any task but just taking it on automatically. And finding the opportunity in obstacles to accomplishment!

    It turns out that I knew exactly who I was. And inside, I think I always knew that. All of her amazing qualities I learned from her!
    I was never really lost in my identity without her here with me.
    It was the comfort I was so terribly missing!

    My conclusion is this. We choose our identity. We take it in by example subconsciously when we learn by good example.
    The good qualities influenced in us, at some time have to be nurtured, challenged to grow by us.
    We make choices and utilize opportunities to decide our identity!
    We’re not just a product of our circumstances.
    Despite circumstances your identity is determined by us.
    Our circumstances aren’t what define our identity.
    We can choose to grow in our identity. Or choose to wonder about our identity.
    Choosing to grow and improve is a lifelong venture.
    And you can change you identity by growing in it!
    So we don’t have to feel “lost” or wonder “who we are”
    without your Everything!
    When that most special and influential persons absence is so terribly missed,
    that foundation isn’t.
    It was always there!

  2. Katie Anderson Nyberg says:

    Or maybe better described as my solid identity without parents.

    But not being able to pick up the phone, or have conversations with Gramma, I was somewhat lost. Only because she was such an enormous part of my life! My wanting her to be proud, the duty I felt in always meeting her expectations of me, knowing her insight was always about what was best for me and then best for the girls & I. My immense respect in her suggestions and thoughts.
    Never from feeling incapable, or a desire to please her or make her happy.
    I already had strength in those independent skills.

    Something that has had to be part of my grieving process in her death-
    figuring out who I am without her.
    Because she was such a huge part of my life.
    Because Gramma and I had a special closeness and bond together like no other. Our relationship was much stronger and more significant than any relationship she had with other relatives. I loved being her “favorite”
    and hold on to that knowledge of comfort as I miss her so!
    Literally the majority of my life, her significance was so meaningful and important! She was my unconditional constant!

    As time goes by with her absence, instead of “figuring out” who i am without her,
    I’ve chosen to decide who I am without her.
    What my identity was going to be, and confidence in my identity.

    Not a journey most people need to make regarding identity when at 93 your EVERYTHING is no longer with you.
    And what a journey its been!

  3. Katie Anderson Nyberg says:

    my own identity. Because it was so separate from my parents. Im sure as a result of having to grow up so fast. Not having the luxury to just be completely carefree, or to be the age I was.
    So regarding my parents, my identity was my own. I had to make decisions and choices based on my own careful consideration.
    Although not ideal,
    I learned so much! I knew my strengths and weaknesses.
    I knew what the goal was to be accomplished and just did it.
    I was solid in my identity without my parents influence.
    Extremely confident in my abilities to make decisions and choices.
    My parents didn’t offer opinion or insight and I didn’t ask.

    But because of my enormous respect, love, belief and trust in Gramma, her thoughts and opinions were a huge part of my identity!
    Something that was always there and I could count on!
    And know it was always in my best interest. And then,
    the best interests of Samantha, Gina, & I.

    When Gramma died there was an immediate questioning in my identity without out her.
    Who am I, and what is my identity without Gramma?
    I literally felt like I had no idea who I was other than my identity with my parents.

  4. Katie Anderson Nyberg says:

    My daughters Samantha and Gina, and of course Gramma as well!
    Every decision and choice I made was centered around the most precious people in my life!
    So often Gramma had expectations, opinions, and suggestions which always factored in which were always in my best interest. And then, in the best interest in Me, Samantha and Gina.
    I am a strong, independent, confident woman and mother. But never so careless to not consult with Gramma or not consider her ideas and suggestions.
    Looking back, I realized just how important Grammas insight was in influencing my life and the lives of my girls. She was always right even when I was reluctant.
    Like choosing SCSU to attend college. Was the best choice I could have possibly made for the girls and I! We thrived, had experiences and met people, had opportunities that you can’t really utilize anywhere else.
    St. Cloud is just one big small town.

    Growing up was something I had to do entirely too fast. I had adult responsibilities and obligations at a very young age.
    The necessity of my having to take on those adult roles was due to my parents inability to “parent” at the time. So I was solid in knowing how my identity related-
    more like lack thereof,
    my identity wrapped up in my parents influence

  5. Katie Anderson Nyberg says:

    Amy I so enjoyed reading this!
    And yes, your calling is to write!
    Your work is eloquent, thoughtful, and your passion for writing is truly felt!
    When Gramma passed away in April 2013, without her I have given so much thought to my identity. Because so much of my identity was through her!
    She was my EVERYTHING! From the moment I was born. The majority of my life was centered and based in her.
    When I became a Mother, my life was centered and based around my
    daughters Samantha and Gina. And Gramma

  6. Vicki Thunstrom says:

    I’ll definitely be pondering this question later!

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