Poem of a Tired Mother


Palm trees in a sunset

As I put words onto paper. I am again at a loss for what to focus my thoughts on. Power, death, friendships, poetry, love.

Coffee Shops and Skipping Church


a cup of coffee with a book in the background

I wanted to reflect on an experience from over ten years ago. It was the summer of 2007. I was living in Millersville for the summer. Most of my friends graduated that May, but I still had another semester left. College was a great experience. I met a lot of cool people, played in a band, and discovered Jesus Christ. So much had happened in those four short years. But I was still immature.

How to Teach Young Children to Swim


a young boy laying in the water at a pool

Most parents want their children to learn how to swim. I’ve seen a lot of parents get frustrated that their kids don’t learn how to swim after being in a swim class or two. Honestly, the best way for kids to learn how to swim is being exposed to the water.

From Music To Maps (Part 2)


Conemaugh River in Blairsville, Pennsylvania

Welcome back to the story of how I went from a music education major in college to working with maps and technology. The previous article in this series left off with me deciding I did not want to teach in secondary education the semester before I was supposed to complete student teaching.

From Music To Maps (Part 1)


swans and ducks swimming at the pond at Millersville University

I wanted to share the journey I took from entering college as a music education major to now working with maps and information technology. Because there is a lot I want to say, I’m going to break this story into multiple articles. As these are published, I’ll add links to the other articles in the series here at the top.

Visiting Idlewild Amusement Park


kids riding an airplane ride at Idlewild Park

Last weekend, we had a chance to go out to visit Patrick’s family in Western Pennsylvania. While there, we went to an amusement park called Idlewild and SuperSoak Zone. It is voted best children’s amusement park according to many signs throughout the park. This was our third time visiting, so we already had an idea of the rides and layout of the park.

Negative Self-Talk Vs. Positive Mantras


picture of 'you are enough' written in script

That was dumb of me. I feel so stupid. I’m so absent minded. I’m feeling unreliable and frankly unworthy.

Triathlon


kara and isabel standing for a photo at the 2019 got the nerve triathlon

I can’t believe it but 10 weeks has gone by and my triathlon was on Saturday. Near the end of my training, I adjusted my expectations and was just hoping to finish without getting injured. And I did finish!

Give Meditation A Try


a man sitting in a field

During this past year, I have discovered the great benefits of daily meditation. As I talked about in my article about running, I started to run and meditate to deal with anxiety I was experiencing.

Growing Up With Foster Kids


A hand covered in paint of rainbow colors

I grew up in a family where we cared for foster children. I am a biological child and I have two sisters who were adopted. I have been asked so many times in my life what it was like to be raised in a family where there were foster children, so I thought I would write about my experience for others who might be interested.

I Have Tourettes


The McKinney family sitting near Lancaster Central Market

I want to start by thanking my wonderful wife Kara for encouraging me to share a part of my life I prefer not to share with anyone. And the few times I have shared it with people, it was only because of some prodding. And even now, I wonder if I should even share this.

Unity In Christ


people putting their hands together in a circle

“We are one in the spirit we are one in the Lord, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” We closed out our Maundy Thursday service with this song. All of us holding hands to signify our oneness. And in that moment, I truly desire for unity to be restored one day. A unity that binds us together in the service and love of Christ. And to put off all other difference to show the compassion and grace to the world.

Making Three Hours Count


Patrick, Nathaniel, and Elijah on a slide at a park

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with how to use my time after work. On a typical weeknight, I have around 5-6 hours to work with. During this short period of time, I have many things vying for my attention. There is my wife, my three young children, an endless list of chores, and a few hobbies I’m trying to nurture. Oh, and packing my lunch, exercising some nights, and meditation/spiritual time.

I Started Running Again


Patrick running in a mile race.

Here I am. Thirty-three years old. I ran cross country and track in high school. I enjoyed lifting weights during college. I always told myself that when I had kids, I wouldn’t be one of those out of shape parents.

road bike against brick wall

I have done cycling in the past but it was years ago and most of what I was able to accomplish was because my dad did a lot of the background work and I just trained and hopped on the bike. Now that I have a family, I am realizing how much I do not know about bicycles and feel like I am starting over. As someone that feels new to all this, I thought it would be helpful to compile a few resources that I have been discovered that have been helpful for me about cycling.

Not Enough Time


A clock on a counter with a plant.

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about time. And expectations. And really the things I want to provide for my children. I want my children to learn to be kind, loving, and emotionally healthy people. I want them to learn to love family and put others ahead of themselves. I want my children to have so many different experiences and help them be the best they can be at whatever activities they choose.

Reflections on Grit


racing bike leaning against a brick wall

Why I Want Grit

I’ve done a lot of reflecting on “grit,” as this is the word I chose for my “word of the year.” My memo board in the kitchen has this definition: “The passion, perseverance, and stamina we must channel to make our dreams into reality.” It’s a shorter version of a quote I found by Travis Bradberry. Like most things, as I reflect on the word grit, it seems to come up time and again in my life.

My Many Lists For Work


an assortment of work items on a desk

I wanted to share about the approach I take to project management at my job. I am a Geographic Information Systems Specialist for Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. This means I work with maps and databases. There are many different kinds of projects I’m working on at any given time. So having a project management system that works for me is important.

Breaking Old Habits and Learning a New Skill


man swimming in the open water

Week 2 is over and once again it didn’t go perfectly but I met my goal of 6 days a week of working out. I am glad that this race is still 8 weeks out because I am feeling pretty out of shape for finishing a triathlon.

How we use Essential Oils


a set of essential oils bottles on a shelf

Not another essential oils promotion, you might be thinking. Well this really isn’t too much of one. My husband and I have a fairly balanced approach to oils, if I do say so myself. There are many claims of what essential oils can do and I believe that they do work for some. There are so many views and claims but we just want to explain how we use oils so as to give a different perspective on the whole conversation.

someone running just the legs

The week of March 10th has arrived which means that I am 10 weeks out from the Mt. Gretna triathlon. I’m really looking forward to pushing myself these next few weeks, physically of course, but also mentally. Pushing myself to stick to a commitment and building grit into my life. There are three points I’d like to share about how I am preparing for the next this season.

Visiting Tiny Estates


Patrick and Kara visiting the Low Country tiny house at Tiny Estates

We are super excited to tell you about our stay at Tiny Estates in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Not only were we pumped to stay in a tiny house for the first time, we also are thankful that a place like Tiny Estates is so close to us and on the east coast.

Getting Out My Bike Again


handle bars of a racing bike in the sun

Today I rode my triathlon bike for the first time in probably 6 years. It was a bit nerve racking at first. This is a real racing bike, high seat, leaning forward to reach the handle bars. Special shoes that lock into the pedals. Bright red and black with a streamlined seat and skinny wheels. She’s a beauty. I remember being nervous to click out of my pedals back when I rode it because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get out of them and just flop over and crash.

I Often Forget


McKinney kids next to a snowman

“You’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back, you’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.” A cliche song to be sure but a good reminder all the same.