Author Archives: Andrea Coyne

About Andrea Coyne

Whether or not the world is right, I will write. And wear yellow, lots of yellow.

Gratitude or Grrr-attitude



GrrrLife recently threw us a curve ball. We had to find new childcare for our adventurous three-year-old (long story), and boy, was it stressful! Three weeks of calling in favors from family & friends, taking PTO days and working flexibly at home as needed. After a rigorous search, we made a selection and look forward to starting there tomorrow!

Our situation was temporary. Things could have been much worse. In times like these, we have a choice: gratitude or a grr-attitude. There were many days I complained, had mommy meltdowns and worried about our next steps….the “grr” was winning. But I can reflect on this experience, one of the hardest and saddest ones we’ve had as parents, and say I have learned gratitude.

I am thankful for my husband who put up with my anger, tears, complex analysis for every new place we looked at. I don’t know how you love me some days, but am glad you choose to. 

I am thankful for our “squad” who showed up in force to take our son for a day (or “many” days over this period) so we could go to work.

I am thankful for our son, who learned flexibility. Every day was different and he just went with the flow. On the other hand, it must have been having to go to the zoo, swimming, picking blueberries, painting, etc. with people who love you so much! 

I am truly thankful for many friends and coworkers who just listened to us share our story and let us process the happenings out loud. And my boss, who once again, shows me what a good manager looks like. 

I am thankful for making the most of the craziness, enjoying special family moments before summer escaped us. 

I am most thankful for divine intervention. We waited for one program to get back to us while their director was out of the country on vacation. They never did even call us to let us know whether or not they had a spot for us, but thank God we kept looking and found a place that seemingly will fit our needs better and offers before and after school care in our school district, WITH bus accommodations, once we enroll in elementary school.

I appreciate happy thoughts, well wishes and prayers from anyone reading this as we embark on this new adventure.  And I hope when I am faced with my next life crisis that I will choose gratitude.



Yellow means slow down

Yellow means slow down

Yellow is my favorite color. It all started around 2007 when I found an engagement ring with yellow diamonds… it was love at first sight…with my husband too, of course! Yellow was also my grandfather’s favorite color, and he is the one of the best human beings I’ve ever known, i.e. good company for color preferences. And now, I cannot get enough of it – the sight and even the thought of it make me smile. What a happy color!

Cue this morning when driving my chatty toddler to school. He knows “green means go” and “red means stop” (thanks, “Go Dog, Go!”), but when asked what yellow meant, he replied “I don’t know,” in the sweetest tone you can imagine. I replied, “yellow means slow down.” And we went about our morning.

A little later, I was thinking how most of us forget the meaning of slowing down. Perhaps it’s because we are so addicted to the hustle and bustle of life that we are always looking for green lights. And perhaps yellow signals most of us to RACE THROUGH a traffic light to AVOID the red. We don’t want to slow down.

Yesterday, a friend of mine shared this article on social media yesterday, about how families try to cram SO much into our daily lives. Sports, lessons, parties, doctor appointments – we have too much on our plates and we rush from one activity to the next to make it magically fit into our busy schedules! In doing so as parents, we fail to give our kids what they REALLY need most, US. Is this really the best we can offer our children?

I’m not trying to point fingers, rather I’m raising my hand. I’m SO guilty of leading a crazy busy life, finding something to do with nearly every moment available… I even DOUBLE BOOK myself some days! My husband gently called me out on this a few weeks ago. We need to leave some free time for kicking a ball outside, trying new recipes (with spare time to make something else if they fail), puddle jumping, building tunnels with blocks, date nights, meaningful face-to-face conversations. We can run ourselves into the ground trying to create the most exciting social media personas OR we can breathe a little, embrace the ordinary moments which can make seemingly better memories.

Friends, please consider joining me in observing the yellow light. We can’t slow time, but we can slow down. I believe yellow, even yellow lights, will bring you some happiness too!

I am thrilled to bring this revelation in my “Year of Light.” Thanks for joining me on the journey!

When there are no words

When there are no words

I’m not normally one to be speechless. This is perhaps the quality my husband loves MOST about me…

In my last blog, I wrote about some of the struggles being faced by those around me and how I knew my time of need would come. And this week, it did.

A dear friend of mine lost her ex-husband, meaning her three-year old lost his father. Attending the funeral of 40-year old man was not how I wanted to spend my Saturday, especially as it was my son’s two-year birthday and we had about 25 friends and family members gathering for a party later in the day. As I walked through the funeral home lobby, there were two mementos laying out for attendees to sign – one in memory of the vibrant man taken far too soon and one for his son, notes of encouragement and hope. I desperately wanted my thoughts to be included, memorialized for all to see, but I had no words. I didn’t know how to articulate my feelings, wishes, reflections – I was still processing what was really going on and how this would forever impact this man’s family, especially my dear friend, who lost her co-parent and friend. So I walked past the table, leaving no words or messages, to pay my respects in hugs and tears, hoping just being there brought some comfort to those in mourning.

Today, I found out my Uncle Rod lost his battle to cancer overnight. Over the past few weeks, several types of cancer enveloped his body and took him quickly in the end. I tried to visit him this week but scheduling and his worsening condition got in the way. Last night, he was moved to hospice care near my house so I rushed over as soon as I knew. When I arrived, the nurse told me he’d just fallen asleep. I sat quietly in his room, not wanting to wake this restless man, who was fighting a losing battle. I wrote out a card and a note to tell him how much I loved him and shared some of the fond memories I have of him, placing it on his desk for this morning. As I sat there watching him sleep, I just wanted to pray for him, but I didn’t even know how. God brought this verse to mind:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Romans 8:26

So I let my tears and the Holy Spirit do the work, when I was too helpless, too sad, too distraught. My main concern was that Uncle Rod would make peace with God before he passed. I wanted to know I would see him again one day. I decided to open my Bible to the first Bible passage I memorized, Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

Thy ROD and thy staff, eh? I have to think that as I continued to have no words, that God had the perfect ones in mind for me. And yes, they did bring me comfort. I trust Uncle Rod felt this same comfort and peace today. His cousin had visited right before I did and confirmed today that Uncle Rod did make his peace with the Lord when he was there, just before me. So in my tears, I rejoice that my Uncle Rod has met his Maker, is free of pain and is with a host of his loved ones who have gone on before him. I feel blessed to have at least been by his bedside.

So friends reading this, here is my PSA of the day: life is short. It can leave us breathless and speechless. Sometimes there just are no words for what comes our way. But I know for sure that in those moments, God has given us the wonderful gift of His Spirit to help us, as well as His eternal words of the Bible. I will continue to cling to these as I navigate joys and sorrows and trust that through them, I can be a light to those around me.

This little light of mine

This little light of mine

Singing is a big part of my life, especially now as my toddler likes lots of nursery rhymes and church songs! A few weeks ago, I was reminded of a favorite childhood song “This Little Light of Mine” and its simple lyrics. Even just verse one:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Lately, these words have meant a lot to me. Life has been heavy, not for me specifically, but for many of my loved ones. One friend’s husband has been diagnosed with cancer. Another friend’s house was on fire. A three-year-old boy lost his father. A broken relationship still stings in unhealed wounds. I am almost fearful of picking up the phone, not wanting to hear bad news! And my bedtime prayer list is getting super long!

But in the midst of all of these burdens, I find purpose. I mean, we were created to be part of life’s ups and downs when living in community with others:

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Inevitably it will be my turn for crisis – I nearly had a mom meltdown last week when aforementioned toddler refused to sleep through the night while on vacation. Thankfully, some wonderful friends encouraged me through it.

So in the meantime, I will let my light shine in any way I can – making a meal, praying, sharing baby gear, being a shoulder to cry on. It may be little, but it can be mighty.

How do you let your light shine?

On a lighter note, my endeavor to be physically lighter is paying off – I weigh 15 lbs less than when this journey begin at the end of 2016! I am no longer addicted to caffeine and I think even this seemingly small change has been huge. Oh, and I chase around a nonstop toddler everyday.

An invitation: come into the light

An invitation: come into the light

Of the many Disney live-action remakes already launched or in the works, I’m most excited about Beauty and the Beast. I saw the movie with my parents, siblings and grandparents as a kid. I remember the treats my grandparents bought us to snack on at the theater, and I remember my dad remarking how brilliant the colors were on the big screen.

One of the scenes that impacted me most in the movie was when Belle asks the Beast to “come into the light,” as she intends to take her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner, and she wants to see her captor. After the Beast reveals himself, Belle trembles, yet agrees, to fulfill the sentence.

I recently found myself extending a “come into the light” invitation to a dear friend of mine. She struggles with a very tough situation in her home life, and rather than bringing it into the open, she suffers silently. She fears letting people into her mess.

I can’t blame my friend for wanting to conceal her troubles – it’s HARD to let others see the truth behind the fake smile. But we weren’t created to live in isolation.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NLT)

We all have “beasts” in our lives – things that terrify us when we see them plainly. But what if we faced these monstrous situations together, in fellowship?

And just like Belle took the place of her father to pay his debt, there was a man who came into this world over 2,000 years ago to take the place of your sin, your mess. So, if you can’t quite muster up the courage to share your burdens with those around you, God is just a prayer away.

Please, come into the light.

The “light” of delight

The “light” of delight

A few weeks ago, we got a sizable snowstorm here in Pennsylvania. I’m a summer girl, so I’m not exactly thrilled about the white stuff, especially when it arrives in excess. But I have a curious toddler who loves the outdoors and seemingly all things weather, and he did enjoy watching the flakes fall. Yet, what seemed to REALLY catch his eye was a little moth on our front door (as pictured above). Every time we walked over to look at the snow, all he could do was smile, point and say “bug!” with great excitement, the kind you wish you could bottle up and save for a rainy day (but then again, he also loves rain).

That pure joy humans are able to experience is a gift, one I believe is inspired by God. I didn’t have to look hard to find a bit of biblical backup. Since kicking off my 2017 theme of “light,” I’ve been paying close attention to anything that has to do with light, especially Bible verses. I recently came across this one:

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

I was drawn to the word delight in this verse – in part, because I may overuse that word on a daily basis, thanks to my mom who also says it quote often, but also because it has “light” in it. So I wondered, is there a connection? I turned to my Strong’s concordance (which uses the King James Version of the Bible) to check it out. King James uses the word “rejoice” in this instance and when I looked up the Hebrew word “siys,” I discovered one of its meanings was “to be bright, i.e. cheerful.” Ooh did this make ME smile, maybe even bigger than my son’s repeated response to that moth.

If you substitute that description back into the verse, envision God being bright. I believe this verse can mean that God lights up about us. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Experiencing this, either as the person “lighting up” or the person over whom another lights up, is just such a special feeling. Pulling up to my house after work and seeing my son banging on the door shouting “mama” with a devilish grin is one of the best things about my day. Spending time with a friend you haven’t seen in ages, discovering that carton of ice cream in the freezer you’d forgotten about, getting recognition at work for a project on which you worked really hard. In the midst of our daily chaos, God grants us things to light up about, just as He does when he looks at us in His limitless love.

So friends, what makes you light up? Please comment below and let’s multiply our joys!

P.S. Ladies, I’ve stumbled upon a cheap drugstore makeup treat that really adds some “light up” glow – E.L.F Sunkissed Glow Bronzer. As we look forward to getting that true sunkissed look in the coming summer months, use this to fake it for now!

Super human


Yep, that space in the title is purposeful.

Unlike the space in “extra ordinary” that caused my grimace a few years back. While working as a live meeting PowerPoint operator in a previous career, I gently pointed out this error to the presenter, who insisted he was right and refused to change it…and it was ALL over his presentation! Like me, his peers did not agree with him and he looked foolish.

But this week, I do agree with the space. I am feeling SUPER human – not superhuman and endowed with magical powers, rather fully flawed, and perhaps a bit extra ordinary!

I spent my day Monday running errands with my dear husband and toddler. On our way out of a home improvement store, we saw a deal on a grill too good to pass up.  Well, after we got it home and all set up in our yard and ready to grill our lunch during our son’s nap time, we found out our sweet deal really was too good to be true. It was not a propane-powered grill, but rather a natural gas grill. Say WHAT?! I never even knew those existed. So back to the store it went, on our neighbor’s borrowed trailer, killing our relaxing afternoon and lunch. And dare I mention, our son never actually did take a nap?

My mom calls me in the middle of all this and listens to my sob story patiently before breaking the news that my Uncle John had passed away. His heart stopped, and mine felt like it did too, right in the middle of my first world problem rant. My perspective of the day changed dramatically after this exchange.

Later in the week, in the midst of a snow storm and frustrating attempt to work from home while watching aforementioned toddler, I get a text that my friend is in labor! How exciting, and yet stressful, as I have to figure out childcare for my son, as I was asked to join her in the delivery room (more on that in a future post!). My once again gracious husband stepped up, called out of his night shift job (and he’s the top guy on his shift) and took over so I could go be with my sweet friend. I got to experience life’s best gift, the gift of birth and new life. And it could not have happened at a better time.

You see, my friends, we face challenges every day. Sometimes we rise above them, like superheroes. Other days, we falter. We complain, we lose, we fail. And we need to be okay with both results, because of this world and its seasons:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-14)

Praise our Father in heaven for the little gifts He gives us each day. We live in a broken world, but not without the hope of a happily ever after on the other side.

So despite my failures and ups and downs this week, I embrace my super humanity because it helped me connect with many, many people today, especially as I watched a live feed of my beloved uncle’s funeral in FL. He touched so many lives! And to see a baby being born and all the joy that can possibly fill up a delivery room and the hearts of parents and grandparents who so longed for this baby girl!

We only get to do this life once. So let’s be super humans, being real and open and not minding our faults and failures. Let’s love each other and do life with each other in all these “time to” moments.