let why lead
Welcome to Let Why Lead, a place for the purposeful wife and mom. I’m Erica, and I'm passionate about living fully and filling my family with love and belonging. For regular reminders of the whys of your life, I hope you’ll keep coming back.
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Weekend Reading for Purposeful Wives

The other day after school, a couple of the moms and I opened up about a subject we’ve never bonded over before: our husbands. :)

We vented a bit about feeling like we’re the quarterbacks of our families, but no one is listening to us give the plays! We chatted about how low or high our bars are for cleaning and for when our husbands do things differently. We didn’t even venture into husband/wife differences in parenting, because that’s a big subject to tackle with twelve kids running around you on a playground!

We framed the conversation with how grateful we are for our partners, but there’s no getting around the fact that two people living and raising children together are going to have differences. It’s kind of the design. :)

If you could use some understanding and encouragement, here are some of my favorite reads from around the internet. (OR just come join me at the playground next week!) 

5 diamonds

The Real Truth about Boring Men and the Women Who Live With Them: Redefining Boring. For when you need a reminder that romance doesn’t have to be flashy. (LOVE this one!)

10 Things Nobody Tells You about Being Married. Quality, no-fluff writing I’m adding to my list of required reading for my kids once they’re older. :)

How to Encourage Your Man at Work. Love Anne’s synopsis in the last paragraph. Simple but powerful.

Struggles of a Midlife Wife. My thirtieth birthday is creeping up on me, so while I’m not “midlife” yet, I do feel this tug of getting older as I get ready to say goodbye to my twenties. I thought these reflections on being midlife, almost like you’re straddling two eras of your life at once, were really relatable.

Making Way in the Wilderness: Marriage and Special Needs. A quick and uplifting read about one couple’s struggle to find each other again, after years of caring for children with special needs.


A Case for Family T-Shirts + Some Inspiration

7 Ideas and Sources for Family T-Shirts!

When I said my family would make up dorky handshakes and wear retro family T-shirts, I meant it. :)

Family identity is more than something we talk about during the occasional family meal. It’s something we work together to define; it’s something we post on our walls. It’s something we think about on taco Tuesday or pizza Friday or during any other tradition you do regularly.

And yes, it’s even something we can wear.

Whatever it takes to help it sink in, right?!

A roundup of ideas and sources for family T-shirts! (These awesome ones are from kinshirts.com)

Here’s a little roundup of sources and inspiration, for those of us who want to bring family T’s back into style!

1. The above image is a collection of T’s at kinshirts.com. I die over how cute and fresh they are! You buy the customizable digital file and then apply it to shirts of your choice. It’s not the cheapest option, but definitely a winner for the on-trend family. :)

A roundup of ideas and sources for family T-shirts! (This one is a free download from oh happy day.)

2. This is a free download from Oh Happy Day. “Come Together.” Classy and…free!

Ideas and Sources for Family T-Shirts!

3. For your inspiration, this family did a collection of tops rather than just one. Royal blue, lime green, and gray. Short sleeves, long sleeves, and sweatshirts. I love that they had so many options to ensure that everyone really likes and will actually use what they get. For the design—the rings of a tree trunk, outlined by each family member’s name. I hear the kids love to point out their name at night when they put on their shirts for pajamas. (I’m related to this good lookin’ crew!)

The Welsh Family "Death March" - An awesome Memorial Day tradition!

4. Oh my, this family is awesome. Every Memorial Day they celebrate what they call the “Death March” by visiting family graves in three different locations. The shirt design is an image of the antler-clad barn they’re standing in front of in this group photo. The property has been in the family for generations, so it’s the perfect place to kick off the march. Pretty great way to connect with your past, right?

Ideas and Sources for Family T-Shirts!

5. I had to include this shirt my extended family recently made. Skiing and biking is totally the family thing, so “Nielsen Family Ski & Bike Shop” is the perfect insignia for us. (We won’t mention the serious concussion one of the guys got on the mountain the day after these shirts were passed out!) It makes me so happy when my kids wear them. I hope they know what a great thing they’re a part of.

6. These “Wii Will Rock You” shirts would be awesome for any hardcore Wii players out there. What a fun way to take family game night to the next level! (Not pictured.)

Ideas and Sources for Family T-Shirts!

7. It doesn’t get much simpler than numbered grandchildren!

That’s it for now! If you have any other printing sources or photos of your own family’s designs, please feel free to send them my way! (letwhylead at gmail dot com)

Does your family have a shirt?


Wholehearted Living: Eyes and Hearts Open

There’s this moment sometimes. When you’re exploring. When you pull your van off and park on the side of a road just because you saw something cool. It wasn’t planned, and it probably couldn’t be recreated. Not just because of what happened but because of how you felt. That’s what happened to us last Saturday morning, when we were on…


“Do You Have Any More Stories?” | What Children Gain When You Open Up

“Do you have any more stories?” they say. I’d already told them about how my husband and I met; I’d told them about the first time he said I love you. (“Why were you at a park at night?” they ask. “Because you can do awesome stuff like that when you’re in college,” I answer.) So I launched into the story of how he proposed….


One Word to Erase From Your Vocabulary ( + Six to Replace It With)

You deserve an inner voice that treats you with care. Deserve is a word I try not to throw around, because I don’t think we always deserve what we think we do. (Bigger houses, nicer kids…seat warmers. :) But if there is one thing you deserve, it’s a kind inner voice. – We all say it. I’m a “bad” mom, a bad…