Why Victoria’s Secret Lost My Business (A Post About Boobs)

SOURCE. I love this shot, although I don't recommend nursing in a stream because... slippery.

SOURCE. I love this shot, although I don’t recommend nursing in a stream because… slippery.

I am nearing the end of my third year of breastfeeding. That’s right, I am going to talk about boobs today, so you know, if you don’t want to read about that, go somewhere else, it’s all good… no judgies. This is for us girls, or I guess supportive Dads too who want to huzzah on our behalf.

Three years of nursing has left my boobs a bit saggy, inches below where they were on my wedding day. And that’s okay, because I am amazing and my body is amazing. It has done for my children what God created it to do, and it has been a hard, tear-filled, beautiful growing experience for me.

It started off rocky with latching issues and tears but now I am pretty much a pro, if I do say so myself…

Nursing has taught me things about motherhood that it would have taken years for me to learn otherwise. (I am not judging anyone with this post, I am just talking about me and my unique journey, cool?)

So anyway, this morning I stepped out of the shower and shimmied on my trusty Target brand nursing cami, dreaming of the day when I could return to a life of under wire and perkiness…. and shopping at Victoria’s Secret.

The sweet mecca for those of us who love an under-wire bra that lasts…

Then it hit me. 

Why doesn’t Victoria’s Secret sell nursing bras and attire?

Their whole business is boobs and although breasts are generally referenced as a flashy asset, what they are really for… is feeding the tiny humans of this world.

At least primarily… I’m fine with their secondary purposes and hoisting them up to feel good about your body. I fully intend to so do when my nursing journey comes to an end.

I raced to my computer to ask the Google, surely I am wrong. Would a women’s underwear store really sell to women who aren’t using their boobs for babies?

But a sea of results confirmed it. Victoria doesn’t have anything for the nursing mamas.

But…. they are in the breast business, this is what they DO and yet for women who are using their breasts for their intended purpose, they offer nothing? Not even a few non-fun flesh colored bras with snaps for their loyal customers in need?

They literally, in every sense of the word, do not support nursing women.

This is similar to an auto parts store only selling wax and air fresheners when what you really need is a spark plug.

Dear God, I have no business using automobile references.

They could do so much for us if only they applied their fun patterns and styles to help out the leaky mamas who want to feel sexy AND feed a baby.

But, alas… at some point they made a decision not to…. I mean surely it crossed a VS executive mind at some point.

And so, Vickie used to have all my under attire business. She was there for me in college, on my wedding day, and every day in-between. I was a huge fan of the 5 for $25 underwear deal, although in the past few years I have felt like if my booty wasn’t on it’s way to a frat party, it didn’t fit Vickie’s offerings.

I am not an angel, I am not a runway model… and sadly, at the end of the day, Victoria’s Secret has proved to be a fair weather friend.

And so I say farewell to the striped pink bags, fragrant shelves of perfume, free panty coupons and the cute blondes in black suits with measure tapes around their necks.

I cannot give you my business, because it has become clear to me that you are not interested in providing products for real women, or at least not for me.

So, I guess I am in search of a new retailer with whom to entrust my … assets.

I hear Soma is good, I think I will check them out.

I am open to suggestions…


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Yesterday I got an email from our Insurance office, that looked a little like spam but also kind of authentic. So I called the number and it was a real person on the other end of the line. Our office needed our new contact info and we had neglected to update them on addresses and phone numbers. So she googled me, and found my blog, and read my story, and asked… “Do you still write on there?”

Ummm… sometimes…

At first it felt like a coincidence… and then a kick in the pants.

I have been hiding. I have, it’s just time to admit it.

This is not one of those posts that I am doing drafts of guys, this is just happening really quickly before someone wakes up for school… for which we need to leave in less than an hour.

Last week my dear grandma passed away due to heart troubles.
This past Monday my Dad would have been 60
This past Tuesday marked the five year anniversary of my Mom’s passing.

I’ve been busy, I’ve been sick with Mastitis … I’ve been hiding and using a lot of really valid excuses not to think about any of it at all.

I can’t write about it because the timing isn’t just right… I’m not at the right coffee shop, the baby is probably going to wake up soon or I’m just too tired.

I haven’t been praying about it because I’m not sure where I stand with God…

I haven’t been talking with friends about it because I am pretty sure they are sick of hearing me whine or talk about what’s wrong in my life.

I haven’t been processing any of it, I’ve been watching TV and hiding.

And here is the thing, the hiding doesn’t feel good, in fact just the opposite. The more I hide, the worse I feel, the more TV I binge on… the less I feel like myself.

funny, true, a little pinchy...

funny, true, a little pinchy…

The depression, the loneliness, the guilt, the grief, they’re all sitting on the couch with me, watching Hulu and waiting for their moment.

When I think about the person that my Dad, Mom and Grandma raised me to be, I’m pretty sure that TV binging and obsessing over laundry didn’t make their short list.

They saw in me the seeds God planted when he formed me. The prayed for me daily, and they meant it.

They didn’t pray… Lord may she watch a lot of Netflix and always have all the socks folded.

It’s okay to hide for a while, until you start to loathe yourself. Then it’s time to put the remote in the drawer and do the hard work of sorting through your life for better … or for worse.

While I was surfing Facebook on my nightly social media loop (which indicates a downward spiral signifying I should GO TO BED ALREADY) I saw this on my former Pastor’s Facebook page.


Some of my suffering has made me better, more open minded and tuned in… but lately?

Nope. Bitter, closed, and completely unaware and ungrateful for the gifts in my life.

Ignoring those gifts quite completely in fact.

So with this cup of coffee and this messy blog post, I seek to change that, to put all my fears and pain and worries on the table and figure out what to do with them. Pray, journal, read a book about it…. talk to an expert… talk to a friend… live this life I have been given with all it’s smooth lines and sharp corners.


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A Letter To The Families For Whom Suicide Prevention Failed


National suicide prevention awareness month is now behind us.

I haven’t engaged it at all on any social media outlets, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t effect me.

Any time suicide becomes a popular discussion item in the news, I struggle. I struggle not only because it brings back painful memories, but because I feel like something as traumatic as suicide is hard to discuss in a tweet or Facebook post.

This does not mean that we should remain silent and I hope with all my heart that this month of awareness prevents suicide. That the hotlines help and that the resources made available pull drowning people out of the sea of depression and into vivid life.

I wish that had been the case for our family. And from my family to yours, here is what I would like to share about suicide.

For those of you who don’t know my story, my mother took her life nearly five years ago after a very long struggle with depression. She had experienced a hard road after my sister’s damaging car accident and my father’s sudden death from a heart attack.

She was tired after fighting depression for a long, long time and she had become a shell of the person God created her to be. In fact I often wonder if I ever met the person God created her to be, my memories of her are more her illness than the person underneath it.

And then suddenly she was gone through a gruesome and bold death of her own choosing. Now it’s a part of our story, her story, my story, my family’s story and a really hard story I will someday have to tell my children.

The problem I have had with this month of suicide talk on social media is that, as I said above, it is really hard to have a real, gritty discussion about something so complex as suicide in a Facebook status. So, for better or for worse, here are a few thoughts I had, but didn’t share this September and I am going to share them as an open letter to the families for whom prevention did not work.

(These are just MY thoughts on suicide, my own personal reflections, if you are considering suicide, call a professional or reach out to a friend. I never, ever endorse suicide as a good idea. If you have no one to call, please call the suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255)

Dear friend,

I am so sorry that your best efforts to save your loved one didn’t work, mine failed as well. Likewise I am sorry that the word suicide now carries such dreadful weight in your story, it always seemed to me like a distant thing that happened “out there” and not in my own family. Yet here we are, sitting with the massive darkness, trying to make sense of it all.

I’d like to hear your story, to listen as one who understands and who will nod without gasping, I know how hard it can be to tell new friends about your loss. It happens to me too. Does the memory of what happened flash in your mind at odd moments? Like suddenly you’re in the pickup line of your kids school or brushing your teeth and you imagine it happening in vivid detail?

I have that, I hate it. It’s an awful image to shake.

Can I confess something to you? When my mom died I felt 98% sad and shocked and 2% relieved, because so much of my life revolved around worrying about her, trying to take care of her and then feeling unspeakably frustrated and angry when my interventions failed. I couldn’t help her, she was in this unreachable place that couldn’t be touched by counseling, meds or even joyful moments of life.

I don’t understand how she could leave me, and my kids. She left with one grandchild on the way, in the middle of planning her son’s wedding. I will never understand why we weren’t enough joy for her to stick around. I know this is because I don’t understand the darkness of her illness, it’s really hard for those of us left behind to understand how our loved ones were feeling.

Does it help you to talk about what really happened with people or do you prefer to keep it buried?

They tell me that my Mom wasn’t the one who acted that night, the night she killed herself, they tell me it was the depression who did it, not her. I think I believe that, usually I do.

Either way I start to hyperventilate around trains, and I can’t really bring myself to drive over the train tracks where she took her life without panicking and going into a dark space in my mind. I hate that, I just want to feel normal. I want a normal story and I hate that suicide gets to play such a huge role in how both of our stories get told.

I don’t know exactly how you are feeling, but in the broader sense I get it. I hope that you are able to find friends who will sit with you as your spend a lifetime sifting through the aftershock of what happened.

I hope that you can forgive your loved one, or whatever it looks like for you to find freedom from it, I pray that you can find a space where you can admit it happened in your life but that it doesn’t become you.

I don’t understand why our prayers didn’t work, I don’t understand why God intervenes sometimes and other times he doesn’t. I admit that suicide has to do with depression and sickness and that God grieves it too.

And I don’t think that suicide keeps you out of heaven, I have a lot of thoughts on this that I don’t really dare share on the internet.

There are a lot of things I don’t understand about suicide, far more than I do understand. But I believe that talking about it helps, that sharing our stories brings us a power to overcome them. So here I am, feel free to share your story with me in this space or on facebook, I will respond in love,


Leanne Penny.


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4 Things To Hold Onto When Your Backstory Tries To Take You Down



It’s been nearly 5 years since my mom took her own life and it’s really hard to put into words how I deal with that on a daily basis.

Most days I am still in disbelief that this is a part of my story, my family’s story. I joke to new friends that I feel too normal to have such a dramatic back story.

The back to school days have me in a bit of a depressive funk. Some days it’s just a small gray cloud but once in a while it’s a bit worse than that. I am upping my meds since I am on a low dose currently and choosing to be thankful for Zoloft rather than feel shame that I can’t hack it “au natural.”

The bad depressive days are the hardest when I start thinking about my Mom, when the enemy creeps into my ear and says “maybe you will repeat her story, or maybe your kids will…. it’s in you, it’s in them.” Continue reading

Chillin the Most (The mantra that least describes vacation with kids)

I know summer is behind us, almost officially. I meant to write this post as soon as we got  back from our epic family Labor day camping trip, but back to school week proved to be even more insane than I thought. 


Look at me chillin!

Speaking of our Labor day camping trip, it was amazing! Every year our family takes a camping trip about an hour North of here, it’s nothing fancy and it’s not really too terribly rustic. It’s really a campground by a lake near a cornfield and some cows and yes we have flush toilets and showers.

But that doesn’t really matter, it’s not the what, it’s the who…

This year we had 35 people camping, we are one camping site away from taking up an entire section of the campground, and I have to admit, we’re pretty proud of ourselves.

The one site in our section that was not in our family had a wicked sweet trailer. They had the nicest camping chairs I have ever seen, they even had an inflatable screen and a projector so they could watch the sandlot around the campfire. Seriously.

But the thing the had that I found the most ridiculous was this big, red flag that said “chillin the most.” (NAME THAT KID ROCK SONG!)

For the first few days that flag taunted me…. and for the last few it just made me laugh. Well played flag… well played.

Because for me, there is nothing “chillin” about camping with kids… or any other vacation with kids for that matter.

I love our annual  camping trip, we reconnect with family and get ridiculous tan-lines. We fall asleep in sandy beds after one too many s’mores… but guys? it is crazy exhausting and not one iota “chillin.” Continue reading

What I’m Into (July/August 2015 Edition)

Here I go once again linking up with the crowd over at Leigh Kramer’s blog for a rare but hopefully returning edition of “what I’m into”

Here’s what your favorite Michigander and mother of three has been up to…ish


Well, I’m sitting here making a packing list for our annual Labor Day camping trip which means that summer is coming to a close, quickly. I haven’t been doing a lot of writing on the blog lately but I’ve been doing a lot of freelance work which has kept me at the keyboard.

I’m trying to strike a balance there, school will surely help. Although I have one doing half days and one doing whole days so I feel like I’ll be mostly driving…

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 8.43.18 AM

Summery Summary – We’ve been in living in the parsonage (which we have named the Wrecktory… because rectory and also young kids) for 12 weeks now. The upstairs is really coming together and although we need to get a new couch, I am really happy with it. Caedmon and Noelle each have their own room and like I said, Clara has a crib in Noelle’s room but we’re mostly accidentally co-sleeping with her at this point. The move was really all encompassing and we didn’t do any fun kid-camps or vacations but instead have been exploring our new area, trying restaurants, hitting up the beach and playing in our backyard and garden. Produce has been a big focus this summer and we’re picked blueberries, strawberries, peaches and apples as we talk to the kids about real local food and show them what eating that way looks like. And then some nights we order cheap pizza, just in case you were worried we were getting too Holy over here. Continue reading

Would You Take This Survey?

“No matter where you go in life, always keep an eye out for Johnny the Tackling Alzheimer’s patient.” Click here if this opening line leaves you confused.

Did you watch Scrubs?
I did, almost like a religion. But not in a way that would cause Kel to lose his job. We don’t want that.

I took myself out on a coffee date yesterday, sat down with actual paper and tried to make a list, a really Meta type list.

I wrote headers like: “What was I put here to do?” “What energizes me/What am I drawn to?” And “What trips me up / what do I struggle with?”

I’m 33 now, and I’ve learned a lot of things, here are 32 of them.

Yet sometimes, once in a while I feel as though I’m back at square one, like I know nothing about myself at all.

Usually I look outside myself for answers, I check out what other people are doing and try to mirror them or wait on them to tell me what they see. I love collaboration, and so even in my healthiest rhythms I’m going to run my ideas and thoughts past my people.

But I can’t tackle my identity out of my friends over text messages, voxer or a cup of coffee. They know things, but it’s not on them to figure it out.

I’m learning that in these moments, I’m not actually starting from scratch, but actually honing in, getting specific and digging deeper.

For instance, I blog, I’m a blogger, I don’t think I want to walk away from that but so often I feel like I don’t know what THE BEST thing to post on my blog is, so I post nothing at all.

I’ve been blogging for years, it’s honestly hard for me to know how long. I started to write about grief after my Mom died, I’ve written about ministry, family, faith, church planting, food, parenting struggles, love and beautiful scars.

I want to keep going but I am going to ask for you help. I’d like to know what you love to read about, how often you come to this site, what you think of when you reflect on this space.

Basically, I love to write and I am going to share what I’m passionate about, but I’d love to know what’s the most helpful to you and hone in on that.

So here’s a survey, if 10 of you took it I’d be thrilled, if 25 people take it I’ll do a happy dance…If we break 100 I’ll post a video of me happy dancing to the song of your choice.

And I’m an embarrassingly bad dancer.

Create your own user feedback survey

*** If you cannot get the embedded survey in the blog post, sometimes it has mobile device issues, use the link below. *****


Also, if you have thoughts or comments that go above the FREE 10 question survey, would you leave them below in the comments section?

Alright, thanks for reading. More to come. MWAH.

If you like this, there’s more words in store, to keep up easily use the box below to have new posts from this blog delivered to your inbox.

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On Crappy Sleepers And Knowing Your Kids


There is a standard by which all babies are judged, besides cuteness, cuteness is like a babies #1 currency. The other thing is sleep. If you want to be loved and admired as a baby, you gotta be a good sleeper.

When admiring a baby, the first thing an acquaintance will mention is the cute. Even ugly babies get called cute, it’s probably in the bible. I’ve even been told this by the nurses at the Pediatrician’s office. She said “we have to say they’re all cute, but they’re not… yours really is though!”

Anyway, after cute, the next thing a baby will be judged on is their sleeping habits.

It goes something like this:

Look at this little cutie, what a doll baby! She looks like a (kewpie doll, gerber baby, baby gap model, chub-muffin, angel… you get the drill) How does she sleep at night? Is she sleeping through the night?

How weird would this be if we greeted a new adult friend the same way?

Hi, I’m Leanne. And you are?
Great, nice to meet you Bob, but how well do you sleep?
Continue reading

The Heaven in His Eyes.

bible memory match

bible memory match

I played Bible Memory Match-up game with my kids this morning.

I know what you’re thinking: Of course you did, you’re a pastor’s wife, but he truth is, that I don’t generally buy or immerse my kids in “christian” versions of things and here’s why:

I don’t want them to grow up thinking that everything not labelled Christian is bad, or not for them or that things labelled “christian” are necessarily true. I want them to learn how to relate to the actual world around them and not the sterilized church version they could have if I keep them in a bubble… and I want them to ask questions about the truth in things.

I mean, we’re talking about a memory game here, but on principle I don’t generally like the Christian versions of things because it feels like we, the church, are cloistering ourselves off from the “rest of them” when I am pretty sure that’s who Jesus wants us to be hanging out with.

When it came time to clean up the game I noticed the “Jairus’ Daughter” card, then an old song hit me smack upside the head, hard. So hard that I stopped what I was doing to sit down with a basket of laundry and listen to it.

Instead of watching Netflix…. I know, right?

But I didn’t fold laundry, I just listened to it with goose-bumps everywhere and an unfolded pair of pants in my hand.

Then I played it again.

The song is called “Heaven in his eyes” by Rich Mullins. and if you click the link you can listen to it on you-tube. It’s scratchy because it was recorded on a tape player in an old church nine days before the man singing died in a terrible car accident.

In keeping with the lack of Christian paraphernalia around the house, I don’t listen to a lot of Christian music. Continue reading

New Bookshelves, Literary Poser Syndrome and The Therapy Of Unpacking


Who’s excited about IKEA? Just ME!

I found myself at IKEA this weekend with one of my very best friends in the entire world, Joely. It was a whirlwind trip to Chicago, complete with a trip to Millennium Park and Wrigley Field. One of the things I was after at IKEA was a set of Billy bookcases to flank either side of the picture window in the parsonage. They would fit perfectly in the space and I was so beyond thrilled to get them home and play around with them. Continue reading