What I’m Into- June 2013 Edition

Once again another month comes to a close and I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for another edition of “What I’m Into”

Month in (super brief) review- This month has been all about settling, simplifying and organizing. It’s warmed up considerably here in Michigan and we’ve been making frequent trips to the splash pad.  I started back at the Driving School where I worked for 7 years previously and I’ve been averaging two days a week answering phones and scheduling road tests there.

Also we celebrated Father’s day by having my family here in our new home where Kel grilled burgers on his new grill.  Overall a lovely month I’d say.

June Collage 1

Favorite Moments- Meeting up on the beach with these lovely ladies, Watching my kids ride bikes for the first time and this rabbit… who I’m convinced can bring a smile on the worst of days.  Oh and Noelle writing her name for the first time, unprompted and proud!

On my Bookshelf: This month I completed three books!  Glory and Hallelujah! (Technically I have a few chapters to go in one of them but my self esteem needs the number 3 so lay off it.)

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver-  I’m moving ahead with Kingsolver so I’d give The Bean Trees a try.  I enjoyed it a lot more than Prodigal Summer and I found the characters rich and (mostly) relatable.  Either way the story line was interesting and held my attention even if Kingsolver does move a little slow for me at times.

Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes I love Keyes and I have ever since I read her for the first time.  She writes witty, Irish novels that are easy to keep going back to, like neatening the edges on a pan of brownies. The story line of Mercy Close involved a main character trying to survive with her second relapse with a major depressive episode.  She has such a spot on and unique perspective that, for me, it proves once again Keyes’s ability to write about heavy topics in a completely unique and refreshing way.  Give her a try and if she’s not your cup of tea then… apologies.

Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown– I’m nearing the end of this book by Brené Brown but I had to include it here because I wanted to spread the word about how life changing, head-messing it is.  This book centers around wholehearted living: shining a light on shame and loving yourself well, which seems revolutionary, but should it be?  After all God loves me deeply, why would I think he wants me to hate on myself? hmmmm…..

So: If you buy any book this month make it this one, use this link, do it now!

June Collage 3

On the small Screen: We are now completely caught up on Dr Who and with the last episode came a definitely sadness.  However we plunged ahead with our BBC love and started watching Sherlock, which we promptly finished as it’s only 6 episodes long.  Love it.  Want to kiss Cumberbatch… appropriately, on the cheek like you do.

Also I re-started parenthood and it’s now my go to show for folding laundry, and my 45 minute break while the kids are napping/resting.  I cry every time.  Every. Bloody. Time.  So good.

June Collage 2

Best Bites: It’s summertime in Michigan and this means fresh produce abounds.  One can’t drive to the store here without passing mom and pop roadside produce stands piled high with goodness and I’M LOVING IT.

Along those lines we’ve been grilling loads of freshly snapped asparagus, baking up rhubarb and filling out mouths with berries upon berries.

Earlier this month we went strawberry picking and came home with a whopping 14 lb box of berries which Kel quickly dispatched into jam.  So now life is all sticky sweet with strawberry jam.  Bliss.

Also, I’ve reigned it in health wise, but I still love ice cream, dilemma thy name is bed time snack!  Enter this recipe for chocolate banana “ice cream” which is just frozen bananas, cocoa powder and vanilla.  It totally fools my late night craving with less guilt and dairy hangover.

June Collage Crafty

Non Verbal Creativity: 

This month I’ve done my level best to focus more on reading and writing (not arithmetic) over crafting and creating with my hands.  And I’ve experienced a lot of peace and positive momentum from this change.  Yet, I did manage to finish this dresser project for Noelle’s bedroom as well as some quilted valances.

June Pic 6

Random Love For:

This Bubble Thing Our kids love bubbles, but we have one major issue with them and that is bubble spillage.  No sooner do we peel the foil off of a new thing of bubbles than the solution is all over the deck.  Then we saw the “bubble-nator” which is a bucket with wands that prevents spillage.  Now they can bubble to their heart’s content, hooray!

Pine Sol- I don’t always like to clean, but when I do… I do it with a big bucket of Pine Sol. I’ve realized this month that I’ve become some sort of odd Pine Sol evangelist.  I helped a friend move and actually ran out to get some Pine Sol because I couldn’t help myself.  There’s no feeling quite as odd as realizing that you’re in the middle of an unprompted, yet impassioned speech about how much time we waste with spray cleaners when a bucket of suds does the trick more effectively.

It doesn’t have to be Pine Sol (for me I can’t justify $9 on a small bottle of Meyer’s Clean Day) but  a few rags and a bucket of pine sol has made cleaning so much easier, I can wipe down anything with it, walls, counters, sticky floor spots and furniture.  (I’m already in a shame spiral for writing this… but you need to know of it’s wonders!)

Chambray- This month I bought a new Chambray skirt and dress (off my stylish friend Danielle) and have paired my chambray skirt with everything under the sun.  I’m in love with the light, breezy versatility of it.  Two months ago I didn’t know what Chambray meant (it’s light denim) and now I can’t get enough of it.

Mary Kay Nourishine Lip Gloss- My BFF is a Mary Kay Rep and so by supporting her I’ve fallen for some of their products but none so passionately as their lip gloss, which I own in three shades: Gold Rush (sadly discontinued) Berry Tart and Red Passion.  I want to get into lipstick, truly I do, but for me this heavy gloss is so much easier to throw on as I walk into wherever I’m going, late with a kid in each hand.

On the Blog:

This month I had my most popular post of all time with The Plea of the Pastor’s WifeThis is a sad part of the rhythm of most ministry families, healing at home when the people of God tear you apart.  

I also had great response with Strawberries and Snap JudgementDon’t we paint big pictures of each other in our minds based on a square inch of information?
I’ll be honest, I do.  I judge people, in my mind, all the time.  Constantly really.

So now it’s your turn, what are you into, up to, all about? 

This post contains links to my Amazon Affiliates Page.  Clicking through and making purchases supports this blog, and that makes me pretty happy, really.

Creativity without Perspective

I’ve been digging deeper into my Meyers Briggs personality type lately and loving every minute of it.  I took the test back in college which is rounding on about 9 years ago for me and I wondered if it would still be the same given the fact that I’ve been craving more alone time these past few years than I ever have before.

Yet, after reading more deeply into my MBTI I realized that it’s likely still right on and the need for more introverted time can be chalked up to have kids around me 16 hours a day.

unleash_your_writing_creativity I’m an ENTP which means I’m creative, outgoing and I’m always imagining ways to improve my surroundings. This expresses itself in a variety of ways but it usually plays itself out here on my blog, around our home and in the systems and pieces of our life.  Although details aren’t my thing I’ve taught myself to keep things somewhat orderly and I typically manage to keep it up.

ENTPs love to innovate and make improvements, it’s in our DNA.

This drive for improvement is wonderful when it comes out in writing, remodel scheming and craft projects.  But, it can be all too harmful when I apply it to the people I love.

Imagine living with a mother who is always reminding you of ways you could be doing better.  Or being married to a woman who mixes every dose of encouragement with a heavy hint of “room for improvement.”

Sadly, somedays this is what it’s like to be a member of the Penny family.  You get to enjoy a lot of thoughtfully prepared dinners in a cozy, well-decorated space while you listen to all the ways in which I see “room for improvement” in your life.

Geez… how great does that NOT sound?

To be fair to myself I’ve gotten ever so much better over the past five years.  I’ve managed to keep my tongue in check and I’ve learned to sweeten my words. Still, I often wish that I was one of the warm, fuzzy mamas whose personality type includes a honey-tongue and bushels of tender acceptance.

I wish that I was quieter, cuddlier and more stable.

Since creativity is so deeply woven into my genes, some days it’s all I really want to be doing.  I want to write, sew, paint, cook and up-cycle until I’ve had my fix and I’m positively high on creating.

Until I achieve something that gives me that… high.  You know what I mean, right?  We all have them.

But life doesn’t work like that.  I don’t get to put the writing and creating before my family, I can weave it into the way we do life together, but I can’t abandon them for it.  

Because sacrifice is doing what you love second because you love your people more.  

It’s saying the second thing, the more gracious thing that comes to mind rather than the first thing, even if it’s true.  It’s filtering yourself for the good of your family but not so much that you lose yourself.

Mostly it’s blending everyone’s needs and coming out with some sort of smoothie that works for you.

I’m sort of excited to get to know my children’s personality types, see how they tick and how I can best meet their needs.

Do you enjoy these sort of personality tests?

How does your personality clash with your lifestyle?

Whispering, fidgeting and learning to worship

This past February my friend Jill wrote a post about parenting in the pew that really resonated with me.  As I read through it I felt a deep appreciation for Jill’s plans of teaching her son the value of worship during Sunday service.

But, if I’m honest, it also made me feel very thankful to have a children’s ministry where I simply dropped my kids off and we all did our own, age appropriate thing.

Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t believe that the church is solely responsible for my children’s faith.  I believe deeply in the weekly Monday – Saturday work of the gospel in parenting.

Yet, that sacred hour in worship where I can connect with God directly without parental distraction is something nourishing which I deeply appreciated.

Well, we’re not in Oklahoma anymore and now my 4 year old Noelle now spends the musical part of worship in big church with us.

The plan is for her to stand with her class along the side wall but with the new-ness of our church she just wasn’t comfortable with that.  She would see us and cry, reaching out for us across the room… so now stays with us until the message begins.

At first when I realized that our new church included children 2 and up in worship I was excited. It fit Noelle’s interests perfectly, the live music, the instruments and the experience of God’s people singing.

I was sure she’d be into it.  But she’s not.  She doesn’t like it at all.

We tried to explain the vast depth of worship on four year old terms.  We gave her very few rules.  Only one really: You have to stand up and listen to the music.

You CAN sing, you CAN dance, you CAN raise your hands but you can’t sit down and play on your chair.  You have to engage it in your own way, whatever that looks like.

Yet even with the freedom of practically anything she whines through most of it, which means I can’t engage either.  Which sucks for both of us.

I was hoping that something innate would click with her and that she would connect with God in some ageless spiritual way that would tenderize my heart to the innocence of faith.

But, no.  So this morning I decided to try something new:

As the music played and the people sang I kneeled beside her, whispering the words in her ear.  Then I took it a step further and told her what it all meant.

We’re singing about how much God loves us, how he will never forsake us.  Forsake means to leave and God will never ever leave us… no matter what we do.

This part means that he is stronger and bigger than anything that could ever happen to us in life.  That no matter haw scary or hard life is, he will be with us, he will take care of us.

She still rocked from toes to heels but I swear her eyes lit up a bit.

And in that moment, my knees cold on the concrete floor, we both managed to engage in worship together.

In explaining those worship lyrics I was reminded of the simple, foundational, beautiful truth of the gospel that we all too often forget.  

learning worship Continue reading

The plea of the pastors wife

I wrote this last fall, in the middle of a situation in Oklahoma that was too charged to handle this important post, these words of truth that must be said.  So I’ve let it simmer for months until enough time had passed to spare Kel any additional criticism at work… something we didn’t need any more of in that season. 

It does not speak to where our family is today per say, but it certainly speaks into the lives of ministry families everywhere.  

I reach back for Noelle’s hand as we drive home from church, just the three of us, another Sunday with me and the kids at our home church and Kel off preaching somewhere else.

I know deep down that this right here, this palm to palm family love is the sustaining work of our lives.  It will endure long after this job, this year, this season.

Yet I wonder in my heart: what are we putting them through with this church-world lifestyle?  I pray the good will far outweigh the bad.

As I make the straight drive down Arlington my head is a mess of confusion and pain.  I pause at a red light and remember my high school oath, the one where I swore up and down that I would never be a pastor’s wife.

The one I always joke that God challenged me on, laughed at.

I didn’t want to endure all the criticism and ugliness that comes with a life called to serve full time.  Or whatever you formally call people and families that draw a paycheck from church or para-church ministry.  

I’ve spent another week in utter confusion, trying to sort through the jabs and comments.  How the man I love is not ______ enough or how my family is too ______.

We spent a broken Saturday realizing that yes, in fact it is coming between us, getting into our skin.  Another night passing out, hardly talking, because truly the whole thing is just. that. exhausting.

pastorswife

This is a sad part of the rhythm of most ministry families, healing at home when the people of God tear you apart.  

I’ve spent Sunday mornings in church and dozens of trips to the grocery store wondering which smiles were genuine and which could not be trusted.

There are certainly moments of “screw them all!” where I find my steely resolve and declare that flaws or not … our ministry was genuine.

Moments of clinging to the truth that God is good and here and woven throughout our flawed human attempts at loving and living like Christ.

I recite impassioned monologues about how God never calls us to gossipy, private bashing but to genuine face to face counsel and relationship.  

These usually stay in the bathroom or are seen only my the mini van’s rear view mirror.  I’m never bold enough to burst into the board room and yell… what the hell people of God?  Why are you tearing us apart in hate?  Have you read the bible lately… all the parts about correcting privately, in love?

I’ve been angry, I’m still angry, but I’ve humbled my heart to realize that out of ignorance and pride I have sat in the critics seat.  Foolish enough to pick apart something genuine and spirit filled because I felt some consumer right to.

Out of ignorance I’ve sat picking at something I’m too lazy to get involved in or bring a change to.

I want to make a flow chart of church commentary.  Something that helps people realize how much better things would be if they would use their hands to help more than they use their mouths to criticize.

If you’re think this then perhaps you should get off your ass and do A) B) or even C).

Oh church: we are just as human now as we’ve ever been.  We stumble, we fall, we wound the hearts of those who serve us and scar the hands of those who sit washing our feet.

You’ve done it, so have I.

But those of us who have found ourselves startled and bruised after offering hands of love, sweat and tears, we’re … slower to speak.  We have scarred hands of grace which we are quicker to offer as hugs over fists.

So much quicker to look for the heart of God, the genuine spirit led love behind it and when we see it to consider the viewing of it, a gift, a grace.

Strawberries and Snap Judgement

Let me paint you a picture:

photo copy 8

seriously check out his shirt. It was so juice covered that it was unsalvageable

The kids and I were out picking strawberries at one of West Michigan’s most popular U-Pick spots, DeLanges Redberry Farm.  The strawberry picking was fabulous and the kids and I enjoyed time with family as we ate berries straight from the field and quickly filled our box with 14 pounds of sun ripened sweetness.

They brought me their best finds and ran up and down the rows, all while staying close by and declaring: “I love berry picking day!”

When we’d filled our box with bright red berries, we grabbed a green wagon and headed to the shed to pay.

As I pulled the wagon through the grass I surveyed my children, they were giddy and sticky beyond belief.  Caedmon was nearly dyed pink from berry juice and as I approached the shed I wondered if his clothes were salvageable.  What a way to go… a t-shirt lost to a morning of sunshine and berry juice.

As I paid for our haul, and asked the farm worker about pectin while the kids ran around, engaging fellow pickers in line.

Just as I was finishing up, I noticed that the kids were getting into the flags that were used to mark the rows which had already been picked.

“Guys!  Put those back and leave them alone!” I called out as I walked toward them.

Noelle started to obey, but Caedmon grabbed two flags and started running away from me in defiance.  (Defiance is his thing lately, he’s two)

I chased them down and made them help me put all the flags back, or at least I tried.  Honestly, I was tired and ready to get back to the car and a tall bottle of water.

As we headed to the car, a middle aged man approached me.

I was trying to keep the kids close, my hands full of berries while when he spoke up:

He shook his head at me as he told me: “You know, your kids are misbehaved.  Very misbehaved.”  

I was shocked.  I said the only thing I could think of which was a confused and sarcastic: “Thank you.”

strawberries and grace

My shock quickly turned to a line of painful questioning:  Do I have poorly behaved children?  Was their excitement over flags the result of bad parenting or just a normal kid reaction?

Continue reading

Late night closeness (and how I’m like a two year old boy)

I’m in the thick of parenting a two year old son, with all the awful drama and willful tantrums that accompany it.

He regularly walks up to his sister and smacks her on the head with a smile and he often grins at me while he runs toward the road, I running toward him on the wet grass screaming.

He’s also quite “type A” and so the wrong cup, fork, shirt or seatbelt routine can set him off and result in two minutes of screaming and a trip to time out.

Over. A. Fork… for the love.

All that is difficult to bear but what really causes my momma heart to ache is the pulling away that goes along with this independent streak.  He wants nothing to do with me.

Every request for a kiss or hug is met with an emphatic “no way momma!  no way!”

 

If I pick him up to kiss his face he wiggles and whines: “get me down!  No!”

When we go out and attempt to walk holding hands he refuses right out. He will just sit down in protest until I drag him away by both arms out of pure desperation.

When I buckle him into the shopping cart he screams for a solid three minutes because he wants to sit in the “big basket” so he can “eat all the foods.”  Which is exactly what he would do given the choice.

I’m sure so much of this comes along with the typical “quest for autonomy” that every two year old embarks on, but for me?  It feel like I’ve already lost him forever.  The snuggly sweetness is almost gone and I wonder if it will ever return or if I’ve already lost him to the “all grown up” place.

A few days back we had a particularly rough day with him, complete with defiance, dragging and tantrums.  To get through the insanity I picked up an afternoon iced coffee.

This was a mistake.

By the time we got everyone cleaned off and tucked in, my body was exhausted but my mind was buzzing, wide awake.

Hours after everyone had drifted off I sat at my keyboard, writing and crying, because life just seemed hard and you guys?  I was really tired and really low on little boy snuggles.

So I did the only logical thing I could think to do at 12:15 AM, I snuck into his room and sat next to his bed, rubbing his back through the slats in his crib.

The cat followed me in and began to sing his obnoxious song and woke up my “not so baby” boy.

I can’t say that I was sad about this.

We moved over to the rocking chair and I held him close to me for the first time in what felt like years.

I cried into his little shoulder as he wiggled on my chest, trying to get sleepy comfortable.

Then, from somewhere completely other a voice blew through my mind

Caedmon Pic

“Yes, I do love you this much.” Continue reading

To Kel on Father’s Day (Version 4.0)

Kel Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day love.

Since the day we read that positive pregnancy test you’ve been a more committed, loving and dedicated father than I could have ever dreamed up on my own.

You “go there.” You get your hands dirty, you’re all in.  Which is just as it should be, but far too often not how it actually is.

Before Noelle arrived we went to Babies R Us to shop for a “daddy diaper bag” because you wanted to be the sort of Dad who is prepared and comfortable taking his ruffly pink baby girl out on his own

And when she arrived?  You were smitten, and it was gorgeous beyond belief. Continue reading

Can Jesus Really Redeem Our Losses? (A guest post by Laurie Coombs)

Redemption is one of my favorite words in the English language.  It is hand of love slowly, deliberately taking something ugly and helping it become something entirely different, something inspiriting and lovely.  

Today we’ve been given a window seat to a story of unspeakable, miraculous redemption through the words of Lauri Coombs.  Lauri’s story is one of raw, real redemption, the sort that is brave and obedient beyond belief.  So please enjoy Lauri’s words and then encourage her warmly when you’re done, because we’re hosting beauty and we shall be beautiful hosts, eh? 

Close to thirteen years ago, I sat on top of a houseboat next to my dad watching the sun set behind the towering canyon walls of Lake Powell. Dad half-heartedly joked about how he was getting older, and I was sure to poke fun at his old age. I was twenty at the time, and my dad was only forty-six.

He was certainly not an old man by any standard.

We sat there for quite some time, talking and just enjoying one another’s company. Yet as we sat there, we had no idea the sun was not only setting for day, but it was about to set on our time together here on Earth as well.

Upon returning from an extended vacation a little more than a week later, I was stunned by what I was told. “Laurie, your dad was murdered last night,” I was told.

Truly, I have tried to come up with words to adequately convey what this terrible moment and the weeks and months that followed were like, but I’m not sure it’s possible. It was awful, to say the least.

After the funeral, I sat next to my boyfriend, now husband, Travis on the grass at a park, my mind reeling and attempting to make sense of my new reality with little success. Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, was a mere five miles away in a jail cell.

I thought of Anthony.

I thought of my dad.

It all felt so meaningless.

Inundated with confusion, grief, and anger, I softly began to speak. “They say that everything happens for a reason,” I said to Travis with my head down, playing with a blade of grass. “But how could there be a reason for this?” Continue reading

mama said… mama said

So yesterday I had one of “those days.”  Not a red letter, life altering day, but the sort that makes you want to laugh and cry all at the same time because it just keeps taking a turn for the worse.

The sort when you want to tell total strangers that in light of your current circumstances you are terribly clever and intelligent.

The sort you want to tell a friend about, because it’s hilarious so long as you’re not in the middle of it.  So let’s have a coffee date shall we, and I’ll tell you about “that day I had.”

It will make you feel better about your life and I’m okay with this.  

The day started with a marriage spat, which set both Kel and I on edge.  He took the kids to the zoo and I headed off to the coffee shop to get some work done.

Afterwards I wanted to hit up Barnes and Noble to crack out on some new books.  But, I knew that browsing would turn to buying, which wasn’t in the budget.

But the library was free so I decided to head there.

photoBut, wait. I didn’t yet have an area library card and to get one I would need a new, Michigan driver’s license. This would require a trip to one of the worst places in the world, the Secretary of State’s Office (DMV).

So, I returned home to get the proper documents to get a new license so I could get a new library card.

There was a line out the door but I decided to brave it, I was kid free and I needed to jump this annoying hurdle so life could go on.  So I waited in line to take a number.  When I got up to the desk the lady checked over my documents and promptly told me that I lacked “proof of presence.”

I almost sassed off and told her that I was present… and that was proof.  But I refrained.

But she smugly sent me back home for either my original birth certificate or a passport, because my current documentation was inadequate.

I want to give up… but I was going to finish this dang it so I drove home to get my birth certificate, grabbed a little lunch and headed back with steely resolve.

Halfway there I realized that in the act of getting lunch I’d left the bloody birth certificate on the counter at home.  I plopped my head on the steering wheel so loud that the horn made a short, angry honk.

I turned back around, AGAIN and walked back into the house AND grabbed my BC off the counter and drove back to the office…. again. Continue reading

bones and broth (and loving people well)

When I first started cooking, raw meat nauseated me. At first, I tried only touching uncooked chicken with forks and soon realized that I was going to have to get my hands dirty.  Slimy in fact.

So I dove in and never looked back.  And I went through a lot of hand soap just in case.

My cooking started small and simple, chicken breast with McCormick seasonings, steamed vegetables.

I remember the first time I made a big roast for my family.  I got up at 4 am to turn on the crockpot and sprinkle a packet of lipton french onion soup mix over top the meat.  Then I went back to sleep feeling like a low level super hero and woke up again at 9 to the smells of Sunday dinner on the way.

As I continued to cook, I gained skill and tried new things. Yet, somehow the only chicken I ever worked with was boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Thighs, legs and whole birds scared me to no end, I preferred the sanitary comfort of the pre-packaged breasts.

As if the breasts are the only part of a chicken?

Then, one evening, not too long ago, I shared a meal at my friend Jenni’s house and stood in awe as she pulled a whole, perfectly roasted, lemon pepper chicken out of the oven.  We were soon gathered around the tabled enjoying it with buttery chunks of roasted onion and mashed potatoes.

It was the best thing I’d ever eaten on a weeknight.  I was hooked, I had to learn to roast a chicken on my own to replicate the homey deliciousness I’d enjoyed at Jenni’s table.

So one night that next week I decided to go for it, whole bird anxiety aside I would conquer this personal, mountain.  That first bird must have been good because I’ve been in the business of roasting chickens ever since.

There is something honest about working with a whole bird.  When you’re massaging butter into bumpy skin and stuffing lemons and garlic into a cavity you can’t deny that this used to be a live neck bobbing, seed picking chicken.

lemon-herb-roast-chicken

It has dark meat and veiny, bloody, bony parts about it which don’t look anything like the sanitary packaged breasts you’re used to.

It’s a process, roasting a whole bird, it takes planning and thought. It can’t be tossed into the oven on a whim, but it must be prepped and roasted until the oven thermometer says it’s time to dig in.

And after you’ve sliced it apart and picked all the acceptable meat from the bones it you can boil it with onions, carrots and celery and come up with bountiful stock. As you pick through the colander after straining out the stock you can get your fingers dirty once again as you hunt for tender meat which can only be found by sifting through the bones of the bird.

There is nothing quite like taking a chicken full circle: from raw, to roasted, to stock and then picking out simmered morsels just before you toss the whole business in the trash bin.

The other day I was picking a chicken (like one does) and thinking about my people.  At some point in the bones and boiled onions it occurred to me that the sort of relationships I want to cultivate can be well summed up in the process of roasting a chicken.

I want to be involved with the whole of people, not just the sanitary parts that look attractive under cellophane.

Because life is made up of dark and white meat, the messy flaws and the laudable talents.

The depth of flavor of living is brought out in the boil and when we go through the heat and are married together like bones and broth.

I don’t want boneless skinless friendship, do you?  I want the dark pieces that are mottled with blood, I want to be there on funeral and new baby days, rejoicing and mourning.

I want people who love me in spite of my odd operating manual and I want to do the same in return.

I want to nourish my people, mind, body and soul with roasted chicken and real, bloody, beautiful living.

Last night my daughter snuck out of bed for the 17th time and begged to snuggle with me on the couch.  As we laid there, bed time long past, she began to chatter about love of all things:

“Momma I love you, and I always love hugging you.  And you know what mom?  People who love each other can make bad choice and still love each other because that’s what love is.  You just always love.” 

And then I cried and kissed every bit of her face because “from the mouths of babes” doesn’t even begin to describe the profound truth she’s found in four years of living.

You take your sanitary living, as for me, I will take the bones.