What I’m Into -August 2013 Edition

Well guys, another month is coming to a close… MADNESS!… so this means I’m linking up once again with Leigh Kramer for another edition of “This is what I’m Into.”

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Month in Super Brief Review-  August looked like this:  I packed a lunch and went to work. Then I did it again. Then Kel packed a suitcase and left for three days.  He came home, we tried to catch up a bit and then we did it all over again.  Somewhere in there Caedmon got stitches on his face and moved into a big boy bed.

Also we celebrated our 7th anniversary and the kids and I went up north for a weekend with Kel to visit his new Church.

Summer has been good to us, but I’m excited for cooler weather and a new pace, which may not come until 2014… so I’m hanging in there.

Best Snapshots:

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On My Nightstand: This month I tore through The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain.  This is the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Hadley and in it you get a vivid picture of life in the 1920’s as well as how closed off Hemingway was to those closest to him.

Also, over the past week I’ve been slowly savoring my friend Addie Zierman’s memoir “When We Were On Fire.”She has a way with words that never fails to work it’s way into my heart and if I had a case of copies I’d send you one.

Next up:  Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Actually JK Rowling) and Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt

Aug Collage Books

On the Small Screen- August wasn’t a big TV month, although I did write a big post about it yesterday.  My friend Becky did force me to try New Girl, which which I am eternally grateful for.   I got back into Dexter a little bit, which always comes with guilt attached because… he kills people.

On the Blog:  I feel like this month may have been a little deep and whiny, which is fine.  You guys have done an amazing job at empathizing with my temper tantrums and have loved me through the vulnerability and awkwardness.  I thank God for all y’all.  Truly.

This month you loved my post about being a 31 year old grace rejecter.  Apparently there’s a lot of us who suck at grace.  Also and thankfully you jived with the one about grief being awkward.  Because it is.

You may have missed this one though, it’s all about the miracle after the fact, after your prayers go unanswered.  It’s sort of my heart, check it out?

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Best Bites:  For our anniversary Kel and I tried out Public in Zeeland, which I highly recommend.  I had the steak on summer succotash and the angels on horseback are divine.

This month I made homemade crackers for the first time.  I’m still not sure if it’s worth the time and effort but I know and understand what’s in them and it takes my family a few days to go through a batch, instead of the 10 minutes it takes them to devour a box of GF crackers.  Which are a rip off.  I use this recipe, but with a bit more last and a bit less cheese.

Also, we’ve been receiving a lot of zucchini, both from our own plants and from family.  So we’ve been cranking out zucchini muffins using this recipe.  They freeze well and YES you can add cocoa powder and chocolate chips to make them a bit naughtier.

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Non Verbal Creativity:  August was great for Rag Rugs, I completed 5 custom orders,  Including one (almost) six-foot, area rug, which dang near took out my back.  Big rugs = a lot of time bending down and cutting up strips.

Random Love for:

  • Aldi.  I am becoming some sort of weird Aldi Evangelist.  I love it there, I love the dry goods, the Winking Owl Wine, and the methodical flow of the store which forces me to “get in and get out.”  If you think you’re too cool to try Aldi, let me tell you this: rumor has it they carry a lot of the same products as Trader Joes, just packaged differently, same company sort of.
  • Rooibos Tea with honey and almond milk.  A 3pm tea time gets me through any day that seems too too big to climb in the afternoon.

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

And remember!  This post contains links to my Amazon Affiliates page, buying products through those links supports this blog and this blogger.  

TV Guilt / Love & my Fall Lineup

I have a confession to make.  This may shock you.  We own a TV.

I know it’s borderline dirty to do so, but we do.  And we use it.

A lot of my friends are highly intellectual and don’t own a TV.  I picture them forever and always doing posh things, like playing violin, tatting lace, drinking tea and reading.

Probably while they listen to NPR and their butlers bring them crumpets and scones.

Okay, a step too far… I know.  But, sometimes I feel like owning or watching a television is the new fast food of time usage.

It’s not like I’m a crack head feeding my kids nothing but McDonald’s hamburgers served on BPA riddled plastic plates.

It’s just that I DO watch the occasional episode of Parenthood, Grey’s Anatomy and New Girl.

I’m (mostly sure) that no one thinks less of me for my TV ownership and usership, but in my head it makes me lazy and I’m setting my kids up for utter academic failure.

But then again, my head isn’t always a very nice place for me to be.

For a while I imagined us as TV free family, only ever doing puzzles and making origami in out organic cotton clothing… but the truth is that we get by with a little help from our tv friends.

I can’t quit on my stories mid-stream, I can’t break up with Meredith Gray and Mary Margaret Blanchard.  They need me!  And what in heavens would the Braverman family do without my supporton the other end of the screen?  They’d fall apart, that’s what.

And the truth is that even though there is a lot of crap on Television these days… there’s some great stuff too.

Also since I need further justification for myself, there’s the following:

  • I watch an average of an hour or less a day, on average.  Mostly.  Overall our family falls well below the national average in TV viewing.
  • my children only watch educationally based shows for an hour or so in the early morning
  • I watch TV while folding laundry or making Rag Rugs for my Etsy store, so it’s just multi-tasking and productive.
  • We don’t have cable so we can’t channel surf.  We just catch up on specifically selected shows on Netflix or Hulu.

So, now that I feel better about my TV habit, let’s talk fall line-up and what I’m excited about.

Also, I gave up the Bachelor / Bachelorette.  So, my soul is safe, right?  

We can consider this a sort of, What I’m into, Fall TV lineup edition.

greys Grey’s Anatomy: (Drama, NBC, Thursdays, Premieres September 26 with a 2 part series… because OF COURSE.)  Kel and I were were late starters with Grey’s and we spent the fall of 2009 catching up on it after our first EVER episode being the one where where George gets hit by a bus.  We were hooked and went a little overboard. But now? I think the drama of the characters is getting a little ridiculous and over the top.  Creator Shonda Rhimes has stated that even though main characters may start to leave, the show will continue indefinitely, like ER… which i eventually walked away from as well.  If there’s one show on this list I’m considering giving up it’s this one… but not just yet.

new-girl-zooey New Girl: (Comedy, FOX, Tuesdays, Premieres Sept 17)  I’m very new to this show which is just entering it’s third season.  My dear friend Becky told me to watch it so many times that she finally just came over and made me watch it.  And I’m so glad she did.  It’s a smart comedy that sets off my funny bone with small chortles and actual LOLs.  Also, I adore Nick Miller and I want to move our family into a cool loft with urinals.

Downton-Abbey-006 Downton Abbey: (Period Drama, BBC, Viewed Online, Premiering Late September in the UK and Jan 5 in the US.)  No spoilers here, I’ll try to be vague.  What happened… is still hard for me to acknowledge and even though I’ve read very intelligent articles on why it needed to happen.  I’m still pissed off.

 

Doctor Who - Series 7B Dr Who: (BBC, Viewed Online, Premiering Nov 23 in the UK… and rewatched often on our TV screen)  I have no idea how to properly describe to you my love for Dr Who.  I was reluctant to start it, it looked hokey and … weird.  But after massive prompting from my husband and some other positive tweets I committed to the first season, by the end of it I was hooked, mourning Christopher Eccleston and falling in love with David Tennant.  If there is one show on this list that I love above all else, it’s this one.  I love it enough to buy a piece of TARDIS Art and a Sonic Screwdriver flashlight.  I love it from deep and unexplainable places but it’s not just SciFi, it’s beauty from the depths of human emotion… and outer space.

(BONUS) LEANNE’S WHOVIAN PROFILE
– Favorite Dr, Matt Smith… it’s the chin… and the hair… and the… something.
Top five four episodes.

1) Vincent and the Dr
2) Lady in the Fireplace
3) Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
4)  Anything with River Song in it.  If she doesn’t come back anymore.. I’ll be… more than really sad.

 

b018ttws Sherlock: (BBC Still without season 3 premiere date)  This show is smart and sexy with a dry and understated humor that should satisfy anyone.  It’s one of those shows that you really have to pay attention to, because it’s the details Watson.  Also, Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most talented small screen actors I’ve seen in a long time and I simply need more of him.

 

url Once Upon a Time: (ABC, Sundays, Premiere Sept 29) This show hooks me (no pun intended) and then loses me over and over again.  Some story lines and engaging and some are worthy of an eye roll.  That being said there are too many lose ends hanging out there to walk away now.  Plus, I have this show to thank for my pixie cut so, that’s true love.

400059398_248adb05-06ce-45b2-80e1-977d87856d94-32-parenthood Parenthood: (NBC, Thursdays, Premiere Date Sept 26)  This show has me hooked by the heartstrings, potentially more than any other.  If you have kids.. or have family.. or have a heart at all.. you should be watching this show.  What I want to know is will the Adam Braverman family ever get a break?  And will Sarah please get back together with Mark already?

UPDATE AFTER REALIZING I FORGOT 2 IMPORTANT SHOWS

Robin-how-i-met-your-mother-2590616-1280-720 How I met your Mother (CBS, Premiering Sept 23) Slap Bet, Lawyered, And this is going on my BLOG!  But um… I can’t believe I forgot this show the first time around.  Stage an intervention.

 

 

040610_bigbangThe Big Bang Theory (CBS, Thursdays, Premiering Sept 26)  This is my favorite comedy of all time because it’s smart and nerdy, just like me.  Also, I’ve played the corresponding trivia game and it’s equally weird and fun.

So these are my shows, the ones I love (mostly appropriately)

What are you watching, excited about? Should I drop one of my stories and pick up one of yours?  

Tantrums and Lullabyes

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Right now our house feels as though it stands divided… with Kel and Noelle on one side and Caedmon and I on the other.

The dividing line for us?  Those who act like mature, (at least four year old) people… and those who act like moody, selfish, two-year olds.

Care to take a stab as to which side I fall on?

That’s right, I side with the two year old these days.

Between the two of us we throw at least a tantrum an  and when we butt heads?  Watch out.  Worlds are colliding.  Plate tectonic level shizz is about to go down.

Caedmon gets upset because he doesn’t get his way whenever he wants it and I’m upset because… ugh… same reason.

This routine of having Kel gone every weekend is proving to be crazy hard on our family and I’ve been using it as an excuse to be a brat… and other B words.

Why isn’t there any passage in the bible that just allows us to be crabby and petulant for a while when things don’t go our way?

What if sometimes I don’t want to grow and rise above?  What if sometimes I just want to be crabby and pissed off …for the rest of the year? Give or take…

I tried playing it that way for the past month, telling Kel with regularity that I was just going to be pissy until 2014 when things stabilized for us.

He put up with like a champ for a while until in one brief, phone call the dam broke and I realized that my taking free reign to be moody was shrapnel into his heart.   Continue reading

The After Miracle

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I went to 4 colleges and at one point or another I claimed 6 different majors

At one point I planned on going to Bible school in New Zealand. I even got my passport, but it was never stamped until our honeymoon and even then it was for Mexico.

I went to grad school for a bit, but I left after 2 semesters.

We’ve already discussed how many different jobs I’ve held (it’s 17.)

I own more books that I haven’t read than those I have.

Our basement is home to more than one unfinished craft project… some of them furniture.

I’ve started training for at LEAST 6 different 5ks that I never ran.

I have gone public with a lot of dreams that never went anywhere at all because I abandoned them for the next big idea.

But writing?  I can’t walk away.  This is my thing. Continue reading

bricks over manna

Yesterday I sat down to read for a bit in the afternoon.  The bed was stripped bare and the sheets were in the wash.  The iPad was dying, so I laid there on the edge of the naked mattress so my “book” wouldn’t lose power.

As I propped myself up on my elbows to read, I realized that this was the first time I’d relaxed in weeks.  The first time I’d stilled myself in the waking hours to do something that isn’t on my to-do list.

No, I usually spend my days in some whirlwind combination of these things: kids activities, writing, making rag rugs, cleaning, laundry, networking, trying to get steps on my pedometer, managing social media, going to work, or cooking.

As I dance this frenzied rhythm across our carpet, my head plays a rhythm of:

I could do better
I could do more
I’m still not as _____ as ______ is.

This ties in pretty heavily to the smack in the face I’ve had recently about grace… in which I’m learning that I struggle with it because I have none to give, no reservoirs to rest in.

I don’t give myself a moment’s grace during the day.  Rather, I produce and clean and make and do from the moment my feet hit the floor until the second I fall into bed exhausted.

And my last thoughts are… “how did I manage to leave so much undone? …. I’ll do better tomorrow.” 

I base my worth and evaluate the success of a day by what I’ve accomplished.

I believe that I have something to prove, that I have to earn the time I’ve been given through a frenzy of activity.   That I’m only worth what I produce in a day… or what percentage of my to-do list I manage to check off.

But we’re supposed to work hard six days and rest one, right?  Keep a pace that proves to God that we’re using our talents for his glory?

Wait no… we’re not supposed to prove anything.  We’re just supposed to glorify with our lives, which probably shouldn’t come with stress and frenzy, right?

I know I’d hate to see my own child broken down in a heap from trying too hard to stick to what I’d asked her to do.  That would break my heart.  Is this how God’s feeling about my busy attempts to earn my keep?   

Surely God laments the fact that I’m only comfortable when I’m earning my keep.

The problem comes when I don’t feel like I’m earning it.  When a tension builds between what I have and what I’ve earned, when the scale tips in favor of grace and mercy… I get anxious.

trees and grace

The other day I was on a phone meeting with a friend and co-worker in Oregon and he brought it all back to the Old Testament.

When the Israelites sat complaining in their camp as manna rained down from heaven and quail was delivered to their camp like pepperoni pizza.

And the soles of their shoes never wore out.

God saw to it all before they could ask for or earn it.

But there they sat, chilling in the dessert with no work, bread raining from heaven and longing to be back in the days of brick building.

Longing to be back in the days of slavery and that “just one more brick” lifestyle.

Because, doesn’t it seem easier to count your worth in bricks rather than trust in the blood and love of a God who is beyond understanding?

Who offers provision and peace through prayer and not through the labor of our hands?

It’s easier for me.  Grace and Mercy are hard.  

We’re supposed to work, toil, use our gifts and talents passionately… to glorify him through a life of healthy rhythm … not to prove that we’re worth the love and grace He is delivering to our doorsteps… like quail… and gluten free pizza.

I need an inner monologue makeover, to still and read, rest and just frigging “be” for a little while.

To take a sabbath where I lock up the laundry and put down the computer in favor of a book and a cup of tea.

Or close my eyes in the sunlight and open them to millions of leaves dancing 100 feet above my head.

I still need to figure out grace.
To believe that receiving manna is far better than celebrating another crappy, dried out brick.

This balance is a beautiful mess that I have to surrender to…. before it’s too late for my heart and hands.

Do you struggle with this balance of busy and grace?  Of finding yourself unworthy of manna and shoes you’ve clearly not earned?  Always counting your worth in bricks, wondering if you’ll ever breathe grace?

Grief is awkward

because grief is awkward.

……  because grief is awkward……

Recently I moved back to my hometown.  Back to the place where my parents are buried and the most painful parts of my life came to pass.

It was easier to hide from and avoid the details when I was 1,000 miles away…  not always driving past the cemetery or over the train tracks where it all went down.

Yet, all of these little moments of remembering haven’t messed with me as much as this one:

I was sitting at my desk, at the office where I work a few days a week right now and someone stopped in who I haven’t seen for years, someone from my parents church.

We chatted about this and that and as he was leaving he said:

“Hey!  Tell your folks I said hi!”  

Inwardly I panicked. Boy was he out of the loop, I thought everyone in town knew our story.

Should I fill him in or just let it go?  He knew them, he deserved to know.

So I did what I have to do sometimes and laid it all out at once, the breakdown of what’s up with my family.

“I have a sister, but she was in a tragic accident and lives in a group home and my Dad died of a massive heart attack and then my mom took her life.  So I have a brother, but he joined the army and lives in Kansas for now.”

Deep breath.

Typically when I have to do this I am absolutely fine and it doesn’t phase me.  After all, nothing about my life changes in that moment.

But in that moment, remembering who we all were way back then and then explaining how it ended, It undid me. And when he left I hid in the storage room and cried.

It was awkward and painful.

Grief is awkward.

Usually the moment I explain my backstory is no big deal and it doesn’t hurt … much.  In fact, usually I end up feeling worse for the person on the other end of my story and find myself trying to make them feel better about it all.

This is always my least favorite moment of “getting to know you.

Grief is awkward.

Sometime this is because you find yourself suddenly hurting, stinging from an unexpected, painful memory…  in public.

 

Maybe a song comes on in church and you crumple to the pew and burry your head in your hands, or you see something while you’re out and about that brings everything crashing down on you.

The people around you see this and don’t know whether to intervene or let you have your moment.  They may wonder what’s going on, they may speculate or they may grab you a tissue… even if it’s tender and sweet… it may feel a little awkward.

This is because you suddenly have to “go there” with someone you may not be ready to “go there” with.

But this is life, and life is awkward.  It’s a big jumble of experiences we weren’t expecting and feelings that arrest and overwhelm us at the most inopportune moments.  

Since it’s bound to get awkward… here is a list (that I’ve developed from years of awkward moments) that may help you.

1) Breathe. If you stop you will pass out and that’s super awkward.
2) Gain perspective, everyone has experienced pain and can likely identify with what’s going on.  You’re not the first person on the planet to hurt.
3) Drop your shame, you have no reason for it, healing takes vulnerability and it’s not always pretty. Shame is just going to lengthen the process.
4) Remember that we were created for relationship and that this forced, accidental group therapy may very well turn into something lovely, if you let it.
5) When you say the wrong thing (like: “your mom” to someone who doesn’t have one or “do you have kids?” to someone who is infertile) apologize but move on in grace.  What you’ve just learned isn’t new information to the person you’re chatting with they’re probably okay… so you can be too.

Overall remember that life is just messy and uncomfortable.  You will fall apart sometimes, and it will usually be in public.  I think this is because God’s trying to teach us to be real…. although it’s not my favorite method of his. 

The more we all admit this messy awkwardness and stop pretending that grief and pain are quick and easy, the less awkward moments we will actually have.

And we will create authenticity…
And community
And generally feel less alone in the pain of it all.

And that my friends is a very, very good thing.

True confessions of a 31 year grace-rejecter.

This post comes with an optional soundtrack.  Just an option.

So I’m exactly halfway through my 31st year of life, my proverbs 31 year where I master dying things purple and keeping busy while my children call me blessed.  I’m worth ALL the rubies.  Don’t even mess.

Seriously if you look up wife of noble character in the encyclopedia (do people still own these because we just have the internet) you’ll find my face… I’m just THAT noble and… ruby-ish.

I’ve met all my goals for the year, I had them licked mid-March so now I just need to find some more things to be awesome at.  Any suggestions?  I’m thinking of taking up under water basket weaving and scuba at the same time… because, efficiency people.

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Of course none of this is remotely true.

Upon reviewing my goals I’ve decided to (do my best but mostly) call in “we moved 1,000 miles” and take a pass until 2014.

Guys, I don’t feel like a wife of noble character.  Most of the time I feel like some selfish Medusa… or the lady Bruno Mars is singing to in Grenade.  Which is NOT a compliment in the least if you’ve heard the song.  

Also in the interest of total confession: I claim gluten free… but I love beer and I live in beer city USA so… what’s a girl to do, I ask you?  (as I sip my high gravity porter with an innocent smile)

And I only wash my pants every 3rd… or 4th wear….

And I accidentally left my car running a couple weeks ago… for 8.5 hours.

Sometimes I yell at my kids… and watch HBO (not usually at the same time)… and fall asleep before I’ve brushed my teeth or taken off my mascara.

Sometimes I forget my quiet time because I’m too busy throwing really undignified temper tantrums.

Sometimes I’m way behind on facebook and email… and I let people down.

And I swear sometimes, not just the Christian ones like “son of a biscuit” but the bad ones that start with S’s and F’s and D-I’s and go all the way.  I’m sure there’s no stats on this but I’d wager that I probably cuss more than the average pastor’s wife.

I’m always shocked any day that I wake up and people still love me, that God still loves me and is willing to claim me.

Because on paper… sometimes…. I suck a little or… you know… a lot.

The thing I’m learning about grace is that you’ll never really be any good at giving it until you can accept it.   And here in lies the heart of the matter.

You can’t give grace if you’re too stubborn to receive it.

As easy as it is to laugh at all my quirks, foibles and bad habits… I blame myself for them, loathe myself for them and beat the living, F-ing, tar out of myself for them.

I’m constantly, and painfully aware of each and every way I’m failing.

And I don’t want any help, I don’t even want to appear to be in need of help.  I want to do it ALL and totally flawlessly on my own.   But I can’t.  And neither can you, so let’s just get over it, yes?

Today I got a text from my husband, as he was preparing us a gourmet date night after taking care of our two kids all day long.

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AND I need to charge my phone. Will my issues never end?

And for some reason he said it better than I’ve been able to for a long, long time.

Grace baby, grace.  Stop trying so hard to earn it.

Stop keeping score.

Stop grading yourself.

Stop tracking every aspect of your life and finding yourself lacking…  because it’s no way to live.

So, let’s eat some enchiladas and laugh for a while.

Let’s not enter it all into our my fitness pal apps or think about what the scale might say.

Let’s not try to rationalize the cost of the feast or hold back on the love we have inside because of flaws or mistakes or whether or not we’ve earned it.

Let’s just live

Let’s just love

Let’s just look up at clouds or trees or sunsets or stubborn babies playing in the sprinkler and breathe grace.

Because grace it all around but it won’t force it’s way down our throats.  We have to open our mouths and breathe.

We have to remember that we can’t earn it and we are only ever losing in the trying to do so.

Stop trying to earn it
Come clean
Be fully you and all sorts of okay with it.  Keep trying at life but keep accepting your humanity and sucking grace like oxygen.

Your turn, confess a foible, indulge in grace?  Be “only human after all” with me?   I think we need it, yes?

Because patience begats patience

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 10.02.16 PM As we walked through the church doors she was already tugging on my arm with excitement.

I was trying something new, going to church with my aunts, uncles and cousins… mostly because I couldn’t do another Sunday of church with both kids by myself.

I whimpered inwardly when I learned that children’s church was closed for the summer my task for the next hour would be managing my four year old daughter throughout the service.

We’d never made it through a service without bailing before.  The odds were never in our favor.

We shimmied our way into pew and I was instantly thankful for the engineering behind this old school church seating. There were people on every side of us, at least she wasn’t going anywhere.

The service started with a slideshow from a recent mission trip, which managed to hold her attention for a while.

Then the music started and she fidgeted from person to person, crawling down the pew behind me. Each rotation struck me with grace and guilt.

I always worrying that I’m robbing someone else of a meaningful God encounter when they take time to help with my children.

Then the sermon started and I sucked in one big, deep breath and broke out the big guns, the iPhone.

There, I thought, that oughta keep her entertained for a while.  And it did, I was even able to take in scraps of the message in-between answering questions about bejeweled.

Later, I noticed her flipping through my photo albums and smiled at the thought of her reminiscing about family memories while we enjoyed church together… well sort of together.

Then it happened.  Before I knew it I heard my own voice yelling loudly, interrupting the sermon.  “I’m gonna powerwash you!” I yelled. Continue reading

Seven year journey (Kel and Leanne “The marriage”)

Anniversary Collage

please enjoy 7 years of us and don’t forget to note Kel’s beard-timeline and my ever changing hair color.

Seven years love, seven!  Can you believe it?

Seven years since “Kel and Leanne THE WEDDING” or as our friends called it “The Pool Party.”  (due to my obsession with our main wedding color: bright aqua.)

Seven years of figuring each other out, falling deeper in love, falling apart and then somehow, with God’s grace, coming back together again and again.

And the once more… for good measure.

2 babies, 10 jobs, 3 states, 6 homes, 8 desks (don’t ask), 4 cars and 1 really annoying cat later…. here we are love, we’ve made it this far.

Still in love, still fighting and fighting for it even in the midst of an uphill year.

Our “move back to Michigan” gamble has stretched us farther than we’d hoped, but through it we’re reaching new heights together. Think of all the faith we’d lose or the wisdom we’d never have gained had this year gone the easy route.

But it didn’t and it’s been a blend of bittersweet chaos.

Monday, on our “actual anniversary” we found ourselves in pajamas on the couch after a hard weekend of general discord.

So we did our best by sharing a pizza and laughing at the obvious jokes in “The Avengers.”  Because we know when we’ve been beat AND we’ve really come to terms with how nerdy we are.  All we need now is a few bow ties and a TARDIS cookie jar and we should be set.  

In seven years we’ve learned that marriage isn’t always easy, and that it takes effort to allow the hard times to bring you together rather than apart.

I’ve learned about your deep need for encouragement and you’ve figured out that many of my worst days can diffused by sending me to take a bath.

Last night we gave celebration another go and met up for dinner at Public in Zeeland, sharing bacon wrapped dates and reminiscing on the journey behind us… and speculating on that one laid out ahead. Continue reading

Patient, Joyful, Hopeful (or getting Bslapped by Romans 12)

photo To say that life has been an uphill climb for our family lately would be accurate.

Oh, and also a bit of an understatement.

We’ve described it as swimming through molasses or as putting out endless fires.

We’ve even described it as a losing battle, on our worst days.

It’s not that anything big is wrong really, it’s just that every simple thing blows up in my face.

It’s like this:

I get up to make breakfast, but I can’t because I realize that in my stressed out state, I put the eggs in the freezer and ruined them.  So I go to grab my car keys so that I can go out for oatmeal and do some writing work, but I can’t find them.  Anywhere.  I give up and decide to take the van when I realize that I can’t work at all, because I’ve left my laptop 170 miles away and won’t be getting it back for a week.

Ugh.  Really?

Caedmon has learned a new phrase over the past few months: “I give up on this!”  This morning it was: “I give up on this yogurt!  I give up!”

Establishing ourselves in Michigan has been a blend of beautiful and stressful and living on two part-time incomes is no easy feat.

We’ve said all along that this was going to be a hard, faith-demanding, Abraham and Sarah-ish transition.  And guess what?  It is! It’s pinching and exhausting and mostly uphill.

I knew it would be, yet I act shocked and ooze whininess.

Yesterday I was working in a coffee shop on a borrowed laptop and I decided to give up some of my time to read the bible and pray.

I say this because I’ve developed a bad habit of seeing prayer and the bible time as expendable.  Please feel free to believe that this is the source of a lot of my current stress and issues, because… I know… 

So I’ve been working my way (slowly and erratically) through a study on “prayer in the bible” and yesterday’s reading smacked me with truth.  Hard.

It was beautiful and simple-sweet, I smiled, but it stung.

“Be patient in hope, joyful in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

That’s it, that was the entire days’d reading.  And guess what? I’ve been doing exactly none of those things… and it’s been killing me and my family. Continue reading