2014-04-04 13.42.59

To J’s future wife:

This morning when J said “I don’t know where my slippers are.”  I responded immediately: “They’re by the front door.”  Such a simple exchange.  Only a moment of time. Then it hit me: I need to apologize to you.  For through that brief exchange I am setting you up.  As of right now you have no idea.  You may not even be born yet.  But the time will come.  Oh, the time will come my future daughter-in-law, when you will be required to continue the role of wives and mothers everywhere.  Hopefully your mother will warn you and help you adjust to your future reality: you will need to know where everything is.  And when I say “everything” it includes the receipt for the car part purchased three years earlier.  It includes the tie J wore two months prior and randomly discarded at his first opportunity.  Measuring cups, books, batteries, and children will be included in this “everything.”  Thankfully it will not include video games or large pieces of furniture.  But you will be expected to catalogue the location of everything else in your mind.

This will come naturally for you to some degree, because through this catalogue-ization you are able care for those you love.  However, beware: It is a trap.  Once you indicate you know where one thing is it will be deemed your role for eternity to know the location of everything.

Occasionally you will have to face opposition.  And again I am sorry.  Even this morning when I told J where the slippers were, his gracious and loving response was, “No, they’re not.” (Please note, he said that while he was walking to the door, where he found the slippers.)  I’d like to tell you he came running back to me saying, “Oh thank you, Dear Mother!  I’m so very grateful you knew the location of the slippers.  You are amazing.”  I would like to tell you that but it would a big, fat lie.  I don’t even recall him saying ‘Thanks.”  (If it’s any consolation, when he comes and rescues you from the scary bugs in the house, he probably will not expect more than an end to the screeching.)

At times you will attempt to empower J: “Try looking for *said item* in the drawer.”  However, unless the item is on top of everything else in the drawer with blinking lights around it, J probably will not find it.  Soon he will tell you he looked “everywhere.”  Please keep in mind “everywhere” does not carry the same significance as “everything.”  For when he says he looked “everywhere” he means he looked “somewhere” and then decided it would be easier to either A.) Live without *said item* or B.) Ask you.  When he asks you, you will likely respond with “It’s in the drawer,” which will bring more opposition:  “No, it’s not; I already looked there.”  Keep in mind both of you are correct.  He did look in the drawer, but since the item was not on top with blinking lights he could not find it.  When you look in the same drawer you likely will move a piece of paper and the *said item* will be immediately visible.

Since J is still young I would like to tell you I am the woman to break this vicious cycle.  But I forced to admit I am not strong enough.  His cuteness has sucked me in.  So you, my dear future daughter-in-law, must bear this burden, and I am sorry.  Please note I am training him on his bug removing skills, so there will be a silver lining in your future.  I also am dedicated his stay-dry-at-night training.  Although you don’t understand now, I think in the future you and I will agree this was the more important battle to win.

– Your future Mother-in-law



Today I cleaned out a drawer that should have been cleaned out two years ago.  It had all sorts of nails, screws, and misc hardware in it that we acquired when we moved into the house.  Sometimes I’m amazed at the level of ick I’m other people are willing to ignore!

So my method of dealing with this nasty drawer was to sort through all the metal type stuff and either throw it away or shove it in a can.  I happened to have a nice empty can on the counter waiting to go out to the recycling, which worked out perfectly.  After cleaning a while it dawned on me:  I’ve officially become my dad.


My dad was an awesome guy.  He was hardworking, always helping someone, loved God, and he thought I was awesome.  What more could you ask for in a dad?  He grew up in poverty and one of the things he learned was saving.  He saved everything. And I mean  Later in his life he had Alzheimer’s, so he saved even more things!   I remember sorting through some of his stuff and finding napkinsrandom ones, from restaurants, weddings, etc.

Anyways, in his workshop he had coffee cans.  Shelves full of coffee cans.  A few plastic jugs were also interspersed (with the tops cut off to enable more storage).  The cans and jugs were filled with screws, nails, and tons of other miscellaneous things.  One of his famous sayings (which eventually became a family joke) is when you’d ask to borrow something  he’d say he wasn’t sure where it was because he “put it up somewhere.”  This “put is up somewhere” phrase meant he had no clue where it was but he’d eventually find it, often long after you no longer needed it.  

When I saw my can filled with metal miscellany it hit me…he and I are definitely related.  

It’s an honor to be related to him.  I can pack a box, vehicle, suitcase, etc. like a champion.  I used to say my dad could pack an entire apartment into a pinto (the car, not the horse).  From him I received my love for people as well as my sense of humor; while the nature of my humor is different from Dad’s my humorous streak comes from his branch of my family tree (he loved practical jokes, where I have an affinity for sarcasm).  But I also inherited his ability to save.  and save.  and save.  Ridiculously random things that I’m sure will be needed someday.  (And they are needed just enough to reinforce the habit.)

However, I would like to point out an important distinction:  My can is not a coffee can.  It’s a panko crumb can.  A panko crumb can filled with crap miscellaneous important things is way cooler than a coffee can filled with crap miscellaneous important things.  So I’m totally different from my dad.  Definitely not a pack rat.  (And no, you do not need to ask my husband.)



So here’s to Dad.  I love you, miss you, and would give anything for a few more days with you.  And I am most definitely your girl.  🙂


Little moments


In life we constantly juggle big things and little things.  The big elements are obviously important, whether they’re careers, illnesses, faith, relationships, etc.  But the little things can be worth noting too.  Often we’re overwhelmed by the big things (whether they’re good or bad) and we miss many little things.

Having kids around gives opportunities to remember the little things.  Sometimes I want to sit down and cry about a little detail and other times I want to celebrate a small experience.  Either way, the small things in life make it fuller, more fun, and more real.  The little pieces add dimension.

This morning I was reminded of the little things when my three-year-old came up to me and asked for breakfast.  He had already washed his hands without being asked.  Let me repeat: he had washed his hands without being asked.   This is the child who hates washing his hands.   I think parental pride oozed out of all my pores.  It was a moment of joy and bliss.

Now, will this brief moment affect whether or not he is a loving father some day?  Probably not.  Will it help him graduate from school?  Probably not.  However, it is a small part of our journey.  It might be only a tiny pebble in the path, but some pebbles are really beautiful when you take the time to look at them.  So I will celebrate today’s triumph.  It might even help me get through the next catastrophe.

Plus he hasn’t tortured the kitties today.  Yet.

I shall bask in the joy of the fleeting moments.

Take note of the little things in life.  They matter too.



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Busyness, bugs, bills, and brawling

Life around here is settling back into routine. I love routine. LOVE it. I also love a break from it. And then I love getting back into it. Last week was S’s spring break and I was reminded how three children can make life BUSY. How some of you do it with four, five, or more children is beyond me, but kudos to you!

We spent spring break around home. We went to parks a couple times, to the zoo twice, the science center once, and even had lunch at Dad’s work. We did some other activities around the apartment. We also went on a ‘photo walk’ at the Birmingham gardens, though the kids did more walking than taking photos. I’ll post more on that later. All in all it was a busy, fun week. S spent half of one day cleaning his room, which I’m sure he wouldn’t list as ‘fun’ though I was impressed how fast he cleaned it. He really wanted to get to a kids craft group they had that afternoon at the apartment complex. It was a great motivator!

The weather has been absolutely fantastic. If you’re in the north you’d be incredibly jealous. However, you need to know, the bugs are back. The big, ugly ones. EWWW. Gorgeous weather has it’s price.

Ever since J has been born we’ve had bills coming and going from our hospital stays. Some of them we haven’t even seen yet (such as the NICU bill…shudder-cold chill-shudder). Last week we received one from J’s NICU doctor and insurance company completely rejected it. We got another one a few days prior, I think for my epidural (something I regret on several levels), where insurance paid a whopping ten percent. We’ve already been paying on a few others. So the bills pile and we haven’t seen the worst of them. I need to battle it out with the insurance company, but I haven’t had the mental energy to do that. I dread it so much; I haven’t gotten far in the past, but this NICU doctor bill really should be covered in my opinion. If you think of it, I’d love your prayers for insurance to cover some of these expenses (preferably more than ten percent! though ten is better than zero percent!)

In the last two weeks there has been tons of controversy regarding Rob Bell’s new book: Love Wins. It has been stressful for me and has stirred all sorts of questions rolling around my head. The hardest thing for me has been the way people have disagreed with Rob and his book. I have read comments from people who were rude, opinionated, and convinced they have the Bible all figured out. In all honesty, it’s been an embarrassment for me to be considered ‘in the family’ with them. What if he IS a heretic? Does that give us license to slam him and the people who go to Mars Hill Bible Church? Before we label him the new antichrist shouldn’t we find out for ourselves what he is saying rather than basing our opinions on blogs about what he is saying?

To be fair, I have read a couple commentaries/posts that disagreed with grace. They are in the minority. I’ve seen a lot of people throwing verses around. Nothing quite like watching Christians duke it out. The people who are supposed to love like Jesus ripping into each other like a bar room brawl. It makes me want to scream. And fight….hmm…maybe I have a ways to go myself. 1 Corinthians 13 has been going through my head a lot regarding the whole subject.

I don’t want to get into a discussion about the book, hell, etc. I’m weary of it. It’s been bogging down my brain. I received the copy of the book I ordered, though I’m not too far in. I doubt I would have ordered it if it wasn’t for all the chaos, but I want to find out for myself what is written. I’m both looking forward to reading it and dreading it. I don’t know what I’ll think when I get to the end.

I do want to say this: I LOVE Mars Hill. I miss Mars Hill. I ache with longing for Mars Hill. Every Sunday I shed a tear that I can’t be there with the people gathered. There is no place quite like it. During my years there I heard great teaching (yes, from Rob Bell, along with others.) I experienced spiritual and emotional healing. God grew my faith tremendously. I got to know some of the most amazing people on the planet. I learned about how to live out Christianity in all aspects of my life. I learned tons about social justice, something God cares a lot about. I learned about caring for God’s creation. I learned about loving people different than me. I even learned about how to love people I disagree with (though I still do that badly. What am I saying? I still have a long way to go in all those areas!) Matt is a Christian today because of God using Mars Hill. By the way, I’m also married to Matt today because of Mars Hill. I love Mars Hill. It is by far not a perfect place. But a lot of good happens there and through there.

Mars Hill may end up going down a wrong path. Lots of great churches/people have. And some were considered the wrong path at the time and now we hold what they did/believed as a tenet of our faith. I have no idea what the future will bring.

I wish those who disagree would do it with grace and with doing their homework first. I probably won’t tell you what I think of the book when I’m done with it. But I’ll loan it to you. And maybe by the time you’re done reading it I’ll be emotionally ready to discuss it. And we’ll help each other maintain an atmosphere of grace, even if we disagree.

–Wow, a light blog post turns heavy! My brain has been full and jumbled the last couple weeks between spring break, controversy, and laundry (which is never ending.) Thankfully I’ve had great weather and lots of giggles to help me keep a touch of sanity. By the way, there is nothing better than getting J to giggle. Except maybe watching K or S get him to giggle.

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