Rhythms of Work and Rest

This summer was a busy one. We had a huge international trip to two different countries with four young kids in tow. (Yeah, I know. Don’t worry–we had help.) All this travel was exciting and fulfilling in ways we never expected as God allowed us to encourage and help a number of friends serving in hard places, as well as reconnect with friends in our old neighborhood. Upon our return home, all we wanted to do was crash, but we had given ourselves exactly three days to unpack, do laundry, and repack for the long drive to a conference near my hometown. Needless to say, by the time the conference was over and we made the drive back, I was never so happy […]

The Boy Who’d Never Tasted an Apple

There was once a boy who lived 15 years without ever tasting an apple. Oh, he knew what apples were. They were everywhere. Apples on billboards and bumperstickers, t-shirts and magazine covers. The lady on the car commercial was holding an apple. The hero of his favorite movie had a thing for apple pie. But the boy had never seen an apple in real life, much less tasted one himself. The boy’s parents ate apples in secret, and the boy knew it, but in public the boy’s parents pretended that apples didn’t exist. The boy wanted desperately to know more about how apples grew and what they tasted like, but he was afraid to ask. The boy looked to the internet […]

Mom Guilt

Mom guilt. I can’t shake it. It’s there every time I turn around. What my kids eat. What I eat. What we should be eating that we don’t. Organic? GMOs? Antibiotics and growth hormones? Stress. Some days I just want Oreos. Milestones and growth charts. Do we vaccinate or not? Babywearing. Sleep habits. Breastfeeding. Bottle feeding. Stress. I should be savoring these moments, right? Some days I just want to sleep. Looks from other moms at the playground. Judgment from older folks at a restaurant. Advice from a lady with three dogs and no kids. Stress. Some days I just want to hide at home. (But then I feel lonely.) Laundry piles. I’m so behind. To-do lists and should-do lists. […]

Can I See His Face?

I’m always amazed at the way our small children can teach us deep truths about God.  When our third son was born, his older brothers were eager to meet him. They each got to hold him, kiss him, and love on him. Even after we were home from the hospital, they couldn’t get enough of the new baby, always wanting to see and touch him.  After a great many holdings and kisses and too-strong hugs, I began to weary of their enthusiasm. It took a lot of energy to oversee their boyish love on a newborn, so frequently I’d only allow them to look on while I held the baby. They were fairly happy with this arrangement, except when he […]

Picture Day Fail

It started before the sun came up. I dragged my weary body out of bed. Before I could mentally process the fact that I felt physically unwell, one of my children was already calling for me. I got dressed and carried the baby with me to wake up her brothers for school. As they slowly began to move, I headed downstairs to nurse my little one. That’s when I remembered it: today was picture day. When my oldest came down with hair askew, I asked him to help with breakfast while I fed the baby. He prepared only his own breakfast and was soon engrossed in last year’s yearbook—because today was picture day. His brother came down the stairs asking […]

Do I Want My Children to Be Careful or Take Risks?

“Be careful!” I yelled toward my two oldest boys as they traipsed out the back and slammed the door behind them. They were off to play with their cousins around the family greenhouse that adjoins our property. Even as the instinctive words left my mouth, I caught myself. Is this really what I want for my boys? To be careful? Granted, my boys can be reckless and impulsive, but as they mature, do I really want them to remember that their mother’s greatest concern for them was that they’d be careful? I’m well aware that we live in a safety-oriented culture. (Think car seats, insurance, cabinet locks, extended warranties, and outlet covers.) I’m aware that my upbringing has conditioned me to […]

Combat the Crazy Update: Week 1

Our media fast is going even better than I had hoped. No one is pestering me for screen time. The kids are spending larger amounts of time reading or in independent or collaborative play. We are all enjoying the structure of a new routine with set expectations. Preparing for all of this has been work, but having to make fewer daily decisions means I’m more relaxed and able to be flexible. Maintaining the new routine requires me to be both physically present and mentally and emotionally engaged, which hasn’t been easy, but I’ve noticed that the kids are now less demanding of the time I’m not actively engaged with them because they have so much of my attention in the […]

How I’m Combating the Crazy

Part of me dreads the summer. School ends Friday, and while I’m happy for a break from that routine, I fear that the kids and I will drive one another crazy in the first week. So I’m taking a few steps to proactively combat the insanity.   First, we’re kicking off the summer with a week-long media fast. I know–it feels counter-intuitive. Screens are my easiest go-to babysitter. Even though it feels like I’m just asking for trouble by denying myself this outlet, it actually has the opposite effect on our family. When we started this year off with a solid week of being unplugged, I saw only benefits: more calm and focused silence for myself, more independent and creative […]

Different, by Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson

This week’s #favoritething is the biggest gift I’ve received this year. A gift I purchased with my own spending money the moment I found out it existed. The book is called Different. All you sweet ones who are worried about your adhd, odd, ocd kids, autistic, Aspergers, physically disabled, too loud, too quiet, difficult or “different in some way” child, know that you are not alone. This book was Nathan’s idea. “Mom, we need to encourage others who feel out of the box or have an out of the box child so they can be encouraged by our story.” And so Nathan’s idea is now this book. –Sally Clarkson, from her blog post about Different Apart from my own mother, […]

A Life of Sacrifice?

I dream of living a life of great sacrifice. I dream of fulfilling my calling as a wife and mother in myriad heroic ways. But it never happens like I expect. I envision waking early and scurrying about in happy service from the holy overflow of quiet moments at Jesus’ feet. I imagine cooking and baking and delighting my family with fresh, warm treats. I dream up happy moments of play as I lay aside finished tasks (because I got up early to do them) to spend quality moments with my children. I think about delightful meals together with our entire family conversing around the table. In reality, however, I’m too exhausted most mornings to heft my body out of […]