Category Archives: Family

Pippi Longstocking and Praise Dancing

I saw him twirling out of the corner of my eye. On the table, in socks, arms raised like a praise dancer.  I opened my mouth to tell him to get off, but the words got stuck. Why not let … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Family, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Scrambled States of America

If you want to teach your gang geography, encourage them to value travel and well…possess the general knowledge that a reference to “Washington” does not necessarily denote a conversation about our first president…then you’ll appreciate The Scrambled States of America, by Laurie … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, Book Review, Education, Family, Kids, Literature/Books, Things I Love!, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ten Reasons I’ve Been MIA

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone ten days without a blog post! For you hangers-on, here are ten reasons for my absence: 1. We went to Florida for Spring Break, and in some comically-timed [or divinely ordained] sequence of events, … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, Family, Family Activities, Food, God, gratitude, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Vacation | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

5 Easy Ways To Use Notes With Your Kids

I’ve told you before that I love paper in all forms. In fact, next month I’m looking forward to a blog makeover, and my name will change to Girl Meets Paper to reflect my love of writing–and because I use … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Family Activities, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

OWL MOON Winner!

My, My! What astute readers have I! Last week Friday I shared a fun family idea and opened a contest to those of you who could correctly identify the name of the audio book our family listened to. All entrants … Continue reading

Posted in Book Lists, Book Review, Contest, Discoveries, Education, Family, Family Activities, Family Friday, FREE BOOK, Giveaway!, Home, Kids, Kids in School, Literature/Books, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Things I Love!, Uncategorized, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Friday: I Don’t Homeschool, BUT…

I don’t officially homeschool our kids. Sadly, my patience is usually gone after the PB & J hits the counter at lunchtime, and keeping the kids focused on anything longer than an hour generally requires some form of sugar or … Continue reading

Posted in Decor/Organizing, Discoveries, Education, Family, Family Activities, Family Friday, Home, Kids, Kids in School, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Marriage, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Up on the Watershed

My head is cloudy. I’m realizing with sorrow and unwillingness that even the sweetest things in life evolve and change. Of course we’ve been heading toward this fork for some time now, however the prongs of decision continue to force … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Leaving Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I’ve never been a big “shopper”…if by shopper you’re picturing a classy, well-manicured Breakfast at Tiffany’s 30-something clicking through the mall with a bouquet of bags bursting from the nook in her elbow. I prefer flip-flops and I’m not all that … Continue reading

Posted in Discipline Issues, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Michigan Maple Syrup!

The dormant, hibernating teacher in me is creeping to the surface once again. I may not be clawing to get back into the classroom, but I do love to turn our living room, kitchen, and the nearby woods into places where … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Education, Family, Family Activities, God, gratitude, Kids, Kids in School, Living Green, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Friday: Math at Dinner

Do you remember memorizing your math facts in elementary school? I clearly recall my second grade teacher walking us up one-by-one to the front of the room to recite addition and subtraction facts. With breath suspended and heart pounding my … Continue reading

Posted in Discipline Issues, Education, Family, Family Friday, Home, Kids, Kids in School, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Counting the Cost at Lent

My school year has been transformative for several reasons, but the most notable has been joining BSF, Bible Study Fellowship. This international Bible study brings over 200,000 students together over 38 countries each week; it’s truly mind-boggling to think that … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Discipline Issues, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Matters of the Heart, Prayer, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Easy Recycling and Repurposing Craft

This past weekend my son was given a homework assignment to find an object that could be recycled or repurposed into something new and useful. [DISCLAIMER: by useful, we don’t mean turning a regular piece of paper into a paper … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, crafts, Discoveries, Education, Family, Home, Kids, Kids in School, Living Green, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Random Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Building Trust in the Small Things

When the lights fall and I’m lying motionless in a smudge of darkness, my prayers become loose and frayed and worry sets in. While many contend that worrying is “normal,” I know that many more would suggest it reveals my … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Discipline Issues, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Family Friday: Book Nights

Pop some popcorn and get in your jammies for Book Night! My husband and I first considered taking story time beyond Officer Buckle and Gloria when one of his friends from work shared this simple idea: instead of “movie night” … Continue reading

Posted in Book Lists, Book Review, Education, Faith, Family, Family Friday, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Things I Love!, Uncategorized, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shovel It In, Kids. And Quiet Down While You’re At It.

How long does it take you to eat your lunch? And what’s on your lunch menu, generally speaking? Today I surprised my oldest and snuck up to school with a bag of processed goodness from a certain “Clown-Based Establishment” in … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Discoveries, Education, Family, Food, Kids in School, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Rants, Things I Don't Understand Thursday, Things that are STUPID | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Jobs and Polished Nails

I went to college at a time when I thought I had six job choices: nurse, lawyer, doctor, teacher, church-something-or-other, or the mysterious “business” person. It never occurred to me that there might be other fields outside the scope of my … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Decor/Organizing, Discoveries, Education, Family, Growing Pains, Home, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Valentine’s Day Part 2: Hunting for Treasure

It’s probably the hibernating teacher within that brings me round to setting up riddles and scavenger hunts for my kids. Yes, after all these years of standing in slippers wiping butts and noses, there are moments when that alter-ego is … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, CRAZY kids, Education, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Gifts, God, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Random Fun, Seasons of Life, Silly Lists, Things I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day Part 1: Spread Some Love

Don’t we all wish there was a fool-proof recipe or some sort of silicon mold that promised to shape our children into the caring, generous, love-filled humans we want them to be? Or perhaps some magic powder we could sprinkle … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, CRAZY kids, Decor/Organizing, Discipline Issues, Education, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, God, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Play, Random Fun, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Seasons of Life, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Easy Meal Idea With a Side of Smiles

If you’ve been a long-time reader, you will know that my kitchen prowess is, well, a bit unpolished. That is to say, I should have auditioned for Anne Burrell’s Worst Cook in America. I’m sure I could put on quite … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Food, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Things I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Family Friday: Compassion Project

I don’t know about where you live, but the past few weeks have blasted West Michigan with painfully icy wind and record-breaking snowfall. I wish I could say that I’m loving it, but in truth, I’m counting the days until … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, CRAZY kids, Education, Faith, Family, Family Friday, Following Jesus, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Random Fun, Seasons of Life, Social Justice, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peanuts in the Morning

Do you remember the sound of Charlie Brown‘s teacher on The Peanuts? She had that muffled “whaa-whaa-whaa” of an expertly muted trumpet combined with some sort of nasally resonance never before heard on earth–much less in a classroom. How Linus ever … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Discipline Issues, Family, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Rants, Seasons of Life, Silly Lists, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Take Care of Your ‘Neighbs With Some Simple Compassion

Today, one of our local news reporters delivered his thoughts on this record-breaking weather while stationed up to his thighs in snow on a fake deck. Nice touch, I thought. One leg was in a “normal” section of the snow … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, Book Review, Compassion, Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Friends, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, gratitude, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Things I Love!, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

More Exciting Than A Blizzard? A FREE BOOK!

It seems that nothing has the power to transform meteorologists into giddy children like a rollicking storm. Weathermen and women posted outdoors in the bluster seem thrilled to be at the center of such epic developments, their stern admonitions to skedaddle … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Contest, Discoveries, Faith, Family, FREE BOOK, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Seasons of Life, Things I Love!, Uncategorized, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Book Giveaway Week!

This past week while huffing through a morning deathmatch with our eliptical machine, my gaze fell on the nearby spines of several books have been given to me over the years to review. Having gotten them with the intention of … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Things I Love!, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Family Friday: Indoor Skeet Shooting

I have to give major props to my husband for this one–it’s totally his brain and creativity that adds so much color and life to our home.  What can I say–he has a PhD. I guess you have to be … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Discoveries, Family, Family Friday, Holidays, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Random Fun, Seasons of Life, Things I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

What a Great Idea!

I love to share great ideas. If it’s something that can encourage or edify–I’m your blogger. [keep that in mind and send my your besties!] Recently my dear friend Lyndsey sent me a link to her friend’s design blog–you know–the … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, crafts, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Random Fun, Things I Love! | 2 Comments

Family Friday: Spiritual Formation

I’ve been thinking about posting this for awhile now, and thanks to the encouragement of a friend am finally getting around to it. This Friday I thought I’d share an idea I had for bringing Scripture into the kitchen–which we … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, crafts, CRAZY kids, Decor/Organizing, Discoveries, Faith, Family, Family Friday, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Women Tell Me: Finding Freedom From The Secrets We Keep, by Anita Lustrea

“As a girl and young woman, I memorized hundreds of Scripture verses in vacation Bible school and in Sunday school.  I grew up memorizing the hymn book. I didn’t, however, grow up understanding much about God’s grace and freedom.” [pg. … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Discipline Issues, Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, Friends, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Music, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Social Justice, Summer, Travel, Uncategorized, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Family Friday: Engaging in the News

Stop rolling your eyes. If you’re honest, I’ll bet at least a handful of you are contemplating a click of the mouse right now, mumbling something like, “There’s nothing good in the news–I can’t even stand to turn on the … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tangled Up In Applause!

For those of you look beyond the paltry three-sentence reviews in the newspaper to determine whether the latest Disney or Pixar flick is a good fit for your clan, I’m using this post as an opportunity to share my thoughts … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Movies/Movie Reviews, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Good, The Bad, and The [very] Ugly

Standard.  Bad and [very] ugly wrapped in bread crumbs.  And absolutely obliterated. Reaching for the Raisin Bran now…   In better news, THE GOOD: What I lack in front of the stove I’m hoping to make up for behind wrapping … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, crafts, Decor/Organizing, Family, Gifts, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Year’s Eve Traditions

Contrary to the throngs of Time-Square-pounding, diamond-clad, smoky-eyed, horn-blowing ladies waving their champagne flutes to the thumping beat of the Black Eyed Peas, I was at home this New Year’s Eve wearing hoops and yoga pants, sporting mascara-free lashes and … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Food, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Seasons of Life, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Settling for Reflections

Last week wasn’t the first time that I’ve learned something new–or remembered something old–because of the words or actions of a child. Usually it’s my own kids convicting me of something, perfectly reciting words I wish I never would have … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet Rob and Kelly…

One thing I so appreciate about our family is that we try to be purposeful about planning special nights together where TV and telephones fall to the wayside, and imagination and teamwork grab the spotlight. They are nights when we … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, CRAZY kids, Education, Family, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Beware: I’m 8 and I have a label-maker

After returning back to headquarters Saturday night with scads of candy, sweaty hair, and cavities at-the-ready, the kids dumped piles of loot on the dining room table and declared victory. Victory over vegetables, unprocessed food, and moderation in any form. … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Family, Holidays, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Random Fun, Things I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Slow Unraveling

This fall my kitchen windows have seen more than just leaves changing color outside; they have stood witness to exhausting and unwelcome changes happening within our walls, around our table, in our kitchen.  It’s taken me a more than a … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, CRAZY kids, Family, Following Jesus, God, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Rants, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Bittersweet, by Shauna Niequist

What a delight to have been offered the opportunity to review Shauna Niequist’s latest book, Bittersweet, released last month by Zondervan.  Stitched together with threads of the poetic and honest writing we devoured in Cold Tangerines, Shauna’s voice again rings … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Seasons of Life, Things I Love! | 7 Comments

Should’a Would’a Could’a

Sure.  There are lots of reasons I should have stayed home today: 1.  A sink that appears to have vomited up fruit particles, dirty pans, and filmy glasses.  You’d think that with a dishwasher directly adjacent to the sink I … Continue reading

Posted in Decor/Organizing, Discoveries, Family, Home, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Rants, Summer, Uncategorized, Vacation | 3 Comments

The Lure of Summer

My blogging aspirations for the summer have, quite obviously, fallen flat, dying the pathetic death that comes with goals left unattended.  The weight of summer presses in on my heart and I am drawn, again and again, away from this … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Family, Food, Friends, God, gratitude, Home, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Random Fun, Silly Lists, Summer | 1 Comment

Balance Beams at Summer’s End

A Confession: Lately I feel as though I’ve been walking a balance beam–clumsily and epically unsuccessfully. Locked between walls of my own architecture and construction, I find myself scurrying from thing 1 to thing 2, trying to fit it all … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, CRAZY kids, Discipline Issues, Family, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Rants, Seasons of Life, Summer | 6 Comments

Stefanich Stepping Stones

Tonight is one of the many times I’ve sat in my home, buoyant and basking in a deep pool of gratitude.  My good friend Kamarah [Best Neighbor Ever] recently sent me an email sharing the journey of a wonderful woman … Continue reading

Posted in adoption, Education, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, Home, Kids, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Seasons of Life, Things I Love!, Travel | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Birds in Cleveland

Sitting alone in the terminal, windows revealed thin, glinting silver tubes slicing through July’s muggy atmosphere. I hovered over carry-on bags while the revolt in my stomach was slowly being quelled by the lunch spread across paper on my lap.  … Continue reading

Posted in Family, God, gratitude, Literature/Books, Seasons of Life, Travel, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Found Art, by Leeana Tankersley

“Because such art is essentially redemptive, found art is also deeply spiritual, predating even urinal-man in its origins.  In God’s hands, spit and mud become sight.  Dust and rib become humanity.  Darkness and void become world.  Fishermen become followers.  Virgin … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Nature/Outdoors, Seasons of Life, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

[A Different Kind of] St. Patty Green

Contrary to most St. Patrick’s Day festivities I’ve been privy to, we’re steering away from shamrocks and ale and making a B-line for healthy greens this Wednesday.  Not because I’m a prude who doesn’t like cabbage or has nightmares about … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Illness, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Thngs I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Egg Cartons, Baby Chicks, and FREE Fun

My husband calls me a recycling maniac.  I prefer to consider myself a “wise recycler” or “earth-conscious mother.”  I’ll leave the title “maniac” to the kids, little angels though they are 😉 At any rate, I’ve been in the habit … Continue reading

Posted in crafts, Discoveries, Family, Holidays, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Random Fun, Thngs I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Hallmark Sends Its Very Best

I’ve already told you bits and pieces of my now-exposed [obsessive] affair with Hallmark Gold Crown Stores. It’s thorny territory for me to write about something so intimate and special, but at last I’m able to admit that sneaking away … Continue reading

Posted in crafts, Discoveries, Family, Gifts, Holidays, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Yoga With Kids is Soooo [NOT] Relaxing…

Yoga.  The word, even to non-practicers, seems to evoke a sense of calm and relaxation.  It conjures up images of super-fit Californians poured into black yoga pants, lean muscles taught and glistening on some Pacific cliff overlooking the gorgeous, sparkling … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Discoveries, Education, Family, Fitness, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ice Tunnels and Secret Caves

As the snow continues to threaten and temps stay frosty, cabin fever can set in and cause temporary insanity.  To combat mental decline, we planned an adventure to Lake Michigan this weekend [free fun!] and the kids are already asking … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Discoveries, Family, Kids, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Random Fun, Thngs I Love!, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keeping Christmas Alive

In truth, I can’t completely remember if I read about this craft or adapted it from several other ideas, but this year we actually got out the scissors and did it. We purposely saved our Christmas photo cards so that … Continue reading

Posted in crafts, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

This Little Prayer of Mine, by Anthony DeStefano

“Impress [these commands] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deut. 6:7 This verse has a way of lacing up … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thin Places: a memoir, by Mary DeMuth

“The Celts define a thin place as a place where heaven and the physical world collide, one of those serendipitous territories where eternity and the mundane meet.  Thin describes the membrane between the two worlds, like a piece of vellum, … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

WIN THIS BOOK!

Zondervan was gracious enough to provide me with a second copy of this book to pass along to my masses of spellbound and excited readers [cough]; to that end I am happy to launch a spiderweb contest to determine the … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, gratitude, Home, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Random Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

All Hail Hallmark!

When the “rewards” coupon comes in the mail, I’m the sucker who can’t wait to race out the door to Betty’s–Hallmark, that is.  I love walking into the dreamy ambiance full of pretty bags and holiday decorations, and hearing the … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Family, Finances, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Random Fun, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Living with Prepositions

It seems this blog has become my own private confessional.  Be warned: you are all priests and I expect absolution at the end of this post. I regret to inform you, as I’ve regretted admitting to myself, that I’m living … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Decor/Organizing, Discipline Issues, Faith, Family, Fitness, Following Jesus, Friends, God, Growing Pains, Home, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Rants, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

BNE: Best Neighbors Ever

I first crossed over the asphalt divide six years ago with a plate of monster cookies and a welcome note, hoping that the new people across the street would be, at the very least, pleasant.  What I never even considered … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Following Jesus, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Home, Illness, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Neighbors, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote, Unquote

Tonight I walked my oldest son to his room to spend a little time with him before bed.  He treasures these moments–almost longs for them in the way that I long for chocolate desserts and the pleasure of new slippers.  … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

From “Pure Pleasure”

This coming February I will be taking part in a blog tour for Gary Thomas’ latest book, the phenomenal Pure Pleasure.  When I was invited to do the review, the title intrigued me [subtitled: Why  Do Christians Feel So Bad About … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Following Jesus, Food, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Home, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Music, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Win A Free Book!

Thank you to Keri Wyatt Kent for the comments she left [below] on the review I posted on her latest book, Simple Compassion: Devotions to make a Difference in Your Neighborhood and Your World.  She is inviting interested readers to … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Compassion

Yesterday my oldest child came through the door flushed and rambling about the latest bit of excitement in his 7 year-old life.  As he slowed down and afforded me the chance to listen, I surmised that his school was sponsoring … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Friends, God, Home, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Christmas Meditation

One of my husband’s favorite Christmas songs was written a few decades ago by singer-songwriters Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.  Mary, Did You Know? is a thought-provoking song that wonders aloud whether Mary fully knew the entirety of who her … Continue reading

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[We Are] Overlooked: final thoughts

Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message) “When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?? Then the King will say, … Continue reading

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[We Are] Overlooked

I happened upon a wonderful organization the other day that captured by imagination and my heart.  It’s called Overlooked, and it’s all about delivering justice to those in this world who are overlooked everyday by their governments, neighbors, politicians, and … Continue reading

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No School!

Ah, the childlike joy of having school canceled–what thrill can compare in the mind of a 6 or 7 year old? Yesterday our kids had an unexpected day off due to a power-outage in their elementary building, followed up [with … Continue reading

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What I Can’t Carry

Today I just needed a little time.  Some space to breathe and room to think.  Looking outside, the gray ceiling of clouds promised a harsh cold, but I didn’t care.  I found my running shoes, clicked my dog to his … Continue reading

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Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: Real-Life Ignorers

Isn’t she cute?  My daughter, that is 🙂 What’s not cute to me is what’s happening in the background [since I’m considerate and decent, I blotted out their faces].  I understand needing to check your phone in case the babysitter … Continue reading

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Quote, Unquote…Again

Yesterday my youngest had a couple of cute moments–have to record them since I’ve done a pathetic job with his baby book share them with you! 1.  Our little guy has an adorable lisp [s’s] and can’t quite seem to … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Family, Following Jesus, God, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Move Over Nate Berkus!!

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!! I am proud to applaud the work of my husband and the strides we made on our poor, pathetic, ghetto bedroom of yore. Tonight I feel like I will be going to bed at some 4-star hotel!  … Continue reading

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It Must Be Raindrops…

I grew up listening to Oldies, and to this day I still enjoy a sugary doo-wop song or something that emerged from Motown at the height of its glory.   I love The Platters, The Fleetwoods, Martha & the Vandellas…pretty much … Continue reading

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Firstborn

I remember wrapping him in swaddling clothes and lying him in a crib.  The midnight feedings, his first steps, our rocking chair. I remember the joy and chaos of life with an infant.   The schedule changes, his tiny smile, our … Continue reading

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Quote, Unquote

A couple of funny comments from my sweet daughter today: “Mom, I bet Jesus is shrinking down again getting ready to be a baby at Christmas.” And, during our search for “Euro Shams” at the mall today, she loudly conveyed … Continue reading

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Soul Care & Simplicity

Today [November 18]  I listened to another perfectly-timed radio broadcast on Midday Connection [Moody Radio].  The guest speaker was Mindy Caliguire, an author and speaker from Chicago who was discussing soul care & simplicity. This got my attention.  As a … Continue reading

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Crack-Up Chicken

It must be said:  I have the best husband ever. I know, you’re ready to fight and give me 10 reasons why your significant other is better, but no. Tonight my daughter was in “a mood.” Are you picking up … Continue reading

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Small Moments

My oldest often comes home from school with catch phrases that describe what he’s learning.  Last year his teacher helped him work on “grabber-hooks and gotcha’s” to make the beginning and end of a story more interesting.  They illustrate, edit, … Continue reading

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“Amana” Bar Revolt

Every once in a while you have those special moments of realization as a mom.  Glimpses of glory.  Morning has broken, the sky is caught in the rapture of sunrise, and children sit singing happily over their Cheerios in a … Continue reading

Posted in CRAZY kids, Discipline Issues, Family, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Marriage, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Nothing to Say

Last spring I went to a writer’s conference in Chicago that was packed with all kinds of wonderful seminars, advice from published authors, and meetings with editors.  For me it was a fantastic learning experience and a handy excuse to … Continue reading

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Sick House

Our two boys came home with some kind of bug this week, leading to a couple days home from school and confined to our sick house.   A visit to the doctor yielded a “deep chest cold” diagnosis, for which … Continue reading

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Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: Toy Packaging

Last week my daughter decided to use her long-saved-up birthday money to buy a new doll at Costco.  Maybe you’ve seen them?  They’re adorable American Girl look-alikes at about a quarter of the cost…which only makes them more adorable. Of … Continue reading

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

BOO! I know, these pictures are scary, but I wanted to share in the festivities tonight by going 80’s punk: my own tribute to Cyndi Lauper. ‘Cause, haven’t you heard? Moms in the ‘burbs just wanna have fun! fishnets + … Continue reading

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Two Joys

1.  I found these adorable earrings right after I wrote “Little Sparrows” and fell in love with them immediately.  Being a girl with short hair, earrings are an essential to getting dressed.  Without them, I feel totally boyish and naked.  … Continue reading

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O-for-2: What’s new?!

Prepare yourself for shocking news.  My little recipe experiment is heading straight for the toilet.  Do not pass, go, do not collect $200–head straight for the toilet.  On the double. Episode 1 Tuesday night I made mushroom-Swiss burgers with sweet … Continue reading

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Introducing: Kitchen Salvation!

This past week I went to Chicago for a concert and some GREAT FOOD with one of my best friends.  We were introduced to Roy’s: Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine last month by another mutual best friend, and to someone like myself … Continue reading

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Little Sparrows

“God sees the little sparrow fall, It meets His tender view. If God so loves this little bird, I know He loves me, too.” When I was little my mom used to sing this song to me.  Now I sing … Continue reading

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Tales of Kitchen Woes [take 61]

Our attempts at trying to eat healthier have basically translated into simply using less cheese and more grill.  I’m trying, really I am.  Trying to stick to proteins and vegetables, occasionally some bread, but making an effort at reducing creamy-ish, … Continue reading

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It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Yesterday I got to go along with my nearly-4-year-old on his preschool field trip to a local farm.  We visit this farm nearly every year, and I have to say, God’s lovely autumn creativity is rivaled only by the delicious … Continue reading

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Tales of Kitchen Woes [take 43]

For the love of all that is good and holy and remotely edible.  I swear to you that I can’t get a break with my attempts at preparing decent food–ever. A little back story: I am undergoing a grocery-related spending … Continue reading

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Feelin’ Crafty…again

Hello, Again, dear readers.  If you’ve checked in with me or looked at my Facebook page, you know that I’m having issues with my computer, a’la no functioning keyboard.  I’ve found that this makes keeping up with my cyber life … Continue reading

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Found Alter-Egos and Lost Kids

Strange things seem to be happening to my kids lately. Strange as in: 1. Possibly being possessed by ADD alter-egos 2. Morphing into a skeleton-free mass of squishy flesh and falling to the floor in front of perfect strangers [we’ll … Continue reading

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Vacation from my Vacation

If you’ve read any of my previous posts from this week [thank you, dear faithful 7: your checks are in the mail], you already know that I was blessed with a few days away with my husband.  I tagged along … Continue reading

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Four More Days

One of the great joys, and simultaneous “pinch-me’s” of my days, is a more fervent awareness of the slipping away.  Time slipping away.  Childhood…slipping.  Days, seasons…slipping. It sounds depressing, I know, but actually I feel joyful that God has given … Continue reading

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Lessons from the Orchard, Part 1

Sometimes I feel like I’m overly emotional.  I mean, yes, I am a woman enduring cyclical hormones, but still, I don’t know how many people tear up at the sight of a lovely old tree or because painfully beautiful harmonies … Continue reading

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Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: Christmas in SEPTEMBER?!

Poor Baby Jesus. “Dear 8 pound, six ounce newborn infant Baby Jesus.  Don’t even know a word yet.” It’s bad enough that our society has gone to epic proportions to exploit his birth after Thanksgiving, but NOW we have to … Continue reading

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You’ve Got a Friend

Our youngest doesn’t see being 3 as a handicap, but truth be told, at his young age he has already experienced age discrimination. I know.  The Law Offices of Sam Bernstein are about to be put on speed dial, trust … Continue reading

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Daisy Chain

Last spring I was privileged to hear Mary DeMuth speak at a Christian Writer’s Conference.   In a room full of other brothers and sisters, alike in our love for the Lord yet quite possibly different in our perceptions of faith, … Continue reading

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Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: No-Shows

We’ve been trying to sell this sweet little kitten for a couple of weeks now.  I would’ve thought that some eager high-schooler would’ve snatched her up like a Dutchman crossing a penny in the street, but alas, no.  There have … Continue reading

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Medieval War Games

Well, they did it again. Made a game out of wood and jumping and self-inflicted wounds. Little did the feudal lords of the middle ages know that their catapulting weaponry would be such a hit in the backyards of the … Continue reading

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Faces From The First Week of School

My friend lives with the mantra that “Life’s too short to have unflattering blackmail photos of yourself floating around.” I suppose she’s right. But when a 3 year old is taking the pictures, what’s a mom to do? The bus … Continue reading

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Come On Over!

Friends!  I’m excited to announce that I’ve been asked to do some blogging for West Michigan’s own kids’ TV show, Come On Over! Supported by the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, this show has already won numerous Michigan Emmy Awards and … Continue reading

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Moments With Love

Ever since I was little I’ve had a nudging–gentle, but there–prompting me to act of behalf of those with small voices.  Or no voices.  I remember vividly lying in bed one night when I was probably 11, drawing a picture … Continue reading

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Arctic Dog Mushing On Labor Day

Leave it up to the neighborhood kids, my own included, to create a game that is so wonderfully ridiculous I can’t help but document it for you.  Yesterday’s game had me laughing so hard the residual giggles followed me indoors … Continue reading

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Teaching Kids About Friends

When I was in grade school I was teased mercilessly.  I remember, shortly after having moved to a new school in the 5th grade, crying in bed at night and having to confess to my mom that I just didn’t … Continue reading

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My Quarterly Bonus

Being a stay-at-home mom is something that I love and worry about in equal measure.  I love it because I get to have a front-row seat to the lives of my children.  It’s messy, both in literal and figurative terms, … Continue reading

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Treasures In Jars of…Ragu

Yesterday was grocery shopping day.  The flour and water paste I was contemplating was a viable option, but in the interest of not stunting my childrens’ growth, I fled to the store for something with a bit more color.  And … Continue reading

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I Couldn’t Sleep, So I Thought About Names

The other night I went to see The Proposal at the movies with my BNE.  It was really cute and I have to say, I was even a little surprised by some of the elements that I thought would be … Continue reading

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Dressers Are Over-Rated

You know you have a laundry problem when your kids ask for clean clothes… …and you go to your dining room table to find them.

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“Things I Don’t Understand” Thursdays: Kitchen Tornadoes

It seems like I spend most of my time in the kitchen.  You can’t relate…can you? Breakfast prep and cooking. Breakfast clean-up…but wait…the dishwasher needs unloading first. What?  A mid-morning snack?  Let me just get that for you…and your five … Continue reading

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Mall Wrestlers

I don’t know if I wish I would’ve had my camera or not.  In the moment I might have gone a little Russell Crowe on the situation, so perhaps not having it was a good thing.  Then again, right now, … Continue reading

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[Homemade] Tents Make Good Neighbors

There was a moment today–one of those stop-you-in-your-tracks illuminations–that made me so grateful for the gifts in my life.  Not only do I have clean water, access to food and electricity, a smog-free blue sky above me, and the love … Continue reading

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Bedtime Prayers

It’s exciting and gratifying to share this post today.  I have been feeling badly that I don’t give enough attention here to the wonderful, curious, and edifying things our children do; after all, silliness and general chaos often make for … Continue reading

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Of Chalk and Bees

In all fairness, I should say that my kids, overall, did a fantastic job of being good helpers with happy hearts today [I’ve discovered that threatening to take away their bikes for the day is a huge motivator!  What will … Continue reading

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Just Another Day at the Beach

Yesterday was a perfect, cloudless, blue-sky day–the kind of blue that looks like an inverted Caribbean Sea hanging motionless above a busy world; blue that is deep and changing and ever-present.  Carolina Tarheels Blue.   Hudsonville Ice Cream Packaging Blue.   J.Crew … Continue reading

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“Things I Don’t Understand” Thursdays: husbands + laundry

Exhibit A: Let’s talk about this picture, shall we? If you will direct your attention to the images above you might think, “Yep, that figures…just go ahead and dump your clothes on the closet floor [mumble, mumble].” Or maybe you’re … Continue reading

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Stupid, Childish Pity-Party

Today I’m throwing myself a pity party.  I’m being a baby, and I know it.  I hate that about myself:  these feelings of entitlement, of ‘being deserving’ even when I have done nothing ‘deserving’ at all,… of wanting what I … Continue reading

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CA$H for Clunkers

My husband and I never know what to do about our cars.  They’re both ten years old and run perfectly, but are beginning to show their age in small but annoying ways.  For instance, Brandon’s car has a non-functioning seat … Continue reading

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“Things I Don’t Understand” Thursdays: Indoor Baseball?!

Well, this really got my goat. After withstanding numerous accidents in the house ranging from family photos being knocked off the wall [that was dad modeling great behavior] to lamps crashing to the floor, we have banned indoor throwing/pitching/catching/baseball/homerun derby.  … Continue reading

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“Look for the Pink”

This past weekend we embarked on a time-honored family tradition of visiting Beaver Island, Michigan in the summer.  My husband’s grandma, grandpa, and mother were born on the island, so our history there is significant and worth exploring.  Because the … Continue reading

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Son of a BEACH!

What a day.  Last night I was so exhausted after our elusive hunt for beach parking that I just couldn’t even tell you about it until now.  Well, let’s be honest: it was the exhaustion and the fact that the … Continue reading

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Fill It Up Again

I’m borrowing this title from the Indigo Girls who, if I believed in reincarnation, I would totally want to be in my next life–at least musically speaking.  Their guitar playing–to die for; their poetry–kills me; their harmony–makes my heart stop … Continue reading

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Old Dogs and Children

I should have listened to Tom T. Hall and added the Watermelon Wine to my morning–or something stronger–because I needed it. Monday morning I convinced myself to go for a run in preparation for a 5K that’s been staring me … Continue reading

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Lessons From Donuts and Garages

The fact that I’m still thinking about that donut after a whole week should tell you something: either I’m a sugar addict and revel in all my indulgences–or–I’m worried about my ‘haven’t had a waistline since baby #1’ and don’t … Continue reading

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Grandma

I’ve been cautioned by wise and well-meaning people that my penchant for emotions (namely crying) may alienate those who don’t struggle with waterworks the way that I do.  But today it’s not to be avoided.  As I was downloading photos … Continue reading

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Waiting for Mountains, Yearning for Sand

Every now and again I get into kind of a funk.  I usually write it off as fatigue or hormones, but really I think it has something to do with geography. We’re planning a trip out west this summer and … Continue reading

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The Closeness of Home

In recent days I’ve had reason to consider my story.  I’ve had reason to ponder the forks in the road and the winding path that led me to where I am today.  Who would have ever thought that a simple … Continue reading

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Something to Brag About, Part 1

This is the first of two posts that I’m doing to draw attention to the amazing skill of my two apprentice-photographer friends. Both feel the same ridiculous need to downplay their talent, insisting that the pictures they take are nothing … Continue reading

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White Buckets = Love

I was sitting at a stoplight lost in the silence of our car when the solitary, melancholy piano took me away.   In an instant there was a loneliness–an isolation conveyed on the ivory that made me think of him.  The … Continue reading

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Shoot the Moon

Yesterday we got out the guns and clay pigeons and had ourselves a birthday.  This was no small shindig–this was a full-on, expertly crafted and perfectly executed surprise party for my brother-in-law, Jason, who will ring in 30 years in … Continue reading

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A Seed Planted

One of my dear friends, dear in a way that few are or can ever be, lives three time zones away in a small city just west of the Rockies.   Talking to her is easy, as it should be … Continue reading

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Roller Derby

I’ll admit it:  I had A BALL.  A ball!  Jonah, our 7 year-old celebrated his birthday last week and decided that nothing says ‘party’ like r-o-l-l-e-r   s-k-a-t-i-n-g.  I guess once you’re 7 good times can only roll with ample amounts … Continue reading

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Bye Bye, Baby

My five-year old daughter is captivated at the thought of a new cousin in the family.  Each time we ride out to my sister’s house she asks me, “Mom, how big do you think Aunt Cindy’s belly will be?” “Probably … Continue reading

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Last One on the Kickball Field

Unless you had the good fortune of being a fast runner and skilled kicker, I think everyone can remember the feeling of being the last one chosen for teams when the kickball was rolled at recess.  That was always me:  … Continue reading

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