4.13.2018

This Week: 04.13.2018

My totally naive self thought that after having this baby, I'd still be writing as much as ever.

Maybe more, even, I thought...  since I'm not really working anymore. Being a "stay at home mom" would open up hours and hours to spend thinking and writing and reading, right? HA.

I sorely, sorely misunderstood the time commitment and intellectual commitment my little miracle would bring along with him. I kind of knew that having a baby would be work, but I don't think I realized (and I'm not sure you really can realize, until you're in the thick of it) just how much brainpower and energy would go directly to loving and caring for my little fella.

Soooo. Yeah, not writing as much as I'd like to. By any means.

And so, after doing almost no thinking about it, I've decided to use these Friday posts in a more all-encompassing way and fit a whole bunch of things into one quick, chatty blurb. We'll see how it goes. Let me know what you think.



It seemed nearly impossible, but we've burned through the huge stockpile of wood that was cut and stored in a shed already when we bought the house. Trevor's been going out and cutting up the dead fall in our grove, so the fireplace is still a-goin'. 

4.09.2018

Failing Followers: misunderstanding greatness {Blogging through the Bible}

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I kind of knew that being a mom would be challenging.

I mean, I've been around kids my whole life- I grew up in a relatively large family, my mom did home daycare for a while, I have oodles of nieces and nephews...

But I guess when I thought about being a parent, I didn't really take into account all the things that came with it. Especially after we waited and prayed for this child for five long years... I guess that I somehow thought that after our battle with infertility, I'd come through the flames infinitely patient and wise and even-tempered.

Cut to last night, rocking my freshly bathed little boy to sleep.... I was actually afraid that I was going to literally drop him as my super-angry little overtired rage monster made serious attempts to throw himself out of my arms while screaming at the top of his tiny lungs.

3.26.2018

Failing Followers: stagnant in the sacred {Blogging through the Bible}

gospel of Mark Christian devotion about the transfiguration


I was probably about ten on one particular trip home from Grandma's.

My grandparents lived more than two hours away, which, at ten, felt like an eternity. We were getting back late in the evening, our van quiet with my sleeping sisters, and from my seat in the middle of the van, I felt cozy, warm, secure. I was struck by an overwhelming sense of contentment, and as we pulled into our neighborhood, I piped up and asked, to my parents' confusion-- "Can we drive around for a little longer?"

3.19.2018

Mark and Messy Disciples: a review so far {Blogging through the Bible}

Have you ever started a project that turned into something much, much bigger than you'd expected?

I have.

In fact, I do it all the time... (for example, refer to my idea of refinishing the wood floors in our house). I start with the idea and I understand the basic concept, but the actual execution is much, much more intense that I expect.

This devotional series in Mark has been no different.

To be honest, when I started exploring the book of Mark, I kind of thought that pointing out the mistakes the disciples made in this book and then how we as Christians make the same mistakes would be somewhat uncomplicated. What I didn't realize was that this series was going to expose me.

3.12.2018

Failing Followers: rejecting the hard truths {Blogging through the Bible}



This past Fall, I sat in our little sterile hospital room in the NICU. I'd just woken up from a nap on the makeshift couch-bed that had been my sleeping spot for more than a month, and my little guy snoozed peacefully in his crib, monitors quiet and his little heart rate bouncing happily on the screen.

It had been a long, long journey. I was worn out, tired from waking up every three hours at feeding times, tired because my body was recovering from surgery, tired because even with all the monitors and nurses, I was terrified that my baby would stop breathing, tired because periodic breathing sucks. The night before had been particularly rough- for some reason my poor tiny baby had been throwing up his feedings, spectacular enormous spit ups that didn't seem normal to me at all, and I was worried. I'd changed his little outfit three times overnight because he just kept soaking it.

My phone rang- it was my husband. I answered the call and relished the sound of his voice- I was tired from missing him, too.

"I have some sad news," he said, and I heard my big strong husband's voice catch a little. "Bear died."

3.06.2018

Failing Followers: missing the miracle {Blogging through the Bible}




A few years ago, I was walking home from my job in the office of a Bible Camp to find a camper, a middle-school aged child, alone in the parking lot.

My first, split-second reaction was, He's not supposed to be there. Where is his counselor? Chapel started ten minutes ago.

And then I noticed how still he was. He was just standing there, stock-still (not typical for a middle-school boy). His eyes were fixed on a spot just beyond him.

There was a deer, not a hundred yards away, peacefully grazing on the grass at the edge of the gravel parking lot.

2.27.2018

Our Farmhouse: An Easy Wall Paper Back Splash! {a farmhouse remodel how-to}

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We bought our 1930's farmhouse a few years ago, and between work, play, and having a baby, we've been chipping away at remodeling and reclaiming it. We really bought this house for the land (21 acres of Iowa gorgeous!)--- the house needed quite a bit of work. From refinishing the hardwood floors (quite a project), carpeting the living room, and painting EVERYTHING, we've made some good progress.

But there was one major eyesore that we couldn't decide how to remedy... the kitchen back splash.

2.26.2018

Failing Followers: paralyzed by the need {Blogging though the Bible}

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In the morning, I wake to the sound of my phone alarm chimes or to my son cooing in his crib next to me. The sunlight streams through the window to my room, and as I greet the day, everything is quiet and calm. It's a far cry from my college years- living in the heart of the city with car horns and sirens breaking the stillness. Back then, there were people who lived just on the other side of a thin wall, or a stone's throw across a dingy alleyway, and now my closest neighbors are almost a mile away (if you don't count the cows).

And yet, the world seems noisier somehow.

Especially this past week.

I open my computer, or turn on my phone, and the peace of my cozy little haven is shattered, crashed in on by the hurt. By the need.

Because our world, my friends? Our world is loud and it is needy.

There is so much hurt.

2.19.2018

Failing Followers: forgetting who we follow {Blogging through the Bible}

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Working at a Bible Camp was an awesome experience.

Trevor and I both served in outdoor ministry for several years- and we loved it. Even though both of us had behind-the-scenes jobs, we were still plunged head-first into what I'd call "Camp Culture."

You know, campfire songs and their corresponding actions, large group games in which counselors chase children wielding tube socks full of flour. I know that when someone yells, "God is good!" you're supposed to shout, "All the time!" and then they'll say, "All the time!" to which you respond, "God is good!" And I know about ninety million mealtime prayers... all put to song, also with hand motions and lots of clapping.

2.12.2018

Failing Followers: the pressure of popularity {Blogging through the Bible}

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When I was in middle school, I was painfully aware of who the popular kids were.

There was one girl in particular... I wanted to be her so badly. She wore name brand clothing she bought from the mall, and I wore hand-me-downs from my cousin. Her hair was perfectly blonde and never had fly-aways; mine was always pulled back in a frizzy ponytail. She took dance lessons and moved so gracefully, even playing volleyball in gym class... and I... well, I was the girl who tripped over her own feet and ducked when the volleyball came my way.

But even more than her clothes, her perfect hair, and her grace; I wanted to be known like she was. Everyone at school knew her name. She was famous- well, as famous as a twelve-year-old in a Wisconsin suburb could be.

I spent those three years of my childhood wishing I could be someone I wasn't- looking for just the right shirt at the second hand store, brushing and brushing my hair, joining the school musicals in hope that I could maybe glean just a little bit of that popularity for myself.

2.05.2018

Failing Followers: messy discipleship and the Gospel of Mark {Blogging through the Bible}



There are a lot of things I've never done.

There's an old Veggie Tales song called "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.." and sometimes I feel a lot like I should be an honorary pirate.

I've never licked a spark plug, and I've never sniffed a stinkbug, and I've never painted daises on a big red rubber ball. I've never bathed in yogurt, and I don't look good in leggings, and I've never been to Boston in the fall. 

Of course, none of those things really matter all that much, but there are lots of things I've never done that hit a bit closer to home.

1.31.2018

How We Do It: Cloth Diapering

We started cloth diapering a little late in the game- we didn't get our first cloth until our little guy was three months old. With all the craziness of being in the NICU and then finally adjusting to being home, I didn't want to add anything else to our routine until we were all settled. But when I finally got started, I was hooked! And like anyone who is overly passionate about a small area of their life, I wanted to share it with you! So- cloth diapering... this is how we do it!

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1.22.2018

Of Bottles and Seasons



I plopped the bottle into the mug of steaming water. It was Thanksgiving day, and not only were we surrounded by our loved ones, but also by those delicious Thanksgiving smells- turkey, pie, corn casserole... it was no wonder that my little guy was getting hungry.

After letting it warm for a while, I sat down to feed him.

"Why are you holding him like that?" my niece asked.

It was a good question.


1.19.2018

Blessings this Week: 01.19.2018

Raccoon tracks by the barn

Well it certainly has been a while since I've written a blessings post, and I'm tempted to go way back and recount all the many, many blessings from weeks past... but that's an overwhelming thought, because there have been so many!

Instead I'll just jump right in on this week!

1.17.2018

My Heavy Duty Diaper Bag

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One of the biggest baby gear decisions I had to make was about the diaper bag.

<ominous music> DIAPER. BAG. It's kind of a big deal. I mean, you're going to be hauling this thing around with you daily for the next year or so. A diaper bag falls into the category of "everyday gear."

1.10.2018

Baby Gear I Love (and one thing I don't): Three Months In

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We're three months into this parenthood thing, already. I know! It feels like yesterday that we brought our little baby home.

It's been completely wonderful and pretty tiring and a bit... challenging. Being a mama is a lot of work! Of course, just look on any baby registry or mommy blog and you'll get nine hundred million suggestions of gear to help make things easier. I really try to keep the baby stuff minimal and only get the things that we'd really use. And while the list of things I use a lot is a little different than I expected, I think I've got it narrowed down to the top 6.

Here's what we love so far!