Friday, March 27, 2015

a few good links

read this story on forgiveness written by a woman whose husband shot several amish children, if you get a chance. her book is on my "to read" list. this is exceptional ...

"Forgiveness is a choice. I chose to forgive Charlie just as the Amish families forgave him. I knew that anger had completely overtaken his heart. I did not want to risk the same scenario for myself. Over the next few months, God spoke to me about the choice to forgive and what it would birth within me. Forgiveness was not about setting Charlie free — it was about setting myself free. The past could not control my future — I was not bound to the label, “the shooter’s wife.” 
[Marie Monville]

* * *

jen hatmaker, if you read my blog by some miracle, can you please be my friend and mentor?! I LOVE HER. she hit it out of the park with two articles this week. the first on the BIG FEELINGS no one warns you about when you become a mom, and the whole thing is sooo good. lance and i have had almost the exact conversation she had with her husband about "turning dumb." (HUGE RELIEF when she said that will go away.)

her other article on how parenting today has become too precious, and we need to just breathe and let it happen like every generation before the most recent ones did ... is awesome. a tease:

"What did our moms do? 
They let us be kids, and we wobbled and skinned our knees and made up our own fun and enjoyed the simple pleasures of childhood without any flash and dazzle. But you know what? We knew we were loved and we knew we were safe. We never doubted the most important parts of the story. We weren’t fragile hothouse plants but dirty, rowdy, resilient kids who ate Twinkies and candy cigarettes and lived to tell. 
Mama, don’t fall for the yearly time capsules. You have everything your little ones need: kisses, Shel Silverstein books, silly songs, kitchen dance parties, a backyard, family dinner around the table, and a cozy lap. They’ll fill in the rest of the gaps and be better for it. Your kids don’t need to be entertained and they don’t need to be bubble-wrapped; they just need to be loved." 
[Jen Hatmaker]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

feeding the ducks

i don't remember a time that i looked forward to spring as much as i am this year. every time the temperatures warm up and the sun shines and it feels the tiniest bit like spring, i am delighted.

today dax and i fed the ducks at the park for the first time ever, and it was a blast. 

"feeding the ducks" might be a broad, loose term. the ducks were very friendly and dax was thrilled that they came right up to him. i threw bread while he chased ducks. he got distracted by cars and other children chasing the ducks, but always went back to the ducks until he found some gravel. i was trying to keep a duck from getting to him when i noticed he was starting to put rocks in his mouth. then he noticed i was feeding *bread* to the ducks, and he just wanted to eat the bread. (i promise i feed him.) so we went to the playground. walked the pathways. looked over the ledges at the ducks in the water until dax tried to crawl directly over the ledge into the water.

he got so dirty ... and i'm sure that is going to be spring, summer and life with a boy. i like it.

when i was pregnant some friends told me it is harder to find used clothes for boys than girls, because boys wear their clothes out. (as in stain, rip, destroy them.) i made a mental note, but i didn't realize this would start so young. dax was getting holes in his jeans before he even turned one.

another random note: as amazing as breastfeeding was (i could write a whole post on that), i am finally finished and being finished is also amazing. i didn't feel ready to be done, but dax was biting and nothing would stop him, so i stopped when he was 11 months. weaning was a really hard transition. i kept pumping until last week, and now that i'm done with that i am so relieved. more time for me! less clutter! yesss!

it's funny how a few years ago i never would have believed i'd be casually writing about: breastfeeding, biting, weaning, and pumping ... and then i became a mom and suddenly a whole new world becomes second nature. i forget how so many things seemed weird and gross before i had a kid, and now i just shrug like it's no big deal.

and this made me laugh ...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

living each day

I am reading The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts right now, and I am crying my way through it ... in the best possible way. She tells her story in a way that resonates so deeply with people wherever they are in their own pain and story. I still need to check out her blog too. 

She says in this trailer that,  "Jason shows me the best of what life has to offer ... mostly in encouraging me to fight for a soft heart." I love that, and I feel like I've gotten so weary of that fight. Life right now feels hard and lonely. I really miss my friends and life in Columbus. Hard is obviously very relative (yes, Mom, I know it could always be worse), but that brings me to another part of Kara's writing that is amazing. She has battled severe cancer but she does not use her suffering as a way to "one up" people. You do not feel alienated as you read, or like you can't relate. And I imagine her friends feel completely comfortable around her even as her cancer progresses - not put off and unsure how to act or what to say. Her beliefs on suffering are so solid, and I'm super encouraged by her.

Off to read! (Did you cry through the trailer if you watched it? Me too.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

recently read for march 3, 2015

Surprised by Motherhood
By Lisa-Jo Baker
A good, refreshing read. Her writing is so smooth and beautiful. Some good quotes:

"Becoming a parent is a lot like breaking up with yourself. There are all these things you used to love about yourself and your life. Those late-afternoon naps. Those spontaneous movie nights. The tidy house and pretty things that could easily break ... uninterrupted meals, sleep, bathroom breaks."

"Jackson grew me up and outof myself more thoroughly than any church service or youth camp or volunteer project ever could have. Stripped of all pretenses, of all instinct for posturing, babies pull us into their orbit of naked truth ... it's impossible to look away, to go back, to stop growing."

" The one ruthless truth of motherhood ... the only way through is through."

The Rosie Project
By Graeme Simsion
LOVED the entire thing! Reads like you're watching a movie - which I think is a sign of a great novel. Tells the story of the completely endearing Don Tillman, who is somewhere on the spectrum of Asperger's, and his life as a genetics professor who decides to systematically find a wife. That project gets delayed when he decides to help Rosie find her biological father. 

American Sniper
By Chris Kyle
Reading this on the heels of Unbroken was interesting, because it really put into perspective how waging war has changed in a relatively short time span. I liked that he wrote how he talks, and that made it easy to follow. (I wish more people would just write how they talk.) I skimmed the details on the guns, because zzzzz. He has quite the story. My heart breaks for his wife and kids.

Bread & Wine
By Shauna Niequist
A gift from a dear friend, and it was DELIGHTFUL. At first I wasn't sure, but as I dug in it got better and better. She says there are two kinds of people in this world: those who wake up thinking about what to have for supper, and those who don't. She is in the first camp, and so am I. Food is one of my love languages. I love having people over, specifically with the belief she expounds upon: it doesn't have to be perfect. Start where you are and gather at the table to nourish each other with food and love.

Orphan Train
By Christina Baker Kline
This is a really great novel, and I felt like I was back in elementary school flying through some historical fiction. (A good feeling for sure.) The story of Molly, a high schooler in Maine who is about to age out of the foster care system, intertwines with Vivian, a wealthy old woman who lost her family as a child and was sent to Minnesota on an "orphan train."

Yes Please
By Amy Poehler
One of the worst books I've read in awhile. Had to force myself to finish because I hate quitting. I read the first chapter at the bookstore and it was hilarious, but the rest was a huge disappointment. She hopped all over the place with no sense of order and really didn't have much to say. The crude parts surprised me - even though they should not have. It's just that I think "Tina and Amy!" but Tina is apparently a whole lot classier, because Bossypants is still one of my faves.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

a (funny) conversation with my dad

i missed a call from my dad when i was at the gym this weekend, and when i called him back he asked what i was doing.

me: "i was at the gym, i'm driving home now."
dad: "what'd you say? you were at jim's?"
me (increasing my volume to adjust for his apparent hearing and/or listening problem): "No, I WAS AT THE GYM. WORKING OUT. EXERCISING."
dad: "ohhh, i see, yeah i guess you don't get much exercise."
me (maintaining a high volume to adjust for my sudden mood switch): "I DON'T KNOW DAD, I'm pretty sure I get more exercise than you. I try to go to the gym every day."
dad: "i'm in a fitness group."
me (jackpot!!): "oh yeah, what do you guys do?"
dad: ""ohh we ride bikes. stationary bikes. do you know what they are? and they have machines where you can lift the weights, and adjust the amount of weight with a lever."
me (no wonder i struggle to call exercises by their correct names and expound ad nauseum whenever i describe a workout to lance and he cracks up ... as i am right now.): "yeah i know what you mean. that's good."
dad: "i set it to the lowest amount of weight you can so i don't have to work too hard." (laughing)
me: "very sneaky dad."
dad: "yeah, that's how i got through high school."
me: "being sneaky?"
dad: "cheating. i used to cheat sometimes."
me: "in what?"
dad: "math. i flunked out of math one time. i don't know what happened to me, because my dad - pappy, he was a math-e-matical genius. he could figure things out in his head before most people could on paper. i was never any good at math."
me: "yeah me neither."
dad: "sometimes i walk in circles too."
me: "what?"
dad: "oh in that fitness group. they've got treadmills, but i don't like those things ..."
me: "yeah me neither."
dad: "yeah, so sometimes i just walk in circles instead of getting on those things."
me: "you should do pullups. i did 15 pullups today."
dad: "oh i can't even do one pullup anymore. one time i was out here walking around with lance and he did a few pullups ... were you there too?"
dad: "yeah, well he did a few pullups out there and i couldn't even do any. i didn't even try. something's not right with my arm ..."

i guess i'm glad my dad likes lance enough that he just omits ME from the memory entirely? and if you have not met my dad ... let me just say that the fact that he is lazy about lifting weights and "cheating" the machine is ABSURD.

he is a large man with superior strength. this is the man who broke the sledgehammer game at the boardwalk, which he only played because the guy running the game kept yelling out asinine jokes trying to provoke my tall, then muscular dad into playing. little did he know my dad was a mennonite. a repeat teller of the terrible "what's a mennonite dilemma? free beer!" joke. all of that to say, my dad only played because the guy said he could try it free. (and he was probably well past provoked by that point.) but he was so strong it broke the game, and i was so proud that he was my dad.

my dad is the best and the worst dad all at once. for as long as i can remember, i have listened to him say, "i'm manic-depressive. bipolar. do you know what that is?" it wasn't like he always waited for my answer, it was more of an opening for him to launch into any number of stories from his life.

my dad makes me sick, and my dad makes me feel like a million bucks. as much as i wish my dad was different, he can still make my day without even trying. he always makes me laugh, and few things make me happier than listening to my dad tell stories. even though he is crazy, he is still BY FAR one of the coolest people i have ever known. i honestly don't know how he does it.

and sometimes when i'm feeling particularly depressed, it crosses my mind that i am one of my dad's favorite people and it makes me feel a little bit better.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

truth to soak in

heard this for the first time at the amazing if:lancaster gathering, and it has been my go-to song since that weekend. and the new bethel album (we will not be shaken) is on repeat in my car - so good!

Friday, February 13, 2015

excerpts and links

This article by Shauna Niequist is EXCELLENT. Letting go of perfection (or the attempt of it) is an ongoing theme for me. And I really, really LIKE being around people who embrace the same philosophy for living ... because perfectionism just holds us back and exhausts us.

"I’ve come back to Voltaire’s words a million times: Perfect is the enemy of the good.  You’ll never feel totally ready. The plan will never be perfectly formed. You’ll never have the money you think you need or the support you wish you had. You’ll never feel as strong and prepared as everyone else seems. (Psst: they’re not that strong and prepared, either. No one is.)"
Kayla Mueller's story and her words give me chills. What a brave life. This quote: "For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal, [I will not let this be] something we just accept." 

It makes me think of the scene in Hotel Rwanda, where Joaquin Phoenix as a cameraman covering the genocide has to tell a Rwandan: "I think if people see this footage they'll say, "Oh my God that's horrible," and then go on eating their dinners." That still gets me, because it's what I do. Tune it out and let suffering go on around the world like it's normal. I'm ashamed of that.
And this piece by Ann Voskamp is BEAUTIFUL and right-on. So good I wanted to paste the entire thing here, but here's a tease from the beginning ... 
"We married wrong. Don't buy what anybody else is selling: Everyone always marry wrong. 
Because what's wrong in the world is always us. 
Marriage and love and time, these are enormous forces that inevitably chisel and change us into strangers who have to meet and introduce each other to love all over again. 
None of us ever know whom we marry. And falling in love never made anyone angels ... it's only made it clear how far we've fallen. Who we say 'I do' to - is not who we roll over to touch twenty years later. The challenge for the vows is to fall in love with the stranger to whom you find yourself married. 
The vows are a vow to make the new stranger you've been long married to - know the intimacy of old love everyday."