Thursday, December 26, 2013

I don't need a week at the beach


I have realized the perfect formula.  For what?  For feeling renewed, energized, and centered as a person.  And it only took a trip halfway across the country to realize it.

I was becoming vaguely aware of this formula for months, but it wasn't until I followed through with the formula while on vacation and thought, "Hmm...after this perfect hour and a half away by myself, I would be totally content to go back to my children and household duties and the general chaos of doing life together."

An hour and a half.  Not the whole weekend.  Not long hours spent soaking in the sun on the beach.  Not fourteen straight hours of sleep to make up for lost time after a year with baby.  Just a simple hour and a half laid out just right.

Now, I must warn you: you're a different person.  This may not be helpful to you in the slightest.  Sorry about that.  But, on the other hand, maybe it'll get you thinking about what you really enjoy and what you don't.  I used to think I had to like what other women like when they get away--shop or get coffee or get a manicure--which is silly, because we're all unique.

Anyway, you're dying to know just what my perfect getaway is, aren't you?  Good!  I'll tell you!

What is it about walking that clears out the mental cobwebs?  While reading Distraction Addiction, I learned that Charles Darwin went to great lengths to install and maintain a walking path at his country estate; while living (and walking) there, he was exceedingly prolific, including the publication of seventeen books.  Darwin not to your taste?  Then try Beethoven, C.S. Lewis, Tchaikovsky, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin...all walkers, all prolific, creative, and brilliant.  I might never be any of those things, but at least I'll get my legs stretched out.

Treat Eating
Is there any need to explain this one?  I like to eat.  I typically go for a diet pop and something sweet.  Enough said.

I bring along whatever I'm reading--fiction or non-fiction--and my Bible.  I read a bit of both while enjoying my treat, but since reading isn't my main goal, I don't spend a huge amount of time with my nose in my book (unless it's getting really good!)

Lots of daydreaming happens on these outings--LOTS--especially since I've had a good walkabout and plenty of time to think.  I open a notebook, brain dump, and then start making sense of what's spilled out.  Sometimes I work out whole sections of a project, reorganize my schedule, or draft a new-and-improved housekeeping plan...and sometimes I just add a few new ideas to my file.  Either way, I get a lot of nervous energy and mental clutter on paper, so I feel light as a feather on my walk home (despite a belly full of pastry).

And that's it.  Simple, maybe boring to an outsider, but extremely satisfying for me.  I'd love to hear from you: how do you recharge your batteries?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I am little, and that's okay


Little.  It seems to be the throughline of my days lately.

I got on an airplane and white-knuckled my armrest as we defied gravity (and left my stomach on the runway).  I looked out the tiny window, saw the familiar network of roads shrink to the size of model train tracks; the cars and trees and buildings that made up the entirety of my world were nothing but Thomas the Tank Engine props.  And I am that little.

I read about a man who realized his conceitedness by realizing it in a character and in an author he had previously discounted.  I saw Jane Austen in a new light, appreciated her ability to make much of the little, because the little is what our lives are truly made of.  Though I may have hopes and dreams to change the whole of the world, my sphere of influence is truly quite little (but even little can become deep, even if it is never big).

I left my girls--my sweet babies who need me for everything--with my parents while Professor and I are away.  There has been no crying for Mama.  I'm not as all-important as I thought; I am little.

I sat in on microbiology presentations (including Professor's, which was wonderful, of course).  They were entirely over my head, with their larger-than-life images of microscopic things that I have no hope of understanding.  I am little.

When my ineptitude and lack of caffeine drove me away from the scientists, I meandered toward the sea.  I had forgotten how loud the ocean is.  Wave after wave crashed to the shore, always and never the same.  The power, the roar.  I thought, "And this is but a shadow of the power of God."  He is big; I am so little.

Once upon a time, I was going to conquer the world, whatever that meant.  But maybe conquering my own self-importance is enough.

I am little, and that matters.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dear Santa {a break-up letter}

Dear Santa,

It feels strange to write to you; it’s been a long time.  I’m married now.  New last name, new state, kids of my own. 

I was a late bloomer in a lot of ways, including learning your secret.  One year, I got a new leotard for gymnastics, and my coach made the mistake of asking me the next week if it fit.  My parents seemed sad when I asked them if you were real, like a piece of my childhood was gone.

But you weren’t out of my life: I have a little brother, as you know, and even though somewhere along the way I’m sure he learned the secret, too, but he made the Santa=presents connection and never squealed.  So, you and I bumped into each other until my parents decided that married folks probably don’t need socks full of goodies.

And now I have two little ones of my own.  Some would say they’d definitely make the nice list…and that’s where our problems begin, Santa.

See, when we label kids “good”—and let’s face it, even the naughty ones get gifts, which means everyone is on the nice list—we forget that Christmas exists because of Jesus, who was born in the manger precisely because no one is good.

                “…it is written, ‘None is righteous; no, not one’” (Romans 3:10)

                “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

My kids are mostly well-behaved children, but they are not inherently good.  They are sinful creatures who need a savior far more than a pile of presents.  I’m all for presents for my children (what parent isn’t delighted to watch their child’s eyes light up at the sight of something new and already beloved?), but I cannot tie those gifts to their behavior and their worth.  And I can’t let them determine their value based on your judgment of them as good or bad.

I know what you’re thinking, Santa.  “I’m not trying to replace Jesus Christ!  That would be absurd!”  But if you see kids when they’re sleeping, and you know when they’re awake, and you know if they’ve been bad or good, and you have power over whether they receive blessings or not…how different are you from an omniscient God?

I can’t let my kids be confused, and let’s face it: you have toys.  Reindeer.  Jolly little elves.  Milk and cookies.  At their age, you are far more appealing than a baby in a manger or a man dying a horrible death, ushering in new life in a way they can’t even understand yet.

I cannot serve you and Jesus well.  There are probably lots of parents out there who make it all work, but, Santa, I am not one of them.  I'm sorry.

Someday we will tell our girls about St. Nicholas, about how he was a generous man who loved Jesus and helped others because of that great love, but for now we will talk about a baby in a manger, a star in the sky, shepherds and angels, and all that baby grew up to do for us.

We do still plan to fill stockings with treats, so think of that as our nod to you, even if you are not with us.  This is a hard decision (it would be easier to just go with the flow and the fun), but I do feel that it’s the best one for my family.  I hope that you can understand.


MK Jorgenson

image via AurelienS

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Top 3 Goals for 2014

 I'm rethinking how I plan goals.  This year, I'm starting with three big-picture goals.  Then I can make monthly/weekly/day-by-day action steps toward those goals.  My hope is that with these three life-sized goals always in front of me, I'll make more progress than if I have a hefty list of things like "lose 5 pounds" or "read 52 books."

As we'll likely be moving this year, a lot of things are up in the air.  But we can always come back to basics, to building the foundation of our faith and family.  And when I'm staring down the barrel of leaving behind friends, family, and all I've known in married adult life thus far?  I'd say foundations are crucial.  So I'm focusing on...
  • Pursuing God with purpose and discipline.  I need Jesus.  More.  And I struggle with making the time for study, prayer, and service, but I'm looking forward to growing in this area.

  • Creating a happier, more orderly home atmosphere.  Scrunch turned one this week.  I'm running out of baby-turns-everything-upside-down excuses.  We need order and cheer and peace in greater supply than we've had lately.

  • Putting X into savings, paying off Y in student loans.  Like the specificity?  I have a couple of numbers in my head, but the bloggity world will survive without knowing the details.
In the coming weeks, I'll be fleshing out the details, because S.M.A.R.T. goals (Small, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable,  Time-Bound) are ones that stick and help you win.  Stay tuned for more details.

I know it's still early, but have you started thinking about goals for 2014?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Wrap-up

What?  It's not November anymore?  I'm no good at blogging every day?  Shocker...anyway, I was still thankful, and here's what I've got to share:

20. Fancy Schmancy Swimsuit.  My old swimsuit went with me on my family’s last vacation together before I started college…making it eight years old.  I felt guilty spending this much on a swimming suit, but the quality is great, it’s American-made, and I love Jessica Rey’s thoughts on modesty.  The icing on the cake?  My editing earnings paid for it, so our bank account never even felt the pinch!

21. Supportive husband.  Now…that fancy swimsuit that lives up to my ideals?  Still a swimsuit.  Still tear-inducing, still terrifying to put on.  Lucky for me, I’ve got a wonderful guy who won’t let me wallow in the fat words too long.

22. Tough love husband.  I also have a husband who will eventually get fed up with the whining and tell me to love the body I’ve got or do something about it.  That may sound super harsh, but it’s what I needed to hear: my body is strong, healthy, and average in size and shape.  If I’m so concerned about those last five pounds, I’d better put my money where my mouth is.  Or at least not put more sweets there.

23. Girls who need each other.  If Scrunch naps too long in the morning, Pookie starts shouting so she’ll wake up.  If Scrunch wakes up first from afternoon nap and gets bored with me, she crawls over to their door and scratches and babbles until Pookie wakes up.  Sometimes that means longer days and crabbier girls, but the way they love each other is so worth it.

24. Family time.  Professor was home over Thanksgiving break, with not a single trip into lab.  It was glorious.

25. Thanksgiving company.  We joined Professor’s…professor.  Hmm.  Anyway, we joined him and his family plus a few other guests for Thanksgiving.  Pookie broke a water buffalo figurine, but she and Scrunch are such charmers that I think it was quickly forgotten.  A lovely evening with some very kind souls.

26. A new vacuum!  And then…I did it.  I got in line Thanksgiving night to get into Target.  I don’t feel good about shopping on a holiday, I hated the crowd, and I loathed snaking back and forth through the line just to get in the store, but I got a new, fancy vacuum on the cheap(er than normal) and already my family is breathing better.  Totally worth it but never again.

27. Toiletries on the cheap.  And while other people were pushing their way through the mall Black Friday morning, I was hitting up the Walgreens for free-after-rewards shampoo, toothbrushes, and other toiletries.  For just $20 I’m stocked for a year.  A-thankyou.

28. My church family.  There is a lot of love in this body of people.  It is beautiful and imperfect and inviting and ordained.

29. Nap time.  The girls napping and my own napping.  Without any editing jobs over the break, I took full advantage and napped like a…well, like a tired mom.  And it was wonderful.

30. My life.  It is small, but it is precious, and it is my God-given work and pleasure.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving 15-19/30: Only a video can do it justice...

I could have gotten mad; instead, I said, "I should be thankful.  And grab the video camera."

15. This didn't happen over the weekend because my mom was visiting.  And her presence was sweet relief.  Professor and I went out shopping, we all enjoyed a Thanksgiving fellowship at church, the girls soaked up Grandma was good, good, good!

16. And as much as I adore my mom visiting, my kids act like crazy people when she's here.  GRANDMA!?!!!  WE'VE NEVER SEEN PEOPLE BEFORE; WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO ACT IN PUBLIC; WANNA PUT ME TO BED?!  WELL, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO EARN IT!!!!!!  So, it's also lovely to get back to the routines of our quiet, little life...and {less} crazy children.

17.  And that brings us to the video.  First of all, I'm thankful that God is working on me--specifically in the anger department.  I used to have a dreadful temper; cousins, friends, my brother have been on the receiving end of it, and it's no fun.  Professor got it once and set me straight in the most comical and iron-sharpening-iron kind of way, which has made all the difference.  I am thankful my children have not known that side of me.

18.  The humor of life with small children.  Because really?  This mess didn't take much time to clean up, nobody was hurt, and the baby looks super cute all covered in homemade syrup.

19.  Indoor plumbing.  Think about it: we take our ability to turn on the tap and get cold or HOT water at a moment's notice completely for granted.  I am so thankful that I could plunk Scrunch in the tub, turn on the shower, and get her cleaned up in a minute without drawing, hauling, or heating water.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Twitterature :: November 2013

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.

Well, since today is Twitterature, I guess I'm thankful for books!  But seriously, I love me some books, and I am forever grateful for the resources available to me: the library, bookstores, friends' bookshelves, and even the interwebs.

Didn't get through much this month, but The Distraction Addiction was worth taking my time to read carefully.

The Read-Aloud Handbook

by Jim Trelease

Nothing really new to me, but great encouragement to keep reading to my kiddos--plus a great book list!

The Distraction Addiction

by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Treasure trove of mindful tech-use techniques and great research on “contemplative computing”; definitely recommended!

And the one on my (digital) nightstand that really has me excited?

I'm on the launch team for Crystal Paine's latest!  Say Goodbye to Survival Mode will be released in January.  I received my advanced e-copy earlier this week, and let me tell you, based on the first five pages, I already know it's going to be good!

What have you been reading?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving 14/30: The Felonious Ham

Oh, friends.  I was thrilled when I found this coupon in my Facebook feed:

It was just too good, and I knew it would make the Thanksgiving list.  And with a church Thanksgiving fellowship coming up, I signed up to bring a ham--which I knew I could get for right around $10 at ALDI.

It would be a Thanksgiving miracle: free ham for my church!  The Lord hath smiled upon us.

At the register, I handed over my coupon with glee.  "I was so excited to find this coupon!  ALDI never has them, so..."

And then.  The cashier sighed.

"These are actually a scam."

My heart plummeted.  And then it shot back up and started racing: I was a coupon fraud!

The cashier explained that the company had decided to honor the coupon rather than face disgruntled customers, so my ham was still free.

And free is good, and free fits my budget...but I still felt like a criminal.

So, there you go, Faith Baptist Church: on Sunday you'll be eating a free, felonious ham.  And you'd better be thankful for it!

Thanksgiving 13/30: The Work of Child's Play

When we were busy doing apples, Pookie was busy, too: my friend had brought out a dollhouse, furniture, and dolls for Pook to play with in the living room--away from the mess and fray of apple processing.

And my daughter?  The wild one who's always into everything?  The one who brings me food I didn't know she could reach and fills the bathroom sink with water and cotton swabs when I'm not looking?

She was playing--deep play.  Roles and dialogue and furniture-just-so playing.  She has hit that stage in childhood, and it is good, good, good.

Please know that I don't just say that because it means she's quiet for long stretches (though I do enjoy it).  It is good because she is developing all kinds of skills and capacities as she plays, as shown in a study that revealed that imaginative play develops greater executive function.

But my favorite part?  It's when she informs me that she can't do x, y, or z with me, because she has important "work play" waiting for her.  Usually it involves the kitchen sink and a lot of water on the floor, but mess is a small price to pay for her efforts.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thanksgiving 6-12: Apples, quiet, and more...

Plenty to be thankful for in the last week!  These are mostly connected to events we've had--and have been very grateful for...

image via Sydney Millage's blog, Get Real:Farm Life in Iowa

6. Apples!  A dear friend had an abundance of apples, a free morning on her calendar, and enough graciousness to invite me (with two littles in tow) to her home to process apples.  I've got jars and jars full of applesauce (and even some apple pie filling!) plus two crisper drawers full of raw apples.  It's pretty apple-tastic.

7. A mentor.  This dear friend?  She speaks so much wisdom and love into my life, despite being the busiest person I know.  She amazes me, and she can amaze you, too, at her blog, Heart Quencher.

8. Library storytime boxes.  I wanted to "do school" with Pookie this year, but I've had trouble gaining any traction.  With these boxes, we take one home, read a bunch of stories on a given topic, play with a related toy, and use a rubber stamp as a jumping-off point.  We've discovered some great new stories this way!

9. The restorative power of an hour alone with a good book.
And a treat.  And a pop.  Even if it has to happen sitting in the car in the grocery store parking lot.

10. Angelina Ballerina, the musical.
What has two thumbs and scored fourth row seats?  This girl!

11. Wonderment in Pookie's eyes.
Which is the real reason the aforementioned ballerina mouse makes the list at all.  If I could bottle that wide-eyed look, I would.

12. Tired muscles.
Remember that California trip that I mentioned before?  I'll be packing a swimsuit, which means I've gone into last-ditch-effort workout mode.  It probably won't make much difference in a month, but the stretch and strain in my muscles feels good, and for that I am grateful.

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thanksgiving 5/30: Singing

I used to spend hours--hours!--camped out in front of my parents' big stereo in the kitchen, putting on CDs and belting my heart out.

My poor little brother.


Anyway.  I realized I don't sing nearly as much as I used to; I'm working to remedy that.  Still, I've been thinking a lot about some voices that I love (and am grateful) to hear...

Older church men
It started with an eccentric gentleman who used to sing with his family band at school assemblies when I was very young.  Fast forward to my gap year between college and getting married, somehow we ended up in the same church!  Picture a darling moustache all curled up around the edges, then add a clear bluegrass voice leading "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus."

And the voices I've heard like his always get me the deepest: our pastor with his West Virginia twang, the gentleman who's hard to understand sometimes (except when he's singing a well-loved hymn), the man who fixes violins whose daughters so obviously garnered a love of music from his own...these are the voices that haunt me in the best possible way.

Gritty, soulful, Heaven-bound.

My daughter
The time change has been rough.  Yesterday, all I wanted to do was use the bathroom by myself, but the lock on the door didn't drown out the ruckus.  Oh those little fingers under the door...

I wanted to cry, but remembering that joy follows obedience, I sang the first thing that popped in my head--"Blessed Assurance."

And when I opened up the door?  Pookie joined in on the chorus.  And Scrunch stopped crying to clap along.

And peace reigned n the Jorgenson abode.

My husband
Whenever it's Professor's turn to calm a savage beast fussy babe, he turns to the old hymn book that floats around our house.  It never really worked in the night when babies just want to nurse, but I always let him try, just to hear him serenade our littles with Truth and Love.

Y'all, we are not American Idol material 'round here.  But Professor still opens up the hymn book and leads us--which is why Pookie could join in on "Blessed Assurance" or any other family favorites--because she is absorbing them bit by bit.

Hopefully, one day we'll have space for a piano, but even if we never do, we still have the old hymn book, and it's enough.

Whose voice most comforts you?

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Month of Thanks

Last November, I noticed a trend on Facebook: friends posting something they were thankful for each day.  Thirty days of gratitude.


Can I confess a pretty ungrateful heart?  I could hide behind sleeplessness and little people, but in the end, my attitude is my choice.

So, let's begin the remedy, shall we?  Four days in, here are four blessings beyond belief in my life...

1.  The baby poops.  We stopped nursing, started removing things from her diet, and finally, Scrunch poops like a champ, sleeps through the night, even naps.  Oh, and her eczema is clearing up.  And she's happier--way happier--which makes everyone else happy.  It's almost like meeting her real self for the first time.

2.  Professor's getting results.  Which means publishing in a higher-impact journal.  Which means more open doors.  Which can only be good from here.

3.  Work.  I'm using naptime these days to edit other people's work.  For money!  It's nice contributing to the family coffers, but even more so, it's nice to have a project with a beginning, middle, and end.  You know, unlike laundry and diapers and dishes.

4.  I'M GOING TO CALIFORNIA!!!!  This probably deserves a post unto itself, but Professor is going to a conference in December, and since his way is paid, we have enough for me to go along, too!  We haven't been out-of-state together (aside from going back to Minnesota) our entire marriage, so it'll be a real treat.

I'm feeling more thankful already...and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

What are you thankful for this month?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

On Callings, Vocations, and Jobs


I qualify as a work-at-home mom this week: I took on an editing job.  The pay seems outlandish, although the workload is more than I had anticipated.  It's good to get my hands dirty and have a project that will have a clear end (read: not laundry or dishes or crabby children that are constantly undoing my hard work!), and it reminded me of something I read recently:

There is a lot of confusion over what is sometimes called a vocation.  Usually when people speak of their vocation, they meant their job.  When I use the word vocation, I have in mind the older usage, which used to be known as a “calling.”  I distinguish between a person’s job and his calling.  Put differently, I distinguish between his occupation and his vocation.  A job is work that someone does to earn a living.  It’s what puts food on the table.  A calling is very different in most cases.  A calling is the most important thing you can do in which you would be most difficult to replace.  There are a few people who are fortunate enough to find a job that is also their calling.  Teachers and preachers are paid to do the most important thing they can do, and for which they would be most difficult to replace. 
--Ron Paul,
The School Revolution, pg. 43

Job vs. calling.  Where on the spectrum do you fall?

As my mind is occupied with my editing work, I don't have many other thoughts on the subject--so give me yours!  What is your calling?  Do you know?  Is it different from your job, and does that matter?

Leave a comment, I'd love to hear your take!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Catching up with my daughters

Shortly after baby was born, I had this daydream: it was Pookie's wedding reception, my turn to give a speech.  I stood up, opened a little book, and read a passage about some heartwarming thing that had happened when she was two (since, in real-time, it had just happened).  Then I read something from her teen years, and something about her fiance.  Then I explained to my beautiful, teary-eyed, bride-daughter that I had been writing her a long letter her whole life, and here it was, in book form, on her wedding day.

So, I opened a document and started.  I recorded funny things, (hopefully) wise things, encouraging things her father did for her, special visits with friends or family--anything that came to mind.  I did the same for baby.

And happened.  It's been ages, but I'm ready to start writing in their letters again, and I'd like to share what I wrote as a re-introduction:

Dear Pookie and Scrunch,

Your letters have gone untouched for far too long.  It has been a very difficult season in our house: at 3, Pookie has been terribly willful; as a baby, Scrunch has been a poor sleeper and colicky.  Both seem to finally be getting better, and I feel like there is a light at the other end of the tunnel.

I don’t write any of this to make you feel bad; in fact, I hope you’ll get quite the opposite from this.  You see, I feel immense guilt for letting the little things slip by unrecorded, like the other day when Scrunch grabbed my prosthetic lotion and automatically lifted her own left foot.  Or how Pookie watches E.T. and all but enters the television.  Or how, increasingly, I find your sweet little heads bent together—either giggling or fighting over toys.

One day, when (if) you are mothers of your own little ones, guilt will assault you.  You will get behind.  You will not accomplish everything you wish you could (or even all the things you should be doing, in some seasons).

And life will go on, and God will still be good.

Let me encourage you, dear ones, that your babies will still need you and love you and look up to you, despite your imperfections and shortcomings. 

Hopefully, as you are grown and reading this, you will think, “That’s easy for her to say; Mom had it all together and did everything.”  Did you chuckle just now?  Truly, I hope that you had that kind of childhood, that kind of happiness where I was your security blanket, your party captain, your 5-star chef, your dearest companion. 

I really hope and pray that’s so…but it might not be.  Right now it looks like a long shot: it’s 3PM and I’m in my pajamas.  Our tiny apartment is a mess even though I felt like I spent all morning cleaning.  You girls wipe me out most days—you need constant physical contact and mental attention and I just wants five minutes without little hands or mouths on me.

So, all that to say…you’re going to be in this place someday.  Weighed down by the responsibility of your children, brought low by whatever deficiencies you see in yourself.  Just remember that Mama was there once, too (probably more than once), and that we survived it.  Together.

There will be hard mothering days, baby girls.  On those days, do these three things:

1.       Read the words on this page and let them help lift you up.
2.       Go to Jesus.  He will lift you up.
3.       Call me.  There’s strength in numbers when taking any path, especially when one party has already been there before.
Okay, enough playing catch up; I promise we’ll get back to the everyday observances that this love letter is made up of.  Like your current food phases: Pookie is a total yogurt snob (nothing but Chobani passes her lips) and Scrunch has taken a shine to sardines—but if they aren’t Chicken of the Sea, she will know, and throw them on the floor.

I love you girls, even in the hard.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Twitteratue :: October 2013

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.

It seems I haven't got through much, which is odd, because I feel like I've been reading quite often.  I struggle with checking out too many books at once--anybody out there relate?

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
by Michael Pollan

Not my favorite by Pollan: some parts really sang, others got bogged down in so much evolutionary speculation that I just got bored.  Though I was very much inspired to jump back into bread baking; I'm starting a sourdough starter today!

Hannah Coulter
by Wendell Berry

I finally got around to a Wendell Berry novel--and it did not disappoint!  An elderly widow looks back over her life as a farmer's wife.  Absolutely lovely prose.  Made me ache for country living worse than I already do.
The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System
by Ron Paul

I love this man.  His education approach is heavier on internet use than I think our homeschool will be, but his focus on basics, self-teaching, and leadership line right up with my thinking.  This is definitely a book I plan to purchase and have on hand for reference--and a reminder of why homeschooling is worth the hassle.

So, only three books finished this month; it's still three books I hadn't read otherwise.  Want a peek at what I've got going now?

So, what have you been reading lately? {and catch more mini-reviews over at Modern Mrs. Darcy}

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Jesus Infomercial

I've been thinking about the video testimony I posted on this blog two years ago.  At the time I felt great conviction to share it, but recently I've been re-thinking it.  See, that video reads like a how-to manual, when my testimony of life in Christ should be more like an infomercial.

(except not) {via}

Not full of cheesy gimmicks and four easy payments of $19.95, but it should showcase the benefits I have received through following Jesus.

So, here goes my Jesus testimony infomercial...

1.  I have peace despite worry.  I'm a worrier.  But God is bigger than any trouble I have.  I don't remember this enough, but it's there just the same.

2.  I have a handle on my temper.  I could hide behind "it's the Irish in me," but honestly, I'm just bad at expressing frustration.  I can't pinpoint how this changed exactly, but I've noticed over several years of studying Jesus, I don't have the outbursts or sulking that I used to.

3.  I have instructions for dealing with people.  Arguing with your spouse?  Remember that the wife is to respect her husband and that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church--humbleness and selflessness required by both parties (Ephesians 5:22-23).  Wronged by someone else?  Go to them privately, then with a few others if things cannot be worked out, then try to work it out before the church, and if that doesn't work...well, then you've done the best you can and are free from responsibility (Matthew 18:15-17).  And like it...

4.  I can forgive.  I'm a grudge-holder...or at least I used to be.  I am not perfect and have taken up the phrase "serial forgiver," because sometimes my mind will go back and get all riled up about something that's finished and forgiven.  Anger and resentment seep into their old haunts in my heart.  So, I forgive.  Again.  It's hard, sometimes really hard.  But far less work (and far more pleasant) than holding a grudge.

5.  I have hope.  On the bad days.  On the unbearable days.  On the days when the whole world groans at some new horror or tragedy, I have a hope that one day this too shall pass.  That whatever does not glorify will one day be chaff sifted away.  That I will stand before my Lord and that will be enough.

6.  I have purpose.  Love God, love your neighbor.  Tell people about Jesus.  It plays out differently for everyone, but this, in the end, is our purpose, and who doesn't like to know what they're doing?

A great Savior at a great price.  I'm sold!

Friday, October 4, 2013

On faith and obedience {and the laundromat}

I read an article (that for the life of me I can't find now) a while back about a man looking at a table full of pictures, pictures of kids waiting to be sponsored through Compassion.  Instead of taking time to weigh his options, to pray, to ponder, he just grabbed a photo.

His point was this: Instead of over-spiritualizing every decision, sometimes we just have to do the next obedient thing in front of us.  All of those children needed a sponsor; any choice was the right one.

When we look at Jesus' life and ministry, we see that over and over and over again.  Yes, He took many opportunities--surely more than are recorded in Scripture--to pray alone, but as He went about His day?  Jesus did the next right thing.

Blind man intersecting His path?  Help the guy see.

Crazy man screaming and carrying on because of demons?  Send them into some pigs.

Lady has had her period for twelve. years. straight?  Stop and tell her her faith has made her well.

Just do the next right thing.

And that little nugget came in handy during our bedbug scare earlier this year.  No, in fact, we did not have bedbugs (praise God!).  But we did have gnats and I read too much online about dust mites and...

Well, to be perfectly frank, I probably became paranoid.  I itched all over all the time.  I complained of invisible bugs crawling on me.  I claimed I had bug bites where I really only had dry skin (Professor and the kids had no itching or bites of any kind).

I was in panic attack mode.

So I informed Professor that I would be taking All The Laundry to the laundromat, washing it all in hot water, drying it all in commercial dryers until it wasn't much more than lint, and spending the rest of the month's grocery money on this venture.

Poor Professor.  He told me to do what I thought I had to do, so off I went, head spinning with fear and pockets jangling with quarters.

And can I just say that after hours of washing and drying All The Laundry Of Our Household, facing down the folding of said laundry with frayed nerves and little sleep?  I nearly came undone.

Do the next right thing.

I folded.  I sang hymns.  I didn't feel any better for singing, but I felt more obedient; in that moment, that was enough.

And later?  Later when I was in bed and All The Laundry was done and Professor was beside me breathing deep?

Then came the joy.  The gratitude that my bed was not infested with bed bugs and that even if it were, God would still be God (but, again, no bugs, no bugs, no bugs!!!).  The pleasure of tired muscles, of falling asleep easily.  The peace of trusting.

Sing God's praise out of obedience and joy will follow. 

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.  Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

On Flaming TP

They say never write a blog post without a purpose.  Well, my purpose is to amuse, and I even have a moral-to-the-story, although it might only apply if you are a Spanish hotel owner...

So, once upon a time in high school, I took a trip to Spain.  Because, yes, I am all manner of spoiled even though I currently live in a ghetto apartment where drunks meander by and people view the grass in front of my windows as a garbage receptacle.

Anyway.  We were in Sevilla and had checked into our hotel after a long day of sightseeing.  The girls I shared a room with, Amanda and Kacy1, were fighting over the hotel phone to talk to a boy down the hall.  I was bored, looking to fill time, when I noticed some matches and an ashtray on a small table by the window.

Friends, obviously the Spaniards are not acquainted with the pyro-ways of Midwestern farm children.  Otherwise they would have hid these things before they knew I was coming.

I had a candy wrapper in my pocket, so I lit a match (they were blue, by the way, very fancy) and held the wrapper over the flame, watching it shrivel.  I pulled out another wrapper, then anotheruntil Amanda wandered over.

Honestly, I don't remember who first mentioned toilet paper.  Or who used the phrase, "Yeah, like a toilet paper bonfire," but I know we both snickered, so we're both guilty.

Each armed with a big wad of the stuff, we started feeding bits of toilet paper to the candy wrapper pile in the ashtray.  TP burns fast, so we weren't really getting a "bonfire" effect...which I guess is why Amanda plopped all her TP on top--a pile large enough to spill beyond the confines of the ashtray and onto the tabletop.

Which wasn't cause for alarm, actually; those Spaniards are clever: the table was topped with glass.  I knew that the TP would lose steam (or flame, I suppose) pretty quickly and all would be well.


Amanda grew up in the country-ish, in a subdivision with lots of land behind the house, so her pyro tendencies were not as experienced and she panicked.

Like blow on the TP like it's your birthday cake panicked.

Flaming toilet paper is a beautiful thing, folks.  It floats upward and hangs for a moment, as if it might just stay there.  After that it begins a slow, graceful fluttering toward the floor.  It was almost like watching snow falling.

Except for when Kacy realized that she hadn't been watching me closely enough and our hotel room was on fire.

Now I wish that I had held my composure and saved the day.  But it was just too funny and if I moved from the spot I had slumped into on the floor, I wouldn't have been able to control my bladder.  And we didn't need that problem piled on at the moment, thank you.

I watched helplessly as Kacy--and eventually Amanda once she came around--used clean, wet laundry and various shoes to stamp out the flames and the cinged bits of TP that remained.  We decided it would pass as a pretty severe cigarette burn and just moved the table over a foot or so.

We also vowed that no one would tell Kacy's mother, who just happened to be our chaperone and Spanish teacher...and who would be my Spanish teacher for another two years.  Kacy confessed later to spilling the beans, but Senora never breathed a word of it to me.  So, for what it's worth ten years later, lo siento, senora.  Lo siento.

Oh, and a big lo siento to the wonderful people at the Hotel Don Pedro.  But it was ugly carpet anyway.  And now you know better: hide the matches from the American kids.  Good luck and Godspeed.

1 Names changed to protect the...innocent? Well, maybe not innocent, but at least to protect those involved :)
I like candy. Don't judge; it was all in the name of experiencing a new culture.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Twitterature :: September

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.  Here's what I've been reading...

The Food of a Younger Land
by Mark Kurlansky

Regional food history pieced together from WPA files.  I only read the "Middle West" section but really enjoyed poems "Nebraskans Eat the Wieners" and pieces about whole hog roasting.  Worth perusing for history lovers and foodies.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

FINALLY got around to reading this--and even Professor read the first half or so.  Conclusion: I am an introvert and that's all right.  Wonderful, even.
Raising Elijah
by Sandra Steingraber

About raising kids in this environmentally-compromised world today.  Honestly, this book mostly made me want to cry and hide my kids under a rock.  It's not written with a "how to help or do better" tone, just "these are the horrible facts and if everything about modern life doesn't change, we're all going to die of cancer and disfiguration"...sometimes ignorance is bliss.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
by Aimee Bender

I actually checked this out because there was a note in the front about how somebody had put white out over the swear words and the next reader felt it her civic duty to write them back in and tell the world she had done so.
This was a coming-of-age story about a girl who can taste people's emotions in the food they've cooked and how it affects her whole life and family--fun-ish read, beautiful prose.  Oh, and a few swear words, whited out or not, depending on your copy.
Good Poems for Hard Times
selected by Garrison Keillor

Trying to ease back into poetry reading; this was a nice, sweeping collection.  The introductory essay is worth reading for itself.

So, what have you been reading lately? {and catch more mini-reviews over at Modern Mrs. Darcy}

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dear Netflix {and Hollywood at large, for that matter}

Dear Netflix,

You’ve been on my mind lately; I have something I want to tell you, but I’ve been putting it off.  Then you sent me an email asking for feedback, and I was pleased for an opportunity to share.


Then you asked me, on a five-point scale how satisfied I was with Netflix.  And that’s it.  No room for real feedback at all.

So I thought I’d drop you a line.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with your service: I love that for just $8 a month I have access to all sorts of TV shows, movies, kids’ shows, and documentaries.  I love that they stream right to my TV or computer.  I love that I waste less of my life in front of commercials.  I even love that you’re producing your own content, like a poor man’s HBO.  However, there’s something you should consider before you continue in the content-creation vein, and that is

Not everybody’s into sex scenes.

I was with you on House of Cards—an edgier version of The West Wing, I figured.  I tried to stay awake because the storyline was fascinating, but—in all fairness to me—I had just kicked a baby out of my uterus and sleep won.  When Professor told me about the pretty graphic sex scenes ahead, I decided I really didn’t need to bother with the rest of it.

We suffered through the raunchy scenes in Orange is the New Black because the story line was that compelling—but not without much eye rolling and cuticle studying while we waited it out.

{Also, I was most proud of Professor; he did not pace or leave the room, as he often does when television is awkward.  My little brother will cover his ears and scream "LALALALALA" while running around the house when things get awkward onscreen.  Anybody out there have male relations like this, or is it something in the water here?}

Which brings me to my first point: sex scenes are rather awkward.  It’s one thing to sit through a sex scene with your spouse, but what about when watching a movie with a group?  Or your father?  Oh. my. goodness.  We were visiting a while back and watched a movie with my dad: lots of shoot ‘em up, witty banter, and BAM!  Rolling between the sheets.  Skin.  Noise.

While sitting between the man who changed my diapers and the one who fathered my children.  Cue much fidgeting and “uhh” and “well, how ‘bout them Twins?”

Which is my next point: how often do sex scenes actually advance the plot?  Aside from the ever-popular dominatrix-seduces-bad-guy-then-offs-him, is it a necessary part of the story?  So often it feels rushed, out-of-context, and obligatory.  No thanks.  I think subtle implication has the same affect and leaves more room for storytelling.

Which is my final point: people show up for stories, not sex scenes.  Think about it: unless the movie was Magic Mike or the looming 50 Shades of Grey, how many people leave the theater gushing about the sex scene?   Do your friends gush about Leading Actor and Starlette of the Week’s steamy rendezvous?  Do they?

Well, mine don’t, compadre.  When I talk movies with friends—heck, even acquaintances or even strangers—I hear topics like special effects, action sequences, scenery and even pesky little things like plot.

So, again, I’m all for you Netflix, truly, I am.  But I’d be even more for you if you could deliver a compelling story without a scene or ten that make me stare at my nails and sigh that manicures aren’t in my budget.

Yours ever so respectfully,
MK Jorgenson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Coulda Hugged a Duggar (and 8 reasons I didn't)


Every now and again I google the Duggars.  We don't have satellite TV like my richie-rich parents do1, so now that I'm married and living in squalor, I don't get to see this enormous family on a weekly basis.2

After my most recent google spree, Professor woke up to an ambush in bed with the news.  "Honey...HONEY!  Guess who's coming to Kalona on Labor Day?  The DUGGARS!!!"

Needless to say, I made plans to see them with Pookie in tow (Professor decided to stay home and keep the baby out of the heat.  At least, that's his claim...).

We were far enough away that they were basically stick people.  Still, I was in the presence of the Duggars, a family whose life I have watched on TV as I pondered building my own (I even watched their son get engaged and married while I was planning my wedding).

Eventually, the music was done and the Duggar children started filing out of the barn and past us.  Since Professor didn't come with me, I snapped a few pictures as they drew close...but then I got what-a-dirty-papparazzo-you-are stares and put my camera away.

Some people stopped and asked to take pictures with them, get hugs, have books signed.  And I wanted to do the same, but I just couldn't bring myself to, and here are a few reasons why...

1. I feel bad asking for time from people I don't know.  Is this just me?  Aren't they tired of smiling all the time?  Do they really need me hounding them for a picture?  Yes, they're gracious, lovely, giving people...but I still feel like an intruder.

2. I kinda feel like a stalker.  "Oh, hi, we're just meeting for the first time, except I know your name, where you live, what your room looks like and how you shop for groceries..."  Awkward, right?  Am I alone here?

3. I didn't want to get pregnant.  Professor was the one who coined the phrase "hug a Duggar" while we were talking about going (he doesn't share my affinity for the mega family).  This was his gravest concern: that some Duggar fertility would rub off on me and we really don't need another baby just yet, thank you very much.

4. My Duggar-ing days, I think, are coming to an end.  I really enjoyed watching the show while I lived at home and it got me thinking (and googling…) about everything from grocery budgeting to homeschooling.  And while I love the Duggars, we’re very different families with very different ways and means—which is okay.  Wonderful even.  But as my babes grow and my attention is stretched, the Duggars might have to fall by the wayside…unless they pop up on the Today show with an announcement. ;)


Oh, and numbers five through eight?  All the un-Duggar things my daughter mentioned while we were out there that I was certain she would say should we meet the big Mr. and Mrs. and totally prove that we are not very Duggar-ish...

5. Look, Mama, I dancing.  She sang a lot about dreams, which was fine, but she also sang about dancing.  A lot.  Because she likes dancing...a lot.  There's a little Pentecostal in her, but I try to keep it quiet in our little Baptist church.

6. E.T.'s sick in the water!  E.T. is a big dealio in our house these days.  Super cute when we're at home, it's not as cute to scream about sick aliens out of context.  Especially around people who by and large shun movies.

7. Oh, my shorts is dirty.  Ahem.  Yes, Pookie wore shorts before the Duggars and their merry followers.  And I was another offender, jeans and all.

8. Mommy, are those the great kings in the sky?  This is straight out of Disney and has two knocks against it: it's Disney and a movie, but also...away from the context of The Lion King?  It sounds downright pagan.

Yes, I get that they are gracious people and would have rolled with the punches whatever came out of my daughters mouth, but in the end I'm not a meet-the-celebrity type, and that's okay.

Unless next week I change my mind.  Then I'll start singing "shoulda-coulda-Dugga."

How do you respond to meeting famous people?  Am I the only one like this?

1 Like that one, Mom? You and your fancy TV and your dryer and your garage door opener. I'm telling you, I came from the 1%; someday we'll get back there.
2 Like that one, Professor? Squalor...I don't know that we've ever used that word to describe or living situation. I think I like it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

5MF: Last

Five Minute Friday

I'm linking up to 5 Minute Fridays, a weekly writing prompt shared among all bloggers who participate.  This week's theme is graceful.  You can find out all about it here.


The last four weeks have been probably the hardest of my life.

{I cheated...I wrote for five minutes, hated what I wrote and am re-writing...but, well, it's my blog and I'll do-over if I want to.}

The last four weeks have seen a giant pity party from me while Professor and I, so sick we can't breathe through noses and ache for sleep, spend those golden hours between little ones' bedtime and our own scouring our mattress for signs of bedbugs.

Yeah, bed bugs.  Just like two years ago.

We've got bites but no signs of them, so the Orkin man can't come spray his death spray and relieve us from the itching and the worrying.

So, it was on a night of wrapping our extra pillows, storage containers, bedside cubicles, and such in trash bags and duct tape that something horrible rose up out of me and spilled all over the floor.

Wailing.  Ugly crying.  Ugly words: "We're educated; we're decent-looking; we've made two beautiful children; we...." on and on and on about how wonderful we are, so why are we still living like this?  In this basement, with these bugs, with these neighbors who are inconsiderate and rude and not-like-us?*

It was the ugliest pity party I've ever had, but Professor let me have it.  Kept taping away the bed bugs, soothing me as he could.

In the days since, there has been screaming baby nights and vomiting Pookie afternoons and not enough sleep, never enough sleep.  But you know what else there has been?


Grace from my husband and grace to him.  Grace from my children in long naps and "sometimes it's hard to be a Mommy" reminders from a wise little mouth.

Grace from God in that I am still upright and fighting.

And what there hasn't been?  Any more pity parties.  I can't say I'll never have another one in my life, but that was definitely the last pity party of epic proportion allowed from these lips for the rest of my life.  Because I have better, more important things to do.

Like plead with the Orkin man.


*Just a note: I do realize that bed bugs do not discriminate based on socioeconomic factors; they don't care about cleanliness, either, just like lice.

Friday, August 2, 2013

5 things that *didn't* happen today

I had a lovely post dreamed up about loving neighbors and such...and then the day happened.  Instead, I would like to share five things that definitely did not go on under this roof today...

1. I didn't leave a bag full of wet (but clean!) underwear outside by the drying rack.  And I certainly didn't do such a thing while escorting a non-compliant three-year-old into the house for discipline purposes. 
2. I didn't shut myself in the bathroom and sob into the phone to my poor, working, unable-to-help-at-the-moment husband...because that's a total SAHM cliche, and that's just not how I roll. 
3. I didn't stand in front of my refrigerator, willing it to fill with Diet Pepsi and cupcakes.
4. I didn't put Pookie down to nap an hour early because the baby was tired...because I'm totally okay with them not napping at the same time, meaning someone is ALWAYS with me.  This is entirely fine with me; who needs a moment (or two) to be alone with their thoughts anyway? 
5. I didn't spend too much time Googling apartments in a city outside Paris where Professor could potentially, maybe, possibly apply for a job.  Because I go with the flow and don't have control issues.

So, you know, those things didn't happen today.  Not a one of them.  Ahem...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On lying to my 3-year-old

So...I lied to my daughter.  About a Disney show.1

screenshot from Disney Jr

We don't have cable, but somehow we heard about the Disney Channel cartoon Doc McStuffins, a show about a little girl who is a doctor to stuffed animals and toys.  It's gentle, it's sweet, and--its greatest quality--it doesn't make me want to pull my hair out.

We can watch it on the Disney website and it's a perfect welcome-back-to-the-land-of-the-living transition after naptime.  Then last week, there was no Doc because of a technical glitch.

Which meant the player automatically turned on Sofia the First.

Disney, how dare you.

Sofia the First is not inherently a bad show: it's about a village girl who learns she's a princess and now yay! life is one big fairy tale.  In the episode we were directed to watch, Sofia is invited to a royal sleepover.  She's excited, invites a pair of girl friends from "the village" and...they don't fit in.  And the princess crowd lets them know this.

Sure, the story eventually resolves and everybody gets to play, but there's a big chunk of the narrative that revolves around "those girls are different, different is bad, and different doesn't get to play with us"...and that's not a narrative my 3-year-old needs from Disney Jr.

It made me think back to this awful class I took in high school called Teen Decisions.

Oh my word, this class.

This class taught me all about drugs, STDs, promiscuity, eating disorders, shoplifting, suicide...any and all traps that teenagers fall into.  We watched a particularly harrowing movie about a girl who developed anorexia because of the anxiety she felt over life changing too fast around her.  In the end she got treatment and was willing to eat a bagel...but you know what?  That's not really what I took away from it.

From that movie I learned how to avoid eating, how to make people think you've eaten, how to make yourself seem like you weigh more than you do, and how to punch through a hospital wall to hide your food2 and make it seem like you ate it.

In other words, the movie to dissuade eating disorders was more of a how-to manual.

Pookie doesn't need a how-to in excluding others, especially not one that comes with a musical number.

(Also...another princess show?  Really, Disney?)

So, Doc's links are fixed now, and I'm running with the lie that Sofia's are broken3.  I can't hide her from the world forever, but today, the world of girl drama can wait; we've got more important things to do.  Like jumping on the bed and singing our lungs out.

1 In other news, she flopped down on my bed backwards and somehow my toenail ended up in her forehead and she's got a lovely cut above her eyebrow. So on the parenting scale I'm batting a thousand.
2 Can I just pause to say "yikes"? YIKES! That little nugget cannot be unseen or forgotten. So thanks, Teen Decisions. Also, the 27 names for cocaine you taught me? Super helpful and totally applicable to real life.
3 But we don't do the Easter Bunny or Santa, so I get two gimme lies, right? Right?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Twitterature :: July 2013

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a link-up each month called Twitterature: a "place to share short, casual reviews of books you’ve been reading." 

Carry on, Warrior :: Glennon Doyle Melton
Funny, poignant, brutally honest tales from the life of a recovered bulimic and alcoholic...definitely lots of passages read aloud to Professor from this one!

The Journal of Best Practices :: David Finch
Memoir of a marriage in shambles...until the husband was diagnosed with Asperger's.  Then began a lot of work, struggle, hilarity, and sweetness as they battled back to save their relationship.  Also a lot of passages read aloud to Professor!

Choosing to See :: Mary Beth Chapman
I felt really dumb when I realized I'd totally missed the premise of this book: I honestly thought that Mary Beth Chapman had gone blind and wrote a book about it.  Instead, this is the heart-wrenching story of losing a daughter.  Sometimes hard to read, sometimes lighthearted, always pointing to Jesus.  Professor got an earful of this one, too.

The UnWired Mom :: Sarah Mae
Loved this little book; it left me wanting more, but isn't that always the way with ebooks?  I'll be writing more about this soon, but one thing is for sure: I am definitely more aware of how I use (and abuse) the internet on a day-to-day basis, and I've started praying about it quite a bit.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On the day she turns three

Dear Pookie,

The first time you sat without being propped up, I cried.  I bawled my eyes out and wailed to your father about how prom and graduation were just around the corner.  Maybe it was a little of the hormones still talking, but now that you're three?  And I realize I'll only have five more "threes" (which fly by like nothing) and you really will be graduating and flying the coop and taking on the world?

Carrot cake with frosting and Bambi and candles (and a fork)--just as requested

I'm a puddle all over again.

We're in a tough spot these days, obedience-wise.  You so desperately want independence, so there's a lot of boundary pushing.  Then again, when you first learned to walk, I'd take you to the mall and let you roam the halls, walking just behind you, letting you explore whatever your heart fancied.

I  pushed you toward independence in exploration, and I pushed you toward potty training, feeding yourself, controlling yourself during church.  There were times I know I pushed a little harder than I should have, but all in all, I still love just watching you explore.

You are my nature girl.  Rocks, sticks, anything you can get your hands on.  I let you "trespass" on what you call a "forest" up the road (only on weekdays when I'm sure everyone's gone for the day); you would stay there all day if I let you.  And when we visit Grandma and Grandpa's farm?  You're already clamoring to go to the barn before we hit the brakes.

What do you do while you explore the barn and all that nature?  You talk.  You sing.  You recreate the stories that fill your world--the books we read and the TV you watch, which is only two things: Doc McStuffins (the same episode every day for two weeks since that's what available on the website) and this Scripture sing-along video from the nineties that we found at the thrift store.

Every dreamer needs dress-up clothes!

You live in these stories and make them your own, narrating what happened and what's happening now.  Sometimes after I give you an instruction, you say, "Said her mother."  And after we read Paddington?  It was a week of "said Johnathan, admiringly."  You so make me laugh.

I guess that's a pretty good picture of you at three: happy, talkative, independent, nature-loving, narrative-driven, all arms and legs and lots of kisses.

I love you, Pookie; I know God has big things for you in this life, so that Jesus you're always repeating stories about?  Cling to Him, baby; He'll never leave you or let you down.

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