Take up your cross daily.

Or, a thoughtful and realistic Lent for a stay-at-home-mom.

“Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me,” said Jesus, not just to the apostles, but to anyone who at the time or in future would claim to be his disciple.

Me: *raises hand, though feebly*

That doesn’t sound like fun. That’s the part about discipleship that’s hard, and so counter-cultural.

“Take up your cross. Daily.”

I’ve been pondering this phrase this Lent. Luke’s sleep has been so … what word, even … hard to cope with, I guess, since switching him from crib to toddler bed…

Frozen is the New Dumbo

…for me. In the tears department.

Let me begin with an illustration. Justin is putting a new door handle on the front door, the kids are running in circles “trying to catch Elsa,” and I’m on the couch trying to read Jane Eyre but being distracted by the movie on screen. Half an hour earlier, I tried to sing “Let it Go” along with Elsa and Miryam, but tears were rising to my eyes and I couldn’t get the lyrics out. And now, I have a lump in my throat again watching the reprise of “First Time in Forever;” it’s over…

I’ll have the routine, please.

I began the thoughts on this post the last time I took a 10-day road trip with the kids. It’s now the second time in four months that I’m doing so, and I’m pondering the same thoughts again.

It starts like this.

I want to go see new places, visit my people, have fun experiences, leave room in the plan for spontaneity, and live in the moment. Including for and with my kids.

But I also want to keep the routine.

Why are kids so dependent upon routine? One would think that if a kid is tired, and it’s dark outside…

Love Languages

If you haven’t read this book yet, and you are married, engaged, dating, or ever hope to be in a meaningful relationship, I highly recommend that you move this book to the top of your “to read” list, now. Your library probably has a copy. There might be a waiting list; it is worth the wait. Here it is:

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I had vaguely heard of this before, but I first got familiar with the concepts during a couples retreat Justin and I went to during our engagement. There was a presentation, we took the quiz, and…

Miryamisms (age 3)

My girl, Miryam, turned four earlier this week! So, here’s a fun little compilation of some of the hilarious and thought-provoking things she uttered as a three-year-old. (The ones I remembered to write down at the time, anyway.)

As a side note, if you have a child close to you in your life, I highly recommend keeping a running google doc or “Note”–something you can access from your phone at a moment’s notice–to jot down the funny and profound things they say, right away. I can usually remember the gist later, but…

Canisters

(Why I love them and why I hate it when my kids touch them.)

Canisters. A humble fixture of the pantry—or the counter top or baker’s rack, depending on your setup.

I like using them for a few reasons. First of all, they’re more air-tight and easier to track how much is left inside than a folded-over bag. It’s easier to measure flour, with a light hand and without making a mess, from a canister than from a paper sack. I buy dried rice and beans from the bulk section at Sprouts, but I prefer…

Toddlers and Time Zones

A week or so ago, we took a family trip to San Diego, CA. My dad always said that when you take the kids with you, you really can’t call it a “vacation.” I’ve only had kids for about four years, but so far, I tend to agree with him.

We still have lots of fun on our family “trips,” don’t get me wrong. At the end, I still think it’s worth it. But I’m usually exhausted, rather than refreshed; and relieved, rather than reluctant, to get back to my own house and routine. Specifically, the kids’ routine.

I forgot about timezones until the day we were leaving…

I’ll take my coffee standing up.

Like the Italians—and the seasoned or well-read tourists—in Italy, I’ve found it’s simply more economical.

This morning, after everyone had had breakfast and was dressed, I made myself a cup of decaf coffee in the Keurig—nothing fancy, although there was a bit of heavy cream left to use instead of half and half. Hoping full tummies would help the kids stay occupied for a while without me, I sat down on the couch, coffee in hand, and opened my breviary to the morning prayers for today. I made it a few sips of hot coffee and one psalm in before being interrupted…

Advent Self-Care

This afternoon, my kids are snuggled up in their beds, with their daddy home to keep them safe, while I am in a random chair at the closest local coffee shop we’ve found, sipping water. (I finished my chai latte 15 minutes ago.) The playlist here is a combination of Christmas music and the Eagles. I’m working on a homemade gift for my sister. I finished a podcast episode a few minutes ago. I can hear tidbits of conversation from the other coffee drinkers and the baristas. The windows are oriented just right, here, for plenty of non-direct sunlight…

Bowmp Bowmp

Kids have entertaining misunderstandings of song titles and lyrics. Recently, mine have both been asking for “Bowmp Bowmp” on repeat. What they mean is “Second Hand News” by Fleetwood Mac. Go listen to the song if you don’t know it—they have a legitimate basis for their nickname on this one.

The song is one of my own favorites—so catchy, so fun to harmonize!—so I don’t mind pressing the back button as the music starts fading and Luke shouts out from his car seat, “Again! Bowmp bowmp! Loud!”