haul them all before heaven

Farewell, 2016 . . . I can’t say I will miss you!

Well, that is perhaps an unfair assessment of the year. The first eight months brought us many good things. However, since September our life has either been mind-numbing survival mode or sluggish recovery from said survival mode, which makes me hard-pressed to recall what came before. My body is tired. My spirit is tired. I am ready for something new.

A new and quieter season after the galloping pace of the holidays.

A renewed sense of peace as we settle back into the various roles to which God calls us.

A new year of marriage beginning on January 2, celebrating how far our love has come and anticipating how far it has yet to go.

New and welcome changes to our home, from built-in bookshelves to the girls’ cozy pink room to a hopeful kitchen renovation in the fall.

And a new little brother scooting onto the scene this spring. (Ellie firmly believes that our babies “just pop right out” of my belly: may she have the gift of prophecy, from this child forth and forevermore, amen.)

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ponderings from the couch, part 2: above myself

Thanksgiving lately passed us by on the calendar. Of course, for God’s people the season for thanksgiving is always.

When I take time to consider God’s blessings, I can list plenty, so many they surprise me. I wouldn’t be so surprised if I paid closer attention. I have to confess that regular thanksgiving is not a strength for me. God’s goodness fades into the normal structure of my day, hidden among all the things that seem to “just happen,” like sunrises and stinky diapers. Because His gifts are so abundant I take them as a given . . . but when I slide life under a more discerning lens, I suddenly perceive His work.

Notably, withdrawing from social media/the internet in general tends to clear up my mind. I love my online world but it certainly spills out of its boundaries with alarming ease; all the digital fuzz gets to be blurring for this tired mommy brain. When I move the internet to the back of the line, I can more easily see what is truly going on with me and Jesus.

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ponderings from the couch, part 1: because I’m His

Hello! I am alive! Indeed, I am resurrected. If you too have experienced Super Bad Morning Sickness, you’ll understand when I say that moving into the second trimester can feel like emerging from the grave.

Yes, we are having another baby. That will be a good thing, such a good thing, but I confess, with this pregnancy it took me a long time to arrive at that conclusion.

Overall I am one of those annoying women who loves being pregnant. It makes me happy: I feel strong and capable and needed. I think I look awesome with a baby bump. I have natural births and write overly detailed birth stories and am really into marveling at the magic of life and embracing the power of the female body and crap like that (I even encapsulated my placenta last time, for Pete’s sake). I dream of becoming a doula someday.

However, the first couple months of this pregnancy knocked me to the flooooor. Repeatedly.

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an imaginative push.

Last week I told Jared that one of my main projects, for the foreseeable future, was to encourage the girls to play together happily.

I needed them to play, not putz around and get into trouble. They had to play together, and stop demanding that Mommy come draw them a picture, finish the block tower, or build a nest out of blankets. They had to do it happily, instead of the shouting competition they usually lapsed into. In short: how do I get my daughters to occupy each other, without needing an event organizer or a referee, for at least twenty minutes?

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thought salad.

Nothing worth its own post, so I tossed it all together.

being good

My children typically take turns being difficult. If Zoe is teething, Ellie is charming. If Ellie is defiant, Zoe is angelic. But this week they decided to gang up on me, and it’s as delightful as you can imagine. This morning, Zoe wailed about everything that happened. Ellie stomped around shouting things like “I’m in charge!” and “No, you stop talking!” They shoved each other while playing, screamed when they couldn’t find their water bottles, and seemed to find my every decision objectionable.

Heavens. Motherhood is quite invigorating.

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with an altered perspective.

Having been a SAHM  full time mom  jobless homemaker  mother since the summer of 2012 (if you count from the beginning of my pregnancy with Ellie… which I do) I have had children up in my face so long that my maternal vision can tend to blur. They are darling children! Beloved children! But children who delight in spreading themselves all over me, both literally and figuratively. “Look at me, mom. Cuddle with me under this heavy blanket, mom. Answer my question, mom. Don’t think about anything except me, mom!”

And so my observational lenses grow scratched from overuse. I see my daughters, but I don’t truly notice them. Or I see the same small quadrant over and over again, and grow quite weary thereof.

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things to read while you’re waiting for the curling iron to heat up.

From The Atlantic, The Case Against High School Sports.”

As states and districts continue to slash education budgets, as more kids play on traveling teams outside of school, and as the globalized economy demands that children learn higher-order skills so they can compete down the line, it’s worth reevaluating the American sporting tradition. If sports were not central to the mission of American high schools, then what would be?

From TGC, “Reading Augustine in an Election Year.”

Election years tend to incite fevered reactions because it seems as though everything is at stake. There’s much at stake, to be sure, but we should put it in a trillion-year perspective that can allow us not to panic. No one and nothing will take our country away from us—if we define correctly what we mean ultimately when we say “country” and what we mean when we say “us.” Our temptation to fear and rage should remind us that we should be seeking to cultivate the sort of love that binds us to our ultimate tribe and calls us to our ultimate home.

From The New Yorker, The Transgender Bathroom Debate and the Looming Title IX Crisis.” (In other words, the inevitable explosion that occurs when you start relabeling reality.)

The discomfort that some people . . feel at the idea of being in rest rooms with people with male sex organs, whatever their gender, is not easy to brush aside as bigotry. But having, in the past several years, directed the public toward heightened anxiety about campus sexual assault, the federal government now says that to carry that discomfort into bathrooms is illegitimate because it is discrimination. The sense that the Education Department has not looked down the road to consider the conflict is only confirmed by its penchant for announcing bold and controversial rules in letters, rather than through lawful processes.

From Buzzfeed, “The Hot Air Millionaires: How Drybar Plans to Blow Away the Competition.” I found this fascinating. Look, I don’t even pay $40 for my bimonthly haircut… but I love a luxurious experience as much as the next woman, and if you can afford professional blowouts, by all means, you should enjoy the shizz out of them.

Just for fun: Disney comes to Netflix, historically inspired perfumes (including one inspired by Beatrix Potter! what!!), and an interoffice Post-It war.

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