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When You Hate to Disappoint People
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  It’s true that when following the principles of healthy boundaries, you will disappoint people. And you will say no to things you used to say yes to.  And certain people won’t like that. At all. All of that is true. And all of that is worth it. My kids have this Kool-Aid stuff they love. It comes in a tiny bottle and it’s...

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Dry
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Dry

Jan 17, 2018 by

Everyone is dry. I smear colorless, scent-less Aquaphor under Susanna’s nose, above and below my own lips, on the bumpy red splotches of Isaac’s eczema behind his knees. Lotion, chap stick, hand cream, coconut oil… the same heat that makes our homes cozy dries out our fragile bodies. Spiritually, I feel dry, too.  Two Sundays of illness without the benefit of listening to the...

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This is Us
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This is Us

Dec 29, 2017 by

Ben and Isaac play a raucous game of Spider-Man UNO by the bird cage while Susanna smiles secretively at Daniel Tiger on the tv, who is singing about what to do when you feeling jealous. Daniel Tiger asks, “Do you ever feel jealous?” And Susanna answers emphatically, YES!  She looks at me and giggles. I felt the sting of jealousy myself the other day...

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A Dood Day
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A Dood Day

Dec 5, 2017 by

I hear the wind whistling restlessly at my window, and it matches my own restless, anxious spirit. The more the Christmas season amps up, the more I crave simplicity. Simple recipes, simple decorations, simple schedule.   At the end of a very long day full of many cares, worries, and frustrations, I flop down on my bed and Susanna joins me, wanting to tell...

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Brain Soup
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Brain Soup

Oct 3, 2017 by

Isaac stands by me trying to tell me about his newest Lego creature. Susanna competes with his volume as she loudly proclaims her disappointment in my channel choice–the news. It’s Saturday morning: I try to catch bites of the outside, adult world. Donald Trump: “I think out of all my good qualities, my temperament is my best quality.” Susanna: I want to watch Daniel...

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This is Our Great Love Story
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Tim and I have reached the age where a browse through Facebook might mean updating each other on whose is the latest marriage to dissolve.   I don’t say that to shame anyone, but it’s simply true that in our mid-thirties, we begin to see the marriages collapse around us. I think on this as I am vacuuming bird seed from the carpet in...

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Summer Setting
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Summer Setting

Aug 3, 2017 by

The sun is setting on summer.  The kids start school August 10, and I start August 16. Last year, I was eager for a fresh start in teaching.  It was a great year and I am thankful for it, but this year, I am holding onto the last shreds of summer a little tighter.  I feel we have made the most of it, but...

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An Open Letter to You on My Birthday
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Sometimes in life it feels like we are all running frantically on hamster wheels, lined up in a row, shouting hey to each other occasionally, or stopping for a few seconds of weekend, then back up and going, going, going. It’s easy to stay on our self-contained hamster-wheel-lives, but when someone steps off their wheel to touch my life, that connection sparks light, love,...

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The Circle of Life
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I realize that my title conjures up images of a monkey holding up a baby lion before an ecstatic crowd of animals. But I simply can’t think of anything more apt than a circle of life as I reflect on the past couple days. I’ve been trying to be present with my parents as they care for my grandpa, who is going on hospice...

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Mental Health May
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She just disappeared from school one day.  She had always been quiet in class, but her absence spoke loudly to me. She wasn’t someone I would have been concerned about struggling with emotions.   But I should have been concerned. But it’s the quiet ones you have to watch. And the ones who smile every day. And the ones who act normal. And the...

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Chasing Down Grateful
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It’s that time of year. Students are grumpy and unmotivated. Teachers are tired of students’ annoying behaviors that have been going on all.year.long. Last week, I had spent some time planning a class activity I thought the students would enjoy. Tim helped me think through it. As we discussed it later and the lack of enthusiasm, he said, “Man, I really thought they would...

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Blooming
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Blooming

Apr 9, 2017 by

Abby blooms up before me like a lily, talking like a miniature adult,  sponging up everything I say, asking me why and what’s that mean? All this as I look every night in the mirror to see more wrinkles, just a touch of silver at the hairline. Her moon waxes as mine begins to wane; she’ll tower over me before long. Ben comes to...

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Given
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Given

Nov 22, 2016 by

I wake up Sunday morning to a bed boiling over with children. Abby is curled up beside me, Isaac down by my feet, and Susanna up by my head. Tim’s spot, vacated over an hour ago in order to allow quiet prep time at church, has been triply filled. If I draw a bath, children try to climb in with me. If I get...

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Miss Bossy-Pants
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She starts as soon as she gets up. First she picks out her own (seasonally inappropriate) outfit to wear, then she picks out her brothers’ clothes down to the underwear.  This is unappreciated and she comes to me pouting, “Isaac don’t want to wear dese clothes I got.” From her bath, she yells out into the hallway that she doesn’t want toast with her...

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All the Little Pieces
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When I started this blog, it was with an aim to celebrate the ordinary moments that make family life golden.  The title “Little Pieces of Ordinary” meant examining the tiny pieces that make up the beauty of the mosaic.  Anyone who has a family knows about the annoying moments, which are legion, but I wanted to focus on the sacredly funny and sweet moments,...

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Fresh Start
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Fresh Start

Jul 20, 2016 by

Yesterday, I dragged our coffee table and end table outside and gave them each a fresh coat of white paint. With each stroke of the brush, I simply painted over the marks, scratches, and blemishes of the previous year. It was wonderfully therapeutic. I’m ready for a new school year. That first clean piece of notebook paper. A new pencil with an untouched eraser....

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