Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Happenings Post #314 (April 6-12)-- Warming Up and (More) Packing Up

This past week was such a mix. We had some beautiful days but it was mostly rainy/cloudy. I felt like we made a lot of process towards the move, but I also felt really exhausted and stressed and just worn out and ready to be home.

Monday was a really good day. Peyton had to work the afternoon, but we made the most of the morning. We all got up around eight and got ready and met our friend Adam for brunch. After brunch, we walked to Prospect Park and talked a bit more while the kids played. We made it home just in time for Peyton to go to work and Annie was so upset because she wanted it to be "an outside day". I did feel bad because it was BEAUTIFUL and it was supposed to rain the whole rest of the week. I ended up feeding them lunch and taking them to Fort Greene park.
{Earmuffs for language} Signs your sun drenched stroll is occurring in Brooklyn: there's a dead rat in the middle of the sidewalk and a guy on the corner is yelling at people to "stop sucking the white man's dick". Totally worth it for two blissed out babes and a trip to the park that didn't involve snow. But don't think I'm not extolling the virtue of a backyard in the burds. 

We stopped by Walgreens on the way home and I bought a few snacks for myself. The kids had rest time and I ate my lunch, got on the computer, and laid down a bit since I had been up so late the night before. Annie played with Graves some and they had a bit longer naptime than usual. When they got up, I played with them a little and then did two math lessons with AP. I fixed them supper and bathed them and read to them and it was past ten by the time I got them to bed. Peyton got home and we talked and ate supper and then I got on the computer and did a few things.
Graves was here. Annie said "I was able to make sure he didn't get my panties, but I couldn't catch him before he snuck away and got his underwear. (He threw them all in a tub full of water. Ha!)

Peyton was off on Tuesday and we had a great day even though it was cold and rainy. We had a low key morning and then all got ready and dropped some books off at the library. We went back to Prospect Park and let the kids play and run around. We stopped for Mexican on the way home and the kids had a really late rest time. Graves fell asleep and Peyton decided we should just let him sleep. He woke up at like seven something. I did math with Annie and started some laundry. By the time we got them to bed it was AFTER ten. I called Minnie and got my laundry and we ate supper and watched TV while I folded. I got on the computer and wrote a post and then did my Bible study and devotion.

Peyton was off and we stayed home all day on Wednesday. Well, Peyton got up and tried to go get a NYC ID. The kids had breakfast and watched their shows and then I took my bath. I scooped liter and found a nasty spill under the kitchen sink that I cleaned up. I folded up the couch and ate breakfast and got on the computer. I started packing and Peyton got home. He played with the kids while I worked some more. I did laundry and ate lunch and returned some make up to Walgreens while the kids had rest time. When I got back, I got my laundry and we boxed up more stuff and labeled the boxes and I folded laundry. Graves took a bath and I did math with Annie.
With the exception of one lesson that requires an already packed measuring cup set, we finished math this week. And just like that Kindergarten (Round 1) is in the books. (We finished English months ago.) Educating Annie this year has been one of the most interesting, fulfilling, and joyful things I've done in my mothering jorney so far. Here's to a great year at the Schoolhouse in the City, a little respite, and the excited anticipation of first grade at the Schoolhouse in the Suburbs. 

The kids ate and Peyton played with them. I had a bad headache. We ate supper and watched Parks and Rec. I sent an email and went to bed.
I've mentioned it a bit on here, but a few weeks ago we got an eviction notice (it's kind of complicated but we never went before the co-op board for approval- somthing Peyton had no idea we were supposed to do when he signed the lease and something our landlady didn't tell us- so we have been illegal renters). Peyton talked to the lawyer and since we're moving at the end of the month, we're fine. Also, the kitties recently started teeteeing in the laundry and on Wednesday one of them did it in a car seat. The cat thing is super frustrating, but minor, even if I do feel like I'm about to lose my mind. It just makes me feel really DONE. But the eviction could have been a HUGE bump in the road had it happened earlier. I talk a lot about how I've seen the Lord's provision so much this year and here at the end it's even more ovbious that His hand has been all over this. 

Peyton worked the full day on Thursday and it was a good day. I think it was the only day I didn't have a headache the whole day. Anyway, the kids got up and had breakfast and watched their shows. Then I got my bath and emailed a friend and straightened a bit. I made a list for the day and read my devotion and had my breakfast. I played with the kids and we read and did their devotion and then had lunch. We read some more and it was rest time (it was actually pretty late). I got on the computer and read some blogs, had my lunch, and laid down for a bit. Annie did the iPad with Graves part of the time and they did really well. When they got up, they played and colored and I packed several boxes (some of the last dishes, a few more clothes of mine, and some homeschool stuff we had just finished with). I fixed them supper and had to unpack a box looking for batteries. They had a bath and I worked on a blog post and straightened some and cleaned up their table. I got them to bed and Peyton got home. We talked and planned our last two weeks here some and I put pictures on Facebook. I went to bed earlier than usual.

Peyton worked all day again on Friday and I had a bad headache all day. I let the kids watch an extra show and then they had breakfast and I did my regular morning stuff. I played with them and read to them some and then we had lunch and Graves rested.
Annie was so sad when we finished up the massive section on birds. (Honestly, I was pretty relieved.) She told me that she just loved birds and how beautiful they are (she's very observant of real ones in nature, too) and that maybe we could get a book about just birds next because they are one of her favorite creatures. Bless her heart. A few pages after the end of the bird section, we got to this one. She stopped me mid page and asked if we could save reading about the warblers until the next day. [This is also a relatively recent peculiar quirk- she also loves to save parts of her lunch. Most every day I put a place with a small slice of cheese, a fourth of a sandwich, or some plantain chips in the fridge and add her dinner to it. She will ALWAYS only eat half an Oreo and save the rest. Wish I had her self control!]

 I emailed a friend and ate my lunch. I tried to rest a bit but my mind was in high gear, so I packed  up some boxes and when the kids got up I did dishes while they crafted. I fixed them supper and then got them to bed. The day felt so long. I laid down a bit and Peyton got home. I read a few blogs and went to bed but I couldn't fall asleep right away.

Saturday was sort of tough (moving is no joke and moving without Mick and Minnie is ROUGH) but a lot better. The kids slept late and I woke up feeling really good. They watched their shows and had breakfast and I actually worked on boxing some things. Then they played in their room and I got my bath and did chores and got on the computer. We went to the playground and then came home and they ate lunch. I got sort of frustrated with Graves and I overheard Annie telling him "You know no matter what you do, Momma will NEVER ever stop loving you. I mean, she will NEVER". I was simultaneously so happy she knew that and so sad she felt like she needed to tell him. They played together during rest time and I uploaded some pictures to Facebook, backed up some on the harddrive, and wrote a post.
You know you have the best friends when...[As an aside, yes sometimes texts go to my email. Because my phone is an absolute POS that thinks it's from like 2005. BUT we pay like $40 a month and you jokers pay hundreds. And I still use my iPhone for FB, IG, ect. when I have WiFi and take all my pictures on it. Basically, I use for everything except using the phone. Some days I want to throw the Motorola out the window, but in five years, total financial independence will be worth it!]

I packed more boxes and did dishes and then they had supper. I cleaned out the toaster and they took a bath. I straightened and got them to bed and Peyton got home. We had take out and watched TV and then did more packing. I cleaned the microwave and we boxed and labeled a ton of stuff. We went to bed pretty late.

Sunday was pretty laid back. I've been going to the early service at Calvary, but they weren't having the Forum and I knew I didn't want to attempt TGC by myself with the week I'd had so we just had a relaxed day and went to the six o'clock at Calvary. Oh and it was this guy's birthday:

The kids got up around ten and had cake for breakfast and I actually did a few things like scrubbing the kitchen counter where the toaster was. They ate and then we snuggled and watched their shows. I got my bath, packed up some lamp shades, played with them, and got on the computer.

Needed this so bad today. I laughed so hard. But it also made me really ready for home. Ellis does the best impressions and his Peyton voice is spot on. He says "Sweetie" JUST like P. It's hysterical. I just want to see my best friend. 

They had lunch and then rest time and I did a bit more packing/organizing and wasted a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram. We got ready for church and headed into the city. The kids both had such a hard time and we ended up needing to help usher. When we weren't doing the collection (which was the ONE time they both behaved) I was literally sitting on the floor with them (it's a very casual service). After it was over, Peyton met us and we headed home. The kids ate and went to bed pretty quickly and Peyton and I relaxed and then set to work on more boxes.

The moving cubes come on Wednesday and I think I'll be really happy if we can just make it to then!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

I've got a few recent links to share. I added a couple of categories that could easily become regular fixtures- "on the funny" and "on the random". Neither truly make sense the way the others typically do, but I usually have some outlier posts that I can't fit into a topic, so I created these to see if it makes things any easier. 

On Faith:
Posted: 27 Mar 2015 12:27 PM PDT
"One of the most destructive mistakes we Christians make is to prioritize shared beliefs over shared relationship, which is deeply ironic considering we worship a God who would rather die than lose relationship with us."
Posted: 28 Mar 2015 11:48 AM PDT
"I was fascinated that very items scientists identify as increasing our level of happiness are the very things that God calls us to as followers of Christ.  As we fulfill the great command to love God and love others, our long-term relations and connections to other will naturally grow stronger and deeper (Matthew 27:37-39). When we keep our eyes on God in our workplace, we naturally find more meaning and satisfaction in our labor (Colossians 3:24). As we walk in greater levels of faith, hope, and love, we can't help but grow in optimism and a willingness to try new things (1 Corinthians 13:13). And those who give themselves fully to God will be filled with an inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8)."
Posted: 28 Mar 2015 11:35 AM PDT
"We remember Jesus' script flipping phrase, "You have heard it said, . . . but I say to you . . . ," and have appropriated its spirit of reform for our own time to wonder more imaginatively how what was a concern to our people-loving Jesus in first-century Palestine might translate as walking justly, loving mercy, and living humbly in our own radioactive days. Hear the good news of God's word. He calls us to become larger in love and in solidarity with the vulnerable, to participate in our most imaginative relief work."

On Relationships:
Posted: 27 Mar 2015 12:36 PM PDT
"My body's lack shows me my need to belong to a body who fills in the gaps. A body that cares for and belongs to each other. A body that breaks when I break and rejoices when I rejoice and feels need and provides."

On Parenting:
Posted: 27 Mar 2015 09:13 PM PDT
Y'all. This photographs will rip your heart out.

On Maturity:
Posted: 27 Mar 2015 09:03 PM PDT
"The pink was pretty and pregnant with meaning. It glows in my memory, but this red is so so good too. If you're in pink today? Enjoy every moment. Breathe in all the beauty of being fresh and brand new. It is the sweetest of seasons. But when your season of red comes? You're going to love it. I promise."
On Being Busy:
Posted: 28 Mar 2015 10:43 PM PDT
Guys. Guys! This is a real big deal. Some people like being busy. That's okay, I think, if it's not ruining your life. Other people feel the need to be busy because that's what our culture says is a good and important life. Here's the thing. Two kinds of (bad) busy: 1) busyness we can't control (e.g. you're living in poverty and need three jobs so yu family can eat) 2) busyness we can control (everyone else) So speaking to #2. So many times we want to be busy because a) we can't handle being alone with our thoughts and with our people and b) we are terrified of a life that looks unimportant and uninteresting That sucks and ultimately saps the joy right out of life. Be willing to say no! [If you want to. I said "yes" to a lot of things I shouldn't have for those reasons above. It took moving 1200 miles away, leaving my comfort zone, and completely restructuring my priorities to figure it out. Maybe just reading an article could help you :)]

On Race:
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 07:15 PM PDT
The first question I ask a white person hungry for justice is, "have you displaced yourself?"  And 98.9% of the time, the answer is no.  You will never speak the heart language of Black Americans if you haven't done much to get inside the shoes of what Black Americans live every single day.  And if you can't displace yourself online by reading black bloggers or at the library (or Kindle shop) by reading black authors or perspectives, what makes you think you will make any sort of real difference if you can't attend an all black Church for 4 weeks in a row or if you actively avoid going to the black grocery store or shopping in black neighborhoods?

On Story:
Posted: 28 Mar 2015 06:45 AM PDT
"People tell their story in different ways, but rarely with words. Sometimes it's how they carry themselves or the way they wear their hair. And sometimes it's the scar on their wrist or a frown or a smile on their face. The evidence is there. It's up to you and me to be attentive to the story they wear, and to invite them to tell it. It means being willing to watch for a story to emerge from unexpected places."

On How Much the Internet Knows About You:
Posted: 27 Mar 2015 08:30 PM PDT
"When we or our friends share stuff on their services, either publicly or privately, clever algorithms can derive a lot of of detailed knowledge from a small amount of information. Did you know that you're pregnant? Did you know that you're not considered intelligent? Did you know that your relationship is about to end? The algorithms know us better than our families and only need to know ten of our Facebook Likes before they know us better than our average work colleague."
On the Funny:
Posted: 28 Mar 2015 10:27 PM PDT
Posted: 28 Mar 2015 12:29 PM PDT
"He stopped, leaving my pants on. "You're not into this, I can tell," he said. "Do you want to make a pros and cons list? I have a legal pad around here somewhere." He scooted off the bed and looked in the top drawer of his dresser. I pushed myself onto my knees and peeked over his shoulder to see the contents and to assess whether, if need be, there would be enough room for me to eventually store some of my things in it. There was." This is so raunchy. But so hysterical.

Posted: 28 Mar 2015 12:19 PM PDT
"Math. Do math. Overcomplicate as much as possible with multiple plus signs. Have as many people holding numbers and plus signs in the photo as possible. Throw a minus in there too for fun—and to unintentionally make people speculate about tragedy—to really get people talking. 1+1+1+2-1+3-5+1+1+1=ALL THE FACEBOOK LIKES."
On the Random:
Posted: 28 Mar 2015 12:23 PM PDT
Cooking Cinemagraphs- cool to watch
Noteworthy Quotes from the Week:

We're very good at loving people 1000 miles away but not very good at loving people two feet from us." -Peter Scazzero

"The purpose of the church and of the sacraments is to give the world a glimpse of the kingdom, to point in its direction. When we put a kingdom-spin on ordinary things - water, wine, leadership, marriage, friendship, feasting, sickness, forgiveness - we see that they can be holy, they can point us to something greater than ourselves, a fantastic mystery that brings meaning to everything. We make something sacramental when we make it like the kingdom. Marriage is sacramental when it is characterized by mutual love and submission. A meal is sacramental when the rich and poor, powerful and marginalized, sinners and saints share equal status around the table. A local church is sacramental when it is a place where the last are first and the first are last and where those who hunger and thirst are filled. And the church universal is sacramental when it knows no geographic boundaries, no single political party, no one language or culture, and when it advances not through power and might, but through acts of love, joy, and peace and missions of mercy, kindness and humility......And even still, the kingdom remains a mystery just beyond our grasp. It is here, and not yet, present and still to come. Consummation, whatever that means, awaits us. Until then, all we have are metaphors. All we have are almosts and not quites and wayside shrines. All we have are imperfect people in an imperfect world doing their best to produce outward signs of inward grace and stumbling all along the way. All we have is this church - this lousy, screwed-up, glorious church - which, by God's grace, is enough." -Rachel Held Evans (from Searching for Sunday)

"Blessed indeed are 'those who have not seen, and yet have learned to believe!' Blessed are they who ask for no miracles, demand nothing out of the ordinary, but who find God’s message in everyday life.…Blessed are they who are quick to hear, humble, free-spirited – that is, free from daily anxieties. Blessed are they who are able to find God’s message in the gospel reading for the day, even if they have heard it a thousand times, or in a sermon with no message in particular, or in phrases with no charismatic power about them. Yes, blessed are those who can find God in the rhythm of the mundane: in work and rest, success, joy, in encounters that gladden the heart, but also in occasions for disappointment or sorrow. Blessed are those who can see the Lord in all things!" -Romano Guardini

"Toddlers, it doesn't matter if you're Christian or Jewish or celebrate Easter or Passover; the most important thing is that you bring shame to your family in a public setting today. Have fun. I love you." -Honest Toddler

"If we listen to only one side of a controversy, there will be no justice, but only favoritism towards the side we listen to and oppression and neglect towards the side we tune out. Only when both sides are genuinely, fully heard, even if they say contradictory things, can we work towards real justice for all people." -Owen Weddle
"Untrue: "In the cross we see that of which humanity is capable: self-transcendence in surrender to the Other." Richard John Neuhaus. If Good Friday were about self-transcendence it would be you on the cross, not Jesus in your place." -Josh Encinias
"Grace and mercy means what we do is important to God, but that we ourselves are still important to God when we don't do what is important." -Owen Weddle
Noteworthy Images from the Week:

 [Two people I respect and admire a great deal. Respecting each other and celebrating the Resurrection together.]


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Weekly Happenings Post #313 (March 30-April 5)-- Holy Week in the City, a Sick Boy, and a Birthday Girl

Last week was sort of strange. I had expected it to be really eventful with it being Annie's birthday and Holy Week. Obviously, there are lots of services at more liturgical churches (well, more than we're used to) and we wanted to take advantage. It ended up, though, with Graves getting sick. I didn't give the specifics on Instagram or Facebook, but it seems weird to talk about in a really detailed post and detail how we missed three church services and keep vaguely saying he was sick and dance around it.

Anyway, he just had a little issue with his penis hurting when he'd teetee. Like really hurting. And one night Peyton said there was a little blood in his teetee. We talked to Dr. Denney and he said that as long as he could walk and go to sleep and as long as he did keep teeteeing (which I mean he was going to...he was just going to have an accident if he tried to hold it!) not to worry. It was probably just some kind of scrap or abrasion and the urine stung it. We think that like he might have scratched it with his fingernail or something. He's fine this week but he's been telling us that he's "very afraid" to use the potty. He eventually ends up doing it and it doesn't hurt, but it takes some convincing and some patience. 

Peyton worked the early shift on Monday. The kids slept really late and when they got up I went ahead and started my computer stuff and worked on getting stuff on the calendar for Holy Week while they watched their shows and ate breakfast. I read a little, too. They also worked on coloring a thank you not to Peyton's aunt who sent them some money for Valentine's Day.

I got out this too small snow suit from last year to box up for the move. Graves immediately wanted to wear it. He loves to dress up in weird, random things. Also, he looks like such a baby to me here! 

 I uploaded some pictures and they played while I had breakfast, did chores, and took my bath. I played with them and we did morning school and then cleaned up their room. They ate lunch and I organized the pictures and then Graves had rest time. I ate my lunch pretty quickly and got on the computer and then started math with AP. Peyton got home and we finished up and then all got ready to go to a playground. It was still pretty cold, but better than it's been, so we stayed a long time. We came home and fixed the kids supper and got them ready for bed. I started some laundry and folded some that I had sitting around. I talked to Peyton's sister and got on the computer and sent an email. I went to bed earlier than usual.

Peyton worked again on Tuesday, but we had a good day. The kids got up and watched their shows and I fixed them breakfast. I took a bath, did chores around the apartment, got on the computer, and had my breakfast. I played with the kids and then we read and did morning school stuff. They had lunch and I did dishes and then read to them. Graves rested and I ate my lunch and read some blogs and recharged a bit. Graves got up and I did two reviews and two assessments with AP. It felt good to knock out four more math lessons.

Flapjack jams, too small Summer shoes, knight accessories, and snow boots dangling from each wrist: how Graves likes to play dress up. Also, notice the fair maiden in one of my lace nightgowns. Glad it's gettin' some action =)

We cleaned up their room and then I fixed them eggs and oatmeal for supper. They took a bath and I read a bunch. I got them to bed and Peyton got home. We ate and watched Parks and Recreation. I finished up a post and went to bed late.

We got up and got going on Wednesday. The auditor was coming over to look at the apartment, so we straightened and I took a bath. He was only here for a few minutes and afterwards we went to the storage unit and got EVERYTHING. Ugh. We finished up and had lunch (at like two) and Peyton left for work. I fixed the kids lunch and read to them and then they had rest time. I got on the computer and rested a bit myself. We got up and did math (good grief- division!) and then we picked up toys in the children's room and I fixed them supper. I had a headache all night and they were so crazy after I read to them and put them to bed. They were driving me nuts. I g-chatted with Mallory and worked on a blog post.

Annie, right before he fell asleep: "Graves decided he wanted to play in his bed and he let me play with him. Then I realized we needed some rest. He said I could stay and sleep beside him". (Then he started snoring and she left for her bed- she's so not a snuggler.)

Peyton got home and we talked and I finished the post and wrote an email. I went to bed late.

We all slept in on Thursday. It was Annie's birthday! We had a pretty simple day, but she enjoyed it. We got ready and then Peyton and I boxed stuff around the house a bit. Minnie called to wish AP a happy birthday and we headed to the park. We did bubbles and had lollipops.

SIX! And I can't think of a better birthday present for her than the first coatless day since October.

Celebrating six! 

One of his favorite activities in the whole world.

An enlarged outtake.  I don't think she's ever looked more like a Herrington than she does at six. I know we've been saying from day one that she's her papa's twinkie, but it's even more obvious these days. Actually, in my opinion, she looks just like a six year old version of Peyton's sister. I also see my precious father in law a bit in her sweet face. The funny thing is- and I say this often- while she resembles Peyton and Graves looks more like me- the parallels are the exact opposite with their personalities. My favorite example from this morning: she was telling me about a costume and she said she didn't like to put on part of it by herself. She said "One is because it's hard for me to reach the back and two is because the velcro pulls my hair". I told her I loved when she gave me more than one reason because it showed she was really thinking. She said "oh, what are some ones not from today?". This is so funny to me. Carrie teases me all the time because any time she says something about her own personality, a tendency of mine, a characteristic of one of her children, or really an other general reflection or observation she makes she knows I'll demand an example. Bet she'll get home and annoy Aubrey to death. LOLOLOL.

We came back home and a security guard we loved needed Peyton to walk with him to the bank to help him out with something (he wasn't an account holder there and we are). Well, a small piece of Graves's sucker broke and he lost it in the courtyard where we were hanging out waiting for Peyton. Right then, a friend from here called about getting together. I calmed him down and we went inside. Peyton got back and the kids took a bath. We really boxed a lot more and then Peyton picked up a pizza- Annie's birthday supper request. We ate and Graves wanted to go to bed. We were heading to church to "keep watch" for our hour at midnight, but he needed the rest. We boxed some more and got ready around ten thirty to leave. We made it to the church and it was the coolest thing- unlike anything I've ever done before. I wrote more about it earlier this week.

We left the church around one in the morning and Peyton stopped to buy fruit on the way home. We got home well after two and got the kids to bed and went to bed ourselves.

Peyton was off again on Friday. He and Graves got up around ten and AP and I slept until almost noon. Once we got up, I ate something and took a bath and then I started laundry and we packed some. I wasn't as productive as I could have been, but I knocked some stuff out.

We got everything out of the storage unit in the basement. Including some costumes we brought with us that were too small when we got here but that the kids loved so much I didn't want to leave. Annie in 18-24 mo. "Ellie" and Graves in 6-12 mo. "Hungry". I asked AP if it was a little uncomfortable and she said "oh, it still fits okay...even though I'm six". Haha. Love my tiny munchkins.

We were all going to get ready for church that afternoon but Graves seemed so tired and then had a huge teetee accident. We decided he was just exhausted and AP and I would just go and leave the boys at home. Since at that point I thought we would have two more services to go to, I had told her that she could decide if she wanted to go. She got dressed, but at the last minute decided not to. I left by myself and read on the train. It was a beautiful service and Peyton had told me to pick up dinner for myself.

 I was on the train when I saw I had a text from him: "Dr. Denney's number STAT". I panicked. Fortunately, it wasn't anything huge. Graves was sobbing when he teeteed and there was a little blood and Peyton thought he might have an infection. I got home and we called sweet Dr. Denney (after I realized I had lost his home phone number and called Sue).

This is hilarious and took SO much self control for me to not put on Facebook (#churchladiesbewatchin) but the kids like to have their window open now that it's not frigid (they have bars, of course) and Graves saw me walking up in the courtyard and YELLS down to me "You coming home now? Come look at my penis, Momma. It was all bloody!". 

We got the kids settled and I did get take out and finished drying my laundry. Poor Graves had a hard time getting to sleep and kept crying.

I folded ALL the laundry and finished a blog post and sent an email. We went to bed pretty late.

The kids slept late on Saturday and we had a lazy morning. Peyton had to work. Graves was still having problems at the potty, but he seemed to be a little better. I did my morning chores and got on the computer and took my bath and then the kids and I spent a couple of hours sorting and packing up toys. They had lunch and then Graves had rest time. I packed a little more, had my lunch, and looked for a blog design and quote of the month. I rested a bit and then the kids got up. I played with them some, packed more boxes, and fixed them supper.

Annie's naptime craft for the afternoon. I told her she could decorate the cross however she wanted. Makes me want to cry.

I had thought we might try to make the service that night, but I knew Graves wasn't really up to it. It was clear we were going to miss Easter too, most likely. Then our friend from Long Island called abut making plans and Peyton called from Target and was sort of frustrated with me and I ended up in tears. Peyton got home and talked to the kids and I made soup for us to eat and got the kids to bed while he chilled out. We talked and I worked on my blog header and post. We ate supper and watched TV and then labeled some boxes. I almost finished my post and went to bed.

The thing about the Easter service is that I knew I couldn't send Graves to Sunday School and the bathroom is RIGHT outside the sanctuary so I knew if I had to take him and he was in a lot of pain and crying it would disrupt the whole service. So we didn't go on Sunday. On Easter Sunday. On our only Easter Sunday here with a church we love so much. I was really, really sad but also joyful because I decided to focus on the big picture of the Resurrection.

I have a Savior who reigns victorious not only over small infections, but over DEATH itself. He is Risen!

 We had a very low key morning and the kids played a lot. Graves was pretty grumpy. I ate my breakfast and checked my email and then took a bath. The kids ate lunch and I packed up some more boxes. Graves rested, I got on the computer and ate lunch and rested a little myself. Such a typical day. When he got up we played and I worked on packing and kid "Easter eggs" AP had made out of paper. They both did some cutting and crafting. I fed them and got them ready for bed. I read to them and then Peyton got home. Graves had refused to clean up his mess from crafting and I told him that he'd have to clean it up before he could play with Peyton. Sure enough, Peyton got home, started playing with Annie, and he cleaned it up in about five seconds. The kids went to bed and I got on the computer a bit and then we did a good bit of packing after we ate supper. We chatted and I did a bunch of dishes and went to bed late.

I'm thankful that Graves is better and that we had a couple of days at the begining of the week with Peyton off. Today was the first day in a long stretch. He's working every day until Wednesday when we load the moving cubes. From there, it's basically just enjoying the city. I know I will feel better when Wednesday comes and goes and we are basically moved out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Holy Week: Keeping Watch, Chimes and Sirens, and Craft Crosses with the Crucified Lord Scribbled on Them

I'll share more details in my Weekly Happenings post tomorrow, but our Easter in the city didn't really go as planned. Truth be told, I was really heartbroken not to get to spend it at a church that's just rejuvinated and refreshed me so many times and with people who are the closest thing to family here. BUT I have much to rejoice over. Most specifically, I have a Savior who reigns victorious not only over small infections, but over DEATH itself. 

And, we did have some beautiful moments celebrating Holy Week. In the past, I've tried to rush those hard days and just hurry Easter up. But last week was truly special. 

On Thursday we went to church at midnight to keep watch for an hour. It was interesting and beautiful and unlike anything I've ever done.

Jake was signed up for our hour (different people sign up for different watches to pray for an hour at the church) and so he walked us through everything, explaining that the small room we were in represented Gethsemane and also that it was the room where the columbarium is located and in that way it represents how death is inevitable, but as Christians we need not fear it.

We alternated taking turns reading a section of Psalms (throughout the night the entire book would be read aloud by parishioners and priests) and Graves slept through most of that. He and Peyton and Annie and I were all sitting on a little bench- Graves sort of laid out with his head drooping into Peyton's lap and Annie in my lap, sitting upright but nodding off. It was a beautiful picture of my little family.

After the Psalms, Graves stirred and Jake went to get a cushion from a pew and laid two on the floor for the children to rest on. In that dark room, in that ancient church, I felt like I was in another time. The first century maybe. We began to pray for our church, our persecuted brothers, our government, and other things. Graves fully awoke and both the children prayed too. They did so well and seemed to understand, on some level, how solemn the occasion was.

Finally, Graves did get a little antsy and Peyton laid down right beside him on the cold hard floor. Another picture I wanted to memorize to hold forever. We prayed generally and I thanked the Lord for all the precious years we've celebrated with sweet Annie and all the ways he's used her in our lives. Then we prayed for each other and that was very powerful.

We left around one and it was one of the most beautiful hours I've spent in the city. One I'll treasure forever.

 I love being part of a church that's unafraid to meet in the middle of the night on important days and to remember in a powerful way and I love bring part of a church that ain't scared to make a place for it's tiniest parishioners when Holy Week makes bedtimes slightly irrelevant.

Graves was feeling bad and Peyton ended up keeping the kids on Friday and I went to the service by myself. 

As the chimes were sounding I heard a loud siren behind me on Park Avenue. A symbolism of Law and Gospel right there and I don't know if I've ever felt it in such deep places. Tears filled my eyes and all I could think is how thankful I was for the first Good Friday. And then I thought how thankful I was for Calvary-Saint George's and the countless ways God had used this body to draw me closer to the foot of the cross- not just today, but this whole past year. Guess that's what happens when your church's "agenda" is preaching Christ and Him crucified.

Saturday and Sunday were, in many ways, ordinary days at home with the children. Peyton worked and I packed some boxes and fixed sandwiches and broke up fights. 

I had these little crosses and for Annie's rest time craft I told her she could decorate one anyway she liked. I was surprised (in the best heart aching way) when I say what, or rather whom, she chose to put on it. 

As we near the end here, I have a lot I feel like I need to write out, but I wanted to share about our special week while the memories were still fresh. I am so thankful this year for the many ways the Lord has provided for us and most of all for his great Love and Grace.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April Happenings and Goals

I actually LOVE this design and it was one I've looked at before and not really liked. And I LOVE the header, but I hate that the quote turned out so blurry when I uploaded it. I think it's just too small. Anyway, I'm glad I got one more header with warm sunshine-y pictures in NYC (although three out of the five were taken on the same day and the other two are indoors). I took the cross picture today and I just cry every time I look at it.

March was nice. We spent a lot of time inside, once again. We had some really fun moments here in the apartment and we enjoyed some of our museum memberships. The highlight was a visit from Cookie and Con, though!

April is just truly bittersweet and there's no other way to describe it. On the last day of the month we'll be moving home. I need to write a whole processing post, but in the meantime, we have some fun things planned:
- Holy Week has come and gone. Because Graves had a little infection, it wasn't exactly what I planned, but the most important things were still true, of course.
- We're planning to really make use of our Museum of Natural History membership (it's the last one we bought, so it's the last one to expire).
- We're celebrating both kids' birthdays. We did a little something special for AP on her day and unfortunately Peyton's working on Graves's. I think we'll pick a day to celebrate him and when we get home, we may throw them both a simple little party.
- We're loading up the moving cubes on the 15th and after that Peyton is off work until he starts back in Mississippi.
- So we'll have two full weeks to enjoy the city. We have a little list of things we haven't hit yet, but I need to modify it a bit.
- One thing we've been telling AP we'll do is spend a day (or part of one) riding ALL the trains that go above ground. She thinks that's so cool, and to be honest, I do too. I love seeing different neighborhoods and feeling the different vibes so I may insist we get out and walk around some since we'll be trecking all over the boroughs.
- Another thing I have up my sleeve is a plan to visit some playgrounds we've never tried. Again, I'm a nerd and *I* like visiting interesting and different playgrounds, so that will be fun for all of us. I even found this resource for "destination playgrounds" in each borough and I'm going to sit down and look through them all before we visit any.
- We're planning to go visit our friends in Long Island one more time before we leave.
- And if that's not enough, Mockingbird is this month! It truly changed my life last year (not an exaggeration) and I'm so thrilled that we'll be able to make it again this year.

Here were March's goals:

1. Establish patterns of prayer. I did this somewhat. It's pretty simple, actually. Mainly I'm just trying to pray at the beginning of times when there are natural pauses in my day- in the morning when the kids play independently and I do chores and check in on the computer and get ready for the day, in the afternoon at naptime, and then when they go to their rooms for the night. (Faith)

2. Pray for Peyton and the children every day in more meaningful ways. I've been trying to do this more. I haven't really thought of an "prompts" (like praying for Peyton when I put on my wedding ring) but I have been working on praying more specifically and passionately for them. (Family)

3. Plan a few fun things to do while Cookie and Conrad are in the city. We definitely did this and had a great time. We went to two museums, the library, Prospect Park (briefly), and a handful of restaurants. And they weren't even here for forty eight hours! (Relationships)

4. Meal plan each week and get back in business with weekly food challengesI dropped the ball on this miserably. Peyton and I both agreed once we started packing things up that we just need to do basic dinners and eat through the staples we have on hand. (Health)

5. Finish the book I'm reading with Peyton and start and read One Writer's Beginnings with Mallory. Peyton and I also both decided not to finish the book we were reading and pick it back up later so we could focus on some specific things we've been wanting to read from the library. But I start and finish the book with Mal. (Education/Edification)

6. Make a trip to Ikea and do not spend money on anything "extra" this whole month. Almost. I ended up ordering a duvet cover for our bed (that we really don't need) but was literally ten dollars with the family discount because it was on clearance. They didn't have it in the store and so it was another ten dollars to have it shipped, but I feel like it was still such a great deal. (Finances) 

7. Most nights, be off the computer by eleven (twelve at the latest). I actually did better about this in February than I did in March. I'm not sure why it kept catching up with me and I did get off early a lot of nights but not every one and not even almost every one. (Simplicity)

8. Tell the children and Peyton, regularly, specific things about them that I am thankful for. I did work hard on this and I don't know how much it mean to them or if they even noticed (I don't think they did, but it can't hurt to have those little affirmations tucked into their subconscious and the point wasn't to draw attention to it) but it made ME feel great. I really think I enjoy life more when I'm encouraging other people. (Joy/Gratitude)

9. Figure out what we're doing about our floors in Mississippi. We've been working on it but we haven't made a concrete decision and I'm trying to make peace with it possibly not being done the minute we get home. (Additional Goal)

10. Figure out (extra) curriculum for next year. I thought some about this and sent Peyton some links for some science stuff (he's our resident science instructor) and I'm considering doing some sort of app or videos just to introduce a foreign language (likely Spanish). There are four or five supplementary things I think I want to do and I'm going to post on my homescool blog about them at some point (probably after the move, though.) (Additional Goal)

Bonus Goals (these are goals that I ended up setting over the course of the month)
- Read all of Where the Sidewalk Ends with the Children.
- Make significant progress on packing. 

And now April goals (which I'm keeping pretty basic because we want to enjoy NYC in our last month here and MOVING). Also, alot of them are mental things to have me deal with all that:

1. Engage in Bible study consistently. I wish I could say I was better at this. I'm not. I want to be. I do have some other book goals this month, but I want this at the forefront. (Faith)

2. Pray for our extended family. Now that I've gotten a little more consistent with my prayer time, I want to make sure I'm praying for those closest to us regularly. (Family) 

3. Mail a thank you to Aunt Beth for sending the children money for Valentine's. I actually already had them dictate it to me and let them color on it. I just need to get it in an envelope and then in the mailbox. Why is that so hard? Hopefully this will be crossed off the list on Monday. (Relationships)

4. Practice patience. This isn't a very tangible goal, but it's on my yearly list and I can think of no better time to work on it than this one. (Health)

5. Finish A Family of Readers and For the Love. This could easily not happen and I'll be okay, but it's a goal. (Education/Edification) 

6. Do not make a single impulse purchase. Hard, but I'm going to really try to do this. (Finances)

7. Allow myself space to think and breath this month as things get chaotic and crazy. Refuse guilt over the things we aren't able to make time for. (Simplicity) 

8. Daily express thankfulness over at least one thing. (Joy/Gratitude) 

9. Pack everything to move home- obviously this is non-negotiable, but it's fun to know I'll be able to scratch one thing off! (Additional Goal)

10. Get out the calendar and plan for the last two weeks we're here. (Additional Goal)

Here's to April, a month of bittersweet, a month of saying goodbye, a month of very last times. May it be a month where we focus more on the sweet than the bitter. Where we remain patient with ourselves and with one another in the chaos and disorder and sadness. Where we treasure each moment and look forward with glad anticipation for this next life, knowing we had no more time to spare for this one. Where we remember that- though we may never live here again- the plans for return visits are plentiful; the friendships here are valuable; and the vastness of experiences had, the amount of lessons learned, and the levels of transformations that have occurred are immeasurable.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Weekly Happenings Post #312 (March 23-29): The Calm Before the Storm

Well, I'm way behind on this. But we've had a lot going on- Annie's birthday was this week, it's Holy Week and so we've been at church more, and we're really trying to make some headway with the packing. Plus, I've had a lot of other blog stuff I wanted to catch up on. I'm hoping to do my April design and monthly goals and happenings post today and Peyton will write AP's letter (he always does the year ones) early next week. 

Anyway, last week was nice, but not super eventful. It was kind of nice to have a slow week, because the weeks from here on out pick up in various ways (Peyton working a lot, getting ready for the move, and trying to squeeze in some last minute fun in the city). 

I had another awful headache on Monday. I slept as late as I could and then got up and got things ready because someone was coming by to do a home inspection. Thankfully, Peyton was here to help me out. I started laundry and did a few things and then they got here. I didn't realize the buyer was coming and I didn't have it as neat as I would have liked. Peyton took the kids to go up and down the stairs and I tidied their room. They took a LONG time and Peyton had to go to work. I fixed the kids lunch and they finally left. I got my laundry and sent a friend a Facebook message. Graves rested and I had lunch, read some blogs, and and rested again myself.

Instead of doing one face at a time, she did them all. And she showed me "see, I sorted them first. This pile is the noses..." She cracks me up. And she's so much like I was growing up.

 When he got up, I started math with AP. We ended up doing one new lesson and a review and assessment from the end of the book. It was a lot and she got tired by the end (which almost never happens) but we did it.

 Found this shot AP took. He. Is. Grown.

I made them supper and read to them and by the time I got them to bed it was close to ten. I got on the computer until Peyton got home and then we talked a bunch and ate supper. We went to bed earlier than usual.

Peyton was off Tuesday and I woke up with another headache. We had a slow morning but we got ready and headed to The Met for most of the afternoon. It was nice (well nicer than it has been) and we ended up going to a playground (a new one!) later.

We got on a bus and it took a long time to get back to Union Square to catch the Q train (we wanted to avoid walking a good stretch to the train). We ate supper at Smashburger and walked home. It had gotten late and it was really cold. Also, Annie and Graves both tripped. We made it, though, and I straightened a little and read to the kids. Peyton brushed their teeth and got them to bed. I got on the computer, but it was having some issues. I called Minnie and then read a few blogs and went to bed.

Peyton was off again on Wednesday. We got up and all watched a movie and then I cut Peyton's hair(!!!). Then he and Graves went grocery shopping. I took my bath and did math with AP (two lessons, a review, and an assessment- so FOUR lessons). Peyton and Graves got home and Peyton left for the Bronx (Annie wanted to stay home again). I fixed the kids lunch and played with them some and then Graves had rest time. I got on the computer and had my lunch. When rest time was over, I started working on boxing up some things and then Peyton got home. The kids ate supper and played with Peyton a bit and then we got them to bed. I got on the computer a bit and we talked and went to bed.

Peyton worked all day on Thursday. The kids got up and watched their shows and I made them breakfast. It was the first day in a week I hadn't woken up with a headache. I talked to my friend Morgan on the phone and then had my breakfast and got on the computer. I straightened, had my breakfast, and took a bath.

I played with the kids a bit and we did their morning school stuff. I fixed them lunch and did the dishes and boxed up a good bit of my dresser and folded some clothes. I read to the kids and they had rest time. I got on the computer and started a post and read blogs some. I ate my lunch and let Graves get up early and do math with us. It didn't go so great but I think party Annie was just frustrated with a concept that was difficult for her. Graves definitely made it harder for her to concentrate, though. I had planned to knock out a couple of lessons, but ONE lesson took like over an hour. I fixed them supper and folded some more wash and got them ready for bed. I got on the computer and finished my post and did a few things and then Peyton got home. We ate and went to bed.

Peyton worked again on Friday and it was very similar. The kids got up and had breakfast and watched their shows and then I checked my email, straightened, had breakfast, and got my bath. I played with them and we did morning school and then they ate lunch and I did dishes. They had rest time and I mostly read blogs and started a post. Graves got up and we did math again. We got through a lesson, a review, and an assessment. Whew! Graves did have to go back to his room several times. I started some laundry and we cleaned up their toys in their room and in the den. We changed over the laundry and then they had supper. We got the laundry and I got them to bed. I got on the computer and then Peyton got home.

Peyton was off on Saturday and honestly, the day was kind of blah. It was so cold again and we had a nice morning. Peyton fixed breakfast, I got a bath, the kids played. We all hung out and played some and then had lunch and they had rest time. We considered going to a park (we just weren't feeling like doing a museum) but it started SNOWING. We ended up just doing laundry and relaxing around the apartment.

I folded and put up dishes and we fixed the kids supper and got them to bed. Peyton and I talked a good bit, I got some reading in and blogged a bit and then went to bed.

We got up and got going on Sunday. Unfortunately, we were running late and AP needed a bath. We were planning to go to TGC and we were definitely behind when we got to the bus stop. When we got there, we realized that the bus was behind (you can text a number to track the bus in real time). It was going to be like another half hour and Graves wasn't dressed to wait OR to walk to the train station we needed to go to in order to get there. We headed home, fully dressed, and decided to just relax. The kids watched cartoons, I dozed, and Peyton took a second bath since his first had been so rushed. LOLOLOL. We all had lunch and the kids played while we read and did stuff around the apartment. Peyton played with the kids and did dishes and I straightened and swept some. We all got ready and left early for Calvary since we were greeting/ushering. We had a lot of time to visit with folks and that was fun. We also got to prayer with everyone who leads the service. I love it when we get there early enough for that. Annie and Graves were both on the floor playing and both laid down and had their eyes closed for the prayer. They were right up under the cross and it was just such a powerful moment. One guy even included them in his prayers- just their innocence and example. It was special.

The service was special, too, and it was a great Palm Sunday. We visited a little more and then headed home to feed the kids and get them to bed.
Annie made a "crocodila" with her food =)

I put up dishes and cooked us supper and after the kids went to bed I called Minnie and Peyton and I worked on boxing things up. I sent an email and we chatted and went to bed.

This week has been good, but like I said, it's been a lot. Peyton's working alot over the next week and a half- either a full day or a partial one (which for him is eight hours, ha!) every day I think. The good news is April 15th will be here soon and we'll load up the cubes and then he'll be off until he starts work in Mississippi!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Here's my roundup of recent links:

On Faith:
Posted: 18 Mar 2015 07:21 PM PDT
"Someone asked that once - why do we worship the Book of Common Prayer? She thought that when our rector walked down the aisle to read from the gospels, we bowed toward the Book of Common Prayer he held. But it is a Bible he This is so relevant to the Al Mohler discussion from yesterday. I had to share. I loved this because, had it not been my experience here, I could have easily found myself as this weeping woman scared for the souls of her children departing from a tradition she understood. But I also love my sweet friendship with Emily. It's no secret that I was afraid of stepping on some toes with a recent similar post I wrote and while a lot of that was "the churches of my childhood" (and in my case early adulthood) as the writer put it, I also didn't want my friends at our morning church in Brooklyn to feel dismissed by it. Both of our faith communities here have challenged me, grown me, blessed me and pointed me consistantly to a lived Gospel. I'm so thankful for you all.
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 07:26 PM PDT
"In my experience, there is nothing quite like The Stations of the Cross in evangelicalism or low-church Protestantism. And I think we're the poorer for it. I know a lot of our churches are experimenting with Ash Wednesday and "giving up" something for Lent. But for me, The Stations of the Cross are the heart and soul of Lenten observance."

Posted: 25 Mar 2015 01:52 PM PDT
"The life I'm choosing is, on one hand, incredibly stable: wife, mom, blogger, pastor's wife, but also wildly unstable. It's ministry, dealing with messy people and inconsistent church budgets, but it's rooted in a divine stability which pulses life into the mundane. When we commit to loving well right where we are, washing dishes after dinner becomes worship. The table becomes the temple. The coffee shop becomes the confessional. The playdates become passing of peace. Because Jesus is who he says he his and because his Spirit turns our hearts toward him, there's stability—I have to remember this. I have to remember stability is defined by courageous love and not the balance in my bank account or the letters behind my name."
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 01:31 PM PDT
"But the response reveals something of the way we tend to think about our faith traditions—as systems to either accept or reject rather than little cultures that (for better or worse… or, more likely, a bit of both) indelibly shape how we think, who we know, what we fear and long for and love." I've linked to almost every post in her list over the past few months and I think what RHE says in the post is mostly spot on. Good thoughts and I can't wait for the book (I actually haven't read either of her first two).
Posted: 22 Mar 2015 10:18 PM PDT
OMG. Dead. - Bono, Madeleine L'Engle, N.T. Wright, and C.S. Lewis FTW - And y'all I legit think I have done the "Saint Paul" reference recently.

On Parenting:
Posted: 17 Mar 2015 07:05 PM PDT
Last week I asked Annie what she'd do if somehow she got stuck on a platform and Peyton was in the train and she was by herself (almost happened on the way to the Bronx but she doesn't know it did). She told me very confidently "well, if it was a G train platform, I'd just go back home". We talked about it and she told me she'd be a little nervous about the crosswalks but she could do it. And I believe her. Not trying it any time soon, of course, but Peyton and I had a great talk about the confidence this year has given her (she's really struggled with being under-confidant and fearing failure in the past) and all the important skills she's learned. Not to mention the way it has forever shaped hers and Graves's worldview in ways they may never fully comprehend. I think she's ready for first grade. But I'm so damn glad first grade is happening at 140 Williams Circle. I love spending my days with her.

Posted: 27 Mar 2015 08:07 PM PDT
"So Grysman's theory, which he explored in an extensive review of the literature published last year, is that those early conversations with your parents implicitly told you which details are important to remember about the things that happen to you, and which are not. And because parents' conversations with girls include references to both more information and more emotion, they're setting their daughters up to have stronger memories over their lives." Super interesting. How parents conversations influence children's memories.
Posted: 18 Mar 2015 07:19 PM PDT
I try not to share too many negative/pushback type things on here and mostly want my timeline these days to be full of positive links and images and quotes (and absurd pictures of AP and Graves) and I know I just did that, BUT I have to share one more than really had me frustrated recently:…/why-i-no-longer-need-mommy-ti… Ya'll. Don't invoke dead children to make people feel guilty for needing some space. Mothers guilt and shame themselves over this enough as it is. Of course, the other side of the coin is that just a few days ago Peyton and I were talking about a parenting seminar we went to when Annie was tiny and the guy (a well known figure) said that after two, 90% of your children's time should be independent of their parent. I have the least common sense of anybody I know but I can tell you right now, there needs to be a balance.

On Pregnancy and Birth:
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 01:39 PM PDT
"New research by a University of Rhode Island professor suggests that the length of human pregnancy is limited primarily by a mother's metabolism, not the size of the birth canal. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of August 27, challenges the long-held notion of an evolutionary trade-off between childbirth and a pelvis adapted for walking upright."

Posted: 28 Mar 2015 01:36 PM PDT
"Talking about the fear of miscarriage while actually in the first trimester feels a bit taboo, as if we're tempting fate or claiming the inevitable. If we're really honest, sharing your pregnancy at all during the first trimester is a bit taboo itself (and it seems as if the number of people who wait to share their pregnancies has grown even in the past 12 years since my first pregnancy). I'm not criticizing anyone's personal decision to wait—and I think it would be fun to keep it a secret that you share only with your husband, even if there is no way I can personally pull that off for more than 24 hours—but I do disagree with the cultural pressure to wait to announce a pregnancy in case you miscarry."

On Homeschooling:
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 07:22 PM PDT
"In many ways, we can think of homeschooling — or any other difficult job for which we sign up — as another opportunity for sanctification. This big, huge thing we're doing can reveal all the ways we fall short. Homeschooling shows us our short tempers and bad attitudes. It shows us our lack of organization or follow through. It shows us our ignorance and incompetence. Ultimately, it shows us our selfishness and lack of generosity. "I feel insufficient!" we scream at the end of the day. Good news: it's true. I will never be enough, and neither will you. There are a few ways to deal with this fact, first and foremost being that we must cling to the idea that while we are not enough, God is. So we trust that His grace will cover all the bumbling mistakes — both willful and accidental — along the way." Whew. This is convicting. But good.
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 09:21 PM PDT
More Advance Preparation work: One other tip for approaching a harder book is to look it over in advance and look up just two or three words with your children- there may likely be a dozen you think she won't know. Just choose two or three. Look them up first, help her define them in her own words. With one or two of my daughters, I wrote the words and she wrote definitions on an index card." This is a fantastic post if you like to read a little (or a lot!) above your kids' level.

On Writing (and Reading):
Posted: 23 Mar 2015 12:34 PM PDT
"This puts a ton of pressure on authors to play the publicity game, and authors can really hit a wall here. We need to gather reviews, write guest posts, book speaking events when possible, and figure out ways to gain exposure for our books even though most of us have no experience in publicity, retail, or online merchandising. Publishers have essentially told authors, "This is the new normal, get used to it."" Really interesting and eye-opening. You know, if you were someone who wanted to write a book one day =)

Posted: 26 Mar 2015 02:22 PM PDT
"But I couldn't get away from my stories, which were, let's be honest, a lot like memoir. So I decided I should learn about the form. I mean, I was writing it; it only seemed honest to have read some. So I put on a gas mask and tied one end of a length of thread around the front door of a bookstore and the other end around my waist, and I went looking for the "memoir/autobiography/cry for help" shelf. When I found it, hidden out of embarrassment between "pets" and "fortune-telling," I saw the usual suspects: the celebrity and addiction and abuse memoirs. I found one by Tori Spelling and opened to a random page, just to see what sort of wonders it might unleash upon my mind. It couldn't be that bad. Somebody had published it. The passage I came to said this: "I have a pretty detailed short-term memory. I can read a script once and remember all my lines—for the next day at least.""

Posted: 27 Mar 2015 08:43 PM PDT
"In a blog post dedicated to the subject, she said authors chose their words carefully, and for a reason, with third-party censors editing their work "sometimes very clumsily" being unacceptable. "Anyone who works with words understands their power," she said. "Words, if used correctly, can achieve almost anything. To tamper with what is written – however much we may dislike certain words and phrases – is to embrace censorship.""

On Processing Information:
Posted: 22 Mar 2015 07:41 PM PDT
A mind map differs from a regular brain dump or a list in that a mind map's information is organized. However, unlike an outline, which is rigid and linear, a mind map is flexible. That flexibility makes a mind map is a great starting point for collecting ideas.
On Humanity:
Posted: 18 Mar 2015 07:25 PM PDT
"When I was six years old, I had a vision where I saw everything that was going to happen in my life. Jesus showed me that my life was going to be very tough, but if I stuck with him, and prayed, and cried when I needed to, and ate lots of chocolate, I'd be OK." "Where were you when you had this vision?" "At the feet of my foster mother. She was kicking me in the stomach."" Wow.
Posted: 18 Mar 2015 07:25 PM PDT
On Simplicity:
Posted: 27 Mar 2015 09:27 PM PDT
Really, really great tips here for when you're struggling through a stressful season.

On Failure:
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 09:53 AM PDT
"I've done such a fine job of avoiding failure that I can't point out many times in my life that I have triumphed through sheer grit and determination. Rather, I quietly walk away – or distract myself and others by upping my game at the things that do come more easily."
On Spring:
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 09:34 PM PDT
"It's hot. It's cold. It's haul out the flip flops; it's drain the hose before it freezes. I don't have any idea what's going on. Except that I am beginning to receive transmission. All the signals from Nature are coming on. "Wake up" signals. "Be alert" signals. "Now's the time to live the life you want to live" signals. This is what spring is bringing to my soul right now: the thrill of possibility, the exhilaration of potential. And the reminder that any walk that matters is a walk step by step into thin air. Something's coming. Could be a resurrection. Could be an ass-whooping. Hang around and see. Oh, sure, sounds like fun. Let me just breathe into a paper bag for a half an hour and get back to you."
On Motown:
Posted: 23 Mar 2015 12:36 PM PDT
Noteworthy Quotes from the Week:
"For all serious daring starts from within"- Eudora Welty

Noteworthy Images from the Week:

Hope you enjoy!