Wake Up!!

Wake Up #AdventWord Day 1
I’ve been working on this opening post for weeks in my head and now that it’s time to post it, I’m at a loss for what direction to take.

Wake Up
I think of my chiropractor. How every adjustment or energy clearing makes me feel so much more alive. I’m more alert – more calm – more at peace.

Wake Up
I think of how groggy I am when one of my tinies wakes me in the morning. Almost always a lot earlier than I am ready for. My eyes don’t want to open. They climb all over me like I’m a jungle gym. How in the heck do they wake up with so much energy right away?

Wake Up
But today, as we finalize our packing and spend our last few days in our house, I am drawn over and over to this swing. This swing where a thousand memories have been made. This swing sold me this house. From the moment I saw it, and A said “Swing mama, swing,” we knew we would buy this house. And from the very first day we moved in, this swing has given us a place to wake up. Every day for two and a half years.

Continue reading


Favorite Memberships in Atlanta [With Kids]

atlanta skyline
We are getting ready to leave this great city we’ve called home for so long now. I moved to Atlanta as a young divorcee, found true love, got married, and had babies. This city has truly shaped my young adult life, and I will miss it dearly.

One of the things I’ve learned as a stay at home mom to two small children is there is a real need to get out of the house and change your focus. Everyone – kid and adult alike – needs a creative field trip now and again. Every year we invest in family memberships to some of the best places the city of Atlanta has to offer. We’re trying to use these memberships as much as possible in our last few weeks here – and I thought I’d share my list with you. If you’re looking for an original Christmas gift that will be sure to be appreciated and used, you can’t go wrong with any of these!

Atlanta Botanical Gardens
This might be my favorite place to go with the little ones when the weather is nice. They have an incredibly cute children’s garden (which is closed right now for a major renovation). Although they do have a weekly story time geared towards little ones, my girls have never been incredibly impressed with it. They would rather run around the paths, look at the flowers, and just have a good time. Centered right in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, the gardens have the most beautiful view of the Atlanta skyline and are one of the best places to just go and be. A family membership is $99 and I think it is absolutely worth every single penny. Make sure you remember the Gardens are closed on Monday … I’ve gone a couple of times and ended up with very disappointed tinies. If that does happen to you, you can go next door to Piedmont Park – which has a great playground and amazing green space.

High Museum of Art
We go to the High at least once a month – and many times once a week. Every Thursday the High has Toddler Thursdays, where they have a story time and special art projects for little ones. They have a great family room that has creative toy areas based on pieces of artwork located in the museum, so even if you don’t go on Thursday you can spend hours there. There’s always some new exhibit to check out – right now there’s an exhibit of Mo Willems work as well as an exhibit of amazing dresses designed by Iris van Herpen. This is one place in Atlanta that you just can’t see in one visit. This family membership is $95, and if your family likes art and creative outlets, this is definitely worth the investment. The High is also closed on Monday … what is it with Mondays?!

Zoo Atlanta
I’m confident that our zoo is one of the best in the nation. Every time we go on vacation in another city we visit the zoo, and we have always been disappointed. You can hear the lions roar from our front porch, and we will miss being able to walk 3 blocks to see animals, ride the carousel, play in the splash pad, and just run down the paths. The best time to go is late in the day, just as all the other families are heading home. We have always gotten the Family + Adventure Pack Membership, which is $149, but offers you lots of extras (including free ride wristbands after 6 months of visits!)

Atlanta History Center
I discovered Magic Mondays at the History Center last year. It’s a themed day for toddlers, with story time, special crafts, and all sorts of other fun activities. The History Center has a great family farm that you can visit and my girls love checking out the sheep and chickens. There’s also a really cool playhouse that they could spend an entire day playing in. The History Center is a little bit further away from us so we don’t go as often, but with a family membership being only $75, we thought it was worth it. The History Center also has partial reciprocal membership with the Botanical Gardens, so if you have a Gardens membership, you can use it at the History Center (but not the other way around).

There are several other places in the city that offer family memberships, but those are our top four favorites. We’ve tried out a membership at the Imagine It: Children’s Museum, but it has been closed for the better part of the year – and now that we are moving I’m feeling like I wasted my money on that membership.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, The Center for Puppetry Arts, and The Georgia Aquarium also have family memberships, but we never felt the investment was really worth it. Fernbank and the Center for Puppetry Arts are really geared towards older kids, and the Aquarium Membership comes at a hefty price.

No go explore the city!

Moving Chaos

We leave for Boston in less than a month. 28 days to be exact. In those 28 days, we have to completely pack up everything we are taking with us, sell, donate, or throw away everything we don’t want to take, paint the entire inside of our house – including trim, have the exterior painted, fix a broken window, clean up the yard, and eat as much food out of freezer as humanly possible.

I am completely overwhelmed. And exhausted. We sold a car in preparation for our move, and since Atlanta isn’t such a very bike-friendly city, nor is it equipped with very good public transportation, the girls and I have been stuck at home for very long days. The rain, coupled with the never ending to-do list and the sense of feeling overwhelmed has made me a terrible mama lately – lots of yelling, too little crafting, and I’m craving any sense of normalcy I can find.

So today, I tried to put it all out of my mind. I threw the girls in the car to take D to work, we headed to Chick-fil-a for breakfast, and then we went to see Cat the Cat at the neighborhood library. The morning must have been tons of fun, because when we got home, both girls were ready for a nap. Instead of using the rare quietness for more packing and painting, I decided to use the time to find the normalcy I was craving.

I found a recipe and pulled out my ingredients. Pulled the cutting board and knife out of the dishwasher, and started chopping. With every swipe of the knife I felt myself returning to normal – if even for just a moment or two. With dinner in the crockpot, I filled a mason jar up with ice water and headed to the computer to write. Nevermind the floor of the living room behind me is full of blankets and toys – the cleanup can always happen later … once everyone is awake.

For now, for these rare moments of quiet, I just want to pretend that everything is normal. That there aren’t walls to be painted, windows to be fixed, toys to be sold, and books to be boxed up. I want to breathe. And although I don’t thinK I can promise that I won’t ever yell again (these girls are stubborn ya’ll … and sometimes I just can’t help but lose my shit), I do think this afternoon will be one of the best we’ve had in a while.

There’s just something about filling up your own cup that makes you better able to fill up the cup of the ones you love.

Interviewing Boston

Earlier this month, we took an unexpected trip to Boston. D had been in a very long interview process with Harvard University for a position somewhere in their IT Department. Please don’t ask me about details … I have no idea what he will be doing … other than it is something with networking. And the cloud. Or maybe it’s not about the cloud at all. Anyhow, when they asked him to come up for an on-site interview, we knew it was getting serious and that the entire family needed to make the trip up. We were due for a family vacation anyhow … and we had never been to Boston before. So we booked our tickets, and off we went.

Reading the map
Much of our trip looked a lot like this. A tiny three-year old, who mostly thinks she is fully grown, attempting to read maps and lead us wherever we needed to go.

Tons of this.

Playing Hopscotch
And a lot of this. Just running around, making hopscotches out of squares, playing chase, and having a grand old time.

Lots of tree climbing.

And lots of giggles.

And a few serious faces every now and then.

Sweet sister moments.

And playgrounds with leaves that are more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen before. Boy did we visit at the right time of the year.

And if all that wasn’t enough to sell us on moving to the city, our visits with this lady sure did. A sorority sister from college (Go Valpo!) lives in the city, and we were lucky enough to be able to meet up with her a couple of times while we were there. There’s just something about college friends that make them extra special, ya know what I mean?

All in all, we were sold on the city. Lucky for us (and for Harvard too) the interview went well. Our little family will be moving to Boston at the beginning of December. Our little house that we love so much will go on the market in January (with a fresh coat of paint and new colors!) We are excited about new opportunities and new adventures … and yes, we are even excited about snow! And in the meantime, we’re trying to soak up what little time we have left in this great city of Atlanta with all the people we love.

The School Decision

The School Decision
Sometimes, no matter how much you try to plan life, it always seems to throw you curve balls. We had to take an unexpected trip to Boston last week, for reasons I am not quite ready to share. We’ve been back for about 42 hours and everybody is suffering from a major travel hangover. The bed is full of laundry waiting to be put away, suitcases are stacked waiting to be stored on their shelf, the couch is full of laundry waiting to be folded, and it’s after noon and the kitchen sink is full of dishes from breakfast and lunch. The living room floor is littered with toys, because nothing seems to entertain the tinies today, no matter what I try. No one is napping. And there’s miscellaneous stuff lying around waiting to be put away from our mass unpacking that happened yesterday. Konmari Method be damned. I’d like for her to get married and have kids and THEN write a book.

But instead of tackling all the many things there are to do, today I’m choosing to do the things I love. Write. Cook. And the things the tinies love. Do the hokey-pokey a thousand times before we show each other how happy we are by clapping our hands, stomping our feet, and saying hooray. Take my art skills to the next level with drawing Angelina Ballerina. Figure out some crazy craft project to entertain them during that terrible two hours in the late afternoon before D gets home.

A few days ago, a friend of a friend posted this article about Why White Parents Won’t Choose Black Schools. I don’t think she ever imagined it would go viral … but it did. And for good reason. Continue reading

On Reading the Bible


The purpose of the Bible is to equip us to be sent out into the world, to proclaim the Kingdom of God, to lift up our eyes and see each other and see God at work – and then, to participate fully in that life. Now.

It’s taken me a while to write this response to the chapter on reading the Bible in Sarah Bessey’s new book, Out of Sorts. Partially because life has been a little hectic, but mostly because I had a hard time connecting with this chapter in a heart way.

I didn’t grow up in a tradition that took the Bible literally – so as she shared her own journey of learning to interpret the Bible as a living, breathing, portrayal of the character of God – I simply nodded my head … “Of course! Doesn’t it make so much more sense that way?”

But I really had such a hard time because I’ve never really been good at reading my Bible. It’s not that I don’t like to … it’s that every time I try to read it, I get confused. Or it doesn’t strike a chord. Or I get interrupted by a tiny child or a husband or a fleeting thought in a different direction.

And then there’s the fact that I don’t really like to skim the Bible. I like to really dive into it. I like to spend time in it – thinking about what the words meant when they were written, and what they mean for me now. I like to journal about my reading – and I like it to MEAN something.

And I just can’t seem to find the time to make that happen. Continue reading

Rainy Day Fun: Stone Soup

I was so excited it was fall … time to go apple picking, and pumpkin picking, and nature hiking, and all the fun things to do outside when the cooler weather hits. And then the rain came. I can’t imagine what Noah must have felt like when it rained for 40 days … it’s only been 4 days of rain here and our whole crew is going stir crazy. Rainy days ruin my house … and my attitude. After a pretty testy day yesterday, I woke up this morning and prayed a prayer of gratitude for a new day. I prayed for patience, for creativity, and for more patience.

One of our favorite rainy day activities is reading. Both of my girls love books, and they could sit and listen to stories for hours. Lately I’ve been trying to find activities that go with some of our favorite picture books. We read a story and then act it out in some shape or form. It’s something my mom, aunt, and grandma always did with me growing up, and it has been a fun thing to do now with my own girls. Last week, we used Ten Apples Up on Top as our inspiration. Today’s storybook adventure: Stone Soup. Continue reading

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Happy Fall! We are loving this cooler weather. This is one of those seasons where we spend a good chunk of every day outside, and it makes everyone so much happier. Lots of outdoor projects, bike rides, and the return of the crockpot! Here are a few of our favorites from the week. Continue reading

On Theology & Confidence

Theology belongs to the rest of us
I first felt God’s call to ministry when I was the young age of 16. Acting on that call, I went to college as a theology major, and eventually tacked on a pre-seminary focus. Throughout my time in college, I frequently felt like I wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t think like all the others – maybe I wasn’t cut out for this world of theology and seminary. Perhaps I was way out of my league. Although I usually left my class with a grade of A or B, I never really felt like a theologian.

And when I tried to live out my theological beliefs in the world and in the church, I always felt like I was too young to really know what I was talking about. I was too emotional … if only I could think about things with my head, instead of my heart. Then I might be able to talk theology.

It wasn’t until I was in law school that I really felt like I found my tribe. A group of people who really got it when I started talking theology. People who didn’t look at me as if I had three heads – people who thought I had something brilliant to say – at least when it came to talk about Jesus. The only problem was most of those people weren’t followers of Christ … and many weren’t followers of any religion or spirituality. It wasn’t until my years in law school that I found a church where the pastors, and many of the congregation, believed the things I believed. And that congregation transformed me.

That congregation helped me see that maybe I was cut out for ministry, in some shape or form. Maybe God had given me a different way of thinking – and even though I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the great theologians, maybe I was a different kind of theologian. Maybe I was a real-life, right-now theologian. Continue reading

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Can you believe it’s the last Friday of summer? I’m always ready for fall by the time it gets here. I love living in Atlanta, but man the summer’s humidity can really get to me. Although I love the sunshine, I much prefer sunny spring and fall to the heat of the summer. Our temperatures have been cooling down and it’s been really nice to bring out the jeans again! If you’re looking for some inspiration for the weekend ahead, here are some of the things we are loving around here. Continue reading

Finding Jesus

finding jesus
I am, what some like to call, a cradle Lutheran. I was born into the Lutheran church and baptized in the ELCA when I was a mere 4 months old. I don’t remember missing many Sundays. We would go early for Sunday school and stay for worship, where we would sit with my mom and Grandma and best friend’s family. My dad never went with us, but he never did much with us, so we didn’t think much of it.

As we got older, our moms sang in the choir while we sat in the congregation on our own. I don’t remember much about the messages in church back then – probably because we were too busy passing notes – but I do remember the service. The routine. The ritual. The sacredness.

I hated it. Continue reading

Every Ending is a New Beginning

out of sorts beginning
As I left the courthouse, I went straight to my car and called my mom. As soon as I heard her voice, tears started streaming down my face. I was sobbing so hard I could hardly get the words out. Breathe, she said. Take a deep breath. What happened?

She told me to go back to being a lawyer. She said it didn’t matter that I felt called to ministry – if I can’t afford my obligations, I should do the very thing that I went to school for. After all, it will pay a lot more, and I won’t leave him footing the bill. MOM – IT’S NOT FAIR! I don’t deserve this! I thought this would make things better … but how am I going to survive on my own?? Did I make a terrible mistake??

Some memories are so vivid, you know? If there was ever a time in my life when I thought I had it all figured out, it was then. I was certain God was calling me out of this marriage – a marriage that was destructive to both of us – a marriage that wasn’t fulfilling either of us. A marriage that was broken – and one that, when it came right down to it, I just didn’t have the energy to try to fix. I was so certain God was calling me out of this little mountain town and into the big city. Calling me out of the lawyering world and into the world of professional staff ministry. Certain that God had provided me with a church community that would sustain and support me through this darkest time of my life.

So, I left the marriage. I moved to the city. I accepted a full-time ministry position. I had it all sorted out.

And then it was over. Continue reading