The Boy I Loved. 

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!  
Not that long ago, I was a silly, young girl, head over heels for a boy I had just met. Not long ago, that boy was a breath of fresh air to a girl who’d sworn off dating for a while. Not long after that, the boy and girl decided they’d get married. And buy a house. And have kids. And never sleep again. 

Really, 8 1/2 years -since we met- isn’t long in the grand scheme of things. But it feels like an eternity sometimes, when I think of what’s happened since then. When I think of places we’ve traveled, jobs we’ve had, people we’ve grown closer to or drifted apart from, it feels like a lifetime already lived. There’s so much water under that bridge we’ll have to raise it if anything else happens. 

But every now and then, there are glimpses of the silly, young girl and the boy who was a breath of fresh air. For instance, last week, Hubby and I had a lovely date night planned, going to a nice restaurant in the neighboring city where Hubby attended college before seeing a concert. Long (frustrating) story short, dinner at the nice restaurant didn’t work out, and we were a little too pressed for time to try making new plans. We ended up at a pizza and beer joint where we ordered dinner by the slice at a counter, and ate in a dirty booth. Not that I had anything against pizza and beer (I love it! Promise!), it just wasn’t what we’d had in mind. We were dressed up and ready for a fancy meal. But you know what? We had a great time. We’d gone to that pizza joint a hundred times while we were dating, with and without friends, and it was a fun little throwback to our younger, freer selves.

You know what else? After a couple of hours of music and dancing, before we headed back home to responsibilities and a babysitter to pay, we went to the location of our first “hang out.” (I’m hesitant to even call it a date.) We ended up right there in another dirty booth, eating gargantuans at the Jimmy John’s on the edge of his college campus. We giggled and flirted and touched our feet under the table with butterflies in our tummies, remembering who we had been 8 1/2 years ago. We reminisced about those old times, and talked about how we love where we are right now, even when it’s hard. 

I looked right across the table and into the eyes of the boy I loved. And I was thrilled to see that my husband looked just like him. 

Things Toddlers Say

Y’all. I was talking with my friend Andrea last night, and we decided that pretty much every single thing that comes out of EK’s mouth is a hilarious one-liner. In five minutes, she said enough hilariously random things to fill up an entire post. But catching (and recording) every single thing she says is impossible, so alas… I’ve only got the highlights. SO. Here they are!

EK, unprompted: When I was a baby, I pooped, and it was YUCKY!

EK: I had yummy snack at school today, but I only ate the cupcake. I didn’t eat the chicka chicka boom boom popcorn.
An hour later, I realized she meant Boom Chicka Pop.

At dinner one night:
EK: Mom, make sure you eat all your steak and drink all your wine.
Me: Noted.

Showing me this picture:

Me: I like that rainbow on the side! And is that a cabana on the beach?
EK: No, it’s a toot.
Me: A tutu?
EK: Nope, a toot. On the beach!

The same night…
Me: How many layers of lip gloss did you just put on?!?!
EK: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6! I just wanted to be really sparkly.

Important conversations with our friends…
EK: Drew, do you love your mom and dad?
Drew: Yes, I do.
EK: Does Lauren love her mom and dad?
Drew: Yes, she does.
EK: Well I love myself. And even, you can love yourself or your neighbor!

The problem with choosing your outfits…
EK: I want to wear my new dress!
Me: Okay, but when we go to he playground, we should probably wear something else.
EK: I don’t want to go to the playground.
Me: Well, we made plans for everyone to go to the playground, and we’ve already told them all.
EK: I want someone to come sitter me while you go to the playground.

J’s new thing: “Go away.”  It’s used as a response to being asked to do something, being told it’s time to go/go to bed, when his sister appears, or when he is unhappy about anything else.

J, swirling his blanket around and growling: Did you saw that?!

J’s word for trash can: crash chan

EK stalling bedtime in an unprecedented stream of consciousness: Can you pray to Jesus while you sleep? You two (Hubby and me), you pray to Jesus while you sleep and I will and then J will. And D when he watches us do it will do it too. And he will get big like you and you and pick me up, because he’s pretty small yet. Wait! I have something to tell you. I want special drinks in the morning… (whispering) hot chocolate… And a giant cupcape. To eat.

EK on breakfast: I need to drink my smoothie so I’ll be big like you. If I don’t, I’ll turn small like D.

EK on growing up: I want to be a mommy like you! And J can be the daddy, and D will be our baby!

EK’s term for “That’s interesting!” is “That’s entering!” She’s used it at least a hundred times in the past two days.

What hilarious things do your kids say? What phrases are they stuck on?

When My Family of Five Leaves the House (It Takes 60 Simple Steps)

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Getting ready to go anywhere is a big job for my family. With three kids under four, including an infant, there is a long list of things we need to do before we go, and things we need to bring with us – no matter where we’re going. This is a little glimpse into the process of getting the family ready to go somewhere. Maybe you can relate! 

 1. Announce that it’s time to get ready to go. 

2. Ask threenager to get her clothes on. 

3. Snatch toddler up from running away, and take him to get his clothes on. 

4. As I’m walking away, ask Hubby to change baby’s diaper. 

5. Remind threenager to get dressed. 

6. Get toddler into clean diaper and clothes, amid shouts of protest and attempts to jump off the changing table. 

7. Suggest to threenager that she should dress appropriately for the weather (aka it’s cold, so no, she may not wear that sundress and sandals).

8. Ask threenager to stop wailing and please put on socks and shoes. 

9. Catch an escaping toddler, and cram his pudgy feet into socks and shoes. 

10. Succumb to toddlers request for boots instead. 

11. Let him put his boots on by himself. 

12. Calm him down when he gets frustrated at not being able to do it himself. 

13. Help him get his boots on. 

14. Ask threenager to please wear a jacket. 

15. Check to see if Hubby changed the baby’s diaper. 

16. Usher threenager and toddler of the door. 

17. Put threenager into car seat, because it’s better to have her locked in somewhere. 

18. Retrieve toddler from neighbor’s yard. 

19. Put toddler into car. 

20. Retrieve threenager’s doll she dropped in the floorboard. 

21. Retrieve toddler from driver’s seat. (He is fast.)

22. Put toddler into car seat, finally securing that he isn’t running away. 

23. Close the car door. 

24. Breathe. 

25. Listen for screaming inside the car. 

26. No screaming? Go inside and check on the status of Hubby and baby. 

27. Change baby from his brother’s pants to his own that fit him. 

28. Put baby into car seat. 

29. Take car-approved snacks to toddler and threenager, who are now screaming. 

30. Go back inside and fill sippy cups.

31. Make a bottle for the baby. 

32. Put in your own shoes. 

33. Grab your tube of mascara for when you’re stopped at a red light. 

34. Locate a bag (any bag) to put diapers, cups, and a bottle in. 

35. Go outside. 

36. Remember the wipes. 

37. Go inside to grab wipes.  

38. See your coffee cup, and grab it. 

39. Go outside. 

40. Remember you were grabbing wipes, not coffee. 

41. Go inside to grab wipes. 

42. See your baby’s favorite chew toy, and grab it. 

43. Put your hand on the doorknob, and remember the wipes. 

44. Grab wipes. 

45. Go outside. 

46. Realize that you haven’t seen Hubby in a while.

47. Go back inside to find Hubby in the bathroom. 

48. Go outside to wait on Hubby. 

49. Threenager has finished her snack and wants more. 

50. Since Hubby isn’t outside yet, go get more snack. 

51. See your purse by the door, and thank the Lord you had to go back to get it.

52. Grab the purse and the snack, and go back outside. 

53. Give the threenager more snack. 

54. Give the toddler more snack, because he is now angry that the threenager got more snack and he didn’t. 

55. See Hubby walk out the door. 

56. Praise Jesus that everyone is outside the house. 

57. Get in the car. 

58. Crank it up, and turn on some preemptive Taylor Swift. 

59. Pull out of the driveway. 

60. Hope for the best. 

So if you’re ever wondering why didn’t attend your event, or why I said we couldn’t go to a play date that was only for an hour… know you know why. I love you, but this is why. 

Currently – and a Fun Family Day!

Happy Monday! This one is definitely overdue, since I missed last week! This will be a nice little update for the pat couple of weeks. Link up or comment and let me know what’s going on in your life currently!IMG_0614

Celebrating || Valentine’s Day and birthdays! We never really do much for Valentine’s Day, but I can’t let it slip by without acknowledgement. Because it was a Sunday, we went to church as usual (wearing red, obviously) but Hubby got EK and me some flowers in the afternoon, followed by a friend’s birthday celebration; Hubby’s long-time best friend turned 30, so naturally we grilled steaks, let our kids stay up way too late, and enjoyed a little snowfall!

Listening || to Taylor Swift in honor of her Grammy. You go, T-Swift. I love you and my kids do, too!

Wishing || for warmer weather! We were at the park a couple of times this week and it was still a little chilly, even though it was sunny and beautiful. Saturday was lovely and comparatively warm, but I’m ready for shorts, tank tops, and flip flops!

Enjoying || our local “dinosaur park”! J is digging dinosaurs at the moment so even though we’ve been before, it was special for him. The playground equipment has dinosaurs incorporated throughout, and you can climb on them and everything! My bigs love it.


Loving || yet another cool spot in our awesome town. There’s a new park-type place in our downtown called “Artivity”. It is a modern art/architecture combo, and you can climb on it, sit on it, walk underneath it, and see it light up at night. It’s actually quite cool, and it’s on top of what used to be a pretty yucky parking area.  Hubby and I visited it one evening while we were out downtown, and took the kids the other day after the dinosaur park. 

Our super fun adventures on Wednesday got me thinking… do any of you have a family day? Even Hubby (the ultimate homebody) said he had a great time getting out of the house earlier than usual, and trekking around with the kiddos. It made me want to designate Wednesday (the morning that no one is in school or working) as our family morning to romp around and explore. AND everyone was super tired and napped well after it. BONUS! What would you do on your family day?

Hear It Differently

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Have you ever listened to a song you’ve heard a thousand times before (you know the ones: they’re on the radio, friends hum them while they work, and your kids even sing a phrase or two here and there), but one time when you’re listening, you think, “Wow! I’ve never paid attention to those words before! Has that always been the line?”

That happened to me this past Sunday. To be more specific, it happened to me several times. You see, I’m a worship leader. And the set that was planned for my service that morning was one full of trusty favorites. Several of them I’d been singing for years, one is a newer song I’ve sung at one service or another every week since Christmas, and the set also included one song I helped write (I wrote a bit about that here). But all of a sudden, these songs were falling on fresh ears. Thankfully, it wasn’t in a “forgot all the words” sort of way, but a “never thought about it that way before” sort of way.

For example, we sang Paul Baloche’s arrangement of the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. While it’s a hymn that I grew up singing, and I know almost every word by heart, for some reason, I heard the words anew. This verse: And when I think that God His Son not sparing/sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in/ that on the cross, my burden gladly bearing/He bled and died to take away my sin. I mean, that’s crazy! God sent His very Son to take our sins. Jesus gladly bore them for us on the cross, because he knew it would save us. Who wouldn’t sing about that?

Or in Hillsong’s “Oceans”, it was this part in the bridge: Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander/and my faith will be made stronger/in the presence of my Savior. Being in the presence of my Savior will be what strengthens my faith. I could have that reminder again and again, and it would convict me every time. Oh, you of little faith, enter into His presence, and that little faith will grow.

I have this same experience reading the Bible a lot. I’ll flip through pages, and read something I’ve read a hundred times before. But every time, I read it differently. Maybe it’s that my perspective has shifted, due to life circumstances. Maybe it’s that the Lord is showing me something new about a particular passage. Maybe it immediately leads me to think of a friend who needs to hear those exact words. Whatever it is, when I allow myself to be open to hearing something new, the Lord almost always gifts me that very thing: a new light shining through an old passage. Or through the music I think I know like the back of my hand: I notice a word or phrase that will change the entire song and how it speaks to my heart.

So here’s the hard part, the part it’s easy to talk about but not as easy to do. Get rid of those pre-conceived notions. Lose the filter through which you might be tempted to see. Open your eyes, your ears, your heart. Don’t be afraid of what you might hear; it might just be the thing that changes your mind.

Things Toddlers Say

Hey y’all! Happy Tuesday! I don’t know about you, but yesterday was the most underwhelming snow day there ever was. We sledded approximately four times, and the ground was showing through. It was a huge disappointment, especially considering how cold it still was. Anyway, here’s a bit of humor from our week! 

 Me to Hubby: I’ve got rehearsal tonight.
EK: I’m going to really miss you while you’re at horsell tonight.

Me: Stop! I’ve got a cramp in my foot!
J: You gotta crap in your foot?

EK: Does J have school today?
Me: Yes, you both have school, and I have work today.
EK: And Daddy has work to clean up the kitchen?

I found EK’s sippy cup in her underwear drawer in her room. When I asked her about it, she just said she needed somewhere to put it.

EK, trying to play pretend: J, you’re going to be my sister.
J: I not a sister. I Joseph!!

Every time I turn on Disney’s Robinhood (the animated one), J says, “The Jungle!” which is what he calls Jungle Book. I suppose talking animals all seem the same to him.

EK: Look, Mommy! I’m gonna do something so cool!
I’m pretty sure this isn’t what it’s made to do.

J: Mommy! I’m a princess! 
Oh yes, of course. That’s a beautiful dress, J.

EK: I have a baby in my tummy!
Hubby: Oh yeah? Who’s the father?

Ek’s Sofia figurine was in the middle of the floor, and Hubby stepped on it. He exclaims, “Agh! Sofia the worst!” So naturally, I launched into a rousing rendition of that song from Robinhood that all the animals sing: “Too late to be known as John the First, he’s sure to be known as John the Worst! A pox on the phony king of England!” Except I sang, “She’d like to be known as Sofia the First, but she will be known as Sofia the Worst!” J burst out laughing (he had just woken from his nap), and I asked him if he thought it was funny. He got really serious, and said, “No!” as if he was upset I had offended Sofia.

Overheard while my big kids were playing together…
EK: We can do it! I know we can!
She’s such an encourager.

As J chases EK around the kitchen…
EK: Daddy! Help! Can you save your baby squirrel from my mean old Joseph?!

So what are you kids saying these days?

A New Song

I am a musician. I sing, I play, I improvise, and I worship.

But I’ve never fashioned myself a songwriter. I’m not much into creating “something from nothing” in that respect. If you give me some bones, I can arrange them and add to them and make something. I can take a good hook and a topic, and do a little from there. But as for writing a great riff, or creating a chorus without any building blocks given to me, I just wouldn’t be able to do it. (Which is funny, right? Because I’m a musician, and I’m a writer.)

I got the opportunity recently to collaborate on an original tune with the worship pastor at my church. It was surprisingly fun for me, and I contributed more than I thought I would. I am surprised and pleased to say I helped with some phrasing and several word choices. But still, it was eye-opening for me to even think I could help in the process, much less actually write a song. I have now entered into the world of songwriting, whether I like it or not.

My only problem is this: songwriters have a certain something about them. And on the whole, I don’t really fit into that something very well. I’m just not hipster enough (no hate, I promise!), or introspective enough. Or maybe I’m too loud and crazy – because, let’s be honest, I am. But the Lord is breaking down walls of things I think I cannot do, and opening my eyes to His purpose, and aligning me with it. His way are not my ways; they are higher and better. So here I am, waiting for a riff, a melody, a perfect phrase to build a song around. I’m searching, reading my Bible, praying for revelation of what my song should be. It’s new territory for me. I’m uncomfortable here, feeling pressure to be creative in a different – and challenging – way. I’m hard-pressed to spend time on it, because I am afraid I will fail. But I’m just as afraid I’ll succeed, and someone will cram me into the “songwriter box” that I’ve built, all on my own.

You see, I identify with many different titles. For instance, the list can begin with woman, mother, daughter, wife, and friend. It can continue with Christian, worship leader, musician, writer, feminist, and foodie. But it’s never really included songwriter, composer, or anything of the like. But I’m feeling the push in that direction. Opportunities are arising for me to try my hand at it, to make it my own, and to redefine what “being a songwriter” means to me, now that I’m flirting with the line to becoming one. And that, my friends, scares me. So here I go, branching out into new territory, breaking the mold in which I’ve put myself. I’ll let you know how it goes.