the sacred

When Luke said “but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” {Luke 2:19}, did you ever wonder what that meant?

I kind of glossed over that verse for a very long time, noticing it and thinking oh, what a beautiful way to say that, but not really thinking about what it was saying.

Until I became a mom.

And then… well there are just things that are just not easily expressed. Partially because we’re sleep deprived and the formation of words is just sometimes not possible. But also partially because there truly isn’t a way to verbally express just what that sweet-smelling, smooth-skinned baby that was formed from virtually nothing-but-everything and yet now somehow holds the entirety of your heart right in his eyes (how’s that for a run-on?)… what he does to you inside. There also just isn’t a way to express how exhausted you are. Or how proud. Or how much you love the person you made that baby with.

And so I thought, Mary pondered it all in her heart because of that, because how on earth can you express that.

I realize I am totally putting words in Mary’s mouth. But that is the meaning that verse immediately took for me.

But there’s something else, I think.

There’s the sacred.

We share so much of ourselves these days, whether it is our true selves or just the scrubbed and combed and decorated self that we are okay with others seeing. But we put it all out there. Is it just me, or is there this temperature in the current-day that almost implies that if it’s not published it’s not real, or important. So much of the world shares what they ate for breakfast, what their kid said, what their husband did, exactly what they’re thinking, it has almost become the norm, the expected, for everyone. Or maybe it really is just me. I can admit that.

I can admit to feeling that pressure, whether I succumb to it or not.

There is a Chinese proverb that goes like this:

“a woman has three hearts… one she shares with the world… one she shares family…  and one she shares only with herself.”

That proverb can be taken two different ways, as far as I’m concerned. Either we are most truly ourselves with just ourselves (and maybe a spouse or select few? I don’t think it necessarily has to be just you), sort of ourselves with our family or friends-like-family, and then we do that cover-up, make-up, try to look as good as we can in front of the world. And I am sure that most of us do that to varying degrees.

Or maybe it means something else? Maybe it has to do with the sacred, too? We were made to share things with each other – parts of our heart – stories and art that tell a story of who we are and what we’ve been through, I am sure of it. But maybe there are some things that, when treated as the truly sacred things that they are, don’t need to be shared. At least not with the world. Those things we share only with ourselves, or the few in our closest circle.

I am not, by any means, criticizing the content or how much other people share. Only you can decide the size of those three hearts. And maybe it changes based on the season of life you are in? And whatever you decide is just right for you. I just hope that you are not dictating the size of those hearts based on what has become the social norm for this time, or any expectations – real or false – you might feel from others. Base it on you. Just you.

So back to Mary? She pondered all those things in her heart. I can wonder all day what Luke really meant by that. I am not a Biblical scholar, or any type of scholar whatsoever.

But gosh, does that verse mean so much more to me now than it ever has.

Whether it is because of lack of words or because I just truly want to treasure the sacredness of something, just me and my guy, I am pondering so much in my heart these days.

remember to take off your cape

A while back I posted something on facebook about how parents are superheroes.

Afterwards I worried that people might take that the wrong way, thinking I was encouraging us to have unrealistic expectations of being “supermoms” or “superdads”, filling schedules with awesome kid activities, doing all the Pinterest crafts, grow and eat organic, keeping perfect houses and having perfectly obedient children, etc. (Great, by the way, if you do any or all of those things! I like you, but you are already superheroes even before you do those things, too).

The pour-the-milk, go-to-work, wipe-the-faces, hide-in-the-bathroom-for-two-minutes-to-keep-your-sanity ordinary, everyday mom and dad stuff. That is why you are superheroes.

You, the unique parent with the unique kids. Parenting them in the unique way that you do.

But, superhero you… do you remember to take off your cape every once in a while?

Do you remember who you are without it?

Do you remember how to be that person?

You know you’ve been sitting around the Kiddy Pool too long when you forget that you are anything other than a Lifeguard.

When you start to worry that if you are not watching, something will happen.

If you don’t jump in, no one else will.

If you aren’t there, no one will be safe.

It doesn’t help that one of the kids is glued to your hip.

I think I’ve stayed at my Kiddy Pool a little too long.

In an exhausted, flustered moment I found myself saying words that I knew weren’t true but I felt them and said them anyway.

“You don’t know him like I do.”

Ow. Poor husband.

And you know what? He was able to calm that baby down when I couldn’t, and he was able to calm me down when I couldn’t.

And then three times I read the phrase “If you find yourself (fill in the blank with things I found myself doing and thinking) you probably aren’t getting the break you need.”

In three different places
By three different bloggers.
On three different days.

And it took a week for me to notice the pattern and say

My husband, in all his awesome husbandyness, has told me to take an evening off a week when he gets home from work. He’ll feed the kids and put them to bed.
I haven’t taken him up on that offer nearly as often as I need it. Even though I know that if I asked, every time he’d say yes.

So what do you look like without your cape, Superhero friend?

You’re allowed to take it off, you know.

Even Superman does ;) He spends some time as Clark Kent instead.

By the way… leaving it on all the time… does that look like trust in your Superman (husband) or in your God?

Not for me.

And trust is such an important part of my relationship with both of them. And they want me to trust them. They’ve told me so.

They love it when I do.

And my Superman and Super God know exactly what they’re doing when I’m not around.

C’mon. Let’s take off our capes and go get coffee.

What does your cape-less time look like? This is mine:

I definitely asked for a water not to drink, just so I could use my watercolor crayons ;)



The trees are torches. Bright red ones, scattered down the road, leading the way home.

The trees are lanterns. Offering warmth, beckoning you to gather people around and share stories of love and loss and laughter.

The trees are blood red. Crimson drops on the ground. Reminding me of Love’s sacrifice, and of the fact that what may soon appear dead and dormant will someday have life again.

The trees are candles. Bringing light and warmth to our otherwise darkening surroundings. Soothing and warming before Winter’s sleep.

The trees are worshiping. 


Five Minute Friday {Last}

I read the prompt for Five Minutes Friday this morning but haven’t yet time to write until just now. My tired brain just doesn’t know which angle to approach this word from.

Right now I am hoping I can make my tall skim white chocolate mocha last as long as possible.

And although I am having one of those days that just kind of makes me long for the far-off day when my husband and I can leave the kids at home by themselves and just go out for a coffee date… I am kind of glad that I haven’t had my last hold-the-baby-to-sleep moment, or last middle of the day coffee date with my baby boys.

And I had to pause in the middle of writing, could have sworn I’d felt my last heartbeat as I heard the 10-month-old open the door to the basement stairs and thump thump his little hands towards the top of that first step.

Oh my gosh.

Not the last indeed. And not the last time that I am having to get up because he is now splashing in the dog’s water bowl.

I could be all profound and talk about how the only things that will last will be the memories and the love that causes the increasing number of gray hairs on my too-young-for-grey head but…

I just don’t have that in me right now. Not to express in words too eloquently

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday {Small}

Want to join me and the other Five Minute Friday-ers? Go here. And I didn’t even pause to correct my typos so much this time ;) … yes, I have typos, and yes, it is driving me a little crazy… but this one I just needed to get out anyway…


It’s happened twice now in the past couple months.

When someone passes and even though you weren’t there and you weren’t incredibly close, that moment when you know it’s as if…. as if when heaven opened up to receive them the small part of your souls that we’re intertwined feels it. The closeness of that space that separates the earthly from the eternal. Like when you close your eyes after seeing something bright and the shadow of it is still there in that black.

It all makes me feel small. The remembrance that we are spiritual beings in these bruised bodies. And the sharing of small memories and thwhen you are at the gravesite and you see a tombstone for someone’s baby, two months old…

And then you go to Panera, and while you’re waiting for your comfort food the sweet cashier who knows nothing about your week slips a free pastry into the to-go bag and she sneaks to the back before you can say thank you and you walk out to the car wondering why, and get in the car and all the tears just fall. And your husband says God wants us to know He’s taking care of us.

This is feeling small.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday {Lonely}

Deep Breath. Here we go. The next words after that bolded “Lonely” down there are my first attempt at joining Lisa Jo Baker in Five Minute Friday. She puts out this lovely invitation every Friday to write for five minutes flat on a prompt that she provides (today it was Lonely), link your post on her linky at her blog, and then leave a comment for the person who linked before you. I have always admired her and the others that join her but I have always been terrified to join them! Write for five minutes without editing?? Without wondering if it sounds “good enough”? Oh my goodness… but I recently wrote like that in a quiet time by myself a few weeks ago and it was freeing… and the words actually flowed easier. I’ll be honest and say this time I paused the timer because I suddenly found myself in the middle of a tiny writing panic attack (insecurities much??!) and out of habit I fixed my typos as I typed… but next time I will be trying to just go straight through :) … giving myself some grace this time and linking up anyway…

Want to join?!? Go here :)


I’m sitting here, turning this word over and over in my head, silently rolling it around on my tongue, like a lemon drop, and I don’t know what to do with it.


Most of the time I think I am not. I crave the silence in this house of three guys and me. The two-year-old never stops talking and the baby never stops wanting the holding and I am almost… never… alone.

I crave alone. And because of my wonderful husband, sometimes I have it.

I pace the floors in the sparse minutes in between all that makes up the daily thing of mothering and I just don’t know what to do most of the time. Something keeps me from all the productive things and there are days that my fingers hover right over the screen and I seep in the news of all the people that I never really see and I realize… craving alone and being lonely can happen right at the same time.

Desperately wanting someone to say “yeah, me too!” when I bare my deepest vulnerabilities, and it almost never happens and the scary risky practice of being bare in front of my friends becomes so hard.

And why can’t we all just say the hard things and bear the truth and carry all our weaknesses right in our hands and hold them out gentle for someone else to see, and why can’t we all let grace just drip from our eyes and say “yes… me, too”?

Let’s stop being lonely…

Five Minute Friday

hello Monday

Hello little (big) boy sleeping in his big boy bed!

Hello dirt under my fingernails… goodbye weeds that have been taking over our “flower”beds for 3 years now (thank you very much, postpartum foggy exhaustedness).

Hello rosemary and basil plants.

Hello baby boy saying “Ee-yi, Ee-yi.” First word was his brothers name. Surprise? Not really. :)

Hello windows open for days. In the middle of the summer? In the middle of Ohio? Yes, and yes. It is wonderful!

Hello picture of the real state of real life… no pretty pictures for you today, sorry!


Hello homemade dressing, homemade bread, and only all-natural goat cheese and bleu cheese.

Goodbye the bottled stuff (besides for Eli and his daddy), pre-sliced bread, and, sadly, all other cheeses for me :(

Hello not caring too much.

Hello not thinking too much.

Hello paint. I’ve missed you.


on days when say they “mommy” every six seconds

I am blessed to have two little people call me Mommy, but sometimes it is just hard to not lose your mind on days when you hear “mommy” every six seconds.

Today I finding myself imagining that being a stay-at-home mommy (or daddy) is like being a one-man band… juggling all sorts of roles and sometimes literally juggling multiple children, too… except the kids, unlike the one-man’s instruments, have the free will to make noise when and as loud as they want to. In fact, I have very little control over them, or anything, at all!

But maybe all of this – not the literal noise but just the whole of the moments, the measures of life, even the hard ones, all strung together – if it wasn’t surrounding and all so close to my head, would sound lovely if I could just step back and hear the entirety of the song.

Today I am hearing only one measure of the song. It is abrupt and loud, messy and unimpressive, and up so close I can only hear it out of context… but the whole beautiful song wouldn’t be the same without it.


hello rainy Monday

Hello Monday.


Hello rain.


Hello breakfast quinoa and earl grey tea.

Hello Eli saying “I sit next’ta you!”


Hello breakfast turned into fingerprinting.

Oh, and did I mention hello morning after Isaac slept through the night?!

And hello 3 nights in a row of good sleep, after at least 3 weeks of insomnia!

Hello rested me, I hope you stay!

lowercase letters

I just fell in love with quinoa

I have to admit… quinoa did not look appetizing to me the first time I saw it. To me it looked like (forgive me) fish eggs.

But it kept showing up everywhere.  And then people started pairing it with things I love. Pomegranate. Spinach. Oh my.

And then I started reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and she has a recipe for breakfast quinoa with apple chicken sausage, onion, eggs… and I just had to try it.

I have all of the ingredients in my fridge and cupboard, but that’s not what I ate today. Today, as I looked at the leftovers in my fridge I realized I had some taco mix stuff (ground turkey, seasoning, salsa, beans and corn) that was left over from Mexican stuffed peppers and taco salad. Out of peppers and lettuce, I suddenly thought about the quinoa in the pantry. Would it go…? No …. would it?

So I tried it. Yes, I ate on the couch. And yes, I ate out of the container that held my leftovers. Don’t judge. Less dishes = happy me.



Spontaneous Mexican Quinoa

The first three ingredients we’re already mixed together in my house. Feel free to swap out your favorite Mexican ingredients! I just used what I had but might add some cilantro next time. Also, I don’t deal with amounts… whatever looks good is what goes in. Sorry!

Leftover taco meat (I used turkey)
black beans
cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional … I went back for seconds. First time I used cheese. Second, sour cream. Both we’re yummy)

Cook your quinoa. Heat up leftover taco meat/beans/corn and add to cooked quinoa. Top with salsa, cheese and sour cream as you wish!