Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dear Mary,

We’re driving a lot of miles this Christmas, and you’ve been on my mind today.

Mary, did you know? 

Did anyone tell you? Did you know about the peeing when you sneeze?  Or laugh? Or hit a bump on the road too hard? No one told me.

God, that donkey ride must have been uncomfortable.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. 

Did you know that soon you wouldn’t recognize your body anymore? That your skin would be stretched tight under your used-to-be-flowing robes? That your very patience would be stretched thin? That your joints would loosen as hormones and tears flowed?

How high was your blood pressure? Was your anxiety skyrocketing? You had to raise the very SON OF GOD. No big deal.  Behind the blue headdress and sweet flannel graph smile we’ve pasted on you, were you freaking out?  How the old biddies must have loved to give you advice. Glory.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace among all men.

What did you think when you heard his name? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Jesus. Had you always wanted to name your son Peter or Matthew?  

And Mary, can we talk about the hunger and the cravings? Did you wake in the night, your body needing something that you didn’t possibly have on your store shelves? You didn’t even know about Jello and Joseph wasn’t there with you – bless Elizabeth for tending to your pregnant self.  Is that why you wrote that line in your song?

He has filled the hungry with good things.

How did you do it? I’m freaking out about giving birth in a hospital filled with white sheets and technology and nurses and maybe a blessed epidural. No one can mommy-shame you for not having a natural birth. Take that, internet. But how did you do it? The little porcelain nativity set on our mantle is so clean. No hay, no mud, no blood and life pouring from you.

I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.

And you lost a son, too, didn’t you?  My heart grieves this Christmas for mamas whose arms are empty, whose arms are missing one of their own. Did you know it would come to that for you? Could you even have imagined how the prophecies would play out?

Who were you when you weren’t preparing to be mama to the prince of peace? Some call you virgin, some call you holy mother. Some call you queen of heaven and saint.

This Christmas, dear Mary, I call you friend.

Quick Lit / December 2014

A quick look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (I read zero books last month because evidently my pregnant brain needed a break.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?


Where’d You Go, Bernadette / Maria Semple
This was a popular book club pick over the past couple of years, and I can see why.  I found the story to be lightly enjoyable and totally quirky.  A fast, funny read about prep-school moms, Microsoft corporate culture and the city of Seattle.


The Peach Keeper / Sarah Addison Allen
A lyrical tale of southern friendships and coming home again, woven in with a bit of mystery.  I found some of the characters to be less believable than preferred, but overall, a nice little read. From reviews, it seems like other novels from Allen might be a better pick.


Inescapable / Nancy Mehl
A predictable but sweet “bonnet book.” Nothing overly original here, but a decent read. The “does my father love me?” question is woven with themes of grace and redemption.  Note: I listened to this on audio book and found the voice of the daughter to be highly grating.  Would recommend reading the actual book instead.


Seating Arrangements / Maggie Shipstead
Charming enough, but overly WASPY. “The whitest book I read all year,” wrote one reviewer, and I can’t disagree.  I like Shipstead’s writing style and character development, I think, but the story just didn’t do anything for me.


Clapham Lights / Tom Canty
Many novels that I read feature female protagonists, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story of male friendship and misadventures.  I found the writing to be funny and sharp, and loved the depictions of life in young professional middle class Britain.


I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Quick Lit series (formerly Twitterature). Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.


Autumn Beauty Swap

I’m a beauty swap veteran by now – pair up with a fellow girl in ag, swap stories of life and get some new beauty products.  Love it.

fallbeautyswapI was paired up with my Twitter friend Sara, who is also pregnant with their first Little, and also has some work contacts in the hog industry, so it was fun to swap stories with her.

The Lorac eyeshadow she sent me is just perfect. It actually reminds me of my old familiar favorite Cover Girl palate Shimmering Sands, but with a more modern twist to the hues.  And I mean OLD – that CG stuff has been around for probably 15 years.  Yikes.  Now is a perfect time to update my look!

The hand cream now lives happily in my desk drawer at work, just in time for cold dry-hands weather, and the make-up removers fit perfectly in my travel bag.   The lipgloss has become a fast every day favorite, and I love the muted shimmer of the nail polish – perfect for fall.  I need to put on my Brave Pants to rock the red lip.  Maybe for the holidays.

Thanks, Sara! And big thanks to Crystal Cattle for hosting the swap.

(Spring Beauty Swap  |  December Beauty Swap)


Twitterature / October 2014

A Twitter-inspired look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (And here’s what I read last month.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?

6224935This is Where I Leave You / Jonathan Tropper
A book club pick from before I joined the group. Witty, poignant and raw, it reads like it’ll be made into a movie (which it was). I disliked the narrator quite a bit, but still enjoyed the book.


Defending Jacob / William Landay
Part legal thriller and part family drama.  Full of secrets, twists, and the unconditional love of a father.  A dark story, but one that captivates.

1736739Olive Kitteridge / Elizabeth Strout
A languidly slow, rich book – Strout wrote stories to savor.  This book is ordinary, and it is precisely that which makes it so beautiful and so exceptional.  Olive Kitteridge was awarded a Pulitzer Prize – a courageous decision.

17262126Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking / Anya von Bremzen
Digging in to Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is not for the faint of heart – it’s a bit on the long side, rich with Soviet history and  filled with family memories and descriptions of meals that will make you want to go make a snack right now.  With mayonnaise.  I absolutely loved it.


I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Twitterature series. Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.


Twitterature / September 2014

A Twitter-inspired look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (And here’s what I read last month.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?


Anna and the French Kiss / Stephanie Perkins
I’ve been trying to read more YA, since some people say I shouldn’t.  This book was adorable.  Simply adorable.  I’ve read some valid critiques of the storyline, but I just plain loved it.


The Expats / Chris Pavone
I picked this up after seeing it on Anne’s can’t-put-down list, and that proved true.  I read this in nearly one sitting.  Not the best book ever, but certainly enjoyable.  I always enjoy espionage and Americans living abroad.

18050094The Accident / Chris Pavone
I rolled right into The Expat’s sequel.  Also enjoyable.  However, I found The Accident to be a bit more predictable, and this one had just a few too many branches of the storyline for my liking.

I also started 4 books that I didn’t finish.  I didn’t dislike any, just couldn’t get into them.  Might give them another try next month.



I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Twitterature series. Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.


Twitterature / August 2014

A Twitter-inspired look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (And here’s what I read last month.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?


My Wish List / Gregoire Delacourt
A quick (short – under 200 pages) read.  Enjoyable and reflective if not a bit stodgy in places.  What would you do with a million dollars?


Top Down / Jim Lehrer
A character-driven novel based on the events surrounding the Kennedy assassination.  An interesting (but not fascinating) look at What If? questions in life and the big impact that seemingly small decisions may or may not have.

The Centurian’s Wife / Davis Bunn & Janette Oke
I enjoy Oke’s writing style well enough for what it is, and I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoy her books on occasion.  An interesting look at life in Judea immediately following the death of Christ – it gave me a new perspective on choosing to have faith in Jesus.


Match Me If You Can / Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Sometimes you just need light and fluffy chick lit.  This was okay, but not great.  I learned later that it’s actually #6 in a series, which made some characters make a little more sense.  A lot of the humor rests on gender stereotypes, which I don’t love.


Composing Amelia / Alison Strobel
This was not a great book.  The characters make terrible decisions, you guys, and the prose is nothing to write home about.  It highlighted a lot of what I have seen to be true when immature, overly-enthusiastic evangelical Christians marry at a young age.


The Beginning of Everything / Robyn Schneider
Everyone gets a tragedy, indeed.  I enjoyed Ezra, Schneider’s male lead character – I thought he was well written for a teen boy, which I would imagine to be hard to capture.  Cassidy, his love interest, is written as such an Enneagram 4.  An intelligent read, while still witty and quick YA.


Solsbury Hill / Susan Wyler
The setting of the moors was stunning and well-written, and became their own character in a way.  The rest of the book, and the characters of the human sort, fell flat for me.  A loose continuation of Wuthering Heights.  Bronte fans might enjoy this more than I did.


A Homemade Life / Molly Wizenberg
I read (and enjoy) Orangette occasionally, and I think Wizenberg’s writing style works better in blog format.  Great recipes, lovely memories, but overall disappointing as a book for me. #unpopularopinions

7362158Girl in Translation / Jean Kwok
I saved the best for last.  I loved this book.  The true-to-life circumstances of this little immigrant family are disturbing and left me with much on my mind.  Beautifully written, important story.  I want to read more from Jean Kwok.


17910558 Bread & Butter / Michelle Wildgen
I forgot this in my July edition, so I’ll include it here.  I was excited to read this since I love bread and butter, and restaurants, and brothers, but I found it a little boring.  Filled with sibling rivalry and mouth-watering descriptions of food and daily restaurant life, it should have been better than it was.


I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Twitterature series. Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.


What I’m Into / July 2014

A summer night is like a perfection of thought.  — Wallace StevensIMG_4560

I realized that I’m becoming like my Grandmother, starting these posts each month with a quote.  A few words that share the beauty of the month, the season.  There are worse things. She does like the summertime.  


I wrapped up my 33 Before 33 list, including the things I did not do.  But! All the things that I did do that were not on my list, for which I got zero credit.  I feel cheated.

I mean, in July alone, I cleaned out our linen closet, I tried cooking bok choy (successfully), and we had a roommate.   I’m giving myself extra points.

tbt dad

My dad found this #tbt gem at my grandmother’s house and basically won the internet that week.  Tiny Dad is just so cute.  


I did a week-long hydration challenge and subsequently used the bathroom all. the. time.  


Chad and I went to Pasadena for Max & Kate’s wedding (sadly missing Matt & Jenya’s celebration) and took pictures in a parking garage.  Because love.

IMG_4928Chad is exploring Business School, so we went to a Preview Day for a program at Northwestern, and naturally had to enjoy beignets and Bloodys at Dixie Kitchen.  Lake Effect makes for a nice July morning, I’ll say.  

What I’m reading
I linked up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share books I’m reading in Twitter-inspired fashion.  This month’s reads included The Romanov Prophecy, Bound, Between Shades of Gray, Wedding Night, The Fault in Our Stars, and Department of Speculation.

What I’m watching
I was obsessed with The Face on the Milk Carton as a teen, and MTV’s Finding Carter fills a special place in my heart.  I don’t regularly watch the full show, but I can’t get enough of watching Kacy Catanzaro absolutely dominate this American Ninja Warrior course.  And, we finally watched Season 2 House of Cards and loved it, natch.  

Around the web
Consider digging into some of the Faith Feminism synchroblogs here.

Little things I’m loving

Summertime fresh fruit is the best.  Especially when Whole Foods has samples.


My friend Jenipher creates these amazing, encouraging doodles (and sells adorable prints and cards in her Etsy shop).  I loved this one especially.  Emojis are the best.  


Jazz on the Green on a beautiful evening AND Ranae in town.  The greatest.


Oh – I’m NOT loving this.  Starbucks, what is this straw?  Quit messing around.

Adventures in Piggery


The tassels on sweet corn are my favorite.  They pop out all ethusiastically Pfft Pfft Pfft!!  Plus, popcorn is super good.

IMG_4903 IMG_4753I mostly saw barn exteriors this month. This is what #RealPigFarming looks like from the outside.


I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her What I’m Into series. Hop on over to her blog for more.