Author Archives: texasnorth

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark.

where to start

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From this zoo to yours, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. I managed to turn 38 over the holiday break, which many of you caught on to (thank you, Facebook), and received just the absolute sweetest kindest most encouraging words and texts and emails all day long. SO NICE. Thank you. Every year, I am reminded en-mass that I know the absolute sweetest kindest smartest most encouraging people ever. I hope to be just like you some day.

The picture above? It’s the best we could manage. There were about 7 photos to pick (see what I did there?), and Abby is doing the same (un-staged) thing in all of them, God bless her. My cake is purple. Can you see that? It was intense.

I feel like there is a whole world to write about since the holiday silence. While I am gathering my thoughts and pushing two of three children out the door to school, let’s get back to basics.

FOOD.

My overwhelming desire and heart for this year is to find and bring home a miniature donkey. This is absolutely true.

MY SECOND goal is to pick up the faded thread of this idea and weave it back to life. Remember? Let’s Make a Plan? I’m talking about basic, back-pocket meals that you’ve made before and know work for at least the adults in your family. (After this holiday season, I have decided I no longer care if the short people in this house like the menu. Their answer is ALWAYS NO, so I am no longer asking or taking their opinions into consideration.)

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I had a lot of trouble pulling the trigger on this plan because… I was scared? I don’t know. As I was pretending to plan weeks, even 2 weeks ahead of time, my brain was saying, “Katie, you don’t feel like making a roast right now. That sounds terrible.” I had to remind myself over and over (and over) again that this was simply A START. A beginning. I can change anything I want anytime I want. I can change days. I can switch weeks. I can erase meals and add newfound meals at will. I just need a place to start.

The clincher was walking down the school supply aisle one day last week and remembering that one of my love languages is school supplies. And fine-tipped pens. And paper. Ooooh, I do love paper. I went with skinny Post-It notes simply because they are reusable and also work in my planner. I revisited the original list of meals and even added a few more. I now have 54 different options to choose from… and many of those meals have options within options. Number 38, for instance: shredded bbq… this could be left over roast beef OR pork. Simple stuff here.

I didn’t list side dishes or anything else… just the main course. My goal here is to not have spaghetti 3 times a week (because we have been) and also to stop defrosting meat at 5:02pm every day. I numbered the meals as I thought of them. They are not color-coded by chicken, fish, meat, and veggie or anything like that. Again, simple stuff here. A prompt. A start. A push in the right direction.

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I filled in only 5 days per week because weekends are almost always nachos and hamburgers and leftovers. I also know (I KNOW) to expect the unexpected. Maybe we’ll go out to eat. Maybe it will be completely nuts one night and I will resort to Jimmy John’s. Lots of room here to switch things around. Any meal not used just moves to the bottom of the list and begins filling in empty spots later in the month. Maybe I plan 2 weeks out and choose from a huge pool of options. Or maybe I lay out all 54 recipes and fit them into 10 weeks. Done. We’ll see.

So. Part I of this plan was to get the meals down on some sort of calendar. DONE. I made a grocery list for this week and I’ve already set meat in the fridge to defrost for later. So far, it’s working. It’s Day 1, but it’s working.

Part II of this plan is to get all the basic recipes into one easy spot. I have a habit of scrambling at the end of the day… pulling scraps of recipes from here and there, plus referring to one I snapped a photo of on my phone, and then pulling one up on the computer while I’m actually cooking. I want all my usual stuff all in ONE BINDER. I want to see that tomorrow is #9 Tai Peanut Noodles and be able to immediately find a paper with the peanut sauce recipe on it. What I would usually do is remember, “Oh, I have that on Pinterest.” Then I’d have to pull up pinterest, find my food board, scroll forever and find that post, click on the post, and then take a screen shot of the post so I could prop my phone up in the kitchen and read off the ingredients.

People. I would do this ALL THE TIME.

Dumb.

So, no. Like I said, I want to write down each basic (tried and true) recipe and have it available. I always use this sauce. Always. Write it down or print it out, Kate, and put it in your binder. Label it #9. Now it’s there. I’d like to do this each week for every recipe, and I want to do most of it in my own handwriting. I want to be able to give my kids a copy of this later and say, “This is what I cooked for you.” OR, “This is what you didn’t eat when you were living on the farm.”

Either way. 

A passing of the torch, if you will.

For Christmas, I made my mamma and me a couple of linen kitchen towels with my grandmother’s macaroni and cheese recipe printed on it. (I used spoonflower.) Mom used this recipe when she was first learning to cook, and mac & cheese is pretty important in this house. It was a good fit. I’m hoping the recipe binder will be a hands-on memento  for the kids. It’s been so easy for me to document life digitally for the kids that I have chosen to do so in nearly every instance. I’d like for this one to be different. I think it’s worth it.

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At any rate, all that to say…

THIS IS WHERE I’M AT RIGHT NOW.

It’s a start.

 


This is Christmas.

A father packs a suitcase.

He tells me this story:

The kids aren’t coming home for Christmas this year.

He’s not mad. 

Disappointed, maybe,

but not mad.

He misses his kids,

this much is obvious.

We used to talk a lot. Actually, we used to be inseparable, you know? They hung on every word I said. Ran home every chance they could. Asked my advice, ate at the family table, counted on me. But times change and, well, you know how it goes. Kids want to explore, right? They challenge the truth they grew up with. They started believing I didn’t understand them anymore, said times were different now, said they wanted their freedom. We talked less and less in those later years until, finally, they stopped coming home at all.

I see them, hear them wandering around life… struggling through. I hate that we aren’t together anymore.

“But you still love them,” I say.

Oh, I do! Absolutely. I still love them. I could never not love them. I hate being away from them. I hate not talking. I hate not being involved in their lives, comforting them when they hurt and celebrating when they’re thrilled. I miss the early days of watching them discover life. I absolutely love them, without a doubt.

And so, in order to show them that I love them… that nothing can change that I love them, that my heart’s desire is to know them and be known by them, that I want a relationship at all costs…

this year I’m going to THEM for Christmas.

He is smiling now.

The biggest smile

you can imagine.

I’m going to surprise them. If they won’t come to me, then I will go to them. I will get low. I will serve.I will be last. I’ll go where they are. I’ll find them where they are. If they can’t or won’t come home, I’ll go to them. It’s a long trip, and I think it may be uncomfortable. But, I’m going.

Because I love them.

I think He’s amazing.

And, maybe a little stubborn.

But certainly determined…

as one is when in unconditional love.

candlelight

Do you see what I see?

This is Christmas… 

the celebration of God coming to us to make peace. The thrill of hope: knowing we are not lost but, in fact, found. That we are missed and loved and sought. That we walked away and He came after us.

With an infant’s cry on a not-so silent night, Jesus started a war for peace- a war against sin. It is the middle of a story that started in a garden and ends on a cross… with an epilogue we truly cannot grasp.

We are no longer lost,

for He has come down to us.

We have a savior; 

we have a savior.

[music]

Merry Christmas, friends. 

• inspired by a stunning monologue

at the 2014 BHBC candlelight service


WHAT IS THIS LIFE

Dearest Abby June,

Today, you have completed 3 cycles around the sun. If you aren’t the best thing to ever happen to this little family, I’ll eat my hat.IMG_5655

You are 34 and a half inches tall… not yet to where Gideon and Ry were when they turned 2. TWO! Our little Half Pint. You’d be lucky to break 25 pounds, but you carry a quick right jab to make up for anything. You are painfully shy with strangers but fearless with frogs, 4-wheelers, trampolines, hills, tractors, busses, candy, chickens, ornery yearling calves, and wood stoves. Brave. You are brave. You are potty trained (again). You know your colors and your numbers and most of the make and models of our neighbors’ cars. You eat only pancakes and noodles and cereal (nothing has changed since last year… your word is CONSISTENT). You will not wear dresses and have to be in a good mood to wear shirts without pockets. You can dress yourself, including zipping your coat. You are, we have always said, the Little General. You are the child I worry the least about. You have largely raised yourself… I cannot take credit for the awesomeness we see on a daily basis.

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Thursday last, I left a choir concert early with your sister (You won’t remember this, but she puked. SHE PUKED AT HER CONCERT). We were sad to miss the live nativity, and I asked you to sneak the miniature donkey into Dad’s car on the way home. The next morning we had this conversation (keep in mind that I, your 37-year-old mother, am in red and you, still clinging to 2, are in black):

Did you bring me my donkey?

No, I did not.

Why not?!

You haft have money and buy one.

I don’t have any money!

Then you needa ask your dad.

But my dad is not here!

Well, he will be on Sunday.

Child, you have the craziest handle on language this family has ever seen. You’ve been talking for a year, and are fluent in humor, sarcasm, and passive-aggressive suggestions. Our conversations have become the stuff of legends online and certainly brighten the Michigan gray around here. I am constantly forgetting that I am speaking to a minor.

You are an unapologetic fibber. A liar. A student of the untruth. Abby! I say, Do you have chocolate in your mouth? Is that brown candy dripping out of your face at 7am in the morning? And without hesitation, you will answer NO every time. Every time, Child.

IMG_6263I just cannot get enough of you.

I do love you. What’s more, I like you. I would hang out with you even if you weren’t my child. A hundred times a day, Girl, you save me.

Love,

Mom

Abby is 2. (my favorite)

Abby is 1.

Abby is born.


we bought the farm

 

 

When we bought this Shoebox of a house and the 40 acres around it, we knew that eventually we would need to grow the house to fit a family. We started with just the upper 900 square feet of house finished. We carpeted the basement bedroom and living room just as Gideon was born. And we have gorgeous blueprints for a very simple but perfect addition that would add a garage, mud room, and the holy grail second bathroom on… eventually. Many of you also know that 9 years ago, we dismantled a red barn, labeled it, and stored it in an old semi-trailer in the side pasture.

It’s still there.

Funny thing is, my husband is in construction and STILL could not in any way shape or form pull the trigger on the addition or the red barn project. After a few years, I kind of caught on. HE WASN’T SURE. And if he’s not sure, he doesn’t make plans.

I finally called him on it. I asked him what he was waiting for… and he drove me to this property 10 miles from our home. An old barn sat at the top of a hill at the end of a storybook driveway. The house was long gone, but pieces of foundation gave a glimpse of what was. I knew immediately that we could bring that farm back to life. There was just one problem: it was not for sale. It was not for sale and the deed is held by 7 siblings… grandchildren of the original owners. Those seven siblings are not interested in living on the farm anymore, but some of them were not ready to let it go. For two years, we wrote letters, made phone calls, and built dreams on possibility.

And they said no.

Or at least, not right now. Remember? You remember that.

I figured this would be the final green light for the Shoebox addition. I figured we would grow TexasNorth like the goodyear farm that she was: as needed and as able. As a military kid who didn’t have a permanent address until high school, I love the fact that all three of my children have known only this house as home. I would be fine here. We could raise the barn, build a small classroom, and make it happen. Absolutely.

In June, Curt asked me to drive by an address 10 miles in the opposite direction. Understand, please, that Curt looks at property like I make dinner: basically everyday and so much so that no one really notices any more. Trolling platte maps and property listings is a hobby and one that I steer clear of, especially since the building dreams on possibility situation. I don’t hear about land for sale or who’s passed away or which farm is splitting after 100 years of family ownership. I can’t test-drive cars and walk away without feeling immense guilt. Curt knows not to talk to me about property unless he’s 99% serious about following through.

So, when he called and mentioned a house down a dirt road… I sighed. I wasn’t sure if my heart could handle it. I waited a couple days and then swung by with a van full of groceries and half-asleep kids.

The address did not take me to the top of a hill like before. It was hidden down a dip, through the trees, and over a small creek. Around a small circle drive, a bright blue house popped up and across from it- a perfect red barn, ready and waiting for animals. I drove around the circle drive twice. I did not let myself get out or walk around. I’m that kind of dreamer. I stayed in my seat, put the van in park, and peered over the edge of the dashboard for a good 10 minutes.

Gideon looked around from his back seat. “Us needa move here, Mom.”

“You think, Buddy?”

“Yeah. Us needa put our stuff on a trailer an’ move here.”

“Well, we’ll see, Buddy. We’ll see what happens.”

What happened is we put in an offer, and they said no.

And we waited for months while nothing happened.

And their realtor called and said we should try again.

And we tried again and they said yes.

SOLD

We bought the farm. A hundred-year-old farm with a hundred-year-old blue house and protected wetlands and a standing red barn and an abby full of farming nuns behind us. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

We will move in June after school lets out. It will change nothing with school or church, but it will change everything else, absolutely everything else. I will need the next 6 months to wrap my brain around it.

And that old red barn we dismantled? She will be put back together in a year’s time. Maybe you could join us for that. I’ll make you an apple pie.

So very much more to come.


Ry is 8.

Ry's native language

There are few ways to deal with fire, Child. You can douse it with water, but this may leave the area both flooded and burned. You can smother the flames, which is quick but you risk serious injury and are still left with damaged goods.  Sometimes, sometimes… the safest way to deal with a fire is to let the flames burn out on their own. It is beautiful and horrifying, but it purifies. And, it is the only way some flowers will ever see the sun.

These are the FIRE EPHEMERALS, or fire followers. They emerge only after devastation. Their seeds only open in extreme, intense heat… and they will wait 40 years if they have to. Some will not even attempt life if it’s been less than 10 years since the last flame. What kind of beauty is this? That which demands such a display, such destruction, before showing its face?

I am only just beginning to understand.

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It is the rare, the quiet, the high on the hill, the least sought after, the unique, and off the beaten path, the beauty from ashes kind of life.

I am only just beginning to know a God who would hide treasure among dust, who asks for obedience rather than results, who craves a relationship more than a receipt. He, himself, is a consuming fire, and there is no way through it but through it. 

This God did not give me a child the world wants to ‘fix’ in order that I might lead her and myself to a better life.

He gave me a child that I might love as He loves me.

There is no end to this journey, I find. Each time I reach a crossroad, a bench, a peak, a valley… each time, the road continues on into the sun and there is nothing to do but keep walking.

I have never been so broken or so full at the same time.

There is no end, but I am not doing it wrong. 

I am only just beginning to understand.

LUKE

You, my girl… you are eight.

You can say HAPPY BIRTHDAY this year. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I AM EIGHT. It is a miracle and a testimony to your relentless spirit of indifference. I am convinced you still do not know nor care that your voice comes out differently than most of those around you. I (still) have more questions than answers at this point… and so I expect God desires this conversation to continue.

Ry, you are 51 inches tall. You weigh 50 pounds. You want your hair to be long… long, like Ms. Julie’s. You wear a medium/8 and a 3 in shoes. A THREE. Gas costs $2.75 and bread is $2 a loaf. Gideon is 4 and Abby is closing in on 3. Dad is 36 and I (mom) am a month away from 38.

You love to ride horses. You love to write: lists, letters, words- WORDS! You can read! You can do simple math. I am convinced that wonders will, truly, never cease. You’re in second grade with Mrs Burgess, and you love to ride the bus. Your best friend is Kaitlin, and she is one of many in your sweet circle of friends (and adults) that love you and pray for you and watch over you and look forward to you. I am so grateful for the beauty God has grown in the dessert of special-needs. What a community of kind and honest people we share life with, Rylie! Fire followers, all of them. And more vibrant because of it.

You do not ride a two-wheeler or tie your shoelaces, and we do not care. Your temper is fierce. You need a plan, you like to see the next thing, and you thrive when you have a task, a job, a purpose.  You want pizza every day. You can name all of our cows by sight, and you pack your own lunch. We are so incredibly proud of you, Ry. For how hard you work, for how honest you are, for how quickly you forgive.

You are a new creation. A beautiful, new, growing, ever-changing creation. A fire-follower.

You remind me every day that fires are not the end… they are the beginning.

I thank God for the beauty that is you, Girl.

Julie and Ry

Love you so much,

Mom

Past birthdays:

Ry is born

Ry is 1.

Ry is 2

Ry is 3

Ry is 4

Ry is 5

Ry is 6.

Ry is 7. 


Can you hear me now?

Long before I had my own children to school me in life, I had the McKenzie family. You’ve met them before. They were my family in California when mine was so far away. They were instrumental in the early years of my relationship with Curt. A crazy cross between mentors, friends, coworkers, and parents… our relationship was sealed through surgery recoveries, fourth of July parades,  and rec center volleyball.

Jonathan, or J-Bud, is the third of their four children, and he was quite famous for rising early and making too much noise when his older brother in the top bunk wanted to sleep.

After several failed attempts to guide the child into better practices, the McKenzies laid down the law with their 4 year-old.

“Jay, they said one night at bedtime. “Jay, you cannot get up so early in the morning. It wakes up your brother and it wakes everyone else up. From now on, you stay in your bed until we come and get you. You can read books, but you may not get out of your bed. You can play legos, on your bed. You can color, on your bed. IF YOU GET OUT OF BED, you will get a spanking. Do you understand?”

Jonathan considered this for a long moment.

“Yes, but HOW MANY spankings?” he wanted to know.

I think of their kids when I ask Abby to dance for me and she says, “No. I’m not that kind of kid.”

I think of their family when Gideon asks to marry me and I remember that I promised Kylie first.

I think of them when my children scribble on paper (or walls *sigh*) and remember that a small, brown child first told me 15 years ago the scribbles were the marks ice skaters left in the ice.

I think of them especially in this season of my life, as my kids’ ages overlap with my strongest memories of their clan at the same age…

and I give thanks that all of our children were not the same ages at the same time. Surely, California would have exploded at some point.

I give thanks that I got to live and breathe and shop and serve with parents who lost their temper and asked for forgiveness. Who took the weird vitamin supplements before they were cool. Who let their kids run barefoot and climb high.

They were preparing me for the future in small and magnificent ways. 

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Once again, I am in awe of a God so in charge, so everywhere that He can see my future as He guides my present and reminds me of my past. He know what I will need, what I need, and what I needed… and He provided.

As the leaves fall away and the air starts to chill, I can hear Him whispering, “I see you, Katie. I know you. Trust me. I know.”

Oh, that I would have ears to hear.


don’t ask, don’t tell

I have spent most of my life afraid of one specific thing.

Well, to be honest, I have spent my life afraid of LOTS of things. I was a nervous child. I am a nervous adult. This will come a surprise to most of you who have met me or seen me parent… my children climbing on tractors and riding bikes without helmets, me majoring in ropes courses and singing in front of large crowds. Calm and collected in the spotlight, but a wreck in the wings.

The anxiety is more of an internal monologue that ranges from self-esteem to haunted houses to small talk. There are a few regular heavy-hitters:

wrongful imprisonment in a foreign country

getting lost in a jungle with large snakes

having all four tires explode while I am driving

I’m not here to debate the validity of any of these. Believe me, I’ve been through it all before. My brain is stronger than my will, and the Anxious creeps regularly.

There was great relief when I finally confessed this tendency of mine to exaggerate and perseverate on imaginary issues to Curt.

“Like what,” he asked?

Like, for instance, when you’re late coming home I assume you’re in a ditch.

“I’ll text you before I leave.”

(awesome)

Like, I’m going to be singing in church and I’ll forget all the words.

“We’ll make you a cheat sheet to put on the floor.”

(perfect)

Someone is going to take my kids.

“They will bring them back as soon as Gideon gets hungry.”

(true)

But then, there is the real one… the one I always have in the back of my mind. Being the daughter of a mechanic and married to an engineer should have cured me of all traffic and car related fears, but still, every time,

I am still afraid all the wheels are going to explode off my car.  I’m afraid something will go ridiculously wrong, all the tires will roll off, and we will explode into a fireball down the highway.

And I told him- Curt- I told him. I felt like an idiot, but we were doing the whole full-disclosure thing and it was going really well and I figured I might as well go all the way. Heal me, husband. Show me logic.

“Oh, Kate,” he said. “You don’t need to be afraid of that.”

“I know,” I said. “It’s dumb. But I always, just for a second, panic and try to figure out what I would do if that happened.”

“Right, but I mean you actually don’t need to be afraid of that.”

“I don’t follow.”

“Well, if all your wheels came off at one time, the car would just stop. Bam. Right there. Game over. Having all four wheels come off would actually be perfectly fine. What’s more likely and far more dangerous is for someone to forget to tighten a lug nut and have one or even two wheels fly off. THAT happens all the time and causes all kinds of ridiculous wrecks.”

[blink•blink]

And this is why I am not a full-time Champion of Logic.

It’s also why Curt is #2 in my phone.

Sometimes logic is not the first thing you need, people. 


permanent

I do so very much love my children.

I returned home from four days away and found all three of them pressed against the screen door, waiting for me. Rylie pushed the door open and stood on the top step with her arms outstretched and legs wiggling. I think she was humming. It was very sweet.

Gideon reverted to his dog impersonation, which is his go-to overwhelmed expression of love. He paused long enough to hug me around my neck and whisper, “I did miss you long time, Mom.”

Awww. Me, too, Buddy.

Now, Abby June… that girl. She hung back. When she finally made it out onto the steps she hopped up and down, which is two-year-old for PICK ME UP… so, I did. She sighed and kissed my cheek. Sighed and kissed me again. And then she buried her face in my neck and mumbled, “I did draw on your cabinet.”

The other two dropped the heads in defeat and marched back inside.

Now, I had been warned. I knew there had been a major incident that morning involving all three children and a permanent marker. Standing in the Atlanta airport listening to Curt’s brief run-down, I secretly rejoiced. IT IS ABOUT TIME this kind of stuff happened on his watch.

Oh, y’all. I had no idea.

The kitchen table was stacked with toys scarred by a fat, black Sharpie. Trucks and wooden blocks and matchbox cars and magnets. Rylie’s work was clear… her name scrawled across wooden blocks left no room for denial.

Gideon was a little more subtle, though it surely took more work to color entire vehicles. It could have taken weeks to notice the orange and red and blue cars that were now black… but the child forgot to color the BOTTOMS of them. No coat on the undercarriage. Rookie.

Abby’s contributions were the most traditional and the most painful. My beautiful vintage cabinet. Rylie’s door. The wall leading down to the basement, now graced with a single wavering line about 18-inches high.

I took it all in silently.

Curt made sandwiches.

The children… sat.

I turned around and put my hands on the island.

“Wow,” I said.

“You are mad?” Gideon asked.

“Take toys away?” Rylie offered.

“Well, I don’t know yet. Dad and I will have to talk about it together. I just, I don’t know guys. I honestly don’t know what to do.”

From the corner of the kitchen came a tiny but sure voice as Abby explained, “Dad already did give me a big spankin.’ He did.”

“I will take that into consideration. Thank you, Abby. Seriously, though, guys. What were you thinking? Rylie, you know better! Abby? Gideon? What in the world?”

Their Disney eyes grew wider than usual in silence. And then Gideon dug deep.

“God did tell me to do it, Mom. God did tell me to draw on my cars.”

prek

While I do not question my son’s potential prophet potential, we are now accepting all forms of ideas for a consequence for the above described childhood vandalism. We’ll deal with the ‘messenger’ situation another time.


filling in the cracks

aj It is time…

Last year, part of a major self-care overhaul in my life included buying tickets to a women’s writing conference in South Carolina. I leave again early Thursday morning… on a plane… just me and my books for 4 days.

Molly and Miriam are helping me split the hotel costs. Both are old souls to me, but we’ve never lived together for more than 12 hours. Curt thought it might be a good idea to let them in on a few particulars:

  1. There will be no sleep for Katie before 1am. She may get IN bed at 9:30pm, but that means Scandal is on, baseball is on, or she is reading. Or all three. Very possibly all three.
  2. Speaking of the tv- if you turn it on, Katie will adjust the volume so that it’s on an odd number.
  3. Katie wakes up slower than any other person on earth. It’s not personal. There will be no complete sentences within the first hour.
  4. Katie wakes up super slow but can be ready in about 4 minutes. Hold the elevator. She will not be late.
  5. There shall be no whistling at any time.
  6. Coke and Chinese food are the go-to saves for a rough day or incredibly awkward moment.
  7. Katie can read minds, body language, and between the lines. It’s super annoying.
  8. Large crowds can cause unexpected bailing. Do not be alarmed if your roommate disappears for a bit. She’s in a hallway somewhere or taking a nap.
  9. If you have candy, she will eat all your red and orange pieces.
  10. Katie is not fan of ironing, but it’s her spiritual gift. If you need to be fancy and you show up with a Coke in-hand, she’ll work her magic for you.

Fall has been a wild ride for this family. I feel like we haven’t really stopped to breathe since August. I’m so excited for a little time away to clear my head, do a little focused writing, and sit with friends. I need to eat food I have not made myself and be out of arm’s reach of small sticky fingers. I would like to use a bathroom that locks and take a shower without stepping on foam alphabet letters.

I need to fill in a few minor cracks in the self-care department, amen? I can’t wait to hear stories that challenge me to be a better storyteller, meet other women building tiny kingdoms, and laugh late into the night over chips and salsa.

What are you doing to fill in the cracks?


This is

This is the day I woke up to mist. It is the day Ry remembered to brush her teeth. It is the day Gideon refused to wear long pants. It is the day I forgot to print out photos for the Star Student to share with his class. It is the day Abby wanted Swedish fish for breakfast.

This is the day Abby and I witnessed the immediate aftermath of a semi-vs-car fatality. This is the day I thanked God I was running late.

This is the day I met with new friends to discuss a women’s December luncheon and a message I would share to encourage hearts during the holidays. This is the day Abby would cry because I ate a bite of her banana. It is the day I spoke proudly of my husband and the honest, hard work he does every day.

This is the day Abby and I sat in the back seat of the van and watched a movie. It is the day I forgot my bag of goodwill items for the 81st time. It is the day my phone battery was gone by noon.

I see you.

This is the day we added the words ‘cognitive impairment’ to Rylie’s file. It is the day her village met around a table to re-commit to serving her and teaching her and building her up. It is the day I cried, silently, for two and a half hours while sifting through beauty and ashes.

This is the day my neighbor watched my kids for hours longer than expected. It is the day I made Chinese food. It is the day my kids played without fighting. It is the day we didn’t push bedtime.

It is the day, it is the day.

It is always the day the Lord has made.

I will rejoice and be glad in it.

I will rejoice because today was scary and beautiful.

I will rejoice because I do not, nor have I ever, walked alone.

I will rejoice because I have breath to say,

This is the day that the Lord has made.