• kids,  parenting

    When Books are the Enemy

    With my firstborn letters, words and sentences came easily. He would pass time in the back seat of our Nissan on long road trips his little legs crossed, paging through picture books. But with little one, every word is a battle. It breaks my heart to hear him yell the words “I HATE READING!”   We knew that it would be likely that our kids might struggle since my husband and I both have forms of dyslexia. As an adult he’s learned to cope with it by consuming audio books- reading more than I ever could because he pops in his headphones and listens while he does dishes, or during…

  • inner world,  kids,  mom blogs,  parenting,  Uncategorized

    Five Minute Friday: Whisper

    In a hushed voice he says “moooom, I got a secret to tell you!” With his little face pressed against my ear he whispers the piece of information that he wants to share with me- sometimes about marbles, his favorite toy, sometimes it’s a nonsensical knock-knock joke which has become increasingly a favorite in our house. Other times he forgets what he wants to tell me and says….”ummm, I forgot.” It doesn’t really matter what he has to tell me because I love hearing that raspy little whisper. The feel of Ozzy’s soft cheeks, the urgency of the thing he wants to share with me, just me, simply because I’m…

  • art,  exercise,  inner world,  parenting,  pop culture

    Surprised by Small

    “Less is more” architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe once stated when he described his minimalist yet profoundly beautiful design style.  His Barcelona chair remains an icon in the world of design though it debuted in 1929.  And a coveted item amongst those of us who wish we had the thousands of dollars to plunk down for of those chairs. Design Within Reach my ass. I am often surprised by small. Small things that end up being profoundly huge in my life- teaching me about myself, my kids, God, my body, friendship and life.   Often I’m so distracted (more self-imposed than not) that I miss the small.  In find myself…

  • fashion,  friendship,  inner world,  kids,  leadership,  mom blogs,  parenting,  women,  working moms

    This is My Life

    A couple years ago someone made the comment about a fashion blogger they read regularly- “why does she post about her kids? If I wanted to know about toddlers I’d read mom blogs, which I’m totally not interested in. I just want to know how to tie a scarf 27 ways or what flats are in style for the spring. Who cares that her toddler says the f-word when he asks for his truck! ”  As a blogger who writes about lots of different things this struck fear into my heart and raised all kinds of questions like: “Am I seen as dorky or out of touch if I post…

  • books,  friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  parenting,  self-awareness,  writing

    Coming off a bender

    Let me give you a glimpse into my life recently. I have eaten a total of: Three big Macs, two bars of chocolate, 5 scones, one bag of doritos (the big size) Drank a total of: 1 milkshake, two bottles of wine (shared with friends…mostly) and 57 cups of coffee. This has been washed down with gallons of water because it’s so cold and dry in Cleveland right now that I need to stay hydrated so I don’t shrivel up. Obsessed about: How the stretch marks on my thighs look like tributaries of the Mississippi delta That my six year old seems to be “discovering” his private parts and the girls at…

  • friendship,  inner world,  kids,  parenting

    Fatherly Encouragement

    I sent my dad a thank you card recently. My mom is in Liberia for three weeks chaperoning a trip for Calvin College students. My dad is usually the one traveling around the world.  In part because I knew he would be a little lonely, in part because at InterVarsity’s recent national staff conference we were invited to write thank you’d. Thank you’s to people who have helped us to become a world changer. I love and appreciate my dad but I realize how seldom I tell that to him. Somehow texts, emails and even words spoken don’t have the punch of seeing something scrawled in a familiar script on…

  • inner world,  jesus,  justice,  parenting,  Uncategorized,  women

    When a man loves a woman- he will be an advocate

    In the immortal words of singer Percy Sledge “when a man loves a woman….he’d change the world for the good thing he’s found.” My friend Rob from California loves women- and is changing the world because of it. He loves women so much that he has dedicated a significant part of his life and leadership to being an advocate for women and girls in his life.  Today, he graciously agreed to share his thoughts to use his power as an advocate for women. Check out his blog and leave him a nice comment. We bloggers are a comment hungry bunch. Show us some love! ADVOCACY: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME Over the…

  • awkward stories,  friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  prayer

    Blog roundup

    I’ve been loving some of the posts I’ve been reading lately from brave and thoughtful folks- check out some of their goodness that involves gaping wounds, hot wives, and scandalous women. The one that made me thankful for men who love on their wives publicly: From Adam Jeske: Don’t Stop Bragging about Your Smokin Hot Wife….but please don’t stop there. The one that made me think about stupid things I’ve done and the stupid things I will do: From my girl Grace Biskie: That Little Warrior Girl The one that made me think about scripture in a new way: From Jenny Rae Armstrong: Scandalous, Loving, Woman The one that made me nod my head…

  • friendship,  kids,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  spiritual conversations,  spirituality,  work

    Care, Questions, & Creativity- sharing Jesus after college

    Jesus tells us to go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), but some days it feels like a lot just to make dinner. Now that you’re navigating traffic on your morning commute, toting young kids to soccer practice, or traveling 20 days a month for work,how do you talk to neighbors, friends, and colleagues about Jesus without sounding like a robotic salesperson? One of the best ways to do so is to be present to others and express interest in their lives…. To continue reading my post, click on over to InterVarsity’s evangelism blog….thanks-a-rooney neighbor! What have been ways you’ve reached out to colleges, neighbors, friends or other people in…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  kids,  mom blogs,  MOPS,  parenting,  spirituality,  Uncategorized,  working moms

    MOMcon 2013- Amazing happens here

    This past month I flew to Kansas City to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) MOMcon. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, or at least picturing….something like this…. Frumpy Mom- who has gone un-showered, forgotten that she is a woman and is still wearing her clothes from high school because, well, her kids wipe their ranch dressing covered fingers on her sleeves and there is spit up on her shoulders from carrying the baby around. Why buy new clothes when that Alanis Morrisette t-shirt from 1997 still fits? or you picture this….. Perfectly coiffed moms who look like they bounced back postpartum like 2 hours after giving birth… like the ones from…

  • kids,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting

    #momlife

    If Tupac had Thug Life, I have #momlife.  I’ve tweeted this in the past but now momma friends, I’m throwing the door wide for you to leave your own #momlife comments below. Yes, I am old. I listened to Tupac back in the day. And now he has made his return in my imagination while I compose lyrics about being a mom to the tune of “I get around.” The incident below spurred me to finally write this post. Running around doing errands before a trip and stepping out of the car to drop off our lawn mower to be sharpened for a moment elicits screaming and crying from my…

  • inner world,  jesus,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  prayer,  spirituality

    Marriage is Just Too Loud for Me

    I could hear him throwing up in the bathroom though I was at the end of the hallway, at least 30 feet from the disgusting retching sounds.  Dave had food poisoning from a late night Denny’s run with some friends at a weekend retreat. We were there with his parents  a few months before he proposed to me in 2001 so I could experience one of his family traditions.  I stood with his mom in the musty church basement, a worried look crossing her face as she listed to her heaving son. Mom Fick, seeing my grossed out face which she must have interpreted as worry as well commented “Ohhhhh.…

  • art,  jesus,  kids,  mom blogs,  parenting,  Uncategorized

    Care for the Little

    “Will you read that poem to me mom?” This literally came out of my son’s mouth recently. No, I am not living in some sort of utopian world where my children request poetry instead of watching another episode of Superhero Squad- and now Thomas the Tank engine has made his dreaded return now that Oswald is almost 2 and is allured by a smiling, talking train. But yes, my son Reuben did as me to read him this poem we have posted at the bottom of our staircase. In time of Silver Rain by Langston Hughes In time of silver rain The earth puts forth new life again, Green grasses…

  • awkward stories,  kids,  mom blogs,  parenting

    This is not the child I signed up for.

    She pointed to the small scar, right between her daughter’s eyes before we watched her run off to climb up a slide on the playground.  I shrugged to my sister “she’s pretty unafraid of things.”  “Uh, yeah, almost too unafraid” she said, rolling her eyes.  “Like the time that she charged up to a group of girls on the playground who were wearing pink princess dresses and said “princesses freak me out.”  When the girls didn’t respond to her Raquelle said even louder  with her hands on her hips “DID YOU HEAR ME? Princesses freak me out!” Not exactly the best way to make new friends.” My sister just shook…

  • inner world,  mom blogs,  parenting,  Uncategorized

    the double-blessing: Life as a working mom

    While there are many challenges to being a working mom, there are a lot of great things that come with the territory.  Research such as Sally Heglesen’s book The Female Advantage cites that moms learn to have an integrated approach to work life and home life in being forced to be more resourceful with their time and energy. Heglesen writes: “Increasingly, motherhood is being recognized as an excellent school for managers, demanding many of the same skills:  organization, pacing, the balancing of conflicting claims, teaching, guiding, leading, monitoring, handling disturbances, imparting information.” Though I haven’t’ yet read Heglesen’s book, a fellow working-mom colleague Anne Hong cited it in a paper she…

  • mom blogs,  parenting

    random reubenisms

    A little break from Burning Man blogs to bring you some cuteness from my son and the random stuff that he says: Holding up an empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom: me: is that your telescope? R: no- it’ my laser. me: oooh, do you want to decorate your laser with stickers? R: oh, no, no, no (he says in a knowing tone) the laser would burn off the stickers. At the dinner table: Dave: Reuben do you want to pray and thank Jesus for our food? R: (begins singing the Thomas the Tank theme song) “they’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight, shunting trucks and hauling freight….that’s…

  • mom blogs,  parenting

    sad mama heart

    Moving is tough- especially when you’re a three year old and don’t understand the concepts of time or distance.  I knew that once fall hit & our hectic travel schedule ceased we’d start to feel that we really have moved.  Well, this week it feels like we have moved. I’ve moved a few times in my life throughout high school, college and adulthood. However, I’ve never moved with a child before.  At the beginning of the summer Reuben was super-excited to be in Cleveland (and who wouldn’t be btw!;) For the last week he’s been asking me every day “can we go over to Ransoms house? Can we go see…

  • church,  parenting,  race issues

    “how to raise racist kids”

    I received one of the nicest compliments about being a parent this week. And it had to do with race.  I started thinking about this after I read an article entitled “how to raise racist kids” posted by a friend from Wired magazine. You can check out the article for yourself here. Dave and I go to a multi-ethnic church where we worship Jesus with Koreans, Africans, Latinos, African-Americans, Dutch people and everything in between.  We wanted to go there because we believe that we learn more about who God is and how to love people by being in relationships with people who look different than us. After all, God…

  • grad school,  mom blogs,  parenting,  work,  working moms

    what gets in the way of your happiness?

    When I was in college, my roommate Marla stressed about finding a major exclaimed in frustration; “I wish we were back in the old days of women just having to choose if they wanted to be a nurse or a teacher! There are just too many options!”  At the time, I chided her for not embracing the myriad of options women have available now more than any other point in history.  Yet, as I read the chapter in Find Your Strongest Life entitled “Of Choice and Men” Marla’s comment came to mind.  In his research to learn what helps women to feel strong and successful, Buckingham learned the following- I’m…

  • jesus,  mom blogs,  parenting,  Reuben stories,  work,  working moms

    I guess I can’t see the harm in working and being a mama

    This is one of the lyrics I love in Brittney’s song “you want a piece of me?” partly because as a working mom, I feel like everyone wants a piece of me, yet I enjoy working and being a mom! Any other mama’s feel like this?  It’s a complex choice that is simultaneously rewarding and exhausting.   This past weekend Dave and I helped to lead a conference called Compelling for 350 college students with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We were both directing seminars & so we had a lot of work to do before the conference and during the conference. Though the work was challenging, the more difficult piece was…

  • exercise,  parenting,  Reuben stories,  spirituality

    monkey see, monkey do

    Parents- are you ever terrified when you realize that your kids are picking up your bad habits? Or conversely that you have enough good habits that they’ll learn what’s important to you and emulate these good habits? The other day I trotted down the stairs & Reuben looked at me in our foyer with a big grin on his face and yelled “SHUT UP!” This was so disturbing! Right away I told him “no, we don’t say shut up!” and gave him a time out. I didn’t know that this phrase was going to be one we encourage him not to use, but hearing him yell it sounded so wrong and…