Thursday, December 9, 2010

beautifully raw

I have less pre-conceived notions about marriage than I did before I started living with my sister and her husband for the past year. And overall, that's a good thing. Here's a few things that I've learned:
  1. You only get out of it what you put into it. If you want to feel cared for and loved, then do the dishes after dinner. Seriously, it's that easy (or hard, depending on how you look at it.) Brownie points are real, and you earn them by doing the dishes or taking out the garbage, or changing light bulbs. And the other person appreciates it. They then do things to care for and love you. It is a never-ending cycle of giving and receiving.
  2. It's better when it's fun. The other night my sister was frustrated with their only son's behavior, after multiple spankings and time-outs. She explained to her husband how they both needed to be firm and consistent. Her husband decided that it was the perfect time to tease her, and proceeded to do so by explaining that boys were special, they deserved less punishment and more freedom, and how their son could do no wrong. My sister then said to her husband, "Go to your room!" I loved how playful this interaction was, in the midst of a still-difficult parenting moment. I loved it.
  3. Nobody wins if someone wins. My sister and her husband like to joke about diffusing arguments by saying, "okay, you win." As if that is all the other person really wants - just to be right or superior. They both know that isn't really the point or the reward of conflict. Rather, they recognize that knowing and serving the other in love is.
Such a honest and heart-opening season of love and fun to be in their home....beautiful and real at the same time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


So, once again, it's been a while and time for an church situation has drastically changed in the past 6 months.

You know how you search for something, and keep hoping and waiting for what might actually be out there...and then when you find it, it is better than you imagined? That's how I feel about my church. In terms of size, it really couldn't get any smaller (a good Sunday has 30-40 people) but it's diverse, full of life, and brimming with hope.

I started attending regularly back in the Spring. The main pastor has been around for a long time, but there's a growing number of young, committed people attending too. It sits in the heart of Flint, and has long been known for impacting its local community and children. People who attend are the kind of people that know the needs of the city, and look for ways to meet those needs.

And I find myself quietly celebrating this new place of worship, these new circles of friends, and this overwhelmingly authentic season of life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

baby magnet

So, we have a Wednesday ritual - my sister takes the triplets to preschool and then has the morning to herself. And I take care of the 2 yr. old boy and the 7 month old baby girl. We go get donuts, play at parks, go shopping, take walks, go to the library, and just stay out of the house in general. And everywhere we go, people think they're my kids. And let's just pretend that I don't correct them. :)

My sister has enough kids to share some with me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

my family could be a reality show...

Ever since my sister had triplets four years ago, I've thought that her family was unique. Not just in an 'everybody's special' kind of way, but more like 'everybody stares at them when they're in a store' kind of way. You know, I would stare too if I saw a mom pushing a 3 baby stroller down the street.

But crazy has a way of turning into normal. A new normal. And currently, my sister's new normal is 5 children; ages 4, 4, 4, 2, and 6 months. And I live in her basement. And sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night when the kids are crying (thunder and lightning, gotta go potty, or for no obvious reason at all) and I think to myself "I love this family." And then I think, "I should have turned the sound machine on to drown this out."

Recently, Kari gave me permission to blog exclusively on her family as if I were a reality-based t.v. producer. An insider perspective from an outsider's view. I asked if that included permission to characterize her family however I wanted. And then I told her that maybe she wouldn't want to read my blog. But it's okay, she said, she wouldn't have time for it anyway.

So today, we rode to the zoo in Saginaw (side note: Flint is not the only struggling town in mid-Michigan) and my sister's two-year old boy saw a huge Santa Claus on the side of the highway near Frankenmuth. Recognizing the familiar face, he yells out, "Jesus!" :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a new school mascot

I really think the water buffalo should be higher on the list of possible intimidating school mascots. I didn't used to think so, but after this video, I am definitely a fan of that big beast. Here's the link:

Monday, May 24, 2010

my new mentors

Here's a short list of my current teachers (they probably don't know it though):
  • Eugene Peterson: prolific author, theologian, teacher, pastor...he wrote a book called Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places that beautifully reconnected me to some of Christianity's strongest themes: sabbath and rest, communion, community, and calling. I'm reading the next book in that series: Eat this Book. So far it delivers what it promises.
  • John Muir: environmentalist, scientist, the original backpacker, and writer. I recently started reading a compilation of his writings. You know somebody loves the earth when a whole chapter is devoted to the Douglas Squirrel (and it's not boring!). Thanks to his (and Theodore Roosevelt's) idea of a national park system, I've seen and hiked in some of the most beautiful spots in America.
  • My sister's family: Living with this family of 7 (2 parents plus 5 kids!) is a constant and true framework on how to live a life of authentic love in the common daily ordinary activities.

Monday, April 19, 2010

shopping trip

Last Christmas, my sister bought shopping carts (buggies, as they say in McDowell County) for her kids. They push them around the basement, collecting odd toys, stray dolls, playdough creations, and other sundry non-food related items. But recently, we decided to give the carts a real run for their money at a grocery store. We loaded all 4 kids and buggies into the suburban and let them lose down the aisles of Bueche's. You can imagine the smiles and stares of fellow shoppers. It was a bit chaotic, but fun (as is usually the case with these kids). And as an added bonus, we managed to make it through the checkout with everything we needed (and only 4 extra packs of gum.) 4 cheers for kids shop fest 2010!