1. I love a good back scratch,
2. and a good teeth-cleanin’,
3. and a good run.
4. I love impressive words like bombastic, equilibrium, and paleontologist,
5. but I love profound concepts like freedom, forgiveness, and mercy, even more.
6. I like to cut my fingernails all-the-way short and only use clear nail polish on them. (My childhood piano teacher taught me that this is most elegant for a pianist. Which, I like to imagine, I am.)
7. However, I love some color on my summer toe nails. (Favorite: OPI’s Ruble for Your Thoughts)
8. In the past five years I have fully converted from nail file to nail clippers (learn how to properly cut your own finger nails).
9. I bite my baby’s fingernails. While she’s nursing. Yes, she does mind. (Don’t tell anyone.)
10. I sleep under the covers all year round. (Shop for a down comforter here.)
11. I drink a lot of water. Exclusively. Almost.
12. Of course, if I’m not pregnant, not nursing (for an hour or two anyway), and not driving, I’ll share a glass of Pinot Grigio or a Woodchuck Cider with you.
13. I believe that all other beverages are a waste of calories.
14. I’d much rather save those calories for chocolate.
15. Or those mini eclairs. Partly frozen. Yum.
16. I love to-do lists.
17. I love done to-do lists more.
18. I get a thrill from efficient movement around the house. For instance, taking a load of recycling down to the garage when leaving for the grocery store, or moving a glass from the kitchen table to the sink while I’m walking by, etc.
19. I always do housework when I am on the phone.
20. In fact, I have a running list of “phone work” projects in my brain so that I have something to do when you call.
21. I am ready to admit that it’s a problem.
22. I am not yet ready to change.
23. I also am ready to admit that my obsession with journals and bags is a problem.
24. I am not yet ready to change.
25. (I blame my most recent bag purchase entirely on Vivienne. How could I not buy that $10 army bag after my three year old shopping-buddy purported, “You need that bag, Mom. Look, you can put your books in here; stuff for me in here; and stuff for Lia in here! You NEED to buy that.”)
26. I love vintage-anything: knee socks, bed frames, wooden birds, etc.
27. But I don’t know how to convince Ryan that beat-up-stuff is totally worth his hard-earned money.
28. He’s a good sport, though.
29. Because he enjoys refinishing the vintage items.
30. For example, today we bought a little old school desk (the kind that opens up on a slant and slams down on little fingers. Not on purpose. I’m just sayin’ we know what we’re getting into).
31. So Ryan will refinish it, and it will look so authentic that our children will suddenly wear little bonnets, write in Old English, and carry slates.
33. We always check out way too many books for me to juggle with a baby, a bag, keys, my parking pass, a snack, a preschooler’s hand, way-too-narrow parking spaces, and car handles. So, when you ask me if I need a hand, yes, I do.
34. I usually do, actually.
35. But not many strangers offer hands these days.
36. Interestingly, the strangers I most consistently rely on to offer help are grandpops.
37. Their kindness is so inspiring that I try to offer a hand when I see someone in need.
38. But then I remember that mine are full of books, a baby, a bag, keys, my parking pass, a snack, way-too-narrow parking spaces, and car handles.
39. And I remember that I’m also inspired by the simplicity of Europeans who, for instance, go to the beach with a towel. Just a towel. They sit on it, dry off with it, eat it as a snack, and then go home. See what I mean? Simplicity.
40. Isn’t that why I’m going to the library anyway? To borrow a couple of books that we don’t need to buy. To save some trees; save some space, save some cash. and participate in the literary community. It should be beautiful and, well, simple.
41. But, there are just so many books and those dust jackets make the books so easy to slip off the shelf into my pile. Not to mention that the other books are crammed so tightly that they suction back together after I’ve removed one, making it impossible to squish the book back into place with one hand (remember, the other one is holding other books, a baby, a bag, keys, my parking pass, a snack, way-too-narrow parking spaces, and car handles). So, week by week, we leave the library looking somewhat like the stereotypical home-school family with our piles and piles of books.
Don’t know what I mean by “stereotypical home-school family”? Just watch this:
42. And the laugh there is that we are a home-school family. And we don’t even have a five year old yet. Or a four year old.
43. But that doesn’t matter to this mother who googles curriculum plans, orders educational catalogs, and has unintentionally turned her kitchen/ house into a preschool.
44. I’m convinced that it’s a calling. You might have always felt God calling you to minister to a third-world country or collect previously-owned-eyeglasses for the poor; I have always felt God calling me to home-school. For real.
45. What else… Well, if it worked, I would name all of our children Bob Dylan and Patti Griffin.
46. But, for now, I’m content that Vivienne shares her birthday with Dylan and Lia *kinda* shares her birthday with Griffin (okay, so she’s one month, two days, and forty-four years off, but it’s better than nothing).
Listen to Dylan sing my Vivi song:
47. I share my birthday with Hitler, Columbine, the National Smoke-up Time, the fall of the Roman Empire, Apollo 16 landing on the moon, and the first pasteurization test completed by Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard…
48. …and with a sweet little kindergartner from our church whose mom reads this blog. (Hi, Jenny!)
49. My annual birthday cake is my mom’s delicious strawberry shortcake. (Make your own: yellow cake, cool whip, and sliced strawberries.)
50. I also like Moose track Ice Cream. Galliker’s. (Find Galliker’s ice cream near you!)
51. (I’m only half-way there?!) Um, well, I can scrawl out some impressive poster lettering.
52. Without using a pencil to sketch the letters first.
53. I’m convinced that this is why I won the elections for class president in high school. (Doesn’t it always come down to the posters?)
54. Actually, you could write some impressive poster lettering, too. (Do it yourself: confidently scrawl your message across a piece of poster board. Add dots, stars, triangles, or horse figures to the ends of each letter. Wa-la! Impressive lettering! The art is hidden mostly in the confidence. My high school drama teacher taught me that I can be infinitely better at something just by acting like someone who is an expert in that thing. For example, the next time your friends ask you to join them for a 3-on-3 b-ball game andÂ you realize that you’ve never played before, just act like Kobe with your defensive arms flailing around and your smooth gooseneck follow-through and you’ll be tons better than if you just walked out on the court as your insecure self. No promises, of course.)
55. We are down to the dregs in our hand soap, which bothers me.
56. But I’ve been waiting for CVS to run an ECB on hand soap. (Would someone please tell CVS headquarters that we’re about to be in dire straights in the hand washing department?!)
57. We’ll have to use Dawn Dish Detergent soon.
58. Which isn’t so bad, because isn’t it supposed to make your hands silky smooth while you’re slaving away over the burnt edges of the casserole dish?
59. Nonetheless, I just can’t turn my back on the good smelling hand soaps.
60. Truly, if I go to your house and you have lemon, lavender, or vanilla soap in your bathroom, I instantly feel as if you are the wealthiest, most hospitable, most wonderful homey friend in the world. (Maybe good- smelling-hand-soap is one of my love languages…)
62. My favorite prescriptions are: allergy medicine that works even in the worst of times.
63. My favorite season: autumn.
64. My dream job for the far distant future: a college chaplain.
65. Really?! A college chaplain?! Why?!
66. Mostly because the chaplain at UR was incredibly inspiring: gentle, wise, unapologetic, and personal.
67. And, if I take a good look at my passions, gifts, and tendencies, I can see myself thriving in that position.
68. That is, after I’m finished with this preschool/ grade school/ high school stage of my life.
69. And, that is, after I figure out the kind of education I’ll need or the type of top-selling book I’ll have to write in order to secure said position.
70. Speaking of possibly needing more formal education for a future-future job, I should let you know that I daydream about the type of student I would be at this point in my life… because I’m pretty sure that:
71. I would rock.
72. Why? Because I would actually do my reading.
73. And I would actually go to office hours. (Teaching at the college level taught me tons about what really matters!)
74. Say, “Go to your professor’s office hours!” 10 times fast to a college student in your life. And then say it again. And again. And write it on a slip of paper and stick it in their Christmas stocking. Then write it on their mirror with a Sharpie. And then sew the collars of all of their shirts shut with thread that spells out “Go to your professor’s office hours!” That way, every morning, they will be firmly reminded of this most-important discipline as they fiercely poke their heads through their shirts.
75. I’m tellin’ ya, “Go to your professor’s office hourse!” is THE #1 word of advice I give to any and all college students.
76. But who knows what “college” will look like in the future-future when I’m all pumped up and ready to apply for a position as chaplain… Probably by then professors won’t even have office hours. And then what kind of advice will I dish out? I’ll have to come up with something…
77. Truth be told, the chaplain thing might just be one of my day dreams; unlike home-schooling, I’m not positive that it’s a “calling” exactly. They say “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”. (Name that movie for 32 extra points!)
78. I think that other things that make God laugh are elephant jokes.
79. Not to mention, of course, His other phenomenal animal: the chicken.
80. Which, we hope to accommodate at our farm sometime soon.
81. Shortly after which, we will welcome a Great Pyrenees dog. The first and only dog that has ever won my heart.
82. They are loyal, independent guardian dogs. (Who wouldn’t want a gorgeous, white mountain-top looking after her chickens and children?)
83. The first time I met a Great Pyrenees, my heart stirred within me. No joke. And the dog, who was lounging 20 feet away, got up and walk right up to me, as if to say, I know.
84. In that magical moment, I decided we’ll just have to be that family who travels in an RV, spends vacations at animal-friendly campsites, kayaks down riverbeds, and loves a dog.
85. In the meantime, our girls are loving a cat.
86. Named Linus.
87. Who moved to the farm as a kitten, and is the happiest and most beloved farm cat I have ever seen.
88. He never stops purring. Really. The vet had to de-purr him with an alcohol swab just to listen to his heartbeat. He’s that happy.
89. Why? (Because he has barged into my cat-free world, forced me to pick cats up, pet them, feed them, and BUY THEM FOOD.)
90. ‘Turns out, I’m happy, too.
91. I am.
92. Even though this year has been full of sadness, it has been replete with joy.
93. And, like a little girl balancing on a 3-inch beam, we walk the narrow path of sorrow and joy…
94. one foot in front of the other,
95. rejoicing in the footprints
96. that mark the way before us.
97. And we know that if He walked here,
98. we can,too.
99. Because the direction He walked…
100. was always towards Our Father. And so follow.