Introverted & Home

I get a little chuckle when I see posts about introverts and how much we love social distancing and are in our happy place due to stay-at-home orders giving us permission to opt out of social engagements.

We would gnaw off our right foot if it meant ending this thing right now.

Introverts recharge alone. My family won’t leave. They’re always around me. And I love them but, sweet solitude, I need a minute from time to time!

There’s this image of introverts – you probably know it without even reading the following description: An introvert gleefully curls up on a couch with a cup of cocoa, blankets, and a book while their friends are out partying into the night.

It does actually sound amazing but let me bring some reality to this image: These carbon copies of mine keep climbing under my blanket and sipping my cocoa. There is a grown man constantly asking me to move my feet though an empty couch sits steps away…

This isn’t easy for introverts. We’re the ones sliding into vehicles and locking the doors in the driveway for some solitude. We’re training ourselves into insomnia so we can get some peace once we’ve red-eyed our way to a sleeping house.

You know what I need? A car ride to myself with the windows down and the music up. A house to myself. I need a change of scenery and time with girlfriends (introverts love our people too) because the hard thing about being an introvert is being ON all the time. I need to be in charge of my own time and my own schedule.

Sweet solitude, I need a blanket, a book, and a cup of chocolate.

Check in with your introverts during all of this. We are not okay!

Happy Quaran-Easter!

Easter is the one of two holidays we host at our home (the other being Independence Day). That means our day wasn’t as impacted as most. We were still able to make babka and eat Polish sausages with hard-boiled eggs, horseradish, and beets. We still served mimosas for the adults and orange juice for the oldest. Easter eggs were hidden and found. We attended church (from our couch) and although we didn’t have the fancy, new Easter outfits, we raised our hands in worship and let ourselves be renewed in the promise of LIFE.

This has been my favorite day of quarantine so far. My Facebook feed is filled with proclamations of “He is Risen!” It’s filled with smiling families and fought for traditions. It’s happy. Devoid of political arguments and want-to-be researchers and hate. I do take some credit for that as I’ve been using my social media “Snooze” and “Unfollow” options liberally lately but I think today’s uplifting feed is more than weeding out the negatives. I think today we decided that we could be one body of Christ again.

I’m not saying we have to agree with each other to be one body of Christ. That wouldn’t be Biblical advice and if you heard it coming out my mouth, I would hope that you would take me aside into a one-on-one to point out my error (Matthew 18:15-17). But we should seek to show respect both to those who share our faith and those who don’t. We are members of mankind, after all. God seeks a relationship with all of us.

A lot of us feel that silence is too costly right now. Disagreeing and speaking that disagreement is critical to saving lives – or – freedoms. I get it (more than you know). That being said, can we agree to disagree with the understanding that we are the church? That the way we disagree is a reflection of Christ, the same Christ that died on the cross and rose again on Easter Sunday so that we can have eternal life?

We did good today, folks and I felt it in my soul. Let’s keep up the positive momentum. Let’s let love fill our feeds and friendships and families. Let’s keep our hearts set on Easter Sunday for as long as possible.


Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.

Titus 3:1-10

NOTE: I also recognize that today was terribly lonely for some of us. My heart breaks over the pain that we’re experiencing collectively and as individuals. I know social media is a highlight reel and I am not advocating for masking our pain. Just for kindness. We could all use a little more kindness these days.

Quiet to Quiet

I sit down to write with my family in the same room. My view is both of them and, just beyond them, our flag whipping wildly outside as it pulls away from the pole. It’s windy today. My son repeatedly sticks a guitar pick he shouldn’t have into his mouth, shouting gibberish between licks. He yells at my husband who stops strumming and singing now and again to pull the pick out of our son’s mouth but not out of his hand. My daughter sits quietly on the floor and puts Sharpie to paper. She draws me a picture she will later say she is too embarrassed to share; she will share it anyway. My dog pretends to sleep.

Even as a write, the picture changes and everyone but my dog and I add to the volume of the room. The chimes sound outside and the wind makes wave across the lake. Laughter mingles with cries of frustration as the kids pile onto my husband. If I were writing a story about the sacredness of life, I would tell you that these sounds make up the soundtrack of my life. I would tell you that the sound is sweet even as it is loud and that I wouldn’t change it for anything.

To write such poetry, I would need a level of reflective detachment that I don’t have in the moment. The beauty mingles too deeply with the chaos and my mind, which runs without reprieve, needs quiet to quiet.

COVID-19

We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, the first of our lifetimes. Restaurants, spas and salons, schools, flight paths, cities, states/provinces, and even countries are closed. Death tolls are rising; we’re grieving in isolation.

We’re also reaching out. Downloading videoconferencing apps and increasing work-from-home opportunities. Setting up remote desk space at home, remote happy hour, remote play dates. We’re getting outdoors to get out of our homes.

Countries are shipping supplies where they have them. Factories are switching over machinery, similar to wartime but this time we’re not fighting each other. We’re fighting a common enemy.


When schools closed in our state, my husband and I made the decision to keep both of our kids home. We’re lucky to have that option but it’s hard. It’s hard to keep them entertained and stay on top of meetings and work demands and deadlines. It’s hard but it’s possible.

Many companies around here have gone to remote work wherever possible but that isn’t the case across the board. I’m still expected to be at work though I work in IT. A sore throat will keep me home tomorrow. My guess is that it’s caused by lack of sleep but the cost of uncertainty is high. Too high.

Sleep is intermittent; there’s too much on my mind. Worry over the people I love, stress over losing my routines, sadness for those impacted both in health and finance. I’m an Enneagram 1 and the ethical and moral decision to social distance directly conflicts with my desired work ethic.

I’m thankful for my friends and neighbors who have ramped up dialogue though. Grateful for my small group who gathers over video conference to pray. Thankful for doctors, nurses, service providers. God’s promise of life. There is a lot to be thankful for even now.


I’m going to start writing again. Not all posts about viruses but this virus has reminded me of why I started: To journal about my life. I confused my WHY at some point along the way but I remember it now. I write to write. That is all.

Life Hack: Man Cold

The man cold is the phenomenon that occurs when a man catches a mere common cold and reacts as though he is near death. He’s really sorry but he can barely breath right now. His whole body hurts. His teeth hurt. His scalp hurts. It’s like every hair follicle is inflamed or something. He knows it sounds crazy but he just really needs to sleep this off for a while. You’ll be good with the kids, right?

To a passerby, he appears to be mildly congested and would probably benefit from sitting up off the couch long enough to let gravity aid him in blowing his nose. But that passerby would be wrong. This is the worst cold he’s likely every had. It’s been years, at least.

So he sleeps. And he puts his feet up. You have the same cold but you’re not the lesser sex so you handle yourself like an adult. You pride yourself on how much you accomplish with sinus pressure compounding work and life pressure. You aren’t weak from some virus. You, my friend, are strong.


If any of the above resonates with you, I need to tell you about this light bulb moment I had over Thanksgiving break. I HAVE HACKED THE MAN COLD.

This Thanksgiving break, I experienced my first man cold. I got hit with a virus and swore I had strep. It hurt to swallow. I had body chills and body aches. I gargled salt water. I took pain meds. I refused to talk. We ended our Thanksgiving break early so I could go home and crash hard… for two days. For two whole days, I didn’t care how stressed my husband was with managing both children. I rested. I slept a ridiculous amount of time. I put my feet up.

And in two days, I was 95% better.

That’s when my husband’s man cold hit. I felt guilty about my two days off so I jumped in to relieve him of parenting duties and took the night shift with the kids. I pushed myself to make up for lost time and my cold started creeping back. It is now 11 days since my sore throat appeared and and I’m still dealing with it.

You see, what I learned is that the man cold is not a sign of weakness. It’s a conscious decision for rapid recovery. If we would’ve thought it up ourselves, we would’ve called it “self care” but instead, we mock men. We’re over here extending ourselves and our sickness while our men bounce back in one day and we congratulates ourselves over it! We think they must not have been that sick but it’s only because we’re on the other side making ourselves worse!

These men aren’t needlessly helpless. They’re calculated. They’re smart.


It might take me more than one man cold to get the hang of setting aside my guilt for long enough to make a full recovery but I’ve got to tell you that my husband is in for a world of hurt. I am no longer patting my back the next time we both get sick just to watch him recover quickly. We’re about to go halvesies on this!

It’s not his fault that I’ve been a fool about the road to rapid recovery but, as often occurs in marriage, he’s still gonna pay for it.

“Sorry, bud. You had the last man cold. This one’s mine.”


*This post is an exaggerated account of my husband’s colds but a serious account of my epiphany. I’m going to start a petition to end man colds. I will no longer be tricked by this social construct. #mancoldsarejustselfcare #womenneedmancoldstoo

**Also, I’m still rocking head congestion and my self-editing skills are in the gutter. Forgive me if I half-sentenced this whole post. I swear I used to be able to string together enough words to make a complete sentence.

Happy 8 Month, Frederick C III!

Sweet boy, I am all sorts of behind on your blog posts but I did remember to make your 8 month board and take pictures; I feel like that counts for something (maybe backdating this entry will help…let’s all pretend it isn’t 11/21)! And while we’re on the subject, this 8 month madness felt familiar so…I looked back and confirmed: we went through the same thing with your sister!

This (last) month, you started picking up food with your two little fingers! Your movements are both clumsy and determined. You sprouted some top teeth too but you don’t like to show them nearly as much as your flash those bottom teeth. All the better to eat with, my dear!

You are on the move now, army crawling like you have somewhere to go. No one would believe you’ve had all these infections and fluid in your ears! It doesn’t slow you down during the day but it does keep you up at night. We’ve tried our best to stay on top of it and although I hate to give you yet another round of antibiotics, I am proud of you for taking your medicine well!

This past month was a whirlwind and although it came and went quickly, you did get to enjoy your buddy’s 1st birthday party and some quick weekend trips with family. You light up rooms wherever you go and make this chaos easier with your easy going demeanor.

Happy 8 Month, Frederick C III. You are a blessing to this family and a joy.

Account Balance: -$2.60

We pack a lunch for my kindergarten daughter. There are a couple of reasons for this, the most important being: because we want to. Anyway, into the second week of school, she tells us that she’s been having 3 chocolate milks a day.

Image result for free images chocolate milk

We don’t pack those.

In fact, chocolate milk is rarely an option at our house because if the wind isn’t coming in from the east during a waning crescent moon, it’s not happening. You know what happens to werewolves on a full moon? We feel that. If you give my daughter chocolate milk when she hasn’t had a full night of sleep, no television, and a completely ordinary day, lock. the. doors. I’m serious; it’s about to get ugly.

3 chocolate milks a day.

How?

Apparently, there’s an option for chocolate milk before and after school. Why anyone would want to provide chocolate to brand new kindergartners (or anyone, for that matter) before sending them off to hang with their new teacher is beyond me but I didn’t get a vote in the matter; I wash my hands of it. But 1 + 1 = 2. So how do you get the third milk?

“I get it at lunch.”

Come again?

I freaking love my daughter, ya’ll. Her boldness and her innocence. She just takes a milk. Every. single. day. And it’s totally on us. She’s coming from a daycare where lunch was included. It didn’t even cross my mind to explain hot lunch to her!

So we sit her down and explain the whole process to her. Better late than never, right? And we explain the need to pay for things that aren’t included in day-to-day kindergarten. And accidental stealing. At this point, her eyes get big and she gets that adorable embarrassed, shy smile that kids get when they had no idea they did something bad and aren’t sure if they should be horrified or laugh about it.

I tell her that she can’t take milk anymore unless we pay for it and that we’ll tell her if we put money on her account for hot lunch. She nods and we sort of sweep the whole thing under the rug because honestly, how many days has she done this? I have no idea! The more you ask a kid, the less they know.

Until last night.

Emma and I are going through her bedtime routine and we start looking through the school apps on my phone so she can point out who all of her classmates are in group photos. We talk about her friends and their different personalities and all the things she’s up to lately. And then I open her lunch app for the first time ever. We don’t use it, so there’s no point in looking at it, right? Wrong.

Account balance: -$2.60

Well I’ll be. Here we think she’s done this sneaky thing that we’ve swept neatly under the rug and her purchase history shows 1, 2, 3, 4 chocolate milks within the first 4 days of school with nothing after that.

So I ask more questions and this time she seems to remember a little more clearly.

“Well, I put it in a white bucket. Then I take it.”

I pry a little further and she elaborates.

“I put it in a white bucket. Then I give them a card and I take the milk.”

Ahahaha, I think my kid is stealing from school and all this time she had just put her milk on her house account. Phenomenal. I tell her we have to pay the balance and she asks what will happen it we don’t. I tell her they won’t let her graduate kindergarten if we don’t pay it but I assure her we will.

Then the clever little fox starts putting the pieces together in her head about the purchase and this card that tracks what she takes and this account balance that mom has access to and pays off.

“So…” she says, “Can I start getting chocolate milks again?”

No, love. You can’t.

Killing the School Mom Game

I recently volunteered for a walkathon at my daughter’s school. I wasn’t responsible for anything in particular but was invited to join in on the 2-mile fundraiser for which I paid a competitive entry fee in the form of donation.

During the walk, I strolled alongside my daughter and also several blocks behind my daughter and has anyone seen my daughter? Why am I even here?

We reached the halfway point and I was very glad to see a table with water until I made a quick assessment and gathered that the water was probably for the 5 year-olds. Either way, I was pretty sure I was an athlete after that mile so I did what I think any decent parent volunteer would do and chugged as much of a bottle as I could before handing it off to my child. You’re welcome.

On a side note, have you ever been to an event where you don’t know 98% of the people there? You decide early on that you’re going to fake it until you make it and suddenly you’re the freaking Joanna Gaines of school events! Look at you introducing yourself and making small talk and getting to know new people. Dang, girl. You got this!

Then the 2% who knows you walks up and all you can think is “Be cool. Be cool. They don’t know me like you know me. Let’s pretend I’m 30% cooler and 85% less socially awkward than we both know I am.

But you’re not sure that 2% is picking up on your vibe so now you don’t know which persona to go with or what to do with your hands.

Spoiler alert: You’re going to walk away from your web of lies calling your new acquaintance by the wrong name. See you later, Jane Doe!

Long story short, I finished that 2 mile walkathon and had to take two ibuprofen to sleep that evening. Everything hurts. My legs. My knees. My glutes. My ego. Everything.

What having a 5 year old is like: A short story

This morning we take the tags off my daughter’s new winter jacket for her walk to the bus stop. Shortly thereafter, I look for her in the bathroom to make sure she’s brushing her teeth. She isn’t.

Me: “Emma? Emma!”

My husband: “Well, she’s not outside. She’s probably in her room.”

I walk back to her room but I don’t see her.

Me: “Emma?”

Up pops a coat-wearing Gollum, stuffing her pockets with treasure. She is facing her bookshelf but stops to look over her shoulder at me.

Me: “Are you filling your pockets?”

Gollum: “Yes,” she says with a book light half hanging out of the pocket on her sleeve.

Me: “You’re not bringing that.”

Gollum: “Yes I am.”

Me: “You’re not. You need to empty those pockets or I’ll have to take those things away.”

Gollum: “No!”

Me: “1… 2…”

I take a step forward and her face changes from defiance to fear.

Smeagol: “I’ll do it. I’ll do it.”

I watch as the book light is returned.

A pack of Chap-stick.

A squish toy.

A battery operated tea light.

A bracelet.

A small rubber duck.

Me:

Smeagol: “They’re like kangaroo pockets.”

Black History = American History

My daughter and I have been talking about black history lately. She just started kindergarten and sometimes I worry that she’s too young to hear about so much pain. That thought is quickly followed by this one: “What a privilege. How nice to be able to protect her from that because she’s young – and white.” More importantly: How misguided.”

I recently attended a fundraiser for Mel Trotter Ministries. It was a purchased luncheon in a packed ballroom with a magnificent keynote speaker. You may know the keynote speaker, Bryan Stevenson, for his law work, his book, perhaps his TED talk, for the Equal Justice Initiative he founded, or maybe from the upcoming movie about his life. (Aside: It stars Michael B. Jordan, it’s based on Stevenson’s book Just Mercy; it looks so good!).

In his speech, similar to his TED talk, Mr. Stevenson spoke about our history. He talked about mass incarceration, a conversation I have just recently started to unfold thanks to The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. He talked about lingering hate and fear. And he made a point to mention Germany and Rwanda and how they talk about their history. You will not find a statue of Hitler in Germany; Germans want you to visit the Holocaust memorial. Rwandans want to talk to you about apartheid. But what about Americans? It would seem, based on our remaining statues and lack of memorials to the victims of racial violence, that we don’t really want to discuss our history.

Our history.

I consider myself to be a good person, albeit incredibly flawed. I’ve said terrible, hurtful things – sometimes on accident and sometimes on purpose. I’m judgmental and aggressive. I am a sinner to and from my very core. But I’m also an advocate for a change – in myself and in others and in our society and in the world. A believer in grace. I’m an avid learner, capable of being taught. So I’ve been reading books about black history and also about our present. I’m listening to Podcasts and skimming blogs and articles and social media content. I’m reflecting on where I’ve failed as a white ally and where I’m improving.

And I’m starting the dialogue with my young daughter about our heartbreaking history. Our American history. I believe that my job (in part) is to open my ears to the stories passed down. And in opening my ears and the ears of my children, I am opening my eyes to truth. A truth that I believe will reshape our future.


If you have a young child who is capable of grasping some big topics, I recommend picking up Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine. It’s a true story from the Underground Railroad about a man named Henry who lost his family and found freedom from a big wooden box. Based on recommendations, it’s geared to first graders and above but it generated some great conversation between my kindergartner and me!

For a little lighter read, I recommend The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson. You’ll need to explain the backstory of the long fence that separates the town but it’s a beautiful story of friendship.

What are you reading? What books can we add to our list?