Thursday, January 22, 2015

nom your single mom: kansas city style.

single mom's basically are incredible people. i think we can all admit that. that's why this giveaway is just for you, lady. (or for someone you nominate).

the good people at unruh furniture do this thing where they make a lucky single mama a custom dining room table because…ya. so much happens around that table doesn't it? and you're not going to ask anyone for a table because you don't really ask for all that much. we know how you are. you're used to doing it on your own. could we help you a little bit?


you need a dining table. thanks unruh furniture.
 unruhfurniture // ​Facebook // unruhfurniture.com // Twitter: @unruhfurniture



you need some nutritious food on that table. thanks paleo fit for the $50 credit.


you need some pictures around that table with your kids. thanks bakerbakerphoto for the photo session.
Facebook //site www.bakerbakerphoto.com 


you need to know how to capture some good photos of those beautiful kiddos too. thanks allisoncorrin photography for the seat at your photography workshop. CAPTURE Workshops are the first in the CULTIVATE series from Allison Corrin Photography which are designed to inspire the eye, nourish the spirit and cultivate creativity. CAPTURE focuses on the technical components of shooting in manual mode indoors and outdoors in order to create beautiful, meaningful photographs as well as discusses other valuable considerations in the storytelling of photography.



you need coffee because. KIDS. 
thanks oddly correct coffee for the gift card//@oddly


everyone needs to go out to dinner too. how about a gift card from bread and butter concepts to one of these amazing restaurants? you can find them on Facebook here.




you need some table linens. probably nice ones…a set of 4. thanks pure as a pearl! these. are.gorge.
Instagram // @pureaspearl  Shop www.pureaspearl.etsy.com

before you eat your food, you need to wash those little hands. thanks soapDoh.
soapDoah is awesome playdoh like soap that encourages kids to actually play with their soap (so that it actually cleans their hands). genius. my kids love it.
Twitter: @SoapDoh // Facebook //Instagram: @soapdoh site: http://www.ilovesoapdoh.com/

you probably need to feel pretty because you don't take much time for yourself. thanks for the $50 store credit adelaide's vintage store. have you seen her stuff? oh. my. gollllllll.
instagram//@adelaidehomesewn // shop www.adelaidehomesewn.etsy.com


what's a pretty dress without stunning eyebrows? you need your eyebrows waxed. FOR A YEAR! thanks etiquette beauty. Facebook// site: www.etiquettebeauty.com // @etiquettebeauty


it's probably really hard to save because you're so busy giving to those kids. but let derek and carrie olson give you a one hour financial makeover sesh. you will love them.
"Basically, we sit down with you, go over your income and expenses, discuss your financial goals (or help you set some) and then help you get a plan together that works for you to start working towards your goals. We'll also provide some takeaways to help you stay on track."
site//www.derekandcarrie.com //


and so you can save what you'd be spending on diapers or  laundry detergent, here's $50 to spend at honest.com


how will this work?
if you want to nominate a mom or yourself, simply like or follow any company above and then come back and leave your comment here, telling which company you followed/liked, the name of the single mom, how many kids she has(or you have), and in fifty words or less, why you nominate them(yourself).
we will pick 6 moms and then the internets can vote on who gets this awesome bundle.

this section of the giveaway will close on january 27th. We will post the 6 chosen mom's on the 29th. and then for a week, until february 4th…the internets can vote!

fine print: this mom has to live in the kansas city area. that means their address has to fall within a 40 mile radius from kansas city, MO. don't be weird and try and find some loophole!

Friday, January 9, 2015

withholding our flame.

i have been thinking a lot lately about light. after sort of feeling like i've been in a gloomier season of life, i've noticed i follow the light in the house. like a cat, i find the warm spots and lounge there close to the window. i imagine myself being outside when it's above freezing temperatures and being enveloped by the sun, feeling warm pavement. i want to go there and be there and dance around in that like maria in the sound of music minus the terrible dress and being a nun.

but i was thinking about everyone being stuck inside because of the fridgid temperatures. we're probably trolling the internet much more, at least i am. things just slow down anyway.

i remember hearing casey weigand speaking at hope spoken and she quoted something like, a candle never loses it's light by lighting another candle. 
it hits me every time i hear that and lights up areas in my heart that have become hardened to encouraging others and making lives brighter.

the internet and the blogs and the instagrams and twitters show us how we would do this in real life, so just look at it as a window into all of our hearts.
but we are stingy with our likes. and @'s and mentions. our lifting others up.
because we're really important. because our "like" isn't cheap, cmon. who do you think i am. remember how amazing i am?

turns out, you're just dust.

we're stingy with our comments because i don't want everyone to know i'm on the internet a lot. my reputation is super important because i'm super important. or we don't comment because we are jealous of that person. i'll show them by punishing them with my non comment! my non-like! silence to you, fellow human with lots of battles i don't even know about. 

turns out God is the judge.

we hide in the shadows because we want to remain unnoticed, creeping along. taking from others because they won't notice. they already have 3498 likes, they don't possibly need one more. or it will just go to their head. because i'm the judge of their character. and in the back of our heads we hear a subtle whisper, i'm not as good as her/him/that.

turns out God loves you so much, you don't have to get your value from comparing your life to others.

we all tip toe around, remaining voyeurs because we don't want people to know about us, what's really going on, the hardship i'm really facing. no one will understand, anyway. 

or would they.
turns out, God made humans for community and honesty.

humans are so much more alike than we all would like to admit. the person you most disagree with on Facebook with all their weird posts. that's you! it's hysterical, but you're just as strongly opinionated in other ways. in fact, you are just as heartbroken as they are over some hardship, you are struggling just as much with something, climbing some mountain and trying so hard. all for different things, of course. that's what makes it so annoying.

people are the worst.

i remember walking into a grocery store years and years ago with a toddler and a baby. i probably looked like a normal whoever. but my life was in turmoil and when the sliding doors opened and i saw all the people, i thought, i wonder if they can all tell my life is falling apart in this very moment. if i can just buy a couple of groceries without crying...
did i need someone to tell me that my opinions on nacho cheese doritos vs cool ranch doritos was wrong? no. i sure didn't. because
it. doesn't. matter.
 what i needed in that moment was someone to pull my cart out for me and say, you're doing a good job with your kids. here's $5, go to starbucks over there and get you an iced tea and a cake pop for that toddler.

it seems like with that knowledge in hand, that we're all trudging through this breath of life doing the best we can,  we could do a better job at rallying around one another and lighting other candles that have been extinguished by hardship and suffering. we don't have to be stingy with our flames because, at the very base of your knowledge , you can rest knowing that you're not the judge. you're not the sheriff. you're not a big deal on the internet. you are, however, dearly loved by God who cherishes you and made you with certain gifts and not others. some are eyes and hands and buns and the small toe. they all serve a purpose. he made you to love those difficult to love and not Lord over them with all your harsh opinions. opinions! say it again, OHHHH PINNNN YUNNNS.

LOVE is the command. that is such warmth, love in comments and words and likes and @'s and responses. they are the bright sunny windows in the harsh winter we live in.  they are light to those around them. they envelope people in love.

 and as it turns out, GOD IS LOVE.

happy friday and all that.

Monday, January 5, 2015

ice and fire(works)

so much has happened in the last couple of months.
like the snow that covered the ground tonight, the last 6 months of life feels heavy and sometimes too frigid to go out in. so i've kept my thoughts to myself mostly. because writing about it means trudging through the thick, cold mess and my snow boots don't seem high enough.

the snow always looks pretty from the warmth of a chair by the fire. it's often deceiving though. sometimes that fluffy looking snow is just inches of unforgiving, frozen water.

in college, i lived off campus but not far enough off campus to drive to class. so i walked. on nice days it was great. on snowy days, it was a beast. on the first big snow of that particular winter, class wasn't cancelled and i had already skipped me allotted amount (because DEDICATION, guys), so off to class i went. the steps off the porch had 3 inches of fluffy white snow on each. i walked confidently onto that first step ready to crush the gentle fallen snow only to find it was frozen thick and my feet slipped immediately.

i bounced down each step, making sure to hit both my (unfortunately) flat ass and all parts of my back on every surface within 2 feet of me...my hands foolishly grasping for railing that also had, you guessed it, 3 inches of frozen snow atop.  i finally rolled onto the ground and-- into dog poop.

i laid there for sometime trying to will myself up. and finally when it got too cold, i crawled(not stepped) up the stairs and back into the house to sit on the floor until my sides and bum stopped throbbing with intense pain so that i could change the poop-laiden jacket into my roommates jacket (sorry, emily.) and head back out.

i still had to go class.

and this is exactly what i feel like these past months have been.
dragging myself around because i literally have no choice. children need to go to school. presents need to be bought. events need to be attended. work has to continue.

so of course, i've had my eye on the new year. i have just wanted to get through the 31st. like many other people, i am clinging to the promise that the new year brings fresh starts and please sign me up for that. i know people talk about resolutions and words for the year but i just want the new mercies. i don't want the adventure and the big, sparkly promise of doing all the things i always said i wanted to do.  i know it's the opposite of what i'm supposed to say. but i want the quiet and i want to settle into whoever i am now that last year is over.  life has brought momentous challenges and i can feel it's changed me like water on rocks. now i need to re-meet myself, i guess.

when new year's came, we had gone to bed at 11pm, but i laid awake in my bed and listened to the fireworks muffled by distance outside whispering that the year was over. finally, i blinked into the dark. new mercies, the booms and pops told me.

and i believe them.

so here's to settling in 2015.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

christmas card pictures. hipster style.

every year, i theme up our pictures like the nerd mom i am. this year, as an ode to the city from which we moved, i decided we should be hipsters. 
we will begin by documenting the one hour ever in his life that Pruett decided to NOT smile. i almost spanked him for that but then i looked at his fatness and decided he will probably never in his years see the back end of a paddle. also, old man cardigans for president. 

here is my teenager son, layne. wait, he's 8. but he just looks so old. he let me make him wear an itchy scarf indoors (hipsters are ALWAYS wearing scarfs inside) and for that, i told him i would overlook one future sneaking out when he's 16. 

lila wore a fur hat because. i don't know. it just seemed right/she cut her hair and it's growing out awful. and penelope is just a cute little mouse and that goes with any style. i love giving her tiny cappuccinos (pronounced, kap-uh-keen-ohs) to make sure she is ready for the day of making my life a living hell with her current addiction to tantrums. don't tell anyone i said that. 

 here we all are enjoying our coffee together with mostly not-super-happy-faces. which honestly, is so hipster. a touch emo...but in all the right ways. and then plaid. if you're not wearing plaid, GET.OUT. OF. THIS. COFFEE. SHOP.  i don't wear glasses, but then again, most hipsters don't either. they've all had lasik surgery, but they saw a cute pair of frames at madewell. and...end of story.
have you been to oddly correct in kansas city? well, then get outta m'face. you would love it. the people  and the atmosphere are fantastic. not to mention the coffee is from the Lord. so i hear-- from everyone who has a mouth. i don't drink coffee but i admire those that do. 


this last picture just makes me laugh. sucker bribes(what? i do not bribe my kids with candy!) and lila doing a super hero pose. "mah. look. i supuh lady." 
 thanks audrey at BAKERBAKERphoto for capturing this goodness. 

as much as this year has kicked my ass, it has also been very rich. somehow as december drags on, and i think i can't do one more day because i'm afraid of the sadness that it will bring, i remember that God came down down in all the grief and promises to make everything new and right and just as it should be. for that, i am able to look through the misty eyes that freeze in the bitter,biting wind and say, He has not forsaken me. 
on that super emo thought, i do hope for peace and joy for you and your families. merry christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

being poor at christmas time.

growing up, we were poor. this was before the government made the dignity inducing debit cards they give now. it was the time of monopolymoney-esque paper money, and stamps for milk, more like badges of shame. and you would wear your sunglasses in the store at the checkout lane so no one would know you were a mother trying to do your best but your best was not good enough.



we were poor, but it didn't stop my mother from giving. she was in the kitchen making martha washington bon bons, because that's how you can give. and if she was anything like me this year, and some years past, it doesn't feel like christmas when it's hard. when life is fast and drags you along. it doesn't feel festive when it is difficult to scrounge up change for milk. when there is loss and grief. when the grief you thought was behind you surprises you in the worst way.

but you make the martha's.

i remember my mother in the kitchen rolling the balls for the filling. she was making rum cakes too. i can hear her whipping the glaze with the whisk-- whisk whisking against the glass bowl and her yelling at someone to settle down. i'm 6 or 7 years old sitting at the counter watching the frantic joy of my mother in an apron. she was giving when she had very little. you've heard the parable where the poor woman gives her last couple of pennies and Jesus says, YES! there's the heart of my father. she has given the most. 

these were skinny years for us. there were not many gifts under our tree, but there were always gift baskets for others full of toffee, brittle, martha's, and rum cakes sitting on the counter ready for delivery. perhaps they were a little kiss on the cheek from God, through the hands of a poor woman,  to others who were also experiencing hardship.

of course God uses the rich to help others. but we forget he uses the poor too. 

and so it is in that spirit that i continue through the difficult. i find great joy in the mixing and the dipping and the glazing and the pretty packaging. to some it looks like posed and styled photos, but for me it is the remembering where i have come from. i remember the goodness of being poor in spirit. the goodness of my father in the skinny times and the goodness of a recipe passed down from my mema to my mom and then to me from a worn out, chocolate splattered cookbook page.

this year has dragged me around. it has been too hard and too fast and too much. it has made me tired and grey-haired. and i want to be out of 2014 so bad. but it feels like christmas when penelope sits at the counter and watches me roll and dip and holler at pruett that i'm going to pick him up as soon as i wash the sticky dough and messy of this year off my hands.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

the last minute gift giver's guide. for gals, guys, moms and dads, boyfriends, girlfriends.

is it just me or did i not do any christmas gift shopping until last night. my word.

so here's what i'm loving for the last minute gift givers. i salute you, procrastinators.

subscription boxes. these are so great because you are giving a gift that quite literally keeps giving. plus it super thoughtful, as opposed to throwing cash at someone. i've seen a lot of subscription boxes  for the ladies, but did you know there are some for the fellas too? and for kids?

for instance, birch box. this is awesome for guys or gals. dudes, if you're reading this and your wife likes makeup and skin care, and isn't a huge hippie, she will love this. i say "not a hippie" because i know all their products aren't all-natural. but whatever. i'm a hippie and still have some chemical laden makeup. you will win with this gift.

if you want to win even harder. sign your wife up for stitch fix. or just get her a gift card. i'm totally obsessed. they send you a box of clothes each month...of course after you've filled out a style profile. i jump for joy when my box comes. i also don't shop for clothes anymore because i know my fix is coming. you are actually saving money with this one. LOL. or something. basically, a stylist styles you and you they start to really get to know you month after month. you keep what you like, and send back what you don't...free shipping. just pay for what you keep. SHE WILL LOVE YOU.




ok then more for the dudes. have you heard of bespokepost.com? ummmm, so great. there's something for everyone here. so you sign up for a one time only box for $55 or do the monthly subscription where they send you something awesome every month and each box is $45. i love this gift for dads that would never do this for themselves but would enjoy being cared for each month.


say you know of a family in need and they have kids. you want to help, but know that you're a terrible gift giver because people cry when you give gifts at baby showers. do an honest.com subscription for them. each month they can get a cleaning bundle or if you're feeling generous, you could get them a diaper bundle for their kids.  first of all, in your december bundles, they are giving away organic sugar cookie mix with a cookie cutter. and second, use a coupon code! save 25% off your first bundle with code HONESTLYFAB
$35/month

$79/month


if you're a grandparent, you know that kids get SOOOO MUCCCHHHH at christmas time. why not spread the love and get them something that arrives every month. i love citrus lane for this reason!

basically you enter the kids birthday and they send the best, mother approved and kid tested toys, books, gear right to their door. magical, i say to ye. 



and lastly, because i am obsessed, if someone in your life loves natural stuff, you could get here an oils starter kit. the gift of health is no joke. we have absolutely loved our kit. you can read more about it here and see how to order it. but make sure you order by december 15th to receive by christmas!! otherwise, the $5 for rush shipping is totally worth it.

Monday, December 8, 2014

white lady, suburb mom.

i'm a white lady. i live in probably what would be considered the affluent suburbs. i drive an SUV and my kids eat organic things. i like pinterest and i like styled photos. i stay at home with my kids.

i shop at whole foods and i take pictures of my feet sometimes with a drink in my hand and post it to instagram. i paint my walls white and i grew up in a family with both parents heavily involved in my life. growing up, i went to a 99% white church and a 99% white school and lived in a 99% white neighborhood.

am i fitting into the white lady, suburb mold? do i sort of sound like you? give or take?

i learned in (again, mostly white) school that slavery was abolished and that there is no more racism. i totally believed it. i wanted to believe it. this is america, after all.
and then i moved to the city. for a couple of years with my family, i lived in the city with much more diversity. my black friends said, this is real. and i didn't believe them. because i'm not a racist and c'mon. no one says the n word anymore, right? 

well, wrong.

for those years i learned and i saw. a broken school system. city lines drawn by streets and subdivisions and churches and people. it wasn't what i had learned in my textbooks.
it became real. in those years, it wasn't a predominant, in my face issue on the news like it is right now, but it was an issue in my heart. i began to see the ways were I, (yes me) was racist. where i had formed opinions and ideas about people different than me and acted on those ideas.

it was shameful and hard. i didn't want to think that i could be a part of the problem. but here's the deal: i was. unknowingly, that was true about me. the more i faced it, the more i saw.

we have a law in this country that people are equal, not ranked according to their skin color. do you know why there's a law? because our natural bend is to make ourselves better than others. white people did a lot of horrendous things and so we needed a law. here's something on paper so you will know it's not right.

now here's where it gets tricky. just because there is a law, doesn't mean people's hearts were changed. the law is there to expose and guide. we need the law because we are naturally wayward.

in the bible the concept of law is the same. it is there to show us wayward hearts, but it has no power to actually change us. white lady, suburb mom's: it is silly to believe that just because a law says something is wrong, means that people's hearts have changed or that people abide by that law. you know this because you make rules in your house all day long and your children do them begrudgingly and only because you're watching. (or is that only in my house?)

i know the speed limit says, 30MPH on my street. but i go 45 because the police officer isn't watching me. when i get caught, i feel bad because i got caught and have to pay money, not because i have grieved my government and made the streets unsafe.

are you following me here?
black people you know racism exists, you lived it your whole life. i'm not addressing you. i'm talking to white women, probably 90% of my readership(that's a guess, but i bet i'm right) who think that this is all over-talked about. over news-ed, blown out of proportion. to those women who think racism doesn't exist because you don't ever see it, and because people told you it doesn't exist. sure racism exists on both black and white sides.  of course it does. but right now, we're focusing on being a white person and acknowledging our own wrongdoings.

when i watch Ferguson on the news, when i watch the choke hold over and over on Facebook. when i watch a little boy get shot at a park, i am appalled.

i'm a typical white lady from the suburbs and these things do not sit well with my soul. i don't even have fully formed ideas about all of these issues but i want to vomit when i watch a man say, i can't breathe over and over again. and then dies as i watch it.

as i white woman i read on Facebook that it's time for white people to just listen. then i read that it's a shame that white people just sit around and do nothing. i read that my black friends are hurt from the white friend's response or lack of response. it's very confusing. and can sometimes feel paralyzing. i totally get that.

so how about you just start with you.

and i'm just going to start here. i'm going to use my voice where it is heard.
because one time i heard God whisper, i'm going to use your voice. and i thought he meant singing. (laugh). which is funny.... because i'm not a great singer...put me in a choir with 30 people around me and i'm ok. but i think he probably meant, like this. he gave me eyes to see when i was in the city, and then he brought us to the suburbs. why? maybe just so i would have this perspective for this unique time.  a perspective to take what i saw and turn it into a mouthpiece to the suburbs. to help whoever i influence see that something is not right here.

notice, i'm not offering a solution. i have none. this is only the start to a conversation in my world. i may do it wrong, i may incite a bit of anger. surely i offended many people by using the words black and white. but, that is not my intention and honestly, internet fights don't change anything. but starting where you are with your voice does.

i believe the gospel has something to say about all this and i believe that it calls us to reconciliation. if you've ever had a hard conversation with a friend over coffee about hurt feelings, you know how completely awkward it is. this is no different. awkward. clumsy. hurt feelings on both sides. we're going there.

if you want to change the world, start small and start right where you're at. i may not be on the picket lines in st.louis and new york, but my influence is here and that's where i'll start. where can you start?

stay tuned for an interview on race in the coming weeks or so. nothing formal. just a conversation.