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THINGS make me happy. (stay with me)

There are a million books and theories and thoughts these days about how THINGS just clutter up your life and make you crazy. Well, I'm here to disagree. Tonight I organized (sort of) and decorated my office and I was reminded of how much I love my stuff. Someone asked me what the style of my new house is and I said, "cluttery eclectic." YES! Its cluttery because I love walking into a house that is full of interesting things to look at. If you have ever been to my aunt Sheri's house, you know what I mean.

There is a huge difference between walking into a cluttered house and walking into a house that tells a story. If you come to my house, I can probably tell you a story about almost everything I own. For example, let me take you on a tour of my office. To my right is a collage that I made one afternoon with my sister-in-law Julie and my niece Ellie...two humans who I love beyond words. To my left is a collage my mom made me. There is a photo of me as a baby with my d…
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The Age of I LOVE YOU.

I read recently that there is about to be a cosmic shift in the emotional health of our planet. To be perfectly honest, I don't remember the details of why, or how it will be measured, but I remember thinking I liked the sound of it. There are powerful movements brewing that are demanding equality, which in my simple little head means that people are marching and speaking up so that everyone is treated well. And when people are treated well, they are happy. And more happy people will make for a happier planet. I realize this is almost insultingly simple when there is horrific tragedy happening all over the world. Please know that I am aware of the heartbreak and I don't meant to take anything away from the work that still needs to be done. But for now, I want to talk to you about something really simple. I love you.

I am lucky to come from a long line of lovers. My family loves big and they aren't afraid to say it. It is rare to leave a family gathering - and there are lot…

New Beginnings

First, Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate Easter.

It is that Sunday and, as predicted, the egg and basket hunt took all of ten minutes and now we clean this grubby family up and head to church. For the record, my kids are wearing athletic apparel because Jesus doesn't care what they wear to church and I got no fight in me today. I grew up in a great church where the attendees probably qualify as family and everyone had an unofficial assigned seat. Ours was about six rows from the front, left side, every Sunday. I was raised to church.

As I logged more years, I struggled to believe what I was taught and what everyone around me seemed to believe so hard. Let's be honest, the Bible stories are a little far fetched and yet bazillions of people are all in, on fire for Jesus. I had so many questions and I fought the mainstream hard on it. I even fought it at the Lutheran college I attended. I fought it when I had a professor who was a Doctor of Religion and a Doctor of Psychol…

You ARE 40 now.

What am I doing? No. Like, what am I DOING?? For sure laundry. Yes, definitely laundry but only washing and drying it and definitely only folding it when every member of my family has expressed their utter disgust with my lack of laundry folding. Then maybe.

Pinterest. DEFINITELY Pinterest. Constantly searching for "Artspiration." Did I tell you I am an artist now? Well, I am and if you ask me, from now on I am going to call myself an artist. I tried it out at Lowes today and it made me feel super cool.

Guy at Lowes: So what do you do with all this wood? (laughs because that's kind of inappropriate and he's like 19)

Me: I am an artist. [exits lumber aisle feeling like Beyonce].

Why can I call myself an artist? Because I'm 40 and if I don't start calling myself an artist now, its not going to happen. I'm probably past the days of becoming a super model (although I did have a nice run with Shopko and Fleet Farm for a're welcome).

Probably …

Benefit of the Doubt. Always.

Every single day I encounter some situation that could have gone better. Some could have gone A LOT better. I say or do the wrong thing, someone is less than kind to me, I am impatient with my kids or my husband, someone takes out their frustration on me. In any case, feelings are evoked that make us flare up, fly off, or bring us down. I am here to tell you that I think its time we all gave each other the benefit of the doubt. Every time. All the time.

Have you seen all of the articles lately listing out the "Ten Things Never to Say to...?" I've seen the one about what never to say to the parent of an adopted child. Or how about what not to say to someone who has lost their father? Don't say XYZ to breastfeeding/working/stay-at-home/organic/non-organic moms. Ten things never to say to white, single, gay men who prefer carbohydrates for breakfast on Tuesdays at 10 am. Stop. Just stop. I understand that these articles are meant to be a guideline for people attempting …

I Made it Out Alive...A Tale of Giving Birth in Johannesburg

I am writing this mostly just to document my experience before I forget. I am also writing it so that the next time you go to the hospital, have a baby, get a routine check-up, or just a visit with your family doctor, you will have an appreciation for how good we have it in the good ol’ USA. I feel like I should just state for the record that this is only my experience. I am not trying to make a judgment of the entire South African medical system. I am only reporting on what I went through during my birth experience at one hospital in Johannesburg…but it certainly was a doozy.

Jake and I arrived at the hospital (Sandton Mediclinic) for one last check with my doctor, Dr. Peter Koll. This guy is brilliant and I loved him more with each appointment. He was laid back, enthusiastic, caring, and all around perfect. I never thought I would love anyone as much as Dr Kaldas (Neenah) but this guy was a close second. After a quick check and a chat, they sent me up to the Labor and Delivery ward…


Home is simple.
Home is always here.
Home is family and people who have known you for lots of years, through good stuff and bad stuff.
Home is Piggly Wiggly.
Home is Erb Park and City Park.
Home is College Avenue.
Home is parents and sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, aunts and uncles and cousins.
Home is my dog.
Home is warm and cozy and alwasy comfortable.
Home is how happy my kids are being around people who love them.
Home is seeing familiar faces and running into people at the grocery store.
Home is sharing things in common.
Home is knowing who to call when my kids are sick.
Home is a house that we own, Jake and his lawn, weekend projects, and random gatherings.
Home is safe.
Home is clean and quiet.

Home has been a lot of places for us, lots of different "buildings," almost-country and big cities. Home has been three different countries. Home has been too close to the train tracks. Home has been really good quality and one impulse decision. :)

I don't remem…