Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mimosa Monday - Finale

Are ya'll sick of me talking about this?  I keep saying I'm no expert, but I feel like I have sooooo much to say about it!  I just feel that life TOGETHER is so much easier...more fun.  I've heard stories of efforts being made and ideas thrown around and friendships rekindled...'tis my jam.


Someone has to plan the gathering.  Someone has to open their home or call the restaurant.  There's the notion that a certain amount of risk or vulnerability comes with being the hostess.  Allow me to dispel it!

I believe there are two kinds of hostessing.  There's the scary one, the Martha Stewart kind, the linen napkins and fresh flowers kind.  And then there's the one I'm talking about.

To the first, hosting the SPECIAL: the baby shower, or the birthday party, or the Christmas party.  These are events in which the ultimate goal of the hostess is to make those attending feel SPECIAL.  Puttin' on the dog, if you will (that's what my momma would say).  These are necessary, and important and FUN things to plan and attend....BUT THEY ARE NOT WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT.  Consult Pinterest, I am not your girl.

The type of hostessing that I urge you to do is the one where the ultimate goal is to make those attending feel COMFORTABLE.  Don't host a baby shower and have a pile of laundry on your living room couch.  DO, however, host your girlfriends for coffee without hiding it.  We looked fancy in our Mimosa Monday picture shoot.  We got out the nice clothes and the nice dishes and did our hair.  We did that because we knew it was a photo shoot!  On any regular Monday you'll see yoga pants and ponytails and solo cups...and not because we are lazy (or at least not ONLY because we are lazy).  No, because we are vulnerable, comfortable.  Because the being together is more important that the prep work.

Hosting is important to me, so here are so practical ways I keep it easy:

  • I stay stocked with paper goods
  • I always have coffee and a dozen eggs to spare.  A frittata can be made in 20 minutes with anything from all your leftovers to simply some eggs and cheese.
  • I add to my friends comfortability level by making them work: 'Hey Erin, could I have some ice water?' 'Sure, the glasses are above the dishwasher.  Help yourself!'  You only have to do this once to give another woman the permission to make herself at home in your kitchen.
  • I never 'put on the dog' or make it fancy.  Easy, reproducible, unintimidating - yes.  Fancy - nope.

You don't have to be a party planner or have nice dishes or even have groceries to be the have to invite them over and then open the door.  Period.

As I leave this little series on community and move back to either not blogging or to ridiculous stories about the kids, let me throw out some ideas for you:

  • Meet at a restaurant after your kids bedtime for a drink and a chat
  • Meet at a park so the kids can play and rotate who brings coffees and kid snacks
  • Host a monthly freezer cooking class
  • Meet at a track or walking trail in the predawn hours

Or get the whole family involved:

  • BBQ's
  • Family Game night
  • A day trip to a state park with a picnic

It's important, people.  In our social media world where we can have 678 facebook friends and still feel lonely I am convinced this is the answer.  The best way to make a friend is to be one.
Call your people and open your really is that simple.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mimosa Monday - Part Two

Friends! Guess what I learned from the response to Mimosa Monday - Part One? We all crave community!!  We cheer it on when we see it, we want it for ourselves, we miss it when we don't have it!  Which brings me to Part Two...

Now, before I get wound up, let me preface this.  I am NO expert on any of this.  I do feel that God created me with some innate slant toward hospitality/hostessing/girlfriending/gabbing, but this is just me being me.  Please hear where I'm coming from with all of this...this is not a how-to, or a suggestion, or a show off...but goodness, if it's the gentle nudge you need to figure out your own innate slant, your own giftedness, and find your people and share that with them, well, sweet.

The Commonality of the Human Experience.  This is it.  When we learn this, when we accept this, when we embrace THIS, the rest gets real easy, real fast.  The Commonality of the Human Experience - or...Everybody's Poop Stinks - or...Yeah, Me Too - or...The Absense of Shock and Awe - this is the secret to the ability to be vulnerable, which is the secret to community.

Someone, somewhere sold the lie that your specific kind of crazy is the kind no one else will relate to.  It's just not true.  This is the thing that I'm most certain about: when you get brave and tell or whisper or write that thing that holds you back from being vulnerable with your people and then brace yourself for the 'Oh wow!!' or flinch or awkward laugh - you'll be left waiting.  It just won't come (if the right people are across your table, and if they made it to your table, they're the right people.)  It won't come.  You'll get a 'Oh, thank God, me too!' or a 'Oh honey, that blows, I'm so sorry.' or a 'Damn, what can we do?'.  You'll be so disappointed you didn't deliver the biggest shock of their lives.

You see, it's all the same.  My short fuse temper and your phone addiction and her post-partum depression and that one's general, constant irritation toward her husband (or all of the above depending on the day), well, that's what mid 30's raising a family just looks like!  Or take it bigger: my mom's cancer, and her son's reading delays, her husband's possible job loss, and that one's looming doctor's appointment...even the big stuff, if at the right table, still just receives hugs, and 'what can I do's', and 'dude, that sucks.'

Maybe you're in a season where it all feels big!  I promise that it'll feel smaller, more manageable, if you'll share it.  Maybe you're in a season where it all feels rosy!  Then spread some cheer, be an ear for someone.  Basically, get over yourself - God made you special and unique, but not THAT unique.  Your crazy is no better than anyone else's.  Promise.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mimosa Monday

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

When we moved back to Oklahoma I had very few goals.  WE had many goals. Dan had buckets full of goals.  I, personally, had very few.

1) Don't break all the babies.  (Remember we had 3 under 2 that year)
2) Make friends.

Making friends as an adult is weird.  I didn't excel at it while in Albuquerque.  There is possibly no more awkward stage to make friends than grown, professional, new to town, single, and no kids.  I would walk/jog next to a girl on the treadmill at the gym wondering how to 'make a move' without it feeling like I was making a move.  Weird.  My bests from ABQ were from work...colleagues or patients.  I knew I'd have to do better in Oklahoma as there was to be no 'workplace' for me.

So I got creative.  We joined a church soon after we moved here, I assumed it would be a great place to make friends!  And it was...but it's kinda like being the new kid at a new high school - not that we weren't welcomed or included - we were!  But there were shared histories, they new each others' stories.  So, we joined a very small Sunday school class with a few other new couples - fresh meat!

I decided Jac (absent on picture day) would be my friend before she even knew my name, I'm sure.  So kind and funny and genuine.  I picked her out and then was patient.  Our friendship cement came when she and her husband called 2 minutes before ringing the doorbell while delivering cinnamon rolls at Christmas.  Our house was a disaster.  I hadn't showered in days.  I had just changed a dirty diaper and it smelled like I may have rubbed it on the walls instead of just throwing it away.  The kids were half dressed and WOUND.  And we welcomed them in.  And they (newlywed with no children) came in and sat and SAW US.  And that, my friend, is friendship cement.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

I stalked Sara out at church like a coyote hunts a wounded rabbit.  She was new too.  She had a gabby husband too.  She had a 'lively' girl Jack's age.  She wasn't 'in' yet either.  I sunk my teeth in and declared us friends.  Done and done.  'What's your number?  What are good zoo days for you?  Do you like coffee and wine?  Yes?  Done.  You're my best friend.'

Then, my Jen.  Jen made me work the hardest.  I met her at a park.  I have come to LOVE this approach to making friends.  Her kids were playing, mine were playing, no one was touching us...we could chat!!  And when you're kids are RIGHT there, you have plenty of things to talk about - how old? any others?  what other parks do you like around here?  No awkwardness!!  Well, unless you're Erin.  Then you overshare a little.  Whatev, man.  So, we exchanged numbers and I walked away with HIGH hopes.  Then I texted her a few days later and .... crickets.  Nothing.  I persisted and tried a few days later.  REPLY!!  The rest is history.  She's my sister.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

Then, God showed me how much He loves me, and arranged many moving parts so that my best from college moved to town...a short 9 months after we moved here.  Megan is my calm.  She knows all the stories.  She loved the new little group I'd found and they loved her back and it was like coming home.  (Seriously, just writing her little blurb, made my fingers move more slowly and my coffee jitters subside.)

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

And then Kerri.  Kerri was grafted in by Sara and I only know that because I sat and thought for a very long time.  As kind and sweet and real as anyone I've ever met, it feels like she's been at the table forever.  She mothers Harry (and two precious big girls - the big kids rarely get to come for MM because, school) who is Jack's protege.  Harry is 18 months old and hearing her stories of the struggles of mothering that boy gives me scary flashbacks and so many smiles.  I keep reminding her how cool Jack is NOW.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

This group.  Working moms and Stay At Homers.  Home school, public school, and private.  We vary on our politics (I mean, probably, we don't ever talk about that nonsense), beliefs, and backgrounds.  But we gather as often as possible, and drink whatever seems appropriate, and laugh and cry and nod and wipe each other's kids' noses.  Most importantly, we just hear each other.  Like Glennon Melton Doyle says, we pick up the gifts of each others' stories and treat them like the presents they are.  We group text ridiculous memes.  We dream of a clubhouse all our own...or a vacation.  And if crisis happened, these are the girls who would mobilize and get it handled.

Community is a big deal.  Face to face, across a table, real life community.  It's when we see each other and really connect over the commonality of the human experience.  Start your own Mimosa Monday...or Hot Toddy Tuesday...whatever, I am partial to alliteration.  Ours started as Monday Morning Moving Mommas (I can't help it).  We met at a park and walked with our 49 children strapped into strollers.  That season of life demanded it.  We've now graduated.  Maybe you can only swing once a month.  It's worth the effort and the awkwardness and the vulnerability.  Do it.  Or come on over here...we'd love to have to get a bigger table.

Photo Cred: Lauren Rundle

All photos by the fabulous Lauren Rundle, number available upon request!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hannah Rose

God knew exactly what we needed when He sent us this peanut!  Hannah is the sweetest baby on the block!  Smiling is her favorite, she is chuckling way ahead of schedule, is the roundest, softest little nugget, and sleeps like a dream!  I mean seriously, want to know how to burp her?  Move her to vertical orientation and smile at her.  Want to know how to put her down for a nap?  Snuggle her in a soft blanket for a few minutes, then lay her down and smile at her.  I should really, probably, write a parenting book.

She rolls with all manner of ridiculous punches.  She is interrupted during almost every meal, touched during every nap, carried by toddlers, and still...she smiles.  She loves her brother and sisters.  I think it's a very real possibility that she will honestly someday wonder 'Are you my mother?' about all three females in this house.

Jack thought she'd enjoy her nursing sesh more disguised as a ninja.

It's impossible for me to not assume I had something to do with her awesomeness.  'It's because she's our fourth and we are so laid back and chill.'  'It's because we know think she is our last and so we are just enjoying each stage more.'  'It's because we had a no fuss home birth.' 'It's because I'm just really, really good at this (confidence is something I really must work on.)'  I think likely none of these are true.  She is just perfect.  

Years ago I dabbled in singing.  I took voice lessons from a dear lady, Ms. Judy, and we met in her mother's
home.  Mrs. Jayroe, after having to listen to these lessons for years on end, once wrote me sweet note.  She said both vocally and in life I should always remember to end on a high note.  I'm not promising that this is the end of our procreating (likely, don't get your panties in a twist), but if it is, we definitely ended on a high note. 

Happy 3 Months, my love.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mini Me


Parenting is a trip, isn't it?!  They arrive as nuggets that you are just hopeful to keep alive and then S-L-O-W-L-Y and all of a sudden, they become people.  Like real, live human beings.  Weird.

In my experience of hanging out with these little people, one thing has emerged as the most unexpected 'trip'.  It is that of recognizing yourself in them.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I have practiced restraint like never (ok, maybe an exaggeration!) before!  Friends, I have news!  I am an Ambassador with Noonday!!  Ambassador - as in to represent, to advocate on behalf of, to bring attention to.  Here's the story.

Noonday Collection, a women's and home accessory company, began as a way for the founder, Jessica Honneger and her husband to fund their adoption of their son, Jack, from Rwanda.  In 2011, they opened the opportunity to Ambassadors to represent the artisans from around the globe.  From the Noonday website

"Together with the Noonday ambassadors across the country, we offer you the opportunity to use your purchasing power to create change in the world {while looking really good along the way}. Your fashion sense can now restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans." 

Why, you ask?  Well, because I couldn't not.  

Here's a run down of my life:
Ages 10-25: so self centered I couldn't see out.
Ages 25-30: career/operation-find-a-husband focused.  a different kind of self centered, but just as small of world outlook.
Ages 30-34: new motherhood.  ZERO self-centered-ness, but maybe the smallest world outlook season.  I did not see beyond the walls of our living room...much less outside of our home or community.
Now: the blinders fell off.  

It seems without any intentional work on my own, I cannot help but SEE!  The books that catch my eye, the news stories I can't help but watch again and again, the things that keep me up at night...for the first time ever they are on a global scale.

Noonday was an answer to 'now what?!' for me.  My number one job is still 'Momma' and will be for a LONG time.  This is something I can do, to make a world impact on poverty, and still keep the main thing the main thing!  I'll be hosting Trunk Shows in your homes to present beautiful jewelry and accessories and the artisans who make it, to you and your friends so that YOU, too, can make an impact.  Conscious spending.  Buying with purpose.  Using your dollars to free instead of keep in bondage.

Here's the fun part!  

Shop!!  Here is my personal Noonday collection webpage.  Browse, read the stories of these amazing artisans and the purpose behind it all.  Read what's going on with The International Justice Mission and how Noonday is partnering with them.

Schedule a trunk show!  I have 40 of these amazing pieces all shined up and ready to bring to your kitchen table.  Invite some friends over, provide some drinks and snacks, and I'll bring the dress up pretties!  There are hostess benefits and even ways to host a party on behalf of a friend who is trying to adopt a child to help with their funding.  Anyone who schedules a trunk show with me by September 1 will be entered to win a $30 voucher!

Tushabe Layered Necklace  Discs and Pearls Necklace  Featherweight Cuff

La Noche Bracelet  Tagua Seed Bracelet, Coral  Kismet Day Bag

Email me at, contact me through facebook, or call me to schedule a party!  Help me at fulfill the Noonday mission of creating economic opportunity for the vulnerable!


Friday, August 15, 2014


Guys.  This child.

just a little breakfast.  while wearing a hard hat.  pouring OJ into cereal.  then eating it.

A two year old boy is a blessed thing.  There are have been glimpses before this moment in parenting that boys are just different than girls, but a two year old boy brings something new to the table.

He's loud.  And gross.  And tough.  And brave.  And likes hitting things.  And stinks.

That's about it.  Sure, he's cute and sweet and my baby, but mostly he's the aforementioned.

When I lose him (daily), I can usually find him either in the garage 'workin' (scratching things with a screwdriver) or in the yard hitting things with a stick.

When we are out *anywhere* he asks EVERYone what their name is.  Except he does it like so:

points his chubby finger at them
makes a loud noise so they *inevitably* pay attention to him
shouts in a deep, mean man voice 'Name?!'

He can say the whole sentence, "what's your name?".  He could/has at home even gone so far as "Hi, I'm Jack, what's your name?" and shake hands!  (Yes, we practice, daily.)  But does he??  Nope.  "Name?!?!"  This has caused me to quietly rename all of Edmond.  When the pointed at person walks off, Jack does not register that the exchange has ended.  He'll just keep asking.  So, I make up names.  Sorry, Edmond.  

He's like a politician....workin' the room.  Recently at church, Dan picked him up from his Sunday school class then carried him the short length of the hall around the corner to the door outside.  By the time they got to the car Dan was chuckling.  No fewer than 6 adults and much older kids had told Jack (by name) goodbye or to have a great day or just a 'what's up jack'.  Six people...none of whom Dan knew or who work in the children's ministry.  He probably had asked them their name.

Older kids like to play with him.  Younger kids are scared of him.

He is OBSESSED with movies.  The watching, the touching of the disc.  The character dolls in stores.  It's a problem.

He weighs as much as the girls.

that bowl of nectarines was for the table.  he dumped them ON TOP of his meal then ate the whole plate.

He wakes up at 6:03am.

He loves diapers and hates toilets.

He's perfect.

When I pray for him, I pray that we parent him as to keep his rugged, rough around the edges, growly boyishness...but refine him to be kind and generous and caring.  That sounds way sweeter than the actual prayer: 'Lord, don't let me beat it out of him.'

I luf him.