In the immortal words from the Princess Bride, “Mawwage is what bwings us togevvah today”.


This weekend we celebrated our fifth anniversary and all week I have been reflecting on the shaping influence my marriage has been on me as an individual and on my life generally. I’ve been specifically impressed with how astoundingly powerful the marriage relationship can be. How is it possible that two individuals, united in marriage, can become so much more than they were separately? It seems obvious that the result of many such unions is much more than the sum of the parts. I know with a visceral certainty that in the short years my husband and I have had together so far, I have grown, deepened and developed in ways that I would not have been capable of on my own.


Anyone who is or has been married knows that marriage is a lot of hard work. It’s not all roses and romance. And happy families don’t just “happen.” However, the very differences that often seem to make marriage challenging, allow us to stretch ourselves and to let go of control. Living life so intimately intertwined with another person who is so vastly different from oneself, allows one the opportunity to step up and be the better person. We all have that person inside of us, but we too often allow them to lie dormant. Sacrifice, compromise, loyalty and forgiveness–these all require that person to come forth, to leave the indulgent shadows of comfort and selfishness and to show true commitment, true compassion, true companionship. Hard times and challenges have the ability to bind husband and wife together as we cling to one another and work through difficulties together, striving to be patient and to withhold judgement.


Building a strong marriage and family is the most rigorous and important endeavor I will ever engage in. I think we all know that is true, both for us as individuals and for society at large. Despite the challenges and bumps in the process, we all know that the joys found in family life far surpass any other.


These lyrics have been rolling around and around in my head this week. They are the words to a song I wrote for my husband and played for him on our wedding day, marking the start of our life’s journey together. I never expected to share this publicly, as it feels like such a chunk of my heart. But I feel a need to share it here. It’s not the same without music and perhaps the rhyming feels out of place outside of a folk song, but I hope the words resonate with you and what you feel is most important in life.

has destiny been too good to me?
or are you too good to be true?
I know you’re real from the truth I feel
and my heart, it aches to be close to you.

and when you treat me gently
and when you love me soft
I remember the words about eternity
and mighty kings and queens
and when I stand next to you
I know I’m safe right here
I want to do my part,
do my part.

you dance me ‘til
I’m just bones and chills
in the kitchen still, though it’s time to sleep
do you know the thrill that your words instill?
you’ll keep your promises, I know you will

and when you stand so firm and tall
and when you lead my certain heart,
I remember the words about eternity
and mighty kings and queens
and when I stand next to you
I know I’m safe right here
I want to do my part
do my part.

as the moon pulls the tide
as a moth seeks the light
you draw me close to you,
I feel whole by your side.
your soul’s so bright
it in me ignites a burning flame
as our two lives collide.

and when you treat me gently
and when you love me soft,
I remember the words about eternity
and mighty kings and queens
and when I stand next to you
I know I’m safe right here, I want to do my part
do my part.

I love you, yes I do
I love you, yes I do
I love you, yes I do
and each day eternity is new.

The Best Accident


Hey guys, the strangest thing happened to me this week. Strange and wonderful. I know that to many of you this may sound irrational or even heretical. But here it is: I have renounced my smart phone. At least for the time being. Before you rush off to find me a psychiatrist, please let me explain.
It happened last Saturday. The stage was set for me to accomplish a ton of housework in one afternoon. My three year old was down for a rare nap and my one year old was feeling particularly cooperative (or so it seemed.) I laundry-ed, cleaned bathrooms, picked up and vacuumed, tackled the kitchen and then set out to mop. I was feeling a bit on top of the world, because, if you know me well, you know that it’s not every day that my house gets such an extensive spa treatment. I had my iPhone out and I was listening to an audio book as I worked. My little cleaning companion had been busying herself in the kitchen with me, and had dropped a couple scraps of paper into the mop bucket, just to see what would happen to them.

Mid-mop job I looked over at her from across our tiny kitchen and noticed something that stopped me dead in my tracks. She was standing casually with both hands in her floral sweatsuit pockets, grinning her cherubic grin. I was overcome with parental euphoria—you know, that completely saturating feeling and surety that you are looking at the most adorable creature in the universe.
I fumbled around for my phone so I could capture this darling moment before it was gone. “Where is my phone?” I asked myself. I could hear the audiobook narrator clear as day and had sworn I had put it on the kitchen counter. That was when the little cherub started saying “uh-oh” and pointing at the mop bucket.

No. Way.

With grave and anxious anticipation, I approached the bucket, as if approaching a corpse. I solemnly reached my hand into the murky water and immediately felt the familiar shape, the round-edged rectangle of my otter box case. “No, no, no!” I cried. My daughter looked mystified. And immediately I felt like Mr. Parker, the father from “A Christmas Story.” He comes home from work to find his precious “major award,” the iconic leg lamp, has fallen to its death. I recall the scene perfectly. You know the one—

Mr: “You were always jealous of this lamp.”
Mrs: “Jealous of a plastic…?”
Mr: “Jealous! Jealous because I WON.”

I am really not certain if Clara’s act of destruction was out of jealousy or simply experimentation. But I do know this: she has always been jealous of that phone. Not because I won, but because the phone won, time after time after time.

I became aware early on that using my phone around them provoked feelings of jealousy in my children. It first surfaced when my boy was quite young. It is no surprise. Have you ever been around someone that you are very interested in conversing or interacting with who is glued to their phone? It can be incredibly frustrating, even for adults who can so much better understand relationship dynamics. Imagine how difficult it must be for children to figure out their place in the family when they feel they are in constant competition with their touch screen sibling? It is not surprising that there are several studies based around this very phenomenon, and they show that what some scholars refer to as “techno-ference” can be quite damaging to parent/child relationships and can be damaging also to a child’s development.

My son was about the same age that my daughter is now when he threw my iPhone in the toilet. The phone could not be resuscitated. I was surprised at how devastated I felt. How was I going to live fully without that great camera at my fingertips, a calendar that feels like a personal secretary, and a whole world of internet information just one tap away? So after a few weeks on an old standard phone we forked out the change and replaced the iPhone. Ahhh, it felt good to be back to the sleek operating system and the phone that can practically cook your breakfast for you.

However, I continued to feel uncomfortable with several of the faces of my device. I was aware that my usage of it was interfering with my ability to be fully engaged with my kids. So I set boundaries for myself. I tried keeping it on the dresser in my bedroom during the day and only checking it periodically, I turned off all notifications (with the exception of my calendar), I turned off the ringer so I wouldn’t be interrupted. Perhaps for most people, this would be enough to help them keep their phone out of their family relationships. But for me, it wasn’t. You see, the problem wasn’t how much time I was spending on it, or what I was doing on it. It had become a problem of my heart–somehow my phone had managed to embed itself there. I desired it. I wondered about it in the back of my mind when I was “being good” and not using it during active mommy hours. And despite all my best efforts and intentions to be “present” when I was with my family, I disappointed myself.

Often, in exhaustion at the end of the day, I would hop onto my phone and scroll, scroll, scroll. Man, did it feel wretched. But the hold was so powerful. And so sedative. I would sometimes ask my husband to help me out but if he would try to take the phone out of my hands, my Gollum eyes would pop out of my head and all of a sudden I would be stroking the iPhone and crying, “MINE! My preeecccioouussss…” Ok, not really. But looking back, it kind of felt like that. My phone had become Tolkein’s “one ring.” The ring that brought me and bound me. The ring that controlled some aspect of my heart and made me prisoner to it.

On some level I was aware of all of this and I jabbed at the problem without success. I was weak and I wanted it (or thought I wanted it) too bad to do what I knew I needed to do. And so my small, innocent, and helpful daughter had to do it. She carried it to its doom and dropped it in that bucket of murky, unforgiving water.

The day the accident happened was a busy day with two rounds of company coming and all the other weekend busy-ness. I did not have time to do anything besides inter my dead phone in a bowl of dry rice and hope by some miracle it would resurrect. And then something unexpected happened. With the phone resting in peace in its rice-y tomb, I was suddenly free. I felt a weight lifted. I felt my full self again—fully capable of focusing on a person, a moment, a task without that nagging tension in the back of my mind: the siren voices of my inbox, newsfeed, and easy access internet browser.

The day my iPhone died, I plopped it in a bowl of rice, assumed we would replace it soon if it didn’t make it, and moved on with my day. But by the end of the night I already knew. I knew I would not be replacing my phone. I knew that this was the missing piece, this was my liberation from a pattern that had taken a harmful toll on me. In the days since then I have felt more fully my own and more satisfied with my good and simple life. And so, I’ve decided to renounce the smart phone and am using an old, somewhat pathetic standard phone. It has been frustrating to use at times, and I miss some of the conveniences of my iPhone. But I am really loving my minutes and hours as a wife and a mother less distracted. For me and my family right now, downgrading to a dumb phone has been a smart thing to do.

What methods have you found helpful in keeping your technology use in balance? Would love to hear more ideas!

heart-shaped cereal

heart-shaped cereal


Last night I cradled your fevered body
and nursed you through that fitful darkness
hoping you might rest.

In the morning we rose
and shook off our fuzzy slumber
as we bathed your drenched and tired body.

And then we sat together on that dark leather couch
and you fed me heart-shaped cereal
pinched between your chubby forefinger and thumb.

As each heart was placed in my open mouth
a look of joy and satisfaction stole across your face.

And the moment became a sacrament.

Jackson Pollock in my kitchen

At certain times of day
the tile floor in my kitchen becomes a collage
a veritable masterpiece of texture and color.
Splattered applesauce, smashed blueberries and drips of marinara
somehow come together in a random, yet cohesive, arrangement.

At such times of day I am inclined to feel impatient
or to resign myself to apathy.
What is the point of cleaning up, anyways
when I know I will discover a new composition within hours
done in the next meal’s medium.

Perhaps I ought to take a step back
to appreciate this creation
flowing naturally, as it does, from Childhood–
which is in itself the ultimate
in abstract expressionism.

I pause now to examine the artist
who sits, majestically enthroned
on his booster seat
the little king of his little world
his whole life stretched out in front of him.

As I lift my gaze from the mess to the meaning
I am filled with awe and admiration.
Yes, he is the true masterpiece in the making.
I am watching him become,
enjoying the discovery of him
layer by layer
and day by day.

Flutter and Rise

Thoughts flutter
and rise from my soul
like paper cranes
lifted by an updraft from some hidden vent.

Cranes like the ones my grandfather
used to make for me
during church when I was small
to help me be reverent and still.

Yes, these thoughts are like those cranes:
reverent and joyful,
fluttering and rising
toward something beautiful.

Perhaps God gives me such thoughts
to help me pause
in reverence and awe
and be still.