Started August in NYC… doing not-so-crowded things since I didn’t have much interest in Times Square and wanted to avoid crowds with the girls. My first time in NYC was 14 years ago and it was awful… So I’m thankful for the chance to make happy NYC memories (traffic and parking ticket aside), but even more it was great to watch the girls have so much happy cousin time and get to celebrate Cait’s birthday WITH her for the first time in a long time.
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Carnegie Hall

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We spent a while watching the fountain at the Lincoln Center and being overwhelmed and excited by how much talent walks through that place!

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Then it was to MI for my friend Hannah’s wedding. I did not take many photos since I was trying to enjoy every moment.
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Except here. I pulled my phone out to take a photo of one of the most moving parts of the day.
From Instagram:
She’s been with me for Celtic festivals, road trips (& my first car accident), desert camping, serving in childcare and leading small groups, Irish & country dancing, music and sewing, exploring Israel, visited us in San Diego and Japan (and was the most wonderful doula ever for Ellie’s birth)… she’s shot me in the eye in a nerf war and been asked if she’s my sister more times than my sisters and I have been put together (and we’ve accidentally twinned so many times)… I kept thinking of Revelation 19 yesterday, watching Hannah clothe herself in fine clothes, but knowing her radiance is so much more than her physical beauty, lying in her character & the way she follows Christ. I’ve never seen her as happy as she was yesterday.
I don’t think I have ever “meant” the benediction as much as I did while singing it last night, after watching her exchange vows & embark on marriage, thinking of the joys, sorrows, and struggles Ezra & I have experienced and that she now gets to taste of as well, but also having so deeply worshiped our Savior in the ceremony, knowing He is able to bless & keep them & give them peace.

And my involvement with the wedding would not have been possible without Ezra tirelessly caring for the girls for large parts of 3 days!

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Since I lived in MI for a while as a kid, I still have friends there, like Anna! We enjoyed shawarma in a cheesebread, some playground time for the girls, and then joined my family for church.

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And since Hannah went to Csehy, it was also a great time with lots of Csehy friends who were in town for the wedding.

But we also spent some time doing things in Michigan we had loved doing when we were growing up (like eating lots of Lebanese food!) – the biggest thing there was going to Greenfield Village.
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Ezra coming out of Robert Frost’s house. We had a sleeping toddler in the stroller so were taking turns going in and out of houses or pushing the stroller.

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Trying on hats in the millinery was always one of our favorite things, as was the carousel – it was the first time either of our girls had been on one, and they both enjoyed it (even though S was sad to not get the frog).

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On our way home… Ellie’s favorite book fell apart.

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The girls charmed a pilot flying standby while we were waiting for our second flight and he gave S wings – not cheap plastic ones but a real pin. Made my day!

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update on the beeswrap: we love it! I just did some maintenance on them as they had lots of cracks, but it only took a few minutes of ironing between parchment paper and they’re as good as new. They are great for traveling with and eliminated the need for plastic sandwich bags on our trip. We mostly use them for sandwiches and baked goods, but have occasionally used them for veggies or other snacks.

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Paid way too much for strawberries at the Farmers’ Market (but they were local and organic!) – and topped them with some cream.
It is overwhelming to go to the Farmer’s Market and see all the local, organic food we could be buying and then feel guilty we don’t. So instead of trying to do it all we decided to focus on ONE thing for now and make that happen as much as possible, and that’s these pastured eggs from down the road from church… That somehow are cheaper than the organic grocery store eggs.

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Free, organic blackberries. YUM.

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We’d been reading Blueberries for Sal so S had to have her little tin pail… thankfully I had one. And she did a better job than Sal picking and not eating them all!

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One of the most unique trees I have ever seen. Pinecones, swoops like a cedar, but prickly like a cactus.

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Hiking for my birthday!
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A really beautiful trail, and also the longest we’ve done with kids – 3.5 miles.
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“playing” hiking in our backyard.

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birthday flowers from Ezra – along with serrated knives that work for lefties and some handlettering he did.

favorite recipes// banana tahini popsicles // sweet potato lentil soup // turkey apple sausage patties // blackberry ricotta pizza with basil (needs some lemon zest! More blackberry recipes coming later) // 30 minute posole // chicken salad // healthier cake // loosely followed this recipe for carrot cake ice cream – just added the syrup part to our usual vanilla, and blended it // baklava pull apart bread (halved the sweetener!) // cookie dough hummus (would add more oats and cashews) // whole wheat muffins (left out the honey) // crockpot refried beans //

and lest you think every recipe works, here are some that weren’t as great as expected: indian bread with zucchini (not bad, but just a basic flat bread with zucchini in it) // oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwiches (fantastic idea, but the cookies didn’t work for me!) // chocolate chip cookies (these were like cake) // 2 ingredient chocolate frosting (even very cold this was like pudding)

best of online//  Yazidi women freed from ISIS // 6 ways to raise a sex addict // biblical womanhood doesn’t begin and end in Proverbs 31 // reflections on the 50th anniversary of Joni’s diving accident (and more from Joni) // breathtaking arrangement of Fairest Lord Jesus // the need for rural ministry // missionary mommy wars // why “did you have fun?” is the wrong question // spectacular clouds // you don’t have to love your postpartum body // 5 Strategies for a Christ-Centered Home // ultimate guide to homeschooling styles // stuck in the middle of unresolved suffering: part 1 & part 2 // how to love your friends of color well // 11 Beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses you should know about // witnessing Yemen’s desperate suffering // Trio Mediaeval – the Little Child // How to Care for Parents of Prodigals // photography posing tips // the perfect body size // I updated this resource page // narratio // global buckets – a neat way of growing things and a neat mission! // how to use your whisk the right way // giving up the confederacy
reading of late// skimmed Charlotte Mason’s Home Education // Pursuit of God (Tozer) // Roaring Lambs (Briner) // Pride & Prejudice (Austen)

thinking about// in my recent reading of the psalms I have been struck again and again with the theme of publicly praising God for what He has done. So here’s for today, a day started with exhaustion and too much to do, and I knew I was going to bite off everyone’s head unless something changed. It was a constant all-day running to Him and teetering on the edge… But even with Ezra working evenings we made it with His protection. Not perfectly but without snapping. God is good!
Psalm 71:3, Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come.

The Munchkins// how are they growing so fast? Ellie is standing and saying a few words; S is starting to play pretend and invite us along.



Writing this post made me realize how full June was! It was mostly full of just living, though, and was very enjoyable, the calm before all our summer travels!

2 June curry and garden salad 1
not being on 21DSD meant so much yummy food.

3 June curry pan 3
set aside some curry for curry pan.

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someone at a garage sale was desperately trying to get rid of all this stoneware and gave it to us free. Ezra felt bad telling them we didn’t need it all so we have since given some of it away.

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she found my Tintin books and will read them for hours.

7 June prep for Penni s class
a highlight of the month was playing oboe for a friend’s music appreciation class and accompanying her on piano for a Vivaldi Cello sonata. It wasn’t really a performance but I haven’t done anything performance-like since last April so it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the mental challenge of performing again, and had fun trying to think of how to make oboe interesting to middle schoolers.

13 June Disc Golf Date Night 1
testing out Dave’s Killer Bagels (stick with the bread), and happiness that my small cast iron skillet is the perfect size for eggs in bagels.

13 June Disc Golf Date Night 2
date night success! The weather held and we got to play 9 holes of disc golf (Ezra beat me by a lot) and have a picnic.

13 June sunset 2
sunsets here are so colorful.

18 June Kenneally Graduation 1
we’d had a whirlwind trip down to Ezra’s family’s the week before, but the girls and I made the trip down to celebrate my cousins’ graduation on Father’s Day (the morning after Ezra & S went to a daddy daughter dance. She still talks about it!). They did so well in the car!

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So proud of her!

20 June 2
She hates the wind, and chooses the back of the stroller to avoid it (and to avoid being buckled).

21 June summer 1
we had corn on the cob and made cornhusk dolls.

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our overgrown peony plants needed trimming.

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Ezra found some early blackberries on his way back from work

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let my bread rise in the sun!

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summer in a crust

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we celebrated Ezra’s birthday

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He asked for shwarma and falafel

25 June 1
At Bible study we were talking about which way the TP should go… and one woman said “it goes UNDER because then your five year old won’t spin it out!” Well… our 9 month old pulls it I guess (and bites it).

26 June Simon the Baby bunny
Our “pet,” Simon the Baby Bunny. He has been eating our sunflowers.

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She adores our field guide and we are always looking things up or she will look through it and ask what things are.

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we decided it was time to cut her hair… with the weather warming up it was getting so tangled and matted. This is the before!

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Showing off her paleta – we’ve been reading about them in a book and she is obsessed.

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I said I wouldn’t get emotional but that was a lie.

30 June pizza date night 5
in-house date afternoon: a late lunch of pizza, since the first time we’d used our pizza stones I had really struggled with the process so we did it together to perfect our technique.

Hymns of the month// brushing up on A Mighty Fortress, and learning The Love of God.

favorite recipes// Moroccan chicken with preserved lemons (I had some preserved lemons left from a Jerusalem recipe and this turned up for using them up!) // Japanese curry bread (the ultimate comfort food) // stuffed zucchini – kousa mahshi // mezze cake – a fun idea, though we prefer it all separate // frozen whipped jello (a favorite warm weather treat) // vegetarian shepherd’s pie // flourless chocolate protein waffles // cheesy garlic spaghetti squash with herbs // flourless chocolate mug cake // lasagna stuffed burritos (a fun novelty for once, though we said we’d prefer one or the other) // cheese fondue (added more garlic) // this dried out quickly but was otherwise a tasty plantain chocolate cake. This one was moister but otherwise not great so I may try to combine the two // sweet potato cakes // batbout – stovetop pita bread // German onion pie (YUM) // fragrant roasted zucchini // summer vegetable chili // pumpkin cake with butterscotch chips (made for Ezra’s birthday) // learned how to make hollandaise sauce // yummy cream cheese frosting (naturally sweetened. I added a couple tablespoons of milk) // biscuit tricks // Indian omelet // bacon lime sweet potato salad // carrot & date muffins (date-sweetened) // not great as cake but delicious as banana muffins (not enough “crumb” to smash) // pizza sauce //

best of online//  Righteous anger: Egypt’s Christians respond to ISIS // free date night ideas – some really cheesy, others that have made it on our list! // zero-waste produce storage (inspiring) // Caesar, Uncle Sam, and Servants of God // the week my tears ran out //homemade paint // tragedy and injustice and Philando Castille // recalibrating – I love her blog and her first podcast episode & this post really resonated with me and where I’m at right now and why I blog // Matisyahu – One Day // all children are different – focus on the heart // Cling to Christ (looking at Jacob wrestling with God) // Myth of Maternal Bliss // Beginner’s Guide to Night Sky Photography // 40 must-see photos from the past // 40 maps that help explain the Middle East // 15 Things I want to tell my third culture kids // gorgeous photos //

thinking about// industrious vs life-giving home // expecting kids to sin and need to be parented // laughing at the future comes via a CHOICE of choosing to look at God and not the waves of what is/has been/could be //

what brings joy//
The Munchkins// Ellie is cruising, clapping, and dancing. S talks more and more “properly” every day and people are her caffeine.


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A wet, rainy hike we took while my dad was visiting.
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It is really nice to have so much hiking close enough for day trips and even some morning or evening hikes.
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We also saw an otter!
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breakfast & a great read. Ellie and I have been getting up before S lately and I love having a few minutes to exercise, read, or make breakfast before it gets too crazy.

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We all loved having my brother here for a few days. S loved that he could help her climb higher than mommy can. 😉 After he left, Ezra’s mom and one of his sisters came up for a few days. The timing of all the visits was perfect, especially as Ellie had been having a lot of bad nights so that meant I didn’t have to be exhausted AND chasing the girls all day because they were having so much fun playing with Uncle Nate, Grandma, and Aunt Susannah.

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“Handel and his mommy,” by S.

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reintroducing food after the 21 Day Sugar Detox has been a rollercoaster because we never pinpointed what was giving me trouble, but I have really enjoyed not feeling limited and making some of the recipes I saved during the detox or have had saved for a while.

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I love the fallen petals, especially when it seems like it’s snowing.

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While I was on the 21DSD, Ezra and S made cookies to take to neighbors that just moved in. He felt bad if I made them since I couldn’t eat them… But then he grabbed the masa instead of the white flour we keep for crafts, which led to some frustration but they still turned out! And surprisingly, I had no cookie cravings, though I was tempted to freeze some dough to bake later.
Then we delivered them just as a thunderstorm was starting, and afterwards hung out in our garage watching the rain and lightening. S asked, “where’s the flashlight in the sky, papa?”

We also went camping, but I put those photos in another post.
And I took no photos, but made soap this month for the first time!

And we went OUT for a date for the first time since Christmas… only to prove that we totally fail at out of the house date night. Our last 3:
– before Ellie was born Hannah stayed with a sleeping S and we went out… But the only place still open in walking distance was McDonald’s because we had forgotten that we were going to go out that night and S had gotten to bed late.
– at Christmas we went into town and wandered around then got soup and a milkshake we were only half interested in.
– this time, we were going to go to a ballroom dance class, but arrived to find out it was cancelled so we drove around town but everything non food was closed because it’ s such a small town so we came home and watched a movie before picking up the girls, and were going to have kale chips but I burned them.

Hymns of the month// neither are really hymns, but we were working on the Getty’s “A Mother’s Prayer,” and then I wanted to learn “Goodnight, my Angel,” so we did those this month.

favorite recipes// Thai red curry paste (no more paying $3 for 4 Tbsp…) // beef enchilada bake – I used chicken; it needs about twice the amount of sauce though // banana ice cream // AIP pizza – though I didn’t like it as pizza, but as tortillas // slow roasted pork shoulder // paleo spaghetti and meatballs – no almond flour and one less egg for 2/3 recipe of the meatballs // cheese enchiladas // my sister-in-law and mother-in-law came to visit and Susannah is on a keto diet so I made these and they turned out pretty well! // pumpkin plantain pancakes // Thai sweet potato curry // French Toast Mug // raw buckwheat porridge – this was really good but not that easily digested // savory spinach muffins //

best of online//  hair detangler so I can stop threatening to cut S’s // I am not really a fan of the chatty-style in podcasts, but I really do like Risen Motherhood. This one on getting in the Word as a mom of littles and this one on finding your mama tribe were really encouraging // how to raise an alien child // myths about making soap and the “recipe” I used // Show me my cross // No or Not Yet (this is so encouraging to me after PPD, both the comments on Jesus in the Garden and when God says “no” to our prayers) //

It’s already partway through Ramadan, but to join in praying here’s one prayer guide.

reading of late// Genius of Ancient Man // Messy Grace (Kaltenbach) // Better Late than Early // Holy Labor // None Like Him (Jen Wilkin)

Kids’ books we enjoyed//  lots of Ezra Jack Keats this month!

thinking about// Ellie’s separation anxiety and how my relationship with God should be that way // feeling behind or like there’s not enough time – but there’s enough time ot do His will/what He has for me/what He wants me to do

what brings joy// waking up slowly in a tent in the forest // dairy // having family in our home // surprise day of peace and quiet // S & Ellie shrieking and playing together

The Munchkins// I love seeing how similar they are and how different their personalities are turning out to be. Both girls are so social and high-energy, but Ellie is more nervous around strangers than S was. She’s also more snuggly and more stubborn.

writing// I finally finished my poem. It’s over on apricotpie.


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Love our backyard!

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finishing some tea my friend brought us from China

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The rain cover we paid $50 for barely works but the umbrella my Aunt gave us that they got for free works perfectly.

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had the privilege of going to a ladies’ retreat where the speaker had grown up in the UAE and so the food was very middle-eastern themed, complete with baklava. S stayed home with Ezra and Ellie charmed everyone as the only baby there, and I was refreshed and encouraged.

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Ellie has learned how to get into the toy bins.

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homemade nutella on homemade bread

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another use for homemade nutella

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turban squash – unstuffed, and stuffed
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she’s like a dwarf in Smaug’s lair with the rocks at the beach

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turned around in the kitchen while making breakfast and found a note from Ezra instead of a to-do list (he didn’t erase it I’d just forgotten to write it the night before). It was a nice way to start the day!

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Making beeswax food wraps. One thing I love about being in a house is that all our trash goes into our own bin instead of a dumpster so we can see how much we really make, and it’s always a fun challenge to try to decrease the amount. Now that I pack lunches for Ezra we were going through more ziplock bags and I didn’t love a lot of the reusable ones since they still have plastic or vinyl or are not water resistant for things like apple or cucumber or air tight enough for a sandwich. So I’m hoping these wraps help us out in that area!

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we’ve had more sunny days lately

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Starting Sunday trying a new tea and listening to Mahler 3 and Shostakovich 7 || my mother in law gave me some blue lotus chai for my birthday and we have since tried two of their variations, this one being our favorite.

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THIS BOOK. I can’t recommend it enough for anyone in the midst of depression, anyone helping someone through depression, or just wanting to read more about it.

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so… Tillamook makes mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.

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a highlight of my month: donating 130 oz of milk to a family adopting an 11 week old. It looks like I can donate to them long term which makes me so happy as that’s what I was hoping to do when I started pumping a few extra ounces every night.

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my dad stopped by for a few days and my grandparents drove over to see us all.

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And S had been asking for another tea party so we had a brunch tea party.

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sleeping under my quilt for the first time ever! It’s too warm for our blanket but too cold for just our comforter so I put my quilt on top and it’s perfect.

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Getting my Azure order is like Christmas every month.

Hymns of the month// Ah, Holy Jesus

favorite recipes// chunky probiotic salsa // flourless plantain pancakes // blueberry streusel cake // date breakfast squares (a healthier version of a favorite of mine) // whole wheat sandwich bread – we’ve been struggling with this for a while and we now have three recipes that have worked: one, two, three // baklava bars (I would use pistachios instead of hazelnuts for a more baklava-y taste, and not toast the almond flour as it burns fast!) // aip carrot cake – I made just one 10″ cake in a springform pan // twisted star bread – used homemade nutella instead of jam // karak chai // balsamic lime vinaigrette // pumpkin & sage savory muffins (made these according to recipe but with dried sage, then made again swapping applesauce for pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for sage, and coconut oil for olive oil!) // pannukkau (Hannah made this for us after Ellie was born and we had to make it again) // whole wheat maple cinnamon rolls (YUM YUM YUM) //

best of online//  10 Lessons on Parenting Little Ones // Jesus will lead you through the valley: loving a spouse through depression // I Survived a Sarin Gas Attack // when women face their curse-ravaged homes // salt dough recipe // a cup of tea in 22 different countries // be open to God’s plan for your family // a Haydn mass // reusable food wrap // when motherhood feels overwhelming // vectorizing hand lettering without photoshop // why your kids shouldn’t follow your diet plan – good thoughts on food in general // one thing your son needs //

And the best: A Message To Those Who Kill Us.
My comments:
In Mindy Belz’s book “They Say We are Infidels,” she made a comment about ISIS about how difficult it is to defeat those to whom death is viewed as victory.
She didn’t continue that thought, but my thoughts went further: ISIS may see death as a victory, but even as they attack the church this Passion Week, the world should know that the followers of Jesus win when we die, and we can say THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU and I FORGIVE YOU even to those that seek to kill us.
But read this, because he says it all much better.
“O, you lucky, lucky, lucky ones! And until it is our turn.
To our God be the glory now and forever. Amen.”

reading of late// Rime of the Ancient Mariner // Hungry Planet // Always Ready // The Singer & The Song (Calvin Miller) // Missional Motherhood (Furman) // Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Eswine) // The Ology (Machowski) // The Land I Lost
Also skimmed: When the Darkness Will Not Lift // Finding Faith in the Dark // A Sacred Sorrow // Give them Grace // Hints on Child Training // Give Your Child the World

thinking about// healing & rebuilding after PPD // phases of sabbatical and moving beyond the “just stop” part // Hebrews 12, pursue peace with all men includes my children and affects how I plan my day // podcasts – never got into them before and don’t love how “chatty” they get but still encouraged by Jess Connell (Mom on Purpose), Risen Motherhood, The World and Everything in It, IBCD, and Sally Clarkson (At Home With Sally).

what brings joy// sunny weather & blue skies // fog // understanding more about my PPD

The Munchkins// fill our days with laughter and craziness (and if we’re honest a good does of crabby for all of us too, see above).
Ellie is eating more solids. She gets so grumpy when we eat unless she gets to chew on something too. So we recently started with our mix of babyled weaning + WAPF + GAPS, especially since she started sitting. I need to make more broth, and she hates carrots, is OK with avocado and the broth, likes egg yolk, and adores gnawing on cucumber sticks. I love helping her explore food but the transition makes me sad as up to that point it was entirely my body that grew and nourished her which is an awesome feeling (and now i have to start thinking about carrying food for her too!) And we hope to keep nursing a good long while more!
It’s also nice not to have to worry so much about reactions to food since Ellie hasn’t had the stomach troubles S did.

And S hadn’t ever asked for anything before but she had been asking for and talking about a bicycle for a while so when I saw one on the resale page we had to get it. She loves it.


March felt so long! Looking back at photos from the beginning of the month I can’t believe it was just the beginning of March that stuff happened.

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after talking about it for about 2 years we finally got one and spent the rest of the month testing it out.

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tiny pinecones

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church starts at 1 PM so we play games in the morning after brunch
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Yorkshire puddings before they deflated

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testing out some different ice cream making methods.

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our morning plans fell through so we had a tea party

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Ezra surprised me with the whole wheat cinnamon rolls from the local coffee shop.

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pi day: tamale pie & lemon meringue pie

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a crochet project that finally went right

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we did a craft with some footprints, and this was my way of keeping S out of trouble while I did Ellie’s… letting her have the ink on her own paper!

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deep frying some dandelion flowers!

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enjoying our field guide!

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she adores za’atar.

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these squirrels are evil. They’ve eaten all the heads off of our bulbs and even dug up garlic (which they supposedly hate). I’m not sure how we’re going to have a garden.

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loving seeing our neighborhood come alive!

 Hymns of the month// memorizing: Day by Day // brushing up on: Hallelujah, What a Savior!

favorite recipes// chocolate avocado pudding // raw chocolate snack bars (more like dessert and it made an 8×8) // chocolate cashew ice cream // making ice cream without a machine // grain free Yorkshire puddings // egg-free grain-free breakfast cake // happy adrenal power smoothie // rosemary seminola olive oil bread // healthy caramel pumpkin dip // tamale pie // lentil spinach pancakes – not just for toddlers // homemade coconut milk // peanut sesame slaw // slowcooker baked beans – just don’t add tomato till the beans are cooked! // endurance crackers // cake batter balls // closest thing I’ve come to “real” paleo fudge //

best of online// x-plan giving your kids a way out // the light at the end of the tunnel // why kids ask why // bare naked gratitude // a curse for us – the death of Christ (sermon) //ever wondered the best way to store bread? //if you give a toddler lunch //15 Things I want to tell my TCK// real history of St. Patty’s AND Should Christians celebrate St Patrick’s Day? adoption and the destruction of biological children // 10 Opportunities to talk to your child about God //when the Potter is for us //cleaning glass shower doors // how to practice effectively //Man, Woman, and the Mystery of Christ // the case for minor keys // cleaning your washing machine // we enjoyed listening to Mendelssohn’s St. Paul //

thinking about// what my kids REAL needs are – not what they, I, or others perceive them to be

what brings joy// donating pumped milk to an adopting family // local eggs from a Joel Salatin-style farm // giggles

writing// I have been working on a poem but it mostly just sits untouched…


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what else do you do when it’s too cold to do anything outside but you’re tired of the hotel? Go bowling! S absolutely loves it.
We arrived in our new city, went househunting two days later, applied for a place that night, and then waited all weekend to hear back, and signed the lease on Wednesday. We have an actual HOUSE which I am loving so much more than I thought I would – I loved apartment life so much that even though there were always twinges of wishing we had a house with a yard I didn’t think I would be so excited once we finally had a house instead.

We signed the lease on our anniversary (I had jokingly told Ezra once that we would move in our anniversary… not too far off!), marking 3 years, 2 kids, 2 international moves, and our 4th place of residence. God brought us through and Ezra is more loving, sacrificial, and supportive than I ever thought possible. Here’s to the next way more than 3 years… but hopefully they’re a little calmer than the first 3.

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And continuing on with our never-ending saga of craziness, S came down with the chickenpox right after we moved in.

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The pantry!!! We had a great pantry in Japan but it was very narrow and deep so stuff was always getting buried.

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First fully homecooked meal in our new place, fish tacos. And yes, the counter is orange. Otherwise it’s an almost-perfect kitchen.

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S’s embellishments on biscuits. She loves to help with anything these days, but especially with cooking and setting the table.

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Spending time outside – we try to walk most days but if that doesn’t happen and the weather is nice I put Ellie’s seat on the back patio and S and I play outside.

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I frequently remind S that stickers go on “fabric, people, or paper mommy has given you,” and then turn around to find this.

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Her toes ❤

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I got Ezra this tea for Christmas after trying it in Dubai last spring. I don’t usually have caffeine but sometimes I can’t resist it.

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Friends gave this sticker set to S for her birthday and we started using it to entertain her while we unpacked. At first she couldn’t get the stickers off herself so we had to help her and the faces were pretty normal, but once she could get them off herself they got more interesting.

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After reading this post I decided I should see if our stuff needed stripping after being washed in homemade detergent. Well, it did. I didn’t do our clothes, just sheets and towels, since they had seemed dingy for a while.

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how she puts on her boots

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Can’t wait to see these blossom in our yard!

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We lost internet almost immediately after it was installed and it took forever to get it back thanks to people telling us all sorts of wrong things on the help line. But the bright side of that was more time to read and handletter and we unpacked and decorated really quickly!

favorite recipes// I was so thankful for our previous experience cooking in hotels since it would have been really tough to figure it out with a toddler and infant. None of these recipes are from that time, though // never posted this honey roasted squash recipe from December // curried red lentil and pumpkin soup // slowcooker rotisserie chicken //

best of online// some 25 days of Christmas posts I really enjoyed here and here // adults performing the Nativity Story as told by kids // from researching our trip into Portland // how God uses suffering (MacArthur) // the curse on women (MacArthur) // human rights for all //

reading of late// Dispatches from the Front (Tim Keese) // Raoul Wallenburg: The Man Who Stopped Death // Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers (Kavanaugh) // skimmed a number of books as we sorted through ours moving in

thinking about// Psalm 1, being rooted in Him.

what brings joy//a house // S’s love of the yard // quiet days without internet


December was a month and a half ago now, and the timing of this post says just how crazy it and the following months have been. We left Japan December 10th to be with family until after the New Year, so pretty much all our time was taken up with that! It was a crazy month with jet lag and lots going on, but overall it was mostly pretty enjoyable.
But it was also sad, since we had to say goodbye to friends, some of whom S still asks for daily.

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testing out her new rain gear

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out for sushi

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last playgroup, also the Christmas party so that meant special stickers!

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And it also meant more yummy food.

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Last English Class, also somewhat of a party. This is the hardest part of being away from Japan. I miss the ladies and I miss the gals that also taught it. So many good memories, and I’m so thankful for videos of the songs the Japanese ladies sang for us that day, and for Katie picking my favorite, “Behold Your God” to sing to the ladies because I desperately needed to sing that that day.

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On the other side of the ocean! My grandmother’s house ready for Christmas – this was SO much fun for me, since I have memories of Christmas at her house as a kid and S getting to see it similarly decorated was so special, even though we weren’t actually there for Christmas.
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watching raccoons

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we cooked up Japanese curry for my mom’s extended family

Down with Ezra’s family… and the stomach flu hit just about everyone.
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“the stockings were hung by the chimney with care… all 24 of them.”

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Cousins. I’m so happy the girls have cousins so close in age like I do; it’s so much fun, and they will get to keep seeing each other wherever we end up moving – a constant in our crazy life.

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Day trip into Portland… for donuts, books, and then to meet up with friends.
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Maple bacon, chocolate buttermilk, sweet potato fritter

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Powell’s Books

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there were lots of games exchanged at Christmas, and this one, Dastardly Dirigibles, was an instant favorite.

favorite recipes// salmon quiche // I didn’t make this because of time but it’s gorgeous //

best of online//  a funny Danny Kaye sketch // more Danny Kaye // gorgeous arrangement of Coventry Carol // minimalism with children // minimizing abuse in your church // Christmas when it feels like the end of the world // O Little Town of Aleppo (grab the tissues)

thinking about// anger and sorrow over Aleppo // Irritations in our day are a chance to cry to Him for help and remember the gospel // Go to Him not blogs etc when I don’t know what to do // My time with God not a to do. He wants me to abide in Him for my joy, to bless me // Be who YOU are, who God has called YOU to be, what works for YOU… and don’t worry about everyone else //
Whenever I leave anywhere, it seems all the memories of places I’ve left before come flooding back: Csehy (especially 2013). Dubai, San Diego… now Japan. Right now I keep thinking of watching The Time of the Doctor while recovering from leaving Csehy and preparing to leave Dubai, and Eleven’s words keep rolling over and over in my head. It always seems so fitting whenever I leave a place and go on to a new place and new people, but always hold on to what was.
“It all just disappears, isn’t it? All you are, gone in a moment, like breath on a mirror. Any moment now, he’s coming, the Doctor. [I am the Doctor,] and I always will be. But times change and so must I…We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people, all throughout our lives and that’s okay, that’s good, you gotta keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be… I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”

what brings joy// SLEEP // extended family // donuts in Portland // sister love // little cousins //

The Munchkins// got reaaally turned around with jet lag. It was like having a new newborn again and a toddler up for 4 hours in the middle of the night. So not fun. But once they were over that, we had lots of fun with family and they loved all the attention and people to hold them. Both did really well on the flight. Ellie is laughing a LOT and adores S and Ezra.

writing// took part in the 25 Days of Christmas again, this time with a poem, “Homeless at Christmas.”