Popcorn Chat

I know. It’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me. I’m sorry? I really am sorry, and I wish I had a really good reason for being off the grid, but the plain truth is that life has been busy. And I know yours has, too.

What is it about the holidays that brings such busy-ness and activity that threatens to stifle? I never intend for the holidays to keep us so whirling dervishly busy, and every year it seems as though while we fill our time with good, good things, it leaves me entirely depleted by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around.

As such, I have been hibernating to a degree…well, as much as one can when you have five small people who need time, love, and attention, and you know, a husband, and a home, and all that goes along with it.

But there have been a lot of good times in the midst of the busy moments. Coffee and life-giving talks with friends, I helped launch another book I can’t wait to tell you about, I hosted my third IF:Gathering here in Rochester where I once again became undone, AND I took a big leap (for me) and signed up to be a Beachbody coach, which is a story in and of itself.

For now, though, I’m popping in to say hi and to let you know there are many things coming down the pike. Thoughts, things I’ve learned the last several months, more funny kidlet sayings, more real life, things I’m looking forward to.

Tell me how you are…what’s been happening in your corner of the world? What’s been weighing on you? Bringing you joy? Let’s talk! And stay tuned for all new stuff.😉

Blessings and love,

Erin

Friday Five: 5 Dinner Guests

Hi friends…

Some lovely writing friends of mine have been participating in a link-up for awhile now called #FridayFive. This week, the #FridayFive topic is five dinner guests you would like to have over for dinner. Narrowing my dinner party down to only five guests was challenging, but here’s who I decided upon. I would love to hear with whom you would like to share a meal! Feel free to post in the comments.:)

#1. Jane Austen: as an avid reader and bibliophile, Jane Austen has been one of my literary heroes ever since I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as a high schooler. The creator of Emma Woodhouse, Lizzy Bennet, Anne Elliot, Fanny Price, and Catherine Morland? Not to mention Mr. Darcy (SWOON), Mr. Knightley (SWOON again), Captain Frederick Wentworth (yes, SWOON)? Yes. Please.

#2. L.M. Montgomery: she perhaps should be listed first. The author of my all-time favorite heroine, Anne Shirley, Lucy Maud’s series was the fabric of my childhood. My family insists that if Anne was a real girl, she would be me. My dad once called me hysterically laughing and imploring me to turn on my PBS station. I did, only to be baffled by his laughing at a documentary of penguins. His PBS station, in fact, was not showing those delightful little guys, but was showing the first ‘Anne of Green Gables’ movie. He was laughing because the scene when Anne dyes her hair green (spoiler alert!)? He claims is exactly how I was as a young girl. Repeated exclamations of, “It’s YOU! It’s you!” were punctuated by continual fits of laughter. I also have Anne’s infamous temper and I’m pretty sure I married Gilbert…aka Matt.

#3. Queen Victoria: as a history major and buff, I have a fascination with England’s longest-reigning monarch (till this past summer when QEII eclipsed Victoria’s reign). Her life story is incredible, and though she may be a bit pompous and regal for my gathering, I’d still love to chat with her.

#4. Brennan Manning: the former priest who describes himself as a ragamuffin is absolutely on my list. His writing has moved me immensely and has breathed life into my heart as I was learning what grace was and its role in my life. Honest, humble, and humorous (see what I did there?), being able to break bread with Brennan would be such a life-giving experience.

#5. Audrey Hepburn: I love watching her movies. She would add so much class and elegance to the meal, too. I’d love to pick up some tips from her.

Blessings and love,

Erin

ps. In case you missed it, I had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger over at my friend Brianna’s blog on Wednesday. If you haven’t been able to check out the post, here is the link. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Also, if you have a blog and want to participate in the link up for #FridayFive, please head over to my friend Kelly’s blog here.

Feeling ‘Out of Sorts’

I think I have a bit of a small problem. I’ve become a tad addicted to helping authors and people I love launch books.

Remember that time I helped Jen Hatmaker launch her latest, ‘For the Love’? Yeah, thought so. Toward the end of that experience, I saw that another favorite of mine, Sarah Bessey, was looking for people to help her next book, and I pretty much jumped at the chance.

See, if I got a bit starry-eyed about Jen, Sarah is someone I feel like I could invite over for coffee and she would totally say yes. Basically, I think if we were ever in a context where we did life together, she would become a kindred spirit (in the words of Anne Shirley).

Also like Jen, I had never even heard of Sarah till I heard her speak at the inaugural IF:Gathering. And when she spoke? I was wrecked. I ugly-cried my way through her beautiful message and words of the “unforced rhythms of grace” and afterward I looked up her blog and quickly added her to my list of “must-read” blogs. She has a way with words and with everything she says, you know she loves Jesus, she loves people, and is for us in the best way possible.

So when I found out I had been (along with 299 other wonderful people) selected to be a part of Sarah’s launch team, I was ecstatic. Even if I had already pre-ordered the book.😉

And, oh, what a book.

‘Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith’ is an authentic, vulnerable, and thought-provoking book. Sarah, a self-proclaimed “recovering know-it-all” (oh, how I love that phrase…and yup, I am also right there with her), shares the story of her experience in being out of sorts with her faith and the journey she went on as she asked hard questions about what she believed and why. There was so much underlining happening in my reading and head-nodding and “Amen-ing”. So many excellent chapters, sections, sentences, that I could essentially write an entire post just using quotes from the book. But then, if I did that, you wouldn’t need to read it for yourself. And you absolutely should. Sarah writes in such an engaging way that you feel she understands you in a way you didn’t know anyone could. So many, “me too!” moments expressed. Our stories are so different, but the emotions felt and questions asked are much the same.

She speaks of turning to the Jesus of the Gospels, not the “carefully curated” Jesus she had created in her head. And that really resonated with me when I read it, because I think it’s very easy to create our own version of who Jesus was instead of looking to who He really is and was while here on earth. I want to follow the Jesus who personified God in the flesh, who showed mercy time and time again, who loved to the full, who set people free.

As I was reading it, I found myself going slowly, which is not my style. I typically devour every book I read. I can’t put them down and I am nearly singularly focused on what I am reading. This book, however, was one that required me to put it down and really spend some time processing my own faith journey. Sorting out my own faith a bit, as it were. Here is what I discovered through reading Sarah’s words as well as pondering my own beliefs.

I used to believe that as a Christian, I had to have all the answers. Now I believe that not only is it okay for me to not have all the answers, but I can embrace the knowledge that I will not understand or know all there is to know about God here on earth. This has freed me up in so many ways to love well, and to release myself from expectations that God was not placing on me.

I used to believe that a woman’s role in the church was that of more as a bystander or helper/volunteer/Sunday School teacher. I now believe that the Lord can and does gift women with many different talents and our voices are so important to the world and the body of Christ as a whole.

I used to believe that as a follower of Jesus, I had to be cautious about expressing any emotion or circumstance that didn’t portray happiness or joy. I now believe that there can be great beauty in being vulnerable and open with struggles, and I am learning how to have real, deep, and abiding joy in spite of my circumstances.

I used to believe that I was not good enough as I was for God to love or redeem me. I am confident now that there is nothing that will separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:28) and that I now stand as co-heir with Christ. If Jesus’s death on the cross was not enough to completely save, then He wouldn’t have come to earth to die. Galatians 5:1 says that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” I, and anyone who believes in Christ, is not only saved, but free. Free from rules, free from regulations, free from expectations and standards that Jesus came to, and did, fulfill with His death and resurrection.

And probably more importantly to me, I used to believe that what I did defined who I was and that if I didn’t “do” enough for the church, that I was failing and not holding up my end of an unnamed bargain for my salvation. But as Sarah so eloquently puts it,

“We were not saved, set free, rescued, and redeemed to be used [in the context of the idea of being “used” for God]. We aren’t here to work and earn our way; we aren’t pew fodder or a cog. We aren’t here to prove how worthy we are for the saving. There isn’t anything left to earn. God won’t use us up. He doesn’t devour all our talents, our gifts, our mind, our love, or our energy but redeems them and brings us joy in the practice of them. Despite our tendency to view ministry as a profession and the work of the Gospel as more precious than our marriages and attendance at school concerts, the truth is that our value to God is not determined by our workhorse mentality……….God does not want to use you: God wants to be with you because He loves you.” (‘Out of Sorts’)

God loves you. He welcomes our questions, our sorting through our mental boxes, and walks with us in the midst of our messiness, our brokenness, and in our wholeness, too. He is for us. Forever.

Blessings,

Erin

ps. In case you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. It officially releases tomorrow, November 3rd, but you can go right now and pre-order here: http://www.amazon.com/Out-Sorts-Making-Peace-Evolving/dp/1476717583/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446520487&sr=8-1&keywords=sarah+bessey

pss. If you read this book, will you tell me so we can talk about it? I would love to hear your thoughts and talk with you!

An Open Letter to Daylight Savings Time

Dear Daylight Savings Time,

It’s time we had a chat. I’ve tried to ignore the problems in our relationship for some time now, but after last night, I can’t be silent any longer.

Look, when I was younger, you and I had a really good thing going. Every time you ended, I got more sleep, felt refreshed for a time, and didn’t really notice things like, you know, it getting dark at 3:00 pm.  That added extra hour of sleep? Glorious. Really, really glorious. You were totally my BFF. My jam. The peanut butter to my jelly. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t have done for you. I adored the whole concept of “falling back.”

But now….well, now, let’s face it: it’s just not working between us. Something is broken and it can’t be fixed. The reason it can’t be fixed?

I had children. And I have come to know the hard way that children are your mortal enemy. Why must you be so cruel to parents? Did you know that my kidlets were up at 5:30 this morning? 5:30. In the morning. Then they were going crazy at 6:30 pm because their little, tiny, bitty bodies think it’s past their bedtime. And when they wake up tomorrow morning way too early? Who’s going to be there? That’s right. Exhausted, sleep deprived, me.

And now you’re robbing me of precious moments of daylight and sunshine that I need almost as desperately as I need a cup of coffee. Now not only am I dead on my feet, but I also have to pretend I’m a vampire and only come out at night.

You stopped being there for me a long time ago, and I can’t justify keeping you around anymore. So, really, it’s not you, it’s me. Well, actually, it really is you, but I’ll say it’s me. It’s time we break up for good.

Let’s just call it a day and you go your way and I’ll go mine.

In the words of those wise, wise boys, N’Sync….bye, bye, bye.

Sincerely,

One tired momma

 

Catch the Kindness

Friends, I have so much I’d like to share with you, but it’s all bottled right up in my head and I haven’t been able to get it out properly. Rest assured, it will come out sooner than later.

In the meantime, though, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Lara. I met Lara shortly after Seth was born (five years ago, for those of you keeping track), and pretty much instantly developed a tween-girl crush on her. Lara is side-achingly funny, beautiful with this gorgeous curly hair (I need lessons on how to tame my mane), and a fantastic momma to five gorgeous children. Suffice it to say, that even though we’re the same age (I think), I want to be her when I grow up.

Funny side story: I haven’t seen Lara in a few years, and one day Matt came home from MCC and proceeded to tell me about a new co-worker he met at a training session for a program he uses for one of his classes. Matt’s all, “So, I started talking to this guy, and I think we would really get along. He and his wife have five kids and adopted two of them, and his name is Tom and I just really enjoyed talking with him.” For some reason, a bell went off in my head and so I responded, “Tom? As in Capuano? Is his wife’s name Lara?” And Matt looked at me incredulously and said, “Yes….how did you know that?” Then I had to explain my crush on Lara and how we had met and that is the story of how the B. family became fan-girls of the Capuanos.

Okay, back to the purpose of this post.

Lara, among all her other giftings, is a fantastic writer, and a few years ago very bravely and vulnerably shared the story of her brother Adam. And every October, she and her family head up 31 days of acts of kindness in honor and memory of Adam. To see how far-reaching Adam’s story has gone, search under #AdamsActs and #catchthekindness. And then please consider joining Lara, her family, and friends in participating.

I have lots of ideas of how my brood and I can spread love and kindness this October. Yes, we are six days in and this is the first you’re hearing of it from me, but rest assured that these six days I have indeed been participating in my own home as I have, without complaint, taken care of all six of my sick family members. Yes, you read that correctly. I am the last one standing and their health and well-being is totally on my shoulders. I think that counts, don’t you?😉

In all seriousness, it is pretty incredible what a little bit of kindness can do, and even if you can’t join us for #AdamsActs, I would encourage you to think about ways you can spread a little joy to others and then be bold and do it. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

And we’ll talk soon about all the other things floating around in my head.

Blessings and love,

Erin

Enough

When I began understanding my identity in Christ, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say it was life-changing. It was as if I had been walking around with wool over my eyes for years without knowing it and then having it removed to reveal brilliant clarity.

I had no idea where that revelation of what grace really is, what freedom really is, would take me. Where it would take my marriage. My friendships. The way I relate to Jesus and Scripture. It has been the biggest shift in theology I have ever experienced and has colored the lens through which I now view the world.

But I didn’t realize till today that there were still corners of my heart where I harbored lingering doubts of whether or not I was truly enough. Truly free of all expectation and rules.

We have entered a new year of full seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks and I have already longed to slow time down before it runs away from me altogether. Five small people who clamor for love, attention, time, food…two small boys who are staying home to be educated…a home that needs care (not perfection…I clearly don’t have time for that.)…a husband who works long, hard hours to provide for our family and also has responsibilities outside of our home and his work…juggling, juggling, juggling. And I know we are not alone. We are not the only family to do this annual dance of balancing multiple schedules and tasks.

So maybe I’m not the only one who hears the whispers of failure and inadequacy in their day-to-day. Maybe I’m not the only one who questions if I am enough. That what I’m doing is enough.

And that is what happened today.

Nothing major happened, it was a normal day, but I could not shake a weariness and a persistent sense of failing in juggling all the balls in the air, and I lost sight of what is truth.

But then I was reminded that my identity doesn’t come from being an amazing homeschooler, or an excellent homemaker, wife, mother, etc. That I can relax the standards and expectations I have placed upon myself and lay them down at the feet of the One who paid the price so that I wouldn’t have them in the first place.

I am free to love extravagantly…live with abandon…I am enough as I am, even when I don’t get the laundry done, when I don’t get school done with the boys, when dinner is pb&js, when Matt and I are high-fiving each other as we tag team taking care of the kids, when to give myself a breather from the constant questions I let the kids watch too much TV, I am enough.

A Day in the Life

If you’re my friend on Facebook (or, as my dad calls it, Spacebook), you have most likely seen the little conversations between me and the kids. Just to lighten things up (and to be honest, this is how most days go, anyway), I thought I would give you some recent highlights.

I love how my kidlets make me laugh. They are simply the.best.things.ever. The end. (And for some reason, most of these revolve around mealtimes…what can I say. My kids like to eat.)

Enjoy!

Ellie woke up a bit on the, shall we say, grumpy side this morning.
As the kids were siting down to breakfast, the whining was in top form with her and she was attempting to tell the boys to not talk to her.

Seth (to Matt): “She thinks she’s the boss!”
Ellie (very indignantly, while still whining): “I’m not the boss! I’m Ewiana Brazofsky!”

Overheard this morning at breakfast…

Clara screaming over something inane as a two-year old does.

Levi: “Well…she’s just a natural.”
Seth: “Mhmm. Yup.”
Ellie: “AND she’s GRUMPY!”

So, VBS is this week….and today was water day. Guess who had the only kid who tried to get COMPLETELY naked during rec time? Three guesses as to which kid (Clara and Amelia don’t count.). I swear, I can’t make this stuff up. I wish I could.

Matt reorganized the garage a couple of days ago, and found his old globe. He let the boys take it to their room to “study” (in the words of Levi) and yesterday, Levi came downstairs with it exclaiming over a miraculous discovery…

Levi: “Momma! You won’t believe it! It’s the most exciting thing EVER!”
Me: “Oh really? What’s that?”
Levi: “I. have. discovered. . . . . . OKLAHOMA.”

This seriously just happened in my house:

Me: “Levi, you know I love you, right?”
Levi: “Yup!”
Me: “Good. You’re my favorite Levi in the world.”
Levi: “Yeah, and I’m the firstborn. That means I get the birthright.”
Me: DIES LAUGHING
Levi: “It’s in Esau.”