Monthly Archives: February 2014

Friday Five: <3 LOVE <3


Naturally, I’m Friday Fiving “Love” today.

  1. My girls think Valentine’s Day is akin to Christmas. They want to celebrate the whole day. Natalie was beside herself to learn Captain America did not have the day off. They found a heart shaped cookie cutter for their toaster waffles. Natalie used it again on her peanut butter sandwich at lunch. She’s also spent most of the morning making Valentines for everyone in our family. These girls love love.
  2. Captain America and I have never done much for Valentine’s gifts. Sometimes nothing. But, in my opinion, NOBODY writes on the inside of a card like him, and that’s what I care about. He’s good with the funny, he’s good with the sentiment, he’s good with words in general. I like words. I love them. HA! Love.
  3. I have loved Captain America for 6365 days. Our first Valentine’s Day together was 17 years ago. I already knew I would marry him then. We’ve been married for 5649 days. 807 weeks. 
  4. A year or two ago I forgot to pick up any little gifts for the girls for Valentine’s morning. So I found a heart shaped post-it pad and left little notes everywhere. Last night when I said goodnight to Ella she said, “I sure hope there are heart post-its tomorrow!” No pressure. I’ve used up the last of them after today, and I hope I remember to get more before next year.
  5. Some of my favorite love songs are When You Say Nothing at All by Alison Krauss (it was in our wedding!), Ho Hey by the Lumineers, The One I Love by REM, Your Song by Elton John (but also as it was in Moulin Rouge), Something in the Way She Moves by James Taylor, a bunch of songs by Sting, To Be Alone With You by Sufjan Stevens, You & Me by Dave Matthews Band, and Gone Gone Gone by Phillip Phillips.

Hearts and Flowers


Oh, friends. Last week I had Captain America out of town, an 8 year old down with a fever for days, and some winter weather that threatened my sanity. I think all of Facebook rejoiced when Captain America got back home. It was getting a little “Should we be laughing because it’s funny, or is she seriously snapping?” I was aiming to make light of it and get a laugh, but yes, I was also snapping. But it’s done now and life moves on.

It’s Valentine excitement all around, and I just had to share a story about my oldest girl’s heart. Because her middle name is Grace, but it could just as well be Compassion. The girls were really enjoying filling out their Valentines this year. “It only comes once a year!” “It’s nice to make people feel special!” It was making up for at least a few of those times where I’ve had to say, “Didn’t I already ask you twice to GET OFF THE IPAD?” They are givers, and I love it.

Ella has a boy in her class that’s diabetic. Every time Ella needs to bring treats of some kind, she wants to make sure there’s something he can have. “Twelve carbs or less, Mom. He can only have the treat if it’s no more than 12 carbs.” Usually kids bring cupcakes, and he takes it home so his brother can have it. Ella brought pudding cups, and made sure to bring some that were sugar free so he could pretty much have the same treat everyone else was having. Because she’s Ella.

So now she was packaging up Valentine treat bags. I hadn’t even thought of it, but then I heard, “Mom! The sucker is less than 12 carbs!” But the Rice Krispie treat wasn’t. She was so disappointed. So we figured out a plan where she could take a sucker from one of her teacher Valentines (Sorry about that, Mr. Bonnar, but we thought you wouldn’t mind), so her friend still got two treats but they were both something he could have. Then she cut out the nutrition label for the suckers, and put it in the bag so he would know for sure that he could have it.

I know Valentine’s Day gets over commercialized – I mean, it’s pretty much a Hallmark Holiday. Not a lot of substance to it. It’s obnoxious even. But I love it. I love the idea of taking a day to tell people they are special. Not everyone hears it as much as they should, or as much as they need to hear it. Even if it’s because the teacher tells you that if you do Valentines, you have to do them for EVERYONE. For one day, whether you’re the cool kid or the picked on kid – everyone is special and important. Ella thinks it’s sad that kids have to be told to bring a Valentine for everyone. I am so thankful for Ella and her big heart, and I hope I can be more like her.

**Edit** I should add, Natalie made sure her candy to give was completely peanut (and thus also chocolate) free due to the peanut allergy in her class. She checked labels as well, and following Ella’s lead, made sure the nutrition info was available on the items for her classmate. They both have huge hearts.

Friday Five on Monday: Leading Worship


I didn’t get as far as blogging on Friday, but I thought I’d catch up today. I got to help lead worship at our church yesterday, and I thought I’d do five things I love about that. I’ve been lucky enough to help out by singing occasionally since I was in college and going to InterVarsity. It was years and years before I realized it was actually a form of service – I thought “service” meant sacrificing and doing something you didn’t necessarily like. Like church nursery, particularly the toddler room. Surely worship team was too enjoyable to be “service.” I sort of forget about the time sacrifice, because I don’t mind it.

  1. Our church has three services: Saturday night, Sunday at 8:30 and 10:30. Sometimes if you’re on for Sunday, you practice Thursday night. I haven’t done that yet. I’ve only been on when you practice Sunday morning. We meet at 7 am. Which means I set my alarm for 5:30 am. On a normal day, if Zoey gets up at 5:30 am, I will tell her it is still the middle of the night, and she should go back to bed. I’m more of a 7 am kind of wake up person. Or maybe 8. While it’s way earlier than I like to get up for anything, leading worship is something that can drag me out of bed at that hour with minimal complaining.
  2. I love practice. As long as we’re not having technical difficulties, it’s usually a laid back and fun thing. I mean, I get to worship twice (or if it’s a Sunday, three times). Plus, I’ve probably been listening to the songs we’ll do for a few days, so come Sunday I am READY TO GO. Can’t wait for them. I also love the collaboration of practice. I love watching musicians work, because it’s amazing to see how people just hear something in their head and suggest it and we try it – sometimes it’s just the coolest thing, and I love being along for the ride. I still remember singing at InterVarsity, and the bass player suggested the song start with an instrumental of a Sonic Youth song and then work into the song we were doing. I don’t remember what either song was, but I remember being in awe of how great it turned out.
  3. I love the view. I consider it an honor to be in front during worship at church, because I get to watch others worship. Whether it’s a group of 40 or 600, when I look out and see a person completely lost in a song and therefore lost in God – well. I just can’t even put it into words. It’s incredibly touching to see people in such an emotionally vulnerable state, and it makes my heart swell. In that moment they are communicating with God in a special way. I’m incredibly grateful to witness it, and I don’t take it lightly.
  4. I just love singing. I love it. Whether I’m in the car or in front of people, it makes me happy. It’s hard to feel sad and discouraged after singing. Music is the thing that God has always reached me with, and I’m really grateful for that, too. I like learning new songs, and I love having them stuck in my head for days.
  5. I love the comraderie of being a part of the team. I’ve been on many different teams, and some have been better experiences than others. The majority have been great, and I have some life-long friendships that came out of it. On occasion it’s been more like a high school clique. But when you can connect with other people who feel the way you do about worship, it’s incredible. One thing I really enjoy about the team I’m on now is the prayer time before church starts. It’s a pleasure to sing with other people that are sincerely there to serve and worship God. It’s also fun to discover singing chemistry with different people. It’s really fun when to sing with someone enough where we just know what each other will do and our voices blend well, and I’ve been lucky enough to have that connection a few times. It makes things really easy. If I’m leading I’m thinking about making sure I do everything right and in the right order so everyone can sing along easily.  On harmony, I just get to worship and sing what I feel. I like both, but I think I like harmony a little bit more.