This is Goliath.  See how tall he is?  The guys next to him with swords and bandanas are his henchmen.  They are not so tall.  But very fierce.  They are fierce in a get-over-here-you-lily-livered-son-of-a-one-eyed-prarie-dog-and-ima-take-you-down-punk sort of way.

This is the narrator.  And David.  And David’s helper.  They are fierce too, but in a different sort of way. They are fierce in a put-up-your-dukes-cuz-God’s-got-this-one-in-the-bag sort of way.

No one thought David should fight Goliath.  Even King Saul tried to talk him out of it.  When that didn’t work, he made David try on his armor.  It was too heavy.  Besides, David knew he only needed five smooth stones and a sling.  And God.  He needed God.

After some serious trash talking powered by the total confidence that comes from being on the side of Father, David slew that giant.  Right between the eyes.  Bam!  Dead.

Then the whole cast sang a few hymns, prayed their favorite attributes of Father, declared home church to be over and headed out for an afternoon of tubing and skiing behind the snowmobile. That’s par for the course when you’re spending the weekend with friends so dear you only pack clean undies and lots of food.  Friends so dear you spend two days in your long johns and no one even blinks.  Friends so dear you want the weekend to last forever (only with extra clean undies and maybe a lettuce restock) and when it doesn’t and you have to clean up and go home, you do that in your long johns too and you laugh while you vacuum because even that is fun with dear friends.

And if you don’t believe me, ask her.  She was there.  Hot tubbing and tubing in powder snow that covers you so completely that you have to cover every square inch of your skin with goggles and helmet and balaclavas so that you don’t freeze to death. And when you think you’ll surely die if you don’t get inside and warm up, there will be two mamas in long johns waiting for you with steaming mugs of hot cocoa and a little bowl of snow to cool it down with. Because we have discovered that the perfect way to pass a weekend is to do it with lots of snow and with chipotle salad and long johns and dear friends.  
Actually, you could probably do it without everything but the dear friends.  You definitely need them.

This is me being real.  Wondering what a perfect winter weekend looks like to you.  Wondering too, if there is anything sweeter than eavesdropping on seven small children scheming how best to tell a big big story?  I’m thinking not.


I’m here.  I’m here.  Only I’ve had my nose in a book I couldn’t put down and it’s made me lazy in the evenings.  Between Top Chef coming down to the wire and Downton Abbey eating up my Sunday nights and some yummy reads, I’ve been incommunicado during these short winter evenings.  And I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you the books that I’ve been eating up this winter.  So here they are, in no particular order.  Except the first.  That one is intentional.

Don’t let the photo scare you off.  My dad’s book is being rereleased by Simon and Schuster the first week of February.  The first edition was so good.  The new edition will knock your socks off.  Read it.  Then email me and tell me how lucky I am to have such a talented father who is clearly gifted and from whom I’ve obviously inherited incredible wit and stunning good looks, amongst other things.

Now, if you are looking for other things to read when you finish my dad’s book, here are few nuggets you’ll most definitely want to mine:

The Night Circus
The Whistling Season
A Sweethaven Summer
Beyond the Beautiful Forevers
The Meaning of Marriage

And a whole stack waiting for me, with titles like Running the Rift and Hattie Big Sky and another journey through Hinds Feet on High Places because I haven’t seen her in a bit and want to check in.  And remember.

This is me being real.  And wondering what you’re reading this snow day?  Now I’m off to play another game of Blokus, which is our current fave.  What’s yours?


We are nearly home after three delicious days away. Nearly languid after 72 hours of reading and laughing and finishing sentences. And I can’t say a hearty enough thank you to dear friends (you know who you are) who graciously opened doors and invited us in and to parents who love more than anything except Jesus that their family is nearly all local and love to be together. Who delight in the commraderie of loved ones gathering and doing life together whilst (but not for this weekend) the Smalls play their games and finish each others sentences. Who say they would give us the moon if they could, but perhaps have not yet realized that they already have, just in Jesus and each other, in that order.
Nearly home, but not without one more dip in the spa.  Not without cozying up on the couch for episode two of Downton Abbey and trying to finish all the hummus we thought we had to buy and learning how to play Dutch Blitz. Nearly home to thirteen Smalls whose soft arms have left our necks naked for three days. Nearly home with the sexiest pair of heels I’ve ever seen, which I will wear for a very deserving husband. Those and the Get-Along shirt. Giddy-up.

This is me being real. Not wanting to leave. Not able to wait to get home.


My mom is whisking me away to Florida for three days of interrupted conversation and sunshine.  Me and my sisters too.  Thanks to dear friends who have shared their cottage and parents who love love love that their daughters are so close. And the daddies will be in charge while we are away.  Thirteen kids in the hands of three men.  Lord have mercy.  I have stocked the cabinet with crap they love to eat but never get to.  Things like lunchables for, well, their lunches and frosted flakes and squeeze cheese mac n cheese.  Their clothes are laid out from now until kingdom come, piles of slippery clothes smelling like seventh generation and a type A mama.  I have left Dan with several emergency numbers, none of them mine.  He is capable.  So capable.
But before I go, I promised to tell you about the Get-Along shirt.  Google it.  Not to be confused with it’s slightly twisted and rebellious older brother, Fundies, the Get-Along shirt may be the greatest disciplinary tool ever.  All you need is a t-shirt big enough for a couple children.  When they bicker, stick them in it.  Tell them they each get one sleeve, but they have to share the neck hole.  Tell them they can come out when they are ready to get along.  Tell them when they are teenagers you’ll be waiting with it at the door for them when they come home from school and you’re going to crawl into the shirt with them and not let them out until they’ve told you all their secrets.  Now you can chop the time out chair up and use it for kindling.  You can use your wooden spoons to make some gooey brownies.  It’ll take most children, if mine are any indicator, less than three minutes to figure out that being in the Get Along shirt sucks.  Once you’ve hit that place, you need only hold it up and they’ll begin kissing the sibling they were just decking.  Try it.  You can thank me later.

This is me being real.  Aching already for the small arms of my children around my neck.  And promising Dan that after four nights and three and a half days alone with the Smalls, he’ll have earned some time in the Get Along shirt.  I’ll be wearing it when I step off the plane.


I meant to post lots about Christmas, but as usually happens this time of year, I’m over it.  The tree is down, the decorations packed back into their boxes and Valentines is starting to make it’s way onto the scene.  It was great.  That’s all.  Just great.  Loved being with family.  Ate too much.  Went sledding and skiing and rediscovered that I hate being cold.  Had nearly forgotten after the balmy winter of 2012, but it’s true: I hate being cold.  Especially when it’s the kind of cold that follows closely on the heels of sweating through your bra as you drag kids from the lodge to the bunny hill, swearing under your breath and wondering for the zillionth time why you chose a man who loved skiing.  There were lots of memories made.  Lots and lots.  And lots of presents opened, but the best one was this:

cost $3.45 and made me smile for weeks thinking of it and the brown eyed guy who loves bacon and duct tape best and would find it in his stocking on Christmas morning.
So 2013 crept in while we were sleeping, as it usually does.  It found us drooling on our pillows, muscles aching from a day of skiing up north, nightstands piled high with new books ready to be dived into. And it left me thinking about this crazy thing we do of waiting until this new year, this one day, to think through how we want to be different and then resolving to do it.  And how silly that is really, because 2013 doesn’t bring a fresh slate and “resolution” comes from “resolve” which means that, despite our best efforts, we’re really just solving the same dang problems over and over, but rarely making much headway.  And into the picture come grace which is the only true 2013 with it’s ability to wash clean as snow and solve for once and for all the stains we’ve on our hands.  Grace is the new black and I’m wearing it with everything this year because I need that slate erased every day, every minute by the only One who can and will. So the only thing I’m resolving to do differently is ask for more of it and to sprinkle it liberally on all those around me.  I’d also like to say this is the year I kick Sugar to the curb for once and for all.  Her and her bestie Portion Control both.  But the grace thing?  That’s the good stuff.

This is me.  Wishing you a grace filled 2013 where you wear robes of righteousness as proudly as that new sweater you picked up on clearance at Anthro the day after Christmas.  And wanting to tell you about the Get Along Shirt, but saving that nugget for another day.