come back home

November 17, 2015

When we blame an entire religion, or its people, for something terrifying, it makes it easier. It makes it all feel far away, over there, by Them. Those People. The Evil Ones. This is born of fear and insecurity and those are natural things to feel, but we have to work through them and come back home. And if we claim to be Christians, home is where we keep the fatherless and the widow. Home is where we pick up the man who is opposite of us but still us, on the side of the road, bleeding. (Syria photo credit – Amnesty International) Do you see how we are all connected? We once were anyway and I can’t remember it and neither can you and most of us are fine with that. Terrorism, war, carnage…results of isolation and separation and disconnection and fear. We all did that. Not just politicians or religious fanatics, both […]

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Things may come out wrong, but standing around all quiet is not always a good plan, no matter what your Scandinavian roots are trying to scream-whisper to you, ever so passive-aggressively. Most Americans don’t even really understand what racism means. So we deny it, justify it, ignore it. We stand around saying we’re not racist because we have black friends. Or a friend. Or had a black friend once, in the service. I hear a lot of that around here. Rural Minnesota is a beautiful and heart-breaking place. It is etched into my very soul, and in my bones. The people here are more often progressive and intelligent than is assumed. But I see and hear a lot of Ignorance here, when it comes to race…and people don’t like for me to call them ignorant, of course. There’s pride, you know. We’re not stupid. No, no you are not. That is exactly why […]


Recently I learned that ebay is partnering with March of Dimes by donating $1 for ever ebay Collection that is created with the Title and hashtag #ImBornTo Since I’m already curating Collections on ebay, of course it made sense to help! So, 2 of the new Collections I created as a part of Curate for a Cause are #ImBornTo MOTHER and #ImBornTo READ. If you know me at all, you’re not shocked. Mothering and reading; I’m born, yo. Here are some glimpses of the new Collections I curated… must read page turners…   more from the #ImBornTo Read Collection….   Then I decided that because the March of Dimes does such great work for babies and because I love babies and have experienced three of my very own, I’d share the must-have items that a mama needs for her infant. I give you #ImBornTo Mother: Now you might be saying, but I don’t know how […]


Update: We have decided to not move forward with The 26Valentines Project. While this well-intentioned effort will be no more, we know we’ll all continue to honor these adults and children in our own ways.  Starting on February 1st and lasting 26 days, a chain of words will begin in an effort to tell stories. Each of the writers in the spaces along this chain will write one post each, to give the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy 26 more places to be remembered. This is a simple act of telling, to share a little more about each person, in an attempt to help those of us reading along to remember. It began with a conversation between myself and my friend Ellen of Love That Max—Can we do something, share some words…something?-— and that became this project, shared among many bloggers from many places, all across the web. We haven’t forgotten and […]


an update-ish sort of thing

August 13, 2012

  Now I can say I’ve been to Kentucky. I was a first-timer. I can also say Louisville without pronouncing a big E in the middle while also pretending I have a mouthful of marbles or bubble gum. My friend Holli says it would be spelled like this – Luavul (but don’t forget the mouthful). I have been practicing hard. I’m getting very close to letting go and garbling. We Minnaaahhhsoooohhhtaaahns are not terribly good at leaving out vowels…or consonants for that matter. Anyway, ya’ll. I had a fantastic time in Kentucky. I met lovely people. I spent time with Ellie and Holli. I sat under the stars on a perfect Kentucky summer night in an amphitheater while Brandi Carlile completely astounded me with her talents and the talents of her band. I had no idea. I screamed SHE SINGS THIS??? like three times during the concert because when I have heard her […]


that will happen

August 8, 2012

Tomorrow morning I’ll be boarding a flight to Kentucky. I’ve never been to Kentucky, so not only do I get to add another thumb tack to the map of my life’s travels, but I also get to speak with Ellie. We’ve each done a lot of speaking, in different capacities and venues. This particular keynote is something new. We’ve created something dynamic, something soulful and maybe sometimes funny. We’re going to do some skits, tell some stories and read some posts. We’re going to talk to the people that have come to hear us and ask them questions and then listen like they’re the best movie we’ve ever seen…because we all are! We’re story people. Ellie and I so badly want our words to be worth the time of the people that have paid to join us and we’re believing that if we get out of the way, that will happen.  Our friend […]


This is a mother’s day and it has been a mothering year. We warrior mothers, we pass the thousands of hours in years and mark them with the birthdays of our children, not our own.  Today we’re marked and celebrated with messy kid-handled pancakes and syrupy kisses and handmade cards with scrawls and artist’s drawings of ourselves with the skinniest of frames and huge eyes. They’re beautiful, and the pancakes are the best we’ve ever had. Yesterday morning I had that half of the day entirely to myself and I drove around a beautiful lake and stopped at beautiful homes for an annual garage sale extravaganza. It wasn’t about stuff as much as it was about a treasure hunt and treasures I found. More than in garages, I found laughter with my own mother and a gulping of the most beautiful weather God could have lended the day. I sucked it in and […]


a greater belonging

April 19, 2012

I ask our boys (and soon Elsie) what they can know for sure. They answer, I belong! It’s true. They do. I want them to know they can always come home and that we have a belonging kind of family. And I hope one day that expands to my children having a knowledge of their role in a greater belonging. That they play an important part in their little corner of the world, wherever they’ll grow to live and that what they do and say causes a ripple effect far past those corners.  So much of that kind of belonging starts in our home and in the ways we spend time together. I love it when I come across a way to make good ripples from our corner of the world, something that will teach my kids that doing something small can be really big for someone who needs them, someone close or far […]

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Strong Start Day ~ 2011

October 5, 2011

I am not shy about my uneasy truths. I think it’s because truth gets covered up in grace when it is spoken, not hidden. Even if it’s a long road to grace after the telling comes. I struggle with anxiety and depression and it gets worse after I grow a baby and then have a baby and then feed a baby. This is so common, but like alcoholism, we mothers don’t talk about it very easily.  And then we wonder if we’re the only one feeling this heaviness, this cloud of melancholy that has nothing to do with whether or not we love our babies. Being online has made it possible for us to start talking if we’ve had no other way. If this talking is not happening in our mom groups or at preschool drop-off or with the ladies at our places of worship or on our blocks, we can find it […]



January 19, 2011

empathy, sympathy, compassion a passion for helping and then… empathy and sympathy and compassion fatigue. There’s just too much. But we can’t stop talking about it and we can’t close ourselves off from it because if we do, we’re doing nothing and everyone loses. I don’t know how it happened, but some years back I became quite passionate about the human trafficking crisis, especially the sex trafficking of children, of orphans. Around that time, through the music and message of Sara Groves, I came to know International Justice Mission. Ryan and I then became Freedom Partners, financially supporting IJM’s work to end slavery, trafficking and other injustices. But that sponsorship and the support of two children through Compassion International is all our family is doing. We allow a small donation to be removed from our account one time a month and that’s it…we call it good enough, and it’s not. What happens? What […]


Firstly, Thank you to everyone who donated items for this Gifts for Life extravaganza, and to each of you who took the time to learn more about these gifts that give back! Now for what you really want to know…(please read all the way through because even if you did not win, there are discount and donation codes being offered from the providers of the giveaways!) And the winners are…. Paper Culture: Winner #1 – Amber (#6)Winner #2 – happygeek (#58)Winner #3 – Becky (#2)Winner #4 – Tate and Abby (#48)Winner #5 – Suzanne (#22) Congratulations to all of you! You’ve won yourself $25 to Paper Culture!**Paper Culture is also generously donating 20% of any order you make to Bead for Life! Just use code: BEADS at checkout** :::::::::: The Artist’s House: Winner #1 – Pamela (#22)Winner #2 – MollyinMinn (#4) Congratulations to you both! You’ve each won a $25 credit to The […]


OH friends…today brings you so much goodness from the… to eradicate povertyin the lives of the womenwith the handsto roll and stringand gather and process and prepare so we can help Today, Bead for Life is offering one winner all of this: the 5 strand necklace the Madaala Necklace one pair of the single earrings THREE bangle bracelets the band bracelet the 3 strand bracelet one shea butter soap a fabric jewelry bag one shea butter lip balm and a Bead for Life CD (the jewelry will not necessarily come in these colors) Thank you, thank you, thank you Bead for Life… All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to enter for ALL OF THE ABOVE. Just imagine the gift-giving opportunities (and of course, gift a little something to yourself). ~~~~~ Because our goal with this Gifts for Life gift guide is to support the wonderful cause of […]


Here we are on our second to the last day of the Gifts for Life event. *virtual fist bump* And today we’re going to wrap things up (before the HUGE Bead for Life giveaway tomorrow, of course), with a double-whammy bang… How about a generous package from both Butters and Beans and Playful Planet? ~~~~~ Here are a few of my favorite things from Butters and Beans (a place to find absolutely adorable baby and toddler clothing, bibs, burp cloths, blankets, dresses and more). An Acorn must-have, no? Mommy loves orange. Let’s go over what will be included in this giveaway package, shall we? burp cloth blanket bib and pants just like these, but in the pattern above. Everyone knows a baby! And there you have it. The perfect gifts. FOUR items thanks to Ann from Butters and Beans. (I have a confession. I’m hanging on to these goodies, they’re right here in […]


{a gift guide and giveaway event benefiting Bead for Life}{hosted by yours truly and O My Family} Today brings you even more handmade goodness brought to you by Kristin at {sweeter than me} designs… I have to admit it, I’m a little more than in love with these sweet bobby pins and rings, earrings and gift sets. I have a thing for tiny flowers.would you take a closer look? yeah…me too… and today one lucky winner has a chance to win 2 items of your choice from {sweeter than me} designs, the Etsy shop. Thank you, Kristin! I don’t know about you but I think these might be the best little gift for a friend and/or the best stocking stuffers ever. (Or maybe they’re simply perfect for that little gift to yourself. I won’t tell.) This giveaway will close Sunday December 5th at 10pm central and the winner will be announced the next […]


Gifts for Life: {So} Sartina

December 1, 2010

{a gift guide and giveaway extravaganza} {benefiting Bead for Life}{brought to you by yours truly and O My Family} This morning’s giveaway is brought to you by the lovely Kristina Joy and her Etsy Shop, {So}Sartina… ~totes~pins~buttons~card holders~Christmas stockings~and more~ In support of our Gifts for Life gift guide and giveaway, Kristina has graciously offered one lucky winner a $25 gift certificate to her shop. So go take a peek and then come back and tell me what you love. That’s all you have to do to enter. In my humble opinion it would be a good idea to keep in mind the lovely ladies on your list who have everything. You’ll find the perfect handmade bags and cases for Ipads, Netbooks, cell phones, sunglasses, business cards and more. (You can follow {So}Sartina on Twitter to always know what’s new or on sale.) As is true during the entirety of this week-long giveaway […]


Gifts for Life: Shining Stones

November 30, 2010

~~~~~~~~~~~ {the gift guide and giveaway extravaganza} {benefiting Bead for Life} {brought to you by O My Family and yours truly} The second giveaway of the day is happening because of the generous heart of one of my favorite people~Ellie of SHINING STONES (and One Crafty Mother) If you need a unique and beautiful gift for your sister or your mom or your mom-in-law or your best friend, ETC., you’ve come to the right place. Because not only is Ellie giving one lucky winner one of these: that lucky winner will also get one of these: to go with these: Yes that’s right, friends. The Black Raspberry Pearl set (worth over $70). Thank you, Ellie. This set is made with sterling silver wire and swarovski pearls. The necklace is a sterling silver box chain. Ellie will custom size the ring for the winner to any size (1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 sizes included). All […]


{an EO and O My Family gift guide and giveaway extravaganza, benefiting bead for life} I’m so honored to tell you about today’s giveaway…well, both of them actually. Yes, it’s true. There will be another EPIC giveaway this afternoon! But for now… ~handmade~art~quilts~prints~cards~throw pillows~creative~fabric~multi-media~modern~ Just a few of the words that describe The Artist’s House,a lovely place to feast your eyes on the soul creative,thanks to Angela Flicker,creator and artist. these are a few of my favorite things… this one really needs to be on my wall. It asked. {print} You can follow The Artist’s House on Twitteror you can keep up with what’s new on Facebook. Today, Angela has been generous enough to offer TWO $25 gift certificates to her Etsy shop! Yes, that means TWO lucky winners! To enter to be one of the TWO winners, head on over to Etsy and take a peek and then come back and tell […]


All throughout this week my friend Allison from OMyFamily and I are going to rock your socks with a gift guide and giveaway event for the exposure of an organization called Bead for Life. We’ve chosen to partner with mostly handmade businesses in this endeavor, but there are a few others that we love and respect that we will also be featuring. These are companies that are new and growing, working hard to give back in an authentic and meaningful way and doing a bang-up job of it. So, let’s get this party started, shall we? The first Gifts for Life giveaway is from the lovely Paper Culture, and friends, they have been generous indeed. I don’t remember how I landed there, but when I first came across the Paper Culture website I was immediately enamored. I love the modern styles and the fact that they plant a tree with every order. I […]


Bead for Life/Gifts for Life

November 28, 2010

Yesterday I set you up with a little teaser in which I told you about the EPIC EXTRAVAGANZA beginning on Monday here on the EO and over at OMyFamily. The inspiration behind this event is Bead for Life, an organization truly worthy of our support as it helps women support themselves and their families by making beautiful beaded jewelry from recycled paper, shea butter soap and peppermint lip balm… The story of how Bead for Life came to be is astonishing and powerful. The way this organization continues to support the women (and men) of Uganda (and other parts of the world) is nothing short of redemptive and life-changing. No, scratch that. Life-saving. The products that are a result of the hard work of these Ugandan women are beautiful hand-crafted works of art… There are numerous ways to support Bead for Life—the three that we’ll be highlighting this week are direct donations, purchasing […]


I’m like a little elf over here, tinkering away with my secret surprises. I love it. A girl’s gotta add a little joy and giving to the holiday season, no? That’s why my friend Allison from OMyFamily and I have been brewing up something to:a) give you great ideas for unique holiday gifts. b) give you a chance to win (or get great deals on) said holiday gifts.And my favorite,c) bring exposure to an organization that rocks my socks.Here’s the dealio. I struggle with the materialism of the holiday season and I don’t keep that a secret. I don’t love the mall. That’s just the truth. I have trouble getting my heart into the giving spirit when I look around and get a bit itchy over all the stuff, stuff and more stuff. So. Allison and I put our heads together and we talked about what we DO love. We love supporting small […]


{you can read the first part of Jen’s story here} Jen is not breast cancer. Cancer does not have Jen. Jen has cancer. When the words are strung together in just that order, it reminds me of the truth of Jen’s life because cancer is not beating her, no matter what. I’m not only referring to Jen’s vitality, to the fact that she’s still here after so much, but I’m also referring to the way she seems to make the choice to laugh in the face of what cancer can do to a person emotionally and spiritually and mentally on top of all of the physical pain. Of course there are hard days and Jen is honest about those days of depression, days that feel so dismal, days when she asks the question, is this really our life? Those are the days when she says her husband Luke helps her bounce back, the […]

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She rolled over, reaching across her chest to turn off the bedside lamp when she felt it. The lump. The mass. She was 25 years old and having an ultrasound and a biopsy and someone was saying “you have breast cancer.” She describes those moments with an animated “what in the world?!” and she says then she was numb, protecting herself from thoughts of her fate. Jen embodies a contagious joy, truly. A wife and mother, a daughter and sister and friend. Oh, the throngs of friends she has! She is all the things women are and she has been fighting cancer for 8 years. Today marks the anniversary of her first day of treatment. There’s always been something extra special about her, this Jennifer. Even before all of this, this thing that tears her up and somehow changes her perspective in ways that make her grateful and even more positive than she […]