On the day I started a Facebook page

31 January 2012

On the day I started a Facebook page (which was yesterday), I had almost instant buyer's remorse.

"It'll be me and 5 friends who feel sorry for me and then I'll say something off-hand about alcohol and someone will unfriend me, or call our employer, or stop supporting us (all of which has actually happened), and then I'll have to censor, and do I really want more readers, because sometimes I just complain or cry or write love letters to the lock on my bathroom door, and really, what do I have to offer about faith and motherhood and transition that wiser women haven't noted before me, so maybe I should just delete it and let it go."

But I kept it anyway, and as of this count have 13 friends who "Like" the blog, so that's like a 150% return on my initial risk assessment (that might be fuzzy math). And it's not so much about the readers, or the Likers. It's about community and accountability and maybe seeing where and how God might allow me to write, work, or serve in the future.

And rabbit holes are fun.

And so is moving outside your comfort zone.

So Outside Comfort Zone, I'm Karen. And I write. And occasionally I yell. But it's still a poem to the King, and to you. And to anyone else who has a river of words flowing from their thirsty souls, just waiting to spring forth into the wide open sea. Or in this case, Facebook.


Upon reading "One Thousand Gifts"

30 January 2012

I have finally picked it up, the book nearly every girlfriend of mine both online and off has read and sworn by this past year. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I will admit it, I was - and still am - a bit antsy. Keep reading...

I help you.

28 January 2012

"I want your mom to be able to lock herself in the bathroom."

Because he knows I'm growing weary of the toddler joining me in on the toilet, smashing the door open against the wall with his chubby bare hand, fumbling for scraps of toilet paper.

"I hep oo." I help you.

The changing of locks and the switching of knobs, the hope of privacy is fresh. This apartment with the parking lot for a front garden isn't our home, but it is. Or, at least he's making it that way. With the locks. And the curtains. And the makeshift kitchen table made from old, cherished workbench.


It is not perfect. The door still bounces off the frame. Cold air leaks in cheap windows. The kitchen table is not beautiful. But it makes living here easier. And I am able to lock myself in the bathroom if I need to. 

And occasionally, I need to.

Putting down roots near the rivers...

Care for a carnival?

26 January 2012

UPDATE: The Carnival starts on February 6! :)

Next month I'm participating in a Practices of Parenting Carnival over at Emerging Mummy. Her blog is so sweet, poignant and fiery and I'm excited to join her in sharing the ways we love, nurture, fight, grow, and practice the delicately messy art of parenting. Well, at least for me it's delicately messy.

Would you care to join us? 
  • If you have a blog, head over to Emerging Mummy for all the link-up details (I'm looking at you, Katie). 
  • If you don't have a blog but would love to contribute, let me know and I'll happily post your contribution (I'm looking at you, Nicole). For reals.
  • If you have something you'd like to hear from me (a question I often get is, "Karen, you're so amazingly beautiful and talented and the most perfect mother. Tell me, how do you do it all???"), leave me a message with a topic or a question. In all honesty, I'm often at a loss when it comes to describing exactly how this mom/child/family thing works for us. It's an ever-evolving organism of grace and forgiveness... ooh, perhaps I'll write about that...

Early mornings are for suckers {part 2 of 52... maybe}

25 January 2012

shot_1325826443465.jpgI hate getting up early.

Since my drama days in high school, I've preferred to drink coffee into the wee hours, talking with friends or pulling a yearbook all-nighter. And these days, as mum to three loud and crazy kiddos, I crave my late night "me time" where I tune out (or tune in to Parks and Recreatin reruns), put my feet up, and just. be. me. These are my Not Mom hours and I love them and I don't want to give them up.

But I have to.

Because we have two kids in school most days. Because I need coffee in my veins to know which slipper goes on which foot. Because our apartment is small and loud and if I'm not up and consciously available by the time they are up and needing food and milk and signed homework, it all goes to pot. And indeed, it all went to pot one day too many and I knew it. I had to get up early. I have to do my job. I have to have the best work ethic possible for the most important job I'll ever have: Mom and Wife. Soft place to fall. Kisser of boo-boos. Planner of meals. Singer of songs.

So last fall I tried it for the first time. The Hello Mornings challenge: getting up for my kids instead of to my kids, praying and communing with Jesus, and preparing for our day. And it went great for a week or so (I never did get to that exercise part). And then some tough stuff went down, and I slept in a few days too many because that's how my soul recuperates after late nights of tears. Before I knew it that session was over and it was time to start anew.

Which brings me to part 2 of that 52 bites series (maybe). Develop a morning routine. Little did I know, when I started leafing through One Bite at a Time, that I'd already laid the baby step foundations for one of these "bites" towards simplicity: discovering just a few things to start my day before the kids (and man) start theirs.

Sadly, it means the old Not Mom hours after dark have to go in lieue of the new Not Mom hours before dawn. But it's not just a Not Mom hour... there is no wasting time away online or staring at the telly. It's precious moments of intentional prayer, growth, calmness, study, wisdom, self-control, readiness (and maybe eventual exercise).

It's communion with Jesus and loving my children before I even see their faces.

And then it's eating my frog. But that comes a little later, and by then, I'm ready for it. Because I know who I truly am (and it's not just as The Dishwasher).

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Missional Mom : The Rest of the Story

18 January 2012

If you followed my groundbreaking (though unfinished) series, 10 Books I'm Currently Not Finishing, you may be wondering if I ever did finish any of those books. The truth is, well, just barely. As in one. I finished one. 

And I had good incentive.

Helen Lee, author of The Missional Mom, was so kind enough to meet me at a conference for missional church planters, leaders, and visioncasters (is that a word? well, it is now), get in a car with a near-stranger (again, me), and share her journey, as well as the journey of other normal suburban, yet fearless and winsome women who dare to imagine a calling greater than that of mom. She is as down to earth as she is thoughtful and it was a pleasure to hear her heart for moms, for the needy, and for living a life that seeks to impact the world by serving it with and through your family.

Please check out the interview I did with Helen at Halogen, and visit her website for more information. Whether you're a mom, a dad, a child of God, or a friend in need, you will find something there to inspire the mission within.

On the day I ate my frog {part 1 of 52... maybe}

17 January 2012

So today I ate my frog.

This is the first project from the lovely ebook "One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler" by SimpleMom herself (her friends call her Tsh, but I call her "Amazing Lady who Has it all Together"). And I nailed it on the first day! Oh wait, what? You don't eat frogs? Keep reading...


{this post includes an affiliate link. If you click and purchase Tsh's ebook, I am compensated a small percentage}

Leaving the orphanage

11 January 2012

I don't think there are more beautiful words in the English than "Guess who left the orphanage for good today?"

Just to be clear, we are not adopting, though we feel the word may apply to us one day. While our family is currently complete, we are open and curious and in wonder about a future that might include another child whom we can give a home to (once we have a permanent home ourselves, that is).

All that to say is, today I read a tweet for a family who's story I've followed for a long time. Their's is unique, and I feel honoured to stand on the sidelines, anonymous, offering up a prayer here or there. And the tweet today? A final goodbye to an orphanage in Ukraine. A new identity. A mother and a father. A home waiting with a brother and a sister, and friends, and a church. A hope and a future.

Wow. Breathtaking words, leaving the orphanage for good. He is a giver of life.


what I read this week

08 January 2012

Spent an inordinate amount of time this week catching up on blogs, film and book reviews, and other pop culture things. A wee list of the good stuff:

Her.meneutics : Why 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' hurts women (a misnomer of a title, but an interesting discussion)
I’m not saying Salander (or the book or the movie) should be boycotted, rallied against, or tarred and feathered. As Christians, we too often fall into the twin traps of demonization or idolization.
Books & Culture : Talking about REAL marriage
Men are to be tough in business (there will be no questioning of American economic norms in this book) and tender with women and children, who are weak. Wives are "crystal goblets," beautiful and fragile; men are "thermoses," strong and protective.
Emerging Mummy : In which [love looks like] a real marriage
You follow when I step out to a new place and I know when to slide into your new turn as a shadow and you lead us both through but usually, it's just us...
Urban Faith : Forgiving Kim Jong-Il
When we asked him why he prayed in this particular way, he replied, “He’s a bad, bad man. I don’t love him. I hate him.”
Tall Skinny Kiwi : 9 reasons NOT to plant a church in 2012
The people most likely to join a new church plant are usually those with some kind of church background - the de-churched, pre-churched, ex-churched, which means ignoring really lost people and duplicating the ministries of existing churches.
(in)courage : Goals make us available, not perfect
But practical goals should never be the measuring stick that determines our worth.
Her.meneutics : Grieving a lost child
It connected us a thousand years into our past and a thousand years into our future, like a blueprint for a person—one who will never be repeated, never recreated.