December 30, 2013

when your twitter gets a little out of control...

sometimes we don’t know we’re deep into a hole. we can look around at our surroundings and think, “this is fine, this is fine. i’m not in deep. i can get out at any time.” and it’s only when this thing becomes a little bit of a crisis do we look around and up and realize how deep down we actually are.

sometimes these pits are serious and sometimes they are a little silly. i recently found myself at the bottom of a rather silly pit.

confession: i love twitter! love it! i tweet approximately ten times a year, and most of those tweets are about the bachelor, so i’m more of a passive consumer of twitter than some kind of twitter extraordinaire. when i first joined, i followed a lot of celebrities, but learned that actually, most celebrities are pretty boring on twitter: lots of retweets for people’s birthdays, well wishes to the troops, that sort of thing. i began following other bloggers and a lot of religious writers and thinkers, all people that i have a great deal of respect for. it felt good to read lots of new blog posts and to fill my feed with theological discussions. i love discussing theology and Christian feminism and race relations and books and politics; all subjects that don’t exactly lend themselves easily to playdate conversation fodder (not that we haven’t tried, right, anna?). so i was getting filled up on twitter. i just didn’t realize how filled.

it all began to take a turn for the worse a few week ago with some controversy surrounding dave ramsey’s blog. suddenly everyone on twitter was firing back and fighting and tearing each other down over this post. there were articles on about it. there were a lot of nasty anonymous comments. it was stressful to me. next up was a controversy over the “jesus feminist” twitter feed—and the fact that the posts (mostly quotes from the book) were typed in by a man. lots of passion, mean comments, threats, discussion about who is allowed to speak for or even about women. finally, and i don’t think anyone missed this, was the duck dynasty controversy. i stressed over the comments on jen hatmaker’s blog. i felt stressed for kristen howerton. i want to give rachel held evans a hug. 

i kept reading the horrible, nameless comments that people, other Christians, were leaving for each other. my heart pounded, my stomach was in knots.

oh? did you miss all of this? right, because all of this was happening online and not in my normal every day life.

there’s enough good left on twitter that i’m not going to turn it completely off, but i did a major purge right after Christmas. even if i like your writing, even if i think you’re right, i just need to take a step back. no more snarky comments. no subtweets. no retweeting mean commenters or mark driscoll, because i don’t want to read them. and certainly no more following anyone associated with the bachelor.

even if it began well-intentioned, my online life was dragging me into a pit. here’s to starting 2014 with twitter in it’s rightful place, and truth and love being spoken everywhere.

December 16, 2013

a twitterature linkup: what i've been reading lately

today i'm linking up with modern mrs. darcy's monthly twitterature. these are my short reviews of recent reads. 

allegiant: i wish this wasn't the final chapter in the divergent series. i think veronica roth had too many plot lines and twists, and this story would have been more satisfying told as at least two books (there are five factions, write five books, right?). a lot of fans felt that the ending was controversial, but i felt satisfied by the time i turned the last page (aka, clicked the last button on my kindle). #teamfour
the boxcar children: cruz and i are reading this out loud and my heart just thumps with happiness every time. i like reading books with him that are above his comprehension level, just to give him a taste of it and expose him to new vocabulary. that said, i've been surprised at how much he's tracking with it. #greatreadaloud
happiest toddler on the block: harvey karp offers what has got to be the strangest advice about dealing with toddler tantrums... but guess what? it kind of works. #anythingtolessentantrumsamiright
mockingjay: tovi and i recently went on a date to see catching fire (gasp!), so of course i came home and reread mockingjay immediately. my dad says that mockingjay was his favorite of the three books, but i have trouble seeing it (sorry, dad). this is another book that felt like it suffered from being squeezed into a trilogy rather than a series. #realornotreal
night film: i started night film the week of halloween because i wanted to read a thriller. the first half was terrifying, and i could only read it during the day. but then... then the book took a turn for the weird which was never explained. i honestly think that the author was on the right track, and that under the hands of an excellent editor, night film would have killed it. will you take a risk reading it and then we could process it together? #daytimereading 
why we broke up: no joke, i read this young adult novel in less than 24 hours. it's charming and relatable, and will remind you of dating, friendships, and cliques in high school. the book is a letter from min to ed, explaining all the "things" that she's giving back to him, "and that's why we broke up." fun fact: author daniel handler's former pseudonym is lemony snicket! this book is illustrated, so if you read it on an e-reader, make sure that it will support the illustrations. #teamed or #teamal

December 12, 2013


i hope that in heaven there will be a time when mary, mother of jesus, gently taps all the moms on our shoulders and pulls us away to a special room where she tells us about the times that jesus kept her awake all night because he had a cold and was teething and just ate every two hours. we'll all nod and give each other sympathetic looks. and then mary will say, "ladies, my special heavenly gift to you is that we'll all take a really great heavenly nap." then we'll all lay down in the fluffy clouds and sleep and we'll only wake up when we're ready. i'm looking forward to that.

December 9, 2013


in the summer of 2012 we lost a sweet little baby, and while that was hard and unexpected, i was pregnant again quickly, and that helped to take away some of the sting of our loss. with all of my pregnancies, i have felt pregnant immediately (because #thekatemiddletons. not a joke). maybe you'll think i'm so crazy for saying this, but right away, even when she was the size of a peanut, london felt fat and solid and round in my belly. this is still a good description of her.

when i was pregnant with her, i asked God to give me insight into her character, anything that would help me to mother her better. whenever someone would say, "she's going to give you trouble!" or "you're going to get a crazy one!" i would hear God whisper, "she's going to be a fighter, but it will be for justice. she is going to be your warrior." i'd rub my belly and feel her, so solid and confident and sure. that's how i see her; my warrior-girl, my arrow for the Lord.

this story starts in the same way as a lot of our stories: we were at the library. cruz tossed the pastel foam blocks out of their pen and got busy building a zoo for big lion (whom we did not leave behind). london and i scanned the shelves for potential books and i was about to settle her down for mommy-baby board book time, when i looked up and realized that we had an audience. a very, very elderly couple had pulled up chairs close to us and were clearly settling in to watch my children. "i love to come here and watch the children," she told me as i looked over, confirming my suspicions that we were indeed the afternoon entertainment. i nodded, smiled, and feeling a little like a fish in a bowl, began reading to lolo.

london, charming girl, could not stop looking at this old lady and smiling her gorgeous smile. "that is the most beautiful baby i've ever seen!" the woman was so delighted. she started to get up out of her chair to come over. "dorothy! your back!" her husband looked up from his book and got her to sit back down.
"i'll bring her over to you," i said.
dorothy asked me how old she was, commented that she was a very big baby, and told me that she'd had six children. i nodded, smiled, and took london back to our seat.
london giggled and cooed back at dorothy.
"that is the most beautiful baby i've ever seen! i've just got to come over!"
"dorothy! your back!"
"i'll bring her over to you."
"how old is she? she's a big baby! you know, i had six kids."
and once we'd gone through this routine three times, i began to get the picture and my heart just melted. i brought london back over, and my baby's smile could've knocked you out.
dorothy looked at me, her eyes magnified by her thick glasses. "may i hold her?"
i paused, i really did; caught by strangers and germs and worry because who just asks to hold a baby? but here was my london, my own arrow carrying God's love. i could say no and keep london reasonably safe and in my arms, or i could trust God and let her do what she was born to.
"have a seat," i told dorothy. "i'll help you hold her." and slowly and gently, just like i do with cruz, i settled london into dorothy's arms, held onto my baby's legs so that she wouldn't squirm away, and prayed that this was the right decision.
dorothy and london looked at each other and smiled and laughed. after a few minutes, dorothy's husband told her to give the baby back. he got up slowly from his chair, helped his wife back to her walker and walked back to lay a hand on my arm.
"she just turned 90 last week. she doesn't remember too much these days, but we've been married for 64 years, and i know her well enough to know that this was the best part of her day. that's a special baby you've got there."

it's precious and overwhelming, this knowing what a gift i've been given and knowing that God has given her to me to be used for His glory.
"children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. children born to a young man are like arrows in the hands of a warrior." psalm 127:3-4

December 4, 2013

what we wore on wednesday

 ^^ today's post was a little more spur of the moment than usual, but the light in lolo's room was so soft and white and then kids were being darling playing on the bed. and not to be that mom...but sometimes i have to be that mom and when the kids are this cute, it's an outfit post kind of day.
^^ i don't know why he's not wearing a shirt? he's currently trying to negotiate climbing into "the big bed." but on team eliasen, we don't get into big beds without going potty first. cruz is really into sports, so we talk about 'team eliasen' a lot.
^^ made it to the big bed! this guy can do a great lion naptime. naps, prayers, even a gentle, "i know, lion. i know." does a mama proud.
^^ i haven't worn this shirt for a year; so happy to have in back in rotation!
^^ the last time london wore this shirt someone thought she was a boy, so i thought that this time, she'd wear a giant bow to compensate.
^^ cruz is so ready for christmas this year. we've been reading the christmas story every night and going for a walk around the neighborhood to look at the lights. he remembers christmas from last year and totally gets it. tonight was the annual "pickle tree" lighting up at westmont and if you know westmont, the pickle tree lighting is the most westmont-y event imaginable. there were no tears while meeting santa, and once cruz got a lick of his first candy cane, he was ready to party. (to get cruz into his christmas jams, i had to bribe him with a cookie. ain't no shame in my game.)

happy wednesday!

December 3, 2013


a little snapshot of what we were up to in november... at least according to instagram...

^^ this november was one of the most glorious months we've had in the last ten years. seriously. the weather was dreamy-- never too hot and it got just cold enough that we could pretend it was fall. it even rained! (clearly we aren't too experienced with rain-- my neighborhood grocery store was kind enough to remind us that rain = wet). almost every night my instagram feed was filled with sunset shots. it would have been cliche, but the sunsets were just that amazing. (i actually just realized that we might have fantastic weather every november but last november i don't think i ever got out of bed because #thekatemiddletons)
^^ these cuties are becoming more and more like siblings. london loves to watch cruz and the littlest things he does her crack up. he's learning that he likes to make her laugh, and he's been sweet about bringing her a toy or keeping an eye on her if i step out of the room. i keep telling them, "you two are best friends!" and i hope it will start rubbing in. (what? you don't brainwash your kids?)
^^ age three is... a mixed bag. to borrow a phrase, when it's good, it's very very good (and when it's bad it's very very bad). the good is watching cruz's creative spirit develop. we're creating and building and pretending all day long. his capacity for abstract thought and reasoning continues to astound and challenge me.
^^ we had some growing pains with our little lolo. being a work-from-home mama is so good and equally, so hard. sometimes you end up with that face while you're on the phone with a client. it can be empowering to know that i'm helping to support my family while being their primary caregiver. on those days, i'm all about #leanin. and then sometimes the mama guilt and the awesome-lady-business guilt battle each other hard and on those days i text my fellow work-from-home friend anna angsty texts that usually end with #LeantheFIn. i'm not proud of it, but there it is. london also came down with a nasty cold and cough that ended up being pretty scary one night. we thought we might need to take her into urgent care because she couldn't really breathe, but a couple of sessions in a hot steamy bathroom cleared her lungs nicely. we took that second picture soon after she started breathing again, and she was immediately back to her sparkly self.
^^ you know i'm an open book about areas in which i struggle as a mom/wife/lady, so let me just take a minute to share an area in which i think i excel. i know my kids. i am such a good mom to them. this month has been a gentle reminder that one of my primary jobs as their mom is to delight in them. i've taken that to heart and with everything that is in me, i delight in my kiddos. with all of it's challenges, november turned out to be a pretty sweet month.
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