A Hairy Timeline

Cortney has been telling me for about a year that Charlie needed a haircut. I brushed it off until he made me a deal that he wouldn’t insist on a haircut if I agree that one will need to happen around Charlie’s second birthday (Eddie’s haircut was when he was two. Granted he was bald until he was almost one, but still).

Yesterday (Monday) was haircut day.

I have been thinking about it way WAY more than I should.

It’s just hair after all, right?

Before I was a mom I just didn’t get what the fuss was about baby’s first haircut. It’s JUST HAIR.

I regretfully take back all my know-it-all-ness.

And give you Charlie’s Hairy Timeline….

Charlie was born with what appeared to be pre-styled senator hair. Dapper little Bird.

Charlie was born with what appeared to be pre-styled senator hair. Dapper little Bird. My nephew said it was as soft as feathers.

By a month, the brown feathers have started to thin.

By a month, the brown feathers have started to thin.

 

Around six months he was back the style. My mom swore I was cutting it to the perfect style on the sly. I was not.

Around six months he was back the style. My mom swore I was cutting it to the perfect style on the sly. I was not.

By age one we were saying the first hints of "shaggy hair"

By age one we were saying the first hints of “shaggy hair”

 

Around 15 months we started realizing he also had the curl gene just like Eddie and Cortney.

Around 15 months we started realizing he also had the curl gene just like Eddie and Cortney.

Only six months ago I had to start trimming his bangs to keep them out of his eyes.

Only six months ago I had to start trimming his bangs to keep them out of his eyes.

 

Just before Christmas people started to comment that it was getting a bit long. So naturally I fell in love with it.

Just before Christmas people started to comment that it was getting a bit long. So naturally I fell in love with it.

Just a month ago.

Just a month ago.

 

Last week Thursday.

Last week Thursday.

waiting for cousin Rachel to finish cutting Eddie's hair so he can go next.

waiting for cousin Rachel to finish cutting Eddie’s hair so he can go next.

 

The last shot of the curls before they are cut off.

The last shot of the curls before they are cut off.

He did so well, though he seemed concerned the entire time.

He did so well, though he seemed concerned the entire time.

 

Haircuts = no smiles. It's serious  business.

Haircuts = no smiles. It’s serious business.

Hey ladies, I've got my first haircut. How you like me now?

Hey ladies, I’ve got my first haircut. How you like me now?

 

The curls are gone.

The curls are gone.

I am…not Ok yet.

But I will be.

For whatever reason the first haircut is the hardest.

I already told Cortney if there is a hint of curl after we wash it, you know I won’t be getting it cut for another six months…at least. Because I already miss burying my nose in those soft curls.

Especially because his hair smelled like cheese tonight after dinner.

Writing is My Process

I was recently invited to participate in an “Author Tour” about my writing process by the lovely Angela Amman. Being considered an “author” made me swoon, so I said yes. Of course.

I met Angela a few years (YEARS???) ago when I was linking up and then helping run The Red Dress Club. I quickly fell in love with her writing and the fact that she is also an inhabitant of the Mitten State. I knew her writing would take her far, and it has/is. She shared her writing process last week.

Ok, so the idea here is that I share with you a peek into my writing process. I’ve written before about writing being a process and not just a product, but I never really shared my own process. I hope this does not stifle any of the magic about me for you. Heh.

1. What Am I Working On?

Ummmm…

My blog when I have time?

In all seriousness, I have some lofty goals for this year. I am trying to submit my writing to different places both online and print. I have been rejected and accepted a few times so I guess I am breaking even in the jubilation/sorrow department.

I guess right now a big area I have been working on is my Teaching & Writing post category. I try to post something about writing or teaching/education every Wednesday, but it doesn’t always work out because I get busy with, you guessed it, teaching. I’m reading, going to trainings, and reflecting on a LOT in that area, so there are lots of started drafts in the works.

I’m also always working on drafting childhood memories and writing out my good and hard times.

What my work space generally looks like. I know what you're thinking...jealousy.

What my work space generally looks like. I know what you’re thinking…jealousy.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre.

I have two different writerly voices: my story-telling voice and my teacher voice.

I think what makes me stand out in my story-telling is that I am very honest, but I am also very positive. I think it’s easy to get pulled down by the hard stuff and lose the joy. I try to balance the difficult with the joy I believe is always always there.

My teacher voice–a more academic tone–is one I don’t see as much in the bloggerly world.

3. Why do I write what I do?

This is easy: it’s important to me.

I tell stories because I wish more people in my family had told their stories. Shoot, I would love to tell their stories for them, if they would let me. (not that anyone won’t let me; I haven’t really asked).

I write about teacher stuff because I am deeply passionate about finding the best way to teach kids. I also think too many people are misinformed about the processes and issues that public school teachers face.

4. How does my writing process work?

So here comes the “do as I say, and not as I do” part of the show.

In a perfect world, every writer–nay everyONE–would carve out an hour or so of time to just write. Every single day there would be an uninterrupted time of thoughtful “flow”.

I advocate for this.

I give my students time to do this (not a whole hour, but still).

My advice to new writers is always WRITE! And if you’re not writing, READ!

do write daily, but this is how my process goes:

  • think of an idea or twelve
  • don’t write them down, but mull them over during commute to work, while making dinner, while showering, etc.
  • plan to write about one (or three) during planning hour at school
  • realize that tons of grading and copies need to be done and then a student comes in
  • get no writing done on planning hour, revise to work after school, but before going home
  • 2:30pm comes and four students come in to work/get help.
  • After students leave, tie up loose ends to be ready for next day.
  • Realize that I have tons of grading, but open a blog post or new doc anyway
  • stare
  • remember a promise made to a student about a letter of rec.
  • Do that instead
  • Check Facebook
  • Follow links.
  • Realize it’s my turn to pick up the boys, vow to write at bedtime.
  • Mull over a new idea during commute
  • Feel passionately about this new post and almost completely write it in my head
  • Get boys, get home, make dinner, clean up dinner, clean boys, watch Curious George.
  • Realize it’s my turn to put Eddie to bed. Vow to not be too tired to write when I get done with bedtime
  • Fall asleep reading books with Eddie.
  • Wake up at 8:45pm and haul myself upstairs.
  • Sit on the couch and stare.
  • Get my computer
  • Check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Work on homework for about a minute and a half
  • Open a new blog post or doc and write a bit of nonsense.
  • Yawn.
  • Brush teeth while mulling that great idea that now seems dead.
  • Go to bed vowing to write MORE tomorrow

Clearly at some point some of those ideas become reality on the page/screen.  This mostly happens on weekends (during Charlie’s nap) or during the rare time after school when I don’t have tons to do (or it’s procrastinate-able) or in the evenings when Cort handles Eddie’s bedtime routine.

Right now I fit it in while I can.

The time I spend is greater over breaks, so I am looking forward to spring break in three weeks.

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Next week, the tour pushes on with a couple of writers who are incredibly inspiring to me.

Jessica Smock writes the blog School of Smock, but she is also one of the women behind the HerStories Project. She is not just a writer, but a former educator. In fact, she is DR. Jessica Smock. She and I share a lot of the same philosophies about education and her work is an inspiration to me.

Pauline Campos write the blog Aspiring Mama, but she is also a columnist for the Latina Magazine. She is also a champion of the fight for girls to have a better body image. She is a gorgeous writer, but she is even more of a gorgeous soul. Her dedication to her writing and causes makes me want to be a better me.

Project 365 {week 10}

This week was brutal.

I blame the state testing that I had to proctor at work.

It threw the whole “normal” of the day off.

And it made me super tired. It’s the same kind of fatigue you get from driving for HOURS.

Anyway…this is what the week looked like…

March 2: Shrove Sunday = pancake brunch at church. YUM!

March 2: Shrove Sunday = pancake brunch at church. YUM!

March 3: A student MADE this for me. I love my job, yo.

March 3: A student MADE this for me. I love my job, yo.

 

March 4: I proctored the ACT and was exhausted. This guy wanted to read books. We read books.

March 4: I proctored the ACT and was exhausted. This guy wanted to read books. We read books.

March 5: Another day of testing means I'm too exhausted to care that I am wearing head to toe pink.

March 5: Another day of testing means I’m too exhausted to care that I am wearing head to toe pink.

 

March 6: Last day of testing at school. And two boys doing puzzles together. Those things are not related.

March 6: Last day of testing at school. And two boys doing puzzles together. Those things are not related.

March 7: Full work day, hair appointment, and dinner with a friend means I got home to this thoughtful guy after the boys were in bed.

March 7: Full work day, hair appointment, and dinner with a friend means I got home to this thoughtful guy after the boys were in bed.

March 8: Coffee with a friend. Best way to end a week.

March 8: Coffee with a friend. Best way to end a week.

It didn’t look busy, but somehow it was.

I almost died of exhaustion.

Almost.

But we didn’t forget about March is Reading Month!!

And as promised, a run down of what we have been reading around here.

What Eddie read (or had read to him):
Yertle the Turtle By Dr. Seuss
Oh Say Can You Say by Dr. Seuss
Daisy-Head Mayzie by Dr. Seuss
On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss
You’re Only Old Once by Dr. Seuss
Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
The King’s Stilts by Dr. Seuss

He picked them all! He might have a thing for Seuss.

What Charlie read (or had read to him):
Panda Bear, Panda Bear What Do You See? By Bill Martin, Jr.
Hippos Go Berzerk! By Sandra Boyton (ad naseam, I might add)
The Fuzzy Duckling by Jane Werner Watson

What Katie read:
The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (still reading)

What are you and your kids reading?

TV Junkies Meet Netflix

image001Our TV is on a lot.

Long ago it became habit for Cortney and I to just turn the TV on when we were home. The way our main level is set up, our kitchen, dining area, and living room are all open to each other. If it wasn’t for the island separating the kitchen, it would basically be one big room.

When Eddie was born, the TV was never not on. Almost 24/7 the glow of the TV illuminated his first couple weeks as I basically lived on the couch recovering from my C-section.

Since then our lives have gotten busy and even though we have a DVR, we haven’t been able to keep up with our favorite shows. With both of us working full-time, we opt to not pay for extra channels like HBO which means we miss out on some of the more popular series.

When Cortney was unemployed after Eddie was born, we got Netflix. Cortney watched somewhere around a million documentaries including one about a dang font. We ended up getting rid of it for awhile, but have recently signed up again.

With three TVs in the house and kids who are into superheroes, and with being house bound due to such cold weather, it seemed like a good deal.

Netflix is available on our devices, through our Wii, through our TiVo, and through the Roku.

Even though we are trying to limit Eddie’s screen time, he is loving discovering all the Super Hero cartoons: The Justice League, Spiderman, etc. Cort and I are enjoying the trip down memory lane with the cartoons of our childhood.

Eddie did a little dance when he realized that he could watch somewhere around a million episodes of Curious George–a favorite in our house right now. As a family, we watch a DVR-ed episode every evening before bedtime. Now we have more of a variety of episodes and even movies to watch from the series.

Saturday night after the kids went to bed, Cortney and I settled in to watch a few episodes of Portlandia.

All four of us have profiles set up so Portlandia doesn’t end up on Eddie or Charlie’s profiles, but Super Why and My Little Pony do, which is perfect.

Do you have Netflix? What should Cortney and I watch next? What should we add for Eddie and Charlie?

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with a Roku and a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Coming Down the Mountain

This week begins Lent.

I’ve never much recognized Lent before. I know what it is; I know the meanings and many of the traditions and ceremonies behind Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, the Lent season, and all the Easter-related days.

Yesterday we celebrated Shrove Sunday (the Sunday before Lent) in church with a pancake brunch (sort of a prequel to Fat Tuesday) after the service where I read scripture during the service.  The scriptures I read were from Exodus and 2 Peter about Moses’ mountain top experience with God. The sermon was about how Jesus didn’t stay on top of the mountain, but went down among the people–the hurting, sick, and sinful people to bring them love and forgiveness.

It reminded me yet again that the greatest love we can show in this world is to humble ourselves as servants to each other.

I am also reminded of our (as humans) habit of relying on things and substances to help us cope with our lives.

I do this with food. I eat my feelings so that I don’t have to feel them. I rely Diet Coke and junk food. I figure one more cookie won’t do anymore harm. What is one more handful of Cheetos anyway?

It’s a problem.

It’s an embarrassment.

I hate myself for every soda I drink and every “fat” food I eat.

When I was pregnant and each bite or sip was not just going into me, but into one of my sons, I was so much more careful. Because it wasn’t about me.

Now all the crap I put in me is about me.

Lent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Many fast or give up something to prepare for Easter.

Christ gave his life so to relate lots of people give up chocolate. That always seemed dumb to me. Growing up we never practiced giving up something for Lent, and I think the idea was that in no way could we give up anything that could come close to symbolizing or relating to Jesus giving his life.

This year, though, I have been thinking about my addiction to putting junk in my body in order to try to stuff my feelings down and satiate an emptiness that I feel when I start to feel anxious or discouraged.

I have been thinking about how this body of mine was given to me to put love in the world and how I have grown two people in it. Why am I not taking better care of it?

So this year for Lent, I am giving up Diet Coke.

It sounds just as lame as giving up chocolate, but it’s a really big step for me. I hope to not just give it up until Easter, but forever. I hope that it will help me to remember to put nourishing nutritious food in my body rather than garbage that hikes up my BMI, my cholesterol, and my shame.

Because it’s hard go down the mountain to spread love and healing in a broken world when your own insides are hurt and broken.

Project 365 {week 9}

Can I get an “amen” for February being over?

If for no other reason than I don’t have to TYPE “February” anymore.

Stupid weirdly spelled month of cold and awfulness.

February 23: Starting my next "academic" book for an online class.

February 23: Starting my next “academic” book for an online class.

February 24: Mondays are "puzzling"

February 24: Mondays are “puzzling”

February 25: Remember the little fella someone drew on my board? He now has a purple friend. Teaching is weird.

February 25: Remember the little fella someone drew on my board? He now has a purple friend. Teaching is weird.

February 26: The love of reading is strong in this house.

February 26: The love of reading is strong in this house.

February 27: We get this in the mail. And then I catch Cortney staring at the smooshy baby CONSTANTLY. #cute

February 27: We get this in the mail. And then I catch Cortney staring at the smooshy baby CONSTANTLY. #cute

 

February 28: Last day of stupid February and my car doesn't understand negative numbers. Stupid February.

February 28: Last day of stupid February and my car doesn’t understand negative numbers. Stupid February.

March 1: Saturday during Charlie's nap = coloring a looooong picture.

March 1: Saturday during Charlie’s nap = coloring a looooong picture.

Eddie informed me today he wanted some fresh air.

Warm fresh air.

I so agree.

Happy March.

Let’s hope the end of this month is like 50 degrees warmer than the beginning.

Greta Asks Away!

Here we go again! It’s Friday which means it’s time for #AskAwayFriday hosted by Penny of The Real Housewife Of Caroline Country and Amber from Bold Fab Mom. Typically for Ask Away Friday, bloggers pair up, swap 10 questions,answer them on their blogs, and link up their posts with Penny and Amber. It’s such a great way to get to know someone better.

AAFNewButton_zps9ad309b7

This week my friend, Greta of Gfunkified, is here with my questions for this Friday, and she came up with some good ones. So pull up your chair and get to know me better. And then, head over to Greta’s place to see what I asked her.

exactly square

1. If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?

This question is HARD!  I have no idea! I guess if money wasn’t an issue, I would stay at home with my kids and work as a writer (or try to) from home. If I was in another out of the house job, I would probably work for a non-profit or do some sort of charity or activism work.

2. What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day?

My favorite way to unwind is with a warm drink (tea, hot cocoa), my jammies, a soft blanket, and a good book. Oh, and my feet on my husband’s lap because he will rub my feet. He’s good like that.

3. You talk about Common Core a lot. If you had the chance to run your own school and your own curriculum, what would you change (if anything)?

Oh yes! Common Core aside, if we lived in a perfect world where I could help to implement best practice strategies and make our school look how I wanted, it would be incredibly student-centered. It would be inviting and technologically advanced. It would FEEL like learning. All teachers would have ample time to work together to make cross-curricular units and projects. The community would be involved and the students projects would involve them being in the community and learning. In fact, all assessments would be “real world”–they would be real published works, real community programs, real research.

4. When you daydream (like, say, waiting on parents at parent/teacher conferences), what do you find yourself daydreaming about most?

I day dream about writing. I know, I know. Totally cheesy. I daydream of finding words to say what I want to say.

Sometimes I daydream about traveling somewhere warm.

5. You and Cortney seem to make a really good team. Has it always been like that, or has it been trial and error since you got married?

It has always been like this, but that is because we worked on it from Day 1. We said from the minute we started dating that we were in “this” together…not matter what “this” is or will become.

The fact that we have known each other and been friends for so long before we surprised ourselves by falling in love, definitely helps. We knew each other so well–we were 25 when we started dating–that it was like we had a head start. We had already established and deep trust and friendship.

august '09

august ’09

6. You don’t have pets, right? Why?

We don’t have any pets, no. I had a cat for 17.5 years and he died when Eddie was 2.5. Eddie still says he misses Louis. I am pretty sure he can’t remember much about Louis, but I know that those 2.5 years developed a deep love of cats in him. Charlie also loves cats and dogs. I know my boys would love a pet, but we just don’t have the time for one right now. Cortney and I have discussed possibly getting a pet once we are done having babies and when we move. There are lots of times I really, really miss having a cat curled up next to me though.

Louis, 2009 (15 yrs old)

Louis, 2009 (15 yrs old)

7. What’s your favorite form of communication: text, phone calls, or email?

definitely email.

8. I’ve been gluten free for a little over a year. If you found yourself gluten free all of the sudden, what would you miss the most?

I would miss pasta. I am such a carb girl; it is very obviously my weakness. I could live without sweets, but we eat pasta at least once a week.

9. I know that you, like me, have a hard time getting together with friends because of schedules and locations. If it wasn’t so difficult, what would you love to spend your time doing with them?

I really love just having comfortable, casual relaxed time with my friends. I like being able to go out to eat some good food and then shut that restaurant down with all the talking and laughing. That is what I love.

10. What was your biggest fear growing up, and what is it now?

My biggest fear was growing up. Being an adult and losing the ridiculousness of childhood was terrifying to me.  Now my biggest fear is dying. I fear what that would mean to my family, but I also fear the actual happening of it. I get panic attacks when I try to imagine not being. It’s the ultimate loss of control and that terrifies me.

Ok, so we ended that one on a happy note, yes? Weeee!

In all seriousness, you should go see what I asked Greta. I asked her some BIG questions too!

Through the Lens Thursday {February}

Last month I told you about my friends Greta and Alison and their year-long photography project called Through The Lens Thursday. You don’t need a blog to join in, just join our Flickr group and post each week! It’s great for practicing photography in a low pressure, fun way.

This past month I tried to think about composition when I shot, but also I tried to get a better feel for making things sharp or more blurred.

Here is what I got…

prompt: flower 50mm fixed f/4.5, ISO 800, 1/160

prompt: flower
50mm fixed
f/4.5, ISO 800, 1/160

Prompt: Dull 50mm fixed 1/20, f/4.5, ISO 100

Prompt: Dull
50mm fixed
1/20, f/4.5, ISO 100

prompt: Window 50 mm fixed 1/50, f/4.5, ISO 100

prompt: Window
50 mm fixed
1/50, f/4.5, ISO 100

Prompt: Hands 50mm fixed 1/160, f/4.5, ISO 400

Prompt: Hands
50mm fixed
1/160, f/4.5, ISO 400

I am not sure what is more fun each week: thinking about what I could possibly use for each shot–I don’t want to be the same as everyone else–or learning how my camera works and how to get the shot that is my mind to actually work.

My biggest challenge is seeing in my head exactly what would make a cool shot and then getting my camera to do that. For example sometimes I think it would be cool to have something in super sharp focus, and the rest all blurry, but if that thing I want to be super duper sharp is also super duper small, I can’t get my camera to even take the shot. I get to close and it won’t focus on what I want it to. Sometimes I can’t even get the button to push because my camera is all “dude. that won’t work.”

Then I swear.

But not in front of my kids. Honest.

Anyway, next week’s prompt is “hot”–show of hands of how many of you I will make gag by taking a picture of Cortney.

I guess you’ll just have to wait and see what I do!

If you want a look back, here is what I took last month:

Januray #ThroughTheLensThursday

March is Reading Month!

I can see it.  It’s right there…at the end of this week…

March.

March is one of my favorite months because it’s a very celebratory month: Charlie’s birthday, my birthday, my sister-in-law’s birthday, lent, the end of the the third quarter at school, the first day of spring…lots of great stuff.

The other great thing about March is that it is Reading Month.

Reading Month with Hudsonville

I will admit that Eddie and I eat up every reading program we can get our hands on. In the summer we visit our local library and pick up a reading challenge–along with ten books each visit.

This March, I am going to be doing book clubs with my seniors to help encourage reading.  Since the new titles have started showing up in my classroom, they have already started showing their excitement. I have to admit I am excited too! The titles I have chosen (with the help of our media center specialist) are: The Fault in Our StarsThe Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mudbound, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

I figure Eddie’s preschool will do something for Reading Month, but I also want to reinforce it at home, so I was super excited to find that Hudsonville Ice Cream is launching a reading program next month.

This past summer Hudsonville Ice Cream generously donated ice cream and other provisions for our neighborhood to have an ice cream social. They have been a long-time favorite of mine–and pretty much anyone local.

Their reading program rules and calendar can be found here. The rules are pretty simple: read every day!

Of course there are prizes involved too:

2 winners: Hudsonville Ice Cream for a YEAR!
2 winners: Hudsonville Ice Cream for your Class
5 winners: Hudsonville Ice Cream for your family
2 winners: March is Reading Month book basket

Anyone can enter, but prizes can only be redeemed in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (where Hudsonville Ice Cream is carried), but that shouldn’t stop you from entering because READING!  And ICE CREAM!

Each week I will share what the Sluiters have been reading too…so join us!  READ!

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Follow Hudsonville Ice Cream on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just love reading, promoting reading, and ice cream…specifically Hudsonville Ice Cream.

 

Church on Sunday

Last Sunday I did not want to get out of bed.  We had stayed up WAY too late with friends the night before (getting home well after 1am), I was pretty overwhelmed with my To Do list, and really I just wanted some rest.

But I had a commitment.

Back in December I enthusiastically agreed to teach the second/third grade Sunday School class at our church.

This sounds run of the mill, but it’s actually a pretty big deal for me. It means I am committing myself to this church thing that I have avoided for so long.

My history with church and religion and faith are probably not so different than many people. I’ve brought it up here before how I was raised in a fairly strict household. Not negatively strict, but my parents definitely made their rules based on the Christian upbringings they had as well as how they felt guided by their faith. It was a loving home, and Church and God were a big part.

I started sort of questioning it all in high school, and definitely went through some heavy doubts through college. My doubts and distress over they religion I was raised in was most pronounced in the months and years after getting married. My faith was tested–and ultimately failed me–through a series of losses and personal tragedy.

Outside our Church almost nine years ago.

Outside our Church almost nine years ago.

After Charlie was born I felt a pull that I tried to ignore.

Going to church was a hassle I really didn’t want a part of. I felt like maybe I wanted some sort of guidance, so I started doing a daily devotion with hundreds of other women online.

Eddie's baptism in our church

Eddie’s baptism in our church

But it wasn’t enough. It was beautiful and I’m glad I did it, but something was still missing.

When school started up again, we made it a point to try to get to church each Sunday so Eddie could go to Sunday School, which he loved. Even when Cort and I didn’t go to church, we would still bring Eddie to Sunday School and then pick him up an hour later.

Even though in that moment of cuddly warmth in my bed when Cort would put his mouth near my ear and whisper, “church?” and I would say, “no,” I immediately felt remorse.

Charlie's baptism in our church

Charlie’s baptism in our church

It wasn’t really guilt so much as it was regret for my choice.

Something about church filled me each Sunday morning.

After a particularly long stretch of not going because of illness and a crazy fall, we learned that our church had found a new pastor. He was young (not much older than Cortney and myself) and I recognized his last name. After heading to church to check out the new pastor, I realized why his name was familiar; I had taught with his wife years ago in my current district, and she and I had attended a couple of the same grad classes while I was pursuing my Masters and she her PhD.

We immediately reconnected.

A week later our director of family ministries asked if I would like to be part of the Children In Worship program for the younger students. I agreed without thinking about it.  Then I worried about it for weeks.

Did I make the right choice? This would mean coming to church every Sunday. All of them. No more slacking; I had a commitment and an obligation. I had a job to do.

Did I even know what I was doing? Sure I know even the most obscure Bible stories from my years and years of Sunday School, Catechism, and Youth Group. I knew all the books of the Bible and I knew much of the historical aspects thanks to some Christianity classes I took in college and the way I devour each and every documentary on cable and PBS that has to do with religion.

But Children in Worship is based on the Church calendar, which I was not very familiar with. What if I made myself look dumb asking about Transfiguration Sunday and Epiphany?

Oh and I would have to show up every week.

Eddie singing in church for Christmas just over a year ago.

Eddie singing in church for Christmas just over a year ago.

I began thinking of ways to back out. Maybe I rushed into this. Maybe our family should just show up on our own terms for a while.

Then I found out that the Pastor’s Wife (not sure she wants to be named here, so this is how I’ll refer to her) and I were going to be co-teaching the 2nd and 3rd grade level–about four kids each week. I couldn’t let her down.

Something has happened to me over these past six or seven weeks.

I find myself looking forward to church and to the sermon. I can’t wait to chat with The Pastor’s Wife and to get the warm handshakes and hugs from the other members of the congregation. I feel awake on Sunday mornings before church, but even more so after. I get excited to see my “students” and hear their thoughts about that week’s story; second and third graders have a wonderfully free way of making connections without worry if they are “wrong”. I wish my twelfth graders did that.

Eddie and I have also started a new little Eddie/Mommy thing. Since we stay for Sunday School and Cortney and Charlie do not, Eddie and I have started driving separately so they don’t have to come back to get us. Last week we decided since we stayed longer, we got to go to Starbucks for a coffee (me) and a cake pop (him). We do a lot of chatting on that drive. It’s good. Really good.

I have never believed in coincidences no matter what my doubts. Coincidences just…they just aren’t a thing.

Being pulled back to church, finding an old friend, being able to “teach”, and spending time with Eddie has all just fallen into place. It’s like pieces of a puzzle…and puzzles don’t work because of coincidence. They work because they are created to work.

I still have so SO many questions and I am still so very young in this new faith, but I am glad I went with my heart on this. I feel like there is healing and comfort in this new journey. I don’t know if there will be hard answers, but I sort of don’t care. I’m learning that sometimes a feeling is an answer…even when there are no words to go with that answer.

I am glad that each week Cortney and Charlie and Eddie go on this new journey with me. I answer a lot of questions with “I don’t know” and I think that is Ok.

We are all in this together.

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