Read It All

podcasting, shelter in place, and distance learning

April 23, 2020

How is your global pandemic? How’s the work situation, school situation, hopes & dreams situation? We have friends who have been really sick and family whose businesses have no revenue. These are challenging and scary times. None of my feelings about it all are linear, either. One morning, I’m a pro distance-learning mom. That afternoon, I’m crying and sweating. Maybe you’re on a rollercoaster, too. So what have we done? Anthony and I started a podcast because I need to laugh and he’s allergic to the internet. It’s called “the hermit + his wife” and we’re streaming it on YouTube and wherever you listen to podcasts. We also pray morning prayer live sometime between 8-9am central on instagram. We also celebrated a handful of family birthdays in shelter-in-place (which is just weird and sad), are eyeing family reunion plans for the summer on the East Coast, and I am NOT called to be a homeschooler after this plunge into the depths of distance learning. I was going to sew up a bunch of sweet linen Easter dresses but made 200 masks to give away instead! Now my sister sent me supplies so if you’re looking to buy a mask, keep an eye on her online store: Brooklyn Herborium. That’s the TDLR. Love & hugs to you and yours!

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fighting resistance in pursuit of joyful outlets

November 23, 2019

The good news is that you guys really love handmade sewn things from my little shoppe. (That’s pronounced “shopp-ey” according to my sister.) Almost all the dresses are out! One of the caps is out! A bunch of the bibs are down to just one set! The leggings are flying! If you’re still in the perusing market, what’s left is here. I’m so grateful, you guys. My shoppe is this in between-place for me. I see lots of small makers who have built an empire of outsourcing their production, or they work full-time with kids in childcare sewing and produce the most gorgeous things! I sew in the cracks of the day that don’t already belong to Blessed is She. The bulk of my day is uncooperative sweet lil no-neck aliens, housework upon housework, and meal prep & clean up. That’s my calling; that’s my vocation; and it’s hopefully my path to sanctity. I cannot describe how parentally challenging yesterday was so we’re hoping there are some jewels in my crown for being a pro-level apologist to children post-yelling. So when I sit down to sew, I often think, No one wants your concertos here, Mary–that line from Pride & Prejudice from Mrs. Bennett to her unfortunate daughter Mary who’s a bit of an outcast. No one needs your sewing here, Nell–so many other more well photographed, perfectly serged, amazingly packaged works out there. If you encounter resistance a lot–that feeling that you shouldn’t bother doing something you want to do, know…

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parenting stumbles as they age

October 8, 2019

  Is this a weekly thing?? Can we dare say I might even blog more regularly? I mean, anything is possible, friends. As my kids age, I don’t blog about their naughty antics, their sneaking apple crumb cake off the counter, their shrieks in each other’s necks. It’s their story, right? And I’m also so imperfect, shouting when I already have a sore throat, recycling artwork in a non-stealthy fashion, failing to plan for dinner and wailing that no one appeared with a magic wand for the play dough disaster that is my kitchen currently. #costcobribes But I am circling around this theme of stumbling toward what’s best for them as a parent. The last week have given me ample opportunity. One kid made a poor choice. This child had a consequence and a ticked-off mom. Same child made a similarly poor choice along the same lines as before. This time I didn’t waste space and time by being angry. I could simply lay out the facts, the rules, how this child had violated them, and the outcome. It wasn’t about me. It was about the child. And how to help shape the choice next time temptation to swipe a treat comes up. Because it will. Because the world is full of unattended treats on your mom’s counter. Ahem. When I can rightly order my response, my reaction, to be for the child’s BEST good. For what will serve their soul in the long run, for how these habits here and…

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lowering expectations + Advent book

October 1, 2019

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to “lower your expectations.” It’s a phrase I hear thrown around a lot in mothering circles, kinda a tongue-in-cheek deal. It’s on the front of parenting greeting cards. It’s laughed about in conjunction with “wine-o-clock.” It’s ruefully admitted to in private. But I actually think it’s super important for sanity. When I blurt out that I’ve lowered my expectations, it means I have decided what I will spend my precious few minutes of “free time” doing. I am no longer expecting that all my spare moments when no child needs me and no dinner is cooking tending, fixing, cleaning, organizing our life. Because the needs are never ending and the list on infinite loop. I will clean up when the kids are around and I have to keep an eye on them anyway. I will step over piles of things that need to be tended to to tend to myself instead. The piles will keep. My hydration levels will not. My house and my to-do list simply can’t run me anymore or I feel so frazzled and so crabby with my kids (constantly thwarting my attempts) and husband (because he’s not a telepathic octopus) when they do. I also am thinking about Advent already. Yes, already. I aim high every year (all the liturgical living!) and land somewhere way, way, way down. Blessed is She’s Advent devotional book this year is simply  doable for me. So I’m hoping it can help you…

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health, simplicity, and lessons about suffering

September 12, 2019

I’ve had my fair share of health stuff in my adult life. Pregnancies that rendered me limited in functioning with hyperemesis, post-partum periods when I had ongoing undetected issues, hospitalizations, physical therapy, etc. But I’ve faced a new kind of challenge in the last year, and even in the last month. Almost a year ago I saw a doctor for facial tingling and numbness, and saw more doctors and had more tests, and more tests, and just so many blood tests, tests that gave me a spinal headache and an emergency blood patch, and eventual tingling in other parts of my body, and more doctors, and not many answers beyond “auto-immune something.” I’ve explored lots of dietary changes, the rest & hydrate protocol, and just sit and wait for something worse to come along or these symptoms to abate. I’m grateful for insurance and access to good health care. I really can’t complain. But over the course of this year, I watched as my productivity shifted and lowered, and shifted and lowered. I watched as my kids’ faces fell because we were not going to the Children’s Museum as promised, or people weren’t coming over for baseball & brats in the backyard as planned, or everyone needed to be quiet (so tricky for a 2 year old, let her tell you) so mama could rest. And while pregnancy sickness was for a specific purpose: BABY! these embarrassing episodes of nell-can’t-do-that seemed purposeless. Something my husband could only sit alongside me,…

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Bonnie’s Book You Have to Read

August 19, 2019

I met Bonnie in 2014. My lil baby was on my chest (now he’s well, five). I was at the inaugural Edel Gathering that Jen Fulwiler and Hallie Lord put on because my mom really thought I should go meet all these bloggers I had been following. Bonnie was one of them. And when I met her, she was just as down to earth, friendly, and funny as she seems online. So as my awe turned to affection, our relationship went from “you’re so cool and I love your blog” to “you’re so cool and I love our sisterhood.” We both started collaborating with Blessed is She when Jenna Guizar founded it and slowly, over time, I really got to know Bonnie. She has come and spoken in Minnesota over the years and I’ve seen her in small settings and large ones, caring about each and every story that people brought before her. She’s somehow an empathic listener and an energetic speaker (seriously, invite her to speak for you). She made us all laugh and cry. We’ve laughed and cried, too. At the first few Blessed is She team retreats at our family lodge, on airport runs, when I got to MC her conference and meet Travis and the crew, when we’ve talked and texted and emailed. When we’ve surprised her with virtual baby showers on zoom calls and when she’s prayed with me for the gritty hard stuff in my life. HER BOOK IS AMAZING. The way she writes,…

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