It's one of my favorite words. Honestly, truly. Not because I like it phonetically or linguistically, but because I love what it means.

I love that we can be in a community and of a community and those two can look drastically different. I love that when I look out the window, into my community, I see my many neighbors and know that each of them represent hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different communities to which they belong.

I love that I live in a small Midwest American suburban community and yet feel strongly a part of an infinitely-enormous multi-cultural multi-ethnic multi-lingual eternal community.


Recently, we spent an evening with some folks who share both our physical community and our eternal community.

We live in a small condominium development that sits directly across the street from a large neighborhood of single family homes. The neighborhood is great, and in fact, it's on our list of neighborhoods we'd consider moving to if/when we sell our condo (Lord willing). I wouldn't say it's at the top of the list, but it's up there.

At least that was the case until recently.

Last month we gathered with five other families who live in that neighborhood. It just so happens that a handful of our friends from our church community live in the neighborhood-across-the-street. And it was this recent gathering of friends that made me yearn to live in their neighborhood.

There's something so special about spending the evening with dear friends who share so much - school, mayor, zip code, seasons, neighborhood association dues, floor plans, grocery store, church, and most importantly, Jesus.

I left there begging God to take away my covetous spirit - I have never wanted to move out of this condo and into a house so badly.

For now, I am thankful that these friends are kind enough to include us in their community. Though we don't technically live in the neighborhood, we are literally a stone's throw away. And for that I am so very blessed.

Acts 2:46-47
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Playdates. What the heck?

Playdates. What a joke. Going-out-of-their-mind moms gather their ornery-and-surly children so that they can practice socialization while the mommies run their mouths. When actually the kids fight over cheap toys and wind up with gum in their hair and black eyes. And the moms, bless their hearts, are so hungry for adult interaction that they don't even notice when the kids smear glue all over the dog.

Yep, playdates aren't always what they're cracked up to be.

We have attended two separate playdates in which my son was found in the master bathroom of the host's home, in the master bathtub, running the master bath water. And the kicker, the bathtub wasn't empty. It was full of the master's stuff - clothes and razors, to be exact. See what happens when I'm let out of the house to interact with other adult humans. My son ends up practically drowning himself while playing with razors.

And then there was the time when my darling friend, a new mommy, came to my house because her walls were caving in on her. I was so excited to love on her and her then three-week-old. Well guess what, I failed miserably. Not only did she come to MY house, but she brought ME lunch, and she held MY baby, and she cleaned up after MY son. She's supposed to be the rookie! She left two hours later and I prayed really hard for a time machine because I desperately needed a do-over. That playdate needed a reset button like nobody's business.

That very same day another dear friend stopped by for dinner. Though she doesn't have kids, she insisted on playing with my kids so it absolutely counted as a playdate. Her visit ended with a literal cry for help when our dog attacked her and then ate her sock whole. So what if he thought she was playing. I'm quite certain her life flashed before her eyes, and I shamefully hugged her farewell as she wobbled from my house sockless.

The very next day my gal-pal and her little goldilocks came over for a visit. My son, who is obsessed with the exact toy or object that is in the hands of the other child, yanked sunglasses from goldilocks' hands. They were her sunglasses. And she wasn't letting go. And because my son is an absolute rascal, he pulled harder and snapped her glasses in half.



Playdates always leave me exhausted and embarrassed. More often than not, I leave playdates running for the bar. But I tell ya what, I won't stop playdates. Sure, playdates might result in exhaustion, vandalism, and alcohol-consumption, but they also foster a camaraderie that reminds us moms we are not alone. Because while my son is filling up bathtubs with razors, someone else's son is decorating the wall with a sharpie. We are not alone.

But more importantly, as our kids build a fort in the soot-covered fireplace, us moms chat over burnt coffee confessing to one another about the time(s) we lashed out in anger and yelled at our child. While our kids drink food coloring, we discuss our frustration with budgets and finances. The topics at a playdate aren't for sissies. Postpartum depression, broken marriages, accumulating debt, and other issues usually left on a therapist's couch for $120/hour.

Sure, playdates aren't all their cracked up to be.

But as insane as playdates can be, they might just be the one thing in a mother's day to keep her sane.

Aching for Mardi Gras

Three years ago I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It was my fifth Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and I PRAY that it was not my last.

I love Mardi Gras in New Orleans. LOVE it. Everything about it.

I love the city. There is no place quite like New Orleans.

I love the anticipation of the next parade.

I love the white masks.

I love watching a less-than-sober individual stumble off a float in the hopes of finding a bathroom. Good luck with that.

I love scoring an enormous, light-up, colorful set of beads with a ten-pound medallion hanging from it. In any other setting, this would merely be plastic junk. But at Mardi Gras, the plastic-y-er, the better.

I love the lack of rules and inhibitions. It's nearly impossible to get arrested at Mardi Gras. I haven't tried, but I have SEEN IT ALL. And while I've witnessed some ridiculous debauchery, I've never seen anyone actually get arrested.

I love the casino buffet and bathrooms.

I love waking up to streets lined with broken beads, beer cans, and pop-up chairs. As crazy as this sounds, the trash-filled morning-after sights of Mardi Gras are part of its beautiful atmosphere.

I love beignets and cafe au lait. Heck, I love all the food.

I love watching small children perched atop a ladder in hopes of catching the best loot.

I love it all.

Here I am guarding our goods. Bags and bags and bags full of sacred beads and stuffed animals and cups and coins.

These are my people. Oh, how I miss these people. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Louisiana friends. This picture nearly brings me to tears, I miss them all so much.

This is B-Money (right) with a stranger. Best-friending all strangers is just a part of Mardi Gras. B-Money is brilliant at making new best friends.

One of the HUNDREDS of floats. "Throw me some beads, Mister!"

Don't ask me what is going on in this picture. It's Mardi Gras. Which means nothing makes sense. And I love it.

Honey, when can we go back? Let's take the kids next year, K?!

Mardi Gras, I miss you. I miss you. I miss you.

Let's meet again soon.