"Just Wait!"

"Just Wait!"

There's a phrase that I've been hearing for years- and may even be guilty of using myself from time to time- and I've gotten so tired of it that I'm ready to suggest that it be banned forever. Perhaps you've heard it too... you're sharing a story or an experience or something that's specific to your current stage of life, only to be told, "Oh, just wait!"

To the teenager, we say, "Just wait until you're in college..."

To a college student, we say, "Just wait until you're an adult in the real world."

To a single, married people say, "Just wait until you're married!" 

To newlyweds, we say, "Just wait until the honeymoon wears off!"

To couples without kids, we say "Just wait until you have a baby!"

To couples with one baby, we say "Just wait until you have a toddler!"

To couples with one child, we say "Just wait until you have two (or three or four)!" 

To couples with young kids, we say, "Just wait until they're teenagers!'

To couples with teenagers, we say, "Just wait until they're grown!"

Good grief... why can't everyone be able to experience, enjoy, muddle through, cry over, or whatever in each stage of life without it being belittled or dismissed by someone in the next stage? I'm a mom of a three-month-old baby, so no- I don't know what it's like to chase a toddler or argue with a teenager, but I'm still a mom. Single people can have full lives without (gasp!) constantly seeking a date or marriage. Teenagers do have problems, no matter how trivial they seem to us, and they don't have to wait until adulthood to experience sadness or betrayal or hurt. 

Even though these words can come from good intentions (as in, "don't worry- you can survive this!"), it seems that more often than not we are just grumpy people who want to feel a little superior to someone because we've come through a stage that they haven't yet. Or for some reason we have a bit of a sadistic pleasure in letting people know that their lives will become more difficult. (Misery loves company!) Someone recently said to me, upon hearing that Alice is a very good, easy baby, "Well, that just means she'll be a really difficult toddler!" What? Maybe she will be. Maybe Alice will go from my sweet, smiling baby to a little hoodlum whose screams can be heard throughout Target (heaven forbid!) but nothing guarantees that and why on earth would you want it to? 

Besides being condescending, this "just wait" business completely contradicts what we are told in Philippians 4:11- that in whatever "state" or stage we can find contentment. (I'm not talking about truly difficult seasons of sickness, loss, dire financial straits, etc. but just the typical day-to-day living most of us are dealing with.) Being single or having a newborn or going to college are all unique times of life, meant to be enjoyed (sometimes endured) but not constantly compared to whatever someone else is going through. Don't we all know that sometimes even after marriage, the single life has some appeal? Or that moms of toddlers look back fondly at the days of their little squishy newborns, or that parents of teenagers certainly miss even the craziest days with that toddler who is suddenly sporting acne and a perpetual scowl? 

The point is this: offering encouragement to someone to help them make through a rough patch in life is fine, and even admirable. But acting as if their experiences are irrelevant because yours are different is not okay. (I remember being so mad as a teenager when someone told me I didn't know what it meant to be tired. I didn't, but that's not the point.) "Just wait...." usually ends with something negative that either puts down their current stage of life or makes them dread the next one. (This is especially true of marriage- I love how older couples sometimes make it their mission to make sure young couples have nothing to look forward to.) 

Current stage... taking mirror selfies with my squishy girl =)

So, let's try to meet people where they are, allow each other to fully experience each lovely (or not-so-lovely) chapter of life as it unfolds, and be reminded that it's okay to "just" be a student, or a newlywed, or a first or fifth time mom, or a grandparent. Each stage is easier or harder to more or less fun than someone else's, but if we are finding our identity in Christ than any time of life can be beautiful and joyful. And if it doesn't seem that way today, well... just wait. =)


My Favorite Books of 2015

My Favorite Books of 2015

I know, I know... it's already the middle of January and I'm way overdue for sharing books all the way from last year... but I'm just now getting around to it. It's not like I've been busy, necessarily, but I was out of town, then Alice had a cold, then we moved her to her room and sleep became a little dicey. (Excuses, excuses.) I'll just say I have been deep in thought as to which books I should share... that sounds better. =)

Reading with my little future bookworm =)

I've broken this up into fiction, nonfiction, and memoir/biography for your convenience and I'll try to make my summaries brief. (Ha!)


-Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. This journal-style novel about a young girl who has grown up in foster care and now faces adulthood is so sweet. The ending might leave you in tears, but in the best, most romantic way.

-Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. The subtitle of this book is "a proper romance" and that's exactly what it is. It's set in England in the 19th century and is just the sweetest love story. It's a quick, light read with a great plot and characters.

-The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly. I wish this was a series because I loved it so much! It's about sisters, so I related, naturally, and they're descendants of Jo March (in this book, she's a real person.) The back and forth between time periods (which I don't usually care for) is seamless and I was sad when the book ended.

-Lizzie and Jane by Katherine Reay. Two from the same author? Yes, she's that good! This one has a lot going on- cancer treatment, family drama, romance- but at its core it's another sister story and I absolutely loved it. (Bonus: right now the Kindle version is on sale for $1.99!)

-The Lake House by Kate Morton. I read my first Kate Morton novel several years ago and have since read all her books- this one is her best yet. Each of her stories have a major twist and this one was my favorite so far. The story goes back and forth between the mysterious disappearance of a little boy (from the perspective of his older sister) and a detective who is trying to solve the decades-old case. Intriguing!


-David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Honestly, I could include all of Gladwell's books because each of them is excellent, but this one happens to be my favorite. The entire premise is that what we view as disadvantages or "underdog" circumstances actually are the opposite in the long run and each chapter explores that philosophy in a different way. Totally fascinating. 

-Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Oh my... I want everyone to read this book, determine their tendency, and then tell me so we can have a giant virtual book club about it. I think about information from this guide to better habits and living so often (and reinforce all the excellent tips by listening to Gretchen's podcast, "Happier," that she records with her sister each week.) Check this one out; it is guaranteed to help you!

-Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. I absolutely loved this inside look at the creation of computer animation and Pixar. The stories ranged from the near-death of Toy Story early on (what a loss that would have been!) and working with Steve Jobs (always fascinating to me.) The book also contains lots of useful and helpful leadership and business principles but would be enjoyable for any Pixar fan, I think.

-Do Over by Jon Acuff. I've recommended this book multiple times since reading it this summer. So many books about career change are mostly a collection of Pinterest memes like "chase your dreams and anything can happen!" but this one is full of practical, REAL advice that can be applied to many different situations. Plus Jon is hilarious and makes you feel like he's your friend. (Follow him on Twitter or Instagram for daily humor!)

-Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West. This book combines two of my favorite things: history and "behind the scenes." It's like bonus features for American history! The author was the chief usher at the White House for nearly thirty years and his details about his work and each First Lady is so interesting. It's informative but not gossipy (and be prepared to cry when he describes saying goodbye to Jackie Kennedy.) 

-Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I'm not a true introvert (although I am classified as one by Myers-Briggs) but this book about how our culture- from jobs to education to parenting- is tailored toward extroverts was so eye-opening. The chapters on education were especially interesting to the teacher side of me- and it turns out that methods I've never been a big fan of (think group projects, for example) have been proven to be more harmful than helpful. 

-Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. The premise of this book- a discussion about death and dying- did not initially interest me (and sounded depressing!) but I plowed through this in a day. It's so important to have the right information when it comes to care for the elderly, terminal illness, etc. and the author (a surgeon) gives personal, touching stories that back up his medical information. 


-Belles on Their Toes by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. This is the simply delightful sequel to the already delightful Cheaper by the Dozen. I love the Gilbreth family (even more so because they were real people) and to catch up with them after the death of their dad and see how they survived the next few years with their typical humor and hard work is so fun. (And if you can find it, check out Time Out for Happiness by Frank Jr. It delves more deeply into motion study and the backgrounds of both parents and I just love it.)

-Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. This is one of those books that is so rewarding to take the time to read and finish because it can be truly transformative if you allow the story to really sink in. The in-depth look at the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from his early years as a theologian to his eventual death at the hands of the Nazis, is a study in sacrifice for Christ. (I highly recommend the student version for any young people in your life!)

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This was such a sweet memoir about growing up in Brooklyn in the day of the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers/Yankees rivalry. The author describes her idyllic childhood, "growing up" moments, and the loss of her mother- all anchored in her and her dad's mutual love of baseball. I love this because it reminds me of my own baseball-obsessed childhood and also because her tone is very similar to Beverly Cleary's... pretty much the highest compliment I can give.

-Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. I read this while I was pregnant (probably a mistake!) but the stories about being a midwife in the slums of London during the 50s and 60s pulled me in. Some were sweet, some were funny, some were tragic- and they all reminded me how thankful I am for modern medicine. =) (Everyone keeps telling me to watch the PBS series. It's on my list!)

-The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I'm ashamed to say I had never read this book in its entirety but I finally did and it was amazing. Like Bonhoeffer, it definitely has the power to change your life if you apply the principles found in Corrie's story. Her faith and strength in the face of danger, loss, and suffering challenged and inspired me. This is a must-read. 

-41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush. Since George H.W. Bush is my favorite president this inside look at his life was completely fascinating. I thought W. did a good job of being a proud son but also objectively presenting facts about his dad's administration. (Also I've visited the George. H.W. Bush Presidential Library twice now and I love it enough to go back any time. It's awesome.) 

It was so hard to narrow down all my choices, and if you are interested in other titles leave a comment or message me and I'll consult my list. =) And as always, if you read and like (or even dislike) any of these, let me know so we can discuss!

Happy Reading!


Alice Juliet- Three Months

Alice Juliet- Three Months

I really can't believe how big my baby is! It's exciting, yes, and I'm thankful she's healthy and happy but it really makes me very sad! Here's a little update about our girl right now. =)

Gotta throw in a "Bama Baby" picture since we're National Champs once again!

Weight and Length- as of her last appointment, she was 11 pounds 6 ounces and 22 3/4 inches long. I know she's grown since then! I feel like she grows by the hour! =(

Nicknames- Alice from the Palace, Love Bug, Squish, Poocho, Pookie. 

Sleep- great! She moved into her room last week (tears!) and she fusses for a little while each night but she's sleeping all night (and mysteriously getting from one end of her crib to the other during that time... I'm tempted to video her and see how that's happening!) 

Eating- still all milk, all the time =) and she's doing great! It's amazing how much less of an ordeal nursing is now that it doesn't hurt anymore. Such a blessing! 

Clothing- she's in 0-3 and 3 months now... some of it is still very loose but a few outfits are already small... it just depends on the brand. The 0-3 dress she wore Sunday was teeny tiny but the onesie she has on today is huge. She has a lot of 0-3 clothes so hopefully she won't outgrow them before she has a chance to wear them all! (She's like her mama... too many clothes!) 

Mood- very happy! I love that I can get a smile out of her pretty much any time. She's such a sweetheart and loves to ham it up when she's getting attention at church or wherever. She turns heads everywhere we go and definitely doesn't mind it! =) 


-her daddy (naturally)
-sitting up (with help, obviously)
-lying on the changing pad- it's seriously her happy place. Cracks me up!
-watching TV or listening to her Disney songs
-kicking and scooting
-being read to- bring so much joy to my book-loving heart!
-bath time... I know she'll love swimming in the future!
-sucking her thumb (much to my chagrin) 
-grabbing (aka pulling) my hair 

Doesn't Love-

-being ignored =) 

-her hands being covered
-being left alone in her room (and then she goes to sleep and she's fine =) 

What I Want to Remember/Milestones- oh my goodness... she's changing so much! I can't handle it! She's so smiley and "talkative" and seriously just a joy to have around. (Words I need to remind myself of when she's got the red-eyed JackJack scream going on. Ha!) Seriously though, she's a very happy girl and she's working hard on growing up. =( She is trying to roll over, holding her head all the time, and gets tickled at herself. It's so funny! I'm loving this sweet, snuggly stage... she'll lay on my lap and watch movies or listen to a book for quite a long time. It's the best! 

What I'm Looking Forward To- well her getting bigger makes me very sad but I'm loving watching her little personality show itself more and more so that is fun and something to look forward to. =)

Me- I'm pretty much an emotional wreck at how big she's getting. I was terribly nervous about transitioning her into her room (and have stayed glued to the monitor every night) but she's done better than I imagined. And this doesn't really have to do with being a mom but (as of last night... so hardcore! haha) I'm going to the gym and trying to get in shape. (I would say back in shape but I really wasn't before. =) I have pretty much lost most of my pregnancy weight but the remainder has... shifted, I suppose. So I'm working on that! It's actually the first time ever that I've been semi-excited to work out. I'm also counting carrying Alice in her carseat up the stairs as a work out because it IS. Sheesh!

She's a smiley, sweet, silly little love and we are so blessed to have her in our lives! Happy three months (and four days =) Alice Juliet!