Blog Recommendation: Patches Thru

Last year I recommended following the blog of Anonymous J in which she beautifully documented hiking through the Appalachian Trail (AT).  Well, I hope you listened because it was an amazing experience.  Even though Anonymous J has revealed her name to us (it’s Jocelyn!), she’s retitled her blog with her trail name which is Patches.  She’s also  informed us that she’s about to go on another sojourn.  This time she’s going to hike through the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

I’m so thrilled that she has chosen to share her adventures with us.  She’s truly inspirational.  While I don’t know that I’ll travel the globe, I know that I want to at least hike through the Shenandoah National Park (which isn’t too far from my home).  Since I will have to wait until my girls are a bit older, I will sit back and live vicariously through Jocelyn’s journeys.

I sincerely hope that you will follow her blog, Patches Thru, and give her lots of encouragement as she treks along the PCT.  Enjoy!




The breeze was gentle.

The sky was the perfect blue.

Her arms stretched upwards.

Her smile grew.

“Ahaha,” she laughed.

Down the sidewalk she flew.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118 v24

Parenting Two Children: The Differences

Most times, we feel like we got this parenting thing down. This ain’t our first rodeo after all.

We’ve been through the sleepless nights, the explosive diapers, and the random crying spells which result in what I call “mommy hold me” days.

With child #1, we couldn’t wait for her to meet every milestone. She did not disappoint either. She offered her first smile at nineteen days! You’re supposed to begin offering “solid” food at four-six months, but we started at sixteen weeks since she expressed interest and ability super early. She became mobile at five months and mastered walking at the end of ten.

And that’s another thing, it was easy to keep track if her age.

With child #2, I actually want to slow down time. I want to savor each and every second with her because now I know how quickly those moments go by.

I’m lucky if I can remember how old she is, too. I couldn’t keep track of the weeks anymore so I rounded by months. I started doing this when she was one month old.

“Mommy hold me” days throw the whole house into upheaval because it’s okay to ignore the laundry for a day but not another child.

Child #2 does not nap. Well, she does close her eyes for ten minutes but then wakes up with a loud cry. She doesn’t want to miss a thing, I think. (Big sister is very entertaining.)  She does sleep through the night which is more than I can say for child #1 right now.

We’ve been trying to transition child #1 to her toddler bed. She likes the new bed and all the praising we give her for being such a big girl, but she is one who needs limits and literal boundaries. She senses her new freedom at one in the morning and would rather jump out of bed to play. We remain in our bed listening to her talking to her stuffed animals. Sometimes she goes to the baby gate and bangs on it. More than once we have found her asleep on the floor next to the gate, having brought the contents of her bed (pillow, blankets, Sammy, etc.) with her. More than a dozen dozen times we have put her back into her bed.

As much as I want to savor these infant moments with child #2, she’s outgrown her bassinet and soon she’ll outgrow the pack and play. She needs to go in a crib in the other room.  I’m sure we’ll find a solution even if that means we buy a second crib.

Child #2, I’ve often said, enjoys being a baby. At six months now though I’m starting to worry and find myself comparing her to her older sister who by this time had eaten several puréed vegetables, moved on to puffs and rusks, and could roll over. We had our check ups last week and physical therapy was discussed. She’s not interested in swallowing her rice cereal even if I have sweetened it with puréed fruit. The thought of rolling over is abhorrent to her, to put it frankly.

We’ve got a lot to figure out and I’m sure everything will turn out well in the end. What we’ve got going for us right now is smiles and lots of them, from both girls and us.




“This is ball.”
“This is book.”
“This is kitty.”

Wren loves naming common household items (and sometimes pets) for her sister. I’ve spied Wren bringing literally dozens of small objects to her sister for her daily lesson.

She’ll also declare objects “hot” or “wet.” So she’s learning to be descriptive.

When I picked Wren up from the nursery after evening service, she squealed “Mommy” as she ran to the door. She then suddenly stopped, regained her composure, and introduced me to the room, “This is Mom.”

As if there could be no other.

She’s a heart melter, that one.

This morning she spotted the cat under the table and pointed. “Dog,” she said. “This is not a dog.”

I’m just thrilled to see her learning what things are (and aren’t) and to witness her kindness towards her little sister, who she proudly introduces to everyone as “Sister.”


Lent: What are you adding in?

As a verb, lent is the past tense of lending.  It implies return.  As a noun, Lent is a religious period of 40 days before Easter in which Christians practice fasting or abstinence.  

I’m a Christian myself.  I remember once telling a friend I was Baptist, and I’ll never forget my father telling me I wasn’t.  Just because I went to a Baptist church didn’t make me Baptist was the gist of that conversation.  

I remember telling another friend I was a Protestant, and I’ll never forget my mother telling me I wasn’t.  She taught me that just because you aren’t Catholic doesn’t mean you default into the Protestant category.

I was a very confused child.  My parents knew what I wasn’t.

I learned I didn’t get corrected when I told people I was simply a Christian.  Although, come to think of it, my dad might have given me a lesson on how I was not just a Christian but a believer and a follower.

Growing up, I believed Lent to be a “Catholic thing.”  I didn’t know many Catholics until college when on Ash Wednesday I noticed quite a number of people walking around with dirt on their foreheads.  Upon closer examination, I saw that their faces weren’t dirty.  What I mistook for dirt, was an ashen cross drawn on their foreheads.

Making diverse friends of faith in college was easy for me.  I didn’t feel the need to go to the Baptist Campus Ministry because they’d be filled with nothing but Baptists.  (No offense to Baptists. In fact, I still go to a Baptist church.)  I went to another Christian ministry on campus, but I didn’t feel they were inclusive of non-Protestants (even those Lutherans and especially those charismatics).  I eventually joined Intervarsity and was enriched by a community of people who had one thing in common, their love for Christ.

So at this time of year, I would ask my friends on campus who were marked with an ashen cross what they were giving up for lent.  And then someone asked me.  “But I’m not Catholic,” I said, and then I realized I didn’t have to be Catholic to give something up for my Lord.  Over the years, I have given up soda, television, caffeine, Facebook (before I gave it up for good), and PG-13 & R rated movies.  I once gave up Scrabble on my iPhone.

It’s hard navigating the waters of Lent as a non-Catholic so I’ve kind of molded it into my own thing.  A few years ago, someone shared a secret with me that helped me out.  I learned that they break their abstinences on Sundays (called mini-Easters, I love that!).  If you don’t break for Sunday, then Lent would be 46 days long.  That’s a long time to go without coffee.

I’ve learned to not just give up the “vices,” but to fill the void leftover on focusing my attention on Christ.  That’s when Lent started to having meaning for me.

Lent is giving something to God and getting something greater from Him in return.

For this year’s Lent, I’ve decided to not give anything up.  I’m going to add something in.  I plan on reading my Bible faithfully.  

How about you?  What are you giving up for Lent, or will you add something in?

Adoption: A placement doesn’t have to be good-bye

Yesterday we had the great joy of reuniting with someone very special to our family.  She’s kind of a big deal.  You see, without Tee, we wouldn’t be the family we are today.

Nearly two years ago we met briefly.  She was entrusting us to raise her daughter.  It was awkward.  It was emotional.  She asked, out of the blue, if she could have a reunion visit.  The social workers said we didn’t have to agree.  They said if we gave an inch, she’d take a mile.  But how could we say no?  “Yes,” we cried.  Tee said that we wouldn’t even have to identify her as our daughter’s biological mother.  That we couldn’t agree to.  Our daughter would know her.

The plan was to meet Continue reading