I spent a good chunk of last Friday morning searching frantically for some library books that were overdue. When I asked Luke if he had seen the books, he laughed and reminded me that the two of us had made a special trip to return them while out on a date just two days earlier. I say he reminded me, but it felt like he was imparting brand new information because I had ZERO recollection of this library trip. Even after he recounted the visit in great detail, I could not (and still cannot) recall driving to the library, getting out of the car to return the books, getting back in the car, and driving home. But a quick check into my library account confirmed that we did in fact return the books that night and that Luke was not punking me, as I’d first assumed.
I have no real reason for sharing this anecdote other than to illustrate how I may be losing my mind. Which would explain why I spent half of April thinking we were in February, and the other half feeling certain it was at least mid-May. Barring some strange time warp experienced by Kendra, Party of One—a time warp that also happens to send library trips into a black hole of oblivion—I’m more than a little off my game this month. Fingers are crossed that I just need more sleep; in the meantime, here’s a look back at what I have not slept through this April.
|| READING LATELY ||
My reading in April was strong, though not spectacular. In addition to some poetry and a Gospel-centered devotional, I read about friendship, important moments, studying the Bible, and standing up for our faith. In fiction, I read a fairy tale retelling, a childhood classic, a whimsical princess story, and three novels centered around family that were about as different as could be, in the genres of magical realism, literary fiction, and mystery.
|| LISTENING LATELY ||
A few podcasts that inspired and informed this month.
Mama Bear Apologetics — 84. Understanding Deconstruction: A Conversation with Alisa Childers
Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast — 563 | David Platt on the Idolatry of Personal and Political Convictions, How Politics and Division Are Fueling Deconversion, and How the American Gospel Hijacks Hearts
Foundation Worldview Podcast — Talking To Kids About Their Sin Nature without Damaging Their Self-Esteem
That Sounds Fun — Episode 460: Hudson & Emily on Traveling the World, the Value of Friendship, and Sneaky Jesus
John Mark Comer Teachings — Who is Actually Blessed? | Gospel of Matthew
Don’t Mom Alone — Listening for God’s Leading :: Caroline Cobb [Ep 405]
Relationships Unraveled — 7. Cayce Harris on Hearing From God
That Sounds Fun — Episode 463: Dr. Jeremiah J. Johnston on Faith and Facts + Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
|| WATCHING LATELY ||
On a Wing and a Prayer — Based on actual events that took place on Easter weekend in 2009, this is the story of Doug White, a pharmacist with almost no flight experience, who is aboard a private plane with his wife and two daughters when the pilot dies of a heart attack. With the help of an eclectic assembly of traffic controllers and on-the-ground flight instructors, White must land the plane himself in order to safely save his family.
I really wanted to love this movie, because it’s such an incredible story and I really liked the Christian themes and family-friendly content. Unfortunately this is the type of film that gives Christian media a bad reputation: it is poorly acted (actually, all of the secondary characters were great, but the two lead actors were painful to watch), overly dramatized, and bloated by unnecessary characters and storylines. The visuals are cheesy and the potentially promising messages come across as insincere. We watch so few movies (this is the first I’ve watched in 2023), it was particularly unfortunate that one of my rare forays into the world of cinema was such a letdown.
My Rating: 2.5 Stars.
|| LOVING LATELY ||
We have some new vehicles in our home! After years of resisting, Charleston finally agreed to take the training wheels off of his bike. To nobody’s surprise but his, he immediately caught on to riding his bike “big kid style” and it’s now his favorite activity. We need to upgrade him to a bigger bike, but this same old bike ridden in a whole new way is feeling fresh and exciting! Meanwhile, the twins outgrew their toddler scooters and are smitten with their bigger and brighter sets of wheels. Thank goodness for our huge cul-de-sac that gives them all plenty of opportunities to practice their tricks!
|| MONTHLY KID-ISMS ||
My kiddos are huge chatterboxes, and half of what they say makes me laugh. This is just a small taste of their countless quotable kid-isms from the month!
+ “I can’t use this bookmark for my chapter book because it says history…well, I guess the book is written in past tense, so it is history.”
+ Reading an ad for magazines that said: Ages 4-7, 10 issues: “Does that mean you have issues if you are those ages?”
+ “I think my favorite toy is Kali. Because a toy is something you love and enjoy playing with and is usually homemade or God-made.”
+ “I need an orange bike so that when people see me they just think I’m a traffic cone. Which might hurt my feelings a little, but it’s better than getting run over by a car!”
+ “I’ve just got this feeling that’s coming from my heart that Jesus is going to come back when I’m alive. But I’m not sure if I should believe the feeling or not. Do you ever have that, a message that instead of coming from your head to your heart is going from your heart to your head? Not your real heart, but your spiritual heart.”
+ “Sully, let me tell you something I’ve learned over the years. When Mama says no, she means no.”
+ Talking to herself as she tried to wriggle on her pants: “Come on, leg, let’s go! We can do this!”
+ “I can’t sleep. My eggs are too exercise-y.”
+ After every meal since Easter, he asks (in a hesitant tone that makes it sound like he’s asking for the very first time): “If I finish my food, can I please have a piece of candy from my basket what the Easter Bunny gave me?” (That incorrect placement of the word what is too adorable for me to correct.)
+ To Kali: “Mommy is going to teach the Kindergarteners at church.” Then, turning to me: “You are teaching them how to be adults, right?”
+ Kali, embarrassed about setting the bed: “I’m sorry Sully that I peed on the crib.” Sully: “It’s okay Kalinda. When you’re a big kid you’ll make it to the potty.”
+ Pointing out a convertible: “Ooh, I want that car! It’s cool because the glass is all broken.”
|| HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS ||
April brought a whole host of Easter activities. The secular aspects of the holiday, like bunnies and eggs and candy, are obviously not what Easter is all about, and our kids understand this. But we have a lot of fun with those cultural (non-religious) parts of Easter, too. One week before Easter, we brought the kids to Bass Pro for pictures with the Easter Bunny. There was some confusion as to why the Easter Bunny lives at “Santa’s House” (since we also took Santa pictures there), and why he didn’t talk (we came to the conclusion that this *might* not be the real Easter Bunny, though you can never be sure. . . ), but the kids all had fun seeing him and getting some pictures, and the photo of them showing concern for cousin Brooke (who was a little terrified of this big white creature) is one for the memory books!
On Good Friday, we dyed our Easter eggs. The kids were all REALLY into this tradition this year, which made it extra fun. Most of our eggs, which came from my in-laws’ chickens, did not start off white, so our final results were a little unusual but really pretty.
On the Saturday of Easter weekend, we attended a city-wide egg hunt at a nearby park. Apparently this hunt happens every year, but this was our first year attending and I think it was the best public egg hunt we’ve been to! It was prompt, well-organized, and there were plenty of eggs and not a lot of crowds. It was chilly and drizzly that morning, but we still had a great time. My favorite part of the morning was Kali’s approach to hunting: she was very discerning and would only pick up eggs she thought were pretty (never mind that we didn’t actually get to keep the plastic eggs, only the candy inside). By the end, the boys’ baskets were overflowing and she had a handful of very pretty eggs at the bottom of her basket. Thankfully this did not seem to bother her one bit!
Our church had Easter services on both Saturday and Sunday, so we served and attended the Saturday services to make room for visitors on Sunday. There was an awesome turnout and both the kids’ and adult services were great. Afterwards we had fun at the mini festival in the parking lot (bounce house, petting zoo, food trucks, sno cones, bubbles, a train, and more!).
Of course the Easter Bunny visited our house! The kids set out carrots, a note, and empty eggs the night before Easter, and awoke to baskets full of goodies and eggs hiding around the house. They had lots of fun with their little hunt, even though some of the eggs were pretty tricky to find.
We spent Easter afternoon at Luke’s parents’ house, where we had a ham dinner then did a huge confetti egg hunt with the kids. We had EIGHTEEN DOZEN eggs this year (with the high prices of eggs, I’m thankful our eggs all came from my mother-in-law’s chickens). The kids and adults all got in on the hunting and egg-smashing action; there were a few tears but overall the hunt was a success.
Our friends Cara and Dan came to Austin for a long weekend, and they were able to spend one full day of that trip with us. Cara and I have a LONG history, and even though we don’t see each other in person very often, each time we are together feels like no time has passed at all. (Our daily novel-length texts keep us connected despite the distance.) Our family SO enjoyed our day together: we went to a park and out to lunch, played games and in our yard, and Cara (who loves to bake) made a fancy cookie pizza with the kids. Their visit was too short but was a great reminder of how fortunate our family is to have Cara and Dan in our lives.
|| ICYMI: THIS MONTH ON THE BLOG ||
Talking to Strangers “We enter into these moments, not because we are expecting to make brand new best friends (though we may!) but because this is a simple exercise in all that it is to be human: making a connection, sharing a piece of oneself, emoting and conversing and learning in a low-stakes environment that has the potential for high reward.“
Coming Back to the Heart “I’ve added unnecessary filters to a pristine Jesus who is entirely without blemish, masking the truth of the Lord’s beauty in my convoluted efforts to present Him in a way I have mistakenly deemed more appealing.”
Christ Hymn (April Verse—Philippians 2:5-11) “This straightforward knowledge of who Jesus is, what He has done, and how we can live in our own identity of who we are in Christ is foundational. The rest of Scripture points to this very message, but the Bible’s many layers of story and encouragement can occasionally shift our attention from the heart of the Gospel.“
Faithful 04.23—These Are Great Days “I can honestly say that from where I sit in April of 2023, I know God more, and I love God more, and I trust God more than I ever have before. And if a deepening relationship with the Lord is the goal I profess it to be, then I, like Platt, must acknowledge that these are pretty great days.“
Watching Our Words “The overuse of pathological labels for commonplace problems keeps us from recognizing the really big issues when they do arise, and it perpetuates a cycle of emotional dysregulation and confusion for young people still learning their own behaviors, emotions, and relational dynamics.“
BOOK CORNER, RESOURCES, & FUN STUFF
28 Items on My (Fantasy) Bucket List
Podcasts Influencing My Spiritual Walk
“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” ~ Dwight L. Moody
“There are two things that drastically improve our ability to respond wisely, calmly, and effectively, regardless of circumstances and emotions: prayer and a plan.” ~ Ginger Hubbard
“The Bible does tell us who we are and what we should do, but it does so through the lens of who God is. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self always go hand in hand. In fact, there can be no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God. He is the only reference point that is reliable. So, when I read that God is longsuffering, I realize that I am not longsuffering. When I read that God is slow to anger, I realize that I am quick to anger. When I read that God is just, I realize that I am unjust. Seeing who he is shows me who I am in a true light. A vision of God high and lifted up reveals to me my sin and increases my love for him. Grief and love lead to genuine repentance, and I begin to be conformed to the image of the One I behold.” ~ Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word
I hope that you are not experiencing bizarre amnesia, and that your April was one worth remembering!