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It may be the shortest month, but this February felt long—partly for good reasons (a fun trip at the start of the month) and partly for not-so-good ones (pregnancy malaise combined with a flu-like bug that knocked me out of a commission for a week). On a positive note, the weather has been gorgeous this week and spring is in the air: our grass is greener, and some trees are starting to bud. We’ve even spotted a few early bluebonnets! I’ve rarely felt so eager to say goodbye to winter. . . but first, a look back at February.


It was a strong reading month, with three five-star books including this one on spiritual formation for families, this quirky mystery-comedy mashup, and this bookish classic that I can’t believe I’d never read! Other favorites included this adorable middle grade mystery, this memorable graphic novel, and this fun time-travel YA romance. Full reviews of these books are coming your way in a Quick Lit in a couple of weeks.


A (larger than usual!) sampling of podcasts that inspired and informed this month.


Honestly with Bari Weiss—Why the Kid’s Aren’t Alright


Happier with Gretchen Rubin—Little Happier: Why I’ve Decided to “Do It for Myself”—and Why That’s Not Selfish

Foundation World View—Teaching Kids to Share the Gospel

Happier with Gretchen Rubin—Little Happier: A Friend Found the Right Thing to Say Before My Important Job Interview


Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey—Ep 941 | Conceived in Rape, Chosen by God | Guest: Steventhen Holland

Honesty with Bari Weiss—Economist Roland Fryer on Adversity, Race, and Refusing to Conform

Focus on the Family Broadcast—Believing God’s Promises Despite Hard Circumstances


Pints with Aquines—Asking Christopher West 10 Questions About Sex

Refocus with Jim Daley—Frank Turek: Demonstrating Real Love and Tolerance in the Culture

The Way I Heard it with Mike Rowe—370: The Smartest Dropout I Know is Rikki Schlott

That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs—Culture, Sex, and Confession with Tim Ross – Episode 862


Mama Bear Apologetics—97. The Four Types of Love and Why Our Kids Need to Understand Them

The Matt Walsh Show—My Discussion with Jordan Peterson

Sarah’s Bookshelves Live—Ep. 162: BookTok 101 with Leigh Stein (Author & Journalist) + Book Recommendations



+ Referring to the # symbol: “Isn’t it the tic-tac-toe symbol that’s a sign for numbers?”

+ When I told him we can’t subtract a bigger number from a smaller one. “And I thought nothing was impossible with Jesus!”

+ “You know there’s just one thing I wish were different about my life. Halloween. It’s supposed to be something fun, but these days people just make it something scary.”

+ When I was telling him stories about my paternal grandmother, who passed away in 2009: “How long were people expected to live back then?”


+ Commenting on a row of American flags waving in the wind. “Oh look, they’re celebrating for our country!”

+ “I had a bunch of scary and inappropriate dreams. Like, there were people in my dreams talking about going potty and stuff! That’s not appropriate!”

+ “Why do we have a button at the top of the shirt if we don’t button it? Is it if someone loses their button, you can give it to them?”

+ “Jesus loved the people who killed him because he wanted to die.”

+ Explaining to Kali why we vote: “It’s so we can choose the best person in the world.”

+ “Why did our Bible story say ‘On the journey to Bethlehem’? Is it so people know about the movie and go see it?”

A cute moment: Kali got in trouble at the dinner table and got sent to her room. Sully was sad and began crying because she wasn’t sitting with us, so he asked to be excused and went to comfort her, sitting with her until she was ready to come back to the table.


+ “I’m going to invite God to my birthday party. I know he’s already in my heart, but I still want to invite Him.”

+ “Moooooom, I don’t want your help, I want Daddy. Because he’s the best, like God.”

+ “I need to get my book for lunch.” Me: “Kalinda, you don’t need your book to eat.” Kali: “No, I don’t want to eat my book, I just want to read it.”

+ “Mom, make sure you’re going the speed limit, I don’t want you to go to jail!”

A cute moment: Luke got Kali some flowers for Valentine’s Day that she could keep in her room. When they began to wilt, she placed them on the windowsill to get them some light and hopefully revive them.


At the start of the month, Charleston and I flew out to California for five days. The main reason for our travel was to attend my grandmother’s memorial, and Charleston got to come along as a belated birthday present. As I mentioned in my last Lately post, this was my first time away from the twins EVER, and it was the first time I’ve flown on my own as an adult, so the trip was a pretty big deal, but Charleston and I had an awesome time! (It was also SOOOO good to be reunited with the rest of my crew when we got back!)

Oma’s memorial was held on what would have been her 99th birthday. A small group of family and friends gathered on a boat, and as we motored out to see we listened to a specially recorded message from Oma’s former pastor. It was a touching tribute, followed by music from Oma’s collection of favorites. When the boat had reached the harbor, we assembled outside to scatter her ashes and toss roses into the ocean. We scattered my Opa’s ashes in this same spot twenty years ago and I am happy that they are once again reunited. The boat crew was wonderful (they even let Charleston—the only minor on board—have a go at driving), and it was a good time to reminisce. Afterwards, we returned to my parents’ house for refreshments, including champagne and cake (two of Oma’s favorite things). It was wonderful to catch up with family I haven’t seen in almost a decade, including my cousin and her two daughters. It was a sad occasion to be together, but a wonderful day of celebrating Oma; I know she would have enjoyed the day, but I also know she is having a far better time watching on from her forever Heavenly home.

It was nice to have a few additional days with my parents after the memorial. We played tons of board games; Charleston and my Dad built Legos and K’nex; my mom and I looked at old family photos and I learned so much about my family heritage dating back to the early 1900s in Germany (where my Oma grew up); we visited the Huntington Library and Senior Center and playground; toured Seal Beach; and went on a Duffy ride through the harbor.

We also had plenty of delicious food! My mom cooked me fresh salmon (my favorite, but something I never make for myself) and twice we picked up my fast food indulgence, a Brown Rice Veggie Bowl from Flame Broiler with ALL the hot sauce. We also went to an awesome donut shop called the Donuttery, where I had my very first gluten free donut (and the first donut I can remember eating in maybe twenty years)—it was worth the wait!.

We had a bit of rain while we were there, but it was clear on our last day and we took advantage of the good weather to spend the day at Legoland in Carlsbad. I was there shortly after it first opened 25 years ago and I’ve always wanted to go back with the kids. We had a blast! The park was practically empty so we got to walk on every ride and attraction. I was amazed by the intricate and elaborate Lego figurines, and enjoyed all of the rides (favorites being the Coast Cruise through Lego Miniland, Emmet’s Flying Adventure, and the Deep Sea Adventure). Charleston had his first taste of roller coasters and was smitten (he road each coaster as many times as possible). It was so fun to see his enthusiasm and I was so thankful that my parents made this trip happen. I can’t wait to return with Luke and the twins!

On February 7, we celebrated Luke’s fortieth birthday! I’m still in denial that he is forty (and that I’ll be joining him ON SATURDAY), but I love thinking that I’ve been by his side for the addition of 17 of those forty candles. We had family over for takeout Mexican food and cake the night before his birthday, and even though he had to work on the big day itself, we tried to make it special with presents, plenty of yummy food, and our traditional Menchie’s frozen yogurt loaded with candles.

I like to make things fun for the kids on Valentine’s Day, so after our morning of school work and Speech therapy, I took them to Chick-fil-A for lunch, playtime, and ice cream. When we got home, Luke surprised me with several beautiful bouquets of flowers and a rose for Kali! We skipped naptime to watch Wonka and eat popcorn, then the kids got to open Valentine’s Gift (Luke ordered them custom waterbottles with their names, and I filled them with Valentine candy). We put the kids down early so that Luke and I could have a Valentine date night at home. Kali and I both came down with a bug that day, so our festivities were a little muted, but it was fun day celebrating all things LOVE.



Ten Simple Things That Are Saving My Life This Winter “For the first time in years, my spiritual life is in alignment with my church life as we engage in worship and service at a church that shares our family’s own spiritual values and mission. . . . I am still amazed by the journey that led us to this church and grateful to God for the winding road that landed us at the Grove.

Acclaim–> Imitate –> Purpose (February Verse—Psalm 89:14-15)I believe this is why the psalmist says those who acclaim the Lord are blessed: to be blessed is to be made holy, consecrated to God or to religious purpose. Did you catch that? Acclaiming the Lord is a key to fulfilling our purpose because when we 1) acclaim the Lord, we 2) start to imitate and become more like Him and 3) begin living out our purpose of being formed in His image.

Unconventional Love Stories “To me, Valentine’s Day is about more than romantic love: it’s a day to celebrate love in its many beautiful forms. And while I enjoy snapshots of love found in film, literature, song, and stories from friends, there’s no better source for love stories than the very Book that defines love itself: the Bible.

Surprise! Baby #4 Coming This August! “Seeing those two pink lines (confirmed multiple times), we realized that God, in His divine wisdom and generosity, had different plans for our family. Something beyond what we had dared to request.

28 Amazing Attributes of God to Cherish “As I reflect on God and His attributes, my heart turns to worship and my soul rests in the knowledge that this Incredible God is present with me. Scripture is filled with clues about who He is; here are 28 of my favorite attributes about the Lord.

What I Learned This Winter About Blessings, Loss, and My Own Best Practices “This has been an important reminder that what we see on the outside is not alway an accurate indicator of what is going on behind the scenes. I cannot assume someone is okay just because that is the story their life appears to be telling. This is a valuable reminder to consistently approach others with greater empathy and curiosity.


Quick Lit + February 2024

Bookish Considerations: Thoughts on Reading Challenges


“Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.” ~ May Sarton

“Whatever possession we gain by our sword cannot be sure or lasting, but the love gained by kindness and moderation is certain and durable.” ~ Alexander the Great

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I hope that your February was a great one and I’m wishing you rest and joy in the coming month.

On a business note: I’ll be taking a brief blogging break next week as I ease into the spring season. We’ll be back to our usual schedule next Saturday, March 9. See you then!

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