Category Archives: Your Moment of Zoe

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!

Fall is in the air! We are just on the cusp of this wonderful season, but I wanted to share one of my favorite fallish poems today.

Turns out: I shared it five years ago. So, let’s just turn back the clock and enjoy that post (and some vintage Zoe photos) again, shall we?

Never Done It That Way Before

Today, let’s let Edna St. Vincent Millay (Vincent, to her friends) do the talking.  Zoe, of course, will do the rest.
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
   Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag
To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
         But never knew I this;
         Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.
–Edna St. Vincent Millay, “God’s World”
What do you want to hold close this fall?

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Filed under Book Report, Your Moment of Zoe

Home Away from Home

train time

Train ride! 

We had a wonderful road trip to Illinois this weekend. The fun included: a visit to the La Crosse children’s museum; an old-fashioned ice cream parlor; a KOA cabin with bunkbeds, a jumping pad, and a pool; a commuter train ride, lunch, and library exploration with family; a dinner date with friends one night; a sprinkler and pool play date the next morning; and sweet Phip’s first birthday party. Truly, it was a wonderful getaway.

It was just as wonderful to arrive home last night. “We’re finally in the right town!” Zoe said as we pulled into Saint James. “Go to Daddy!” Leo said. And we were, and we did, and it was very good.

I always like to hear what the stand out moments are for my kids after a trip. Here is Zoe’s: Continue reading

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Fluffy on the Side: a Love Story

chickie baby

Zoe and Chickie (and Mama), Mother’s Day 2009.

When Zoe was about six months old, I met my friend E for dinner in Saint Paul. We had a lovely meal (we got to eat our food when it was hot and finish whole sentences and everything). Then we went to Half Price books to do some browsing. It was a lovely, grown up evening out.

I don’t remember whether I bought myself anything at Half Price Books. (Pro Tip: I had a six month old baby, so probably not.) But I do remember shopping for Zoe. I came home with a few board books and a few cloth books. One of them was shaped like a chick. I thought it was cute, and Zoe did, too.

Six and a half years later, Chickie is still around. She’s been through the wash; she’s fallen in the toilet; she’s traveled internationally; she’s transitioned from male to female; she’s been lost (and found) in our house and at church and at Grandma’s and out in the world; she’s been with Zoe through good times and bad; she’s soothed Zoe’s physical bumps and bruises and her emotional ones, too.

And after all that, our Chickie is just a bit worse for wear:

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Filed under Your Moment of Zoe

Parenting Unvarnished

Check out my cute little bunnies, Easter 2016:


Adorable, right? Perfectly captures the idyllic family egg dying activity we had just completed.

Except, of course, that it wasn’t. It was crazy, chaotic, and shouty. It was cracked egg shells, and spilled cups of dye, and probably one of the more stressful egg dyeing experiences of my life. (Not to be dramatic or anything.) But I posted the adorable picture on Facebook, because the one idyllic and adorable moment is the one I want to share with the world.

This, though. This is the photo that really nails it. Easter Monday:


Everything that can be upside down is upside down. Both children are weeping and wailing. It is chaos. It is exhaustion. It is Easter Monday for a pastor and her children. Unvarnished. No filter. Just the real parenting deal. Did I post this gem on Facebook? I did not.

Here’s the thing: parenting is a both / and experience. It’s both wonderful and terrible; boring and exciting; hilarious and heartbreaking; sweet and sour. Our children fill us with pride and joy one moment, embarrassment and guilt the next. Continue reading


Filed under All in the Family, Your Moment of Leo, Your Moment of Zoe

Lucky Number Seven

He looked at me with eyes the size of saucers.

“J says your daughter is going to be seven,” he said. Incredulous. Solemn. Amazed.

K is a seminary classmate. If he ever met Zoe, she was teeny tiny. What he remembers, I’m sure, is me pregnant with Zoe during my last year of seminary. And all of a sudden, years have gone by. We can measure them by counting all the Zoe birthdays that have passed since then. Which is, amazingly, seven.

Zoe was born two months before I was ordained, so I can count the years of my pastoring as I count the years of her life. Being a pastor and being a parent are all tangled up for me, in a way that is wonderful and weird and hard.

ordination Zoe

Hungry Zoe had to pose for picture’s at Mama’s ordination, August 29, 2009. Please note her ordination red booties, made by a seminary friend.

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Filed under Ministry Matters, Thankful Hearts, Your Moment of Zoe

Books + Kids = Top Ten Tuesday

Good morning, team! It’s Top Ten Tuesday time!

This week’s topic is pretty open: “Top Ten Things I Love About X”. Read my list, then click on over to The Broke and the Bookish to read lots more.

When my parents were new parents, they worried like all new parents do. However, all new parents might not share this particular worry: What will we do if our child doesn’t like reading?  It’s true. My parents were concerned that if I did not turn out to be a reader, I wouldn’t fit into the family.

Clearly, they had nothing to worry about. I have always loved books and always loved reading. One of the great joys of becoming a parent myself has been sharing that love with my own children. So, for this Top Ten Tuesday, here are ten things I love about Books + Kids:

1. Sharing old favorites. I never stopped loving children’s and young adult books. So it’s a delight to share them with my children. Zoe loved But No Elephants, the absolute favorite of my three-year-old self, almost as much as I did. More recently she has laughed as hard as I did at The BFG.

2. Discovering new favorites. My kids also give me a great excuse reason to explore new children’s books. I love checking out a stack at the library, browsing online, and receiving children’s books from family and friends. Some of our newest new favorites are Max the Brave and Bear Is Not Tired.

3. Books at bedtime. I treasure this time of snuggling and reading together, even if we’re just reading Construction for the one thousandth time (Pro Tip: I’m looking at you, Leo). I also love watching my kids share this time with their dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other beloved adults.

zoe and papa

Zoe and Papa: bedtime book buddies since 2009.

4. Books any time. Sometimes Zoe will stop talking / moving / watching TV, grab a huge stack of books, and ask me to read them to her. And I do. And it is Just the Best.

5. Library time. The first thing we do when we move to a new town is get our library cards. Both the Litchfield and St. James libraries have been havens for us–we’ve spent countless hours at story times, library programs, and just hanging out, reading, playing, and browsing. Leo knows right where to find the Thomas books. Both kids walk in like they’re coming home.  Continue reading


Filed under Book Report, Your Moment of Leo, Your Moment of Zoe

Embracing the Unfamiliar

Great cedar tree, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, 1897

Our trees were a little shaggy when we moved in. So, less than two years later, we hired someone to trim them.(Pro Tip: Landscaping is not our passion.)

Zoe and Leo were excited to see the crew start working this morning. But when we got in the car, Zoe was upset. “They’re taking our trees!” she wailed.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’re just trimming them. It’s like a haircut. It’s good for the trees.” Continue reading


Filed under Marvelous Miscellany, Your Moment of Zoe