All The Things, July 2023
plus, a little story about LEGOS
The kids have just spent the day with my mom, which means they arrive home with bellies full of McDonalds and hands clutching tiny paper bags from the LEGO store.
(What are grandmas for, if not this?)
Presley runs through the front door with a grin stretched across her face, eager to show me her new twirling Rapunzel toy.
“Momma, GUESS WHAT?!” she practically yells, pausing for dramatic effect, “I got my very own LEGO set!!”
I ooooh and aaaaah and suggest she build her set on the coffee table, so as to not lose any of the 89 tiny pieces. She confidently tells me she doesn’t need the instructions because she can just look at the picture on the box. (I nod mm-hmm while cracking open the directions anyway.)
She begins assembling Rapunzel while I get started on the main stand. I’ve probably only put together six or seven pieces when Presley panic grabs the whole thing out of my hand and says, “Mommy, I want to do it.”
Aha. Message received, loud and clear. Moving forward, I flip each page in the booklet and simply tell her what pieces to find and where to put them. A few times she gets stuck, or can’t get a piece locked in, at which point I offer a helping hand. For the most part, though, she builds 90% of the set all by herself.
“Wow, Pres, you’re so good at this,” I tell her, “I love watching you build things.”
When we finish the set, I take a photo of Presley holding the little LEGO creation in her hands, beaming with pride. I am beaming, too. Look at us, creating anyway together! Look at us, making a memory!
That same blissful memory crumbles an hour later, when, without warning, Presley comes barreling into my room sobbing.
“Mommy, I wanted to build the LEGOs by MYSELF!” she wails.
It takes me a minute to even understand what she is saying, but after a few clarifying questions, I come to realize Presley did not want to put the LEGO set together with 10% help from me. Rather, she wanted to build 100% of the set herself with 0% help from me.
Her delayed reaction is both so startling and so dramatic, I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I apologize for overstepping and ask Presley what we should do to make the situation better.
She looks at the floor and mumbles, “I wanna build it again.”
My eyebrows shoot up.
“Babe, are you sure?” I ask, “You want to take the LEGO set apart and build the whole thing all over again?”
She nods, wiping tears from her cheeks.
What’s a mom to do? I sigh, pull her in for a hug, and give her permission to undo all of our hard work. She promptly retreats to her bedroom and disassembles the entire set.
A while later she reappears asking for help (!), and I somewhat hesitantly follow her back into her room to undo a section she has put together incorrectly. Surprisingly, she keeps her cool and even thanks me. I hover for a minute, watching, careful not to touch anything. I know my role this time around. I know my place. I am here to witness her creative process, not participate. It’s my job to offer moral and emotional support from the bleachers, not step out on the field. Just as I start to lay down on the floor to get comfortable, Presley looks at me and stops building.
“Um …” she looks at me with a hint of pity in her eyes, as if she’s afraid to hurt my feelings.
“I think I need a little alone time.”
LEGO set: $7.99
A whole afternoon spent learning, again, how to parent the daughter who is just like you: priceless
And now, onto the links!
It’s only July but I am already ready to call this the best book I read in 2023. Just, WOW. Heartbreaking and riveting and powerful and the writing, oof. Can’t wait to discuss with my book club.
Speaking of reading, I’m looking forward to soaking up this poetry book next month while I’m on sabbatical.
Is it just me, or is July the new black Friday? Between Prime Day and Circle Week and the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I’ve been a tad overwhelmed by all the emails about all the deals (and yet, I’m still going to share what I snagged from those deals 😬 so if you’re over the shopping recs, just scroll down!).
I had exactly two goals for prime day—a bigger mattress for Presley (to go with her new big girl bed + these floral sheets 🐞!) and new electric toothbrushes for me and Brett. We’re adulting hard these days, what can I say.
As for the Nordstrom anniversary sale, now is a great time to snag a fall uniform: some high-quality denim, mules, and a hat. (Didn’t get anything for the kids, but I am eyeing these cute pjs for Pres. Also these pants, darling!)
Don’t tell Alani, but I am currently having a love affair with Gorgie. (Honestly you cannot go wrong with either).
My friends Laura and Laura (yes, really) are leading a 12-week creative cohort through The Artist’s Way this fall. I have gotten to know L&L through Exhale over the years and cannot possibly recommend their guidance enough. If small groups are your jam and you’re desperately seeking accountability to nurture your creative self, ALERT: this is the breadcrumb you’ve been waiting for!
Related: if you’ve got a book burning a hole in your heart, look no further than Heart to Page. My friend Callie is a generous teacher, a thoughtful editor, and the kind of cheerleader every writer needs in her corner. I have written alongside Callie at Coffee + Crumbs for nine years (!), so you can trust me when I say: her feedback and coaching are invaluable.
We left town for a week during a heat wave and I am pleased to report these little contraptions successfully kept my plants alive.
TBD if I’ll ever share my personal thoughts on Threads (does anyone care what I think about an app I am not even using? 🤪) but in the meantime, I’ll just say yeah, and mm-hmm, and sounds about right. (No shade if you love it over there! You do you!)
Brett and I both really love all of these artists, and look forward to seeing this concert in October!
I kid you not I gasped out loud when I saw my friendstarted a Substack. Finally! I’ve never subscribed so fast.
Speaking of Substacks I love, are you readingyet? (My claim to fame: I know these girls!) Seriously: whether you’re into poetry or not, I guarantee you’ll love their monthly issues.
No offense to all you cookbook collectors out there, but I am starting to think if you have one great cookbook you actually cook from, you should get a culinary trophy for that. Here’s mine.
Currently blessing my inbox—this note from Rachel, who is leading a Create Anyway book club in Papua, Indonesia with a missionary community:
The reach of your work is impacting missionaries working with remote tribal ladies in the jungles of Papua, and pilots who literally fly into the middle of nowhere, and teachers who make Bible translation possible. All these jobs are represented in the summer book club. You better hear me when I say there is depth to the meaning and learning laid out in your work. With cross-cultural impact. With gospel impact. I can't think of a more encouraging thing to tell you.
Big favor alert: if you read and loved Create Anyway, would you consider leaving an online review or telling a friend about the book? Your continued word-of-mouth recs are such a gift to me, especially this summer as I pull back on the marketing and PR efforts to get some much-needed rest. ❤️
That’s all for now. What are you reading? Wearing? Cooking? Watching?
Tell me all your things!
And hey, if you enjoy this newsletter, would you consider forwarding it to a friend?
My Substack is 100% free to read and I truly love writing here. ❤️