You wanna do WHAT at Qwest Field?!

Yesterday our church held Easter service at Qwest Field – all campuses together in one place, plus many visitors. Over 17,000 people was the last count I heard.

At the end of the service Ruthie asked to get baptized, and contrary to what I was probably supposed to feel, I panicked.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

She nodded.

“Let’s talk about it with daddy later,” I said. “Maybe we can do it another day.”

“Noooo!” she cried.

I texted Bryan, who was in a different part of the stadium. “Ruthie says she wants to get baptized.”

Ironically, he was volunteering on the after service prayer team.

“Ok,” he texted back, and waived us down.

This didn’t come out of the blue. At the ZugHaus we talk a lot about Jesus, repentance, and all the symbolism surrounding our faith, such as communion and baptism. We tend to not make an event about these conversations, but weave the gospel into our everyday life.

Talking to her daddy about getting baptized.

My fear surrounding her request is completely irrational and wholly unbiblical, because my first reaction was a resounding, “SHE’S NOT READY!” She doesn’t have it all figured out yet! She’s still so angry! And screams a lot! And throws a fit when she doesn’t get her way! And is really moody toward other people! And….!

Wait a second…

Didn’t I just describe myself?

In that moment I sensed God changing my heart. I realized I was waiting for Ruthie to stop sinning first, and that I have a lot of fear about her not “doing it right” if she were to identify herself as a Christian. It’s old baggage from my days of believing in labels and one-shot Sinner’s Prayer “conversions.”

The truth is, she will never stop sinning. I know this because at 39 years old I still scream a lot and throw a fit when I don’t get my way, and I’m really moody toward other people. I’m a horrible example of Not Sinning, but I have repentance down pretty good, and Ruthie connects with that.

Baptism is an outward declaration of what has already happened in the heart, AND it’s the catalyst for a new life to come. I’m very excited that Christ is calling my big girl to himself, and very honored that he’s entrusted a very imperfect mother to shepherd her along the way.

Remarks by the President at Easter Prayer Breakfast | The White House

“Because in the middle of critical national debates, in the middle of our busy lives, we must always make sure that we are keeping things in perspective.” – President Obama

I’m a very task-oriented person, even if I’m not that organized about it. Disciplining myself to slow down and reflect on anything is always a challenge, because most of the time it’s much easier to just keep moving.

The clearest picture I have of this is when my day approaches the dinner hour. If I’m organized, the crockpot will be doing its thing, the kids will be (quietly!) getting an hour of screen time, and I’ll sit in my comfy chair for the first time in 12 hours, waiting for Bryan to get home.

As soon as I do this, I feel every cell in my body breathe a sigh of relief, and suddenly I’m limp like a wet towel on the bathroom floor. I push myself so hard during the day that even when I do stop to rest and reflect, I’m too exhausted.

Every year on the day after Easter, I promise myself that I’ll be more organized during Holy Week, more reflective, more of whatever box I feel I should check. And yet, every year around Thursday I’m still like OH MAH GAH TOMORROW IS GOOD FRIDAY QUICK EVERYONE LETS TALK ABOUT THE DEATH OF OUR LORD!

I’m over feeling guilty about it (did you hear? My 40’s is the guilt-free decade!), and have completely embraced that Christ continues to sanctify my tendency to Doing rather than Being.

He continues to love me and pursue me and tell me to STFU and listen for once (my paraphrase), and I accept his grace with the dignity of a short, squishy, frazzled, middle-aged child of the 80’s by repenting through prayer, really loud music, and dancing – sans the Legend of Billie Jean / Love Is A Battlefield drama.

And no, it’s not lost on me that it takes a poke from the leader of the free world to remind me that “we all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities….”

So yes, Mr. President, my trip to the DMV can be bumped to next week. Thanks for reminding me to stop and reflect on the humility of Christ as we approach Easter weekend.

via Remarks by the President at Easter Prayer Breakfast | The White House.


poor chicken

Last October we spent three weeks visiting family in southern California and stayed with Bryan’s brother for part of the time. My sister-in-law keeps a very clean house, and I kept grilling her about her routine as if documenting an anthropological study.

“So, you sweep the floor EVERY NIGHT then?”

(Thoughtful head nod.)

“Oh, so you clean up the kitchen RIGHT AFTER dinner.”

(Rubs chin, then writes in tiny notebook.)

When I returned home from that trip I was inspired. We walked in the door around 3 in the afternoon, and by 3:30 I was scrubbing every inch of my kitchen counter tops, cabinets, and wooden floors. I dusted the entire house from ceiling to baseboards, and captured every dust bunny.

By 7:30 I was exhausted, and collapsed into bed.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone dust a bathroom before,” said Bryan.

For the next couple weeks I faithfully maintained my clean house, picking up clutter and cleaning the kitchen every night after dinner. But after awhile I tired of spending 3 hours a night in the kitchen – cooking, serving dinner, then cleaning up.

I was beginning to understand why my sister-in-law didn’t cook a lot of elaborate meals – it was too messy to clean up afterward!

It wasn’t long before my house went back to it’s normal dust bunny, finger smudgy, dish piled self. The daily maintenance was just too much. I’m more comfortable in a weekly sweep and vacuum routine, a monthly dusting routine, and a can’t find a mug so I’ll clean the kitchen routine.

Despite my lack of domestic skills, Bryan and I practice the Art of Hospitality on a regular basis. Weekly, for sure. Sometimes even more. This means I invite people into my home despite the dust bunnies under the table and the stack of books on the piano.

Every Thursday we host a small group from our church community. We share a meal and talk about what it means to love Jesus while living among, as Conan calls us, people of the earth. Before everyone shows up I perform some sort of cleaning task. Sometimes I am successful, other times I dim the lights to hide the dirt.

If I didn’t host this group on a regular basis, I’m scared to think what it would look like around here. In fact, the other day Thomas observed my sweeping and said to me, “Do we have community group tonight?”

“No. It’s only Tuesday.”

“Then why are you sweeping?”

In fact, even the dog knows cleaning is the trigger for company arriving, and slinks away at the sight of my hustle and bustle, knowing her time in the kennel is nigh.

Recently someone new attended our weekly group – a couple with a toddler. They came once, and we never saw them again. Later I received third-hand feedback that they thought my house wasn’t clean or safe for children.

Upon hearing this, my attitude swayed between stabby and superior. One minute I wanted to give them a piece of my mind, the next I felt so much more evolved than they were. One minute their opinion defined my reality, the next I felt there was nothing to gain from it.

Anger, pride, anger, pride… the revolving door of my heart.

The Flylady feeds this idea that no one can see my imperfection, that my incomplete self is not good enough. She calls it C.H.A.O.S – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Obviously I’m not saying it’s bad to clean or get organized, but if we wait for perfection we’ll never do anything.

But I love the idea that Jesus calls me to hospitality despite my lackadaisical personality. I try to remember this when I filter that family’s feedback through my anger, pride, anger pride. Jesus calls me to a life of worship, not perfection. I don’t have to keep my house like a state certified day care, but sometimes worship means I mop the floor once in awhile.

It is absolutely true that I should probably work harder at cleaning my house. But I also have to triage my chaos. Sometimes when approaching a deadline, a Project Manager has to ask, What’s the least amount of shit that can be working before I ship something?

So I ask myself every Thursday afternoon, Do I vacuum the playroom or sweep the dining room? Do I clean the bathroom or the kitchen? Do I fold and put away the laundry or pile it in on the dryer? If I delayed hospitality until my house was clean from top to bottom, it would never happen.

Sometimes I need reminding that my motivation doesn’t come from another mom, or the Flylady, or even my own self-justification. It comes from Jesus. Sometimes he tells me to get my lazy ass out of the chair and clean, and sometimes he tells me to let it go and take a nap.

The epilogue to all this proves God has a sense of humor.

Last Thursday as we all sat around our living room – 10 adults and maybe 8 or 12 kids running around – Ruthie hands Bryan a flier she brought home from school, and he read it out loud:

This notice is to inform you that cases of head lice have been found at school. We are asking your assistance in order that it may be controlled and quickly eliminated.

I laughed out loud. It really doesn’t get any more imperfect than head lice.

All My Favorite People Are Broken

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home in a song. It communicates a sentiment I’ve carried with me my whole life – even when I didn’t understand it.

The more I grow in maturity, the more I appreciate the brokenness in the people around me. I have my favorite favorites. You know who you are.

Recently I had the opportunity to encourage a friend who was struggling & making poor decisions. I think she was afraid to talk to me about what she’d done, afraid I’d somehow reject or condemn her.

But I saw the relief on her face when I confessed that my Hidden sin was no different than her Right There Out In the Open sin, that we’re all broken and need Jesus, even those of us who look like we’ve got our shit together.

I’m fairly certain that when I get to heaven I’ll be swaying arm in arm with all of my favorite broken people, eating from the dessert table and quoting lines from Steel Magnolias.

All my favorite people are broken
Believe me, my heart should know
Some prayers are better left unspoken
I just want to hold you and let the rest go

All my friends are part saint and part sinner
We lean on each other, try to rise above
We are not afraid to admit we are all still beginners
We are all late bloomers when it comes to love

All my favorite people are broken
Believe me, my heart should know
Awful believers, skeptical dreamers, step forward
You can stay right here, you don’t have to go

Is each wound you’ve received just a burdensome gift
It gets so hard to lift yourself up off the ground
But the poet says we must praise a mutilated world
We’re all working the graveyard shift
You might as well sing along

Cause all my favorite people are broken
Believe me, my heart should know
As for your tender heart, this world’s going to rip it wide open,
It aint gonna be pretty, but you’re not alone

All my favorite people are broken
Believe me, my heart should know
Awful believers, skeptical dreamers, you’re welcome
Yeah, you’re safe right here, you don’t have to go

Cause all my favorite people are broken
Believe me, I should know
Some prayers are better left unspoken
I just want to hold you and let the rest go

when the tenacity pays off

Earlier this year Ruthie had an ongoing conflict with some kids on the school bus. She wanted to sit in the way back – in the last seat – but the older kids wouldn’t let her. If she claimed the back seat first, the older girls would kick her out.

Sometimes she got off the bus mad, sometimes she was crying. Several times the older kids had the nerve to sass me through the window as the bus pulled away.

“She called me a bitch!” one of them said through the window one day.

I smirked.

I know, I KNOW. Maybe I shouldn’t have smirked, but despite her inappropriate response, I was pleased my girl had moxie.

Every day after school I’d ask Ruthie where she sat, and she’d report what happened. I asked detailed questions about who said what. I learned names. I listened.

I wanted to know why sitting in the back seat was so important to Ruthie, and I learned it was important simply because she could. Kindergartners and first graders were supposed to sit toward the front, but now that Ruthie’s in the second grade she can sit where ever she wants.

And she wanted to sit in the back.

When I pressed, she held her ground. “I can sit where I want mama,” she would say sadly. “But they told me I can’t sit there.”

It broke my heart to see her so sad, but my knee jerk reaction was to sweep it away. I don’t like conflict, and it was tempting to blow it off and tell her to just move on. I wanted to tell her it wasn’t important, to do the “easy” thing and just quit trying.

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to say she should back down. If she wanted to back down I would have supported it, but I felt it was something she needed to work out on her own.

I could see that Ruthie was identifying an injustice, wrestling with it, and struggling to stand up for what is right. So instead of encouraging disillusionment or apathy – my own default response – I attempted to teach Ruthie how to deal with conflict in the real world; how to choose what to fight for and how to prioritize her battles.

We talked about why people act like bullies, and we talked about the times when Ruthie herself was a bully, and we talked about the right way and wrong way to respond when someone is mean to her.

(For instance, using the word bitch is sometimes called for, sometimes foolish).

Eventually she decided to sit in the middle of the bus. She was very pleased about this because it was something she decided to do. She was choosing to ignore the other girls and sit somewhere else.

Honestly, I half expected someone to start throwing punches, and I wasn’t entirely convinced it would be the other girl. Regardless, I think Ruthie was finally able to grasp that she wasn’t an enemy of the other girls, but that they were using her to work out their own anger – something she and I know a little about.

pants on fire

I caught Ruthie in another lie today, that sneaky one.

The kids don’t have school today (when DO they have school these days?!), and she’s been snuggled up in my bed watching cartoons – the benefits of being an early-rising daughter of a non-morning person mom.

I walked in to sort some laundry and pick up a little, and after awhile she says to me in a suspiciously polite voice, “Mom, I really want some alone time now.”

I chuckled a little, and was all, really? The morning’s got you down?

But when I came around the other side of the bed I noticed one of her hands underneath the covers. Awkwardly. As mothers we all know this is a sure sign that not all is as it seems.

“What are you hiding?” I ask, not a hint of dysfunctional impatience in me.

Sheepishly, she presents a pasty white, void of any meaningful nutrients, hamburger bun. With a big bite missing.

Now, to catch you up to speed, my children would eat nothing but plain bread, cereal, and granola bars if left to their own devices. I’m constantly chirping about PROTEIN! YOU NEED PROTEIN! which they begrudgingly digest only when I’m watching.

What surprised me next was my reaction.

Contrary to my historical responses to Ruthie’s lying behavior, I simply laughed, called her a stinker, and told her to get that crumby bun out of my bed.

Then I made her a fried egg to chase it down.

In the moment when rage rises inside my chest, it feels like the only reasonable response.


But how peaceful my heart and home are when I take a deep breath, choose my battles wisely, say YES to more things, laugh off the minor infractions, and leave my worth in the hands of Jesus.

way back home

For more than ten years this song always seems to find me in my darkest hour.

Whether I am depressed, wallowing, full of rage, or drenched in the stench of my own selfishness, the Truth in these words sets my heart straight.

And it’s not just the words themselves, but the way in which I get to shout them out at the back end of the song – a full body submission to the true Owner of my heart.

I did this tonight in my kitchen. On repeat.

I’m struggling in particular with my selfishness these days. Sometimes I think I’d like to spend my days walking alone, writing the great memoir, drinking tequila, and listening to really loud music. I’d spend my nights similarly, only maybe without the walking & a little more tequila.

The fantasy never includes disobeying children, hard conversations with husbands, and poop-eating dogs.

I hear a lot of messages out in the wild. I hear that I deserve to be happy, that I need to do what’s right for myself, that I’m in control of my own destiny. These are very tempting messages for me because I think I would make a very good brooding & reclusive writer if I put my mind to it.

I also possess just enough sass and mystery to drive the men wild.

But when I find myself in this dark place where it’s me & Lisbeth Salander against the world, I am shaken by the fact that I am not the center of the universe, that it’s not my destiny to do what’s right for myself, and that happiness doesn’t come from getting whatever I want.

On the contrary, I am called to worship Him – to set aside everything I ever thought I wanted for myself and trust that He knows me better than I know myself.

Jesus calls me to unclench my fisted heart. In turn he fills it with joy no matter what circumstance I find myself in.

And so tonight I sang in my kitchen. I turned it up to eleven and I yelled into the window as I did the dishes:

take the first of my thought
take the first of my time
take the throne of my heart
crush all other gods
you alone sit on the throne

Ruthie finally came in and burst my little worship bubble and yelled at me that she couldn’t hear her movie on the Hallmark channel (there’s many things wrong with that, believe me). So I stepped back into the real world and practiced living according to my re-set heart.

I pray I never give into my fantasy. I pray the lies of that false happiness are destroyed. And I praise God for songwriters who point me back to His Truth.

Inspired by Jose Cuervo and Florence & the Machine


I’m a little crazed these days. I think I’ve had something on the calendar every night since the beginning of December, and that never goes over well with Introverts like me.

I’ve definitely hit a wall.

For me this looks like oversleeping, over eating, over drinking, and writing blog posts when I should be working or making dinner. These are the days you find me working in my pajamas and starting happy hour around 2pm.


Ironically, this is the first December in six years that I haven’t been depressed. Despite the work stress (good stress! busy! lots of clients!) and heavy social schedule, I don’t have a dark cloud following me around.

If I’m moping, it’s because I’m mopey, not because life has no meaning.

Hilariously, busy + stress + no depression = no Christmas planning*guiltless to the power of infinity.

Translation: have not sent Christmas cards and have not bought presents and have barely decorated my house and I am 100% okay with this. I am truly living in the moment, not embittered by failed expectations, and enjoying what the day bring IN THAT MOMENT.

And if you know me in person, you’ll know THIS IS NOTHING LIKE ME.


Will the real curmudgeon please stand up?

There’s a running joke in the ZugHaus about spontaneity – I claim to have some when we all know I don’t.

For the longest time I pegged Bryan as a curmudgeonly old man with no flexibility or zest for the spontaneous. I just wanted to run! Be free! See what the day held!

But no, there had to be a plan.

Boo! Down with plans!

As the years went by, however, it became increasingly apparent that I was not as much spontaneous as I was a control freak. My desire wasn’t so much to be free to do what the day held, but free to do what I felt like doing right in that moment.

So if you were not me, and you had an idea, you were sooooo inflexible.


I now admit that the opposite is actually true. Bryan comes up with great adventures for weekend fun, while I scowl and sigh and whine about how all this fun is really gonna put me out because I HAD AN AGENDA!

Thankfully, though, I’m slowly getting over myself and Bryan is (usually) safe to tease me when I start to tick off all the Eeyore reasons why we can’t do whatever fun thing he’s planning.

Anyway, life is more fun when I let go of my agenda and follow Bryan into his great adventures – like this hike we went on a few weeks ago.

Miss Sassy Pants

Skate Park

After several volatile mornings followed by several volatile afternoons I had to regroup my wits and come up with a way to deal with Ruthie that didn’t involve me yelling at her.

I’m really good at yelling – it’s a knee-jerk reaction to being yelled at, and I get yelled at a lot.

I hate that I fight with my kid like she’s a playground cheer leading rival, but when I do it’s a sign I have an undisciplined tongue.

On the really good what-would-Jesus-do kind of days I remember that I’m the grown-up, and that the right combination of words won’t necessarily make Ruthie listen to me. Those are the days I remember that God already established a plan to provide peace in our home:

Honor your father and mother so that you may live in peace. Exodus 20:12

(I paraphrased this verse a little from the NIV, but I think Jesus is okay with that because it’s all in the name of contextualizing this stuff for my kids.)

No amount of yelling or manipulating is going to sway my stubborn child from the line she is toeing. But as for my part, I need to remember – and be confident of – my place in the hierarchy of things.

I am Ruthie’s mom, and it’s my job to lead her. When she follows my lead there is peace in our home, and when she doesn’t there is much yelling.

It’s really pretty simple, and when at least one of us gets that (*cough*), there is peace to be had.

Living a Better Story

The other day I slipped and fell in my basement. The whole area is carpeted except for, like, three feet at the bottom of the stairs, but that’s all the space I needed to fall on my ass.

I slipped on a dog bone. One foot flew out in front of me, and the other bent under me. The fall looked a little like this, only with less guitar and more angst. I can’t say for sure how the swearing measured up.

The entire one hundred and *cough* pounds of my body weight landed on my left knee and ankle. Now, some might think one would lie there on the floor for a period of recovery – whether it be of body or ego. But no. I instantly flew through the air several times like this, still with less guitar but for certain with more swearing.

In that moment I created more derivatives of the word “fuck” than ever existed before.

After floundering like this for a few moments, I finally collapsed on the floor again and cried. Not only was I in pain, but because of the history of my back and neck problems, I knew I was in for a long, full-body recovery and several visits to the chiropractor I didn’t have time for.

This is how I deal with conflict.

I get Uma Thurman mad, swear a lot, and kick a few things. There is much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth.

Sometimes this happens outwardly, and I flail about or throw something; sometimes when faced with conflict this happens inwardly, and I seethe in my own bitterness.

Either way, something’s not going the way I want it to, and woe to the obstacle blocking my path.

Telling a different story.

I’ve struggled with anger for as long as I can remember, and there’s not much you can tell me about how I’m supposed to act when facing conflict that I don’t already know. It’s not for lack of information that I lash out in rage, but for lack of character.

And this is what finally clicked for me while attending Don Miller’s Storyline Conference last weekend – in many ways, I tell a really shitty story with my life.

In the way I respond to conflict – or anything that doesn’t happen the way I expect it to – I tell the story of a God who criticizes, who is inflexible, withholding, and loves only when his expectations are met. I tell the story of a God who isn’t very much fun.

You may not see it this way from where you stand, but this is primarily the story I tell my kids. And when it comes to stories my kids will remember after I’m gone, I know I can tell better ones.

So going forward, when faced with conflict I will attempt to do less floundering and more reflecting; less swearing and more praying; less Eeyore-ing and more praising.

I want my kids to know the story of a God who loves unconditionally and walks us through our darkest moments with compassion.

Can admitting failure actually be a big WIN?


I’m co-hosting a baby shower tonight at a friend’s house. In the planning, I offered to create a hand made paper garland and bake a dessert, in addition to collecting up other various supplies and running errands for the event.

What was I thinking?

I didn’t create hand made paper garlands or bake desserts even when I wasn’t working! If you’ve been to my house you know I barely push a broom, much less get all Martha Stewarty.

Yet for some reason I feel this pressure to perform as a mother, to just make it work – as if Tim Gunn checks in on me every hour to see how the hem of my life is coming along.

(It’s fraying, Tim! Absolutely FRAYING.)

Last night I sent my friend a frantic email announcing I would instead be bringing store-bought streamers and dessert. As a fellow over-achiever, she completely understood.

Can admitting failure actually be a big WIN?


Tea Party Set By Ruthie

I have arrived at that magical parenting phase where I rarely have to get up off the couch. The kids want breakfast? Make some toast or get a cup of yogurt. Need a drink of water? Grab a stool and get the cup yourself.

But this new independence is not just about my laziness. It’s also about teaching my kids responsibility and giving them skills to take care of themselves (but it’s also about my laziness).

Ruthie is starting to want things. She wants fancy shoes, and her own phone, and longer hair.

But every piece of clothing she owns is on the floor right now, and the deck of cards is missing 23 cards, and the lamp shade has her name written on it in brown marker, and she never brushes her hair.

How can I give a phone to someone who never brushes her hair?

I want to control what she does and who she becomes, because sometimes being in control feels easier than trusting Jesus. At least in the moment, but not when it falls apart. So I do and say and think these crazy things to bend her to my will.

If I take away This, maybe she’ll learn. If I withhold That, maybe she’ll learn. If I say it fourteen times in three different languages, maybe she’ll finally get it.

I’m nearly forty, and I feel wise. Not know-it-all wise, but I’ve-been-in-your-shoes wise. Let-me-tell-you-a-story wise. There-once-was-a-time-when-I-dot-dot-dot wise.

I see that she is so much like me, and I’ve overcome so much to become who I am now. Refined by fire, as they say. I can’t wrap my mind around the next thirty-something years of her figuring it out – the detours, the missteps, the train wrecks.

But I did.

And she will.


keeper of the house

housework never looked so good

There are better house cleaners than me. This is fact.

I’m not in denial of it anymore, either. In fact, I wear this badge proudly. I see it as one of the benefits of approaching my 40’s – I really don’t care what you think about me anymore, because I know I’m awesome. And if you see a few dust bunnies under my dining room table? I think I’ll survive your quiet judgment.

In the summer my house gets particularly funky, what with all the being outside and all. This is why I never understood Spring Cleaning. Why clean like crazy in the Spring? I go crazy in the Fall when I become reacquainted with my broom and duster again.

But where I am lacking, Bryan takes up the slack. He ACTUALLY CLEANS the house, while I just make the house APPEAR clean with trick lighting and strategic furniture placement.

I used to feel guilty when he cleaned the house. I took it as a sign of my failure that I couldn’t manage to pick up a broom while he worked outside the home all week.

Lately I’ve been working on taking responsibility for my actions.

Instead of blaming my bad day or the fact that I’m too tired or something else came up, I simply accept the fact I am a little bit of a slob. This may sound like the opposite epiphany to have, but bear with me. If I admit I am a slob, then I can either change or live with it. No more making excuses or blaming someone else.

So now I practice thankfulness instead of guilt.

If Bryan cleans the house, I thank him for helping me instead of barking at it him that I CAN DO IT, ALRIGHT? I WAS JUST ABOUT TO DO THAT. And if I have to apologize because I played Plants vs Zombies all day instead of emptying the dishwasher, I apologize and thank him for picking up the slack.

Guilty feelings breed drama, and I’m kind of over the drama. I’d rather own it and move on.

hush. i’m thinking.

Self portrait

There are people in this world who go through life with very few regrets, and I’m not one of those people.

My inability to make a decision or figure out what to do next paralyzes me, and I find myself under the constant pressure of wondering whether I should be doing something different than what I’m doing at the moment.

It doesn’t matter whether the issue is big – should we visit my mom in the Midwest this summer or my in-laws in California? – or small – should we stay home and chill today or go for a hike? – I churn the options around in my gut, usually until a deadline forces me into a decision.

Often we end up doing nothing.

I feel like I regret everything. Even if it’s amazing and perfect and exactly what I needed, I still wonder if there’s something else I should have done.

Like today.

Today we stayed home and chilled, but I can’t stop wondering whether I’m squandering away the summer because we stayed home today. And then I remember Ruthie starts three weeks of day camp next week and won’t have a moment to relax, so I’m back to being content with my decision today. Until I’m back to wondering whether this is quality time with my daughter before she’s gone all day.

You see that wrinkle in my forehead between my eyes? That’s my frown wrinkle, though I prefer to think of it as my thinking wrinkle.

It sounds more justified.