I have always been a texter. Pretty much as soon as that was an option for communication I adopted it as my primary method. I was a wiz at typing through the number pad, and then my world changed forever when I upgraded to an iPhone (and a full keyboard) after Danny was born. A few upgrades later when autocorrect really took hold I got even faster, but like everyone who interacts with an autocorrect feature (on a phone or anywhere, really) I have to be careful.

There are entire tumblr accounts dedicated to the hilarious and often obscene things that autocorrect has done to people’s conversations. I don’t think I’ve ever texted anything all that hysterical (though one time I got a text from my husband saying the neighbors “car” had run into the window when he meant “cat”) but I have definitely sent my share of nonsense.

The last year has required more texting than ever it seems, and a combination of autocorrect and my own typo has given me my most consistent error of 2020 (and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with a duck).

Often when I intend to write “love” I actually write “live”.

This means that I say that “I’d live to do that”, describe something as a “labor of live” or emphasize something by saying “I live that!”

Sometimes it means I send a text saying “I live you”. And sometimes I don’t correct it, even when I see it in the split second where my finger hovers over the send button.

Because, for me, life is nearly synonymous with love. It is “to love” and “to be loved” woven together so tightly, they become the vessel that holds your entire soul.

So if I ever text you I live something, know that it probably isn’t what I meant. But I totally do.


I remember, as a kid, looking over the forecast for my birthday one year and being so disappointed to see “Partly Cloudy” – complete with a little picture of a sun almost entirely obscured by clouds – next to a day I had hoped would be perfect weather for swimming. When I complained about my misfortune to my Mom, she told me that it was actually a really good forecast – that “partly cloudy” in reality was usually mostly sunny. I was relieved! But I was also confused…like why don’t they just say that then?

I eventually did learn that there is a lot of nuance in the terminology that meteorologists use when describing the weather and that the use of “partly cloudy” wasn’t as strange as it seemed to me in elementary school. Still – the National Weather Service applies that term to days when between 3/8 and 5/8 of the sky is covered in clouds (which is also, humorously the way they define a day as “partly sunny”). That means that my Mom was right (as usual!); the math supports a decent chance that a partly cloudy day will be beautiful weather.

We don’t tend to use quite as much nuance when we describe our own emotional forecast. When someone asks how we are doing, we often offer the terminal response: “fine!” or, these days “as well as can be expected”.

Sometimes if things are particularly bleak we will offer more details. After all, there is comfort to be found in sharing your struggles. Having a community to pray with you and for you is such a blessing and there is no reason not to reach out for support.

But I wonder, if after a season of clouds, we don’t start to become pretty unreliable weathermen. The storm is passing over, but we aren’t looking for the sun anymore; even as we feel the warmth on our faces we are afraid to admit it, lest we be disappointed by the shadows.

I wonder how many of our bad days might be better described as “partly cloudy”. If we are labeling the entire day a wash out, based on between 3/8-5/8 of the sky. How often have we been so caught up in the frustration of an afternoon downpour, we have allowed it to overwrite what might have otherwise been a sunny day.

I know it isn’t always possible…but what would happen if on some of our 3/8 days, if asked how we were doing, we boldly replied “I’m mostly happy!”

Because even in this season of chaos and madness…we are sometimes mostly happy.

Why don’t we just say that then?


I’m not sure anything makes us more uniquely human than the power to make choices. We make hundreds of choices a day and probably don’t think much about it. We shape up our hours and our days and our lives with the choices that we make, and yet we often feel so out of control.

When I saw this word on the list for today, I thought back to my high school years. I was meeting with a therapist, in the process of recovering from a particularly traumatic period of time. One day, in defense of something she was challenging me on, I said “I didn’t have a choice”.

She responded with something I hear in my head to this day: “Of course you did, we almost always have a choice. You just didn’t have a choice you liked.”

At the time that was not information I wanted to hear – in fact it is information that someone who has chosen poorly never wants to hear – but it was very true. Choosing between two “bad” choices still comes with a responsibility.

All choices have consequences and some of them are immediate and some develop slowly like film in a dark room. We don’t have a choice about whether or not Danny rides a school bus this year, but the choice we made about what school he would attend was what set that in motion. I don’t have control over what his days look like in hybrid secondary education, but I made the election to send him.

There are things that are out of our control, of course. There will be storms, illnesses, catastrophic events truly beyond the scope of our individual actions. In the cases where we can’t control what happens to us, the only choice we get is how we respond.

And in my life, those are the choices I am much more likely to regret.

Why? I think it is because I think about them a lot less. I could spend more time deciding what coffee to order than how to respond to an internet troll. I might make lists of pros and cons for weeks when I’m trying to determine at school placement for one of the boys but immediately spiral into anxious despair over a few bad tests.

I need to remember that even if my options look bad, I can regain control by refusing to believe the worst and choosing to hope for the best.


There were many difficult things about the earliest days of the pandemic, but the hardest thing for me – more complicated even than tracking down toilet paper – was trying to explain the restrictions to my youngest son. He went to sleep one night and woke up to a very different world. I didn’t have the words to explain it to myself, let alone to my baby boy.

His was the first of the quarantine birthdays for our family, the first to wade through the murky waters of celebrating without the usual routines. As a preschooler, his isolation was especially profound. Playgrounds were closed, and the schools never found a way to truly facilitate the special education preschool over distance. We had our zoom meetings and virtual gatherings; his brother found some community connecting with his friends on Roblox.

But Ezra…he had us. And that was it.

We did everything we could to make it a good, if small, world for him.

When we did see people, outdoors and through windows, we tried to prepare him for the reality of what that visit was going to look like. Ezra’s first instinct in social situations is to give hugs and kisses and be as physically close as possible; the polar opposite of what was necessary.

We tried explaining the virus; how dangerous it was and how important it was not to pass it around. That we didn’t want him to get sick. He was unimpressed with those concerns.

What eventually made a dent in his understanding, however, was when we emphasized that WE could be sick, and that it was important to protect our friends and family. When his focus changed from protecting himself to protecting his people, he dutifully accepted the rules.

That is the nature of sacrifice; you put aside what best serves you in favor of a higher need, or higher cause. Life is full of big and small sacrifices, some as small as the time it takes to let someone step in front of you in line; some as big as your life and safety in defense of a nation, or an ideal.

For Ezra, this was a big one. He was only 4, so what he was asked to lay at the altar of quarantine was nearly all he had.

It was devastating to watch, but I took solace in knowing that this is the kind of sacrifice that Jesus sees particular beauty in.

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44

This last year has demanded a lot of sacrifice; offerings which were not evenly expected of us. It was and is financially, emotionally and physically expensive to be human in this season.

It says in 2 Corinthians that “God loves a cheerful giver”, but in the passage above, nothing about the widow’s demeanor is mentioned. Only Jesus’s interpretation of her offering and what it said about her soul.

If this year broke your spirit and took all that you had; if your offering was presented through tears and gritted teeth: take heart. Your gift is precious; great is your reward in the eyes of the Father.