7 Quick Takes: Car Buying, Sick Kids, and Jen Hating Planks

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Pick Jen’s Lenten Discipline 2015. The second annual “Pick Jen’s Lenten Discipline” giveaway starts today and goes for ~2 weeks. Click here for details.

— 2 —

Panic attack myths. If you get panic attacks or love someone who gets them, I highly recommend you read this.

— 3 —

Progress on the plank challenge. I accidentally abandoned it this weekend as I had too much going on and then was taking care of Daniel who decided to scare the pants off of me and spike a fever of 104F. Instead of going back and making up missed days, I decided to just do 4 60-second planks this morning… and found that being up for 60 seconds was a piece of cake… something that it hadn’t been at the beginning of the month.

— 4 —

Some interesting perspectives on the vaccination debate. There is an outbreak of measles stemming from an unvaccinated person and I’m seeing a lot of things left and right about it. There are parents writing letters to parents with unvaccinated children, someone on BuzzFeed showing what measles looks like, and someone talks about their kid having to be quarantined because someone brought a measles patient to the doctor and the kid was too young to vaccinate, forcing the parents to quarantine her for a month.

And as always, here’s the opposing viewpoint (who I do not endorse and think is seriously misguided).

— 5 —

Small world. I was my father-in-law’s “plus-one” for the Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Saturday and was walking with him to an accessible ramp for his walker when I hear the words, “Hello Jen!” I look up and it’s a seminary classmate of mine who is apparently representing the same pan-Lutheran group as my father-in-law. Once we found our assigned seats, he came back to where I was sitting and we caught up on the last 12 years since we have run into each other. It’s pretty pathetic that this is the first we’ve seen of each other because right now we live about 5 miles apart. Still, it was good to see him.

— 6 —

New Year’s resolution update. The read through the Bible is going well. I’ve gotten through Genesis and am in Exodus in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, I’m almost to the crucifixion scene in Matthew. I’ve also discovered some new Psalms (new to me, that is) that are really pretty.

— 7 —

Car-buying. Jon’s car decided to die on the 57 last Friday and repairs were going to be $3000. The car was only worth $1000 so we had to come up with another car for transportation. (The situation we’re in at the moment makes being a one-car family pretty impossible.) Thankfully, his mechanic had a used 2003 Volvo station wagon for sale and allowed us to purchase it for under the Kelly Blue Book value. (It is in impeccable condition.) Currently, I’m trying to get loan stuff done so I’d appreciate your prayers as I’m working on all of this over the weekend.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

Pick Jen’s Lenten Discipline!

Guess what time it is!!!!


I’m taking a page from one of my favorite authors and letting someone else pick my Lenten discipline for the year. I’m starting early this time to give whoever wins a chance to figure out what they want to pick and also ship me whatever they need to. (example: Kelly would need to ship me a hair shirt.)

The only rule is that it has to be doable and workable around my schedule with Daniel.

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Yarn Along: January 28, 2015

I’m linking up with Ginny of Small Things today and showing off what I’m reading and what I’m crocheting.

Big boy blankie and book.

The crocheting: I’m making a “big boy blankie” for Daniel because he is shredding his baby blanket. I’m hoping to get it done by his birthday in April. The yarn is Bernat Super Value in the Whirlpool colorway.

The book: Close Knit Killer by Maggie Sefton. It’s your basic cozy murder mystery but involving yarn.

Want to see what others are making and reading? Head on over!

Being a Titus 2 Woman in the 21st Century (II)

I was hoping to get this post up on Saturday but I was at a Gospel concert put on by the Claremont Interfaith Council in the afternoon and the Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral in the evening. (My father-in-law is super-involved with ecumenical things down here in Southern California and one of his colleagues is the ecumenical officer for the diocese so I’ve had the blessing of getting to go to the cathedral and sitting with the ecumenical guests or at least their plus-ones.) I spent my computer time last night up with a very sick little boy who decided to spike a 104F fever. (We thankfully got it down and he is headed to school tomorrow.)

The previous entry I posted on this subject had a pretty negative tone so I thought I’d talk about the positive “Titus 2 women” in my real life and online.

Mary Lenaburg: I’m sure Mary would be surprised to see her name on here (hopefully not all that surprised) but she is a huge encourager of everyone that finds themselves in her sphere. Seeing her life with her daughter Courtney (who went to be with Jesus after Christmas) has inspired me to be a better mother to Daniel and at times like last night when I was up with my sick kiddo, she sends me messages to let me know that she’s praying for me. Girlfriend also just captured the “Most Inspirational Blog” and “Miss Congeniality” awards in the Sheenazing awards this year and I can’t think of a more deserving person.

Michelle Lehnardt: I come from a pretty amazing family and yet I really wish Michelle and Erik would adopt me! Not only is she a phenomenal photographer, but Michelle has managed to raise 2 wonderful young men, has three fabulous teenagers, and one wonderful daughter. She is the first to name her shortcomings but she and her husband have managed to instill a sense of honor and kindness in their kids as well as an ability to find fun ways to include other people. Her oldest son Ben is back at BYU after serving a mission to Italy, her next son Stefan comes home from his mission to Russia in a few months, and her kids left in school are phenomenal musicians and quite bright.

My mother-in-law Victoria: We have a good relationship but we both have to work at it to make all that goes into sharing a house work. She knows just about everything about cleaning just about anything and she had ideas about the ways she wants things to work; but at the same time, she’s also willing to listen to what I have to say. She prays for me daily and is willing to listen and help me talk out a lot of stuff I’m dealing with in order to find a solution.

Lou Ellyn Griffin: I wish she had a blog because I would publicize it as much as I could. She and her family used to live down the street from my parents and her older daughters baby-sat for us. My brother and I were her pet and house sitters growing up and I worked for her during my summers from the time I was 10 until I was 19 with a couple summers off to be a camp counselor. The reason she’s on my list: she read me the Christmas story when I was six and made sure I knew that God loved me and that she would answer any questions I had. I took her up on it as a teenager and she is my godmother.

Dee Rheingans: Dee was one of our parishioners in Minnesota and a woman who is now in her 80’s. She is incredibly young at heart and she was honestly one of the best church women I could have had as a young pastor’s wife. She loved me for who I was, was wonderful about not giving advice unless I asked for it, and always willing to answer questions I had about how to do something, no matter how stupid the question probably seemed. She prayed for me every time I took my driving test (3rd time was the charm!) and I remember her leaving a message on our answering machine on a really snowy day telling me that she was laughing at the thought of me out playing in it. (At that point in time, I had only been out of California for 3 years and snow was still a novelty.)

I bring these women up as examples for others in the faith to try and emulate because they have a good relationship with my generation and I feel that others who want to be “Titus 2 women” can learn from them.

Being a Titus 2 Woman in the 21st Century (I)

(I’ve been wanting to write this entry for a long time and am only now getting around to it.)

I honestly can’t think of too many phrases that make my formerly fundie friends more twitchy than the words “Titus 2 woman”. What is a “Titus 2 woman” you ask? Well…

“Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.” (Titus 2:3-5)

It doesn’t sound that bad, right? I mean, I know a lot of young moms who could use encouragement.

The problem: most older women I deal with online and in person who subscribe to the thinking in this passage are the biggest scolds I’ve ever met. It seems like their sole reason for existence is to criticize people, give unwarranted advice, and try to get people to conform to their viewpoints. It is one of the reasons young women like myself don’t get involved with women’s ministry stuff at church (other than the fact that we have kids and probably can’t find a babysitter). It’s also a reason why a lot of us leave the church — why would we be part of a community of faith where all we hear is how “young people” are screwing things up?

So… here are a couple suggestions is my manifesto from my perspective as a pastor’s wife and as a young woman.

[+] Realize that the epistle to Titus has a specific context. One thing that drives me crazy is people just taking various verses that prove their point and using them in a completely different context than they were written. Paul was giving instructions to Titus on how the people of his church plants should behave so that none of the people in the area could find anything to criticize about them. This is applicable to today where you don’t want your church members’ behavior to reflect badly on the church but it isn’t a license to be critical of every freaking thing that people do.

[+] Realize that our lives today are different than yours was when you were raising your kids. Back in the day, women didn’t work outside the home, homeschooling wasn’t a thing, and girls were groomed specifically to manage a household. In the 21st century, we’re running a household and having a career because it’s probably not doable to live on just one salary. A lot of us stay-at-home moms (SAHM) would absolutely *LOVE* to work outside the home but it’s not feasible because of daycare costs. This is something that most of the older women I deal with haven’t faced. If you see us out grocery-shopping by ourselves, don’t ask nastily where the kids are and why we’re leaving them with our husbands. Our husbands probably came home and saw a dazed look on our faces and sent us out to shop for groceries alone to help us maintain our sanity. If you see us sitting in a coffee shop reading with our baby asleep in the car seat next to us, don’t make snippy remarks about how “I never got to do that when my kids were little.” We’re there reading as a way to get out of the house and decompress a bit to save our sanity.

[+] Realize that we probably don’t give a rat’s butt about your opinion on something because we’re concerned with other things. I had a parishioner (we’ll call her “Delilah”) who always had to give me her opinion on something I was doing… which was apparently always wrong. (This would be the same person who called me 30 minutes after I’d gotten home from being in the hospital for a week with the HELLP Syndrome and chewed me a new one because I wasn’t down in Great Falls with Daniel. Almost six years later, I’m *STILL* angry about that.) It got to the point where I would be sneaking around the church and checking the parking lot at the grocery store to see if Delilah was there so I wouldn’t get ambushed by her. She actually wanted to lead the youth group because she had some things to say about how messed up the youth are these days. (The kids actually had a code word that they used to warn each other about her coming up behind them.) I don’t think she realized that when she was berating me, I was usually planning blog entries in my head, figuring out how to pay Jon’s self-employment tax (clergy are considered self-employed by the IRS), making a grocery list, or doing any number of things instead of listening to her. Seriously, if we want your opinion on something, we’ll ask for it. Otherwise, accept that you’re wasting our time and leave us alone.

[+] Unless you gave birth to us or have legally adopted us, quit attempting to parent us. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been told that someone has a kid my age/someone is old enough to be my mother, I could pay off Jon’s college and seminary loans in one shot. Really, I have a mother. We’re incredibly close. I don’t need another one. I’d rather deal with you as a peer.

[+] Respect is earned, not automatically given. My mama raised me to be polite to people but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to respect you just because you happen to be older than me. Respect is a two-way street and it does not mean that I have any respect for you just because I happen to be polite. For example, I live with my in-laws. Having two alpha women sharing a house can be really tricky. What makes it possible for everything to work is the fact that my mother-in-law respects me enough to let me do things my way most of the time and I respect her enough to ask her how she would like certain things to be done. (It is her house, after all.) She has shown me in the 14.5 years I’ve known her that while she has opinions on how things should work (LOTS of opinions), she trusts that I am capable of getting things done correctly and sometimes even better than her way. In return, I value what she has to say even if I choose to go in a different direction with something.

[+] Understand that generalizations about “young people” are going to turn us off of hearing what you have to say. In Jon’s last parish, one of the things that drove me crazy was the complaining about “young people”. Apparently, we can’t read music (I can sing harmony on hymns and sightread choir music like nobody’s business), we can’t cook (said to me by someone who was eating a pesto pasta dish I made from scratch with pesto made from the basil grown in my garden), we only like “holy roller rock n’ roll worship” (ummm… not my generation — we go for the traditional stuff), and we don’t want to be involved with the church (yeah… Bible studies at 2:30 p.m. don’t work for women who have jobs). First off, the “young people” in question are 50-60 years old and were run out of the parish by people who didn’t attempt to listen to what they had to say. Secondly, why would we want to stay in a place where everything we do is wrong, where we’re blamed for the church declining, and where people tell us they want our kids there but give us the stink eye if our kids make one sound during worship? This goes back to understanding that our lives are different from yours. We need a church where the childcare isn’t just the mother who happens to be there with her 4 kids and is forced to decamp to the nursery where her kids run around and play while she feels completely banished and disconnected from the people worshiping. We need a church which has something for women who have to work. We need a church which listens to us and asks us in what areas we need to be fed. In short, we need you to be open to what we need in the year 2015 and not just do things a certain way because it’s the way that it has always been done.

[+] Speak words of encouragement to us, not words of criticism. In Jon’s last parish, there was a woman named Joyce who made it her mission to encourage Jon and I. She would find something to praise about Daniel even if it was that he was “exuberant” during worship, she always found something in Jon’s sermon to praise, and she made sure to compliment me on whatever I did. Her birthday was the same day as mine and I always had a beautiful card from her and a phone call on that day. She suffered a stroke about three weeks before we left and when I walked into her hospital room and introduced myself, her family all hugged me and told me that they had heard such wonderful things about me from her. Did that completely make my day? You betcha. I’m not saying that I’m perfect — I will be the first one to enumerate my many flaws — but having someone telling me about the good I was doing made me want to try harder in various areas of my life. She died the day we arrived in Claremont and while I was really bummed that I couldn’t be at her funeral, I had stories of how she impacted my life that I was able to tell to the colleague of Jon’s who performed it.

[+] Rather than harp on how you had things so hard when you were in our shoes, try to make it better for us so that we don’t have to suffer the way you did. When I have “Titus 2″ women harping on me about how they didn’t get to do ________/have ____________ when they were my age/when their kids were little, I usually want to suggest in my completely snarky way that maybe that’s why they need to do ______________ so that young mothers in their lives don’t have the same problem. An example: I was sitting and reading at a coffee shop near where I used to live in Montana with Daniel in his carrier beside me. “Delilah” (whom I spoke of earlier) came in and when she saw me, she felt she had to tell me that she *NEVER* had time to herself when she had babies or young kids. I really wanted to tell her that this is why she should be offering to babysit, not criticizing me for actually doing something that was keeping me mentally healthy. (Daniel was also asleep and totally fine in his carrier so it’s not like I was ignoring him.) Does a mom at church seem harried as she’s trying to keep her toddler quiet? Maybe you should offer to take the kiddo for a walk around the church so she can focus on worship and you should definitely stop giving her the stink eye. Yeah, I’m sure your kids were perfect in church and you’ve told me that you practiced making them sit for 15 minutes quietly. However… neither of your kids (who live at the opposite end of the local Amtrak route to get as far away from you as possible) had autism or the developmental delays that Daniel had.

This has gotten to be a pretty long entry so I’m going to cut things off here and resume tomorrow with a list of women in my life who are worthy of being referred to as “Titus 2 women”.

7 Quick Takes: NFC Championship Game, Police Lip-Syncing, and

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

NFC Championship Game. I was watching the game in Seattle with my extended family which was pretty entertaining because Green Bay was shutting out Seattle until almost the 4th Quarter… and then came back to win in OT. I think it’s probably for the best that my long-suffering sister-in-law (she’s married to my evil twin) wasn’t watching the game with us — she’s a Green Bay fan and there would have been some good-natured abuse directed at her.

— 2 —

Crocheting. The yarn for Daniel’s big boy blanket arrived just as I was leaving on Friday so I stuffed a couple skeins into my laptop bag and started the blanket while flying to Seattle. I’m almost two skeins in and had to order more because I’m pretty sure that the 5 skeins I have are not enough. Oh well… I’ve got about 2.5 months to get this done and I can catch-up on all my TV stuff while I work on it.

— 3 —

Apparently, some people think I’m “sheenazing”. Click on the image to vote for me in the “Best Blog by a Non-Papist” category. Please and thank you. :)

I'm Sheenazing.

While you’re voting, I’d really appreciate your votes for Mary of Passionate Perseverance in the “Most Inspiring Blog” and the “Miss Congeniality” categories. She deserves to win both this year purely because of how much encouragement she gave to us other moms of special needs kids while she was watching her daughter Courtney slowly die. She is honestly a bright spot in the Catholic blogosphere.

— 4 —

Totes amused. I have relatives who are in law enforcement so I’m finding this pretty awesome. :)

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I know a Taylor Swift song…

— 5 —

This is pretty cool. A Massachusetts teacher won $150,000 and donated it all back to the school. Ellen had her on the show and gave her a few surprises. This video seriously restores some of my faith in humanity and it also makes me love Target even more.

— 6 —

Coming attractions. I tried writing the post on being a Titus 2 woman last night but fell asleep. I’m going to try and get it up this weekend.

— 7 —

New Year’s resolution updates. Today’s plank time was 3 minutes. I am having some bursitis issues so I’m having to do a modified version of it. I tried being up for the whole 3 minutes but had to quit halfway because Jon needed to get into our room to get ready for pastoral meetings. (I was doing the plank on the floor of our bedroom.) Oh well… I can try for the whole 3 minutes tomorrow!

The Bible reading is on track and I’m really enjoying it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: MLK Day 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window… dark. It’s technically after midnight on January 20th but I’m doing a continuous day.

I am thinking… about various things from my weekend.

I am thankful… for an AMAZING weekend with extended family in Seattle — I’ve really missed this in the last couple of years because of the cost and because Daniel wasn’t ready for it yet. He definitely “showed” well and I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures.

In the kitchen… nothing at the moment. I cleaned everything up before I went online. I also haven’t really cooked today because it was a travel day.

I am wearing… light gray v-neck and black sweats.

I am praying for… Mary, a call for Jon, and some special intentions.

I am going… to sleep pretty soon.

I am wondering… if the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl.

I am reading… Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews. I’m also keeping steady on the Bible reading plan.

I am hoping… to at least keep up on the 30-day plank challenge. (I’m having to do a modified plank position because of a bursitis flare up in my foot.

I am looking forward to… sleep.

I am hearing… Jon’s CPAP machine.

Around the house… all dark and quiet. Again it’s 12:30 a.m. here.

A favorite quote for today…“Ninjas? In Oklahoma!?!?!?!?!?” (My parents have addicted me to “The Librarians”.)

One of my favorite things… quiet and sleep. (Can you tell I’ve been up since 4 a.m.?)

A few plans for the rest of the week: choir concert on Saturday, class for church on Wednesday night, and whatever else comes up.

A peek into my day… I’ve been nominated for a Sheenazing Award in the “Best Blog by a Non-Papist”. I’d *LOVE* votes. (Hint. Hint.) Click on the image to vote. I’m ::Meditatio::.

Sheenazing nominee.

If you want a list of the other nominees, click here. The only other vote-related request I have is to vote for Mary of Passionate Perseverance in the “Most Inspirational” category and the “Miss Congeniality” category. Girlfriend is awesome in every way (but especially those) and her awesomness needs some recognition.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.