Family Care

The Tightwad Gazette: Timeless Financial Advice for Your Family

What financial advice stands the test of time?

Financial advice must go beyond simple math lessons. The important stuff doesn’t have anything to do with cereal coupons or BOGO sales at the QuickMart. The best financial advice starts in our minds and hearts, giving us the right motivations and perspective on how we’re spending our money.

Years ago I was a fairly hysterical young wife and mother. And I mean hysterical in the “hey, that lady in the library’s budgeting section should be medicated,” not the “ha-ha, she’s funny kind of way.” 

I had a lot of goals for our family and we didn’t have buckets of gold dropping from the clouds. I turned my energy to learning everything I could about frugal living, budgeting, and stretching our income.

The dream that keeps on giving, I tell you

And this is where The Complete Tightwad Gazette  (*affiliate link) came into our lives, for better or worse. I found a copy in our little bitty library, a giant, 959-page tome of light shining into our financial situation. Amy Dacyczyn was a woman not unlike myself– a mother who wanted to raise her family in a certain way, and she was going to require some ninja-level skills to achieve her dreams.

Her dream was to have a big family (six kids!), live in the country in a charming old farmhouse, and not use daycare. This was a tall order, even back in the 80s and 90s.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette is a compilation of all her ninja-level frugal living skills, bound up for us today. But let’s be honest– we’re not living in 1992 anymore. Some of the advice in the book is now a bit laughable. For example, there are several entries on how to save money on stamps and envelopes. I can’t even imagine worrying about envelopes today. There’s also an article on saving money with CD membership programs, and some random advice on powdered milk.


So let’s skip all that and get right to the stuff that still applies to our lives today. Here’s the financial advice from Amy Dacyczyn that changed my life, and my family’s future. I’m confident this still applies for your family, too.

Set your family’s goals, then work relentlessly to meet them.

There’s no point to frugal living or budgeting if you don’t have a goal. Even if your plans are as simple as Save enough to pay off the last doctor’s visit, that’s fine. But the goals and the priorities are the place we all start.

It’s okay to live a counter cultural life to reach those goals.

Listen, it wasn’t normal to have a passel of kids and live in a huge old farmhouse in 1992, either. The Dacyczyns were weirdos even then. But they didn’t care. They were willing to wear garage-sale clothing and become DIY experts to live the life they envisioned. Nothing has changed in that regard.

It takes big and small sacrifices to reach the most important goals.

The most worthwhile goals require more than switching to the cheap toilet paper or using a coupon for coffee. We might have to severely limit our housing costs, our grocery bills, our insurance costs, and then still micromanage the tiny expenses.

It’s worth it in the end.

The Dacyczyns made their choices and lived with them happily. They got their big old farmhouse and raised their big old family there. They drank reconstituted powdered milk and ate produce from their own garden, exactly the way they wanted to live. Your goals might be completely different, but you can revel in your own success when you achieve what’s best for your family.

Those are my favorite bits of the Dacyczyn story. Sure, I benefited from their muffin recipe and giggled at the article on dumpster diving. But really, their life gave me the courage to set our own goals and then to be content with the sacrifices those goals required.

It’s what this entire blog is about, all these years later.

I hope you’ll pick up your own copy of the Tightwad Gazette, and let me know what works for you!


 

Encouragement for Young Wives and Mothers: You are doing a great job. You’re not goofing this up at all. Pinky Promise.

I’m here to give encouragement to young women of all kinds.

I write to all of you, whether you’re married, single, up to your ears in children, or not.

You have this in common: you’re twenty-something-ish,  you’re a female, and you’re quite, quite sure you’re making a huge mess of everything.

Your romantic life and/or marriage feels like it’s in a shambles. Every day is full of irritations and possibly screaming fights. Or maybe it’s full of…nothing. Mr. Perfect has not yet made his appearance. Something must be wrong with you.

Your career is nothing like what you thought it would be. Instead you have a gazillion dollars of student loans hanging from your neck while you sit in a gray cubicle too many hours a week. Or maybe you’re home with the children and the student loans hang around your neck, which is a super terrible combination to endure. You must have gone wrong somewhere.

Your home is absolutely coming apart at the seams. The carpet is old and dirty, none of the appliances match, and you can’t find where that smell is coming from. You really should be better at this. 

Your children appear to be hooligans in the making. You are fully convinced your efforts to parent are wasted, because obviously if you were doing it right you’d have angels and happiness and possibly unicorns dancing in and out of rainbows all day.

encouragement for wives and mothers

 

Dear friends, you are wrong about all of this. This is the encouragement you need.

I’m willing to guarantee that you feel like a mess and a failure, but in reality you’re doing just fine. 

I’m about to turn forty in a few weeks, and I had the luck to come of age when Pinterest wasn’t a thing. I wasn’t assaulted with perfect images of clean houses or twenty-nine crafts to do with my toddler on a rainy afternoon.

When it rained my toddlers and I muddled through the day, watched a lot of Baby Einstein, ate some crackers, and took a nap.

Guess what– those toddlers are now 13 and 11 and they’re becoming truly wonderful people. They were not emotionally stunted by my lackluster crafting schedule.

I didn’t feel like my house needed to look like a showcase, because Instagram wasn’t reminding me sixty-two different ways of how beautiful a home can look when actual people don’t live there.

Waaaaay back in the day, Facebook was used for fun things like pregnancy announcements and requests to borrow a chainsaw. We finally all got smartphones and then things got ugly, when we could show the world our children’s perfect Halloween costumes or how matchy-matchy our living room sets were. Date nights turned into an opportunity to prove how deeply, madly in love we are with our partners.

Welcome to my real life. This is how my coffee table looks most days.
Girls, I’m forty years old and my coffee table looks like this every day. We never get it all together. NOR DO WE NEED TO.

Let’s blame the smartphones

I think that’s when things began to go seriously downhill. I blame the smartphones for it all.

And you, my sweet sisters, are doing the hard work of becoming adults with a constant assault of this nonsense in your faces all day long. No wonder you feel tired and ashamed and mismatched.

What you need is a double dose of encouragement, right?

You’re doing great, I promise. You’re loving your family, you’re taking great care of your home, and you’re working really, really hard. Show yourself some grace and choose some reasonable standards instead of that nonsense on the screen. Go find an older friend and inhale her perspective like the breath of fresh air it will be.

Tell her you’re going crazy and you need some help. She’ll remember how hard early girlyhood can be, and she’ll help you straighten things right out.

And if all else fails, don’t forget to nap and eat some crackers when it rains.

Young moms– I wrote a book just for you! There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse is chock full of ridiculous stories and encouragement to get you through your days. Plus, there’s a ton of biblical advice in there, too. Click here to buy from Amazon!Encouragement for moms! There's a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse

Family Stress? Here are some resources to help!

I don’t believe there has been a family relationship in the history of the world that’s stress free. In fact, of all the stresses we face, the very people we love the most often cause us the most angst. Who spends all our money? Who messes up our house? Who keeps us up all night? Who calls our very sanity into question on an hourly basis?

Family.

Blessed, blessed family.

I’d like to offer you wise counsel on how to manage your family relationships with as little stress as possible, but that’s not going to happen because 1) I am vastly unqualified for this responsibility and 2) there is no end to the kinds of family drama we all face. I could write for days and not scratch the surface.

family-stress

 

But have no fear. I’ve gathered an assortment of resources to help! I asked friends on Facebook for help, so many of these suggestions came from others. I hope you find exactly the thing you need to help your family succeed.

  • Focus on the Family and Family Life Today: Two classic resources for Christian families.
  • Jackie Bledsoe: His ministry is focused on building strong marriages. Check out his Date Night in a Box! It’s a free resource he offers on the site. (No, seriously. Go sign up for it right now. The “Drive-In Movie” suggestions are adorable and racy.)
  • The Happy Wives Club: Fawn Weaver’s a happy wife and she wanted to find other happy wives. She’s written a book called the Argument Free Marriage, and swears this is possible. (Eric and I are almost there, but we must admit to some intense conversations when we discuss whether or not the cat needs to continue living in our house.) ((Eric’s worried my plans to have the cat euthanized will “emotionally scar the children.”))
  • Care for the Family: My friend David recommended this site, and it has to be good because David’s been married for many years and has five children. He seems to have all his faculties firmly in tact at this point, so he must know something. (Also, the podcasts will help you perfect your British accent.)
  • Ministry Mom: Cheri Gamble’s website has resources to help us raise godly children. (Thanks for the suggestion, Barbara!)
  • Common Sense Media: I think we all have trouble monitoring the flood of media that comes at our family. My friend Jennifer recommends this website to help sort out the good, from the bad, from the worst.
  • The National Center for Biblical Parenting and Christian Mom Thoughts are two websites my friends Deb and Peter have used as they built a strong, united family.
  • Protect Young Minds: Pornography is way, way too easy to find in our own homes these days. This website helps us talk to our kids, and I’m so thankful my friend Scott brought it to my attention!

Thanks so much to all the readers who gave suggestions! If you have others, include them in the comments below.

And may your children behave tonight, may your spouse bring you flowers/not burn dinner/stop spending money, and may your cat not poop on the carpet again. May we all have stress-free evenings in our homes.

Amen.

***And also– I have an eBook for you, just Click Here! It’s a devotional on stress, so if these resources aren’t quite enough, let’s go try the Bible to see what it has to say. Wait. We should start with the Bible. But too often we don’t, and then we make the mess even messier. Let’s turn that around starting today!***

When the dark, black doom of math homework falls over your Monday afternoon

I’m standing in the kitchen right now, with one eyelid twitching and a migraine starting somewhere in the middle of my brain.

A few feet away from me, my husband and son are wrestling the most ghastly page of math homework we’ve seen to date. Every problem is taking us, two college educated adults, at least five minutes to figure out so we can help him. There’s multiplying and dividing and evening up and possibly sacrificing a goat.

Thankfully I had to step away from the situation to make dinner. I don’t know what’s going on over there, but no one is having a good time.

We love this child. We don’t want him to grow up to be a dullard, but I think maybe it’s time to consider career paths that don’t include fractions.

For example, ballerina. OSHA inspector. Race car driver, banana harvester, cowboy.

Perhaps gym teacher, barber, or even mail man.

Caleb says the race car driver seems pretty cool to him, but the banana harvester thing might be okay, too. Well, hallelujah. We’ve narrowed down our options.

Romans 8:26Parenting is going to be the death of me, I swear. How on earth am I going to move these children through middle school to adulthood? Is this even a possible thing that might occur? I see friends with older kids and those children are actually growing up and moving out. It seems like magic. I certainly don’t know the secret of making it happen.

But then again, I see our young friends who have little children, and they’re still staring down potty training like it’s a magic occurrence. They have no idea how to get those kids out of diapers and into the next stage of life. And all I can tell them is that you try and fail and try and fail about three hundred times, and then eventually the kid gets it.

All the stress of life seems to be insurmountable in the middle of the challenge, doesn’t it? Whether it’s math homework or potty training or ministry or career problems, the stress we’re currently facing might need a big of magic to get us through.

But what if we had something more powerful than mere magic? What if the power of God rested on us and the Holy Spirit was able to help us beyond human capabilities? Wouldn’t that be better than relying on our own strength or ingenuity?

(Yes.) ((The only answer to that is yes.))

As I’ve been writing, things have calmed down on the homework front. We’ve thrown in the towel for the night and written a note to the teacher to help us all out. WE NEED THE TEACHER TO HELP US OUT, pretty please and thank you.

And in regular life, the part of life that doesn’t include stupid fractions, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to get us through. So today, if you’re facing a giant stressful page of math homework that’s about to kill you, I suggest you take a break and pray about it.

And if you’re facing anything else, I’m quite convinced God is good at many things, even when they don’t involve the black doom of math homework. Write your metaphorical note to the teacher and ask for his help!

***Are you interested in an eBook to help you with your stress? I’ve written a little devotional just for you! Click Here!
And thanks for reading. I appreciate it so much.***

 

 

 

Money problems? Here are a ton of great resources for you!

I think most of us know we’re living in the most prosperous and fortunate society the world has ever seen. We understand that electricity and running water and furnaces are miracles we take for granted every day.

But this knowledge doesn’t help a family whose bank account is empty. Money problems don’t understand living in a prosperous society. When a person doesn’t know if she has enough money in the checking account to pay for the gas she needs to get to work– or, even worse, if her credit cards are also maxed out and she has absolutely no more options– it doesn’t really matter if she’s living in the first world. The pain is keen.

We can be very, very poor in the middle of very wealthy people. And that is stressful.

Even when our situations aren’t quite so dire, many of us face more outgo than income. And some of us have made terrible decisions and have to live with those consequences. No matter the cause, the stress is pretty much the same.

resources for financial problems

 

Luckily for us, there are tons and tons of great people who are ready to help. I’ve spent decades seeking out the best financial resources, and here are some of my old favorites and new finds.

  • Crown Financial Ministries: This is the best financial ministry I’ve found, and they have tons and tons of resources to help your family manage money in a God-honoring way.
  • Dave Ramsey: If you need someone to give you a swift kick in the pants to finally get your money under control, Dave’s willing to be that foot. Bless his blunt little heart.
  • His and Her Money: I just found this site last week and I love it so much. Talaat and Tai have a podcast, excellent advice, and– my favorite part– tons of success stories. The stories and interviews cover a wide range of salaries and debt amounts, which doubles the fun. Most of their interviews have links to new resources for financial management. You can spend all afternoon following rabbit trails of money advice around the internet!
  • iheartbudgets.net: What I love about Jacob is that he has the humility to admit he blew through $100,000 before he came to his senses. And now he tells us all about it, helping us avoid that same catastrophe. Read his story– it’s awesome.
  • sixfiguresunder.com: This family is working like crazy to pay off all of their debt from law school. They post their monthly progress right on the homepage, which is awesome, but they also have great articles about frugal living and budgeting.
  • modestmoney.com: If the above resources aren’t enough, this site has pages of other sites you might want to visit. You can stay busy for days just learning about personal finances.

Have I missed any of your favorites? Let me know!

College Debt: Yikes. (But here’s a good resource for us all!)

Have you noticed the rising problem of college debt lately?

Eric and I graduated from college many years ago, shortly after the horse and buggy fell out of fashion, but just before women won the right to vote. I believe Chester A. Arthur may have been President.

Just kidding. It was only about 17-15 years ago, depending on which one of us you’re quizzing over our educational history, and Clinton was definitely President. But in those years a lot has changed about college– mostly the price.

The kids and I spent some time at an educational Expo last week, so I’ve been in college planning mode for days. Our county now has a cooperative between the local school districts and the community college, giving our students an opportunity to dual enroll in high school and college classes. If they complete the program they leave a “5th” year of high school with an associates degree they don’t have to pay a dime for.

Not only is the degree completely free, the options are fabulous!

The kids will be able to tailor their studies to things they’re especially interested and gifted in, which is one trillion times better than slogging through some advanced math class they’ll never use again. It sounds like Kalamazoo County isn’t the only one doing this sort of Early Middle College, so check out the options where you live. It might save you $80,000,000.

Or whatever two years of college costs.

how to pay for collegeDon’t worry. We have a helpful book to the rescue.

But also, I found a book called Beating the College Debt Trapby Alex Chediak, (affiliate link) in our local library this weekend. If you have tweens or teens, just go ahead and buy the book. It’s written to the prospective students, giving them loads of advice on wise educational choices. Advice like this:

What’s at stake here? Nothing less than the rest of your life. Going to college is the most expensive decision you’ve ever made. The consequences of how you pay for it will be with you into your twenties, thirties, and beyond. Will you be able to take that dream job you’d love to have but that doesn’t pay well? Buy a house someday? Get married? Start having kids? Stay home with your kids? Start a business? Leave for the mission field? Today you either set yourself up for success or failure. Freedom or bondage. Peace or stress. You decide. (from Beating the College Debt Trap, pg. 19)

These are some of the exact things we talk about in If I Plug My Ears, God Can’t Tell Me What to Do. The choices we make today affect how much room we have to follow God in the years to come. Of course a good education is vital, but it doesn’t have to come from a four year program that costs $80,000,000. We never know what God will bring to our future, so it’s always wisest to spend wisely.

(I seem to be stuck on eighty million dollars today. It’s the number of the day, I guess.)

But anyway, Chediak gives us things to think about before it’s too late. Go find his book and start talking with your kids. They’ll roll their eyes now, but thank you profusely all through their 20s and 30s.

Maybe my minivan is a tiny, mobile mission field

A lot of horrible things happen in my minivan.

It smells like damp boots and a lost french fry.

The radio blasts music that makes my ears bleed.

There’s often a lot of whining, begging for McDonald’s, and arguments, and sometimes it’s even the children who are doing those things.

(Mostly it’s me.)

The heater isn’t sufficient for our 1 degree Michigan winter mornings and it’s possible I have a hobo living in the backseat, if the stuff back there is any indication.

But also, it’s a prayer closet as my kids flop out the door and head into the middle school.

It’s a counselor’s couch as our family talks about school and work and friends.

It’s a transport device that helps us care for the ones we love the most– bringing food and friendship and sometimes loads from IKEA.

It’s a quiet space where silence can reign and God can speak (once everyone gets out and leaves me in peace). Days can be rearranged according to a plan that isn’t mine.

It’s entirely possible my minivan is a tiny, mobile mission field.
Albeit one with a musty smell and a possible hobo.

What goes on in your vehicle?

 

Mushy Peas: Something American Mothers Don’t Force Kids to Eat

 

[My friend David and I are simultaneously posting about peas today. Click here for his side of the debate.]

What looks like baby food, tastes like baby food, and is, in fact, probably baby food?

Mushy peas.

Americans everywhere are wrinkling noses in confusion. They’re running through memories of all kinds of peas– frozen peas, snap peas, canned peas, sweet peas– but not coming up with anything resembling mushy peas.

For today’s blog I went to the largest grocery store in Kalamazoo and searched the international food aisle for genuine mushy peas. I did find digestive biscuits, weird tomato sauce, and something called barley water. But no mushy peas.

This was the best I could do after searching two separate aisles at length:

Picture this in a little paper cup, like we put ketchup in at a fast food restaurant. Now you have exactly the idea.
Picture this in a little paper cup, like we put ketchup in at a fast food restaurant. Now you have exactly the idea.

A few months ago on Facebook, my friend David mentioned this international approach to an already sketchy vegetable and we were all grossed out. They’re basically pre-chewed peas, it appears.

When we were in Ireland I found a pub that served gluten-free fish and chips, a delight I haven’t been able to eat for almost six years. The meal was served with a little container of mushy peas, so I had my chance to try them.

Um, no. No good. My kids and my husband weren’t fans, either. Not even my own mother liked them, the very woman who forced me to eat peas from 1977 to 1994.

We asked the waiter how he liked mushy peas. And he made a little grimace and said, “Well, then. I don’t like the fish.”

Which was a random sort of thing to say, we thought. But after clarifying what he meant, it turns out mushy peas are always served with fish and chips. They go together, or so it is believed in the general area that is not America. Maybe nowhere else on the globe except England and Ireland, I don’t know.

I’m glad my British friend likes mushy peas, I really am. I’m glad everyone has different things they like and hate, different strengths and weaknesses. I’m glad God thought to add some variety to his creation and how we respond to it, because the variety adds a lot of fun and delight for us all.

But I’m not really that glad for the peas themselves, really.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10

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Nothing to See Here; We’re Just Four American Protestants in the Middle of Mass

In an ultimate display of cultural bravery, we took the kids to a Catholic Mass while in Ireland. My mother, a life-long Catholic, wanted to attend Mass on Sunday. I thought it would be a great experience for the kids, and quite frankly, I love a lot of things about the Catholic Church.

I love the quiet reverence of their services, the way they sing worship songs, and the way a homily can last ten minutes. (American Protestant preachers, take note.)

The priest at the church in Adare was perfect. If I had searched for a year to cast the role of Irish Priest in a movie, I couldn’t have come up with a better candidate. He was elderly and wore his robes with dignity. His accent was so thick I only picked up half his words, but I could follow along with the written prayers in the bulletin pretty well.

The Abbey in Adare, Ireland
The Abbey in Adare, Ireland

I get a lot of guff about the Catholic church when I’m home in the US. There’s a lot of sentiment here that thousands of years of liturgy have turned Catholics into a cultural force with no actual spiritual understanding. Their bottoms may be in the pew on Christmas Eve, but their hearts are far from God. That’s the general attitude.

Some of the doors to the church in Adare
Some of the doors to the church in Adare

I get prickly when people blather on about this because I have been deeply loved by some Catholics. And yes, they loved me with a vodka tonic in one hand and a smoldering cigarette in the other. They swore a lot in loud voices and told bawdy stories in Polish so we kids couldn’t understand.

(Just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about my mom. I refer to all her relatives.)

But they also took us swimming, made S’mores with us over campfires, bought us pajamas at Christmas, and then offered generous donations to our college funds. I felt the love. I saw how their faith, active and true, worked itself out in real life.

I do know there are a lot of Catholics who are Christian by name, not by actual relationship with Christ. They make appearances at church to appease their family or community, while the rest of their week is spent with no regard for God.

adare church door 2

But is it any different in our Protestant churches? Aren’t we also guilty of getting our butts in the pew while our hearts keep a careful distance? I find myself rationalizing my sins while the preacher speaks, excusing my transgressions, and mentally planning the week’s schedule.

It takes concentrated effort to go to church to truly worship, confess, and fellowship with other believers. And then, it takes even more effort to sustain that relationship with Christ through the weeks with prayer, Bible reading, and focused love for others.

I don’t see a huge difference between Catholics and Protestants in this regard. We all just need to get our acts together, frankly. And those acts need to be titled: Following Jesus; the Continual Journey.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28, NLT)

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Ireland: The Results of Our Grand Experiment Are In!

We’re home! All of us, all together, are lounging around the living room. I’d like to tell you we’re lovingly rehashing the trip to Europe, fondly sharing our memories and the lessons we learned.

Ireland in the fall

In reality we’re too tired to get off the couch. Audrey’s being forced to practice her trombone for 80 minutes, so we’re all suffering the consequences of her procrastination for the month of September. This afternoon Caleb did hours of math homework he didn’t get finished on the way to O’Hare, and that took several years off Eric’s and my life.

The Blue Door Restaurant in Adare, Ireland

Today makes the eleventh day I’ve been with my children nearly twenty-four hours a day. We’ve been shoved in the back of a Renault together. We sat next to each other for an eight-hour flight yesterday, after a two-hour drive to the Dublin airport. Then we rode home for another two and a half hours after landing.

I love my children, but I am here to tell you that I have experienced motherhood in its fullest the last eleven days. I can’t even imagine how my own mother feels– she traveled with us and it will probably take her weeks of therapy to recover.

This is me, drying my child's sock with a hair dryer because Irish clothes dryers-- forgive me-- don't actually dry clothes.
This is me, drying my child’s sock with a hair dryer because Irish clothes dryers– forgive me– don’t actually dry clothes.

And so help me, if that trombone makes one more honk I’m going to surely expire.

[I’m not making this up– the child just saw me roll my eyes and brought it CLOSER TO ME. She’s now playing the wretched instrument just inches from my face.]

Lord, give me strength.

BUT. We had a wonderful time. Ireland is wonderful. We saw rolling green hills dotted with grazing cattle. We climbed through medieval castles and walked historical villages. We ate wonderful food (the Irish specialize in gluten-free options!) and took our kids to all sorts of pubs.

One of the castles had dress up clothes so we could get into character. I think that’s what’s happening here.

That’s really not as alarming as it sounds. Kids are welcome in pubs in Ireland– one night the family next to us was letting their toddler greet all the new arrivals at the door. She handled her beer really well.

Just kidding. No beer for babies. Just fish and chips.

Adare, Ireland

As for our traveling experiment, it was mostly successful. I think Caleb enjoyed Ireland more than he expected. He loved the castles and villages, and he thought the food there was delicious. But Audrey missed her friends so badly that I don’t know she enjoyed the trip as much as the rest of us. By Wednesday she was Facetiming with her friends as they woke up in the morning (Ireland is five hours ahead of Kalamazoo) or just as she went to bed at night.

She survived, though.

We all survived, and I’m so glad we decided to try it. I have a lot more stories to tell and thoughts to share, but my brain is fried. Throughout the week I’ll get my neurons in order and send the kids back to blessed, blessed school.

I would like to take this moment to publicly announce my fondness for the local school district and the teachers there. Bless you all.

Until then, here’s another quote about traveling with children. I think it’s true and right, even though I’m at the tail end of my eleventh solid day with my children and that dang trombone just started up again.

If I live through this practice session, I’ll write more soon. Stay tuned!

From Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequist:

Sometimes people ask me why I travel so much, and specifically why we travel with Henry so often. I think they think it’s easier to keep the kids at home, in their routines, surrounded by their stuff. It is. But we travel because it’s there. Because Capri exists and Kenya exists and Tel Aviv exists, and I want to taste every bite of it. We travel because I want my kids to learn, as I learned, that there are a million ways to live, a million ways to eat, a million ways to dress and speak and view the world. I want them to know that “our way” isn’t the right way, but just one way, that children all over the world, no matter how different they seem, are just like the children in our neighborhood–they love to play, to discover, to learn. (p. 97)

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