UPDATED with Winners: Worst Contest Ever

Jun 20 2015

Hey! You know how you go on vacation with your five kids, and one starts puking, and you’re all, “Dear Jesus, please, please, please let this be food poisoning or an anxiety attack or anything other than a bug that’s going to take us all down” and then Jesus forgets about that whole Wave a Magic Wand and Make Everything Better part of his contract, and a second kid starts puking and you’re all, “OH MY GOSH, JESUS, WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS,” but Jesus is all, “It doesn’t matter how many time you TELL me to be a Magic Wand, Beth; still not my gig,” so you hold the bucket for Kid Number Two and rub his back and tell him All the Poor Babies and All the I’m So Sorrys and have a minor crisis of faith, because JESUS CHRIST, and then you remember that Jesus said to Love Each Other well, and didn’t give any cool bonus features with that command — not Love and You Will Be Loved, not Love and Then I’ll Wave My Magic Wand, not Love and Everything Will Fall Into Place, just Love Period — and you realize that’s exactly what you’re doing at 3:00am with Kid Number Two? You’re exhausted, and you’re in a hotel room, and you’re beginning to have wall-to-wall pukers, and your husband can sleep through anything, and you’re sure you’re coming down with the pukes because there’s nothing like the sound and smell of vomit to make you want to do it, too, but you manage be Love anyway? You know how THAT happens?


In conclusion, Jesus is a sometimes a sneaky JERK with his agenda.

Also in conclusion, I write very long run-on sentences when I’m tired.

Also-also in conclusion, one of my besties suggested we play Clue: Woolsey Puker Edition, which is just like a regular game of Clue except instead of trying to deduce who murdered whom with what in what room (which is too easy because I murdered Greg with a pillow in our hotel room WHILE HE SLEPT THROUGH ALL THE PUKING*), we try to figure out which Woolsey will puke next, where, and into/onto what.

Clue: Woolsey Puker Edition

What We’ve Already Learned: 

1. Ian, in the minivan, rim shot into the gallon ziplock baggy.
Also acceptable are the following:
Ian, in the bathroom, mostly into the toilet,
Ian, at Craker Lake National Park, under a fir tree, and
Ian, in the hotel room, into the garbage can.

2. Cael, in the hotel room, into the ice bucket.

What Players Are Left:

1. Greg
2. Beth
3. Abby
4. Aden
5. Cai
6. Grandma
7. Grandpa
8. Zoey the Service Dog


We’re in Southern Oregon for the next four days and will be making a day trip to the Redwoods in California.
Feel free to use your imagination for puking sites; after all, that’s what we do!

How to Enter:

Leave your guess!
Include 3 parts:
1. Who will puke
2. Where
3. Into/onto what.

THERE WILL BE TWO PRIZES: ONE for the person who guesses closest, and one for the person who guesses funniest, because DEAR GOD, WE NEED A LAUGH.

It may not be a great prize, but it will NOT be puke, so Win/Win!
I’ll probably mail you some local (uncontaminated by Woolsey hands, I promise) Oregon chocolate. Or something. I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions.

I cannot wait to see your entries. Cannot WAIT.

With Love as endless as the Woolsey germs,


*P.S. Greg got up with all the kids and let me sleep in. I shall hold off smothering him with a pillow for another night.

UPDATED: We are three days post-puke-fest, and in a SHOCKING twist, we’ve had NO NEW PUKERS. (I know, I know; now that I’ve typed this out loud, it’s a’comin’, but that’ll have to be a story for another time.)

Our winners are as follows:

1. The person who got closest to NO NEW PUKERS is Ami of MommyPig.com who writes, “Ugh. So sorry. I get really pissed when Jesus doesn’t stop the puking. I mean seriously, we’re not talking curing leprosy or raising the dead here; help a mother out. I pray there will be NO MORE PUKING BY ANYONE AT ALL. EVER.” 

2. The person who wins for funniest comment is Katie with, “Ooh! Ooh! I’ll use my real life experience with my pukey pants sister to predict a future trend for the Woolseys. I predict Cai will puke on the back of Cael’s head in the middle of the night. The next day, Aden will puke in Abby’s lap in the car. In conclusion,younger siblings are rude and puke on older siblings, and then your mean mom won’t let you be mad at your little sister, because it’s not her fault she gets car sick, even though she could have chosen to puke in her OWN lap. But I’m not still bitter 26 years later or anything.” Heh heh. This is something that would TOTALLY happen to us.

Ami and Katie, send your address to me at fivekidsisalotofkids@gmail.com with the subject line “I WON,” and I’ll send you your prizes!

AN UPDATE: 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin

Jun 16 2015


In October 2013, I wrote an essay titled 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin. In it, I ask my fellow Christians to stop using that phrase. Because UGH. And ACK. And has there ever been a phrase less symbolic of a Jesus who welcomed outcasts to his table, and who discarded rules in favor of mercy every time? Has there ever been a phrase quite like ‘Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin,’ intended to express love, that falls so dramatically short of its goal?

Now, a  year and a half later, 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin is seeing an online resurgence. Over 100,000 people have viewed it in the last two weeks. Granted, that’s not the 750,000 who’ve read The Day I Pooped My Closet, but there’s no accounting for taste, friends, and if you look at both posts together it becomes very clear, very quickly that we humans sure do like reading about THE MESS, don’t we? The mess in the closet. The mess in our hearts. The mess in our church. The mess in the ways we communicate.

It’s OK, though! This is a messy space. We welcome the mess here, always.

And a mess it has been. Very, VERY messy, in fact, because 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin has made some of my fellow Christians Very, VERY angry. And, while some have expressed their consternation kindly and rebuked me with obvious love, some have called me Heretic and False Teacher, A Disgrace to the Faith and a Liar.

Now, as this post has surged, I’ve left it alone, intentionally commenting very little because I think a) it’s important to have a healthy dialogue which only happens when we allow other people their say, and b) we welcome all comers to this space. That’s what we do here. It’s who we are. We welcome people.

There comes a point, though, if I continue not to comment, where I end up creating confusion or, at the very least, a one-sided conversation where I’ve lobbed the first ball, you hit it back, and then I refuse to continue… and, well, that’s not very helpful of me, is it? At the end of 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin, I asked for your agreements and disagreements, and then I zipped my lips.

Here I am, unzipping my lips. Because it’s time. And because it’s important to clarify a thing or two.

If you need to read 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin first, head on over. We’ll wait.

Ready? Here we go.

What 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin IS Saying and Also What It’s NOT:

To be crystal clear, 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin is talking about the PHRASE ‘Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin’ and why we should discard it. It’s a post about our Christian lexicon and the ways we need to evaluate our words. That’s what the essay IS.

As far as what it ISN’T, you don’t need to scroll far through the comments on that original post to see that some of my fellow Christians are very dismayed by this essay. They think I’m saying a) that sin doesn’t exist and b) even if it does, we should ignore it and let everyone blithely go on sinning… like, WHEEEE!

To those people, I say, maturely, “Am not.” I am saying neither that sin doesn’t exist nor that we should ignore it, though I AM saying that it’s rarely our role to confront it, that we’ve grossly mistaken “confronting sin” for loving our neighbors — exactly the opposite of Jesus’ example and words — and, finally, that we ought to be EXTREMELY, EXTRAORDINARILY cautious about the whole “calling out sin” thing. We have, in other words, gotten the whole Jesus message dreadfully wrong, and we owe it to people to humbly apologize and ask their forgiveness. More about that in a minute.

Sin, Crime and Injustice

Another confusion I found in the comments is in our collective understanding of sin, crime and injustice, which became obvious in comments like “so you think what Hilter did was AWESOME” and “so when your kid is abused, you’ll just congratulate the abuser.” For the record, I’m going with no on both of those.

“Sin,” by definition, means “a transgression against divine law.” “Sin” should not be confused with “crime” which is “a transgression against the law of the land.” Crimes must be reported, friends. Nor should “sin” be confused with “injustice” which means “a lack of fairness or equity.” We — Christians and NonChristians alike — must report crimes and work toward fairness and equity for all people.

It’s not that sin, crime and injustice don’t overlap. They do. Often. Abuse, for example, is certainly a transgression against divine law. So it’s a sin, right? But it’s also crime and needs to be handled by the law, folks; the Church has gotten itself into a world of hurt by trying to “hate the sin” out of abusers, overstepping the bounds of what the Church is and is not equipped to handle.

Instead, the word sin refers in the context of this essay to immorality. A transgression against divine law. And this is exactly the connection I tried to make in 3 Reasons I Quit Loving the Sinner and Hating the Sin. We Christians are eager to point out immorality. Spend any time at all on Facebook and that’s obvious. And this is the message we’re getting SO WRONG, folks. We decry sins like promiscuity, adultery, intoxication, and so many more, focusing in ways Jesus never did on others’ outward actions, all the while ignoring our own sins of the heart — the sins on which Jesus did focus — like pettiness, cruelty, harshness, rage, greed, and hatred.

Imagine this, though. Imagine a Church that LOVES OTHERS. A Church that welcomes the stranger. A Church that LETS EVERYONE IN, not to change them, but to ADORE them. A Church that seeks, not to reform others or call them to repentance, but seeks to reform ourselves. To repent for the ways we’ve lacked mercy. To ask for forgiveness for all the finger-pointing. To act like Jesus came to set us free, not trap or trick us. To humbly admit our fear and our pride and our anger. To work to grow and change.

Over and over, Jesus’ lessons to us were about the ways we are unkind, uncharitable, unmerciful, unloving. Those are what I see as our deep sin. As MY deep sin. And that’s what I wish we’d correct. Together.

We Really Do Need to Stop Using That Phrase, Friends

In the words of my brother Jeff, we can debate between the “Love/Don’t Judge” verses (Matt. 22:37-39, Matt. 7:1-5, Luke 6:37, John 8:7, 1 Cor. 4:5, etc.) and the “Accountability/Live Holy Lives” verses (James 5:20, Rev. 2:6, 1 Cor. 5, etc.) forever. FOREVER AND EVER. This is complex and takes the most learned theologians LIFETIMES to suss out and, even then, they don’t all agree with each other. I think, then, we can probably agree that a six-word phrase — ‘Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin’ — does not do justice to that complexity. And in over-simplifying, it devalues and hurts people.

HOW we confront each other or hold people accountable MATTERS. And uniformly, the people who have been on the receiving end of ‘Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin’ report it as hurtful. If you’re using this language with people, it hurts them. Please stop.

With love (and hatred for our sins)(ha!),





P.S. I don’t actually know if any of that makes sense, but it’s 10:30pm and I’m stuck sitting criss-cross with my laptop on a bed in between two sweet, smelly, sleeping 8-year-olds, so I’m hitting publish so I can try to extricate myself from this position before my legs crap up. I hope you understand.

P.P.S. I meant to write, “cramp” up in that first P.S., but I didn’t do it right. I’m leaving it because it’s symbolic. Sometimes when I try to write one thing, crap comes out, instead. I hope you understand.

P.P.P.S. Before you criticize my theology, I’d like to give you more to criticize. Not really; I’m actually not interested in more criticism, though I understand it’s part of the gig and likely to continue, so whatever. I do think it’s helpful, though, when you have a more complete picture. In addition to the “Faith and Doubt” section you can find at the top of this page on the left sidebar, I’d encourage you to read Sanctuary, The Real Reason I Still Go to Church, and especially On Parenting, Faith and Imperfection. I hope you understand.

I Think I’m Doing Anti-Body-Shaming Wrong

Jun 13 2015

Greg doesn’t like it when I tell him I can feel the baby kicking, and he totally refuses to put his hand on my belly so he can feel it, too.

We sit on the sticky couch late at night or we lay in bed with the kids’ cereal crumbs and cracker shrapnel, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the way these things usually happen, I feel the baby kicking, so I interrupt his show or his book or his game of phone solitaire, and I ask if he wants to feel the baby, too, but no. He never does. Not ever.

Greg also refuses to call it “the baby” just because it’s actually gas, but I don’t think that’s a very good reason not to participate in the joy, do you?

Greg hurts my feelings a lot. We can all pray for him.

I went clothes shopping last night, which, as my girlfriends can tell you, I detest and avoid at every possible turn. I think my Love of Shopping is hanging out on a tropical beach somewhere with my Dignity and my Sense of Decorum, part of a witness protection program because I’m a ongoing danger to them and the only way to survive is to never return.

I went clothes shopping last night, though, because I love my job and I think I might get fired if I show up naked. I’ve been running out of clothes for quite some time, and I hit critical mass (or critical lack of mass) this week, so it was time to buck up and get ‘er done.

I was like a child facing standardized testing or Saturday chores or bedtime, all whiny and reluctant, sighing and dragging my feet, and saying a lot of Do I Have To’s and Please Don’t Make Me’s. I went anyway, though, because I am a grown-up, and I can overcome.

This time I went shopping, though, I had a little more fun than usual.

You guys. You guys! Did you know they have full length mirrors in dressing rooms these days?

It’s TRUE. They DO.

They never send me a full length mirror when I order my clothes online — probably because they know I can’t use one responsibly — but, apparently, when you go to a store, they let you into a private room with ALL THE MIRRORS no matter who you are. No Responsibility Test or anything. And then you can do whatever you want in front of those things! WHATEVER YOU WANT.

IMG_4212As for me, I tried on clothes and took baby selfies. After all, today’s modern woman does not want to buy clothes in which the baby doesn’t look good.

Yes, I had to work at it to get my belly to really pop, you know? And, yes, I had to angle the camera correctly to make sure the bulge was as bulgy as possible. But I think we can agree it was worth it, yes? Because how ELSE will I commemorate this season of life — the season when I don’t have a technical baby in my belly but I do have both gas and the surplus belly material to make a really great fake baby. I mean, they always say, FOCUS ON WHAT YOU HAVE and DON’T FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DO NOT HAVE, and I’ve decided to take that advice to heart.

I showed my baby belly selfies to a friend today, and I don’t want to be critical of her or anything, but she was kind of a killjoy like Greg.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to push your belly out, Beth,” she said. “Pretty sure you’re supposed to suck it in.”

I asked her if she wanted to feel the baby kick.

She didn’t.

And then she said people — especially modern, American women — don’t take pleasure in having a baby belly when there’s, you know, no real baby inside it. I disagreed, and I mentioned all of the beautiful projects out there like the 4th Trimester where women proudly show their bellies because those bellies MADE PEOPLE. Stretch marks are tiger stripes and all that! “I’m in good company,” I told her. And she said, “Yeah, but they’re talking about deep-seated images of beauty in our culture and changing how we view women and honoring all people well. You’re just sticking your belly out because you think your big belly and having gas are hilarious.”

In conclusion, I think I’m doing anti-body-shaming wrong. On the other hand, if anyone wants to feel the baby kick, I’m your girl.

With love,





P.S. Kudos to all of you growing actual babies on your belly selfies. Getting a shot of me and not the dressing room wall was really hard. No one took belly selfies 9 years ago, the last time I was pregnant. We had it easy, man. EASY.



P.P.S. I bought the pink dress.

P.P.P.S. I also bought Spanx, because Both/And, friends. Both/And.

P.P.P.P.S. On a note unrelated to my belly, I run a writing retreat with some incredibly rad writing professor friends of mine. It’s called the Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat, and we just released dates for 2016. You can find all the info here if you’re interested!

P.P.P.P.P.S. I once wrote something a little more poignant about my belly. It’s called This is My Body, Sacred and Scarred. Just in case you need to purge your mind after this one.

I Missed My Kid’s Graduation

Jun 11 2015

I missed my kid’s graduation today.

His 8th grade graduation.

His 8th grade graduation that he worked toward for 3 years.

His 8th grade graduation that he worked toward for 3 years while also negotiating expressive and receptive language disorders, crippling anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and various other delays.

HE MADE IT THROUGH MIDDLE SCHOOL, friends, and his mama just totally blew it on the celebration end.

Blew it, blew it. Like Chernobyl.

I missed my kid’s graduation today, and I don’t even have a good excuse. I just didn’t read the emails from the school as thoroughly as I should have. It was there. In all the newsletters. I know it was, because I raced back to them today after my Facebook feed filled up with all my friends’ pictures of 8th grade graduation, hoping to find out they’d never told me so I could shift the blame. Alas, no such luck. I just… missed it.

I’ve gotta say, I feel like poo.

A giant, steaming pile o’ poo.

Mama poo.


So I did what any wise, experienced, knowledgeable mama would do in my shoes.

I freaked out.


All woe is me and I suck ALL THE BALLS. 

And I sent my husband a delightful string of instant messages that said things like, “HOW DID WE MISS THIS?!” and “NOW WE HAVE TO BUY HIM CHINESE FOOD FOR DINNER. UGH!” and “FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!”

I said that last one because I am mature in the Lord.

Also, Jesus still loves me, this I know, because Jesus, historically speaking, has very low standards, and he seems to be partial to people who are a raging mess.

And then, after I was done freaking out… and after I finished apologizing to Greg for all the fucks… I calmed down and formulated a plan.

A strong plan.

A good plan.

A plan that involved Three Important Parenting Pillars, as follows:

  1. Modeling How to Apologize and Ask for Forgiveness
  2. Bribery
  3. Using This Teachable Moment to Help My Kid Learn Essential Life Skills

After I was done Implementing the Plan, I asked Ian if he’d help me make a video so we might use this situation to help educate other parents should they ever do something so awful to their kid. He agreed, and so I leave you with this:

Teaching Life Skills
by Beth and Ian Woolsey

Yours Truly,




5 Things It Turns Out I’ll Never Be Done Learning

Jun 8 2015

I spilled chocolate protein drink on myself this morning.

I spilled chocolate protein drink on my white work blouse and down my face and in my hair; waaaay too late, of course, to go home and change.

I gave my nephew a ride to school this morning, too, because I AM AN AWESOME HUMAN BEING, and I help my family.

Also, I screamed at the spider who malevolently descended from my sun visor while I was giving the nephew a ride, scaring said nephew because he’s “not sure that’s very safe driving, Beth, to scream and close your eyes and wave your arms like that.” I was braking and pulling over because SPIDER, but did my nephew see that part? Noooooo. He just criticized the blindness and the flailing. What does he know?

I went to the drive-through ATM a few minutes later, and I nicked the concrete pole that protects the machine from People Like Me, knocking my driver’s side mirror from the car entirely, which was a little bit my fault, because, yes, I technically hit something with a part of my car, but also was definitely not at all my fault because Someone Else of the teenaged variety had already wrecked that side mirror, like, 3 years ago, and it’s been hanging on by a thread (literal thread) and super glue, so it was pre-broken, and I just finished the job like the person who opens the pickle jar after someone else tried and tried and tried and loosened it so that the buff guy gets all the undeserved credit for actually popping that sucker open. I am undeservingly credited, is what I’m saying, for knocking the side mirror off my car, and I’m happy to share the credit with others because that’s the kind of sharing, generous person I am.

All of that, plus remembering my kids get out of school for the summer on Thursday and I have no summer childcare arranged, happened before 9:00am this morning, which, let’s be honest, makes it pretty much like every other morning, full of mishaps and danger and ME, screwing stuff up, and it occurred to me this morning that I’m not very good at adulting. That, in fact, if given periodic Adulting Exams, I’d most likely fail and have my Adulting License revoked.

“Adulting” has become a verb lately, and I approve. Yes, it’s kitchsy. Yes, it’s trendy. Yes, it’s a grotesque twisting of conventional, acceptable grammar rules, using a noun as a verb. But it’s so helpful, isn’t it?

Now that I’m 40, though, I’ve figured out nearly all of us adults are merely impersonating grown-ups. I mean, I won’t say all of us; theoretically, there’s someone out there who’s a grown-up and feels like it, too. But most of us? Yep; totally faking this adult thing and a little bit amazed we don’t get caught more often with our pants down or watching our side mirrors fly away at the drive-up bank.

It’s nice being 40, man, because the pressure’s kind of off now. If I’m not a grown-up yet, I’m unlikely to become one, and realizing that is freedom. There are things in life I’ll just never be good at — things in life I’ll always be learning and will never have “learned” — and I’m grateful to know it.

And, because I love you, fellow grown-up impersonators, and I don’t want you to ever feel alone, I present to you a short list of…


5 Things I’ve Learned I’ll Never Be Done Learning:

  1. How to Clean: I recognize that part of my problem here is an absence of motivation, and I know there are myriad how-to-clean resources available on the World Wide Webs, but I feel very confident saying I’m not ever going to fully learn how to clean things. It’s fair to say at this point in my life that washing my sheets once a week is never, ever, ever going to happen. Nope; I’ll wash my sheets once a month, maybe, if I combine just the right amount of optimism and lying to believe that’s true. And window sills? Dear Lord. Do people actually clean those? Because mine are a dead fly museum with some pretty wicked black mold in the corners to keep those fly carcasses company. Millennia from now, when future archaeologists dig up my house, they’ll create all kinds of brilliant theories on why I collected fly carcasses and what that says about our family unit. I wish I could see those reports, because, frankly, I could use an explanation.
  2. How to Have a Body: I’ve had a body for a while now. Like, as long as I’ve been alive, and a little bit before that, too, and I’ve gotta say, having a body is complicated. This thing has nooks and crannies and scratches and scars and needs. It needs stuff all the time, and I only know what those things are some of the time. This body has weight, for example, and it’s very, very good as preparing itself for a future apocalyptic starvation scenario where it needs to have the reserves to live off of body fat for months and months, but apparently no one has given it the memo that we’re not facing a Worst Case Famine Scenario here in 21st century suburban Oregon, so it’s a little behind the times. This is the body I have to navigate, and I used to think I’d figure it out eventually. HA! Now I know this body’s a life-long science experiment. Which is ultimately doomed.
  3. How to Work a Brain: I’ll be honest, my brain’s not all I was led to believe it might be when I was little. Not to belittle my mom or her parenting style, but she’s a lying liar who lies, you know? Unlimited potential, Mom? Yeah, right. Turns out, I’m not going to be a princess or the president, and, worst of all, I couldn’t actually have grown up to be a unicorn no matter how good my brain was. My brain, in fact, is a little faulty, prone to depression, and has very, very questionable judgement. Not to complain, but they should probably offer better customer service and free repairs on these things.
  4. How to Be Good at Family: Family is the best except when family is the worst, and I’m afraid I contribute to both ends of the spectrum. I’m a wonderful mom — funny, charming, engaging, involved — until I’m ragey and dysfunctional and tired and, well, not at all wonderful. And I’m a wonderful daughter, a wonderful sister, a wonderful friend and a wonderful wife in exactly the same ways because it’s important to be consistent. Yep. Sure enough. I’m wonderful. And woeful. Wonderful and weird. Wonderful and wild. And fantastic and feral and free. And triumphant and trapped. Both/And, friends. Very Both/And.
  5. How to Have Faith: Oh, Faith. Oh, Faith, you tricky bastard. Oh, Faith, who I once thought was the opposite of doubt and who I’ve since learned shelters the Doubters under her wings, and the Questioners, too, and gives Love and Light freely to all comers. Oh, Faith, who is at once both freefall and foundation, and grime and grace, and more complex and simple than I ever imagined. Oh, Faith, who I will never fully figure out or understand but whom I pursue anyway because you are as strange as you are compelling and beautiful, and, when I listen to you and not necessarily to what others say about you, I find myself drawn into the lap of God to be simply loved for all my fabulous follies and flaws.

My list, of course, could go on and on and on; thousands of thousands of things I’ll never be done learning. But this is enough for now, because I can write the list forever or go forth and live the imperfect life. I pick going forth into imperfection. And I’m inviting you to come, too.

In conclusion, I spilled chocolate protein drink on myself this morning, and I flailed blindly at a spider, and I ripped a side mirror off my car by accident and because I’m me. I will always be a mess, and there will be some things I will never figure out, and it turns out that’s OK. Which is, of course, another thing I’ll never be done learning; that I’m OK, anyway, not just despite the mess, but also because of it, for it’s inside the mess and the chaos and the madness and the mire that we find the mystery and the magic and the laughter and the grace to keep learning and keep becoming. In the end, we are all becoming; becoming, meaning in process, and becoming, meaning already beautiful. We are becoming, friends. That’s as true a truth as I know.

With love,





P.S. If you have something to add to the list — something you’ve learned you’ll never be done learning — I’d love to hear it.

Today in Evil: I Convinced My Husband We Bought A Horse

Jun 1 2015

I don’t know what made me do it, but I’m a Christian, so I’m going to go with the Devil.

The Devil made me do it; that’s always a good excuse.


I’ve heard it said God never gives us more than we can handle, but a) that’s a crap theological statement any way you slice it, and, b) more importantly, I’ll bet God wouldn’t say stuff like that if God’s husband went away for a week, took most of the children, and left her with way, WAY too much time on her hands. Time to think about buying a miniature horse, for example. And, yes, obviously time to reject buying a miniature horse because DUH. But also time to think about convincing her husband she’d bought a miniature horse anyway, because bwahahahaha; SATAN.

Idle hands are the devil’s tools. <– In the Bible, man. TRUE TRUTH.

MORE TEMPTATION THAN I COULD HANDLE, I tell you. More temptation than any woman should try to endure.

It all started innocently enough.

I just mentioned, via text, to my husband who was far, far away, that we might be able to finagle a way to buy Aden, our middle kid who adores equines, a miniature horse.






Now, I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean I really wanted to buy a horse, but Greg ignored me, which left me no choice at all but to keep texting him.




Still NOTHING from Greg, so I started pinging him with the “AREN’T YOU LISTENING?” texts and the “HELLO! HellLLLOOOOOO!” texts, and then he was a poophead…



…which made me realize I had to up my game.

I set to work.

I did my research.

I tattled on Greg to our teenager, Abby, who was home with me, and I led her astray.

“Abby,” I said, “Dad’s ignoring me. It’s like he really, truly believes I wouldn’t buy a horse without consulting him.”

“That’s probably because you wouldn’t buy a horse without consulting him,” she said, because she’s a jerk like her father.

“THAT IS NO EXCUSE,” I said. “It is now our job to convince him that I WOULD, TOO, impulsively buy a horse.”

“I don’t think that’s the best idea you’ve ever had,” said Abby.

And I said, “Is, too.”

And she said, “Is not.”


And she said, “I’m pretty sure the Bible doesn’t say that.”

And I said, “Oh yeah? Prove it.”

And she said, “It’ll take less time if I just do what you want, won’t it?”

And I said, “Yep.”

And she said, “Fine,” which is the same as Honoring Your Mother, I think, because HOORAY! I WIN!

Thus began Abby’s text campaign to her father, which went like this:








You know, there are times while you’re raising kids and you wonder if they’ll ever accept your way of life and your values and then they do stuff like this and you realize it’s all going to be OK. It’s all going to work out. Raise them up in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.

Abby’s part concluded, I continued my quest.






As you can see, Greg remained unconvinced after this barrage of texts.

Which is why it’s a good thing I have friends in my corner.

Friends who have friends.

Friends who have friends who have miniature horses.

Friends who have friends who have miniature horses they will bring to my home and pretend to sell to me.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

And it was.

Oregon Dream Ponies, whom I love and with whom I’m well pleased, showed up at our house and pretended to sell me a horse. In front of Greg. As a special “surprise” to him.


In conclusion, being married to me is THE BEST.

With love,





RubySurpriseP.S. Greg didn’t get to keep the pony, but he did get a rad Oregon Dream Ponies t-shirt.

P.P.S. No children or ponies were harmed in the making of this practical joke. The kids were all in on in and thought it was HILARIOUS. Actually, I’m not sure the pony was in on the joke, so her feelings were probably hurt when she didn’t get to stay with us. AMENDMENT: No children or ponies were physically harmed in the making of this practical joke. Also, new motto for this site = Raising children and ponies to be self-sufficient enough to someday pay for their own counseling.

P.P.P.S. This post isn’t sponsored by Oregon Dream Ponies, and blah blah blah. I don’t do sponsored posts here. Kim at ODP is just really cool people willing to haul a tiny pony to a crazy woman’s house to help her torture her husband. Now, if that’s not True Community, I don’t know what is.

P.P.P.P.S. I’m thinking “In conclusion, being married to me is THE BEST” should be a new, regular series around here. The other time that was my conclusion was the day I pooped my closet. That Greg’s a lucky guy.



Video credit Nate Macy: I think we can all agree he has the very best taste in background music.

If You Give a Kid a Sharpie

May 25 2015

Let me paint a picture for you.

Imagine this:

Let’s say the heating element in your dishwasher bends.

Bends over.

Over and down.

Like Downward Facing Dog if your dishwasher’s heating element knows yoga, which mine, apparently, does.

No one knows how that happened.

You know no one knows because you asked.

A kid shoving a dog in the dishwasher?

Siblings giving each other rides on the bottom rack?

Small beasts packing the dishwasher with their mother’s cast iron skillets and decorative lawn rocks to “see how much that box can hold?”

Who knows for sure?

It’s impossible to say.

There’s enough denial to circle the Earth at least 5 times.

Nevertheless, let’s say the heating element in your dishwasher bends.

Know what happens next?

I didn’t, either.

But I do now.

If the heating element in your dishwasher bends, it melts a hole in the plastic dishwasher tub.

That’s what happens next.

And, FYI, if a hole melts in the plastic dishwasher tub, the water doesn’t stay inside your dishwasher.

It sure doesn’t.


If a hole melts in the plastic dishwasher tub, the water runs out of your dishwasher through the hole.

It does.

It runs right out of that hole.

But do you know the water is running out of your dishwasher?

No. No, of course you don’t.

Because no one mentioned shoving the dog in the dishwasher “because he likes to lick stuff in there.”

And no one mentioned the joy rides on the bottom rack.

And no one mentioned seeing how much stuff — like iron and rocks — could fit into that box.

So you didn’t know the heating element had bent.

And you didn’t know about the melted hole.

And you didn’t know about the gallons of dirty dish water flooding day after day and week after week under your floor and into the subfloor until you noticed the laminate, bubbling from underneath.

Eventually, though — eventually — you think to yourself that something might be amiss, what with the squishy floor and the bubbles and the new hills and valleys which are perfect for your boys to have matchbox car races and for you to trip next to the stove while hot things like off-brand mac and cheese are cooking away.

Yes, you realize something might be amiss, and you think you Ought to Do Something About That Squishy Floor, but Oh My Gosh, you guys. Oh my gosh. Because even when things Ought to Be Done, there’s still laundry and work and homework and feeding children and forgetting to make them bathe and a thousand Other Things to do, instead.

You have a thousand thousand Other Things to do, so, by the time you consider replacing the laminate on your own, and your neighbors remind you you have home-owner’s insurance, and you’re all, “oh yeahthat’s what insurance is for,” and you call your insurance company, and they call the water mitigation service, and the water mitigation service arrives and starts using words like “saturated” and “destroyed” and “total loss,” you realize you’re going to have replace everything. The entire floor.

IMG_3719You live the next two months with your floor in tatters and enormous fans blowing and making calls to and from (and from and to) the various companies trying to fix the things you’ve wrecked, until you get The Call. The CALL. The Call You’ve Been Waiting For! The call that says, “We’ll be there tomorrow to replace the floors.”

You are grateful.

You are delirious!

You can prove you’re delirious, in fact, because you hand your children Sharpies — permanent markers, in other words — and you tell them to Have At It. “GO FOR IT,” you say. “Draw on the floor! HAVE A BLAST. Those floors are getting ripped up tomorrow, kids.”

And so they do.


They draw away.


They have a blast.

They draw some things you expect, like monsters.


And some things you don’t expect, like Odes to Bob.


Final Resting Place

Rest In Peace
This is were Bob
lies ded. he was a 
good person. Bob lived
a long good life.
he had some odd
This is wat’s
left of his

They make social commentaries, like this, which they wrote in front of our TV:

This is were we whatch things.
This is were our brains rot.

And show an affinity for human anatomy, which we’ve already discussed.


Of course, as soon as your children finish their works of art, you’ll get another call. One that says, “Actually, we can’t replace the floors ’til next week,” which means you’ll have your old floors while you throw a party or two, and your mom-in-law will come over, and she’ll see your floor decorations, and you’ll shrug your shoulders at her, and you’ll thank God she knows how to giggle.

Yes, this is what happens if the heating element in your dishwasher bends and if you give your kids a Sharpie.

And in the end, you’ll decide it was all worth it.