Archive for September, 2009

Blogs I Read: Elizabeth Esther

When Abraham and I were in California a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting one of my favorite bloggers—Elizabeth Esther!

I’ve been reading her blog for at least a year, which is a mix of articles and posts about life. You’ll find her writing about family, faith, politics—really whatever is on her mind and heart. And when she shares what’s on her heart, it’s always in a very real way, never with a polished facade.

She also writes occasionally about her experiences of getting out of an abusive fundamentalist church. I come from such a different background that these posts always fascinate me. And she was more than willing to answer my questions when we got together at her kitchen table.

She made us Greek food and chocolate chip cookies (my faves), let us hang out with her kids, and even talked her husband into taking a break during his work day to come hang out with us (thanks, Matt!).

I really hope you’ll visit her blog and poke around. She’s a great writer.

You know how there’s just some people you know you’re going to get along with? Well, she’s one of those for me.


Other blogs I read:

September 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm 5 comments

Need to trick your kids with new shiny toys? I do!

What kid doesn’t like a new (to them) toy?

My friend Susan wrote a great post about how to keep things fresh for your kids when they start getting the toy doldrums. It’s kind of like the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency solution. I really like her practical (and frugal) suggestions, and I think you will too!

As I read her post I kept thinking, “Yes! It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It doesn’t even have to be new (thrift store, baby!).” But there’s something about a novel, engaging toy that might redeem the day if you or your kids are in a slump.

September 25, 2009 at 9:03 pm 13 comments

Do pedicures come with guarantees?

When we were in Santa Barbara, California last week (a place that has recently been added to my mental list of “Favorite Places”), I got my first pedicure.

I know, I’m thirty years old and I’ve never had a pedicure. I honestly had no idea what the big fuss was about. But I’m happy to report that 45 minutes of pampering to my tired old feet was something spectacular that I wish could happen on a frequent and regular basis.

We strolled into this nail place around 7:30pm in the funky, fun shopping district of Santa Barbara (State Street, for those of you who know it). I was hesitant to spend the money (of course), but Abraham insisted. It wasn’t that it cost all that much, I just have issues with spending money on stuff like that. Anyway…

There were two Asian women working that night. One spoke decent English, but the other one spoke almost none. But she didn’t even need it—she was speaking some unknown foot love language that is kept secret from the population at large. She was the pedicure master.

I had a difficult time picking out what color I wanted, so picked a few finalists and had Abraham pick his favorite from those. He chose a deep burgundy red that I liked a lot. So I went with it.

The pedicure was nothing short of fantastic. There was lots of rubbing, snipping, filing, polishing… my toenails have never shone like that!

I was transfixed by the pretty color and how professional they looked. I never thought of my at-home toenail jobs as unprofessional, but I had now seen a whole new level of potential for my piggies, and I was diggin’ it! Imagine my sadness when I discovered a chip in my polish just two days later!

For all you pedicure veterans, is this normal? Obviously I can’t go back to Santa Barbara (as much as I’d like to) and get it fixed, but do pedicures usually have such a short life? Will nail salons fix it within a certain window of time?

I was definitely thinking it would last a week. Were my expectations totally overblown?

September 23, 2009 at 10:31 pm 48 comments

We light a candle…

Last night we lit candles. On the eve of our daughter Felicity’s 2-year homegoing anniversary, our dear friend Barbie read us a beautiful piece she had written. She adapted it from something written for her on the 2-year anniversary of her son’s death back in August.

We lit candles for love, joy, memories, tears, hope, peace, and strength.

I wasn’t expecting this at all, but the stanza about joy was the one that touched me the deepest. I don’t feel like I connect with the word joy very much in my grief. So I was surprised by joy, even as the tears ran down my face.

Here’s what she wrote:

We light a candle for JOY:

For the joy of a wedding;
For the joy of Orison’s birth;
For the joy of Morrow’s sweet life;
For the joy of Felicity’s name;
For the joy in hearts that waited for her;
For her joy in the presence of our God;
For the joy, for the Felicity of our risen Lord.

Happy birthday, Felicity Margaret.

September 22, 2009 at 10:32 am 48 comments

I’ve Figured Out How All of Us Women Can Get More Done

Please read the following segment in the most cheesy infomercial voice you can muster:

Ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day?
Do you struggle to get through your to-do list?
Are all those tasks piling up on you and making you feel perpetually behind?

Well… do we have the answer for YOU!

It’s called “Start Living in a Different Time Zone!” With “Start Living in a Different Time Zone!” there’s no need to move, just adjust yourself to the time zone one or two behind you and—BAM!—instant time! Now you can give yourself the gift you’ve always wanted… more time!

[end cheesy announcer voice]

We got back from our  California trip on Thursday night. Every night since then I’ve been up until at least 1am. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just going to start living on Pacific time.

I mean, it’s not working out as well at the morning end of things, but hey, I’m always tired then so… it’s cool.

Here’s how it works: when I wake up I’m living in Central time (real-time for me). I do all my normal tasks in my actual time zone. Then, after the kids go to bed, I just started telling myself, “Well, it’s only 6pm California-time.” I’m seriously getting so much more done!

Just wanted to impart this amazing discovery to all of you.

We’ll see how it works out tomorrow at work.

September 21, 2009 at 12:08 am 14 comments

I’m a compulsive unpacker.

We arrived home in Minneapolis last night after what felt like a never-ending flight. A movie would’ve sped things along, but alas, no movie.

After we reconnected with the kiddos and got our suitcases into the house it was already 10:30pm. Most people would’ve just called it a night, but not a compulsive unpacker.

I don’t know, but there’s something about getting home and getting all that trip stuff out of my life. I want to be able to start the day fresh the next morning, focusing on being back at home.

It sometimes annoys Abraham, who would rather just let the suitcases lie until the next morning (or maybe the day after that, or until he realizes he no longer has any clean clothes). 🙂

But getting the dirty clothes out of the suitcases and into the washing machine, getting all those toiletries put back in their right place, etc. just makes the next day so much better.

What about you?

Are you like me—gotta do it right away? Or do you need a night to readjust and you’ll think about the suitcases tomorrow? Or are you like Abraham—you’ll unpack when you can’t scare up any more clean clothes?

September 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm 53 comments

Getting stung really hurts! Oh yeah, and California’s cool.

Right now, Abraham and I are enjoying the views of southern and central California to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. My awesome parents came from PA to be with our kids (thanks, Mom & Dad)!

Today we took on “The PCH” (see Abraham’s post for a funny discourse on CA highways), which stands for the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1.

It’s the windy one that travels along the stunning west coast of America. One word for that experience: stunning. I said to Abraham, “Everyone should do this drive before they die.” It’s really that amazing (and I’m really that good at exaggerating).

My camera is a really crappy point & shoot, so it won’t do justice to the awesomeness of what we saw today, but I’ll attempt to include you in it anyway.

elephantsealsAt a beach near Cambria, CA where we watched elephant seals!

waitingareaA very cool restaurant called Nepenthe in Big Sur. This was their waiting area!


One of our stops along the PCH was at this state park where you could hike along a mountainside trail for 1/4 of a mile or so. I got to the end and started reading one of the state park plaques and felt this horrible feeling in my right hip. It kind of felt like a sting, but I couldn’t be sure.

You see, I’d only been stung by a bee one time in my life. It was when I was probably 14 years old, and I was walking and talking to a friend. And a bee flew into my mouth and stung me on the tongue. My mouth, people!!! It was horrible. And since it was my first sting, I had no idea whether I was going to be fine or if my tongue was going to swell up and choke me to death.

Anyway, back to the horrible stinging feeling in California. I thought for sure it was just my point & shoot camera in my pocket (you know, the crappy one) digging into my leg or something. So I tried to ignore it.

But it would not be ignored. It just kept getting worse and worse. The pain was shooting down my leg. “Surely this is not my camera,” clueless Molly finally concludes.

I started digging for the source of the horrible pain I was experiencing and finally found a bee in the pocket of my capris, stinging the heck out of my leg. And then he was sure to get me on the hand on his way out, just for good measure.

I know I probably sound like a total wuss, but it’d been so many years since I’d been properly stung that I just want to remind all of you…

Bee stings really hurt. Just go ahead and avoid them. Thankfully I was able to recover enough to still enjoy lots more of these:

beachA beautiful beach view, taken immediately before the sting.

September 16, 2009 at 1:15 am 27 comments

Today is a Re-living Day: 9/11, Eight Years Later

Every day is a re-living day for someone.

Today is a re-living day for so many, remembering the day their lives were changed forever, knowing they would never hear the voice or touch the warm flesh of their husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother again.

I know that many of us relate to the anniversary of 9/11 by remembering where we were or what we were doing when the news hit us. That is, of course, a normal way to relate to that traumatic news. We do our own re-living of this day when do that.

That was my first reaction this morning when I saw many people Tweeting what they were doing eight years ago when they heard that news.

But soon after that, God brought someone else to my mind—someone I don’t know, the collective “someone” who lost their beloved husband or wife, their treasured son or daughter. This is the someone God brought to my mind today.

We all remember the scenes of chaos we watched via the major news broadcasts. But I want to try to remember that there were people actually experiencing that swirling, smoking, screaming chaos. There were desperate people racing to Ground Zero to try to locate any news about their precious loved one. People dialing again and again into the jammed phone lines, searching for the voice they would never hear again on this earth.

This morning I heard a devotion on Psalm 56:8

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?

This is the segment that struck me the most:
The [Hebrew] word for bottle (no’d) does not refer to some small capped jar, but rather to a skin-bottle used for large quantities of liquid. It’s as if David, after affirming God’s awareness of his sorrows, cries out in hope: “Collect all of my many tears in your canteen!”

So for all the families and friends who have cried so many tears of longing and devastation these past eight years, God has a big enough canteen for all of them. They’re all there and known…collected.

I want to be with you in my heart today, marking your re-living day. Some of the tears in God’s canteen marked “Molly Piper” are there on your behalf today.

Read the whole Psalm 56:8 devotion.

September 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm 13 comments

Our home renovations (read: What we’ve done all summer)

For those of you newer to this blog, you might not know that we’ve been in the throes of remodeling our home for the last year. Here’s the timeline.

Summer 2008
Found out the duplex next door to our house was being foreclosed on, and got interested in buying it.

July 2008
Bought the duplex. Began the process of getting the tenants out (they were not appealing tenants).

August 2008
What I like to call Phase One began: ripped out and installed a new IKEA kitchen in the rental unit (downstairs unit). Had hardwood floors redone. 4 tons of painting. 16 tons of cleaning. It was seriously horrifying that people choose to live in such conditions. And believe me, in this case, it was a choice.

September 2008
Had tenants—nice ones—move into the downstairs unit. Began Phase Two: kitchen remodel for our unit (upstairs).

December 2008
Moved into the upstairs unit of duplex with our kitchen remodel complete.

A rabbit trail of explanation:
Part of what we did to remodel our kitchen was to knock out a wall between the former kitchen and the 2nd bedroom in the unit. We made the 2nd bedroom into our eat-in area. Let’s do the math, shall we?

2 bedrooms – 1 bedroom = 1 bedroom.

That’s right, folks, one bedroom for four people.

We decided to give the kids the bedroom and put our bed in a little foyer/boot room at the front of the house. Our bed and side tables fit perfectly (seriously, there’s not an inch to spare), and if you shimmy around the end of the bed you can get to the closet. Or if you’re Abraham, you can just throw all your clothes in the living room.

Okay, back on track…

June 2009
Phase Three began: renovations of the attic/3rd floor, where we had designed for there to be 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a little family room.

Thankfully we weren’t doing that work ourselves. Abraham’s brother is a general contractor and owns a company called Piper Construction. He’s pretty much amazing. He has one employee named Phil, who happens to be one of our closest friends. It’s been awesome entrusting our project to them.

The final house breakdown: apartment on the first floor, our family on floors 2 & 3.

September 2009
This has been a full year of renovations. Needless to say, I’m sick of renovations excited to be done.

Right now we’re in the final stages. We’re painting—A LOT. It all began last week when Abraham and I tried our hand at a paint sprayer for the first time. It was our first time in full Hazmat gear.


Lookin’ good, huh?

We’ve moved onto the edging, and there’s a ton of stuff still left to do. That’ll be our Labor Day—laboring for our current and future family.

Thought I’d catch you all up on how we’ve spent our summer. What about you? Done anything insane fun?

September 6, 2009 at 8:34 pm 20 comments

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