Is anyone else in love with this show?

It’s another Netflix gem we stumbled across.

I’m in trouble too because Jon and I started out watching it together, but now, somehow, I am eight episodes ahead of him….whoops!  I don’t know how it happened!  A few times during Cameron’s nap I just couldn’t resist the Goldfish and the instant television gratification.

The characters in this show are so endearing and their problems, both realistic and overly dramatic, are entertaining and sometimes relate-able.

I think the thing I love most about this show is that no matter how big the problem or how stupid the mistake, at the end of most episodes this family is gathered together eating dinner or hanging out or drinking wine.  They are together.

Most of us never get to experience this kind of cross-generational community because most of us don’t live a hop, skip and a jump away from our brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents.  And even if we do, it’s rare these days to find families with a strong family identity who value togetherness more than success, autonomy and activities.  Heck, it’s rare to find families who even like each other…unless you’re on The Bachelor because somehow only people with perfect families who think their parents are the most beautiful examples of marriage get to be on that show.  It’s super weird.

Anyway, getting back on track now…

My favorite character is grandpa Zeke who is macho, harshly outspoken and at times offensive and full of tenderness towards his children and grandchildren.  I love how he isn’t a grandfather who just putzes around or watches TV, but he takes his role in the family seriously.  He’s the glue that binds everyone together.

I grew up in a family where family gatherings were very tame and quiet, so I think the idea of a big, crazy, loud family is appealing to me.  The grass is always greener at the house next door, right?

The main takeaway from Parenthood is that family exists through heartache, happiness and dysfunction.  And we all long for this kind of love and family.

Cute Stocking Stuffer Idea

If you happen to know a chai tea or latte lover (and they don’t have an espresso maker that steams milk), a cute stocking idea is to buy them a battery operated milk froth-er.  I use mine all the time to make my chai tea lattes taste more cafe-like.


Favorite Christmas Worship Album

Have you ever REALLY listened to the lyrics of Christmas songs?

They contain some of the most deep, profound lyrics ever written.

Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
-Oh Come All Ye Faithful


Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn….

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
-O Holy Night


No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
-Joy To The World


Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
-Silent Night


So thankful for Jesus, for saving me in my darkest hour.  Christmas is a beautiful season to celebrate the freedom God has brought us through Christ.  Praying yours is beautiful too.

My Favorite Christmas Album

Last year I posted about my favorite Christmas album.  This year, I’m finding that it is still my favorite.

I tend to start listening to Christmas music early (immediately following Halloween).  Then every year, about two weeks before Christmas I have to switch to country or pop because I’m so over the holiday tunes.

Check out my blog post from last year to find out what it is.

Oh and pssst…you can listen to the album for free on Spotify.  Oh happiness!

How Stories Intertwine

It’s funny how stories intertwine.  People’s stories that is.  Life stories.

When I was in college two 20-something guys moved to town – Pullman, Washington that is.  They came from Texas and they definitely had the accents so nobody was mistaken.  Josh and Drew.  They were really cool in my opinion and they came to town to start a church.



At the time, Pullman had a lot of churches, but not any that really felt like home (to me at least).  As a college kid I visited a lot of churches in Pullman and the surrounding area.  All great churches, but it was really easy to church hop throughout college based on where my current friends or dorm-mates were going because I never stuck to any particular church.  Probably because while I always felt welcome in the churches, I always walked away from a Sunday morning feeling like a visitor – never like I was a part of something.

So anyway, Josh and Drew showed up and they started talking about starting a church.  “But there are a lot of churches around here…so why start another one?” my brain asked.  They said they wanted to start a different kind of church.  I still wasn’t sure what that meant.

They spent their first year in Pullman talking to a lot of people.  Sharing their vision and hoping that people would align with that vision and want to join the team, so to speak.

At the time, I was already heavily invested in a campus ministry called CRU (formerly known as Campus Crusade For Christ).  So while I appreciated what they were trying to do, I guess I never really joined the team myself.

But a lot of people did.  Just a few at first, but more came later.

I did attend the church’s first ever service, in a nice modern event center.  The service was different than I’d experienced before.  It was artsy and maybe even a little bit hipster, years before anybody knew what hispter was.

Josh and his wife Amy.

See what I mean???

Josh played his guitar to lead worship and a guy named Keith shared a message.  It was good, but like I said, I never really got too involved during my time in Pullman.

I probably visited Resonate, that’s the name of the church, a few more times before I graduated, but really that was it.  Mostly, it’s been since I left Pullman that this church’s story has really caught my attention.  Because I left Pullman, but Resonate didn’t and it seems like many college students continue to find a home and find Jesus in this church and with these people.  I love that.  I’ve seen videos of baptism services online via social media and updates about things they’re doing and it’s amazing.  Because I remember when all of that was just an idea that two Texans came to town talking about.

Anyway, by now you might be asking, “Erin, how does this all relate to you?”  Well, two things:

One: It just so happened that Drew was the person who convinced me to buy a one-way ticket to California the day before I graduated.  Or I guess it was God through Drew, who convinced me to take that giant leap of faith, but you get what I’m saying.

It was the day before I graduated and I was working out on the main level of the student REC center when I ran into Drew.  I’d never bumped into him at the gym before, but that day I did.

Drew asked me if I had made a decision about California yet.  I regretfully told him that I had.  I told him that although the opportunity I had in California sounded great, I was going to be moving back home to Spokane and if somehow I got a job in California over the coarse of the next year, then maybe I would consider moving then.

Drew read my face and then said, “You don’t seem very excited about that,” (or maybe he said something else along those lines, but it’s been a few years so I don’t remember his exact quote there).

I told him I wasn’t, but that it’s what I needed to do for now.  Then Drew asked me two questions that literally changed my life.

He said, “Erin, if you take this big chance and move to California, do you think a few years from now you’d ever wake up and wish you hadn’t gone?

“No,” I said.  “I suppose if it didn’t work out I could always move back home.”

Okay,” he said, “Then what about this: If you move back home to Spokane, would you ever wake up one day and wonder what could have happened if you would have just taken this leap of faith?  Would you ever wonder what God could have done in your life if you would have just trusted him on this.”

I paused.

And then after inhaling a big breath I sighed and replied, “Every day of my life…”

“Well I think you have your answer then,” he said.

Shortly following that I began to cry and it probably appeared to those standing by that some guy was breaking up with me in the middle of the gym.  That felt awkward, but I didn’t care because God had just done something in my heart and I was still processing it.

So that was that.  I thanked Drew for his time and I walked up the stairs and pedaled on the elliptical machine for thirty minutes while I daydreamed about what California would be like now that I had decided I would go.

The rest is history.  It’s a long story, actually too.  But through this decision to move to California and follow’s God’s leading a lot of crazy things happened in my life.  The day after I moved to San Luis Obispo I met my husband and as soon as I arrived the Lord started healing all the deep places in my life that I had needed him to for so long.

Secondly: the reason for me sharing this story?  It just so happens that one of the guys I mentioned, Josh, just wrote and published his first book!  It’s called Saturday Nothing: The Words I Wrote While Waiting On Jesus.  If 3,095 people buy this book tomorrow it would make his self-published, Kickstarter funded book by a no-name author a best-seller… and that would be a cool story too!

I pre-ordered my copy months ago when Josh started his Kickstarter campaign.  Basically he wanted to reach his financial goal of $4,000 to fund his book over the coarse of five months or so.  But there was a huge response, he raised more than his goal in only 24 hours.  Then, the financial support kept pouring in and he ended up raising over $10,000.

Anyway, it’s a great story and you can read about his Kickstarter campaign here or check out his blog if you want to check out more of his writing.

But mostly why I’m sharing this is so you have the chance to hear about Josh’s book and can purchase it tomorrow on November 1st on Amazon and help make history.

I don’t know about you, but I love grass roots projects and it’s fun to see people’s dreams come true in bigger ways than they even imagined.  I think the heart of God is like that too.  Anyway, you should buy his book.

In some roundabout way, Josh and Drew’s decision to move to Pullman, Washington to start a church resulted in my decision to move to California.  Wow.  It’s amazing how stories intertwine.

Moms With Guns

Last night, myself and two other fairly new mommas sat in an 80 degree living room.  Another young couple was there along with a father and his teenage son.  The smell of the house seemed familiar and the animal figurines and animal trophy heads mounted all around the room spoke of a long life lived.

Madeline slowly walked over to a chair situated behind a small TV tray, took a seat, and without introducing herself told us to open up our books to page two, from which she would begin her lecture.

Madeline, at eighty-six years old, is still an avid huntress and sportswoman.  She still frequents the shooting range for target practice, saying that after a couple shots she simply has to take a break because she’s clearly getting old and her body isn’t what it used to be.  And in some of her free time, she teaches a free Hunter’s Safety class targeted at young people.  She says she wants the next generation to have the opportunity to enjoy the sport of hunting as she has for so many years now.

I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed her class.  To put it bluntly, I don’t think I’ve ever been more bored in my entire life.  At the forty-five minute mark of the class I began watching the clock as if it were about to explode.  The minutes crept by as Madeline, ever so slowly, read to us the hunter’s safety manual.  Thank the heavens for the few videos she showed that broke up the four hours of painful listening.

My two friends and I, all with babies ranging from three to six months old, decided that it would be fun to take this class.  Since our husbands are all into hunting, our natural thinking was that if we got our licenses we could someday join them on their hunting excursions.  I also wanted an opportunity to wear my cute camo hat.

For myself, part of the motivation to do these sorts of things comes from the way I romanticize certain notions in my mind.  Oftentimes, my romantic daydreams don’t accurately mirror reality, therefore, making me prone to experience disappointment.

Example-  Daydream:  In my mind, I saw my husband and I, decked out in camoflauged clothing, treading through the woods.  We had excitedly jumped out of bed while it was still dark outside.  On the way to where ever we were going, naturally, we stopped to pick up some coffee and donuts for sustenance.  Then we marveled at the rising sun and the stillness of nature.  We admired the animals and hummed along with the morning birds.  We were on a hunt together and experiencing such meaningful quality time as a couple.

Reality based on what I’ve learned in class so far:  Hunting is messy.  It’s hard work.  It takes a ridiculous amount of preparation.  It’s more expensive than I thought.  And I have literally burst into tears before upon hitting a possum and a baby quail with my car.  Not to mention, I have a history of saving drowning bees and other helpless insects from lakes or swimming pools.

Besides my daydreaming, the idea of taking the class struck me as empowering.  As a new mom and all, sometimes I find myself wanting to prove to myself that I’m still tough and adventurous.  This is why a few weeks after giving birth I started playing around with the idea of signing up for a Tough Mudder race…that is, until I found out that you literally get shocked with live wires and have to throw yourself into freezing cold water.  I quickly decided that maybe I should instead exert my toughness by scrubbing my toilets really, really fast.

Nevertheless, I signed up for the Hunter’s Safety class.  The worst part is that in order to take the test and receive my license, I have to go back to Madeline’s house tonight for four more hours of torture.

Maybe when this is all said and done I’ll actually go on a hunting adventure or two with Jon.  Then again, I think I’d probably be much happier just shooting targets at the range and feeling like a freakin’ she-woman warrior in doing so.

Main thing I’ve gotten from the class so far: Jon and Cameron can go hunting and I will be perfectly content in making the welcome home meal and painting my nails while they are away.

Tuesday, July 10 Twenty Twelve

It’s 10:30pm.  I should already be in bed, but I feel like my day is just finally winding down.

After our morning routine,  I took Cam over to a friend’s house to play in the baby pool.  The babies enjoyed the cool, shallow water while the mommas supervised, wishing there was room in the water for us as well on this warm day.

Having friends with babies around the same age nearby is a blessing and one I don’t overlook.  I think being a mom would feel harder if it weren’t for other moms nearby.

On the way to the church to help out with the free clothing ministry, I stopped by the library to return a book.  The book was due today.  Like really due.  I’d already renewed it the maximum of three times because that’s how long it takes me to read a book nowadays.  With Cam contently sitting in his car seat, I finally read the last few pages.  When it comes to books and movies, I tend to say that the most recent work of art I’ve seen or read is my favorite, and this time was no different.  At the moment, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller is my new favorite book.  I would really like to sit down in an artsy coffee shop and have a conversation with Donald Miller about whatever was on his mind.   I think we could be great friends.

Once at the church, we folded clothes and placed them on plastic fold-out tables.  Later on, families would arrive to shop for free clothing and pick up a box of free food from the Food Bank that volunteers at our church had put together.

On the way home, Cam fell asleep.  After missing his mid day and afternoon nap I knew I should have headed home earlier to get him to bed.  We both paid for it later when he jolted wide awake wired and fought sleep as long as he possibly could.

While Jon cooked up some pasta and a homemade pasta sauce from random ingredients he found in our pantry, I swirled around cloth diapers in our bathtub.  I felt like a Colonial woman washing her clothes in the river.  This morning I had begun the process of “stripping” the diapers.  During this process I wondered why I even bother dealing with my child’s waste after it leaves his body.  But I have my reasons, so I continued to swirl the diapers around in the hot, vinegar bath.

At 9:00pm Jon and I sat down to eat our dinner.  We have a kitchen table, but we sat on the couch instead, watching last night’s episode of The Bachelorette.  Jon used to strongly dislike this show, but after a handful of seasons he’s come to a place of tolerating it.  I’ve always liked it because whether the relationships work out in the long run or not, it’s exciting to cheer on love.  And this season especially, the bachelorette is classy and I like that.

And now, at 11:15pm, after writing this, I am contemplating whether or not I am actually going to brush my teeth tonight.  Sounds gross, but it’s just the honest truth.  Sometimes after a full day, brushing my teeth can feel like hiking a steep hill and sometimes it’s just easier to fling myself into bed with the satisfaction that I got to cut one corner today.  I washed diapers ten times over and therefore my reward is to go to bed with dirty teeth.


No Time To Write

I don’t have time to write anymore.

I suppose I could make the time if I really tried, but lately things like sleep and taking the time to chew my food thoroughly seem to take precedent.

So sometimes I daydream about writing.  I imagine myself sitting down in a coffee shop, wearing hipster glasses – the kind without the lenses – and as I bite into my scone, I sense the creative juices literally flowing out of my fingertips, making magic on the screen.

I don’t have time for reading anymore either, but sometimes if I pull into a parking space at the grocery store and realize Cameron is sleeping, I grab my book and read a couple pages before I go in.  This keeps my brain from going numb while I shop.

I’m obsessed the book I’m reading right now.  Donald Miller’s A Million Miles In A Thousand Years is brilliant.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I have an artistic crush on Donald Miller.  Sometimes I want to be his best friend because I think we’d get along perfectly and other times I just wish I could copyright all his writing as my own because I like the way he puts things.  He writes in a way that’s easy to read and instantly inspires me to ponder things that one cup of coffee can’t fuel.  This whole book so far is about story; about what makes a story great and about living a great story.  Good stuff,  I recommend it.

Well, I just compromised fifteen valuable minutes of sleep to write this.


Why Facebook Will Never Die

As I flipped open my laptop today, I decided to take my usual stroll down Facebook Lane.

There is something comforting about scrolling through Facebook.  You can scroll quickly if you’re in a hurry and just need the news, or you can scroll more slowly and saunter a bit if you’ve got some time to kill and a cookie in your hand.

On Facebook, people you know are there and you get a glimpse into the lives of people you haven’t spoken to in years.  The columns of pictures and posts line the walkway like beautiful trees and for a few minutes each day (sometimes more) you get to forget about the mundane and sometimes stressful elements of life – because on Facebook everyone’s life seems to sparkle and shine.  There are no awkward moments or awkward pauses in the conversation and you can leave without saying goodbye and no one will think you’re rude.

There’s a line in the first chapter of the book I’m reading that I love – “But then you start thinking about some of the scenes you’ve lived, and if you’ve had a couple of drinks, they have a sentimental quality that gets you believing we are all poems coming out of the mud, ” (A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller).

On Facebook, we are all poems coming out of the mud.

In the virtual world you don’t have to be yourself.  You can be the best version of yourself; the you, you see yourself as when you’re having a really great day.

I think that’s why Facebook has such an addicting quality to it.

You can express yourself without any of the social pressure, tension or fear of rejection.

There’s no dislike button.  All anyone can do is simply like your post.  Or like you.  Or poke you…if you’re into that sort of thing.

Facebook turns the random or normal thoughts and experiences we have into published work.  It makes us feel creative and and smart and witty – and there’s nothing wrong with that I suppose.

And that’s why Facebook will never die.  Or at least if it does it will be reincarnated as some other form of social media that has yet to be invented.  Because everyone wants an escape and everyone is looking for meaning in their daily lives.  Everyone wants to put forward the best version of themselves.

Its just that in real life, when you’re face to face with real people, most of us aren’t quite as good and perfect as we feel on Facebook.  We get all sinful and selfish and insecure.  Relationships are harder in the real world.

And like I said, that’s why Facebook will never die.

Baby Problems – Hot Problems parody

A couple girls from SLO High posted a video called Hot Problems a week and a half ago and it’s gone viral.  And seriously, who doesn’t love to hate on an awesomely bad viral video???

So, us Kidwells needed to have a little fun today on Jon’s lunch break.  So we busted out the camcorder and made a little YouTube magic.

So, click here to view the original video.

And click here to see ours.