mommy’s helpers


Next day Laura helped to wash all the quilts and blankets. She was glad to lug the loaded basket out to the clothesline in the sweet, chilly March weather. -Laura Ingalls Wilder in By the Shores of Silver Lake Then the carpets were hung on clotheslines outdoors, and he had to beat them with a long stick. When he was little he had run under the carpets, playing they were tents.  But now he was nine years old, he had to beat those carpets without stopping, till no more dust would come out of them. -Laura Ingalls Wilder in Farmer Boy It may be true that “many hands make light work” but ... Read More

10 Things My Relevant Roomies Know About Me Now

I had the best of roommates at Relevant.  They put up with a lot—most especially a little guy who never wanted to leave his Mommy’s arms, overstimulated and exhausted as he was. I’d already warned them about the 10 things they should know about me.  But now they know all the things I forgot to tell them.  So here’s to the best roomies ever—Trina and Diane—and to many more conferences where we can live and laugh and cry “life unmasked” together. 10 Things Gretchen’s Relevant Roomies Know About Her Now: Gretchen holds to the Girl Scout motto of being always prepared.  Which means she ... Read More

introvert or extrovert?

I’ve always thought of myself as an extrovert.  But at Relevant last week, I began to question whether I really was as extroverted as I’d always thought. I shook hands and gave hugs and traded business cards with the rest.  I made small talk with the ladies at my table and even went up to a few strangers at the newbies meet-up the first night.  But I quickly reached my “people quotient.” As dear and neat as every lady I met was, I was overwhelmed at the vast number of women around me.  I didn’t want to go out of my way to do more networking.  I started reconnecting with the same people.  ... Read More


The ordinary, everyday brings me to tears sometimes with its very routine-ness. The over and again, rinse and repeat, wake up and do it all over again laundry and dishes and what to eat. The toys that will always get strewn everywhere and be tripped over.  And the girlish joyful exuberance that will wake a sleeping brother.  The clothes piled here and there.  The clothes that are outgrown. The clothes that need sorted. The up in the middle of the night and the teething and pottying and washing and cooking.  It’s enough to overwhelm a mom living in the middle of an ordinary day. But ... Read More

hanging out the laundry

A neighbor happened to call the other afternoon.  “How do you find the time to hang out all that laundry?” she asked. “It gets the girls outside,” was my reply of the moment.  But as I thought about her question later, I realized that I look forward to that time hanging out the laundry. Yes, it is quicker in the wintertime when I just throw the wet clothes in the dryer.  But I miss the quiet moments in the sunshine, the wind rippling through the sheets and my hair, the cares disappearing along with the moisture. I remember Mrs. Taylor giving the devotional at my bridal shower.  She ... Read More