I pealed back the adhesive on the box. Let out a big sigh. Stuck it shut. Set it out for the post. Let the glass screen hit my heel on the way in. Scooped up my toddling baby and headed back into the fray that is the kitchen stocked with small children.

The fudge I mailed my friend had no note inside. I haven’t even emailed him to tell him it was from me. I hope he reads the return label. I hope the squirrels didn’t eat it on his front step, gnawing their way into the smooth chocolatey goodness. It was my overdue thank you for his kindness, his time.

In my ideal world, I had it all planned. I would enclose a Mass card. A handwritten note. Even gift wrapped the treat.

In my real world, it sat in my freezer for two months too long and barely made it out the door.

Are you also finding this to be a season of imperfect gift giving?

The first night we had Blessed Conversations at my house, we had moved in that day. Sheet rock dust was everywhere and the furniture in temporary places. No felt pads under any chairs. Not lights covering the swinging bulbs from the ceiling. Each subsequent meeting, the ladies see the house a little more done. This weekend when they come, they’ll see it so close to finished. But if I had waited for the right time to host, I would still be waiting.

In my ideal world, the gifts for niece and nephews are labeled already and marked, wrapped in fun paper, placed in boxes to be mailed.

In my real world, the wrapping paper is coming via amazon prime soonish and I think I have gifts for everyone. There may be some last minute sewing.

I gripped the steering wheel hard today, dropping both boys at my sister’s house for some fun, driving around with just the baby, wet diapered, awakened too early from her nap for school time pickup, awash with frustration. My house is strewn with toys, styrofoam chunks (don’t let the baby put that in her mouth!! I shout regularly), my sewing orders almost all out the door, my laundry almost folded, my sleep so blurred.

Feeling helpless makes me want to stop giving. Stop giving of myself. Turn off and dry up. If it’s not perfect or ordered, I want to turn away from it.

A dear friend loses her son at 20 weeks in utero. Another still aches for her twins. Two more lost their babies early on in pregnancy, one sharing here. I want all the babies alive and back. I want these sisters to experience the gift of the baby, the perfect gift, the gift in their arms, healthy and spluttering.

Imperfect gifts and imperfect giving can’t stop us, shouldn’t stop us, from giving the gift of ourselves. The effort means everything.

Keep showing up, sisters. Keep showing up with yourself, you, the imperfect wonder that you are. The world needs us, as messy and sad and lacking in hand written notes as we are.  I believe in your value, your contributions. Let’s appreciate each other’s imperfect gifts, and our own.

SaveSave

It’s Advent and I feel like the sky has fallen because I’m not really ready for Christmas gifts. I usually get mine all set before Advent so I can focus on the season and not be scrambling for deals. But with the move and still finishing home improvement projects (aka other people improving our home while we ply them with adulation and fudge), it just hasn’t all come together.

{The bookshelves are done!!! The tree is half decorated!!}

SO this is as much my shopping list as a recommendation request from you guys? Mkay?

L A D I E S

Blessed is She store! Our prints are super popular as is our journaling Bible.

Mordenmiss’ linen line. I own several of their dresses/tunics and love the way linen feels over time. This one is one my wish list.

Be a Heart’s new book! Amen and it’s gorgeous. Holding one in my hot lil paws right now.

G E N T S

Tolkien fan? My friend Kaitlyn’s shop has everything for the Tolkien lover. I love this especially.

Magnetic wrist band for the handyman? I mean, I think I’m getting this for our construction guys as a thank you. Never seen anything like this. Do I not get out much?

Cordless drill for the husband whose drill grew legs and walked off? Too much on the construction stuff? Sorry. I mean, he has every religious book under the sun but if he didn’t, I get him this one.

K I D S

Alice and Ames has the best twirly dresses. I snagged one on sale for the baby. I also bought her diapers. Happy Christmas, babe!

For the three year old in your life, they may also really want a handmade bird house (thanks to the contractors) and populate it with these (on sale now). We couldn’t really live without our Janod toys.

For the five year old, you may also have a budding Egyptologist. She wants to go on a dig so so badly. I blame this CD. But this is the game we got her so hopefully it can stem the flooding of her (we’re-not-going-now) heart.

For the seven year old, I think he’s got so many different strategy games and books to read but one he comes back to time and time again is this one along with chess. I don’t know how to play it but if your kid also loves baseball and strategy, this is for you as well. I think a stack of these books will tide him over during break.

Okay, I was brief. What’s on your list this year??

(An old pic but one I love by Emily Rumsey Photography)

Oh do I dare even type that word out? I know everyone (almost everyone?) has passionate feelings about circumcision. But if you’d asked me when I was pregnant with our oldest (8 years ago) if we were going to circumcise him, I would have shrugged and said, yeah, probably, ask my husband? I mean, it sounds like it hurts but I’m sure they give the baby medicine and it’s for sanitary reasons or something?

Clearly I had done a lot of research. Gulp.

A few people in our lives mentioned that maybe researching it and the recommendations (AAP said not!) at the time were of value. After all, this is the same pregnant woman who thought she was going to waltz into a maternity ward PUSH PUSH PUSH and have a baby in an hour or so. I really hadn’t known anyone who was pregnant (well) and really hadn’t read much about it (at all) and spent the first many months throwing up so I had little energy to do anything other than complain to my mom.

All this to say, two women I know and very much respect who are both media producers and certified nurse midwives are working on a documentary. It’s about making informed decisions on circumcision. I urge you to visit the site and watch the trailer. It’s a very medical approach, acknowledges some determining factors and debunks a lot of myths.

Whether you’ve already chosen circumcision for your son or not (maybe you’d do it differently for future boys! I know families who have!), it’s informative and well-crafted.

Also, AA and I are in it! So watch the trailer here, get talking about this, and come back and tell me in the combox what you think. (See if you recognize any of the backgrounds . . . .)

Love,

Nell

*prepares for very strong opinions by securing chocolate brownies and a tall glass of cold milk*

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