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Grace in Small Things #6

I’ve been needing these GiST posts a lot lately, which is why they’ve been making up the bulk of my posts (aside from the Bachelorette ones). Life throws crap at you sometimes and it’s easy to be angry and bitter. But you can look for grace in the small things, and power through. You can.

1. A much-needed road trip with this weirdo.

road trip with this weirdo

2. Spending time with friends and family. It was short but sweet. We did the Color Me Rad run in Edmonton, and the next day my brother Brandon did the Spartan race because he’s hardcore. And much taller than I am.

My Megan came to see us! After!

3. Coming home to these two. They make me smile and laugh constantly.

I missed these goobers.

4. Having an older child who can care for her younger siblings. She babysits them, takes them to the park, and walks with them to 7Eleven to get slurpees (or, as Preston calls them, “swupees”). There are some REALLY HARD things about having an almost-13-year-old, but there are definitely perks as well.

Perks of having an older child: I can send these two to the splash park (and 7-Eleven) ALL BY THEMSELVES.

5. Preston’s latest obsession with his hat, glasses, and bat. Kids are so hilariously weird.

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6. J.K. Rowling’s update in the Daily Prophet on Pottermore about the adult members of Dumbledore’s Army. You have to have a Pottermore account to access it, but it’s as easy as pie to sign up. Go read it.

Schmutzie created Grace in Small Things to wage a battle against embitterment.

ps. FIFA World Cup today: Netherlands vs Argentina. Hup Holland!

filed under: GiST

Landline: A Review

This post contains no spoilers.


I just finished reading my friend Rainbow Rowell’s latest book, Landline. Yes, I just called her my friend. INTERNET FRIENDS ARE REAL FRIENDS. AND YES, WE HAVE HUNG OUT IN REAL LIFE SHE IS NOT A SERIAL KILLER.


I’ve been struggling to concentrate and focus on things lately; I haven’t picked up a book since February. That changed when Noah pre-ordered for my birthday Landline, as well as a special edition of Eleanor & Park. They finally came last week, but I’ve been so swamped with work that I hadn’t been able to get to it. Till now.

It feels like not long ago Rainbow was posting on Facebook about the main characters, Georgie and Neal, wondering if their names went well together, and how exactly she should spell Neal. Fast-forward to now when book-sellers apparently like Canada a whole lot and sent out Landline two weeks before it was to be released. I didn’t mind in the least.

Landline is about a woman, Georgie, who knows her marriage is in trouble. She and her husband, Neal, still love each other, but things aren’t going well exactly. Two days before she and her family (she has two little girls) are to head to Omaha for Christmas, Georgie backs out because she has an important meeting she has to prepare for. Her family leaves for Omaha without her. Georgie is worried that she’s finally done it and ruined everything. That this is the last straw. At her mom’s place that night (her mom reminds me of Dharma (as in Dharma & Greg) and/or Dharma’s mother), she sleeps in her childhood bedroom and accidentally stumbles upon a way to speak to her husband. But not the current version of him, the 15-years-ago version. Just before he proposes to her. She’s not sure if she is supposed to try to save her marriage before it starts, or if she should prevent it from starting in the first place.

A few chapters into the book there were already too many things I liked about the book to list, besides my instant-liking to its characters. Like the Harry Potter references that are sprinkled throughout the book and Georgie’s kids watching The Rescuers (Rainbow’s twitter avatar is Bernard) and the reference to Calvinism (I laughed at this one, as I grew up in a Calvinist church/school) and Georgie’s sister Heather saying, “I’m calling from inside the house.”

Her characters have such hilarious, awkward internal dialogue. Except it’s not awkward as much as it’s normal, but nobody says it out loud. Not that the characters say it out loud, but in a way they do, as their thoughts are right there on the page.

I connected so much with Georgie. I saw so many parallels between our lives. Not outwardly, as I do not write sitcoms, but inwardly, our thought paterns. Also, I guess both our marriages were in trouble, though the reasons could not be more different. I connected with Jennifer from Attachments in many ways as well. We’re kindred spirits. I love connecting with characters in books, and Rainbow writes rad characters.

Landline has easily become one of my favourite books, and will be put on my to-read-again(-many-times) pile as soon as it comes back from a bunch of people who would like to borrow it. And it comes out today! Go buy a copy! I promise you won’t regret it.

If you’d like a signed copy of Landline or any of Rainbow’s previous books, you can order them from The Bookworm in Omaha.

(And Lisa, I’ll have it ready for you as soon as you get back.)

Oh! And Rainbow just tweeted that there is an easter egg in Landline! An update on a couple in one of her previous books! So, I’m off to re-read it …

Also by Rainbow Rowell: Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and Fangirl.

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filed under: Blog

Grace in Small Things #5

1. That Saskatoon seems to have been saved from the insane flooding that has been going on in southern Saskatchewan. Flooding makes me feel completely helpless. Nothing can be done to stop it. I hope the rain stops and the water recedes soon.

Noah is so! excited! to see this movie!

2. Doing something outside the house that has nothing to do with work. It is a rare occasion.

Went to replace my cucumber plant that got eaten and came home with a tomatillo plant instead. Gotta get recipes from my Mexican friends!

3. Discovering new things to grow because of friends who come from different cultures.


4. Instilling in my kids a love of gardening and growing things. They want to help all! the! time! I’m trying to let go of my controlling OCD way of planting things by letting them help a bit.

prairie sunset from the Janzen estate

5. Prairie sunrises and sunsets. I grew up in the mountains, and as awesome and majestic as they are, I love Saskatchewan skies A lot.

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(first day of school and last day of school)

6. That school is out for the summer! I love that I do not have to drive every day. On a normal weekday I’m driving for a minimum of 2.5 hours. Having an almost-13-year-old means that she can take the younger one(s) to the park/spray park by herself. There are terrifying things about giving her more and more freedoms, but there are also awesome things about it.


7. The times when my kids get along and show love to each other. These are the times that bring me the most joy.

Schmutzie created Grace in Small Things to wage a battle against bitterness.

filed under: GiST

he got hair down to his knees

So, here’s the thing. With summer comes heat and with heat comes perspiration. Decreasing perspiration is the key to a happy summer. With that in mind, please don’t hate me for helping my son enjoy the summer a little more. His head has been so sweaty on the few warm days we’ve had so far, and Noah and I wanted to help him out a bit. So, we did this:

Before …


… and after.

(sorry it’s so blurry. he was itchy from the haircut.)

Do I miss the curls? Obviously. But I didn’t buzz his hair for me, I did it for him. He likes it. And maybe this way not so many strangers will want to touch his head in the grocery store.

title: come together by the beatles

filed under: Blog

Grace in Small Things #4

1. Puddles and boots.


2. Slides and friends.


3. Cold meds and kleenex.


4. Movie night with my Star Wars-loving girls. Along with Liliana’s insight and philosophical commentary. And wonderings, “Why does Yoda keep saying the first word after the last word?”


5. The one thing that has come up in my garden, and the hope for many more.


Schmutzie created Grace in Small Things to wage a battle against embitterment.

filed under: Blog