The Conlectio Newsletter
Learning to Love Your Mundane Life
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A list, crumpled and coffee-stained lies
next to the lunch dishes half-checked;
a census of hours spent on obscure
tasks, boomeranging back in the whir
of weekdays. “Do you get weary of it,
the repeating mundanity?”
I don’t.
Is it that lists are proof I’ve lived something good
in those hours—not the “good” of Instagram,
but the good of open mouth baby kisses and
lisping questions and crooked J’s? Or maybe
it’s the smell of rising dough and rush of outside cold,
the scrolling purr of scooter wheels, the flicker
of fireplace and candle flame, the tinny ping
of piano keys? They are all there, every day,
on the list. Yet they are new, as if it were
first step, kiss, loaf, lisp, candle, song.

The List, PDM.
We are told to run away from the mundane.
Glamorize the high points. Only show the fancy date nights, vacations and “good days”. But what if these mundane days, the ones without glitter - these are the good ones?
I wonder if the repulsion we feel about the normal, quiet Tuesday has less to do with Tuesday's tasks and more to do with a lie we've believed. The lie: This is not a day the Lord has made. You cannot rejoice in it. 
It's a simple line, the kind we say in Sunday School. And yet it holds an ancient truth: All days are days the King has granted, and all days are worthy of our joy.
There are a lot of things I haven't learned and a lot of qualities I don't possess. But one thing I have learned and lived and can say with integrity: mundane days matter, and there is a way to wake up to them with vision and joy. I have experienced this for the last ten years. Those ten years have spanned some of the hardest days of my life; they've spanned a skin disease, betrayal, our worst marriage years, the loss of my husband's job, a terrible work environment, and late nights of no sleep with small children. And all ten of those years were made up of mundane, boring, unexciting days like this one.
But when you pile them together into a mosaic of consistent choosing, of intentional joy, you have a masterpiece. It's like the adage of the tapestry: during the weaving the back of it looks messy and unintentional. But for those whose hands and hearts move each thread in worship, the end result is beauty.
I believe there is beauty here. I believe every day holds a beauty and adventure yet to be discovered, right here in my home - not somewhere else. And because I look for it here, I find it here. This is the secret to enjoying your mundane life. God made this day as part of your great, grand, adventure in Him. You're doing something WITH Him and He is doing something WITH you, in this day - and not another one. If we miss what He is doing in this mundane day, we will eventually miss what He was doing in our lives. The little days and hours, our choosing within them, are the threads of His tapestry.
So yes, you'll do the same things every day. But not in the same way. Each day you do the dishes with a greater and deeper worship. Each day, you get better at listening to the Spirit's voice when you're angry. Each day, you can see some glimmer of God's image in the laugh of your coworker. Each day, you can rejoice in the fun that's underneath the simple things.
Our alternative is to ignore the beauty and wait for a mountaintop. But that's a long wait, and God doesn't ask us to live that way. He has provided much along the pathway to the high points. And, I think, when we notice those little beautiful, funny, lovely things in the unseen places, we find the valley isn't so boring after all. Sometimes we prefer it to the mountain.
All days are days the King has granted, and all days are worthy of our joy.
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Ask Anything Monday Questions
  • Thoughts on Jesus Calling?
    • I think it depends on who is reading it. If it's a beginner believer, or someone coming to Christ, I think something like JC may play a role in their fledgling walk. I believe God can use anything to draw people to Him, and that sometimes there are books that are a “stepping stone” in our growth. We might never return to it, but it served a purpose at the time. That said, it's not something I would choose to give a new believer. I would rather teach her how to study the Bible, learn to love it, and grow away from dependence on short devotionals - especially those that “speak for” Jesus.
  • Have I truly repented if I still enjoy the fruits of sin?
  • What would you tell someone who is a Christian but they feel not bad enough to need a Savior?
    • Honestly, I would question if they are actually a Christian at all. As I talk about in the repentance episode, we have to have a true view of our NEED for a Savior, an understanding of what our sin has done to us and our relationship to God, in order to experience Christ's saving power. This is why Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the prophets all preached: REPENT! Turn your heart back to God! If you feel like you haven't done much “wrong”, you're probably a lot like my dad was growing up. My dad was a good kid. He didn't cause trouble, he was a peacemaker. It wasn't until he was in his early twenties that he realized ANY sin would separate him from God's perfection - even the littlest thing. He had a high view of himself and a low view of God's holiness. Only after that epiphany did he come to a true, saving faith in Christ. A study of God's holiness in Scripture may be a good start, but I would encourage also praying: God, give me an honest view of who you are. Give a holy reverence at your majesty, help me understand who I am in relation to you. And show me if I have ever truly repented and followed you.
  • Working retail and debating whether to rework schedule so Sundays are off. It seems like an ordinary day [because of working].
    • So first, I love that you're thinking about this! I have an episode about Sabbath and Sunday and how Sunday became the day of Christian rest and worship. I would encourage you to begin by praying about this. God is not a God of legalism, but I also believe if you feel some conviction about this it may be something He is working in you! I also love Jefferson Bethke's resources on sabbath (I think the DadTired podcast talks about it too). If you do decide to ask for Sundays off, you're not alone! Have you ever heard of Eric Liddell, of Chariots of Fire fame? His story may be an encouragement to you. He was willing to sacrifice a lot in order to protect Sunday worship and rest. If you do get the day off, I would encourage you to come up with a plan to protect that day as a true rest day. For us, that looks like seeing friends, eating good food, playing games, keeping phones/media off, going outside, and painting together after church.
  • Handling a toxic work environment while trying to be the light and not being taken advantage of?
    • Friend, I'm so sorry you're in this situation. Josh (my husband) walked through this and it is so, so hard. I would really encourage getting some outside counsel on just how toxic the work place is, because there may come a point where the damage is not worth the light you are shining (and God is okay with that boundary!). From what Josh has taught me, if you choose to stay, recognize that being a Christian does NOT mean being a doormat. You have dignity and you get to have boundaries on your time, work, and space. In fact, doing your work well while standing up for your dignity will teach people to respect you more. Some examples in Scripture who may be helpful: Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah. And a good book: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend.
What I'm [Still] Reading 
  • Church History Study Bible: This gorgeous bible from Crossway is my new favorite for reading with notes.
  • Christianity and Liberalism by Machen: Excited to start this classic from the early 20th century.
  • John Wesley's Sermons: This anthology was a Thriftbooks find.
  • Speed Reading by Kam Knight: Super practical and helpful for any reader! I included some of his tips in the Bible in a Year Club.
  • Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt: This is a classic for homeschoolers and I am enjoying it!
  • The Read Aloud Revival by Sarah Mackenzie: Really enjoying this one! She is one of my favorite authors and I love encouragement to keep read alouds a priority in the home!
And still reading:
  • Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend 
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  • The Care of Souls
  • In His Steps
What I'm Loving
  • Morning workouts: Josh and I really struggled to be consistent last year in fitness. We find we lack energy when we don't workout, so one of our goals for 2023 was to restart our routine and do it together. We're starting out with a bodyweight series and have one week down of 6 AM wake ups! On days we have morning meetings, we either workout before (5:30 AM) or after (7:00 AM). It's tough, but it has reset our bedtime routine and made for MUCH better mornings with the kids, since we get time to ourselves and in the Word before they can leave their rooms.
  • Scheduled reading time: I have a goal of finishing 5 books a month this year, and I absolutely love reading - but I tend to put it off until the end of the day. I have started scheduling a reading time for 30-60 minutes a day. (This is separate from bedtime) I treat it like a task. Putting it on my calendar has made me prioritize it and I also feel great about sitting down and enjoying a book! (I do not count read alouds to the kids or the Bible in this, but if you're just starting, those absolutely count!)
  • Portable sound machine: I never cared about sound machines until we had babies. When they're in our room until 8 weeks using one, you get spoiled! This little sound machine is great for travel and on planes with babies, but it's also what Josh and I now use for ourselves.
  • Twisted rope earrings: Story time: I bought earrings for my friend Chels' birthday. But I put the address in wrong and earrings showed up at my house instead. They weren't the right ones anyway, so I kept them and ordered a new pair for Chels. Come to find out, I actually DID send both pairs to Chels and the ones I received were a gift to ME from someone else. *This is why my husband doesn't trust me with details*. But the earrings are cute! 
  • Butter Pecan Torani Syrup: I love Torani syrups in our Nespresso lattes, but I really hate the sugar free aftertaste. This one is FULL sugar (yum, lol) and the flavor is chef's kiss
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On the Farm
  • Groceries: I was asked on Ask Anything Monday about the impact of inflation on groceries. I love grocery shopping/budgeting so I thought I'd share where we are at right now.
    • About halfway through 2022 I bought in bulk from Country Life Foods and we cancelled our Costco membership, since we had to drive 1.5 hours each way to get there and gas was so high (we used to go once a month).
    • The CLF order of wheat, spelt, beans, oats and sucanat (all of which I used to make bread, muffins, oatmeal, granola bars, pancakes, waffles, burrito bowls and more) lasted us until now, so I priced out Azure (shipped; we have no drop here), CLF, and a local bulk farm. Azure was of course the most affordable but shipping was outrageous - even when added into the price of the foods. I discovered the local farm was the most affordable option so I may be switching to that.
    • We raise our own pigs, chickens for eggs, and buy beef from our neighbor. We buy half a cow at the beginning of each year and butcher our pigs in the fall. This allows us to get the highest quality meat at a much lower price.
    • Budget: Right now, we are spending about $480 a month in grocery runs (I buy mostly organic from Aldi) + the beef we buy from Farmer Bob ($100/mo) and pigs we've raised ($40/mo) + feed for our chickens, who supply eggs; our total per month is around $620, maybe a little higher if I grab some things here and there. A year ago it was around $450, so with older kids and inflation, I think the price increase makes sense.
    • A few other things I try to do: choose what items I'll spend more on (e.g. high quality milk) and what items I'll settle for (cheese sticks. raisins.). I meal plan every Sunday and try to make every single meal that week even if I rearrange the schedule. No changing my mind and ingredients - that's a surefire way to blow the budget!
    • Eating out: We do eat out once a week as a family (usually pizza or a breakfast), but that and coffee dates/meetings is a separate budget; not under groceries.
    • Recipes: I decided to start using physical cookbooks last year and haven't looked back. I rotate through Magnolia cookbooks, Half Baked Harvest, and my friend Jami Balmet's new cookbook.
    • My biggest takeaway is just to stay on top of meal planning, buy only what is needed for those meals plus snacks (buying weekly has helped me stay in budget), and cook from scratch what you can! Only buy in bulk those things you use often/daily (at least for me, it's wasted money to buy lots of something I use rarely).
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In Our Homeschool
  • CC Week 13: Addie had to stay home from our co-op this week due to a fever, but I had a lovely time seeing my students again! This week we did some memory work on Northern European countries, the Industrial Revolution, and liquid measurements. We also did experiments to study vibration and frequency, and in art we are studying Rembrandt.
  • Books: I've been loosely tracking our read alouds this year. So far we are at 48, not including our regular reading rotation. Our current regular rotation includes:
    • Little House in the Big Woods
    • Thomas the Tank Engine Railway Series
    • Norse Mythology
    • Beatrix Potter Collection
    • Brambly Hedge
  • We spent 3 hours outside this week, which I'm actually quite happy with considering the amount of sickness we had in the house and have no snow to play in. All we can do is take very cold walks! We usually have FEET of snow this time of year, but it all melted off after Elliott and hasn't returned.
for the awakening, 

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