Chasing Ice Queens

I’ve been thinking about Frozen a lot lately. Have you? If not, you will be on Friday. Rumor has it there will be tons of tiny trick-or-treating Elsas and Annas wandering the streets.

In preparation for the big event, let’s take a look at these famous sisters of Arendelle…

7a6de96e4c16c10e08ef9838549eb76aFirst, there’s Anna….she’s silly, friendly, outgoing, clumsy, wakes up with drool and bedhead, but cleans up pretty nice. She can be starry eyed and a bit naive, but throughout the movie, she is strong, independent, fearless, and fiercely loyal to the people she loves.elsa-frozen-cartoon-mobile-wallpaper-1080x1920-3466-1296291838

Then, there’s Elsa…. for most of the movie she is reserved, consumed by fear and insecurities,  and spends years of her life being cold and standoffish.  Even after she finally lets it go in her over-youtubed transformation, she still remains the epitome of unapproachable. I mean, c’mon now… She builds herself a giant castle made of ice on a remote mountain and scares people away with shooting icicle daggers and snow monster body guards.

Elsa is cold; Anna is warm.

And the little girls of America have made their choice. If you poll a room of 60 girls under the age of 12, all but 4 of them will say they prefer Elsa over Anna (True statistic. My husband did this a couple weeks ago.)

But, I bet the moms of America would choose differently.

Which leaves me wondering why?

Why are little girls as young as 2 drawn to an Ice Queen?

Is it the beauty? Because “girls love beautiful things? ”

Elsa is definitely beautiful and far sexier than Anna. Anna is cute. And pretty. But, Elsa? The Elsa we all know and love is gorgeous….

Okay. I get that. I have a sparkle-loving child of my own. Elsa has a prettier dress. Points for Elsa.

But I wonder how long my daughter will be blinded by sparkly things.

Many girls don’t seem to grow out of it.

Will she think prettier is better when she enters middle school and the popular girls are the ones with the with perfect smiles and bitchy attitudes? Will she try to be like them? Will the pursuit of pretty cause her to ignore her quirky Anna-friend in pursuit of an Ice Queen?

Will she think prettier is better when she enters high school and the boys pay attention to the girls in the skimpiest clothing? Will she buy the lie that the worth of a woman can be measured by her sex appeal? Will she give away pieces of herself in an attempt to be viewed as sexy and attractive?

I hope not.

I hope my daughter becomes wise beyond her years and peers, so she can see true beauty in herself and others. I want her to see that beauty isn’t about sparkles and skin and flowing hair. True beauty in a girl is strength and boldness, and being comfortable in her own skin. True beauty is kindness and compassion. It is sacrificial love.

True beauty looks a whole lot more like Anna.

So go ahead and let your little girl belt out Let It Go for the 356,473,014th time. Or go ahead and play that drinking game when a bunch of Elsas come trick-or-treating. But at some point, let’s try to steer our girls away from their ice queen obsession before it affects their heads… or worse yet, their hearts.

“The heart is not so easily changed, but the head can be persuaded.” -Grand Pabbie (Frozen)

Acting like a 5 year old

When my twins turned five I was not aware of how difficult everything would become for them. Strong, independent five year olds, right?


Actual conversation–

Royal-Flush-14k-Solid-Gold-Toilet-Flusher2ME: Make sure you go potty before we leave.

JUDAH: (throws his head back and says in a melodramatic sigh voice) WHYYY???????

[He goes into the bathroom. A few seconds later, he emerges.]

ME: Did you flush and wash your hands?

JUDAH: (flops on the floor and says in melodramatic sigh voice) UUUUUGH!!!

The conflicts with my boys are usually about one of three big issues: using the bathroom, eating meals, or cleaning up after themselves.

In my mind, these should be simple, expected tasks for five year old boys, but mine act like I’ve asked them to cross the Grand Canyon on a tightrope while juggling cats and eating dog poop. How could I be so cruel and have such high expectations?!

Sometimes, they try to meet my authority with an authority of their own. Here’s an example of 5 year old negotiation at its finest–

JUDAH: Can I have a piece of chocolate?

ME: After you finish your lunch.

JUDAH: (throws his head back and says in melodramatic sigh voice) WHYYY??????

ME: Because you have to finish your lunch first.

JUDAH: Okay, well, if I finish my lunch, I get a piece of chocolate AND a piece of cake.

He says this like the finishing of the lunch was up for negotiation. Like he expects me to be overjoyed that he did something basic and foundational for his health and well-being. So overjoyed, in fact, that I would now be willing to throw in extra rewards and bribes for the privilege of watching him sacrifice so much and work so hard.

Um…no, son. You must finish your lunch. That is not negotiable. It is the dessert in question that is not guaranteed.

My boys will never be lawyers.

The negotiating and overreacting is tiring to me as a mom. I want to scream at them that this stuff is NOT THAT HARD!

It’s actually for your own good. You will feel better after you do it. Just pee; get rid of the bad stuff.  Just eat; take in some good stuff. Just clean up; it’s part of being a member of this family.

Today I started to wonder if God feels the same way with all of my excuses and bargaining. Sometimes I feel myself respond to that gentle whisper in a Judah-like fashion–

Talk to that homeless woman. She’s a person just like you. Show her love.

ME: [mentally throw back my head and say in melodramatic sigh voice] WHYYYY??????

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

ME: Okay, well, if she’s still there after I drop the boys off at preschool, THEN I’ll talk to her.

Why do I act like loving people is negotiable? It’s basic and foundational for my life as a follower of Jesus. It’s for my own good. I feel better after I do it.

Sometimes I am more like a 5 year old than I’d like to admit.

And it’s really not that hard…Get rid of the bad stuff. Take in the good stuff. It’s part of being a member of God’s family.

Christmas stuff

There are two beautiful things that my kids do not know are counter cultural:

1.) We visit toy stores and treat them like libraries. Look at toy, check out the buttons and sounds, comment on how cool it is, return to shelf. If you shop with us, you will hear me repeat over and over again as we browse through the aisles, “Let’s see what else we can find.” Even just turned 2 year old Sariya knows the routine. If she asks for a baby or stuffed animal she means that she wants it to ride in the cart with her for a few aisles. Then we work together to remember where the baby “lives” or “sleeps” and put it to bed on it’s shelf. For the Miller kids, toy stores are for borrowing, not buying.

2.) Christmas is about love, joy, peace, hope, and giving…not getting. We spend the Advent season leading up to Christmas with a fun family activity for each day. We eat treats, we make crafts, we pray for people, we serve each other (in fun ways…like making someone else’s bed after you get a chance to jump on it), we watch movies, we act out the Christmas story, we go for winter walks, and drink tea together. At some point along the way, we also make a big deal of a family trip to the Dollar Tree where they get to carefully choose several items to give to family members. They pick them, they pay for them, they wrap them. It’s all very top secret and very fun. So, when Christmas morning comes, what’s often the most exciting thing? Watching someone open the gift that you have been keeping a surprise and are SO excited to give them.

I love these ways we’ve “brainwashed” our children. We are attempting to teach them lessons that many adults have yet to master, and in the process, we are experiencing firsthand the joy that comes from giving, serving, loving, and living simply.

We know these are fragile constructs. It’s not the way our Western world works.

And this week, I was so tempted to conform.

Sariya has a mid-December birthday and the boys hadn’t had a chance to pick out gifts for her, so the three kids and I braved the Christmas shoppers and hit up Five Below (I was too chicken to visit Toys ‘R Us). Each kid wanted their own mesh shopping basket, so I distributed baskets and we started wandering through the store. Initially, Sariya was super thrilled just to be carrying such a cool basket. Did you know you can wear them on your head and see through the mesh?! Super cool.

But then she noticed something…The boys were actually there to shop and were putting things in their baskets. Oh, yeah. She could get into that.

Collect what I like? Got it. Done.

I looked at my little girl and realized that our carefully constructed “toys are for borrowing” policy was about to crumble. She was on her very first shopping spree. I knew it would NOT fly to have a double standard and let the boys collect while her basket remained empty. There is a limit to what a 2 year old can understand. So, the new policy became only one thing in your basket. If you want to keep that new thing you picked up, then you have to put the other thing back. And she did. After changing her mind three times, she walked out with only one item.

But it wasn’t just Sariya that was affected by our trip.We spent over 30 minutes browsing that giant room full of toys and I found myself succumbing to the Sariya-syndrome…I wanted to buy it all too!

Ky and Judah would LOVE that game.  Sariya would be so cute in that hat.   My kids would be so happy to play with this. They would be so surprised to receive that. And it was only $5! Or $3! Or $1! What’s one dollar??!

I wanted to spend and wrap and give. It could be so fun to shop for them and it could be so easy to just buy buy buy.

Then I remembered that all three kids get fully celebrated (and fully gifted) on their close-to-Christmas birthdays. And I remembered the pile of toys we just got rid of and the pile of toys we still have. And I remembered that for most of the morning they played with my kitchen broom instead of their toy pile (true story). And I remembered that miraculously, we have been able to keep Jesus’ birthday about love, joy, peace, hope and…well…His birth. And I realized that if I give in now, if I let the stuff win, it could all crumble.

I don’t want a Season full of wish lists and “I wants” and packages torn through and stuff they don’t need and gifts discarded and “why didn’t I gets.”

I want a Season full of celebration and family and friends and simple joys and cherished gifts and Jesus. Lot’s of Jesus.

That’s what I want for Christmas.

To ALL the moms out there.

I am a working mom, my life is busier than yours.
~I am a stay at home mom, my life is busier than yours.
I go to work all day then come home to mom duties.
~My mom duties never stop.
I work so hard.
~I work harder.
I never see my kids.
~I never get a break from my kids.

Sound familiar?

Whether a full time working, part time working, or full time stay at home mom, we feel the need to prove just how difficult our lot in life really is.

And I think it’s time to stop.

Fellow moms, regardless of what’s listed beside the little briefcase on your facebook profile, we have one major thing in common….We are moms. Do we really have to argue about which “type” of mom has it rougher? If you’re a mom, your job is hard. No matter how many hours you spend with or without your children. Your job is hard. Let it go at that. We do not need a laundry list of negatives in order to validate our particular mom path. A busy, overstressed life should not be our litmus test of worth.

Let’s be people who find contentment and joy in what we are doing instead of constantly bemoaning the difficulties. It’s time to stop comparing and complaining. I know your baby has not stopped screaming all. day. long. I know. But, it’s time to stop the complaining. And I know you had to work late the past three nights and only had enough time to tuck your kids into bed for the night. I know. But, it’s time to stop the comparing. Let’s stop.

No more focusing on the worst parts of being a working mom. Let’s focus on the beauty. 

No more focusing on the draining parts of being a stay at home mom. Let’s appreciate the wonderful.

There’s a whole lot of good in motherhood. Focus with me on the roses instead of the thorns. And please do me a favor, focus only on the category you fit into right now. Do not allow this to become fodder in the world’s most worthless fight. Instead of competing and comparing, let’s celebrate and encourage. Breed some contentment in your own life.  Recognize the good things about what you get to do! Add to your list. Fill up ten pages. Post it somewhere you can see it, so in the miserable moments when you are tempted to say “woe is me” or think the grass is greener or fear that no one appreciates all that you do, you can look at your list and appreciate you, your many jobs, your children, and the gift that it is to be the specific type of mom you are right here, right now.

We are moms. We are blessed.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

p.s. A special thank you to the fellow moms, both working and stay at home, who contributed to these lists. I admire each and every one of you for what you do for your family, your children, and your own well being. May you always find the beauty in what you do.




*If you haven’t read my note to ALL the moms yet, please read it first.*

(Eyes on your own list, working moms)

I get to be a part of every moment of my kids’ growth and learning.

I know what my kids are exposed to all day long

I get to mold their minds and shape their hearts

I get cuddles and kisses all day long

I set the schedule and make the rules

I can adjust my schedule to help a friend.

I can make healthy choices because I don’t have to rush around to eat

I can take care of laundry, cook healthy meals, and clean my house during the day

Play dates allow me to hang out with my friends too

I can usually count on some quiet time during the day to pursue my own interests

I love that I am with them for the best, happiest parts of their day and the “lightbulb” moments of discovery

No dress code (this particular SAHM is wearing her pjs at 2pm)

When my kids are sick, I can cuddle them.

I am a mom and I get to love and care for my children

Please add to the list! Post a comment with more beautiful, wonderful things about staying home full time with your kiddos.


*If you haven’t read my note to ALL the moms yet, please read it first.*

(Eyes on your own list, SAHMs)

I get time in the adult world.

I get to do something I’m passionate about.

My house is still clean when I get home.

My kids get to do cool things at school and daycare that I don’t have to plan, execute, or clean up after.

I know that there are others who love my child… and they aren’t just the relatives that would love him anyway.

I love to see my child’s excitement when I drop him off with the babysitter. He has fun there!

My kids get to interact in healthy ways with other children.

I get little gifts of artwork and surprises from my kids when I get home.

When I’m away I have personal space (nobody at work comes into the bathroom while I’m in it)

I know that I am providing for my family.

I am filled with love when I see my kids at pick-up time

I am able to listen and be more in tune with what they say and do since I value the time more.

I get to come home to kisses and cuddles and stories.

I am a mom and I get to love and care for my children

Please add to the list! Post a comment with more beautiful, wonderful things about balancing a career and motherhood.

Flour tortilla recipe

I’m not a super chef or an amazing photographer, so I don’t usually blog about this sort of thing. But I have had SO many people ask me for my tortilla recipe, I thought I’d attempt to articulate my recipe, tips and tricks and post them here.

The recipe is pretty simple and straightforward:

3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/3 c. oil
1 c. warm water

Mix flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in oil with a fork. Slowly incorporate water, mixing with your hands until a soft dough forms. [You will probably NOT use the entire 1 c. of warm water. I usually use closer to 3/4 c.] If you have an electric stove, preheat pan to medium heat.

Form 2 inch balls of dough.


If you don’t have a tortilla press (I don’t), roll flat with a rolling pin.


Roll the dough as flat as you possibly can. Think it’s flat enough? Press harder. If you try for paper thin, you’ll probably end up with cardstock thin and it’ll be perfect.


Place tortilla in hot pan. When it bubbles, like this-


Flip.  Cook second side until brown spots form.


Tada! Warm, wonderful, homemade tortillas. Ready for whatever you want to use them for. My kids usually just eat them plain. They are THAT good.



1. Do I have to flour the counter or grease my pan? No and no. If your dough is right, it will stretch and not stick. It’s awesome stuff.

2. Can I stack my rolled tortillas before they are cooked? Yes! I just discovered this recently. So, you can roll as you go or roll ahead.

3. How many does it make? Approximately fourteen 10″ tortillas

4. How do I make my tortillas round? Mine are never round, so I can’t help you there. Maybe a tortilla press would help. But, personally, I like to play the “My tortilla looks like a____” game.

5. Can I save them for later? Absolutely! Store in a gallon Ziploc bag in the fridge. Mine have never lasted long enough to go bad, so I don’t know exactly how long they will keep. Just make sure your bag is airtight or the tortillas will dry out.

6. Can I stack them before they are cooled? Yes, I take finished tortillas directly from the pan to my cooling plate where they all sit in a pile until they are cool enough to go in the storage bag.