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I'm still writing; you just won't find me here any longer. If you want to keep reading my writing, head over to mollyflinkman.com. I'll keep a cup of coffee warm for you.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


word of the day: last \ˈlast\ at the end; to continue in time

Last is kind of a funny word when I really think about it. A word to mean both the end and the continuance of something. There’s power in those definitions which I will likely continue to ponder, but the base definition works perfectly for the purpose of this particular musing.

The last wordy musing (at least in this specific space).

My brain has always worked a little like a hamster wheel; it often spins endlessly with all my various thoughts bumping around disjointed and frustrated because I can’t put an order to them. Since the inception of this blog in 2010, Jake has sensed this spinning many times and has often said to me, “I think you need to write.” (His other highly effective suggestion? “Why don’t you just go walk around Target for an hour?” He knows me so well.)

We’ve been in Cleveland for almost a year now, and writing has continued to served as a sort of personal therapy to help me process the fact that change is certainly a constant presence in my life. But, as I have continued to spin the hamster wheel in my mind, I have started to feel like I need a new space--a broader place to air out my thoughts.

So, this is the last of my Wordy Musings (it deserved a sense of closure, I think).

That being said, my thoughts and reflections about my quest to live this life well will certainly last (the hamster wheel is always spinning, after all), so I created a new space for them HERE.

I’ve been writing and posting in this new space for a few weeks while I try to reevaluate why I put thoughts out in a public sphere. I mean who really cared about all those Oscar Parties I used to throw?

But then I remember the ways my thoughts connected me to people in ways which wouldn’t have been possible if I’d kept the words to myself. Text messages and comments and conversations which reminded me that I’m not alone in this thing. And that’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? Using our words and stories and experiences to connect to each other, support each other, and point back to the One who ultimately uses the words for His good.

So, I’m going to keep telling my story, and I’d love it if you’d come along with me.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


word of the day: render \ˈren-dər\ to cause to be or become; to give in return or retribution

I'd like to tell you how this word first got stuck in my head, but I can't remember. I thought I read it in this book, but after a particularly exhaustive search, I realized that I didn't. It's times like these where I wish there was some sort of search history for your brain. Some kind of web that connected the order of all your thoughts (like how IMDB can show you how you got all the way to Saved by the Bell: The College Years from The West Wing.) Am I the only person who wishes my thoughts could take shape as a color coded flow-chart? 

I recognize that none of this is really relative, but given the 45 minutes I just spent trying to dig up a single word from my memory banks (to no avail), I'm having trouble letting go. 

Anyway, I've been thinking about render for awhile. Those multiple meaning words always get me, you know? 

Sometimes when you render something, you change it. You melt something down, or you change the state of it. Back in the late 1900s, we used to burn CDs for each other, and you had to wait while the disc was "rendering." 

But "render" also involves giving something back in return. The act of changing and the act of giving back. It's powerful word play in my mind. 

So, toddlers. 
I am realizing that the task of raising tiny humans is both isolating and unifying all rolled up into one exasperating breath. It is unifying because, of course, you are not alone. There are those who have gone before you--the moms who have lived it and testify to the notion that "this too shall pass." And there are those in the thick of it with you--the moms who are living it alongside you for the first time and can commiserate when you send a single text made up of only angry, red-faced emojis.   
But as many people as you surround yourself with (and believe me, I have gathered myself a small army), often you're physically alone in the hardest of moments. And, advice goes a long way, but no one knows your people like you know your people. The parenting gig is weighty. If I get this wrong, I can't blame the army. Because I'm the one who is here. Who knows my own kids.
It's all part of the rendering process.  It reminds me of the excerpt of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that I referenced here toward the end of our medical school journey. This continues to be the hard work of the middle. And, if I keep paddling, my character will be rendered. Molded into something better (Lily and Norah's will too, for that matter.).

And when you do this, when you gain a little foresight and look at the grand scheme of things, then you're able to render aid to someone else. That army of moms who has gone before me? Their help is invaluable because they kept paddling through. They didn't give up when the going was tough. They allowed the hard work of the middle to make them better and then used the rendering to render in return. 

Similarly, I have felt this impact in every season of my life: high school, college, teaching, medical school, residency. There have been people all along the way who have used their own experiences to shape mine. 

That's the stuff to be thankful for. And that's the stuff to shoot for. To embrace the rendering of my own life so that down the road I can render help to someone else's.
Until then, we'll just keep paddling over here. Wading through the muddy waters and giving each other a lot of grace along the way. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015


word of the day: duration \d-ˈrā-shən\ the time during which something continues

I realized the other day that almost all of the videos saved to my phone or computer are under a minute in duration.  

Do you know that my mom once videotaped an entire Christmas morning from start to finish? She set our camcorder on a tripod and let the magic unfold. (She also once recorded an entire patriotic light display at Mount Rushmore when I was in elementary school. We've really cherished that one forever, mom.) Jake comes from similar home videos. (I know because I have seen them all. This is not hyperbole.)

A few months ago, I was looking through the pictures on Jake's phone. He had this video saved of Lily from last spring, and it was three minutes of her jumping off the porch and laughing at herself. It was so mundane, and I loved every second of it. 
I've been thinking a lot about it since. 

It's important to me that our kids have tangible relics from their childhood. Call me old school, but I want them to flip through photo albums together and have video documentation of all the hilarious stuff they do. It pains me to think about their future memories being made up of 10 second snapchats they have to dig through my computer to find. 
So I have this camera. It's an actual camera (I'm not referring to my phone in this context). It takes really quality pictures, AND it has a live-action video feature. I have been using it, and it is changing my life (Yes, hyperbole here). No video is less than three minutes long, and they are all so boring. Five minutes of Christmas tree decorating. Three minutes of Lily, Norah, and me playing Ring around the Rosie. Two minutes of Lily dominating Jake at memory. The other day, I just followed the girls around and recorded everything they did even when they weren't really doing anything. It was wonderful.

It sounds a little silly, but it's so much less pressure. I don't have to worry about capturing a moment within a time frame short enough to be sent as a text message. It's almost like I can record a moment and be present in it at the same time. 
I suppose the holiday season reminds me of how much I value the creation and preservation of lasting memories for our kids. I'm not the only mom who feels a little paralyzed by this come Christmastime, am I? In a season teemed with tradition, how do you decide which ones to latch on to? There are so many aspects of this time of year that we could subscribe to, and for some reason, it sort of neutralizes me. So, in this strange response of over-analyzation and rebellion, I have realized that my tendency is to stray away from tradition all together and embrace something different each year.
Someday, Lily and Norah will watch all these recorded moments I'm trying to capture now. And amidst everything from the ordinary Thursday night to the excitement of the Christmas morning, I guess all I really want for them to see is that we are present in the moments in which we are together wherever we are and whatever we are doing. I want to live the Star Wars, guys. That's what really matters anyway, right?

That, and well-documented holidays. I think I need a tripod.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


word of the day: ludicrous /ˈlo͞odəkrəs/ so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing; ridiculous.

Here's something ludicrous. Last night, I typed this sentence into an email: "I realized that 'I'm just too busy' is ludacris."

Even now I can't even.

I literally had to go to Google and guess and check how to spell the word.

It's ludicrous. I have an English degree, for crying out loud.

Also? Un-matched socks. I could free a small army of house elves with the number of un-matched socks lying around my house. Why do children insist on taking off their socks one at a time and in different rooms of the house? I consider myself to be a particularly organized person, but socks defeat me. I surrender.

As for being too busy, I'm not. I suppose this train of thought falls under the category of “not making excuses anymore,” but it seems to me that when you become a stay-at-home mom, you can’t opt out of things anymore because you have too much to do (although I’m beginning to think that excuse might have been ludicrous in the first place).

I can’t stop thinking about what God said about His people in Isaiah 58:

For day after day they seek me out;
   they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
   and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
   and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
   ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
   and you have not noticed?’

It’s me six months ago. Eager to know God’s ways as if I was doing things right. Asking for just decisions and eager for God to come near to me. Sometimes I think maybe I was confused when God didn’t come meet me in the comfort of my home. I sought God, but I see now that I looked in the wrong places.

He goes on to say that the life He chooses for me includes loosening chains of injustice and setting the oppressed free. Sharing food with the hungry and providing the poor wanderer shelter. Clothing the naked, spending myself in behalf of the hungry, and satisfying the needs of the oppressed.

Tis the season for giving back, but I have decided that I don’t want to give back anymore. Rather, I want to live in a state of constant awareness of the needs of others. Not just at Christmas and not after my kids are older and more self-sufficient and not once Jake is done with residency and we have the means to do more.

if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
   and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
   like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
   and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
   Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

After all, don’t we find Jesus in the hungry and in the thirsty and in the homeless and in the naked and in the sick and in the imprisoned1? If I am really eager to find Him, it seems pretty clear where I should look rather than just waiting for His presence to fill the warmth of my own home.

It seems so simple to me now and yet also so magnanimous2.

It makes me feel like any excuse to live otherwise is ludicrous.

Do you suppose there will be a city-wide need for individual socks this time of year? If so, we’ve certainly got that need covered.
1 See Matthew 25
2 I typed this word and then looked up the definition: the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes.  That's something to strive for, if you ask me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


word of the day: on \ˈn, ˈän\ used as a function word to indicate the subject of study, discussion, or consideration

on toddlers

I am newly convinced that toddlers are just larger versions of babies. That just at that moment when you think, "Hey, my kid is a kid now," you have to start stocking the diaper bag full of changes of clothes again in case of accidents. And, you have to re-sleep train. (Because apparently sleep training is a recurrent process and not something you only do once.) And, you will inevitably start your middle of the night obsessive Google searching again to determine normalcy from largely non credible sources.
on sleep

I have decided to become a morning person. Every morning when Lily wakes up at (or before) 6:00, I think, "Molly, you are a morning person. It is so fun to be awake this early; enjoy these extra hours added on to your day." I mean, I convinced myself to like cooking a few years back and baking even more recently. Is sleep really that much different?

(Yes, as it turns out, it is.)

on making excuses

I have decided not to make them anymore (major life changes up in here). Or at least give it my most valiant effort. In general, most things make me nervous or angsty, but I am newly resolved to say "Yes" to things unless I have a legitimate reason otherwise. To give you an idea, the other day, I loaded up the girls to go to a local mom's group, pulled in the parking lot, and realized I was an hour late to the two hour function. I turned around immediately and called Jake in what can only be described as an "excessive overreaction" at which point he convinced me to turn around and go anyway. I didn't have a good reason not to. 

And guess what? No one even cared. All worst case scenarios were squashed when everybody just smiled at me.

on Jake

Speaking of Jake, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, there aren't enough words. I am convinced that a first year resident (reference point: Grey's Anatomy, Season 1) is among the hardest jobs on the planet. (Jake told me once that if I had really wanted to be a doctor, I could have. But, I certainly couldn't have even if I had wanted to.) That guy though. He's all in. There's no transition buffer from work to home. He came home late the other day and immediately helped me pick up crayons from the basement floor. He's the Mauvelous to my Raw Sienna.
on first birthdays

I'm always glad when they're over. I know. It's terrible, but they are almost too much for me to bear. It's the exact moment when Before meets After and the junction of the two makes my head want to explode with nostalgia. I tried really hard this year to channel my inner Jake and be all, "It's just like any other day," but, alas, I still opened my computer and looked at every single picture since Norah has been born. 

I am thankful for first birthdays though because watching Norah swallow an entire mini cupcake whole was one of the greatest moments of her first year of life and, subsequently, my 29 to date. 
on books.

I finally read Interrupted by (obviously) Jen Hatmaker last week. If you haven't read it, I need you to read it, and I need you to discuss it with me because I've been doing everything wrong and now I want to do everything right, but you can't do everything right on your own (I mean, maybe I could try, but I don't think that would work). 

Trust me. That will all make sense after you read it.

Also, Lily and I are obsessed with the library (Norah will be too once she figures out that books are also fun to read once you pull them all off the shelves). Every week we bring new books home, and we recently discovered the author Marla Frazee whose book "Boot and Shoe" had me at this line:
"And then [the squirrel] got all up in Boot's business. And it got all up in Shoe's business too. Whoa. Something had to be done."
(It is possible, though, that I love those lines because I just finished watching all 9 seasons of The Office.)

on gratitude.

Right now, I am sitting at my kitchen table. And the sun is shining, and it is quiet. Quiet. There is stillness amidst my chaos. Sure, sometimes the girls both scream in sync and sometimes Lily wakes us up at 1 a.m. for no apparent reason, and sometimes I end the day feeling totally unqualified for this job. But, then those moments fade into still ones like this, and for that I am grateful. It's a good life.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


word of the day: release \ri-ˈlēs\ verb: to stop holding; noun: the state of being freed

So there was this leaf the other day.

That's the one. We passed it on a walk during our week of November summer. This was not a well-timed picture. I did not see it fall from the tree. It was a leaf suspended in mid-air. It was magic! Wingardium Leviosa!

(Okay, fine. It's caught on a spider web.)

I've been trying to think about it metaphorically since. I mean, you can't very well pass a levitating leaf and not look for the deep significance, right?

For awhile, I thought I was the leaf. I thought maybe it had to do with trust or perseverance or something, and then today it dawned on me: The leaf is dead. It's hanging on, but it has no hope of survival once it hits the ground. 

I think I am, in fact, the tree in this metaphor, and I realized it while looking out my window at the trees working to shed their leaves. Some trees take more time than others (our front tree has barely lost any leaves), but they all have the same goal: get rid of the dead, so that re-growth can happen in the seasons to come. 

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go. 

So, I thought about the leaf and the spider web. And I thought about my life. And I wondered if there was something I was having trouble letting go of. And then, a little later, I had this conversation with Jake:

Jake: Why are you crying? (Ahem. A few inserts here: 1. His tone was one of compassion not annoyance 2. This is a moment in time that I'm sure anyone who has experienced the cries of multiple children for lengthy periods of time can understand. Just a good old fashioned breaking point.)

Me: I'm just frustrated. I kept looking forward to Norah's first birthday thinking everything with the girls would be easier by now. But this is even harder than what I thought was hard back then.1

It was in this exact moment that I was reminded of something I had read approximately four hours earlier (yes, obviously Jen Hatmaker wrote it): 
Let go of what you expected and embrace what you have. The tug of war between expected and actual is what kills the spirit. God does his best work in reality. That gap between expected and actual is where grace takes over.2
 Maybe the magic leaf was coincidental, but (more likely) I needed a reminder to let go of my expectations and embrace what I have. Let God fill the gap with His grace and sufficiency (the constant in every season). I'm a much better mom and wife and general person when I let God do His work in my reality rather than existing in the gray space of what I expect the future to look like. 

So, I'm back to reality, and let me tell you, there is freedom in the letting go. Release and you'll find release.  

This is the stuff of hope. I'll rest my wand on that tonight.

1 Perspective is key. My "hard" is relative (and not really all that hard). Which makes me think of what I said HERE.

I found these thoughts HERE on Hatmaker's blog admidst some notes she had taken at a MOPS conference. It was like a jewel hidden at the bottom of the page just for me to find.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


word of the day: perspective \pər-ˈspek-tiv\ the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance

November's got me all kinds of nostalgic. Combine nostalgic Molly with general, run-of-the-mill Molly and parent of a two-year old Molly and you've got a trifecta of discombobulation. I'm a perfect storm of jumbled thoughts. (that movie ended well, right?) 

Norah turns one in two weeks. I love the one year milestone; she then officially becomes a part of the "a year ago we were doing this" memories. But we're not there yet, so this week, I've been finding myself all caught up in those days before she graced us with her presence.

I feel a little wistful about those days, really. Norah was the first change in a season of many, many changes. My life a year ago is a life I don't recognize any longer; every single dynamic has since been disrupted. If I could, I think I would reach into the past, tug on my own shirt sleeve, and encourage myself to breathe in the simplicity of it all (even though I know, at the time, it didn't feel particularly simple).

I've been doing a lot of that lately: breathing. I mean, of course I've been breathing. But, in the recent days, I've had to become more intentional about it. The butt-against-the-floor-back-against-the-wall kind of breathing that I suspect (see: hope) other parents of toddlers might also know all too well.  

It's these moments in which future Molly (the version of myself who has grown children and a lifetime of perspective) reaches back in time, tugs on my shirt sleeves, and reminds me of my favorite piece of parenting advice: Don't get used to any one thing.

I have decided that parenting is a rotating reel of growth and regression. Just when they master one thing, they regress in another. Just when you think one thing has become easy, they decide not to do it the easy way anymore. Just when you get used to the way things are, they change. (am I even making sense? I'm a little low on sleep. See: Don't get used to any one thing.)

So Norah's almost one, and the wistful thinking about simpler times gives me hope for the future because a year ago today, I know my life felt overwhelming and impossible to manage. And, a year from now, when the dynamics are certain to be changed again, I'm sure I will look back to this time (the tantrums. oh, the tantrums!) with a wistful smile because, hindsight, things never seem as difficult as they were in the moment. 

Norah shook our dynamic a year ago. She made everything harder but also better and more wonderful.

It's a good thing, perspective. And, when I take a moment to breathe that in, I find that I tend to exhale things like love and grace. 

A little perspective and a few deep breaths make me a better version of myself. Present Molly. It works.

Now, you had better believe that Present Molly is not squandering our November summer. We're crunching leaves, tossing acorns, and breathing in deep breaths of warm air. It doesn't feel very fall-ish, but we're all happier because of it. Every walk, Lily stops at least once to lay her face against the sidewalk. It's like a silent plea for the warmth to stay. I'm with you, sister.
I wish the warm weather would stay indefinitely, but I guess perspective reminds me that there is good to be found in even the most barren of times. Winter doesn't hang around forever either. Don't get used to any one thing, you know?