I’ve moved!

Are there any stragglers around these parts? I realized that I neglected to write a little note on this space that I’ve moved to a new home on the internet. You can now find these posts as well as new ones—and future ones, Lord willing—on mary-strecker.squarespace.com!

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There were a few reasons for this move, but mostly they boiled down to an ongoing frustration with my inability to make this space look the way I wanted it to look. Additionally, I decided I needed to shift the focus just a twinge in order to be more consistent with my writing. Thank you to all of you who have followed me on here, and I do hope you’ll jump over to Merry Weather and continue joining me in conversation.

Much love to you!

Anger and Zipping Duffles

Cosmas is eating solids now, a full two months later than I expected. The kid loves his “milkies” as Bruno has lovingly named Cosmo’s food of preference. Watching him eat is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. He is entirely skeptical of spoon feeding. He scrunches up his face and backs away with a clenched jaw, because naturally if I’m trying to put something in his mouth it must be full of prickles and paste. Never mind that he’ll eat literally any speck of twig, tape, LEGO, or even bugs he can round up. Eight months old is the beginning of all the everything. It’s all the sweetness and the stubbornness and the opinions and the personality and the cuddles and the knowing who’s who and what’s what. And so, doing some simple math here: solids + feisty baby = lots of baths.

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Colorado Bend State Park, Camp Vol. 1

When I was a kid, being outside scared me a little, and sometimes a lot. Shocking, considering the fact that I grew up on a small farm. I was mostly afraid of tornadoes, and wind gave me the creeps. I also remember wanting to seem tough, and chill, but as a highly sensitive and emotional kid, you can imagine how sorely I missed the mark. But people change, and although I’m still all of those things and actually still pretty fearful of strong winds and tornadoes, I’ve also learned that I love nature and sometimes wrestling with your fears and discomforts brings unknown freedom and deep joy. Continue reading

Shop: Three Ethical Brands For Nursing Mothers

Breastfeeding-friendly clothing… blech. Even a lot of brands claiming to do it right are really missing the mark. After pregnancy, I want to feel like my normal self, and clothing is a powerful tool in the self-care toolbox. Our bodies go through a roller coaster of changes during pregnancy. And while the weightloss is and should be gradual after giving birth, it can be difficult being patient with your still-changing body. Additionally, if you’re breastfeeding, you have to have everything easily accessible. Suddenly dressing your pregnant body seems like cake compared to all of these new hurdles and your, however temporary, jello-ring middle.

Thankfully, slowly but surely, a handful of designers are starting to understand this really important need for women to feel good during these beautiful, tumultuous seasons during the child-bearing years. These three brands are ones that I think are getting it right, not only with their ethics but with their styles. Continue reading

Shop: Everlane

I wrote this a little while ago, but all the things I’m seeing on the internet about Fashion Revolution week inspired me to share it with you and open up the conversation about ethical shopping.

But before I jump into introducing you to one of my favorite transparent brands, I’d love to share this graphic by Anuschka Rees, author of The Curated Closet, with you. Maybe you can’t do all the steps, but everyone can do some of them.

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Engaging Holy Week with All 5 Senses

If you do a Pinterest search for “Good Friday,” “Easter,” or “Resurrection crafts,” you’ll see a slew of bunnies, recipes for resurrection rolls and Hot Cross Buns, and empty tombs made of paper plates. The ideas are few, but the variations endless. I am not in the least opposed to paper crafts or food that illustrates the miracle of the Resurrection, or even cute spring bunnies, for that matter. In fact I am a huge fan of all of these categories, particularly when done well.

But I think we can all agree (even if you’re a rebel maximalist) that more is not always better. And when it comes to teaching the littlest Christians, I think we desire for these activities, crafts, foods, and experiences to be rich with meaning. My hope for our family as we follow the life of Christ throughout the year is that we’ll have traditions that engage all of our senses and speak boldly of the hope we have in Jesus.

I plan to develop this more in the coming year, but did not want to miss the opportunity to share the beginnings of this endeavor toward meaningfully sharing the light of Christ with our children as we create traditions together. Perhaps these thoughts will assist you in thinking about how you can share Holy Week and the Easter season with your children. Continue reading

In My Pocket this Week, Volume Six

I feel a little like I want to play catch up with you all. My life feels drastically different than it did even a year ago, and yet it’s very much the same. We’re still in Waco, while Cody continues work towards his PhD in Religion. At the beginning of May he will complete his 3rd year. And suddenly, it feels like it’s all going by so quickly.

Cody and I will celebrate our 8th anniversary in May, and I am beginning to see that the formation of a family is complex and takes patience, purpose, and time—lots of time. We’re starting to see the fruit forming (or maybe it’s just the buds) on the tree we planted a long time ago and have watered and watched, as well as neglected and abused. Lately I’ve been a bit in awe over this as I see my interests change and take better shape, as our boys grow and mature, and as Cody nears the completion of a very long, arduous, and meaningful education. I do not long for Cody to be done with school. I like our lives here in Waco. We’re always seeking to do things better, trying to live fully right where we are, but still dreaming a lot about what might be possible. Continue reading

These are the Thoughts I Think

I have an old blog, one that I probably should have never abandoned. On it I shared bits about my days with my boys, photos, and the simple things I was into at the time. I called it And Mary, because it was about me in the crevices. Me in the small spaces I could find to just be me—the me that is and has been from a young age interested in fashion. The me that feels younger than even my young 29, marvels at the fact that I have 3 children, and struggles with contentment, building friendships, and making a home, just like every one else.

I think I started this new space with the idea that I needed to say more important things. Continue reading

The Good Grad School Life

Our five and a half years in graduate school have brought me to some of my lowest moments (months?), and my highest. We’ve been married for all of these years, we’ve had children for all of these years, and I’ve been a stay at home mom for all of these years. We’ve gotten fairly good at grad student life, but there are seasons that things are simply difficult. Once we have things “figured out,” something changes and throws everything off balance again. Life was pretty smooth for our first 2 years of phD work, but then we added a baby, and it was like how a surprise collision at the farmer’s market would go down. Two people collide, baskets fly dramatically into the air and all the contents get jumbled and bruised and broken. Your metaphorical feathers are ruffled, and you have to at once splutter apologies and scramble to salvage what you can of your life, er, I mean produce. Of course, adding a baby is hardly a tragic change, and for that we’re grateful. But it’s still a big change. A beautiful, wonderful, and completely miraculous one. Just look at that guy!


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