"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

21 January 2016

Just Ride the Potty Train

Today, the rumbles of thunder are so low, pellets of ice fall from the ominous Edgar Allan Poe sky up above, but there are rays of sunshine in my heart.

When I agreed to be on the launch team for Kristen Welch's new book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World,  I knew that I was probably cracking the door open for some spiritual warfare in our household. Living in America, it is so easy to dismiss the fact that there are constantly things happening in the unseen spiritual realm, but the manifestations of that ongoing battle is so clearly evident in the world around us. 

And Kristen's book? It is going to shake things up. 

So yeah. Yesterday.

Yesterday morning was beyond tough. After I had confessed to my husband on his lunch break that I thought I was screwing up our children and I didn't know the first thing about mothering and training these little people to be God's warriors, I put both kids to bed and crawled under my own covers, hoping that they would take long naps, because we all had to be up late (I had to take them to work with me, since Nich has extended work commitments all week). 

I went to bed last night soul-weary and body-weary, thinking that if the trumpets started blowing and the seals began opening right about now, I would be okay with it (so selfish, I know).  A night of intense, vivid dreams followed.

I slept past my alarm this morning and woke up to my boy snuggled next to me. I placed my hand on his warm little back and prayed over him. I prayed over his tall body, that he would continue to grow strong and tall, just as God made him. I prayed over his tender heart, that as aware as he is of people's attitudes toward him, that he would always be able to remember that he is first a child of God and that he is deeply loved. I prayed over his hands, that he would remember to be gentle, that he would use them to God's work. I prayed over his words, that he would speak kindness into the people around them. 

And I cried at the thought of sending him off to preschool this morning after such a hard day yesterday. 

But although he told me he didn't want to go to school today, once we pulled up, he hopped out without hesitation. His sister called out, "I wan kiss, Brubbie!" and he willingly complied, running around to her side of the car to give her a kiss and a squeeze, making her giggle. And he walked into school with a smile, even responding to the director's morning greeting with a cheerful, "Good morning, Miss Trish!" 

God knew I needed that assurance.

I took Little Lady to the library afterward. After I let her put all the books into the drop off (both kids like to watch the books go down the conveyer belt and z-i-i-i-ip into their appropriate bins), she usually tries to run off to the kids' area right away. Today, she ran a few steps, then stopped and looked back at me. I said, "You need to wait for Mama, because I have to pick up my books, okay?" I got my books on hold, turned around, and she was standing there in the same position I had left her in. She caught my eye and said, "I waiting, Mama. Go inside now?" 

God knew I needed an easy morning.

Then we stopped at a grocery store on the way home, and the people there are always so kind. I wish it was closer to our house, because I would go there all the time if I could. There is an older, Eastern European cashier named Judit who is so sweet to Little Lady. She tells me that it is good that my son is so tall and strong, that he was made just the way he was meant to be. And she tells me that my daughter is petite and surely meant to do ballet, because the "little ones are the best." 

There is the tall, friendly black assistant manager who always greets us, talks to my children like they are real people, and just brings sunshine to my day. 

And today,  there was an older gentleman in the parking lot, getting into his bright lemon yellow Fiat with stripes the color of the Italian flag down the sides. His car fascinated Little Lady, and she pointing to it, exclaiming, "Car! Peety car!" He turned around and smiled such a kind smile, said hello and told her how pretty she was. And then he looked at me with those grandfatherly eyes and said, "She takes after her mama." 

I wore no make up today. My hair is tousled and messy in the same haphazard bun I had it in yesterday (and slept in). I hadn't even showered. 

You know how sometimes, you don't appreciate the small, good things until you've had a series of not-so-great things? 

Well, all these things this morning were such gifts to my heart. A reminder that there is still so much kindness and generosity in this world. That not everybody is ignorant and abominably mean in their souls. That venturing out does not need to be a draining, soul-scarring experience every time. 

That it can be an opportunity to smile with strangers and exchange joy. 

And to always stop to laugh, because even your toddler participates in the joy-giving: "I go on potty-twain, Mama!" 

Because when you're just shy of two years old, and you hear all about potty training, it must mean that it's going to be a fun ride!
Little did I know this morning that the Potty Train is a thing.

13 January 2016

Sing a Song

One lesson that I am teaching my preschooler seemingly a hundred times a day is first-time obedience.

To do what I ask of him the first time I make the request.

I don't do this because I want to be a giant monster truck bearing down on the little truck and crushing it. I do it because it is important for our children to learn to trust us as their parents, that we love them completely and always have their best interests in mind. He knows that it is all right to ask (respectful) questions, but the obedience needs to come first. His first response needs to be "Yes, Mama" before the protests of "I don't want to do that right now" or the ceaseless "Why?"

When parents are unsettled, the kids pick up on it. This past week has been rough, and although the children have been blissfully unaware of the gravity of how our circumstances have changed, they notice we (mostly me, since I'm the one they're around all day) are preoccupied. And in my case, I'm ashamed to say, more prone to becoming unhinged.
Get your gratitude bracelet HERE.
Of course, this is the week that I read Kristen Welch's newest book, Raising Grateful Kids. Through some mysterious crossings of the web-o-sphere, I missed the initial emails that were sent out in the fall, and I only just got the book a week ago.

Clearly, this was not a coincidence.

Little Lady deals with external stress by singing. I've noticed that when her brother is getting in trouble, when there's tension as we're all running late to something in the car (usually church), when I get frustrated at the state of the house ... she sings.
She's already "borrowing" my stuff.
This may just be a coping mechanism for my toddler, but it's a life lesson for her mama.

Because that never-ending "Why?" from my preschooler?

That's me. All the time. With God.

Even while knowing in my head that He is good and faithful to provide, I want to know all the whys. I definitely don't sing my happy songs. I get hung up on all the whys and I have moments when I completely forget about joy. How entitled am I to get so bent out of shape over everything I don't have, everything I'm having to surrender? That I forget that all I have is by the grace of God and that all I don't have? Well, that it could just possibly be divine mercy.

I grew up in the capital city of the coastal nation of Cameroon in west Africa. It's a rainforest, and every year, we would get at least a handful of fairly substantial tropical storms. Sometimes, the area downtown where my dad worked would get flooded. Cars would have to be moved up the hills so they wouldn't get submerged under all the water. Gushing rust-colored streams would suddenly appear along the sides of the roads.

There was a tiny neighborhood near where we lived. And by neighborhood, I mean a handful of shacks constructed by some cement blocks and sheets of corrugated metal. They were arranged around a small dirt "yard" of sorts, and when it poured, that little yard would fill and fill and fill.

And the children would swim. They would shriek and jump and splash in that orange water.

Delight in the midst of the deluge.
I wonder if part of Jesus' call to his disciples in Matthew 18 wasn't just about the innocence of children, but whether it also encompasses their ability to find joy where we adults only see potential for stress, fear, and anxiety. That maybe the point is that healthy children are able to play and laugh, even when circumstances aren't ideal, because they trust that they are safe. Because they know their parents love them and have their best interests in mind.

How much more does my God love me and know what I need? How much more can I trust that, even though I don't like what's going on, even though I hate the uncertainty and the seeming injustice,  He sees the entire tapestry and that this is His masterful plan for us? How much more can I rest assured that His plan is good, better than anything I could dream up?

Maybe, just maybe, God just wants me to learn to put aside my whys, jump into the rain, and sing my own happy songs, trusting that He's got this.

*This is Why Parenting is So Hard (Kristen)
*Teach Them to Give (Courtney)
*Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude  (Alison)
*Raising Grateful Kids (amanda)
*Why You Can't Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store (Andrea)
*Missing- Gratefulness in our home (Ange) 
*Choosing Gratitude (Angela)
*5 Steps to Gratitude-Filled Family (Christa)
*Practicing Grateful Parenting (Dana)
*Sing a Song (Hannah)
*Cultivating Gratitude in Our Family (Jamie)
*Gratefulness in Our Home (Jana)
*Let It Begin with Me (Jen)
*Choosing Gratefulness (Jennifer)
*Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World - The Book (Jeri)
*Eradicating Entitlement - What are You Rooted in? (Jessica)
*Gratefulness in Our Home (Kate)
*7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful (Kathryn)
*Raising Grateful Kids (Keri)
*How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude (Kishona)
*Grateful (Kristy)
*Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie (Leigha)
*The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Raise Grateful Kids (Lindsey)
*Dear Son: How Do I Teach You to Be Grateful without Guilt? (Marie)
*Gratitude: A Practical Definition (Mia)
*Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home (Nancy)
*Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness (Rachel)
*Being Grateful (Rebecca)
*I've Found Something I Can't Live Without (Sarah)
*The Power of Naming our Gifts (Sarah)
*Outfitted (Sarah Jo)
*Growing Gratitude in Our Family (Sondra)
*Teaching Gratefulness (Stephanie)

11 January 2016

He is Good. He is Faithful.

Almost exactly a year ago, our garbage disposal quit working, our dishwasher went kaput, and our water heater leaked all over the garage and into our kitchen (and had to be replaced). The children's birthdays were coming up soon. There were a couple other smaller things that had occurred, too, and it didn't just feel like it was "pouring." It felt more like a torrential tropical thunderstorm.

And we later discovered that while we were struggling through all this, that the people with whom we were supposed to be "doing life" were ignorantly talking about us without our knowledge, judging us for what we couldn't give and how we spent our children's birthday money from family. 

Even worse? 

We learned that we weren't the first ones to whom this had happened.

It was a challenging time.

And yet.

We received a "gift" from a family member to help us with a new dishwasher. My resourceful husband replaced all those appliances himself (with the help of knowledgeable friends for the water heater). I was reminded that we have a safe and warm home, and if there was cake, friends, and party favors, the kids would be perfectly content.

He is good and faithful.

And yet.

Last week, we learned of a sudden change to my husband's compensation plan that will greatly impact our lives this year. We're still adjusting to the idea. Some of the hopes and dreams we had just discussed a few days prior had to be surrendered, once again.

And friends, I was bitter and resentful. I tried to keep my chin up, to remain positive, to remind myself and my husband about God's goodness and faithfulness. But eventually, the thought of returning to scraping by month to month, depending on our savings to get us through, of perhaps having to give up our Compassion child, sweet Darwin who shares a birthday with our own little boy, of having to fight the battles of being on WIC and rude shoppers in the grocery lines, my children having to get poked and pricked and examined, to having to humbly ask for reimbursements for registrations we had already made for various activities for the kids this spring ... and yes, the dreams. The dreams of things we had waited for so long and that we had thought this was the year they would happen. The dreams I can't even talk about on here because they feel so raw and personal. My ungrateful, all-too-easily overwhelmed heart succumbed to the fear of the uncertainties ahead, and I spent the majority of the past weekend hiding under the covers.

And yet.

The word God gave me for this year was Gift. A challenge to see Gifts in every day, in every circumstance. To be a Gift to those around me.

Not even two weeks into the new year, and I was falling flat on my face, humbled before God and my family, broken in my utter humanity.

It was in the midst of all this that I learned that I was on the launch team for Kristen Welch's new book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. And as much as I *wanted* to jump into it, I opened that file and it just sat there for days, mocking me for being selfish and unfaithful, and how dare I share about raising grateful kids when I couldn't even muster up the courage to be grateful myself?

A strong sense of duty and obligation to follow through on my commitments has always been at the forefront of my nature, and it was only through sheer determination that I cracked open the first page of this book.

Sometimes, we need a gentle correction. Sometimes, we need a firm rebuke.

Reading this book has been both for me. It is so very easy to get all caught up in what we're missing and what we can't have that we forget how much we have been given already. I forget that my highest duty to my children as the mother that God chose for them is to love them. And to love them some more. And part of that is teaching them that sometimes, we can't afford the extras (without the impatience seeping into my voice).

I can't begin to say that I understand God's ways at all. 

I do know that He has been faithful and good to His people for all eternity, and that even if He will have us walk through the desert again this year, He will not leave our little family stranded, that He will walk with us. I do know that He has placed friends in my life, dear friends from all walks of my life, who will pray me through when I ask them to, even from afar. I do know that He is with the poor in spirit, those of us who are confronted with our own wretchedness every single day.

Today, I am grateful for the Gift of perspective, that Jesus bore all this hurt, anger, and ugly brokenness so that I could have the courage to get out of bed, to love and care for my small children, to go to the interview for a temporary childcare position during the time B is at school, to say yes to another opportunity for work. 

He is Good. He is Faithful.

He is Good. He is Faithful.

He is Good. He is Faithful.


07 January 2016

Epiphany Cleansing

Okay, I'm a chronic over thinker, so those of you who have better things to do with your next ten minutes, please move on. Because this is going to have you realizing just how weird and exhausting my mind really is.
And no, this is not at all about any kind of dietary cleanse. Because few things in this world could motivate me to drink all my fruits and vegetables for days on end. I like the flavor and the crunchy in my food, thank you.

The ideal of simplicity is a Trendy Thing right now in terms of material ownership. But lately, I've been increasingly convinced that for me, more than stuff, it's superficial relationships that clutter up my life and my thoughts. Social media makes this even more challenging. I've never been the sort of person who does well with having hundreds of acquaintances. Being an incredibly relational person, it was actually draining to my soul to feel this inner propensity to maintain relationships with all these 1200+ people, most of whom I hadn't heard from in years. And because nostalgia and sentimentality often gets the better of me, I had accepted and kept them on my list.

This is why, several years ago, I took the plunge and nearly halved my Friends List. Having lived the sort of lifestyle where people were always coming and going, including myself, I've met thousands and thousands of people. Add to that my husband's family, friends, and acquaintances, some of whom I've never met or who are rarely, if ever, in touch, and it's a little overwhelming. But knowing or knowing of all these people that doesn't mean they're all my friends, nor does it mean I have to maintain this superficial relationship with them. 

Now I know this isn't applicable to everybody. I mean, a lot of people just post their stuff, wait for their friends and followers to put their seal of enthusiasm on it with that little blue "Like" button, and they move on to the next thing. I know a whole lot of people who rarely engage with anybody on social media and who just kind of lurk around when the feeling strikes.

The thing is, I have to be on social media for two of my jobs. And I have such a love/hate relationship with it. I love how it keeps me connected with some truly beautiful people from my past lives. But I also sincerely feel like I've witnessed some of the ugliest interactions between people on there and seen such horrific and ignorant things posted -- even by people I know.

And I sit here wondering, is this even how we were meant to live? Witnessing these little glimpses into all these people's lives without really knowing most of them?

And what of those people who you knew over a decade, two decades ago? I mean, let's face it. Most of us think that our high school friends will be our bosom buddies for life. But honestly, I can count on one hand the friends who have stayed real friends over the years, and that's including a few that I wasn't even very close to back then. And yet, my Friends List is full of hundreds of those schoolmates, simply for the shared experience of four (or less than) years of adolescence.

What's even more awkward is that you gear yourself up every year for the uncomfortable task of managing your list (deciding that if I haven't had any sort of personal interaction with a certain person over the past few years, it's time to remove them), finally accomplish the task, get over the inevitable resulting feelings of guilt and then, in the course of the following year, those same people you deleted send you friend requests.

I don't even know what to do with that. Why are we going to continue being "friends" just so we can continue ignoring each other?

It's even weirder than people who I've never met in real life requesting to be my friend.

Now, I know that you can categorize your list, and I've done that. I have nice, neat little categories ranging from close friends and family to people who are just acquaintances. Because I don't want the entire world, their mothers, and their BFF's BF knowing about my life and thoughts. But even with those settings, it wears me out. With each post, I have to consider which categories of friends I'm going to share it with. Not to mention I feel like I have some sort of obligation to "like" photos of people's kids and pets, even though I've never met them (the kids and pets) and I never talk to those people anymore. And then there are those people you see from time to time in real life, so it would be really weird to remove them from your list, but at the same time, they're kind of a bummer to your soul.

Yes, I know. Boundaries. I need to learn some.

But seriously?

Life was a lot easier before social media's definition of "Friend" took over. Can't we please call it a "Contacts" list?

Am I alone here? Am I the only one who thinks that "Friend" sound signify something other than just being linked through the webosphere?

Okay. I'm done now. Back to packing up Christmas.

01 January 2016

One Word

Somehow, I missed the boat on this last year. I was too stressed out, too stretched thin, beginning to unravel, and deciding on a word for the year was one more decision I just couldn't make.

I am in a much better and healthier place on this first day of 2016.

I've been mulling over my word for the year since I received my prompt from Compassion last month. And recently, my beautiful friend Jamie shared her own word for the year and asked if her readers had their own words.

It came to me in the shower this afternoon, a moment of quiet solitude as my love rocked our small toddler for her nap. I was content, reflecting on the morning of gathering around the table together for our pancake breakfast, laughing and shrieking outside in the safety of our own backyard, being ever so grateful for this home, this sanctuary from the rest of the world, where we can build a safe haven together for all who dwell within these walls.

Because, you see, a couple of days ago, we were at a playground nearby. It is a very cool playground, one of our favorites around here. We've always had fun there, and because we had all been cooped up inside for several days with all the rain and we had spent longer than desirable in a long line at the post office, I made the spontaneous decision to take the kids to this playground.

I was pushing Little Lady on the swings while her brother ran off, delighted to be able to run full throttle. Suddenly, I heard an adult female voice screeching, "Hey! Back off! You! Back off right now!" Alarmed, I looked up to see Little B on a ladder, two steps below another, smaller, child. He was indeed too close to the other kid, who was wailing, clearly nervous about being up so high with a boy he didn't know so close to him. I picked up Little Lady and walked over to remind B to give other kids space. As I passed up the yelling woman, I heard her scoff to the person next to her, "Tiger mom nothing. I'm a tiger grandma. No one messes with my grandkid."

I was immediately irritated, because really. In what world is it okay for a grown adult to yell at a preschooler on a playground and then feel justified and even proud about it? Why couldn't see have just kindly said, "Hey, buddy. Johnny's just learning about climbing ladders, and you're a little too close to him. Why don't you let him climb up first?" In half a century of life on this earth, shouldn't a person have learned a little sumthin' sumthin' about basic kindness and civility?

But truly, the kicker came when three boys (Little B in the middle) went down the long tunnel slide simultaneously and the kid at the bottom got squished. He emerged wailing, and his mother began yelling at B, who had run off, "Hey! Hey, YOU. Don't you EVER hit my kid again!" Then she turned to her child and said, loudly enough for all to hear, "Stay away from that nasty kid. He isn't a nice kid at all. You just stay away from him."

It broke my heart. I had to bite my tongue to keep the tears at bay. I let Little Lady go down the slide one more time, and then I said to B, "Okay. It's time to go. We'll go home and play in the yard." I felt a God-nudge in my heart, so as I walked by that woman, I said, "I'm sorry if my son hurt yours. But it's not okay for you to label him unkindly." And with a disgusted expression on her face, she retorted, "He's not a nice kid." I said, "No, what he DID wasn't nice, but he's FOUR and he's learning about self-control, like all of us. We're working with him, but he's NOT a mean child. And you're not teaching anyone kindness by labeling him as such." Her husband jumped in and said, with that I'm-going-to-intimidate-you-and-stare-you-down-because-I'm-a-man look, "Our kids have never hit another kid. We are parenting just fine. If you're going to throw it in our face, then we'll throw it right back in yours."

I stared at him in shock, thinking, "What are we, in grade school?" Pretty much, by this point, I lost all inclination to shine my little light and felt an overwhelming urge to punch their smug faces. So as we walked away, with my voice shaking from my attempt to stay in control, I quietly said to my kids, "It's time to leave. This is not a safe place right now."

It grieved me -- and it still does -- that we live in a world where rambunctious little boys are told they are "nasty" for being a little too uninhibited for an adult world, where parks and playgrounds are not safe places for children to learn about kindness and sharing and respecting one another, that adults fight children's battles and feel proud of themselves for it, that we can't just freaking BE NICE.

I love my children fiercely, but I hate that parenting is just so damn hard in this world of every man for himself. I hate that it's made worse by people who are so consumed with protecting their own precious snowflakes that they don't consider how they are treating the people around them, what they're teaching their little ones about decency and kindness.

I recently read a white mother's plea to other white mothers to teach their children about standing up for what's right, to look out for one another, because she was legitimately worried for her black son's safety in a white world. And when I shared that on social media, it grieved me to hear a white friend tell the story of how her black husband had been treated this past Christmas during their trip back to her hometown.

How I long for a better world, friends. A world where there is no such blatant ignorance and unkindness, a world where people don't feel justified in talking down to another human being simply because their skin colors are different or they are of a different socio-economic class. Where we can all just exist on this beautiful, broken world, trying our best, and nodding to one another, "I know it's hard. Keep it up. We're going to make it."

When Little B was born on that wintry weekend in upstate NY, my mothering heart kicked into overdrive. I desperately wanted to keep him safe, wanted to protect him from the evil that I knew was out there, especially the kind of evil that attacks simply because we are the "other." For all the ways in which I was laid-back as a mom (no helicoptering here), there were just as many ways in which I have held my breath, bracing myself for the attack to come. We began praying in earnest that the Lord would open doors for us to move away from a place where I had been called names I had never before been called in my close to three decades on this earth. All because I didn't look like hardly anyone else around there.

We rejoiced when the opportunity to move to Dallas arose, and we scoured the websites of all the surrounding suburbs, determined not to move to another monocultural/monoethnic city. We resolved not to live in our current town, because from all we could gather from the city's website, it was upper class, white, and privileged. Not where we wanted to live and raise our biracial children.

And of course, week after week went by, house after house fell through, until we fell in love with our small little blue house, smack in the middle of that very town.

Last week, tornados ripped through our area, taking lives and leaving destruction and broken hearts in their wake. We sat in our hall bathroom together during the sirens, listening to the wind. I was thankful for my husband's calm, for his prayers for safety. I laughed at our small daughter's protests against her father's singing and our son's irritation at having his Christmas gift opening disrupted. I found peace in my son's suggestion that Jesus "just take us to heaven until the tornado is gone and then bring us back" because in this moment of fear, he expressed such an unwavering faith in Jesus as his ultimate hero.

I thought of how, had things gone the way we had wanted, we would have lived in Garland. We would have lived right where one of those giant tornados had grounded, ending the earthly lives of several people, instead of just a few miles further northwest, in the safety of this town we call home for now. Where our little home is still intact, even with all the issues of an older house, where we have good neighbors and a backyard oasis, with all its leaves-and-dog-poo-strewn glory.

As I stood there, I was reminded of one of my favorite verses from scripture, that there is a purpose to all things, that God does nothing randomly, that all things work together for His glory. That He places  (active verb) us exactly where we are, in the time He wants, with intentionality and purpose. That, as Ann Voskamp reminds me daily, that all is a gift from Him.

My word this year is Gift.

Today, as the hot water washed away the suds, leaving behind clean skin, I felt the anger and resentment wash away, too. And I realized that this is what I desperately need. To seek out the Gifts, big and small, in each day. To be immensely grateful at this one wild and precious life. That even as I exclaim to my husband in the middle of small children chaos, "I am NOT cherishing this moment!" there are Gifts. The gift of healthy children, the gift of a good husband, the gift of daily laughter with my best friend, even if the source of that laughter is the ludicrous irrationality of preschoolers and toddlers.

I began keeping a gratitude journal several years ago, after reading One Thousand Gifts. With the busyness of the fall and holiday seasons, I stopped keeping record a few months ago. This year, I resolve to not only make recording the Gifts a priority, but to be more of a Gift to this world, to my community, yes, even to fifty-something-year-old Mean Girls, as He intended for us all to be.

Another dear friend shared this prayer by Carter Heyward on her blog, and I felt it was an appropriate way to enter into this new beginning with hope for all good things and grace for the times in which we stumble.

Holy God, we have left undone those things 
Which we ought to have done,
And we have done those things
Which we ought not to have done.

Yet, by thy grace, there is health in us!

In thy mystery, carry us on.
As we bring unity and joy, humble us.
As we bring division and pain, forgive us.
In our struggling, strengthen us.
In our stumbling, lift us.
When we weep, comfort us.
When we laugh, enjoy us. Amen.

Want to start keeping your own journal of Gifts? DaySpring is having a $5 flash sale on some of their beautiful journals! I use these ones.*

*I don't profit from DaySpring. I just love their products!