Posts by Erin Randle

Exact Same Dad

He and his dad pack days worth of food, cold-weather gear, and shovels and hike into the mountains. They’ve bought special sleeping bags that keep you toasty below freezing. They choose the perfect patch of deep snow and dig out the perfect cave, complete with sleeping platforms, to call home for the next few days. Each cup of coffee is brewed with melted snow over a small camp stove, each meal rehydrated the same way.

She and her dad hop into the truck early one morning, travel mugs full of coffee hot from the Keurig, and set out towards the Olympics in search of snow. Forgetting all about packing a lunch, they drive until they find the old logging roads he used to travel during hunting seasons past. The truck takes them as high as the road will go, where they find a red picnic table and far-away views of Mt. Rainier.  

The Magic of Going All In

Have you ever had a jellyfish fight? It’s like a snowball fight, but slimy. Instead of the brisk burst of thousands of powdery ice crystals hitting your cheek and tickling your neck, you get slapped with something like a wet Jello jiggler that smells like the ocean.

Moon jellies are a clear, non-stinging jellyfish that we have in the Puget Sound. Every once in awhile a tide will come through carrying hundreds more jellies than normal. If you just happen to be 10 and spending a weekend at the family beach cabin with cousins and friends during one of those tides, the only thing that makes sense is to fill your t-shirt with jellies until it stretches to your knees and wage war.

Have you ever skipped a sand dollar across the water’s surface? They’re infinitely better than any flat stone. Or tipped a rock to see dime-sized crabs scurry? Or filled a jar with sea glass? Or paddled a canoe late on an August night watching fish swim under the surface sending trails of tiny phosphorescent diatoms that glow and sparkle like pixie dust?

Agree with Grace

I hate buying cell phones.

Well, I hate buying any tech, really, but cell phones especially. I hate spending money on something that will become essentially useless in two years. If I spend over $100 on anything I want to bequeath it to my ancestors. I want the family to gather around the Christmas table and pull out great-great-grandma Erin’s antique Galaxy S7 they usually display in their curio cabinet and reminisce about a simpler time.

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, why don’t they make things like they used to? It bothers me that we have built into our lives this rhythm of tossing costly things aside. I notice it most in fashion and tech. There’s an understanding that in a year or two, or as soon as next season, what you have now will be out of style and out of date. We are expected to throw our money at it and then throw it away. This is partly why I have hoarder-like tendencies. I’ll go to toss something out and there’s this tug, “But this cost me something…I gave something up to bring this into my life and now I’m stuffing it into a giant black bag…” It feels wrong, like I should never have bought those things in the first place.

I think this rhythm of cheapening the objects that surround us has led to us cheapening much more important things. Things like grace.

The Cool Kids

Someone referred to me the other day as “one of the cool kids.” I just about coated them in coffee straight from my mouth. I’m certain my eyebrows hopped right to my hairline, a quick retreat fueled by surprise and disbelief.

Was this person 100% serious? No, not completely. They were a well-adjusted adult, after all, mostly just expressing a light hearted thank you for being included in an invitation. But still, it got me thinking.

Ask any adult: middle school was universally mortifying. I have never heard a soul admit they made it out completely unscathed. In the moment, though, didn’t it feel like you were the only one? The only one crying in the bathroom? The only one who wore her Halloween costume to school on the wrong day? The only one whose hair puffed out past her shoulders? The only one searching for what it took to really belong? To be more in than out?

Who We Are

Outside of the basic hygiene necessary to keep everyone thinking I’m a respectable (and sweet-smelling) member of society, there are only two things I do almost daily: read the Bible and watch Moana.

You’ve seen Moana, right? If not, figure out your life, dude. It’s been out since November, is super rad, and currently streaming on Netflix.

There aren’t even children living in my house and I’ve been known to watch it three times in one day. I’m not crazy, I just don’t have cable and Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius. And also, I am a little crazy, after all. I have been aggressively shushed by preschoolers for singing along. (Keep it up, Ellanora, it’s not like your Christmas present is on the line or anything.)

Sometimes it’s just pleasant, melodic noise to have on while I work or read. If I ever really sit and watch it, I cry every time. Every single one. Different moments hit me each time, but overall it comes back to this main theme: living up to the truth of who you are.

Pit vs. Presence

Have you ever been bad at something? Like, truly, unequivocally terrible?

I cannot skate. Not roller skate. Not ice skate. Not roller blade or skateboard. Heck, I can barely ride a bike. Maybe it has something to do with growing really tall really fast as a kid. My center of gravity never quite figured out where to land. Or maybe because even though they say you can’t walk until you crawl, I skipped right over the “on all fours” stage and stood straight up. I hear that jacks up your balance.

Whatever the reason, I found all those elementary school skate nights and birthday parties at once horrifying and lonely. I’d shove off each wall hoping I’d launched myself with enough force to bump safely into the other side, having the neither the ability to steer nor stop. Or start, for that matter. If I ran out of steam mid-rink, I would have to wait for a kind soul, usually someone’s mom, to give me a tow to the wall or perhaps all the way back to the snack bar where I would sit in a booth and daydream until the party was over.

My last time ever on skates ended with, what I imagined, was me almost slicing a small child in half. It was a youth group ice skate night, I think, and this tiny little girl had been practicing her serious figuring skating skills right in the middle of free skate. It was legitimate practice. She was wearing the tights and the little skirt and was spinning, spinning, spinning. Full-on Nancy Kerrigan.

We Have Been Made Welcome

There’s this salad I used to love to make for gatherings. It’s rad. I know because everyone told me so. People would email me for the recipe and I’d have to email them back like, “Look, I made it up out of my very own brain and so all my amounts are approximations, therefore I […]

Show me someone without a junk drawer and I will show you a person not of this earth.

Homes without junk drawers are populated by aliens whose world-domination tactics include giving everyone else a complex. I am certain of this.

I’m short on drawers so I have a few junk shelves in a closet. This is how you know I am an earthling and not a pod-person. Once I took it even further and co-opted an entire room. More than just a spot to stash the odd screwdriver or tape dispenser, it’s where I would toss anything I wanted to hide when people came over — old holiday decorations, laundry, a stray ice-cream maker, Amazon boxes, dirty dishes, and so on. After the people left, selective amnesia kicked in and I’d sort of just forget about the junk in the room until the next people came and I was scrambling over new Amazon boxes and small appliances that had been allowed to wander. Should I have taken the boxes to the recycling? Yes. Should I have found an actual home for the tiny food processor and popsicle molds and cookie sheets? Yes. Did I? Nope. I tossed ‘em in the room.

You guys, I’m not saying this makes sense. I’m saying it’s what I did. Pile after pile.

Free to Fail

Anyone else use their computer monitor as a landing place for notes and reminders and such? Maybe I’m one of seven people that has a desktop monitor anymore because it’s 2017 and y’all are toting paper-thin laptops around with no room for ephemera, but my screen is littered with little post-its and scraps. One is […]

The Waves and Wind


I went through a hard time recently. A storm. I’m still in the midst of walking out the other side. The waves have calmed. The hurricane is over, but the rebuilding is not.

God and I are not through rumbling with it all, but there is a truth that God has been reaffirming to me over and over again. I have the strong impression I am not the only one who has ever felt tossed about, so I am going to share it with you here:

The waves and wind still know His name.