My Parent Self[ie]

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The picture was terrible. Just terrible. But, then again, selfies were likely invented by someone younger than I am.

After several chaotic hours with my children, I decided that the real cherry on top of our day should be special. Go hard or go home, right?

We ventured to the local Wildlife Center in a muggy 90 degrees for their daily show. Thirty minutes of educational entertainment for $0 sounded like the best idea I have had in weeks. My son was thrilled.

So excited, in fact, that he improvised and stuck his tongue out when my thumb finally found the capture button.

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Oh, the Decisions You’ll Make!

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Decisions can be suffocating – much like graduation robes. In May 2006, I pondered this exact thought as I walked across a very long stage. College was over, and finally my life would fall into place.

I would attend graduate school and pursue a career in education. I would marry a good Christian man who was well on his way to becoming a doctor. We would have two children, and I would perfectly balance motherhood and my career.

Little did I know that in a few short years, I would lose it all – the teaching career, the doctor, and the guarantee of motherhood. Continue reading “Oh, the Decisions You’ll Make!”

Time: The Missing Ingredient

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Sometimes the muffins don’t rise, and sometimes it’s your own fault.

If there is one thing to be said of college students, it is this: they stay hungry. During my undergraduate years, I remember, with a weak stomach, subsisting off a diet of highly processed foods. I believe rock bottom was the morning I ate microwaveable mac and cheese at 7:30 a.m. before a final exam.

Of course, I see this same struggle in my students, which inspires me to bake a homemade treat for each of my classes during the semester.  Two weeks ago, I gathered the necessary supplies for double chocolate chip muffins and committed myself to the task, which happened to be at 10 p.m.

After nearly an hour of preparation and baking, I peered into the oven with the kind of devastation that always finds teachers who try too hard. The muffins were dense and flat, and I immediately recalled my missing ingredient: baking soda.

I went to bed that night with a heavy heart and a full trash can.

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A Glowing Reminder

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You are never too old to wear glow sticks.

It is 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, and I am celebrating a friend’s birthday at the local bowling alley. I suppose this is what you do when you are 30 – you chuckle in the bathroom mirror at yourself for wearing a neon pink bracelet to feel young. The fact that I will be out until 11 suggests that it may be working…

Suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted by an infant’s incessant tears.  The heightened anxiety behind the wailing is only countered with the wrath of the mother in the last stall attempting to change her distressed offspring’s diaper. She rebukes her child loudly and without forgiveness.

I am at a loss for words and, without realizing it, my hands drip dry. The beratement ends. Mercy.

I offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the dreams of two children sleeping sweetly at home.

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Chasing the Avocado

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Happiness is a ripe avocado. If you have ever lived in California, you know this to be true.

My daughter, six months young, is learning all about this magical fruit’s elusivity, as she cannot yet grasp avocado between her lusting fingers. Perhaps it is because she is mine or because her blue eyes penetrate my soul, but I find few things more mesmerizing than watching my daughter’s hands seek the promise of satiety.

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The Hard Truth about Cloth Diapering

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You never forget the times when someone implies that you are a bad mother.

Recently, such a situation occurred in our church’s elevator. I had just nursed my daughter in the designated room and was traveling two floors to reach my husband and our Sunday school class. Sleep deprivation and perpetual nursing have a way of chronically weakening one, so I sent my daughter’s carrier and blanket with my husband. The baby and diaper bag were enough to juggle.

I entered the elevator with baby in arms. I took a deep breath, and the door began to close. Ah, a moment’s peace for communion with…

[Enter older, more experienced mother. Think Baby Boomer.]

“You’re wearing a jacket. Where’s hers?”

Few things sting quite like an unexpected, self-righteous bullet.

“Her blanket is with my husband.”

I departed with the kind of restraint that would make even Jesus proud.

We live in Southeast Georgia. The temperature reached the low-70s before the worship service ended just 90 minutes later.

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A Holiday Fast

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This year for Thanksgiving, I felt compelled to undertake a 3-day social media cleanse. It was an experiment of sorts to understand how the impacts of Facebook, news media, and even this blog shape my relationships and overall emotional state. Earlier this fall, I confronted my own addiction and was hopeful that a Thanksgiving fast would prepare my heart for the holiday season. In truth, I originally sought for my information purge to last an entire week, but I am a scholar rooted in reality – I actually wanted to meet my goal.

What changed?

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