My Birthday Is Cursed

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No, really. I used to think it was just me.

September 11, 2001: my sweet sixteen. New York City. Twin Towers. Pentagon. Flight 93.

September 11, 2012: my 27th birthday. Benghazi. Perhaps the most tragic event ever used for political gain.

September 11, 2017: my 32nd birthday. Hurricane Irma. The most intense hurricane to strike the U.S. since Katrina (2005).

The latter, however, is the first catastrophic birthday I have celebrated with two little ones at my side.

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A Christmas Present

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As a mother, I often feel like I am on the front lines of culture wars. This year I didn’t go Black Friday shopping. But two days later, I was forced to brave Walmart for milk (no blizzard pending).

The scene was so quiet, so serene, and the Christmas aisle was like my own pine-scented paradise. Except I was all alone. There was no warmth.

The whole endeavor to find an advent calendar was fruitless. In fact, I found nothing among the Christmas items but gift-related products. Wrapping paper, bows, gift tags, and tape.

Isn’t Christmas about spending time together?

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If You Take a Child to a Christmas Party

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It was one of those moments that makes you question your ability to parent your own child. My son, clearly in distress, was scratching his tongue. Our family was enjoying the festivities of our first holiday party of the season, and I had practiced great care in preparing my son a plate of hors d’oeuvres.

I’ll admit that I was a little more than excited when I saw something green. My son loves bell peppers, and the stove offered up a dish of stuffed pepper slices. I grabbed two. What better way to balance a toddler meal of mostly corn chips and crackers?

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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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When a Train Rings the Bell

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Our neighborhood is no longer sexy. In fact, it reached its peak decades ago. We, of course, understood this when we purchased our home back in 2013, but we thought our young family could infuse life into it once again. Now that we are seasoned homeowners, we understand how naïve we were in believing that moving into an older neighborhood would change anything.

Young families, at least in the rural South, rarely live in cities (no matter how big or small), and sprawl continues. I think we are more acutely aware of this phenomenon because (1) environmental stewardship is important to us and (2) we chose to be countercultural in our home purchase (i.e. we live in the city).

Doing what you feel is best, however, rarely comes without sacrifice.

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The Wait of 30

The Wait of 30

“If you want to have children, you should have them by 30.”

When you are 26-years-old and enthralled in exciting research as a graduate student, one of the last things you want to hear is that your biological clock is not only ticking, it’s pounding.

I think every woman who desires to have children dreams about the magic of their first pregnancy – what those first kicks will be like and how the warmth of their baby bump will fill their heart with indescribable joy. I am willing to bet that few, if any, consider the physical and emotional pain that can accompany the loss of your first child through miscarriage. I certainly didn’t.

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