Small Talk

Friendship Together Bonding Unity Youth Culture Concept

The Gratitude Gospel: Day 10

Okay, so I’ve missed a few days. The thing about writing about your life is, well, sometimes you just can’t blog about what happens in your day.

Small things happen that no one else will find interesting.

Big things happen that you can’t really share…at least not at the given moment in time.

But today, I was reminded of the deep love I have for something so fleeting in our technology-mediated world: face-to-face small talk.

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Meeting the Deplorable

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“My insurance is gonna run out soon. Truman promised to take care of us.”

When you’re immersed in Appalachia, this statement translates quite easily: I used to work in the mines.

But the coal industry that sustained life in West Virginia – and, if we’re honest, the rest of America – is now idle. Caught in the political crosshairs, tens of thousands of men and women are now without work.

The local pastor with whom our mission team recently served was quick to redirect our sympathy: “I can’t even go through a metal detector – I got metal in my knees and hip!”

It was a light moment before the grim reality of the region intensified: There is no money.

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Letter to a College Football Coach’s Wife

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Dear B,

You are a daughter, a sister, and a mother. To the greater world, however, you are largely known as a college football coach’s wife. When we first met, you chose not to volunteer the latter. You positioned yourself as a preschool mother ally and, in doing so, earned my deepest respect.

I know today must be difficult. When your husband’s team wins, the world laughs with you. When they lose, you fear for your life. Last night, the points did not fall in our favor. I didn’t see you at pick-up.

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An Opt[ional] Out[look]

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“He’s at a great age for swim lessons.”

It’s one thing to hear such a statement from a stranger, but it’s another when the voice belongs to your three-year-old son’s pediatrician.

Truthfully, I had been preparing myself for this for some time. After all, older, more experienced parents have been warning me since pregnancy: “Just wait until the activities start.”

And now, it seems, the time has come, and the question is felt from all sides.

In which activities will we enroll our children?

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Embracing Discomfort (My First Year Blogging)

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I think blogs breed narcissism. But, then again, what social media account doesn’t?

Ironically, this is one of the reasons why I began my blog in the first place. By my third year of parenthood (shortly after my daughter’s birth), I started to feel particularly weary from endless “perfect child”/“perfect mother” musings that I encountered throughout Facebook.

When you are raising your children hours away from family and find yourself daily questioning your parenting abilities, this environment is, quite frankly, damaging.

So I had a pretty bold idea. Why not use a blog to work through my own struggles? Why not highlight how I am coming to peace with imperfection? Why not share my story to, perhaps, empower others?

Except what I didn’t know then is this: Honesty makes people uncomfortable.

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What’s Your Best Blogging Advice?

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Kids will try anything. Really. Just a few weeks ago, my son turned three and we surprised him with the ultimate old soul gift: a hula hoop. Immediately, he was intent on mastering the toy.

If I remember nothing else in all my life, I will forever retain his laughter bouncing off the walls in our home. With each attempt, he learned a new technique. With each attempt, he gained confidence. With each attempt, he overcame his mistakes.

Yesterday evening – just as the sun was fading – I peered at my son with a jealous eye as the hoop made six complete rotations: I want to be that kind of writer.

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Mother, with Child

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“Whatever you do, don’t drop it!”

Such was my silent prayer two weeks ago when my husband and I braved a new world: keeping our son with us during an entire worship service. With the flip of a toddler wrist, a Walmart gift card – the only “toy” I could locate in my purse – held the potential to fly over the balcony and inspire a heart attack in an elderly member below. Would Jesus forgive us?

The fact is, we didn’t plan ahead. On Sundays, our goal is quite simple: make it to church with two children clothed and fed (Mom and Dad being such is a bonus!). For a few months, our son had joined us for 30 melodic minutes of praise before the inevitable wiggles ensued. But, as his behavior improved each week, we gained confidence and perhaps grew overly ambitious.

How difficult could it be to keep a toddler occupied AND quiet for just a little longer?

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The Racist in Me

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Deep down, I think we’re all a little racist. It doesn’t matter where we have lived or who we have known – a part of us clings to sameness. Differences, after all, mean discomfort.

If you are white and move to the Deep South, two options present themselves:

Choice #1: Discover your sin and turn away from it.

Choice #2: What sin?

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