If You Take a Child to a Christmas Party


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


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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Monsoon Togetherness


When I was in graduate school, I worked with several Indian students and these relationships were defined by the questions we asked one another. There always seemed to be something to learn. One day I asked a female co-worker, “Do you miss monsoon season?”

Her response was not quite what I expected: “I do. I miss everyone being inside together, even though there were many of us.”

In my mind, I imagined damp clothes, mildew, and body odor. What could ever be redeeming about such an environment? In truth, I had trouble seeing past the external to consider the internal.

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When a Train Rings the Bell

Halloween 2015

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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Scary Things


Have you ever been to a box store on “Sample Day”? At every aisle there seems to be a delicious clear plastic cup available for the mere cost of 50-500+ calories. If you play your cards right, you can eat close to a full meal – or at least enough to calm the hunger monsters for the remainder of your shopping experience.

Personally, I hate shopping, even for food, but there is something enticing about being served – about others giving you a slice of undeserved goodness. Further, it is a treat when that which is offered is something that you wouldn’t normally allow yourself to purchase. In our hearts, however, I think we all have come to learn that nothing in life is truly free, whether or not the cost is known to us.

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