Why I write

Every Tuesday morning, I kiss my kids good-bye, I gather my computer, and I drive to my favorite local cafe. I order my coffee and find a seat by itself. Then I labor with words for several hours, pushing my mind to the edge of its skill. Whenever the calendar says it’s Tuesday I do this, whether or not I feel inspired. It is my weekly discipline, a rhythm I have come to treasure.
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Why do I set aside a day for writing every week?

For the love of it. In mid-2015, something changed. For the first time, I had a desire to write. I wanted to. Continue reading “Why I write”

Decorating with amateur art and second-hand finds

I have goals for my home. I want it to be cozy and cheerful for my family, and amiable and restful for guests. I love color, art, and uncluttered design. The challenge is that I do not have money to spend on decor or energy for DIY projects.

Here’s what I do have: a continuous stream of children’s art, ample hand-me-down furniture, lots of photos, and many second-hand stores nearby. These supplies have proven more than sufficient.IMG_3527

Continue reading “Decorating with amateur art and second-hand finds”

Things I Tell My Kids, part 2

Parenting is about teaching. Teaching about life, teaching to ride a bike, teaching character, teaching math. Instead of coming up with new curriculum everyday, I rely on trusty phrases I can pull out easily. There is power in repeated words. Here are a few we use at our house:

Are you being kind?  Rather than exhorting our kids to be nice, we have always used the word kind. It’s a much richer word. One of my greatest hopes for my kids is that they turn out to be deeply kind. The word kind speaks of compassion, generosity, attention to others; it involves action. I want to call my children to all that kindness implies. Continue reading “Things I Tell My Kids, part 2”

My faith as a bright, flowered couch

I have a theory that most people’s spiritual lives are like fabric–with color patterns and definite textures. If you stand back, the feel and look of the fabric is clear. Mine is like a bold, floral chintz.

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Like the tiny threads woven together to form a fabric, there are certain ideas that define my faith. Together they form the texture and color of the whole thing. Continue reading “My faith as a bright, flowered couch”

Who is truly pro-life?

Recently, this cartoon showed up in my Facebook feed:

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This is a popular axiom, this idea that the 44% of Americans who identify as pro-life care little about life after birth. So, let me ask: is it true that pro-life supporters are heartless prudes who are concerned only with fetuses but not with the lives of children in poverty, struggling single mothers, and other vulnerable members of society?

In my experience, this is far from true.

Let’s begin with the assumption — invariably held by those who post this type of cartoon — that government action is the only way to care for human life. Continue reading “Who is truly pro-life?”

Let’s talk about white privilege

The term white privilege seems to be popping up everywhere these days — online, in the media, and in college classrooms.  In the midst of all this talk, though, I have noticed that the term is frequently misunderstood, particularly by people who find it offensive.  Many, many times, I have heard rebuttals of the idea of white privilege that go something like this,

“Just because I am white does not mean I am wealthy. I came from a poor family, and I have worked hard to get where I am today. It makes me angry when people assume that all white people have money and that life has been easy for us.”

I understand how a white person raised in poverty or in the working class would be annoyed by assumptions that they were raised with money and that life has been easy for them.  Here’s the thing, though – that is not what white privilege means. Not at all. Continue reading “Let’s talk about white privilege”

Being racist in America

I’m sure you saw the news a few weeks ago of a bus full of University of Oklahoma fraternity students who were caught on video chanting the following about their fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon:

There will never be a n*** SAE!

You can hang ‘em from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me!

There will never be a n*** SAE!

The uproar was swift and the consequences thorough: the fraternity shut down, all members required to move out within 24 hours, and the two young men shown leading the chant promptly expelled from the university. One thing was clear from this episode: we no longer tolerate blatantly racist words in our country.  Much has changed since the 1960s and the preceding decades (centuries).

What is less clear to me is whether we, white Americans in particular, really understand all that racism actually is. Continue reading “Being racist in America”