5 Powerful Phrases for an Election Year

5 Powerful Phrases for an Election Year

I used to love this picture: I loved how I my eyes would slightly glaze over as I switched back and forth between seeing the old lady and young woman. I would give myself a headache looking at that picture. “It’s a young woman!” “No, it’s an old lady!” The answer, of course, was that it’s both. This is so obvious, it seems silly to say.  But that was the miracle of the illusion—some amazing artist had created a picture…

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Talking About Race with Children (The Worst Advice I Ever Gave)

Talking About Race with Children (The Worst Advice I Ever Gave)

Several years ago, as a newly-hired education consultant working for the Department of Human Services, a preschool teacher approached me with a question. “How do I talk to kids about race and tolerance?” Being completely unschooled in this topic, I answered this: “With preschoolers, I wouldn’t worry too much about direct teaching. I would focus more on making it a non-issue. Little kids are so open and accepting naturally. We don’t have to teach them to be non-prejudiced, we just…

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Loving Loud after Orlando

Loving Loud after Orlando

We just finished the last Harry Potter book when I heard about Orlando. We’d been listening to it in the car and then stayed up late on Sunday night to listen to the last 30 minutes. When it ended, my daughter cried and said, “NOW what are we going to listen to?” Then I checked the news and wanted to cry again because I wished so badly to be in a Harry Potter book, where the bad guy was defeated…

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On Gardening, Play and Getting Back Online

On Gardening, Play and Getting Back Online

Around the first of the year, I choose my #oneword365–play. The goal was simple: to be more open, more creative and more centered in the moment. As I saw it, these were all elements that could be addressed with an attitude of playfulness. So, almost six months in, how’s that going? Oddly enough, the answer to this question ties perfectly well into another question I’ve been asked lately–”why aren’t you blogging as much?” Here’s the answer to both: summer. I don’t…

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Family Prayers in The Mixed Belief Marriage

Family Prayers in The Mixed Belief Marriage

 A few years ago, a fairly typical family scene occurred at our dinner table.  Engaged in a rousing song of her own creation, our 6 year old daughter refused to settle down for our mealtime prayer.  It wasn’t a malicious act, simply a silly one.  You know, like when you’ve got the giggles in church and just can’t stop. “Let’s finish the song for now then you can sing more after dinner.”  I said.  She quieted—until I began our prayer. …

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5 Hands-On Ways to Pray with Kids

5 Hands-On Ways to Pray with Kids

I grew up praying the traditional way.  There was always a blessing before meals and two prayers before bed: The Prayer of Protection and The Lord’s Prayer. In church, I would hear the pastor praying prayers with complicated names like “intercession,” and “invocation.”  I appreciated his beautiful words but felt removed from the process.  These were not the prayers of my heart. It wasn’t until I was with my church’s youth ministry group as a college student that I realized…

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Handling Differences in the Mixed Belief Marriage

Handling Differences in the Mixed Belief Marriage

Several weeks ago, I started a series on life in the mixed belief marriage. Then I dropped the ball because of other (paid) writing commitments and a wonderful vacation. Back now, picking up the pieces of the conversation…   “I think we should write a family mission statement,” I announced over dinner one night.  This earned me a raised eyebrow from my husband.  My daughter continued with her eating.  I took this lack of enthusiasm as a lack of knowledge…

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Let Your Presence Be Your Gift

Let Your Presence Be Your Gift

“Let your presence be your gift.” The words were embossed in gold on a creamy wedding invitation. I let them swirl around on my tongue and relished their silky feel. The play on words was luxurious and elegant compared to the functional “no gifts, please.” To the 10-year-old me, this phrase seemed like the height of eloquence. Of course, being present is harder than simply showing up. You can, after all, attend to much of your life without really being…

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Celebrating Easter in a Mixed Belief Marriage

Celebrating Easter in a Mixed Belief Marriage

The spring sun is streaming through the sliding glass door as I write on my yellow legal pad. Outside, I can hear the prairie dogs giving their early morning squeals of delight. Spring always washes over my soul with a combination of exuberance and relief. This has more to do with the short days of winter than actual cold—our winters have been so mild lately, we barely get to play in the snow, much less become sick of it. But…

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Art, Life and Changing the World {#wholemama}

Art, Life and Changing the World {#wholemama}

We so often think of creativity as the special right of a limited few.  Visual artists, musicians, authors—they’re the creative types.  Sometimes we limit it even more.  Our friend’s cover band, for example, isn’t really “creative.”  They’re just mimicking the creative work of others.  I, for one, rarely consider myself creative.  I explain to others, “I’m a writer but not a creative one.”  I reserve “creative” to apply to fiction writers, those magical geniuses who draw me into new worlds…

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