Is There a Right Way to Celebrate Christmas?

Christmas. It’s such a mixed bag, isn’t it? I’m an unapologetic lover of all things Christmas. I love choosing just the right gifts for my kids, stacking bins of homemade cookies on the back porch, and driving around to see light displays—the more garish and over-the-top, the better. For the past few years, including this [Read More...]

Let’s Stop Bashing These Christmas Traditions

I’m all for trashing traditions that give us only glitz, gluttony, and maxed-out credit cards. But many of the traditions that get a bad rap, including these five, remain cherished by our family each year. [Read more...]

Feel Like Everyone Wants a Piece of You?: A Guide for More Wholehearted Living for Moms

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The core message of Wholehearted Living is that while our families and responsibilities will sometimes pull us in a million directions or make us feel that we’ve handed out so much of ourselves to other people that there’s very little left for us, we can take a few minutes each day to nurture quiet and engage in meaningful reflection. [Read more...]

How Much is Too Much for Holiday Giving to Kids?

Three perspectives on why holiday gifts and giving traditions need to be thoughtful, meaningful, and tweaked in a way that makes sense for the particular blend of personalities and histories that make up our unique families. [Read more...]

All Good Things (& Christmas Trees) Come to An End

The sight of a Christmas tree strapped onto a car roof awakens all kinds of anticipation for me; at this time of year, even the mind-numbing routine of driving my kids around is made delightful by the sight of lighted trees and electric candles in people’s windows, and strings of lights adorning outdoor trees and [Read More...]

On Doing Advent Wrong (or Maybe, Just Right)

Christmas is about the material illuminating the immaterial, about intangible spiritual truths being revealed through tangible physical things. God doesn’t reveal the love and grace at the heart of the universe by beaming deep thoughts into our brains. God reveals love and grace through a newborn baby. There is nothing “spiritual” about a baby; babies are all flesh and need. Similarly, our Christmas traditions communicate what we know about God’s love and grace through stuff that we can see and smell and touch and taste, stuff that speaks to our own flesh and need. [Read more...]

On Three-Parent IVF and the Act of Begetting

Every few months, a story pops up about a new frontier in reproductive medical technologies: so-called “three-parent IVF.” NPR recently reported on efforts in Britain to allow embryos created via this technique to be transferred into women’s uteruses, while a New York Times Magazine cover article last summer focused on whether the Federal  Drug Administration would approve human clinical [Read More...]

Not All Pain is Gain

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Not all pain is gain. Pain is not always fixable. This is the truth. But it is not a hopeless truth. [Read more...]

Revelation on an Ordinary Wednesday

(This post is a departure for me, more of a creative semi-autobiographical vignette, perhaps even a piece of what could become a short story. Whatever it is, it has been wanting to be written for many weeks now.) She was alone in the kitchen, the weak gray light and clink of dishes as she unloaded [Read More...]

When Failure Leads to Blessing

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the [Read More...]

Bittersweet Bedtime Stories

My two younger kids were feeling nostalgic the other night. While they have long been in the habit of reading on their own at bedtime, last night they pulled a few favorite picture books off the shelf (The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, and a falling-apart-and-taped-and-retaped copy of Richard Scarry’s Busy Busy World that was [Read More...]

Shame on You, RNS, for That Brittany Maynard Poll

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At first, I thought it was Onion-style satire. I kept seeing a link show up in my Facebook feed to a Religion News Service (RNS) poll asking, “If you were Brittany Maynard, what would you do?” The link was not to another blog post or essay discussing Brittany Maynard’s decision to pre-emptively end her life [Read More...]


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