What Were You Expecting?

What were you expecting?If your childhood pre-dates the digital age and the magic of Amazon.com, then you have memories of spending December pouring over that sacred text, the Sear's Wish Book. That's how you KNEW for sure it was Christmas, when that thing showed up in the mailbox.These days, the retail world has other ways of getting our expectations up. They tell us to anticipate everything from diamonds to dazzling technology to a Lexus in the driveway with a giant bow on top. … [Read more...]

Open: The Perfect Christmas Card

I guess it's time to start thinking about Christmas cards. (sigh)This means coming up with a reasonably current picture of my whole family--all together in one place, all looking at the camera at the same time; preferably not in matching outfits, but also not looking like we just rolled out of bed or survived a minor struggle.For some families, this is no big deal. They schedule their professional family photo shoot for the same weekend every fall. They show up at a lovely local setting, … [Read more...]

Assemble: Word 3, Advent 1

One of the best parts of Christmas at my house is getting out the nativity sets.When I was a newlywed--with no children--I decided that I was going to be a collector of international nativities. My husband and I are both kind of minimalists in the home decor department. We don't do knick knacks, we think less is more, and anything that has to be dusted is probably more trouble than it's worth. However, I felt like nativity sets were the perfect thing for me to start gathering. They would … [Read more...]

Shift: 5 Ways to a Sane December

Advent 1, Word #2 -- shift. I'm trying this thing again, where I blog every (week)day during Advent. The past few years I haven't been able to do it, because I was completely overwhelmed with other things. Moving/transition things, kid things, stressful things, churchy things, you name it. All the things. I always try to be intentional about not letting December get away from me, but lately, I've failed miserably. This year, I might just pull it off.This year, we all need a pause. We n … [Read more...]

Anticipate: Advent 1, Word 1

I spend a lot of my time and energy anticipating future needs. Mine, and those of other people.I anticipate the needs of my kids: That one is starting to whine and look kind of puny--better fix a snack before she has a meltdown. His jeans are getting too short, again; better order some, because he will outgrow them in his sleep, AGAIN. They should go to bed now or we will have a difficult morning. Make sure everybody pees now, or somebody will have to go behind a tree when we get to the pa … [Read more...]

When Inclusion Becomes a “Divisive Political Issue”

One of the school districts in the Kansas City area has banned teachers from wearing safety pins.Two weeks ago, responses to that headline might have been... Are they worried kids will use them as weapons? Did someone poke their eye out? What if there's a wardrobe malfunction? Is everything dangerous now??But now we can add safety pins to the list of inanimate objects that have become loaded with social implications. Along with Starbucks holiday cups and Target bathrooms.The safety pi … [Read more...]

The Country Needs Us, And We Need You: A Call to Action

Guest Post: by C. Shawn McGuffeySince the election I have been saddened. Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have a loving partner, family, friends, and students that reach out at precisely the right times to keep me intact. My good choices keep reaping benefits.And as you can see from the picture, I’ve also been acting, organizing, and participating. I am so proud of the many community members that are still doing the work to make this world better.Many of us, however, still have n … [Read more...]

Here I Am, Where We’ve Been: A Post-Election Sermon

In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, the edges of his robe filling the temple.  Winged creatures were stationed around him. Each had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew about.They shouted to each other, saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of heavenly forces! All the earth is filled with God’s glory!” The doorframe shook at the sound of their shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. … [Read more...]

A Broken Hallelujah: How SNL Helped Us Grieve

There's a reason they call it a "cold open." There is no intro. No setting up of context. No opening music or credits to know the show has started. One minute it's your local news, maybe some commercials--and then, there you are. The opening segment of Saturday Night Life, with little transition from wherever you just were.Kate McKinnon has so effectively embodied the voice and spirit of Hillary Clinton during this campaign season, that all she had to do was appear in a pantsuit. We didn't … [Read more...]