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...]

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...]

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...]

I’m With Them

"My head is pounding and I feel sick; but I can't go to bed because when I wake up tomorrow it will be 100 years ago."That's what I said to my spouse (and Tweeted) at around midnight last night. That confounding arrangement of verb tenses aptly sums up where many of us are today. Utterly confounded. Disoriented. What year is it? Where do I live right now?It is easy to despair... Because, Jesus, this is a dark place. I am not using the Lord's name in vain, I am literally saying JESUS, … [Read more...]

10 Things That Will Still Be True After Election Day

This morning my phone flashed a cute little notification that said "Tomorrow is election day!"I wanted to throw it like it was hot and scream AS IF I CAN FORGET THAT FOR A SECOND! It's a new phone so I didn't do that. But geez, how can we forget? Tomorrow is TUESDAY. Tomorrow is the great reckoning. Tomorrow dawns the day when we find out if we are still speaking to all of our friends and family or not. Tomorrow is ALL THE THINGS.Except maybe it isn't. Maybe tomorrow is not the looming … [Read more...]

The War On Fall

Let me tell you this really sad thing I used to do when I lived in the desert.In October--after 4 solid months of unrelenting triple-digit temps--we would get about 2 hours of cool in the mornings. For those two blessed hours, I would put on boots and my favorite jean jacket; go to a coffee shop and order a latte (maybe even a spicy Mexican Mocha); and I would sit there, pretending it was fall.By about 10am, the sun would brutally remind me that there is no such thing as fall in the … [Read more...]