Craving the Rot

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There it lies, silver flat and belly up. The fish (what kind? I should have paid more attention in biology), thrown up by the tide, gathers flies on the sand not far from where I sit baking in the Mississippi sun. Before I've finished a page in my book, a fight breaks out. A seagull, having claimed the fish as 'his' in the tacit pecking order of animalia, is upset, offended because another bird is closing in on his lunch. "But, but, but," he cries. "But, but, but." Bird Number Two … [Read more...]

What If You Lost Everything?

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Right on the tail of writing my hurricane post, two of the girls and I were in a local toy store looking at the Madame Alexander dolls when an elderly woman came up and asked them which one they liked the best. "I love Scarlett," said one. "I love Little Bo Peep," said the other. "My favorite is Captain Hook," said the lady, after which she unlocked the glass case and pulled 'him' out to show the girls. "Are you a collector?" I asked, hoping she wouldn't respond with, "Well, duh. I own a … [Read more...]

What Downton Abbey Taught Me About Finger Pointing

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At this house we're big Downton Abbey fans. Big . We watched season one four times, then cheated and had season two sent from the UK before the US release. We then watched it four times before ordering the Christmas special, again impatient, from the UK. We've watched DA so many times it's commonplace around our house to hear the two smallest children quoting the acerbic Dowager Countess word-for-word. "Do you promise?" Yes, I do. But it takes neither that level of obsession nor that … [Read more...]

Advice To the Perfectionist From Her 8-Year-Old Self

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Sometimes ya just gotta listen to your inner child. You might also like: Google, how do I deal with bratty kids? … [Read more...]

Google, How Do I Deal With Bratty Kids?

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  So, you invite your bestie over for lunch and her son, Hester, acts like a Cretan who has been given his first taste of table sugar.  He slams doors, runs into every room of the house, rifles through your underwear drawer, grabs your iPad and runs toward the stairs. You, of course, are appalled and look pleadingly to your friend who, yes, laughs. "Isn't he cute?" she says. "Boy, he's curious today!" she says. "Give me a paddle," you want to say. This is an issue I have … [Read more...]

Transracial Adoption: One Surprising Challenge

Of all the challenges white mama Nancy French expected when adopting a baby from Africa, here's one she never anticipated. Love her teachable response to criticism! … [Read more...]

How To Create a Prodigal 101

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1.  First, students, remember to major on minors:  Make no differentiation between social guffaws and moral absolutes.  In fact, invert your response if possible--For commandment-breaking acts, throw up your hands and say, Oh, she didn't actually mean to lie.  And, for matters of indifference,  go bat-crud-crazy: HOW DARE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT SHOES, and so on and so forth. 2.  Concern yourself with externals like 'modesty' over internals like 'a growing resentment that will … [Read more...]

The Hypocrisy of Oprah Magazine

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Admission:  I like O magazine. I sneak it into my cart when Ian isn't looking.  I check it out at the library when he is, but under a pile of biographies.  When he discovers issues hidden under dirty laundry in the bathroom, he chides me:  Ames, if you want this, let's just get a subscription. But, of course, I can't admit that I want it.  In Reformed circles, Oprah is on par with Deepak Chopra...Feministic.  Edgy.  Man-hating.  Liberal.  Touchy-feely.   Do you blame me … [Read more...]

The Fight Before Christmas

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‘Twas was the night before Christmas, And the house was a dump. The kids were feeling Christmassy, But I was a grump.   The laundry piled up, the table was crummy No gifts had been wrapped, nothing made that was yummy. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of a happy mama danced in their heads.   But I was working so hard to make them a Christmas, I didn’t have time for all this merriment business. For only that morning I had heard such a … [Read more...]

Growing Men (and Women) of Grit

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Today marks the 100th anniversary of Roald Amundsen becoming the first person to reach the South Pole. Arriving on December 14, 1911, he beat British explorer, Robert Falcon Scott, by a month, but the value of his accomplishment is, to this day, hotly disputed.  Sure, Amundsen got to the pole first, say the Brits, but Scott was slowed down because he was gathering scientific data along the way.  But Scott wasn't a real polar expert and was merely following Shackleton's earlier routes, say … [Read more...]