The Flawed Theology of Naughty and Nice Lists

A few years ago, my mother gave me a Christmas pillow on which a picture of Santa’s naughty and nice lists was embroidered.  She had a strange smile on her face when she gave it to me and once I looked at it closely, I figured out why:  Both my and my sister’s names were on the ‘naughty’ list. Nice, Mom. Or should I say, naughty? For years moms and dads the world over have preached Santa’s naughty/nice list theology… Read more

No More Side Checking

Why does it seem like nobody knows who they are anymore? Books like Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, Max Lucado’s Cure For the Common Life:  Living in Your Sweet Spot, and the Strength’s Finder series are but a few of the litany of books that line bookstore shelves, promising to help us figure ourselves out.  We take personality tests to find out if we’re ESTJ’s or INFP’s.  We go to conferences to determine if we are otters or lions.  We… Read more

Nine Life Lessons From Buddy the Elf

We kicked off the Christmas season last week with our first viewing of Elf, starring Will Farrell.  I say our first viewing because, being one of our favorite Christmas movies, one viewing is never enough.  We love this movie, not only because it is side-splittingly funny, but because the main character, Buddy the elf, is about the best life coach out there.  Here are some of the things he taught me: 1.  Accept Reality Even when he falls 915 items… Read more

Lessons from the Pumpkin Bread Incident

Being the matriarch of a large family, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly the lot of us can descend into the ‘blame game’ when something goes wrong.   The pumpkin bread incident is a perfect example because, truly (for once!) NO ONE was to blame.  It was that most elusive of events:  The Simple Mistake.  Somehow, in all the finger pointing, the one solution to The Case of the Missing Pumpkin Bread none of us entertained was that… Read more

The Case of the Missing Pumpkin Bread

Last week a loaf of pumpkin bread went missing. My girls and I had baked four large loaves and four small loaves on Saturday afternoon.  According to one daughter, we put chocolate chips into two of the large loaves.  I recalled putting chocolate chips in three of the large loaves.  We were perilously low on chocolate chips that day. My oldest son, the chocoholic amongst us, dove mouth first into the first large chocolate chipped loaf.  The other kids opened… Read more

Thanksgiving Mags: I Don’t Want Your Issues

I just made a thrilling discovery:  Libraries lend out magazines. If you already knew that, let me have my moment. Because, as it turns out, it was only a moment. Over the past three years, for a variety of reasons, I’ve let all the subscriptions to my favorite magazines, including the one I write for, expire.  I’ve missed them desperately. The trite, easy-to-read lists.  The tips for living a good life.  Articles on subjects I never knew I needed to… Read more

Grounded in Love

I love my young mama friends.  Those with babies and toddlers, those announcing new pregnancies on their Facebooks every eighteen months. I love their enthusiasm, their love for their children, their determination to do what is best, no matter how hard it is, for the little ones under their maternal wings. And how I remember those days.  When I woke up at the crack, made homemade oatmeal, mowed the grass before 7. Ha! They were busy, busy ones filled with… Read more

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