one thing to add to your Christmas list

Show of hands: who’s feeling the push and panic of the holidays? That would be both hands up for me. I have purchased exactly one present so far. One.

And yes, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, but we kind of lost steam with the tree after an initial burst of decorating. It’s still angel-less and surrounded by hideous brown bins of ornaments from the attic. If I wrap the bins, they could stand in for the absent presents. Read More

the stories that make us

The blaze began at the cookstove. Sparks whooshed up the chimney igniting dry-as-tinder wood shingles. The father, an Alabama farmer, was away working the fields, but a hero was waiting in the wings: a fifteen-year-old who refused to let her house burn down. Read More

the tough stuff that made me

IMG_4432If you caught my last post, you’ll know I was a mash-up of competing football loyalties this weekend. Let’s just say 3 out of 4 wins ain’t bad, and one contest pitted two of my favs against each other for an upset that has the whole SEC wondering what’s next.

All I’ve got to say about the hunt for a champ is “Roll Dawg Eagle” and may the best team win. Read More

the places that made me

This week I’m thanking God for the places that made me. I am a Southern girl through and through, but I admit that the Deep South is a complicated place to be from. For all our churches, hospitality, and genteel manners, we can’t deny a legacy of racism, classicism, illiteracy, and poverty. Turns out, though, we’re not the only place on the globe where humans hurt each other or just plain hurt. So I’ll keep being thankful that I’m a Southern girl, and I’ll keep pushing to change the things that need changing where I’m from and beyond.

So where exactly AM I from? I’m thankful to call four Southern states home–or perhaps I should say Southeastern Conference states. When I say I’m from the South, I mean all over it. And yes, I did just make reference to that hallowed football conference, the one that churns out the best games of the season every year.

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the people who made me

Happy All Saints Day! Though my church tradition doesn’t specifically celebrate the day, I tend to pause a bit on Nov 1st to think about the people who came before me.

I’m indebted to my mom for making this day resonate with me. Several years ago, she did an All Saints writing project with her junior high students to explore their family trees. Her students thought and wrote about those who had impacted their lives, and they were able to move toward gratitude for those people.

Her point was that the people who came before us (whether they are from our family of origin or are simply people who have impacted us) contribute to who we are. Whether those people looked more like “saints” or not, we can find things to celebrate about our connection with the people of the past.

I am starting this month of Thanksgiving, then, with a moment of thankfulness for all the people who made me: godly parents and grandparents, neighbors and friends who were like parents and grandparents, English teachers who taught me to love writing, mentors who taught me to love the person I was becoming, Bible teachers who didn’t just preach me a list of do’s and don’ts, bosses who gave me career opportunities, and a multitude of friends who’ve brightened my life.

I am profoundly grateful.

One secret when the path is uncertain

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between two faith-giants who spoke of obstacles on the path to fulfilling their purposes. The first is David. Pulled from the sheep field, anointed by God as king, and then forced to run for his life for years until he ascended the throne, David poured out his ups and downs through the Psalms. I’ve found strength and comfort in these songs of the faith and continue to work them into my prayer life just as the women and men of the Bible did. One passage that’s been particularly galvanizing for me as I’ve faced things like chronic anxiety, depression, or fibromyalgia pain is Psalm 142, especially verse 7:

Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

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3 truths teens need to hear 

If you were asked to fill in the blank, “Sometimes, I feel like I’m not ___________ enough,” what would you say?

What would your 15-year-old say?

A few weeks ago, I asked 50 or so high school women just that. Here’s some of what they told me:

Sometimes, I feel like I’m not

Pretty

Smart

Strong

Popular

Involved

Interesting

Fun

Friendly

In-shape

Normal

Good

Worth

enough.

They also talked of how they struggle to have enough time, energy, confidence, and friends to make it through their days.

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