My letter to Jen Hatmaker

Right now I'm reading Jen Hatmaker's book, Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. I can't recommend the book enough. I rarely read books twice (unless it's a book I'm teaching or it's To Kill a Mockingbird), but I'm pretty sure I'll read this book twice...or three times, or maybe once a year to remind me not to be stupid. It's THAT good. It's so good that I decided to send Jen Hatmaker an email. I know she probably won't read it, but I'm hoping that whoever is in charge of fielding inquiries will pass this one on to her. I'll form a more coherent post about the book later, but until then--here's my letter to Jen (along with a meme I just made...don't worry, I didn't send it to her--I'm not THAT creepy):


Talking to our kids about tough stuff

If you pay attention at all to the news, you've noticed that the world seems ablaze with hatred and violence--it's a big pile of stinking, burning garbage. Bombings, terrorist attacks, the GOP nominee spouting hatred, police officers becoming targets of violence, innocent people stereotyped and killed out of fear...the list marches on and on. It would be easier to just shut off the media, tune out the noise, and retreat to our cozy, safe spaces. There is definitely a time to unplug (I'm thinking and praying about my own media fast..more on that in another post). However, there's also a time to engage. There's lots of ways a person can engage: Participating in protests, through writing, through volunteering for an effort, and through dialogue. Because I'm a writer, I often tend to engage through writing, but lately I've been focusing my efforts more on dialogue and conversations with my kids to help us all wade through the muck and have a greater understanding of it and our place in all of it.

Using books to spark conversations of social justice issues

This piece is a partner piece to another post. I didn't want to overwhelm readers with a super long post. Essentially, this is a list of books I've found recently to be good entry points to tough conversations about social justice with our kids. We need these conversations now more than ever. So, check with your local libraries or local bookstores to see if they have these titles! As my kids age, I'll continue to expand my list of books for older kids :) If you have a favorite book to teach kids about the world, leave the title and a brief description in the comments section!

Grades Pre-K-K: 
A is for Activist:  We haven't read this book, but I came across it when searching for books to add to our
library. From what I understand, it's a visually appealing board book that moves through the alphabet but not in a watered down, A is for apple fashion. For example, "A is for Activist. /Advocate./ Abolitionist. Ally./ Actively Answering A call to Action. [...] Y is for Your. And Youth./ Your planet. Your rights/Your future. Your truth./ Y is for Yes. Yes! Yes! Yes!"  The Amazon review says the book is for kids ages 2 and up; I never had a 2 year old, but it seems like these words might be too advanced for them, which is why I categorized it in Pre-K/K. In fact, I've even added it to our Amazon list to order for my almost 2nd graders. There's a similar book called Counting on Community that addresses the concept of community while also teaching numbers.


3 Thoughtful Ways to Support a Friend Struggling With Infertility

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that my husband and I struggle with infertility. We learned of it over six years ago since then have added to awesome school-aged kids to our family via foster-adoption. But I tell 'ya--infertility is freaking terrible. I've got a few friends now who have struggled with it or who are in the middle of their struggle, and I just hate it. I hate infertility, and I hate the insensitivity and lack of awareness in our culture today despite how prevalent it is. So, after talking with a friend who is currently battling these insensitive comments, I wrote this piece. It was posted on Parent.Co this week, so here's a teaser:
"Chances are, someone in your social circle is struggling with [infertility]. Studies show that, “Close to one in six U.S. couples don’t get pregnant despite a year of trying – after which doctors typically recommend evaluation for infertility….”  Most people, especially in the early stages of infertility, won’t wave their infertility banner high. They may not even whisper this fact to their closest family and friends.
My husband and I struggled quietly and carried the load by ourselves for nearly two years. We endured negative pregnancy tests each month and a barrage of medical testing on our own as we struggled to accept our assumed infertility. You may not know for certain if one of your friends or family members is struggling with infertility, but you probably have a hunch. Once we mustered up the courage to share the news about our infertility with those close to us, many commented they suspected we’d been struggling with this.
Whether you know for a fact, or you simply believe that someone close to you may be struggling with infertility, there are things you can do to help folks walking this precarious road..." Click here to read the full post! 

Meme Madness

If you follow my Facebook page, you'll notice that I'm making memes like a madwoman. I love meme making. I don't know why, but I always feel super productive after I make them. Anyway...if you don't follow my Facebook page, THEN WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!!? I here are a few memes I've created this summer. Feel free to share them on your own social media pages :)


Helping Our Kids Develop a Habit of Service

Note: I've become sort of obsessed with Parent.Co---their content is just smart and unique. So, I'm proud to have a piece published there this week. You'll find a snippet of the article below. Click here for the full text! 

...we choose to talk with our kids about the world and current events. Writer and humanitarian Bob Goff explains in his book “Love Does,” that he and his wife talk with their kids about major news items so that their kids hear it from them first. This allows parents some sort of control in how we present tough issues to our kids.
We’ve shown our kids pictures of refugee children in Europe stuffed on rafts using the sea as an escape route. We’ve bought them maps and atlases to study together so our kids begin to have an understanding of the just how big and diverse the world is. We’ve watched videos about families living in war-torn countries. We give them age-appropriate descriptions of the presidential election, the terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, the horrific mass shootings in our own country, racism. 
These conversations haven’t been easy. Our kids have cried at the tragedies in the world and have asked tough questions. Often, I’ve doubted our decision to be honest with them, and I wonder if I’m just destroying their innocence.


Do something

I'm sure your social media threads are blowing up today with news of the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile--two black men shot by police in the last two days. I'm struck by these deaths for a variety of reasons.