In Defense of Jen Hatmaker

If you're a Jen Hatmaker fan, you've likely read (or read about) the interview she did with Religion News Service. Maybe you've even stumbled upon a response to it from super-conservative writers like Matt Walsh. You might know that my girl, Jen, has been ripped to shreds by many Christians. I certainly have some questions for Hatmaker, but I'm not saddened by her response like so many others are. Actually, I'm more saddened by the way Christians have reacted to her interview.


2016: The year of shouting our feelings from the proverbial rooftops

We all have a lot of feelings lately, don't we? It's the year of feelings and shouting them on every social media outlet. And admittedly, I've got a lot of feelings, too. I always have--I am, after all, an INFJ. In addition to being a person who feels all the feels, I also think...a lot. I tend to get "lost in my mind," (any fans of The Head and The Heart?!?). Since I've inserted myself into the world of freelance writing, though, I've thought a lot about slowing down and its necessity in our culture today. Not only is it important to slow down the frantic pace of life Americans have adopted, but it's important to slow down our mouths and typing fingers, too. 

Aaron Burr's character in Hamilton, encourages the young Alexander Hamilton to "talk less, smile more." I'm taking his words a bit out of context here because Burr was all about keeping his ideas inside his mind while Hamilton was quite the opposite. I don't think we should silence our opinions, but I do think we should talk less and listen more. I'm learning this value is preventing me from really making it in the freelance world. 

This guy is clearly shouting.


6 Things To Know About Foster-Adoption

I've got a new piece up today on The Huffington Post. Here's a snippet of the article:
...There seems to be an overall lack of knowledge in the general public regarding foster care and foster-adopt. This can cause misunderstandings that may seem insignificant to those outside the world of foster-adopt, but to those living in this world, these misunderstandings can be isolating.
I’ve heard many foster-adopt parents begin sentences with, “If people only knew…” 
In an attempt to educate, I asked foster-adoptive parents from one of my state’s local support groups what they wish others knew about foster-adopt. Here are six themes that emerged: 
1. Adopted children were first loved and wanted by another family; their biological family were simply not in a position to raise and parent their kids. Our adopted children were not “given up” the way one discards a sweater that has become stretched and faded. Our children were placed with us to become their forever family, and we said yes even though we were scared and unsure and may have had little information.
Click here to read the full-text of the article!


The Appeal of D. Trump

Perhaps this statement applies to you: Before this election, I never really followed politics. It certainly rings true for me. I reached legal voting age in 2004, a few months before my first year of college; it was also an election season. Incidentally, I was assigned to read a lot about the election in a few of my classes, but I didn't rush to join a Young Democrats/Republicans club or anything. I participated from a distance and casted my vote (albeit, an uneducated one) on election day. I became a bit more civically minded after that when I took a required Political Science class. As a weekly assignment, we had to pick a news media outlet to follow, choose an article a week, and write a brief reflection on that piece and the coverage provided. I chose NPR, which sparked a long love affair with its programming. It was the first time I had ever followed current events so closely. NPR became a part of my daily routine. It's no surprise, then, that the 2008 and 2012 elections were different for me (as they were for many folks). I just knew more about the candidates' platforms thanks to NPR.

Now it's 2016, and we're on the brink of another election...a weird, mind-numbing election. An election that strikes fear in many. An election that has torn the country apart more than any in my lifetime. An election that has forced us all to be a little more involved.
I'm interrupting this post with cute animals because cute animals help lower our blood pressure
For the first time ever, I'm consuming news from multiple media outlets: NPR, The New York Times, The BBC, The Atlantic...and Fox News. Yes...Fox News---but only when I'm at my parents' house ;) I've learned a lot about the world from this election, and I've learned even more that there are some things that I just don't understand...like caucuses and the electoral college. 

The appeal of the Republican nominee used to be on the list of things I don't understand, but after nearly four months of hard thinking and seriously sleepless nights, I think I finally get why people are voting for him: 

He appeals to the disenfranchised. 

I knew this, but I didn't get it until I read the article, 3 Reasons People Joined ISIS (And Why You And I Would Have, Too). The irony here is not lost on me....In the article, Matt Willingham (of the Preemptive Love Coalition) writes: 
"Few things are more important to us earthlings than the need to not feel alien—the need to belong. When a person feels disadvantaged, drowned out, or desperate, one of the most common options (among the few available to them) is to get loud, angry, and, in some cases, violent."
This article helps me understand why we have so many people supporting a candidate who is xenophobic, predatory, inflammatory, etc.

We have swaths of people in our country who feel "disadvantaged, drowned out, or desperate." A person could come up with 100 reasons why so many feel this way. While I have a tendency to think these feelings sometimes stem from our own selfishness, I know the origins of these feelings is something bigger and more complicated than narcissism. There is likely a series of factors (partisan politics, poverty, racial tension, etc.) that is causing a significant population to feel like outsiders. I will never support our Republican nominee, not even if he is elected into office, but I am starting to understand his appeal.

I know I'm supposed to wrap up this piece with some sort of nice, call-to-action statement (that's the trend in blogging now), but I've written and rewritten this paragraph at least seven times because honestly, I don't know how to end this. I don't know what to do with this revelation. It is, however, causing me to look at Trump supporters now with a bit more compassion and empathy, and maybe that's enough.


Favorite Things #4

It's been a while since my last favorite things post, but today is perfect for one because I'm hitting a serious case of writers block. My schedule at work has been nuts and our kids are having a tough time this semester, so when I get time to write, I'm usually zapped. But I like thinking about my favorite things and sharing them with y'all. So, here's what I got this month: