Small Talk

Reflections on faith and family.

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Lessons from the Parenting Sweet SpotWhat three kids in between diapers and puberty has taught me about holding on and letting go.
Lessons from the Parenting Sweet Spot
Niko Kähkönen

I’ve been waiting for nine years for this parenting moment to arrive. With children aged eight, six, and three (and no plans for an infant), I have hit a sweet spot. The past summer held the experiences I expected as a mom in the summertime—tennis lessons, skinned knees, popsicles, ice ...

How Children Change the Immigration DebateDale Hanson Bourke offers a primer on the recent news of tens of thousands of children attempting to cross the US/Mexico border
How Children Change the Immigration Debate
Brian Auer/Flickr

Many of us have a cursory understanding that illegal immigration is a problem in the United States. But it's also an issue that few of us—whether as citizens or as Christians—have taken the time to understand comprehensively in all its complexity. My attention has moved towards this ...

What I'm Teaching My Kids About the Fourth of JulyWhy we celebrate, even in the midst of a complicated history.
What I'm Teaching My Kids About the Fourth of July
Kevin Dooley/Flickr

Our dinner conversation goes something like this:

"Momma, how many days until the fireworks?" three-year old Marilee asks, her eyes big and earnest.

"Two more days, sweetie."

"Yay!" She raises her hands in the air with a huge smile.

I turn to my two older kids. ...

When Summer Vacation is HardDon't worry. Don't beat yourself up. The idyllic memories will come... eventually.
When Summer Vacation is Hard

My memories of summer are filled with bliss. Laughing with my sisters on the raft in the middle of the cove near my grandparent's beach house. Playing card games with three generations around a painted white table past my bedtime. Watching storm clouds roll in, low and fierce yet almost comforting ...

Kids--Naked and UnashamedFor years, I’ve erred on the side of modesty. Maybe we need a little nudity after all.
Kids--Naked and Unashamed
Kymberly Janisch/Flickr

I've heard Christians say that if we still lived in the Garden of Eden, we would all be walking around naked. The story in Genesis 2 seems to support this idea. It was only after God confronted Adam and Eve about their tragic and rebellious decision to eat the fruit that they realized they were ...

Want a Better Devotional Life? Buy a BirdfeederWhat my grandfather and my son taught me about patience, love, and a gentle spirit
Want a Better Devotional Life? Buy a Birdfeeder
Gary Simmons/Flickr

I asked my mother for a birdfeeder for my birthday. I'm not sure what inspired my request. Unlike her, I've never been much of a naturalist. My one attempt at a vegetable garden failed. I often need someone else to point out the beauty around me because I find myself lost in an abstract world ...

I Didn't Grow Up Until I Became a MomI thought I was a mature adult, and then I had a baby
I Didn't Grow Up Until I Became a Mom

I should begin with two caveats: One, I'm not all grown up yet. Maybe I never will be. Two, many of my peers who aren't parents are just as grown up as I am. But for me, having kids is what it took for me to begin to grow up, and as Mother's Day approaches, I'm considering all the ...

Stopping to Notice a Day of GraceI have plenty of grumpy and just fine days. But every once in a while, a really good one comes along...
Stopping to Notice a Day of Grace
Phil Dutton

Do you ever have a day that captures the simple goodness within your life? For me, it doesn't happen often. I have lots of grumpy days--when the kids are whining and I'm tired and there's a voice in the back of my head telling me to pay more attention to the good things but instead I ...

What Easter Has to Do with My Everyday LifeWhy am I surprised that God is willing to enter into the smallest problems, concerns, and details?
What Easter Has to Do with My Everyday Life
Neal Fowler/Flickr

It was a long week.

Penny, my eight-year old daughter, was on spring break. William (5) and Marilee (3) were not. My husband Peter was out of town. So I decided to pull William and Marilee from school and go to the Connecticut shore, where we have a family beach house. We got there Monday afternoon. ...

In Defense of Helicopter ParentingI wouldn't go back to an earlier era of parenting even if I could.
In Defense of Helicopter Parenting
stephanski Flickr

I think of myself as a rather laissez faire parent. I believe in germs and dirt. My kids, including my three-year old, go outside and play without my immediate supervision. When they fall down, I wait to make sure they are really truly hurt before I comfort them (like when Marilee, the three-year ...

Disney's Frozen: Not About Letting It Go After AllIt's about a princess who refuses to let go, out of love.
Disney's Frozen: Not About Letting It Go After All

Peter and I took Penny and William, our two older kids, to see Frozen in the theater in January. I was nearly as excited as the children. I had read the endless praise, including the writer who called it the best Disney movie since The Lion King (which I saw four times in the theater back in 1994). ...

Kids Glued to Smart Phones? Wonder Where They Learned That...Parents need consider our own screen time before we worry about our kids'
Kids Glued to Smart Phones? Wonder Where They Learned That...
Sisters-Screen Time by JeremyOK

I left our pediatrician's office feeling somewhat self-satisfied. The doctor had asked for a report on my three-year old daughter Marilee's use of iPads, iPhones, and television. She came in under the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for hours of screen time given her age. He ...

The Best Parenting Advice I Ever ReceivedSmile. A lot.
The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received
Chris Cappoziello

People sometimes ask me what I've "done right" with Penny. They ask because Penny reads and goes to ballet class and practices piano and orders her own meal when we eat at a restaurant. They ask because she is "high functioning." I suspect many people assume we've coached ...

Anticipating World Down Syndrome Day: What I Admire About My DaughterHow Penny is helping me learn the secret of being content
Anticipating World Down Syndrome Day: What I Admire About My Daughter

When Penny was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth, I was sad and scared. The sadness and the sorrow dissipated with time, replaced by joy and hope. One of the reasons I began to have joy and hope for this baby I loved was because I began to believe that she wasn't defined by the list of delays ...

Lenten Reflections: Repent and Get on with itWhat my children's cheating taught me about sin and the kingdom of God
Lenten Reflections: Repent and Get on with it

A few weeks back, I was stuck inside with all three kids on yet another snow day. All of them wanted to be entertained. None of them wanted to play the same game. In an attempt to avoid a battle and to push off yet another hour of screen time, I agreed to play three games at once—memory match ...

What My Daughter Wants You To Know About Prenatal TestingYou don't need to worry.
What My Daughter Wants You To Know About Prenatal Testing
Chris Cappozziello

At 5:00, my oldest daughter Penny finds me in bed. Cough drop wrappers, a used tea bag, and Dayquil packets surround me. "Come on up, sweetie," I say, and she climbs in next to me.

She has brought her spelling book. Her second grade assignment this week involves ten plural words. As she ...

Holy DespondencyWhat my season of loneliness taught me about my identity in Christ
Holy Despondency

A year ago, about six months after our move to Connecticut, loneliness pressed down on my torso as if I had donned a vest padded with weights. It came as a result of a series of conversations in which every person I talked to referred to me as a wife or a mother. I am both a wife and a mother, but ...

The Importance of Black History MonthConversations with my five-year old about the Olympics, the inner-city, and the “Silver War”
The Importance of Black History Month

Last week my son William curled up against me on the couch as we watched the women's figure skating. "Which country is she from?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said, as she began what looked like an effortless glide across the ice.

"Well, she has whitish brown skin ...

Why Person-First Language MattersJust because you know my daughter has Down syndrome doesn’t mean you know her.
Why Person-First Language Matters

A friend of mine read a prayer at church yesterday which included a reference to "the epileptic boy." She received criticism later on because she hadn't used "person-first" language. She hadn't put the boy first and his diagnosis second. She could have said "the boy ...

Introducing Thin PlacesWhat to expect from this blog in the weeks and months to come...
Introducing Thin Places

In addition to the video chat about this blog with Katelyn Beaty yesterday (and for those of you who might be like me and prefer reading words to watching conversations), I thought I'd offer a few thoughts on what to expect from this blog going forward.

The title of this blog, "Thin Places," ...

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