2013

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Favorite Books of 2013What were your favorite books of 2013?

Books lists are coming out. The New York Times has announced their editors' favorites. President Obama has been shopping for books. I'm on my way to the bookstore later this afternoon, with a list that includes The Boxcar Children, Pippi Longstocking, and the first in the Ivy ...

The Goodness of Glitz at Christmastime"Hey guys, what do you feel like when it is dark?" "I can't see," William said. "Frightened," said Penny...

We started our Advent calendars on Sunday. Penny read the opening poem from our devotion/sticker Advent book:

There is a star in Bethlehem, bright shining as the sun,Announcing that the Light of God shines here for everyone.Let's look upon the star this year, as God wants us ...
Where Abortion and Human Rights Meet: an interview with Bob Fu about China's one-child policy"Forced abortion means it is never a 'choice' for women in China," says activist Bob Fu, author of God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom in an interview about the government's one-child policy.

I appreciated Bob Fu's story, as recounted in God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom, for a number of reasons, including the glimpse at recent Chinese history and the story of an unlikely conversion to Christianity. But I was most struck ...

Are you Ready for Advent? (Plus What I'm Reading)Advent is right around the corner. Here are my number one suggestions for adult and kid participation in the season.

Every year, Peter and I pull out our very favorite Advent book: God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas. (Here's what I wrote last year, when I recommended it.) If you'd like the opportunity to prepare your heart to celebrate the incarnation, this book ...

A Broken Bracelet, a Wise Little GirlHow would you respond if a bracelet broke by accident? Here's what I learned from Penny.

Somewhat spontaneously, we decided to go through Penny's memory box tonight. She spied it upon her dresser and brought it to the sofa in their room. She and Wiliam both decided that viewing its contents trumped reading the final chapter of Prince Caspian. So we leafed through ...

Talking Taboo: An Interview with Enuma Okoro and Erin Lane About Women, Faith, and Hot TopicsWhat "taboo" (which means off-limits but also means sacred) question or issue would you want to see addressed (whether you are a man or a woman) when it comes to talking about faith?

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had the opportunity to contribute an essay about male and female roles within marriage for the new book Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith (see my post Should Men Be the Head of the Household? for the beginning of ...

A One-Word PrayerWhat is one word that sums up your needs and hopes right now?

"What's one word or verse I can pray for you?"

Those were the words from a friend I received earlier this week.

One word, or one verse, that sums up my needs before God right now. In this season. This season in which God is beginning to feel quite near quite often, for the first ...

What's Up with the New York Times' Ethicist Using the R-Word as an Insult? Or, Why the Intelligentsia Still Thinks It's Okay to Make Fun of People with Intellectual DisabilitiesWhat do writers for the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Time Magazine have in common? Thinking the r-word is a funny joke.

Last week, Kari Wagner-Peck wrote, in an open letter to Chuck Klosterman, the New York Times' ethicist:

Today people with cognitive disabilities and their allies are asking members of society to refrain from using the word "retarded" (along with all mutations of the word) for ...
A Portrait of Abortion"From the woman who procured an illegal and unsafe abortion in the late 1960s to the more recent women who passed through protesters to assert their legal right to choose, these stories—the cover article of New York Magazine—provide a portrait of abortion in America."

Twenty-six stories of abortion told in first person. Across state lines, across the past four decades, and across generations. From the woman who procured an illegal and unsafe abortion in the late 1960s to the more recent women who passed through protesters to assert their ...

What I'm Reading and Tweeting this Week...

Today I'm excited to be attending the Q Women Conference in NYC, with speakers such as Kate Harris, Katelyn Beaty, Rachel Held Evans, Lauren Winner, Kathy Keller, and Rebekah Lyons (plus a cameo by my husband but that's another story). Next week, I'll share an interview with ...

What to Do When Your Daughter Locks Herself Into the Bathroom in 7 Simple Steps"Shove copious amounts of Halloween candy under the door to alleviate the tears."

1. Assess the situation and realize, after ten minutes of coaching, that this door is very old and it involves a deadbolt with no external release mechanism.

2. Tell your daughter that unless she can turn the lock the opposite way, you will need to get someone to cut a ...

Should Men Be the Head of the Household?An excerpt from my essay in Talking Taboo: American Women Get Frank About Faith

I am honored to be a contributor to a new collection of essays called Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith. I wrote my essay about the question of male "headship" in marriage. Also in the collection, you'll find reflections on motherhood by Micha Boyett, ...

From Grumpiness to GratitudeAnd a little voice asked me, What would it take for you to be grateful that Marilee didn't take a nap today?

Marilee decided not to take a nap today. It went something like this:

"Mama," she says, under her covers, after her stories, after two songs, "I need to go poopy."

"Okay, kiddo. Call me when you're done."

"No! I need to go poopy ...

Our Children, Collectively (a guest post by Jennifer Grant in honor of National Adoption Month)"When we adopt a child, whether she was born in a land far away (as my daughter was) or in the next county, we are claiming responsibility for those who are smaller, more vulnerable, and who do not live within the loving care of a family."

"The beggarly question of parentage – what is it, after all? What does it matter, when you come to think of it, whether a child is yours by blood or not? All the little ones of our time are collectively the children of us adults of the time, and entitled to our general care." ...

Book News and What to Read this WeekArticles on messy stories and disability, marriage, money, and civil discourse. Plus news about books new and old.

If you read one thing this week, check out Ellen Painter Dollar's cover story for the Christian Century: Messy Stories: Disability and the Choices Parents Make. To whet your appetite:

In the illness narrative, disabilities are seen as problems in need of solving, abnormalities ...
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