A mix of personal reflections and cultural commentary about family in A mix of personal reflections and cultural commentary about family in America

Are Christians Afraid to Talk about Contraception?Introducing a series on contraception and faith.
Are Christians Afraid to Talk about Contraception?
Image: spentpenny

The Christian response to contraception tends to make news headlines, particularly in recent years. When the Affordable Care Act mandated employers pay for contraceptive methods, both Protestants and Catholics objected. Lawsuits ensued. Decades after the introduction of “the pill” to ...

Is It Worth It to #LeanInTogether?A new campaign challenges men to share professional and family responsibilities for the sake of the common good.
Is It Worth It to #LeanInTogether?
Image: has begun a new campaign this week with the hashtag #Leanintogether. It highlights the benefits—for men, women, and children—when men invest not only in their paid work but also in their responsibilities at home. Among other things, it reminds us of the positive affects fathers ...

Does my Life as a Parent Count?On Ash Wednesday, finding freedom within the confinement of family life
Does my Life as a Parent Count?
Image: theloushe/flickr

He found his junior-high flame on Facebook. Growing claustrophobic with life as a father and husband and wanting the freedom of more space, he decided to walk away. Just like that. Familial responsibilities were simply too much, too confining. Too restrictive. Better to put to death their life together ...

Father of Baby with Down Syndrome Raises $500,000 through Gofundme And yet we couldn't raise $2000 to help 500 families. A guest post by Stephanie Meredith
Father of Baby with Down Syndrome Raises $500,000 through Gofundme
Image: Leo Forrest. PHOTO: GoFundMe, courtesy Samuel Forrest

A few years back, friends of mine began an adoption process for a little boy with Down syndrome who lived in an institution in Russia. The adoption got caught up in the limbo of the dispute between Russia and the United States over adoptions, and Timofei never came to the United States. But the story ...

Eleven Books to Help You Embrace the SnowPicture books, chapter books, and novels to enjoy the rest of the winter.
Eleven Books to Help You Embrace the Snow
Image: carnagenyc

I live in New England, and right now we have over a foot of snow on the ground. To the northeast of me, in Boston, they’ve had more snow in a seven day period than ever before in recorded history. The Midwest has been pummeled with snow this season. I’ve even seen images of snow in Texas. ...

The Only Thing You Need to Teach Your ChildrenI will never be a perfect parent. And that's a good thing.
The Only Thing You Need to Teach Your Children
Image: theloushe

Recently I’ve been working on a talk called “Talking with your Children about What Matters Most.” I thought it would be easy to write, given that I’ve recently written a book with the subtitle “Learning from my Children about What Matters Most.” And yet the talk ...

How Should Christians Measure Success?In a world of instant gratification and surface beauty, bearing fruit that will last.
How Should Christians Measure Success?
Image: Iguanasan/flickr

In the modern world, measurements matter. Newspapers and magazines offer infographics. Congress passes legislation mandating measurable results. And Christians are no strangers to the modern tendency to provide a chart or graph, a documented data set, to demonstrate effectiveness (or lack thereof) ...

A Working Mom's Reflections on the State of the UnionWhy I support Obama's proposals for increased childcare.
A Working Mom's Reflections on the State of the Union
Image: Robert Couse-Baker flickr

Pundits will argue publicly for the next few days and politicians will argue via legislation for the next few months about President Obama’s sundry proposals in last night’s State of the Union address. But as a working mom, I want to focus on one proposal that deserves attention on both ...

The Problem with Christmas CardsI love those happy faces. But I love the Christmas story even more.
The Problem with Christmas Cards
Image: Jeff Weese/flickr

Last spring, after months of looking at the smiling faces of dozens of family members and friends who lined the doorposts of our dining room, I insisted they had to go. My husband and son conspired and relocated the strands of Christmas cards stapled to long pieces of ribbon to the windows in the ...

Have a Wonder-full Christmas SeasonWhat my children have taught me about wonder and waiting.
Have a Wonder-full Christmas Season
Image: Cathy Stanley-Ericson/flickr

What better time than Advent and Christmas to consider what children have to teach us about the world around us. Today Margaret Philbrick offers some reflections for our "Small Talk" series as she reflects upon what her children have taught her about wonder and waiting:

Signs and wonders. A ...

Grace Amid an Ordinary ChristmasCan grace show up in the midst of sickness, snow days, Monopoly, and a manger?
Grace Amid an Ordinary Christmas
Image: Kurt Edblom/flickr

I’m probably not alone in entering the Christmas season with some combination of eager anticipation and dread. I won’t go on and on about the shopping and the baking and the parties, but I will note that this celebration also falls at the beginning of the sick-and-snow season. We had ...

"What Annoys You About Me?"What we can learn when our kids point out our faults. A Small Talk guest post by Patton Dodd.
"What Annoys You About Me?"
Image: Billie Harra/flickr

With three weeks left in our Small Talk series, I am delighted to welcome Patton Dodd, editor of OnFaith, to share his thoughts on what he has learned through his children:

One morning early this fall, my 11-year old daughter and I started listing the things we like least about each other. I cannot ...

The Great Congruence of Science and FaithAn interview with Rob Moll about kids and spirituality, neuroscience, and the practice of prayer
The Great Congruence of Science and Faith
Image: William Creswell/flickr

I read Rob Moll’s newest book, What Your Body Knows About God with interest and wonder. It’s filled with fascinating tidbits of information about our bodies and spirituality, and Rob writes in a way that easily connects data points to stories. The book as a whole stands as an encouraging ...

Grateful for GraveyardsWhy we took our children to a funeral.
Grateful for Graveyards
Image: smila4/flickr

I receive an email from my mother in the evening. Nana is having trouble breathing. The Hospice nurse says she will die soon.

I have been expecting this news for weeks. My grandmother, Nana, just celebrated her 93rd birthday. In recent years, she has lost thirty pounds, and although her face lights ...

This Odd American HolidayWhat the strange beauty of Thanksgiving has taught us about dependence
This Odd American Holiday
Image: JD Hancock

It strikes me as both odd and beautiful that America—this nation of fiercely independent citizens—slows down to give corporate thanks each year. Our other national holidays either come laden with controversy (consider the secular/sacred divide of Christmas and Easter, or the liberal/conservative ...

Talking with Kids about the Problem of EvilA Small Talk guest post by Jennifer Grant
Talking with Kids about the Problem of Evil
Image: memories_by_mike/flickr

As I told my friend Jennifer Grant when I read the introduction to her newest book, Wholehearted Living: Five Minute Reflections for Modern Moms, "I'm ordering this book for all my mom friends this Christmas." Jen is the author of a number of books I've appreciated related to parenting ...

When I Can't Calm My Son's FearsA Small Talk guest post about fear and peace by Micha Boyett
When I Can't Calm My Son's Fears
Image: John Morgan/Flickr

This week, our Small Talk guest series continues with a post by blogger and author Micha Boyett. Micha's post about her son's fears and her inability to calm them through reason reminds me of something my husband said to me: "Every emotion is an opportunity to pray." Micha takes that ...

Heaven and the Theology of ButterA Small Talk guest post by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
Heaven and the Theology of Butter
Image: Snugg/flickr

As the writer of the fifth installment in our Small Talk blog series, I am delighted to welcome Natasha Sistrunk Robinson. Natasha first wrote for this blog back in August, and I invited her to turn her attention to the theological lessons learned from the little voices in our midst. This series began ...

Want a Free Copy of Small Talk? And other book news this week...
Want a Free Copy of Small Talk?

I mentioned the title of my book to an old friend who is in his 60s last night. He said, "Oh. Small Talk. Help for conversations at cocktail parties?" He wasn't kidding. I then told him the subtitle--Learning from my Children about What Matters Most, and I think he got the idea. Yes, ...

Jesus Loves the Little ChildrenAnd yet I've resisted being like a child my whole life.
Jesus Loves the Little Children
Image: Wilson X/flickr

Last week I started to wonder if I was the only adult who hates Halloween. I hold no religious objection to this holiday. I don’t even mind the candy. I just don’t like decorating or costumes or the self-imposed pressure and implicit competition with other mothers to be GOOD (by which ...

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