Throwing Away the Little Things

Quick link: So Sentimental

This is posted at Brain Child this week. How hard is it, really, to throw away those old toys? I’m not very sentimental (fought with my husband about whether or not to keep the wooden dollhouse when we moved…he won and we kept it). But it turns out I am sentimental about some things…


Throwing away the little-girl toys doesn’t make me sad this time around.

My oldest daughter is fifteen and my youngest daughter is ten. We recently moved and I’m not a very sentimental mother. I would rather have space on shelves than boxes crammed full of old memorabilia. I would rather make room for sports equipment or downsize than keep buckets of old toys and disintegrating dress-up clothes that don’t fit any of us anymore.

Still, I thought that when the time came to finally get rid of the old stuffed animals and the old dollies and the old wooden dollhouse furniture, that I would feel sad and wind up storing all of it for that one-day-grandchild to enjoy.

There are so many ways I mourn the passing of time as my kids have aged. I miss the pudgy hands grabbing my cheeks and turning my face to force me to look them in the eye. I miss the giggles so easily brought out by a few tickles on the feet. I miss the goofy songs, the post bath slippery toddler streak shows. But I’ve also delighted in each new stage. My sister says, “Rachel says every age is her favorite.” And she’s right. When my kids were two, I loved two. When they were ten, I loved ten. When they were fifteen, I loved fifteen…

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I wanted to write about having my teens turn sixteen but it turns out we’re having too much fun spending time together as a family and I haven’t been able to write much at all for the past few weeks. So here are two old birthday posts and happy birthday to my sweet sixteens.

Sweet Sixteen

From a Mother of Teenage Twins to Herself Thirteen Years Later

The Four Gender Stages of Coed Twin Birthday Parties





Playing Like a Girl

Quick link: What I told my daughter when she was shamed for ‘playing like a girl.’

My daughter and her two friends emerged from their first night of soccer practice tired, sweaty, and content. They played hard. They had fun. They giggled and ran and kicked the ball. Or, for some of them, they tried to kick the ball.

These three are the only girls on the team — and that team is the only one available to kids at their school, or the entire country, for that matter. (We live in Djibouti, a small country situated in the Horn of Africa, where organized sports for school kids are less common.) When I signed them all up, the coach was excited to see three girls. After all, last year there had only been one: my daughter. Even the school director was happy to see them — he remembered my daughter by name and told stories of how impressed he’d been by her presence among the boys last year.

“The boys think we play like girls,” my daughter said in the car on the drive home.

Click here to read the rest: What I told my daughter when she was shamed for ‘playing like a girl.’



Talking About Race with Teens

Quick link: Lessons about Tolerance from the only white kid on this high school step team

I had the enormous privilege of interviewing my nephew via Skype a few months ago to talk about his step competition team, race, and privilege. I had a lot to learn and this teen spoke articulately and humbly about the issues he and his generation face and what they can and are doing about it. Of course I’m slightly biased, but I think he’s a great kid and I absolutely love the vision and community of his HYPE team and leader, William Joyner.

My sister’s family has been folded into this community in real, authentic, and racially-reconciling ways and the story of these kids doing what they love, together, is so important and ever more relevant.

While I wouldn’t have chosen the word “Tolerance” to be in this title, I’m really happy with how this piece has been received by the HYPE community. Tolerance would imply that these young men sort of reluctantly put up with each other. That is not the case at all, these guys love each other and support each other. Some of them have walked through fire together and with their families and their relationships move far deeper than mere tolerance. But…such goes editing. Look beyond that and enjoy a piece of good news from the generation that will change our nation for the better.

Check out the HYPE Facebook page to read what they are saying about the interview and to see some photos and some videos of these talented kids.

White Chocolate and RaceAt a high school assembly in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, the HYPE step crew prepares to perform. They’ve performed for packed crowds before — on America’s Got Talent, at Walt Disney World, and in dozens of competitions. But today’s performance is especially nerve-wracking for one member.

The student body settles in to watch. They are 96% non-white and all eyes seem to be glued to the only white team member. Performing is always a rush, but today, in front of his peers, my nephew Emmaus doesn’t want to miss a single beat.

The dance begins. The boys stomp and clap and tumble and flip through the air in an intense and relentless rhythm. Within seconds, the students are on their feet, cheering. They focus on Emmaus and at the end of the performance — when the team points him out and calls him their nickname, “White Chocolate” — the students go nuts shouting and clapping for their classmate…


Click here to read the rest: Lessons about Tolerance from the only white kid on this high school step team


Something Bad?

Quick link: Is Something Bad Going to Happen Tomorrow?

This is a repost (I am on vacation) but sadly is still relevant. It is up at A Life Overseas, with some updated resources.


Is something bad going to happen tomorrow?

I mean, is something really bad going to happen tomorrow?


I guarantee it.

Maybe not to you. Maybe not where you live. But yes, something really bad is going to happen tomorrow.

Sometimes I catch an undercurrent of fear among Christians, a sense that the world might be careening toward the ‘End Times’, an anxiety about the future, and a worry that something might go terribly wrong. If not today, then tomorrow, or next month. (I’m not the only one, Marilynne Robinson wrote about it here)

Guess what?

Something horribly wrong already happened today...

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