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I Thought It Was Just Me


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  • Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    by Leigh Newman

    Can't wait! 

  • Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    by Krista Tippett
  • The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    by Dan Ariely
  • Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    by Harriet Lerner
  • Rhythm And Repose
    Rhythm And Repose

    Tender and beautiful. 

  • Boys & Girls
    Boys & Girls
    by Alabama Shakes

    Love this album! So happy when I saw BrainPicker post this on her site! 

  • City of Refuge
    City of Refuge
    by Abigail Washburn

    Pure magic!

  • Some Nights
    Some Nights
    by Fun.
  • She Ain't Me
    She Ain't Me
    by Carrie Rodriguez

    I'm such a fan. 

  • I'm Your Man
    I'm Your Man
    by Leonard Cohen

    Take this Waltz is on my top ten list of all songs!

  • Babel
    by Mumford & Sons
  • Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)

    So totally addicted to this series! Absolutely amazing!

  • Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    starring Rufus Sewell

    Based on your recommendations from a recent blog post! It's another wonderful BBC mystery series! 

  • The Good Wife: The First Season
    The Good Wife: The First Season
    starring Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi

    One of the best shows on TV. Juiliana Marguiles is incredible. 

  • Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Lia Williams, Stephanie Cole, Ian McNeice

our stories matter because we matter: thoughts on the power of our voices

I can’t remember what I wanted for my fourteenth birthday, but I’m pretty sure “battery-operated socks” were not on the list. That November I got those fancy socks along with an Ocean Pacific wallet, a new belt buckle for my cowboy belt, and an AC/DC tape. My dad thought I’d love the socks because I always complained about my feet getting cold in the deer blinds. 

I was raised in a hunting family. We weren’t gun collectors or enthusiasts, but we hunted and we shot skeet so we had guns. And they were serious business in our house. We were all responsible for cleaning, loading, and storing our guns. By the time I was in high school I could probably take a gun apart and put it back together.

Because we hunted there was no need to fantasize about what a gun could do or rely on violent television shows for imagery, we knew exactly how it worked (plus, we weren’t allowed to watch much besides Disney, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and presidential debates). 

There was absolute respect for hunting as a sport. We ate what we shot. Our family was to venison what Bubba Gump was to shrimp (chicken-fried, baked, sausage, jerky – you name it, we made it and ate it). My father had little tolerance for trophy hunting or any kind of “horseshit about playing around with super guns.”

While I don’t hunt anymore, I respect and appreciate the culture. I also fully support a ban on assault weapons and multi-magazine, combat-style weapons. I believe in criminal background checks and waiting periods. I write letters to my legislators and I give to The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. And, as a teacher, I absolutely do not support the idea of arming more people to stop the violence. 

Like so many Americans, my experience doesn’t align with the politics of either side. My story is not political – it’s about family and culture. It’s also deeply personal.

In 1989, my uncle – my mom’s only sibling – was shot and killed in a random act of violence. My first response to the Sandy Hook shootings on Friday was prayer, not politics. I was very politically active when my uncle was killed so several people wrapped their sympathies in gun control arguments and it was devastating to me. I just wanted to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually held. I just wanted my pain and disbelief to be acknowledged.

Here are my five observations from the past couple of days:

Prayer and activism are not mutually exclusive.

For many of us they are inextricably connected. We don’t need to criticize those who are praying. You don’t have to pray or even believe in prayer, but be respectful (or at least quiet).

Politics is easier than grief.

To skip over feeling and rush to policy-making dehumanizes the process and weakens policy.  

Blame is simply the discharging of pain and discomfort.

It has nothing to do with accountability. Accountability requires long, difficult, respectful conversations. Blame fizzles out with rage, where accountability is in for the long haul.

Self-righteousness is a sign of fear and uncertainty.

It has nothing to do with activism or change. The loudest and most vitriolic among us are often the most afraid. As my friend Harriet Lerner says, “Change requires listening with same level of passion that we feel when we speak.”

You can't shame a nation into changing any more than you can shame a person into changing.

Shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, violent behaviors than it is to be the cure. We need courage, vulnerability, hard work, empathy, integrity (and a little grace wouldn't hurt). 

I believe we need common sense gun laws. I believe we need better access to mental health services. Neither one of these things will happen unless we’re willing to listen and to speak up about our own experiences and share our ideas. We can’t afford to be the silent majority on these issues. 

I'm not a member, but I seriously doubt that the NRA always speaks for the NRA membership. I don’t believe the media are in service to the public as much as they are in service to advertisers and ratings. When I see the media interview children or jump on the autism/Asperger’s storyline it confirms that they know very little about mental health (otherwise they wouldn’t be so careless with their reporting).

I know some people will read this and think that my beliefs are part of the problem. Others will agree with me. Some of you aren’t sure what you think. I’m not lobbying for my ideas, I’m asking that we all take the time to figure out what we believe, why we believe it, and then share those beliefs with our legislators.

In times of national crisis we often think, “My stories don’t matter – this isn’t about me” or "I'll stay quite because I'm somewhere in the middle of the obnoxious people raging on TV." The truth is that in the midst of tragedy nothing matters more than our stories. Our complex, nuanced stories are the path to healing and change. They are the truth and there's no better foundation for change than the truth. 

We need politicians and policies that reflect the stories of our lives, not the stories that are easy to sell because they create fear and blame.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories. Any name-calling, meanspiritedness, etc. will be deleted. 


prayers for the sandy hook elementary school community

I'm feeling heartbroken for the people in Connecticut. I'm turning off the TV and turning toward my family, faith, and deep prayer.

Lord, help me send love and light to those in pain. Let me stay calm and openhearted while I manage my own fear and anger. Help me remember that news coverage is traumatizing for me, not healing, and that my children need safety and information, not more fear. 

Here are resources that I find helpful for talking to children about violence and death: 

An excellent Q-and-A about talking to children about the Sandy Hook shootings from The Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics on School Shootings 

University of Minnesota on Talking to Kids About Violence Against Kids

National Association of School Psychologists on Talking to Children About Violence

What I consider to be one of the best articles on talking to children about death (by Hospice)

Explaining the news to our kids from Common Sense Media.

And this wonderful advice from Mr. Rogers (shared by Angel Marie):

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

No matter how experienced the helpers, their lives will be changed today. Thank them. Pray for them. 


a special edition parenting manifesto from kelly rae roberts

Meet my good friend Kelly Rae Roberts.

Kelly Rae is an artist, writer, believer in magic, and a mother to a beautiful boy named True. Her husband John also happens to be one of my favorite people. I asked Kelly Rae if she would create a special edition of the Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto from Daring Greatly and she did! 


The 18X24 poster is $20 and the proceeds go to our charity: water campaign. It looks beautiful framed!

UPDATE 12/12: You asked and we made it happen. We've added a 9x12 for $18.  

UPDATE 12/13: WE ARE SOLD OUT OF BOTH PRINTS. We will fill all existing orders. We will have more prints and posters after the first of the year. Thank y'all so much. We're going to meet our charity: water goals for 2013! 

For the holidays, orders received on or before 12/16 at midnight will ship out on 12/17. Orders received after 12/16 will ship on January 2, 2013.  

This is my favorite picture of me and Kelly Rae. I think it says it all. 

Read more about Kelly Rae here and don't forget to check out her amazing art! 

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