Let’s all ramble around like Banned Books

All the spiders in Tennessee are the size of the Hamburgler and Michelle Obama is still not my best friend but everything else in life is really good right now. I’m really thankful, in fact. Patti Mayonnaise is returning to Nickelodeon and my hubby loves me and my kids aren’t yet throwing acid glares at me when I walk into a room. It’s a pretty sweet season.


This morning I realized, whilst standing in my underoos, that today was the morning I had signed up to be chaplain in Baby Girl’s class. It’s amazing how dressed a person can become and how fast a person can drive a scooter when she has 15 minutes to prepare a worship thought for some primary schoolies. I was reminded how completely ape a classroom full of 7 and 8 year-olds can become when they are commissioned to shove their desks back and sit on the floor. Go ahead. Change our seating arrangements? We gon’ get totally crunk. It was a good exercise in patience for me, though. Nothing frustrates me more than poor listeners, poor rememberers, poor engagers of people right in front of them. And to God, I am way worse than a second grader at class chapel. I can’t sit still to listen to Him, I have to keep learning the same lessons over and over, and I constantly skip off LA LA LA rather than face the music of a well-deserved rebuke.

Thank you, second grade, for chapeling the chaplain.

It’s banned book week and it’s capturing my heart this year with a vice grip. We’re such a nation divided right now, standing with Planned Parenthood or visiting with Kim Davis. Those are your two options, pick a lane. It’s terribly easy to curate one’s world; to control the narrative so that it doesn’t allow for any manner of truth to break through from a disparate viewpoint. Isn’t that the spirit that those who ban books want to ignite? That there is no common ground, nothing of worth to learn from radical texts. Rather than invite the germs of truth they may offer, it is easier and perhaps better to pull a book from the shelves, to effectively silence a voice so others in disagreement won’t have to suffer it.

I just want to encourage all of us to ramble around like a banned book, focusing less on our disinvintation from the party, believing fervently in the truth of our contents within.

Here are a few of my favorite “banned books:”

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How to pick a life partner

I was thinking this weekend when I caught the worst barf bug in the history of barf bugs, Dang. I’m so lucky.

I was reminded as I hinged at the waist over that porcelain portal, how once upon a time at 19 years of age, a college boy I was dating would hold my hair back when I was upchucking for other unseemly reasons. Did I think at the time that he would make a good life partner for this and other attributes? Probably? Did I also like to stare at the groove in his two front teeth and imagine kissing them for, like, hours? Entirely possible.

Fast forward 15 years and I am nearly ralphing out all of my organs on Saturday night, while on a work retreat in the Smoky Mountains. Our children, fast asleep in the bed next to ours in a cabin in the remote reaches of northeastern Tennessee. They were tired, their little limbs in frozen flail, because while their mama was tossing her cookies, their daddy had taken them on a latenight rendezvous into Pigeon Forge parts where go-karts and other amusements could be found. But there’s more!  Their daddy was also among few–it has been reported–Asians for miles, in the face of a prolific supply of Confederate flags a-waving. That same good daddy also went on a reconnaissance mission for Gatorade the next early morning for his now-dehydrated and depleted wife.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a good man. The same boy-man who once held my hair back as we sowed wild oats.

We said our vows ten years ago, in sickness and in health, in poverty and wealth, but we could never have envisioned how truly practical they would be. The equity and humility of it all, how it plays out in an endless day of babies and barf and bottles of purple Gatorade. I have no idea how I fortuned in to such an amazing partner, such a truly exceptional life mate who always seeks to make our lives better. I only know that this is what Grace looks like, walking around in spikey black hair and flip-flops, carrying sleeping children up a flight of stairs to their room in a lodge where I lay barfing. Grace is getting more than we deserve when all we can do is throw up all the other good things we’ve been given. Grace is showing up, waking up, carrying up a flight of stairs what is heavier than we think we are capable because we are more than just good deeds. Grace is about being more than we think we can be, Grace is about getting more than we give because so much has already been extended to us by a Perfect Love.

I’m so grateful for Lovey Loverpants, who shows me Grace. Amen.


photo credit: Garrett Nudd/Joy Nudd

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Celebrating with a thick layer of Funfetti

I don’t know why we celebrate the anniversary of our debuts on earth, except to the end that, Hey.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
The love of two people; the labor of two legs, or the toil of two forceps.
That raisin-faced creature has emerged from her amniotic cocoon.
Now she welcomes giftings and attentions on a date over which she had no choice or control.

I don’t know why we celebrate the full lap we’ve made around the sun, when defying gravity was never an option nor planet-hopping in the realm of maybe-could-bes. Or was it? Maybe we all feel, crouching toward another candle on the Funfetti cupcake– We’ve been pushing forward and upward from the magnet threatening always to hold us still. Laws of motion we memorized, thinking as they only applied to roller skates and tennis balls. Today I mark my 35th lap around the topographic track. I hope there is still air in my lungs sufficient to blow out those many tapers.

I am the sum total of all these cavities and misconceptions, tax deductions and torrid dreams. I am 35 years-young, eligible now to vote myself into the Oval Office, at-risk for every health malady, ashamed for having not read so much of Toni Morrison and Thomas Wolfe.  Perhaps I am already middle age, aged, an elder, older than I feel, mature, seasoned, in possession of a skincare regimen that is altogether age-defying.

I love getting older because the arbitrariness of aging–the very thing we don’t do on purpose that we are yet hellbent on celebrating with a thick layer Funfetti as if we do–accompanies all the glory of things we do on purpose: sipping and spooning and cry-laughing; reading and writing and punching our tickets at the museum; sleeping in and reading until our eyes go googley late at night; dancing and singing and running our aging guts out. 


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