48 Tips from the World’s Worst Potty Trainer (A Cautionary Tale)

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Did you know I am the Worst Potty Trainer In The World? With an average toilet training time of 22 months/child, I dare you to challenge my title. I’m a firm believer of learning from others’ mistakes, so as someone who has made every possible mistake in potty training, I thought I’d share them with you as a cautionary tale.

Follow closely. Each step is important.

  1. Read widely before you begin. Create a Pinterest board and title it “Potty Training Tips”. Knowledge of the options is crucial for success.  
  2. Start when they are infants – practice ‘elimination communication’, whereby you learn to read (and anticipate) your kid’s body cues. (I was dead in the water on this one, since I never even managed to tell the difference between a tired cry or a hungry cry. It all just sounded like crying to me.)
  3. Start with they are 18 months: walking, communicating, and showing an interest in imitating you. Do not wait: it will be harder later.
  4. Start with they are 2 1/2, when they have better language and body awareness. Do not start before this: you will stress them out.
  5. Start with they are 3 1/2, when they can remove their own shorts and the threat of never being able to go to preschool forces you into panic. Do not start before this: you will stress them out.
  6. Take your cue from your child. They will tell you when they are ready.
  7. Post your decision on when to potty train on Facebook. Solicit dozens of unwanted opinions.
  8. You can potty train in one day if you do it right (notice: it’s all on you.) Prepare for the day with books, training DVDs and lots of exaggerated facial movements about the thrills of going potty. Have them train their teddy bear first. Then, on one day: banish the underwear and hold potty boot camp. Be persistent. They’ll get it by the end of the day…. if you did it right.
  9. Potty train in three days. Choose a weekend when you are not distracted and have your kiddo be nakey nakey all weekend. Involve all the stuffed animals and siblings in the Great Weekend of Potty Training. Be persistent. They’ll get it by the end of the weekend… if you did it right.
  10. Potty train when they’re ready. You’ll know when they’re ready because it will work. This makes complete sense… if you read the literature right.
  11. Let them run wild and free while training.
  12. Have them wear pull-ups while training.
  13. Let the diapers continue while training.
  14. Big-kid underwear from the get-go! The pride of getting it right as a “big kid” is a powerful motivator!
  15. Don’t be afraid to let them go back into diapers: what’s another couple hundred of trees in the landfill?
  16. Be persistent! Once you’re doing this, you’re doing this! If you communicate that regression is an option, your kid will turn it into power play.
  17. Be flexible! If your kid isn’t ready, listen and try again later.
  18. Bribery is brilliant: offer a treat for each successful tinkle. If you’re feeling extra motivated, offer two treats for number twos. The logic is lost on kids, but makes total sense to the one who has to wash out soiled underwear.
  19. Avoid bribery: it will be hard to undo the sugar-reward habit later.
  20. Use stickers instead.
  21. Don’t use stickers – they stick them on furniture.
  22. Star charts are awesome motivators.
  23. Except when they aren’t. For us, this is about day 3.
  24. Do whatever it takes: read books or sing songs or let them play with the iPad to keep them on there long enough for a “win” while they’re busy.
  25. Beware: kids are smart. All of mine figured out how to turn “I need to go potty” into a gratuitous story-reading time, without ever producing the “deliverables”.
  26. Let them watch potty training DVD’s. This does not count as ‘screen time’ because #educational.
  27. Make up a potty cheer. “Happy pee on the potty to you” (to the tone of ‘Happy Birthday’) is good in a pinch.
  28. Be prepared to have to sing your cheer of choice, at volume, in public places. Prepare to have to sing it more than once.
  29. Post your decisions on how to potty train to Facebook. Solicit dozens of unwanted opinions. As an Imgurian over 30 this is how I feel when I read
  30. Start potty training in the summer, so they can practice outside.
  31. Start potty training in the winter, when you’re cooped up anyway.
  32. Important: start potty training when YOU are ready to tackle it.
  33. MOST important: start potty training when your CHILD is ready to tackle it.
  34. Invest in a potty chair, and think carefully about what kind of ceremonial ritual you will devise to celebrate its arrival in1B5548278-tdy-130116-ipotty-1.blocks_desktop_smallto your house. If the literature is to be believed, the success of potty training is causally related to how much hoopla you can raise about a kid getting their VERY OWN mini-throne. If you get one with a built in DVD, all the more power to you (see #26).
  35. Don’t bother with a potty chair: invest in a step stool and have them sit on the main throne. They will feel more grown-up and it will make it easier to transition to public restrooms.
  36. Teach boys to pee sitting down: so much less mess.
  37. Teach boys to pee standing up: aiming for cheerios is such a great incentive.
  38. Figure out as a couple whether you are going for sitting-down or standing-up before you engage in Operation Potty Train. In my experience, those who have to clean the bathroom usually opt for #36. Dads usually opt for #37. (Because it’s so much fun to demo. And apparently some things never get old.)
  39. Make potty training fun! Hype it up as a coming of age thing!
  40. Make potty training just “one of the things you learn to do” – the less hype there is, the less pressure there is on the kid to perform, and the less power play leverage you give them.
  41. If things aren’t going well: keep reading widely and pinning madly to research other best methods. Pin this. You may need it if all the other advice from those who succeeded doesnt pan out and you need to know that you weren’t the worst potty trainer in the world.
  42. If someone says their method worked for them, it must have some merit to it. Keep a tally of how guilty you feel each time there’s an accident: that accident probably means you were doing it wrong.
  43. Try not to feel guilty, though. It’s not about you.
  44. If your plan isn’t working: try something new, or try some other time.
  45. But WHATEVER YOU DO: be consistent!
  46. No matter what kind of diapers you chose, for potty training make sure you invest in 3-fold cloth diapers: they are by FAR the most absorbent cloths for cleaning up spills. There is no paper towel which is worthy for this trial. None. Bounty, be gone.
  47. Ask for hugs. For you, not your kid. Potty training is hard and demoralizing and sometimes makes you feel you have an angry, panicked, crazy person living in your head.
  48. Ignore all this advice, except for #46 and #47.

Trust me.

And now, I’m going to print out my list and study it closely (see tip #1), because it seems to me my third kid is about ready to jump onto the potty training wagon, which means I’m bracing myself for another 22 months of insanity…

Honoring Our Parents As Adults

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When a friend in her 50s began to share a prayer request about her adult children, my ears perked up. After all: I was friends with her children; I had danced at their weddings. I knew, too, that her kids loved her, thought well of her, and appreciated her. So it came as a shock to hear how much she was struggling with feeling forgotten and neglected by them.

“As a mom, it’s been nearly 30 years that I have thought about my children every single day and wondered about their well-being,” she said. “It hurts that it doesn’t even seem to be an afterthought to send me a text message to say hi.”

Her heartfelt admittance raised a significant question: What does it mean to honor your parents when you are an adult?

Read the rest at RELEVANT magazine….

Photo Credit: Anthony Catalano – Mom in Manhattan with her Office Co-workers 1952 (flickr creative commons)

Remembering the Forgotten Children – {guest post by Ingrid Lochamire}

I’m so grateful to have Ingrid Lochamire as a guest today. I’ll let Ingrid introduce herself, and tell you all how we met :-)

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At a writing conference in Michigan last spring, I met a tall young woman with a captivating smile and a beautiful accent. We ran into each other over and over again during the conference (including in various restrooms) and decided we could be “cyber friends”. Though we live half a continent apart, I’ve enjoyed getting acquainted with Bronwyn Lea over the past several months via her blog and other writings. At her request, I’m honored to share with you, her readers, these words that have had an impact on my life.

Many conversations over the years have given me pause, turned me on my heels, changed my view of things, but few have had the impact of two words spoken from the altar by a woman in the church we began attending six years ago:

“Forgotten children.”

Could there be such a thing? As a mother of four sons that I have guided into adulthood (with more than a little help from their dad), this was a concept I couldn’t accept.

I learned on that Sunday morning that thousands of children live on the streets of Honduras, one of the poorest nations in Central America. Most have been abandoned by family, sent to the streets to beg and fend for themselves. Many are sexually and physically abused. Others become addicted to huffing glue.

Our church worked alongside a missionary in Honduras in 2002 to rescue 10 boys from the streets of Tegucigalpa, and a new ministry was born. By the time I learned of Forgotten Children Ministries, over 70 boys and girls had been rescued and lived in an orphanage in Tegucigalpa and on a farm in Monte Redondo.

Hearing the woman tell of her recent trip to Honduras, and viewing photographs of those beautiful brown-eyed children, I felt God tugging at my heart. I had been on a mission trip to Nicaragua a few years earlier, but our ministry was to families in the hillside city where we stayed in a gated compound. This Honduras mission put volunteers in the orphanages and the countryside so that they could meet face-to-face with the children and with families who are desperate for help.

For the next couple of years, I listened to reports from the mission teams who traveled from Indiana to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, several times a year. Health issues and responsibilities at home had been my excuse for not joining them, but in the spring of 2012, I knew God was telling me to trust Him. My youngest son and I signed on to spend six days in Honduras that summer. It was a decision that changed everything.

Chase, who was 17 at the time, was a little ambivalent about the idea (did I mention he was 17?), but once he found himself surrounded by smiling little boys who loved nothing more than to kick around a soccer ball with an American teenager, he was hooked.

For myself, I ended every day in tears. So much poverty, contrasted with so much joy. I was humbled to see the faith, strength and resilience of the children, and of these broken people who called a 4×4 metal shack “home”.

The week flew by, and in the midst of it, I was smitten. 10-year-old Nayeli, a gap-toothed sprite who giggled at my faltering attempts to speak Spanish, stole my heart. By week’s end, I had signed on as her sponsor and, through tears, I promised I would see her again.

I left Honduras a changed woman, and I think my son grew a foot during his time in Honduras — in body and in spirit. A year later, we both returned to Honduras to love on those “forgotten children”. It was even better the second time around.

I know I’ll find my way back to the orphanage in Honduras where a sassy little brown-eyed girl from the streets is growing into a beautiful young woman with a future. She, and all the others, won’t be “forgotten”.

Ingrid Lochamire is a former newspaper reporter who “retired” to home school her four sons, now ages 19-30. A freelance writer and blogger, she shares “Reflections on the Journey” at ingridlochamire.com. A week’s worth of essays and photographs from Ingrid’s 2013 mission trip to Honduras can be found on her blog under “missions”.

Some thoughts on the Oscar Pistorius verdict

images-2Here are some important things to know about the verdict given about Oscar Pistorius:

* He was found guilty

* He was found guilty of killing (homicide)

* He was found culpably (blamably) guilty of killing.

Perhaps it is because the South African legal language of culpable homicide is unfamiliar that confounds people abroad’s frustration that he was not found guilty of murder – but in truth, he was found guilt of the equivalent of manslaughter, or murder in the 3rd degree (at least).

I understand people’s frustration that he was found guilty for something less than murder. Believe me, I do.

And yet, I support the judge’s decision and wanted to explain why. Firstly, to be found guilty of murder, there must be evidence not only that the accused actually did the crime, but that they planned to do so. Proving mens rea (or, state of mind) is a necessary component. The rules of evidence require the prosecution to make a case which is beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill.

Anything less than that: like knowing your actions could possibly kill someone, is something less than full murderous intent. The categories of “lesser murder”, like manslaughter, or culpable homicide (depending on your jurisdiction), still hold people responsible for wrongfully taking life, but don’t have the intention-to-kill aspect.

Pistorius’ defense, flimsy and guilt-ridden as it may have been, pleaded that he did not intend to kill. He thought there might be an intruder in the house, they said. He thought his girlfriend was asleep next to him, they said.

In the handful of articles I have read on this, commentators are aghast that this excuse was considered “reasonable doubt”. Here again, I have a little more compassion. Was the threat of an intruder reasonable? Many say not. In an article from The Guardian, the writer commented that the “imaginary body of the paranoid imaginings of suburban South Africa has lurked like a bogeyman at the periphery of this story.”

To that, I would just want to say that I don’t think it’s fair to categorize the fear of a violent intruder as a fear of the “bogeyman”, or worse yet, a fear of the “black bogeyman”. For in the South Africa I know, the fear of being attacked in one’s home is real, it extends beyond class and colour lines, and it is a fear based on knowing first-hand stories of people to whom such things have happened.

My own personal collection of stories is sadly not uncommon in South Africa: I’ve been mugged twice, my home has been burgled, I have had to call the cops when my sister’s roommate called me from her closet to say that people had broken in to her house and she was hiding lest she be found. I have prayed for another friend’s elderly aunt and uncle who were beaten and raped in their home at night. I have a colleague whose daughter was murdered. I have a friend who lives in a home with the best security money can by in my mother’s neighborhood, and she has told me of the armed robbery in their home one evening just before dinner.  I have heard more whispered stories of rape than I can bear. I have felt the desire to murder in response.

A friend of mine posted this status update on social media this past week: “So in the news this evening: woman employee raped while at work at Helen Joseph, woman raped by burglars at Stellenbosch res, woman raped by man wanted by police for 10 years, durban high school employs a known paedophile who continues his abuse at the school and four teenagers convicted of raping a 10 year old boy as part of a game. And that’s just tonight’s news.”

World out there: it’s not an unreasonable fear.

Is it plausible to argue that a South African in the middle of the night might fear there was someone in their house wishing them harm? It might be. It might be considered reasonable. In South Africa, perhaps more so than many, many places in the world, it may be enough to raise reasonable doubt as to why someone might respond to a nighttime threat with a gun.

And so, in the tragic case of Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius, as much as I also long for justice to be fully realized, I also want to show support for the limits of what the judge could do. For to convict of murder, there needed to be proof of murderous intention, and the proof needed to be beyond reasonable doubt. Not just “he probably meant to kill her”. But “I am absolutely persuaded he intended to kill her, in particular.”

And given the context, and the fear that every single South African deals with – including the black, female judge who was called to weigh this matter, I am not surprised that the ruling was that there was a smidgen of reasonable doubt. Enough to find him guilty of killing her. Just not enough to find him guilty of doing so premeditatively.

And so, as the world awaits the sentence next month, I too am one hoping that he will be sentenced to the maximum jail time for his offense. And I take comfort in these things:

* He was found guilty

* He was found guilty of killing

* He was found culpably guilty of killing,

and, as a friend rightly pointed out, the most important thing of all is this:

* He still bears the lifelong burden of conscience and the need to be made right before God.

Just a few of my thoughts. For what it’s worth. (Since more than a few have asked for my once-upon-a-time-I-went-to-law-school-in-South-Africa opinion.) Holding my breath for sentencing day, and along with you all, hoping for justice.

To Be Found Faithful – {guest post by Sarah Torna Roberts}

I have been longing for this day to come, so I can introduce you to Sarah Torna Roberts and share her beautiful post. It was just exactly what I needed to read. I bet it is for you too.

Toms on the river

It was a weekend none of us would likely forget. We were almost all of us together, as total as we’d been in years.  Tents were pitched in my grandparents’ mountain backyard, babies cried, and kiddos ran every which way. Newlyweds roasted marshmallows with arms wrapped around each other’s waists because that’s what you do when you’ve still got the honeymoon in your eyes. There was the familiar family talent show, piles of chocolate, bags of potato chips and the ever present onion dip, may it reign forever.

On night two of this spectacular family gathering, someone gathered us all, quieted our laughter and reminiscing, murmured words of thanks and blessing. Then, a new practice, a time of sharing with each family taking its’ turn breaking open a bit, placing the precious things of our lives and hearts into the hands and hearts of those gathered.

What does the next year look like for you?

What do you need prayer for?

How can we support you through the season you’re in?

One by one, we heard stories of looming college graduations, heavy work loads, raising young children, endless ministry tasks. We listened, we cried. We nodded in affirmation and love.

When it came to my Grandma, my so private Grandma, my never complaining Grandma, my solid as a rock Grandma, my bootstraps Grandma, we leaned in.  She spoke words, halted and started by the choked throat, by the emotion of her whole family spread before her, the emotion of putting it to words, the slow and steady path of her life.

She described her calling, her place in this time.  Sacred tasks, their holiness hidden by their everyday ordinariness. Tiny efforts in practice, monumental in their importance, in their cost. Her quietly muttered sentences washing over all of us, her simple obedience to the mundane and invisible ringing with truth and grace and love.

“I just want to be found faithful.”

And with that, the heart’s cry of my life was born. These words brought Freedom for my try-harder, do-it-right-the-first-time nature.

I just want to be found faithful.

Her words follow me around every bend in my road, blaze above me as I struggle through middle of the night worries, whisper at me when the path seems too narrow for my lead feet.

I just want to be found faithful.

… when my little son’s struggles are more than just a phase, when the road to developmental delay is winding and full of road blocks and rolled eyes. When we land on a diagnosis, to lean into a world as heartbreaking as it is beautiful and miraculous.

…when that file titled “Writing”  on my computer contains documents that date back to 2001. When the nudge to admit that writing is part of who I was made to be,  when it becomes clear that hiding is no longer an option, to write out loud.

… when the friend of my heart walks the road of infertility, when she needs me to just show up, to swear and rage with her as dreams collapse, to smile and nod as they change and morph.

… when I’m exhausted by the minivan, and the suburban life that repeats itself every day. When the tasks are ordinary and necessary, isolating and honorable, to do them tired and do them with love.

… when my husband needs my touch, needs my smiling joy over him, over our union even though I’m so tired and frustrated I could spit, to kiss him well.

… when the conversations are hard, and there is repair work to be done. When I’ve done harm with my words or lack of words, with my actions or inactions, to step toward repentance, forgiveness, the hard words of mercy.

I just want to be found faithful.

Faithfulness doesn’t look like perfection or super spiritual, hero-status endeavors. It is the road of mistakes, of imperfect persistence.

If my Grandmother is any indication, it is simply opening your eyes every single day to the life God has given you, to the people He’s set you with, to the circumstances and opportunities and situations of your life, and taking a step toward them.  And then maybe another one.

Faithfulness is meant for such as me, with my ragamuffin heart. It’s my imperfect road of trying again, of God smiling on me as I honor the life He’s given me by continuing to live it, even with my messes and sassy mouth and snappy temper. To open my hands to it, to pour my soul into it.  To raise my eyes to heaven and ask for help along the away, again.

To trust that this is enough.

profile pic-smallSarah Torna Roberts is a writer who lives in California with her husband and four sons. She blogs at www.sarahtornaroberts.com where she digs around her in her memories, records her present, and is constantly holding her faith up to the light. She snacks at 2 AM with great regularity, is highly suspicious of anyone who doesn’t love baseball (Go Giants!), and would happily live in a tent by the sea. Connect with her on twitter, instagram or follow her blog here

 

Ask Me: On Celebrating Conversion and Baptism

I got two letters from readers in recent weeks asking about the how and when of celebrating someone coming to faith, and I found my answers being close enough that this post became a “toofer” :-)

Splash - Emmanuel Szep (flickr creative commons)

Splash – Emmanuel Szep (flickr creative commons)


Dear Bronwyn,

I have a friend and coworker who I have been praying for for several years, particularly as she went through a deep depression. A few months ago, she hit “bottom” and I think around then she started visiting churches. Since then she is reading her bible, and has started doing things like posting verses on Facebook. She recently told me she’d like to be baptized. I asked her if she believed Jesus Christ was the Son of God, if He died for her sins, if He rose again, if she believed herself to be a sinner and needed Jesus (you know, the typical questions), all of which she answered yes to. In my head I was going crazy but we were at work so it felt weird to want to scream for joy.  It seems she didn’t have a “go down to the front and receive Jesus as your savior” kind of conversion but maybe more of a gradual drawing of the Holy Spirit kind of conversion and I want to get excited and do something but I don’t know what to do. How should I celebrate her becoming a Christian?     - S

Dear S,

How exciting for your friend, and for you! Your story reminded me of how I felt when a friend confided at work that she was pregnant after trying for a long time: I wanted to dance for joy and ask a million questions – but it wasn’t the appropriate time or place to bust out some dance moves, and so the moment passed with a polite, rather than a passionate response… 

The angels are certainly rejoicing in heaven over her, so I agree that some “on earth as in heaven” celebrations are in order too :-) There are many different ways to celebrate, but here are some suggestions for now: 

* Write her a letter! Tell her the story, in writing, of how you have prayed for her over the years and how exciting it has been for you to watch her take these steps. Encourage her and tell her that even though you couldn’t show it at the time, you’re thrilled! I’m sure she will treasure hearing it from you.

* If you’re a gift giver, a bunch of flowers, or balloons, or better yet – a favorite Christian book, might be a lovely gift to make things festive and acknowledge this big thing for her. One tip on the book: give her something that has been meaningful to you, rather than something you think she might need/want. Your personal vouchsafing for the book will be precious to her, and is not in danger of coming across as preachy.

* Ask her how you can pray for her as a new believer. If she is new to the faith, maybe she has never read the Scriptures with someone before. If you’re available for something like that – maybe she might like to read through a book of the bible with you and just talk through it? She’s at the beginning of such an exciting journey, and company always makes a new road easier to navigate.

* She’s expressed interest in baptism, which is the perfect way for her to “go public” with her faith, and for you in turn to make a public celebration of it. Check in with her on how that’s going. If it will be soon – maybe that’s the right occasion to present her with the letter and a gift? 

I’ll be praying for you both! What an exciting time. 

Dear Bronwyn,

I was baptized as an infant in the Catholic church as one of my parents was Catholic, but never got confirmed as I didn’t believe in the customs. In my 20s I came to a firmer faith, and as I had been baptized in infancy, the Anglican minister felt I should be confirmed rather than re-baptized. I am now at an evangelical church in the UK, where I’m told that Catholic infant baptisms carry a different meaning (in that they’re one of the things you need to do to get into heaven, like last rites). If that is the case, adult baptism apparently has a different meaning. Here’s my question: should I be re-baptized now?     -Sprinkled Once

Dear SO,

Tricky one! I would say my short answer is this: be baptized again if you want to, and if your community of faith would be supportive of it! Don’t do it because you feel you need to, or ought to – I think you have freedom in this regard. 

Here’s the longer answer as to why: baptism is a symbolic, public act. It is symbolic of being publicly recognized as belonging to a community of faith, and i particular, the community of the people of God, who were purchased and adopted into God’s family by Jesus’ death and resurrection (Cool explanatory pictures on that here).  Baptism is the wedding ring to the wedding ceremony. It is the certificate to adoption papers. And in your case, perhaps it would be similar to a vow-renewal ceremony.

Faithful, evangelical, Bible-believing Christians have deeply held and widely differing views on the meaning and mode of baptism, and I (for one), don’t think there is “one right answer” on this side of heaven on whether it’s better to baptize infants or adults, or both, nor on the question of how much water do you need for it to count as a baptism (just a sneeze-worth? or a good solid dunking?) There are so many faithful, wise, learned people who disagree on this issue that I think we are wise to go with the idea of a “bigger box” of answers, rather than trying to pin down one right way of doing things for everyone. 

My own experience is that I was dedicated as an infant by my parents (who were not professing believers) , then came to faith and chose to be baptized (by immersion, if that matters), as a teen. I later found myself in an Anglican church where infants were baptized, by sprinkling. I was a bit of an oddity. Now I attend a Baptist church, where only those “of age” can be baptized, and it involves a Whole Lotta Water.

When our children were born, part of me really would have preferred to Baptize them, a symbolic sign of their being included in God’s covenant community (rather than a statement of their personal faith), but as it happened – we were in a church that did not baptize infants, and so we chose the way of peace: to do why our community of faith did, and so we too dedicated our children and will let them choose to be baptized if they wish. 

But what if it were different? What if we’d been able to baptize them as infants? And what if they later wanted to be baptized by immersion? Or what if, like my husband, you were baptized as an adult – but only be sprinkling and not by immersion, and then you find yourself in a church where a sprinkling baptism “doesn’t count”? Would you be re-baptized then?

My counsel is the same: do it if you want to, and if it would be supported by the community around you as a celebrated public sign of your faith. I think submitting to the church you are in is important: if the public confession of faith is a significant aspect of how we understand baptism, then what the public thinks of baptism in general (and yours in particular) is significant in one’s decision making. What your church elders and pastor say are, I think, very significant in making this decision. I believe baptism should be a peace-making and celebratory thing, in keeping with the “spirit of the law”, don’t you think?

No doubt the issue of whether you belong to Jesus and the People of God was settled in eternity and has been celebrated by the angels. The question remains: do you feel the party on earth is still outstanding? If so, getting re-baptized could be a wonderfully exciting choice for you. Think of it as a “renewal of vows”, if you like :-) It doesn’t undo the first lot of vows, it just re-affirms how significant the relationship is.

Hope that helps.

Pick of the Clicks 9/6/2014

Hello, hello and happy weekend, everyone. Here are some clicks worth clicking this week.

(Just a note, by the way, since a few people have asked – I don’t fully endorse or agree with everything I link to here. I link to them because I think they are worth thinking about and discussing :-) So without further ado….)

My favorite quote from this week:

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And my favorite flow chart (and WHO KNEW I would ever link to something from Playboy?!!??!)

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I hope that clears up any confusion about cat calls.

Then, Paul, Paula and the God Who Occasionally Messes Up from Paul Atteberry had some challenging thoughts about the way we talk about whether God made a “mistake” in assigning gender identity (or whether he makes mistakes at all):

A God who occasionally messes up is a lot easier to serve. Especially if I get to be the one who decides where he has messed up.

We’ve always liked Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs, and here he weighs in on job-creation and the worth of work: Work We Value, Intelligence We Ignore: Is The Work That Made America Great Valued Any Longer? 

Loved this from Ann Voskamp: Why Wait Until Marriage – What No One Tells You & I Wish Someone Had Told Me.

Your naked body deserves the honor of being shared only with someone who is covenanted to never stop loving your naked soul.

John Pavlovitz’s essay on The Faith of Least Resistance (Why You, Me, And Most American Christians Are Really Joel Osteen) had a whole lot of ‘ouch': sobering and important things to think about in the wake of all the Victoria & Joel Osteen Brouhaha.

If we’re really honest with ourselves, we’ll have to admit the frightening truth; you and me and the Osteens are all cut from the same flimsy, transparent religious cloth.

We all want the faith of least resistance.
We’re all seeking a Christianity that’s comfortable.
We all expect that obedience to Jesus will yield good fortune.
We all get pissed-off when God’s slow with the blessings and the bonuses.

Kara Tippetts’ 5 Thoughts on Dying Well is achingly beautiful: written by a woman who knows her days are numbered and is living and dying as well as she can. Grab a kleenex and drink deep from this one.

I wrote my first review for the Engelwood Review of Books recently: a review of Jen Pollock Michel’s Teach Us To Want (read it here)… but this week I want to direct you to Engelwood’s Really Bad Christian Book Covers. Seriously!!! I hear it’s hard to get published or to get a job in artistic design, so HOW DID THOSE CRAZY BOOKS GET RELEASED WITH SUCH AWFUL COVERS? Yikes.

And finally, if you’re going to watch the movie God’s Not Dead, or talk about it, make sure to read Neil Carter’s What I Learned About Atheists from God’s Not Dead. It’s important.

And oh, it made me SO HAPPY to read Sarah Bessey’s story 173 beats a minute: On one surprising little baby and the possibility of tiny miracles. So much of this resonated with me, but here’s one sentence to give you a taste:

Perhaps the only women who rejoice over morning sickness are those of us who have experienced the pain of miscarriage and early/mid pregnancy loss.

 

My favorite show of all time (So You Think You Can Dance) finished up this week, and I can’t let the week go by without one tribute. Here’s one of my favorites from this season, from Ricky and Jessica. (and by the way, once upon a time I wrote about 10 Life Lessons you can learn from SYTYCD – you should check it out :-) )

Top of my blog this week? When SmartPhones put pressure on your marriage. Thanks again to Ashleigh Slater and Arlene Pellicane for helping out on that advice question :-)

Happy Clicking, everyone!