Inspiration

3 Ways Giving Birth Changed My Perspective on the Christmas Story

3 Ways Giving Birth Changed My Perspective on the Christmas Story

Mary SquareDuring the Christmas season there is no shortage of imagery depicting the scene of Jesus’ birth. We see paintings of a sweet baby curled up in a manger, his parents lovingly gazing down at him. We see nativity sets with the shepherds and magi bowed down on their knees, the cattle and sheep looking on adoringly.

Two years ago I wouldn’t have batted an eye at these romanticized portrayals of the Christmas story.

But now, having since given birth to a baby myself, I realize these depictions are probably a far cry from the reality of that holy night. More →

My Son’s World

My Son’s World

The World I Want For My SonThis past weekend, on the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, my son turned 16 months old. The juxtaposition of those two events—my contemplation on my son’s life and growth, coupled with my reflection on that tragic day—got me thinking about what type of world I want my son to grow up in. Sadly, it isn’t exactly the world we’re living in now.

The world I want for my son? It’s a world where school is a safe place, where the presence of guns is unthinkable and the presence of metal detectors is unnecessary.

It’s a world in which education is valued, not just through words but also through budgets. What’s more, it’s a world in which teachers are valued—and that includes through their paychecks—because those who educate our children are heroes and deserve to be treated as such.

It’s a world in which children all over the globe—regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability—can satisfy their thirst for learning without fear of violence or discrimination or even death. It’s a world where the right to education is taken seriously because it’s synonymous with the right to freedom and self-sufficiency.

If I had my way, my son’s world would be one in which books weren’t banned.

Pages of a Book

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How To Have a Calm Holiday Season

How To Have a Calm Holiday Season

How to Have a Calm Holiday SeasonAuthor, poet, and all-around inspiration Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

In other words, the way we react in stressful situations says a lot more about us than the way we react to rainbows and butterflies. And the holidays – with crowded shopping malls, endless parties, and yes, tangled lights – are usually filled with stressful situations.

What’s the difference between the person who sees that knotted mess of tiny bulbs and simply laughs while patiently beginning the detangling process, and the person who grabs a fistful of hair and screams that she’s never putting up that blasted tree again? What’s the difference between the cheerful elf and the Scrooge?

I think it all boils down to whether or not we have one all-important trait: resiliency. More →

The Four Gift Rule

The Four Gift Rule

Four-Gift-Rule“I don’t need this at all!”

Around the holidays my family always shares a laugh over the time I – at age four – shouted that phrase on Christmas morning after receiving a play typewriter as a gift from my grandpa. As the story goes, I opened the present, immediately declared its uselessness, pushed it aside, and dove for my next package. What’s worse, I’m pretty sure someone has it on video.

It’s funny because I was four years old, because kids say the darndest things. Nevertheless, whenever the story comes up I can’t help but feel ashamed of the complete lack of gratitude I displayed that Christmas day. I’m sure my mom scolded me and made me say a proper thank you, but then I was right back to plowing through my pile of presents, drowning in wrapping paper like the privileged and oblivious child I was. More →

How to Build a Better To Do List

How to Build a Better To Do List

Build a Better To Do ListLike most busy moms, I’m a list-maker. There is simply no way I could juggle the constant demands of work and family without putting pen to paper multiple times each day. Write it down, cross it off, repeat.

Most of the time my list-making tendencies serve me well; they keep me calm by ensuring I don’t forget to schedule my son’s doctor appointment or submit that report to my boss. But every now and then, during particularly busy days or weeks, my lists become so impossibly long – overflowing with more tasks than any mortal could feasibly complete – that they themselves become a source of stress and anxiety. I’m tossing and turning at night over the fact that I didn’t have time to cross it all off.

To prevent this from happening, I’ve starting building better to-do lists. And by better, I mean prioritized. More →