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Thoughts from September 4-8, 2017

As many of you know, I stopped blogging two years ago, mostly because blogging consumed the time that I had for writing, and I chose to write books instead of blog posts. But I still enjoy sharing thoughts with readers in a more immediate way, so I have been using my Facebook author Page to share book recommendations, reflections on culture, stories from our family, and updates about the books I’m working on. For those of you who don’t use Facebook, or who don’t want to check the page daily, I’m going to start posting a weekly compilation of those thoughts here on my website. This week includes thoughts on how kids bring grace into our lives, hopeful futures for children with disabilities, a book recommendation, and questions about the nature of privilege.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Does anyone else operate on a school-year schedule, and thus feel like September is the beginning of a new year? I have spent the past few weeks setting “goals” for the upcoming school year, which is more or less the same as setting new year’s resolutions in January. For me, those include spiritual, physical, and professional goals.
If any of you are thinking about things that you want to see change in the year ahead, I want to bring your attention to a new book (came out today) by Keri Wyatt Kent, called GodSpace: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God. My review: “We have filled our homes with stuff, our calendars with activities, and our hearts with a desire for more.” Keri Wyatt Kent’s GodSpace invites us to declutter our hearts, our homes, and our calendars in order to make room for the inconvenient wonder of God’s presence. Kent tells stories from her own life and offers practical suggestions on how we can open ourselves up to God’s work in our homes, our communities, and the world. With humor, insight, and concrete examples, Keri Wyatt Kent has written a book that encourages me to make meaningful changes that will enable less space for disappointment and more space for God.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yesterday Penny decided she wanted to start reading Small Talk. I should preface what happened next by saying that yesterday was also a day when I was grumpy. I snapped at Marilee for licking pesto off a knife. I snapped at Pen for not putting her homework back in its folder. William steered clear of me. So I found myself in front of the computer, trying to keep up with email, with Penny reading Small Talk next to me.
The first chapter takes place about four years ago, when the kids were so much younger and Marilee couldn’t pronounce “l” or “r” yet. It’s a day with a delayed opening for school, a day where we had a lovely time as a family that just as quickly became a grumpy shouting match.
As Penny read, she asked, “What does it mean that you clunked the guitar?” and I told her that I’m a pretty bad guitar player. She then asked, “Mom, what does it mean when you say, ‘They are the vehicles of grace’?” And I said, “Oh, so you know how God loves us even when we are grumpy and even when we are mean and messy and don’t do anything right? It means that God’s love, God’s forgiveness, comes into our lives even in the midst of those times. And it means that you all are often the way that grace comes in. It’s like you’re a car carrying God’s grace to me.”
She took my hand and squeezed it and smiled.

Photo Credit: Chris Capozziello

Here’s the full quotation, which needless to say I needed to be reminded of yesterday: “For a long time, I thought my children were a distraction from the work God was doing in my life and in the world around me. I am starting to realize they are the work God is doing in my life. They are the invitation to give, to receive, to be humbled, to grow. They are the vehicles of grace.”
In case you want to read more, here’s the link.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

As the school year begins and many parents–especially, perhaps, parents of children with special needs–begin to wonder about their children’s futures, this article is a wonderful reminder of the world of possibilities available if only we stop and listen and respond to who our kids are rather than who we (or their peers, or school system, or teachers) expect them to be: Looking Into the Future for a Child with Autism.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Two questions this morning. One, does “privilege” consist of racial demarcations alone (“white privilege”) or is it more than that? Is privilege a Venn diagram that includes race, wealth, religion, genetics, family, and/or education?

Second question for the morning: to what degree is privilege (see first question) about morality? I am thinking about the conclusion of an article I read in the New York Times this morning about wealthy people who try to downplay their wealth: “we should talk not about the moral worth of individuals but about the moral worth of particular social arrangements. Is the society we want one in which it is acceptable for some people to have tens of millions or billions of dollars as long as they are hardworking, generous, not materialistic and down to earth? Or should there be some other moral rubric, that would strive for a society in which such high levels of inequality were morally unacceptable, regardless of how nice or moderate its beneficiaries are?”
What do you think? Is it acceptable for some people to have a ton of money? If not, what should be done about it?

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