My kids and I have spent decades adhering to the Christmas traditions I grew up with. My family has always done everything exactly the same. Every. Single. Year.
Christmas Eve was always spent at my parents’ house. All four of my kids would sleep in the same tiny room — two of them on the floor. The adults would stay up well past midnight getting everything ready. Then we’d all get up at 6:30 am and begin our Christmas morning by reading the Christmas story out of the Bible.
My mom did her best to make everything magical. There were lots of decorations and candles and homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
But when it was time to open gifts, it felt like being in a fish bowl. Everyone watched everyone else. My brother and his wife always had plenty of money to buy their kids loads of expensive gifts — every movie, game, and electronic device they could possibly want.
But after my divorce in 2010, money was always tight. So my...
I was raised to be a good girl — to follow the rules, respect my teachers, and obey my parents. Doing these things made me feel worthy. So over the years, I kept doing them.
I respected my bosses, obeyed the church leaders, and submitted to my husband.
I wanted to be good. I wanted to do things the right way. And from the time I was a small child, I understood that the right way didn’t come from inside me. It came from others.
I was raised to believe that nothing good lived in me. That I was a filthy sinner to my core, and left to my own devices, I was worthy of eternal torment. This was terrifying. And I believed it wholeheartedly from the time I was a small child staring up at my Sunday school teacher.
I learned that my own inner voice was not trustworthy. The heart is deceitful above all things, I read in the Bible. The scriptures told me that a wise man listens to advice. So I got advice about everything. Where...
Editor’s Note: We first published Jake’s story in July 2020. It is now a year later, we felt (and Jake agreed) that the timing was right to share his story again. Jake is one year into having “fired” his homophobic side and if you’ve followed him on Social Media, you know just how amazing his life has become. If you’re new to his story, have a read and then check him out. It’s a beautiful journey.
I’m coming off a high. I just fired someone, and it was one of the crowning achievements of my adult life. I made sure to make a scene of it too by gathering everyone into the conference room, laying out a long list of offenses, and walking him out of the room and building to never return. It was awesome!
Nine months earlier I came out as gay to my wife of 13 years. I married her with the best of intentions, desiring to do all that was expected of me as a man in...
Last March when the world turned upside down, two couples sat down and made a plan. Kristen and I sat on our front porch with my ex-husband Chad and his awesome new wife, T. Chad and I share custody of our four kids, T has another four, and they had a bonus child at the time as well. So when a global pandemic hit, we had nine kids (and their germs) to worry about.
We sat on that porch (socially distanced) and had an amazing conversation. We talked, and vented, and laughed, and ultimately came up with what we thought was a great plan. We discussed each kid, how we could support them during homeschooling, how we’d keep them off screens, how we’d now have the time to introduce them to all kinds of new skills.
Ahhhh, remember optimism? JK.
We just had no idea. We had no clue the mental toll this pandemic was going to take from us. There was no way we could have predicted how physical lives became...