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I live a double-knot life, and I'm ready for that to change. You know the old double knot routine from elementary school years. Tennis shoes can't be tied just once when you're doing strenuous activity; they have to be tied in a double knot so there's no risk of them coming untied and tripping you.Those double knots are the story of my life. I, for 34 years and 11.5 months, have double knotted every aspect of my life. I have been the epitome of safe living. Always afraid of messing up or getting into trouble, I have done exactly what was expected and always what was safe. I'm not talking about just wearing my seat belt or driving below the speed limit; I'm talking about doing what I "should" because it involved no risk. I'm talking about doing what was safe and easy so I could avoid tripping myself.When I was in school, I was every teacher's dream and my own worst nightmare. I studied nonstop, always did my work, and never questioned what I was being taught. Academics were the priority, even to the point of forfeiting fun. As a high school senior, I chose to attend college in...


I recently spent time with a woman in the new hours of her worst tragedy. Her heart is still raw, the tears still flow freely, and the brain cannot yet absorb just what has happened. She asked me, knowing that my heart had once been torn, too, "How did you make it through?"Oh, how I wish there were an easy formula, a 12 step plan for the life class of Grief 101. 'I didn't make it through', I wanted to tell her. 'I'm still trying. There is no finish line.'Grief is not a stage of life that you go through and get over. The emotional suffering you experience through loss will never fully disappear, though in its midst, that's what you desire more than anything. You want the hurt to stop, but it won't. It  will never go away, although with time it will lessen in intensity.Experts say there are stages to grief, a logical and almost scientific explanation for what you will experience. Different models vary slightly, but the basics are the same. You begin with a disbelief and denial that the event, whatever it is, can really be happening. You think and sometimes verbalize, "This can't be my...


I cannot believe I am writing about Lady Gaga. I have never had much to say about her except, perhaps, that time she wore the meat dress. Meat? For real? The smell of uncooked meat makes me want to puke. Making hamburger patties sends me over the edge. Can you imagine wearing it? I guess sacrifices are necessary when it comes to fashion.Now, though, I do have something to say. Sunday night at the Oscars, Lady Gaga sang a tribute to Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music, and it was incredible. Here - listen for yourself.Sure, Lady Gaga has sold millions of albums and won Grammy Awards, but to be quite honest, I didn't know she was such a great singer. She's always just been (in my mind) a walking gimmick. She has been so well known for what she wears that how she sings has been secondary, at least to me. Truthfully, however, she has great talent. It is, to be spiritual, a God-given talent. So here's what I have to say: sometimes the gimmicks we hide behind and use to gain attention only detract from the real purpose God created us to fulfill.There's no doubt in my...


The world wants me to believe that I'm not a good mother, and it tells me in the most ridiculous ways.These, for example.All over Facebook and Instagram, I see friends who had precious matching shirts for every day of their Disney trip. You know who didn't? This girl. We were lucky enough to be able to afford a trip to Disney, much less have outfits coordinating with the parks and princesses we'd be seeing that day. My kids wore their in-closet Target bargain clothes, and the voice in my head wants me to feel badly about it. Sometimes I do, and then sometimes I remember that THEY GOT TO GO TO DISNEY WORLD. So never mind.Don't forget these:I don't have monthly pictures of my babies' first year complete with stickers showing their age. It wasn't a thing back when they were born, and now I feel like they'll need years of therapy because they won't know how their six month pictures compare to their seven month pictures. Just what kind of mother am I? (One who's lucky to have pictures of her children at all, I think. Especially the second one - she did not sleep through the night for...