5 Lessons from 20 Years as a Writer

FiveWritingLessons

So, all this has happened at once: this is my 1,000th blog entry, at the same time I'm working on my tenth book (Shine). Also, 20 years ago I began classes for my Masters degree in Creative Writing and also began writing professionally. The fact all these multiples of ten coincided felt significant--and the right time to think about what I've learned as an author. Loneliness is a Job … [Read more...]

Dear Elisabeth… on your first day of Fifth Grade

ElFifthGrade

Dear Elisabeth… Fifth Grade will be like none of your other school years. You, my dear Elisabeth, have changed. Your self-confidence has grown and you are shining.  This inner sparkle comes from your security that Jesus loves you. It also comes from your love to imagine and create. God’s love for you will never change; the creativity will be trickier. There will be times that your gigantic … [Read more...]

Dear Catie (on your first day of High School)

CatieHighSchool

Oh, my sweet Catie. Today feels the most significant of all your first days of school. All those other first days—in Pre-K, and elementary, and middle school—seem like they were all leading up to today. The first day of high school feels like the first day of the rest of your life. Grades “count” now. The new friends you make this week will see you through some thrilling adventures and … [Read more...]

Dear Sam (on your first day of Fifth Grade)

SamFifthGrade

Dear Sam…. Yesterday, when I was worrying about some detail about your school year, a friend said to me, “I think this will be Sam’s best year yet.” Just like that, I knew what she said could be true for you, Sam. So, what do you say we just claim this as a promise for this year? Let's just believe that Fifth Grade was made for you. This year will be filled with funny friends, interesting … [Read more...]

Dear Nate… (on your first day of Third Grade)

NateThirdGradeBlog

Dear Nate, Today is your first day of Third Grade! Your older brother and sisters are so excited to tell everything you’ll need to know. They want to teach you everything—from how to earn a multiplication sundae to how to make your teacher like you to the secret of being popular. The truth is you don’t really need their lessons, Nate. You’ve already figured most of this out on your … [Read more...]

Eat This Paleo Breakfast Casserole Everyday!

Maybe, like me, you’re a Healthy Eating Frequent Visitor. It’s like when you visit the same hotel or city or country over and over. When you do, you become really familiar with the place. You love this ice cream shop and that place for shrimp po-boys and that other place for the deliciously strong coffee. This is how I am with the Land of Eating… I visit Whole30 Island, Paleo Peninsula, and … [Read more...]

The Summer of So Much!

summersomuch

This is the Summer of SO MUCH. Here’s our list of what we’re loving in July of 2018.... 1.This is the Summer of Stories. The kids and I have listened to so many good stories this summer, thanks to Overdrive, the library app for digital books. We’ve read A Night Divided, The Wonderland Hotelbooks, the Harry Potterseries (for some of us), Judy Blume’s early books, and now Refugee. We try … [Read more...]

What Do You Want MORE?

We are summering SO HARD over here. My kids have forgotten they ever attended school. When they see pictures of their class Christmas party, they claim they weren’t even there. They have amnesia about how homework even works. We are now summer people. The kids are not taking long baths, they are jumping in the pool, and we’re calling it good. They have traded the red polos and khaki shorts of … [Read more...]

Mama Bears, We Do Not Need Your Help

Mama Bear: a well-meaning mother who scolds teachers, shames coaches, and "helps" other parents by delivering never-ending advice about how to protect her kids. Dear Mama Bear..... You are 2018's Helicopter Mom. I know. You desperately want to save the next generation from the evils of volunteer coaches, minimum-wage lifeguards, and teachers who yell. Please stop. You are teaching your kids to … [Read more...]

Because What’s Cooler than Kids Playing in a Mansion Basement?

WeloveGalvestonMuseum

A couple years ago, our kids toured the Moody Mansion, one of the historical homes on Galveston's Broadway. Everyone at the museum was talking about the children's museum they were building in the basement. At the time, I felt a little worried for the employees because it just seemed like it wouldn't work. I imagined a poor recreation of the big-city versions (i.e. a bin of used toys, some play … [Read more...]