Category Archives: women’s studies

hair, clothes, makeup & everything in between

Monsanto Who?

“So I’m writing this story about Monsanto,” I said to my friend.

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

corn field, image credit: James Jordan



“Never heard of them.”

My husband’s career in agriculture spans nearly 30 years. I take it as a given that everyone’s heard of Monsanto.

The company is one of the big dogs in farming and biotechnology. If you live in St. Louis, as I did for almost 13 years, you know Monsanto. If you eat food raised in the United States, it’s possible Monsanto has been involved in the production of that food in some way.

But I discovered from talking with my friend that there are people who don’t know Monsanto or what they do. And then there are a lot of people who only know what they’ve heard from activists and Food, Inc.

With that in mind and with the guidance from my editors at BlogHer, I tried to write a story that gives readers some context for what Monsanto does and communicates the thoughts of four women I interviewed who work there.

Please click over to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto on BlogHer. Your classy comments and shares are appreciated. 

Listening to the Women of Monsanto

Megan Brown & Janice Person at Monsanto Research Plot, image credit Janice Person

Click to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto. Megan Brown (L) and Janice Person (R) at a Monsanto research plot, image credit: Janice Person

Have a great weekend!

photo credit: James Jordan via photopin cc


Filed under blogging, food & farm, women's studies

BlogHer Runs Women and Guns Story

Photo credit Marie Bowers2

click to read ‘How Gun Ownership Empowers Women’

Women and guns. Guns and women.

Will she ever stop writing about this? 

Yes, I have other things to say. Come back tomorrow.

Today I need a favor.

BlogHer published a new story I wrote. No matter what side you’re on, please go, read, comment, share. Our country deserves to hear many voices in the debate about Second Amendment rights. Post haste. Go now.

How Gun Ownership Empowers Women

I can lose my hard earned freedom if my fear defines my world.
One Girl Revolution
 by Superchick!


Filed under America, women's studies

Women and Guns Photo Essay

photo credit: Windy Borders

photo credit: Windy Borders,

My research to write about women and guns has connected me with many thoughtful, intelligent, brave women gun owners and enthusiasts. It’s been an honor to hear their stories.

They’re a beautiful bunch.

Take a look at a dozen of the photos they sent me. They communicate a simple, yet profound message: the entire United States Constitution applies to all American citizens, male and female.

United States Constitution. Bill of Rights.

photo credit: Elisabeth Sitton

photo credit: Elisabeth Sitton

Second Amendment. Bearing Arms:

photo credit: Theresa Wegner

photo credit: Theresa Wegner


photo credit:

photo credit:


photo credit: Charla Balogh

photo credit: Charla Balogh


photo credit: Christel Oliphant

photo credit: Christel Oliphant


photo credit: Val Wagner

photo credit: Val Wagner


photo credit: Jesse Bussard

photo credit: Jesse Bussard


photo credit: Marie Bowers

photo credit: Marie Bowers


photo credit Neena,

photo credit: Neena,


Tiff with Gun

photo credit: Tiffany Nevil


photo credit: Sallie Molina

photo credit: Sallie Molina


Now hear this: One Woman Army by Kate Earl. A brilliant, new favorite. There’s a sweet twist at the end of the video, so watch the whole thing.


Chicks with Guns by Lindsay McCrum

If you liked this post, you’ll love Lindsay McCrum’s stunning book of photography, Chicks with Guns. Real women with the real guns they own.

You’ll also love The Debutante Hunters, a documentary short by Maria White. The film, featuring Lowcountry women who hunt, won the Audience Award in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Debutante Hunters will be released on iTunes this spring.

Disclosure: I am not being compensated to promote Chicks with Guns, The Debutante Hunters, or the U.S. Constitution. 

If you’re a woman who owns a gun and would like to share your story, please email aimee (at) everyday epistle (dot) com.


Filed under America, women's studies

Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight

Today my first story about American women gun owners was published on The Broad Side, an online women’s opinion magazine.

Photo credit Charla Balogh

click for Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment, photo credit: Charla Balogh

I’m grateful to the women gun owners and others who generously shared their personal stories for this post. Their impassioned narratives inspire me.

You know that Titanic feeling you get the moment you realize you may have hit the tip of an iceberg?

I’m astounded that my informal request to hear from women who own guns is still yielding heartfelt responses. It’s as if women gun owners haven’t been asked to comment on our country’s current gun debate. Or, if they have been asked, their perspectives have largely been ignored.

I don’t own a gun, but the research I’ve done so far about gun rights gives me pause. What if I want or need a gun in the future and can’t get one because the government says so?

What if, by not exercising my Second Amendment right to bear arms, I inadvertently jeopardize that right for my fellow citizens like the law-abiding women in my article, not to mention for myself, my son, and generations of Americans yet to come?

Our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) must be rolling over in their graves right about now.

Photo credit Marie Bowers

photo credit Marie Bowers

My head is spinning with story ideas to follow (including plans for a photo essay of all the wonderful pictures the women gun owners sent me). But for today, I ask you to click over to The Broad Side to read Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment. Whether you are pro-guns or pro-gun control, I’d appreciate your thoughtful and respectful comments, and I’d covet your shares of the post.

The Broad Side admittedly skews left. Publishing an article like this is a big step for them, and I admire their courage to do so. I hope you’ll join me in demonstrating how listening to different perspectives on controversial topics is one of the best ways to ensure the health of our republic.

Please read:

Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment


Filed under America, women's studies

Championship Shopping

SHOPPING IS NOT A HOBBY,” read the pretentious bumper sticker.

up to 40% off

up to 40% off

That’s true. Shopping is not a hobby. It’s a sport.

Like the Olympics, there are many categories and events. Shoppers with higher incomes excel in Brands, Early Adoption (buy it before it hits the racks), Boutique, Custom, and Couture. Creative divas and penny pinchers make out like bandits in events like I-Got-This-At-Walmart-But-You-Can’t-Tell-Can-You?, DIY, Consignment, Thrift, and Yard Sale.

Me? I specialize in Bargain Hunting New Merchandise, with major wins in the Women’s and Children’s Clothing divisions.

Once I bought a floor-length Ralph Lauren evening gown for $9. Set a personal record. Wore it to my brother’s wedding. Alas, the victory was bittersweet since I got it at Lord & Taylor’s closing sale.

that's me in the $9 evening gown

that’s me in the $9 evening gown

Then there was the time I paid $5 for a wool pea coat for my son. A darling post-season triumph he wore with panache the next winter.

Before the big snow fell this year in Wichitawesome, I snagged a pair of leather and calf-hair, zebra-print gloves at Ann Taylor for $12.

Anything animal print counts as Big Game and earns extra points.

My aptitude is genetic, geographic, and circumstantial. My mother was a Bargainista before Bargainista was cool. I grew up in a textile manufacturing town. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes. Trained by example, opportunity, and necessity, I have the makings of one of Gladwell’s Outliers.

store full of bargains

store full of bargains

Mom was a pro. At true factory outlets—the kind located in tiny, dimly-lit rooms inside actually factories—she fished out overstocked nightgowns from big cardboard boxes for pennies per pound. She bought me a pair of pants with a small tear at the ankle for $2. Roll up those preppy chinos and no one knows the difference. She waded through piles of Esprit and Liz Claiborne 80 percent off at Dillard’s Clearance.

Full-court bargain shopping may be beneath some women, but that’s where champions are made. Take the Smith & Hawken store in Chicago. Had to reach for it. Bottom of the box. Linen sundress. $16. Nothing but net.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. Impulse buys that were just not right. Like the time I bought a candy pink sweatshirt with “PRINCESS” emblazoned in large, white letters across the front. It cost me less than $10, but I was 34.

“My daughter would love your shirt!” said a neighbor as I pushed my son past her in the stroller on our way to the park. That Sunday I promptly wrapped the sweatshirt in a nondescript, brown paper bag and slipped it to a man at church between praise songs.

“It’s for your 15-year-old,” I whispered. “I hope she enjoys it.”

I brake for designer fashion

I brake for designer fashion

The older I get, the more likely I am to pay full-price for a basic wardrobe piece of superior quality, fit, style, and color. Do the math. A bargain is only a bargain if you wear it. A $100 dress worn 20 times costs less per wear than a $10 dress worn once.

My husband reminds me the cost of my time also needs to figure into the equation. Shopping for sport, especially Bargain Hunting, burns a lot of hours.

But it’s like I tell him, practice makes perfect.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 NLT

Madame Onassis got nothing on you.” You Wear It Well by Rod Stewart.

What’s your shopping story?


Filed under humor, women's studies

Guest Post: Musing Momma Says Parenting Isn’t Black and White

When Aimee invited me to share a post about my family, I struggled with what I wanted to say. Any family is more than one story.

Musing MommaWe are each a million stories. Which one do I tell? Even narrowing it down to writing about my experience being in a multiracial family and what that has meant for me leaves so many possibilities to choose from. This is just one part of our experience.

I am a white woman married to a black man and the mother of two biracial children (two beautiful, amazing, radiant children, if I may say so). Being so intimately connected to two different cultures through my family and sorting through what that means for us is a blessing. It challenges me to look more deeply at my own attitudes. It pushes me to try my best to figure out what race means and what it doesn’t. And because of the implications for my children, I’m attuned to subtleties of racism that I may have remained oblivious to otherwise.

By virtue of my family, race has moved from a somewhat intellectual issue to a very personal and emotional one. I can’t speak for other mixed race families, but I have talked to many other white mommas of brown children and I believe that my experience—the eye-opening transition and becoming more sensitized to all the ways that racism manifests—is one that many of them share.

photo credit: Musing Momma

Over the past decade, I’ve wrestled with the knowledge that what others think and believe about me and about my family may be based more on skin color than on fact or fairness. People passing by may not think to themselves, “There’s a couple with graduate degrees and good jobs, who have been together for a rock-solid 14 years. Look at those sweet boys they’re working so hard to raise right.” Filtered through stereotypes and preconceived notions, their judgments may be, well, less flattering.

As someone who has always cared a little too much what others think and taken pride in her smart-girl, good-girl image, the idea of someone thinking poorly of me or my family was something I struggled with and sometimes still do. (Feel free to read more about that here.) But that struggle has pushed me to really think about how we all deserve to be treated with the utmost compassion and respect as we move through life, regardless of our back stories. It’s easy to pay lip service to that belief, but it’s another thing entirely to fully grasp and practice it.

photo credit: Musing Momma

photo credit: Musing Momma

In the four walls of our home, we don’t think much about race. We think about what we’re having for dinner and whether our kindergartener has done his homework. We wonder if we’re being too strict and then we wonder if we’re being too lenient. We snuggle up and read stories at bedtime. We give baths and we say “I love you” and we play trains on the living room floor. In short, we do what families do.

But there are concerns I have that, if my kids were white, wouldn’t even be on my radar screen.  There are things I do because I am always trying to make sure my boys have a strong, healthy sense of self, one that will fortify them against the racism they will inevitably experience.

I make sure they feel positive about being black and about their appearance as black children—their curly hair, their brown skin. Somewhere along the way society will tell them these features are less than desirable, and I want them to know that is a lie.  If you’ve ever gone to your local store to look for a black action figure for your child, you know that they’re not easy to find. I worry about what message this sends my children. With limited success, I look for children’s television shows and movies with African-American boys in lead roles because I know that “you can’t be what you can’t see.”

photo credit: Lubs Mary

photo credit: Lubs Mary

I worry about the impact of stereotypes they’ll be exposed to once they move beyond children’s programming. Research shows that media does affect how African-American children feel about themselves. I point out positive black role models everywhere I can—their father, the President, in a story on the news—hoping those examples prove to be a more powerful influence than limiting stereotypes.

I go out of my way to make sure my children’s teachers know that my husband and I are involved and invested in their education, because I worry that if the teachers don’t know us, they’ll expect less of my children than they do of their white peers. It’s a reasonable fear, because research has shown that teachers often expect less of black students, even if they don’t realize it.

I dread the day that my children are insulted or rejected on account of race because I know that they are loving, curious, imaginative, and downright amazing souls and the idea that anyone would not see that based simply on the color of their skin just breaks my heart. And I dread the day that another parent doesn’t want their child to date mine. And, chances are, that day will come. We’ve come a long way with the rise in interracial relationships in this country, but we still have a long way to go, especially with respect to feelings about black-white marriage. (Check out this 2012 Pew Research article summarizing U.S. Census statistics and attitudes toward interracial marriage.)

When I hear about someone not wanting their child to date a black person or be friends with a black classmate, I just want to grab them by the shoulders, look them in the eye and say, “What do you mean? Are you telling me that this boy I have loved and nurtured, just as you have loved and nurtured your child, is somehow not good enough? That my beautiful child is less than your beautiful child?” I wonder what they would say. Imagine someone telling you that your child is not good enough for theirs, not because of anything he or she has done, but simply because of the color of their skin.

photo credit: Werth Media

photo credit: Werth Media

I worry about racial profiling and how it will affect my boys. I consider that if my little one continues to be off-the-charts in height, he won’t just grow up to be a black man but he’ll grow up to be a big black man—and it scares me what that could mean for his safety as he moves out into the world. The death of Trayvon Martin shook me to my core, as it did so many parents of black children, because I realized that could be my child someday. I worry about what happens when they must step out of this bubble we’ve built around them and into the real world.

These are things I probably wouldn’t worry about if my children were white. This is how I know race still matters and in unfair ways. We have come a long way, but we still have a long ways to go before racial and cultural differences are pervasively seen as something to be celebrated and appreciated, rather than the basis for division and discrimination.

The beauty of raising young children is that they are a living example that race is a social construct, not a biological truth. I see how accepting my children are of people from different backgrounds, because no one has taught them otherwise and because my husband and I are doing all we can to ensure they hold onto that belief. They notice skin color, but without judgment or assumption.

Ellie of Musing Momma

Ellie of Musing Momma

We can’t change problems if we don’t recognize them. My family experience has pushed me to examine my own biases and being more aware means I can make more conscious choices over what I believe and what I feel.

If things are going to change, we have to open our hearts and be willing to learn. We need to seek out different perspectives and really try to understand the impact of our history on the present. For those of us who are white, we must be willing to examine our own biases and acknowledge where our skin color has afforded us privileges we may not deserve, and we have to be willing to do something about it.

Read more at Musing Momma about Ellie’s experiences from how her interracial relationship has shaped her identity to debating whether to change school districts to conversations with her sons about race. She also features other multiracial families who are gracious enough to share their experiences. Ellie highly recommend the online magazine Multicultural Familia and their list of favorite sites on race and culture as good places to learn more.

Thank you, Ellie, for sharing your story here!

photo credit: Lubs Mary. via photopin cc
photo credit: werthmedia via photopin cc


Filed under America, family & friends, women's studies

Dresses and Dreams

Ladies, as a little girl did you ever dream of your wedding dress? 

Beane & Co Clara from Nice and Neutral Collection

Beane & Company Clara

My dream wedding dress was updated with every trend. I wanted a fur collar. Make that a 25-foot train like Princess Diana’s. Maybe fingerless lace gloves. White granny boots. A tiara.

My actual wedding was 17 years ago, and I find myself in an odd place now. As a MOB (mother of boy), it’s unlikely I’ll have a say in wedding dresses, much less fingerless lace gloves. There will be no trips with the bride to say yes to the dress, just a tinge of pain knowing I’ll never get to plan, er, help plan a wedding again.

Enter Pinterest. I’m like a sweet tooth set loose in a candy store with no money to buy the goods. So I started a board called “My Imaginary Pinterest Wedding Even Though I’m Already Married.” It eases my craving the same way my “Short Cuts” board consoles the occasional impulse for a pixie haircut.

It may look odd (the board, not the haircut). When a friend saw me pinning wedding dresses, she quipped, “Are you renewing your vows or something?”

Beane & Co Zelda and Leo Gatsby Collection

Beane & Company Zelda and Leo

Laugh all you want, sister. Your beautiful daughter practically guarantees you a subscription to Brides.

Instead of assembling wedding accoutrements on Pinterest where friends question your sanity, what if you could make them your business? What if you could design bridal regalia to your heart’s desire and your clients’ satisfaction?

My friend Jenna Lang does exactly that. Beane & Company, her Los Angeles studio, has created custom special occasion clothing for children since 2007.

Imagine the most darling flower girls and ring bearers EVER.

Beane & Co Grace from Gatsby Collection

Beane & Company Grace

“What makes us unique is that everything you purchase is made to order. Nothing is massed produced,” says Jenna.

“Our niche is that we can customize anything you see pictured in any color or fabric. It generally starts with an inquiry that goes something like this: ‘I love this dress. Can we do it in pink instead of white?’ Our answer is always ‘Yes!'”

Jenna credits her mother, a seamstress, with inspiring her appreciation for custom clothing. Jenna was a professional dancer and worked for many years designing theatre costumes. Her passion for design blossomed into a business with the births of her own children.

“I wanted my daughter to have a chest of beautiful keepsake clothing just like my mother had for me. The dresses I made began to pile up—way too many clothes for her to wear! So my business began as a natural progression of my love for all things theatrical married to my love for vintage children’s clothing. My daughter, and now my son, are still the inspiration for everything I do.”

Beane & Co Charlie from Gatsby Collection

Beane & Company Charlie

Custom is key in the wedding industry. “A bride can send us a swatch of the colors she’s using in her wedding and we can match it to make something that fits perfectly,” says Jenna. “The best part is there are no add-ons or upcharge for color or design changes. The price listed is the price you pay, regardless of the changes made.”

Beane & Co Ella from Something Blue Collection

Beane & Company Ella

What does Jenna love most about her work? “The thing I love most about what I do is the creative process,” she says. “There’s nothing like seeing a piece of fabric or a sketch on paper and making it come to life. I’m always amazed at what and where I find things that spark an idea. If you can imagine it, or you want us to imagine it—we can make it!” 

I like her passion. It’s what dresses and dreams are made of. 

Some of Beane & Company’s enchanting designs are featured in this post with photography by Katie Duda of Claire Alyse Photography. See more at Beane & Company, on Facebook, on Twitter @beaneandcompany, or contact Jenna (at) BeaneandCo (dot) com.

Beane & Co Lizzy from Something Beane

Beane & Company Lizzy

You have captured my heart,
my treasure, my bride.
You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes,
with a single jewel of your necklace. Song of Solomon 4:9 NLT

Marry Me by Train.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
So what’s your imaginary wedding dress look like?

Disclosure: I’m not being compensated to promote Beane & Company or Claire Alyse Photography in this post. 


Filed under America, family & friends, women's studies

March for Life Photo Essay

I didn’t know what to expect at my first March for Life last week. How would I fit in? Everyone knows pro-lifers are patriarchal, angry, white men.

African American women pro-lifers March for Life

This family marches together annually.

Rebecca Kiessling March for Life

The courageous Rebecca Kiessling*.

March for Life

Don’t you love their yellow hats?

Asian American woman pro-lifer March for Life

Chose life for her daughter 24 years ago.

Radical, right-wing extremists.

adopted from Korea March for Life

International adoptee.

March for Life sign to President

Um, Mr. President…

conceived from rape March for Life

Bold and beautiful.

Religious fundamentalists.

secular pro-lifers March for Life

Self-proclaimed secular pro-lifers.


pro-life generation LSU March for Life

Here comes LSU…

Sienna College pro-life generation March for Life

and Sienna College…

Carnegie Mellon pro-life generation March for Life

and Carnegie Mellon…


pro-life couple  March for Life

Married, marching since 1974.

adopted not aborted father and son March for Life

Thanks, Mom and Grandma.

adoptive mother March for Life

Their Mom and Grandma with her sign.

thou shalt not kill March for Life

Love says.


I'm worth waiting for March for Life

“I’m worth waiting for.”

Really, really old.

birthday pro-lifer March for Life

You say it’s your birthday?

face it March for Life

Face it.

young pro-life women March for Life

Defend life.

Curmudgeons who don’t have any fun.

pro-life drummers March for Life

Boy band.

Definitely not cool.

pro-life jeans sign March for Life

He got a little “change” in his pocket.

nose ring pro-life March for Life

Pro-life generation, nose rings and all.


a person is a person March for Life

The wisdom of Seuss.


pro-abortive couple March for Life

Brave couple.

They don’t care about women and children.

mom with stroller baby March for Life

Marching mom.

mother with baby March for Life

Mother and child.

mother with babies March for Life

Stroller brigade.

life counts child on shoulders March for Life

Watching from Daddy’s shoulders.

In fact, they don’t care about women’s rights at all.

new wave feminists March for Life

New wave feminists are pro-life.

me and Jewels Green of Feminists for Life

Me and Jewels Green of Feminists for Life.

personhood for all March for Life

Personhood for all.

Totally irrelevant.

Capitol Hill March for Life

On Capitol Hill.

Not enough of them to cover in the news anyway.

March for Life 2013

Is this enough?

March for Life 2013

How about this?

March for Life 2013

Or this?

Just a handful of loonies.

Constitution Avenue view March for Life

View from Constitution Avenue.

Who aren’t going away anytime soon.

Old Glory March for Life

Old Glory in the March for Life.

40 years too many March for Life

40 years too many.

God’s plan looked foolish to men, but it is wiser than the best plans of men. God’s plan which may look weak is stronger than the strongest plans of men. 1 Corinthians 1:25 NLV

Let Mercy Lead by the timeless Rich Mullins.

pro life chick

pro-life chick

“Various media outlets put the estimate for this year’s March for Life crowd at between 500,000 and 650,000.” Catholic News Service

The March for Life is scheduled for January 22nd of both 2014 and 2015, marking the 41st and 42nd anniversaries of Roe v. Wade.

Every picture tells a story. What’s your favorite?

*I was surprised and delighted to run into Rebecca Kiessling in the crowds at the March for Life. To hear her story, please watch Reclaiming the Human Center of the Abortion Debate or see Rebecca’s website.

Also, if you haven’t already, please see my written report on BlogHer Walking the March for Life for the First Time.


Filed under America, life, women's studies

March for Life Story on BlogHer

March for Life mom

pro-life mom I met at March for Life

I’m home safe and sound after an exciting trip to Washington, D.C., and I’m thrilled BlogHer News has published my story Walking the March for Life for the First Time.

BlogHer, thank you for showing a diversity of women’s perspectives.

Everyone, I would be so grateful if you would please click over to BlogHer to read and share the story. Here’s the link:

Walking the March for Life for the First Time


Filed under America, life, women's studies

A Time to Speak

In a small town in another state, a 19-year-old woman finds out she’s pregnant. She lives with her widowed mother and has little money. Her baby’s father has abandoned her. The shame of her community presses down on her.

The year is 1970. Unwed motherhood isn’t worn as a status symbol by celebrities. Single parenting isn’t the norm. There are no support groups or pregnancy centers. No 3-D ultrasounds. Abortion is illegal.

If her pregnancy had happened three years later in 1973 when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, I wonder if that young woman would have chosen to abort her baby. If so, you wouldn’t be reading this.

That woman was my mother and I was the baby she carried.

Had abortion been legal in 1970, my mother would have been a prime candidate. Poor, unmarried, young, alone, afraid. Strong voices might have coached her choice. She wasn’t ready to parent. She couldn’t support a child. Why not just take care of this matter now?

Fast forward 25 years. My mother was in the fight of her life against cancer. Had euthanasia been legal in America, she would have been a prime candidate for physician-assisted suicide. There was no treatment for her disease. Strong voices might have coached her choice. Why burden her family and the system? Why prolong the inevitable?

My mother was my best friend, compassionate and kind. She died before I, as an adult, could ask her what it was like for her when I was born or what it was like for her to knowingly approach death at age 45.

She died before she could tell her story. I don’t want to do the same.

If Guttmacher’s statistics are anywhere near accurate, someone reading this is a mother or father whose child was aborted. I have no interest in condemning you. You made a legal choice in a heartbreaking, maybe even desperate situation. You may have felt coerced or kept in the dark about what was truly happening. You may harbor regret, sadness, anger, grief, or you may be numb to the experience. There is healing and forgiveness in Christ for you just as there is for me.

Look around. A lot of people are missing who are supposed to be here. It’s estimated more than 54,000,000 Americans have been legally killed by abortion since Roe v. Wade. We cannot comprehend all that was lost with those lives.

My heart aches for what my mother went through and what others face. But killing people is not a life-affirming answer. Not for the child, the parents, the disabled, the elderly, the terminal patient, our families, or our society.

What if we as a nation find ways to care for parents in crisis pregnancies and protect their babies’ lives? Can we resist the deception that euthanasia and abortion give us control without consequences? Will we hold fast to God’s timing in life and death? What does it say about the value of our own lives if we don’t?

I never asked my mother if she was glad she had me; I didn’t have to. Her love, courage, and sacrifices for me told me she was. My husband and son are also glad, and if my dog could speak, she’d tell you the same. And me? Am I glad abortion was illegal when my mother was pregnant with me?

Yes. Unapologetically, yes. I am thankful for life. Are you?

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT

This is Your Life by Switchfoot.

Who are you missing? What’s your story?
Who will you tell?

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States. Later this week, I’ll participate for the first time in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. I’d appreciate your prayers.


Filed under America, family & friends, life, women's studies


In a few short years, I’ve gone from washing my hair every single day to betting how many days I can go without washing my hair.

bloggess wannabee back

who’s that girl?

I suppose I could call it a matter of health. Most hair stylists agree. It’s not healthy to wash your hair every day. (I’m speaking of women here. Men, wash at will.) Over washing can mean over drying, especially as we get older and our hair loses its natural moisture and shine.

Good grief. That sounds like a shampoo commercial.

What was once a luxurious cleansing ritual now results in tresses crisp as sun-dried straw. Not pretty. Plus it takes so long to blow dry. Once upon a time, I thought nothing of spending hours on hair and makeup. Today it’s different. Pardon me, but I need to wash and go.

You know, I think it all started with that child I have. My hair was voluminous and glowing when I was pregnant with him. A few sleep-deprived months after giving birth, my hair (and the rest of me) looked tired. I barely had a moment to shower, much less dry and style. Besides, who has time for hair when there’s a boy’s childhood to be lived? There are Legos to assemble, imaginary wars to fight, books to read. Alas, I succumbed to the inevitable. I got mommy hair.

I cut it short. Then shorter. Then shorter. Then I saw myself in a photo. Shocked back to my senses, the race was on. A race more grueling than any marathon. Many of you recognize this perilous trek. Cursed is the day you agreed to layers and bangs. Your psyche bears the scars of the race to grow out your hair.

Since crossing the finish line about four years ago, I’ve kept my hair long. Pinterest helps me cope with impulses. When I see a photo that inspires me to cut my hair like hers, I pin it instead. Then I can think about it before I act on it. Maybe I’ll cut my hair short again some day. For now, I’ve relinquished my daily shampoo in order to preserve some semblance of health on my head.

I have to wonder if all this dryness has to do with our environment. No, not global warming. I’m talking about humidity. My hair was raised in Southern humidity. Most of my time in the Midwest has been spent in the drenching, river town seasons of St. Louis. It’s only recently we moved to the arid prairie-land of Kansas. Even the snow is dry here. Surely that must take a toll on my hair.

bloggess wannabee

I am not the bloggess (as if there was any confusion about that)

One of my friends has her hair done at the salon each week. She swears by the blow out. Says she doesn’t have to do a thing between visits. My stylist suggested pricey keratin treatments to make my hair like silk. Moisturized, manageable, lustrous silk.

But I know stress shows up in my skin. Makes sense it would show up in my hair. Forget the humidity, the expensive treatments, the weekly blow outs.

What I need is a vacation.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30 NIV

Props to the 90s and Swedish bands. Beautiful Life by Ace of Base.

What do you and your hair need?


Filed under humor, women's studies

Reader’s Choice ’12: Bellies on Vacation

Amy Heinz

Amy Heinz

Amy Heinz is the girl next door… and then some.

Besides having a very cool first name, Amy is a mommy blogger extraordinaire. Her blog Using Our Words was named Best NorCal Mom Blog by Circle of Moms this year and was a finalist in the Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Awards. You can catch Amy’s parenting posts on Disney Baby, too.

I got to know Amy online through a mutual friend, and this year I had the privilege of meeting her in person at the BlogHer Conference in New York. When she saw me sitting in front of her in a session, she texted me. Repeatedly. Only she was texting the wrong number.

Chalk up accidental cyber stalker to her list of accomplishments. Amy and her winning sense of humor have had a big year.

Amy’s Reader’s Choice is:

Bellies on Vacation

bikini belly

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Filed under humor, women's studies