We turn to the One whose words never fail.
Please click to read the full text of Psalm 91.
We turn to the One whose words never fail.
Please click to read the full text of Psalm 91.
I mustache you to enjoy this emoticon moment on Twitter with blogger Jenny Dewey and her fiancé Mark.
Twitter does have some redeeming qualities.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 NLT
And now it’s time for a silly song with Larry… Love me some VeggieTales.
What’s your favorite emoticon?
Please demonstrate in the comments.
This past Monday, I’d had it with Twitter. Rather than give up, I took the bull by the horns. Because that’s what we do here.
I deactivated my Twitter account @everydayepistle. Please follow me now @AimeeWhetstine if you like.
Inquiring minds want to know. Why this change? Why now? Here’s the skinny:
1. Forgive me for being undiplomatic, but I hate Twitter.
Maybe I just don’t get it. People have explained Twitter to me as a cocktail party where you can chat with absolutely anyone. How cool is that?!
Eh. There’s something to be said for hanging out at a barbecue with people I already know. Dear Mr. Zuckerberg’s endless string of arbitrary changes is tiresome, but Facebook is more my speed. There’s context to Facebook—mutual friends, profiles, photos, a virtual paper trail of posts, comments, likes. Yes, some people present falsely, but only the hopelessly diabolical can keep up a Facebook farce for long. True colors shine through.
Meanwhile, Twitter is context-free. Commitment-free. A breeding ground for trolls and propaganda. It’s easy to hide behind 140 characters. Olé!
Unless you have a gazillion tweeting friends or followers, Twitter is also like an echo chamber. It’s you, standing alone in the arena, waiting for the bull to rush you. Your tweets disappear into the chaos of the crowd. Who knows where they’ve gone or who’ll read them? Who knows if anyone will read them at all or if you’ve just wasted two precious minutes of your life distilling a profound thought into an acceptable tweet. There isn’t enough time in the day, folks.
And yet, if I want to write, if I want to participate in social media, if I want to connect with people in the 21st century, Twitter is a necessary evil.
2. If I write it, my byline needs to be on it.
Ross Douthat has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter and follows 110. Peggy Noonan has nearly 75,000 followers and follows 85. Beth Moore has more than 300,000 followers and follows 50. Seth Godin has more than 260,000 followers and follows no one.
These are a few of my favorite writers. They don’t follow. They tweet and leave the following to others. They invest their time doing what they’re obviously good at and what I suspect they enjoy most. Notice it’s not Twitter.
They tweet with their own names—except for Seth who uses @ThisIsSethsBlog. It’s rather spiffy to use a cool Twitter handle, brand name, or blog title. It’s just that for me, for now, I want ownership and accountability. I’m no Peggy or Beth, but I want you to know who’s speaking and who you’re speaking to.
3. It’s time to clean house.
The terrorist attack in Boston was less than two hours old this past Monday afternoon when a writer I was following tweeted something beyond irresponsible. I’ve told you here before that if you so much as breathe the wrong way on my child, Momma Bear will make an appearance. Well, kicking my country when it’s down isn’t a good idea either.
Liberal news outlets have carelessly, callously promoted inappropriate ideas since the bombing, but this writer was first to do it on my feed. I’d mistaken her for someone she isn’t. I’d been gored.
And you know what? It’s my bad. I’d assumed without knowing. I’d trusted without verifying. Her response to my calling her on the insensitive tweet showed she clearly couldn’t care less who I am or what I think or even how her tweet insulted citizens who still love America and emboldened those who hate us. (By the way, if you live in America and hate America, please consider moving. Abroad. Think of how much happier
we’d all you’d be.)
That was the last straw. Within 24 hours, I’d closed my old Twitter account and started over, determined to make a fresh start. Ah, catharsis.
Between you, me, and the fencepost, I’d like to continue writing about things that are important to me, but life isn’t a popularity contest and Twitter doesn’t have to be a blood sport. Read and follow if you like. Block me if you don’t. I’ve got work to do. As myself. As Aimee Whetstine.
God bless America.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
Pasodobles Españoles by Pepe El Trumpeta.
I cannot be the only person out there with Twitter malaise. Can you relate? Or if you love Twitter, won’t you kindly share a tip or two?
Hi. How you been?
My spring blogging break lasted longer than expected. Lots to tell you. Where to start?
Amy at Using Our Words writes a regular column of 10 things she’s learned each week. She’s the boss of this format, which I am not—and she’s funny, which I am occasionally. In homage to Amy, here’s my list of 10 things I learned while I wasn’t blogging.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT
Guess what? (No spoilers if you know what.)
Somehow, someway, we made it to spring break. Hallelujah!
Change is fast approaching. We got some things going on here. I hope to tell you more soon. For now, I’m taking some time off with my guys to regroup.
I’ll still be around, so it’s not like I’m going cold turkey.
It’s more like I’m going shrimp cocktail.
Yes, chilled shrimp cocktail with just enough fresh horseradish in the red sauce to stir the heart.
Now that hits the spot.
See you on the other side of delicious.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Psalm 62:1 NIV
Not for a Moment by Meredith Andrews. Beautiful, beautiful song.
Thank you for blessing me with your readership. Happy Spring Break!
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.
I can lose my hard earned freedom if my fear defines my world.
One Girl Revolution by Superchick!
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.
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.
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.
This past weekend, I read an article in The New York Times that crushed me: The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking.
That story, coupled with Modern American Poetry’s photo essay of the Holocaust, reminded me of a quote from Martin Niemöller, a Protestant pastor who spoke out against the Nazis and spent seven years in concentration camps.
How could so many people know what was happening right under their noses and not speak out? What do you know about that’s happening right under your nose?
Will you speak out?
Speak out for those who cannot speak… from Proverbs 31:8 NRSV
Today my first story about American women gun owners was published on The Broad Side, an online women’s opinion magazine.
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.
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.
“SHOPPING IS NOT A HOBBY,” read the pretentious bumper sticker.
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.
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.
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.”
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?
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.
We 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.