One morning as I sat sipping my coffee for the glorious 10 minutes before my little ones wobble out of their rooms, I opened my phone to an article about school closings. There was going to be a return to virtual classes in many areas of the country because of threats of school violence on the social media platform Tik Tok (the one where kids do dancing that they’ve rehearsed for hours in front of a mirror) and other social media. I read about how social media threats were causing many teachers and students to fear for their lives. I turned to my husband and shared the headline. “How can this be?” I asked incredulous. “School shootings being talked about on social […]
What if your whole and redeemed and comfortable life shattered after the miracle happened? Heather Kopp has been in publishing for decades, starting out as a columnist and then going on to edit and write more than two dozen non-fiction books. Her recovery memoir, Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk, tells her story of anguish, then redemption; and a cycle of addiction that God miraculously and mercifully breaks. Not only in her own life but in her son, Noah’s, as well. Heather speaks of the shame surrounding addiction for women, especially Christian women, and how challenging it was for her during her struggle with alcohol. “I was taught that alcohol was a sin issue only. And so, while
Lori walked into the room wearing a green business suit, legs up to her neck, thick brown hair, and a face that says two things: I’ve been there and I’m worth it. I knew at once: she had what I wanted. After talking to my friends and gaining a little courage, I approached her after a meeting. When I asked if she’d like to talk, the first thing she said was, “Let’s pray about it.” Writing a Care of God List It wasn’t long before Lori’s number in my cell phone was on the most-called (or texted) list. When I needed guidance working through a situation, I reached out. When my mind swirled like a gulf stream with obsessive or destructive thinking,
One day after my 8-year sober birthday, I decided to do a social media detox for a month (or as long as I could). In the beginning, there really wasn’t any end game in mind. My motivation: I realized that somewhere along the way I started caring what people think. And this started to affect how I felt about myself. Oh, and also: I was spending way too much time checking my phone. I wish someone could have taken my picture and posted it as I contemplated what it meant to erase the Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone. I held my finger on the screen and the icons did that little dance, that shaky “please don’t delete me” dance. This
Today, we went to the splash park. The morning was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. The kids were being my little angels as I like to call them. We sang in the car on the way there. My son read his book while my daughter looked out the window and talked to herself about silly, adorable things. Like how Elsa needs a haircut. We pulled into the parking lot and it wasn’t too busy. There was a nice spot left in the shade. Everything was going great … until it wasn’t. Toddlers Are Like Ticking Time Bombs Until the outing actually started. Until other kids showed up. Until I started having cramps and needed chocolate (which I did not bring).
With Christmas right around the corner, many are celebrating what is known as Advent. Now, for those of you like me who did not grow up in the church, you may not have learned that Advent is the period of time in the Christian calendar leading up to Christ’s birth on Christmas. Even though “Advent” may sound like the newest asthma medication, it in fact signifies a time of expectant waiting. In Latin (for those word lovers like myself), it literally means “coming.” Christ is coming and as a Christian, we mark this amazing reality by talking about it, hearing about it in sermons, and reflecting on it during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. I did not grow up in
If you are expecting twins, there is one thing that I, a former twin carrier, would like to plead with you not to do. This one thing, like a giant red button with a sign hanging from it that says “do not push,” is tempting (trust me, I’ve been there). You will want to push it. You will want to see it. You will start typing into Google… But don’t. Trust me. Stop. And I’ll tell you why. The Reality Starts Sinking In—You’re Expecting Twins When I was early on in my pregnancy with twins, there was no denying how much my life was never going to be the same. I noticed how much was changing—and strangers enjoyed pointing this out as
My husband and I have a new tradition called “sweet o’clock.” We plan out the evening ahead of time, and I make a homemade treat, one of our favorites being a new flavor of homemade ice cream. As soon as the kids go to bed, we smile and head to the kitchen. On tough days (we are currently living through the “terrific twos” with twins), we will hint at our little secret and delicious rendezvous throughout the day. “Sweet o’clock night,” I will whisper as the kids are screaming from their high chairs or doing superhuman squirms to get out of changing their pull-up. I might be ready to pull out my own hair, or have one of those bathroom-cry moments that
It all started the night my husband and I were arguing over nursing chairs. My husband didn’t understand why we needed to purchase a brand new plush gray glider. He couldn’t comprehend why I needed this chair to sink into while staring at my precious babies as they suckled themselves to sleep. He didn’t appreciate how, months ahead of schedule, each piece of furniture and décor had been selected with precision to match: the soft muslin blankets (white and gray); the plush bunnies and safari animal prints (white and gray); the lamp (white); the dresser (gray); the nursing chair. I sobbed uncontrollably while he reviewed our budget with squinting eyes. As I watched him, I thought about how unfair it was he
Scrolling social media, I see women who are painted like porcelain dolls with tiny waists and thick-alicious hips. I see images of perfection that are totally disproportionate and unattainable. And what is worse: this dangerous trend now compels me. I find myself searching frantically for the perfect filter before I post a pic, the one that looks “natural” or like I’m just the right age (younger than I am). If I can’t find it, then I spend way too much time adjusting the lighting and color saturation; maybe I’ll even add one of those funky (and slightly creepy) filters that make me look like an extraterrestrial, flower child, or naughty pirate. I do this, I play along, even though most days all
In middle school, we had well-meaning, completely-out-of-touch teachers (according to us) who thought that it was important to include “life lessons” as part of the curriculum. These lessons included how to write a check (long before Venmo or PayPal), how to open a bank account, how to respond when our bodies started to develop and what on earth a maxi pad was—just to name a few. I Learned a Big Lesson in Middle School: Life Is Fragile One of these lessons we were unwillingly tasked with was carrying around an egg all day. We were informed that this smooth, white egg was representative of our baby child. “Raising a kid is tough,” one male teacher noted. “This will show you how very
As I scroll through my list of friend requests on social media, I usually ask myself the same questions: if my life was falling apart, could I call on this person? Would they drop everything and be over in a few minutes with a tasty meal or a listening ear or to watch my kids quick while I scream into a pillow? And the answer is almost always “no.” Today, I am “friends” with thousands of people, but I’ve never felt more alone. Why Is It So Easy to Make Friends as a Kid? When I was five years old and regularly wore a pink tutu or my beloved red cowgirl boots and pigtails, I met my soulmate. Her name was Crystal.
When I was six months pregnant with twins, I talked my husband into getting an L-shaped sectional as an act of self-care. My cute, little micro-suede sofa from my single life no longer cut it. I needed something heftier, sturdier—something to hold all of me up. After he said “yes” to my new couch, I was ecstatic because I knew my life was going to dramatically change. No longer did I have to twist and turn like a manatee on a rock. All of me (well, almost) could fit when lying down and I could even bring my extra favorite body pillows (yes, there were two) to wedge just below my tummy to hoist it up as I enjoyed eating all of
My husband quietly closes the door behind him. It’s such a soft noise—like the sound of breathing out on a cold day. Lately, he has been working from home, and what used to be our guest room is now his office. He’s a scientist and does a lot with computers, so the desk, once lined with antique glass bottles of all colors and a sweet little doily from my mother-in-law, now looks like NASA headquarters. There are blinking blue and red lights, and charts and numbers and what is truly a different language spread across three giant computer screens. I imagine him sipping his coffee, glasses resting comfortably on his nose, nodding in agreement or gazing quizzically during his Zoom meetings with
This year, I resolve not to make any more New Year’s resolutions. No more diets, exercise programs or firm convictions that I will eat less meat or spend less time on social media. I am not going to promise to hit the gym three times a week, do online yoga everyday or start Cross Fit. I am not going to give up my morning coffee or my afternoon sweets or my nightly salty snacks (I love you, pretzels!). I will not give up or start up anything new. This year, I am going to let myself be myself. I am going to love myself. I am going to feed myself when I am hungry and go for long, lingering walks. I am