Life & Culture

life • cul·ture

/līf/   /ˈkəlCHər/

Every experience we walk through that affects our very existence; the external influences of the world we live in that shape us and impact our thoughts, actions, and daily routines.

Summer Reading List—Second 5

Summer Reading List—Part 2

Want to see what our contributors are reading this summer? Check out 5 more of their picks below: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Novel) Suggested by Ashley Johnson The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers: Spiritual Insights from the World’s Most Beloved Neighbor by Amy Hollingsworth (Biography) Suggested by Rachel Graham Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown (#1 New York Times bestseller) Suggested by Annie Leigh Edwards Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (#1 National Bestseller) Suggested by Phyllis Everette 100 Things I Wish I Knew in My Baby’s First Year: Keys to Making Parenting Easier

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If Only Life Had Photoshop

If Only Life Had Photoshop

Standing in the grocery aisle looking at the magazines covers, I find myself pondering. Not on who is divorcing, marrying, cheating, too fat, too thin, or simply confused about their sexuality. Nope; I’m pondering how amazing the ladies who grace these covers look. Well, of course they do, there is a wonderful software called Photoshop! I’d look pretty darn good, too, if they did that to me! But alas, it’s not going to happen—don’t even really want it to. But at one time, photo-shopping the imperfections out of my life is something I would have seriously considered. I did not want my blunders, errors, and life faux pas to be seen by the masses. That is no longer true! A bunch of years ago I

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Summer Reading List—First 5

Summer Reading List—Part 1

Want to see what our contributors are reading this summer?  Check out 5 of their picks below: Back In The Day Bakery—Made With Love by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day (Food/Cooking) Suggested by Linda Clements All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Derr (Novel; Pulitzer Prize Winner) Suggested by Renee Clifford and Teresa Morgan Christian Manning: A Father, His Sons, & a Football Legacy by Archie & Peyton Manning, with John Underwood (Memoir) Suggested by Teresa Morgan Christian For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards By Jen Hatmaker (Christian Literature) Suggested by Whitney Hsu and Annie Leigh Edwards And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Mystery Novel) Suggested by Darlene Brock You can find 5 more suggestions here: Summer Reading List—Part 2. We know that not everyone has

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Young Cop, I’m Praying for You

Exactly 12 hours before the Orlando nightclub massacre, I sat at a window in Chipotle and saw a police officer get into his car to go back on duty after a late lunch. He was young and handsome, and I instantly thought of the 20-something men in our family, men we love, men we would fear for if they were wearing his pressed black uniform. He confidently and calmly drove away and I thought, You, young cop, leaving Chipotle with your belly full, your mind perhaps on your afternoon patrol ahead, or maybe on something else; a girlfriend, tonight’s Stanley Cup playoffs, your next day off. You, young cop, I’m praying for you. I hope your mama prays for you, but even

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Work Overload Killing You?

Work Overload Killing You?

Five things I learned to keep me from drowning at work: 1. Touch a paper or view an email once. Deal with it immediately, put it in the trash or a flag it “waiting for more info” box because more is coming later. 2. Make coworkers do their own thinking. If they want input give it, but ask them to bring you the ideas they have developed, you will look them over. 3. Manage your time don’t let others do it for you. Keep a calendar and follow it, allow time for quick questions but go to the coworkers desk, you can leave when you need to. 4. Close your door or hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your cubicle. When

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She Did it Again When Britney Hurts My Body Image

She Did it Again: When Britney Hurts My Body Image

Yesterday I was in the checkout line, hiding unwashed hair beneath my baseball cap, pretending that I was not reading the current gossip magazines… But I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the “BREAKING NEWS!” Yep… Britney Spears got her body back. No more crazy-rock-bottom-shaved-head-Disney-star-gone-wild Britney. Now, it is the HIT-ME-BABY-ONE-MORE-TIME-I-can-rock-a-slightly-inappropriate-schoolgirl-midriff-after-having-kids Britney! I am happy for Britney. She worked hard to get those abs! But when I saw this article, my first reaction was to throw it down on the ground and stomp all over it. I kept my composure, of course, because I am from the south… But I did want to drop kick that article. It is not fair. I look at my body in the mirror (after three kids) and it

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5 Moving Tips from a Gypsy Girl

5 Moving Tips from a Gypsy Girl

I can just hear Darth Vader mouth-breathing and saying over me, “The gypsy force is strong with this one.” With my dad in the military, my moving adventures began several months after my birth. Apparently my tent pegs are not meant to be in concrete yet, because moving is still a part of my life. With this experience, I offer 5 tips from a gypsy: 1. Packing Paper  This stuff can get expensive, but it’s necessary. (You can use your towels for some things.) I like to go to my local Recycling Station for newspapers. It’s most often FREE! Many are discards from the local news business. The leftovers are clean and plentiful at the Recycling Stations I have used. Of course, you can

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Lessons From the Middle School

Every day I’m surrounded by 300 middle school students. My office is nestled in the seventh grade hallway, wedged within the girls’ locker bay. It smells of vanilla and baby powder. Further down the hall sits the boys’ lockers, and this hallway does not smell like vanilla and baby powder. It has a strange odor that I’ve yet to name, even though I have two teenage boys myself. When we think of middle schoolers, we often think of all the wisdom we would like to impart during these formative years. And there is a lot! However, I’m realizing that my days with teenagers probably teach me as much as I am teaching the kids. Here are a few things that I am

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Tips Are Plentiful Graces Are Few

Tips Are Plentiful, Graces Are Few

We have a wealth of information like no other generation of women preceding us. With a swipe of a finger, I can have a solution for that stubborn stain on the couch or read a thousand reviews on the best mascara. I can meal plan like a boss and melt inches from my waistline in just weeks. There seems to be this goal for streamlining life, doing more things in less time, by maximizing schedules, budget, resources, and even appearances. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good tip just like the next girl, and there is a beauty in sharing such knowledge of helpful remedies and solutions. But, I have also discovered that the pursuit of making life more efficient can

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Unattached woman seated on floor without face showing

Staying Sane When You Feel Crazy

I remember the first time I walked through a store after my first husband died. It was like walking on Mars; I was an alien in a foreign land. I looked like everyone else in Walmart that day, but I was a completely altered human being. I was struggling to simply put one foot in front of the other, to actually find and place a few grocery items into my basket, that in the grand scheme of things are meaningless to life. And no one knew. No one could tell by looking at me that I just lost my husband; that I felt like I might collapse in a puddle at any moment and melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West.

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Shaking it Off

If you have ever suffered through a hard, hopeless season in life, you will know where I am coming from. It is that season when just getting out of bed in the morning seems near impossible and beyond your capabilities. The season where you walk around throughout the day on auto pilot, emotionally numb to the world around you; yet, still unable to stop an endless flow of tears. And then, there is the guilt so heavy on your shoulders for a person of “so-called” faith such as yourself to be giving in this way when you should be a person of abundant joy. Yes, that is the season I am talking about. I have been there. In looking back with a

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Maybelline MasterGraphic Liquid Eyeliner Review

I’ve tried it all, it seems. I love makeup! I’ll be sharing my product reviews for you and would love your feedback on what I should try, too! Today we’re looking at Maybelline’s MasterGraphic Liquid Eyeliner. This is a pretty close dupe for the Benefit “They’re Real” Push Up Eye Liner. It’s a lash-hugging long-wearing jet black gel eyeliner in a felt tip pen form. It has a chiseled angled felt tip to apply eye liner achieving winged cat eye more easily, as well as, lining your eyes well. If you like your eyeliner on the thicker side this product is for you. If you like a thin line you will be frustrated by this product. I like to sort of tap

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New Places You’ll Go!

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! If you haven’t read this in awhile…or ever…I suggest you find a copy ASAP (hint…great graduation present..thanks Aunt Jan). If you are reading this you may be finding yourself in a new place, you’ve already gotten on your way. Or maybe you are in the same place you have been for while, but you need a change or a shift in perspective. Maybe you have moved for reasons that you chose. Or maybe you didn’t have much choice in the matter. Either way – moving is hard – change is hard. I lived in four states

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Surviving the Shadowlands of Teen Suicide

When my son was fourteen years old, he suddenly lost his best friend. The week began with an ordinary Monday. My son spent the morning chatting with his friend before school began, they passed each other in the hallways numerous times throughout the day, they ate lunch side by side, and they said goodbye at 3:15, as they did every day for five years. That night his friend took his own life. On Tuesday morning, with the news of his friend’s death, my son’s heart broke and his world changed. Prior to this tragedy, my son lived in the beautiful bubble of a happy childhood. Sure, he’d faced fear, struggle, and disappointment, but in light of the nuclear blast of that Tuesday

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The Runner Up Crown

There we were. Another contestant and I, hands embraced tight, waiting to hear whose hard work had paid off, whose “resume” had been accepted—who was the greatest. Then, it happened. My world was turned upside down, and my mirror was shattered as I heard my name called as the first . . . runner . . . up. Let’s face it. There is the winner, and then there are those who are, umm . . . losers! No, we are not all winners. There she was, the winner; there I was, the loser. Sorry little league baseball people, but not everyone gets a trophy in life. Thanks for lying to us. There I was, rejected—once again. The judges refused to accept all

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