My Dad's got this saying that he pulls out when he wants to call somebody a know-it-all without saying as much. "She's sure gotta lot of answers right now," he'll comment with a shake of the head. I grin on the inside thinking about it. I know for a fact that he's said that about me at some point or another. I don't think any of us actually realize when we're being know-it-alls until after the fact. In recognition that I'm the first person in the guilty-as-charged line, I present: 

How to know when you've "gotta lot of answers." (Goofy sarcasm intended)

The workout got the best of me. New to the gym and programming, my time was the slowest out of my entire group. Chest heaving up and down and hands on my hips, pride died right there next to me in a pool of sweat. That day, we were required to complete a combination of running, wall balls, and box jumps while being timed. “I don’t run,” I remember mentioning to the trainer as the starting bell sounded. I ran anyway. It wasn’t pretty.

I can’t stop wiggling in my seat. Continuing education day. Facts ring in my ears and I want nothing more than to run home and hug my kids. The information just keeps coming: 

  • Teenagers and young adults who regularly use cannabis suffer an average 8-point IQ drop that’s irreversible… 
  • The United States uses 80% of the entire world's prescriptions…
  • After a substance abuse relapse, people's withdrawal symptoms worsen each time they attempt sobriety… 
  • Society is ill-equipped to deal with normal life stresses in natural ways...

I catch my four-year-old rifling through the wooden, oak-stained, memory box that my Grandpa Charlie made for me years ago. Pictures litter the carpet as he immerses himself in the parts of my life he's yet to understand. "You have so much memory in here, Mommy." 

Withdrawal. I'm aching for the weird that I left in a trail of exhaust just 48 hours ago. This week my word-loving, big faith, and question-everything kind of weird was in good company. Life gets pretty lonely if we don't connect with like-minded others. Having pulled onto the interstate to head back home to my post-conference reality, I sensed that I was missing the peculiar already. Yearning even...

The water is 85 degrees but the air is cool. Parents line the pool deck with sweatshirts and towels draped tightly over their shoulders to cut the wind. None of the kids seem to notice as they giggle their way through swim practice. They're immune to cold at this age. A parent catches my attention as she begins to get a little loud in her attempts to usher her daughter to the dressing room to change clothes. 

Hey Gritty Guys and Gals!

I'm taking this week as an opportunity to check on YOU! 

When was the last time somebody asked you what you thought, and actually held still long enough to hear the answer? As I gear up for a fabulous few days away at an upcoming writer's conference, I'm filled with gratitude for the past year a half that I've spent talking with all of you. I'm reminded that YOUR voices are the ones that drive me to keep writing.

He looks at me from beneath his eyelashes. His lunch tray is disheveled at this point, with half-eaten flecks of food scattered about. His fingers carry evidence of chronic nail-biting and his voice is barely audible above the hum of the cafeteria. I wish I could scoop him into my arms and carry him far from all of the noise and the trouble. I wish I could raise him myself. 

"I'm wondering what happened right before you punched your friend," I speak to him quietly. "Your Dad's on his way and I was hoping we could talk about that a little bit while we wait." I watch as his pale blue eyes drift up from his tray and focus on mine. He shrugs his shoulders.

"It doesn't really matter what happened. My Dad's always mad." 

"Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God."   Oswald Chambers

Note: This week's blog is a follow-up to last week's piece on public shaming. You can read that post by clicking Here. 

I touched on some tender places last week, dear readers. I got a variety of responses and messages - most were positive with a few questions. Not surprisingly, there were also a couple of "hide this post" clicks for those who didn't care to engage. I wrote that piece because my heart was broken. And I wrote it because I believe that Christians are capable of talking about hard things without shutting down or losing our cool. 

I saw. It was in the news - Charlotte this time, with some scriptural scribbles along the "tip" line of a dinner bill. Another group of my fellow "Christians" made headlines again for acting like fools. They're usually the ones who do, the foolish, because they make such a sensational six-o'clock newscast.