Making a Name for Myself

When I was fourteen, my family and I moved to Lepanto, Arkansas. Before that, we lived in a suburb of North Little Rock called Sherwood. We were only there for a year and a half. Before that it was Brinkley—also a year and a half, and before that was Greenwood, which was three and a half years. I went to three different schools in three different towns, which were in three different states (Florida, Arkansas, and Texas) for my first three years of school. That’s seven different schools I had to have a first day of. Seven different groups of students and teachers that I told my name to. Seven different populations who mispronounced or misspelled it. And seven different places where I had to correct them. Again, and again, and again. 

Before we moved, I experienced my first real heartbreak. He was one of the preacher’s sons at the church we started going to after my dad got fired from his church in Sherwood. Timmy was six years older than me—yes, you read that right, and no, my mom and dad didn’t know about it until several years after the fact—but dating is probably too formal for what we had. We hung out at youth events. (The church was so young it hadn’t started a college ministry yet.) We talked on the phone. He gave me a ride home from church a few times, and we held hands in his pick-up truck. But then some of his college aged friends found out what had been going on and told him that he needed to break it off because I was too young for him. We’d been together for a couple of months by then, and I was devastated.

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A Run With AP and Friends

My daughter Laurel told me how wearing exercise clothes can make you want to exercise, so I bought the uniform of the runner—leggings—and it sort of works. Once I put them on, I feel like I’ve made a commitment to run.

This morning I really didn’t want to run—and when I say “run”, I mean “walk-run,” with more walking than running at this point in my 5K run app.

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The Cloud of Witnesses

This evening, in Mass, Jane Frances climbed wildly on the pew while the older four children tried to ignore her. She was aware of the ignoring, and set about fighting it. Jane is potty training, and must always use the potty during church. When I took her to the restroom for the second time, I somehow managed to tear the side of her Pull-Up irreparably, leaving her bare-bottomed and unladylike, which sent the other children into giggle fits.

Mass is often offered for the repose of the soul of someone who has recently passed. We pray for our loved ones who have gone and for those who will soon die. My Grandmother Joyce is among these; she has end-stage lung cancer and expects just a few more months. I pray for her the best I can while the children sniffle and giggle around and on top of me. As I look at the little ones, I am struck by how much my prayer has shifted over the past year. As a younger mom, I often prayed for protection. Many times, it didn’t come through—or, at least, not as I thought of protection. Now I pray for the strength I’ll need when inevitable losses come my way.

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Hiking, or The Reason to Abuse a Left Knee

A few years ago, my wife decided to give me a birthday present in the form of abandonment in the wilderness. To be clear, this was what I wanted. My version of a vacation is fairly Spartan. Give me a sleeping bag, a hammock, a tarp, and some basic necessities, and leave me to wander. This is distinctly different from my mother’s version of camping, which involves things with agitators—a washing machine, a hot tub, and cable television, for example.

My sweet wife dropped me off at Cosby Campground, where Cosby Creek churns down a mountain gully in fresh cascades of whitewater. The trail from there to Low Gap averages a thirteen percent grade. I was newly thirty-two years old. Surely sixty additional pounds up a mountain posed no problem.

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What the World Needs Now

Editor’s note: We are excited to welcome Wade Bibb to Foundling House. Wade is the Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Bearden in Knoxville and a one-time professor of religion at Carson-Newman University. He is also an avid runner and is in such great shape that the rest of us wonder about our own efforts at exercise. Furthermore, he does not drink coffee, yet still manages to get things accomplished.

I am not a mother.

I have a mother. I’m married to a mother, but I am not a mother. I have seen the job and the responsibilities, and I don’t want to be a mother. Actually, I’m a little a bit afraid of most mothers. It’s as if, once they have raised children, they know there’s nothing else that can ever really scare them.

I’m not a mother, and it isn’t just a biological issue—I know I can’t do the job. One Sunday morning, while we were getting ready for church, my wife told our daughter Emily, five-years-old at the time, to go pick out what she wanted to take to church. Emily picked out four little horses to keep herself quiet and pacified. I told her that was a lot and that she might just need to take two of them. Not sure about the instructions here mother had given, I said, “Let’s go ask mommy what she thinks.” Emily said, “Yeah, you don’t know anything do you.”

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All the Montessori Books

By sheer luck or perfect providence or simple coincidence, the day I called the Montessori School about a job was the same day a full time assistant had quit without notice. They would be thrilled to hire me back to fill the position, the Head of School told me over the phone while my heart began to beat again. We set a start date, hung up, and I stared at the bulletin board trying to collect myself. It hung on the wall of a coffee shop in a strip mall outside town. I had driven there in a gold 1994 Honda Civic on twenty-four hour loan from the mechanic. It was December in Idaho. My car was totaled, I’d just learned I was pregnant, and I was going back to my hometown.

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