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The Sixth Time I Went to the Principal’s Office

When I was in third grade, I had problems behaving. My heart was usually in the right place, but my good intentions didn’t quite make it to the surface a lot of the time. No matter how hard I tried, I just kept doing things I shouldn’t. Read more

The Guilt and Fear that Follow Death

I stopped talking to my friend Erin Myers because I was embarrassed of her.

We were going to the mall together, and she wore a sleeveless denim jacket and a hat decorated with a large sunflower. This was also the year she played trumpet in the band, a fact that significantly lowered her social status at Petal High. I was terrified of being seen with her.

Somehow Erin detected it. Read more

Epiphany from a Totally Random Wedding Gift

When Raquel and I got engaged, we got a gift from our registry, and we didn’t recognize the name. I think it was a $15 stainless steel salt shaker or something like that. All that was listed was a guy’s name and phone number. When I asked Raquel if she knew the person, she was certain she didn’t.

That’s when I guessed what had happened: The guy sent the gift to the wrong couple. So I decided to call him, and that’s when things got really interesting. Read more

Awkward People Don’t Need a Cure — They Need Community

For a lot of my single years, I was hopelessly awkward. No doubt, there were still attractive things about my personality (or at least my mom says there were), but overall, I was kind of weird. Read more

Walking the Straight and Narrow While Dressed in Blue

There’s a lot of talk about the motivations of police officers these days, and I think that in all the polarizing discussions, it’s easy to forget the humanity of all the people involved—including the officers.

I asked my friend Aaron to share his heart behind serving as a police officer, and he graciously wrote the following piece, which I greatly appreciate. Thanks, Aaron. Read more

The Power of Being Emotionally Naked with Your Spouse

One time, early in our marriage, my wife and I were at a party; and in an attempt to be funny, I told a somewhat humorous but unflattering story about the hostess. The moment it came out of my mouth, I knew I should’ve kept it in there, but it was too late.  Read more

10 Things My Parents Got Right

A lot of folks like me hit their 20s or 30s and suddenly realize all the things their parents got wrong. The blame rolls in. Our insecurities, troubles with romance, inability to develop healthy friendships, whatever — all of it comes back to mom and pop. If only they hadn’t done this or that, we would be healthy and whole.

When my parents divorced after years of trying to keep it together, I didn’t know what to do with their relationship. In the back of my mind, I knew there were bright moments, but I simplified things by seeing their relationship as one big mistake. Read more

What a Newborn is Teaching Me About Being a Christian

Yesterday, my wife and I had visitors over, and my newborn son started crying — probably because he was tired and needed to go to sleep. We tried to play it cool while attempting to calm him down. We even gave our visitors a shot at soothing him, but none of it worked. He kept on crying, so I finally left the room and went upstairs to console him. It took 30 minutes, and it required a lot of creativity. Read more

The Best Thing I Can Do After a Terrorist Attack

When a horrific terrorist attack happens, the first question that comes to my mind is, How afraid should I be? I live in Washington, D.C., so it’s fair to assume that my family and I are, at any given time, at risk of being killed or injured in a terrorist attack. Read more

God Help the Little Girl I Shamed on the Bus

I don’t have a lot of regrets from my childhood, but there’s one from fifth grade that still bothers me.

I made friends with a second grader named Jennifer who rode my bus.  She had a round face, a raspy voice, and a wild mop of wavy blond hair. And those eyes — they nearly disappeared when she smiled, which she did a lot — especially when she was talking to me.

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