Day 29: Transcript of ‘The Race Talk’ with my Kids {31 Days of #WOKE}

I had this conversation yesterday with my 4 1/2 year old son and 2 1/2 year old daughter. They had never read this book before and were excited to read it together. Here is the truncated transcript of the video of us reading the book together:

 

[Look at the cover of the book Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.]

Me: “This book cover has lots of different kinds of kids on it. How do they look different? What are they doing?”

Son: “Silly things!”

Me: “Like what?”

Son: I don’t know. She’s all dirty and laughing. And she is …. no one knows. He’s playing pirates.”

Me: Do any of these kids look like you guys?

Daughter: That’s E and that’s me!

Me: The pirate and the girl with the baseball cap? Do any of them look like you guys?

D: That one looks like me.

S: That one looks like me. Cause it has white skin. That means it’s me.

Me: But is your skin “white”? This is white, right? This cover [pointing at white duvet cover]. Is your skin the color of this?

S: But what is my color? [lifting up his shirt] Yeah, what is this color? [pointing at stomach]

Me: This is “peach”…is what we call our skin color. But we sometimes call our color “white.” And then what do people call this color? [point at African American kid in book]

S: Black.

Me: But is she really black? Is her skin black?

S: BROWN!

Me: So actually even your skin is even a tiny little bit brown. Do you know why we have different color skin? Because God made us different. We all have something in our skin called melanin. Can you say melanin?

S: Melanin.

Me: And that’s what makes our skin different colors. So if you’re white you don’t have a lot of melanin. But if you’re what we call black, then you have a lot of melanin.

S: What IS melanin?

Me: It’s just like a special thing that’s in our skin that makes our skin different colors. So some people are what we call “white,” which is what we are.

S: Do I have that…that…word? Do I have…

Me: Melanin? Yep, we all do.

S: [High-pitched voice] I have melanin?

Me: Actually, when you go out in the sun, it brings out the melanin, so we can be even darker. In sun sometimes our skin turns even a little browner. So in the summer our skin is more brown.

Me: So do you have any friends that are black? Do you know any kids that are brown colored?

S: One.

Me: Who is it?

S: C–

Me: Yep. So C– has more melanin in his skin.

S: I have more melanin.

Me: You have less melanin.

S: What does “less” mean?

Me: Not as much.

S: I have SO MUCH!

[I laugh.]

Me: Let’s read a book.

[Begin reading the book together, asking questions and talking about the pictures.]

Me: So this girl looks a little different, too. What does she look like? [point to Asian girl in picture]

S: She looks like what?

Me: Well, you know how mommy has some Chinese friends? And we speak Chinese together?

S: Yeah.

Me: So this girl looks Chinese, which means she’s “Asian.” So their skin is a little bit white, but it’s also a little bit brown.

D: Read it!

[Continue reading and talking about the pictures and words in the book. I ask what the kids were doing in the pictures and make connections to our lives.]

Me: They all have different kinds of hair, don’t they? So everyone has different kinds of hair, too. It’s all beautiful.

[Continue reading]

Me: [Point at another picture of a black child in the book.] Sometimes, also, when people have brown skin, we call them “African American.”

S: I found an African American! And another African American!

Me: Uh huh. “African American” is what we sometimes call people.

D: And MORE African American. [pointing]

S: Noo. She’s not African American.

[Continue reading, talking and answering many many questions.]

Me: [Reading end of book] “Because they make the world…”

S: Different Colors!

Me: Different Colors. And different colors is better than one color, isn’t it?

[They ask MORE questions about the pictures–unrelated to race.]

Me: [Finish reading.] “Beautiful!” Don’t you think they make the world beautiful? Just like you guys.

Reflection:

I felt like this conversation went really well. My son already knew the terminology “white” and “black,” though I’m not sure where he got it from (possibly from the hours of podcasts I listen to on this topic …). But it was refreshing to talk about how to describe people in a non-threatening, matter-of-fact way. From now on, I’ll try to be more intentional about talking about race as we read books together.

Have you had a conversation like this with your kids? Do you have any other recommendations for me? I’m sure it’s the first of many talks, so there is always room for improvement!

*Contains Amazon affiliate links

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

 

 

Day 27: A Lesson Plan for Talking to my Preschooler about Race for the First Time {31 Days of #WOKE}

“Kids do see color – and when parents ignore it, the lesson children learn is that diversity is something too scary to talk about.” –Kristen Howerton on Rage Against the Minivan Blog

Why is it important for white parents to talk to their kids about race?

People of color have these kinds of conversations with their children early and frequently, while white people often avoid discussing race with their children altogether. Many of us were taught not to talk about race in favor of being “colorblind.” But it turns out that colorblindness does more harm than good. Instead of raising tolerant children willing to build relationships across color lines, our silence forces our children to draw their own conclusions.

Several articles mentioned that just as you would not just wait for your teenager to learn about sex from the internet or friends, you should not wait for your children learn about race from an untrusted source. As parents, we are the first line of defense in fighting prejudice and racial bias in the next generation–through our children.

The more we talk about race with our kids, the easier it will get. Kids are not naturally awkward; we parents are the ones who need to overcome our fear and anxiety. Here’s my first attempt. I wrote a lesson plan. Because I’m a nerd. (And also a former teacher.)

A Lesson Plan for Talking to my Preschooler about Race for the First Time

(Age 3-5)

Objective: To equip my 4 ½ year old son and 2 ½ year old daughter with the vocabulary to talk about skin color in a positive way.

Materials:

Dolls of various skin tones

Books: Any book including characters of various races will do (don’t choose a book specifically about race—the purpose of this lesson is to normalize race, not talk about racism—that will be for a future lesson). Dr. Vittrup recommends using All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Got Our Skin Color, by Katie Kissinger.

Optional: Skin-colored crayons

Activity 1: Books

Before reading, ask my kids questions about the appearances of the people in the pictures on the front of the book.

“What is the same about you and them? What is different? Do you know any people that look like this?”

Teach the word “melanin”: (“any of various black, dark brown, reddish-brown, or yellow pigments of animal or plant structures (as skin or hair”)

“Every person’s skin has different amounts of melanin in it, which makes their skin a different color.”

“God made every person on earth and called them ‘good,’ so every color of skin is beautiful.”

“What color is your skin?”

“Our skin is peach or very very light brown, but sometimes people call it ‘white.’ That just means you have less melanin in your skin.”

“Sometimes people call those with more melanin in their skin ‘black.” Everyone is really just different shades of brown.”

Read the book together, asking them to describe the characters throughout, using the descriptive words we talked about.

Activity 2: Dolls

Pull out the dolls and look at them together.

“What color is your doll’s skin? Do they have a lot of melanin or a little?

 

Application: Use the skin-tone-colored crayons to draw pictures of themselves and their friends or color in a coloring book. Talk about race throughout the week as we encounter different characters in books.

***

My kids are away for the weekend with my parents, but I’m hoping to have this conversation with them in the next couple days. I’ll let you know how it goes …

Additional resources for Talking to Our Kids about Race:

This post from the site Raising Race Conscious Children has tons of examples of scripts to explain difficult topics to kids of a variety of ages.

And this post from the same site has a great list of strategies to use in talking to our kids about race.

How Children Learn Who’s In and Who’s Out by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson for Redbud Post

Day 11: Resources for Talking to Our Kids about Race from Scraping Raisins

How to Not (Accidentally) Raise a Racist on The Longest Shortest Time Podcast interview with Dr. Brigitte Vittrup. The show notes for this podcast have a ton of great ideas for books and videos to watch to help educate yourself and your children on race.

**Contains Amazon affiliate links

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

Day 25: Divided by Faith {31 Days of #WOKE}

I have a confession: I choose my Twitter friends based on the color of their skin. Admittedly, this is reverse racism of sorts, but it is the best way I have found to hear the thoughts of people who are underrepresented in my daily life.

Since the election, the collective cry resounding from my Twitter feed is that people of color feel angry and scared, but also betrayed by the white evangelical church, who overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump.

I picked up Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America at exactly the right time. Divided by Faith is a highly researched book digging into the racial divide in our country, but especially as it pertains to the evangelical church. As a culture geek, this was exactly the analysis I was looking for. The book digs into the history of race relations in the church in the United States including the responses of “the greats” like D.L. Moody and Billy Graham towards the racial inequities of their time.

In a national survey of over 2,500 Americans, only 4 percent of white Protestants named racism as an issue. In contrast, a third of African-American Protestants cited racism, with one-quarter naming it as the single most important issue for Christians to address.” (p. 87) The book confronts this discrepancy head-on.

Here are some parts of the book that stood out to me:

“Most evangelicals, even in the North, did not think it their duty to oppose segregation; it was enough to treat blacks they knew personally with courtesy and fairness.” (p. 75)

Early leaders developed four major steps to achieve racial reconciliation:

  1. “Individuals of different races must develop primary relationships with each other.”
  2. “People must recognize social structures of inequality and that all Christians must resist them together. These structures include … unequal access to quality education and housing.”
  3. “Whites, as the main creators and benefactors of the racialized society, must repent of their personal, historical and social sins.”
  4. “African Americans must be willing, when whites ask, to forgive them individually and corporately. Blacks must repent of their anger and whatever hatred they hold towards whites in the system.” (p. 54-55)

Divided by Faith emphasizes the individualism of white evangelicals, pointing out that most do not recognize structural racism. This paragraph gives a good summary of the findings of numerous surveys and interviews conducted by researchers of this book:

“Because the vast majority of white evangelicals do not directly witness individual-level prejudice (with the exception of some relatives who used the “N” word occasionally), the race problem simply cannot be as large an issue as some make it to be. Granted it was a problem in the past, and a residue may remain today because orginal sin remains, but the race problem is not severe. A number of respondents, as a result of their isolation and cultural tool kit, stated that the race problem was overblown, exaggerated by vested interests. A common theme was that the media exaggerated the race problem.” (p. 81)

“One consequence of thoroughgoing evangelical individualism is a tendency to be ahistorical, to not grasp fully how history has an influence on the present.” (p. 81)

“After hundreds of years of efforts, far from being brought closer together, white and black evangelicals, and Americans in general, are widely separated, perceiving and experiencing the world in very different ways.” (p. 88)

This letter from the book exemplifies why I am writing this series:

Letter from Christianity Today, 1971 (p. 57)

*Contains Amazon affiliate links

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

Day 12: Just Mercy {31 Days of #WOKE}

This book changed my life. I tell everyone who will listen to read Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson.

“You won’t enjoy it,” I say. “In fact you may even hate it. But to be a responsible human being, you should read it–in a ‘everyone should watch Schindler’s List‘ kind of way.”

As of today, Just Mercy has five out of five stars on Amazon, a composite of 2,292 reviews.

Sot it’s not just me.

Here are some quotes from the book:

“Today we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The prison population has increased from 300,000 people in the early 1970s to 2.3 million people today. There are nearly six million people on probation or on parole. One in every fifteen people born in the United States in 2001 is expected to go to jail or prison; one in every three black male babies born in this century is expected to be incarcerated.” (p. 15 emphasis mine)

“Some states have no minimum age for prosecuting children as adults; we’ve sent a quarter million kids to adult jails and prisons to serve long prison terms, some under the age of twelve.” (p. 15 emphasis mine)

“Proximity has taught me some basic and humbling truths, including this vital lesson: Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. My work with the poor and incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.” (p. 17-18)

“The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.” (p. 18)

“Most incarcerated women–nearly two-thirds–are in prison for nonviolent, low-level drug crimes or property crimes. Drug laws in particular have had a huge impact on the number of women sent to prison … one of the first incarcerated women I ever met was a young mother who was serving a long prison sentence for writing checks to buy her three young children Christmas gifts without sufficient funds in her account.” (p. 236)

“In 1996, Congress passed welfare reform legislation that gratuitously included a provision that authorized states to ban people with drug convictions from public benefits and welfare. The population most affected by this misguided law is formerly incarcerated women with children, most of whom were imprisoned for drug crimes. These women and their children can no longer live in public housing, receive food stamps, or access basic services. In the last twenty years, we’ve created a new class of ‘untouchables’ in American society, made up of our most vulnerable mothers and their children.” (p. 237 emphasis mine)

***

Bryan Stevenson couched the above statistics within the narrative of one larger story–that of a man condemned to death row. But each chapter supports his story arc with many different personal stories of his clients. So don’t expect a dry read as you pick up this book, but do expect to have an emotional connection to the people you meet in its pages.

Expect to be changed.

I wrote out some questions for group discussion for my book club that you are welcome to use. You can find them here.

I also went to hear Bryan Stevenson speak in the fall. You can read my notes on his talk here.

A great companion to reading this book is the documentary currently showing on Netflix called 13th. It features Bryan Stevenson as well as many other justice warriors.

What other books on the issue of racial justice have been transformational for you?

If you read Just Mercy, I’d love to hear how you liked it in the comments section!

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

**includes Amazon affiliate links

Day 11: Resources for Talking to Our Kids about Race {31 Days of #WOKE}

Resources for Talking to Kids about Race, plus 10 Picture Books Featuring People of Color

My four-year-old son recently noticed that people are different colors. We visited an African American church and I decided not to mention anything about skin color beforehand. I didn’t think he noticed. But just a few days later he brought up the fact that he has “white skin” and another boy has “black skin.”

“Who told you that?” I asked. “Did you learn that in preschool?” When I was little, the term “black” confused me. I didn’t know anyone with black skin, just different shades of brown.

“He probably got that from your podcasts,” my mom suggested as I shared how his innocence had somehow been shattered.

I’m a bit obsessed with podcasts (if you haven’t noticed). I listen while I’m doing laundry, getting ready in the mornings and even in the shower (if the host has a loud enough voice–thank you, Megan Tietz of Sorta Awesome). And most of the ones I listen to these days are about race.

But in all my own self-education, I clearly haven’t done a good enough job of educating my four-year-old on this issue.

In addition to this and this list on race resources to educate yourself on race issues, The Global Mom Show Podcast recently broadcasted a few episodes on educating our children on this topic. I would highly recommend listening to these for ideas on talking to your kids about race:

Talking to Your Kids about Race, with Lucretia Berry

Talking to Your Mixed-Race Kids about Race, with Sonia Smith-Kang

 

Here are some other resources I’ve found, as well as ten picture books featuring people of color that are sitting in my Amazon shopping cart as I type this:

Websites:

Barefoot Books believes that “children need diverse, inclusive and inspiring books. This is what we’re all about. From the very beginning, our books have opened windows to other cultures and perspectives, while also providing children of all backgrounds and abilities with a much-needed mirror of their own experiences.”

Colours of Us is a website with tons of lists of multicultural book ideas as well as multicultural toys, games, puzzles and crafts.

Here Wee Read Blog 55 of the Best Diverse Picture and Board Books of 2016, by Mrs. G at Here Wee Read Blog (and another great list from the same site). Follow her on Instagram for more great book ideas.

Like Me, Like You Kids  is a place to buy toys and decorative items for kids that reflect diversity. From the site: “Our hope is to curate beautiful products that allow children of color to see themselves in the art, books and toys they interact with daily. We also hope that children of all shades would grow up appreciating the gift of diversity – like me, like you.”

Raising Race Conscious Children is “a resource to support adults who are trying to talk about race with young children. The goals of these conversations are to dismantle the color-blind framework and prepare young people to work toward racial justice. If we commit to collectively trying to talk about race with young children, we can lean on one another for support as we, together, envision a world where we actively challenge racism each and every day. Many of the blog’s posts are geared toward White people but a community of guest bloggers represent diverse backgrounds and the strategies discussed may be helpful for all.” This post was especially helpful to me.

Articles:

How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism  by Kristen Howerton at her blog

What White Children Need to Know about Race, by Ali Michael and Eleonora Bartoli for the Independent School Magazine

5 Ways Parents Pass Down Prejudice and Racism, by Danielle Slaughter for Huffington Post

Raising Race Conscious Children by Joanna Goddard on A Cup of Jo Blog

Book Lists:

12 Books Featuring Black Fathers (for all ages)

28 Black Picture books that Aren’t About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball


50+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families 

 Children’s Books to Help Talk about Race with Kids  from an Alabama Public Library

18 Children’s Books with Characters of Color, by Joanna Goddard for her blog, A Cup of Jo 

10 Picture Books with Characters of Color (currently sitting in my Amazon shopping cart):

A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes, by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon

The Airport Book, by Lisa Brown

Beautiful, by Stacy McAnulty

The Bot that Scott Built, by Kim Norman

The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, by Kadir Nelson

The Lord’s Prayer, illustrated by Tim Ladwig

Happy in Our Skin, by Fran Manushkin

Psalm Twenty-Three, illustrated by Tim Ladwig

When God Made You, by Matthew Paul Turner

 

Now that my kids can talk (often more than I’d like them to), it’s time to start discussing race. My brothers and sisters of color have already had numerous conversations about this, so it’s time for me to begin planting seeds of love and tolerance before the weeds of prejudice can take root.

Join me?

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

 

**Contains Amazon Affiliate links

Book Discussion Questions for Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson


Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

This is the true tale of an African American lawyer in the south fighting for the rights of death row inmates who were unjustly incarcerated. Stevenson illuminates the racial injustices that are happening not during slavery or the Civil Rights era, but RIGHT NOW.  It proves that we are not in post-racial times, but still living in the midst of rash injustice. This is the best book I read in 2016 and should be on your list of must-read books.

Discussion Questions:

(This is a very flexible guide for a book club to use as a spring board for discussing the book Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. They can be skipped and discussed in any order).


1. How did you feel before you read this book?  How did you feel afterward?

2. Describe the author’s style.  Was it effective?

3. What was most shocking/sickening/saddening/surprising for you in this book?  Why?

4. What did you want to know more about?

5. Discuss some of the most memorable stories from each of the groups mentioned throughout the book: African American men, women, children, mentally ill, disabled, drug convicts.

6. What stood out to you most about Walter’s story?

7. In what ways did Mr. Stevenson himself experience prejudice?

8. What are some of our state laws about incarceration?  How can we find these out?

9. What can we do personally to make a difference?

10. How does Mr. Stevenson’s race impact your reading (and his writing) of this book?  How would it have been different if it had been written by a white man or woman?

11. Would you recommend this book to others?  Why or why not?

***


(You are welcome to use these for group discussion, as long as you attribute Leslie Verner.)

If you have read the book, I would love to hear some of your thoughts in the comments section! 

***

Subscribe to Scraping Raisins by email and/or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to get to know you better!

***


Related Post: An Evening with Bryan Stevenson: Get Closer

Previous Post: When You’ve Lost Your Wings {a poem}

Next Post: 22 Favorite Podcasts in 2016

**This post includes affiliate links.

Monthly Mentionables {November}



This month the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908, Donald Trump was elected president, Mosul was invaded and the Gilmore Girls staged a timely reunion whereby we could all drown our sorrows in sappy Stars Hollow after stuffing ourselves with turkey and sweet potato casserole.

November 2016 really happened.  This is real life (and yes, this links to THAT YouTube video…).

In the midst of these huge (and not-so-huge) events, I learned a lovely new word, the Danish word “hygge.” Think snuggling up in an oversized chair next to a crackling fire, feet tucked under a plush throw blanket as you sip tea (or red wine) while re-reading Little Women and you have a pretty good working image of hygge. Tanya Marlow goes into greater depth in her article on the topic and joining the 900+ member Facebook group started by another SheLoves editor, Holly Grantham, will offer you daily doses of cozy if you’re into that kind of thing (which I am).  Hygge dives head-first into the search for contentment, making it perfectly okay to pour time and energy into your home environment if that will make your nest a peaceful place you truly want to spend time in and invite others to snuggle into as well.

Hygge is a pretty good picture of Sabbath rest.

Christmas wears hygge well, I’d say.  Twinkle lights, winking candles, pottery mugs of hot cocoa, fake or real fireplaces, and our houses wreathed with spiced air.  

But Christmas also brings honor to the spirit of waiting. We light candles with our littles, shushing them and ignoring their whining, hoping to invite them into the mystery that is God as a baby on earth.  We meditate, read and sing of Advent wonder–Jesus coming again–maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, or perhaps one thousand years from now. At Christmas, we enter into childlike delight--even if it is out of duty.

I need Christmas this year.  I think we all do.

But in spite of the heaviness of the past month, I want to share some of the books, podcasts and articles that I’ve been reading and listening to. Many of them have brought sparkling light to the dark corners of November.


Books:

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom, by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart
Ooh, I loved this book! It is the modern day Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art for moms. These ladies understand the tension moms have between wanting to care for their families while at the same time yearning to create.  They share the stories of more than 30 moms through clear, thoughtful and poetic writing. Life Creative is a perfect mix of practical and abstract, outward-looking and reflective.  If you are a mama with the desire to write, act, sing, paint, draw, sew or any other creative venture, you should definitely check this book out!


The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
We read this for our book club this month and I have to say that while this was entertaining and educational on some levels, it did not have as much depth as I hoped.  The reading level did not strike me as being very high and it almost felt like a Hallmark version of a WWII story, or a PG movie at the very least. I listened to most of it on an overnight road trip from Chicago to Denver, though, so the fact that it kept my attention in the wee hours of the night has to be an indicator that it was at least interesting enough to keep me awake.


 

Podcasts:

Epiphany Fellowship
This African American pastor, Eric Mason, was recommended to me by someone from the Be the Bridge Facebook group. The week after the election, I really needed to hear how people of color were responding to all of this. Since I attend a nearly all white church, I am committing to listening to a sermon by a person of color each week to diversify the voices I listen to.

In God We Trust (First sermon after the election). 

#WokeChurch

#WokeChurch: It’s Time for the Church to do Something

#WokeChurch–Lamentations 3:1-18

#WokeChurch–Jesus on Justice


Kin City (On social issues in Chicago)
The South Side & Segregation with Natalie Moore

(Haven’t listened to many yet, but others are on how cops are trained, racial reconciliation, homelessness, adoption and tokenism)


On Being
Vincent Harding (Civil Rights leader)–Is America Possible?

Isabel Wilkerson (author of The Warmth of Other Suns)


Pass the Mic
Processing Donald Trump with Jemar Tisby

Round table: Perspective 

Current Events: The Election of 2016


Persuasion
This is one my favorite podcasts these days. I appreciate that the hosts are not afraid to discuss controversial issues in the church today, but also love the way they represent Christian women as intellectual, capable and respectable. 

The Outsourcing of Women’s Discipleship to Para-church Personalities
(On the issue of Lifeway’s dismissal of Jen Hatmaker books).

Evangelicals Are Having an Identity Crisis


Seminary Dropout
#SheLeads Summit–Austin Panel 
A panel with Latasha Morrison (founder of Be the Bridge), Tish Harrison Warren, Keith Atkinson and Kenny Green about how women are incorporated into the church body.


This American Life
The Sun Comes Up 
Interviews with both Trump and non-Trump supporters in the day and week following the election.


Thought-Provoking Articles from the Web:

An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church, from the Black Girl in Your Pew, by Ilesha Graham for Huffington Post.

Dear Children of Aleppo: The People of the World Needed to tell you THIS on #GIVINGTuesday, by Ann Voskamp at her blog.

Finding Contentment in the Uncomfortable, by Christen Bordenkircher for The Mudroom Blog (I loved this for selfish reasons because it was so similar to my own story!)

Gilmore Girls: A Series in Books, by Anne Bogel for Modern Mrs. Darcy. (A glimpse of some of the 339 books we saw Rory reading in the first seven seasons!)

Glennon Doyle Melton’s Gospel of Self-Fulfillment, by Jen Pollock Michel for Christianity Today.

I Was an Evangelical Magazine Editor, but Now I Can’t Defend my Evangelical Community, by Katelyn Beaty for The Washington Post.

In Defense of Domesticity, by Tyler Blanski for Crisis Magazine.


Lifeway Stops Selling Jen Hatmaker Books Over LGBT Beliefs, by Kate Shellnut for Christianity Today.

No Place for Self Pity, No Room for Fear, by Toni Morrison for The Nation.

To the Mamas of Littles During the Holidays, by Lora Lynn Fanning at Vita Familiae.

Trump Syllabus 2.0 by N.D.B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blaine (an actual syllabus of a course that explores the foundations of “Trumpism”)

What I Want Pastors to Know About Women’s Ministry, by Sharon Hodde Miller for Christianity Today.

5 Ways Parents Pass Down Prejudice and Racism, by Danielle Slaughter for Huffington Post.




Websites:
 
Barefoot Books: Diverse and Inclusive Books
(Great books for Christmas presents)

The Advent Project Devotional Series (sign up for free for daily devos for Advent including art, music, a hymn, prayer, scripture reading and a devotional)



For SheLoves

Madeleine L’Engle Made Me Do It









For Scraping Raisins:

This Was Not the Plan

Posts about Christmas & Advent

The Anticipation of Advent (four ways we like to celebrate Advent as a family)

The Truth About Family Advent 

Living the Sticky Life 

*** 

Subscribe to Scraping Raisins by email and/or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to get to know you better!

Linking up with Leigh Kramer  and Emily P. Freeman

*This post contains affiliate links.

Monthly Mentionables {October}

Running, cooking, baking, reflecting and socializing (aided by much additional coffee drinking) have resumed a bit now that our new little one is nearly two months old and I’m out of the the Month One Fog. I feel more like myself than I have in about eight months, actually.

I’ve also had a chance to listen to some more podcasts this month, which directly correlates to the amount of laundry, cleaning and showering I do since that is when I usually listen to them. (Laundry is happening a lot more than showering these days since we can get by without me being completely hygienic, but not without clothes for our family.)

I’ve also been spending more time working–yes, working (and I don’t mean the butt-wiping/endless-feeding/boo-boo-kissing/mothering type of work)! Albeit as a volunteer, I’m officially an editor for the online publication, SheLoves, a fabulous community of women who are dedicated to living out their love for Jesus in practical ways in the world. I edit pieces that run on Mondays and get to publish with them monthly. I’m loving it!       

Here’s some of what I’ve been up to in the book, podcast, recipe, article and writing departments this month:


Books


The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
This was the book for my book club this month and I stayed up waaay too late to finish it. It didn’t change my life, but was definitely engrossing and entertaining.  It was fun to read a page-turner instead of my standard, serious non-fiction fare.

 

Given: Poems, by Wendell Berry
I’m embarrassed to admit that this is the first book of poetry that I have read cover-to-cover in about ten years AND the first book by Wendell Berry I have read (shameful, I know).  Last month I attempted to read A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation, edited by Luci Shaw, but took too much time analyzing the poems and reading them aloud that I had to return it to the library before I was finished.  So this time around, I decided to just read it as I would a book, hoping that I would absorb a bit of beauty along the way.  His poetry was very readable for the non-poetry reader.  My favorite poem in the book was “How to Be a Poet (to remind myself).” Here’s an excerpt:


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill–more of each
than you have–inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time 
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment…


Have you read a book of poetry before? What was your favorite? I’d love to hear your advice on the best way to read it in the comment section!  Enlighten me;-)

Monthly Mentionables {October}: Here's some of what I've been up to in the book, podcast, recipe, article and writing departments this month.
Morning Walk




Podcasts

The God-Centered Mom

The Power of Sex in Marriage: Francie Winslow

The Ripple Effect of Healthy Sexual Connection: Francie Winslow

Life Creative: Kelli Stuart 

10 Ways to Stop Meltdowns & Arguments: Kirk Martin



Persuasion

A Woman’s Place with Katelyn Beaty (Part 1)

A Woman’s Place with Katelyn Beaty (Part 2)

Home is Where the Art Is

The Self We Find in “Eat, Pray, Love”


Sorta Awesome

Social media tips, tricks, advice and more


Recipes!
(This is a tell-tale sign that I am feeling 90% better than a month ago:  I feel like cooking again!)

Chicken Corn Chowder (Plan to Eat)
A woman from the church we’ve been visiting brought enough of this soup over to feed us for FIVE days. And anything I’m willing to eat five days in a row, must be tasty, right?  I made it last night for Halloween and didn’t love it as much as I did when this friend made it, but it’s definitely worth keeping in the fall repertoire and tweaking. 

Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka (Smitten Kitchen)
This was delicious and very easy as long as you already have all the Indian spices like coriander, garam masala, ginger, etc.  We ate it with rice, topped with purple onions, lemon wedges and cilantro.  Yum.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread (Cookie + Kate)
Ok, so this was “healthy” in that it used coconut oil, wheat flour and maple syrup instead of the usual fare, but in this case “healthy” also meant “doesn’t taste very good.”  That said, if you’re looking for a healthier pumpkin bread, this would be a good choice with one caveat: ADD CHOCOLATE CHIPS.

Creamy Thai Sweet Potato Curry (Pinch of Yum)
This was very tasty and I’ll make it again.  Next time I think I’ll add chicken just so it’s not so starchy with the potato + rice combo.

Miso Salmon with Mushrooms (PBS Food) 
A friend of mine brought this dish after the baby was born and I begged her for the recipe.  It is very simple as long as you are able to pick up Miso and Mirin.  I found Mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) in the regular grocery store, but my friend brought me the Miso from an Asian grocery store.  I actually made it twice this month–once making the foil “pouches” and once just covering the dish with foil.  I’d definitely recommend using the pouches.  I also used frozen salmon (defrosted) and it tasted just fine! I served with white rice and fresh spinach nuked in the microwave for a minute, then tossed with a bit of soy sauce.  Delicious.


Thought-Provoking Articles from the Web


Book Club Questions for Fiction/Novels from Lit Lovers (used for our book club this month)

Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Lifestyle Resources at Eco Warrior Princess

How Millennial Moms are Changing the World by Kelli Stuart for Huffington Post

‘This Is Us’ and the Dignity of Human Emotion, by Abby Perry for Christ and Pop Culture 

This One Shift in Perspective Will Change Your Life, by Claire De Boer at her blog, The Gift of Writing

What Jen Hatmaker Gets Right About Christian Love, by Katelyn Beaty for Christianity Today

What White Children Need to Know about Race, by Ali Michael and Eleonora Bartoli

18 Children’s Books with Characters of Color, by Joanna Goddard for her blog, A Cup of Jo

For Fun:

These Hilarious Parenting Comics Are Almost Too Real, by Valerie Williams for Scary Mommy
 
The Adventures of George Washington (language alert!)




Published Elsewhere on the Web:


Frozen Manna, for SheLoves


In Case You Missed it on Scraping Raisins:

In This Season (of motherhood)

An Evening with Bryan Stevenson: Get Closer 




What about you?  I would LOVE to hear any recommendations you have for any of the above categories!

***

Subscribe to Scraping Raisins by email and/or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to get to know you better!

Linking up with Leigh Kramer

~This post includes affiliate links

An Evening with Bryan Stevenson: Get Closer

The crowd leapt to their feet as Mr. Stevenson took the stage.  He hadn’t even opened his mouth, and had already received a standing ovation.

Why?

Because this man’s story opens blind eyes. 

In his book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson shares about his experience working with men, women and children on death row. I have met more than one person who, after reading the book, looked down at their feet and, with tears in their eyes, whispered, “I didn’t know that African Americans are still treated this way. Until I read this, I didn’t realize.  But now what do I do?”

I had a similar response after reading Just Mercy this spring.  In fact, I was so moved by Mr. Stevenson’s story that I hauled my 12-day-old newborn across town to hear him speak a few weeks ago, frantically taking notes with one hand while nursing with the other.

The audience was made up of mainly white people over 50, though college students and a few people of color were present as well.  Across the aisle sat a man in his late 20’s with long hair, loose-fitting clothing and bare feet.  Beneath his chair was a cardboard box that was forced closed, leaving me wondering what was inside, though I forgot my curiosity as Mr. Stevenson began speaking.

He was as powerful a speaker as he is an author and he seamlessly wove stories, statistics and inspiration into a flag of justice that we almost felt strong enough to help wave as we exited the building at the end of the night.


He shared four things we could do to improve our capacity to change the world right where we are:

1. Get closer. 

“Get proximate to the problems instead of trying to solve them from a distance.” He expressed that we are too comfortable and do not see injustice because we are not close enough to see it.

2. Change the narratives that sustain inequality and injustice. 

“Fear and anger are the essential ingredients of oppression.”  He gave the example of calling drug addicts “criminals” and alcoholics people with a “disease.”  He said that these narratives are what imprison the downtrodden and empower the privileged.

3. Stay hopeful.

“Hopelessness is the enemy of justice.”  In spite of all the dire examples of vast injustice in the world, Mr. Stevenson also shared many inspiring stories of hope as he has worked toward change.
 
4. Be willing to do uncomfortable things.

“We have to judge ourselves by how we care for the poor.”  He said that this action point requires intentionality because our default is that we choose to be comfortable, but perhaps we need to move more into discomfort.  

He also spoke about how he has come to the realization that as we acknowledge that we ourselves are broken people, we will find that we have much more in common with the poor than we once thought. 

***


After his talk, Mr. Stevenson took questions from the crowd.  I was surprised when the man across the aisle from me padded up to the front with his cardboard box, setting it down by his bare feet as he waited patiently for his turn at the microphone.  When Mr. Stevenson turned to him, the man announced that he had gotten out of jail a week prior and that he wanted Mr. Stevenson’s help in going to the Supreme Court to fight for laws that would allow him to sleep outdoors.  He talked for a long time and I could tell that the crowd was getting fidgety.  He was taking up precious time for other more relevant questions.  I half expected an usher to quietly stand next to him and give him the signal that he was talking too long.

But instead of ridiculing him or rushing through his answer, Mr. Stevenson responded with humility, grace and respect.  He listened to this man’s story and said that he was absolutely willing to represent him.  While the rest of us were inwardly scoffing, Mr. Stevenson practiced what he had just preached and offered the man something the rest of us weren’t willing to give: dignity.

I was humbled and convicted.

In myself, I saw the Pharisees of Bible times, urging Jesus to move on and not stop for the lepers calling out His name, the woman kneeling to touch his cloak or the children hugging his knees. I saw myself looking for the high profile poor instead of noticing the needy right in front of me.

It is easy to say that we want justice for the poor as long as it is convenient and comfortable for us.  But when we become aware of our own powerlessness, judgment and prejudice, we want to hide away in our safe suburbs and write a check from a distance.

How far do you live from the poor, homeless, sick or oppressed?  What would it take for you to move out of your comfort zone into proximity of those you say you would like to help?

As a person who feels very insignificant in this season of life as far as world-changing goes, I walked out of that auditorium with a greater desire to not just notice injustice, but make practical moves towards the oppressed.  When we make decisions over the next few years about where we will buy a house and which schools we will choose to send our children to, I hope that we will not continue to hide away under the umbrella of “safety” or “good schools.”  Instead, I hope for the courage to live in such proximity to my suffering neighbor that I cannot ignore their cry any longer, because they will be right in my backyard.

***

Subscribe to Scraping Raisins by email and/or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to get to know you better!

Related Posts:

70+ Race Resources for White People 

I Once Was (Color) Blind, but Now… 

When You Can’t Quit Your Job
 

Previous Post: In This Season (of Motherhood) 

Next Post: Frozen Manna {for SheLoves} 
 

Monthly Mentionables {September}

I had a baby this month!

Not just worth mentioning, but worth celebrating, I’d say.

While rocking our already unstable world, he is a precious gift whose only demands seem to be to be held, fed and held some more.  Though life is a bit of a blur right now, I’m trying to see through the fog to capture these mental pictures and special moments that are so fleeting.

So because of this new life that is shifting mine, this month may be a bit light (mainly because the time is ticking…my husband agreed to strap him on in our Moby wrap while he roasts coffee so I could sneak downstairs and write baby-less for a couple hours).


Here’s what I’ve been into this month:

Books:

Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland
As a trained actor, my husband has an entire shelf designated for books on faith and art. I plucked this one off the shelf one night in hopes of inspiration as a writer. Written by two different people, I definitely preferred one of the writers over the other, though the writers themselves were never identified.  That said, it was a quick read and offered many good thoughts for those in creative fields as they confront their fears of insignificance and inferiority and combat perfectionism in themselves.  This book is an optimistic cheerleader on the sidelines for those who are in need of a bit of a pep rally for themselves.


The Cloister Walk, by Kathleen Norris
My husband actually picked this one up from the library and thought I’d like it.  It has been my companion through the night vigils of nursing (at least after the initial first week of binge-watching the last season of Downton Abbey).  As we have been attending a liturgical church recently, I found this book about Ms. Norris spending many months at a monastery to be fascinating.  The format was a bit convoluted for me (which could be because I was reading it in a slightly hallucinatory state) and confusing to follow since it was a composite of essays she had published in various other publications.  It also seemed to be about 50 pages too long, but it was enjoyable enough that I stuck it out to the end.  My husband and I especially enjoyed her thoughts on celibacy and marriage and found a lot to discuss in those chapters.  I would recommend it if you are at all interested in the monastic life or are a life-long evangelical dipping your toes in liturgical life.


Podcasts


God Centered Mom
Connecting with Your Kids in Any Circumstance:: Jim & Lynn Jackson 

Stay in Your Hoop:: Vela Tomba

The Art of Nurturing Boys:: David Thomas


The Boob Group
(seriously!)  This was new to me, but has a lot of different great episodes on breastfeeding for the nursing mama!

Tongue Ties and Lip Ties: Symptoms, Treatment and Aftercare


Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach

What to do When You’re Unsure How to Begin

Your Writing Can Change the World


Pass the Mic
Current Events: Keith Lamont Scott, Terence Crutcher, and NMAAHC

A Pastoral Perspective on the 2016 Election


Pandora Stations I’m Enjoying:

Fernando Ortega

Josh Garrels

The Weepies


T.V. 
(Now that I’m nursing around the clock, I seem to have more time to watch T.V. in the wee hours of the night.)

This is Us
(tailor-made to fill the void left behind by Parenthood)



Thought-Provoking Articles from the Web:

Getting Hurt by the Church Doesn’t Mean You Should Abandon God, by Elizabeth Trotter for Relevant

I Am Not Labeled, I am Named, by Alia Joy for SheLoves Magazine

The Sugar-Coated Language of White Fragility, by Anna Kegler for Huffington Post

Stop the Revolution, Join the Plodders, by Kevin DeYoung for Ligonier Ministries

That Is Not My Jesus, by Travis Eades for Huffington Post

Yes, We’re Going to Talk about IT {The Grove: Sexuality}, for Velvet Ashes (this includes lots of links to great resources for those in all walks of life!)


For Fun:

Sleeping Baby Has No Idea She Becomes the Star of Cosplay During Her Naps 

Hilarious Parenting Comics, for Scary Mommy


Find Me Elsewhere:

The Best Years of Our Lives for the Mudroom

Falling Off the Missionary Pedestal for SheLoves Magazine


In Case You Missed it on Scraping Raisins:

The New Normal 

39 Weeks: These Strange Days 

~~~

Subscribe to Scraping Raisins by email and/or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to get to know you better!

Linking up with Leigh Kramer: What I’m Into 

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