Born A Crime : by Trevor Noah


"In the hood," Trevor Noah writes, "everybody knows who the best dancer in the crew is. He's like your status symbol. When you're poor you don't have cars or nice clothes, but the best dancers get the girls, so that's the guy you want to roll with. Hitler was our guy" (pg 193). 

In his New York Times best selling memoir, Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah dedicates an entire chapter to his good friend and great dancer, Hitler. And the result is absolutely brilliant. Just like Hitler.

"I often meet people in the West who insist that the Holocaust was the worst atrocity in human history," he continues,

But I often wonder, with African atrocities like the Congo, how horrific were they? The thing Africans don't have that the Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that's really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified. But when you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It's harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren't counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?

So in Europe and America, yes, Hitler is the Greatest Madman in History. In Africa he's just another strongman from the history books . . .

Because to many South Africans, Hitler was a kind of "army tank that was helping the Germans win the war, or a man so powerful that "at some point black people had to go help white people fight against him - and if the white man has to stoop to ask the black man for help fighting someone, that someone must be the toughest guy of all time" (pg 194). So mothers named their son's Hitler. Because they wanted them to be strong and tough.

So Trevor Noah, while working and thriving as a DJ, had a friend and dancer named Hitler. And it was never a problem. Until King David School hired them for a school dance. It was a Jewish school.

A short while into their set, Trevor started getting the crowed psyched, "Are you guys ready?!" he screamed, and they were. They yelled and hollered and screamed back, "Yeeeeaaaahhhhhh!"

"All right! Give it up and make some noise for HIIIIIIIITTTTTTLLLLLEEEERRRRRR!!!!" Trevor writes. Then, "The whole room stopped. No one was dancing. The teachers, the chaperones, the parents, the hundreds of Jewish kids in their yarmulkes - they froze and stared aghast at us up on the stage" (pg 197). Seconds later, a teacher was on stage, yelling and berating and demanding that the boys apologize. But Trevor didn't understand, was she offended by his dance moves? Where they a bit too sexual and offensive? Either way, she should have know because that's what she hired, those dance moves are their culture. He hadn't a clue that the name Hitler was offensive, and she hadn't a clue that he hadn't a clue. 

They both operated from a truth they believed was universal, and they both interpreted the other through that preconceived truth. Neither was right, and neither was wrong. But they both lost. 


Other Favorite quotes and ideas:

“If you stop to consider the ramifications, you’ll never do anything” (pg 22).

“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people” (pg 56).

“Racism exists. People are getting hurt, and just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening” (pg 57).

“A knowledgeable man is a free man, or at least a man who longs for freedom” (pg 61).

“That is the curse of being black and poor, and it is a curse that follows you from generation to generation. My mother calls it “the black tax.” Because the generation who came before you have been pillaged, rather than being free to use your skills and education to move forward, you lose everything just trying to bring everyone behind you back up to zero” (pg 66).

(Advice from Mother) “Learn from your past and be better because of your past, but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter” (pg 66).

“Catholic school is not the place to be creative and independent” (pg 88).

“You do not own the thing that you love” – story about Fufi (pg 100).

“When a parent is absent, you’re left in the lurch of not knowing, and it’s so easy to fill that space with negative thoughts. ‘They don’t care.’ ‘They’re selfish.’” (pg 108) . . . “Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being” (pg 110).

“That’s where the government came up with things like the pencil test. If you were applying to be white, the pencil went into your hair. If it fell out, you were white. If it stayed in, you were colored. You were what the government said you were. Sometimes that came down to a lone clerk eyeballing your face and making a snap decision. Depending on how high your cheekhones were or how broad your nose was, he could tick whatever box made sense to him, thereby deciding where you could live, whom you could marry, what jobs and rights and privileges you were allowed (pg 119).

For the first in my life I had money, and it was the most liberating thing in the world. The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want toe be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money” (pg 188).

“People love to say, ‘Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.’ What they don’t say is, ‘And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.’ That’s the first part of the analogy that’s missing” (pg 190).

“In society, we do horrible things to one another because we don’t see the person it affects. We don’t see their face. We don’t see them as people (pg 221).

“There were some {parents} who’d actually do that, not pay their kid’s bail, not hire their kid a lawyer – the ultimate tough love. But it doesn’t always work, because you’re giving the kid tough love when maybe he just needs love. You’re trying to teach him a lesson, and now that lesson is the rest of his life” (pg 228).


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Reading Log 2017  :  Reading Log 2018

The Fallen of WWII : A Short Documentary of War and Peace

This video, at various points, made me sick. The graphs, of each figure equaling 1000 people who died, and that red line of Russian casualties . . . goodness. I thought it would never end. 

Yet, when it came to the midway point, when Halloran said, "More people died in WWII than in any other world in history. For comparison, here are twenty or so of the very worst wars we have on record," I couldn't help but think of a quote from a book I recently read, Born a Crime.

Trevor Noah, an American comedian born in Apartheid South Africa writes

The thing Africans don't have that the Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that's really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified.

If you look at that infographic closely (minute 13:13), only two African countries are mentioned, "The Congo" listed at 8 million and Mideast Slave Trade at 19 million. And these are just the millions that "count". And they mights simply be guesses. 

. . . When you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It's harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren't counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?

As the film spans out and the graph of millions dead shrinks, the title, "Worst Atrocities on Record" appears. 

How many more have died who haven't been recorded? How many more are still dying today, during the "Long/New Peace"? Because even though we are better than we were, can we honestly call this a time of peace, just because the major powers (dare I say important powers) aren't fighting each other? 

If people are still dying, needlessly, at the hands and minds of others, and if people are still fearing for their lives and losing their homes, can we really call this a time of peace?

What about the refugees that are spread all across this world? The wars and genocides that have plagued Africa and the Middle East, what about the thousands of deaths that are growing daily in shit-hole countries? . . . oh. Right. Now I get it.

That's why we're allowed to be content. Because we're only counting the countries that count. 


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries  :  Infographics that say more than what they say  :  WWII

Refugees, our neighbors.

 Photo by Angie Smith

Photo by Angie Smith

What if we treated our neighbors like refugees?

And what if we treated refugees like neighbors? 


African Neighbor:

 Photo by Angie Smith

Photo by Angie Smith

I remember coming in and the teachers introducing me to my classes and me introducing myself to my classmates. And I remember them saying ‘Where are you from?’ ‘I’m from Africa,’ and they would say these things that never happened in Africa. Never. At least to me. They really think that we have this communion with animals, like we love wild animals very much.They thought I lived in a tribe, which a couple people do still live in a tribe there but I didn’t, I lived in a city. It was pretty weird seeing how they view us. And the difference between how we view them. I don’t think I felt offended, I think there was an empathy that I had because when I lived in Kenya, there were pictures painted about the US that were very untrue. So I was like ‘I was like you when I was there.’ I understood. I just think some of the notions were very ridiculous. I don’t blame them. But some of them were very far from the truth (via).

American Refugee:

She’d missed the bus because her sister overslept. She couldn’t go home because nobody was there and she couldn’t make it to school because the roads were barely plowed and most of the sidewalks hadn’t been shoveled. Plus, she was cold. She wasn’t wearing socks or a hat or even a jacket, and at eight o’clock in the morning, it was still a few degrees below zero.

So she came to our home.

She knocked gently and waiting quietly. But the door only opened half way, “Hey,” Josey said, in her soft and calming voice, “What’s up?”

The little girl explained her plight quickly, because she was cold.

“Oh,” Josey said, but didn’t open the door any further. Elias began to cry in the background, “Sorry kiddo, I have two of my own children who are hungry and cold and I need to make sure they’re okay.” The little girl stared blankly. “Sorry,” Josey said again, gently closing the door and heading back to the kitchen.

After helping Elias to a handful of Cheerios, she picked up her phone and texted her husband and explained what just happened. She ended with, “Can you believe these parents? What kind of shithole home does this girl live in that she doesn’t even have socks!”

The girl stood for a moment, staring at the woman with long blond hair walk around the kitchen, smiling and laughing with her two little kids. She wondered if she should knock again, if the lady would change her mind. She raised her hand, stopped, then let it fall. She turned and slowly walked down the steps and sidewalk littered with ice and clumps of salt. At the corner, she turned toward her house knowing it would be locked and nobody would be home. She fought back tears and fear and jumped over a large snowdrift that covered the sidewalk. Snow slipped into her shoes and packed beneath her bare. She jammed her hands into pockets and bit her lower lip. Crying wouldn’t help.


Ethiopian Neighbor:

 Photo by Angie Smith

Photo by Angie Smith

The Boise people I see, they are very welcoming to refugees, they encourage us to improve our English, to have better job, to have better life. From Create Common Good I met a lot of interesting people, amazing people, they change my life. I don’t want to forget my volunteer, Michael. I will never forget him in my life. He is making me a man in this city. He was teaching me to ask, ‘are you guys hiring people at this time? Who is your boss?’ Pushing me to speak with people, and teaching me how I can be successful. He is the first person making me successful in this country. And still he is beside me if I have any difficulty. At this time, I am trying to help anyone who is lower than me. Wherever I am from, inside my community or outside, I don’t care, if someone need help, whenever I can, I help (via). 

American Refugee:

Okay, I made that part up. It didn’t happen that way. Here is what really happened.

She’d missed the bus because her sister overslept. She couldn’t go home because nobody was there and she couldn’t make it to school because the roads were barely plowed and most of the sidewalks hadn’t been shoveled. Plus, she was cold. She wasn’t wearing socks or a hat or even a jacket, and at eight o’clock in the morning, it was still a few degrees below zero.

Josey wasn’t expecting anyone, so when she heard a faint knock – almost like a whisper – coming from the front door, she assumed Judah missed the bus and had locked the door on his way out. But when she opened the door and found the little girl from down the street standing on the doorstep, she wasn’t surprised. “Hey kiddo, you okay?”

The little girl explained her plight and Josey’s heart ached as she listened. When the girl finished, Josey fought back tears, knelt down, and looked the girl in the eyes, “Oh kiddo, I’m so sorry.” The girl smiled slightly but kept her eyes on the frozen ground. “I’ll tell you what,” Josey said, standing but still holding the little girls shoulder, “All day today, I promise to keep you in my thoughts and prayers, okay!”

The girl’s smile faded, “Okay.”

“Great,” and Josey’s hand fell from the girls shoulder and reached for the door, “All day kiddo, I promise.” And as she gently closed the door and slipped the deadbolt back into place, she whispered to herself and to God her hopes and desires that things might get better for this little girl, that she would have parents who loved and cared for her, and that the evil that flooded this little girl’s home would be washed away and the home renewed. She prayed God would once again be welcome in the schools and courthouses and public meetings. Then she walked over to the chalkboard that hangs above the coffee pot and wrote, “Today, as you pour your coffee, remember to pray for the little girl.” And she did. All throughout the day, whenever she reached for her mug or poured milk for Zion, she read the message and sent up simple but lengthy prayers for the little girl with freezing fingers and uninvolved parents.

Later in the day, while the wind blew snowdrifts up the door or covered the windows and sidewalk, Josey sipped her coffee and played with her kids. She worked on her spread for a magazine that wanted to feature her. When her husband came home and asked her how the day was, she said it was good – “nothing outside the norm,” and when they all gathered around the table, plates steaming and hearts warm, she remembered the little girl and, as a family, they prayed for her. Eden cried, because she has a soft heart, and Josey wrapped her up in her arms and told he she loved her and that she was proud of her for caring so much about people.

Iriqi Neighbor:

 Photo by Angie Smith

Photo by Angie Smith

. . . I came here in May 2012. Then a whole new problems started here. Language, culture, no one, no friends. After three months, I just gave up on my life, I tried to kill myself, but it didn’t work. I took a lot of medicine. I just wanted to kill myself because I’m tired. They said if you ever do that again, you will be in jail forever. That’s what the judge said. It scared me, to be honest. At the same time I thought, wow, I gave up on my life but now I am back in life. Let me just start a new life. I always start a new life, since left my country I have been starting over and over. Sometimes I smile when I talk about it or I laugh, but inside it’s killing me.

I’m tired of losing people. I have been losing people my entire life. Losing my friends, losing my best friend, losing a lot of people to stupid ISIS. I’m like no, I will live my life however I want it. And people will accept it or not. Not just accept me as being gay or straight, but accept me as who I am. Once I open that, now I am not afraid to say to anyone, I am gay. They can decide if they want to be friends with me. If you want to be friends with me, you are more than welcome to be friends. If not, move on, and I move on with my life.

I decided to do what I did in [Gay] pride, to be more open to everyone. So I wrote down my first and last name, Iraqi, refugee, gay, and that’s how I become out.

It felt great. I feel like I am not afraid of anything. I am more open to a lot of people, more open to myself, being who I am. I have always wanted to live a life as who I am. People will accept me as who I am, not just accept me being gay or straight. Once I open that, I’m not afraid to tell anyone I am gay. I was even shaking when I walked. Even when I did it, I still got scared, but I just walked. Walked with a big smile and waving at everyone, proud being gay in Idaho (via).

American Refugee:

It didn’t happen that way either. Here’s how it really happened. I promise.

And I let her in and made her some hot chocolate. “Don’t call my mom,” she said because her mom was already at work and her older sisters at school and she didn’t want anyone get into trouble. Our van was still covered in snow from the day before so Josey called the school and asked them to come pick her up. They weren’t surprised.

“This won’t be a problem next year,” the little girl said, “because I’ll be in Texas with my dad and it doesn’t snow in Texas.” She sipped her hot coco and played with her fingernails.

“Why are you moving to Texas?” Josey asked.

“Because I have ADHD and my mom can’t handle three kids by herself,” she looked around the room, at Elias eating Honey Nut Cheerios, “she’s keeping my other sisters because they aren’t as difficult.” Then she finished her hot chocolate.

A few minutes later, the school bus arrived and the little girl grabbed her bag, said “thank you” for the hot chocolate, and headed off to school.

Josey rinsed out the cup and listened to Zion talk about all she wants to buy with the money she got from the Tooth Ferry who had visited the night before.

After pouring a fresh cup of coffee, Josey sat down. Zion, holding a favorite book, climbed into her lap while Elias crawled on the floor.

After school, the little girl stopped in and asked if she could come over tomorrow, after school. When Josey said yes, the little girl handed her a note, a to-do list of activities.



A lesson from Boise:

 Photo by Angie Smith

Photo by Angie Smith

I think a refugee is not just a person fleeing disaster. I think a refugee is a person that strives to liberate a whole generation. Because the reason why there is America is because a group of people went from Europe to here because they wanted a better life, and look what we have now. So a refugee is not just a person who takes space and eats your food and takes your money. I think a refugee is a person who strives to make a better way for their generation. It’s not just a one-sided perspective. When you see one person getting out of another country to come into yours, it’s not just one person, it’s a lineage of people. And when you reject that one person, you are rejecting his whole generation. So I feel like having that perspective of consumerism and what it’s going to take out of the country, I think that’s human. I think it’s very natural for us to look at the compromise and say ‘What if we lose this?’ Sometimes it’s very hard to see what you will gain because what you will gain is definitely not money. It’s something more beautiful and abstract and less tangible (via).

“Being chosen" says Trevor Noah, "is the greatest gift you can give to another human being." 

May we choose to choose, over and over again. 


You can read more refugee stories at Stronger Shines the Light Inside.

The Saint of Dry Creek : a StoryCorp short film

Dont' sneak. . . if you sneak it means you think you're doing the wrong thing. And if you run around your whole life thinking you're doing the wrong thing, then you'll ruin your immortal soul.

Damn, that's good.

StoryCorps was designed by David Irsay to "preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world," and has collected well over 50,000 stories (that number is from June, 2015). 

I first heard of David Irsay and his brilliant development of StoryCorps almost two years ago while walking through the streets of Chengdu, China. He and it was the center piece to the episode The Act of Listening from the podcast TED Radio Hour. Since that night, I've listened to hundreds of podcasts. Yet, this episode has remained one of my all time favorites. 

Thank you Eric Trauger for sending me this video!


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Favorite Podcasts  :  TED Talks  :  StoryCorps films

Let's go rock climbing!


Zion has been begging me to take her rock climbing because "she's the best rock climber in the family," and she isn't lying. Most of it has to do with her being fearless, but she's also just really good at it. So today, after weeks and weeks of her begging and pleading, I took her to the gym, fit her into a miniature harness, and sent her up the wall. She was so pumped, so excited, and so eager to show off her skills. 

Then she failed. 

About half way up, she got stuck, then tired, then scared. "I want to come down," she said, and was slowly lowered down. She was so disappointed.

Eden was next and she made it slightly higher. Then she too wanted to come down. 

Now I had two girls who had failed. But both wanted to try again so we gave high-fives, gave a few climbing pointers, then sent them back up. And this time, both of them made it all the way to the top! Eden even started to cry she was so happy and proud. After I hugged them and kissed them and told them how proud I was of overcoming their fears and working so hard, I started thinking about school and assessments and those all consuming and toxic grades I'd entered earlier in the day.

Suddenly, I wished I could take my students rock climbing because, What if schooling was like rock climbing? What if instead of grades for what was accomplish and known, students got second chances, third chances, and forth and fifth chances? What if instead of teaching by standing at the top of the mountain, pulling and cajoling and threatening students up the steep and daunting cliffs, we stood behind them, sending out words of encouragement and guidance ("now grab the green hold with your left hand . . . good!") and assured them that if they fell, we'd be there to catch them?

I know almost every teacher or parent has heard something like this before and have all come to the same conclusion: it sounds great but it's impossible. What teacher has the time or the effort to allow kids to fail and try, fail and try, fail and try? And quite honestly, what kid wants to try this hard on a subject they hate? The answer to both those questions is, "not many." 

But I also know the system is broken and needs fixing. That students have stopped trying on assignments they think are too difficult because, "{they're} gonna fail anyway, so why try?" and that many of them have given up hope of ever succeeding in school. "It's just not for me," they say.

And they may be right. School, as they have traditionally understood it, may not be for them. But learning is. And that is the cardinal sin of education, students are terrified to try and learn because, as Carol Dweck calls it, they have a "fixed mindset." 


People in a fixed mindset "believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits" (via). And years of schooling, of grades, telling them over and over that they're not smart, that they won't get it has cemented the idea that talent alone creates success. And some kids have it, while others don't. 

People in a growth mindset, however, "believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point" (via). They care more about the effort, the hard work, and the process, not the product. 

Schools and grades, by and large, support a fixed mindset; rock walls don't. They encourage the process more than the product, and they teach service.

The main reason why I was able to take my kids climbing today was because one of my students is a certified belayer, and he offered to take my kids. 

More times than not, kids in schools today are told that they need to be there so they can go to college so they can get a good job so they can live a decent life. School is all about serving they self. There's even a banner in my school that reads, "Do it for you," which might be the worst reason for attending school I've ever heard.

What if, instead, students went to school to not only learn their gifts and talents, but to learn how to serve and give back? What if kids and students were given ample opportunities to serve others, not just themselves?

It sounds daunting, if not insurmountable. It sounds like rock climbing. 

And that excites the hell out of me.

National Geographic is examining their history, because it's pretty racist.

"I’m the tenth editor of National Geographic since its founding in 1888," Susan Goldberg writes. "I’m the first woman and the first Jewish person—a member of two groups that also once faced discrimination here. It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past. But when we decided to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others" (via).

One of my favorite comedians once said, "If someone calls you an asshole you can't say, 'No I'm not,' because it's not up to you!" The correct response is to say sorry, and then ask what you did wrong. And that is exactly what National Geographic is doing. 

The article continues:

Unlike magazines such as Life, Mason said, National Geographic did little to push its readers beyond the stereotypes ingrained in white American culture.

“Americans got ideas about the world from Tarzan movies and crude racist caricatures,” he said. “Segregation was the way it was. National Geographic wasn’t teaching as much as reinforcing messages they already received and doing so in a magazine that had tremendous authority. National Geographic comes into existence at the height of colonialism, and the world was divided into the colonizers and the colonized. That was a color line, and National Geographic was reflecting that view of the world.”

. . .

Mason also uncovered a string of oddities—photos of “the native person fascinated by Western technology. It really creates this us-and-them dichotomy between the civilized and the uncivilized.” 

Yet, on February 18, 2018, National Geographic published a video that attempted to show the story of human evolution through paintings on a face. The video is brilliant, but it's also a reinforcement of all that National Geographic is trying to move away from.

Right before we turn into machines (I guess), is the light-skinned human. It's so subtle because it's lost in the brilliance of art, but it's there, and it engrains itself into our psyche every single day.

“If I were talking to my students about the period until after the 1960s," Mason states,  "I would say, ‘Be cautious about what you think you are learning here.'" . . . "At the same time, you acknowledge the strengths National Geographic had even in this period, to take people out into the world to see things we’ve never seen before. It’s possible to say that a magazine can open people’s eyes at the same time it closes them.”

Although National Geographic is making great strides and is an example to us all on self-evaluation, Mason's warning to students of the 60's is a warning that still applies today: be cautious about what you think you are learning here. 

The article ends with, "We hope you will join us in this exploration of race, beginning this month and continuing throughout the year. Sometimes these stories, like parts of our own history, are not easy to read. But as Michele Norris writes in this issue, “It’s hard for an individual—or a country—to evolve past discomfort if the source of the anxiety is only discussed in hushed tones", and I think that's brilliant. National Geographic isn't perfect, but they're also not defensive. They're taking a good hard look at themselves and they're inviting us to join them in the process, to join in the discussion. 

I hope we're mature enough to handle it.


You can read the full article, "For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It" here. And I would encourage you to. It's pretty great.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  On Race :  On Living

Marriage. And Race Shouldn't Matter.

Wrong caste
Wrong culture
Wrong religion
Wrong everything.

This American Life posted an episode today, 20 Acts in 60 minutes, which told 20 different stories in 60 minutes. This was a huge deviation from their regular 3-4 stories in an episode and at first, I didn't like it. But then I got used to it, and by the third or forth story, I was laughing out loud with David Sedaris and crying with the teenage girls from a detention center who performed a song of apology for their parents. It was fantastic.

Just like the short clips from the interracial couples. We don't see them long, but it doesn't matter. In their short moments, both together and separate, they all just humans. Which seems so obvious, but the fact that short clips are being made about them points to the reality that it isn't. There aren't any videos of white couples or two Indian couples talking about their marriages. Because that's just marriage.

Not so with interracial marriages.

Why do we have to put the tag on it, as interracial marriage. Shouldn't it just be marriage?

Yes it should. Because it's just marriage. Between two people. And race shouldn't matter.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Fall in Love in 36 questions  :  Choosing more than a Heineken



Why we argue, and how we heal.


We got into a fight Saturday morning, a good one, but not really a real one. It started off simply, over something that could have easily been batted away, like that pestering fly that lands on your knee. But instead, I chose to pounce, to dig in, and then to not let it go. More than once Josey tried to calm things over, to move on, but I refused. 

So we argued about the dumb shit that doesn't really mean anything but in the moment, for whatever reason, means everything. 

Later that morning, I found myself sitting on the edge of our bed, alone, and thinking, "What the hell am I doing? Why am I choosing this fight?"

It didn't take long for the answer to surface, but because I'm bullheaded it did take a decent amount of time for me to head down the stairs and seek forgiveness. 

A few hours later, the van was packed and we were headed to the Badlands.

I don't know if other couples argue and find themselves divided over the dumbest things couples can bicker about, I just know we do. Sometimes it's because the stress and excitement of finally spending Thanksgiving with family suddenly crashes, minutes before takeoff. Other times its because there's been some miscommunication and I was supposed to be home by 5:15, not 6:30. 

I also know that, for us, sitting in a van with fresh coffee wafting from cupped hands, an atlas on the dash, kids in the back, and hours and hours of road ahead, we heal.

We talk about the past few weeks, then sit in silence and watch the miles blur by. We talk about our hopes and dreams, or fears of failure, and of future trips. We talk about what's been on our hearts and eating our minds. Then Josey sits in the back with the girls and they laugh and whisper and sleep. Judah sits up front and talks like a young man and scours the atlas for shortcuts and upcoming cities. He quizzes me on capitals and I tell him of the time my family drove west and my dad lost his wallet on the camper. 

Soon Josey returns and we discuss and sit and be some more. Because the laundry's at home, because lesson plans can be done later Sunday night, and because our cellphones are down and we're just there, together. 

And I love that.

Invisibilia : Season 4


It's here!

As the sun broke through the mountain-peak clouds and then crawled over the trees and building tops, I made my way to work this morning, on foot, listening to episode one of Invisibilia's newest season. About five  minutes into the episode, the anticipated, "welcome to the fourth season of Invisibilia. I’m Hanna Rosin and I'm Alix Spiegel" washed through my earbuds, and a quick chill shivered down my spine (no joke).

Because I love this podcast and I've been so excited for it to start. And episode one, “I, I, I. Him” did disappoint. 

I've written before on some of my favorite episodes: I Think That's Love and Advice from Lord Birthday, but really, any show of any season is worth listening. The topics they choose, the stories they tell, and the way they flow seamlessly through it all creates about the best 45-ish minutes of any podcast out there. Including This American Life and Revisionist History, which are two of my other top favorites.

They're just so good.


Here's the trailer for season 4:


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