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Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Be a Blessing

    Look up. Look around. I’d gotten in the habit of keeping my head down when running errands, stuck in my own dark cloud, closed off, and hardly noticing where I was or who was around me. On this day, I decided to greet the world differently. I stopped for gas and started...
    By S.J. Butler | 5/30/2018
  • The Story of My Birth

    When my eldest child was three, they* had almost no control over their emotions, and those emotions were fueled by anything from hunger to noise to too much fun. One day near the end of a holiday break spent in Michigan with family, they started sobbing over getting the wrong...
    By Mandie McGlynn | 5/9/2018
  • The Strength That Defines Us

    My son was five when he announced that he would no longer cut his hair. He hated going through the whole process. He also liked his hair and was done. I agreed; I, too, was done fighting with him about haircuts. As time went on, I marveled at the beauty of his hair and the way...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 4/18/2018
  • Faithful

    We were in the car when Kirk, my three-year-old son, said, “We don’t need guns in school. I know what to do—you have to hide and be quiet. That’s what Ms. Laurie says.” I thought I misheard him. One. Two. Three: I waited to figure out what to say next. At the parent-...
    By Robin Tanner | 2/28/2018
  • Another, Truer Song

    I first visited a children’s psychiatric unit twenty-two years ago. The boy’s mother and I stood facing each other in the hallway by the locked door, not saying a word because there was nothing to say. He was ten years old and seemed not to want to live. He had been putting...
    By Elea Kemler | 2/21/2018
  • No Longer Claiming "Divorced"

    I used to be very conscious of the fact that I was “a single mom” — so self-conscious, in fact, that I would add that I was “a divorced mother,” as if this extra piece of information somehow made things better; as if people would judge me less if they knew that I did, in fact,...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 2/14/2018
  • Telling a New Story

    I thought about my first tattoo for a long time, but when a pregnancy test unexpectedly came back positive, my ink research took a new direction. I didn’t cancel my trip to the tattoo parlor; birthing this baby at this moment would harm everyone involved, and I knew that I would...
    By Mandie McGlynn | 1/20/2018
  • Mrs. Cash's Oranges

    I grew up in a three-bedroom, cinderblock ranch style house with a two-car garage and a mess of tiger lilies and saw palmettos in the front yard. There was a lake at the end of the street — one of the few in Central Florida left unspoiled, because its proximity to the railroad...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 1/10/2018
  • Stopping to Help

    Why is it that some people stop to help and others just keep going? In my adult life, I’ve happened upon a number of memorable car accidents. In one, a mother was unconscious while her small child was screaming in the back of the car. My friend and I raced to pull the child...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 1/3/2018
  • I Ride Bus

    My three-year-old is almost completely nonverbal. Every day when she gets off the bus, I ask her the same question: I ask her how her day was, and every day I get the same answer: ”Momma, I ride bus.” I ask her what she had for lunch and who she played with. I ask her if she...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 11/22/2017
  • Making Space for Our Doubts

    The Christmas Eve pageant had been beautiful and sweet, but as a stressed out director of religious education, I will admit that the best part about it was that it was over. I sat myself down at the community potluck with my hot cocoa and relaxed for what felt like the first...
    By Becky Brooks | 10/18/2017
  • Pulled by a Fragile Thread

    5:00 a.m. A child is stirring… and up. Now I am, too. We call out to one another in the dark hallway. Call and response, we find one another. She crawls into our bed babbling about a turtle, then requests Cheerios. My phone buzzes with alerts. I pick it...
    By Robin Tanner | 10/4/2017
  • Love's Pronoun Is Plural

    My son, Caleb, and I went to Starbucks on a recent Saturday morning. We often do this as a prelude to the weekly grocery shopping. It sweetens the deal, which is important, as he is about to be 14 and on the autism spectrum. Both of these factors contribute to his resistance to...
    By Elea Kemler | 7/19/2017
  • Do the Next Thing with Love

    By the time Karate class rolled around Monday evening, I was still dazed. The day before — June 12, 2016 — my kids wanted to know why the parents were so sad. I told them I was crying for a really big group of people who had died in the night: fifty people. We got out their...
    By Becky Brooks | 6/14/2017
  • All Our Relations

    Everyone needs comadres and compadres. What are those? Well, Latinx* people have way more relatives than many other families. Most people attribute this to the fact that many Latinx* are Catholic and therefore frown on contraception, but this is only a partial truth. The rest of...
    By Marisol Caballero | 12/28/2016

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