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Happy Halloween!

Winnie the Pooh jack o' lantern with matching honeypot

Photo: Julia Ozab (2006)

There is a lot of controversy in some Christian circles over Halloween. Should it be acknowledged, let alone celebrated? If so, how? Thomas Blevins addressed this topic last week on Elevate Dads, and Addie Zierman (author of the beautiful memoir When We Were One Fire) shared this post from 2012 with her fans online. I think Rachel Held Evans (author of Evolving in Monkey Town and  A Year of Biblical Womanhood) has the best take on the subject. She posted this on her Facebook timeline today.

“I was a God-fearing Christian until I went trick-or-treating when I was eight and converted to paganism,” said no one ever.

So calm down. It’s a fun holiday. Focus on the positives and enjoy it. My wife and I always celebrated it as kids and we turned out okay. Plus, it’s not like we have a choice. Halloween is Anna’s favorite holiday. Why?

She loves Halloween because she loves dressing up.

Anna’s first two Halloween outfits were our idea. Who doesn’t want to show off their cute kid in a cute costume. So at nine months, she was Winnie the Pooh in a bee outfit. She had a matching Winnie the Pooh plush toy in his own bee outfit, which she carried as we carried her. You can’t get much cuter than that.

Her costume at 20 months was a monkey, complete with a banana from her play food set. This time, she got into the swing of trick-or-treating around the complex, walking up to the doors, holding out her bucket, and signing thank you.

Since then, she’s chosen her own costume. At two, she was Elmo. At three, Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty). At four and five, she was Super Girl (her only two-year costume to date). At six, she was Merida from the movie Brave, and this year, she’s Snow White.

Halloween has become a dress-up holiday for her, and since she loves dressing up, it’s the holiday she looks forward to the most. The candy is secondary, and the darker aspects of the day don’t even register for her. Why?

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Halloween Cupcakes Slideshow

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Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up this week at Anna’s elementary school. The kids get a couple of days off, but the teachers and staff are still working. Anna wanted to express her appreciation, so for her October Girl Scouts Service Project, Anna made Halloween “Slime Lime” cupcakes for them. Great job, Anna!

Bloggerhood Etc. 10/27/14

Rhythm clock

Image: John Varney/TED-ED

Best Profile.The Crisis That Changed Pope Francis” by Paul Vallely at Newsweek. 

Best Dad Post. Should You Travel With Young Kids?” by Jeff Bogle at OWTK.

Bravest.Ten Minutes of Bravery” by Aaron J. Smith at Cultural Savage.

Best List.10 Traits My Tween and Teen Acquired From Participating in Live Theater” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Call to Rebellion.A Benedictine on the Benedict Option” by Rod Dreher at The American Conservative.

Best Special Needs Post.Does Guilt Lace Your Dreams” by Kara Dedert at Not Alone.

Best Commentary.TED Talks are Lying to You” by Thomas Frank at Salon.

Best Question.Is St. Peter a Bouncer?” by Joshua Ryan Butler at A Deeper Story.

Best Answer.Why Every Newborn You See on Facebook is Wrapped in the Same Baby Blanket” by Lisa Selin Davis at Quartz.

Best Easy Recipe.Incredibly Simple Applesauce” by Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle. 

Best Free Resource.NASA Posts a Huge Library of Space Sounds, And You’re Free To Use Them” by Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music.

Best Mom Post.Flutters and Faith” by Sarah Bessey.

Best Essay.Daughter of the Dragon” by Hilary Oliva Faxon at SB Nation.

Best Educational Video.A Different Way to Visualize Rhythm” by John Varney at TED-ED (via YouTube)

Every Day is a Dare

Caution: I'm sleeping

Image: Liquid 2003 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

When I wake up most mornings my first instinct is to go back to sleep. My bed is comfortable, my sheets and blanket are warm, and starting this week the rain is hitting the roof incessantly. Nothing makes me sleepy faster than the sound of rain.

I roll over. I want to go back to sleep. I want to stay warm and safe and cozy. I don’t want to get up, to go outside, to face a day I don’t know.

A day that is a dare.

It could be a good day or a bad one. I could win the lottery (highly unlikely) or get struck by lightning (almost as unlikely). I don’t know what’s going to happen. The only thing I know is that if I lie here and go back to sleep nothing will happen.

I have to dare to get up. To face what the day will bring. To live with all the joys and sorrows and risks that life entails. Never knowing if the next time I walk out the door will be the last time, or the 20,000th to last time.

But to stay here is to sleep. And that’s not living. I’d rather take the chance. I’d rather take the dare

Plus my daughter is standing next to my bed, and she won’t stop nagging me until I get up.

“Dad? Wake up Dad!”

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Bloggerhood Etc. 10/20/14

beach bonfire

Photo: Heather Park

Best Photoblog.Once I Went to a Wedding” by Heather Park and Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle.

Best Special Needs Post.The Path to Self-Advocacy” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best List.The 5 Worst Commercials of the MLB Postseason” by Grant Brisbee at SB Nation.

Best Satire.The War on Halloween” by Drew Chial.

Best Question.What Does it Mean to be Blackish?” by Christena Cleveland at Christianity Today.

Most Hopeful.The Secret to Stop Feeling Like a Failure” by Jennifer Dukes-Lee, guest-posting at Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience.

Best Social Commentary.Deus Ex Musica: Beethoven’s Bad Influence” by Alex Ross at The New Yorker.

Best Parenting Post.The Whole Truth About Infant Cereals: 7 Science-Based Tips” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Best Reflection.Mark Driscoll Impacts the Non-Mars-Hill People Too” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Sports Commentary.Kirk Cousins, E.J. Manuel, and Why Bad Quarterbacks Keep Getting Starting Jobs” by K.C. Clyburn at Football is Stupid.

Best Advice.How I Learned NOT to be an Obnoxious Author” by Sarabeth Caplin.

Best Mom Post.To Live Like a Child” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

Best Dad Post.A Dispatch from the Gender Frontline (I Went to Some Toy Shops)” by Simon Ragoonanan at Man vs. Pink.

Best Essay. “The Other Side of the River” by Stephen Knox at SB Nation.

Most Awesome Video.3D Printed IRON MAN Child Prosthetic Hand” by Pat Starace (via YouTube).