The Superlatives {October 2014}

October 30, 2014

October is all fall, baby. And even though summer is my favorite season, this is definitely a fun one!


In true World Cup Wives fashion, I headed to an Atlanta Silverbacks game this month with Billy and some friends. I believe some soccer was played.

What I can tell you more definitely is that we sat behind the "cheering section," which is full of some of the most interesting, complicated characters you'll meet. We were particularly struck by one tall, skinny boy who appeared to be in high school.

While the drums banged and drunk people danced, he remained stoned face while his shoulders did all the talking. It was the most amazing of shoulder dancing routines, if such a category should exist. We could not stop laughing.

It brought great joy to the crowd. In fact, the guy in front of me videotaped it. Which I know because I was openly watching it over his shoulder. Which became incredibly awkward when he felt my presence, turned around, and then kindly tried to hold up his phone for me to see.

I just kept apologizing, but also watching. I have no idea what proper etiquette is for these technology-related moments. He also posted it to Instagram. I stopped short of asking for his account name. (It was just far enough away that I couldn't read it myself!)


Since I'm on this awkward train already, next stop is BJ Novak's book tour. Yes, Ryan from the Office wrote a children's book. My friend Katie and I attended the book reading... without any children... even though we both have them.

So he read the book to a group of hilarious, outspoken children and then answered their questions, which were plentiful. He also spoke to the adults, and I was really intrigued to hear about his writing habits and general writer's lifestyle. I did not ask a question because I knew if I raised my hand I would be able to say nothing except, "Please talk to me about Mindy."

They did not allow pictures with BJ. Naturally, Katie and I thought we'd be stealthy and take a photo of ourselves which a suspiciously large gap in between. What made this experience even more awesome is that it took us an inappropriate amount of time to reverse the camera. We were holding it up, shouting, "Where are we??? Who is that girl???" Only to lower the camera and see said girl waiting behind us in line. Yep. Let's flip that camera around, please.


Okay, y'all. I started watching Nashville. I've always stayed away because I felt I needed to start this one from the very beginning. (Thank you, Hulu.) I'm hooked.


This is not earth-shattering, but I've become obsessed with roasted vegetables this month. Normally, I over-oil the veggies, which makes it all kind of slimy. When I asked Billy how he made them so amazing, he gently explained how he mixed the EVOO, salt, and pepper in a bowl and brushed it on.

But seriously, friends. I hate broccoli. I only ever buy it because Billy and Ella love it, and someone once said you should eat vegetables. But roasted broccoli???? Oh my goodness. I was eating it like candy after the kids went to bed.


This month I ordered Amy Poehler's book Yes Please. I can't wait to read it!


A haunted maze has been on my bucket list for a while. I don't like gore, but I love suspense and nervousness and getting freaked out. Billy graciously agreed to drive me an hour out of the city to visit a haunted corn maze.

Yes, being outside the city can sometimes freak us out a bit. It was super fun, though. Very low-key. Basically high schoolers wandering out of the corn at unexpected moments. Me using Billy as a human shield. The usual.

Of course, a close runner up was taking the kids to a pumpkin patch. They had a ball, and enjoyed watching them have such a good time.


We had some fun here on the blog with this video post. It was the most popular post of the month. Billy and I will likely do some more videos together we had such a good time!


Best on Multicultural Identity: I am a Triangle and Other Thoughts on Repatriation

Funniest: 20 Gifs Only Gringas Married to Latinos Will Understand

Best on Immigration: An American Dream Deferred

Best Ode to Guac: 15 Signs Your Life Is Actually All About the Guac

Best onMexico: Under the Volcano

What were you into this month?

A Grandparent's Guide to Facebook

October 27, 2014

This was a fun little post I put together after some hilarious conversations with friends. The content was "crowd-sourced." And don't worry, my mom already knows they're not ALL about her.

Facebook launched when your kids were in college. You never paid much attention because it was a college-kid thing. But now anyone can join, and you have logged in with the masses for one reason and one reason alone: grandkids.

Your kids had babies and refused to email you a daily photo or a monthly mailer of candids. That's okay. There's Facebook.

Now that you've been clicking around the site for a while, you've learned a few things. And there are some tricks of the trade that all grandparents need to know.

1. Set your profile pic.
Get out that choice photo from a vacation fifteen years ago or maybe a college glamour shot. And don't be afraid to change it frequently, if you want. Like every day.

2. Like every photo.
Otherwise, how will your grandchildren know you love them? You joined Facebook for access to these gems, so make it count! Leave no child unliked.

3. Out-comment your in-laws.
If they write "so sweet" on that pic of your shared grandson, you'll post "precious." Don't reserve in-law battles for the holidays. Facebook lets you compete for affection year-round!

4. Share every photo.
Your kids post a grandbaby photo you love? Share it! They upload an average, blurry photo? Share it!

5. Share inspirational quotes.
There's so much negativity in the world. Don't be afraid to brighten your corner of the world with sunsets and bold script.
Image source: Pedro Szekely ~ Text: Sarah Quezada

6. Talk to your kids publicly.
They won't answer their cell phone? That's fine. Just ask them anything or share any news in the first text box you come across. It may be your status update or a photo comment, but they'll get the news that your Aunt Carla is starting a new job next week.

7. Throw Back Thursday.
Have you heard of #TBT? It's the perfect opportunity to share baby photos or kid pics of your adult children... and their friends! Tag away, good people. Tag away.

8. You can never use too many emojis.
Nothing says "that toddler is so hilarious" better than a giant face laughing with tears. Emojis (Or as my mother calls them... e-motives) can be your new best friends.

9. Overshare.
Feel free. It's Facebook!

Isn't it wonderful that we're all on Facebook?

Where Is God In the City?

October 23, 2014

I'm delighted to have Shawn Casselberry guest posting today. He is Executive Director of Mission Year, the volunteer ministry so near and dear to my heart. Also, he recently released a book sharing stories of God's presence in the city. Spoiler alert: Billy makes a cameo in this book, so you should definitely get a copy!

Image Credit: Hernan Seoane
When I went to Chicago, I never expected to encounter God.

I relocated to the Chicago in response to a call. A physical phone call for a job offer for my wife and I to work with Mission Year, and a two-year inner calling I felt to move to the city after reading John Perkin’s book Restoring At-Risk Communities.

I wanted to do something about the pain and injustice I had learned was deeply embedded in our country’s urban cities. I wanted to contribute. I wanted to be a light. You know, all the things us Christian do-gooders want to do. After a decade of living and working in the city, I can honestly say the city has done more for me that I have done for it.

In actuality, the city has done something to me.

I have been changed inalterably. I have been transformed by the city, the neighborhoods, and the people I’ve met in urban communities across the country.

For the last decade I have lived in Chicago. A beautiful, historic American city. We are known as “the city that works.” Yet we are also known for political corruption, failing schools, high violence, and the notorious distinction of being the most racially segregated city in America.

Seeing these grim realities has led me to ask the question, “Where is God in the city?” Sure, we can imagine seeing God in the developed downtown areas, lakefronts, and nature preserves where, “God is good!” so effortlessly slips off the tongue. But I have found that God can be experienced in the neglected parts of the city too.

Too often, news outlets give us a daily rundown of crimes across the city’s struggling areas without reporting any of the good that is going on in those neighborhoods. Although poverty, violence, and injustice abound in the city, that is not the whole story. There is also deep faith, authentic community, and courageous struggle.

When we look at the city with new eyes, we see that grace is present under the surface, on the margins, in the background, and sometimes right in front of our faces. Developing new eyes helps us see potential where others only see problems. When we develop new eyes, we see that God is in the city – and if God is in the city – the city becomes a sacrament capable of transforming us.

I now see that God is present in the city and in everyday people, places, and events. I don’t see urban communities as hopeless places to be avoided but places full of people with heroic faith with much to teach us. I see that God is not distant or outside of our everyday experiences, but accessible and ever-
present, ready to be encountered in the city.

I see that God is in Chicago.

Shawn Casselberry is an advocate for justice, author of God is in the City: Encounters of Grace and Transformation. He is Executive Director for Mission Year, a leading Christian ministry dedicated to bringing hope to the city through faith, community, solidarity, and justice. 

Shawn’s book, God is in the City, is available now. You can follow Shawn on twitter.

Interested in sharing your own travel post? I'm accepting submissions to be published in November. You can learn more and register here.

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