Gay Married in Indiana for 7 hours

Last week I attended a wedding  wearing a sweat-soaked T-shirt with a winking turd on it.  However, my apparel was unremarkable compared to the event itself: Two men in Indiana were getting legally married.

Same-sex marriage was was made legal by a court ruling on June 25th by Judge Richard L. Young.  On June 27th, my good friend J.R. Jamison was marrying his husband Cory.  They’ve actually been married longer than Annie and I have, but they wanted to make it official in the eyes of the State of Indiana and the federal government. Like many same-sex couples, they rushed to get married, fearing an emergency stay would be put in place by Indiana’s attorney general. 

It wasn’t my intention to…

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John Oliver’s takedown of Dr. Oz is awesome

In WHERE AM I EATING? I came to Dr. Oz’s defense, but that doesn’t mean I’m a supporter of his. Dr. Oz pointed out that imported apple juice (2/3rds of which is from China) had high levels of arsenic. He was blasted because arsenic is natural in apples, but later vindicated by a Consumer Reports study that found high levels of inorganic arsenic from pesticides present in apple juice.

Dr. Oz for the win!

But as Oliver, points out, Dr. Oz is in the business of giving people what they want — magic pills and magic beans. And his snake oil salesman routine landed him in a congressional hearing.

Are you watching John Oliver’s new show Last Week Tonight?

We don’t get HBO,…

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Dance Like Everyone is Watching

Harper didn’t know it, but the future of her dance career depended on this one dance. It all came down to 90 seconds of Itsy Bitsy Spider.

She enjoyed the dance practices, but from her first class, she was dreading the recital, which would take place on Muncie’s largest stage — Emens Auditorium — in front of 1,000 people.

I sat in the audience as a nervous dad. The first group of kids came out and one little girl folded her arms and stared at the floor. She was not dancing. Other little kids beamed under the spotlights.

For a girl who was still hesitant to say “hi” to her preschool teacher whom she had known for three years, performing on a stage was going to…

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Fathers actually matter, dammit!

The day I became a father, I felt like I didn’t matter.

Sure there were a few moments of feeling like the tiniest of cogs in a universe of space and time and life and death, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I mean that I felt invisible at the hospital. I know that I wasn’t one of the patients, but I was a part of this new family, and the the hospital staff acted like I wasn’t there. Family structures are complex today, so I’m sure that nurses rarely assume that someone is the father, but it seems like there should be some inclusion or instructions for the father as well. Some kind of “You Contributed Your DNA, Now be a Dad,” guide…

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CrossFit has me asking, “Can I jump on that?”

I’ve been doing CrossFit now for about a year at The Arsenal in Muncie. One of the many skills that we work on is the box jump.

No mystery here as to what this is. There’s a box and then we jump on top of it, leaving the ground with two feet and then landing on the box with two feet.  You can spot someone who does CrossFit by their scarred shins. (see photo of my shins above four months after I missed).  At some point everyone misses the box.

Most of the time during workouts we jump on 24-inch or 30-inch boxes, but sometimes we go for max height.  I think the highest I’ve done is 36-inches. I’ve never been…

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What my dad taught me about the work of writing

Today I work as a full-time writer. I have no boss. Sure, I answer to the occasional editor and deadline, but on a daily basis it’s just me sitting in a seat writing sentence after sentence. When I look back on what I’ve written, sometimes it’s not good enough and I have to start all over again until I get it right.

Dad wasn’t one to deliver lessons on subject-verb agreement, spelling, or the overuse of adverbs, but when it comes to the work of writing, he taught me everything I needed to know.

I share how and what over at Wasson Nursery’s blog this week.

And an even deeper dive into all that Dad has taught me appeared in Wabash Magazine a few years…

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U.S. Border Swamped with Child Migrants

In WEARING I documented Amilcar’s journey.  Amilcar, a former garment worker and father of three in Honduras, decided that his job didn’t provide his family with the life he wanted to provide them. So Amilcar crossed illegally into Mexico and rode atop trains and dodged police and bandits for three months.  In some places in Mexico the locals threw bread at the migrants because the they knew why they were making the journey – their families. In other places the Mexican people were sick of desperate migrants traveling through their backyards and threw rocks at them. 

While this journey is a very dangerous and a remarkable feat of endurance, love, luck, and survival, it is not rare. It’s also one not just undertaken by adults.

Recently OnPoint with…

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The Myth of the Writing Space

To write you don’t need a quiet office lined with cherry-scented book shelves, an Aeron Miller chair, a hand-made wooden desk topped with inspirational quotes, or eight hours of uninterrupted silence.

I’ve signed two book contracts in my writing career. After I signed each one, I thought the same thing:

Holy crap! Is that enough time to write a book?

Having the time to write was less important than having a reason to write. Turns out being contractually obligated to write is a very good motivator.

For my first book, WEARING, my editor if I could write the book in four months (all the travels had already been completed); I lied and told him yes. The truth was that I had no idea.

My writing space…

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Gustavus Adolphus selects both WEARING & EATING for Common Read Program

Releasing a book to the world isn’t like having a kid. Our first child arrived within a few months after my first book was released.  Having a new born child is way harder. For instance, a new born book has never projectile pooped on me. 

But all the same, it has been fun watching my books grow up and reach more readers.  And in many ways WEARING is still the older child that all the teachers know, blazing a path for its younger sibling, EATING, in the common read world.  WEARING has been selected at like 25 different common read programs and EATING, which is out of the gate faster that WEARING, has been selected at four.

So to have one…

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I know how to end child labor

The worst thing isn’t that we live in a world where child labor exists; it’s that we live in a world where a mother who loves her child just as much as your momma loves you and my momma loves me sends that child off to work for the day in the dump, in the factory, in the field, or on the street because they have to earn an income to help support their families.

It’s World Against Child Labor Day. My friends at Fair Trade USA shared this on Facebook:

Child labor won’t end by banning child labor. In fact, I think “child labor bans” distract us from doing what will end child labor: employing parents at jobs that allow them to…

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