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About Carrie Willard

Carrie Willard lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, two young sons, and three ridiculous dogs. She is a recovering lawyer, clergy spouse, clergy kid, food and cooking aficionada, musical theater junkie, anxious mess, redeemed sinner, and blogger at curessa.wordpress.com. Her family attends Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston.

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Author Archive
    
    We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

    We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

    When I first clicked through to the New Yorker piece, “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,” I’ll admit that it felt a little bit like seeing the sad ex-boyfriend of a close friend. The momentary thrill of schadenfreude: “you’ve done her wrong, and look at how that worked out for you.” Ben Affleck is not looking so great these days, and I feel a pang of satisfaction on behalf of his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner.

    To be clear, Jennifer Garner is not my close friend, but she feels like a girlfriend to so many of us who came of age in the…

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    Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother's Day

    Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother’s Day

    I almost didn’t have children.

    I can hardly say that sentence aloud now, now that I am a mother, without choking on the words.

    I almost chose not to have children.

    I did not want the world to have more of me in it.

    When I say that aloud now, people laugh, as though I’m joking. I’m not joking. And I wasn’t joking then, or being unnecessarily self-deprecating. I did not want the world to have more of me in it, and I did not want to put another person through the experience of being me. One of me seemed like plenty.

    The luxury of…

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    I Have Summoned You by Name

    I Have Summoned You by Name

    When my husband and I were dreaming of names for our firstborn, we had a great book called The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenburg. Actually, my amazon order history tells me that we bought the book a full year and a half before our son was born, so we were really getting a jump on the baby naming situation. Picking names sounds like one of those magical, fun experiences, like choosing a wedding dress, until you actually have to commit to one, and then it is terrifying. The baby naming may be more stressful than the wedding dress, though, because…

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    Everything Happens for a Reason ... And Other Lies I've Loved

    Everything Happens for a Reason … And Other Lies I’ve Loved

    My mom has a very useful phrase that, because she’s our mom, my siblings and I use to mock her mercilessly: “Gently but firmly.”

    “Gently but firmly” works for closing the microwave door, breaking up with a bad boyfriend, and asking for a raise. It doesn’t work for everything — sometimes a person has to be more firm than gentle, or vice versa, but it works for a surprising number of situations. It works so well in Kate Bowler‘s new memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Bowler is an assistant professor at Duke Divinity School, a graduate…

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    Cheap Grace for Sale at the Beauty Counter

    Cheap Grace for Sale at the Beauty Counter

    I’ve already outed myself as a clergy kid, but before my dad was ordained to the priesthood (and for several years afterward, too), he was a grocer. The grocery business runs deep in his blood — his grandfather owned a potato warehouse, his father drove a bread delivery truck, and my father had his own supermarket. We are so steeped in the family grocery business that our family vacation photos include grocery displays from around the country, which my dad couldn’t help but photograph to bring ideas back to his own store.

    My dad is retired now, but going to the…

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    This is (Almost) 40

    This is (Almost) 40

    Until recently, if you had asked me the question: “If you had to re-live one time in your life, what would it be?” my answer would have been almost always: “My junior year of college.” With apologies to my husband and kids, who are lovely and the best things that ever happened to me, I really felt like I was hitting my stride that third year at a big university, and I will admit to missing the metabolism and sleep schedule of my 19-year-old self.

    Now, though, I have a new answer to the question of whether I’d like to relive…

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    The Crown, Season 2: Reconciliation and Her Majesty

    The Crown, Season 2: Reconciliation and Her Majesty

    This piece contains possible spoilers from the Netflix Original Series The Crown, Season 2, Episode 6. 

    The second season of The Crown is just as beautiful as the first, and more complex. As we watch the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip ever-so-slightly unravel at the seams and Princess Margaret’s love life take dizzying turns, the Queen still has to hold down her day job, which is to rule over the British Empire.

    Peter Morgan, the creator of The Crown, was recently interviewed on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” NPR summarized their conversation:

    He says, “Let’s just stop thinking about them as a…

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    He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good…and Fills Your Stocking Anyway

    He Knows If You’ve Been Bad or Good…and Fills Your Stocking Anyway

    “Do you think Santa is actually real?”

    My six-year-old asked my nine-year-old this question in the backseat of my car recently, and I tried to squelch the “of COURSE he is!” that was dying to escape from my throat.

    The nine-year-old, who is the tallest innocent I’ve ever met, said that yes, he believed that Santa is real. The six-year-old had his hang-ups. “What would make you say that he isn’t?” I asked from the driver’s seat, imagining a list of logistical challenges that one man might have distributing gifts around the world.

    Instead I got:

    “I just can’t believe that he thinks we’re…

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    Everything I Touch Is Overwhelmed

    Everything I Touch Is Overwhelmed

    Last spring, I was attending the Mockingbird Conference in New York when my phone died. Like, straight up died. The battery was charged, but nobody was home. It didn’t even give me a chance to say goodbye. It just died.

    I don’t know how other (normal) people react to this kind of situation, but I panicked. “My plane ticket to get home lives in there,” was my rationalization for panicking, but really my addiction to everything on my phone had me hyperventilating a bit. Texting, e-mailing, and all of the things that remind me that “I’m important, dammit” live on my…

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    Dog Is My Copilot

    Dog Is My Copilot

    ’Tis the season for pet blessings! Churches everywhere are celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (Oct. 4), that famed lover of animals, by blessing their congregants’ furry friends. Our family are dog people, and we always bring a dog or two to the pet blessing at our church. My husband and I had dogs before we had human children, and I hope to take the advice that someone gave me to get a puppy when our children are teenagers, so that someone will be happy to see us at the end of the day. We currently have two…

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    "Mark Yourself as Safe"

    “Mark Yourself as Safe”

    Greetings from the heart of Houston, and the heart of Hurricane Harvey. For the past few mornings, I’ve woken up, glanced at my phone and the multiple flash flood warnings that came through overnight, and scrolled through a few dozen pictures of whatever fresh hell visited my city the night before. Then, I write some post for family and friends from all over the country who are worried about us: “Checking in as safe, dry and grateful in Houston this morning.” We have been spared the worst of the devastation in our little pocket of Houston. Our house has not…

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    The Tempest of Ancestry.com

    The Tempest of Ancestry.com

    I can talk to just about anyone about just about anything. Gallbladder surgery. Grandchildren’s precociousness. Train schedules. Weather patterns. But, I do have one achilles’ heel: ancestry narratives. As soon as someone starts talking about their third great-grandfather’s cousin twice removed, and how that person fought in the battle of Waterloo, my eyes glaze over and I start to sniff out the exit. I just … can’t.

    I think this reluctance started when we lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, where everybody seems to have some colonial something-or-other, and I was just known as the gross Yankee that married the bachelor priest. (The…

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