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About Carrie Willard

Carrie Willard lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, two young sons, and two 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
    
    And of Thine Own Have We Given Thee

    And of Thine Own Have We Given Thee

    Recently, the Facebook page for my Wisconsin hometown’s history has exploded with photos. There are 19th century photos of the town, including charming photos of tree-lined streets and horse-drawn carriages, and also the town’s darker history, including an “Indian School,” where Native American children were taken to assimilate to white culture after being removed from their families. There are photos of the library, and the Main Street, and school board meetings. There are fierce debates about a potato cheese soup recipe that my dad brought into the town’s restaurant community. The debate, believe it or not, centers around whether the…

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    Hallelujah Anyway: Anne Lamott’s Latest on Rediscovering Mercy

    Hallelujah Anyway: Anne Lamott’s Latest on Rediscovering Mercy

    I have loved Anne Lamott since I read her first memoir, Traveling Mercies, when I was in law school. In a world where I was, quite literally, surrounded by law, I heard grace in her words, and it was the drink I didn’t even know I was thirsty for. Later, Lamott’s Operating Instructions, her memoir about her son’s first year, prepared me for motherhood in a way that all of the What to Expect books failed to do.

    Naturally, I wanted to share my enthusiasm for my favorite lay theologian with my friends, some of whom scoffed at Lamott’s personal history: how could they…

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    What Once Was Lost

    What Once Was Lost

    I have two older sisters who both grew up to be teachers. They are about ten years older than I am, and we lived in a very rural part of Wisconsin, and there was no cable or internet at our house. In other words, we had a lot of time on our hands, and my sisters used that time to teach me how to read and write and do math. And so, by the time I got to kindergarten, I could read fairly proficiently, while other children were still picking out the letters in their names.

    When I complained to my…

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    The Mother I Was Going To Be

    The Mother I Was Going To Be

    Parenting is full of “I never thought I’d have to do/say/clean that” moments.

    “Don’t touch your brother’s pee.”

    “Please don’t put that necklace on the dog.”

    “How did these fingerprints get there?”

    I was not going to be the mom that made a separate meal for her kids. I cook delicious food! And it’s kid-friendly! They can eat what we eat, or go to bed hungry!

    And then I had a kid who would not, could not eat, and woke us up all night long because he was hungry. And so, with torture like that, I surrendered, and my white flag was in the shape of…

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    Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

    Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

    I was born in Wisconsin, as was my dad, and his dad, which means that we are Green Bay Packers fans. Cheeseheads. We bleed green and gold. Our hearts belong to St. Vincent and Lambeau Field. Our loyalty is defined by our history and our sense of place. 

    Unlike my dad and his dad and most of the rest of my family, I don’t understand football. I’ve tried. I went to a Big Ten school and attended all of the home football games, but honestly, that was mostly to see my friends in the marching band. (I’m not making…

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    Mom Goggles

    Mom Goggles

    One of my favorite shows on television is The Goldbergs, which is a sitcom about a family in the 1980s. The mother, Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), is ridiculous not only in her 1980s-ness (jazzercise, big hair, shoulder pads, mom jeans), but also in her single-minded devotion to her family. Her love for them often seems to travel only in a one-way direction. Her husband is apathetic. Her children are teenagers and embarrassed by her smothering affection. But she doggedly loves them anyway, in spite of herself and in spite of their protests. In one episode, her children accuse her of having…

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    On Christmas Cards and Reconciliation

    On Christmas Cards and Reconciliation

    I love holiday cards. I love giving them, I love receiving them, I love holiday stamps, and I don’t even care if you write Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or a Festive Festivus, I’m happy to get a card in the mail from you. I hang them up in our dining room, commenting on how children have grown, or so-and-so has moved to another state. I love Christmas letters, even though I don’t write them very often. I know not everyone feels the same. But I love cheap drugstore cards and heavy, fine paper. I am the stationery industry’s dream….

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    Generosity Devoid of Expectations

    Generosity Devoid of Expectations

    As we approach Thanksgiving, we enter the season when a lot of us start to think about volunteer opportunities for our family. Perhaps we’re trying to inoculate our children from the entitlement that can creep in with all those holiday gifts. Or perhaps we’re trying to give back in a spirit of gratitude for all we’ve been given. Or perhaps we’re trying to put some muscle where our money is, as we dole out charitable gifts before the end of the tax year. Whatever our reasons, this time of year seems to be when a lot of us look to…

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    Prince Philip and Me: On Relating to The Crown’s Most Awkward Character

    Prince Philip and Me: On Relating to The Crown’s Most Awkward Character

    Anglophiles still mourning the ending of Downton Abbey have begun watching The Crown, a Netflix original about the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The series is beautifully made, and instead of bingeing on it, I find myself wanting to savor it slowly. This piece contains some spoilers about the first half of the series.

    One of the first scenes in the first episode focuses not on Elizabeth herself but rather on her husband-to-be, Prince Philip. In this scene, before Elizabeth becomes Queen, Philip formally renounces the Greek and Danish titles that were the privileges of his birth. He does…

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    And I Mean to Be One, Too

    And I Mean to Be One, Too

    We’re approaching All Saints’ Sunday, which is the anniversary of both of my sons’ baptisms. We baptized them as infants, placing their entire bodies carefully and lovingly into water prayed over by my husband. After he washed them in the holy water to baptize them, he anointed their heads with oil and marked them as Christ’s own forever. I cannot even think about those baptized babies without getting weepy, not out of sentimentality, but for the sheer power of the words spoken over them that day, and for the promises we made on their behalf.

    Why did we choose All Saints’…

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    Parish Retreat at Buc-ee’s: Grace in Unlikely Places

    Parish Retreat at Buc-ee’s: Grace in Unlikely Places

    This past weekend, our church held its annual retreat. Due to the hellacious nature of traffic in our area, families arrived at the conference center at different times throughout the afternoon and evening, depending on their route and whether the traffic gods were smiling on them. This year, our family arrived pretty early in the evening (#grateful more than #blessed). After we unloaded our car, we were sitting around the campsite, and phones began to ding around us. It seemed that some of our church friends were stranded after a nasty car accident on their way to the retreat. Could someone…

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    Even An Active Shooter Can’t Make Me Appreciate My Life More

    Even An Active Shooter Can’t Make Me Appreciate My Life More

    A few weeks ago, the press descended on a small town in Minnesota, just a few hundred miles from where I grew up in Wisconsin. They were there because the remains of Jacob Wetterling were found, and his abductor and killer was apprehended. Jacob Wetterling was born in the same year that I was, and my childhood was marked by his disappearance in 1989. We — the children in the area hundreds of miles surrounding his hometown — all knew his face from the countless posters put up around town, and the news reports that we were all too young…

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