Throw Me a Frickin’ Bone Here

In my previous post, I referenced the rich young ruler and his interaction with Jesus. Today I want to contrast that scenario with another we find in the gospels and one of my personal favorite stories: the faith of the Canaanite woman.

But first, a little history. Because I love history.

We find this story in two of the four gospels of the New Testament – Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30. Matthew’s account refers to her as the Canaanite woman, and in Mark’s she is called a Syrophonecian. What might seem at first as a conflict between the two stories reveals, with just a little digging, an interesting and astonishingly accurate harmony.

As a side note, my dad was born in Malta. I talk about this a lot simply because it’s a bit of a rarity. There just aren’t that many people from Malta. In fact, the current population of the entire island boasts a mere 425,224 people. There’s an interesting story about the apostle Paul after his shipwreck on the island of Malta in the book of Acts, and his experience with the Maltese people showing him “unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2).

Those are my people.

Malta is known as one of the oldest Christian civilizations in the world because of Paul’s direct influence just 2000 years ago. Today 98 percent of its citizens are members of the Catholic Church. The natives of Malta are descendents of the Phoenicians. Maybe you remember them from history class – they are most famous for giving the world the first phonetic alphabet and for their use of a stinky purple dye called Tyrian purple procured from the boiling of sea snails. Both the Maltese and Lebanese people share the Phoenicians as a common ancestor, and the two languages are very similar.

Oh, and the Phoencians were known to the Jews as Canaanites.

The Phoencians were a seafaring subgroup of the Canaanites, that settled along the coastal areas of the Fertile Crescent. Matthew wrote his letter for a Jewish audience so they would have better understood this woman’s cultural and religious background as a Canaanite. Mark, on the other hand, wrote his letter in Greek for a gentile audience, who would have been familiar with the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon.

Same people group. Two different names.

It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to know that the Jews and the Canaanites were, and their modern day descendents in the Middle east are unfortunately still, bitter enemies. Also, what makes this particular miracle of Jesus so fascinating is that our subject is a woman. Women in that culture and at that time had nothing. No rights. No voice. The only thing that could “save” a woman of her kind would be for her to bear a son. And according to the text we aren’t even sure if she had that.

She was at the bottom of social order. The lowest rung on the ladder. She was nothing and had nothing in the eyes of her society. Whatever ills she faced in her life were probably viewed as her fault.

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. (Matthew 15:21-28 NIV)

At first glance, Jesus’ response seems incredibly offensive and uncharacteristic. Why is Jesus so insulting? Did he just call that woman a dog?! We must understand that He was treating her no differently than any other Jewish male would have. She was so used to being treated this way that she didn’t even bat an eye. Jesus was playing along with societal expectations and conditions, even following along with the disciples’ request to send her away. So she plays along as well, but appeals to His good nature to take care of all of the members of the household, including the pets.

She even has the audacity to contradict Him.

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes, it is, Lord…”

I love a bold, sassy girl.

He was responding to her the way society had always treated her. The way she was used to being treated. To see how she would respond to Him. Would she depend on her social status to stand before Christ or simply come to Him as she was?

She could have so easily turned away like the rich young ruler, face fallen and full of despair, no hope. She would never measure up. But she pressed in.

You can call me a dog. That’s ok. But I still have a right to be here. Just like everyone else. I am still a member of your household, even if everyone looks at me like a dog. But I believe that you care even for the likes of me. Even, as you say, for the least of these. You are the only hope I have. Give me something, even if it’s just a crumb.

You can almost hear her say it…


Maybe her utter dependency on Him makes us uncomfortable. Maybe even Jesus’ response to her makes us wince. But let’s contrast this story with that of the rich, young ruler.

He asks Jesus “What must I do…?” Too often when we have a question, or we are faced with a problem or painful situation and we need the solution, we ask the same thing: “What must I do?” We are uncomfortable with our lack of power or influence to change our circumstances. We squirm beneath the heavy weight of our lack of control. The Canaanite woman had no control. She had no power or position. She acquiesced to being like a household dog. She knew the Jews came first. That men came first. Hadn’t they always?

She didn’t place her faith in her gender or her race but in Christ alone. Her master. Her God.

Jesus told the rich man there is still one thing you must do. There will always be one more thing to do. How good is good enough? You will never quite measure up. Another version Christ says “If you want to be perfect…” I can almost hear him smirking as He says the word “perfect.”

The point of the story of the rich young ruler isn’t to make us all feel bad for not wanting to run out and immediately sell all our possessions. Who would want to do that? The point is to ask us what are we counting on to save us – Our good behavior? Our pedigree? The company we keep? Our tithes and offerings? Our political leanings? Our social status? Our gender? Our bible study and quiet time?

Or simply our faith in Christ alone?

The Canaanite woman’s request was granted because of her humble response. She understood that the answer to her prayer had absolutely nothing to do with her and everything to do with Jesus, while the rich young ruler was still trying to make an appeal to Jesus in his own strength. So he could look good. Save face. Perfectly polished. A self-made man. Attaining eternal life while maintaining his complete independence from God.

The questions they asked and Jesus’ response was totally determined by their focus. God or themselves? Jesus or their accomplishments?

One walked away filled with joy and an answer to prayer. The other walked away crestfallen and full of despair.

The rich man would have been better off acknowledging that even with all his achievements and with all of his status, that he was no better than the Canaanite woman.

I would rather be a “dog” in the Kingdom of God than have all the prestige in the world.


Prepare to Be Assimilated

As Christians we talk about the love of God, how it’s so amazing and wonderful and unlike any human love we have ever experienced. We are drawn in as unbelievers with stories of God’s unchanging, limitless love; how crazy He is about us.

We hear, “Come as you are,” but then when we do come, the Bible is handed to us like a prescription, and we come face to face with all the thousands of ways we need to change and be better people, i.e. different. Nothing like ourselves. This results in a schizophrenic dichotomy and a bit of a bait and switch – on one hand we know Jesus loves us and died for us to prove it, and on the other hand He wants to change everything about us!

That isn’t love. That is sin management. Behavior modification. And usually we want others to change, not because it’s what is best for the other person, but what is most convenient for us.

In other words, your flaws really make me uncomfortable. And I will do anything to avoid being uncomfortable.

So this amazing love that we talk and sing about gets reduced to the kinds of conditional love that we already know and are already familiar with. Especially if that’s all we’ve ever been shown or all we have ever known. The love of Christ, in our daily experience, often resembles nothing more than our best human efforts. And our best attempts at love are only as healthy as we are. Likewise, they are also only as shallow and unhealthy as we are.

So because our mistakes and flaws and sins and failures make us feel so terribly uncomfortable, we double up on our efforts to look good. I mean really good. And then, in an even more desperate measure, we want to make sure that everyone looks just like us. Making sure they have the right politics. The right platforms. The right doctrine. The right stance. So we can all look like real Christians. Not those fake ones.

This is unfortunately how we have become known. By our beliefs, and not our love. By being right, not by our compassion.

I once had a conversation with my daughter about all the different denominations there are in Christianity alone. And after discussing several and their differing characteristics, she looked at me and with the utmost sincerity asked me, “But ours is the right one, right?”

As evangelists and ministers, the church is our business and Jesus is the product. And in order to polish up our sales pitch, we need to have proof that what we’re selling works. We need the before and after photo. We need to see changed lives. To our detriment, though, sometimes I think we try to speed up the process of sanctification, becoming more like Christ, in ourselves as well as others, so that we can offer up the sufficient evidence that what we believe in really works, and we are living proof.

But after 20 years as a Christian, I am learning that sanctification is a life-long process, with stops and starts, twists and turns, mid-course corrections and U-turns. And it certainly isn’t going as fast as I would like it to go.

We like to think of sanctification as a clean and steady incline, when really it looks more like a toddler’s scribble drawing.

When we walk through the doors of a church, we often come with tricks up our sleeves, wounds this world has left upon our souls. Ones we aren’t even aware of often take years to uncover. We come with baggage, and most of us have never been shown what emotionally healthy spirituality even looks like. But as soon as we give our lives to Christ, there’s this pressure to be perfect, you know, because Jesus is in our hearts now. And Jesus is perfect. And we have to prove it. So we fake it til we make it, so to speak.

I hate that phrase.

Yes, we are forgiven. And yes, there is heart change. And yes, there is newness of life, but old habits die hard. And all along the way, our factory settings keep kicking back in.

Our painful pasts never really go away. Instead, they innocuously lie dormant, crouching in darkened corners of the psyche, waiting for some golden opportunity to attack and cause you to inexplicably start acting like a freak. And this usually happens in the most inconvenient of places. At family gatherings. Church functions. Dinner with friends. Our inner dysfunctional children can hijack even the most benign circumstances and relationships, without us ever knowing why.

We’re all kind of imposters, really.

Jesus brings new life. He sets us free. He sets us on a trajectory towards abundant life, with an easy and unoppressive guidance. It is a lifelong trajectory and it doesn’t always happen overnight.

What if God really is crazy about us as we are, and doesn’t really want us to change the people He created us to be? Our core essence. Our thumbprint. What if we are so busy trying to look like everyone else, that we end up losing our true selves in the process? What if, while we are so busy trying to look so clean and tidy, what He is most concerned with is how whole and healthy our souls are? What if what He really wants for us is to discover how truly amazing we are and rest in His love?

Just like my daughter, we all want to be right, don’t we? Even more so than simply being loved. We long to be known for who we truly are, in the midst of all of our imperfections, and fully loved even as we are fully known. But we are so afraid of revealing our hearts and being rejected, that we aren’t willing to be uncomfortable with the tension that, even right this moment, our theology is not yet perfected. That our souls are still works in progress. That we haven’t quite gotten it all figured out yet. Because we think, deep down, that if we have the right doctrine, the right theology, we won’t mess up, and then God and everyone else will be so very pleased.

But it doesn’t quite work out that way. Check this out:

As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”

 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” –Mark 10:17-27 (NLT)

The right denomination cannot save us. The right belief system cannot save us. The right church cannot save us. Our perfect theology cannot save us. Our good deeds cannot save us. That is precisely the point that Jesus is making here. It is through our faith in Christ alone. Everything is possible with Him. So who are we to judge when someone is not as far along in their sanctification process as we think they should be? Are we to argue with God? It is His business not ours. Our job is to remind each other this and love each other, patiently bearing each others’ burdens, and always pointing back to Christ, with boatloads of grace, for ourselves and each other, all along the way.

I think, that now more than ever, how we love one another will become our best sales pitch.

Some Thoughts on Hope

I used to think that hope was based on circumstances. One day the tide will turn. My prince will come. My luck will change. Superman will arrive. I’ll win the golden ticket. It’s all in the luck of the draw. But this mentality puts you in a passive, codependent role, helplessly waiting for your moment in the sun. That somehow your future and your destiny are up to chance, or the right people to come along, or the planets to align, etc. Not only does this type of thinking actually discourage hope, our anxieties increase. Setting our hopes on unfixed and fluctuating events threatens our feelings of security. We have no stability. Our souls have no anchor.

We should never establish our hope on these ever-shifting, temporary things. Hope isn’t driven by good luck or happenstance. It is neither determined by where we live nor how much money we have in our checking accounts. Hope isn’t dictated by opportunities that may potentially come our way or just as fleetingly pass us by. It isn’t based on getting in good with the right people or brutal betrayal from the wrong ones. Pleasant circumstances can certainly make our lives easier and more enjoyable, but they fail in providing us with true, ever-lasting hope.

Hope – rock-solid, constant, unchanging hope – is solely based on one PERSON alone: the Person of Christ who is God. Hope tells us that no matter how badly things may be, or how dreadful they once were, no matter how dark your circumstances may seem, that something good, something beautiful can and will be brought forth from our pain, and that this isn’t the end of our stories. And we have a loving God that wants to walk with us in our messes and accomplish great things through our pain.

God is our hope because He loves us. No matter how badly we’ve screwed up. No matter how badly someone else screws it up for us. He is always ready and willing to turn our pain into beauty.

When we invite God into our pain, into our suffering, anything is possible. As Joseph said to his own brothers that betrayed him, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”‭‭ (Genesis‬ ‭50:20‬). And as Paul tells us in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God can’t help it. It is in His nature – His good nature – to make good out of everything He touches. Everything that He breathes life into. Everything that we invite Him to draw near.

Another thing I am learning about hope…that it is the result of character developed from persevering through pain and suffering. Wait, what? Hope is the result of…character? Not things? Not money in the bank? Not the right relationships? “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3)

We can forfeit this beautiful exchange by giving up and letting go of God’s true purposes for our lives, by taking shortcuts or choosing routes that were never meant for us, bringing us more harm than good. By giving up on a destiny that we, deep down, know belongs to us, only to settle for something less than when the going gets tough. And it will be tough at times. Tougher than we think we can bear.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”‭ (John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NIV). I love that Christ doesn’t lie to us. He is not selling us anything. He only offers us Himself, inviting us to hold on for dear life and not let go, by persevering through our pain, pushing through painful obstacles. Don’t give up. Learn what He wants to impart to our spirits. You won’t be embarrassed or put to shame. Christ Himself has promised that He will do this. He will turn our ashes into beauty. Our mourning into joy. Our pain, shame, bitterness, and anguish into a beautiful work. Our despair into hope. This is His business. This is His work.

He is our hope. And the good news for us is that when we place our hope in Him He will never let us down.

“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT

We all have pain. Pain is always a part of the story for every influential leader. Pain is a part of life, and how you work through pain will largely determine what kind of character you have. One who gets knocked down, time and again, and yet always hopes, always perseveres, always loves? Or one who gives up, gives in and lets cynicism take over? The choice is up to us.

Have you been through difficult circumstances recently? Have you made some major mistakes? You’re in good company. God does amazing things through those who are willing to let Him use us even in our sufferings. Don’t hide from the painful parts in your story. Embrace them. Lean into them. Claim them and allow God to work through them. So get back up and get to work.

It’s Been a Year

Dear Lauren,

It’s been a year since you left this world, and we miss you still the same. Our hearts ache when we long to pick up the phone and hear your voice on the other end. It’s been a year of holidays, birthdays, and special days without you to celebrate them. Life has proven that it does indeed go on for those of us still on this temporal soil, but it sure would be much better with you in it.

So much happens in one year; we hustle about in a maniacal flurry of activity. And yet it feels like just yesterday that we found out your health took a drastic turn and time seemed to stop. We lived life in the following months in slow motion. You were always so strong and never one to complain. We truly thought we had more time with you. We still have dreams about you, you know. And you are as alive and healthy as ever. And we hear your voice again. We love those faint glimpses – when the veil is lifted for a fleeting moment and we can see and hear again, beyond what this present world has to offer.

How do you properly commemorate a death day? Birthdays are filled with celebration, songs, cake, and presents. Holidays, we eat more food and give more presents. But the day of someone’s death…what do you do? Nobody tells you. There are no glossy magazine covers featuring that.

Because holding each other, talking about that day and reliving its events, and crying together just isn’t that glamorous I guess. Too bad really, because that’s where real life happens. I think this must be why human beings are so afraid of pain. We haven’t been shown how to properly grieve. We don’t want anyone witnessing the more painful parts of our stories. We are only interested in featuring the highlight reel. Like in the movie Inside Out, we don’t give sadness any room. We don’t want her having a say-so. We chase after happiness, looking good, and feeling good and make it our god.

But this year has taught me that God dwells even in the most painful places. Where maybe He feels most welcome. “Even though I walk in the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me,” David writes in Psalm 23:4. And again in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Jesus isn’t afraid of our pain. He is there with us in the midst of it. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. He is our comforter. You know this now, in full, where we only know in part. Seeing God face to face, you now know this in full, even as you are fully known.

And so with a lack of knowing how to properly acknowledge this day, I write. I believe it’s what you would have wanted me to do. The Writer’s Digest magazine subscription you bought for me has stopped coming; another painful reminder of your absence. I haven’t renewed it yet. And Surprise! I am still slack about writing. Maybe because I don’t have you here hounding me about it all the time! We miss you so much. Thank you for all the encouragement. The endless cheering. The coaching. The pep talks to do more. Be more. Create more. Not because you weren’t pleased with who we were, but simply because you believed that much in each of us. In people. Thank you for the the faith you had in us and the faithfulness you modeled for your family. And most of all, for the incredible son that you raised. My husband – the man who stole my heart and still holds it. I am so grateful that I get to do this life with him.

Until we meet again,


The 10 Most Overrated Things About Fall

Oliver Pumpkin

Well, it’s that time of year again, folks. When all of social media is abuzz with the passing of summer and the approaching autumn equinox. I wish I could join in the excitement, but I am a summer gal – give me perpetual summer break, beach vacations, swimming pools, sun tans, flip flops, peaches, blueberries, watermelons, ice cream, sun dresses, and sprinklers. I get it, you all really hate the heat. But the heat isn’t a problem if you are righteously prepared with the proper clothing, a cool drink, and a refreshing body of water in close proximity. And I recently discovered after a family trip to Providence Canyon that there is indeed a colossal difference between summer in South Georgia versus summer in North Georgia, making me thankful that we live where we do. Think fresh, sweet mountain summer breezes versus hot, wet, smoldering heat trapped inside of Satan’s bed pan, complete with plagues of gnats, flies, and mosquitoes. Why anyone would choose to live in South Georgia is beyond me. South Georgia exists simply for passing through on your way to the beach. But I digress.

While everyone else gets all romantic and celebratory during this time of year, I, once again, find myself at odds with the rest of the world. It’s not that I hate Fall. There are some elements about Fall that I really do enjoy. And I reserve my hatred for Winter, the worst and most depressing season ever. Fall is my third favorite season, after Summer and Spring. Let me explain why. Continue reading

The Dregs of Summer


Around this time of year, I always feel a little sad with the passing of summer. Summer is my favorite season. Yes, even in the Georgia heat. Beaches, peaches, blueberries, vacations, sandals, swimming pools, sun tans, summer dresses, and freckles make me happy. I love the sun, and really do hate winter time. Winter is my least favorite season. While everyone else celebrates the passing of summer and the coming of Fall, I see it merely as the approaching cruelest of seasons. You can have your pumpkin spiced lattes. Give me sweat and cold drinks any day of the week. Maybe I need to move further south…

Originally posted on Adventures in Buckland:

The crowd has gathered –

It is only days until Autumn makes his triumphant appearance,

With wreaths and garlands of gold adorning his comely head.

We anxiously await his inauguration,

As we wave good riddance to his predecessor,

Suffering now the dregs of Summer.

She has given us her best, but her reign is nearing its uninspiring end.

Fruits have ceased their bearing, and vegetation has withered and withdrawn.

Hibernating underground; soothing, placating.

Pool gates are closed, and children have returned to their cells,

But the temperatures deceive us.

Searing heat, drying and suffocating the last drops of life and vitality from the vine

As we wait.

We yearn.

For a different kind of harvest; a new kind of wine.

We wait for Summer to take her final breath.  To die.

And we openly applaud her passing.

Celebrating as her rival steps up and establishes his term.

We hold our…

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Growing Up Maltese: The Football Edition

My father is Maltese. Yes, Maltese like the cross. Yes, like the dog. And no, it is NOT where malt beverages were invented. I get asked that more than you would believe. My dad was born in Hamrun, Malta on June 18th, 1950. He immigrated with his family, to Ellis Island, on December 5th, 1952, which coincidentally also happened to be my mother’s first birthday. His family settled in Detroit, Michigan, where he later met and married my mother. I was born in Wyandotte, just south of Detroit but still in the same county. It is similar to someone being “from Atlanta” but living in Sandy Springs or Roswell, both of which are included in the greater Atlanta area or Fulton County.

I am a first generation Maltese-American. From Detroit. Currently living in Winder, Georgia. (one of these things is not like the other…)

My mom is German-Jewish-Dutch, so I feel like kind of a hybrid white girl. With totally non-white girl hair.

Now, I live in the South. Where humidity rules the atmosphere like an oppressive, angry god, and smooth, sleek Pantene hair, preferably rolled the night before and/or flat-ironed, are the only acceptable coiffures of all good Christian, Southern ladies. Somewhere, somehow I hear God and all His heavenly hosts laughing at my expense.

Also, if you don’t know anything about Winder, which, really, why would you?…we are 20 miles west of Athens, the home of the blessed Georgia Bulldogs. We live in what is known as “Dawg Country.” That is not a misspelling. Come September, red and black become the unspoken required color code of all the otherwise conservative inhabitants of our city. People here take three things VERY seriously: God, guns, and them Dawgs.

I can’t even write that and not feel awkward about myself.

College football was never a priority in our home, simply because my dad was the first in his family to even attend college and graduate when I was 11 years old. Add the fact that I married a man whose father worked his way through college, and didn’t have time for frivolous things such as spectator sports, and bought one of the first TRS-80s in the late 70s for he and his young son to “play with.” Read: I married a hardworking, turbo computer nerd who actually understands technology and loves it like Kip Dynamite.

Now, I am not saying that there aren’t those out there that love both technology and football. But I kind of believe that you either have the sports gene or you do not. I know some dads who love football, and try to coerce their begrudging sons to become lovers of the game, only to be disappointed or frustrated when little Bobby would rather read Walt Whitman and listen to The Cure. My brother and I grew up in the same household, and he loves football. For whatever reasons, though, my immediate family has neither nature nor nurture on our sides of this crucial all-American football matter.

At any rate, I married a man who simply couldn’t care less about sports, and for that I get on my knees and thank Jesus every day of my life during my morning prayers, especially during the fall. Instead of watching college football, we have family viewings of Lord of the Rings and discuss ways in which the movies differ from the books, followed by listening parties of Weird Al Yankovic albums.

I’m not kidding. My nine-year old’s favorite song?

She knows every word. Every. Word.

Now that I think of it…mine and Al’s hair look eerily similar…

Our sports of choice are karate and swimming; where being a small, skinny nerd actually works in your favor. And, they are co-ed, which truly helps cut down on the nights of the week that I have to run them all to different, gender-specific extracurricular activities.

How’s that for some nerdy efficiency?

So, just for kicks, let’s clarify all this again, shall we? I am a first generation, Maltese-American from Detroit, homeschooling nerd, with ethnic hair, who has a general disdain for spectator sports living in Dawg Country,

God. Help. ME.

I know that by typing this, I am outing myself and my poor family, risking our very lives with a potential attack by a mob of angry Bulldog fans. But I feel it is necessary, so there are no misunderstandings. Thus, I beseech you, Dawg fans and fellow citizens of Winder. Have mercy upon us. Remember that we are, first and foremost, Christian brothers and sisters. Even if only slightly first and foremost. What’s even more hilarious about all of this…I actually graduated from UGA. I am a holy and sanctified UGA alumna. During my entire college career, I only attended two games. I had no idea what was happening the whole time. I have never felt more out of place in my entire life.

So here we are. Football season has begun. The Bulldogs won their first game against Clemson, 45-21. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with status updates written by friends and loved ones in a strange language that I do not understand. Nowadays, instead of screaming at the television when a player makes a bad play or the referee makes a bad call, it is acceptable and customary to funnel all of your fury into a status update! So this is the time of year when I will happily take a Facebook respite. But don’t worry. I’m giving you all a taste of your own medicine when political season rolls around!

Stay tuned for part 2 of Growing Up Maltese: The Early Years.