triple standard questions

that dude from duck dynasty is held to at least three standards that i know of: 

3-employee/public face of a brand. 

in accepting these three roles he has that has placed him under an outside authority and agreed to abide by its standards.

it's obvious he can say whatever he wants under standard #1. no one is trying to imprison him or sue or accuse him of breaking any law. no one is upset at him because of the implications of free speech. and we all know and understand that as an american his right to say what he pleases is stringently protected. 

i am assuming that he signed a contract or agreed to some terms outlining what he agreed to do/not do as a representative of the network when he agreed to and received payment for placing himself under standard #3. 

i believe the network, A&E, is upset and took action based on standard #3 alone. lots of people on the internet (in my circle many of these seem to be fairly outspoken conservative christians) are defending his words under standard #1 (and the rights inherently conferred by it). 

here are my questions and stream of consciousness in thinking through this (i am working through this myself as i go).

is anyone saying that he got fired because he violated the first amendment or did anything wrong related to it? i had understood that A&E is upset because he didnt live up their (stated or not) standard of how their employees behave or speak in public because they are representatives of the network. is that right?

so i guess i am confused because it seems like it's missing the point to defend him against what the network is treating as a breach or failing in standard #3 based on the rights guaranteed by standard #1. no one said he couldnt say what he did, did they? i thought they just said that they couldnt have him representing their business while he let those remarks stand. legally, that is their choice as the employer, right?

and just to double down on the controversy, isnt A&E's choice the exact same one taken by Chickfila when they made their corporate beliefs known through the personal values of their chief? didn't many people speak up and show up to support and defend Chickfila as a business for expressing its own unique values and standing by them?

so then should we, under standard #1, be just as willing to defend A&E's right to have values as a brand/company and to defend them as we/you/yall  were to defend Chickfila's?

or is the the fuss is because he was suspended because of expressing his personal beliefs on homosexuality, while it is illegal for (and woe betide) an employer to suspend or fire someone for their sexual orientation? restated: is the problem that homosexuals are protected from employers by the law, but people who are  morally against homosexuality are not?

ok i can see that. so then you would have a problem under standard #1 and would be wanting to change the law...am i getting that right?

another angle: if we're dealing with legality (under #1 or #3) sexual orientation is protected by law as something that cannot be discriminated against. so then maybe it seems like the duck dynasty guy  is being discriminated against for his religious beliefs (which are also legally protected so that would be illegal)? but hasnt he been loud and proud with his christian faith on and off the show from the get-go? 

if so, then it seems like A&E doesnt have a problem with him saying that his reading of the bible leads him to believe homosexuality is sinful, but moreso that they have a problem with HOW he communicated these beliefs in a printed magazine interview (along with--not gray area here--wildly ignorant comments he also made in this interview about black people).

i wonder what Chickfila would have done if Dan Cathy, in expressing his personal beliefs (almost all of which i am aligned as a fellow Christian), had used the same language or imagery to convey his point. i know its not the same because Dan is the boss, but it is interesting to think of it that way. how would you have reacted if the CEO of Chickfila had said the exact quote below in the interview that brought him into this same sort of hullabalou? just a fun exercise.

(while we're exercising: what if the pope or any neighborhood pastor had "expressed his views" in this manner? i think he would at the very least be reprimanded and likely fired by his christian employers/flock. this is why i dont think i see it as discrimination against christian beliefs so much as the callous and crude way they were expressed.)

so that is as far as my tiny brain gets on the issues that spring out of the constitutionality and employee/employee legality of this thing. but those i dont care so much about.

and maybe i am not looking in the right places (and the place i am looking most is my facebook newsfeed...genius), but i am not hearing a lot of conversation about his remarks in relation to standard #2: that of christ.

isnt that a higher/greater/better/purer/RIGHTER standard than the other two? shouldnt we leave #1 and #3 to people who either A: know what the law and the employment contract say and/or B: the ones who dont yet hold themselves to standard #2?

thats sort of where i have landed. 

the bible talks a A LOT about words and about how dangerous they are and about how we need to guard our tongues. and some of that is definitely applicable here, but the main problem i have with this entire thing is how it fits in with jesus' "greatest command" to love one another like he loves us. to show his love to the world by our love.

and in all of my readings of jesus' encounters with sinners, and from firsthand experience of his dealings with me (a certified sinner)  i just cant see him ever showing his love by talking to or about someone in the way that phil robertson does in this interview:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine…Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,”
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

of course i want expression of the christian faith to be protected legally. i think it is worth defending.  but i guess i just disagree that the statement above is in anyway an expression of the christ i know.

i just had a lot of thoughts bubbling up in me about this as it hits close to home on several fronts. i am just trying to figure all of this out.  but i DID want to make that one clear statement while i am here.

i know that a scattered blog post wont change anyone's mind (just like a million facebook debates wont either),  i am not trying to put a rainbow flag into the hand of a conservative or to evangelize an atheist or to marry a gay man to a woman (i should try a post like that though! sounds like a flippin' blast). i am also definitely not trying to slam a man who has, for the most part, been a refreshing example of a believer in pop culture. if i was a public figure, i would have been burned in effigy so many times by now for the ignorant, rash, unthinking, sinful, dumbhead things i say all the time.

no, i wrote this publicly more for the people who might not have personal experience with the bible or with jesus and who might only hear about him in these sorts of controversies in the hopes of bringing a different voice into the storm and just to say publicly that, as a christian,  i dont think these kinds of words are particularly worth defending in jesus' name. 

thought you should know...

but there are lots and lots of word that i think are worth jesus' name, and i need to be better about saying/writing/living them extra loud.


1. turns out it isnt illegal in most states for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

2. really well-written, concise takes from christian perspectives: my friend clay / Rage Against the Minivan / 



that's a title that works because it's a conversation with lay and because she slays me. puns inside of puns: next level, yall.

so i was only attempting to get a cute shot of her outfit this morning. because last night, for the first time in memory, i was in a store, saw a mannequin and bought the entire outfit so that a member of my family could look just like that soulless toddler fashion statue. i straight up got marketed to and didnt even care. 

*for the record the store was old navy: anorak, long sleeve tee, jeans. the online prices are different right now from what i paid in store, but my total for 3 pieces was $29--i think they add up to $33 online right now. oh, and her moccasins are target.*

and boy if the outfit was irresistibly cute on an inanimate object, it just exploded my whole brains out when it was modelled by my own salty lil' progeny of amazingtude (which is her native american name, by the way).

i starting taking pictures (which turned out super grainy and yuck quality because i guess i'm just an idiot) and boy did she start telling me some things. i dont remember exactly what she was talking about so i cant recreate the conversation, but i can--with some confidence--identify the general thrust or main idea of what she was saying in each frame.

"let's dish, girlfriend. i'm an excellent listener." 

"OH EM GOSH, no he didnt!"

"NOT OKAY! uh-unh. heck NAW. kick him to tha curb!"

"okay, i have to be straight with you here."

"can i just be real for a second? you might not like what i have to say, and sometimes when i say things in honesty, and you freak out."

"and you're all, 'AWBAWHWHAWAW, you're going to timeout, young lady!' it's super embarrassing, mom...for you, i mean. because this is what you look like in those moments."

"but i'm all like, this is me. i drop truth bombs. i'm just spittin' pure layla here"


"okay, whoa. i went too far there. i apologize." 

and that's 20 seconds spent in conversation with a 3 year old layla dukes. 

\\ reminders: \\

today is the last day to enter the giveaway for the gorgeous free christmas print from caleb faires.

tomorrow is the last day to order things with standard shipping (not rush) from my etsy shop for christmas delivery 


and maybe not super important, but in the interest of adding laughter to (and stealing precious minutes from) your hectic holiday schedule: here are 3 brilliantly written things that have made me LOL way more than expected in the past week. (i think all of them have some swears, so look out if that sort of thing offends you deeply...though if that's the case, you probably wouldnt be here anyway).

this is the funniest thing i have read in a long time  and anyone who feels like a dirty peasant when they look at a williams-sonoma, restoration hardware, or pottery barn catalogue will enjoy greatly. 

if you've ever been in charge of a newly mobile baby, you will think this was stolen from your life.

and if you have a pulse and/or are baffled by american girl dolls, this is for you.


Get Thrilled. Do it Now.

we are late christmas decorators. it's pretty simple:for the most part we are just lazy. 

but (and here's where things get ticklish because of FEELINGS) we are also staunch no-christmas-until-after-thanksgiving people. that is our stance, but WE DO NOT JUDGE. so dont even think about taking that personally or trying to convert me or explain why your family puts up their tree in mid-september. i dont incredibly care and i am very happy to let you do things your way. UNFORCED BREEZY TOLERANT SMILE.

controversy AVERTED!

and even though i havent deliberately tried to inculcate my kids with this thinking (i spend my time trying to inculcate them with cheese), i guess they absorbed it just from the vapors in our Dukes-y airspace. i was trying to fudge my own rule a teensy bit on the day before thanksgiving by putting on the christmas Pandora channel while driving with judah, thinking, "let's make some mommy & son magic memories!" 

imagine my surprise when, far from dazzled by his holiday love for me, he growled at me from the back "NO CHRISTMAS MUSIC! BROWN AND ORANGE COME BEFORE RED AND GREEN!" okay, so that is a trademark keight dukes phrase and i just wasnt expecting it to come at me like that from my 4 year old. in the drive through of Arby's no less!  but it is true in our house and i repent and throw myself upon the mercy of my own court for having violated our policy. amen.

so we got our tree two days ago, on the 8th (early decorators will find this to be heresy). but this year we werent *just* waiting for thanksgiving to be over before we decorated. we were also holding off until our newest and most favority favorite bit of christmas decor arrived in the post!

see, my BFF raechel has this brain. and with her brain decided she wanted her favorite christmas carol lyric made into a pretty print. and she also has this brother in law who is a just mind-bogglingly talented artist, whom she asked to bring her lyric to life, and to just let loose with his skills into making this thing the ultra-business. 

i more than slightly think that he did:

as soon as raechel posted the resulted of caleb's work upon her mantle, i was gobsmacked (and i dont use that word lightly, because it's super heavy, guys). it was one of those things where your heart tries to jump outside your body and type in your credit card info SOMEWHERE so that you too may possess the THING (this also happens to me whenever i look at John Krasinski because of YUM).

i love O Holy Night above all other christmas songs, and it's not even close. each line is jam-packed with the power of exactly what jesus being born was all about, and the one lyric that raechel chose and caleb brought to life is by far one of my favorite in the entire song (i also love "chains shall he break" and "the soul felt its worth" aaaaaand pretty much all of them).

i was giddy when my print arrived in its fancy mail tube (insert vas deferens joke HERE...unless that is inappropriate on a christmas post). i immediately took it to our most stylish wall in the house and had a photo shoot.

ohmanohmanohmanohman this thing is beyond gorgeous!

every little detail is just perfect:

and yes, my king was born in a smelly stable, but he is in fact the king of kings, so i really felt like i wanted an appropriately "glorious" frame for this print. 

so we experienced a further decorating delay when i went to Michael's with an awesome custom framing coupon and it was still going to cost me more than its weight in snow leopard plasma to have one made. jesse and i real quick came up with our own method of making a frame from scratch for waaaaay cheaper and as soon as the paint was dry, i was ready to rock around the christmas tree my awesome new jesus art

i mean, honestly. never has a preposition looked so splendid

i feel like the word could be "potato" but i would still totally read "Thrill" because it's just so thrilling.


and then 2 days later we got our tree. if ever i have to choose one of these christmas items to keep and one to get rid of...the tree shall fall.

and lucky ducky us, we can all have this beautiful reminder of that baby and what he brought us. caleb sells these prints in 3 different sizes (for reference mine is a 20x20)  on his website. he is offering free shipping for all of yall with code K80 (thanks to raechel for that new nickname).

and, oh YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS (which is also my most used parenting phrase) caleb is giving away a free 12x12" print right this minute right here on this very URL [on this URL, on this URL, on this very christmas URL]  (right? who's with me?).

enter in the giveaway robot below (give it a second to load) and one lucky you will able to have some of this goodness outshining your tree before santa ever sets eyes on the inside of your chimney (should i not have mentioned him? did we get a controversy after all? man, christmas can be touchy on the internet!).


fugitives...from sanity (aka family pics!)

in typical ridiculoUS  fashion, we finished up shooting sessions from layla's BABY PLAN with our photographer 2 weeks ago. yes that right, the same package we bought for layla as a newborn was still active because we are procrastinating sluggards and getting ready for these sessions (clothes, makeup, hair, bribes, prayers) typically gives me a raging case of stressfarts. seriously (not about the farts), as much as these are PRICELESS family pics and it is always worth it, the very mention of scheduling them strikes fear into my heart. the task of readying the family for this session was a huge chunk of what sent me into this charming fit.

but despite the fear, we HAD to use our last session. i mean, the last time we took family photos with all 4 of us was in october of 2011 (i just clicked that link and NOJUSTNO they were never that teensy and now i must go cry into some old soiled onsies...why do they have to be soiled? I DONT KNOW)! then there was a mini little session with just layla (which turned into lay + mommy due to her being an unstoppable 18 month old at the time) but nothing with all of us in over two years.

we finally we decided it was time to book our faithful amazing photographer, brenna when i looked around one day and decided we were all fairly cute and good looking in this season and that it deserved to be captured. if i hadnt set it up for this year i probably wouldnt have thought about it again until puberty hit and my kids turned into the terrifying monster versions of themselves on their way to looking like their adult selves (do you remember what puberty did to JTT?!?!?  it's a season best left undocumented).

as usual, it was stressful. the kids were turdible (terrible turds) the entire time and we forgot to bring edible bribes. (business pitch idea: Edible Turdible Arrangements. they deliver chocolate in fun shapes to keep your kids from breaking your brain at important public functions).

in case my psychiatric episode from earlier in the day plus kids behaving wildly wasnt challenging enough, the universe stepped in and decided to involve law enforcement.

we were at the local highschool. it was a tuesday afternoon. there are practices going on and student and parents walking around the complex the entire time. in the midst of this are my kids, running away at every opportune millisecond that our attention was focused on the other child, changing an outfit, or trying not to look as doubllychinned and enraged as i really was. they are kicking off shoes and playing in the long jump sand pit. they are squealing with glee, yelling with rage and generally being about what you'd expect 7.5 combined years worth of lil' dukes children to act like.

i am wrestling layla into a new outfit and i notice this lady coming up out of the corner of my eye. i am wondering if she is a school official and maybe we are in trouble or something and not allowed to take pics here. but i kind of ignore her because whatever, i barely have enough emotional energy leftover from the day to keep my heart beating and sphincters closed, much less chit chat.

so she's talking to me as i fight the blonde raptor (the female) and i realize she's asking about the kids or something. so i actually listen to what shes saying. "i just heard the babies screaming and saw them running and i just wanted to make sure everything was okay."

so i distractedly repy, "oh yeah, theyre fine, just totally disobeying while we try to take family photos." i go back to heart-wrenchingly difficult task of stuffing a foot that is alternately limp and useless and stiff with rage into the depths of a tiny sparkly motorcycle boot.

an errant thought drifts past: i used to dream of being an astronaut. but this is my life now...

the lady isnt going away. so i tranfer .001% of available neurons over to her. i look at her really for the first time and she is holding something long and wood-colored like a bat. it appears to be a piece of wood. she is now saying, "well that little boy over there isnt wearing any shoes and i just got worried because it is chilly out here and the babies werent wearing shoes." 

me: "yeah, he keeps taking them off to go disobey me on fun new surfaces...like sand." i'm thinking, "hes also throwing sand if youd like to go see more of this earth-shatteringly  interesting adventure."

and it is dawning on me that she suspects we are some sort of criminals.  she has foraged for a piece of likely timber has wielded it as she approached me in anticipation of this encounter.

in case she needed to bludgeon we, the parents, with something and RESCUE THE BABIES. 

she keeps talking nonsense to me where she is somehow trying to maybe convince me that she cares more about my kids than i do. i have nothing to give her (remember, we forgot out bribery candy or i would have thrown some skittles toward her like, "HERE ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!?! YOURE THE BABIES' PROTECTOR!" (this chick could really use an Edible Turdible Distraction).

i just say "yeah theyre fine. family pictures. disobeying."  like 8 more times and then stop noticing her presence. i am too distracted and stressed to even be as annoyed as i should be or to mess with her.

so about 45 minutes later daylight and sanity are fading all around us when a policeman pulls up. as soon as he gets out (on the other side of a chainlink fence...so i guess he would have let us get away or had to shoot) he is kind of laughing to himself. brenna goes up and i hear him say, "family photos?" and she shows him her camera and some of the pictures (networking opportunity!). i hear him saying, "yeah, i figured that's what you were doing but had to check it out since "she" reported it."

it hits me that the chick had gone ahead and CALLED THE POLICE on us. just to be sure. 

now, if youre thinking, "well at least she bothered to get involved, she was a good citizen!" to you i say NO NO NO. this goes way beyond that into some weird fear-everything, see-evil-everywhere pathos. the same sort of lunacy that sees any man with any child and thinks "pedophile!"  being smart and aware: 100%  awesome. being constantly afraid and projecting those fears onto every situation: NO. she came up and TALKED TO US. we were clearly the parents. and if we were going to abuse our kids why would we pick the local high school on a tuesday?  this chick was straight loco and refused to use her common sense and instead went into boogey man mode.

people, turn off the Law & Order and the Dateline!

i retroactively wished i had realized fully what was happening when she had been there with us.i would have loved to be like, "judah, layla, this lady wants to rescue you from our clutches. you want to go with her?" they would have lost their little minds and either attacked her or started bawling. i could have had a lot more fun with this nosey nellie if only i hadnt been at threat level midnight in my own brainspace.

ah, humans, you so funny.

so anyway, see if you can spot any stress-veins or hysteria eyes in these charming pics (spoiler: you cannot. because brenna is a magi).

i'm convinced this is CGI. this moment never happened. just lots of millions of physical restraining.

they were probably trying to bite our faces off so that could get 20 extra seconds of bleacher jumping time.

 fly, tiny hipster, fly.

 baby vampire swingin out at sunset.

 "im gonna make your hair turn gray and turn your brain to jelly! LOL"

 ok fine. she's amazing.

the dance moves of a very white child

um. yes. all sorts of yes and yes and yes.

she's very much the alpha

judah, please, do not take that shoe off. it attracts crazy people!

the way that she flips her hair gets me overwhelmed

the smiles. but ohhhhh so much angry at these little wiggle beasts.

dangit. i like them again.

"its your fault these kids are such savages. the disobedient sperms are the fastest ones!"

 frisky under the bleachers in the Jesse Dukes DoMe (modern family, anyone?)

kiss into complacency and then STRANGLE with the other hand

this was supposed to be the main outfit. we forgot it until 10 seconds before sundown. curses. luckily this pic is my favorite.

lights out on this freak show.

okay so that was hard, but, yes, yet again, COMPLETELY worth it for these memories (especially the crazy authentic/accurate ones of nutty children everywhere).