Being Happy In Our Own Skin

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 3, 2012 | 6 comments

I need to apologize. Although I was very excited to finish my shopping guide today, fate intervened and I’m now at the University of Kansas Medical Center while my brother undergoes skin-graft surgery for third-degree burns to his chest.

A few nights ago he was warming something on the stove when his tie caught on fire. The fire immediately moved all the way up to his neck and set his shirt aflame. Somehow, and I’m not sure how it was even possible, he managed to get free of his clothes and save his own life — and probably the lives of his daughters, who were asleep upstairs at the time and might not have awakened until the house was on fire. 

Now, I’m going to assume you think this a decent excuse not to have a decent post for you today, but if you don’t, you may register your complaint by unsubscribing to my to my humble blog. At which point I will promptly begin cursing you for being ONE HEARTLESS BASTARD.

Seriously, I hope you all are having a great Monday, and that you and yours are safe and sound. One thing I’ve learned from all this is how grateful I am to be living in my own skin. We as a society complain an awful lot about what we see when we look in the mirror — freckles, birthmarks, acne, age spots, sags, wrinkles, you name it — but those complaints seem so petty after just a couple of days in a burn unit. Skin is truly an amazing organ, and we owe it so much more than our constant criticism.

Oh, and my brother would like me to add one more thing: Don’t cook with your tie on.


  1. Positive energies your brother’s way. So sorry your family has had to go through this!

  2. Derek says:

    1. Ties are evil
    2. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen
    3. Hope your bro recovers quickly

  3. Jody Collins says:

    I hope your brother recovers quickly! I’m so glad he’s still here with you. It’s a good reminder of what we can all be grateful for, religious or not.

  4. Jamie says:

    Will be thinking of you and your brother. That was such a freaky thing. So glad that he was able to get his shirt off. Take care.

  5. tracey nguyen says:

    Thank you for the post, Wendy! I don’t think you even need an excuse to post this. It’s your blog and you can do whatever you want on it! (: I wish your brother a speedy recovery and thank goodness he acted fast and stopped the fire!

    I’ve always been grateful for what I have, but tend to forget a lot so reading this post reminded me again to be thankful for what I have instead of complaining about what I don’t have. Instead of asking for a laundry list of things when I pray, tonight, in honor of your brother, I will just say “thank you” when I pray.

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Due out March 31, Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious offers a well-researched look at a timely subject: secular parenting. With chapters on avoiding indoctrination, talking about death, vaccinating kids against intolerance, dealing with religious baggage, and getting along with religious relatives, the book offers a refreshingly compassionate approach to raising religiously literate, highly tolerant and critically thinking children capable of making up their own minds about what to believe. The book may be pre-ordered by visiting Brown Paper Press.

      Natural Wonderers is my new blog published by the Patheos faith network. An extension of my previous blog — Relax, It's Just God — Natural Wonderers offers stories and advice on raising curious, compassionate children in secular families.
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