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  • Why the Best Response to Life, the Holidays, Anything is: Yada, Yada, Yada

    On Monday, November 11 th, 2013

    ‘Whatever.” The Wednesday morning before turkey and pie and black Friday flyers, I wake up to this smothering of fog and this teen muttering it through the kitchen: “Whatever.” And what do you say but that’s not quite the way to start off the day, and he shrugs his shoulders and slams the bathroom door behind him, and I get it. It’s there ...

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  • How the Hidden Dangers of Comparison are Killing Us … {and Our Daughters} : The Measuring Stick Principle

    On Wednesday, November 06 th, 2013

    When our Hope-girl came in and sat at the foot of our bed, I knew she was looking for a way to stand. “So what am I supposed to do now?” I gathered her long hair in my hands, gathered her mane all in one long strand and twisted it slow, around and around, as if I could make a rope for a girl to hold on to. “Hon, there will always be people who see the world in measuring s...

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  • Why You Never Stop Being Needed

    On Friday, September 06 th, 2013

    The plan was supposed to be that we would take him west. That he’d turn 18 and go west. That we’d pack up his room, his dog-earred G.A. Henty books, that thinning and scratchy red wool blanket of my grandmother that’s laid at the foot of his bed, the oiled painting that he was given from those mothers up in the mountains of Haiti, and his fading jeans and plaid shirt. And...

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  • When Thanksgiving & the Holidays Just Seem Hard

    On Wednesday, November 21 st, 2012

    ‘Whatever.” The Wednesday morning before turkey and pie and black Friday flyers, I wake up to this smothering of fog and this teen muttering it through the kitchen: “Whatever.” And what do you say but that’s not quite the way to start off the day, and he shrugs his shoulders and slams the bathroom door behind him, and I get it. It’s there ...

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  • when life leaves you with more questions than answers

    On Thursday, September 06 th, 2012

    Only a few more weeks left now. That is what the Farmer says at dinner, what he says as we clatter dishes off the table, the enamel plates all stacking and clapping for the cook. Only a few more weeks left and August will dip the beans fields bronze and the leaves will reluctantly fall off the beanstalks and just the pods will then dangle, the only rattling ornaments hanging of...

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  • When You’re Broken & Don’t Know Where to Go:

    On Thursday, August 30 th, 2012

    When she was standing there in the spring, under the blaze of the blooming trees, I could remember 13. I could remember the burn of the unfurl, and how the becoming sears, and how does a mother help a daughter light? How does a woman be a light? We had walked down to the water’s edge. The sky smothered like a grey blanket and I could feel her struggling flail, al...

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  • The Light We Need to See Everyone In

    On Friday, July 27 th, 2012

    Been praying this week for Amber and Seth Haines and their little Titus. I’ve been memorizing Sermon on the Mount, all of Matthew 5-7, with these earnest folks (and a whole community of memorizers!), and God’s got us on a journey.  Seth, a lawyer, a mighty fine writer, good husband and praying father to four future men — he guest posts here with a few needful...

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  • Why Now is the Perfect Time

    On Friday, July 06 th, 2012

    On the way into town, the boy told me the wheat was about ready. And I look across to the west and all those gold heads swaying yes — and I look over at him, elbow resting half out the window and all July’s heat blowing in, and none of this was supposed to happen this way. The Farmer had said yes, if any week would work, he had said this one would —  after ...

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  • Why You Really May Need to be Done with Safe: Being a Dangerous Disciple of the Unsafe God

    On Thursday, June 07 th, 2012

    My Gran, she’s taking slow walks outside the hospital now. Her heart’s growing stronger, beating certain. I wash down the cupboards in the kitchen. I pray for Gran’s heart attack recovery, for each step she keeps taking, ninety-one and frail-boned and Irish-determined. Life’s a risk and maybe she’s stronger than I am, accepting each heart beat, ea...

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  • when you wonder if you disappoint…

    On Thursday, December 08 th, 2011

    Sat down with my Mama last night, her hair falling like snow straight down. She had put this bowl of them out on the end table — these dried rosehips. They rolled between the fingers perfectly, these whole worlds. I kept popping them between my fingers… between my words. “So much….” pop…. “I am just not…” pop…. “getting at all right.” “Like?” M...

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  • When You Desperately Want God to Hear Your Prayers

    On Wednesday, November 02 nd, 2011

    When we buy her two pygmy goats for her birthday, who knew how big faith could get? We bring them home in June in a mini-van with no air-conditioning. Two miniature goats neighing back and forth —  on the laps of two boys making jokes about something warm running down their legs. “We do need to name them,” the birthday girl announces. She strokes one goat’s speckl...

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  • when it’s hard

    On Monday, October 17 th, 2011

    Mama had the tea ready. I had on the socks that the woman with the 5 kids and the stage 4 cancer knit me. This is always first thing: to go right into the throne room of God wearing nothing less than your aching prayers. Anne’s on time for our early Saturday morning Bible study at Mama’s, sitting at the end of the living room, there in the wingback, there with her...

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