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Refiner’s Fire

  • Why It’s All Okay at the end of the Week

    On Friday, April 04 th, 2014

    When I get home, the Farmer shows me these three stapled pages sent from the vet. A to-do list the length of your arm of what has to be done to protect all the pigs from some new disease. He talks in low tones, but I am really listening to what his eyes are saying. These three pages of protocols have to be done immediately. The Farmer pulls me close. His T-shirt smells li...

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  • When Your life Feels Like a bit of a Puzzle

    On Monday, September 30 th, 2013

    I crack the eggs and the pan sizzles and there’s a kid hanging upside down off the couch, trying to knit a scarf. “Remember to use the plastic spatula and not the steel one, Mama? Remember what Dad said?” And her curls are all hanging down touching the floor and she’s doing a row of pearl with the blood all running way too fast to her face. I switch spat...

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  • How to Live Through the Hard Weeks

    On Monday, September 09 th, 2013

    Sometimes, even right before it really begins, you know how the week’s going to go. I look in the mirror early on a Monday morning, the bedhead looking more like a monsterhead, and I look right into that water-splattered mirror. And tell the woman looking back at me how the next seven days are likely to go down — are going to likely try to take me down. The mail...

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  • When You are Broken: The Now-Traumatic Disorder of Everyday Life

    On Thursday, August 08 th, 2013

    They sell anti-aging cream to women like us. And Spanx. And glossy checkout line headliners that splay this shock that over 40-something women can still startlingly turn heads — as if having no wrinkle lines in your skin is somehow an accomplishment of galactic proportions and worthy of worship – and you can just be emptying your cart in checkout #6 and end up feeling more ...

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  • When you’re wondering: How God Feels About Storms?

    On Tuesday, May 21 st, 2013

    When the guy on the screen says that he could hear the cries of children underneath the rubble, his voice starts to crack and how in the world does anything stand in a world like this? How do you just put a jug of milk out on the table on a Tuesday and stand there watching your kids eat breakfast, light in their hair, the sky hanging outside the window like a potential Behemot...

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  • Letters to the Wounded {#1}

    On Friday, March 08 th, 2013

    And after sharing Letters to the Wound {#2} this week? …. I went back in the archives and pulled out Letters to the Wounded {#1}. D ear Wounded, You were bleeding quiet in my inbox. I read your letter slow, line by line, the way one follows the trail of smearing salty red back to find the gash, to the place where the skin weeps blood. I read your words, the ones about do...

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  • Letters to the Wounded {#2}

    On Monday, March 04 th, 2013

    Dear Thriver, You didn’t just survive, so let’s toss that myth right at the outset. I’ve seen you living chin brave through the hurt and how you keep taking one step out of bed and one through the door and how you scale mountains by relentlessly taking steps forward. The way you keep walking? You’re no victim. You’re a Thriver. You may bleed but yo...

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  • Why Weak is the New Strong: Radical Right Where You Are {Pt4}

    On Wednesday, February 06 th, 2013

    So I fell extremely anemic in the fall. Could hardly drag out of bed, felt like jello, looked like a gaunt ghost, and got winded walking from the sink to the stove. I’d draped arms around the Farmer’s neck and told him I was sure I was right broke. So the nurse at the doctor’s office drew this vial of blood to see what was the deal. I dragged myself bac...

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  • How to Breathe Through the Hard Times

    On Tuesday, January 22 nd, 2013

    They were born the same week. Both of them, days apart, two miracle years ago this week. My scribbly little book and her loveliest little person. And my sister had said to me, said into the phone, during early labor — “Tell me I can do this.” And I wait for her to breathe heavy through the mother wave cresting up around the child swelling and I say, “...

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  • The Truth about Sandy Hook: Where is God when Bad Things Happen?

    On Monday, December 17 th, 2012

    When the guy with the glasses and guitar stands at the front of the chapel, in the middle of Nowhere Country, and tells us all to stand, I’ve got no idea if I can. I don’t know if legs can hold a heart this heavy. I don’t know if anyone can stand straight in a fallen world and why don’t we all just fall on our skinned and bloodied knees? When grief is deepest, words ar...

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  • Where is God in the dark of this weekend?

    On Saturday, December 15 th, 2012

    When you can hardly even ask where the heart of God is in all this evil and dark … God takes our broken hearts and gives us His own still-beating heart, His pierced-right-through-and-made-whole heart, so we can still keep breathing. His heart this weekend is in us… in our weeping and moaning and wounded doubts, in the places where we don’t believe — whe...

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  • What to do With a Broken Heart this Christmas

    On Friday, December 14 th, 2012

    That one doctor thought it was a bit of a miracle before they even cracked open the chest and cut a way at his heart. Because who in the world figures out you’ve got a tumor plugging up an entire cavernous heart chamber when you’re blithely driving kids to hockey on Tuesday night and fine-tuning a tractor engine on Thursday and sitting in the front pew on Sunday? Ma...

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