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Spiritual Disciplines

  • To Set Up a Complete Nativity Scene:

    On Wednesday, December 15 th, 2010

    It’s Day 85 of my life-after Guatemala that I set out the nativity; it’s only now that I remember that the baby would be about 85 days old too. It’s my only souvenir from Guatemala — a red soil formed Mary, three clay-combed wise men, a Babe the size of a thimble. Headbands for the girls, a thin woven bracelet for each of the boys, a weaving made into bookmark for ...

  • weekends are for curling up with good books

    On Saturday, December 11 th, 2010

    W hen the snow piles high and the light falls dim, the books can stack high too …. and the blankets and the pillows and one quiet moment gently upon another. The turning of pages is the silent rhythm of the early winter evenings. I confess, many books keep me a dabbler, but Mark Buchanan’s  Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul kept me righ...

  • The Great Giveaway

    On Wednesday, December 01 st, 2010

    When they ask for a story I pull up blankets and cover them with words. That is what made them. And that is what sustains them and they need this before they can sleep, words to lay down on. So I pluck from thin air, the only way any story comes. Something from nothing, a gift handed down. “Once upon a time…” This will be one of those, a possibility. “Once upon a tim...

  • How to Prepare for Family & the Holidays: The Fish Principle

    On Wednesday, November 24 th, 2010

    When I get to her door, it’s after 6:30 and dawn’s breaking rays down rows of the cornfields and I’m already late. Mama’s got a note on her front door that reads in a black scrawl, “Welcome! Come on round. We’re out on the back deck!” Every other Saturday we meet when dawn breaks the day open. We bring Bibles. We are four, one Linda, who is my mama and her name me...

  • Christmas: Thinking about Whose Birthday It Is

    On Wednesday, November 17 th, 2010

    I t’s been over ten years of nothing under the Christmas tree here. Strange, the way children teach men. :: It was dark, I do remember that. Bedtime. Smoothing back hair, kissing foreheads. On round moon hanging large outside the window, an ornament dangling off stars, decorating the night. I had gifts to wrap. So, pull up the blankets. Prayers. And then, when I’m...

  • Returning to Your First LoveBible Memorization: Make a Commitment Booklet

    On Wednesday, November 03 rd, 2010

    I do have one of her pans on the top shelf. And under its warped blue rubber lid you can see it right there on the underside in faded black marker, her name still. A memory on pyrex. And I’m not the only one who can still taste her cherry cheese cakes from that nine by thirteen dish. And Dad Voskamp gave me her spices just last month, when he moved out of the house, moved far...

  • How to See God: The Light of Brokenness

    On Wednesday, October 06 th, 2010

    He points a finger at me, shakes it like a wand, like a prayer, like shaking me awake. “I need to talk with you.” Gordon’s on his tiptoes, looking for me through the lunch crowd, punctuating each word high in the air with his left pointer finger. “I’ve got a question for you.” He’s stabbing the air. I feel poked in the chest, pushed up against the back of my chair...

  • where in the world, in all this world, is God?

    On Wednesday, September 22 nd, 2010

    It is the stench of the place. The rotting flesh, the burning rubber, the foul festering and decay. I’m a farmer’s daughter, a farmer’s wife, and this is what I know: I’ve fed hogs and I’ve extracted stillborn piglets from the uterus of sows in a gush of fetid fluids, and I’ve hauled manure. And I know the fetor of death exhaling from bloated green bellies and the w...

  • when you want the first step in fixing a broken world

    On Wednesday, September 15 th, 2010

    I don’t know really how to come back to this space. What to write about, what to say, what doesn’t sound flippant, indifferent… negligent. When our Compassion team debriefed on our last night in Guatemala, each of us were asked to share the one image we would take home, share one word picture that encapsulated our experience. I couldn’t speak. I had no words. Just this...

  • 3 Ways to Really Enter into His Rest Right Now

    On Wednesday, July 14 th, 2010

    The way I grew up and the way I’ve lived, you’d think rest was a four letter word. Something about being from farmers and being a firstborn that shapes the frame up to be more about doing than being. About coming from people who measured the worth of their lives in the wearing out of their lives and when we first came to this plot of land, The Farmer and I worked twenty ho...

  • 3 Ways to Rest Today (& stop the push). The Practice of Rest: Pt.1

    On Wednesday, June 30 th, 2010

    It’s only a few gravel roads to the north of here. The axis of the earth rotates at a different speed and time’s hands move more like eternity’s and who knew that it would be back there that I’d find the cord that would tie all my lost and harried pieces together? I mean, maybe I should have known right then, coming down that hill facing west, the cloud...

  • How to Really Write a Love Letter

    On Wednesday, June 23 rd, 2010

    When I opened the first letter you ever sent me, I was fifteen and the snow was chest high in that village up in the Quebec mountains where I tried to learn how to ski and speak French and make poutine, all of which I only mangled. I tore open into your envelope right there at the post office. I read your lines five times walking the snow piled streets back to the school, my ...

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