What To Do With A Heat Seeking Missile

Is there a person in your life who loves to stir the pot? Do you know someone who (you are certain) lies awake at night dreaming up new ways to ruffle your feathers and rock your boat? Maybe you have a friend or family member that approaches every topic of conversation – online or off – like a heat-seeking missile? If so, be thankful for them, for they are a grace from God. Through our inner responses to the outward drama, provocation, actions of others, we are given aRead more

Picture That

Friends, I hope this finds you well — but I know many of you are not well at all. Some of you are heartsick, lonely, anxious, stretched, and deeply weary. Some of you can’t see any light at the end of your tunnel. There is no silver lining in your case; no winds of change are stirring on your horizon. You feel stuck in this place, this body, this job, this tension, this marriage, this situation, this chronic fatigue – forever.Read more

The Last Time?

Would it be weird to ask people to share towels? Would that request make anyone wildly uncomfortable? Probably. It had the potential to send some of my people careening off the edge. Important note to self: Buy twelve more towels. A few Novembers ago, a temporary work assignment allowed our family to host Thanksgiving weekend on a (very) old family farm in southern Maryland. Extended family and friends from up and down the east coast swung through the screen door,Read more

Becoming Visible

She was holding a pillow and waiting at the bus stop. I guessed she was maybe fifteen? It turns out she was eighteen, but only just. She’d left home a few weeks ago – soon after her last birthday when her mother got mad and tried her hurt her. “My mamma said it’s not child abuse when you’re eighteen” she said. And so she moved to Austin. She was on her way home from dialysis when I saw her. I rolledRead more

Heart Of Stone

Child #4 wakes with a fever for the third straight day. Today is the Halloween dress-up parade and she will have to miss. If you’ve ever been the parent of a seven-year-old girl who sleeps in her fairy-princess costume the entire month of October, you will understand to what depths of woe we have already travelled before breakfast. Spent, we stare glumly out the kitchen window and drink our tea. A flock of Orioles, the plumpest we’ve ever seen, hop inRead more

No Harm No Foul

Our son came home well before midnight. He kissed his mom and dad, and then snuck back out the laundry-room door after he knew we were both asleep. “I think you should tell THAT part of the story,” he said recently during a phone call home from college, “it might be helpful for people to hear the not-so-great parts.” You mean those parts where the wheels come off and we careen down the parenting highway sideways? The parts where we all wishRead more

A Space To Walk Barefoot

We were made to walk in this world barefoot; to run and play without fear. But the reality is that most of us limp along, barefoot and cautious, on paths littered with broken glass. Things are not as they should be. We are not as we should be. Those who have been sexually abused feel this acutely. They can no longer dance in this world with bare feet. Their wounds are so many, or so deep, that they can barely crawlRead more

How Do We Leave Them?

“Remember to ask your date’s dad what time he would like his daughter home – and tattoo that minute on your brain.” My son and I are at the kitchen table. He’s eating a stack of frozen Eggo waffles as if just returning home from war. “And PLEASE take smaller bites, dear son, a python would be jealous…” We’re discussing his updated weekend plans, which now include: a Homecoming date, finding a purple bow-tie, and assembling a mum that will cost no less than nine-thousand dollarsRead more

This Is How You Do Love

She brought me a toothbrush and a clean pair of yoga pants. And underwear. She didn’t ask if I needed new undies before packing a bag and schlepping across town to hug her friend at the hospital. Obviously, “Do you need some underwear?” can be an awkward question no matter how close you may be. Instead, she walked around her own quiet house at dawn asking herself: “What might someone wish for after two all-nighters in the hospital?” This isRead more

Odd Woman Out

At twenty-six I got my first ‘real’ job. Ever the consummate professional, on hearing the words: ‘You’re hired.’ I leapt across the desk to awkwardly bear-hug my (wildly unnerved) new boss. David and I started east from the slushy Midwest. We parked our U-Haul under a canopy of cherry blossoms, and life felt sunny and full of promise. I labored hard and long in my new career as a college volleyball coach. It took my best attention and all availableRead more