Multiplying by Jesus

I first saw it written on the inspirational billboard in front of the Episcopal Church on State Road 9: "Satan divides. Jesus multiplies." It's terribly cute, of course, but it made me think about the ways that our culture has grown more polarized, and how the divisions are put into strong relief on social media whenever an issue like gay marriage or abortion shows up in the news. People line up on the issues. Unfriendings occur. People stop seeing old acquaintances whose company they used to … [Read more...]

An Editor for the Soul

I asked fellow Patheos blogger, Max Lindenman to look over a little piece of fiction I've been working on, with specific instructions to "be brutally honest." It's hard to reassure people that you'll still like them if they offer you anything other than false praise.Thankfully, he took me at my word, and called me out on several instances of "telling" rather than "showing." He also pin pointed some missed opportunities in my plot that might have heightened conflict, added realism, and raised … [Read more...]

Reclaiming Shame

Around second or third grade, I wore one of my mother’s tweed blazers to school: leather buttons, suede patches on the elbows. It was a perfect Annie Hall blazer, though I didn’t realize it at the time. All I knew is that when I arrived after school at my friend Marcy’s house, her mother said, “That’s a spiffy jacket you’ve got on.” She said the word “spiffy” in that I’m a Midwesterner speaking to children accent—a tiny bit of a lisp, a very short emphasis on the “-y.”Marcy’s mom was a depart … [Read more...]

The Repulsive Truth

My daughter and I were on our way to the store when she said something like, "When I grow up, I'm only going to have one child.""Why only one?" I asked."I just think it would be easier."I have to admit that at first pass, I was a tiny bit worried about my daughter's life plan, not the number of kids, but the "easier" part. I feared she was developing the dreaded "contraceptive mentality" that fears hardship of any kind but especially that which comes in the shape of children. I … [Read more...]

Caught Stealing

I caught my kids stealing last night. One of them turned up with two fifty cent pieces--and we never have fifty cent pieces circulating around here, so I assumed they came from elsewhere--maybe a friend from school.One of the other kids said that the first had stolen the pieces from him. But where did he get them? Turns out, he got them from a third child, who'd offered to trade the coins he "found in Mom's drawer" (antique ones, at that) for some Legos. Three kids, each with their hands in … [Read more...]

Pray like the Pope at the end of his Papacy

In Pope Benedict XVI's last audience at the Vatican he said: I feel I [ought to] carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit. I gather everyone and every thing in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing f … [Read more...]

Wonder Mother

Last night at 2 A.M. the storm sirens went off. I shook my husband awake to look at the news, and went upstairs to bring down the kids. The last thing I'd read before falling asleep earlier in the night, was a Smithsonian article about a Russian family who'd survived for forty years in the Taiga without encountering another human being. They'd fled their home due to religious persecution, taking seeds, a loom, and a spinning wheel. As supplies ran out, they became more and more … [Read more...]