Writing About Miscarriage

Ariel Levy writes a breath-taking account of having had a miscarriage while on a writing assignment in Mongolia. (Personal History, Thanksgiving in Mongolia): "I could not keep the story of what had happened in Mongolia inside my mouth. I went to buy clothes that would fit my big body but that didn’t have bands of stretchy maternity elastic to accommodate a baby who wasn’t there. I heard myself tell a horrified saleswoman, “I don’t know what size I am, because I just had a baby. He died, but the … [Read more...]

The Primitive Life

Little Siberian Baby--looks much cozier than she is.

* It's fifteen degrees outside, but the sun is shining, and for the first morning since last Thursday when our furnace went out, it is actually colder outside than it is inside. We can still see our breath, of course, and we are still sleeping in triple layers of clothing, piling as many people as possible into the down sleeping bags at night for warmth--and still, we are never warm. But this morning, it occurred to me to thank God that our furnace died, and that we are wiping out our savings … [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...]

Why Dogs can be a Baby’s Best Friend


My sister-in-law wanted to know what kind of crazy you have to be to get a dog right after you've had a baby, because the record shows, I did this five years ago too--got a dog when my youngest was about four months old. I've had to conclude that the dog, for me anyway, flows rather naturally from the event of the baby.Something in my brain fires up when I've just had a child. I'm more alert, more empathetic, more aware of potential dangers in my environment, and more willing to get off my … [Read more...]

Giving Our Widow’s Mite

In college, I got depressed. After a year or two of hard living, I remember a phone call with my mom in which she asked me what I thought I needed. There has never been a time in my life when my needs were so easy to identify. I had been living for myself entirely, and it was making me sick. I told my mom, "I think I need a service project."This wasn't a benevolent impulse. I wanted to feel better about myself. I wanted to like myself, so even my desire for service was motivated by … [Read more...]

No Guilt, Ugly-As-Sin, Pumpkin Pie-ish Dessert


Here's something I don't care much about: Halloween. I love the candy/ I hate the candy. I like costuming/I hate it when my kids beg for plastic drugstore costumes.Anyway, our town took a rain check on Halloween, and that's fine with me. No trick-or-treating until tomorrow, and then only an hour of it, because we have to be at a 7 p.m. Mass--Holy Day of Obligation and all. They're watching a spooky movie and eating popcorn tonight instead, and that's about my speed.What I want to share … [Read more...]

Mud-room Renovation


My husband's been busy making cabinets. You may remember the work he did on our laundry room. Recently, he finished redoing our entry way as well. Here's what it looked like before: And this is a cleaned up version. Normally, it would have had a pile of coats and books on the couch and chair--often, such a large pile you couldn't see the furniture.   And here's what it looks like "after":There's a total of eight "lockers"--one … [Read more...]