Welcome to the “Best Thing Blog Hop”

Blogging provides writers like me with lots of opportunities—to publish and reach audiences without going through lengthy (and often demoralizing!) editorial selection processes, to market books, to test new ideas that might later become a full-fledged article or book. But the blogosphere can be a difficult and frustrating workplace as well, for lots of reasons. [Read More...]

Believe the Better Story

(Originally published on April 1, 2010 on my former blog, Five Dollars and Some Common Sense.) My 10-year-old daughter Leah and I are spending two days in the hospital. Leah and I both have a bone disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, which causes brittle bones. Because Leah has had several bad fractures this year requiring surgery, [Read More...]

A Poem for Good Friday

For the epigraph in my book No Easy Choice, I chose a stanza from Wendell Berry’s poem “The Way of Pain,” and titled the final chapter using one line from that stanza: “The only way is hard.” In that chapter, I wrote: It’s hard to cope with infertility or the harsh realities of genetic disease. [Read More...]

Two New Reviews of “No Easy Choice”

I’m still on something of a blogging break, though I hope to be back to five-day-a-week blogging shortly. It has been a very full week, with speaking engagements at Yale Medical School and my son’s kindergarten class (yes, my job is very fun, and eclectic!…I’ll post something about the kindergarten gig next week), a radio [Read More...]

Just Look Up (A Meditation of Sorts on Psalm 123)

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I woke up yesterday feeling surrounded. Put upon. Up to my eyeballs in shhh…tuff. In a right good muddle. The muddle consists of money worries and health worries and work worries. And the continually shifting weight of the professional writer’s emotional life, as I am pulled every which way by excitement and self-pity and confidence [Read More...]

I’m Taking a Blogging Break (But Here’s Some Other Stuff to Read)

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I’m taking a short blogging hiatus (for the rest of this week, possibly into next week) to devote time to some other pressing work. I owe blog posts and essays to several people, I haven’t yet filed my taxes, and my bathrooms are really dirty. Plus it’s parent-teacher conference week at my kids’ schools, which [Read More...]

Patheos Peeps: Julie Clawson on the “Hunger Games,” Consumerism, and Justice

Every Friday, I post a link to a blog post written by one of my fellow bloggers at Patheos, a web portal devoted to religion and spirituality. I encourage my blog readers to click through to read these posts, comment, and if you like what you read, follow these bloggers as well. Perhaps you’ve heard [Read More...]

A Little Lent Check-In

Spring has fully sprung here in Connecticut. I am a New Englander at heart who feels a bit cheated by the seasons this year. Our worst snowstorm came in October (and it was a doozy, knocking out power to our entire town for more than a week), after which we had a wimpy, coldish but [Read More...]

The Tyranny of the News Hook

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Here’s one of many hard lessons I’ve learned as a writer publishing primarily online: You can pen a gorgeous piece about some timeless topic—parenting or faith or health or grief. And if your piece doesn’t have a news hook—if it doesn’t mention some hot topic in the news up front and then go on to [Read More...]

Why I Still Watch “American Idol”

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Yes, I know American Idol is passe. The audience numbers are way down. The show hasn’t produced a true superstar for years now. It has become utterly predictable. Every year, contestants make the same mistakes (singing ballads week after week, refusing expert advice on song choices), engage in the same inane banter with the host, [Read More...]

Yes, Low-Tech Treatments for Infertility Do Exist

The cervical cap included in The Conception Kit

by Stacie Longwell Hill, guest blogger Editorial note from Ellen: I was thrilled to recently make the acquaintance of Stacie Longwell Hill, who has experience in both bioethics and as an embryologist in a fertility clinic.  She shares my Christian faith, and has worked alongside Christian physicians treating couples for infertility. Stacie currently works in [Read More...]

And Now, a Poem About Ice Cream

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Golly, things get heavy around here sometimes, don’t they? They do. I’m feeling the weight this week, of tackling these difficult, emotional, intimate, provocative, divisive concerns. So when my son’s teacher e-mailed me with his latest poem, I decided to share it, to lighten the mood a bit. My kids go to this fabulous, amazing [Read More...]


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