Deep in a Place of Exile, Waiting for the Return

I don’t much like when people I care about are deep in the “exile” part and waiting for the return. But I have to believe that God will bring all of us who have times of exile to that promised place of abundance, community, and hope. [Read more...]

Christmas Lasts for Twelve Days, Not One

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As I wrote last year, I mourn the commercialization and hype of Christmas less than I mourn its lopsided timeframe. Our culture treats December 25th as a culmination and grand finale, rather than as the beginning of a 12-day holiday. My heart breaks on the 26th when I see Christmas trees on the curb, can [Read More...]

My (Unmeasurable) New Year’s Resolutions

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The time seems right for me to make some resolutions for 2014. Because I broke a few bones on December 1, the last month of 2013 was more about getting necessary things (wrapping Christmas presents, etc.) done at the last minute than about proactively ordering my household and life. Now that I’m feeling better and [Read More...]

My Most Popular Posts of 2013

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Here’s a round-up of my most popular blog posts of 2013. Perhaps there’s something here that you missed the first time around. [Read more...]

This is What Angels Do

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I pray that I will always be willing and able to respond to God’s call, whether it comes to me via shaky intuition or a life-changing encounter with something like an angel, as Mary did: Let it be to me according to your word. [Read more...]

God with Us, Even When Christmas Stinks

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Many things can get in the way of the happy, sparkling Christmas celebrations to which we aspire. The Dollar family has perfected one such thing—the Christmas stomach bug that tears its way through the family, leading to days of extra laundry, interrupted nights, and general nastiness. (Three years in a row, people—2010, 2011, and 2012. [Read More...]

A Busy Advent Doesn’t Make You a Bad Christian

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When she was only two days old, my firstborn was the subject of an Advent sermon at our Episcopal church. Our rector, Bill, told about visiting me the day before Leah was born. He recalled the physical cues in our apartment indicating that a beloved baby was expected—the quilt handmade by my mom draped over [Read More...]

Broken Ribs, Crooked Backs, & Seeing Our Vulnerable Selves Reflected in Another

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Having a body that defies cultural norms as mine does (it is crooked, uneven, lumpy, and limpy) can be alienating. The regular absence of anyone who looks like me in my daily routine creates a space that can fill with either negative feelings (shame, frustration, grief) or positive (pride in the scars that testify to [Read More...]

Books to Read and Give: My 2013 Favorites

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As many of you know, I fell on the ice a couple of weeks ago, and ended up with broken ribs and a few other injuries. So instead of spending the first weeks of December baking, shopping, and decorating while keeping up with my usual housekeeping and writing work, I’ve been spending many hours parked [Read More...]

On Grace, and Its Absence? One Year After Sandy Hook

It has been a year since I gathered with other parents in my children’s elementary school cafeteria, shocked, stricken, and aware that nothing would ever be the same again, after 20 first graders and several women were murdered by a troubled boy with a gun. My own youngest child was a first grader too. I [Read More...]

Stuck in the Middle with Bonhoeffer

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So, this arrived on my doorstep about two weeks ago. I agreed to read and write on The Bonhoeffer Reader for the Patheos Book Club because I’ve always wanted to know more about Bonhoeffer and his theology. But I didn’t know the book would be so big. (The photo doesn’t quite convey its heft. It’s really, really big.) [Read More...]

What is Your Deep Gladness?

This past weekend, my church parish hall resonated with the voices of young actors and singers presenting a children’s theater production of a short musical, “The Castaways.” My son Benjamin played one of the castaways—a group of kids living on the streets of New York City at the turn of the century who are eventually [Read More...]


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