What Happens When We Pray

I don’t understand how prayer works. But I believe in a God who is good, a God who is love. I keep praying because I believe that prayer, somehow, makes that goodness and love more real and accessible in the midst of whatever nightmares mark our days. [Read more...]

Why Do Parents Choose to Screen for Disabilities?

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Imagine you are standing at an intersection with your child, waiting for a walk light so you can safely cross the street. The traffic light turns red, the “walk” sign lights up, you grab your child’s hand, and just as you are about to step off the curb, a mysterious voice from above says, “Stop! [Read More...]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] What My Kids and My Garden Have in Common

I don't have to say "Don't pick the daisies!" because no one in their right mind would want these daisies.

I struggled to find a good photo subject for today’s post. Right now, most of my garden is ugly—dried up stalks, yellowing leaves. The brilliant oranges and yellows of fall foliage are still a few weeks away. My garden’s most prominent feature right now are dry, dusty brown remnants of summer blooms. All living things [Read More...]

A Story About the Abundance, and Absence, of Memory and Faith

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Walker has written a story about Alzheimer’s, yes, and about her mother, and about her. But fundamentally, it is a story about memory and faith—about times when they surround and buoy us, and times when they evade our reach. [Read more...]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] I Wrote a Book. Want One?

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I will confess something that will be not at all surprising to most of you, especially those who write blogs of your own: My Friday “Snapshots from Oak Ridge” feature is absolutely self-serving. I wanted some regular Friday feature that would be quick and easy, because posting regularly, even if every post isn’t read by [Read More...]

“Wonder” and the Paradoxes of Living with a Disability

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R.J. Palacio’s young adult novel Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a boy with a severe facial deformity who goes to school for the first time in fifth grade. He confronts fear and bullies, but also makes friends—even with some of the very same kids who initially teased him. I thought it was a beautiful story, for [Read More...]

Finding God at Rock Bottom

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Karen Beattie and her husband went through a difficult few years. She was unexpectedly laid off just as her husband decided to go back to graduate school, leaving them without regular income from employment. After a miscarriage and a bunch of dead ends on their quest to adopt a child, they realized they might never [Read More...]

Bodily Betrayal, Redeemed by Love

John Green’s bestselling young-adult novel The Fault in Our Stars is a love story about two teenagers, both with terminal cancer. I was particularly taken with the narrator, Hazel, who has metastatic cancer in her lungs and uses supplemental oxygen. This fictional teenager astutely observes the shame, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy that can come with inhabiting [Read More...]


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