When Elissa and I hung out for the very first time, it was fall in Syracuse and she wondered if I wanted to climb a tree. “Of course I want to climb a tree,” I’d said and meant it. We were in our twenties, in graduate school, and I did not get many offers like tree climbing. So we climbed and she told me about her family that afternoon in the tree near the parking lot on the south… Read more

“Why is it called Halloween, Mom?” We’re driving to preschool. This is the time of day when August asks all the good questions. “Ummmm…” I say. I say that a lot. See the thing is he wants a real answer. He wants the history and the reasoning. If he knew the word ‘etymology,’ he’d want that too. I stop at the light. “So, Halloween is a holiday that comes from ‘All Hallows Eve.’” “Just like Christmas Eve!” “Yeah, like Christmas… Read more

  By the time I was pregnant with my first son I was learning to pray using contemplative practices. I was embracing the liturgy. And I was in a church that celebrated communion every Sunday with real wine in a shared chalice. My husband and I had been at this church for two years prior to my pregnancy and during those years, I had taken to putting my lips to the shared cup and gulping, despite my husband’s more sanitary… Read more

I didn’t know Roo Ciambriello until I joined her as a World Vision blogger in Guatemala. And after five days, we knew each other well enough to perform many dangerous stunts… Roo has a blog called Neon Fresh, which is as cool and interesting as it sounds. And she is a gem: Not only does she sometimes walk around her home in a horse mask, she is also an incredibly compassionate soul. (I loved seeing her engage with the children… Read more

It’s Halloween around these parts. The pumpkins we carved the weekend before last were so moldy that I was afraid to breathe in the same vicinity as their air.  And every part of our lives has had some kind of Harvest Festivity. This past weekend we “ween”ed and carnivaled and festivaled and are getting all pumped up for some parading. In other words, let’s get thankful, y’all. For the doggy costume my mom made Brooksie, which consists of sweatpants and… Read more

Today I get to introduce you to Zack Hunt, a blogger and thinker whose special talent is the ability to make complicated theological concepts approachable  for the likes of non-theologians like me. Zack was on my trip to Guatemala and it was a joy to get to know his compassionate, sarcastic, generous nature. I’m grateful to have him here. *  There’s an old worn out copy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship sitting on my bookshelf. The cover is… Read more

Some Monday evenings, I churn out a Thankful Tuesday post and it feels easy and light and I hardly sweat while doing it. Other Monday nights, there are three (THREE!) piles of unfolded laundry that have been sitting in my living room since Saturday (or was it Friday?) and there are stuffed animals and one folded tablecloth beside me on the couch. And I have spent way too much time today worrying about book stuff and house stuff and being… Read more

The thing about humans is that in order to understand one another, we must sacrifice a bit of ourselves. It’s difficult to empathize because to do so is to reject the most self-protective part of our nature. To love is to be vulnerable and vulnerability is a dangerous thing. I get that. You want to know what hurts the most in my life right now? It’s that I’m misunderstood. It’s that the people who live below us suffer because of… Read more

I’m honored to be writing for the first time over at Antler today, where I’m reviewing Addie Zierman’s recently released memoir, When We Were On Fire. Here’s a bit of what I wrote about it. (I’m hoping you’ll finish the rest of it over there…) *  Addie Zierman’s memoir begins in front of her high school, in tenth grade. Her mom drops her off at the flagpole for “See You At the Pole,” a phenomenon experienced by many of us… Read more

We had yesterday off from school. So what better way to spend a beautiful October Northern California day than to scoot ourselves out of the urban jungle and downstate to where the fruit grows on trees! (On trees, I promise!) And pumpkins emerge from soil, not just asphalt parking lots.  We ate apples straight from the trees… and jumped from hay bales.   I’m thankful for city life too. For a weekend family walk to the museum and dinner. For… Read more

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