March 19, 2019

  For too many years in a row, I’ve tried to observe Lent my own way. Giving up chocolate or sugar or my cell phone always seemed so paltry in comparison with a world’s weight of sin and suffering. And so I’ve gone my own way. One year, instead of giving up something, I added fixed-hour prayer. Instead of reading only the morning prayers in my much-loved copy of The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime, I set an alarm on my… Read more

March 16, 2019

  I began this “Cultivating Glory” column assuming I would lay out for you (and myself) those seasonal practices that help me prepare the ground of my own life for the glory of God. I would describe the small habits and daily tasks that shape my ordinary days into fertile soil for something more extraordinary. Mine would be a posture of observation and reflection leading to mastery. Though the phrase “seize the day” has always seemed a little too energetic… Read more

March 12, 2019

  That’s the claim I make in this book: like the God to whom we belong, we are placemakers. That’s right. All of us. Whether we have green thumbs or not. Whether we live in old farmhouses or share a dorm room with two others. Whether we are travelers or homebodies. We are all standing in some place, and we can choose to tend that place. We can choose to cultivate beauty, comfort, and peace right where we are. Maybe not… Read more

March 9, 2019

  The literal meaning of Lent is “springtime,” a fact I was reminded of this morning while reading Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter. How ironic, I thought, glancing out the window at the remains of yesterday’s light snow. Whether you live in a place where winter’s grip is yet fast tight or in some place where summer’s heat is already warming up the edges of these March days, I believe Lent asks us to practice spring while it… Read more

March 5, 2019

  Six years ago, we moved into a red brick farmhouse built in 1880 by a Pennsylvania Quaker family. We thought that most of the large repairs the house needed had already been made. The previous owners had dug a new well, replaced knob-and-tube wiring, and installed a lovely new kitchen. Somewhere in our minds, we understood vaguely that many of the bricks were cracked, the mortar was crumbling, and the window sills were slowly rotting away, but those things… Read more

March 2, 2019

  This winter seems to be following the pattern of the previous two: in December we long for snow that does not come, but in March we resent the snow that will not stop coming. Weeks of cold and darkness and time spent indoors have prepared our hearts for spring. Which means, we are fairly bursting with a desire for sunshine and warmth and green, growing things. Waiting grows harder the longer we wait. Ironically, spring feels more and more… Read more

February 26, 2019

  Great trees have a hold on the earth we cannot match. They stretch and grow and renew their leaves over such a long time, they fit in their place in the earth–belong to it–in ways we may dream of belonging but never entirely achieve. Unlike the ancient white oak that dances in place on the edge of the golf course near my house, we are not rooted. We roam, and we wander. Much like the flowers or grass in… Read more

February 23, 2019

  It isn’t the poem’s fault. It isn’t the poet’s fault, either. But the same way a verse from the Bible might drive us nuts because it’s been pulled out of context and slapped on a thousand tshirts and tote bags, these lines from this poem makes me roll my eyes so hard they hurt: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? The poem is “Summer Day” by Mary Oliver: a… Read more

February 19, 2019

  Time feels like an arrow, released fast and straight and always forward. Time is a line. A path. A road we can follow in only one way: onward. Time is progress, never regress. If the hours on a clock are a somewhat arbitrary measurement of time (something impressed upon me this week when I found myself explaining to my kids why traveling across time zones didn’t actually qualify as time travel), the seasons are the natural shape of time…. Read more

February 16, 2019

  I started my first tray of seeds yesterday: the heirloom viola known as ‘Johnny Jump Ups.’ The pretty packet from Renee’s Garden Seeds assures me they are edible though I have never sprinkled them on salads or used them to decorate a cake. To me, they are simply one of those harbingers of spring–able to withstand cold nights if set out early in pots and willing to seed themselves all over the garden in order to return year after… Read more

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