May 6, 2020

In February, I came across a call to prayer and fasting written by pastors in Wuhan. I joined in prayer as I watched videos of residents there, confined to their high-rise apartments, flipping their light switches on and off and shouting jia you from their balconies. I learned that phrase when I lived in China as a student and nonprofit worker. Jia you literally means “add oil.” Similar to give it some gas, let’s go, or rock on, it’s the… Read more

April 22, 2020

When Loneliness Sets In Is the loneliness setting in yet? Do you feel lonelier now than you did a few weeks ago? Or maybe you notice your loneliness more now because life is shifting and shaking and turning upside down, and what you usually do to distract yourself from loneliness is no longer an option or no longer working. Our pandemic moment is forcing me to inhabit my loneliness with less discomfort and explore my belonging with more curiosity. Belonging… Read more

April 16, 2020

The once theoretical idea of “wilderness” has now hit home. Plans and long awaited celebrations, canceled. Organized sporting events for all ages, wiped from the calendar. Schools, organizations, stores and even churches forced to close their doors to secure the health and safety of others. In this time of crisis we are all feeling the grave impacts in one way or another. We find ourselves in an unknown wilderness we’ve never experienced before, and we ask ourselves, for how long?… Read more

April 7, 2020

It is a very strange thing to be releasing a book with ‘hugs’ in the title at a time when the whole world can’t come within six feet of each other, much less figure out whether they’ll opt for greeting with a bear hug, awkward side hug, or the classic handshake. Even the elbow bump greetings of a few weeks ago are ill-advised in this season where loving our neighbor means keeping our distance. A friendly wave will do just… Read more

March 31, 2020

One night after dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, just as my husband and I reached our vehicle parked at the side of the road, a car of laughing young people rolled past. We heard shouts of what I can only imagine was meant to be fake Chinese, then an egg came whizzing toward us. Deliberately but poorly aimed, the egg missed us and missed our vehicle, and the car of young people turned the corner and disappeared. At the… Read more

March 23, 2020

Last week’s email reminded me that not everyone sees me as a peer. The woman who wrote it is a lovely young woman. Actually, she’s middle aged. Crinkles warm the corners of her hazel eyes, set in still-smooth ivory skin, and a streak of white rushes through her long black hair. Since I’ve never had children, I think of just about everyone as some kind of peer because the milestones which mark the lives of parents do not mark my life. Sometimes… Read more

March 14, 2020

If you are fearful and anxious, you may be able to mask it well for years. In fact, you may mask it so well that you don’t even recognize it as a problem, but eventually it will catch up with you and affect your emotional, spiritual and physical well being. Once I recognized my own anxiety, I began to see it everywhere, in everyone and now that we are facing a pandemic, anxiety is running wild and free. Fear and… Read more

February 27, 2020

When my mother passed away years ago, we had been estranged for over a decade. After my efforts failed to resolve her verbal abuse through negotiations, I realized the toxicity of the relationship eventually would harm our four young sons. I feared one day I would look in a mirror and see my mother’s reflection glaring back at me as I repeated the pattern of mistreatment of my own children. So, I made the difficult, heart-wrenching decision to distance her… Read more

February 8, 2020

Sometimes the heroin addict is your son. Award winning author Katherine James spent many nights in front of her bay window staring up at Orion’s belt, praying for her children by name. During their growing up years, she gathered them together on her bed for cozy bedtime stories, kept the TV off and worried about ensuring they ate healthy peanut butter. She allowed them to build a fort in the garage which they named, The Chill Spot and baked apple… Read more

January 31, 2020

I first sat down to read the newest novel by Jeanine Cummins, American Dirt, as usual – in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee. But I’d barely made it through the first chapter when I almost spit a mouth full of coffee out all over my Kindle screen. It wasn’t just that her random italicized words in Spanish made actual Spanish-speaking Mexicans sound like they were speaking a foreign language, or the fact that everyday phrases were treated… Read more

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