Dust Storm

Sitting in the back of a dark, quiet, theater, Lyla gasped much too loudly and grabbed my arm. “Look! Mommy, magic!” A little startled, I looked up and behind us to where she pointed. There were the spotlights that were lighting up the performers onstage. Dust particles floated and swirled in the projected light causing […]

The Eye of the Hurricane

Now that the kids have grown up and I have separated from my husband—and moved out as well—my loneliness has no place to hide. In this quiet little apartment, my loneliness can no longer be ignored. It can’t hide behind the busyness of taking care of a home and family.  It can’t be tucked away […]

Our Hope Rises Higher

Surveying the damage, they can’t imagine life again after the storm. They can’t yet see the trees that will grow to replace those pulled up by their roots. They can’t picture anything flourishing again in this place of devastation. *** Looking out at the endless sea of cars sitting on the interstate, I felt restless […]

Invocation to the Night I Drowned

I am the panic attack that upended your entire life. I am the storm you could never remember seeing but always felt. I am removing this identity from you like I have many times before. I am going to grow in you yet a new one as I have always done before. I am not […]

When a New Diagnosis Brings a Storm

If I had ever been skydiving, I would know about the wind having its way with you. I could tell you, no problem, that when you’re turned topsy-turvy in an earth-less void, up and down become abstractions, not facts to orient yourself by. You lose your bearings. But I am the last person on earth […]

The Absent Ones | A Conversation with Christie Purifoy about Placemaker

The morning light filters in through wavy glass windows in a little nook off a farmhouse dining room. I sit across from Christie Purifoy, watching a squirrel foraging outside in the winter-bitten grass, and it strikes me that the drab brown of mid-March is a perfect backdrop for our conversation about placemaking–a visual reminder that […]

Why Didn’t You Call Me?

I never need to call #SQUAD in a crisis. They’re already here.   Every single time life takes me to the gates of hell, I remember that I haven’t yet determined effectively how to clone myself. Each time, I thank God for Grace, since I never need to know how to do it all.  This is […]

When Hospitality is Radical

  She pauses, the doorbell’s eerie reverberations beat a note of panic through her veins. She wipes her hands on the linen apron wrapped around her and hurries to tell them to hide themselves in the basement or attic.   She breathes deeply, realizes this is the moment she and her husband have talked about, […]

Feeling Cheated Before My Mastectomy

Three nights before my double mastectomy, I cry about it. I’ve had moments of anger, wanting to stomp the old wicker chairs in our sun porch to hear them crunch like giant Wheaties. Other moments I go catatonic in my bedroom on a Sunday afternoon. But I hadn’t really cried yet. My husband and I […]

Girls Can Do All the Things

Juliette Gordon Low founded the girl scouts because she had been hanging out with the Boy Scouts founder and thought, well, why the heck weren’t girls encouraged to go hike in the woods, build a fire, swim? She liked all of that stuff. When people think about women who have made a major impact on […]

A Letter to My Muslim Sisters

I don’t remember your name. I do remember your laughter, your patience when you helped me with my pronunciation of sounds that are difficult for the English-trained tongue. I never saw you again after our college Arabic class ended but the look in your eyes has remained with me all these years—the fear and sorrow […]

Minnie Vautrin: Staring Down Death

“The city is strangely silent—after all the bombing and shelling. Three dangers are past—that of looting [Chinese] soldiers, bombing from aeroplanes and shelling from big guns, but the fourth is still before us—our fate at the hands of a victorious army. People are very anxious tonight and do not know what to expect . . […]