Housekeeping, Family, and the Homes that House Us

It was in a portable classroom building, a sort of mobile home, where I first learned words and names for the power of story. While my junior high classmates sighed when asked to diagram a sentence for its grammatical parts, I flew to the board to help (Yes, I was that student). I read Tom […]

5 Things Your Pastor Wishes You Knew

I wear a lot of hats: mom to 4, author and speaker, academic, and pastor’s wife to a church planter. Most days my life looks small: walk kids to school, get in some writing, go to the grocery store, build relationships with neighbors, work towards growing our church plant. It can be a lonely, isolating […]

White Privilege Means I Can Look the Other Way. It’s Got to Stop.

What do we do in the wake of Charlottesville? What good are words on the Internet when hate, death, and violence are the order of the day? How does one white woman writer with a small platform engage issues of racism now — when videos show us how hate mushrooms, how the image of God […]

Finding My Place, One Avocado at a Time

I do not yet know how to belong to a place. It always happens in the in-between space of small conversations, the way the light hits just so, or the accumulated miles where your route “home” becomes something you can do in your sleep. It happens when what was “different” from “there” instead just “is.” […]

On Writing My First Book

A few weeks ago, I turned in the manuscript for my first book to my publisher, Finding Holy in the Suburbs. I suppose there had been others — scrawled words in composition notebooks and spiral notebooks, abandoned stories where I gave up writing and thought I could only write about writing, and a PhD that approximately […]

When a Personality Test Says Your Marriage is “Volatile”

I grew up on Myers-Briggs, proud of my status as an INFJ: thoughtful, deep, empathetic, goal-oriented. It was a pleasant discovery to find my husband was an INTJ; we had so much in common. Big ideas! Need for quiet! Thoughtful and driven! Yet, I would melt into a puddle of tears that he couldn’t understand. […]

Deliver us from Christmas Cookies, We Pray…Or, Maybe Not

I love this time of year. I bet you do, too. It’s one of the only times where the party invitations keep coming in, the darker nights lend themselves to steaming soups, piping hot bread, and freshly baked Christmas cookies — not to mention more sweets, drinks, and nibbles “because it’s Christmas.” It’s a season of […]

Social Justice is a Pot of Spaghetti Sauce

I didn’t want to write a post on social justice.  It feels fake sitting on my couch in my largely white, affluent, suburban neighborhood. What do I have to say? As a white woman, I feel like my steps at connection across lines—even on Facebook—feel privileged, bumbling, and awkward. I say the wrong things. I’m […]

A Mudroom Exclusive: An Interview with Shannan Martin

Hi guys, Ashley Hales here. At The Mudroom, we love to let you know you’re not alone. We can sit in The Mudroom together, drop off all of our stuff, and know that we have a tribe who listens, understands, and can help hold all the crazy.  And we’re privileged to do that even virtually, […]