Here, Between the Storms

Mirror Lake shimmers in its craggy casement like a portal to another world. It begs a closer look, so we break from the trail and summit an obliging boulder. Our breathing slows to the rhythm of waves lapping up the muddy shoreline. A granite peak looms overhead. There’s a moonlike tranquility here that I’ve never […]

W(hole)

With summer in the rearview mirror, Christmas in the U.S. officially begins. I pretend to be disgusted with this premature nod to my favorite holiday. I may even roll my eyes and heave out a very audible sigh as I push past the seasonal aisle at Target (where green and red replaced sequins study pillows […]

Twisted

My high school mascot was a pretzel. I know. It gets worse. This—and middle-child status—explains a lot of my issues. On the upside, you won’t find my alma maters in the fray of mascot-related rhetoric lately making news. Ex: “You can eat us but you can’t beat us!” and rival schools trampling pretzels by the […]

The Voices

Kim is a college professor by weekday, but works hostile mob patrol at the week’s end. A Saturday morning moonlighter, Kim stands on the front lines—or rather the sidelines—of American youth soccer fields. You’ll find her bravely canvassing the crowds of lawn chair-clad parents, grandparents, bored siblings and panting dogs. (After a bad call, sometimes […]

And You Will Hear Thunder

There were sleepless nights. Covers hiding eyes shut tight, palms clamped down over tangles of ears and hair, all to no avail. The summer storms sweeping over my midwestern childhood home would not be tamed. Lighting stole through shades, sheets and eyelids as I lay trembling in my bed. Night winds tore through our hickory […]

In Bed with Shame

Confession: Sometimes I watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” just so I feel better about my own life. I can’t always tell them apart, but there’s something satisfying about seeing Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall, Kylie, Kris, Caitlyn and Rob weave in and out of drama. (Thank goodness for Rob, as all good alliteration must come […]

Breaking

I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]

Every Anxious Thought

Editor’s Note: Words fail, we find, in these extraordinary days. We stumble to enunciate this new life with them. Often, we have no words—even for God. Twenty writers and ministry leaders (Mudroom sisters included) joined together to offer theirs. The Pandemic Prayerbook: A Pray-at-Home Guide for the Corona Crisis is a collection of 30 prayers […]

Autocorrect Me

“On plane with temporary wife.” This is the text my husband almost sent, seconds before takeoff and a 13-hour communication vacuum. He caught autocorrect just in time. Lucky for him, or he would have found his earthly belongings strewn across our driveway as a welcome home. Wi-Fi to Wife is not much of a semantic […]

Toilet Paper-Thin

Yesterday we stood 10 feet apart. If you’d asked me even a week ago, I’d tell you that it felt more like 30, with a gas pump and a thick, comfy social veil between us. A week ago, I would have barely noticed her across the way. No eye contact; not even a nod. We’d […]

She is Valor

Tell me your brush with greatness. How often have we danced around this one—in ice-breakers, job interviews, admissions essays? Predictability aside, it’s an intriguing litmus test. This was the first speech I assigned students in my Public Speaking & Discussion course. Because, really, who doesn’t want to stand in front of a college classroom of […]

The Immigrants’ Daughter

It’s maybe her first memory: The rocking boat, tempest-tossed* and cutting through Atlantic waves. “You always remember what makes you afraid,” she smiled. Fear mingled with hope as the USNS General M.L. Hersey entered the safety of the Lady’s harbor. Embrace was not a word she understood. Not in English. At three years of age, […]