Beauty

Wading into Chaos

I spend most of my waking hours creating. In this very moment, my office is cluttered with dozen of books, sticky notes, 4X6 cards taped to my walls, medical forms waiting to be filled out, snacks, empty coffee mugs, and camera gear needing to be put away. I’m surrounded by chaos. Genesis 1 seems to validate my experience that there is no creation apart from chaos.

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 […]

The Rightness of Clothes

You know that thing where you show up for a fashion show in such amazing clothes that the photographers there assume you’re Someone Famous and photograph you? But actually you’re a sixty-something Fordham social work professor and just have really fabulous taste? And because of that photo shoot, you become a fashion icon, model, and […]

The Fear and Beauty of Solitude

It was a cool October day and I was sitting on my favorite bench in my favorite garden in Pittsburgh—a little slice of green tucked in the side of the corner lot under a series of stained-glass windows lining the east wall of the synagogue.  Beyond the walls, the busy intersection loomed; but inside I […]

When the Morningstar Hovers

I am alone And its ok. For 30 years I had four breathing beings tugging at me, (*five if you count my husband **six if you count my mother who lived with us for ten years) at my sleeve, at my knee, at times at my throat). ((at my throat because three of the beings […]

Tasting Beauty in the Suburbs

Flashback Friday: This post was originally published on May 10, 2016. It had been a string of days with too much noise—me, children, politics, social media—so I took to the neighborhood walking paths to work things out in my body, while my husband constructed things out of wood (his own way of working things out). I […]

A Good Like That

I love to re-read books. Familiar stories refresh my tired soul like a cool stream. So when I picked up C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra once again, I expected comfort. I hoped the book would distract my mind from the knifelike pains that endometriosis has been delivering to my pelvis since January. Instead, Perelandra bowled me […]

Small Acts of Encouragement

If I could choose one word to summarize my emotional state for the past year, it would be discouraged. On any number of metrics, from the environment to immigration to race relations, I see progress not only stalled but going in reverse.  This affects me on multiple levels. Instead of finding comfort in Scripture, I […]

Love in Shades of Multifaceted Men

From the passenger seat, I watched you turn your head in the inky black of the night and smiled to myself about how your face still shined through the darkness. You looked like a gem and you are one, with your many aspects and your beauty. I wished that everyone saw you the way I […]

The Beauty of Multicultural Unity

There is no division of race on the battlefield, only one line, unified. My father fought on that front line in the Philippine jungle in WWII. As a Philippine scout, he engaged in hand-to-hand combat, face to face against the enemy. He was captured by the Japanese, along with 75,000 other Filipino and American soldiers, […]

Believing

Spring has been slow in coming this year. Winter has lingered far beyond its welcome. There have been days, weeks even, when it seemed that perhaps this year, spring would not return. I’ve resented the freezing temperatures and the need for sweaters, wool socks, gloves, and coats. I’ve been ready to move on for weeks. […]

The Mudroom Turns 4!

We have been going strong for 3 years and we want to make our 4th year something special too. We’ve added a few features such as Dear Portia, our advice column with Heather Caliri and Flashback Friday starting next week, where we’re posting a piece from the archives. There’s too much good writing on here […]