Career

Finding Contentment in the Uncomfortable

I’ve been asking myself what contentment is lately. This question tends to come when I’m elbows-deep in dish water or staring at my overflowing laundry basket. Sometimes it pops up when my doctor calls with bad news. While I lived overseas, I had such a deep ache for stability and rootedness. I moved abroad when […]

Turning Compassion Inward

Amy sat with me on my screened porch at the lake, listening the way only a woman who has spent thirty years as a cloistered nun in a monastery, then three more years training to be a therapist, can listen. “You have compassion fatigue,” she said. “What?” I asked. “There’s an actual name for this? […]

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, […]

No Small Thing

He loves me.   He loves me not.   He loves me.   He loves me not.   Small moments of being young flashed before my mind. I remembered my friends picking apart flowers in the hot Florida sun to determine the affection of their crush of the week. I was never a ‘boy crazy’ […]

When Life as You Know It Is Dying

I seem to be living the tail end of a dying life. According to the statistics, I am not the only one. I am not the only teacher who woke up one day and realized she could not possibly continue at the speed of the classroom with the course set to testing. It was killing […]

Reflections on the Festival of Faith & Writing

The Festival of Faith and Writing in April was extra special for us. Most of us were meeting each other for the first time, after a year of building The Mudroom. In that time some of us had experienced deep depression, overwhelming disappointment, loss of loved ones, career setbacks, parenting and marriage stressors. We walked through it […]

The Curious Blessing of Rejection

Ten years ago, in 2006, I was rejected by a publisher.  It went like this: after four years of student ministry and thinking about a post-modern culture, I had an idea for a book that explored characteristics of student ministry in the context of postmodernism – a sort of analytical, practical, theological-yet-readable sort of book. […]

Lifting the Veil

Our collective imagination is haunted by a certain image of the artist: a solitary bard, brooding alone, awaiting a burst of inspiration from a mysterious and magical muse. We see the person with the creative spirit as one who stands above and apart from the common lot, a secular priest who mediates between regular folks […]

Can We Survive on Inspiration?

I was more surprised than anyone when I signed up to run a half marathon two years ago. I’d never been much of a runner and had not participated in an organized race before; starting with 13.1 miles was, I admit, a little bold. I had some friends running with me and was looking for […]