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Fear and Faith in the Desert Places

I love Robert Frost’s poem “Desert Places.” Typical of Frost, the speaker in this poem describes a natural environment of forests, fields, and snow. But this isn’t a beautiful or peaceful place. Quite the opposite: it’s a place of darkness, cold, and isolation–it’s a menacing and threatening place. For me, the genius of the poem […]

Restoration After Exile

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! […]

Tiny Steps Towards Greatness

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:5, ESV. “You’re so brave,” she said admiringly as she slipped the receipt across the counter. I fought back the urge to laugh or cry, I wasn’t sure which. She saw me one side of me—the foreigner in […]

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 […]

Encouragement in a Time of Cynicism

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend, and the subject of her immigration status came up. She currently has protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program–an executive action under President Obama that provided legal status for those who were brought to the U.S. as children; often, they are called DREAMers. […]

Your zip code won’t make you holy

The in-between moments I fill with podcasts and Voxer conversations with writer friends as I circle the suburbs in my minivan. One conversation with a friend about moving to a city or the suburbs, lead her to write down this encouragement: your place doesn’t make you holy. Friend, I’m hear to tell you the same […]

Subversive Celebrations

The entrance to the seafood restaurant is flanked by a series of large windows. Inside I see white folks sit at the bar laughing, and nursing glasses of wine. Some glance as we pass, following us as we enter through the wooden door. We are here to celebrate Jonathan—our son graduated from college today. At […]

Mothering in Black, White and Red

When I was very small, my mom only bought me black baby dolls because she wanted to do right by me.  She was familiar with the studies where little brown girls reject black baby dolls and she wanted to be sure, as a white mother of brown daughters, that she was raising my sister and […]

The Cost of Being a Transracial Adoptee

It did not rub off.  The “dirty” skin I was teased for just a few steps away from my favorite spot on the monkey bars, this dark skin felt permanent. Frustrated and glaring at skin and soul both, my childhood heart detached from part of my identity. I did not return to recover it again […]