Family

Is Masturbation Okay? . . . and Other Thorny Questions

The Mudroom is excited to be joining the likes of The Rumpus, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. We’re starting our very own advice column, “Dear Portia.” Every month, we’ll cover questions related to our monthly theme. First up is sex, sexuality, and singleness. Do you have questions about your sex life, about singleness, […]

Unity through Grace

It was May 9, 2005, and Patrick and I were ten days into our marriage. We had an overnight layover in London on the way home from our honeymoon. As soon as we got off the plane, we had a disagreement about where we should spend the night. We tried my suggestion first, but it […]

Digging Deep For the Promises

On the way home from church today we found trees blown down across the road. Huge branches blocking our path, dangerous obstacles getting in our way, preventing us from continuing our journey. One kid is ill and the wind howls outside. And all the leaves that had hung on until now, swirl in the air. […]

The Comfort of Saying Hello

There’s comfort in saying hello. You see, lately, my life has felt marked by a slew of goodbyes. A couple of months ago, my husband was offered an incredible job promotion nine hundred miles away. As commuting hundreds of miles a day isn’t for the faint of heart – and because I can take care […]

The Comfort of Luminous Lights

“He is my God though dark my road He holds me, I shall not fall Whatever my God ordains as right To him I leave it all. Sweet comfort, sweet comfort Yet shall fill my heart” –Sandra McCracken, Sweet Comfort   The past few years have been the most difficult of my life. I’ve been […]

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? […]

Why do I always do this?

The Stupid Cupcakes He found me lying there on the ground, spread eagle in dirty yoga pants, my back brace, and an apron. The TV sounded faint and tinny in the basement where the kids ran and hid when I started yelling. “What happened, honey? Are you okay?” Chris rushed to my side. “I can’t […]

Forty Three Steps

I didn’t want to see it again. I was quite happy letting my husband be the one who would let in the occasional handyman, plumber, or real estate agent. But this time, there were no other options, so it was me walking the 43 steps to the third floor of the vintage building where we […]