Identity

For When I Want to Leave Church

A therapist once suggested to me that I’m in an abusive relationship with churches. They keep hurting me, and I keep serving them nonetheless. And I keep wondering what to do with this. You know what has helped? Lady Gaga. Sitting in a church parking lot last January, I turned on my car and sighed […]

White Privilege Means I Can Look the Other Way. It’s Got to Stop.

What do we do in the wake of Charlottesville? What good are words on the Internet when hate, death, and violence are the order of the day? How does one white woman writer with a small platform engage issues of racism now — when videos show us how hate mushrooms, how the image of God […]

Finding Grace in the Missing Parts of My Story

I reflect on pictures my mom kept of me posing on grandma’s front porch, my three-year-old little body donning a Fiesta dress with intermingled colors. They dance with each other far from lament. Dad’s sailor cap is tipped over my face, covering my left eye, making me giggle as I reach up to catch it […]

For the Well-Seekers

to those seeking, working to belong, hoping for a place of safety, where the words don’t sting, and you aren’t silenced, rebuked, disowned. to the misfits and the outcast and the ones who know they don’t belong, even if,  they look like they do. to the people who have outgrown their past, feel suffocated in […]

When Belonging Isn’t What We Think It Is

Place and belonging are tricky, complicated things. Sometimes we find ourselves belonging to a place that is not originally our own, our home, the source of our beginning. Sometimes we find that to survive certain seasons of our lives, we must learn to take root where we have been planted, to find meaning and life […]

A Sense of Place: The Way of the Irises

The irises are blooming, purple and regal like they deserve to sit near any throne in a palace. Yet I found them not in a castle but popping up through the Minnesota soil. It’s good earth, I’ve always been told, rich and lush. Black, the color of the night sky, full of nitrogen. Most of […]

When Belonging Doesn’t Mean Sameness

I don’t like coffee. There, I said it. I read blogs and listen to podcasts. I’ve seen the memes. Women who are younger than me – a lot younger than me- who write books, wear great earrings, who all seem to know each other. And they all seem to love coffee. Somehow I’ve told myself […]

My Improbable Love of “Happy Birthday”

I should get bonus points when I surprise my friend Shoshana: she’s remarkably unflappable. If I’d told her I was getting a giant bat tattoo on my behind, she’d probably nod and say, “Oh, interesting.” But the other day on the phone, when I told her I love it when people sing “Happy Birthday” to […]

Selling Out by Settling Down?

Like Belle, I never planned to live a provincial life. I, too, wanted “adventure in the great, wide somewhere.” I wanted it more than I could tell. But today we bought a house. An ordinary, provincial house with a two-car garage and a Whirlpool dishwasher. As we walked out of the title office, giant trees […]