Place

Wij Zijn Hier/We Are Here

We are here and you’d like to forget it, have us more hidden then our black faces and tired, old eyes. Isn’t it enough to leave my own country as a teenager? Isn’t it enough to run on bare feet from my home that is at war with itself? Isn’t it enough to be homeless […]

What My Aging Auntie Teaches Me About Navigating the 21st Century

My Tía Naty is in her eighties and never learned how to drive. She’s lived in the United States for over fifty years, has grieved as a widow for nearly ten of those years, and speaks broken English—only when necessary. She elicits translators to assist her with her healthcare needs or her disputes over the […]

Safety Net

When it came to Jonathan’s education life was a balancing act on a high wire with no safety net beneath or if there was one, it had holes in it. Yesterday as I read a Haiku written by my son I was swept away in a torrent of memories and emotions. ENDURANCE I am a […]

Housekeeping, Family, and the Homes that House Us

It was in a portable classroom building, a sort of mobile home, where I first learned words and names for the power of story. While my junior high classmates sighed when asked to diagram a sentence for its grammatical parts, I flew to the board to help (Yes, I was that student). I read Tom […]

Empty and Full

This is not what I imagined my life would be. I wanted to fill my days with adventure. I wanted to tire out my boots and my backpack on mountains and in rivers and knee-deep in wild places. I wanted to travel and buy things I don’t need in colorful little shops in cities whose […]

Dear Portia: My Kids Are Slobs. Help!

Dear Portia, How do you get your kids to clean up after themselves? My kids are 12, 10 and 7 and I feel like I’ve tried everything over the years. Chore charts, reward systems, scolding, drawing attention to the mess, calling them back to do it again when it’s not cleaned up properly. IT NEVER […]

A Reflection on Finding Community in the Church

“It’s hard to find community,” they say. I sit across from them at Starbucks or at my dining table and listen to them share about the difficulty of finding people they connect to, people with whom they can build a solid friendship and grow together in faith. “They” have been college students, single young adults, […]

When Healing Looks Like Boredom

The suburbs and the country scared me as kid. There were too many dead ends and cul-de-sacs, not enough lights. The vastness of open fields and the emptiness of woods caused dread and panic to rise in me and I would find myself looking around me, behind, feeling exposed and unsafe. When I was 7 […]

Finding My Key to Belonging

Can you belong too much? In the past I would bounce around from one friend group to another trying to spend time with everyone. From one hobby or sport to another. I didn’t bounce around because I felt like I didn’t fit in though; I did it because I felt like I belonged with all […]