Place

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! […]

5 Dos and Don’ts of Foster Parenting

This is not a heady article written by people with thirty years’ foster parenting experience. It’s a piece written by a former foster child with 14 years’ experience, from 4 years old to 18. It’s directed more at foster parents of preschoolers and older. I’m writing out of my own journey through broken family, trauma, […]

Our Collective Sigh of Longing

They say it is winter now but this doesn’t feel like anything I’ve ever known of winter. While others tug their scarves tightly around them the sweat still pools where my purse hits my shoulder. Maybe I’ll get accustomed to the tropical air before the real heat comes early next year. Getting used to the […]

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 […]