Place

When Narrow Bends Wide

“Devil’s Backbone Trail?” I smirked to myself. How strange the ink read on the church bulletin, announcing the hike. “How ironically appropriate.” A gentle wind scurries past us at the trail head, whispering rumors of spring. She stirs drowsy-eyed in a valley that is barely awake. We tread lightly, least we summon the slumbering rattlesnakes […]

In Like a Lion

On the night before my grandmother died, a tornado struck Mills County. You can always tell when it’s on the way; just slip your hand behind the sash and press your nose against the screen.   Can you hear the echo of sparrows? Do you smell the sweet- ness of rain? Then draw in your […]

The Absent Ones | A Conversation with Christie Purifoy about Placemaker

The morning light filters in through wavy glass windows in a little nook off a farmhouse dining room. I sit across from Christie Purifoy, watching a squirrel foraging outside in the winter-bitten grass, and it strikes me that the drab brown of mid-March is a perfect backdrop for our conversation about placemaking–a visual reminder that […]

Always a Foreigner, Never Home

My face is the filter through which people see me. It can’t be helped. When people look at me, they see an Asian girl. To some, it’s the face of familiarity, but to most it’s the face of a foreigner. It creates distance, division, and tension. It brings up questions of heritage and place and […]

The Time I Ruled the World

Before there was Barack or Hillary, there was me. Black. Female. President. In the photo above, I had just been elected Beaumont Middle School’s first Black President. I knew in my heart I had enough love to change the world—one heart at a time. Our student body council bonded quickly in the name of “equality” […]

Resisting Silence

Gravel crunches under my tires as my car crawls along the narrow lane. I scan the names on each of the cabins, searching for the one assigned to me. I finally spot it, with its grey weathered wood, nestled in the shadows of dense trees. A flutter of excitement knocks on my chest and a […]

The Fear and Beauty of Solitude

It was a cool October day and I was sitting on my favorite bench in my favorite garden in Pittsburgh—a little slice of green tucked in the side of the corner lot under a series of stained-glass windows lining the east wall of the synagogue.  Beyond the walls, the busy intersection loomed; but inside I […]

When the Morningstar Hovers

I am alone And its ok. For 30 years I had four breathing beings tugging at me, (*five if you count my husband **six if you count my mother who lived with us for ten years) at my sleeve, at my knee, at times at my throat). ((at my throat because three of the beings […]

Tasting Beauty in the Suburbs

Flashback Friday: This post was originally published on May 10, 2016. It had been a string of days with too much noise—me, children, politics, social media—so I took to the neighborhood walking paths to work things out in my body, while my husband constructed things out of wood (his own way of working things out). I […]

Finding Holy in the Suburbs Interview with Ashley Hales

I recently had the opportunity to chat with author, Ashley Hales, about her upcoming book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs. I’ve “known” Ashley around the internet for the last several years, and it’s such a delight to see her do this important work of helping us to cultivate a love for our people and places. […]

When Houseplants Are Zombies of the Apocalypse

Last night, after I finished packing for a long trip, I decided to move all my succulents outside for the duration of our weeklong vacation. I have nine pots of various sizes on the bookshelves in our front room: one tiny barrel cacti, four plants that look like desert seaweed, and assorted echeveria in dark […]