Words

Learning to Dwell in a World of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

“Dwell.” The word hit my ears in a wooden classroom nestled amongst a wooded college campus and mansions of the uber-rich. Then, it seemed, I had all the time in the world to dwell. The words from novels and poetry uncurled, sinking directly into my poet’s heart. Words were the quickest way to dwell in […]

Holding My Words

“I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” Joan Didion   Tonight I get to write in a quiet house. I can’t remember the last time this occurred. There are seven of us living in this house, ranging in age from six to eighty-five. There are days there are so many words […]

Books as Soulmates

Books are like soulmates— friends who meet us at just the right time and connect to our souls more deeply than we had anticipated. They teach us, help us, inspire and shape us. Madeleine L’Engle says, “Stories are able to help us become more whole, to become Named. And Naming is one of the impulses […]

The Birth of a Book

Several weeks ago, I had my first conversation with a literary agent. A real literary agent! She had contacted me, inviting an introductory phone call, and I was just beside myself with excitement. I spent hours researching her and her agency before gathering questions and talking points for our call. When it came time to […]

Ruthie’s Multicultural Book List

I’m THAT person, the one who’s constantly distracted by letters, words, print. It could be a menu or a magazine cover or a newspaper. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it comes across wrong, I look nosy or inconsiderate when glancing at words that are written on something that’s not mine. Oops. I can’t […]

On Writing My First Book

A few weeks ago, I turned in the manuscript for my first book to my publisher, Finding Holy in the Suburbs. I suppose there had been others — scrawled words in composition notebooks and spiral notebooks, abandoned stories where I gave up writing and thought I could only write about writing, and a PhD that approximately […]

The Books that Help Us Story Well

“You see these spots?” my dad would ask, pointing at my nose. “They aren’t freckles. They’re print that’s rubbed off from having your nose stuck in a book.” He wasn’t far from the truth. I read voraciously as a child. I took a book along with me everywhere—just in case. Just in case I got […]

Prayer Made Sense When Henrí Nouwen Told Me to Give Up

My oldest son, who is almost five, carries a sea turtle stuffed animal with him just about everywhere he goes. Sea turtle chats with the lobsters at the supermarket, goes down the slide at the playground, and provides a comfortable conversation starter when he’s surrounded by adults and other children at church. With sea turtle […]

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! […]