Why I Hate the Verb “Discipling”

When I was in college, I was “discipled” for four years. Back then, I was part of the parachurch ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru), which meant we needed to use Biblical nouns as verbs. Discipling involved meeting with a staff member, volunteer, or older student leader every month or so and discussing how […]

It’s Authentic to Name Yourself

Drawing people is a jigsaw puzzle. You look at the photograph of the woman with the pixie cut and the flowing dress, her arms improbably easy as she falls through the air, and then you look past the whole for the parts. I start with the head, the slim cap of her hair, the eyes […]

Why Bad Self-Care Is a Kind of Sin

“This author really pissed me off,” I told my husband the other day. I brandished a book called Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, by Andrew Santella. My anger surprised my husband. He enjoys a heated debate while I tend to shy away from black-and-white argument. But this book? I ranted about it for fifteen […]

The Rightness of Clothes

You know that thing where you show up for a fashion show in such amazing clothes that the photographers there assume you’re Someone Famous and photograph you? But actually you’re a sixty-something Fordham social work professor and just have really fabulous taste? And because of that photo shoot, you become a fashion icon, model, and […]

Mudroom News! And Themes!

We turn 5 next month!! It’s hard to believe that we are still going strong. When I took the risk to launch The Mudroom and threw it out into the world I had no idea it would create a spark that drew other sparks to itself, building a fire that would bring light and warmth […]

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 […]

Dear Portia: The Spiraling Journey of Forgiveness

How Do We Know When We’re Done Forgiving? Dear Portia, What does forgiveness look like when you work through the process and do your best, but either the offender never acknowledges their sin or they continue to offend? Not asking about boundaries, that’s pretty clear to me, but how do we know when we’re done? […]

Prayer Requests Make Me Anxious

I don’t think I have a normal reaction to prayer requests. Rather than making me want to go pray, they tend to edge me towards hyperventilation. Take the other day in my small group. There were some doozy requests. People suffering from the death of a spouse, cancer, job loss, financial holes, a risky and […]

The Mudroom Turns 4!

We have been going strong for 3 years and we want to make our 4th year something special too. We’ve added a few features such as Dear Portia, our advice column with Heather Caliri and Flashback Friday starting next week, where we’re posting a piece from the archives. There’s too much good writing on here […]

Dear Portia: Do I forgive my church family, or speak up?

Dear Portia, Several years ago, our family got involved in fostering children with significant medical needs. The nudge to do so came from the teachings of our church…to love God and to love people. But, the very church family who encouraged us to jump in did not throw the life-preserver we expected. Fostering got hard. […]

Is Masturbation Okay? . . . and Other Thorny Questions

The Mudroom is excited to be joining the likes of The Rumpus, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. We’re starting our very own advice column, “Dear Portia.” Every month, we’ll cover questions related to our monthly theme. First up is sex, sexuality, and singleness. Do you have questions about your sex life, about singleness, […]

Learning to Love the Unity of My Body and Mind

I got migraines regularly as a kid. The pain would start as a pinch above my left eyebrow, travel to the back of my neck, and soon send out sparks of light into my vision, nausea into my belly, and, if I didn’t retreat to a dark room soon enough, puke onto our white carpet. […]