In Bed with Shame

Confession: Sometimes I watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” just so I feel better about my own life. I can’t always tell them apart, but there’s something satisfying about seeing Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall, Kylie, Kris, Caitlyn and Rob weave in and out of drama. (Thank goodness for Rob, as all good alliteration must come […]

Breaking

I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]

Every Anxious Thought

Editor’s Note: Words fail, we find, in these extraordinary days. We stumble to enunciate this new life with them. Often, we have no words—even for God. Twenty writers and ministry leaders (Mudroom sisters included) joined together to offer theirs. The Pandemic Prayerbook: A Pray-at-Home Guide for the Corona Crisis is a collection of 30 prayers […]

Autocorrect Me

“On plane with temporary wife.” This is the text my husband almost sent, seconds before takeoff and a 13-hour communication vacuum. He caught autocorrect just in time. Lucky for him, or he would have found his earthly belongings strewn across our driveway as a welcome home. Wi-Fi to Wife is not much of a semantic […]

Toilet Paper-Thin

Yesterday we stood 10 feet apart. If you’d asked me even a week ago, I’d tell you that it felt more like 30, with a gas pump and a thick, comfy social veil between us. A week ago, I would have barely noticed her across the way. No eye contact; not even a nod. We’d […]

She is Valor

Tell me your brush with greatness. How often have we danced around this one—in ice-breakers, job interviews, admissions essays? Predictability aside, it’s an intriguing litmus test. This was the first speech I assigned students in my Public Speaking & Discussion course. Because, really, who doesn’t want to stand in front of a college classroom of […]

The Immigrants’ Daughter

It’s maybe her first memory: The rocking boat, tempest-tossed* and cutting through Atlantic waves. “You always remember what makes you afraid,” she smiled. Fear mingled with hope as the USNS General M.L. Hersey entered the safety of the Lady’s harbor. Embrace was not a word she understood. Not in English. At three years of age, […]

Not So January White

I went through three Advent calendars this year.  The chocolate kind; maybe it was four. One was my daughter’s. I was forgiven upon upgrading it to a higher-caliber chocolate one. Eventually I ate that too, and we settled out of court. Psychoanalysis of this penchant leads me down infinite rabbit trails, so I’m sticking with […]

More

I’m in the city that never sleeps, and neither can I. Fifty-eight floors above are surely enough to free me from the fray below. But even way up here I can’t escape the truth that me and this metropolis are soulmates. Because in spite of every virtuous reason it shouldn’t, like this place my heart […]

Confirm Humanity

The sweetness of sugarcane stalks above, numbs me to their anguish below. Unlike my Father, I am slow to hear them, and quick to snap a selfie.   Beneath the canopy of ancient oaks. Blanketed in crimson-pink azalea beds. Shadowed by the Big House with her cascading cream columns . . . Are the voices […]

Fear Knot

I roll along in silence between the sterile, white walls. Hospitals are like that—a bizarre blend of fear, hope, and rubbing alcohol. My brain spins in circles like the wheels on the chair beneath me. I ruminate on the blood, the pain, and the uncertainty of a happy ending. The knot cinches up tight in […]

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 […]