Cloud by Day (Fire by Night) 

Walter Breugeman talks a lot about the pharaoh the Israelites left behind. He says pharaoh is a stand-in for all the empires that have ever been: Egypt. Rome. Western capitalism.    I remember being shocked in college when I first heard somebody question capitalism. You can question that? I thought. Boy, can you!  As an economy, […]

The Simplest Gift

My nine-year-old broke his arm last weekend. He came running into the house with his arm in a weird zigzag and his younger siblings trailing in his wake. All three were gibbering away in a shell-shocked, confused kind of way. I bellowed at everyone to be quiet and then sent my patient into the kitchen […]

Sleepless in Spring

I took a walk today and I looked up at the bright blue spring sky popping against bright green leaves on old oak trees and I cried because today my fourth child is eighteen months old, and WE ARE STILL HERE. Pandemic, homeschooling, batshit crazy world but here we are.  Almost two and a half […]

Tree Hugger

I am a literal tree hugger, and my husband can vouch for it. I’ve embarrassed him often by curling my arms and cheek around a gnarly old trunk. My favorite trees are the sprawling, ancient live oaks that grow where I grew up. We planted one in our backyard a few summers ago, a tiny […]

What They Got Wrong About Women

In Cassandra Speaks, Elizabeth Lesser tells us about Pandora. You might be familiar with the Greek myth: The gods punished men by giving them a woman (Pandora) and a jar filled with human suffering. Because Pandora was prone to evil, she opened the jar and released every kind of suffering and misery onto humanity. All […]

Her Liberating Love Song

Mary’s Song  And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord      and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,  for he has been mindful     of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,      for the Mighty One has done great things for me—     holy is his name. […]

Your First Idea is Trash

I heard this great thing about being creative:  Your first idea is trash. It’s unoriginal. Your second idea is also trash. If you can get to the third idea, that’s where the magic happens. That’s the original idea.  One idea, two ideas, three.  As any creative person knows, getting to the third idea is hell. […]

How We Remember Matters

When I was in my early 20s I had a few opportunities to go up in a small plane. Jets are fine, but have you been up in a small plane? I mean a real small plane that’s got you just feet above the cracked tarmac: A plane with windows you crank to open so […]

Nipped

I have this distinct childhood memory: I’m six or so, outside our little frame house with a big, wide porch, next to the azaleas whose buds we nipped before they could bloom. Everything is sort of floating by my eyes—I’m spinning. I am realizing, smartly, that you don’t need to go to church to be […]

Women, Existing and Singing

It’s day 9,348 of COVID-19 panic and last night, I read a story from Shar Walker* about her grandmother and a gospel song. Shar writes,  I can picture my grandmother swaying to the hum of a popular gospel song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” eyes closed and soft rocking. I knew she was drawing […]

It’s Back. Period.

I used to curl up on the bathroom floor the day my period started. I wanted the cool hardness to counter my writhing body, and I’d lay there for hours, uninterested in books or television, until the pain calmed. The blood and the discomfort seemed unjust then, and now, for me, and especially for women […]

Unrequited Horse 

I wanted a horse. I wanted a lot of things and I never reached for them. I wanted to study in Mexico for a semester (too much effort?). I wanted to switch majors and train orcas and dolphins at Sea World (this was before Blackfish). I wanted to win a debate trophy.  When I was […]