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Planting Ourselves in This Dirt

I spent the first eighteen months looking for signposts that life sprouts here in our new state. After a historically snowy winter last year in Michigan, I stalked trees for buds. I gently nudged snow from the neighbor’s crocuses with the toe of my boot, my soul hungry for a flowering something, anything that signified […]

Surviving Racial Disasters

It Happened. Again. Sneaker waves of racist lashes and systematic suicides keep hitting our neighborhoods, news feeds and nerve systems. Past reports about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Ezell Ford have now been replaced with fresh videos of Walter Scott, Philip White, Eric Harris and Freddie Gray. I have screamed, cried, cussed and […]

That Wild Road

We were standing together on the southern slope when she showed me where the roof came clean off of her neighbor’s barn. Her own barn had lost just a bit of trim, she said. Though it did clock her mother-in-law on the shoulder as they came out to check on the animals. Still. They were blessed.  I had […]

When Good Girls Get Angry

I never know what to do with my anger. I am sitting here, looking at the dining table, staring at a bunch of tulips haloed by the Spring sun, but all I can see is black. My hands are trembling, and my jaw is set. The offence that’s causing this rage is a relatively small infraction, […]

Meet the Princess of the Press: Ida B. Wells

Southern trees bear strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees Before Billie Holiday sang the lyrics above at Cafe Society, the first integrated nightclub in New York, another icon of history, sat nightly, frantically documenting every lynching […]

Dorothy Day: Saint with Thorns

  “Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.” ~Dorothy Day I heard about Dorothy Day years ago, when I was a young radical. She was an advocate for women’s rights before American women had the vote. She was arrested and went on a hunger strike. She advocated for the […]

When Hospitality is Radical

She pauses, the doorbell’s eerie reverberations beat a note of panic through her veins. She wipes her hands on the linen apron wrapped around her and hurries to tell them to hide themselves in the basement or attic.   She breathes deeply, realizes this is the moment she and her husband have talked about, and […]

The Famous Woman You’ve Never Heard Of

“A great deal of living must go to a very little writing.” – Frances Ridley Havergal You probably don’t recognise her name. But if she had been born today, you would.  She was the equivalent of a famous Christian singer-songwriter. You would have gone to one of her gigs, sung her songs, heard her testimony. […]

Minnie Vautrin: Staring Down Death

“The city is strangely silent—after all the bombing and shelling. Three dangers are past—that of looting [Chinese] soldiers, bombing from aeroplanes and shelling from big guns, but the fourth is still before us—our fate at the hands of a victorious army. People are very anxious tonight and do not know what to expect . . […]

Motherhood on the Head of a Pin

 Jill Lepore wrote a book about a woman we know hardly anything about. A thick book, a love letter, a weighty tome about a woman of whom the slimmest of evidence exists—letters, a single hand-stitched notebook, ghostly things that others said of her. She was a poor woman from Boston right before and after the […]

Girls Can Do All the Things

  Juliette Gordon Low founded the girl scouts because she had been hanging out with the Boy Scouts founder and thought, well, why the heck weren’t girls encouraged to go hike in the woods, build a fire, swim? She liked all of that stuff. When people think about women who have made a major impact […]

Women Have a History

“History is no longer just a chronicle of kings and statesmen, of people who wielded power, but of ordinary women and men engaged in manifold tasks. Women’s history is an assertion that women have a history.” ~Aparna Basu, Professor of History at the University of Delhi, India And what a history it is! From warriors, like Boudica, Zenobia, Lyudmila […]

Blue Skies

  Winter in Denver is much better than winter in Cincinnati. You can argue with me all you want, but guess what? Three hundred days of sunshine a year means you’ll feel that golden warmth shining on your face more often than not. Even in those dark cold days between the Super bowl and March […]