eternally minded

The Danger of Being Eternally-Minded

A friend I’ve known for nearly a quarter of my life is lying in a hospital bed pondering death.   Right now.   As I write this, if not sleeping, my friend is contemplating assisted suicide.   I have been…

Read More

advent is calling

Advent is Calling

Busy. Overwhelmed. Crowded. Shopping. Sales. Cooking. Eating. Traffic. Planning. Arranging.   All these words come to mind when I think of the holiday season. Every year, Christmas creeps up on me. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be the “most wonderful…

Read More

grief during the holiday

The Effects of Grief During the Holidays

For the first thirty years of my life, my family held fast to the same Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions. Grandma’s warm, pink applesauce passed around her crowded oblong table. Bundling up and trudging through the Christmas tree field the day…

Read More

advent for all joy

Advent for All, Week 3: Joy

Whether you find yourself in church this Advent or struggling to step foot in its doors, the message of Advent surrounds us.   A few years ago, Sheryl Sandberg made waves with her book Lean In. Her premise is essentially…

Read More

what falls from the sky

Interview with Esther Emery | What Falls from the Sky

I’ve followed Esther Emery’s work for several years, and appreciated her as both a writer and a friend. She has a habit of challenging me to think outside the box and this book, a memoir of a year in her…

Read More


The Skeptic’s Guide to Spiritual Practices: Retreat

Last month I arrived puffy-eyed and haggard at a writers’ workshop on Whidbey Island, just north of Seattle, Washington. The emotional whiplash from the presidential election a week prior, combined with work and at-home stress, had left me feeling crunched…

Read More


Advent for All, Week 2: Peace

  Whether you find yourself in church this Advent or struggling to step foot in its doors, the message of Advent surrounds us.     I remember the days when peace for me meant a pot of coffee and sitting…

Read More

deafening silence

When God’s Silence was Deafening

The house we were in was built up on cinderblocks. There were no windows and no doors. The little abandoned home stood silent in the moments before dawn, looking up at the Blue Ridge Mountains, waiting for first light. But…

Read More

hope and lament

Weep, Groan, Wail: The Need to Lament

Mom’s diagnosis came in late October 2015. Her oncologist told her what a tough disease this one is to fight, but that in recent years they had made great advances. “We used to talk in terms of only months,” she…

Read More

keep magic in christmas

Keep Magic in Christmas

When my children were finally old enough to do more than cry and crawl, I began a family tradition many others have around the holidays: the advent calendar. The goal was to plan an activity of some kind—large or small—for…

Read More