From August, 2017

A common, sacred thread

Her Batman-caped preschooler smiled at my Spiderman pajama-clad daughter as my cart squeaked and wobbled across the hard floor. Nothing bonds kids like superheroes.  His what-I-assumed-to-be grandmother and I briefly made eye contact in the cereal aisle and then traded the requisite half-smiles as we sped past each other once we felt the imminent tantrums…

Homesick

There is a field behind our new house, with an invisible stream buried under all that tall grass. I know–from a map–that this little swath of hidden blue becomes the Lacamas River, just east of where I can see. In the morning, I watch the cows, gathered in circles, gossiping in voices that sound like…

The allure of intentional community

When I was twenty-two, I filled a backpack and flew to Switzerland to live in an intentional community. It’s called L’Abri, which means “The Shelter” in French, and functions outside typical labels—part retreat center, part seminary, and part commune. Despite its name, the main language spoken is English. Its cluster of chalets built onto the…

The honor of invitation

I was sitting in a holy place. Metal chairs, a few tables, some windows. From a mounted television screen pictures from a wrestling match flashed, and the vending machines in the corner made their constant hum. But here in this understated room I looked at my brown leather sandals and half wondered about taking them…

Subversive hospitality

Hospitality. I feel it may be a lost art. In the busy chaos of life, frenetic schedules, and individual pursuits, is there truly any space for opening our homes and our lives? Too few meals are shared with beauty, feasting, and wine over meaningful conversation that lingers on well into the night. But this makes…

Group dynamics

When my writing group started nearly seven years ago, it was an open group. Everyone who knew of it through word of mouth was welcome to meet at Shari’s diner on Monday nights for timed writes and sharing aloud. Each week it was a slightly different group as one person decided it wasn’t a good…