By J.M. Roddy

The things she handed down

Years ago my aunts put together a photocopied version of my Italian grandma’s recipe notebook. I didn’t live in the same state with her growing up and my non-Italian mom only cooked the recipes that my dad liked from his childhood. So coming upon these hand-written recipes as an adult feels a bit like a…

Two Reflections

This tiny miracle The woods were dark, but it was summer, and the darkness was warm and not unfriendly. It was dark enough to hide my hand in his, twelve years old and trembling, breath catching with wonder. He was dark-haired and dark-eyed. Beautiful and kind and somehow, beyond understanding, mine in this moment. Chooser,…

Anniversary interrupted

I woke up to the sound of my five-year-old vomiting and shot out of bed. “Noooo,” I groaned, filled with sudden dread. Not just because I hate vomit. Not just because my son’s suffering fills me with helpless pity. More than either of those, I felt forebodings of disappointment. This was the morning my husband…

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 pursuit of self-awareness

You may have heard of the Enneagram. It’s a personality typing system. I know, insert eye-roll here. If you’re like me, these things are fun, and a little narcissistic, and about as useful as the daily horoscope. It can sort of apply, but it’s not going to change your life. Except this one has. For…

Mothers, makers, miracles, part two

This article is part one of a two-part series on parenting and pursuing a creative vocation. Last month I shared about my journey as a young mom to find my creative life within the limitations and challenges of parenting. Creative parents are in a time-resource bind that can feel unbreakable: not enough money for childcare…