From Rachel Womelsduff Gough

THE SCOUT
Rachel Womelsduff Gough and her family ditched the city for a patch of earth in the Snoqualmie Valley. Cheered on by her husband and two blonde babes, Rachel learns by getting her hands dirty, whether it’s gardening, chicken farming, canning, neighboring, or adventuring with soulmates in wild places. She reads constantly and can’t live without coffee, flowers, and classic mystery stories.

Unwelcome thoughts

1. My living room has two forts and one mattress.  The forts are new.  The mattress is left over from a sleepover the weekend before this madness hit.  I like to keep the downstairs tidy in case we have company.  The forts might be with us for awhile.    2. My daughter’s teacher calls. She…

The time we do have

“I know you’re busy.” My 81-year-old friend says this to me as I’m leaving his new apartment. He doesn’t drive anymore, so we moved him into town to be closer to church and the bakery and the bank. Places he can walk. Places where everyone knows his name and he theirs. His second day in…

Light in the darkness

It’s five a.m., and I’m wide awake. Again. Was it a dream that woke me or the Christmas lights shining in my window? Usually I can squeeze one more sleep cycle in before rising for the day. In fact, I haven’t consistently or voluntarily been up this early since high school, when my morning toilette…

Magic is everywhere

We spent our last week of summer on the Olympic Peninsula, nine days nestled in our camper amongst the ancient cedar groves and limitless ferns, near crystal clear turquoise lakes and the vast sand and driftwood grey of the Pacific coast. We read books and played games and skipped rocks. We drank coffee and wine…

A heart for justice

The following is a sermon delivered to seminary classmates and Homiletics professor on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. This week I became aware of a new U.S. border policy. Our country is now prosecuting 100% of those who cross illegally into the U.S. in criminal instead of civil court and separating children from their parents. In…

These are a few of my favorite things

egg nog with nutmeg (and rum, let’s be serious) kids eating sugar until they’re delirious meeting under mistletoe for marital flings these are a few of my favorite things red velvet ribbons and garlands of cedar wreaths on the door as a festive guest greeter paperwhite bulbs forced to bloom out of spring these are…

There’s no one here but me

It’s sunny but cold enough to see our breath. I stand behind my two children as we wait for the school bus, and I watch them puff steam from their mouths into the bright air, their towheads thrown back and their lips like funnels. Their backpacks are identical except for the colors. They chose them…

All the time in the world

There are two clocks on the wall of the dimly lit hospice room. Neither of them shows the correct time. There are two beds, but only one is occupied. My grandpa looks old but also child-like, lying there with oxygen cannula in his nose and a blanket tucked under his chin. His wife feeds him…

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…

Do something unexpected

When my mother was young,  she was a somewhat apprehensive kid, afraid to try new things, on the shy side, easily hurt. She didn’t like to get dirty or touch bugs and animals. But when she was 12 years old, she saw the movie In Search of the Castaways, and everything changed. In the movie…

House plant barometer

Rhythms of work and rest are vital to our physical, mental, and spiritual health, but when you’re a parent there’s no break from the day-to-day care required. Parenting is a demanding job. You have to keep tiny humans alive every day while being nurturing and providing educational enrichment. There’s a lot of pressure on parents…

Better together

When you grow up in a religious family, unless you have parents who actively model and discuss otherwise, chances are you’ll internalize the implicit and sometimes explicit message that men are better suited for leadership, women should be submissive, and all will be well. This is only reinforced by popular culture, but in a religious…

Practices of community

I regretted it as soon as the words were out of my mouth. People started to stare at me, but instead of calming down or apologizing I kept shouting angrily, frustration mingling with embarrassment. Here I was, a grown woman, yelling at a grocery store employee because a sign taped to the credit card machine…

Motherhood vignette

My four-year-old son is having a rough day. His cardboard box spaceship wing broke, and his valiant efforts to repair it with packing tape are foiled when I see the tangled wad of sticky waste and tell him I’ll help him finish in the morning. His eyes fill with tears and his voice gets squeaky,…

Reverse the polarity!

Every definition of the word ‘invest’ involves money, time, or elevated meaning. It’s a rich word with long-term connotations, the opposite of our fast-paced, instant gratification, Altar of Convenience culture and its consequences. To invest is to resist, to rebel against the zeitgeist. And in this polarized political climate, it might be what saves us.…