On a Sunday morning last fall, I boarded a plane in Phoenix, where I had come three days earlier for my uncle’s memorial service. Three days with my parents, sister, and assorted relatives that I hadn’t seen in years, three days of catching up and talk talk talking, three days of absorbing varying levels of grief, loss, tears, and anger, three days away from my husband and children, three days out of the rhythms and rituals that undergird and uphold my life. It was in many ways wonderful, but as I flopped into my narrow window seat, I also realized I was emotionally and spiritually spent.

We took off. An hour into the flight, the plane started bucking and cantering like a grumpy colt. The fasten seat belt light came on.

Now, I am a nervous flyer at the best of times. Throw in turbulence, and I become agitated. Add in emotional and spiritual exhaustion, and I fall into full-fledged panic. I sat there with the plane rolling beneath me and panic rolling within me, and I could do nothing. I could not fight. I could not flee. I could only sit. With every jolt, fear roiled through my body.

Read the rest over at Velvet Ashes, a beautiful online community for women serving overseas.

We are each “formed to be a spectator of the created world – and given eyes that [we] might be led to its Author by so beautiful a representation.”

–John Calvin


It was a sunny fall Friday back in the days when I still had a jogging stroller because I still had toddler twins. I loaded said stroller and all four of my children into the sofa-mobile, and we headed to a nearby hundred-acre park for an in-city nature walk.

We parked at the trailhead behind a strip mall and walked along the dirt-and-gravel path that followed Piper’s Creek through Piper’s Canyon. (“Canyon” sounds impressive, like something the Rio Grande carved out of the Arizona desert. This canyon is modest, its forty-foot high slopes covered with vine maples and cedars, Douglas firs and red alder.) Leaves lay scattered on the trail and glowed gold and red, orange and yellow on the trees. Lovely fall flowers dotted the borders of the trail. Birds trilled in the trees. The creek burbled just out of sight in the vine maples and mahonia.

My eight-year-old son found a fallen log that traversed the creek. He scrambled onto it and walked across. His five-year-old sister sat on the log and waited for him.

About midway between the trailhead and the beach, we came upon a sunny slope planted with apple trees, an abandoned orchard that had been lovingly restored over the past decade. We tasted the windfall apples that littered the side of the trail and decided they were better for cider or sauce than eating raw.
On one of the bridges that crossed the creek, my older kids played Pooh-sticks, the game invented by Winnie-the-Pooh when he was sitting on a bridge one sunny day much like this one. Jack and Jane each chose a stick and on the count of three dropped their sticks off the bridge into the creek….

You can read the rest of this post at Kindred Mom, a new online resource for flourishing in motherhood, started by my friend Emily Allen. I hope you’ll hop over and check it out!

Writings of Late

Dear Friends,

Though it’s been months since my last post, I have not taken a break from writing, only from writing on my blog. In the past few weeks, I’ve had three pieces published on other websites, and I wanted to let you know about them.

First, an essay (or perhaps a parable?) about sourdough and wild yeast for Grace Table.

Second, an essay on spiritual sight and blindness, with a dipperful of poetry for good measure, over at The Cultivating Project. (If you only read one of these essays, read this one.)

Third, a reflection on Candlemas over at Velvet Ashes.

Finally, in the coming months, there will be some (I hope) significant changes round here. I’ll keep you apprised as I start rolling them out. For now, I would simply ask you to keep me in your prayers as I strike out in new (to me) directions.

With much gratitude,

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