Mary’s night had stretched long. Contractions crested and subsided with increasing regularity. Firelight flickered on rough-hewn rock walls and wooden stalls. Pain washed in waves, until wet heat whooshed from within her and the pressure lifted. A writhing baby- her baby!- reflected light against wet skin, lifted to be seen and placed gently in her…

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A creamy winter moon sits high as I crunch across the lawn. Crimson grapefruit dried and sliced in thin orbs dangle from a blue spruce tree out front, natural ornaments in a recent experiment.Two tiny clementines and an off-white apple hang in dehydrated slivers beside miniature pine cones. The setting sun slants tangerine across the…

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I have a confession to make. I’m at it again. For the second time this year and in this neighborhood, I carried hand-published photo cards and a flimsy cardboard plate of food to our neighbors. “Hi, we’re the new neighbors from the yellow house on the corner,” the card started. “Merry Christmas…” Slipping and sliding…

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“Do you like amaretto?” he asks.  Grocery bags flank his feet. “I wanted to get you something different. Plain coffee seemed boring and not like a gift.” He hands me a bag of whole coffee beans, knowing I like to grind them fresh for each brew. We are learning new ways to speak love, my…

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Snow falls heavy, quiet. The red pines shoulder more of the burden and sink low, acquiescing. Emerald arbor vitaes shudder slightly in the cold, winter snows settling deeper in their cracks and crevices. Tiny trikes disappear into deck drifts, and a wee man’s steps already erode away. Swings sway gentle in the breeze, and flakes…

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Decades ago in a church, a brown-haired, only slightly-known matriarch whispered warnings in a hallway. Warnings whispered into young twenty-something ears. They went unheeded and life changed. Unfolded, dramatic and different; but still… good. God, in gentle kindness, wrought beauty.                                                        ——————————- In a second season of my life, the Creator leaned low and uttered…

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Bouncy European pop music reverberates up the stairs as my daughter practices her gymnastics floor routine for tomorrow’s competition. My senior son crams for finals, stopping upstairs for an ice cream malt and more pizza. Preschooler sleeps already in his tall bed, despite the noise, while my man plays games with two friends at the…

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Eight hundred forks and knives clank ceramic plates in attempted quiet. Over scrambled eggs and pastries we meet police detectives, city council members, and prostitutes who were trafficked as minors.  We hear stories from a Frogtown St. Paul girl who is propositioned on her way to and from school each day, waiting for the bus.…

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It’s twenty-three degrees and tiny snowflakes lodge in clumps of brittle grass and into corners of the deck.  The email comes of Grandpa Joe’s death, and we all pause. Stomping up the downstairs’ kids in our odd intercom-manner, they tramp up the steps, and I read it aloud. They listen quietly, soberly, then smile in…

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He surprised me. I wrote him a note, tracing across my journal page that I was eager to learn from him. “God, talk to me through your word today, please.” We were interrupted by supper and elections, but picked up our conversation this morning. Opening my journal, I saw my scrawled note to God and…

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