He grabbed my hand as we jaywalked through the parking lot and climbed up cement steps to the history center. On wooden benches, in folding chairs, and across picnic blankets, the crowd swelled and continued to grow. We spread out our picnic sheet, laughing at the too-stereotypical red gingham material, and laid out an easy…

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Chip bags crinkle and closet doors squeak as family members grab evening snacks behind me. Condensation coats my narrow glass, puddling on the desk below, and ninety-degree weather hangs heavy on the twilight. “Watch the trees,” my friend advised me earlier this week. “When the leaves go belly-side up,there’s a storm coming.” Peeking out my…

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She drives up wearing pink oval sunglasses, blonde hair pulled into a loose pony tail. Jumping out of the car, N* ambles up, greeting us, and nodding warmly at the younger teen she is picking up. Taller with shorter; a woman in her twenties with a teen in high school, they are headed out on…

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 I find myself on edge and the grief hovers. During dappled sunlit blackberry-forages in the woods with friends and the welcome distraction of iced tea conversations, my thoughts and feelings are put on hold. But in the silences and lulls that follow, I pull up world news footage and read with horror of child soldiers…

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He raises his hand vigorously, vaulting himself slightly off the floor in excitement. At a youth group open forum night, the crumpled paper question asked, “How much time should you spend reading the Bible?” and my eldest let others speak for a bit, and then jumped into the fray as well. “We were built for…

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 Glassy highrise buildings slipped past, mirroring the sky. Parallel-parking beside joggers and bicyclists at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, we piled out of the car, carrying roller blades, a folded stroller, and a brown paper bag of hot bagels.  On our last days of vacation– this segment of the “stay-cation”–we were all intentionally making family memories…

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This notion that restarts are always available, that second chances are never out of supply? It is revolutionary. A friend of mine (details changed for privacy) adopted a young boy from Eastern Europe, and he arrived in the United States, wrapped in institutionalized ideas. Chestnut hair framed serious eyes, and tremulous smiles broke out like…

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