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Fire Alarms and an Ancient Prayer Circle

(The photo above is not of my son, but the prayer concept looks similar. Photo Credit: J. Tyson, Unsplash Media) So many of us were crowding around John that the fingers of my right hand could barely touch his back and right shoulder. People pressed in close on all sides as our youth group students…

Surprised by Friendships Crafted in 32 Weeks

A knock at the door. Faces rippled and blurred in their movement behind the door’s cut glass window. Arriving in groups of two or four, they walked up our driveway, past the newly-cleaned flower beds where iris plants stood tall in narrow green wedges and daisy plants grouped in loping round-edged leaf clumps. “Welcome!” “You…

On the Cusp of the New Year: Which Part is You and Me?

Popping open the lid from the sugar cookies container, I choose the most-iced versions of the two-inch sugar cookie men. At the dining room table, I pour another cup of coffee and bite a cookie figure in half. Clicking an ink gel-tipped pen into ready, I’m still processing yesterday’s time here. “Teach me to number…

Unexpected Encounters & Autumn’s New Starts

“You’re from Living Faith Church, right?” She asks me, this woman in a public bathroom. “I saw your bus.” In a cement multi-stalled bathroom at Valley Fair amusement park, with chlorine-scented puddles on the floor, we stand in a corner of the hallway. Her warm smile draws my attention and I stop and recognize her.…

“They Return at Evening, Snarling like Dogs, and Prowl About…”

“They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.” He writes the words as armed men on mission keep watch on his house, wondering if he is there. Creeping across his garden, they report back to a superior and continue to stare at his unlit home. Others roam the city, looking for…

When Lies Creep in to Tempt

  “You can’t go back there. There’s nothing there for you and nothing solid that you can hold on to there.” Pink twilight slips off four tall blue spruce trees. Yellow and tan houses blanch highlit and then fade to cool cream as the sun dips lower. Neighborhood noises are quiet but my mind is…

Pursuing and Preserving Friendships in a Pandemic

“Siri, text Mom…” and I rattle off a stream of sentences. The phone blinks yellow green at me and beeps, before reading aloud my words. A mix of garbled and legitimate phrases echo up to me from where the phone sits, untouched, in the car cup holder. I laugh at one translation of my thoughts…

“Do You Get Angry?” I Asked, My Voice Trailing Off

It was as if I needed permission. Reaching out, I trailed fingers on blue velvet. My fingers flexed, tensed, cupping the top of the recliner, patting it in a shoulder pat I could no longer give to my dad. He used to sit right here. I glanced at the wide flat seat of the chair…

How a Mountain Shows Us Christmas

Sitting at the kitchen table, sipping fresh hot coffee, I watched them. Small silver snowflakes flew in from the south, flying right to left across my windows. My family and I cheered and immediately started humming Christmas music. Naked December lawns morphed white, and the wind blew harder. “It’s snowing!” we exclaimed to each new…

As Students and Telecommuters Cram Tables, an Ancient Song Creeps In

“Can I join you?” Her eyes are skeptical, wondering, as she stares at the kitchen table. I don’t blame her. Yellow highlighters, six sharpened pencils, and slips of paper sticking out of stacks of graduate-level books mix with sixth grade grammar pages, obliterating the¬†world map below. “Yes,” I assure her, sliding papers and school books…