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“I’m the Dad of the Boy Who Died,” He Said

Running through the neighborhood, they waved guns and promised vengeance for the death of their 17 year old brother and friend. Small rival gangs had clashed in north Minneapolis, and these young men ached for action. My mom and her neighbors ducked down then but came together to help. Mom called Ann* who knew the…

How Do You Keep a Marriage on Track?

Remains of a fight between Mark and I linger in my mind, even though we’ve said sorry and tried to amend it. 9 am is grey. Quiet clouds wait overhead, and a muggy wind blows the maple leaves in desultory turns. The world waits for the storm and we recover from ours. Phone calls interrupt…

For When You Need Fresh Wind

Wind chimes jangle a constant song, and the maple trees whoosh long loud sighs of summer. Twenty-one year old Morgan contemplates virtual art classes, scrolling through her phone, long legs curled up under her on the honey-colored couch. Daniel’s noises are distant, quiet, away down the stairs, his tiny blonde head dwarfed under large white…

Mother’s Day Confessions and a Shared Video Devotional

They careened up in two black vans. Car doors popped open and shut, and they emerged with masks and glittering gold balloons. And it worried me for a moment, me in my comfy black yoga pants that I’ve been wearing all week, and my hair not fully combed this morning. Sipping coffee and on the…

Wood and Marble Spaces to Inhale in Deeply

The woman in front of us had coughed and squirmed, her face red as she tried to hold in quiet wheezes. Poor lady. I had wanted to tap her shoulder and assure her it was all right. This March 7th afternoon in Minneapolis basilica grandeur comes to my mind now, two weeks later. Two weeks…

Of Sicilians and Songs

Buried high inside a wooden cupboard, we find it. “Alley” by Carl Campbell, Creative Commons cc license  A dusty cardboard box with black marker states “Tapes for Car Trips.”  And the music for our family’s road trips stands shoulder to shoulder, encased in black plastic cassette tapes labeled with my Dad’s handwriting. Pink Floyd, Dire…

Of Cancers and Suicide and Where to Find Joy that Sustains

In noisy bustling houses, we’ve poured more coffee and settled in close. Photo Credit: Ell Brown, Creative Commons cc license In a sunken living room last night at a friend’s house, I pushed my grey footstool closer and we talked of kids, of this last year, and of the future. Pulling photographs from her purse,…

Dear John MacArthur, You Chose Wrongly, my Brother

Dear John MacArthur, You chose wrongly, my brother. Your Two-Word answer should have been, “A sister.” Photo credit to Grace Church I understand that maybe you answered impulsively, and that now, hopefully, you are regretting it. I found your email address online, and I wanted to contact you directly. You are my brother in Jesus,…

Dance Parties and the Dean

“Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Portraits” by Chiara Tovazzi is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 It was after the dance party. After I had shown him black and white television footage of timeless classic dance songs, and I had danced wildly around the green carpeted living room. He had curled up in a black and white zebra blanket while I showed…

“I Smell my Brother in the House”

I like how he said it. Right between math problems and sitting beside the open window, he said it. “I smell John in the house. I smell my brother.” I stopped, smiled and took in a deep breath, wondering what my twenty-four year old smelled like to my eleven year old. Familiar fragrances of french…