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Signs We Wish We’d Made (& A Great Way to Go Deeper this Year)

Sandy summer shoes scuffed behind me. A hallway-away a locker clanged shut and echoed across tiled floors. On the right a faculty bathroom was available and I slipped in, closing the door behind me. I stared at the signs and then laughed, thankful for its warnings. And isn’t that the truth? In addition to wanting…

God Speaks Russian

We stood, seven people in a circle, holding hands at the top of our stairs. Chic bobbed hair Svetlana, gentle-eyed Sergei, blue-eyed Marco, and I, with our kids interspersed beside us: soft-spoken family clown Daniel with his deep compassionate heart, and sweet blonde Nadia and Julia, with their big smiles and husky Russian accents. We…

Holding Summer’s Light as the Sky Turns to Grey

Huge rain rushes in from yesterday’s ninety-degree heat. A grey storm outside turns the sky green. Hot French Press coffee and an Indie band crooning in multi-part harmony set a reflective tone. Halfway through this new journal, the stitching threads line the notebook crease, a straight hem through paper. Halfway through the summer, the season’s…

Of Dragons and Gauntlets

He walked in with an orange bearded dragon on his shoulder. The college-student stood at the coffee shop counter, ordering a pastry and a drink, and his lizard perched beside him. Minutes later as he prepared to leave, two women in yoga pants and headbands approached him, their phones out. “Is he real? Can we…

From Bleachers, to Balls, to Bibles (What’s a Word-Loving Mama to Do?)

Silver metal bleachers shine in the sun, and tap hollow staccatos with each step. Moms and dads in sunglasses call kids closer, and one mom races to scoop a preschooler down from his high perch. “That’s not safe,” she says, slipping her hands under a flower-eye-patched blonde boy’s arm pits, his head and shoulders leaning…

The Shopkeeper’s Secret (and It Impacts You)

“‘I’m here for my rose,’ she’d say.” Mary stopped speaking and pushed her red hair behind an ear. “Each week she came in, this sweet retired school teacher. …There were photos everywhere in her home of her kids. School kids would come back year after year to visit her, even when they were married and…

When God Pulled the Fire Alarm

Just one glance at the text sent my heart racing. Alarm bells were blaring at our house, but we were half a nation away. On a special once-every-ten-years-vacation to sunny Florida with my husband’s family, we were still rubbing aloe vera salve onto our sun-burned skin when a neighbor in snowy Minnesota contacted us. “Your…

Our Bold Dares

It’s audacious and daring actually. What is it about this bold act that says it’ll ever work? We push fingers into dark soil, scooping out vaults. Then with brazen hands we press small brown bulbs into the earth and claim they’ll rise again. Burying them, covering them, we smooth the ground and walk away, with…

On Summer Nights When Adults Are Tempted to Play Hooky Too

September’s twilight creeps green and orange in chill night air. Yellow and pink zinnia flowers stand tall beside rosy sedum. Smoky woodfires scented the end of a kids’ park play date, and now children’s voices chirp loudly from trees. They leap, waving sticks, leaning close to growl make-believe battles. My son races inside to grab…

Don’t Blink. Don’t Miss a Moment of the Joy!

Basketballs ricocheted off concrete and clanged against blue chain link. I plucked green grass and bent it methodically in fours, snapping after each bend. “Are you okay?” I had asked her. “Your eyes look sad.” She laughed wryly, surprised, and we started talking more. Four of us sat on a blue blanket, legs outstretched or…