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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…

Rockets, September, and How to Successfully Soar This Year

At first it just looked like an empty field. Two dogs and a couple walked the corner of a barren soccer field. There were no rockets in sight.  “Hmm, I thought it was here,” I murmured to Daniel, checking my phone and the address again. “I’ll call Mark to get Art’s number.”  And then, just…

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…