Limited Superpowers

Halloween evening, we follow fantastic little figures through the neighborhood: a knight, Link, Princess Leia and Grogu (better known, to the chagrin of Star Wars purists, as “Baby Yoda”). As the last color fades from the still-brilliant foliage, the last light sinking low behind the ridge to our west, the foursome zigzags down the block,…

Bells, Books, and Echoes

I think I hear church bells one night. I step outside onto our back doorstep, lean over into the humid, still-hot evening, and strain my ears, my soul, my whole being toward the sound I thought I heard. Nothing. Just summer-still evening air, quieter even than a normal August night. No bells. This is maybe…

Writing Now

A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to A Young Poet I once wrote a novel in a month. I wrote alongside thousands of other writers, all around the world, for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal of the project, on a large scale,…

Of Pictures & Paintings

A friend gave me a painting for my birthday. To be more precise, she gave me a card with a painting on it, but I love the painting—and have for a while now—and fully intend to frame the little card when I get a moment. Titled “Summer Abundance,” by Loré Pemberton, it depicts a woman…

Reading Ahead

“’Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.’” C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy I have a confession. Given my identity as a seasoned lover of written words, there are a few aspects of my reading habits that would surprise people,…

Popsicles and Playdates

We’ve only been here for forty minutes, but I’m wondering if it’s time to go. I’ve already met a dozen other parents, wearing a name tag bearing both mine and my daughter’s name on it. I’ve squinted across the top of my mask at half-familiar faces, a couple I recognize from college and a woman…

Small Prints

“Life right now, it’s a very small pattern. If you look closely, you can see something. Flowers, plaid, dots. But from a distance it all just sort of… blends.” I once described being home full time with small children in terms of a textile print. I suppose I felt then that the tiny design was…

So, About That Christmas Card Photo

At the beginning of Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy writes that “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” At the risk of my English Major card being revoked, I admit I haven’t read this particular masterpiece, though I hope to someday. Until then, however, I’m not sure I agree…

Chasing {LEGO} Joy

Rest in my arms. Sleep in my bed. There’s a design to what I did and said. Sufjan Stevens, “Vito’s Ordination Song” “So, how are you chasing joy or nourishing your soul in this season?” I’ve been staring at the question in the little chat box for a few minutes by the time my co-leader…

Of New Tents and Old Adventures

It was my brother’s fault. How many times have I invoked this big-sister refrain in the slightly-more-than-thirty years we’ve shared together? Plenty. But this time it’s actually true: Without my brother, we would never have gone camping this summer. We loved camping as kids; Dahlstroms went camping more often than any other kind of vacation….