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…

Plans and the Pet Store

The pet store wasn’t supposed to be today’s highlight. I actually didn’t plan to go there at all, as I almost never plan to go the pet store. Certainly not this one, anyway, a dimly-lit, big box affair off of a wide and depressing avenue in the north part of our city. (Yes, our dog…

Of Raspberries and Resurrection

 Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 (NASB) I really did think the raspberry bush was dead. I’m not the primary gardener in our family; that’s my husband, the garden visionary, shopper, planter,…

Blank Days and the Bulletin Board

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,even in the leafless winter,even in the ashy city.I am thinking nowof grief, and of getting past it; I feel my bootstrying to leave the ground,I feel my heartpumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.I want to be light and frolicsome.I want to…

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,…

Blankets, Books & Being All Here

My grandma has been crocheting baby blankets for more than thirty years. It sounds like a while, thirty years. For me, rewinding three decades shrinks me to a kid reading Little House on the Prairie under the covers, the inky drizzle of the western North Cascades rainforest pouring from the fir branches outside my window….

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….

Ten Years & A Longer Table

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of…

Build Houses & Plant Gardens

Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,…

What Can Go Right

Sometimes traffic—the maddeningly unpredictable flow of that greatest annoyance, other cars–can tell important stories. I like to think I’m in control of a great many details regarding my life. Of course I know, in a proper Christ-following way, that God is in control, but lately it’s Seattle traffic that reminds me that sometimes I’m quite…