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…

Broken Bowl, Beautiful Bread

I knew what had happened before I saw it. The familiar crash, gravity precipitating a collision between ceramic tile and ceramic dish, and then a groan of disappointment from the dropper. Usually, to be honest, it’s me dropping stuff, but this time it was my daughter, a toddler who remarkably has broken only one mug in…

For Sale: A Good Tent

I have a confession to make. Though I fear that this admission may lead to the recall of my Dahlstrom Card, for the sake of honesty and the all-important Need To Tell A Story, I make it here with fear and trembling: I haven’t slept in my tent–or any tent, for that matter–in four years….

Home Is Where The Jam Is

I love to go out in late September among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries to eat blackberries for breakfast, the stalks very prickly, a penalty they earn for knowing the black art of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries fall almost unbidden to my…

Sustainability {Or, Measuring A Year}

Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets In midnights, in cups of coffee In inches, in miles In laughter, in strife In five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes How do you measure A year in the life? From “Seasons of Love,” RENT June 24…

#Vanlife, Real Life and Roads {Taken and Not}

Oh I kept the first for another day! But knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. Robert Frost, from “Road Not Taken” A few weeks ago I taught Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken” to my class of juniors. It went predictably, a conversation that I’ve had every…

Then & Now

Then It’s me, three bags and a violin, and climb the three floors to my new apartment downtown at the end of a hot summer day. I’ve taken three trains today, from Austria to my new home in Southwestern Germany. This morning, my new boss told me that I wouldn’t be teaching the classes I’d planned…