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…

85 Sunflower Seeds

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. Annie Dillard, The Writing Life A day such as this, in which I endure a measure of sickness or unease, is a reminder that the redemption of all…

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…

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…

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…

March 10th

This is the day that the Lord has made;    let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 On March 10th, it was cold and sunny, which is about the best we can hope for in Seattle in the late winter. It was track-meet cold, the kind of weather when you make plans to be outside because…

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…