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…

Things That Made 2020 Better

Though it’s been my practice for a decade now, I admit that I found it hard—and deceptively simple—to write down a list of “things” that improved this particular year. Hard, because I’m deeply aware that we’ve been spared much of 2020‘s toughest challenges. Simple, because I can think of dozens of separate people and circumstances…

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…

Dark Though It Is

Listenwith the night falling we are saying thank you from “Thanks,” by W.S. Merwin I first learned about the origins of Thanksgiving in 2011, when I happened to be working on Thanksgiving Day. Of course, I’d heard the same story as every American kid in elementary school, about the brave pilgrims and the generous Native…

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….

…And Good In Growing Old

Between us, by the peace of God, such truth can now be told; Yea, there is strength in striking root and good in growing old. “To Edmund Clerihew Bentley,” G.K. Chesterton (Here I am, again haunted by four solitary lines of poetry, in effect making this a Part II post. Read Part I here, if…

Green Lake {Psalm 104}

For the past year or so, I have been volunteering with my church’s Ancient Paths ministry, a program that seeks to bring people to greater wholeness in Christ through spiritual disciplines and time spent in the wilderness. This poem was an assignment set to us a few months ago, when we were asked to write…

All These Treasures

We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass, the same hips and haws…