Only If

I wasn’t going to lead a small group this year. I remember this Thursday night, as I climb the stairs of one of my senior small group girls’ homes, ready to partake in the birthday feast that the girls have prepared for me and my co-leader, Allison, whose birthday is one day before mine. Earlier…

Töpfer

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 It starts to rain on Sunday afternoon, as we…

The Curriculum of Disappointment

“I wish I had a sister like you.” The line hangs in the air, as the reader pauses in disbelief. Junior jaws drop, a few of them shaking their heads, as if to clear away the last line uttered by Jim O’Connor, gentleman caller and secret high school crush of the hopeful Laura Wingfield in Tennessee…

Oh, The Places We’ve Been

The times we had oh, when the wind would blow with rain and snow were not all bad we put our feet just where they had, had to go never to go “Postcards From Italy,” Beirut The view from our castle tower is stunning, the lights of Saturday-night Nürnberg spread out below us in sequined splendor. We’re…

Things That Made Life Better This Year: 2013 Edition

Though I am little late this year, 2013 was far too full of blessings for me forget my list of this year’s top gifts. So, without further ado, I use this jetlagged moment to share my list of Things That Made Life Better for 2013. Thank you for all that many of you have done…

{I Am} Home for Christmas

Love is not a toy, and no paper will conceal it. Love is simply joy that I’m home. Sara Barielles, “Love Is Christmas” “We’re writing letters to Santa today?” asked the eleventh graders, staring quizzically at the red and green papers I handed out on the last Friday before Christmas Break. “No,” I replied. “Letters from Santa….

To Roommates

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” The Office, Series Finale We’re misty-eyed as the screen goes black, familiar music and text signaling the end of the episode. The last episode. Emily and I started watching The Office together three years ago, when…

In Everything

“What’s Literary Thanksgiving?” they’d asked, curious, seeing the note on this week’s schedule. “You’ll have to wait until Thursday to see,” I replied, cryptic. Then, seeing their expectations, forming like frost on a cold November night, I elaborated. “No, it won’t be food. I mean, you can bring food if you want, but we’ll be…

Open Letter (Of Thanks) To My Flight Home

While my fellow teachers in America sleep in and make food, we spend Thanksgiving in Germany at school, celebrating even on a school day. Some classes have snacks. Mine have a creative writing assignment, a letter of thanks to an object, abstraction or entity that represents what they’re thankful for. This year, I’m thankful to…

Long Distance

I’m sitting out in the long-expected sunshine, a stack of Honors American Literature exams on my lap. I’m reading them, marking them, but slowly. I keep getting distracted. A senior is heading off to Scotland in the fall, and he perches on a bench long enough to talk about summer jobs in America and the…