Friday Field Notes | A Little Geography

One strange thing about the internet world is that I don’t actually know where many of you live. Oddly, though, because of this unfamiliar terrain we’re collectively navigating, I can probably pretty accurately guess that most of us are at home much more than usual. How’re you doing with that? Today I am meh, but so is the weather. Every day is different. I live in the midwest, where it’s generally flat. Part of our family lives a few hundred miles to the south of us and part lives a few hundred to the north. The ones in the south have consistently warmer weather and {Continue Reading}

Friday Field Notes | Good News When the News is Bad

My son is studying abroad this semester. In northern Italy. Until this week, I hadn’t heard much talk about northern Italy outside the context of his travel plans. Now it’s all over the news. He was supposed to start classes next Monday. On Monday of this week, his university closed because of the coronavirus. As of Thursday, the start of classes has been postponed a week. Am I worried about him contracting the coronavirus? Not especially. Do I wake up in the morning wondering if his city has been put on lockdown, if his university will be closed indefinitely, how he’s handling being a {Continue Reading}

Putting Myself Aside

With winter’s chill rolling off him as he and his siblings came in from the wintry night air, my son asked, “Can we have our friends over to play boot hockey?” Flanking him, his sisters, echoed the question silently with their eyes. We live in Iowa, and of the ten years we’ve lived in a place with a pond nestled in the woods behind our house, three of them have granted us good ice. He’d dedicated himself to keeping the ice clear—shoveling after each snowfall so that it would be open to play with his sisters, with his dad, with {Continue Reading}

Trail Talk

Happy May! Isn’t it wonderful to finally not be cold? If you’ve read around here long, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am a conflicted outdoorsy type–an avid indoorswoman and a reluctant hiker.  Reluctant or not, time, experience, and maturity have brought me to a love of the places trails take me, the terrain they guide me through, and the way they help me better understand what it means to walk by faith. Even with all of that, one of my favorite things about of life on the trail is the way it fosters wandering conversation. While {Continue Reading}

Winter Gifts and Graces

Regardless of what the thermometer reads today or tomorrow or next week, winter is winding down. I’ll just repeat that, mostly because I need the reassurance. Winter is winding down. I need the reassurance because I believe something that isn’t true: Everything will last forever. Whether it’s the balmy breezes of a green spring that will be taken over by the thousand percent humidity of high summer or the crisp afternoons of a colorful autumn that will fade into the bone-brittling subzero temperatures of deep winter, every season eventually ends. Because I find hope and help in the cycle of the {Continue Reading}

Beginning Again

Oh, I have something special to share with you today: a guest post from one of my favorite writers on the internet: Tresta Payne. I was encouraged and challenged by what she’s offered here, and I hope you will be, as well. All creation groans for a new beginning, and here we have January–the clean slate of new calendars and new planners and new expectations. The two-week period after Christmas, when we take down the tree, pack away the Christmas decor, give everything a good cleaning and prepare for a new year, is my favorite. Often my own groanings are {Continue Reading}

Because Our Moments Matter {Steps Toward Making the Most of Them}

Cue the music. It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love. Every song you hear seems to say… I haven’t noticed the world falling in love, and if we were sitting down together to write that song this morning, the lyrics might play out a little differently. It’s that time of year when the world … Celebrates. Decorates. Bakes and eats. Shops and wraps and delivers. And maybe worships—when they can find a moment. every song you hear seems to say . . .  Do you know how many shopping days there are until Christmas? Have sent {Continue Reading}

Fall Notes

Fall is traditionally my favorite season. Its crisp leaves and cool air combine to make it a time I want to linger on indefinitely. This one is half-gone and I’ve kind of missed it. At least that’s what I thought before I took a look back. I haven’t missed anything. There’s been life and learning, grace and every kind of good gift. I just needed to turn around and open my eyes. A regular recounting of the gifts and graces, the lessons and the stuff of life keeps me a little more light-hearted and grateful than when I move through {Continue Reading}

When Christmas Surprises You

Dad and I crossed the steamy asphalt, melty ice-cream cones in hand. We’d driven cross-country to Yellowstone for a nature-writing seminar and stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs for two reasons: huckleberry ice cream and piano music. The ice cream was a sure thing. The piano music, though? That was a different story. Randy played four or five nights a week and we weren’t sure this was one of them. It’s a stop I make every time I’m in Yellowstone. I heard Randy—or his music anyway—before I saw the piano that poured forth something different from his usual blend of catchy, {Continue Reading}