It Changes Everything

The pontoon pulled away from the dock and turned toward the open water where we drifted past brown and pastel cabins tucked into the trees along the shore. Under the influence of the overcast day, that was all there was to see. The sky, typically the star of our evening cruise, offered nothing but dismal grey gruel. Gloomy clouds stacked up overhead, familiar companions for some part of every day of that week. We were grateful the weather allowed us to be out at all. Between downpours and thunderstorms, electricity-eradicating straight-line winds and near-misses with tornadoes, it had been a {Continue Reading}

The Bird and the Wire

Summer mornings, I walk the gravel line between the drone of highway traffic and the twitter of birds in the pasture. A road that knows few cars and fewer houses, its ditches prosper rabbits and bees and the birds which lay down my morning soundtrack. I rarely notice the animals when I walk. Because I’m prone to tumble, I tend to keep my eyes fixed on at the ever-changing place where my feet meet the road. It’s hard to watch with my eyes glued to the ground. Even so, one morning I noticed a movement in the ditch. A bird flew straight up the front of the fence {Continue Reading}

For When It Rains On Your Parade

A few Saturdays ago, I woke to thunder and began to pray that it wouldn’t rain. Seconds later, I realized that it was 6:30 a.m., the time when my post The Best Thing One Can Do  was scheduled to land in inboxes, mine included. I wasn’t following Longfellow’s advice for a rainy day. Sometimes weather is a painful metaphor for life. Trials don’t have to come from camping to do their work, and their work isn’t limited to relationships. Chesterton says to look up. Longfellow, to let it rain. And James tells us to consider them with joy. None of those are {Continue Reading}

The Intruder

A low rumble of a growl, that’s how it started. Our first camping trip found us buried further down a country road than I had ever traveled, stuck on one of those rural grassy drives between dusty gravel and green pasture. The little red Plymouth Sundance that I brought into our marriage lost the battle with the deep ruts that passed for a driveway. My husband’s manly Jeep from antiquity would have prevailed, but we wouldn’t have been able to hold a conversation during the drive. So there we were, in my vehicle instead of his—a vehicle stranded with its {Continue Reading}

What Made Her Sparkle

My great-grandma was a woman of summer. She kept a garden and her table overflowed with its bounty. She picked berries for jam and to top ice cream. Once in a while, I helped her in the berry patch or the garden and it always shocked me when she showed up in pants. The garden was the only place I ever saw her dressed that way and even there she wore a dress over them, with a long-sleeved shirt and a wide-brimmed straw hat. She was dressed to work. Right there are four important lessons I could have learned from {Continue Reading}

For This December: On Being Stretched

When my uncle and aunt left their Century Farm in Iowa to ranch in Oklahoma they offered me much of what had been sitting, unused for generations, in their attic. There were books. Heaps of them.  My favorites were the old ones with worn covers, among them a frayed copy of The Jungle Book with my sweet great aunt’s name written inside the front cover, old school books, and a book of my great-uncle Lester’s titled Darkest Africa. Over the weekend I moved a stack of books from the bedroom to the dining room. The ones with red and green {Continue Reading}