carry Christmas

Christmas in Haiti 2012

  My husband and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary on Wednesday. On Friday, I’ll remove my diamond rings. Not to worry, though. It’s only temporary. I’ve had my flu shot, popped my first malaria pills, and packed last year’s Cipro just in case. I’m making a list and checking it twice, three times, […]

three musicians you should know

Chris - Ellie - Drew

  I’m trying to come down from a Frio River high after four days at Laity Lodge in the Hill Country of Texas with members of The High Calling. On second thought, I don’t want to come down. I want to immerse myself in the sounds of running water and a crackling fire, the clatter of dishes, quiet […]

how we love

Lillee bubbles

  Lillee bounces down the aisle and slides into the pew like she comes to this church with us every week. She pulls a hymn book out of the rack. When time comes for the children’s sermon, she beats everyone to the platform steps and takes a seat next to Miss Jeannie, then stands up […]

when jealousy visits


Jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer, and the most degrading. And I, who have been the Leona Helmsley of jealously, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are (a) getting older, (b) talking about it until the fever breaks, and (c) using it […]

about school shopping and santa

school and santa

Neither Abby nor I feel good, but summer’s winding down, and we’ve set this day aside for shopping. Time to hit the “cool” stores and try on some “cool” clothes in order to be “cool” during that first week of school. Time to watch mother and daughter do battle between fashion and practical, between appropriate […]

lee daniels’ the butler: some reflections


  My parents moved from the Detroit area to buy four small rustic cabins on a lake in northern lower Michigan and later built a six-room motel. Our little house’s screened-in porch (that I painted chartreuse when my folks were away) served as the office. I can still see the keys hanging on the wall. […]

when you have no idea where you are going

Boardwalk in the Porcupines

  It’s been one of those weeks. You’ve had them, right? Times of hard decision-making and what-ifs that lead to more waiting and second-guessing and flip-flopped fear and trust, and you just want a final decision to be made and hope you can live with it. Except each step on the journey brings more decisions […]

more lessons from basketball camp


  She was a rising third grader back then when she signed up for her first basketball camp at school. Back when she considered giving up. Now Grace is a rising sixth grader with three years of practice and games under her belt. She’s signed up for a week of McCracken camp. And she’s fired up. She tells the […]

how to be happy: declare yourself bankrupt


  Our pastor tells a story about how France’s King Louis XIV planned his own farewell extravaganza. He left instructions that at his funeral service, the Notre Dame cathedral would remain dark except for a single candle above his golden coffin, the candle placed to shine on his greatness and inspire his mourners to awe. […]