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When You’re Missing Out on the Blessing

The air hung thick and hot as the sun beat down on my face. The usually dry heat so familiar to this place had given way to a muggy and heavy blanket tucked over the city. On the horizon, circling all around our neighborhood, clouds towered high. Thunderheads rose tall and powerful, teasing with the promise of the sweet relief of rain. Rain that would never come. In the small towns surrounding us, at least a few...

Are You Building Your Own Soil?

Have you ever heard of the Aran Islands? They are a set of three small islands off the west coast of Ireland, famous for their rich wool sweaters and being a heart of Irish cultural preservation. When we lived in Ireland, we could see these islands from our living room window—when it wasn’t raining, anyway. Folk used to say, “If you can’t see Aran, it’s raining. If you can see them, its...

Why I’m Doing the Job I Didn’t Want to Do

I recently accepted a job. This job was an answer to prayer in so many ways—and it’s a job I said I’d never do again. Before we ever went overseas, I taught first grade for a year. That was one tough year. First year teacher, mid-year created class, and a group of students who hadn’t been told why they had been moved made for a deadly combination and one defeated teacher when the end of the year...

When You Feel Marked by Life

Have you ever felt like no matter what you do, you can’t escape your past? Somewhere along the way, something you did, or something you said, or whoever you are or whoever your parent is came back to haunt you. And it keeps coming back. Like whatever your mistake was – or perceived mistake, or guilt by association – is branded across your forehead and life has taken notice. You’re getting...

Prayers with Skin On: An Open Letter to Our Neighbors

Dear Neighbor, I just want to take a moment to say: Thank you. Yes, you with the tween daughter just like mine, who took my girls under her wing and gave them a familiar, friendly face on the first day of school. Who has been that friendly face day in and day out since then — who has opened so many proverbial doors and explained the wonderful strangeness that is an American school, and all the traditions and...

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