The Many Meanings of “I Love You”

These three little words that we use every day have many more nuanced meanings today than they did seventeen years ago. I remember the first time he said them. It was right after our first kiss (which also happened to be my first kiss). I had made him wait because I was determined to make that first kiss a special one. He had been ready to say “I love you” for a while, but he didn’t want me to feel like he was just pressuring me to kiss him, so in love, he waited for that, too. I remember the first time I said it back to him. It was a couple weeks after our first kiss. Even though he […]

Seeing Dolphins

When we started our vacation, we had planned on a full week unplugged at Bald Head Island, hoping to see sea turtles hatching and doing a bit of volunteer work with the conservancy. We even found a house in the middle of the salt marsh with treetop views for studying wildlife during the day and stargazing at night. When we asked our five-year-old what he was looking forward to the most, he enthusiastically replied, “Seeing dolphins!” “Well, son, we might see dolphins. We can definitely look for them while we’re out there. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see one.” As we backed down the driveway with eight people in a packed suburban, we kept an eye on Dorian as it approached […]

Noticing People

Have you ever been talking to someone when you were suddenly struck by their humanity?
It’s usually some kind of detail that does this for me. Bloodshot eyes, or crow’s feet, or freckles, or acne… something that makes me notice the skin the person is wearing, in all of its frailty and beauty.
These moments usually surprise me, but they make me want to pay more attention.

If even one…

The other night I attended a webinar for writers. The question was posited: How big does your audience need to be to make your writing worthwhile? Anyone would be happy to be read by millions, but what about thousands? Hundreds? What about ten? A friend joked that it felt like Abraham bargaining with God over Sodom. I responded with “If even one…” (The voice in my head was overdramatic and funny.) But there was some pushback: Is one really enough? Who is that one person? Hold that thought. Last night we watched the last installment of Tim Keller’s Questioning Christianity livestream. The series has been looking at the existential side of Christianity and how it compares with secularism (and other […]

Kicking the Habit: Managing Electronics (and Managing Me)

Kicking the Habit: Managing Electronics (and Managing Me) Last night we were reminiscing with some college friends about the good old days. “Remember when you had to print out MapQuest directions to get to someone’s house?” “Oooh, or when you had to actually give directions on how to get there? ‘When you see the Waffle House, turn left and go about two miles until you get to the neighborhood… take the first left, then the first right, then we’re the fourth house on the left.” “Haha! Yes! Oh, and what about the days before the internet? Remember those?”“Yes! They were glorious.” “I would go home from school and play outside and not have to deal with those people any more […]

12 Ways to Pursue Better Rest

After the holidays, I had a Sunday-morning conversation with a friend, asking how she was doing. She responded with frustration that despite trying to rest, she didn’t feel rested. I know that feeling. You kick back to watch a movie, or you curl up in a chair for half an hour to scroll through social media, and you’re resting, right? Your body is pausing activity to be still, possibly even dozing off for a bit. Then why on earth do we not feel rested? Our family had to suffer through burnout and depression in order to learn that pausing from physical activity alone is not restorative rest. True rest involves the mind and emotions, too. We personally had to change […]

Looking for Rainbows

The late afternoon sun beams straight through the back of the house to the windowed front door. We enjoy this magic hour for a few brief moments every sunny day. Harsh light brightens the entire space and creates long-legged shadows. It reveals dust on the cabinets and a tinge of red in my baby girl’s curls. My daughter does a short-legged dance and makes an ungraceful twirl in her tutu, with open hands extended just above her head. She stops mid-dance: “Mom, I see a rainbow!” She disappears, and I hear her patter quickly toward the front door, then stop and patter back again. “I found a rainbow, Mom!” She comes to find my legs and wraps her short arms […]

Rhythms of Work and Rest

This summer was a busy one. We had a huge international trip to two different countries with four young kids in tow. (Yeah, I know. Don’t worry–we had help.) All this travel was exciting and fulfilling in ways we never expected as God allowed us to encourage and help a number of friends serving in hard places, as well as reconnect with friends in our old neighborhood. Upon our return home, all we wanted to do was crash, but we had given ourselves exactly three days to unpack, do laundry, and repack for the long drive to a conference near my hometown. Needless to say, by the time the conference was over and we made the drive back, I was never so happy […]

The Boy Who’d Never Tasted an Apple

There was once a boy who lived 15 years without ever tasting an apple. Oh, he knew what apples were. They were everywhere. Apples on billboards and bumperstickers, t-shirts and magazine covers. The lady on the car commercial was holding an apple. The hero of his favorite movie had a thing for apple pie. But the boy had never seen an apple in real life, much less tasted one himself. The boy’s parents ate apples in secret, and the boy knew it, but in public the boy’s parents pretended that apples didn’t exist. The boy wanted desperately to know more about how apples grew and what they tasted like, but he was afraid to ask. The boy looked to the internet […]

A Death on Our Wedding Day

This week we celebrate fifteen years of marriage. Sometimes when I look at the photo on our bookshelf, it’s hard to believe we’re so far removed from that momentous day. (Then a kid screams at his brother and the harsh jolt makes it seem like an alternate lifetime. *sigh*) Our honeymoon didn’t start off at all the way we’d planned. After a perfectly smooth ceremony and a delightful reception filled with family and friends, we were whisked away by a chauffeur in a classy car. It was supposed to be a quick little drive to Nashville–less than an hour from my hometown to the hotel–but shortly after we got on the interstate things came to an abrupt halt. A fatal wreck happened between our classy […]