Before the Throne Room

Last winter I had the pleasure of attending the AWP Writer’s Conference in Washington DC. Having just been to D.C. last spring on a family vacation, I had already seen many of the museums and monuments, but my hotel was within blocks of one that hadn’t made our list last spring, The National Portrait Gallery…

The Parable of the Ferns and Hosta

Next to a sturdy brick building, a tree was planted long ago. It grew tall and strong, but the landscape designers–untrained in botany or horticulture–planted it too close to the drainage grate. The tree was to them another piece of medium rather than a living, growing thing. And so every spring the nearby building would…

Most Days

Most days I’m thankful for my neighbor’s transmissionally challenged truck. Reliably at 6:15 each morning it roars down the road full throttle–even though it’s less than 50 feet to the stop sign. There’s a low rumbling pause and then the driver guns it toward U.S. 42. I can hear his gears shifting in the increasing distance…

10 Ideas for Outdoor Activities

Here are 10 things you can do outdoors that require little or no preparation, skills, or special equipment. 1. Hiking You can also bike, run, or jog, but I like hiking because anyone can hike. In some places I’ve been a hiker has to worry about venomous snakes, alligators, or dangerous insects. But the worst…

Beyond Paper or Plastic

| What Grocery Shopping Taught Me About Social Justice | It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything worth posting here. Apparently I’m not the only person struggling to write after the election. It’s not that I haven’t tried. It’s just that everything I start devolves into a political rant. I start out with good intentions…

Yes, Bob Dylan, and it isn’t the poetry….

I said “You know they refused Jesus too.” The man said “You’re not him…” -Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream   Full disclosure: I’m a big fan. Dylan is a part of my family’s language. Growing up, the most important piece of furniture in the house was always the stereo and the only album that was always left…

Can We Just Talk for a Minute?

By all accounts we’re in the midst of an intensely weird presidential election. Whatever happens on November 8, it will be historic. Most people have strong opinions about our contenders. But I don’t want to talk about that right now. I want to talk about Regis. Regis and I were co-workers at a local church.…