What's leftover after the bread has been eaten? Crusts and crumbs. If your kids' plates or lunch boxes look anything like ours, there's always something left behind. One doesn't like crusts. (Another doesn't like bread.) The oldest always picks apart the sandwich, leaving a pile of crumbs. The littlest throws his extra bits on the floor for the dog. But there's still good bread there! I find myself encouraging them. My mother's own words ring in my head from childhood: "It's not the heel's fault it's at the end of the bread!" (From time immemorial, parents have coaxed children to please, just eat.) . . . Today at Mass I heard a stirring homily. Our pastor can preach, and preach he does. Every Sunday he challenges, coaxes, and encourages us in the pews. This Sunday morning, like so many others, I caught small echoes between my life and the Scripture readings. Parenting and marriage are my primary callings right now. Naturally I see the world - and hear the Word - … [Read more...] about crusts & crumbs
Scripture & Parenting
"Brothers!" He calls after them. As if he lives in a monastery, my mom laughs. "Brothers, wait up!" All day long the sacred word is intoned. That is the brothers' room, the brothers' school. Not just from the youngest looking up. The oldest gathers his confreres with a single summons: "Brothers! Time for dinner!" All three rush - sliding laughing elbowing - into the dining room, jockeying for position in whatever they've declared is the best seat in the house tonight. End result is always the same. One crows with delight at victory, one stews with simmering resentment, one shrugs that he'll get his way tomorrow. (When the squabbling is settled, someone will declare that once the baby is old enough, then All Four Brothers will sit on the bench together.) "We are the Best Brothers Brigade," they sang all summer before the smallest was born. For weeks they walked around the house together, skinny arms draped over three sets of shoulders, smiling as they'd turn corners … [Read more...] about the blessing (and wound) of brothers
You might have noticed I've been quiet around these parts lately. Partly because I've been hard at work on other writing projects. I just sent off a manuscript to Liturgical Press for another short volume in Little Rock Scripture Study's "Alive in The Word" series. This time I got to write about dashed hopes: when our best-laid plans fall apart. (Go figure; I had a few thoughts on the subject.) And at work I've been plugging away on the final details for a book that Wipf & Stock will be publishing this fall: To Bless Our Callings: Prayers, Poems, and Hymns to Celebrate Vocation. It's an ecumenical collection of resources to celebrate vocation across the lifespan, in different kinds of work, and throughout the church year. (I've been writing and collecting these prayers for years, and I cannot wait to birth this baby into the world!) But I've also been quiet in this space because I haven't been sure where I wanted to take the blog in the new year. Last year was so … [Read more...] about what comes next? a reader survey!
He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know." (Ezekiel 37:3) I miss your writing, she texts me. So I went back and read a bunch of the old stuff. I miss it, too, I write back. The next day another friend listens. (My latest litany of lament.) "So are you writing?" she asks. "No," I respond. The words hang in the air, thick and heavy as autumn clouds. "I only write all this death stuff. I'm sick of it. But I don't know what else to write." . . . I want to tell you other things. I want to tell you all the poets who are saving my life lately. Because you can't be a writer unless you delight in words and the creators who craft them. I want to tell you how golden light in late afternoon halos the ringlets of my toddler's hair into holy sun. Because you can't be a writer unless you look into people's faces and notice the play of light. I want to tell you how every week some conversation with some stranger startles me into the persistent … [Read more...] about can these bones live?