On My Grandmother’s 95th Birthday: A Blessing for the Dawn

My grandmother was born in 1924, the same year the lilting melody of “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin was first performed to a packed house in New York City. She shared a birth year with Jimmy Carter, Doris Day, and Marlon Brando. Republican Calvin Coolidge, “Silent Cal,” was in the White House. Meanwhile in …

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Dormition of the Virgin at Chora church in Istanbul

A Birth, a Death, and a Portrait of Mary You’ve Never Seen

At Christmas I'm haunted by T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Journey of the Magi.” The tone of the poem is so different from the jovial jingle of silver bells or the nostalgic calm of “Silent Night.” In Eliot’s imagination, the wise men’s visit to Bethlehem was more than a pilgrimage to worship, it was a reckoning. …

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Perfect Age in an Imperfect World: 7 Blessings for My Son

Seven is the perfect age. I'm sure of it. This morning my seven-year-old son woke up early, padding into the den in sock feet. I can see the sleep still lingering in his eyes as he curls up in my lap, all knees and elbows. I rest my chin in his tousled hair and breathe …

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A View from Way Up High: Summer with Ezekiel & Jeremiah

The broad wooden planks feet warm beneath my feet as I stand leaning on the rail of the deck overlooking the valley. From my vantage point on the high ridge, I can see hundreds of miles in the distance. I watch the clouds gather and darken and roil low on the horizon. Occasionally lightning electrifies …

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Sketches of Love: Postcards from My Father

When I was fresh out of college, I moved overseas. And while I was living in Sofia, Bulgaria, my father used to send me postcards. The internet was still in its infancy (a reality my kids find impossible to fathom), so people sometimes sent real stamped paper mail that arrived in actual mailboxes. Emojis hadn’t …

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The Inestimable Value of Unintentional Mothering

When I was in high school I had a sort of on-again, off-again relationship with God. My mom would often see my navy blue Bible with my name printed on the cover in silver laying on the clothes dryer at the foot of the stairs to my room over the garage. She knew I’d dropped …

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