A Letter to My Daughter on Her 12th Birthday

Dear Rainey, I looked for it everywhere this morning, that letter from the pastor who dedicated you in Montana so many years ago. You were only eight weeks old then, and cranky, causing me to sweat right through my Sunday Best. But you quieted down just in time for your dad and me to walk onto that platform and promise to do everything in our power to raise you in a righteous way. Afterward, in the hallway behind that huge sanctuary, the pastor handed us an envelope and told us […]

The Ring: Part Two

This is a follow-up post to a piece I wrote a few months ago about losing my wedding ring. I’ve never been happier to write the rest of the story… My two-year-old son, Wesley, has this habit of taking his toys to bed with him. His diggers, his trucks, his trains. And this is fine, perfectly fine, until he can’t find one of them at naptime. That’s when all hell breaks loose, like the other day. […]

Tuesdays with Rainey: A Mother’s Manifesto on How to Be a Friend

We always have that hour on Tuesdays to talk. When we wind our way home through the Lycoming valley and around the Bald Eagle mountains, past the Amish farms and the place with all the John Deere tractors, this is our chance to connect. Our topic this week, like most weeks, is friendship. She’s navigating a new problem, and like the GPS suctioned to my front windshield, I try to point her in the right direction. “She always asks me what I’m learning […]

Sewing the Seeds of Love

I never learned to sew; the skill never interested me. The only curtains hanging in this house were either bought at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or handmade by my husband, who, I’ll have you know, can sew a mean straight stitch. So when Rainey wanted to learn a few years ago, I had to find a suitable teacher for her. In other words, not me. I’d heard about a woman downtown who owns a sewing […]

No Ordinary Monday

Today is Monday, the day I volunteer, the day I spend my afternoons sounding out digraphs and acting out sight words in my daughter’s second grade classroom. But today’s not just any Monday. Today is the Monday after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Monday twenty families begin burying their children in unbearably small coffins. The Monday I fight the urge to lock up my eight-year-old daughter, Lilla, and keep her home for […]

How to Pray for Your Children When the World is a Scary Place

She holds her cards close to her chest, just like her daddy. Maybe that’s why I can’t get her to say she loves me in the carpool line. When the van door swings open and the kids herd toward the back of the building, she only smiles and waves at me when I say it. I try not to be offended. I try to understand. But every mother wants to hear those three precious words, […]

Dare to Be Different

I knew she’d miss out on a few things when we decided to homeschool her. The crazy hair days, the book fairs, the bus rides. But I didn’t expect this. I suppose I saw the warning signs – fewer birthday party invitations, not as many play dates – but it never really worried me. She’s a fun kid, someone who can make friends easily, and we’ve stayed involved in the community, keeping connected through classes, co-ops, and after-school activities. But recently I’ve noticed a sharp […]