a small update and a round up of recent writings

We have made it to my favorite season, the season of the back porch hammock and the tall iced cold-brew coffee and the popsicles for every meal and the shady beach at the lake and the delicious waves of heat that concentrate in the van parked in the sun.

I'm working on some more things to say about this summer, about distances and music and nostalgia, maybe about Lucy Maud Montgomery and Elisabeth Elliot and the stories that shape us, maybe about the strawberries and the fireflies and the way children make friends. Then there are other things that there are no words for, like what happened in Charleston last night.

But in the meantime, here are a few pieces I wrote in the spring that are online now.

What We Cannot Hold (Art House America)
My sister Katie and my friend D.L. Mayfield both had babies around the beginning of May. I got to go visit my sweet wizardly nephew soon after he arrived.

Before DL's baby was born, I was asked to write an essay for her related to motherhood. As I remembered her traumatic and perilous first childbirth experience, I kept thinking of how motherhood connects us to mortality in new ways.  This essay is the culmination of those thoughts.  It's about Mary, the mother of God, and the way that motherhood requires relinquishment, and how I was never really ready for it.

Thriving After Graduation (a series at Off the Page)
One of the worst things about working in education is the annual goodbye, when your favorite students graduate and leave you.  The editors at Off the Page asked me to write about the ways that students can navigate the difficult transitions from college to post-college life.  Figuring out what to say turned out to be more difficult than I expected, but these pieces are what (with help) I came up with. (The first two posts are up now - Remember, You Are a Body and Follow Your Friends - and the third will be posted on Monday.)

Review: No Parking at the End Times (Relief Journal blog)
Twins Abby and Aaron move across the country with their parents, who have been convinced by radio preacher Pastor John that the world is about to end. In this lovely YA novel, Minneapolis author Bryan Bliss gives us believable teenage characters who help up wonder what it means to say that love never fails.