Directing the Heart Rightly

Presbyterian pastor and writer Frederick Buechner reminds us that the most important thing about prayer is to keep at it. Even when it feels like no one is listening, or when we wonder what, if anything, it accomplishes. Sometimes we stop praying because we don’t know what to say, or we’ve given up when it […]

The Spirit Within

Someone very dear to me said congregations of faithful people are like a river, constantly moving through the terrain of life. Pastors are called to swim with them for a little while. Recently, my church family invited me to swim along with them for a just a little while. As their associate pastor, I’ve decided to […]

Lent, Again.

It’s late in Lent 2019, and two Easters and another Lenten season have passed since I’ve last written here. To catch you up, I’m no longer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now I call the Pacific Northwest home; a place that feeds my soul with its raw and untamed beauty. Over the eighteen […]

Go Boldly: Lent, In Other Words

Welcome back to my series, Lent, In Other Words. You are welcome here! The following essay is a reflection of the Palm Sunday lectionary reading, Matt 21:1-11. This week’s word is bold. I recently heard Thea Gillmore’s folksy yet chilling cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969, Bad Moon Rising. She strums a banjo as she croons, […]

Unbound and Free: Lent, In Other Words

Welcome to the fifth post in my series, Lent, In Other Words. I’m glad you’re here! This week’s reflection is inspired by John 11:1-44, and the word is unbound.  Our church is doing interactive prayer stations during Lent. Each week the congregation is invited to pray using the elements thoughtfully displayed at the stations. The […]

Don’t Look Away: Lent In Other Words

Thanks for checking in, I’m glad you’re here! The following reflection is the fifth in a Lent series called Lent, In Other Words. This week’s word is hope, inspired by the Gospel reading in John 9:1-41 from the lectionary. The story of the blind man who receives his sight is a good one as far as stories go. […]

Holy Interruption: Lent, In Other Words

This is the fourth post in a series entitled, Lent, In Other Words. This week’s word is interruption. I’m glad you’re here! Take a moment to fill out a contact form to get reflections like these delivered to your inbox. I gave the children’s sermon at our church yesterday. The scripture was John 4:5-42, the story […]

Know Your Worth: Lent, In Other Words

Thanks for joining me during this season of Lent, I’m glad you’re here! This post is the second in a series I began last week. Click here to read more about the series called Lent, In Other Words. This week’s word is worth, inspired by Matthew 4:1-11. Many Christians give up something they’ll really miss during the forty […]

You’re Only Human: Lent, In Other Words

Friends, Ash Wednesday is upon us. Please join me in exploring the wilderness during the next forty days of Lent. Each Monday, I’ll post a new reflection based on a word (or two) that embodies the lectionary reading for the previous Sunday. The series, entitled “Lent, In Other Words,” is a Lenten devotional, prayer, or […]

Love Is A Willful Act

Have you ever found it difficult to love someone? Because let’s face it, some people are hard to love. And while we’re being honest, let’s confess that for as many people we find hard to love, we too are unlovable creatures in equal measure. (Yes it’s true, not everybody loves you and that’s ok…deep breaths). […]

At The Intersection: Where Do We Go From Here?

  When American politics divide us, we talk about building bridges. But when it comes to division created by the color of our skin, I’d rather talk about intersections. Bridges, by nature, are built to connect two otherwise unconnected spaces. But intersections are a meeting point, and they require us to navigate a common space. […]

Broken Promises and a Poem Called Grace

I broke a promise despite the advice of mentor whose wise words I take very seriously. She warned, “Never make a promise you can’t keep,” but I did anyway. I promised you, faithful readers, that I would publish my writing at least once a week. I had grand ideas to continue a series of essays on redefining the vocabulary of faith, big plans to […]

Home Is Where Your Treasures Are

When the border patrol official stamped my passport he said, “Welcome home,” and gave my three weary kids a little flag before calling to the person in line behind us. “Next.” It was the Fourth of July 2011 and we were repatriating after making our home in Bahrain for two years. Beyond his white desk in […]

First Things: Love

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, love has been exposed and it triumphs over hate. The tragedy reminded us that there is a community of human beings who have had to hide their love for too long. And that we all bear responsibility for forcing it into […]

The Art of Forgiveness

Two years ago when it was my turn to deliver a sermon in front of my peers for review, I was  nervous. When I learned that the topic would be forgiveness, I was terrified. How could I ever tackle such a broadly complicated subject? What could possibly be said about forgiveness that had not already […]

Vocabulary Lesson

I recently read Amazing Grace, A Vocabulary of Faith, by Kathleen Norris and was captivated by her inspiration for writing the book. In the preface, she explains that when she decided to return to church after many years of questioning her faith, she realized that she’d need to brush up on her church vocabulary. So […]


Two days before I scanned the office supplies aisle for a binder to keep track of mounting medical documents, I fell to the floor uttering a prayer of few words. Please help, I prayed. Please. A routine check-up prompted a chest x-ray which yielded abnormal results. My husband called to say he was on his […]

Ski Lift Perspective

I faced one of my biggest fears during a recent weekend ski trip. I am afraid of heights, and the ski lift terrifies me. Before we even hit the slopes, my family members were fed up. I droned on and on about the rules of safety to appease my nagging anxiety. “Make sure to pull […]

The Worth of Waiting

About this time every year, I survey the woods behind my house for signs of green. The brown trees and snowy ground are a stark reminder that it’s still winter in New England and that I must wait several months before spring will clothe the woods in color once again.  This year I’m not only […]

A Pearl of Great Value

Radio stations often come up with gimmicks for contests and giveaways, and the one in West Lafayette, Indiana was no exception. It was the early 1990‘s when the Seattle grunge bands topped the charts and the station had coveted Pearl Jam concert tickets to offer. My youngest brother Jon was a big fan, even at […]

Car Ride Confessions

I moved back to the United States over three years ago after a two year stay in the Middle East, and I daresay I’ve spent much of that time in my car. Whether it was commuting to New Haven for lectures or carting my school aged children to and from school activities and social obligations, […]

My Sister’s Keeper

The following post was written in 2012 when I lived in Bahrain.  I knew it was going to be one of those days as soon as the alarm went off. Waking, dressing, and feeding three children before 7:00am is no small feat for a parent on the best of days and this wasn’t the best […]

To Be Known, A Study on Psalm 139

Introduction The following is a summary of a four week study based on Psalm 139 entitled, “To Be Known.” It was written for my early teenage daughter and a group of her friends, but it can be adapted to other audiences. Themes of Self Identity, Confidence, Purpose, and Promise are explored through the lens of […]

The Trouble with Blessings

I confess. I have a troubled relationship with blessings. That may be a shocking admission especially coming from a minister, but the truth is that I’m confused about what blessings really mean. When I was living in the South I quickly learned that the familiar “Bless your heart,” means something very different from what my […]

In Praise of Imagination

It was our fifteen year-old son’s turn to choose a family outing, and he suggested that the five of us see the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon which was playing just down the road at the Shubert Theater in New Haven. Admittedly, I knew very little about the critically acclaimed musical. Through the grapevine, […]