A Table that Reaches Across the Miles

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The text came just a week and a half after we drove the winding four hours to leave our eldest to his first year of college.

Will you mail my flip-flops?

I was laying the place settings for dinner, still painfully aware of his empty chair, heart tender from all that elbowroom around the table. I finished placing the silverware on the napkins—forks on the left and knives on the right—and then I sat down with my phone. In his chair.

Sure, I typed. I’ll send them out tomorrow.

Thanks, mom, he replied. And then, silence. A silence heavy with all those miles between us, his empty chair at the table, the closed door to his bedroom upstairs.

The chicken was crisping in the oven and I imagined his feet, languishing in leather sneakers as the last hot days of summer lingered.

Why didn’t we pack his flip-flops?

I’m over at Grace Table today, sharing a story about the hospitality of parenthood. And it includes my pepperoni roll recipe! Will you join me over there? Thanks a million!

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This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. Only a couple days left to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a cool giveaway!

Almost Empty

The Sanctified Imagination

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I recently read the story of the Laetoli footprints. In 1976, archaeologist Mary Leakey was digging in the Tanzanian plain when she made an amazing discovery: a single footprint preserved in what was once volcanic ash. Further exploration yielded more footprints—an eighty-foot swath made by three people, fifty-four in all—all that was left of companions walking together, 3.6 million years ago. Leakey’s team studied the footprints for three years and when finished, reburied them for preservation.

As I read that story I began to wonder how much of the sacred is buried under the soil of the visible in this world. In our day-to-day lives, we pile on layer after layer of things we can see, things we can touch, mistakenly thinking this is the way to happiness and security … all the while losing sight of a priceless treasure as we bury it deeper and deeper under the soil of excess. How easy to lose sight of an unseen God when so many visible, lesser gods clamor for our attention.

Will you join me over at The High Calling for the rest of this reflection today? We’re finishing up a series on Imagination over there. If your curious, I think you’ll enjoy the other articles too. 

Maundy Thursday: Beauty in the Mirror (a post for Makes You Mom)

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Your thoughts are a forest today—lonely and wild. This husk of darkness veils the details, each tree cloaked in shadow, branches still bare. You crunch along this rugged terrain.

You spend an hour on the phone with a girlfriend assuring her that she is enough, she is beautiful and kind. But when the conversation ends you know she doesn’t believe you.

How do we give truth to others in a way that they will believe? How do we receive truth?

We have to live it first.

Will you join me over at Makes You Mom for the rest of this story? Today I’m thinking about all the little deaths that come with a life in Christ. Sunday is coming, friends!

Running After Beauty

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Clear blue calls and so I go—head outside to run into the sky for the first time since the snows came.

The legs protest at that first long reach. My muscles have grown short and bunchy over the past month, well honed to the squat round stride of the elliptical I’ve been training on during the dark days of winter, but clumsy on this cinder-strewn sidewalk. Despite this, my spirit lifts and at the first steps under the sun-illumine. I am a newborn fawn, all leggy and gawky, tremulous at the discovery of this power inside of me.

I struggle for rhythm and am lost under the canopy overhead. It’s so easy to lope in—leave life behind, forget all the things that grab at my ankles and weigh me down.

I’m sharing the rest of this running story over at makesyoumom.com. Will you join me there?

The Best Way to Spend Black Friday (and a Guest Post)

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I slept in this morning. All the way to seven thirty. There is the slightest dusting of snow on the ground and I’ve already filled the bird feeders. This day after Thanksgiving is a good day to savor, to reflect, to remember. For us, Black Friday is a day to slow. We don’t have enough of those days to just be together. The boys and I started a rummy tournament this week. It was something I used to do with my siblings, and later my roommate in college–keep a long-running game going. Later, we’ll take Bonnie for a chilly walk and laugh together at her silly ways. 

Together. That’s the best way to spend Black Friday. Visiting with folks you care about. Today I’m visiting with Michelle Derusha, writing for her faith heroine series.

Wonder Woman

When I was six or seven years old, I had a girl-crush on Wonder Woman, aka Lynda Carter. I waited eagerly each week for a new episode of her adventures, pretending in the meantime that I could repel bullets with my cool gold bracelets or make my brother tell the truth with my magic lasso.

It seemed to me that a heroine was someone larger than life, who had special powers and fought off evil at every turn. And maybe looked good in tights. I didn’t have a lot of real-life heroines. There weren’t many people in my young life that saw much worth investing in. But my mother prayed with my siblings and me every night. She did the hard work of taking four young children to church three times a week. By herself.

Will you join me for the rest of the story over at Michelle’s?