Jackson turns 11

Jackson has been counting down to his eleventh birthday since the calendar turned to 2017. It’s fair to say he is obsessed with it, even beyond the general obsession kids feel about their birthdays. Yes, it’s about gifts and special food and all the extra attention, but it’s about that deeper feeling – that you are so well-loved that an entire… Read more →

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Though released in June 2016, it wasn’t until after President Trump was elected in November that I started hearing about Hillbilly Elegy and saw J.D. Vance on a few panels of “experts” ready to lend an explanation as to why the reality TV show host just won the highest seat in the nation. Big thinkers and retired politicians and angry, biased… Read more →

Medal No. 16

For the first time in my long-distance running experience, I thought the race would be cancelled. The weather forecast ranged from a 70-90 percent chance of thunderstorms every hour for ten hours straight. There was no way around it. The race would go on rain or shine, but thunder and lightning would close it down. By the time I went… Read more →

Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Reading this book was an act of magnetism because I’ve been drawn to the Lost Generation writers and their work since I went to Key West in tenth grade to study Ernest Hemingway. The tragedy and drama surrounding these American writers is as addictive to me as the Tudor Dynasty and Elizabethan Era, which I have also studied for years. The… Read more →

First Romp in the Gulf at Miramar Beach, Destin

Our life feels crazy sometimes, but after nearly a decade into Chuck’s job, I’ve learned to go with the flow. Our original plans for family vacation didn’t involve Destin, and then the back-up plan to Destin didn’t include Chuck. All the whiplash in the planning phase came to a head two days before our planned departure. Long story short, we spent… Read more →

The flawless faces of beautiful children

I am a lucky girl. When “playing with my camera” takes me to a sprawling property, situated in front of these beautiful faces, I cannot complain. It’s not hard, really. Engage the kiddos, chat with them, be silly. I’m not scary or overwhelming, so they don’t mind when I require a little of their time. For these siblings in particular, they are… Read more →

Sofia as Belle

When someone wants to do a themed photo session, you don’t say no. Sofia is nearly three and I’ve been photographing her since she was an infant. For her first birthday, she was Snow White. Last year, she was Ariel, sans red wig. This year there was only one Disney princess that made sense. Toss in a few books, a… Read more →

Book Review: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior

I unearthed Max Lucado’s 1986 book to read during Lent because I’ve been craving the story of the cross. In recent years I researched contemplative prayer and doctrinal differences between denominations. I read a lot about how social/cultural matters intersect with faith and action. I was on the up-and-up, trying to discern where I stood. But this season, I craved the… Read more →

Five Things I Learned from S-Town

If you love the Serial Podcasts as much as I do, then you’re probably going to give S-Town a try, even though 1) it isn’t Serial No. 3, and 2) it’s not narrated by Sarah Koenig. When all seven episodes dropped on March 28, I found plenty of tedious tasks to do so I could binge without too much interruption. I listened while the… Read more →

Life and Death in Spring and Lent

As the bursts of color take over Tennessee and we enjoy the warmth of 70-degree afternoons, we are also in a liturgical season of reflection and preparation. It’s a binary spell that can mess with your head if you let it. This week, however, my family is also experiencing loss. My grandmother passed away over the weekend, and though we… Read more →

Two podcast suggestions for Lent

For the past few years my Lenten practice has been to give up fiction and read spiritual/religious/vexing nonfiction instead. It’s not the biggest challenge in the world because I love reading in all forms, but it helps me center my thoughts for the duration of Lent during times I’d rather be lost in another realm. I’ve already read Searching for Sunday… Read more →

Book Review: The Great Divorce

After the cluster that was my Searching for Sunday reading experience, I craved a literary touchstone so spiritually challenging that I’d be knocked right off my high horse. I went straight to an old standby, C.S. Lewis. The Great Divorce has been on my shelf for more than a year, and after readjusting my expectations to encompass allegory, I dove into the narrative and… Read more →

On International Women’s Day, I say Thank You

To my mother, who shuffled us here and there, took us to church, taught in our schools, made us laugh, passed down Grandma Wehrwein’s banana bread recipe, and taught us that joy comes from God and not circumstances, thank you. To our two birth mothers, who made the hardest, most sacrificial choice one can imagine and made me a mother,… Read more →

Book Review: Searching for Sunday

If this reads like a break-up letter, that’s because it is. Rachel won’t receive it, and that’s fine. Her pool of fans is large enough, so she won’t notice me quietly slipping out the back door. My first experience with Rachel Held Evans was with her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town, and it was a breath of fresh air.… Read more →

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