Author Archive

What's Your Story?

June 27, 2020

When I was a kid in Idaho's Bitterroot Wilderness, between the Snake and Salmon Rivers, one of the walls of our ranch was the Payette National Forest, with no neighbours nearer than 50 miles. Our front door was exactly in line with the …( read more )

Light-Bearing In Our Time

June 15, 2020

I am sitting here by my big window, watching dawn bear its daily message. Today, it rises pinkly, turning to crimson with streaks of purples and blues in the morning sky. Every sunrise is unique in God's hands, designed as a useful …( read more )

Parking Ticket

May 28, 2020

In early February, I had just left an art store with supplies to make earrings when I saw a city parking officer put an extra coin in an expired meter rather than write a ticket for a battered old car. Her small kindness made me …( read more )

What To Do About Mothers

May 10, 2020

I'm headed up the hill, going home. It is Mother's Day, and a sad-faced man is coming towards me with some flowers. "For your mother?" I say, smiling at the bouquet. He doesn't smile back, but he stops, as though he needs to tell …( read more )

Got Wisdom?

April 25, 2020

We had just finally found a place to rent, a former karate studio over a downtown business with a beat-up wreck of a kitchen that looked unusable. Moving in that night, I fed the children and put them to bed before retiring ourselves. …( read more )

Soul War

March 19, 2020

I am writing an essay using an online app, and I am being constantly interrupted by popups telling me that I can sell what I'm writing for cash. Students will pay big bucks to cheat rather than to write themselves. It doesn't matter how …( read more )

How To Find Yours

March 8, 2020

She was standing on the corner on a chilly February 14th, looking undecided as I came down the hill. "I'm gonna do it!" she declared as I approached. Yes, people talk to me on the street. When they need to talk to someone, I look …( read more )

Begat

February 28, 2020

I live half a block from a funeral home. Hearses come by all the time, familiar drivers waving happily at me from the front seats, just doing their everyday assignments. It isn't their mother being buried today. I always wave back, …( read more )

Downtown Street

February 16, 2020

A slightly built woman in her late twenties lay curled in a fetal position on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and a parking lot, just a few doors down from where I live. "Could you call 911 for help?" I asked someone going by with a …( read more )

Hole

January 30, 2020

In Alaska, my father and my grandfather were prospectors, an occupation that required a lot of shoveling. I grew up accustomed to all the attitudes and language that go with this frustrating, hole-digging, way of life, especially when …( read more )

The Rocker's Request

December 27, 2019

It was a few days before Christmas. I was running my little out-of-print book business when a young rocker whose band was usually on tour came in. He'd come home to see his folks. "Have you got a copy of Robert Heinlein's 'Time enough for …( read more )

Two Mansions

December 24, 2019

I didn't go home the Christmas when I was 19, living in a Bible school dormitory in Portland, Oregon, USA. I had a job, and I needed the money. My employer was an elderly woman in an architecturally significant mansion stuffed with …( read more )

Psst! Have You Heard About Mary?

December 12, 2019

One Christmas, my 16-year-old sister got pregnant by her boyfriend. I was a year younger, and neither of us had the slightest idea how such a thing could happen. No one had ever told us anything, and we had no friends who might share …( read more )

Why Doesn't This Place Open?

November 26, 2019

Yesterday, I was sitting on my walker in front of a store before heading back home. A skinny, disheveled man was there before me, pacing. "Why aren't they open yet?" he fumed. Ah! So, this was why God had nudged me to wait. I smiled at …( read more )

Straight

November 10, 2019

I was hired on a short-term contract to catalog a prison library in a federal penitentiary with an inmate crew to help me. The men lived in the cell block that my husband guarded. "Anything that you tell me will go straight to him," I …( read more )

When I Was Lost

October 27, 2019

I've always been geographically dyslexic. My family used my inability as a reverse GPS. They'd ask me which way to go, and the opposite direction was always right. But I never thought that I could become spiritually dyslexic. It started …( read more )

Stumbling Block

October 11, 2019

Even though I regularly ask God not to allow me to be led into temptation, it never occurred to me that I might lead someone else there. In my senior year in Bible school, I was ignoring the 9 p.m. curfew imposed on dorm dwellers. …( read more )

Getting My Feet Wet Apocalyptically

September 27, 2019

"Have you heard about …?" is a sentence more and more people start conversations with lately, especially after listening to the news of the day. It's like they were all saddled up to ride with the fabled Four Horsemen of Alcoholics …( read more )

Patient With Difficult People

September 16, 2019

I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mother turned to arson when life dissatisfied her. If we could keep track of her discontent, sometimes it was possible to head her off, but it wasn't easy. We lived mostly in isolation in the bush …( read more )

Recurring Hallelujahs

September 5, 2019

Praise the Lord! Psalm 150 commands everything, "Just DO it!" — not just humans, but ladybugs, coyotes, stars in their heavens. A woman stops by to admire the sunflowers in my garden, turning their heads as they follow the sun. Their …( read more )

Serving As A Bad Example

August 24, 2019

In the spiritual life, there is an important action called "The Sacred Pause," part of two-way prayer. Before proceeding, we stop and ask God whether the way that we are heading is the way that He intends us to go. Then we pause ("The …( read more )

Exploding Doormat

August 7, 2019

A friend told me that he was looking for a new therapist. "I thought you were happy with the one you had," I said. "Oh, I can't go back to him," he said. "When I thanked him for helping me, he replied that talking to me had been a …( read more )

Bank Job

July 19, 2019

The police gave my brother a choice — either join the navy or go to jail. He was just sixteen, but he'd fallen in with the wrong crowd and had been the wheelman when they were stealing speakers from a drive-in movie theatre. My father …( read more )

Down The Dark Highway

July 3, 2019

During World War II, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers built a much-needed highway through Canada connecting Alaska to the contiguous United States. It wasn't yet paved or open to the public, but my father decided to take our family down it …( read more )

The Letter

June 19, 2019

In the early days of the Internet, there was a handwritten letter in my mailbox. I hadn't seen anyone put it there, but I opened it without much thought. Then, like an icy deluge, its words poured over me, accusing, condemning, judging — …( read more )

Addictions

June 2, 2019

I don't drink or use drugs, but I do admit that I have an addiction: using food to numb my reality, effectively committing suicide with a knife and fork. Being overly impulsive and compulsive goes along with that. Right after …( read more )

Giving It Away

May 16, 2019

I was doing knee exercises in the open section of the community pool where anything goes. So, I didn't think it odd that a young woman would be making her way hand over hand along the pool edge towards me, fiercely intent on getting to …( read more )

Sound Of Laughter

April 29, 2019

A policeman came to my door, asking, "Are you the wife of Richard DeShaw?" I said, "Dick! Never Richard!" Right then, an old Irish joke suddenly popped into my mind: An insensitive cop asks a woman, "Are you the Widow Brown?" …( read more )

The Greatest Injustice

April 16, 2019

I once thought that if an injustice were made public, it would immediately be condemned and fixed. Along with a group of older women, I regularly helped to use songs and spoofs to publicize wrongdoings in government and society. One time, …( read more )

Ice Storm

April 6, 2019

Drool splattered my cheek. A Bull Mastiff leaned over, wanting his bed back. I opened my eyes and remembered that we were two weeks into the 1998 ice storm, driven from our home, sharing a one-bedroom apartment with six large-breed …( read more )

Wide Load

March 27, 2019

Our house burned to the ground when I was a young teenager. At that time, clear across town, the city was planning to build a highway through a fancier neighbourhood, which meant tearing down every house that stood in its way. With our …( read more )

A Spiritual Workout

March 10, 2019

A beefy guy with a buzz cut has a half-smoked cigarette behind his ear. Sitting next to him is a kid with a nose ring and eye makeup, wearing a black hat that says, "On my way to hell!" Those of various faiths board, in turbans and …( read more )

When The Sirens Go Off

February 23, 2019

The first thing that those who visit me remark on is all the sirens! The "Get out of the way, quick!" shrieks of fire engines headed for my neighbourhood's under-repaired housing. The life-or-death screams of ambulances attending victims …( read more )

 



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