What if it works this way: We write the lyrics of our life when we?re young and spend our days and years living into them. I attended a Gordon Lightfoot concert last night at Wolf Trap, as part of his Fifty Years on the Carefree Highway Tour. It's easy to see that even after 50 years, Gordon is … [Read more...] about “We Love the Work” Gordon Lightfoot on Creativity
My Inheritance I was bequeathed a satin dress, An inheritance passed from my mother And from hers before, another Lifetime has worn it, the treasured Hand-sewn seams have measured The woman inside. The first time I tried The fit I was nine (the old tight-packed box, the wrapping, the fold of … [Read more...] about “My Inheritance” a poem about mothers & daughters
Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family is a book of personal essays describing the author's experiences as wife, mother, and minister. The subjects are discrete, but since the essays overlap and build, it's easy to read them like chapters in a novel. The reader certainly becomes … [Read more...] about Any Day a Beautiful Change, a book review
Step back in time with me, won't you? Imagine a church constructed of logs, filled to the brim with 250 people singing hymns without accompaniment. The majority of those people are Old Order Mennonite, dressed in their Sunday go-to-meeting clothes. Balconies on either side of the meetinghouse burst … [Read more...] about Hymns, Heat & Heaven — Can Women Be Ordained?
I acted like a groupie at a U2 concert and had a blast. I wrote more about the experience (here). Here's the set list including the opening act, Florence and the Machine: … [Read more...] about U2 Concert
I just finished reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I found it quite captivating, as the narrative moves back and forth between two interesting true stories: the early history of the Mormon church, and a recent double murder committed by two brothers who thought they were fulfilling … [Read more...] about Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer, a book review
Last Sunday I announced to my congregation that I would be leaving my position at the church this June. The reason for my leaving is that I want to spend all of my time and energy finishing some writing projects and finding a home for them, either through traditional publishing, or perhaps through … [Read more...] about Downshifting: Quitting My Job to Write a Book
Last night I went to an author event at the Arlington Public Library for their "Arlington Reads" program. My good friend, the author Carol Howard Merritt, got there early enough to actually get us seats, which was no small thing. Yep, writers listening to a writer: good times! Wendell Berry is a … [Read more...] about Wendell Berry: What Subject Were You Born To?
Yesterday I sat on the sidelines of a particular community of faith. My husband and I attended a Shape Note Sing, which we do twice a year or so. (In that way I'm comparable to a Christmas/Easter Christian.) Shape Note singing (also called Sacred Harp singing) is unaccompanied, four-part singing, … [Read more...] about From the Sideline of a Community of Faith
I heard some great lectures at the Festival of Faith & Writing. Here are a few choice bits from Scott Cairns, poet and essayist, raised-Baptist, now-Orthodox: "Tell the Calvinists they're not as bad as they think they are." "Writers are people who use their writing to figure things out, not to … [Read more...] about Writers on Writing: Scott Cairns
The wooden room resounded with sound as a half-hundred people stomped their feet and industriously pumped their arms to accompany their singing. We sang from "The Sacred Harp," a hymnal first published in 1844, with lyrics pining for the Promised Land and glory beyond. Back then, church singing … [Read more...] about 12 Things I Enjoy About Sacred Harp Singing
One of the many reasons I love U2 is the way they keep reinventing themselves. It's not easy for artists to keep moving forward creatively, especially in a collaborative way. If it were easy, more people would manage it, right? This band makes me believe in synergy. Their vision is responsive, … [Read more...] about U2: Holding Onto Love