Personal Growth

45 posts
One of the Most Offensive Things God Asks

Water splatters on my shirt as I scrub the last bits of garlic, tomatillos, and cilantro from the Cuisinart with intensity. The crunching sound of a key pushing into the lock pulls focus from the kitchen sink to the front door. I quickly turn off the flow and before I can dry soapy hands on a dishtowel, she walks into the house. Glowing. My daughter, Murielle, is home for a...

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The Crooked Path Towards Faith

In December 2006, I jumped into the River Cherwell, a river in Oxford, England, that crosses University Parks on the north side of town. It was the end of our study abroad semester and a few friends and I had the wild idea to jump off a low bridge into the water on one of our last days of class. We were twenty years old and had survived a semester...

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Feast + Fallow

Few things bring me sweeter joy than driving from Cincinnati, Ohio to Bargersville, Indiana in the middle of summer after a long day of work. As I leave the Queen City in the passenger seat of Mike’s rattling black Mustang from the mid-2000s, I watch the hills flatten into fields. Rows of corn and soybeans end at the horizon, dotted with homesteads and barns (some of which date back to...

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Parties, Porcelain, and Giving My Best

For years, I strived to host perfect holiday parties, as if they were an exam to pass. Hours before guests arrived, I dressed the table with my porcelain best, each item set precisely in its place. Thin lines of shimmering silver bordered its delicate rose pattern. Folded linen napkins bloomed on the plate. My china, a wedding gift from 1980, held not a single chip or scratch. I’d stand on...

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When You Run on Empty

“No thanks, I got this.” Like a child learning to do things independently, I often push aside the ways of God in preference for my own. Though I may not say these words directly, my actions convey the thought in principle. I want to do it all. I tend to want God’s help only when I want and in the way I want it. Every time I run head long into...

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In Which A Meal Is My Only Goal

Life has been a little weird for me. Maybe weird is a bad description? Maybe unstable is better. Maybe for the first time in my life I am truly grappling with those old words from Paul, “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15 (HCSB). Is the visceral understanding of these...

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Take Time to Savor and Be Filled

Sometimes I think my tastebuds have failed me. That in the midst of the everyday I have failed to savor. That the rush and appetites of my life have more to do with frantic filling than with letting the aroma of the good things settle on my tongue and linger.  I bulge at the seams of this overstuffed pace. The frantic tyranny of what must be done. I have never...

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On Grace And Growing Up

The #skatergirl started wearing my earrings this year. She's 14 now. Flipping furiously from sweet girl to blossoming woman, I'll admit I've had a hard time keeping up. Some of the changes that accompanied this transition were quiet and subtle, like trees in winter - patient. Others rolled in like a violent storm no one saw coming - a dangerous surprise with repercussions I couldn't predict. Both slow and wild...

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Fighting Boredom with Loveliness

Every year this time of year, I find myself in a rut. The days are gray and I’m weary of cold weather. The buzz of the holidays has quieted and the change of routine that comes with summer seems far off. It’s a season filled with writing and work, causing the days to blur. My table becomes a metaphor for my life. In the past few months, my crockpot has...

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Wild Yeast

The Saturday after Thanksgiving found me seated at the dining room table, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible open before me. Little pieces of paper marked my place in about a half dozen pages. As I flipped back and forth between those pages, I scrawled numbers and math problems across a sheet of printer paper. The week before, my best friend had visited from Iowa. She’s a theology professor with...

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