Who are You in the Nativity?

What do you think of when someone asks the question, "Are you ready for Christmas?"? I can tell you the lights are up on our eaves. We went to the Christmas tree farm and cut down a beautiful Turkish Fir, the one with sky blue on the underside of the needles. It twinkles in the corner of our Gathering Room waiting for a star topper. My Christmas cards are ordered, imprinted with “Merriest Christmas, love the Conlins”. Sometimes, I think I'm read when I set out my Nativity. But none of that means I am ready for Christmas. Continue Reading

5 Things I Learned this Fall (dreamer's edition)

Writing makes friends and builds community. This week my dear friend, Leslie, sent me this quote by librarian and author Lawrence Clark Powell, "Write to be understood, speak to be heard, and read to grow." I said a hearty,"Yes!" to all three statements. They seem to form a circle. I love to read, but it was the writing part that lingered. I have thought of it all week. Why? I write to understand my own heart and the good and beautiful God who made me. Those two things are tied together. Then God connects me Continue Reading

What We Learned this Summer (childhood edition)

"I do this (looking back) in the hope of encouraging others to do the same - at least to look back over their own lives, as I have looked back over mine, for certain themes and patterns and signals that are so easy to miss when you're caught up in the process of living them." Frederick Buechner Pausing a moment at the end of each season to glance back over my shoulder at my life is my way of seeing more clearly where I might be headed in the next season. Does that seem counterintuitive? Why look backward Continue Reading

Lessons from the Trail on a Birthday Bike

On my 56th birthday Mike gave me a hummingbird red bike. I rode the dusty trails, wind whipping my hair like I was five again. Only these weren't the suburban sidewalks where I learned to steady a bicycle and watch for cars. These weren't even the paved trails where we taught our own children to feel their balance on a two-wheeled bike. These trails were twisty and narrow, up and down, rocky, and strewn with pine cones. Sunlight streamed in through towering lacy evergreens, Douglas Firs and Ponderosa Pines. It was hear-your-breathing quiet. The only sounds were the crunching of Continue Reading

Do We Know all that's Hidden in the Pines?

We woke up to a freckled fawn curled up underneath the backyard birdfeeder. The one among the volunteer sunflowers where the redbirds land and we chase the squirrels away. I was home visiting my folks and the newborn deer was asleep near the window behind Daddy’s puzzle table. He figured, sometime in the night, her mama jumped the fence laden with life and birthed her baby in the backyard. It seemed at first as though the doe might have abandoned her fragile fawn. The baby looked small, vulnerable, and alone against the wide blue sky. But scanning the horizon, Continue Reading