I am where you are

Ten years ago this week, I went to a cabin on Whidbey Island to finish the novel-in-stories that had begun as my master’s thesis. I went, and I finished, and I promptly had a nervous breakdown. My life, until that point, had had a singular focus: to become a published novelist. It was my reason … Continue reading I am where you are


I could say any number of things about this last week. How when the power went out on Sunday night, just as I’d started to wash dishes, I let myself believe what, if anything, this past year should’ve taught me not to believe: maybe it won’t last long. How, after seven years of living in … Continue reading Ice

Treasures of darkness

The Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland was in operation for eight hundred years. It has nine levels, goes 1,000 feet deep, and has over 100 miles of tunnels. Over time, miners began to make carvings in the walls, and when they wanted places to pray, they began to carve chapels. The mine now has … Continue reading Treasures of darkness

Do not fear

I have always considered myself to be a careful reader, and so, I cannot explain why it has taken me nearly twenty-five years of reading the Bible to notice that the tree of life was also in the Garden. It says it right there in Genesis 2:9, “In the middle of the garden were the … Continue reading Do not fear

Far enough

When I think of Easter Sunday, I inevitably think of Croatia, of myself running on wet cobblestone along the Adriatic, running in a wind-swept storm while the clang of church bells sailed into my ears from the ancient town along my left. My brother was in the hotel room. Most every citizen in Zadar was, … Continue reading Far enough


At the start of last year, God gave me a word, which was to be my touchstone in the year to come: joy. It was the kind of thing, if I did not know Him better, I would've taken as mockery, for my life at the time was anything but joyful, nor had it been … Continue reading Joy

To the new year

At the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, white ladders lean against the mud-brick buildings. The tops of these ladders have been sharpened to a point, to tear holes in the sky and let the prayers through. The association between God and sky is one I understand. Wherever I’m living or staying, I choose a prayer … Continue reading To the new year

The passenger seat

Growing up, we took a lot of road trips, and because this was pre-smartphone/iPad/TV-that-drops-down-from-the-roof-of-the-car, I spent a lot of time staring out the window. The other day, as I was crossing one of Portland's many bridges, I took my eyes off the road for a split second to glance at the trees in the West … Continue reading The passenger seat