Red Tent Living

reframing femininity

Belonging is the Beginning

How do you talk about the girl who is the beginning of every story you tell?

The girl whom everyone seemed to experience similarly: intense, passionate, a bit wild, and fiercely loving. At least, that’s the theme that ran through every remembrance shared at her memorial last month. And that’s the girl etched in my memory. Continue reading “Belonging is the Beginning”


It is Thursday. It is afternoon. I am working on my book when my phone beeps the reminder for an outreach to people living in homelessness.  I shut it off and keep working. The volunteer I usually partner with is off tonight. I feel no need to rush. Continue reading “Homeless”

The Raw State

My initial response to the question Where do I belong? was flippant. I’ve never really felt like I didn’t belong. My 20-year-old self wouldn’t have given this question another thought. But in the ten years since age twenty, I’ve started to recognize that when I give something a simple response, it’s usually because a more uncomfortable truth is hiding somewhere. Continue reading “The Raw State”

In the right now ordinary.

“I think those women are checking you out again,” Jeremy had a wry grin on his face, refusing to let me off the hook for how “CUTE!” the women at the bar had insisted I looked tonight.

“Well you know, I AM rather fetching…” I said it with a hair toss, not to be out done by my most extroverted friend. But my slightly arched eyebrow spoke another message, “Don’t you dare drag me over there for awkward stranger bonding.” Continue reading “In the right now ordinary.”

Bethany’s Thanksgiving Playlist 2017

As we approach the holiday season, I love the invitation that Thanksgiving brings to be present and remember. Remember this year. Remember the stories that made you more of who you are. Remember the people who shaped you and the ones who you’ve shaped. Remember the places where you found belonging and acceptance along with the places you realized you never belonged. Continue reading “Bethany’s Thanksgiving Playlist 2017”

Into the Wild World

In September, my oldest son donned a pair of wrinkle resistant khaki shorts and a navy blue polo shirt, one of the uniform combinations accepted at his Kindergarten. He walked into the classroom and started exploring, found his name on his cubby, and placed his backpack on the shelf. Continue reading “Into the Wild World”

True Belonging

The debris of my story, and life as a single woman, often fill me with doubt that I belong – anywhere. When doubt is winning, I tend to withdraw into silence and ruminate on all the reasons why I don’t belong. Continue reading “True Belonging”

Weird Company

There is the question
of bearing witness, of being yourself seen
by yourself, & seen clearly, cleanly,
without weapon or bible in hand;
as this was the wish,
the sturdy & not-so-secret wish
of those who named us—

–David Rivard

This past summer, I found myself in a church meeting surrounded by eight other congregants, the head pastors, their wives, and a church elder. We had asked for a meeting to discuss a recent high-profile court case in our community, in which a prominent youth leader at a sister church was being tried for a felony sexual crime against one of the girls who was under his leadership. Continue reading “Weird Company”

No Place and Every Place

I pre-ordered Brené Brown’s new book on belonging as soon as I heard about it, both because I respect her work, and even more, because questions about belonging come up consistently for me. Continue reading “No Place and Every Place”

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