God’s Love in an Orphaned Fluffball

Give me a loyal pup and a handful of people and there isn’t much else I need. Other than dog food. And a decent cup of coffee. Sixteen years ago, I received a photo of a palm-sized black fluffball with a white star on his chest. Born in Belize, he was the love product of…

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Crown Jewels

Just inside the front door of my childhood home is a large built-in bookcase my father made when my parents bought their first house. On the nearby coast, my mother found a beautiful piece of driftwood to fill its center space, making the uniquely shaped object the focal point in our living room. Anything of…

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Camo or Fins?

His voice is hushed when he answers the phone.  “I’m in Memeem’s duck blind.”  For my entire life my brother has not been known for getting up early. In fact, historically, I don’t call him before noon. Yet my brother is like most men from the small Southern Louisiana town where I grew up, and…

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The End of Myself

I remember the room well. It was somewhat outdated with older speckled carpet and ten to twelve cushioned metal chairs lined up along the exterior of the space. A padded divider separated the area from a little kitchenette. The receptionist’s desk was visible through the narrow opening in the wall on the far side. It…

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A New Way Forward

“Where do your boys think you are right now?” my counselor asks.  I am surprised by her question, which seems out of left field. “I told them I had an appointment,” I reply. It’s vague, I’ll admit, but it’s not a lie. “What would happen if you told them the truth?” she asks, interrupting the…

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Such Beautiful White Hair

It’s Halloween. The sun blinds me on this brisk fall morning as I fill bags with candy for the trick-or-treaters who will come by for our neighborhood candy hunt. I set with care the individual bags on our stoop, flanking the iron jack-o-lantern decoration we have enjoyed for years. I feel a tinge of grief…

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Dark Meat or White Meat

Hectic smells, feelings of anticipation, and gurgles in my throat for sparkling cider brew. Sure, there will be cranberries, jello with surprises, or green bean casserole, but I had discovered from an early age how to dispose of unwanted onions, and other things in the napkin on my lap during thanksgiving dinner. Instead, I focus…

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Born of the desert

The desert has a distinct feel, one that makes each pore of your body gasp. I forget, as years pile up between visits, what this feeling is. It takes a couple of days to reacquaint myself with the arid mountains, weathered cacti, and unrelenting heat. But then, amidst misters and tank tops, I once again…

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Relational Crops

It was the fall of 1976, and it is likely I was wearing a “wrap skirt” that day when I showed up to help with hot lunch at the small Christian Reformed grade school where my children had recently started attending. In that kitchen, making hot dogs, I met Barb for the first time. Her…

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The Olive Branch

The last few nights I have been sleep deprived. I squirm under my cozy covers in an attempt to relax, but my chest feels tight, as if my breath is constricted. My body is weary. I attempt to ease my mind, as anxiety-filled scenarios swirl around my head like an annoying replay. After a long…

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