Three covenantal friends get in a boat …

We were stuck in the middle of the lake. Lake Lansing. This was Saturday and we’d had enough wind for the sailboat to show off and take us over sandbars and fish and water that felt warm because Lake Michigan had been so cold last week.

But the wind was shy so there we were, Sarah, Tom, and I—three-fourths of the Small Things adults—leaning back against the sides of the borrowed boat. We were like the bobber on the end of both fishing poles I’ve ever held: closer to still than actually bobbing. I had only been sailing once before—and I use that phrase to mean “I sat in the boat while my friend Sarah captained like a boss.” This time, she and her husband instructed me to pull a rope a couple times, so … “I sailed a boat” is now something I can put on my life’s resume.

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When ‘radical’ faith looks a lot like the everyday

In July, Sarah and I went to my hometown to speak at the little public library where I worked when I was 14. My mom and stepdad and some of my aunts and cousins and even some strangers packed the tiny room that in the late ’90s was a garage for the village’s EMS.

Someone (unfairly) asked me (in the presence of my mom) whether I’d ever consider moving home, back to the place in Ohio where I’d graduated a decade and a half ago.

“I mean, could you do this sort of thing” — she referenced the new-monastic-like, Year of Small Things, radical-faith thing — “here in a rural place or a small town?”

Well.

Tell me.

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Why I learned to talk about depression in public

Of all the chapters in The Year of Small Things, the hardest to write was about self-care. For one, pretending you’re Dorothy Day feels good; prophetic, even. Talking about depression doesn’t.

 

But. It’s important to talk about with other people if only because it shouldn’t be awkward. Vulnerability was the posture I wrote from, and now that people are seeing the stuff on the soft underbelly (I’ve had three children, what do you want from me), people have felt compelled to share their own mental junk.

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5 ways to share Year of Small Things love

The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us (Brazos, Jan. 31) will soon emerge from its cocoon and go out into the world, and to do that takes a lot of brain space. So do snow days and three-day weekends with children. The Midwest … it’s a tricky thing, you know. In Read more about 5 ways to share Year of Small Things love[…]

Social justice for ‘the rest of us’

On the way to their town house’s parking lot we smile at each other, quietly, nervously. You’ve never driven a car, I ask. No, she says. Not even once? I ask. No, she says. I decide to start in an empty parking lot somewhere; I mention this but I’m unsure if she comprehends. So I Read more about Social justice for ‘the rest of us’[…]

Book update: Year of Small Things trailer

Around my dinner table Wednesday night, we ate tacos and a whole bag of apples between the nine of us, my Year of Small Things people. Lest you get a false impression of blissful community, consider the details. I had to ask, twice, for children not to sit on each other. My youngest was crying because my Read more about Book update: Year of Small Things trailer[…]

Advice for those discouraged by the election

Dave, Louisa, and I climbed a few uneven cement steps to the door of a stranger. Knocked.

A woman wearing a beautiful teal scarf on her head answered the door with a confused expression. It’s hard to convey “we’re here to mentor you” with someone who doesn’t speak English.

Pause.

For those of you who woke up Wednesday discouraged, consider this moment. Think about what we as hopeful visionaries, Jesus followers, and do-gooders have gained, even in our disappointment.

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My baby: Year of Small Things

Our oldest had colic. Yes, we tried that remedy. Yes, we tried that other thing your Grandma swore by. People would tell us in the grocery store queue that “it gets better” and “babies with colic turn out to be really amazing people.” Others who saw us clutching books at the library with titles like The Happiest Baby Read more about My baby: Year of Small Things[…]