Tips from my garden

Tips from my garden

As far as gardeners go,
I’m a bad one. My vegetable plot is about the size of a double-car garage. From my kitchen window, it looks spectacular. Plummy green fronds poke above the rows. Fiery orange nasturtiums cascade along the fence, and sunflowers wave
down from above.

But despite three months of weeding and planting and watering, my plot has produced only a few dinners’ worth of green beans, eight edible tomatoes, a handful of zucchini and a row of kale so tough even the insects won’t eat it.

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Grateful

“It smells like something died,” I told my husband, Dana, as we walked up the grassy path toward our front door on Friday after a full day of teaching together at our children’s school.

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Two full days to go

I knew that going from teaching writing one day a week to teaching five days a week while also beginning graduate school would be a big transition. So I gave myself a hiatus from my own personal writing practice for all of September to adjust. Oh, good. I thought when...

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The place of trust

The place of trust

Eight years ago, after the death of my 7-year-old daughter, Ruth, I felt betrayed by God. Like the writer of the Psalms, which promise that God will look after those who come to him for protection, I believed that he would keep my family and me safe as long as we put our trust in him.

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More changes than I’d like

More changes than I’d like

Ever since squeezing my office into the corner of our family’s laundry room three years ago, I’ve dreamed of the day I would be able to move out. This week, that day finally arrived, but instead of being excited, I wasn’t sure I still wanted to move. The potting shed...

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Love BIG

Love BIG

This week I lost someone who was like a sister to me, my cousin Emily. My grief is nothing compared to that of her husband and two children and brother and parents. But oh, what a grief. Emily’s life was a gift to all who knew her. “I have so many joyful memories of...

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Finding the way home

Finding the way home

About a month ago, I quit blogging. I’d had it with hearing my own voice. Plus, my career was taking a big new direction with the addition of teaching this fall. But a funny thing happened. As soon as I quit, folks began mentioning how much they enjoyed my column....

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Big changes ahead

There are a number of short prayers, “Help!” being one of the most popular. “Save me,” being another. But the one that I find myself praying most often is, “Father, lead me.” And I know that God does. How can I be so confident? Because the Lord is my shepherd, and I am asking him to do something that he has already promised in his word.

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Lessening the suffering of others

It is hard to reconcile the terrible things that happen to us with God’s great love for us. Yet, those who I admire most have found a way to keep loving and trusting God anyway while working to lessen the suffering of others.

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The Best Birthday

The Best Birthday

Did you know that in Jewish culture at the time of Jesus there were six ways in which a person could be “born again”? According to my Complete Jewish Study Bible these included: when a boy becomes bar mitzvah at age thirteen, when a Jewish man married, when he was ordained as a rabbi, when he became the head of a rabbinical school, or when a Gentile converted to Judaism or was crowned as King.

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Turning Trials into Opportunities

I’ve always loved old houses. But what I love most, especially when I drive down Maine’s winding back roads, is glimpsing a dilapidated old house that someone is lovingly restoring back to life. Often in life, when we encounter something hard, we view it as bad. Or when something is easy, we view it as good. But most often in life, I find that hard and good are not antonyms.

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One Way to Help Women

When was pregnant with my second child, instead of driving to my local doctor’s office for prenatal checkups, I drove 45-minutes from our house in Bath, Maine, to an abandoned church in Lewiston where boxes of donated food filled the lobby and economically disadvantaged, single moms came together for support for their young children.

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Compassion Sunday

Growing up on a farm with a single mom who was working her way through college, we didn’t have a lot of extras. Most of my clothes were passed down from my older brother, and most of our food came from our flocks of sheep and chickens and from our garden. Only many decades later did I discover that for much of my childhood my grandparents had sent my mom money to help pay the mortgage.

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The Only Power Stronger than Hate

Like many, I woke up on Easter to the tragic news of the terrorist bombing in Sri Lanka. Having buried a daughter and my mother, I can only imagine the grief gripping those who lost children, spouses or parents in the blasts. Whole families were obliterated, but the victims included more than the terrorists’ targets.

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The Door

The Door

"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly," John 10:9-10...

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What Does God Look Like?

I am not a fan of puzzles. Taking a perfectly good image, cutting it into one hundred or more tiny pieces and then trying to reconstruct it feels like a frustrating waste of time. But last weekend, I was selling books at a local Grange hall with my 9-year-old son, Asher, when one of the organizers kindly offered us a puzzle of a shiny green frog.

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Was Jesus happy?

It isn’t hard to find something to be unhappy about these days. The melting ice caps. Racial and economic injustice. The high cost of education and medical care. The opioid epidemic. I suppose Lent is as good a season as any to be miserable as we recognize the grievous condition of the human heart and of the harm our actions have wrought on humanity.

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Fly Fishing, Faith and Experiencing God

I had fun this past weekend, sharing about writing with children at the Homeschoolers of Maine Convention, just up the coast in Rockport. One of my top tips for writers of any age – and one I live by – is to try to experience whatever it is you are writing about.

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