What Strong Women Do

None of the ladies in my family shrink back. Distinctly southern, full voices fill the room when we enter. We’re known for our loud laughs and warm embraces. We aren’t afraid to speak our minds and take the lead. We see a space and fill it. We see a need and fill it. I never […]

Beatitudes for COVID-19 Times

(Inspired by the Mother of Alternative Blessings, Nadia Bolz-Weber, who was inspired by a Jesus who offered extravagant blessings to those who wouldn’t otherwise have received blessings.)  We imagine Jesus, in our midst, offering beatitudes for this time: Blessed are you when you have been affected by COVID-19.  Blessed are the people of Wuhan. Blessed […]

Is This Renovation? Beatitudes and New Diagnoses

In January, I went to my gynecologist mildly concerned about some itchiness and pain in my nether regions. I expected a simple diagnosis—some kind of weird bacterial infection or an allergic reaction. Instead, I learned that I have a chronic condition called lichen sclerosus (LS), which is believed to be an auto-immune disorder. Basically, my […]

Sisters in Mental Illness: Shaley Hoogendoorn Talks to Jessica Birak of Mint & Birch

[ Trigger Warning: Mention of abuse, as well as an eating disorder.] This month, Shaley Hoogendoorn talks to Jessica Birak, founder of the jewelry company Mint & Birch, who is also a vulnerable and honest advocate for mental health. They talk about topics related to anxiety, depression, postpartum, hypochondria, eating disorders and healing from childhood […]

Hosting a Human, And Other Lessons in Hospitality

I love hosting people around our table. I love trying new recipes and anticipating the conversation that will unfold throughout the evening. I love the surprising connections that always seem to be made and the scattering of empty, wine-smudged glasses at the end of the night. I love exchanging hugs as people leave—less awkward than […]