You Are Not Alone

I recently made a silly decision to be interviewed by a magazine. I didn’t think twice when I said yes to being interviewed about growing up as a pastor’s child. It’s been my identity for thirty-seven years, and I’m fairly intimate with the nuances of it. And it’s something I’ve talked and written about at […]

Walking Into (and out of) Betrayal

I was twenty, and I had it bad. I hadn’t just fallen in love with a man; I had also fallen in love with his church. I was looking for a community. My own family wasn’t in a great place relationally at that time. And so I was really looking for a family – somebody […]


I was in fifth grade the year I sang in a trio in the school show. The show had a patriotic theme and so our trio sang Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the USA.” (Incidentally, it burned me out on that song so much that still, more than twenty-five years later, I can’t listen to […]


How many of us lie in our beds at the end of a busy day, reflecting and feeling the weariness weighting us down? I’m probably not the only one. But it’s when I wake up in the morning feeling that weariness that I know I’m in trouble. I’ve reached that place again where I’ve run […]

Never Deserted

The first time I visited Fayetteville, NC, I can remember thinking how dirty, ugly, and crowded it was, and how I’d never subject myself to living in such a nasty place. I had grown up in the country. But just before I turned twenty, I met a man who lived in Fayetteville and fell in […]

On the Long Trail… Laughing at Myself

I’ve laughed at myself a lot over the past week. Last week, I wrote about the role of joy in getting through hard times and the importance of embracing joy when things are going wrong. And it just seems that ever since I clicked, “publish” on that post, I’ve been tested on it. Stresses and […]

Seeing Stars

My friend Liza recently asked me how I’m doing. We haven’t talked in several weeks, and so she wasn’t just looking for a one-word answer. She was looking for an update. My answer went something like this: I’m doing really well. I’ve had two deaths in my family so far this year. I’ve currently got […]

Breaking a Foot and Healing a Heart

Nothing will quite steal your joy like others making light of your pain. As a child, when you share your pain with others and they dismiss it or, worse, ridicule it, you quickly learn not to share it. Personally, I learned not to share my pain. And I learned not to look too closely at […]

What Is Joy?

Recently, in my therapist’s office, I came up against a question I couldn’t answer. What does joy look like for you? I know this is sad, but it’s easier for me to answer questions about sadness, worry, anxiety, and pain than it is for me to answer a question about joy. It’s also easier for […]

Whining, Cancer, and Fighting Back With Joy

I don’t have kids. I love kids. I spend a lot of time taking care of them. But I don’t have any of my own, and that’s probably more than obvious in some of my encounters with them. For instance, last weekend, when my friend’s eight-year-old daughter came into the kitchen and asked for cookies […]