in·ten·tion·al

inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/ adjective:  done on purpose; deliberate. Synonyms: calculated, conscious, intended, purposeful I talk to my writing students about audience all the time — “Know your audience,” I tell them,  “Your tone, your style, your voice depends on your audience.” But when I sit down to write, the audience member I most often put in focus…

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Wobbly

We were gathered around a table for book club — a book club that does include some discussion of a book, but mainly provides a chance to decompress, to gather a group of women around a patio and chat without being needed or summoned by anyone else for a few lovely hours. One of my…

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Meet Murray

I’m writing today from my sunroom table, my favorite summer writing spot. I’ve mentioned this favorite place before — the light breeze through the screened doors, the farmer’s fields lit up bright green by the morning sun, the robins chirping away. But this morning I had to make myself sit here. Make room on my…

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Hidden Hope

  (A version of this piece was first published on The Twelve.) During the summer, my schedule permits me to take a walk nearly every morning, just after sunrise. I pop in headphones, tune into a podcast, and head for my favorite path. Quiet neighborhood sidewalks open into a paved trail that winds through a farmer’s…

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See something, say something

  The world feels extra fragile to me lately. The big and the small — so many cancer diagnoses in my community, a contentious election and now inaugagration, unnerving daily news reports, an especially dark January, and my own kids constantly picking at each other. We had an Ice Day today – with school called off…

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A messier manger

It was nearly five years ago when Caleb and I participated in a craft night at church to make a nativity scene. I remember that when it was time to draw the faces on our little wooden figurines, I cringed as he grabbed the black Sharpie and haphazardly scratched in the eyes, noses, and mouths.…

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Falling

“By facing God, we also face our own inner chaos.” — Henri Nouwen It was a warm, fall, Michigan Sunday; what I knew would likely be our last for awhile. Twenty-some family members had just left my house, and the dishes were in the dishwasher, the floor was swept, and my husband wanted a couple…

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Middle

Definition: (Adjective) At an equal distance from the extremities of something  Synonyms: Center or Midst, suggesting that a person or thing is closely surrounded or encompassed on all sides, especially by that which is thick or dense; such as the midst of a storm. When I tell someone I teach in a middle school, the…

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