Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Website, New Blog Location

I have a new website (still a work in progress, butmostly done) and a new blog contained therein. 

You can find my posts, rants, thoughts, and stories at

I hope you'll come check it out, add it to your RSS feed, and jump in with comments.

See you there :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Review: Jesus, My Father, The CIA & Me

This is the second book from Ian Morgan Cron I've reviewed. I enjoyed Chasing Francis so much that I requested this book from the publisher, looking for more from this author.

This memoir was a mixed experience. I was never sure what this book was about, exactly. He writes vividly of his mentally ill, alcoholic father, the devoted Nanny who cared for him, and the ins and outs of a very Catholic childhood. But through it, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to make of this narrative, or where it was leading.

The brighter spots came, as they did in his previous work, from unexpected nuggets of wisdom that of pop out of the story and grab you. Those make this book a worthwhile read. (Also, I think male readers might be more the target audience.)

*I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Beach Reads: Fiction Edition

I love reading all the time, but the idea of the perfect book for summer days is one I cherish. I pour over the lists that pop up on Twitter like a kid dreaming of Christmas, each shiny cover holding a story that can take me away...

Here are three I've loved so far:

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
Loved this book. I Read it on the beach, in the car, on my couch late one night when I couldn't's that book. I didn't think I was interested in the history of diamond advertising, and yet, there I was, captivated. I'm enthralled by the way the book weaves together stories that cross decades. I'll be re-reading in dissection mode, trying to figure out, "How'd she do that?" But it's a testament to the entertainment value of this story that I didn't even try to figure it out the first time through; I just enjoyed.  (Bonus: Courtney Sullivan is on her tour right now.  Here's a list of where she'll be.)

Why Can't I Be You? by Allie Larkin
Jenny Shaw hears someone call to her across a hotel lobby and realizes that they think she is someone else. She goes with it, learning about this other person and becoming her, sort of, and realizing the kind of close friendships she'd never had on her own.  I adored this story because it does such a great job of describing the longing we all have to connect and to develop these kind of relationships--where we really know people and they know us. Also, Allie Larkin is so funny. She creates a fun world to jump into, whether you're lounging in a beach chair or huddled indoors during a thunderstorm.  (And when you're done loving Why Can't I Be You, check out her first book, Stay, about a woman who gets drunk one night and orders a German Shepherd online!)

East Hope by Katherine Davis
My Mom gave me this book when I said I was looking for something light, with a happy ending.  This delivered.  (And yes, I'm kind of a sucker for any book with "hope" in the title.)

Book Review - Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale

This book snuck up on me. I was surprised to discover it was a novel rather than a memoir, and the first few chapters were a little clunky. But I'm so glad I kept reading, because the story that unfolded was a real gem.

Chasing Francis is about a pastor who has lost his faith. He travels to Italy to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest, who suggests he study the teachings and life of Francis of Assisi.

The best part of this reading experience were the many lines that made me stop and underline them, put down the book, and think.  Like this:  "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you're doing the impossible" (a quote from St. Francis).  Or this: "The Bible isn't simply a book that tells us what to do; it's also a story that tells us who we are." And this series of thoughts as the pastor is trying to imagine what a church inspired by Francis might look like today:

"Beauty can break a heart and make it think about something more spiritual than the mindless routine we go through day after day to get by....In a fallen world, beauty is a form of protest, a way to push back against the darkness.... We're all broken people who've lost our dignity, in one way or another....What if we all, as a church, decided to make one of our distinctives being restorers of people's dignity?"

Kind of a beautiful idea, right?

I learned so much about Saint Francis in this book, but it was woven into the narrative with skill.  An entertaining, inspiring, edifying read.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Review: The Bible (!)

I'm a bit of a Bible junkie.  Having Bibles around makes me happy--I like having wisdom within arm's reach at all times. And yet, it's a strange thing to do a book review on the Bible. I mean, it's not like I'm in a position to opine on the author's use of symbolism or plot development.  But when Thomas Nelson offered me the chance to check out the latest edition of the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, I was excited, even though I knew right from the start I'd be ignoring their requirement that I read the ENTIRE book before posting my review :)

My friend Elizabeth recommended an earlier edition of this Bible to me a couple of years ago--it's her favorite.  And as I look at it now, I can see why. It's set up to direct you toward God's encouragement. It has lots of extra material to help you find and focus on the places where God is saying, "I have a plan. I'll tell you what you need to do. It's okay not to worry. It's safe to trust me."

It's the New Living Translation, which means that the original Hebrew and Greek are translated in more of a "what is the meaning and intention of the sentence?" fashion, instead of word-for-word.  While people go round and round about how reliable this is, I usually step outside of that argument and ask this question instead:  Can reading these words in a slightly different arrangement show me something I missed because I'm so used to the phrasing of my everyday bible?  (I've been a fan of the NIV Study Bible, a slightly more literal translation, since I tiptoed in to Christian faith.)

Here's how I reviewed this Bible:

Right now, my Bible time is pretty stripped down: each morning I read the Psalm and Proverb for the date.  Today is June 21, so I'm reading Psalm 21, and Proverb 21.  In a season like this when I don't have much extra bandwidth, this gives me a prayer and a nugget of wisdom to keep me from screwing up during the day. It's not very sophisticated, but it keeps me on the beam.

(I was going to post a picture of a securely balanced gymnast here, but let's be honest: these are way more fun):

Still, technically, on the beam...

Thankfully, unlike gymnastics judges, God doubles our bonus points for every bit of extra effort we put into clinging to the beam. Hanging underneath is totally counts!

Okay, back the review:
This morning, instead of reaching for my usual bible, I grabbed the NSFLB instead.  As expected, I enjoyed the NLT translation of the Psalm & Proverb, but those readings didn't feature many of the "special bonus" stuff this Bible offers, so I flipped around a bit.

My favorite part was the sections called "Truth in Action" that offer practical suggestions for applying the Bible to everyday life today. I'm a practical girl, so I like clear suggestions.

My least favorite part was that this Bible is complicated! There are all sorts of symbols and footnote systems employed on almost every line--it's distracting. And even though I searched for twenty minutes, I couldn't figure out what the tiny crosses at the end of some passages were trying to direct me to.

My take on this is that it's a good supplemental Bible, if you're looking for a change of pace or some extra inspiration...or a STELLAR everyday Bible if you enjoy puzzles :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Telling Right From Wrong

I think this is true:

When we say that a situation is "complex" or "complicated," often what that means is that when we apply the test Gretchen mentions for what the right thing is to do, we don't like the results...or what the results require.

Seems like one of the more important lessons in life.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


I jumped at the chance to review Billy Graham's new book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith & Finishing Well.  It took forever to arrive, and when it did, I was up to my ears in another big title, Lean In.  I laughed, quite sure publishers never imagined these two works being read (then underlined, considered, and swirled around in the same brain) simultaneously.  And yet that's what happened. I think there's something to be said for the contrast that comes from holding the thoughts of a female executive in mid-life up next to those of a male champion of faith who is nearing the end of his time here on earth.  The wildly different perspectives fill in the others' gaps, somehow.  I'm still trying to figure out what that means. (Hoping to have a post about that down the road!)

For now, here are a few things I appreciated about Nearing Home that make it worth considering for your TBR pile:

Graham wrote this book after an interview in 2006 where he was asked to give a statement about death.  He commented that he had been taught all of his life how to die, but no one had ever taught him how to grow old.  I like his point that these two things are different, if we let them be.  Of course, we can be focused obsessively on death from the moment we find our first grey hair, or forget what we were looking for when we open the refrigerator, or hit any one of the 1,001 milestones that signal we've passed life's mid-point and are headed back down to the end of the ride.  But Graham's book suggests the possibility that we can grow old well--with grace and dignity, learning and contributing right up until our time is up.

The subtitle of his book caught my attention, particularly the point on "finishing well."  A few years back I heard a long series of sermons on this topic, and wondered at the time if the preacher was working through his own panic around middle age (a phenomena called "working your stuff out from the front" that gets a bad rap in church circles but I suspect might not be such a horrible thing if done with a bit of honesty and humor).  Anyway, that sermon series raised great questions, but didn't come up with much in the way of answers.  "Keep leading!" the preacher exhorted, "don't stop!"  It made aging sound a bit exhausting.  Not long after, he announced his retirement.

Billy Graham offers a lot more candor.  He shares how surprised he's been by the effects of old age, and that he hasn't liked them much.  But he doesn't deny or resist them. Instead, he shares things he's done to thrive in each new season of life: what God suggests to him, how his friendships have changed, the ongoing state of missing his wife Ruth, now that he's a widower.  And as sad as this might sound, he writes in a way that is filled with hope.

He says:

"At times I can sympathize with most seniors.  The good old days call me back at times, especially when I am with friends who have shared so much. While I choose not to dwell on the past or relive my youth, there are times i long to hike up into the hills with my children or stand in the pulpit to deliver a Gospel message. But the walker, wheelchair, and cane near my bed remind me that chapter in life is past. So I thank God for the memories that have enriched my life but look forward to new opportunities, to experiences that can add some dimension to the present. Our attitudes play a major role in the closing scene on life's stage."

This hit home for me. This past weekend Steve & I grabbed a bite at a restaurant near the water where I waitressed one summer. It reminded me of that year: how excited I was to have left law and be heading off to graduate school, the fun of laughing with friends and having a job that wasn't easy, exactly, but where the stakes were low and the rewards were high, and I knew precisely what was expected of me there, even as I looked ahead to all the unknowns of my next stage of life.

For a moment, I envied our waiter. Did he know what a great position he was in, how good life could be exactly where he is?  And yet what I was really yearning for was that feeling that something new and good is coming now, and the luxury of a few weeks of predictability and fun (not to mention piles of tips!) in the meantime.

But rather than wallow, I took Billy Graham's advice: I thanked God for this memory, and then looked up at the blue sky, letting God know I was in for whatever the next opportunity might be.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Test Driving New Ideas

Here are two blog posts I read this morning that I'll be thinking about over the weekend:

This, from Shauna Neiquist, about learning to make small corrections.

And this from Donald Miller on the four words that he says got him unstuck in his writing (and life):  "You're being too careful."

I'm intrigued enough to write these phrases on a post it to stick to the back of my phone, a reminder to look for where they might make life more interesting.

Do you ever try this type of experiment?

Monday, May 06, 2013


The Muse and the Marketplace literary conference was this past weekend, and it left me feeling excited about all things writing and bookish.  One of the keynote speakers said, "If you use words to connect the dots in life, you're a writer." I love that idea, and plan to repeat it often (along with it's obvious corollary, "If you use numbers to connect the dots in life, you're an alien." :) )

The Muse left me inspired to write...and to read. In this season of feeling so ready for summer vacation, I love the way books take me somewhere else and expand my horizons in the fifteen minute increments I find to fly through a few pages. So today I'll share some of the great books I've read over the past couple of months, in case you're looking for a fun little get-away, too.

I just finished Life After Life, a novel by Jill McCorkle. It follows a group of people who live in and
around a retirement home. I expected it to be a bit sad, but it surprised me. I was drawn right into these characters and the things they share and remember about their lives: what they miss, mistakes they made, how they work to create a new life now that the old one exists only in their memories. The philosophical questions in this book about living and aging and seasons of life intrigue me.  My favorite character in the book is a former school teacher who posits that deep inside, we're all still eight years old. It's funny to see how she applies that theory and how apt it can be. And my second favorite character is part of a plot twist that caught by totally by surprise. I won't give it away, but it's worth the read just to hear him describe his life strategies. 

Before that, I sped through The Invisible Girls, a memoir by Sarah Thebarge.  This one's a heartbreaker, but in the best way. She shares her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her twenties (very unusual), weathering the harsh treatment along with the disappointing ways her friends react to her illness, and then moving Portland, Oregon to get a fresh start. In Portland, she meets a woman from Somalia on a bus, along with the woman's five daughters.  The author's descriptions of witnessing the struggles of this family to survive are the best part of this book. I'd never before considered how hard it is to keep milk from spoiling if you don't know that the refrigerator only works if you keep the door closed. Or how you handle bodily functions if no one shows you how a bathroom works and you now live in a crowded city instead of a rural area.  This book was tough to put down, and I was sad when it was over.

Working backwards through the list, I LOVED the new book from Chip & Dan Heath, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.  I'm a fan of the Heath brothers: I love how they help me broaden my thinking, and this book does a really good job at pointing out how severely most of us narrow our focus when making decisions, ignoring how most things in life aren't nearly as either/or as we make them out to be.  They talk about how we tend to use a spotlight to look at a decision...which does a great job of lighting up a particular area, but leaves everything else in the dark.  They offer strategies to swing that spotlight around a bit and see what other possibilities it reveals.

And finally, I read Rob Bell's latest, What We Talk About When We Talk About God. I'm not a Rob Bell devotee: we come from very different places, and some of the rocks he's flipping over in search of spiritual answers are the same ones I was exploring awhile back and decided weren't all that helpful. But I have friends who know him personally and love him, so I try to withhold any strong opinions. (And it wasn't until I read a profile of him in The New Yorker describing him as providing a release valve or sorts in the intense conservative culture of Grand Rapids, Michigan where he founded a church that I understood why he's such a big deal in certain Christian circles.) I liked this book more than expected, but with one caveat: as a writer, I think he needs to step up to the plate and reveal what these ideas mean to him. His writing is quite cerebral, but all the artful phrases don't land anywhere because he doesn't share about himself. He hints at an intense spiritual crisis but never tells us what that looked or felt like, or how he's working through it, or even what it looks like for him to look to his faith in mundane circumstances wondering what to do next and whether life has meaning.  It would be interesting to read an "applied faith" book from him.

Monday, April 29, 2013

On Being (Less Than) Unique

It seems like everywhere I look these days, there's another book or article or inspirational picture on FB encouraging us to "be ourselves." It's meant as an alternative to following the crowd (or feeling like a loser because you can't keep up).  That sounds so good, right? And yet when I read these calls to endless uniqueness, I get this twitchy feeling and feel like there's a gnat that won't stop buzzing in my ear.

Here's why: I think these articles are trying to shove us into a false dichotomy. They suggest that in life, we're either stomping around demanding to be recognized and appreciated for who we are, or wallowing in tearful pity as we lament over all that we're not. We're either the bold yellow M&M in this picture, letting our true colors show & smiling for the world to see, or we're flat and green and boring, just like everybody else.

But my life has more of a both/and quality.

For example:

This past weekend, we spent Saturday at the Newburyport Literary Festival. At one level, I was feeling great about myself as we rolled into the Newburyport Starbucks for a cup of coffee before the first event. Getting up and motivated on weekend mornings is not our strong suit, and I was thrilled that we were there with time to spare & a gift card to spend on lattes.  I was feeling like a yellow M&M. I'd even tried to dress a little bit cute that day because this was as close to a date as Steve and I have had in awhile (even though Princess Peach was with us and all the events we went to involved answering questions like, "What rhymes with rhinoceros?" & dancing to silly songs.)  But for all my trying, I failed to look cute. I grabbed the wrong pair of jeans and they were frumpy and so I felt frumpy which is a skid it's almost impossible to steer yourself out of.

Then, when we got to Starbucks, there was a Glamour Mom. She looked like Connie Britton: Her hair was
fully blown out at 10:00 in the morning, she was wearing an adorable, fitted top & a perfect little assortment of bracelets that made this pretty clinking noise as she drank her beverage. And of course, she had perfect jeans. Sigh.

It was a both/and moment: I felt great about myself for being out and about on a Saturday, taking advantage of this cool event so close to the city (because I love that that is who I am!), and horrible for not taking the nano-second to recognize the problem of the "these aren't date-night jeans...these are clean the bathroom jeans!" and change. (Because that's me, too.)

But there is another piece to this moment that I think is important: As I watched Newburyport Starbucks Connie, I took mental notes on why I liked her outfit so much. I sipped my latte, fished the straw out of Princess Peach's chocolate milk for the 19th time, and thought of items in my own closet that were similar, that might work for next Saturday. Of course, I can't magically grow five inches (did I mention that Newburyport Starbucks Connie was also statuesque?) But she's good at this looking-good-on-Saturday-morning thing, and I'm not. So why not learn from her?

I guess those "be yourself!" articles bug me so much because there are certain things I don't have strong opinions about, and I'd just as soon take a cue from someone else as I navigate life.  You can bet that next Saturday I'll be remembering both "pick the right jeans" and "it's been SO LONG since you wore bracelets, Trish...why not put some on?" thanks to Newburyport Starbucks Connie. And yes, if I take the time to blow out my hair, I'll look more like her than me (God willing). Is that such a bad thing? Underneath that fluffy hair will still be my brain, seeing the world and connecting dots my weird way, getting excited about things that seem mundane and scanning the world for the perfect orange purse.  Who knows what cool things are inside all those green M&Ms?

Today, if you have a free minute, consider: What things are unique & important to you, about you? And in what areas might you be perfectly happy to be a bit of a copy cat?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Escapism: My Quest for an Orange Purse

The past couple of weeks have been surreal, and here's what I've learned: When all hell is breaking loose around me, I escape by pondering things that don't matter.  I think them through deeply and thoroughly, considering every possibility, searching far and wide for answers.

The past few days have taken this to a new level, as I returned to a quest (read: obsession) from last

spring: my longing for an orange purse.  This began (read: can be blamed on) my friend Kristen, who had a gorgeous orange bag when we met for lunch. It was a bit of a rainy day, and her bag just looked so bright and happy and chic against the light blue cardigan she was wearing. Had I been a bit more forward-thinking, I'd have offered to buy it from her then, as I've been hunting for something similar ever since.

After the stress of last week's bombing and lock down (I still can't believe that's a viable sentence), I re-engaged my mission to find an orange purse. Not just ANY orange purse, mind you, but the rarest of all orange purse species: the one that looks good with an Irish complexion. (In other words, I'm looking for the unicorn of orange purses.)  I went to store after store, ignoring aisles stuffed with fabulous sales on things we actually need, in single-minded pursuit of this orange purse.  I held dozens of them up to my side, considering whether each one would hold my laptop, what outfits they might work with. I realized that I like structured bags better than floppy ones, and that even though I'd love to return to my days of tossing a lip gloss and keys into a cute little bag, I need something big enough to hold a book.  It was hours of searching and self-discovery.

In other words, it was a way to escape from real life.

Here's the thing: If this were an orange purse emergency, I have people who know orange purses. I'm friends with an entire family where every member went to either Princeton or UVA. They live in orange, whereas I barely considered orange a color prior to knowing them.

But this isn't an emergency, it's an escape mechanism. It's a way to channel my thoughts in a harmless direction for long enough to let my pulse stop racing and let the vitamin D from the sunshine (thank you, God, for this week's sunshine!) soak in.  I don't have an orange purse yet. I might not ever find one. But in some strange way, the hunt is good.

Do you have an escape mechanism?

(More importantly: Do you have a line on an orange purse that compliments a purplish-pale complexion and a nose that's slightly pink from allergy season? I'm asking for a friend...)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I've been awake for two hours and forty-five minutes and already I've left behind half my keys (the half that lets me back into the house), spent an hour in traffic to get other keys from Steve, and spilled coffee in three different rooms thus redecorating a table, two rugs and a comforter.

As I was sitting in that traffic at the world's longest red light, trying to make lemons from my lemonade, I decided to listen to a talk. You know, to capture the moment for self-improvement! (Exclamation point mandatory for such attempts, yes?)

The talk was on frustration. Which you'd think would be helpful. As it turns out, not so much. Because as the speaker described how frustrated God gets sometimes with us as we thwart His plans and veer off on our own adventures, I sat there, squashed between a Sprinter van and a older model BMW (both gunning for my spot to dart through an impossibly fast stoplight) I thought, God you can't be frustrated with me right now, because I'm frustrated with YOU!"

Whoever calls it first, wins.

I don't have any deep conclusions to share with you about this frustration. I can't wrap this one up with a big "But isn't God awesome!" bow quite yet, at least not with any integrity.

But here's the thing: deep inside, under all the frustration, I believe a bow is coming. I have logged enough days with God that I know not to write one off based on the mid-morning report.  I don't know how things will get better--or that they won't get worse first. After all, there's still coffee in my mug and several rooms I haven't yet spilled in.

I know this isn't profound, but I think sometimes it's good to admit when we're trudging through the day thinking not, "Woo hoo, life is so awesome!!!" but rather, "Well, let's wait and see."

Because at some level, isn't wait and see the whole message of the Bible?

Wait, that's kind of a bow! Look at that!

I'm signing off now before I spill coffee on it :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On trying to be Boston Strong

Hello Blog friends. I'm feeling better today. Yesterday was rough. It was my first chance to process all that happened last week--Monday's bombing. The mourning, the investigation. Having dinner with my friend Super-G Thursday night, listening to her story of being at the marathon during the bombing, hugging her as we headed home... and then learning that the suspects had killed an MIT police officer three blocks away shortly after we left.  Staying up most of that night watching the news, scanning Twitter, hearing the replay of the shootout, waiting and wondering and praying. And then Friday (when I was sure this would be over) waking up to a text from my brother about how I shouldn't take THAT DOG outside, turning on the news to learn that we were under lock-down. Listening to birds chirping outside--they city is so eerie when it's quiet. Our friends Emily and Gavin called: they knew the Tsarnaev brothers when they lived next door to them on Norfolk Street. The boys used to help them with their groceries and hang out with them in their courtyard. (You can hear Emily interviewed here.) Hours later, when the lockdown was called off, three Cambridge Police vehicles appeared on our street to search a three-story house that was boarded up after a fire last year. And then the air filled with echoes of gunfire and sirens and helicopters. We heard flash-bangs through our living room window as they found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding, bleeding, in that boat one town away.

To sum it up bluntly: It really sucks to hear something Anderson Cooper is covering on the news live through your window.

It is surreal to discover that the suspects in this awful event were from here.  That all the Cantabridgian insistence on acceptance and diversity and political correctness hasn't created some magical atmosphere where everyone is free from evil. Good intentions just can't accomplish that.  I knew that, of course. I kind of loathe all the political correctness. But I guess at some level I'd bought into the lie that if you cover your world with enough nice, nothing really bad can grow there.  I was wrong.

But it wasn't all bad. Most of my tears were prompted by stunned relief: as I saw law enforcement officials streaming in from EVERYWHERE: A friend's husband is a State Trooper in CT; he was here. The SWAT team came from Quantico, VA. I lost track of all the different groups after awhile, and was just a soggy mess of gratitude that so many would do so much to help.

And there was much-needed help & hilarity online: Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore tweet. And Glenn Fleishman, who pointed out to everyone who seemed baffled that the suspect was hiding in a boat...on a place called Watertown
: "People not from New England: Every house, even 500 miles from ocean, has tarped-over rotting boat in backyard in New England." (He's totally right.) And Seth Mnookin, a science writer from MIT who couldn't get to his car Thursday night because it was parked in the perimeter and so live-tweeted search updates for about 40 consecutive hours. Not to mention the texts, calls, tweets, FB posts & emails from friends (some of whom I've never met in person) who took a minute to check in to see if we were okay. Those meant more than I can say.

But here's a confession: I couldn't post about any of this yesterday because I was too angry. Not big-picture angry; I'm not there yet. Rather, at random things that don't usually get to me. 

I was mad at Christians who used these events as an opportunity to jump on their chosen soap-box, posting things that didn't make much sense, like this: "Blaming Muslims for terrorism is like blaming Catholics for the Latin drug cartels" (Um, hello? I've never heard a cartel leader claim that they pursued drug distribution out of passion for their Catholic faith or to please the Pope). Or this: "To say all Muslims are represented by these terrorists is like saying all Christians are represented by the members of Westboro Baptist Church" (Again...not really. As reprehensible as Westboro Baptist is, I don't think they've ever killed anyone to get their point across).  

I wasn't angry about any of this because I'm anti-Muslim. I'm all for NOT blaming entire swaths of humanity for the actions of extremists. I was angry because these were ridiculous attempts to jump on the bandwagon of this tragedy with an agenda, and I didn't have the bandwidth to filter out ridiculousness without getting angry. (In Star Wars terms, my deflector shields were low.)

But maybe I needed a day to be mad. Maybe I should give thanks for these silly statements because they helped me focus the anger. I'm not much for punching pillows, but a couple of walks (okay, stomps) around the block muttering about these things, along with a long vent with Steve when he got home from work, helped: as I said, I feel much better today.

Today, I'm able to celebrate with the law enforcement officials, and weep with the families whose lives will never be the same. I'm able to pray for the hundreds of unnamed victims of the bombings who are expected to live and ask God to help them move beyond mere survival...for the miracle that each of them thrive. And at the same time, to pray for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who really does seem like a kid who got caught up in something faster, stronger, and bigger than he could manage.

Today, as I walked THAT DOG around the block, I'm thinking about the lyrics to this song by our friend Andy Young:

God of all comfort

God of all peace
God of all hope and joy
Come rest on your people
Come move in our hearts
Give peace to the anxious ones
That we might see you
That we might hold your hand
That we might know you are God

May it be so.