Further Thoughts on Going to Iraq (or, God is not Here)

By | April 18th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Faith and Doubt, Identity|

Poppy at her first Maundy Thursday service, her sisters washing her feet. We walked the six blocks to Saint James on Good Friday, the sun shining, a spring breeze chasing us along the sidewalks. I pushed the double-stroller – occupants varying in combination between Poppy, Leo, Sam, and [...]

“Live a Little More Beautifully and Dangerously, as Christians Should”: Some Thoughts on Going to Iraq

By | April 4th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing, Travels Near and Far|

A normal night in the Smucker household. When Father David said what he said on Sunday morning, I immediately grabbed the pen my daughter was drawing with and scribbled his quote at the top of my bulletin. “Hey!” she hissed in quiet protest. Lucy and Cade looked over [...]

Someone Died on Our Street

By | March 29th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity|

Photo by Krista Mangulsone via Unsplash Two or three nights a month, I'll wake up at an ungodly hour and see blue lights flashing against our white window blinds, a rhythmic beating, like the inside of a vein, or a party light. But, because it's happened so many [...]

On Seeing a Neighbor Hit Their Child, What Maile Did Right, and What I Would Do Differently

By | March 24th, 2017|A Contemplative Life|

About a week ago, I pulled up to the curb on James Street in time to see someone’s car being loaded onto the flatbed of a tow truck. I had seen the Lancaster parking authority vehicles earlier that morning, and a few of their employees going door to door, trying [...]

Keeping My Eyes Open

By | March 16th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Faith and Doubt, Identity, On Writing|

I'm not sure why I went with this photo, other than it's one of the few recent photos of all of us, from Mardi Gras, and I've been wanting to work it in anyway. Eight years ago, when Maile and I were at the bottom financially (or the [...]

Making Sense of Ash Wednesday and the Crosses on my Children’s Foreheads

By | March 10th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Faith and Doubt|

Photo by Laurie-Anne Robert via Unsplash It was a beautiful thing to do in the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of the week, at the beginning of Lent. We crowded into our church’s small chapel, the adults in chairs, the children sitting on the large, red [...]

That Round of Golf I Played With Tiger, and What it All Meant

By | February 16th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing|

Photo by Graft Ground via Unsplash Recently on Facebook I shared a dream I had that left a very strong impression on me. When I woke up, I had a very clear idea as to what the dream meant. Here's the dream. What's your interpretation? I was golfing [...]