Embracing the Revolutionary Act of Trying and Failing and Trying Again

By | June 29th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing|

Photo by Kyle Meck via Unsplash. Yesterday, my friend Seth blogged about failure, and he penned one of my favorite lines I've read this year: "I’m making this request to the formula-peddling self-helpers (Christian and otherwise): Don’t just sell me your answers; show me your work." Now, I [...]

The Main Obstacle in Releasing a Book

By | June 28th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing|

Photo by Laura Aziz on Unsplash The heat in Carolina is the kind that the trees can lean against when they're tired, which is most of the time, because the heat will do that to you. Thunderstorms bookend the sky every afternoon, sometimes sailing past to the north, [...]

The Girl Who Couldn’t Speak #RideshareConfessional

By | June 27th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Ridesharing Confessional|

Photo by Ryan Pouncy via Unsplash She gets into the backseat of my car, a tiny thing, with limbs the wind might blow away. She is smiling and has had too much to drink but something about her seems unfamiliar with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if she [...]

Finding Things (Peace and Books, Just to Name a Few)

By | June 20th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Best of the Web, Books|

I know it's been rather quiet around these parts lately. I suppose there are a fair amount of reasons for that - we're currently in NC hanging out with Maile's family; I've also been busy on the book-writing front; and then there's the scurrying to get ready for the release [...]

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My Ramadan Meal, and Finding Peace in Unexpected Places

By | June 6th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Courageous People of Lancaster|

“Come by tonight, any time after eight o’clock,” my Syrian refugee friend told me earlier in the day, so after I drop off an Uber fare in his part of the city around 8:30pm, I head for his house. The street is dark and quiet. The sun has only recently [...]

What the Priest and the Nun Were Looking For – The Iraq Journals, Part 5

By | May 25th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Travels Near and Far|

We drove up a narrow street in Qaraqosh, Iraq, practically an alley, and our driver stopped the van when he could go no further. A large group of soldiers stood at the entrance to the church, as if on the lookout for something, and they eyed up our vehicle. They [...]

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When Money, Fame, and Admiration Aren’t Enough

By | May 24th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing|

A normal night in the Smucker household. Can you find Poppy? Catch all our normal moments at my Instagram account: @shawnsmucker This post comes to you from the carpeted floor in the bedroom shared by Sam and Leo on the second floor of our row home in Lancaster, [...]