When I Tried to Teach My Son to Ride His Bike

By | July 3rd, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing, The Little People in the House|

It is a warm day, the day he turns eight years old, and he eats his birthday waffles and drinks his birthday coffee - decaf - and while the morning sun in North Carolina burns off the nighttime rain, he begs to go out and try his bike for the [...]

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, [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]