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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Some Thoughts On La La Land and Living

By | February 1st, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing|

La La Land. I told Maile as we walked out of the theater that I had tears in my eyes throughout the movie because the various parts about trying to make it as a creative person hit too close to home. There's a part where Mia and Sebastian, two young [...]

What I Discovered in an Old Christmas Video From 2009

By | January 12th, 2017|A Contemplative Life, Faith and Doubt, Identity, On Writing|

Photo by Steve Halama via Unsplash Seven years ago, Maile and I had just gone through one of the most difficult holidays of our young lives. I had just turned 33. We had walked away from a failing business, left a community we loved, and moved into my [...]