“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 [...]

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 [...]

An Honest Reflection on Self-Employment, Canceled Contracts, and Hope

By | January 3rd, 2017|A Contemplative Life, On Writing|

Ride with me for just a moment on this roller coaster called self-employment, in which I try to provide for two adults and six children. This is how it often goes: I live a life of relatively uneventful days and sleepless nights. Poppy is five months old and highly skeptical [...]

When I Slept Under the Bed (Or, The Importance of “Hiddenness”)

By | August 25th, 2016|A Contemplative Life, Identity, On Writing|

Photo by Kate Williams via Unsplash From the time I was six years old until I was around ten, my family lived in a great, sprawling farmhouse with a covered front porch and two huge oak trees in the front yard. There was a garden and barns made [...]