The Hierophant

My side project this summer has been ghostwriting a local man’s memoir. His life is interesting, and it feels worthwhile to help him tell his story. It also makes me wish that more strangers invited me into their homes and told me personal details about their lives. In one of our interviews, the man mentioned […]

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Everyone Must Stand Alone

My college had a tradition: whenever you heard the Madonna song “Like a Prayer,” you had to take your shirt off. The tradition started many years before I attended college, and its origins were murky when I was there. Even so, “Like a Prayer” was a staple of college party playlists. I was mostly friendless […]

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Ozark Mountain Springtime

I worked on a grant this spring about vocational discernment. Vocation is often used in a religious context, but in secular higher education vocation can be understood as “meaning and purpose.” How does higher education help a student identify an academic and career pathway that adds meaning and purpose to his or her life? In […]

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Time Travel

This spring it will have been a decade since I met my husband, Tony. It will also have been a decade since I started the job the led to my grant writing career. Apparently 2009 was my year. If you had told me, back in 2009, that it was my year, I would not have […]

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Perpetual Self-Doubt and Groceries

Several years ago, I stumbled onto the USDA’s monthly cost of food reports and I’ve been hooked ever since. Every month (when the federal government is not partially shut down) the USDA publishes a report on grocery spending at four cost levels for various demographic groups. I’ve spent what amounts to many hours analyzing these […]

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Vocabulary Resolutions

I hate self-important people. I want to soften the word hate but I can’t, because dislike isn’t strong enough and it’s also longer, which makes it doubly bad. Why use a longer word when I can use a smaller word that communicates an idea more directly? I’ve been rolling my eyes at people who use […]

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Other Mothers

I like used clothing stores. I like them because they’re cheap, and I am frugal. I also like them because new clothes are terrible for the environment, which is something I began panicking about after reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline a few years ago. Like so many things, […]

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