I still remember the small-girl feeling of deep contentment that would settle low in my stomach during the hazy drive home from the grandparents’ house at the end of Christmas Day. I’d fall half-asleep with a handful of gifts clutched in my lap, my belly full of good things and my memory warmed by the hugs and happy conversation of cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. The black of night wrapped around the car like a blanket, and I was ... Read More about When Christmas Leaves You Feeling Lost and Disappointed
I was eleven years old – bookish, imaginative, shy, average – when I met Bethany. I had outgrown any possible cuteness, but not yet grown into any possible maturity. Bethany was sixteen. She was beautiful, creative, ridiculously intelligent, and with an effortless poise that was never intimidating, only kind. Her bookshelves groaned under the weight of her amazing personal library, and her composition books – which she let me look through and ... Read More about Making Room for Mentoring in Your World
I’m a night owl who also somehow likes the morning vibe. As long as it’s not too early, I relish the relative quietness of the day’s beginning. I like the pottering around feeling of getting ready for work. I enjoy the morning light filtering through half-open blinds. I like the routine of getting my zombified self to look half human. And I love love love breakfast foods. I love breakfast foods to the level of Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson, ... Read More about For the love of breakfast.
The only way to be a writer is to write. Pulling those words from the heart and mind and getting them onto the page is at once the simplest and the most difficult thing in the world. But reading can help us learn what good words in good order look like. It teaches us how to recognise the less-than-good stuff, too. And reading books specifically dedicated to the writing craft can be powerful motivation, inspiration, and education. Reading about ... Read More about the best books for writers
My parents became Christians when I was four years old, so I can’t remember a time when church was not a part of my life vocabulary. The first church was a tiny Assemblies of God congregation which originally met at the showground of our small coal mining town. Optional Sunday extras included a sparrow or two swooping among the rafters of the old pavilion. Later, we met in a senior citizens’ building where, for Sunday school, the kids would be ... Read More about flawed fellowship
Some things get to be so much a part of one’s identity that it is impossible to trace the thread of memory back to the beginning, back to the initial taste of an entirely new experience. I wish I could remember when books first entered my world, but I cannot. Like the seemingly infinite existence of my parents, the omnipresence of words is so enmeshed within my personal history that there is no separating their being from my own. I never thought ... Read More about a life in fiction
The end of January and the start of February are, in Australia, crazy times. After Australia Day on the 26th of January, a new school year begins for everyone from kindergarten to year twelve. A month later (give or take a couple of weeks), tertiary students head to university to begin or round out their degrees. It feels like the start of everything, and I – ever rapturous over freshly sharpened pencils – am happy. This year, I’m facing my ... Read More about the heart of education
As I sit down to write about Christmas in Australia, it feels more like the wintry Christmas seasons of the movies we grew up watching. It’s grey, breezy, and unseasonably cold. And by unseasonably cold, I mean 19 degrees Celsius (66 F). Which I guess, if I’m being honest about it, is not cold at all by northern standards. But I had to go and dig out a cardigan – a cardigan, I tell you. This is serious business for a December, in ... Read More about Christmas in the Great Southland
Recently my sister Lauren and I sat down to nut out our thoughts on personality types in relationships. We come at things from different angles. From the outside, Lauren resembles a typical introvert. She’s quiet, content to stay in the background, and has a gentle demeanour. Yet her chilled exterior hides a fiercely people-oriented perspective: Lauren, a self-described introvert, nevertheless lives in people time. She lives in a shared house ... Read More about Strength, Dignity, and Personality
‘Reading the Scriptures is not an activity discrete from living the gospel but one integral to it. It means letting Another have a say in everything we are saying and doing. It is as easy as that. And as hard.’ (Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book, p. xii) I was a nerd when I was a kid, well before nerds were geeky-cool. And I was nerdy in every sense of the word: bookish, indoorsy and excited by superheroes (what I wouldn’t give for an adult-size ... Read More about liberated devotion: dropping out of the race and meeting grace.
For any single woman who looks forward to someday loving and being loved, Valentine’s Day can probably never sneak by truly unnoticed. Even here in Australia, where the holiday is seriously downgraded in comparison to the high level of cupid activity in North America, it’s hard not to see the red and white and adorable heart shapes everywhere. Last year, I marched into Valentine’s Day kind of victoriously. All the pink and the chocolate and ... Read More about Sweet Sadness and St. Valentine
For some reason, no one in my family ever seems to do anything the conventional way. I’m sure it’s not intentional; it’s just how things keep turning out. My education was no different. I've been to public school and private school, was homeschooled, studied at a little Christian college for my undergraduate degree and at a large secular college for my postgraduate degree. For this bookish little eternal student, it’s been an exciting journey. I ... Read More about A narrow focus and broad horizons