On St. Patrick’s Day

The first year Rob and I were married, his Irish relative flew across the pond to visit. She had connections in the States and arrived in Illinois just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. A gregarious woman, she determined that Rob and I needed a taste of a real Irish celebration, so we bundled intoContinue reading “On St. Patrick’s Day”

Summers at the Ranch

When a dating relationship is ready for the next level, most girls bring their boyfriends home to meet their parents. I brought mine to summer camp. The year I met Rob and fell in love, I invited him to join me for the summer at my favorite place in all the world — Happy TContinue reading “Summers at the Ranch”

Suffering is Never for Nothing

In high school, I toured New England with an acting troupe that performed a reader’s theatre production called Bridge of Blood. The play told the story of five missionaries — Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming — who were martyred in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. Their deaths madeContinue reading “Suffering is Never for Nothing”

The Soap He Left Behind

When our family road tripped, we traveled light. It was a spiritual exercise each summer to rediscover our values by paring down our life to the essentials. Every year, I packed the camper with the bare minimum. A small duffle bag of clothes for each person. A single pot, a single skillet for the kitchen.Continue reading “The Soap He Left Behind”

Love’s Last Words

When I was young, a woman I knew died unexpectedly in her sleep. She went to bed seemingly healthy and never woke up in the morning. For all of the years after, her death haunted me with its terrifying possibility. It was entirely plausible that I too could die without warning, that I could snuggleContinue reading “Love’s Last Words”

The Day After Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day was never a special holiday in our marriage. Instead, it was the day after that held all the magic. The day the Whitman’s Sampler dropped to 50% off at the Walgreens down the street. That day, Rob ran out and grabbed me the biggest box of chocolates he could get under our self-imposedContinue reading “The Day After Valentine’s”

A Last Gift of Love

When Rob and I became engaged, we traveled from Illinois to our old college town in Ohio for makeshift premarital counseling. Mostly, Rob wanted to hang out with his old English professor, and I wanted to visit my sisters who were in school at the time. Over dinner with the professor and his wife, theContinue reading “A Last Gift of Love”

Adventures in Cooking

We’d recently returned from our honeymoon when Rob invited friends over for dinner. We lived in a little garage apartment in rural Ohio, and I was excited to break out our wedding gifts and use our new kitchen. Through graduate school, I’d eaten like a pauper, subsisting mostly on white rice with a melted slabContinue reading “Adventures in Cooking”