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Barefoot Teaching

Today is not just the first day of teaching in a new semester for me; it also marks the beginning of my 25th year in the classroom. My silver anniversary, if you will. I’m not sure it’s an occasion for a party or anything. And I realize it’s clichéd to say, but it really doesn’t seem that long ago that …

Lucky 13

MAY 2012: INSIDE OUT by Jennifer L. Holberg I recently joined the blogging group “The Twelve: Reformed. Done Daily.” It’s a group that has been going for a while (and with great stuff—I encourage you to check it out at the12.squarespace.com). And now that one of the original twelve has dropped out, I guess that makes me the blog’s Matthias. …

Scenes of Miracle

I’ve had a great treat this summer: every Wednesday, I’ve gotten to spend the morning with a dear friend’s 20-month old child. The official reason is to give my friend a little time for her own writing, but the real reason, if truth be told, is much more selfish on my part–I get to have an excuse to goof around …

Story-Shaped Lives

I still have the handmade birthday card my fifth grade teacher gave me—an enormous piece of folded yellow construction paper with a big orange bookworm (wearing a festive birthday hat, naturally) drawn on the front. Somehow that flimsy relic of thirty years ago survived the many moves of my childhood and found a snug home at the bottom of the …

In Defense of Extravagance

Several years ago I was in England, researching the life of a very minor Modernist poet. I had dutifully made the rounds of libraries far and wide, and finally, after about a month, I had arrived at the very last one on my list. My reward when I was done was to be my first trip to France with my …

Becoming a Burden

I’ve decided to become a burden. I’m sure my friends will be thrilled to hear it. I realize that I’m already probably a lot for them to bear, but to consciously decide to burden them flies in the face of a lifetime of training. Martha’s not my favorite Bible character for nothing. No, as I think about it, it’s pretty …

“And Also With You”: Finding the Way to Liturgy

Choosing birthday cards is always a daunting task–they’re either too smarmy, too sexual, too juvenile, too something. The picture is wrong, the sentiment not quite what one had hoped to say. Only rarely does one find that perfect card–and then, one is always tempted to buy seven of the same. In my formative years as a card shopper (not giving …