Being Found

I have panic anxiety disorder. After many years of therapy, I rarely need medication and have learned to subdue it most of the time. But this doesn’t mean I don’t still have panic attacks. It’s a constant battle for me to discern what’s something to be upset about. The most common time for me to panic is when something uncomfortable happens unexpectedly.

Several years ago my husband came to my rescue during one of those horrible moments when it felt like the earth was slipping from under my feet. He proved he would never stop being there for me, including when I have an anxiety crisis.  

We had taken an extended vacation to Colorado with his brother and his brother’s family. We explored many towns and landmarks, going somewhere new every day. One day we passed a botanical garden and spontaneously dropped in.

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Redeeming Feminism

Author’s Note: This post was adapted from a talk I gave at Hutchmoot, for a session entitled, Voices of Grace: Encouraging Women’s Voices in Artisitic and Christian Community, along with Jill Phillips, Thomas McKenzie and Helena Sorenson. You can purchase the entire talk as well as the rest of the sessions from Hutchmoot 2018 by clicking on this link for the Rabbit Room store.

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In her book, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, Sarah Bessey says this:

“One needn’t identify as a feminist to participate in the redemptive movement of God for women in the world. The gospel is more than enough. Of course it is! But as long as I know how important maternal health is to Haiti’s future, and as long as I know that women are being abused and raped, as long as I know girls are being denied life itself through selective abortion, abandonment, and abuse, as long as brave little girls in Afghanistan are attacked with acid for the crime of going to school, and until being a Christian is synonymous with doing something about these things, you can also call me a feminist.”  

I agree with Sarah’s conclusion that being a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pro-female, but I also believe that’s something we can change.

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Home Can Be Lost and Found

Author’s Note: Near my house are a good many runnels and brooks. Often, they quietly suffer the shame of being impounded or bullied by the feckless construction of highways which, while useful, tend to ignore the finer vagaries of East Tennessee’s rolling landforms. I cannot be too indignant, though. For I am both creek and roadway, a paradoxical battleground silently warring upon my own landscape, hoping for the complex imprint of grace and holy rhythm.

…..

The blond underbelly of a hawk
Glints off the sun as it shifts
Its southpaw grip on a winter draft

Rising up the brush-grown vales hacked,
Bored, smoothed into interstate.
Pavement gathers deviant heats, pours them

Where a rimland creek once purled under trees,
Begging snow to its late-year breast,
Laying itself down, coverlet

By whitened coverlet, slumbering
Till slow, gentle crocuses sing
Hymns in royal purple: Up! Waken!

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Shaping the Generations Through Food

When I was growing up in school and youth group, it seemed like the big question we faced was, “What sort of influence will you have over your friends, family, chosen career, classmates, country?” Walking humbly before God or loving one’s neighbor required incredible and sold-out service to the Gospel. One needed to do big, important things for one’s life to matter for God’s Kingdom. To fulfill the Great Commission, God needed radical, on-fire followers who were willing to give up everything to follow Him and be fishers of men. My peers and I were encouraged to leave our homelands and work for God in foreign countries; that was where the darkness needed to be pushed back.

I left many spiritual emphasis weeks and missions conferences wondering if I was missing something. I kept coming back to the needs of my own sphere that seemed big and impossible to ignore.

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Serendipity at Work: An Interview with Drew Miller

Every year, for the past several circles around the sun, the community known as The Rabbit Room has convened in a rich and elaborate gathering known as Hutchmoot. This past Hutchmoot, I was excited to sit down for a few minutes to talk shop with Drew Miller, editor of the Rabbit Room blog and member of the delightful folk chamber group known as The Orchardist.

ADAM: How long have you been editing The Rabbit Room?

DREW: Let’s see, I think it’s been—well, I’ll think of it in terms of Hutchmoots. Last Hutchmoot was my first, and I think I had just started that summer, in July. At that point, I was only doing two posts a week, just to help Pete [Peterson]. As far as managing the blog myself, it’s been since the beginning of this year.

ADAM: Where did you and Pete come across each other?

DREW: A lot of similar circles overlapping. The church that Kelsey and I go to, I think, is where it all comes together. So, Hutchmoot used to be at Church of the Redeemer [in Nashville], and our church is actually a plant of Church of the Redeemer called St. Mary of Bethany Parish. Andrew Peterson and his immediate family started going to St. Mary’s as well, so they’ve been there all the time that we’ve been there. So we got to know them.

And I think it started when the Orchardist had just finished our record, and I was like, “Can you listen to this? Can this maybe be on The Rabbit Room?”

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On Why Coffee Doesn’t Taste Like Coffee Anymore

It’s funny how the arbitrary decisions a person makes can have life-altering effects.

One of my first jobs was working for a certain green mermaid (she’s actually a siren), making coffee. A friend off-handedly said that she really enjoyed working there. Needing funds for my newfound freedom after getting my first car, I decided to apply. I was hired on the spot and soon after began learning how to make coffee, a drink I didn’t even like at the time.

Part of my training was to learn how to spot the subtleties and nuances in coffees coming from various regions around the world. Much like wine, there are several factors which all have a drastic effect on the final product—from the particular varietal of coffee, to the terroir, to the way it goes from fruit on a tree to a little brown bean in a bag. In very general terms, African coffees are often citrusy and bright, while Latin American coffees are nuttier with red fruit or stone fruit qualities. Coffees from Indonesia are earthy and herbal. There’s so much to it all, and all, and it was a lot to take in, being a kid who never even drank the stuff. And yet, after scowling over the taste of my sixth french press that day, I began to see those hints of lemon my manager was telling me I would find in the Kenyan.

Fast forward a full decade. I’m now the lead barista at the longest-operating coffee shop in Knoxville, a place I’m proud to call home. I quit my desk job at a doctor’s office to work here, and I have never once looked back. The coffee I make is substantially better, but in a weird way I enjoy it less—and also way more.

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Separated

To separate yolk from white
My mother used half the shell
Like a little cup.

Sometimes she used a device
That safely nestled the yolk
While the white overflowed
Into bottomless crevasses
And ultimately into a waiting receptacle

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