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What Child Is This?

By Andrew JohnsonDecember 7, 2017

My wife is holding my hand to her stomach, gently gliding my fingers just beneath her ribcage where two small feet have been kicking against skin. She is thirty-two weeks pregnant with our third child, due in early December, an Advent baby. Sitting on our bed, she guides my hand as if across a globe,…

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Advent Lights

By Bryan BlissDecember 4, 2017

The highways that snake down and around rural Iowa are dark. Enough that, if you are driving at the right time of night, and there isn’t a lot of traffic, you can catch moments of brilliance in the sky. Stars forever. An impossibly deep night. The opportunity to take a breath. My wife and kids…

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The Optics of Illusion

By Brad FruhauffNovember 29, 2017

Ross told the kids to stare at the splotchy red and blue picture and wait. A dozen elementary-school students tried to sit still long enough to just look. The image could have been a representation of Claude Monet’s last sight of his breakfast nook. Color without definition, intensity without concreteness, depth without distance. For some…

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What Keeps Me from You

By Richard ChessNovember 28, 2017

What keeps me from you: a meeting with human resources. What keeps me from you: I slept through the night to the dream of shopping. For a board. With wheels. Low to the ground. Lower than other boards. Lower to the ground than most kids. You can skate, you can roll, but you can’t fall.…

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Letter from an Underground Karamazov to His Couple’s Therapist

By Brad FruhauffNovember 13, 2017

Dear Dr. E, My, but you’re a clever one, aren’t you? You sit there looking so kind and compassionate, smiling and nodding, affirming and encouraging us, and so on, but I’m onto your little game. I’m a clever one, myself. Therapy, I know, is not really about feeling heard and receiving good relationship advice. It’s…

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You Can’t Hide from Winter

By Jessica GriffithNovember 8, 2017

Winter is coming. All of northern Michigan seems to whisper the warning. The sun is slower to rise each day, and the mist clings to the lakes when I drive my children to school in the darkness. Our neighbors have been anticipating the first snowfall since we arrived here in August, when it was ninety-two…

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Poetry Friday: “Notre Dame”

By Fleda BrownOctober 27, 2017

I love it when poems speak to each other and expand on a shared theme. The epigraph here references the well-known poem “Church Going” by Phillip Larkin. Both poems describe churches, their architecture and unique interiors. However, they also explore more universal questions about the role and relevance of organized religion. Brown doesn’t mince words.…

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Fit for Transformation

By Bryan BlissOctober 24, 2017

When my sister first told me about Orangetheory Fitness, I was intrigued. “You’d probably dig it,” she said. “It’s like personal training, but in a group.” Admittedly, it did sound like something I would like. But I was the heaviest I’d ever been and had spent the last three years committing myself to a level…

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The Best in Bedtime Reading

By Peggy RosenthalOctober 23, 2017

A therapist I once went to for help with insomnia advised me: “Stop reading a novel at bedtime; it stimulates the mind.” When I recounted this to my wise sister who knows me well, she protested: “No! A novel takes you out of yourself; that’s just what you want before trying to go to sleep.”…

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Poetry Friday: “The Anxiety Offices”

By Lisa Russ SpaarOctober 13, 2017

Are any of us sleeping much lately? With such grief in the world right now, I suspect anxiety keeps a lot of us awake nights. What a rosary of sound and image Lisa Russ Spaar gives us to work through with this poem, beginning in the early evening of a sleepless night and ending with…

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