Sticks and Stones…

I’m wondering why parents would chastise their children in public, for all those in line to renew our license plates to hear. As soon as the words were out of the father’s mouth, I saw the girl’s face crumple. He was unhappy with her performance in a softball game, and he let her know it in no uncertain terms. I wanted to hug the girl, tell her I bet she did the best she could and that her sandals were cute. Instead, I started thinking about how we speak to one another–in public and at home. How words do hurt. And really, how many of us have had to worry about sticks and stones?
Read more of my latest post for Her Spirit here…

A Prayerful Reminder

These days I’m learning how to get down on my knees anew and cry out to God. I’m trying to ask for understanding instead of deliverance; for patience instead of rescue; and for love instead of despair. I posted about it on my Her Spirit blog for Her Nashville magazine. You can read it here.

Ode to My Mother: “A Fine Example,” from Her Nashville Magazine

Though there have been many mothers to provide me with positive influences during my 48 years, I’ve learned the most from my own mother, Martha Lee Lyles Wilson, who was born in 1922. The only daughter of Eunice and S.T. Lyles, my mother spent her childhood surrounded by three older brothers, few material possessions, the red clay of north Mississippi, and a whole lot of love. She grew up to share all she could glean about life and loss and the grace that must surely come in between with her own three children, daughters all. Check out my Mother’s Day column for Her Nashville!

Rave Review for Festival of Faith and Writing

Last week I was surrounded by writers and word lovers and people who aren’t scared to ask questions about what it means to be faithful in the sense of religion. It was like being at Disneyland, only it was at Calvin College and there were no circling teacups or obnoxious songs about how small the world is.

One impressive voice of the many talented and brave speakers I heard is that of Sara Miles, a woman who took a bite of bread and tasted the grace of God. A woman who now devotes her time to being with those in need of food, fellowship, understanding, acceptance, or presence. And boy oh boy can she write.

I devoured Jesus Freak on the plane home from the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I will be dashing to a bookstore this afternoon to pick up Take This Bread. A woman worth reading, and, more importantly, being inspired by.

Another fine example of what a woman can do with pen and paper and passion is to be found in Jo Kadlecek with me in the picture. She’s the one on the left who’s not holding a copy of her moving book, Woman Overboard: How Passion Saved My Life (Fresh Air Books, 2008). Talented, funny, kind, and willing to take me out to dinner when I visit Massachusetts in the fall. A winning combination…

A revised version of this post appears at

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