my ESSAYS

I’ve written more than 50 essays for a diversity of publications such as The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Sojourners, USA Today, The Rumpus, Full Grown People, and more. Read a selection of my essays below.


We took a family road trip without technology. Here’s what happeneD

“If you had an iPhone, we wouldn’t be lost,” said my 12-year old daughter Annie, shaking her head and refusing to climb another steep hill in San Francisco. I couldn’t abandon her on the sidewalk, but I wasn’t ready to accept that she might have a point.”


My Father’s Final Gift to Us? He Planned a Natural Burial

“Tackling a to-do list written by a dead man feels both intimate and absurd to me.”


Blood Lines

“During the six-hour flight to Seattle from my home in North Carolina in the summer of 2013, my period arrived before my flight landed. So in the cramped bathroom of the plane, I pulled the Diva Cup from its fabric pouch and wondered how to use it while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail.”


Why I’m committed to Lent

“In Fairhope, Alabama, I grew up in a family where giving up something for Lent was an expectation not a choice.”


Eat, pray, love: a new green gospel

“This summer I've been waiting for the opening of the movie Eat, Pray, Love with an anticipation that is a bit different from my hope that Congress would find effective strategies to address climate change. The difference? I don't think I'll be disappointed with the movie's ending.”


How to trail run in bear country

“During bear season in the mountains, try to run on the trails with a friend. Talk loudly. Speak with candor about your students, your children, and even your sex life at a high volume, so bears run from your voice.”


My students show me how climate action is better than despair

“In a cavernous room at a retirement center in North Carolina, I stepped behind the podium to speak with 50 senior citizens about my research on faith communities confronting climate change. Yet when it came time for questions, the audience members wanted to hear about the college students I teach and the uncertain future they face. ”


Praying like wild: an A-Z trail guide

“As a child, I argued with my three siblings over Jesus. During the month before Christmas, we battled over the right to tape a felted image of the infant Jesus, the size of a quarter, on an Advent Calendar that hung from a nail on our kitchen wall.”


I was a mother waiting to make the call

“I waited until I was three months pregnant to tell him about the baby. Then he died three months after my phone call...”


In defense of ordinary time

“My little family of three is building a legend from the most ordinary of activities: My daughters walk through a cow pasture to catch the school bus each morning.”


People in the pews

“The pews are packed this Sunday. Four needlepointed signs, the size of postcards, signal the status of “reserved” on the front rows of the sanctuary, the assigned seats for the families of four babies and one toddler who will be baptized this morning. ”


Befriending creation

“Jessie Dye is rarely at a loss for words. And that’s a good thing, because she is a part of a grassroots climate movement that has no time for silence.”


Where did you learn to write like this?

“Dear. Dr. Vereen Bell: Thirty years ago, as a freshman, I sat in the second row of your Modern American Novel class. ”


Why my daughters sleep in a closet

“In our home in Western North Carolina, my two daughters sleep in a closet. They are not babies or toddlers anymore.”