Author: Kelli Woodford

kingdom comes

It was a day not unlike any other. Dirt clung to the heels of the people who passed in the street and in the public places. Flies gathered around dogs’ ears and water splashed as it poured from the well into jars. There were silent, knowing glances exchanged between parents over the heads of children, laughing at the magic of their play. Jesus walked into a village called Nain on a day like this. He heard the teasing of schoolboys, saw smiling women embrace in warm hugs, and caught wind of the ancient smell of cooking fires, already lit...

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untidy conclusions and the messy middle place

The first morning of the Great Darkness, I slid out the back door into deafening silence. The door shuddered down the track and then glided closed again with a groan. I reached up, up – stretching my leg muscles with tip-toed feet in worn sneakers – then down past my ankles to brush the wet wooden planks of the deck with tender fingers. Sore hamstrings loosened as I cascaded down the steps and out toward the road. Feeling the eerie calm of pre-dawn slumber, I picked up pace. The day seemed to be holding its breath, like it wasn’t...

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the eyes of an artist

“If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors.  With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists,  we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces.  Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.”  (F.Buechner) Twenty-two years. For twenty-two years she has been taking care of the baby. Washing her in all the normal places, not to mention the not-so-normal ones. Clipping her fingernails. Changing her diapers … and always her sheets. Cooking for her, holding her...

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like something trying to get born

It’s bright this morning, crisp and early. The kind of morning you feel that something new is trying to get born. Last night, we rifled through the backpacks at Wal-Mart and after much deliberation, picked out four of them. They are still stiff, smelling of that unmolested plastic, like everything smells those first few days of school before the thin film of habit settles over them. Before the first pencil snaps and the scissors get all gummy and the markers lose their caps. I have already imagined my four oldest children lined up for the bus, backpacks strapped on...

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where freedom begins

It was the Monday to end all Mondays. We had made it to lunchtime only hanging by a thread. Leftover hamburgers from the weekend grill were forced into the microwave while hunger held tightly to the greasy door handle, waiting for the ding. Peanut butter slathered bread and counters alike and blueberries were passed from hand to hand with care. Precious manna, they were. And none must be lost. Somewhere between baby’s cries for yogurt and the big boys’ banter of who forgot to feed the dogs, I caught a glimmer in her eye. The corners of her mouth...

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of guilt and parenting

It’s not for the faint of heart, this parenting business. Lately, he’s gone more than he’s home and I’m feeling a lot like that sludge circling the bottom of the sink after the dishwater has been drained.  Down, down, swirling bubbles and gone, left with the bleh.  But I read to know I’m not alone, because C.S. Lewis told me so, and boy, was he right.  And I remember a friend who writes healing words about my hands.  About the miles they’ve traveled and the beauty they’ve seen.  About the beauty they are. I turn them over, though soggy with...

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when you teach without words and find yourself the learner

My front porch is a healthy slice of heaven. Oh, it’s not perfect by a long shot. The paint is chipping, the swing has been permanently tattooed by someone I have never met, and the renegade dandelions sprout up audaciously between framing hostas. But these things do not outweigh its charm. It faces northwest, the perfect angle toward which we can watch the sunset and drink long draughts of that enchanted northern breeze. Tractors circle the house on every side, kicking up pixie dust wherever they plow. The swing is wide enough for me and four children, and we often...

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