Picnic Paradise

Picnic Paradise

It’s official. For one of the few times in 210 years, Fiestas Patrias, Chile’s patriotic celebration beginning on September 18th, is canceled in our city. What only the military coup of 1973 could accomplish before, the Covid-19 pandemic has now put into effect. We won’t miss the 3-day Booze Bash, but we’ll long for the…

Art Therapy

Art Therapy

The stories that turn up in The Quarantine Tales have highlighted many of the themes threaded through my work. I’ve discovered that one of my favorite topics is ART (as July’s posts indicate). Art therapy touches our hearts. Even my books are purposed to tease beauty out of barren places and broken people. “The earth…

When Disaster Strikes

When Disaster Strikes

Sometimes it feels as if we live in a permanent disaster zone. Earthquake! Tsunami! Drought! Flash floods, forest fires…and now a pandemic. In Chile, we tend to live on the ragged edge, always semi-prepared for when disaster strikes. Among the subplot threads of many of my Seaglass Books is woven the background motif of some…

Stitching Stories from Stains

Stitching Stories from Stains

God is in the restoration business. He reminded me today after a candle scorched our anniversary tablecloth. The marred keepsake will likely join my pile of patchwork possibilities, because in our family, we’ve been stitching stories from stains for years. It’s tempting to mourn the losses. But it’s also comforting to realize that’s okay. “God…

The World’s Last Witch Trials

The World’s Last Witch Trials

“It’s just another old story,” Nicolás Serrano insists to Melissa Travis in my first book Destiny at Dolphin Bay, as they debate the existence of a legendary Chilean ghost ship. His grandmother would beg to differ—her grandparents were caught up in the chilling drama of probably the world’s last (and completely nonfictional) witch trials in…

The Tinder Box

The Tinder Box

Today’s story opens with the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, depicted on a series of Danish shortbread cookie tins in my collection. Sure, you know these classics: The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling… I have three of these eight special editions, and one is called…

Return to Patagonia

Return to Patagonia

Today, we return to Patagonia. We’re still on the road from the Balmaceda airport to Puerto Chacabuco, the main port for Chile’s Region of Aysén. Day 1, continued. We’ve just crossed a river named for Frigate Captain Enrique Simpson Baeza, a British-Chilean naval officer and explorer who mapped the archipelagoes and fiords of Aysén aboard…

O Little Town in Maine

O Little Town in Maine

If you believe that the old-fashioned Christmas villages of holiday prints never existed outside of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Norman Rockwell calendars, and vintage Christmas cards, then surprise! You never visited the little town in Maine where I grew up in the 1960’s. In some ways, it was just like the postcards. After my cousin…

This is Not the Real World

This is Not the Real World

While cynics and pragmatists are quick to carp that the Gospel and the Christian worldview don’t offer solutions to real-world problems—as if this punch delivered the ultimate technical knock-out—I’d like to suggest that this world we live in now is not the real world. Fiction writers, too, are frequently criticized for not focusing on real…

10 Favorite Places in Chile

10 Favorite Places in Chile

More than 35 years ago, we began our missionary career in the evergreen south of Chile. Now we’re experiencing our grand finale in the desert north. Every travel opportunity offers further education and additional story settings. Today I’m going to share my top 10 favorite places in Chile. Along with ministry, I intend never to…

The Slow Road to Sainthood

The Slow Road to Sainthood

Yes, I know we evangelicals believe that every born-again believer is a saint, in the positional sense. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, we’ve already been set apart for a holy calling. We’ve arrived. But practically? Rather than any fast-track path, most of us—myself included—still plod along the slow road to sainthood. Back in our…