Tea Writes

Tea Writes

On a recent road trip across the Andes and the Argentine pampas, we brought back several kilos of yerba mate, an herbal tea commonly served in most of the southern cone of South America. A few months ago, I promised another post about my collection of tea tins. Like the “tea rites” of mate, many…

Writing for Timothy…and Teresa

Writing for Timothy…and Teresa

Many authors keep in mind an avatar or ideal future reader while writing their books. Christian writing podcaster Thomas Umstattd, Jr. suggests directing our stories to a real person rather than an imaginary persona. The apostle Paul was writing for Timothy—one person—when he scribbled the biblical epistles of I and II Timothy. Yet millions of…

Generation of Heroes

Generation of Heroes

My husband’s a World War II buff, and I too value the rich legacy bequeathed by that generation of heroes. Sometimes I wonder how the stories and screens of the past century would have looked different had the dramatic and traumatic events of two world wars never happened. Certainly, both Hollywood filmmakers and New York…

Finish the Books

Finish the Books

How often do you not finish the books you’ve picked out and started with such diligent intentions? Though a friend tells me I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive that way, it happens more than I’d like to admit. Back when I homeschooled my girls, we learned one day that King Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) owned a magnificent…

The Story Inside the Story

The Story Inside the Story

My two granddaughters were charmed by the quirky set of Russian dolls I put in their Christmas stockings when they visited Chile in December. Someday I’ll share with them the stories inside the story here. As did—surprisingly—a recent guest speaker at our church when he used a set of these dolls as an object lesson….

Losing…and Finding My Voice

Losing…and Finding My Voice

“Voice,” in literary terms, refers to the attitude or personality of the author, narrator, or point-of-view character in a piece of writing. Voice shows up in both fiction and nonfiction. It can be comical, cozy, sophisticated, simple, intellectual, down-to-earth, edgy, monotonous, etc. But what if I lost my voice? I already know what that’s like…

Building Projects

Building Projects

Everything’s built up. That’s what we noticed most as we left the palafito (cottage-on-stilts) where we’d lodged in Castro and headed for the village of Rilán. The landscape of the Chiloé Islands features many examples of architectural creativity, but today the road was lined with building projects. For starters, we could have arrived at the…

Home Sweet Palafito

Home Sweet Palafito

One of the most iconic scenes in southern Chile’s Chiloé Islands must surely be the alley of palafitos, picturesque houses built on weatherworn posts, that rises from a tidal flat to the right of the highway as you drive into the provincial capital of Castro. After lunch on the first afternoon of our anniversary trip…

The Bend at the End

The Bend at the End

As we wander through the pages of a book or wend our way through the books of our lives, we often find a bend at the end. You know what I mean? In books, it’s the twist before the tie-up, an incident that might just take the story off in an entirely different direction. In…

The Books of Our Lives

The Books of Our Lives

“You should see the library where I come from,” I tell people here. Hey, I rarely boast about “back home,” but in this one area I’m guilty of horn-blowing about those endless shelves of books and periodicals at the wonderful library in my little Maine hometown. The first time my daddy walked me up the…

Life, Love, and Where I Wrote

Life, Love, and Where I Wrote

Sometime in the past decade, the Sahne Nuss tin pictured above came home with me in a green-and-white shopping bag from our Jumbo supermarket in Santiago. Everybody, myself included, loves classic Sahne Nuss milk-chocolate-and-almond bars, but mostly I fell in love with the image on the lid. It perfectly pictures our life in the Chiloé…