'It seems to me that we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good and we must hunger after them.'
Writer, sometimes theologian, wife of a marvelous Dutchman named Thomas, mother of the elfin-sized Lilian (plus a new little person we’ll meet in January of 2020), and newly-arrived resident of West Sussex in England (where my husband is a curate), I hope that someone will say of me when I die what William McGreel said of his wife Elizabeth Yates (a writer): She has plenty of courage, a strong faith, and a native expectancy of good. Living with her is a high adventure.
In keeping with that wish, I can usually be found wandering somewhere in the wilderland of books, beauty, and imagination. I’ve recently finished an MSt in modern doctrine at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford with a focus on theodicy and beauty and I’ve just begun work on a book called Beauty Never Lies (with Baker Books, arriving in early 2021) that puts all my study to good use. Mostly, it’s the story of my own wrestle with mental illness and the beauty that pervaded and transformed my darkness and taught me to hunger after hope. It’s the book that’s been growing in my heart and head for about fifteen years.
I’m also the author of Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures & Transforming Power of a Reading Life with Tyndale Momentum, a book half memoir, half book list, written as my grateful tribute and hearty invitation to the joys of the reading life, as well as Girl’s Club: Cultivating Lasting Friendship in a Lonely World, written with my mom and sister to explore the power and grace of cultivating relationship in a lonely culture. (I've also authored two guides to the world of children's literature, The Lifegiving Home - with my mom - and a devotional for women. You can see them all HERE.)
On the blog here I mostly explore those moments of beauty or grief, of stories read or wisdom fought for, of joy picked up like a penny from the ground of the ordinary that, as Sylvia Plath puts it, 'set the sight on fire'. I'm with George Eliot in thinking that we have to 'hunger after the beautiful and the good', precisely because the world is broken and we must fight our way to hope and keep our sight sharp to recognise the invasion of Love - in kindness and courage, art or music, story or person. I hope that in wandering this online space you will hear the Aslan whisper of 'courage, dear heart' in whatever season you find yourself.
Instagram is where you can find me on a daily basis and join in the live read-aloud videos I create every few days by reading aloud a bit of poetry, novel, or essay that has caught my eye and heart. Go HERE to catch up on past videos.
You’ll also find me posting about the various podcasts on which I occasionally appear as a guest. I’m make random appearances on my mom’s podcast At Home with Sally, and I feature occasionally on my sister’s Speaking with Joy as well. I’ll update the podcasts page here with new episodes whenever they are available.
And I keep this site updated with news of any upcoming events or forays into the public world where my passion for some burning idea has overcome my introversion and led me to speak in public.
In the meantime, you can usually find this reader and convinced idealist enjoying the tree-blessed house I share with my loves, poring over theological tomes, hunting for books (for the community library I will one day open), taking a long, windy walk with my beloved, or exploring some corner of this grand old world (15 countries and counting). Or possibly, just settling into my blue reading chair with a cup of tea, a touch of music, and a great novel as the seagulls announce the start of the darkling hour...
I am so very glad you are here.