Let Them Eat Brioche?

Ash Early BDay

Somewhere I have a picture of my daughter eating her first cake on her first birthday.  She is sitting in her high chair, both hands digging in, her face covered in gooey chocolate icing.  She had never tasted chocolate before, so I made a cake that I knew I would like if she didn’t eat it.  Selfish, I know.  Continue reading Let Them Eat Brioche?

If Love is the Greater Law, Then What?

Mom's Commitment

Tomorrow, for the only day in the foreseeable future, the temperature is supposed to reach 670.  And a week from tomorrow, my mother will have been gone for five months.  We buried her on one of the last beautiful days of fall—on All Saints’ Day 2013.  Though I grieved then and grieve her still, I am grateful for that one beautiful 700 day on which my siblings and I were able to bury her at the top of a stunningly beautiful mountain in West Virginia.

The day stands out in my memory for the unexplained gifts we were given—a beautiful day when the forecast predicted chilly rain, a gracious woman pastor in a cemetery where no woman had ever performed a service, and strangers who stood at attention and saluted as the funeral cortege passed.

Continue reading If Love is the Greater Law, Then What?

Ever Drop Out?

Oceana High

I remember the day I dropped out of Algebra II.  It wasn’t an easy A for me as most other classes were.  I didn’t drop the class because I somehow got the message that girls are bad in math.  In fact, the boys in my class fared no better than the girls.  The teacher had no idea how to convey to either gender his own passion for facts and figures—for answers that fit neatly into categories of right and wrong.

Continue reading Ever Drop Out?

Food Distribution to the Needy?


This picture of Kennedy on the campaign trail in my hometown of Omar, West Virginia, was not chosen for the Life Magazine spread “JFK on the Campaign Trail” because it was not glamorous.

Aware that we are blessed with much, my husband and I have been trying to make time in our schedules to volunteer more.  On Saturday for the first time, we joined a group from our church at the Maryland Food Bank, an organization that last year, according to its web site, “distributed more than 26.5 million pounds of food through a network of 600 soup kitchens, pantries and shelters across the state.”

The Food Bank had one paid employee who directed us as we worked in a massive warehouse in Baltimore.  Some of us unboxed huge pallets of food and other goods discarded by the state’s grocery stores while others, stationed around a giant conveyor belt, pulled similar items and boxed and labeled them.  To give you an idea of the magnitude of the operation, I was in charge only of tomatoes—crushed, diced, whole—while the person next to me was in charge of tomato sauces.

Continue reading Food Distribution to the Needy?