Photo Essay: Spring at Botanica

Botanica: The Wichita Gardens is known for their extensive tulip beds and flowering trees that put on a real show on the odd lucky springs when the Kansas winds don’t blow the blossoms away. For the first time in several years, I had the chance to grab my camera and take a stroll around the…

Portrait Session: The Italian Southern Boy

What do you get when you combine a passionate Italian woman with a down-home country boy from Mississippi? Answer: A gourmet-cooking, ballet-dancing man’s man who loves fishing, hunting, building things and hiking out to remote areas to camp. Answer: One of my favorite people in the world. Being the romantic he is, my boyfriend took…

Wallflower: Staying true to yourself in a popularity contest world

I’m a wallflower. Always have been. Probably always will be. At any given party you’re most likely to find me drifting along the outside wall, making friends with the host’s dog or pondering life, the universe, and whether to make Italian chicken salad or tacos for dinner the next day. It’s not that I don’t…

Standing in their Stilettos

I drive the strip after dark, neon lights flashing through the car window and yellow streetlights spotlighting girls at every bus stop and corner, illuminating stilettos and short skirts. Looking at these girls, beautiful painted faces clearly visible from only a couple yards away, I do the only thing I can do—I look at them…

Photo Essay: Spring Blossoms

“The perfect blossom is a rare thing.” – Katsumoto, The Last Samurai I love the first signs of spring. Since I live in the Great Plains, it’s usually the vast green carpet of wheat sprouting in the fields, followed by flowering trees. There’s something about the delicate determination of fragile flowers reaching for the sky, undeterred…

When you don’t have words

“Do you ever feel that way?” I ask my friend in the Dillons parking lot, shoppers passing by with carts full of riches untold for most of the people in this world. “Like you don’t have any words left, or maybe that there’s too much to say for words?” Like you just need to be with the…

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

I’ve said so many goodbyes this past year. I keep thinking it’ll get easier. I’ve said goodbye to friends and colleagues as I moved back to the United States. To the father of a long-time family friend who passed away suddenly from heart failure this past summer. To a young woman I discipled in my Bible…

The Truth about Coming Home

They call it re-entry. Reverse culture shock. I’d say it’s more like “reverse life change shock.” The combined effect of packing up a life into four shockingly small suitcases, moving the fragments of my life from one house to the next for over a month, then landing, breathlessly, in familiar surroundings that are yet unfamiliar….

When your story hurts

On Friday morning, four days ago,  my beloved aunt tried to take her own life. She shot herself in the stomach after a months-long struggle with anxiety and depression. At 11:00 a.m. my phone rang and Lauren, at 22 the oldest of their seven children and more my little sister than cousin, came on the…

The Inconvenience of Opportunity

We left the massive ship sleeping along the quayside in Sri Lanka at 11 p.m., driving 45 minutes through Southeast Asian traffic to get to the Colombo airport for our 3 a.m. flight. It took a four to five hour eternity to fly from Colombo to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. An hour and a…

Life on the Wild Side

I sit curled on a rock at the dimly-lit watering hole, the thick blackness of the African night settling over me. It’s silent except for the far-off cough of zebras and the quiet lapping of a pair of hyenas come for an evening drink. They pad away as silently as they appeared. A shadow flits,…

When in the course of human events…

“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences….