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On March 15

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the Shape of Someone

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the Shape of Someone

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White Like Me

Over dinner last month, my 4-year-old asked, “Are the new neighbors white-skinned or brown-skinned?” As I pondered how to answer, his big sister chimed in, “I hope they’re white-skinned.” I paused, barely chewed. Could I answer without scolding or shaming them? I...

On March 15

On March 15

On March 15, in Cleveland, we celebrate 35 degrees and dry sidewalks by playing outside all morning, and again in the afternoon. We bike the block in mittens and fleece, and with numb fingers push dried peas into peat pots filled and dampened on the stoop. The former...

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Love and Life

Reflection

Love and Life

Current Events & Culture

A Message From Christina

I grew up on a hill in the middle of nowhere Northeast Ohio.

My words feel forged there, watching styrofoam cups melt at night in a burn barrel on a back 40 I imagine defending with a shotgun and my miniature Doberman pinscher.

(Disclaimers: It was the ’80s. We didn’t know any better than to burn styrofoam. It was more like an acre and a half, and my dog’s bark was much bigger than his bite. I also never owned a shotgun.)

From that little piece of Appalachia, I’ve transplanted several times… Minneapolis, Cleveland, and now non metropolitan but magical Southern Oregon.

A writer, editor, and refugee of the Fourth Estate, I am also an ordained pastor puttering in the spiritual R&D department of wherever Jesus is taking us next.

My best guess? It won’t be so much in the “thin places,” but the thick ones, those dense moments of human existence that feel like banging your forehead against concrete block, where the chasm between what is and what should be gapes, as impossible to traverse as the canyon between Lazarus and Dives.

What I look for is Love showing up with skin on. Right here.

Christina Kukuk

Writer + Preacher

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“Well, It Isn’t Junk to Me”

I’m not sure what epitaph will be engraved with the artist’s palette Grandma picked years ago for her grave marker, but this would be my choice.

I heard Grandma say it more than once when extended family members (read: daughters-in-law) disparaged the piles of seemingly useless materials she saved.

The piles got completely out of control: stacks of foam meat trays in not just white, but blue, green, yellow, and pink; empty spools bare of thread; buttons, clothespins (especially the old fashioned kind), empty baby food bottles and their caps, bits of cloth, yarn, ribbon and thread. She collected natural materials, too: dried thistles and milkweed pods, money plant, gourds.

These worthless things became craft projects, costumes, floral arrangements. She flooded the entries to the local County Fair with milk-pod interpretations of “The Owl and the Pussycat” or “Alice’s Wonderland.” Once, when she broke her leg falling into a hole the dogs had dug between the shed and the back-porch door, she gave her ample plaster casts a second life. Turned on end, with an extra bit of paper mache and paint, they made the best camels I have ever seen grace a home porch Nativity crèche.

“Well, it isn’t junk to me,” Grandma would say….