Guest Posts


Heartbreak and Shipwreck for The Mudroom

I used to fear I wouldn’t survive one more dirty trick. But now, at 39, I know I can, and do, and will survive. I’ve endured much physical and emotional pain. I’m stronger than I ever imagined. And that’s when it hits me. It’s my own strength that scares me now. I realize I have a capacity for suffering. It’s an ugly, brute thing—not the stuff of pretty inspirational memes—but I can take it. I survive. This is what I do. Perhaps it’s even my gift.

A Lost Road to God  for Busted Halo

C.S. Lewis said that true friends do not gaze at each other; “their eyes look ahead.” For him, friendship is not an accident of proximity; it must be “about” something. What distinguishes my friendship with Amy from other relationships in my life is that it’s “about” God. We had hunted for God independently our whole lives — in churches, theology, literature — and before long we realized we experienced God’s presence most profoundly when we came together. We continue to stalk him.

On Friendship for Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics 

If Ruth and Naomi are any indication, women’s souls have endured the strains of tight and durable knots since time immemorial. In fact, a landmark study at UCLA confirmed what women have always known: we are hardwired for friendship. In addition to the typical “fight or flight” response to stress all people have, research suggests that women alone have an alternative “tend and befriend” response. In difficult times, women seek out other women. Friendship reduces our stress levels and, the authors of the study posit, accounts for longer life spans in women.


Grendel: A Book That Helped Me Grow for Random Acts of Momness

“I’d been kicked out of every club, demoted to remedial classes, and disinvited from the National Honor Society. But when Brandon gave me those books—telling me he knew I was good enough to be at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, a prestigious program for gifted high school writers, too—I felt like trying again. So I started reading. It was a sizable stack of challenging work, including John Gardner’s Grendel.


I thought homeschooling my kids would be simple. I was wrong. for Vox

“I started collecting books about homeschooling before my daughter’s first birthday. I imagined she and I would spend our days in the beautiful library at the college where my husband worked, reading on blankets in the fields, playing in the surrounding Virginia countryside, pressing flowers into nature journals. It’s hard for me even to remember when I could have been so idealistic about so many things at once—my own patience as a mother, my capacity for spending so much of my time with children, my daughter’s capacity for living in a previous century.”



Friends Share Spiritual Journey through Letters by Maryann Eidemmiler for Our Sunday Visitor

“In such a profound way, our spiritual lives are very tied to our letter writing practice, for better or for worse. When we are not writing letters, I feel very disconnected. It’s very important to our spiritual lives and it’s still a needed connection. It has never since matched the intensity of the period that the book represented, and maybe that’s just because of life with small children. When I look back at them [the letters] in this book form, it’s very clear that we were on a path that was laid for us.”



7 thoughts on “Guest Posts

  1. Hi Jessica – Loved your program at the RCC convention; my review is posted on the RCC website. Wanted to let you know that I ran into a sick pilgrim type of new church planting in Chicago. Was in the news today,. You’ll find it at: Would love to have a chance to talk. What is your email address? I’m at 415-317-4093. in peace, Paul


  2. Today, I had the pleasure of reading your article in Crisis Magazine from 2005 “As we Tread Your Holy Way” and it linked me to a Stabat Mater youtube video We’ve been praying the stations on Friday during Lent and using the Stabat Mater but with different lyrics. I cried over this video. I wanted to thank you for your article from 12 years ago. I know I struggle with what affect I’m having on someone, so I wanted to let you know how you changed my life from an effort in your past. May your sufferings bring you closer to Christ.


  3. Hi Jessica,
    I see that you are teaching a Spiritual Writing course at Creative Nonfiction. I tried enrolling in the course, but received a “not authorized” message. Will you be teaching this particular course again? If so, where and when. Thank you for your anticipated reply.


    1. Hi Deb, I teach the course again in Spring, beginning in March. Let me know if you have trouble signing up and I will help.


  4. Jessica, congratulations on your piece for today in Living Faith! (Saturday 16 February 2019) Reading it very early this morning before going to Mass, I was so impressed with your insights about Genesis 3: 23-24. When this morning’s lector read the passage, I got so much out of it–primarily because the prior knowledge afforded me by your piece metaphorically opened my eyes very, very wide. God bless you for your literary talents, Jessica!

    With the greatest respect and admiration,

    Michael R. Tovino


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