Faith Gong: The grace of decorative gourds

Sometime in August, as I was beginning to concede defeat, I noticed that a second, unofficial garden had sprung up without my noticing: This one was sprouting out of our compost bin.

Faith Gong: Lake Willoughby, Part 2: Sharing Stories With Tom

In my most recent column, I began writing about the weekend getaway my husband and I – and our 22-month-old son – took to Lake Willoughby in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. This is a continuation of that story.The weather was unseasonably warm and humid when … (read more)

Faith Gong: Lake Willoughby, Part 1: Those People

Last week, thanks to the generosity of my mother- and father-in-law who were visiting us from California, my husband and I had a weekend getaway.It’s not quite as romantic as it sounds: Our 22-month-old son came along, too. Still, it was the first time in … (read more)

Faith Gong: Thoughts on thriving

If you were reading this column back in 2020, you may remember that my “word for the year” — which I chose instead of making a New Year’s resolution — was “THRIVE.”When 2020 began, our baby boy had just been given the diagnosis of “failure to thrive.” Thi … (read more)

Faith Gong: Dog Days

It’s that time of year again.Our family has now logged in eight straight weeks of summer vacation. We have spent countless sultry days at the lake, eaten gallons of ice cream, lit sparklers, chased fireflies. Our annual trip to the Maine coast has come an … (read more)

Faith Gong: Hair today, gone tomorrow

This summer I cut off all my hair.It’s a long story, which began in the summer of 2019 when my aunt, who was battling cancer, told my daughters and me about wigs. We were together on our family’s annual vacation in Maine, all of us gathered on the sunny f … (read more)

Faith Gong: Early summer snapshots

The weather never seems to be normal lately: too wet or too dry, too cold or too hot, record this, record that. It could be that there never really was a “normal” — that weather is just prone to dramatic fluctuations from year to year. Or it could be that … (read more)

Faith Gong: A commencement address for 2020

For the past two years, our family has celebrated homeschool graduations. Both years we’ve had daughters who were moving up to middle school — but mostly we just wanted an excuse for a party. My daughters create a yearbook and video of the year’s highligh … (read more)

Faith Gong: Dispatch from the library desk

A friend asked me recently what I do to get a break from the demands of my everyday life: from the constant noise, mess, decision-making, and physical labor involved in parenting (and homeschooling) five children — with a husband and a bunch of animals th … (read more)

Faith Gong: Pain in the back

I’ve been middle aged for a while now, but it didn’t feel official until last month, when I threw out my back.My husband, who has spent much of his adult life sitting at desks and working on computers, was throwing out his back and neck on a regular basis … (read more)

Faith Gong: Miracles

My daughter found the caterpillar during a hike in Wright Park on Labor Day 2020. We hadn’t seen this type of caterpillar before, its bands of green interspersed with black and gold dots. Thankfully we were with friends who knew: “It’s a swallowtail cater … (read more)

Faith Gong: After the tornado

Words I never expected to say: “After the tornado went through our front yard….” Yet I heard myself say exactly that to my children on the evening of March 26, 2021. It sounded so ludicrous, so absolutely unbelievable, that I broke down in giggles. “Uh, M … (read more)

Faith Gong: The pod swing

The pod swing hangs from a beam in our living room like some overripe fruit in a tropical rain forest. It is tear-shaped, made of durable lime green fabric with electric blue trim. You enter the swing through a narrow opening in the fabric; when you settl … (read more)

Faith Gong: Reflections on a decade

My third daughter turned ten on March 1. The momentousness of the occasion didn’t hit me at first. With birthdays, I’m usually just relieved to have them successfully behind us: Gifts purchased, wrapped, and opened. Cake baked, frosted, lit, and consumed. … (read more)

Faith Gong: Why we are celebrating

“Daddy, don’t forget to pick up some cupcakes at the store, okay?” My husband, who was heading out the door to run his usual Saturday morning errands, turned to look questioningly at our 9-year-old daughter. “What are the cupcakes for?” “For Pip’s birthda … (read more)