All Posts By

Dana VanderLugt


Dogs and Discussions

Murray, our three-year-old golden retriever, is a glutton for attention and refuses to be left out of a book discussion group that has been meeting, socially distanced, in our backyard this summer. We’ve attempted to keep him locked away in…
August 18, 2020

When I Am Ever Going to Use this Stuff?

My 14 year-old son sat at a card table in the new makeshift office in my bedroom, complaining about a physics lesson on potential versus kinetic energy that he was attempting as part of his new virtual schooling. “When am…
April 30, 2020

Really Big Spring Break

Last Friday, I watched out my office window as children burst out of the doors of their school to board the buses for what my second grader is calling a “really, really big spring break.” The night before, at 11…
March 18, 2020

What is Left Behind

For most of his life, my grandfather managed an apple orchard. We called it Grandpa’s Orchard, though technically the 200 acres of apples (plus 50-some acres of peaches, cherries, and plums) never really belonged to us, never belonged to Grandpa.…
November 27, 2019

The Discipline of Specificity

“Be more specific,” I used to tell my writing students. “Don’t say cereal when you could say Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Don’t say your character walked into the room when you could say he sauntered in. Don’t say you were reading…
September 21, 2019

The First Hill

I had to learn how to enjoy rollercoasters. I was a cautious kid, not one to take risks, and it wasn’t until high school that I remember walking off the platform of a rollercoaster with a smile on my face…
August 21, 2019

Author’s Notes: Honoring Rachel Held Evans

Nothing is fair, reasonable or sensible about the unexpected death of a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend whose voice the world desperately needed. Yet Evans herself would remind us that the truest stories don’t end, that the best stories…
May 15, 2019


I remember a pastor once telling me that children who have an attachment item — a blankie, a teddy, a snuggly — are more likely to grow up to believe in God, to grow up to have faith.
May 4, 2019