Posts by Annie Reed

No Mere Mortals

A dear friend of mine works for an organization that helps resettle immigrants and refugees in Buffalo. I’ve heard from her for years about her work—this Burmese family who hopes to start a restaurant, that Congolese man who was recently reunited with his large family, this Iraqi woman whose name could not be disclosed for fear of violent repercussions. And while I have always admired my friend’s work, I am ashamed to say that I did not pay a lot…

Twice As Nice

A few years ago, I got a cantaloupe at my local Aldi grocery store. While I’ve always been something of an Aldi evangelist, I’ve also always been suspect of their produce. As an inhabitant of a northern state, my rule with Aldi produce is this, particularly in the winter months: the hotter the climate the item was grown in, the less likely it is to be good by the time it gets to Aldi’s northerly shelves. Of course this is…

Grandfathered In, Grandfathered Out

I have always been fascinated by the idea of “the grandfather clause”. The phrase dates back to England’s King Henry II, who declared when he became king in 1154, “Let it be as it was on the day of my grandfather’s death.” His cousin Stephen had been king after a series of family conflicts and deaths, and Henry was glad to have the throne restored to his direct family line. Henry wanted several of Stephen’s decrees undone, which led to…

Marketplace of the Heart

It started innocently enough. We recently moved into a new house, and in our old house, we had a square dining room and a lovely old set of cherry wood dining room furniture, including a large round dining table that filled up the room nicely. In our new house, however, the dining room is long and rectangular, so my husband and I decided to look for new furniture to fit. I had used Facebook Marketplace a few times before, without giving…

Be With

“I hate life.” My 9-year-old daughter slumped on my lap, a tear meandering down her cheek. “Oh honey, I know. I’m so sorry,” I said, pulling her close. “I hate Zoom and remote learning and I hate it when Daddy gets us school lunch even though we’re not at school and I hate it that we’re not going to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Christmas. Also, I have a stomachache. And my eye hurts.” I almost launched into my Pollyanna speech…

Missing Mike

I wrote a devotion on this blog six years ago, and because the lectionary is on a three-year cycle, the Magnificat passage that I used for that piece is one of the Advent readings again this year. I wrote about my dear friend Mike, who blessed and vexed us with his irrepressible love and badgering for eight years. Mike died suddenly on March 23, 2020, and as I read Mary’s song in the book of Luke, I think of Mike…

Just Like a Day

When we were dating, my husband would occasionally quote these lines to me, from the movie “The Jerk.” The Steve Martin character says to his girlfriend: I know we’ve only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days. And the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight…

Laid Bare

Over the course of these last several months, I have noticed a particular phrase used frequently in the media. It goes like this: “COVID has laid bare…” and then what usually comes next are words like healthcare inequality, socioeconomic divides, food insecurity, or the inaccessibility of technology. I find this phrase quite accurate in describing what the pandemic has done both broadly in society and personally in my own life. With so many children doing remote learning suddenly, we have…

Complex Operating System

I recently got a new phone, and it was an unexpected adventure. First, I decided to change carriers, which involved being on hold for long periods of time and then porting my old phone number to my new carrier. I felt like I was on a maritime expedition or in the midst of a Harry Potter journey. But more than my port situation, it was harder than I expected to choose between an Android and an Apple phone. I’ve had…

Heart and Soil

When I was eight years old, I walked slowly out of church on a sunny, humid Sunday morning in Hong Kong. I remember looking at the large white cross that stretched to the sky amidst sloping green mountains overlooking the South China Sea. Church of All Nations, this gathering of Christians was called—made up of people who’d come to Hong Kong from all over the world, for many different reasons. There were business families there for short appointments of two…