Posts written by Michelle Van Loon

When my adult son offered to host Thanksgiving last month, it felt as though a baton was being passed instead of platters of turkey and cranberry relish. For three decades, I’ve been the one to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Now, it was time to hand off the honor to the next generation… at least this year. […]

There has been much written about the exodus of Millennials from the Church. But I haven’t seen much discussion about the effect of that exodus on those they’ve left behind; specifically, the parents who sought to pass on their faith to their children both at home and via involvement with their local church. This was […]

If you browse the parenting bookshelves at a local bookstore or pull up the category at Amazon, you’ll see dozens of trusty manuals filled with black-and-white counsel about breastfeeding, sleep schedules, and toilet training. I find it telling that there are no comforting manuals with certain advice about how to launch your young adult, or […]

Iwas surprised when my friend was terminated from an organization where we both worked for several years. She was a hard worker—always first to volunteer to do thankless tasks and the last to leave the office each day. “That’s what cost me my job,” she said. “I thought I was being a good witness for […]

True confession: I have a slight case of bigamy going. Relax. I’ve never actually met my other “husband” in person. Though I have been married to the same man since 1979, I have logged quite a few hours over the years—usually between midnight and 5 a.m.—with my other “husband”, Peter Francis Geraci. Mr. Geraci is a […]

Last month, we invited readers to take a short survey about some of the challenges, concerns, and joys of midlife. Amanda and I are dedicated to making sure we’re serving you well at this site with meaningful content. (Click here to learn about the Perennial Gen mission.) More than 80 of you took the survey! […]

After my mom died in south Florida 10 years ago, I came home anxious to jump into my regularly-scheduled life. I was no stranger to loss and trauma. I thought I was prepared by those experiences as well as the excellent care I received from the hospice team during the final weeks of my mom’s […]

If discerning vocation has to with letting your life speak, as Parker Palmer says, the next logical question might well be, “But how? Where do I begin?” At midlife, we’ve got some serious miles on our odometer. We’ve had experiences. Been shaped by our relationships. Know something of our strengths and weaknesses. We have a history […]

by Michelle Van Loon We learn from a young age to have a ready answer to the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” The question trains us to think about vocation solely in terms of career: “I want to be a firefighter…a teacher…a veterinarian…a landscape designer…a pastor…a writer…a rock star.” […]

In 2012, I wrote the following piece about how I was never going to return to college at midlife for Her.meneutics, one of the predecessors to the Christianity Today Women’s website. The piece was entitled, “When Higher Education Is Neither: Why Should I Earn A Degree?” At the time I wrote it, I was 53 […]