Lisa Bartelt

About Lisa Bartelt

Lisa has been writing stories for more than a decade, first for newspapers and now as a freelancer, blogger and budding novelist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Read more at her blog, Beauty on the Backroads.

The Rough Work of Healing

The Rough Work of Healing

I notice the bandages on his knee after dinner. “Did you hurt yourself at school?” I ask my seven-year-old son. He wears shorts almost exclusively now that the temperature is reliably 50 degrees and warmer. “Yeah, I fell on the way out to recess,” he says with a shrug. No, he didn’t cry, he tells us. “We need […]

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

A month or so ago, my husband and I decided it was time to start the home buying process. We connected with a realtor who came highly recommended by a friend. She pointed us to a lender so we could get the paperwork started and get an idea of how much house we could afford. […]

The Element of Surprise

The Element of Surprise

My husband watches the sky. Even when he’s driving, which sometimes is a little bit concerning. He watches large birds as they soar overhead. “I know they’re probably turkey vultures,” he says. “But maybe one time they’ll be hawks. Or eagles.” He looks up with a sense of anticipation. That maybe this time, the expected will […]

The One Thing You Already Have to Give

The One Thing You Already Have to Give

I’d been invited to a new friend’s house for coffee, and for days ahead of time, I agonized over whether I should bring something with me. Pastries? Flowers? I’m always appreciative of someone willingly opening their house to me, and she was providing coffee. I wanted to offer her a gift as well, some token […]

The Lean Days

The Lean Days

January. A new year. As much as I appreciate the chance to begin again, I have not always looked forward to these first months of the year. In recent history, they have been lean days for our family, a time when the work hours reduce and the money stretches but not quite far enough and […]

The Tree Tells a Story

The Tree Tells a Story

Every year it’s the same. We cut down a tree, place it in the stand, position it in the living room, string the lights and add the ornaments. Every year it’s different. The tree changes shape and size depending on that year’s selection at the farm, and the ornaments have no specific place on the […]

The Climb {or What Doesn’t Happen in a Day}

The Climb {or What Doesn’t Happen in a Day}

In early August I agreed to take part in a team challenge to raise money and awareness for a local refugee resettlement organization. The goal: Each team member would walk or run 100 miles in eight weeks. I opted to walk, and I knew it would be tough, but I wanted to give it a […]

October Baseball (and Holding on to Hope)

October Baseball (and Holding on to Hope)

We closed the windows in the house this week. We haven’t yet turned on the heat, but there’s a noticeable chill in the air when we walk out to the bus stop each morning. Our breath is visible as we exhale in the natural rhythm of life. October is a magical time. The shifting of […]

It’ll Cost Ya

It’ll Cost Ya

I’m not what you would call a big spender. Though, to be honest, I’m not all that good at saving either. I’m happiest when we can pay our bills and have a little left over for fun. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about budgeting or planning for your financial future.) Investing? That’s a whole […]

What Was Growing All Along

What Was Growing All Along

It started with a garden. All we really wanted was fresh vegetables for the summer. The kind for which you can walk out to the backyard and pluck right off the plant and use for that night’s dinner. Garden-to-table. We got that–and a whole lot more. We expected the tomatoes and the cucumbers and the […]

When the Pieces Don’t Quite Fit

When the Pieces Don’t Quite Fit

Sometimes I think God’s will is like a puzzle that needs to be completed. Find all the right pieces, put them in the right order, and voila!: A completed picture of His plan and purpose for my life. Our family enjoys a good jigsaw puzzle. When my husband and I went on our honeymoon 9 years ago, […]

The Dirt on the Gospel

The Dirt on the Gospel

“Would you like to join us? You don’t have to eat alone.” The man wasn’t a member of our congregation. He was there to speak later in the evening about his experience living in a transitional community. All I could tell about him was that he didn’t know anyone and he was a veteran. He […]

When the World Breaks

When the World Breaks

The world is broken. I hear this all the time. On Facebook. In news articles. From Christians and non-Christians alike. And it’s not hard to believe when we hear about places like Brussels and Paris, targeted in terrorist attacks, and when we learn about all the other places we don’t hear about who also suffer […]

What Difference Does It Make?

What Difference Does It Make?

My chance to vote for a candidate for president is still weeks away. (Wait, don’t go! I promise this isn’t a post just about politics.) I watch the news reports of the outcomes in states that seem to matter more than mine, and though I’m still not 100 percent certain about who I am voting […]

Into the Deep

Into the Deep

I have never been sailing. Never been on a cruise. I have a fear of drowning. But there’s something about deep water that draws me. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be in the middle of the ocean, no land in sight. What would I see? What would I hear? What would […]

The Gospel of Kale

The Gospel of Kale

I’ve lost count of the number of meals I’ve eaten in the last week that contained kale. There was a salmon fillet over kale for dinner one night, and then a couple of days of smoothies with kale and strawberries. There was a kale breakfast salad I ate for lunch one day, and a kale […]

Better together

Better together

I’m an introvert. Perhaps I’ve mentioned that a time or two. I’m learning more and more what that means, but for many years I thought that being an introvert meant I wanted–and needed–to go it alone. As a first-born child, I also have an independent streak, and though I haven’t always been confident about my […]

What Losing My Voice Teaches Me About Finding It

What Losing My Voice Teaches Me About Finding It

I lost my voice this week. For three agonizing days, my throat has hurt to talk, and while I’m not what you would call “chatty,” I am a communicator, and having a weak voice at best has been frustrating. My son, God love him, who is almost 6, thinks it’s hilarious to say, “What? I […]