Abby Zwart

Abby Zwart (’13) teaches high school English in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spends her free time making lists of books she should read, cooking, and managing the post calvin.

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Bread and Wine

The religious pretense and mumbo jumbo is kept to a minimum. But that’s hard to keep up when we get to communion. Because it is weird.


Confetti from a dropped and spilled 3-hole punch; Crumpled 8.5×11 sheet, blank and inexplicably wet; Crumpled 8.5×11 sheet, Wednesday’s homework, unfinished

I Ate the Whole World

I went to Paris and sat on the grass in a park outside the Tuileries. I ate cold salty ham and creamy brie on a baguette that tasted like bread is supposed to taste.

Forward and Back: 2015

When we started the post calvin, we weren’t exactly sure how it would turn out. Now, with two years in the bag, we couldn’t be happier.

Line in the Sand

These books tend to be easy and engaging. They’re not about heavy topics, and they don’t make us think too hard or reread every other sentence.

Waiting for Superman

It can feel like us vs. them, heroes vs. villains, teachers vs. everyone who doesn’t understand how hard it is to explain the present participle to kids who can barely read.

Faking It

Faking it, I would argue, is actually the only way we’ll make it anywhere. So few of us are born with natural, shining pearls of talent that don’t need refinement.

House of the Lord

There is one space that makes me nervous. It’s not a space we hear a lot about or a space we have pictures of. I can’t rearrange it or make sure it’s painted my favorite colors.

A Letter To My Cell Phone

It’s also pretty distracting to have you around. You’re always buzzing and beeping. Those little red flags you throw up tempt me like a bull in the hot Spanish sun.


And I can’t stop imagining a world—an extraordinary, beautiful world—in which we all have the reed of goodness at our centers instead of a spine.

The String of Time

I wouldn’t say I liked fantasy as a child. What I liked were stories that started out in real life, then took a turn for the magical. I liked the prospect of our world with improvements.

Talk the Talk

Sometimes there’s just no better word than “discern” or “redeem” or “vocation,” and it slips out. Maybe you embrace it, or maybe, like me, you cringe.

Wild and Free

A serving of oatmeal eaten straight out of the brown paper package gets a five out of ten stars when eaten in my kitchen, but eleventy-twelve stars when eaten atop a mountain.


One year I was Santa Claus. That worked pretty well. But then the next year I couldn’t think of anything, so I just went as Mrs. Claus. People still thought I was Santa.

A Wind

a wind has blown the rain away and blown / the sky away and all the leaves away, / and the trees stand. I think i too have known / autumn too long


I miss the energy. The companionship. The routine. I miss the rah rah school spirit and the constant activity and the sense that I was always accomplishing something (seemingly) important.


But now that everyone and his mother uses them to serve cocktails and curl their hair, I think we have to put them under the microscope.

Theme: Thirty Things

You might call it “stuff” or “junk” or “clutter,” but I know there are many of us in this world who take genuine pleasure from a fine teacup or an antique camera or a good pair of broken-in leather shoes.


Reading what people would save and why is such an intimate peek into their lives that sometimes it even feels like prying. People bring photos of their wives and collars from dogs who have died.

Forward and Back

We made it! One year is in the bag. And from our perspective, it has been a major success. Read on for a few words of gratitude, some fascinating numbers, and several exciting announcements.

En Route

The hum of tires on the road and the whoosh of other cars passing and the thump of bumpy highways has a way of drowning out the chatter of everyday life and transporting us smoothly to blessed vacation.


A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. A firm hand. I have to hand it to you. To have the upper hand. To be underhanded. Give me a hand. Sleight of hand. The matter at hand.

Etching No. 43

A girl, age four, is in bed with the quilt scrunched up to her chin. Her blond curls quiver. She is petrified. There is a monster in the closet.

Seen & Heard at FFW

The rustle of everyone sitting up straighter and reaching for a pen when an author says something profound. Those pens scratching on paper in unison.

One Art

I hate losing things. I try really hard to stay organized because there is nothing more frustrating than losing an important scrap of paper or a sweater.


“Orpheus! what ruin hath thy frenzy wrought/On me, alas! and thee?/Dark sleep closes my swimming eyes. And now farewell:/with enormous night I am borne away.”


The chord sounds a little different—less jaded and sweeter but less sappy—and I’m really glad. Glad to know I’ve changed and glad that a book has changed with me.

In Tenebris

May you find a moment’s space tonight. May you draw the curtain, open the window, and climb outside to wait. May the light fall where you need it most.

Commonplace Christmas

I’m pretty sure it’s Christmas’ fault. We’ve entered the season when everyone and their mothers has something inspirational or encouraging to say.

Listen First

I could tell you my opinion about the intersection of homosexuality, Calvin, and the church. But I appreciate the simplicity and genuine goodwill of these stories, so I’ll let them speak unaccompanied.