Helena Sorensen



A Path of Delight: Building the World of The Door on Half-Bald Hill

By Helena Sorensen

[Editor’s note: Our theme for today at North Wind Manor’s Opening Week is story, and this evening the Manor will host a Storytellers’ Night with Helena Sorensen, Andrew Peterson, Jennifer Trafton, Doug McKelvey, A. S. Peterson, and Jonathan Rogers. So here’s a piece from Helena about her journey from a flash of inspiration to a completed story in the writing process for her latest novel, The Door on Half-Bald Hill.]

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Old Favorites: Sandra McCracken’s “Dynamite”

By Helena Sorensen

[Editor’s note: This piece is the third in a series begun by Mark Geil called “Old Favorites,” where various contributors to the blog reflect on some of the most beloved, well-worn albums and songs in their collections. Today, we hear from Helena Sorensen about Sandra McCracken’s song “Dynamite.”]

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Advent, Week One: Hope

By Helena Sorensen

The ark of the covenant was hidden behind a network of barricades. You couldn’t stroll into the temple and lay hands on the seat and symbol of God’s presence. There were sacrifices to be made, garments to be worn. After ritual cleansings, there were sacred coals, incense, showbread, a bloody altar. If you ran this gauntlet, if you leapt every hurdle, still you would not meet God. You’d come face-to-face with a thirty by sixty foot wall of fabric. As it wasn’t made of stone, perhaps the veil gave an illusion of flexibility, of softness. But make no mistake: it was there to keep you out. It was there to prevent your entering into the holy of holies and communing with the Most High God.

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Things Fall Apart

By Helena Sorensen

I haven’t kept up with the news for years. Years and years. My long-suffering husband helps by giving me highlights and summaries. He knows that a childhood heavily seasoned with End Times Prophecy and an unfortunate draw toward dystopian fiction sometimes combine with breaking news to send me into an emotional state that closely resembles panic. In the past, I have entered occasionally into a recent story or event. I’ve talked it over with friends and thought about this or that perspective. Then, after days of processing, I’ve taken a step back to remind myself that the world is bigger than the conflict I see in front of me.

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Onward and the Quest for the Father

By Helena Sorensen

I wasn’t expecting to see so clear a picture of Jesus in Pixar’s latest movie, Onward, though I ought to know by now that unexpected places are his favorites. He’s always turning up with a wink and a grin when my mind is elsewhere and my defenses are down.

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I’d Like to Learn to Love It Anyway

By Helena Sorensen

The birdhouse fell in a storm. We found it the next morning lying on the ground, roof split, blue eggs cracked and broken. We could make out the bend of a tiny wing, the puckered skin where dark feathers prepared to grow. We had seen the mating pair of Eastern bluebirds as they chose this house and made their nest. Their blue feathers were like jewels flashing in the early morning light.

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Pronunciation Guide: The Door on Half-Bald Hill

By Helena Sorensen

I’ve been asked to write a brief pronunciation guide for anyone who might need help with character and place names in The Door on Half-Bald Hill. Pronunciation guides are tricky! It’s always easier to hear a new word than to decode it by means of the kind of weird, inconsistent descriptors I’m about to give.

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Half-Bald Hill & New Endings

By Helena Sorensen

As a child, I heard a lot about the end of the world—the mark of the Beast, the demise of America, the million-man army that would spread destruction over the face of the earth. Things were going badly wrong, they said, and soon the sun would be darkened. And being an earnest child, I went about gathering fears and confirmations of doom and storing them away like cankerous fruit.

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What We Cannot See: A Lenten Reflection

By Helena Sorensen

Most of the light in the universe is invisible to the human eye. We see an estimated .0035% of the electromagnetic spectrum, and that estimate is based on what we can measure with current information and technology. The eye takes in a tiny fraction of what is real and present. Or, stated differently, the scope of what we cannot see is vast.

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Giants in the Land

By Helena Sorensen

You would have laughed to see it—that mound of walruses piled on the Russian coast. Laughter was my first inclination. I wondered when a male walrus would begin an awkward mating dance or heave his bulk at a pesky seagull. I was waiting for the comic soundtrack, the thumping of a tuba, when I began to understand. This was a story of suffering.

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Recovering A Good Father

By Helena Sorensen

“Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about us. Jesus came to change our minds about God.”—Richard Rohr

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The God Who Asks

By Helena Sorensen

There’s a certain kind of loneliness that comes of never being asked the right questions. Many of us go years at a time subsisting on questions like How’s the job? and How are the kids? Even the slightly superior How are you? without a foundation of relational intimacy and plenty of time to dig in, can be glossed over as easily as a question about the weather.

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