Anna Bradfield Writes

Discovering the extraordinary in everyday life

The Strangers Among Us

Dear Lady, three booths down: Why are you crying? You’re in McDonalds — one of the happiest places on earth. Kids come here for the fun meals, after all. Old guys congregate for the sole purpose of swapping stories. Computer users run their businesses from these booths. Yet, there is no mistaking. You are crying, […]

Learning to Pay it Forward, Courtesy of a Black Bear

Being a life-long Michigander, you would think that if we had a bear ranch I would know about it. Nope. News to me. I found out about it a couple of years ago, when my family vacationed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you, dear reader, are not from Michigan, let me give you a little […]

Break Me Out

As I was walking in a forest preserve not long ago, I was planning and anticipating the holidays. Of course, I can’t think about holidays without also thinking about family and how much I love getting together with them. I don’t know about your family, but our family can’t get together without spending the bulk […]

The Perpetual Hug

“Grandma, the teacher says that if you wear short sleeves, you also need a jacket so you won’t be cold.” Lincoln is the type of kid who remembers everything everyone has ever said. He is such a little sponge. I love that about him. “That’s good advice,” I say, as I tidy the kitchen before […]

Pretty People

The Hofma Preserve is one of my favorite trails anywhere, and it just happens to be located in my own back yard. The foliage is dense, the wildlife is vibrant, and the presence of God whispers to me through the branches of the trees. The softness of the earth makes me feel as though I’m […]

Taking Stock of Your Core Qualities

So, apparently I’m the love child of Franklin Covey and Google. My daughter said so, after I had come up with the zillionth idea of the day and described it with such relish and detail that she thought my head might pop off. I don’t know if I could have come up with a better […]


When’s the last time you found the margin of your life? In his book Margin, Richard Swenson, M.D. describes it like this: Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the […]

My Friend Alice

You would like Alice. I know you would. Though it’s been years since I’ve seen her, I think of her often and wonder how she is. I wonder how her story ended. Though I can’t say for sure, I have to believe Alice was a flower child in the ’60s. Her skin was tanned year […]

Life Lessons in a Conference Diversion

I recently attended a conference in Downtown Grand Rapids. Those days can be informative but long, you know? I find myself feeling like I might just crawl out of my skin if I have to sit for one more lecture: no windows, no fresh air, the same tired faces from room to room, slide after […]