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I remembered the tree and the tree remembered me

We sat in the car, a full country’s length away from our normal. Years of marital problems had come to a head in the preceding weeks and, after an agreement to work on these problems and an understanding that they weren’t going to be solved overnight, nearly tangible tentativeness and awkwardness hung in the air…

Snap peas

Reject the notion that you are not enough. Or that you are too much. Or that you don’t have what it takes. Reject all the lies that you are tempted to believe, and begin the adventure of knowing that it’s okay to be you, exactly as you are now, in your shoes, in your skin,…

The ones we keep choosing

Last week I opened an email that began, “Unfortunately, Joanna, you did not win…” It was lottery tickets to see Hamilton, which just opened in Seattle. The tickets have been at scalper’s prices since like five seconds after they went on sale. This lottery is my best hope of seeing what some have called the…

It’s basically a muffin

I sat at my computer, staring at the screen, heart palpitating with my pinkie resting firmly on the delete button. My eyeballs danced frantically over each sentence again and again as I dissected every word. Ugh, why did I say it that way?  I thought. Why did I use so many parentheses? All the other…

The things she handed down

Years ago my aunts put together a photocopied version of my Italian grandma’s recipe notebook. I didn’t live in the same state with her growing up and my non-Italian mom only cooked the recipes that my dad liked from his childhood. So coming upon these hand-written recipes as an adult feels a bit like a…

These are a few of my favorite things

egg nog with nutmeg (and rum, let’s be serious) kids eating sugar until they’re delirious meeting under mistletoe for marital flings these are a few of my favorite things red velvet ribbons and garlands of cedar wreaths on the door as a festive guest greeter paperwhite bulbs forced to bloom out of spring these are…

Quiet Gifts in a Loud World

When the rain is falling and the wind is stirring up the remnants of leaves across my window, I can hear it. For a moment. The hoarse whisper of nature, echoing her Maker’s lips. And then it is gone; or, rather, I am gone. The car on my bumper. The items on my list. The…

Ringing in the season

ding…ding…ding…dingdingding….ding…ding…ding…dingdingding….. Three slow, three fast, three slow, three fast. The rhythmic pattern danced through my head like stepping stones for sugar plum fairies while the crisp mountain air bit at my nose, turning it red. Officially, I signed up to ring the bell in order to fulfill service hours as a member of Student Council,…

“Moonless Darkness Stands Between” 

In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a small motley troop of friends offers gifts that prove they’ve been listening to one another, that they care about each other’s details and dreams. If only all gifts could say what we want them to, could show our deep affection, could bless and enrich another for life.…

Two Reflections

This tiny miracle The woods were dark, but it was summer, and the darkness was warm and not unfriendly. It was dark enough to hide my hand in his, twelve years old and trembling, breath catching with wonder. He was dark-haired and dark-eyed. Beautiful and kind and somehow, beyond understanding, mine in this moment. Chooser,…

The Blur

It’s been a blur. My reflection in the glass. For the last seven years. So much so that if you asked me what I looked like, I couldn’t tell you. No matter how long I stand here trying to catch a glimpse of who I am, it plays out in pixelated streaks across my mirror.…

Tiny crescents

If I die people will know because of how long my kids’ nails get. These are the 2:33 a.m. reflections of someone who has been up feeding an infant every three hours, on the hour, for weeks. I am truly beyond grateful for this glorious tribe that surrounds us. In fact, there are not words…