From Guest Contributors

Our guest contributors are kindred spirits who also have the writing bug. Some are dear friends and some are writers we admire but don’t know personally. Their bios are included at the end of their individual articles.

The last penny

I have always loved presents. As the youngest of four kids and the daughter of a pastor, getting something new—not second-hand, slightly-used, or hand-me-down—delighted me to the core. But as the last of the sibling pack, it was ONLY on my birthday or at Christmas that I didn’t have to fight for what was in…

Like it or not

Festive is a popular adjective this season, like it or not. We toss it with the lights, mix it with the carols, and blend it with the eggnog. It’s persistent, and every Christmas season it cheers us up again. Festive has a history. An Old English word, it derives from the Medieval Latin noun festivalis…

Farm to table to freedom

When we set the table that night it felt like a normal dinner. Aaron was out at the grill blackening the salmon, a friend had come by to help me chop veggies, and I answered the door and hugged our friends like we would any other night. Filling our table was something we had always…

White space

Last year’s winter had me on the cusp of a third trimester waddle. The house was snug under candlelight and what could only be termed an explosion of blankets. My hands rested on a foreign, stretched body to feel movement of life within. It was hard to breathe, but I could. It was harder to…

Solstice

The night is long, and I am driving. A pilgrimage, of sorts. I left at midnight, the dark highway unfolding in front of my headlights, the comfort of familiar things in my rear-view mirror. The flash and festivity of the Christmas season felt hollow, garish, false. I’m past the peak of adolescent angst, but still…

4 Poems

1. As I lean against the wall of Byen Bakery, half-drowsed in the still warm, thinning light of October, I spot the familiar long stride of my niece Amelia. The bundle against her chest is my first great-niece Murron, and suddenly the day gets larger, the heavens go deeper. Inside, glass cases gleam and chrome…

A new kind of festive

What does it look like to start over again during the festive season? It looks like my husband and I making our annual trip to the Belfast International Market one last time before we made the move back to the States. It looks like a house full of moving boxes, barely unpacked, sitting next to…

The little things

The holidays can be fun and stressful all at once. Not everyone looks forward to them, and for some it’s their favorite time of year. Change was at the forefront of my last Christmas. Navigating a divorce, the passing of my sweet sister-in-law, a move to a different city—loss was everywhere. There were holes in…

Bittersweet

On Tuesday, August 21, 2015, after a 12-½ year battle with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including almost four years’ separation, my husband, Patrick, now with U.S. Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status, landed at SeaTac International airport.  Our 8-year-old son, Solomon, and I were waiting anxiously and I sobbed with elation and relief…

Seeking hoogly

My mom was the one who told me, after hearing it from Betsy Brown, a close friend in Atlanta. “It’s just so hoogly,” she said, describing that perfect cozy feeling when you’re snuggled right where you want to be with the exact people you want to be snuggled with. Betsy told her it was a…

Last light

It’s late afternoon on a winter Saturday, and I’ve taken my children to the beach for an hour of fresh air, an hour of running around and tossing beach stones into the water before the day is gone. What light we’ll get today in the northwestern corner of the country has already crested and is…

Getting some help with hygge

No one but me thought it was a good idea to hire a live-in maid and nanny. My mother reminded me that she had raised three kids and worked full time, and still managed to keep a cleaner house than mine, all on her own. My mother-in-law pointed out that neither of my sisters-in-law had maids, and they could actually afford…

Pizza and my place in the order of things

I need a single bowl of tomatoes for dinner, but the plant is overflowing with the delicate orange orbs. It’s the end of an extravagantly fertile summer that began with a slow spring and plentiful rain, a rarity for our high desert climate. My garden has responded to the weather, heavy with produce. As I…

Presence

Think of that feeling when you are cozy. Lit candles are scattered around the room, good food is in your belly, and a hot cup of tea is in your hands. Maybe you are alone, on a no-work day, sitting on the couch with a good book and no bra on under your old, tattered…

A love letter to You: on coldness and warmth

July 2018 Hi, You.  It’s the middle of the week, and I’m calm. My to-do list sits mostly empty, as I’m expecting family for the weekend. There won’t be enough beds to sleep in, but sugar consumption and late night conversations will keep us awake in any case. Your name will come up, as it…

The paradox of gifts

My Love Language results will tell you. Any astrology description of my sign, Leo, “the prideful lion,” will corroborate it too. I love gifts. I love everything about gifts. I enjoy the art of finding the perfect gift just as much as I love writing the thank you notes for the ones I’ve received. The…

The cost of a lucky penny

I wouldn’t call myself a superstitious person. I love the whimsy behind the notion of a lucky penny, but I’ve never held one as a belief. But last week a penny did make me realize again how lucky I am. A penny that got firmly stuck in my son’s throat. Can anything focus your gratitude…

Map of a hand

How many continents have traveled beneath this flesh Been held in reverence or punctured on demand? How many miles of emotions have rolled like oceans and rough seas Or teased to wonder why? How many stories held safe? How many lies of omission never fully crossed the lifelines, Waiting to be thrown or held back…

Affirming

I got big into affirmations during a time in my life where I was really searching for something. SOMETHING to ease the pain that I felt, something to be the glue to hold me together, something to make sense out of everything that had happened. In the midst of untangling myself from an abusive ex,…

Our turn for a dose of something terrible

We sit in the pre-op area. The temperature is cold and the atmosphere sterile. More waiting. There are others waiting too, separated from us by beige floral print curtains, their privacy maintained by the loud whooshing of recycled air flowing above us. Each patient is prepped and eventually escorted through the sliding doors to the…