From Personal Growth

In pieces

I grew up in a world where I was obligated to forgive. You must or else. The “or else” was never clear. God holding a grudge, me teetering on the edge of hell was a threat. As a child I just knew it was bad and my salvation was at risk. I must forgive and…

Maybe it’s exodus, not revolution.

What if your authentic self is not welcomed? In recent months, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have made headlines for stepping down as senior royals. I don’t read celebrity gossip, and I can’t claim to judge their character. But the act itself struck me as brave. Markle has been under intense media scrutiny, and there’s…

In excelsis

Angels we have heard on high. But rarely do we see them. When we’re low and need the peace to help us muster a smile, it may take an angel or two. Seasons show us the cyclical nature of life. One year ago I was being prepped for surgery to remove a very large tumor…

The IV girl club

This morning I woke up in pain.  I had a headache, as usual, and pain in my upper back, which has been happening more often lately. Not long later, my gut cramped badly enough that I couldn’t carry on conversation with my husband, who was talking to me about limiting the kids’ time on the…

Life is long

I feel guilty a lot. It’s my go-to. Guilty if I take too much time for myself. Guilty when I don’t feel like picking up my kids for the zillionth time. Guilty when I’m tired. Guilty that I’m not doing more, more, more. Guilt can be good. It can mean regret and we learn. An…

Brave enough to break it open

In the past two months, I have lost my home, my possessions, my job, and my church. I’m not a natural disaster victim. I didn’t do anything wrong. My partner didn’t leave me or die. All of these losses were voluntary. I lost them in order to gain something far more precious: my health. Allow…

You’re braver than you believe

Piglet and I have something in common. More than our affinity for red scarves and the fact that I often turn his shade of pink this time of year. Piglet and I are often afraid. “Oh d-d-d-dear!” I believe I was almost 25 when I first realized that fear had far too much say in…

Cozy without comfort?

Hygge is the posture of the Danes in the long dark months of a northern winter.  They create environments of beauty and pleasure, safe from the harsh elements outside. Candlelight in the windows, wood piled high for the hearth, knitted blankets, hot tea, and good books. Everything this hobbit of a girl could ask for.…

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…

What do you expect?

Hygge is comfort, the long sweater love lingering conversation over coffee leaves falling sweet scents of breads fresh from the oven and joy of the soul. Dreamy. School has begun again, and it always makes me want to rewatch You’ve Got Mail and buy sticky notes. A friend once brought me a bouquet of sharpened…

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…

The Eighth Grade voice of reason

Abandon accolades and Aristotelian ethics. This is the Eighth Grade. There’s too much pressure to be the paradox. Preteens wade between two polars: the homogeneous clones—prone toward whatever the popular populous deems cool—and the individual butterfly waiting to explode in uniquely bold genius. Eighth grade is too much for all of us. In the fever…

The abundant now

My phone alarm wakes me. As I silence it, groggy and half-blind, I see a notification that someone has commented on my post. I swipe to see it. And there I am, phone already in my face, inundated by images and words through a luminous screen. Before I’ve even taken stock of my body, said…

Trains on their tracks

I can hear it from our bedroom, that low heavy rumble of a train on its tracks. There is a faint whistle, but we are many streets up and there are rows of trees and a river between us, soaking up its sound. Often only the heaviness of movement is what I can hear, a…