Friday, March 31, 2017


north carolina is my favorite place to leave in the spring. when you leave, if you squint, you can see the blur of faintest green in the trees...and 5 days later, there is a riot of green bursting out. around the lake in 80F today:

turtles stacked like dinner plates on a drying rack
red-headed woodpecker
male cardinal feeding his baby
white ducks
mallard ducks
white heron hunting
canadian geese
dozens of zebra butterflies
a bunny
squirrels galore

i will always be grateful to live here... the cold, small town prairie girl has become a woman with a warm & fat & happy heart... and life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

your music

the music of life is my daughter's voice over the phone, choking with sobs that she got into the competitive program she so desperately wanted. it's my dog's tail thumping against the edge of the couch and the tinkle of ice in my glass. it's the early spring leaves pushing their last fore-bearers to the ground in the warm, inky breeze. it's the literal music on my google home, the pop of texts from friends and the tap of my fingers on keys.

the music of my life is "c'mere" and "what episode are we on?" it's when you keep saturday nights free for my friendship (full of need), and in random afternoon sportsballs at the bar (where all of my questions are patiently answered) and we sip cranberry vodkas. i hear it when you say that i am loved, and that it matters that i exist. i hear it in boxes of kitchen utensils and it's in your voice and laugh when i finally get to see you face to face.

it's also in the chug of the photocopier broken by laughter, tears at my kitchen table, the videos of meg covering pink and sarah barrellis ... and even the videos of hank the bat hamster. god help me, it's even in the (cliched) birds outside my window in the morning.

here is what i am (slowly) re-learning. i cannot make the music of my life. *you* make the music of my life. i would love to say that i am a strong, independent woman - and maybe i even am - but without your drumbeat/horn line/thumping bass/tight harmonies my life is empty. i hope i make some music in your life, too, don't get me wrong.... just don't mistake my contentment for anything other than listening to the melodies you make in mine.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

the velveteen rabbit

i remember many years ago my mom telling me that she felt like she was "carrying around a bag of gold" all the time... by which she meant (i think) that all the experiences, wisdom, collected reading and thinking that she had done became a part of who she was that she was able to then share with others.

i think i might be carrying around a (small) bag of gold. admittedly, my life has drastically changed - some would say fallen apart - in the last 8 months, and so much of who i am is being discovered or redefined in new ways. but slowly the integration of who i was and i who i am seems possible. and for that i'm *so* relieved.

one of the things that i've begun to see is that my life has always been full of spiritual formation - reading, fasting, studying, teaching, praying, mediating - all for the sole purpose of believing (experiencing) that God actually loved me. but no matter how devoted i was, i never believed it. the more i tried to prove my worth, the less worthy i felt....the more God's love seemed mandatory instead of chosen...and mandatory love, like mandatory fun, is neither love, nor fun.

i couldn't live with the disparity anymore. i spent a year consciously telling God that he was mean, and i wasn't going to believe in him anymore, and how could he? i turned my back at every spiritual impulse. funnily, it didn't take me long to realize that i totally believed in God. his absence proved how real his presence had been. my life without him was so scary. i became willing to admit that God was real, but not that he loved me voluntarily.

then separation. fighting. trying. losing the battle. being ostracized from my church community. losing friends, losing dinner with my daughter every night... so much loss. no one chooses that much loss for fun, in case you were wondering. this was never in my plan.

but i was talking to my friend kim the other night, and i pulled some gold for her out of the bag i didn't know i was carrying around.  i realized all my formation wasn't lost. it's still there, but it's being redefined and restructured. after we talked for a bit, i was struck by the realization that i am more sure now, in my inarguable brokenness, that God loves me than i've been. i even believe that God *likes* me. which is contrary to everything i was taught for the first 40 years of my life. but i actually think it might be true. in the suddenness of the moment, i blurted out to kim, "i'm like the velveteen rabbit!"

the velveteen rabbit. worn. covered in disease. no longer good enough. it wasn't until that was the reality of the rabbit that he was able to become real. and it was because in that broken, worn and dirty state he was still *so* loved. the state he was in didn't matter... in fact he had been loved through all the things that had made him faded and torn and "worthless". and it was because of the immense love that had been poured into him for all those years that he became real.

*please* do not misunderstand me. i'm not saying that losing my marriage has made me real, or whole. it has not. it's been awful, if i'm honest. but i am saying that somehow, all of this hurt and dirt has allowed to begin to experience a love i have spent years longing for. now that i know i'm no longer able to prove myself worthy of anything, i have nothing left to prove. but i feel the flutter of life inside of me. God is making me real - not because of what and who and how i am, but regardless of what and who and how i am. because (weirdly) he likes me. how shocking is that? God *likes* me. that's much more shocking than if he just loved me. "God is love" means he loves everyone, but liking someone is a preference... a choice. i think i might be God's velveteen rabbit.

Monday, March 6, 2017


when she was 8 or 9, i wrote this for meg:

i want to tell my daughter
that this world does not seem made for sparklers.

but rather
for smooth bulbs in sockets
with carefully measured watts and volts
that turn on and off at appropriate times

here, the unpredictable spark
unreliable heat
flashing beauty
are risky - 
pinched carefully from the end
and set down with quiet relief
when sparks die

no - it is  not made for them
but it needs them

without sparklers there would be no
spinning or laughter
no arms swooped in languorous, wide circles
trailing ribbons of smoke
in curlicues
no naked feet in night damp'd dew
no clinging grass on nightgown hems

don't be afraid to let your spark fly
you will be a flashing 
beautiful risk
that someone can take

and they will need you 

last year she wrote this for herself about her struggle with eating disorders, and it was published today online by seedbed:

Hold Fast

Teach me to Hold Fast.
You too?
I thought I was the only one.
How did you do it?
Was it hard for you too?
Did you cry a lot too?
How were you there for her?
How did you not stop loving her?
How did you not stop loving me?
How do you know I’ll be OK?
How do you look at me the same?
I don’t even anymore.
My reflection is always foggy now.
But I guess you aren’t blinded by my doubts and pains and hurts and fears.
I guess that’s good.
But it’s harder for me.
You can’t understand.
I don’t either.
I guess I can’t blame you for that though.
You must think I’m crazy.
You must think I want this.
But I promise you I don’t,
I’m really scared.
I lay here crying.
No one can keep me from drowning.
Not those who are paid or those who just care or those who don’t even know.
What do I do?
What’s the plan?
What did she do?
Did she survive?
Will I survive?
What if I die trying?
Will you still love me then?
What if I can’t do this?
What if there is no light at the end of the tunnel?
What if I want to get better but I’m weak and I can’t?
He’s disappointed.
Does he not think I am too?
I guess not, but that’s ok.
It’s not his fault.
It’s no one’s fault, except maybe mine.
Is it my fault?
If it is can you lie?
Tell me who I can blame.
Is it the man in the sky?
Or the man down below, he laughs as I cry.
But that’s ok.
He doesn’t understand.

my daughter is a beautiful, strong, brave and tender woman. i am immensely proud of her.