• Family,  Grief,  life,  Love,  Motherhood

    Lipstick Legacy

    I have it now; this little blue mug that says “MOM” on it all uneven like it was mass printed and sold for last minute gift-buyers on Mother’s Day sometime in the 80s. Maybe my Dad got it for her from me, their new baby, between sleep deprived shifts at one of his several jobs and maybe it made her cry the way you do when you’ve earned something that has not been easy. Mornings were quiet in our little cabin. Dad needed to sleep after his swing shift and Mom readied herself in the early, dark hours to join the other commuters on 101 by sunrise. Sometimes she would…

  • Family,  life,  Love,  Motherhood

    When Your Children Say, "We Got You"

    I did a scary thing. I auditioned for a show in which you read the words you wrote. Like, in front of people. On a stage. And before you can do that you read it in front of the showrunners who decide if your piece fits. And when you go to do this you sit outside the audition room with your printed copies and you make small talk with the other people auditioning and you have to tell them that this is your second time trying to do it which makes you feel like a loser even though you told yourself all the right (and true) things about how rejection…

  • Christian Teaching,  Family,  life

    There was a school shooting…

    There was a school shooting near my home today. Not many details have been released, but there was a school shooting near my home today. Parents – friends – received automated voice messages from the school district informing them that their children were on lockdown. News footage covered the school like it’s covered so many – too many – before. There are cliches around this now; how did that happen? A friend of mine texted me a link to a news article while I was plunked down at the YMCA getting some work done, my babies safely playing mere feet away from me in the child watch, oblivious to the absolute…

  • Baby Berry,  Family,  Grief,  life,  Motherhood,  Pregnancy

    It's a Boy! (dammit)

    So. I’m pregnant. And full disclosure: I really wanted another girl. I wanted our eldest to have a sister to relate to, I loved the idea of my two boys being bookmarked with a little less testosterone, but mostly? I wanted another little girl to share in the thing my mom and I had. She used to buy this terribly amazing ice cream that had actual Butterfinger swirled into it. It was like our emergency fire extinguisher: we broke the glass for mean girls and stupid boys and post-fight-make-ups and really bad period cramps. Two spoons, one tub, no shame. We’d sit in her bed with our comfort food and…

  • Community,  Family,  Grief,  hope,  life,  Love

    On the First Anniversary

    People talk about the first year as though crossing that threshold is a thing. I used to hate it because it felt like there was an expectation that a person would be done grieving after a year. But I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s actually a hope for comfort. As if once you’ve made it a year, you will keep making it. You’ve proven to yourself that you can breathe, you can laugh, you can enjoy being her daughter even when she isn’t here the way she should be. One year ago, on June 19 my mother took her last breath. I waited up with the rest of…

  • Cancer,  Family,  Grief,  life,  Love

    The Women

    Their voices are like echoes – one speaks and you wonder which body it belongs to. Their humor coordinates and though each has a slightly different take on the world, they understand each other and laughter comes easy. I was born into a family run mostly by women; strong, sweet, funny, brilliant women. My great grandmother, Betty, had one gorgeous, blue-eyed beauty she called Carole during World War II and then didn’t have any others for almost 20 years. Carole gave birth to her daughter Tracey just a couple years after Betty gave birth to Beth and Becky. And then 25 years later Tracey had me. In and out of crises, The Women get…

  • Christian Living,  Christian Teaching,  Family,  God,  Jesus Christ,  Kingdom,  Love

    Not Peace, but a Sword

    Growing up Christian meant toddling into the idea that Jesus is a friend, that God so loved the world, that we are brothers and sisters and children of one Creator. I never had the chance to wonder about humanity’s worth or our place in the universe. We were here to be loved and to love. Christianity, like a mother, brought me into the world and she raised me in what she believed was true. But along with that idea came a lot of weird shit. There was a period I only wore long skirts and could not listen to any music with a drum beat without begging for forgiveness. What…