• death,  God,  Grief,  life,  Love

    Blowing Out the Candle

    So the lights go out. And whatever was said before it or during it, you can’t escape that the lights are off and the candles are warm. Every year we go to that Lutheran sanctuary – with the steps Mom was confirmed on, the cobbled aisle she walked down as a bride, the altar where they sprinkled water on my head in holy hope. We all pile into cars and minivans and occupy a pew or two to sing the hymns, speak the liturgies. We listen to the message about gifts or a virgin birth or good tidings and then we do the most honest, beautiful thing we could do: we…

  • Cancer,  death,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Worship

    When Those Songs Play

    There is a station on my Pandora account – I named it “My Nest” – which I have thumbed up and thumbed down to perfection. Just about every song is deeply meaningful to me because this station has played through 2 unique pregnancies and their furiously lovely births, a dying dog, 3 moving days, the cancer news from California, all the breath-holding and fervent praying, and now it plays over my mourning. When my mom had surgery to remove the tumor we still thought could be some sort of sinus infection, the music and lyrics matched every atom of my limbo. Peace and anxiety swirled around and up to a God…

  • Home,  life,  Love

    Make Yourself at Home

    I am in the SeaTac Airport for a layover and by hour 3 it feels familiar. It feels like I belong here. I have breathed this air in and out, I have walked a few places more than once, I have favored a spot on the train. This isn’t my home, but it could be, I guess. If I had to make it mine. It’s the same with life, I think. I have moved around in this skin – I’ve scraped it and stretched it and burned it. I have gotten familiar with my thinking patterns, learned what I tend to do and when. I have picked favorite sounds and smells…

  • Cancer,  Family,  Home,  Love

    The Cabin

    For me, Home smelled like Raccoon Court – oak trees on a lake, mossy rocks and too many leaves. The concrete cracked over wild earth reminding us she is far from contained and that she did the long-suffering despite our groans come summer when the weeds needed pulling. We tucked our stories into this old, tiny cabin surrounded by deer and birds and these round petaled flowers in tall grass. Does it sound a little magical? Good. My childhood saw magic. Sometimes we go back. My brother and I drive down the familiar roads and we can’t wait to breathe that air. We’ve taken friends and spouses, we’ve gone alone, but…

  • Family,  Grief,  Home,  Love

    It Doesn't Go Easy

    Our dog is dying. And there will be more about him later because he has been sewn into my identity, our identity and his passing will not go without ripping some seams. But right now… we are waiting. I am watching his stomach for breathe when I walk past him, first thing in the morning, in the dark when I get up to do something. He takes in long, slow swallows of air through the night and I can hear him breathing like it’s hard and I know that breathing shouldn’t be hard. But then he will perk up and yesterday I swear he came back from the past. His…

  • Family,  God,  Love,  Motherhood

    Borrowed Time

    Life is short, you guys. And unpredictable. I was just innocently watching Mommy vlogs on youtube and came across a memorial video for one of the adorable, genuine moms of the Whats Up Moms channel. Her name is Connie Kin and her videos are still up. She seemed like a truly beautiful person. And seeing her posts reminded me that this time we get with these little ones is… Well, it’s borrowed. Any moment could be our last… That didn’t used to bother me as much as it does now. Because now a part of me imagines weddings I won’t attend and grandchildren I won’t help into the world (yes,…