For the Love of Big Sisters


Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. I didn’t really grow up with my three sisters. The age gap between us meant they grew up with each other and I grew up with my brothers. In my memories, my sisters have always been adults. Even when they weren’t quite old enough to drive, they were old enough to care for me and rescue me and so, of course, that made them grownups. I often tell people my sister Jennifer was the first adult I ever trusted. But we didn’t have that relationship … [Read more...]

Feelings + Netflix + Being Numb


I spend more hours than I would like to admit watching Netflix. Actually, I don’t even watch TV—I listen to it. I have learned something about myself: I do not like to be alone with my thoughts. Please do not confuse that with a fear of being alone. I love to be alone. I love having my space all to myself without the sounds of another person breathing nearby or doing the dishes or humming to their headphones. I love to be alone. But I don’t do so great in the silence. In the … [Read more...]

Fighting Scarcity, One Compliment at a Time


  Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. She walked the power walk that only women who have mastered sloped pavement and four-inch heels can walk. Black cigarette pants and a blazer the hottest shade of hot pink. Her long hair was catching the sunlight and the wind all at once. She was all the things I am not and she was glorious. I marveled at this beautiful stranger marching up the sidewalk. We made eye contact and I announced, “You look amazing.” She didn’t even pause … [Read more...]

I Say Yes to Myself


Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. I work in a bakery so I hear a lot of, “Oh I just want it ALL, but I can’t …” or “I really shouldn’t …” Or “What has the least sugar?” I don’t mind so much, but I often want to remind these grown adult humans that they WALKED INTO A BAKERY. The treats here are tasty and they are loaded with sugar, but you made the choice to walk in the door. Last week I must have been having a similar conversation with Marilyn, a kind woman who always takes … [Read more...]

I Gave Up Church for Lent


I gave up attending church for Lent one year and I never went back. That’s not really true, but it sounds better than the truth. The truth is Sunday services and I had a slow break-up and I am giving myself space before we reconcile. I had just gotten accustomed to liturgies and ancient spiritual practices when I stopped making the walk to church on Sunday mornings. I fell in love with Ash Wednesday and Lent and The Book of Common Prayer and Passing the Peace of Christ. I fell in … [Read more...]

A Tribute to My Very First Roommate [To Adessa, with Love]


Today is the 30th birthday of my very first roommate and the only thing this silly writer has to offer on a rainy February afternoon are words ... Adessa, I owe you big time. I owe you for teaching me how to back down and how to suck it up and how to love people even when you don't want to. Dess and I have now known each other for 11 years. Longer than most of my current list of friends on Facebook. Come to think of it, we met the same year Facebook was created. We were official before … [Read more...]

Why Not Me?


Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. I was a nervous child. Meeting me today, you would never guess this. I was afraid of so much in the world. High on the list: hell, learning to drive, public speaking, anyone shouting or yelling, being picked last. I spent a lot of my time in my imagination, telling a story of who I would be if I wasn’t so afraid. The girls and women of my imagination were always taller and bolder than the me of my real life. They spoke their minds. They … [Read more...]

Car Accidents + Dating + Nutella

Tonight I am in bed before 8 p.m. and eating my feelings. Sometimes the only distraction from a bad day is my fluffy bathrobe, a jar of Nutella and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. Because today, I crashed my car. If you have known me for more than 20 minutes, then you know this is not the first time. You probably know this is not the worst time, either. I could explain what happened, but it’s not really worth it. In my life I have a whole lot of people who think I can … [Read more...]

Not So Silent Night


Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. I didn’t grow up with the Silent Night version of Christmas. Actually, I didn’t grow up with Christmas at all. My parents’ religion didn’t have a sweet, clean, bright idea of how baby Jesus came into the world and how that translated into glittery Christmas ornaments and pop melodies. There are a thousand reasons I have resented my upbringing, but at Christmas I am always surprised by how grateful I am to have inherited a different point of … [Read more...]

On Anne Shirley and Writing My Way into Healing


“Well, if you want my opinion, Miss Shirley, I’d write about places I knew something of and people that spoke everyday English. Instead of these silly schoolgirl romances.” –Gilbert Blythe, Anne of Green Gables.   Ever since I first saw Anne of Green Gables when I was eight years old, I have wanted two things: to be a writer and a redhead. I can’t really do anything about the redhead part, short of incessant maintenance and a really good hair stylist, but the writer thing I’ve … [Read more...]

My Extraordinarily Quirky Ordinary Life


“And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and … [Read more...]

Two Blonde Monsters and a Swingset


Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. The best 20 minutes of my week were spent pointing ten red lacquered toenails toward the sky, then tossing my feet behind me and pulling that sturdy swing back to start the pendulum again. Two tiny blonde monsters pumped their little legs next to me and for a few minutes all was right with the world. I spend a couple days a week with those two grubby little monsters. They are delightful cherubs at least half of the time. Like those 20 minutes we … [Read more...]

Car Trouble and Plot Twists


Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. I was tucked into the cushions of a hotel lobby couch listening to 80s pop music in a dry little town in Northeastern Oregon on a Tuesday night. This was not on my agenda for the week. I left my house on a Saturday morning with a pile of bedding, a couple cameras, a backpack and a box of pastries. I was stoked to be heading out to the wilderness to meet one of my writer friends from the internet in real life. I was cruising along with the … [Read more...]

My Angry Hip

Some nights I crawl into bed early and pray for dreams in which I am also sleeping. There is no greater joy than to dream of sleep, don't you think? Too often these are the same nights when my angry hip is shouting profanities and getting into fights and the ruckus keeps me from drifting into the slumber I so desperately crave. I really just want to sleep, damn it. I swear to you my hip is angriest when I need sleep the most. She shouts loudest on nights when I have already biked to two … [Read more...]

Because Black Lives Always Matter

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Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. In the past year I’ve watched my world blow up with loaded language, apathy and sadness. In the past year I’ve caught myself whispering sweet names Trayvon, Shantel, Tamir, Michael, Eric, Freddie, Cynthia, Susie, Daniel, Sharonda, Myra, Ethel, Depayne, Clementa, Tywanza, Sandra … the names stack up in my news feed like a holocaust memorial. I have wept a thousand times. My sister talks to her brown-skinned, kind-hearted nine-year-old about … [Read more...]