An Encounter with Jesus

It’s Monday, and in-person schooling for my second and fourth grader are finally underway. Schedules are set, school devices charged, extra masks in backpacks. The house is quiet. There is nowhere I need to be and no one who needs me. Then…

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10-Cent Ice Cream Cones

In the late Sunday summer afternoons of Eastern North Dakota, the sun is already beating its way through our Ford Pinto windows and onto the black vinyl seats we are about to gingerly put our bare skin on. There are four of us who need to get into the car and, luckily, no car seats…

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Learning to Let Go

Who is the woman in black? Is she you? Is she me? Is she a woman with stunning beauty, wearing a little black dress? Is she a woman hiding her body, hoping to distract you with a slimming dark color? Is she a woman in mourning, grieving a loss so deep? Or is she a…

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Unpacking Muttsy

I had begun to notice Muttsy’s decline about three months earlier. She’d developed a little cough, which wasn’t unusual, considering we’d gone on a month’s stay in Austin, which had a polar-opposite climate to Northern Colorado’s in the winter. Like most minor health annoyances, I figured this one would come and go.

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Bless the Black Turtleneck

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 I notice the black turtleneck as we meet. As we sit down, I hear her sigh deeply. She looks at me, eyes searching. Neither…

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On Living While Dying

“The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free from the anxiety of death; but it is life itself that awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.” — Ernest Becker I have been struck recently by some people’s freedom to talk about death. The number of recessed…

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Circle of Grief

I arrive with great hesitance. The unknown is scary and the pain of reopening partially-healed wounds has me on guard. I am warmly welcomed with hugs. The chairs are formed into a circle. I quietly choose a chair and have a seat in the circle of grief. I look around the circle at the women…

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Shadowed Femininity

A dream within a dream. If I were her… In my dream, I wake to a day of expanse. Perhaps expanse is insufficient a word? Spaciousness? That might be more suitable. Because as I wake, my chest feels light and airy.

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The Beginning of the End

I am sitting in my car outside a speak-easy bar in downtown Fort Worth. I am mesmerized by the sound of rain falling methodically on my windshield. Because I am twenty minutes early and nervous, I pull out my poem and scan the words, trying to memorize any phrases I have forgotten. As a young woman…

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Flower Girls

We wore bright, colorful hues to my daughters’ funeral—my husband in a soft pink button-down, me in a periwinkle dress that danced with pink and yellow flowers. My heart wore sackcloth and ashes. Somehow, it was the only thing to do. Although we had never endured a depth of grief so deep and dark and…

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