Hope Is Not a Lost Cause

I started to lose you on Christmas Day. Never have I experienced such agony as my worst fear unfolded into reality. I didn’t understand what miscarriage could be—the intensity of the physical process; bodily desperation as my reaching arms tried to hold on, tried to save my child who is already gone; the depth of…

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Grace Is the Way

She looked at me with tears in her eyes, as if she was seen for the first time. Between the tissue sopping up her wet face and deep sighs, she said, “I don’t know what I did wrong. I can’t escape his mental and emotional manipulation even though we aren’t even together anymore. I’ve been…

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Rare Finds

One short block away is the beach. The soundtrack of the waves rolling consistently onto the shore travels the distance in the cool and refreshing tailwinds. Wrapped in a large beach towel, I notice the softness and warmth of its fabric and the vertical stripes of its rainbow colors. Sitting in the dark of morning,…

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Turning Toward Hope

I’m standing in front of my closet, swapping heavy, dark winter wear for the brighter, lighter garments of spring. When the annual exchange is complete, I begin to look through a neighboring rack of dresses, nearly untouched during the last year spent largely at home. I pass by one, two, three black dresses before I…

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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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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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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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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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The God of Last Straws

Once upon a time, in the land of Israel, during the days of the Judges, there came a famine upon Bethlehem. A woman and her husband looked at their barren field and bleak options and decided to risk a move, praying for a chance to begin again. They would take their two sons to the…

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