Safe Harbors

I am passionate about mothers. Or more specifically, those who grew up without one. Maybe they grew up with a mom who was there but addicted to a substance. Or perhaps they had a mom who was in the home but in her mind was longing to be somewhere else and did not engage with…

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Staying Alive

Did you know that statistically one in five children in the United States experience a mental illness? One out of five. Think about that for just a moment. It doesn’t seem possible, does it? Mental health continues to be a subject that most of us know very little about. Unless we are personally acquainted with…

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The Rewrite

My twin bed was nestled in the edge of the narrow room; a favorite homemade floral comforter kept me warm. The shadows of the doorless closet in the corner frightened me and the small window seemed like an opening for haunted tormentors to peek in. I was in third grade. I don’t recall what all…

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Survivor of Great Storms

Jesus, Savior, pilot me, Over life’s tempestuous sea; Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treacherous shoal. Chart and compass come from Thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me. (Edward Hopper, 1871) One of the things my mother inherited from her parents was a metal, three-dimensional plaque of Jesus walking on storm-tossed waves. It is about…

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Glory and The Dirt Underneath My Fingernail 

I hear the pattering of feet and my seven-year-old son bursts through the bedroom door. I squirm, anticipating the end of my slumber.  Every morning, shortly after I hit my alarm at 5 a.m., he opens the door, declaring, “Mom, are you still here?”  I roll over. The door is shut. Luis is on his…

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I Am the Woman Who…

Swallowing the last sip of a stiff drink, I dragged my body off the couch. Walking toward my bedroom, I stopped in the hallway to notice the open door on the left. Looking into the darkness of the room rendered me breathless for a moment, and I slowly turned to avoid the sight. While brushing…

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Relational Crops

It was the fall of 1976, and it is likely I was wearing a “wrap skirt” that day when I showed up to help with hot lunch at the small Christian Reformed grade school where my children had recently started attending. In that kitchen, making hot dogs, I met Barb for the first time. Her…

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Wild Flower

My son was four years old the first time he had an opinion about his hair. His thick blond hair bounced up and down as he ran, and it brought me absolute delight. When he asked to shave it off, my heart sank. I allowed myself to explore the unusually strong feelings I was experiencing,…

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Foolish Resurrection

Lent is for lovers. “Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault- finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.” ― N.T. Wright 2018. The year Valentine’s…

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The Romance of Friendship

Long before I knew romance with a boyfriend, I learned how to love, and love intensely, from my friend Ashley. “You are my SPNQ (SPOH-neek),” we would say to each other. It was code for “I love you,” invented some silly night at a girls’ retreat when we were maybe 15, 16 years old. It…

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