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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I’m Fine

I had been driving around the neighborhood, circling the same streets for almost thirty minutes, until I reached a point of no longer being able to bear the weight of what I was trying to escape. My friend Cassandra was on the phone with me, listening as I talked with panic in my voice and…

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Thank You for the Moon

It had been the sweetest day spent with some of my beloved ones. As our time together was coming to an end, a child whom I adore noticed the bright, full moon outside my east-facing windows. “Oh, look!” she said. “The moon! Can we go outside and look at it?”

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Unwanted Rhythm

My exhausted, swollen-faced four-year-old son snuggles into my warm-on-the-outside, yet broken-on-the-inside, body. Our eager eyes wait for nurses, who scurry past our jail-like cell window until the hour mark has passed again without any communication. This brand of déjà vu is palpable. We’ve been through this before, so now the wait doesn’t seem to carry…

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