Transitions are…

With one hand I hold tightly to my husband, in desperate need of his support, and with the other I push him away.  It’s confusing and frustrating, but this is how the young and scared part of me struggles for control and acts out in fear. My mature and wise adult self knows better.  I have…

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Back to each other.

I grip the steering wheel of the parked car, working up the nerve to cross the lot and enter the bar. The doors of my jetta hold me in. I can stay here forever, till I choose to spill out and into whatever the night holds. Already, the setting sun floods the scene before me,…

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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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The Olive Branch

The last few nights I have been sleep deprived. I squirm under my cozy covers in an attempt to relax, but my chest feels tight, as if my breath is constricted. My body is weary. I attempt to ease my mind, as anxiety-filled scenarios swirl around my head like an annoying replay. After a long…

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Expanding the Boundaries

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Growing up in a religiously conservative, white community in America’s heartland, my view of the world was rather small. My community included our family farm and my grandparents’ house, which was next door to…

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The Tweens You Don’t Hear About

I was called a tween this week: the in-between years of parenting your own kids while taking care of your own parents. It sucks every bit as much as middle school. The night before, we received a phone call at 2am. It was not the first time. My mother-in-law woke disoriented, fearful of the man…

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Relative Age

Dusk was falling on another Saturday night in the Chicago suburbs. My siblings and I, all under the age of ten, had been entertaining ourselves during a long, lazy day at home. It was just before dinner and we’d pulled a gigantic floor pillow in front of the couch, jumping like acrobats from the couch…

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My Grandmother’s Hands

Twenty years ago, Chris and I moved our family back to Michigan, where we both grew up and where most of our family lived. I was glad we took the opportunity after getting married to leave and experience other places and people, and I was also glad to return when we did. By then, we…

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Freaks and Geeks

As a little girl, I struggled to fit in with the world around me. I was a homeschooled, loner bookworm. I never fit in with my metal mouth, roller bangs, and frizzy hair. My clothes never felt at home on my body. I was constantly watching everyone around me while staying quiet, lest afraid of…

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Rewriting the Refrain

“No one listened to me, so I stopped using my voice.” My friend’s words disappeared into the animated discussion filling the room, but I reached out to catch them. It was an honest admission that needed to be received by another. I’m listening, I thought. Yet, I knew she was referring to a historic dismissal…

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