Food as Memory: Meals That Sustain Me

Oftentimes, food is about more than nutrition. It can be about holidays, like the Thanksgiving my middle sister, Ginny, volunteered to make the dressing. Why she did so is a question I don’t think will ever be answered satisfactorily.

Learning to Wait: Walking the Dog as Contemplative Practice

This is pretty much how our outings go. I move, Norval doesn’t. If he’s not sniffing, relieving himself, eating sticks, or barking at Gus the Goldendoodle, he’s most likely defying me. He knows he gets rewarded for “good walking,” so when he loses the mood, and he doesn’t see me reaching for the treats inContinue reading “Learning to Wait: Walking the Dog as Contemplative Practice”

My Husband Has Cancer: Does It Matter What Kind?

When I tell people my husband has been receiving treatment for cancer, many ask—almost reflexively—“What kind?” After thoughtful consideration, much of it conducted in waiting rooms, doctors’ offices, and pharmacy lines, I’ve decided this is not the most appropriate, or helpful, response. At fifty-seven, I am sometimes fixated on causes of death for folks myContinue reading “My Husband Has Cancer: Does It Matter What Kind?”

Hiking Toward Home: In Which a Middle-Aged Woman Forges Her Trail

I have hiked five miles of the Appalachian Trail. It’s true, but I usually announce this with my eyes cast downward. Not because I think five miles is paltry; for me, it’s an accomplishment. My reticence is due to the circumstances of my achievement. So, yes, I did cover a handful of miles of theContinue reading “Hiking Toward Home: In Which a Middle-Aged Woman Forges Her Trail”

On Mary Pipher’s “Seeking Peace” {This Is Not a Book Review…}

I’ve only written a few book reviews in my day, mainly because I don’t really understand them. Or maybe I don’t appreciate them properly. Is one person’s opinion of a book supposed to sway me, even when I’m not familiar with the reviewer’s background or interests? What if I love the author and disagree withContinue reading “On Mary Pipher’s “Seeking Peace” {This Is Not a Book Review…}”

Gathering ‘Round Our Grief

This cabin in the woods is empty now, but on two rainy days in early June it embraced twenty-four souls who gathered together to write their hard stories, the ones they can’t share with just anyone. Sometimes not even themselves. Not quite yet. When I preach, “It’s the sharing of our stories that saves us,”Continue reading “Gathering ‘Round Our Grief”

Go Collect Yourself

The dream came over the weekend, the one with her dead mother in it. MayBelle hasn’t dreamed about her mother regularly in the two years since her death, although MayBelle often senses her mother’s spirit with her. And certainly she feels her mother’s influence, even lives it out. On separate occasions just last week, MayBelleContinue reading “Go Collect Yourself”

Dear 2018: Whatever Happens This Year, Please Don’t Demand That MayBelle Be a “Change Agent,” “Goddess,” or “Warrior”

Or worse, a “badass.” MayBelle doesn’t want to be any of those things. She just wants to be herself. Maybe, in this new year, a more refined MayBelle, or even the most MayBelle-iest MayBelle she can be. But she refuses to be overwhelmed/intimidated/shamed by messages implying that she needs to be different—that she has toContinue reading “Dear 2018: Whatever Happens This Year, Please Don’t Demand That MayBelle Be a “Change Agent,” “Goddess,” or “Warrior””

“Ten Tiny Changes”: The Artist’s Way

  I’m beginning to realize that my current sensitivity around the state of the world and the state of my own emotional well-being is not just a day or two of the blues. It is a tender stage of life I must make my way through. At fifty-six, I find myself restless, wondering if I’veContinue reading ““Ten Tiny Changes”: The Artist’s Way”

Upon Waking: Week Two of The Artist’s Way

I’m two weeks in with The Artist’s Way Workbook, and have done my morning pages every day except for one. Not sure why I forgot that day, but I got right back to it the next morning and I’m glad for the practice. It’s helping me unload some nighttime/early rising thoughts, and providing a senseContinue reading “Upon Waking: Week Two of The Artist’s Way”