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When the Day is Hard

It is such a beautiful place, the cemetery. Peaceful, full of reminders that I'm certainly not the only one.

Days like this, they haunt me. Blue skies, unseasonable warm, leaves of gold glittering in the breeze. I remember this weather. The same as six years ago. How unfair is it that loved ones must die? How unbelievably cruel when the day is picture perfect? Shouldn't the skies mimic the complete and utter despair? Shouldn't the earth darken when the heart does, too?

Today is Halloween and everyone is giddy with excitement. My son carefully coordinated his "nerd costume" and made sure his candy bag had no holes in it. I passed the duties of trick or treating off to Matt.

I just can't do it. I cannot keep it together a moment longer.


October is so very hard for me to navigate. Avery's birthday starts it off, we end with her death. In between is a balancing act - one that I'm getting better at, but I'm still such a novice. Some people want to ta…
Recent posts

To the Very Last Person to Ever Touch My Daughter on Earth

You were the very last person to ever touch my daughter on earth. You took her stilled, silent body and you washed her. You changed her into the clothes I had brought over in a brown paper bag. Her favorite blue jeans, a bright blue t-shirt with a tank top underneath. Years later, I'd panic, convinced I had forgotten to bring fresh, clean underwear. I contacted the people at the funeral home - can you believe we've become such good friends? I was told that when a family forgets something like that, they simply discretely provide it.

You helped me to understand that it was okay to put fuzzy socks on her feet. You patiently slipped them on her.

You took the down comforter I passed to your hands and listened as I explained through choppy breaths and a stream of tears that she'd need to be wrapped up in it - like a burrito. Because that's how she watched TV. Burrito wrapped in her blanket.

You wrapped her up tightly. And you laid her down gently for the very last time.

I …

Just Pray

During a football game, when a serious injury occurs, all play stops. Players on the field and lining the sidelines immediately kneel. The stadium falls silent. I'm told, although there isn't a specific rule governing bystander protocol during an injury, being still keeps others from gathering around the injured player and getting in the way of people responding to the injury. It is also a sign of great respect. Somewhere in those stands is a mama whose heart just sank to her stomach and she's trying to breathe but nothing's coming. Her child is lying there, not moving, and she has no idea what's wrong.

When Avery died, it was as if the entire stadium of my world went silent. People had heard about the accident, word spread, whispering through phone calls and hushed run-in's at the grocery stores. It wasn't until I pressed publish on my first blog post that the stadium community let out a collective breath and began that slow clap as I began to slowly rise…

When Your Imagined Life is Nothing Like This One

There were so many ways I imagined my adult life would be....THIS is not one of them.
I posted that on my Facebook wall last night. It might have been seen as funny except my choice of hashtags gave me away:
treading water getting nowhere piles of disappointment not many successes worn out and exhausted out of options

I always imagined my life would be thrilling. Full of exciting adventures and people from all over the world. I would dine at Ethiopian, Thai, and Indian restaurants. I would write books, teach English, coach forensics and direct the play. My husband would be charming and funny and not care about gender roles when it came to household chores. He would beg for at least six kids and I would fall in love with him all over again each time I caught him giving good life advice.
I would take photographs and travel the world documenting the people I came across. I would adopt a sibling group of three or maybe four and work on foster care policies because the ones we have aren't work…

The Fisherman

My friend, Amber has been living in Haiti with her family for the past 8 years. She spent most of her time in what I would describe as a more rural area, centrally located in the middle of the country. Then she relocated up north. Way up north. Straight to the heart of the city that God told her to go: Port de Paix, or the Port of Peace. 
It takes anywhere from six to seventeen hours to get from Port au Prince up to Port de Paix. The vehicle will break down. The roads are predominately gravel, or, as one person described it "like the rocky bottom of a dried out riverbed." That was closer to being right.
Port de Paix is a large city with everything possibly wrong with it. A coastal city with too many people, too much garbage and a variety of rogue pigs wandering around. 



There is a beach just a few blocks from where Amber lives and where the Avery House currently sits. 

I let Brody splash around in the water. I figure it toughens his immune system. I grew up makingmud pies o…

The House that God Built

in·stan·ta·ne·ous /ˌinstənˈtānēəs/ adjective 1. occurring or done in an instant or instantly.
synonyms: immediate, instant, on-the-spot







The thing is, she died so sudden.
I didn't have the chance to plead with God, to make all the irrational promises. If he would just let her be okay.... I would start taking better care of my health. I would be nicer to the neighbor that drove me crazy. I would always let someone else go in front of me at Walmart no matter how long the line was. I wouldn't complain. Ever. I would volunteer at the Homeless Shelter. I would clean up after pigs. I would clip the toenails of the elderly. I would do anything and everything He would ask me to do....
There is a box on her death certificate that captures the amount of time between the initial injury and the time of death. It reads "seconds." I wish it read "instantaneous" because she deserves a clever word like that.
Fast forward five years.... definitely taking MUCH longer than "…

Oak Savanna Souls

We grew up with 40 acres of woods as our playground. A cool, magical escape from the lazy humid days of stifling heat. We'd walk the lane to the wooded edge and step boldly inside.

There were trees to climb and trails forged by animals to follow. One particular favorite tree had a low lying branch that slung out like a porch swing. I'd sit on that tree limb, the soft breeze slowly lifting my hair, as I sung and made up complicated stories of fairies I was certain held home in these woods.

The woods were exciting and full of things like moss and strangely shaped rocks and vines that held berries I knew I could eat. But the woods also held secrets. Acres you couldn't reach because the brambles and thorns were too thick, refusing you entry even at the exchange of blood.

I realized then that I would never truly know these woods for the simple fact they wouldn't let me all the way in.




The first step to restoring an Oak Savanna is to remove everything that doesn't belon…