Thin Time

Thin places, where the distance between heaven and earth collapses… 

 

Monday morning I woke up, surrounded by sleeping children who had decided to camp out in our bedroom while Drew was away.   No one was stirring yet and the house was still dark and completely quiet except for the whirring of the bedroom fan.

I reached over and picked up my phone, curious if Drew’s  red-eye flight from San Fransisco to Chicago had made it in yet.

There were several messages from him on the screen.

Crazy turbulence and lightning.

Might have been struck by lightning.

Diverted to Milwaukee.

Did get struck!

On the ground now.

The last text

It had me briefly thinking what I would say to you guys with my last words…  and then he said wrote a summary of that.

I lay there, overwhelmed.   What had just happened?  So unaware as I slept, this all played out.   Now, just moments into this new day I am aware of each breath I am taking.   Time feels frozen.

Thin time.

Thin time for a moment, but thin time.  It’s that place you go when you are in between spaces, places.   How will this end?   It can go either way.   When life and death both feel so real and you know they are just outside your reach.

I was glad I wasn’t awake for the texts as they had been coming in over a twenty-minute period.  To be able to scroll down and see, on the ground now….    I didn’t have to go to that in between place.   But I knew it was there.

Each and every day we live in this place, but the awareness of it only comes at certain times.   This flight, that near car accident, the fall, the abnormal test report, the moment when you’ve lost sight of your child.    All those experiences that make us stop and be grateful for life as it is.

I was dripping with sweat from my 5 mile run when Drew finally made it home.  He let me hug him, sweaty body and all.

Last night as we climbed into bed I was so aware of the gift of the moment.   Another night together in our house with our kids safely under our roof.  The gift of reaching out and touching his warm arm as he lay there.

He tells me again,  I started a text…

My stomach flips as he says this.   The awareness of the thin time is around us again.

We turn off the lights and fall asleep to a quiet house, except for that bedroom fan.  I’m on my back, so still.     I breathe in deeply and let it out.

I’m so thankful for more time.

 

 

*thin places quote from Eric Weiner, NYT.

 

 

Fat Ass, Girl.

She takes the cart as we walk out of Costco.   It’s full of heavy items and she’s just been teasing me about getting old and not having the strength to push and lift.  She loves to tease me so I’ll just let her have it.   She gets to do the pushing.

As we hit the parking lot, a car stops to let us cross, the driver waves us past.   Abbey pushes the cart ahead of me and I follow her.   The car crosses behind us then and I hear laughter as one of the men shouts at me, “You got a FAT ass, girl!”

I lose my breath and look to Abbey to see if she heard.   Nope, she’s got the cart swiftly headed to our parking spot.   I immediately shrink into half my size and wish myself invisible.

Girl.   He called me a girl.

Fat ass.  He mocked my body.

I catch up to my daughter and she is starting to load the car.   I’m humiliated and angry and just stare blankly at her while she works.   I don’t want her to know and I do want her to know.   We finish up and climb into the front seats.   I spill it out and she listens.   She wants to know where they went?  Who are they?

I find myself saying, “I just want to run him over with my car.”     And in that moment, I really do.   I can’t believe I just said that in front of my child.   My teenager.   My daughter who is also now a woman.

I have no idea why men feel like they have the right to say things to women like this.   To say it to me, as my teenage daughter walks with me.  It’s amazing how memories and emotions rush back to me as I hear those words again and again…. fat ass, girl.

Somehow verbal assault has become normal in our society, even a joke.

We drive home and Abbey is  rattling on about the problems in our society and I only hear a word of hers here and there.   She’s full of life and energy and hope for change.   I’m just sick to my stomach and already carrying the weight of my past that has come back to visit me.

How do I have a conversation about this with my daughter and be boiling over inside at the same time?  I just don’t.   I won’t right now.  I listen to her tell me about all she is thinking about.

I’m a 42 year old women who has just been called a fat ass girl and I wish I knew why this is a forgivable trait in men.   In our leaders.

Why are women so often judged by their face, their ass, their body?

My daughter and I are on to a new conversation and soon we are home.   She helps me take everything into the house.   We move into the rest of our day.  The words don’t leave me, even as I wake to this new day.   How will I choose to let them go?   I don’t know, but I will.

Abbey will surely face moments like this herself, and I’ll be there to remind her that they aren’t her assaulting words to carry either.     We are more than this.   We are stronger than these words.

I may be 42 but she is wrong, I’m not getting weaker.   I can push.   I can lift.  I can speak up.   I can refuse to be treated like this.   I can talk about this.   But for my sake, I can let go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Freedom

If you know me, you know I’m not a person who would call myself patriotic. But I’ve been thinking more and more about freedom in this country and how I’ve used it and taken advantage of it.

This July 4th, I give thanks for my freedom and my country.

I am thankful that I live in a country where I could practice my religion, until I no longer practiced religion. Both were ok.

I am thankful for a country that gave me the freedom to travel state to state and explore it all.

I am thankful for a country that allowed me to marry the person that I loved. I hope that all will experience this as well.

I am thankful for the country that gave me the freedom to have three kids. Three ENERGETIC children. Gratitude for the private and public schools they attend, for the freedom to raise them in the neighborhood I choose. Grateful.

I am thankful that I live in a place that lets me put any kind of lawn sign out that represents my beliefs. Whether it is selling my house (to whomever we want) or it is protesting a travel ban- it’s my lawn and I get to choose.

I am thankful that I live in a country that lets me write what I want. I can publish a blog that expresses my political, religious and whatever beliefs. I don’t worry about anyone coming to my door to question me about that. I write and I share and I can do it in the form that is most truthful to me.

I get to live in a country where I move from one state to the next and meet people on the opposite ends of just about everything. I attend my July 4th parade here and see a celebration of Pride and a call for responsible gun ownership. I attend a parade at our last home that celebrates their gun rights and  carries negative banners about the President that I voted for.   We can express these things openly.    

I am thankful for the people who work hard to protect this freedom.

Sweet Freedom.

BUT, also, the awareness that not everyone I love experiences this freedom as I do, please let me never forget. Let the freedom I have give me the strength to work hard to speak out for freedom for ALL people. No matter religion, race, sexual orientation or economic situation, may our country be a place for us all.

Let me use this freedom to live as I believe and live for the Love of all humanity.

What a gift we have.

May I never take it for granted.


 

Reflections

There is something about this time of life that causes a lot of self reflection.  I’ve been doing my fair share and it’s no secret that my natural inclination is to think of all the things I wish I had done differently or all the ways I have made mistakes.

Sitting in the car with Abbey the other day she asked me if I would go back to school to be a teacher, that’s what I have the most undergrad credits in, and I automatically said no.   I don’t feel like teacher material. There is no desire for teaching.  I wish I knew what material I was.

Watching Abbey gain more and more momentum in life has brought it’s own share of reflection.   I wasn’t such a hard worker at her age and I certainly wasn’t the kind of top notch student she is.  I sound boastful and I guess I am, but she’s so damn smart and has such potential in life.  Truthfully, it’s easy to be jealous of my own child.   She has much more of a sense of herself as a woman.  She does not see or feel any of the things that kept me from dreaming big.    She dreams big and she studies hard- I can’t imagine she won’t be successful at whatever it is that she pursues.  Why wasn’t I more like that?  I was so caught up in my own emotions until my early twenties, I could barely think straight, let alone decide what to study and what paths to pursue.

Life is saying- let that go.   It was what it was.

I feel like mid life is calling me to really accept myself  for who I am.  Not in a giving up way, but in the way that feels like there is little to hide behind anymore.   I’ve done my share of schooling, traveling, trying and failing at things, succeeding at others, and somehow 15 years of parenting.  I’ve put everything I’ve had into being a mother for so long now, it feels foreign coming out of it all and asking myself, “What do you want?”    What a weird question.   Too hard, don’t want to think about it.   Let me tell you, I know one thing- if anyone has ever held me back in life, it has been me and only ME.

I can’t help but wonder if I’ve done a decent enough job to call myself a good mom.   It hasn’t been easy. It isn’t easy.   But recently when I was sharing with a friend how racially diverse Abbey’s group of friends are, he told me that was no accident.  “Take some credit there,” he said.   “That’s because of you and Drew.”

As Abbey sat with us that day, talking with our friend and sharing all these thoughts about the world around us, I watched her quietly take it all in.  Can I allow myself that credit?    Not sure, but I’m grateful either way.

I’ve grown up in faith and now let most of it go.   Some may look at this as failure, but my own peace  tells me it’s just moving in the direction my life is taking me.  It’s hard for my family and those who put so much time and love into sharing their faith with me, I can see that.    The hardest thing for me is knowing they may feel like they’ve failed.   Please don’t ever think that.   The Love that you shared with me is still present and it guides me.  That Love has shaped my world.  What we believe just may not be the same.

Right now I think the key is to let myself reflect without judgement.   Period.   Don’t jump ahead.  Don’t let it overwhelm me.  Don’t let it keep me from moving one step at a time.    Just reflect.

I’m listening, life.    You’re the only one I’ve got and I have no doubt that no matter how you may appear at one moment or the next- you are deeply beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Extra, Extra! Oldest Kid Survives Middle School!

The tv was off and the boys were busy. Drew’s away in Madison for work. Abbey followed me into the living room.

It was just the two of us.

I sat comfortably in the big leather chair, all settled in. She stood, sat, paced, repeat- talking all the while. My job was to pay attention and listen, the rest would figure its way to the surface as our time together unfolded.

It all just came flowing out.

I have a very strong daughter. Truthfully, I have been jealous of how she is determined to be herself and let the hard stuff roll off. But I’m not stupid and neither is she, we all internalize things we didn’t even realize we were internalizing. She was holding a lot.

We talked,  middle school.

ONE month left and she leaves it behind. (HALLELUJAH! One kid’s MS career down, one more kid with a year left and then the last one with three big years to go.)

I noticed lately how she spoke more about the social aspects of school life and how segregated kids choose to be. Racially, her school is diverse. But naturally, it still quite segregated. And it isn’t just race- it’s everything. All that stuff you faced when you were a middle schooler? It’s all still there, that and more.

The athletic kids, the nerds, the theater geeks, the lonely ones, the popular kids, the musicians, the robotics crew and all the others that fall somewhere in between. This hasn’t changed.

She was frustrated with gym class and how crazy things get. If anything is going to get out of hand and go wrong, it’s during that time. (Honestly, I would have no problem with doing away with middle school/high school PE, what’s fun for some is a complete nightmare for many.) She talked about navigating life that hour and how just doing what you are supposed to do wasn’t that easy when there was such chaos. Every day was a new adventure and not always fun.

She talked about how mean people are. She talked about the inner battle of knowing when to stand up for someone and when to stay out of other people’s way. All this stuff isn’t so clear cut and honestly, I think many of our kids are just doing the best job they can. I listen as she shares how she’s doing her best. I’m proud of her, I think she’s doing a damn fine job.

I’m proud of me in this moment because with all the stuff she shares with me I stay cool, calm and don’t get overly emotional. I know her and I know that is the best way to shut her down. I keep telling myself, keep your mouth shut Lisa, don’t look upset,  just listen, just listen,  just listen.   Then,  I ask a few questions.   I can tell when she wants me to stop.

I’ve spent the last several months feeling like I totally screwed up this parenting thing, and make no mistake, I’ve screwed up plenty. But I also know that staying present and staying open will go a long way with these three kids.  Keep that door open and provide a safe place to unload it all when the time is right.

Last night the time was right for my girl. I pulled off the listening thing, she pulled off the talking thing and we had a great time together. Of course when my head hit the pillow later I found it impossible to sleep- so much for my kid to carry and now she was sharing the weight with me.

But she’s doing it, she DID it! She pulled off middle school. AND, on top of all that, she’s a nice kid! She loves to learn!  She cares about people!  If I needed a reminder that we must be doing something right, it was handed to me last night.

That, and a only a few hours of sleep.  Who said you get more rest when your kids sleep through the night?

Only 4 more years of middle school left.

WE can do this.

(I’m not ready to talk high school but I’m pretty sure this ones gonna love it.  Also, I see you wrinkles!!  Forget stretch marks, those are the badge of motherhood.)

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A Froggy Funeral

Here’s some really tiny non epic news:

Today I cried at a frog’s funeral.

Trust me, I never thought I’d say that either.   But my kid’s frog died and it broke his heart.      This afternoon the two of us stood in the dirt on the side of the house and shed a lot of tears as we dug a tiny hole for his tiny friend.    After we placed Chewie in the hole, I asked if I should go get the rest of the family and he said no.  The two of us were enough.     He sang a song he had written and I blubbered like a mom at her kid’s frog’s funeral.   There were some seriously swollen eyes around here this weekend.  (Really because he touched the frog and then touched his eyes and that’s a no-no.   But also, the crying.)

After the funeral we walked to the shed together to put away the shovels and he talked about all the wonderful memories he had with the frog.   That time he played with him in the snowball maker and the time he put him on a bottle and gave him a “bottle rocket” ride.   I stifled all my comments  about how maybe that was why his amphibian friend didn’t last long and instead we just reminisced together.

Those were a special two months.   Truly, they were for him.

So it all seems so small and so insignificant in this chaotic, big, overwhelming, and busy world.  It is.  But when my big kid has a broken heart because the tiny soul (Who knows? A soul?  Maybe!) he loved left his little froggy body- I remember that the little things are the big things.

A little very big thing happened here this weekend.   Sometimes those are the things that matter the most and would never make an appearance on a news site anywhere.

But today,  Chewie’s funeral makes an appearance on my blog.

That little tree frog meant the world to my Josh.

RIP, little buddy.   I hope your adventure here with us was a good one.

Be Here Now (Or One More Year in My Life)

I just got in from a birthday stop I made at my favorite bakery in Oak Park, Spilt Milk. I got my coffee, my biscuit and then sat facing out the storefront window. The sun was shining warmly on me as I ate, sipped and read my book.

I was thinking, how was this year for me? What did I learn and what did I unlearn? What books did I read and what were the best movies I saw? What made me happy and what broke my heart? What did I do differently and where am I stuck? There are so many answers to all those questions. So how about I just pound out some scattered thoughts in whatever form about this year.

One of the best new experiences in my life has been art. Mixed media art, to be specific. My super amazing artist neighbor, Sandra Dawson, offered classes to learn collage, encaustic and image transfer. I went to one last March and I’ve been hooked ever since. Why is it good? Mixed media taught me that this scatterbrained mind,  that is always in so many places at once, thinking so many things and forgetting things, it’s not a bad mind. It’s hard to be that mind in our culture, but art opened it’s door to me. The way it is so intuitive and transformational. The way it accepts whatever you come up with and with whatever you have on hand. The way you learn to let go as you build layer upon layer. The way you see how one idea morphed into something totally new.  The way it has given me freedom to love my mind, just for how it is.  Does it suck?  Who cares! It’s all mine and   it’s been beautiful.

I have inhaled podcasts. When I’m driving, running, doing the dishes and folding laundry, always podcasts. Some favorites have been TED Talks, Code Switch, On Being and The Liturgists.   I’ll  go on…Beautiful Stories From Anonymous people, Reply All,  and Death, Sex & Money. I think my hands down fave this year was The Sporkful, or maybe it was Hidden Brain. Oh I don’t know, there are just so many awesome ones out there. (Criminal, The Moth, Pop Culture Happy Hour and I’ll stop.)

I got to see the Eiffel Tower!   I got to make a fool of myself trying to order croissants in a French bakery!  I got to float down a raging river in Asheville, NC with my family and friends and wonder WILL WE MAKE IT BACK TO THE SHORE ALIVE?  (A little lot bit exaggerated, but it was an adventure.)  I swam in the ocean and in the Great Lakes.  I walked, ran, biked, drove, and took the train to so many new and old places.  I went to the mountains of Colorado and hiked with my cousin.   All of it,  it was good.

We actually saw movies this year!   IN the theater!  It was great. I loved Lion with my whole heart. I was moved by Manchester by the Sea and by Hidden Figures. I was surprised by Arrival and how I enjoyed it, it’s not my usual genre. I was broke open by White Helmets and soaked up Dream Big, an IMAX movie we saw at the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago. And last night, I watched the movie Be Here Now.  I decided that if I ever get a tattoo, Be Here Now is exactly what I’d forever ink onto my body.

My favorite books from this year- I loved Circling the Sun, Salt to the Sea, Homegoing and Hillbilly Elegy. When Breathe Becomes Air was another great one and I am in book number 3 of the Inspector Gamache series. All great reads and amazing in their own way. The most transformational has been The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. It’s this simple yet profound idea that all we have is now and we need to slow down and live.

Be Here Now.    The Power of Now.

Now, now, now.

I’ve spent a lot of my living regretting the past and fearing the future. I’ve spent years believing that now wasn’t as important as to what will one day come.   I thought I needed to spend my time finding all the answers and solving my problems.  I’ve thought away so many days and some seriously endless nights.  I’ve forgotten to just be.

It’s  theme I’ve watched thread it’s way through my year.  Live RIGHT NOW!   Get your hands messy with paint and glue.   Rip pages out of magazines and books  . Don’t fret over saving them for a life on the bookshelf.    Run in the blazing heat and in the biting cold.  Hike in Colorado in the snow,  hand out water to marathoners in Chicago,  sit on the front porch and smile at the neighbors.  Don’t feel guilty and take that nap.    Don’t be afraid!   Feel it all, let it go, soak it in, and give BIG hugs to my kids.   Celebrate the big and little things.

Thank you,  God , for another year and another birthday.

Walking this planet is the most difficult and beautiful adventure.

Just A Little Story

The two of us walked out of the movie theater last night with very few words.   I think, That was intense was what one of us was able to get out.

Abbey was at a party and we had the evening with our boys.   We had really been wanting to see Manchester By The Sea.   Lucky for us, The Batman Lego Movie was showing right around the same time.   We arrived, Drew got us seats and I waited for the boys to get into their theater and find a good spot to sit.   Once I had them settled, popcorn in their laps, I got a text from Drew that our movie was starting.

I headed over and then  stood in the back of the dark theater, hoping to recognize the back of Drew’s head.       I finally found him and parked myself comfortably on the aisle seat he had saved for me.

Candy in one hand and a drink in the other, I faded out of my life and into the movie.

Have you seen Manchester By The Sea?   Let’s just say it isn’t a picker upper.   I will tell you the one thing that I heard before I saw it- it’s devastatingly sad.    Real life sad.   Deep down sad.   I’m sure you are aching to go now.  (Side note to my sister, don’t see it.)

But we wanted to see it and we really liked it.   It was real, it was raw and it was unsettling.    It was about family, relationships, suffering and loss.   And then it kept on going to show what life after all of that looks like.

When the credits rolled, I bounced up to get out of the theater as quickly as we could.   The boys movie had ended earlier and we had planned to meet up at the frozen yogurt place next door.  I don’t worry that something bad will happen to them, but I do worry that things won’t go as planned.   Or they’ll get in trouble.   Or start fighting with each other and other parents will be thinking- WHERE ARE THESE KID’S PARENTS?   (True story- Drew went for a run and came home to see that the police were at our house.    What happened?   he asked the kids.  I was trying to call you Dad, but I accidentally called 911.    Ahem, right. )      Back to tonite…

The two of us  walked together to the exit, somber.  That’s when we managed the itwasreallyintense line.   Because, it was.

There are so many intense things in life these days.   So many for you, so many for us, for our country, for our world.   Just intense.   You know me, I get so caught up in it all that I can just end up curled in a ball, paralyzed in the corner.   So I’m trying to keep pace with the intense stuff by appreciating the good stuff.    Here’s how that happened last night.

Out the door  and into the cool evening we walked.   Our minds racing and our hearts heavy.   We passed the people out for evening walks and the homeless woman asking for money.  We were in automatic pilot to get the boys.

We walked up to the yogurt shop, and there they were.    Not to be missed, they were sitting in the front, staring out the massive glass window.   Their legs were swinging and they were chatting away.   They were digging into their candy heavy frozen yogurt and smiling such big smiles.   Drew and I looked at each other, grateful.   Then, of course, we took a picture.

This is just a little story to tell you how I’m entering the hard things and finding the good.   This was just something to share because I’m so grateful for swinging legs and big smiles.   I’ll keep finding these moments and do the best I can to appreciate each one.

Small moments, small stories.   They’re the best.

 

No Place for Fear

Almost ten years ago, Drew and I got in our van and drove to the teeny tiny Lancaster airport. I remember it was dark and very quiet. We were meeting friends there, they arrived and together we stood on the curb and waited. Not long after we got there, two dark suburbans drove down the long entrance and  stopped in front of us. This was our meet up point, as scheduled.

Two different Iraqi families slowly climbed out of the vehicles.  I had seen photos of the family we were waiting for and I knew they had two little girls, so I recognized them immediately.

It was awkward.  It was uncomfortable.   And yet, it was exciting.  I didn’t want to offend or do the wrong thing so I just stuck out my hand and introduced myself to the dad. There were quick intros made all around.  And then,  just like that, they piled into our van and away we went to get them safely settled at the house of a kind couple from our church. This family would stay there until we found better housing for them, got all their paperwork taken care of and hopefully found him a job.

Truthfully, I was scared. I had no idea what we were getting into. We were doing this with friends and with the support of our church, so I knew we weren’t alone. But still, so much responsibility rested on me.  I wasn’t good at details and responsibility!   I didn’t want to mess this up.

I remember looking at the little girls that night. SO tired. I wondered what the trip had been like for them and how they were feeling. What would it be like to move around to so many places?  Of course, I couldn’t begin to imagine.

It took us a little less than a year to help this family off into independence. The cultural and language barrier was the most difficult, but we all pushed through it. They had to be patient with us and we with them. We didn’t always agree and we didn’t always understand each other, but we all pressed on. We began to truly  care about each other.  I thought how lonely this must be for them and how they must miss their family. It takes a lot to get to the point where you must leave everything behind.

This family from Iraq changed my life.

It’s people who change us. They stretch us and open us up to new ways of seeing and believing. They take us past the news headlines and into the  lives of living, breathing human beings. I learned so much from them.  I learned so much from the experience of helping settle them.   They were so grateful.   I’m forever grateful that I was part of a church that made this a priority. I needed to be pushed into a new place of moving in this world.

…………………

A little over a year ago my parents welcomed a young Iraqi man,  Baraa,  into their home. It’s just the two of them and even though they don’t live in a big place, they invited him to live in their attic bedroom. The idea was to give Baraa a supportive and stable place to live. When I brought my kids at Christmas that year, my parents told us that Baraa was so excited to meet us and had already bought some video games for the boys to play with him. We arrived and it didn’t take much until my boys were up in the attic playing video games. I remember Baraa telling me he had  Call of Duty for them to play.   I had to explain that at that time,  Drew and I  didn’t let them play first shooter games. He felt so bad and apologized. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. Everyone in my culture plays these kind of games.” I’ll never forget how quickly Josh shot back- “Everyone in my culture plays them too!!!” A look of satisfaction on my son’s face as he glared at me. He was forever trying to work us to buy him these games.  We had to laugh.  So they settled on FIFA and the bond began.

Since then much has happened in Baraa’s life. He has traveled back to Iraq to take care of his sick mother and visit his wife and son. His work with the US Army has jeopardized his safety but he felt he must go back to support them. After they were settled, he flew back and began working at a job he really likes. He’s been working tirelessly and waiting as the time counts down until they can come in October.

During our visit this Christmas, Baraa gave my kids a trip to Sky Zone with him as their present. I remember the day that they had planned to go, Baraa had the day off from work. As the time neared for them to leave, my dad remarked how he hadn’t seen Baraa all day. He was still up in his room. He told me he’d go check on him and remind him it was soon time to go.

I got up and walked into the kitchen and began talking with my mom.  My dad came back with tears in his eyes.

“Baraa’s really upset. He’s been up there all day reading the news and talking to friends and  family.”   My dad  choked up when as he continued on, he shared with us why.   There had been a suicide bomber that day at a market  in Bagdad.  The bomber drove  into the market area, making people think he was someone offering jobs to those waiting.   As the people came rushing towards the truck, hoping they would be chosen to work, the bomb went off.

We stood there in tears.     What do we say?   This was no longer just a headline.   This was a tragedy in the neighborhood of someone we loved.

The kids and Baraa went off to Sky Zone that day and had a great time. And all these moments, these stories, this friendship stays with us even in Chicago. When my parents visit us or are on vacation, they are also checking in with and face timing with Baraa. He has become very very dear to them.

Can you see how hard the news of this past weekend has been for him?   For his family?  His small son, and pregnant wife who live in a country that has been  now been put under a travel ban.   All the plans to be reunited are throw into the chaos and up into the air.   The pain and sadness of this is real.  As his second family, we don’t know what it is truly like, but still, we carry it with us.

My only request is this, please stay open.

Try to get past the headlines that draw us in on fear or on  outrage.   Look to the people and their stories.

The world is a scary place, of course.   But don’t let fear keep your heart closed.  Please,  let people like Baraa open it for you.

We’ve got so much to learn from each other.

Celebrating Year 70

The sun was still up and warming my back as I washed and placed each shell out to dry. The gang here was exhausted from the sand, salt water, waves, sun and a big lunch. Some were sleeping, some were reading, some were just hiding away to rest up.

I was cleaning my shells, one by one.

The sheets on my bed here are the softest I’ve ever slept on. When I crawl in for a nap or the night, I find myself looking forward to that moment where my head sinks into the pillow and I draw the clean, light, soft sheet over my sun-kissed  skin. I’m still warm from the sun and the air conditioner blasts cold air around me. Somehow the mix of it all feels like perfection.

I lay on my back and count the days we have left here. I’m trying so hard not to live in that space, but I keep finding myself already in the “don’t want vacation to end” dread.

My family all showed up to this Florida rental home for a week together to rest and play. We didn’t plan that it would be Donald Trump’s inauguration week, but somehow it seems fit that we are all together and in a place that keeps each other warm and afloat during such a tense and heavy time. For us. We’re sad. We’re feeling heavy. We know this calls to each of us down deep to speak, stand, and do whatever for justice.

Right now, we’re falling into the safety and warmth of each other.  


This week we will celebrate the 7th decade of one of the best men we know. He’s been on this planet close to the same amount of time our President elect has, but we love him- OH SO MUCH MORE. Because, duh, he’s our dad.

That’s only one of the many reasons. 

He has taught us all we know by leading us there himself. It isn’t his words that have changed us, it’s who he is and how he loves. When you have a dad that has shut down a crack house with the neighbors, and travels to DC by himself  to protest the war,  you know he’s serious about this being the feet of Love in the world. He’s preaching and teaching and marching. His faith means everything to him.  He’s  bringing all that home to his family and  He’s taken us on the journey of a lifetime.

So, I’m gonna celebrate THIS  man on Friday. We know that it’s those like him, on the ground doing the work of Love, that are truly changing the world. Here’s to 70 years of Marc Averill.

Here’s to resting and relaxing and spending this week together. Here’s to doing things the Averill way.