Christmas, a time for connecting with old friends. In the week between Christmas and New Years Eve, people consider the age-old tradition of setting New Years resolutions. Already I’ve seen countless memes wishing the end of 2016 away as the year to forget. When we look back at 2016, we remember endless months of campaigning commercials; the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series after 108 years, Brexit from the EU, Samsung’s misstep with the explosive Note 7. But even more than that, remember the good stuff…and good stuff in 2016 exists. Like my beautiful niece’s first birthday party, laughs shared with coworkers, parties with friends, and the first date that led to a relationship.Read More
Mama Jones’ little aluminum tree
Sits atop the library table
Strung with silver garland
And the few unbroken decorations
We could find.
I want to tell you about the time my sister, my mother, and I followed the desire of my sister’s heart. We went into the clock store at the mall. My sister went first when the idea came to her. She found the grandfather clock she believed would fit grandma’s house best—the one she thought grandma would want.Read More
I resent Christmas more and more the older I get. It’s a combination of my lack of religion, my extreme laziness and my crippling anxiety. I stress myself out to the point of hyperventilation over how much money I’m going to spend (how many years can I skate by on homemade gifts before it becomes tacky?), what to get people (is it appropriate to just give someone a Target gift card if you’ve known them for over 10 years?), and about how I’m going to get it for them (do I shop online and hope that it ships in time, or do I brave the masses of the screaming kids and sweaty people at the mall?). Once I’ve got the gifts in hand, I look forward to the feeling of sweet, sweet relief that I get when I’ve handed them off, although I really don’t start to feel remotely relaxed until after the new year.Read More
We all lose people we love, and in my experience, there are so many things I wish I could have asked but never got the chance to. So, I dedicated an afternoon to asking my grandmother – who raised three kids, saw a good chunk of the world, was a military wife and then found herself raising me in retirement – some questions that I can cherish forever. I also took the opportunity to take some pictures of her house, a time capsule that has barely changed in my life. It turned out to be an incredibly emotional moment for me when I sat down later on and listened to her answers. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into her life.Read More
Evelyn Grace Swearman-Rice was my great-grandmother. Everyone in my family knew her simply as Grandma Rice. Everyone who knew her, including myself remember her as a sweet, gentle woman who loved everyone that she met. She always had something nice to say, and you never heard her swear. She’d give you her shoulder to cry on, a kiss to make you feel better and a whole mess of candy even if you weren’t supposed to eat any!Read More
On October 24, 2015 my grandmother, Virginia Shoemaker, turned 90. We had a huge celebration, with her family coming home from all across the US. She was over the moon thrilled. She loved being the center of attention and even more she loved being around so many people that she hardly ever gets to see. The day of her birthday she told me that she didn’t sleep a wink the night before because she was just so excited.Read More
It was my birthday. It was February 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. I was headed to a birthday party. It was not a birthday party for me (mine was the night prior), and I was heavily intoxicated because of that. I was hanging out with my ex-boyfriend (who is actually a great human and the best ex anyone could ask for) and his weird friend before the party, and part of me was concerned we would never actually make it to said party.Read More
In my adult years I have gone on six first dates.
The first, first date happened after a night of drunken dancing with a neighbor at a local bar when I was 21 years old. I decided maybe I should get to know him a little better after being so close to him for several hours.Read More
Throughout most of my life, my nose and eyes stayed in school books and towards any school activity and campus program or organization I was involved in. Unlike my friends who were excited to peep all of the eye candy (ahem...little boys) on campus, I was more excited to have a bathroom in my bedroom in my dorm room, and even more excited for college essays and being the president of three clubs on campus. All while still learning to love myself (Biggest test ever by the way).Read More
During the cold winter months I noticed this beautiful red headed man sitting across a room from me. He dropped his books. I eagerly jumped up to the rescue to help him and I hoped he would gaze into my deep brown eyes and realize I was the woman he had been looking for his whole life.Read More
Last year - I came out of a chaplaincy year that wrecked my idea of what I thought I wanted for my ministry.
But what do they say – make plans and God laughs.
God laughs and I get whiplash.Read More
I am Clergy. My name isn’t on a roster for it anywhere; there’s no organizing body that ordained me and all my fellow clergy; I didn’t attend a seminary school. Still, I am Clergy.Read More
We’d never had a woman pastor before.
When the United Methodist Church in my small, rural, mostly Mennonite town found out that the Bishop assigned us a female pastor, the conversation around town was in full force.Read More
Don’t you want that baby doll?
She’s pretty and you could dress her and feed her.
How else will you learn to be a good mommy?
Girls wear dresses, not pants. Those are for boys.
You’re not a little boy.Read More
About two weeks ago, I officiated the wedding of two good friends, both Christian ministers. The prospect of officiating a ceremony where pastors were not only a fair part of the audience but also the main participants was daunting to say the least, but in some ways not as daunting as the text they had picked for my homily.Read More
It is ingrained in my brain like nothing else has ever been. I can still smell the gel that they put on the ultrasound wand. I can still see my husband’s tears as he hears our baby’s heartbeat for the first and what would be the only time. I can still feel the anger at the ultrasound tech, who was so joyful at our first appointment and called my baby our little bean.Read More
It was 3 o’clock in the morning when I attempted to rouse my husband.
“Um, baby, I think I’m pregnant. There are two lines on this thing I peed on.”Read More
This lack of interest and compassion still haunts me to this day. I keep on wondering if I am entitled to my pain. Am I just carrying on? Am I being overly dramatic? I was and am hurting. Right after my loss, I was sad. I was angry. But above all, I missed my baby and all the things that could have been. Yet, it was just I, missing my little bean. And I still miss my baby. Maybe not everyday but I think of my little bean a lot and try to imagine what it would look like now. I keep these thoughts hidden from most people and they feel like a guilty pleasure that no one should know about. In these instances, the thoughts about being entitled to my pain and grief creep up on me again.Read More
Because earlier today the promise of growing life in my belly was silenced just like the exam room as the nurse searched again and again for the heartbeat at a routine prenatal visit. "Is this how people find out?" I thought, suddenly floating though a cloud of emotionless reality, confused why I had felt kicks just last night in bed.Read More