Friends are Food, Not Fish

Friends are Food, Not Fish

My girls love the movie Finding Nemo, so I’ve seen it more times than I can count. But, without fail, when Bruce the reformed shark repeats “fish are friends, not food”, my brain grabs the words and rearranges them into “friends are food, not fish”. No, I don’t secretly have cannibalistic leanings. But the idea of friends as food has become an interesting metaphor for me. The people in my life really are like a banquet, spread out and varied and plentiful. Some are warm and hearty, some are spicy and exhilarating, some are sweet and delightful. Some are comfort food, the ones who go best with sweat pants and a good cup of coffee. And some are kale, necessary and good for me, but a little hard to swallow. I need all of them. As much as I enjoy my comfort food...

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Arming Warriors

Arming Warriors

I’m a girl mom, and it really doesn’t look that pink and fluffy. When I found out that my first was a girl, moms of only boys occasionally told me that they wished they could have a girl so they could have at least one calm, mild, clean child. It wasn’t long before I discovered that my beautiful little daughter was a lot more spice than sugar, and my illusions of calm, clean, and mild went right out the window. And then my second came roaring in like a pint-sized hurricane, demolishing all remaining sense of order in our home. Some sisters have tea parties. Mine are much more likely to wrestle and try to sit on each other’s faces. They do love to dress up and be pampered, but they’ll probably be outside a couple minutes later taking their fancy clothes and...

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Before

Before

Before Bethlehem, there was the road. There was the dust and there were the jolting steps over rocks and ruts. There were deep ligaments pulling and joints aching and feet swelling and a husband drooping weary as he watched his bride wince and shift. I wonder what thoughts rolled in Mary’s mind as Life rolled in her womb. Maybe the voice of the angel telling her not to be afraid. Maybe the whispers and stares, people she’d known all her life who now refused to look her in the eye, believing shame was hers to own. Maybe she was nervous about what lay ahead. She’d never had a baby before. And this wasn’t just any baby. Or maybe a tangled combination of all of this ran circles in her head, the size of her feelings pushing at the edges of her heart as surely as the...

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Open Letter to the Mama Who Feels the Too-Muchness

Open Letter to the Mama Who Feels the Too-Muchness

Dear Warrior Friend, Yes – warrior. Because if you weren’t fighting for your kids you wouldn’t be here. Let’s just get it all out there on the table before we go any further. This mom gig is the hardest thing. I’ve seen the social media memes and the you’ve-got-what-it-takes articles and all those things that are meant as an encouragement to all of us who are momming in the trenches. But the too-muchness of motherhood still creeps in like children’s little fingers under a locked bathroom door. And there isn’t a season of motherhood that isn’t without its own too-muchness. From the wild-eyed newborn days to the drama of middle school to the heartache of watching grown kids make destructive choices, being a mom can feel like more than we signed up for. I understand...

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Learning to Dance

Learning to Dance

A little leaf hitched a ride in the door on the bottom of my sock. It’s one of those days when the sky is just gray enough to make the rusts and yellows of the trees look a bit other-worldly, and I couldn’t make myself pause to put my shoes on. It wasn’t long ago that it was honeysuckle and fireflies pulling me outside, and before that it was dogwoods uncurling their petals like victory flags. Every day it’s easier to trace the branches that are letting go of their leaves, bare and unafraid and standing just as tall as ever. They settle in for another time of rest, because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Nature swings and sways its way through the rhythm of seasons like it’s slow dancing to a melody we can’t hear yet. It’s my fortieth November, and maybe I’m...

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Falling Into Hope

Falling Into Hope

Somewhere along the way I lost my grip on hope. Maybe it was during those days that I leaned, with a baby on my hip, to adjust my mama’s IV line and put balm on her dry lips. While she drew near to the edge of glittering eternity, maybe it was then that I began to draw away. I didn’t know what to do with a God who would answer desperate prayers by letting cancer steal the rest of the days we wanted to hold her here. When God didn’t obey me, I wanted to punish Him by closing my eyes to any of His work that would make me feel. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. But I was. I didn’t want to trace the fingerprints of Hands that would let death pass through them. The Christmas before my mom died, it started snowing just as the sun went down. I nursed my newborn and...

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Wrestling Stones

Wrestling Stones

I remember the smell after flood waters start to go down. It’s not something you can forget. We had floods almost every year where I grew up in the Philippines, and they usually did nothing more than turn low lying fields into muddy lakes around houses perched on tiny green islands. But when the water receded it left behind a decaying film of brown on whatever it had touched. Sometimes a storm changes everything. When the wind blows and the water rises, the landscape becomes unfamiliar, and whatever isn’t destroyed may never be the same again. A storm can roll in and out like a freight train, leaving us just grateful to be alive. It’s afterwards, when the losses start to pile up and the smell of uninvited change makes it hard to breathe that the weary plodding...

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