Grief

Bringing Down the Wonder

I’m not known for my patience, and sadly it seems this trait has been passed on to my daughter. But we wait differently. I wait for good things to happen, but don’t expect much. Phoenix waits for good things to happen with unfiltered excitement, joy, and expectation. She literally jumps up and down ecstatically. She […]

He Speaks His Goodness Over Us

All of my children were born overdue. I don’t know if my womb was especially comfortable, or they just didn’t want to be born, but all four of them didn’t come out for weeks until after their due date. I stopped answering the phone during those times. “Yes, yes, I’m still enormous. Thank you for […]

Living Monday after a Sunday Tragedy

A week ago, a terrorist let his machine gun loose on a crowd of people in our beloved city. Las Vegas was our home- the place where we started our married life, where we had our babies, where we rooted ourselves in the community we nurtured. But we weren’t there when the shooting happened. We […]

Wishing Pokemon Were Real: A Story of Autism

There’s no band aid for this, no kissing it away, no telling her it will feel better tomorrow. Because it may not. Tomorrow feels very far away when she is shrieking in frustration, when she is nearly inconsolable. I can’t comfort my baby girl. No matter how many truths I tell her, no matter the amount […]

Finding Grace in the Missing Parts of My Story

I reflect on pictures my mom kept of me posing on grandma’s front porch, my three-year-old little body donning a Fiesta dress with intermingled colors. They dance with each other far from lament. Dad’s sailor cap is tipped over my face, covering my left eye, making me giggle as I reach up to catch it […]

Dear Portia: My friend got healed, and I didn’t.

Dear Portia, I keep praying for healing, and I am not healed, but someone else in my circle did get healed and I am trying to be okay with this but I am not. A Dear A, Is it even possible to address your question without using some sort of unhelpful or even offensive platitude? […]

When Healing Looks Like Boredom

The suburbs and the country scared me as kid. There were too many dead ends and cul-de-sacs, not enough lights. The vastness of open fields and the emptiness of woods caused dread and panic to rise in me and I would find myself looking around me, behind, feeling exposed and unsafe. When I was 7 […]

Losing and Finding Your Tribe

A lot has been written lately about “finding your tribe.” Every time I hear this phrase I am filled with excitement, hope, and also fear and disappointment. What if you have had phases in your life where you were so convinced that you had found your tribe—that you had found acceptance of who you really […]

My Improbable Love of “Happy Birthday”

I should get bonus points when I surprise my friend Shoshana: she’s remarkably unflappable. If I’d told her I was getting a giant bat tattoo on my behind, she’d probably nod and say, “Oh, interesting.” But the other day on the phone, when I told her I love it when people sing “Happy Birthday” to […]

Ink, Blood, and Tears

I got off the bus at my new school and saw the parking lot filled with cars. This was nothing like my former crowded, noisy, urban Philadelphia high school with the dark stairwells and constant police presence. I’d never seen so many Ford Tauruses in my life. Some even had monograms on the doors. I […]

The Red Handkerchief

In the story The Giver, they had a phrase “precision of language”. This was an admonition when people used an irrelevant term, something their culture didn’t believe in anymore. We have antiquated words that don’t serve us or even offend us now, and we have phrases whose etymologies are hard to trace. I’m captivated by […]

The Waging and the Waiting

This essay is an excerpt from the anthology Soul Bare: Stories of Redemption published by Inter Varsity Press in August 2016. In 1977, my mother left my brothers and me with sitters to go looking for an apartment and didn’t return for days. When she finally did, after what most people considered a “lost weekend,” my […]