Dear Portia: How Do You Find Belonging When Your Ancestry Is Erased?

Dear Portia, Where do you place your footing when the footprints of your ancestors have been erased? Gentrification has/is pushing out the remnant of my marginalized community that was once here-do I fight to stay or do I wave my flag in surrender? GW Hello GW,  You ask such a poignant and important question around […]

When Belonging Doesn’t Mean Sameness

I don’t like coffee. There, I said it. I read blogs and listen to podcasts. I’ve seen the memes. Women who are younger than me – a lot younger than me- who write books, wear great earrings, who all seem to know each other. And they all seem to love coffee. Somehow I’ve told myself […]

The Middle of the Wilderness

In the dreaded five minutes of saying hello to my neighbor every Sunday, I know we’ll come to a point where I’ll be asked the questions, “What brought you here? Why did you move?” I give them the one second answer to why we uprooted our lives in Las Vegas to move back to Southern […]

Loneliness is a State of Mind

  There can be a loneliness in reading, because it is such a solitary act. Even in talking about books, it can be hard to accurately describe their affect, because how can soul-deep language be reduced to mere words? There can be an aloneness in reading, too, in that one does it to be alone, […]

Books Can Keep You Stitched Together

The first book to ever hold this type of “keepin” power for me was, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I slept with this book under my pillow every night. I was even willing to pay the “lost” fine fee that my middle school library would eventually charge me for not returning it. […]

What I Wish They Had Told Me About Growing Up

I wish they had told me it’s okay to be afraid. To feel inadequate or uncertain or a little bit lost. To feel like you don’t have friends when you first move to a new place. To not have everything together. The reason older people don’t seem to be panicked about things is because they’ve […]

Portrait of A Both Girl

I am not black. I am not white. I am somewhere between the ink and the page, the word that is blurred      out. I am not what you assume She speaks Spanish… can’t quite place her…. definitely not from around here I am from around here. I grew up down that stone road […]

Looking for the Invisible Formation of Life

There has been a pattern to my life lately, a rhythm of books and papers. The rhythm has been so steady that it has started to feel like a weekly liturgy. The lectionary readings have not been spiritual per se, but they have been holy nonetheless. The Old Testament reading for the day comes from […]

This Is Why I’m Single

You, who likely do not know me, probably have a guess as to why I’m single. Maybe I’m afraid of commitment. Maybe I’ve never been in a serious relationship. Maybe I come from too troubled of a past. Maybe I’m “just not really trying.” Here’s why I’m single: because I just am. I’ve gone to […]

Out of My Wildness

This lyric poem was inspired by these two Bible verses: Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? Song of Solomon 8:5 “I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called […]

Arugula or Collards: What type of greens are you?

“So, Velynn tell me about yourself. What words would you choose to describe yourself?” How many times have you been asked to describe the breadth and depth of your whole person “in just one sentence, please”? Impossible, right? While I am tempted to respond by singing Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan’s female anthem, “I’m Every […]

Sound the Bells

Can I not talk about the Enneagram? Please? I’ve taken the test what feels like a hundred times. Each time I have taken it with the guidance of someone who really knows and loves the Enneagram. First I thought I was a 9. That fit for a while until it didn’t. Try again and find […]