In the nick of time…

About two and a half years ago, my sisters and I were spit-balling ideas for our parents for Christmas.  They are often difficult to buy for, especially since they didn’t need more “stuff”.  And then I got an idea: pictures.  We hadn’t done any kind of family portraits with all five of us since…our Olan Mills days?  And we for sure hadn’t had Josh in any with us.  Good photography can beis expensive.  It’s one of those things that I think you really do need to splurge for, if you want a good end result.

I wracked my brain, how were we going to pay for photos?  Even with all four of us kids pitching in, I wasn’t sure we’d get the effect we wanted.  Until I thought of Chelsea.

Chelsea and I attended OWU at the same time I did, she was a freshman when I was a senior.  The funny thing, I think, is that I actually met her mother and brother before I actually met her.  See, I was working as an intern in the Admissions Office at the time, and I helped at an event in Indy that OWU was hosting.  And her brother was there as a “prospective student”.  To be candid, he wasn’t ever seriously considering our school, but it was free food and it helped the event to have a current student’s parent present for questions.  Chelsea’s mother was quick to learn that I had a car on campus and set up our first meeting–carpooling home for…Thanksgiving break (right, Chels?)

We were quick friends based on our love of Starbucks, good music, and unbelievable abilities to hold an endless conversation with a seemingly complete stranger.  What more could you want?  That year I gave Chelsea many rides home, and the following year as well as I returned to OWU to fill a temporary position in the Admissions Office.

She has been one of my closest friends here in Indy. Someone close geographically that understands my longing for HamboInn and Amato’s. And at Christmas time two years ago she was a Godsend. Chelsea has her BFA and is a professional Art Therapist, and she is super talented in many of the arts. But one of my favorites is her photography. So she agreed and trekked with us to Nashville, IN and took photo after photo of the 6 of us. I will forever be grateful for this kindness and the resulting memories in my mind, my heart, and captured in print.

They offer me of tiny glimpses of silliness, joy, togetherness, and love. And those moments are so dear.

Reality Check

Disclaimer: This post points out some of my very real flaws. But in the hopes of transparency and vulnerability, I am okay with that. I also recognize that every story has more than one side and this is mine. Others feel it and would tell it differently.

In high school one of my core groups of friends was a group of four other girls and myself. It started as just four of us, and what seemed haphazardly to me, a fifth was added. I wouldn’t call us inseparable nor a clique–I was a part of many a different friend groups. But this group was one of my closest sets. We’d get together once a month or so as a large group for a movie at the mall, or dinner, or a sleepover. And when two of us left for college we started a traveling notebook à la “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. We didn’t have those magical pants though.

College made things different. It was harder for all five of us to be connected in the same way. Letters and the notebook traveling became sparser. It was harder to get ahold of one another via phone (my first year in college I didn’t have a cell phone until about Thanksgiving). We’d meet over Winter Break for a sleepover and girl talk and general shenanigans. And I am thankful to this day that I was home from Spring Break when one of their brother’s died–I could be that presence from the group.

But people change, and not every friendship lasts. There came a point that I was the odd woman out. I’d be working at ASP over the summers while they’d all be together, having weekly dinners. I was thought of last when travel plans to visit one or the other happened–and no one ever bothered (or even considered to my knowledge) visiting me at school or on ASP. And it hurt. More than I let on, and definitely more than I cared to let anyone know. I wasn’t forgotten but I definitely wasn’t a part of the group in the same way.

And then mom got diagnosed. And my email to the group (because at some point it went from a notebook to email updates) was long and heart wrenching and full of my disbelief and need for reassurance. And there was little to nothing. The usual, “I’m sorry” or “that sucks”. But no questions, no soothing, and no phone calls or tries at one-on-one communication. And that stung. This group that I considered to be some of my best friends acted like I had just said “I tripped today”. So I found my comfort in other places: in my sisters, in my best friend from home (who wasn’t a part of this group) and from friends at college who watched me cry and gave me hugs and reassured me that I’d get through whatever was ahead.

Fast forward to graduating, moving back home, and being a big kid. When I got home the other girl my age was home after graduating as well. We’d hang out, but most times that meant me driving to her parents’ house, or really just me driving because she didn’t have her license (at the age of 22). I can remember a year we went to The Vogue on Halloween and I had to spot her money because she didn’t realize there would be a cover for a holiday like that. Very baffling (and slightly annoying) to me at the time.

The years moved on and eventually I was the only one in Indy. They’d randomly visit one another, but at holidays we stopped seeing each other as much. One of them got engaged and the bachelorette party was to be in New York a month after my trip to Australia and New Zealand. I was excited! Maybe this would be like old times. Maybe this would bring us all together (minus the one serving with the Peace Corps). Maybe this would be the ticket to actually feeling like my friends cared about me again.

We started working out details and when I said my timeframe for a weekend meant Wednesday night thru Saturday night they all went a little crazy. One of them wasn’t working, and had 100% flexible time, one wasn’t coming as she was serving in Africa, and the other didn’t understand why everyone else had to sacrifice for me. So I budged and convinced my boss I could be off the Sunday in question.

But it hit me a few days later–why was I sacrificing my time and money for these girls who obviously didn’t care what worked for me? Why was I continually sacrificing my well-being and self for their wants and needs? Did they even really know me anymore? And so I shut down. And, in some ways, it was cowardly. I don’t really care for confrontation or making other people upset–one of my biggest Achilles’ heels of sorts.

I told them that I wasn’t coming. And that created more chaos. The emails came pouring in: you aren’t coming? Why not? Too expensive? Did your boss change his mind? Why are you being like this? Don’t you care about supporting your friend? It was the last drop of water in the overflowing bucket I was carrying–it was too much. And so after radio silence on my end I wrote them one of the toughest emails I have ever written and basically broke up with them. Was it the most appropriate means of communication? No. Did more than one of them respond? No. Did I cut ties completely and feel much freer and truer to myself? Yes. And that made all the difference. That’s how I know, even today when I have mini minutes of reflection or doubt, that it was still the right choice.

So why am I sharing this and putting it out in the universe? Fast forward to 2017. When mom passed away, I had some sadness and animosity surrounding the fact that none of that group would have any idea that it had happened. And in a weird way it made me sad and angry. Totally illogical and probably misplaced.

Yesterday one of my Facebook memories included a girl from this group. I very deliberately untagged myself from the post (don’t need that in my memories every.year). But it got me thinking about her so I clicked on her profile to see what was new in her life. I knew she’d recently been married but right at the top, the first public post was from August and had funeral arrangements for her own mother. My jaw dropped, and I was emotionally paralyzed. Shock set in and grief over the loss and anger at myself hit.

They didn’t know about my mom, and I didn’t know about hers. So I was just as much “in the wrong” here. But that didn’t mean I had to continue being the person I had been. I’ve changed and grown and (hopefully) matured since I sent that break up email to all of them. My actions don’t initiate out of the same place they used to; I try to constantly and consciously operate out of a place of love these days. Sometimes I fall short of that, but it’s ever my goal. And that’s definitely not how I was back then. So I sucked up my pride and I stopped beating myself up and I wrote her an email–not because I hope to be friends again, not because I want an apology or explanation, not because I want to hold anything over her head. I wrote her an email because I am human and I know all too well and all too recently what it feels like to lose your mother before you turn 30. And if nothing else, maybe saying “others have walked before you” will give some comfort. Maybe shedding just a small beam of light on her and her experience and the sisterhood of those grieving right now can bring relief. Because I don’t have to know the whole story to know that it hurts and that it seems unfair and that things will never be the same again for her. But my heart and soul that are trying so desperately to always start with love felt that doing anything other than reaching out would have been “wrong”.

I don’t expect her to respond. I don’t need her to. But I am reminded that we all are walking around this great world carrying things no one could even imagine. And so love, to me, is the way to face the day and greet the world around me.

A Letter to My Best Friend…

Do you know those posts on sites like thoughtcatalog and buzzfeed?  The ones that are open letters to or have a list of things only your best friend would understand? I’m a millennial.  I read those all.the.time.  And then I proceed to text/message them to my closest friends. #sorrynotsorry

I’m overly sentimental.  I love to do for others more than I like to do for myself–I’ve always been that way.  I haven’t seen my best friend since March and that visit was pretty short.  I thought I was going to have the opportunity to see her next month, but I have a commitment that will keep me from that.  And so, I’ve been writing a letter of my own to her all day in my mind.

To My Best Friend:

You get my weird like no one else.  Scratch that.  You share my weird like no one else.  I don’t have to worry about censoring myself around you, and in a world that is based so much on judgement and what others think, I am thankful to not have to worry about that.  Plus weird shenanigans lead to wonderful adventures.

I value you more than you know.  Little did I know when we met that I would need your love and support so much in the future.  Our friendship blossomed quickly, something that I think happens only under the most specific of circumstances.  But the speed of things did not forfeit the quality involved.  Somehow we spoke the same language about life, family, faith, and honesty without needing much explanation or translation.

Even though we don’t talk or text every day you are there when it matters.  You answer late night calls, stay on the phone just to hear me cry or laugh uncontrollably, and ask the tough questions.  You remind me who I am when I forget, why I do what I do, and about what is important in life.  Not everyone can keep me so grounded.

We don’t always agree.  We’ve had our fair share of disagreements, but any animosity soon fades.  Because we recognize that we can disagree and still love one another.  It always comes back to love.

I would not be me without you.  Some of my best memories, the sad and the happy, include you.  Your friendship has taught me that it matters not how many friends or relationships we have in this life.  It matters more the depth of the connection.

Where I’m From…

Have you ever read the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon?  I found out about it when I was a part of The Journey.  It spoke to my soul.  It still does.  I love storytelling, I think it is one of the most beautiful arts.  I could sit and listen for hours to people share their memories, even when I don’t know the “characters”.  I suppose it’s why I enjoy memoirs so much.  You can check out George’s poem here.

I’ve made this poem more than once, it changes as I change.  And I like remembering and cataloging new and different things.

Where I am {Currently} From

I am from bobby pins,
from Singer and Correlle.
I am from the sprinkler in the front yard
(cold, and wet
it looked like our own rain storm).
I am from the sycamore tree,
the iris bulbs
that split again each year.

I’m from Christmas light tours and games of cards,
from Granny Doris and Uncle Pickle,
and cousins so far removed.
I’m from the I’m-always-rights,
and the stubborn-to-a-faults.
From “top-lip, bottom-lip together,”
And “be kind to the little people.”

I’m from hours of grape counting
each Sunday as the minister’s sermon made a musical backdrop.
I’m from where Kessler turns and where love is always found,
From homemade noodles and never ending coffee.
From the seamstress who proved great-grandma wrong
From the human encyclopedia.

In the study were the albums
whose adhesive had aged
and pictures came tumbling about
as you leafed through.

I am from those times that made me
older than the age on the calendar
whether I was ready or not.


I love the seasons of the Christian church.  There are so many memories from my childhood wrapped up with each and everyone.  Mardi Gras, Lenten breakfasts, palm parades down 39th, the Hallelujah chorus on Easter, Youth Sundays, Advent festivals, 5pm Christmas Eve service plays, Epiphany parties and so many more.  But I have to admit that Advent has been difficult for me.  I’ve never been strict in my observance and the call to slow down and expectantly anticipate the celebration of Christs birth.  And working at a church now, I definitely don’t spend the necessary time in silence, and wonder, and meditation.

But this year…this year is different.  This year I need that time.  I need to take moments of silence for myself.  I need to wonder about the story, and about how others celebrate, and about how the birth and gift of Christ is enough.  I need to meditate with my own thoughts, and the Word, and the talented words of others.  So I have been reading more intently (and with regularity) the Advent devotions our church members have created.  It’s easy because they are populated in my email when I check it each morning.  And so I spend a few minutes centering myself, a few minutes reading, and a few minutes praying.

Advent is different this year.  Amidst the hustle and bustle and joy of the season I find that my melancholy is all too obvious.  The songs and music that generally make this season “merry and bright” seem less sparkly, less joyous, and less welcome to my ears.  It’s something to work through, and something that I know won’t always feel this way.  I am extremely thankful for the bright spots: Christmas cards and candy from my youth, nights full of laughter and frivolity with friends, surprise gifts throughout the season, and Holiday greetings from dear ones near and far (Christmas season mail is my favorite–TBH any mail is my favorite).

I just have to keep reminding myself to feel how I feel and not apologize.  I have found some solace in Anne Weems’ Kneeling in Bethlehem.  My favorite poem of the moment is below.  It speaks a little to how my heart is feeling.  But it also brings memories of her other poems from the same book that we used for our Christmas pageant each year.

Yesterday’s Pain

Some of us walk into Advent
tethered to our unresolved yesterdays
the pain still stabbing
the hurt still throbbing.
It’s not that we don’t know better;
it’s just that we can’t stand up anymore by ourselves.
On the way to Bethlehem,
will you give us a hand?

Day Two

My health journey has been a long road of ups and downs over the years. Nothing serious but I’ve always struggled with my weight. Part of that has to do with my heredity, and part of it has to do with my own habits. I’ve had huge successes of working out consistently, eating healthier, and managing my daily water intake. But it’s time I jump on that train again.

I’m not a big one for New Year’s resolutions. They don’t hold much weight for me. And so when I recognized the other day that something had to change, there was nothing holding me back–I didn’t feel the need to wait until January. I talked with a friend who also has started her own fitness goals and we decided to become accountability partners. For me, that’s a huge deal. I often succumb to the “oh I’ll just do it tomorrow”. But with her on board, we are forging ahead–I have to do something each day.

Today was my second day of this journey. I am hopeful that with enough time it will become a good habit that I won’t feel obligated to do but will actively want to do. That’s the goal.

I’m trying to integrate new exercises and routines into my regimen. My first day I did 25 minutes of yoga. Not my favorite but I think eventually I will really enjoy it. My friend, Anne, gifted me a free class at the yoga studio she attends and I am super excited to try it out. I think being at a studio would be more beneficial to me than doing a video on my own.

Today, Shelly and I went for a walk. It was beautiful outside, and I know we won’t have many of those days left as we eek our way closer to winter. But we walked 3 miles, almost a 5k! It’s nice to know there is a path that I can take when I want to start 5k training (this is also in my plan–more 5k runs).

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I imagine Sundays may be tricky as that’s my busiest day. But I’ll make it work.

Love and light (and lunges)



Tonight I had the opportunity to see one of my youth perform with their show choir. It was such a blast from the past for me. The costumes, the stage, the poofs, the eyelashes: they all evoked their own set of emotions.

It was wonderful getting to see so many groups perform, and there was a lot of talent, but I was partial to certain numbers. 😉. But overall it reminded me how much I miss it: competitions, chants, the friendships across school lines, way too much makeup, dance parties, warmup sessions, pre-performance prayers, etc.

I am definitely going to start going to competitions again. Hopefully I’ll be around for MIC this year. It won’t be the same without Wiehe involved, but I’ll survive. Some thugs just never leave us.