Find Your People

I talk a lot about relationships. As an enneagram 2 (and an empath and HSP) relationships are very intricate for me. So when I find people I click with I embody the “find your tribe, love them hard” mentality. This year has brought some turn over at my job, and I don’t usually like to be left with feelings of the unknown. So when my boss and co worker retired/moved on professionally, I was very tentative about the new folks who would be coming in.

Today just solidified for me how grateful I am for the staff at my job. Things aren’t always easy, some days (or weeks) every little thing seems to go wrong. But there is a lot of collaboration in our office. We operate in an environment with open and honest communication (and the comfortability to say “I don’t know” or “I can’t share that” and still feel heard and supported).

There is one coworker in particular who has office hours that completely overlap with mine during the work week. She and I have become close and I am thankful for her unique perspective and ease of asking tough questions. We laugh a lot together (evidenced by our boss walking in this morning to us cackling and me being crouched near the floor). We support each other. We share advice about work things and life things. Sometimes work can be stressful or monotonous or any of a myriad of adjectives. But this girl makes things that much more entertaining and positive–you can call us Frick and Frick.

It’s funny how we are brought together with others over the course of our life. Coworkers teach us in unique ways, and I owe a lot to the lessons I’ve learned from various colleagues over the years. And I’m excited to keep receiving lessons along the way.

My Gift is My Grief

People say things come in threes: good, bad, and awkward. Yesterday a conversation about trips to visit sick relatives and saying final goodbyes, just in case. Today a text saying my dear friend had lost her baby, my heart aches. These moments make me catch my breath–they cause my instinct of “reaching out” to kick in immediately. It’s moments like these that I am thankful for my own grief and how it has taught me to share with others and support others. My advice, empathy, and care would be very different without my experiences with my grandma and mom and other close family friends who’ve been sick or gone through hardship.

But as soon as my breath catches in my throat, I hold it there and don’t let it out for a while. My mind changes to the mode of “where and what is number three?” And then I have to tell myself to breathe. It’s different for everyone. But it’s nice to have others who walk alongside of you who understand because of the thread of shared experience.

Thankful to have received and to share compassion and love in times of need.

I Find Her in the Words

One month to go. Less than really. And it doesn’t seem any more real than it did a year ago. There’s this strange time between 2/22 and 3/18 that will always leave me in a haze of wonderment.

I talked to one of my many “sisters” today. She brings much solace to my soul through her insight, mystical soul, and youngest camaraderie. Her words today soothed me, enlivened the song in my heart, and reminded me to keep watch.

No one will understand exactly what my grief is like. No one will understand perfectly my journey and purpose on this earth. But several know pieces. And I am thankful for how those pieces and those people are bound together. So when I feel sad or lost or without hope or direction I still have places to turn.

The words of others are just amplifying her words. They are bringing new insight, shedding new light, and constant reminders of her presence and being in the here and now. Today I am thankful for the thin places where I can hear her, where I can feel her, where I know she is reaching out fully of laughter and grace.

I am thankful for the memories other people share so I can continue getting to know her. So that when I am too tired to grasp on to the fragments of her there are still pages flooding in that keep her story in print.

I can remember the joy and wonder she had 30 years ago of being a mom again and welcoming you into this world. May this year and new decade be filled with many blessings and opportunities.

Blessings and opportunities. These are things I can create.


I told myself today that I was going to get a lot done. Cleaning, shopping, taking things to Good Will, taking recycle. And I told myself I was going to write a poem for my blog.

The first stuff happened. And then I went to lunch with some of my favorite people. And then I got distracted by a fundraising campaign (check it out here: And I didn’t create a poem. Maybe tomorrow.

I am thankful for goals and the ways I’ve been pushing myself physically and spiritually. But sometimes we need to allow ourselves to rest, to not always take great strides toward the end in sight. Sometimes we just need to breathe.

Here’s to an evening of breathing and a day of creating tomorrow.

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.

Thankful Doesn’t Cover It

Thanksgiving has always been a big thing in our family. Growing up, we used to travel to our grandparents’ house on Thursday morning at stay at least until Friday afternoon. Our time would be filled with making the big meal Thursday complete with family favorites like a relish tray, celery and cheese, deviled eggs and grandma’s famous (to us) noodles. We’d eat and talk and laugh. The three of us girls would rotate through out turn of helping with the dishes (no new-fangled dishwasher for grandma!). We’d play cards, watch movies, nap, and eventually after what seemed like forever it would be time for dessert. I loved those days, surrounded by family, in grandma’s overly warm home, full of joy.

The early years included overnights. We’d sleep on the pull out couches or in the mobile home. There’d be popcorn and diet rite or RC cola. The adults would play cards into the wee hours and things just seemed perfect. The next morning I’d wake up to sounds of grandma in the kitchen. I’d peek through the keyhole in the door to the kitchen knowing she didn’t yet want company as she whisked up something for breakfast. Often times there’d be biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon or sometimes even sweet rolls. I’m sure everyone feels similarly but no one could cook like grandma.

Eventually this tradition changed. Grandma got older and hosting Thanksgiving wasn’t as easy for her any more so we began having it at our house. Usually our grandparents would spend the night but after a few years being away from home overnight, and having to walk up and down the steps became too much for them. There have been a few years that our grandparents didn’t come for Thanksgiving. It was heartbreaking in some ways but a reality that as you get older traditions change.

Last year still felt like Thanksgiving even though Mom was already at Greenwood Village. We weren’t sure how long she’d hold on, so Stacey and Josh flew in and were here for about a week. We were able to keep some of our traditions alive even though it wasn’t exactly the same. And we all could sense the shift that would happen in 2017. In some ways, I’d been dreading yesterday ever since Thanksgiving 2016.

Being an extrovert I often need to be around people. Not in the sense of crowds (I avoid the mall this time of year like the plague!) but in the sense of having noise, laughter, and love surrounding me. So thinking about Thanksgiving as just Shelly, Dad and I was a little disheartening. I love them dearly but there is always an ache in my soul for the togetherness I felt in a group of 7 when were were growing up. So I was excited when friends of ours invited us to share Thanksgiving with their family. Dad was hesitant, partially because they are closer to Shelly and me, but I think also because any way we celebrated this year would have felt off merely because it was different and Mom wasn’t there.

So we trekked over yesterday afternoon with our food contributions in tow. We shared in a beautiful reading of a poem/prayer one of them had written that spoke directly to my soul. And then we ate. Some things were traditional, some things were probably traditional for this family, and some things were our traditions. All those foods together. The three of us sat in the dining room, not purposefully away from everyone else, but separated. Slowly a few others joined us as they finished filling their plates and it felt comfortable–though there were a few moments I thought we may have been the only three in the dining room. And as people finished their food, others made their way in to talk, and laugh, (and beg for dessert). Dishes washing and clean up commenced and people rotated in and out to help get everything accomplished.

We took two cars with us. I think Dad figured he may have left earlier than Shelly and I. But we played games all afternoon and evening and none of us left until about 9:30. And it was good. We didn’t feel like we had to stay, we wanted to. It felt good, and comfortable, and different but…perfect at the same time. New traditions can be hard. They come with heartache as we remember those who aren’t with us. And they make us change. But I think new traditions can be good. They help us remember there are friends and family surrounding us who care an awful lot. We aren’t alone. And for that, I am thankful. But really–I am so much more–thankful just doesn’t seem to cover all of the joy I have in my heart and the smile I had on my face waking up this morning.

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving filled with love, surrounded by people dear to your heart, and full of good food.

Love and Light (and Pie!)



It’s been a little difficult getting back into writing.  I love it, it’s therapeutic, and I always feel better on the other side of having hit “publish”.  But time has been a little difficult.  I find myself with way too many ideas, that is never an issue.  But not the opportune time to sit, grab coffee or tea, and just spew onto the page (screen?).  I guess I need to start carrying a bigger purse and tote with me a Common Place Journal.  Duly (and truly) noted.

As October ends and November begins, I get chills–we will start marking our grief in years.  Sunday, though it was still in October, started a flow of really difficult times ahead.  I have the opportunity to preach for my congregation on November 5th.  That’s the traditional date to celebrate All Saints’ Day (the first Sunday after Halloween).  But as a requirement to my preaching, I told my boss that we would have to celebrate ASD a week early.  I just didn’t think I could handle preaching on that day.  He graciously obliged and here we are.  So we stood when mom’s name was read on Sunday in remembrance.  All three of us, right in a row, with clasped hands and Kleenex at the ready.  There were tears, there were hand squeezes and hugs from friends.

I’m tied to dates.  Heavily so.  I take stock in time and place and catalog it all away.  So November will be hard; really, really hard.  One year since she went to the ER.  One year since she went to GVS.  One year since it all started and she didn’t come back.  One. Year.  And then you throw in Thanksgiving, one of our family’s favorite holidays.  And you throw in her birthday directly after, and it’s a lot.  Needless to say, I’m taking a couple extra days in November–for me as much as for anyone else.  Because, as I become more and more aware, grief is a process.

I handle the grief surprisingly well.  Most days I can hold it close to me and find the light in the moments of dark.  But other times the tears fall–I’m not afraid of the tears, it’s okay, crying is healing for me.  I just don’t like the public tears.  I appreciate the raw emotion, and being able to share my vulnerability with my closest friends.  But my grief in spotlight is not something I enjoy.  (Maybe that’s a part of why this post in particular is so difficult–but necessary).

Thankfully I have friends who understand, and those who empathize when they can’t quite understand.  Friends who hug, and laugh, and ask the tough questions.  The friend who has seen me cry time and time and time again at lunches at restaurants (there are still more to come).  The friend who tentatively asked me if I’d be willing to discuss hospice with her as she felt it may be necessary for her own parent (we both cried for that one).  The friend who empathized for a long time and now is travelling her own journey with a parent with unknown health outcomes.  The friend who searches for glimpses of mom, in our lives and in her own life, and pushes us to feel Mom’s presence around us.  The friend who creates space and brings light through her understanding of many of my worlds as they collide–as she said to me last week “There is just something about OWU friends…”  The friend who; though she lives in a different state; prays for me constantly, is my rock, and has been there since the beginning–us sobbing under the table (discussing mom’s diagnosis) at her husband’s 21st birthday will always have a bittersweet place in my heart.  I am thankful for these and more–many people have held and continue to hold me up.

I feel my grief in shades of purple.  Today I’m a light lavender, tomorrow may come in more of an eggplant.  I’m sure that things will never be pure white again–though who knows if they were ever more than off-white to start with.  But I am thankful for the shades; they remind me of my strength, my love for my mom, and for reality in life’s ebb and flow.  Without the “bad” would we ever truly appreciate the “good”?