Monday, November 25, 2013


When I heard about his accident, my heart dropped. I was waking up groggily to what I thought was just-another-day, when my sister asked if I'd heard the news. I prayed in earnest: Dear God, if anyone deserves a miracle, it's that boy.

I thought of trampolines, soccer games and him catching grapes in his mouth as his mother tossed them from across the kitchen. I thought of his comfortable, crowded dining room table, and of each one of his sisters. I thought of sledding, and last winter when we laid down, limbs spread wide, like starfish on cool thin ice.

And then I imagined dark pavement and blood, the lifeline flight and his body in a coma at the hospital.

I felt sick. I felt paralyzed. And it was just-another day.

I want to tell him about that day. As I walked to class, I loved every person I saw with more love than I knew I had inside of me. My concern was magnified into empathy by a single, simple realization. Every one of the people on this earth has an intricate web of relationships. Every person has a mother, a father, and friends, and they are so important, if not to me, than to someone else. I could feel only gratitude that all these people around me were laughing, walking and whole. And if that wholeness was stripped from them at that moment, I knew that it would create as much heart wrench as this boy’s accident did for those who loved him.

I care fiercely for my friend’s life and the gift of his accident to me was that I felt that same fierce care for each and every life on that day. Regardless of anything else, a heartbeat, a breath and an awareness of the world seems enough to be happy for wherever it's found.

The overwhelming sense of that love has faded, but the memory of it is still there. It's a feeling that I can reach back to and pinpoint when I'm being mindful. And when I do, gratitude swells up in me again.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bicycles & Wonder

I stood out on the drive way of my brother's house, watching his two kids. They had their little bikes out, spinning up and down that concrete strip.

My nephew just turned three. He doesn't really ride his bike, he just pushes with his feet along the ground while sitting on the seat. It's more of a shuffling approach.

A Younger Lijah

"Hey, Lijah, put your feet on the pedals bud." I told him.

Lifting his feet he put them on the pedals and pushed down hard on both at once - a look of fierce determination on his face. He didn't move.

I reached down and pushed on one foot, then told him to press down the other. He altered his pressure painfully slow from his left to his right, creeping forward. After about three minutes, he went back to happily shuffling again.

There are some things that we do so often that we don't even realize that they were once unknown and had to be learned. I was too young to remember my first steps and I don't recall learning to pedal clearly either. But I do remember my big sister teaching me to pump my legs, propelling myself back and forth on the swing set. I remember learning how to ride without training wheels. My first attempt was downhill at a park by our house. It ended disastrously as I veered off the path, headlong into a cherry tree. It took time.

One of the greatest joys of being an Aunt is re-experiencing a discovery of the world. I have a Ray Bradbury quote tacked up on a cork board at home - the first line reads "stuff your eyes with wonder." I can see that's what my little nephews and niece are doing when I watch them. The little breakthroughs are huge milestones of progression in their lives.

When I see Lijah bike, or my baby nephews start to take their first steps; I see in their smiles that they are saying 'Look at me, look at all that I am capable of!'

I hope they never lose that sense of wonder about themselves.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I remember when I was all
Wire and feathers
Bird-boned and spry.

Hunger hollowed out my belly,
Sunk my in my cheeks,
Set deep brown eyes.

There was a grinding on my mind
From the time I woke up
Running hands down my
Horizontal frame
To the time I slipped back
Into the only sweet
Release I had,

Brittle hair
Swirling toward the drain.
so thin,
The wind could blow
Right through me,

Lifting up each spoonful
Leaden. Heavy.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Waiting on the Parade

Taken Fourth of July 2013


"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art." Eleanor Roosevelt
My Uncle Paul took this photo of my Grandmother at a recent family wedding. It's one of my favorites.

My Grandmother is a very practical and sensible woman. She's strong, reliable, kind, optimistic and has an incredible testimony and faith.

My Grandfather and her are still so vigorous and full of love for the people around them -they haven't forgotten how to have a good time either.

That's what makes the picture so great, her smile and her laughter :)

We're all more than the faces we see in the mirror, or our bodies. So much personality is dynamic, caught in our mannerism, routines and words. It's beautiful when a photograph can contradict its stagnant nature by capturing our dynamism.

I think we call it 'candid'