Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Trouble with the Night Before the Night Before Christmas

Some nights like the night before the night before Christmas can find me searching for answers. Not necessarily for the big huge important (in the traditional sense) questions, but more the ones that would only affect the corners of my heart I try not to touch anymore. 

But some nights, like this eve before Christmas Eve, shine a light on old scars begging me to remember them. What happened to that boy who once proposed to me but then left me behind? He goes by a new name, but I'd still recognize those blue eyes, the voice like velvet and that Hebrew tattoo over his heart. Time may change us into strangers, but he will always be mine in memory. 

Some nights I wish I'd made different choices or that I'd fought harder or paid more attention, but then a whisper reminds me that the end came when I was too distracted and broken by grief to truly care for anyone. Pain may not be a right excuse, but I don't think it (or its lack) would've changed the outcome. He was always walking away toward the next version of himself. 

Maybe some night, years from now, when this scar begs to be seen and remembered, there will be a new chapter to the story. Perhaps some Christmas Eve eve in the future will find him happy and healthy and recovered from his own scars and finally finally the real version of who he was always meant to be. 

Some nights I just need to empty my brain out so I can sleep again. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Oh Santa

Dear Santa,

Year's like this I really wish I had more faith.

What I want really can't be wrapped up and delivered or carried to m in your bag and sled.  What I want, Santa, is just love and courage and hope.  I want to enter this coming year with the courage to make myself healthier and happier.  I want love because, well, who doesn't want love?  But really, I want to be able to spoil someone, to lavish affection on them, someone to laugh with and prioritize, someone who sees the best in me and desires me.  And hope...I want hope most of all.  I feel like I lack hope the most.  If you gave me nothing more than hope I think that could shore up the pieces of my heart for another year.

Merry Christmas, Santa.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Thou Art Giving and Forgiving

I find myself singing weird statement to the "Ode to Joy" instead of doing anything worthwhile this evening.  I had a 4 text discussion about mail order brides with a man I've never met (no, I'm not planning on being a mail order bride and neither is he), but outside of that this evening has been cheerfully normal.  Homemade cocoa was a bonus, but otherwise I watched Christmas specials on TV with my family and then tucked myself away to read.  Few pleasures in life are as perfect as drinking tea while reading a book and listening to the right soundtrack.  I'm working my way back through Hot Toy which is one of Jennifer Crusie's novellas.  It's a good one.  Guns, gin, plus some Han Solo references and a librarian who has a nephew she adores...minus the sounds a little like me.  I could use a little more in the way of Han Solo references, but that's just me.

Plus I guess I'm wondering if I'm too strange to hold a real conversation with today, but that could just be the fact that at this point I am an hour past my bedtime.  Today I convinced Forrest to type a whole paragraph just using the letters his left hand should type on the keyboard (we may have been a little bored today), finished reading a juvenile chapter books called The League of Unexceptional Children, and have been contemplating writing Tom Hiddleston a Christmas card even though he either will never get a chance to read it or won't read it until ages past Christmas.

What must that be like I wonder...having so much mail you can't keep up with it?  Real mail not email.  I'm not sure many problems could be more glorious.

I think tonight I may write a letter to Santa so I can put it in the mail tomorrow (our postal workers here in town already think I'm a loon, so it won't change anything).

Good night, my loves.  May you find yourself cheered by your own Han Solo references.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


A friend of mine has been talking about panic attacks a great deal lately. I can't claim to be an expert or to know the depths of frustration and stress people who have full-blown panic attacks deal with, but I get the feelings of terror and hopelessness that can overwhelm and knock you down. 

Every so often I'll find myself doing some completely mundane activity only to suddenly have my brain go in a spiral of pain. I've had this happen a couple times this week. The aggravating part is that the trigger tends to be something happy that plays connect the dots till it reaches the frayed ends of an old broken memory or promise. Those broken promises and lost pathes still manage to get the best of me sometimes. 

Christmas time is hard. I love Christmas. I love the fact that people tend to breathe easier, that it's totally acceptable for me to sing hymns at work, that Christmas lights twinkle everywhere and I can spoil the people I adore with immunity. 

But there are times when I'm in the midst of the joy of this season where I'll see the gap that use to hold something special. There are decorations I use every year that feel bittersweet since the love that gave them to me has left me behind. I try not to let myself focus on it for long, but sometimes you miss what you miss. 

So I guess I'll just say merry Christmas, baby. I know we couldn't make it last because you had a different universe to run, but sometimes my mind flickers and longs for a time when I was the moon caught in your orbit. I hope you still find the magic. 

I hope I do too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

And the Darkness Could Not Comprehend It

Even though I'm exhausted and know I have to be up in a few hours, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this day. 

What is happening here?

At what crazy point did we tip the scales from occasionally horrific to seriously psychotic? I can't grasp this. I can't. My brain rejects this reality. I don't want my godsons, my nieces and nephews to have to grow up in a world like this. I don't want to be terrified of them traveling or to worry that they won't be safe inside their homes or churches or at work or school. I don't want them to live where they can't feel safe. 

Most of all, I don't want them to be afraid. 

I am afraid. Not so much for me, but for the people I love. I can't imagine losing someone in a tragedy like the San Bernardino shooting today or any of the seemingly endless police shootings or school shootings or hate crimes or protests that got violent or gang wars or any of this. 

What in a human being could ever switch off the ability to know compassion, kindness, and love to the point where you go and kill the innocents? What can you possibly gain with innocent blood?


Nothing in the world. Or the next. 

How do you fight against something that is like a shadow creeping across creation?

I don't know what anyone else is going to do, and I'm not even real sure about me, but I do know this: I'm going to love with all I have till the day I die. I'll keep donating whatever I can (time, money, clothes, whatever); trying to show mercy and grace whenever I can; breathe deeply; express affection more freely; take more risks; and pray. 

I think if we all tried to be consciously kind and giving and willing to hear people might help. 

I just want to be something good in this world and be a part of the light that the darkness does not comprehend. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Sitting on my couch reading, I'd put in an old Christmas mix. A cheerful seasonal peace descended. 

But then a forgotten tune began to play. An old friend who use to take the time to record his own versions of beloved Christmas carols. His voice echoing out of the speakers threw me off balance. Though it's only a few years past, thousands of miles and several moves and a million little changes (and several HUGE ones) have helped to create a large space between us. 

This is a part of growing up that breaks my heart. The losing part. Sometimes you have a best friend that you adore and who you can't imagine life without only to wake up one day and realize a moat was put between you while you slept. One where you can see your friend, you can wave, and you can yell greetings or vague statements but you'll never be able to share secrets again. 

The moat turns to ocean, but some nights you can lay on the shore and hear an old beloved song floating on the water...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

For the Cold Night

What on earth am I doing?
Seriously, what am I doing?
Am I the girl I see in the mirror or am I someone I have yet to meet?
It's a hard thing to see at times
what with the fog on the glass.
The drink on the window sill is staying cold
just waiting for me to take a breath
--at least something here has the gift of patience when all my patience is gone--

I'll just wait here alone.

The loneliness isn't too bad these days
maybe I'll find purpose yet
Some days I get to be the good fairy
I'd always dreamed to be
some kids want to be princesses
I wanted to be the fairy godmother
(well maybe I wanted to be the princess too..
after all, who doesn't want the handsome prince at the end of the story?)

I'd just like to be wanted
To be needed
To come first to somebody

it's the realization that no one has heard a word you said
that really breaks a joke
or the story
the hope
Nothing makes you feel smaller than silence
when you just need someone to nod and say "uh huh"
(even if they're barely listening)

Do you hear me now?
Or see me?
Am I actually Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense?
I'm the one who has been dead all along?

Be patient with me as I grow
Someday (maybe today) I'll have someone tune my old piano
I'll write some more thank you notes
and figure out how to use YouTube to teach myself new stitches
The poetry I'll read will work it's way deep through my soul
and I won't need to wait because
my soul will bloom on it's own

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Suck It

Nothing quite so glorious as being proven right when it feels like hell. 

Disappointment is so bitter, but here I am sipping a glass again. 

Sometimes I can't decide if I have the gift of being a pushover or if I have a sign on me that says "good sidekick/buddy potential" or what, but it can stop. 

Hey! Hey! HELLO! EARTH TO YOU GENIUS! I'm a worthy priority! I'm not a sidebar character to your story! I'm a human being and a woman who is worth being important. If you can't see that you sir are an idiot. 

I thought maybe you actually wanted me, but now I realize I was just an extra in your production that was easy to forget. 

You've got so much potential...don't waste it. I wish you luck because I'm not gonna wait around for you to grow up. I've got better things to do and people who actually care that I exist every day not just when they can pencil me in. 

See ya. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Dear PCOS,

You suck. 

You mess with everything inside of me and push at the depression that already makes me hate myself physically. 

I can never decide which of us started the total destruction of my physical appearance. The depression triggered by losing Zuni helped too, but goodness you didn't help. I wish I'd known how destructive you'd be, but no one ever seemed to know anything. 

And here we are. I've known about my PCOS for 12 years now, but just within the last month come to find out how completely screwed up I am physically. It could be worse. I could have diabetes or ovarian cancer, but so far I'm alright. Instead I've just gained about 100 lbs, am losing hair, have periods from hell every 6 months (or more), and could join an old-timey freak show as the bearded lady. 

Plus you're screwing me over by messing with my already unstable sleeping patterns and upping the ante with my depression (I'm sure my lack of risk-taking or pursuit isn't helping either).

I hate you. I hate that I feel like I'm a failure all the time. I hate not knowing what is me and what is hormones you've unbalanced...

I feel like a crazy person.

I don't want you to rule me or define my life. I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling like you are the root of all my issues (even though sometimes I feel like you take up a lot of that space). I just want to prove to myself that I'm stronger than this. 

I will fight you. I will fight you even though I'm exhausted and I feel overwhelmed. I will fight you because I don't want to spend the rest of my life broken and hurt and lonely. 

I will fight you so that I can be a good example to my godsons, my nieces, and my nephews. I will fight you so that someday, if I'm really lucky, I'll be able to have little ones of my own. I will fight you so that I don't have to relive this nightmare of depression and fear every night. 

You suck, PCOS, but you may be the one thing that can make me stronger. 

You can't beat me. 


Friday, November 13, 2015


Paris. I am so sorry to hear what's been done to you. This evening I turned on the news and I heard that you'd been wounded. Cruel, hateful creatures had stolen through your beautiful streets and destroyed people you cared for, people you loved, people you'd been proud of. I am so sorry. 

Paris, this world sometimes feels so overwhelmingly full of callousness and darkness, and tragedies like this push us to the brink. The amazing things is how blinding the light is that shines through our brokenness. This Friday will be one that haunts us for generations, but I pray that it will cause us to renew our strength and friendship and love for one another. Life is so short and so fragile. Sometimes it is stolen from us, but let us chose to hold together and love. 

Paris, you are so beloved. France, I stand with you. Hatred may oppose us, but we stand for love. Hate can never win. 

May God give us peace, healing, and strength to carry on and love deeply. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

To Charlie!

In the wake of this loss, a few words:

I can't claim that I was close to Charlie. After working with him for a year, I'm not totally sure he ever learned my name (let's be fair, it's hard for people at times), but I can tell you this: he was a great guy. Everyone liked him. He was sweet, funny, and loved to tease the staff. He will be missed. 

To Charlie!
May the next life bring you good lungs, good bacon at every breakfast and a glass of brandy with every lunch!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Day 31: God

Dear God,

Thank you. 

Thank you for the crazy month of October. Always crazy it seems, but I am grateful. Thank you for my incredible family, for my sweet friends, for renewed friendships, for my godsons, for the changing leaves and allergy medication. Thank you for giving my a home to live in, great co-workers, and a steady paycheck. 

Thank you for reminding me of what I've left behind and what's worth fighting for. Thank you for showing me, yet again, how blessed beyond measure I am. Thank you for showing up for me. I am always blown away by the ways you choose to speak. Your kindness and live blow me away. 

And your patience, Lord. Thank you for your patience when I am stubborn and your grace when I fall. 

Thank you for loving me. I love you, Lord. 

Thank you. 


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day 30: Mom

Dear Mom,

Thank you. 

I could not be blessed with a better mom. You always make time for me and listen when I need to just clear my head. I always feel bad for dumping out all my issues on you, but you always listen with so much kindness and understanding. 

Thank you for reminding me that of my light when I'm feeling like I'm failing miserably. You help me remember that the story is still in development and there is still magic and color to life. 

Thank you for seeing the best in me even when I'm crying and sound like a crazy person. I am grateful that you are willing to remind me of who I am and that you love me. 

I love you, Ma. You are the kindest, sweetest, most compassionate woman I know. I want to grow up to be like you. 

Thank you. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 29: Acheron

Dear Acheron,

Thank you. 

I still can't over my good fortune in being offered the chance to buy you. I'd been without a car for almost a full year by the time David's offer came along and I still can't believe my luck. A Camry (even though you're not new) in good condition with good gas mileage, and you're all mine. 

You represent so much. The fact you are mine means there's always the chance for escape. Maybe that sounds a little crazy, but I need the promise of an open door to placate the dangerous edge in my heart. I must know I have the option to run. You give me that hope. 

Thank you. 


Day 28: Work

Dear Work,

Thank you. 

I know we don't always get on and sometimes I have a terrible attitude about you, but I do appreciate you. Few things in life are so encouraging as having a steady job with a steady income. After the past couple years, I know I am beyond blessed to have you. You've given me the chance to learn new schools, make friends with my wonderful co-workers, and a paycheck that never fails to show up in full on time as promised. I am so lucky to have you. 

Thank you. 


Day 27: Mixed Nuts

Dear Cast, Crew, Writers, & All Who Helped Create & Produce Mixed Nuts,

Thank you. 

You all helped produce one of my favorite Christmas movies. Honestly, I can watch it at any point in the year. Mixed Nuts is such a witty movie. The characters are lovable and absurd. Flawed as they are you can't help but love them. They give me hope that even I, flawed as I am, can prove brilliant and lovable. It's never too late. 

Thank you. 


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 26: Empty House

Dear Empty House,

Thank you. 

You and I both know I'm not a huge fan of silence or loneliness or being alone for too long, but I appreciated the time. I never quite realize how busy or full our house is (even though it's usually just 3 of us anymore), but this definitely showed me. 

I really enjoyed doing my own thing. I cooked, I cleaned, I got some writing done, and did a little experimenting. Plus there's something about the quiet that's been truly relaxing after dealing with so many people at work. Maybe I needed a couple days of quiet. 

I'm looking forward to my family returning, but thank you. I needed this. 

Thank you. 


Day 25: Shebby

Dear Shelby,

Thank you. 

Sheb, sweet Shebby, I love you. You are incredible. Thank you for calling me and catching me up on all the great and crazy things going on in your life. I miss laying on the couches in your apartment watching Firefly or Supernatural and talking about God and boys and life and the future. You are one of those rare beautiful people who I can be 100% honest with about anything and everything and I don't have to worry about you thinking I'm crazy or shallow (we both know in crazy anyway). 

I love that even if we don't get to talk all the time, the minute we start talking, it's like we are just keeping a long conversation alive. Like no time has passed. Thank you for your prayers, kindness, laughter, and love.

Thank you also for being such a fantastic inspiration. I'm so proud of you for working so hard to take better care of yourself. You've always been gorgeous, Sheb, but you seem so much happier now that you're healthier. You look fantastic, and you inspire me to keep trying to be healthier. Thank you for encouraging me in this. :)

I love you, little sister. You're still my best fan. 

Thank you. 


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 24: Readers

Dear Readers,

Thank you. 

Even if we never meet or leave a comment, I appreciate you. I also appreciate that none of you have harassed me for somehow writing 2 separate gratitude posts about Benadryl. As you may have guessed, it's been a special kind of month. Octobers often are. 

Thank you for sticking out with me. Special thanks to any of you who may have followed me on previous blogs (OpenDiary, Xanga, Live Journal, MySpace) or on Tumblr ( It's just always incredible to realize you've written something that someone else is kind enough to actually take time to read. You are wonderful. 

Thank you. 


Day 23: Blackberry Lemonade

Dear Blackberry Lemonade,

Thank you. 

Applebee's was so smart to create you. You are the reason I went out of my way to go to dinner at Applebee's to tonight, and I feel completely justified in doing that. You just taste so good. 

Thank you. 


Day 22: Benadryl

Dear Benadryl,

Thank you. 

We've been through so much together over the years. Through bug bites, allergic reactions, and misery. You've never let me down. Thank you for helping me get through this week's fun allergic reaction to the flu vaccine. You kept me from tearing up skin that was itching like crazy and helped me finally get some much needed sleep. I truly am grateful. 

Thank you. 


Day 21: Ian Fleming

Dear Mr. Fleming 

Thank you. 

Over the years I've watched nearly every movie based off your brilliant character James Bond. He's a delight. A wonderful mix of humor, machismo, and quick-thinking. Your character has been a bridge for me over the years. He'd given me common ground to start friendships. Today I watched Thunderball with my dad and we loved it. I'd forgotten about the sharks and the underwater fight scene. Thank you for creating a character my father and I both love. 

Thank you. 


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 20: Kyle

Dear Kyle,

Thank you. 

It's weird sometimes how something heartbreaking and terrible can cause something. My friend, I hate the pain you're dealing with and the ridiculous number of complications you're dealing with, but I am grateful for one thing: our renewed friendship. I hadn't realized how completely I had missed your laughter, concern, advice, and kindness. Thank you for your friendship. 

I am grateful for our shared history, values, sense of humor, and friends. All these things truly make you magical and rare. 

Thank you for being honest. It's been a distressingly long time since I've spent real time with a guy who understand the importance of using his words. You have any idea how awesome it is to have you actually explain what you mean and not just get upset with me if I question you? I have trust issues and have spent too much time being lied to or rejected or having guys decide to tell me I'm just wrong or get angry at me without ever just manning up and talking to me.  Having you step up and be a real man is such a blessing. Plus it minimizes confusion. Party. Bonus. 

Speaking of parties...a happy, happy birthday, The Kyle. I can't believe we're adults let alone responsible ones. :) You are a good man and a great dad. May God bless you in the coming year in new, beautiful, surprising ways and also give you the strength you need to get through the pain and difficult times. Many wonderful years to come, my friend. Many wonderful years. 

I love you, my friend. I'm so proud of you, I am so grateful that you are you, and that I get to be a part of your story. 

Thank you. 


Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 19: Grandma Thomas

Dear Grandma Thomas,

Thank you. 

I miss you. A lot. 

Grandma, thank you for loving me. More than that, thank you for loving all of us. It's amazed me over and over again since you died just how much you loved all of us and how you truly were the glue that held us all together. You always saw the good in us and tried to point us in the right direction. It makes me sad to think how much we took that for granted. 

Thank you for being a great example of the kind of woman I want to be. You were a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. You were involved in your family and community, and everyone who knew you loved you. Your life and legacy give me hope. 

I miss you, Grandma. I love you. 

Thank you. 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 18: October

Dear October,

Thank you. 

You are my favorite month. Christmas Eve may be my favorite day of the year, but you are definitely my favorite month. The leaves are changing. My tree right outside my window is slowly turning scarlet and the sunlight filtering through casts a perfect autumn glow. We have turned the furnace back on, so now I get to hear one of my favorite sounds: a deep grumble and the snap of fingers followed by a rush of heat. The nights are cold enough, I need the magic quilt Grandma Cheatwood made to stay warm. The nights are also calling for hot chocolate and tea. It's beautiful. You are my favorite. 

Thank you. 


Day 17: UpSwing Crew

Dear UpSwing Crew,

Thank you. 

I really appreciate what you're working on. I know Saturday was the "pilot" of the service, but I believe this will be a wonderful new ministry for the church. It was intimate, enjoyable, and a wonderful starting point. Thank you for all the work you're doing to make this service possible. I know it takes a lot of time and effort to plan a worship service (especially when you're trying something new). I hope it takes off. 

Thank you. 


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Day 16: Swedes Staff

Dear Swedes Staff,

Thank you. 

Over the past few years I've had a lot of time to consider you. I've spent some time in your hospital, most of it as a patient, and I want you to know you're wonderful. 

A couple years back, I dealt with pancreatitis nearly killing me a couple times as a complication of my gall bladder needing to be removed. Every member of your support staff that I encountered from nurses to lab tech to valets to administrative staff, you were all wonderful. You made me laugh, explained the medical terms, answered my questions, and did all you could to make me feel comfortable and at ease. 

I bring this up because I was reminded of this yesterday when I found myself in a familiar waiting room. I was at Swedes all over again, but this time it was waiting with my mom and for her test results. Thankfully her results were clear, we got to come home with no problems, but you were still the same. Everyone was kind. Everyone was helpful, and everything was explained. You really are wonderful. 

Thank you. 


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Day 15: Ms. Finfrock

Dear Ms. Finfrock,

Thank you.

I saw you today for the first time in a long, long time.  I just want you to know that it meant the world to me for you to not only recognized me, but that you treated me like an adult and not the 13-14 year old girl that you had in class over 10 years ago.  Even more than that, you didn't grill me with weird questions about my marital status or why I'm working at a nursing home and not somewhere else.  Thank you for treating me like a respectable adult human being.  It may sound weird for me to thank you for that, but I'm at a weird stage in my life and this isn't something I can take for granted.  You were one of my favorite teachers in junior high.  I mean, you're the reason I first told a story in public and the reason I know how to make an omelet.  I have many great memories of you, and I appreciate your kindness.  I also want to thank you for your kind words about my family.  I know you are a fan of my mom, and I'm glad.  I'm fond of her too.  I also think she was perfect for the job of library director, and I think she's doing a wonderful job.  I'm so proud of her, and I appreciate you taking the time to tell me you think she's great.  I hope you have a wonderful week.

Thank you.


Day 14: Kimmieboo

Dear Kim,

Thank you.

I love you so much, sweet sister.  You have seen me through so many hard times and laughed with me through the good times (and sometimes through the bad times, which is the only way to survive I think).  I just want to thank you for being my sister.  Few things in life are quite so beautiful as knowing someone claims you as family when they aren't required to, and you always do.  Thank you.

It's hard for me to believe that we're as old as we are.  I still remember climbing that sand hill behind East Oregon before VBS during the summers while we were growing up (even if we weren't really supposed to do that), and I feel lucky to have known you so long.  I still find myself thanking God for pushing at my heart to go to ABC because I would've missed out on so many wonderful opportunities, but more importantly, I would've missed out on relationships like ours.  We've known each other for ever, but I am so grateful that we were at ABC together.  I can't imagine what my life would be like without you, K-boo.  Your prayers, laughter, encouragement and love are a constant source of comfort and joy.  Thank you.

On top of all this, thank you for making a place for me in Ki's life.  It's such an honor getting to be an aunt to your little munchkin.  He's such a sweet kid, and I can't believe how quickly he keeps growing.  It's going to be fun watching him grow up and being a part of all that.

Thank you for always making time for me and being a part of my life.  It means the world.  I love you, Kimmie.  You are a blessing and a godsend.

Thank you.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 13: Alex Hirsch

Dear Alex Hirsch,

Thank you. 

Thank you for creating something as ridiculous and wonderful as "Gravity Falls." I finally started watching it this week, and I'm in love. It's like "Supernatural" for kids (but I don't want to cry all the time). Your characters are charming and funny. Dipper and Mabel are the kids I wish I'd grown up with. Grunkle Stan is insane but lovable. The monsters and crazy incidents are unique and never quite what I expect. More please!

Thank you. 


Day 12: Benadryl

Dear Benadryl,

Thank you. 

Thank you for reducing/reversing allergic reactions to wherever it was that made me ridiculously itchy and miserable tonight. It looks like you'll allow me some sleep after all. 

Thank you thank you thank you. 


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 11: Frorrest

Dear Forrest,

Thank you. 

Little brother, I adore you. I know we don't always talk as much as we should and that I'm awful about checking my email sometimes, but I think you should know I love you. 

Thank you for always having something new and weird to tell me. It may not seem like much, but when you tell me about the incredibly stupid parrot in New Zealand or about how if a Komodo dragon bites you that your toast, I love it. Your humor, no matter how subtle or dry, always cheers me up. 

Thank you also for your willingness to share what you are working on. Your stories are wonderful and so full of unexpected humor that they always take me by surprise. I know you don't always believe it, but I see great things in your future if you keep working like this. You've got such a gift. Plus, your writing and constant work really inspire me to keep writing. I need that, so thank you. 

Thanks for just being you, kid. I love you. I'm so proud of you and so incredibly proud to be your sister. 


Day 10: Daddy

(Note to my readers: sorry this is a day late. I will try to keep that from happening again. Here's what should've been yesterday's post)

Dear Daddy,

Thank you. 

Today you, Mom, Joel and I drove all over creation. It seemed that way at least. I am always amazed at how you and Mom can drive for hours without ever being completely certain of where you are without it ever bothering you. I wonder sometimes if this just is one of the benefits of marrying your best friend. You always seem capable of handling anything so long as you're together, and it seems you can find joy in the oddest situations based on this same principle. Maybe someday I'll have a better line on that, but, for now, I'm just grateful to have a good example of what a happy marriage can be. 

Thank you, Dad, for proving that good men still exist. Thank you for raising sons that are growing into good men in their own right. Thank you for being a loving husband who constantly strives to show his wife he loves her and that he sees how beautiful she is. Thank you for loving me even when I feel like I'm a total screw up. Thank you for telling me you're proud of me and for encouraging me on my pursuits. 

Thank you for being a godly example and for just living your faith on a daily basis. I know it's not always easy to do, but I am always told by anyone that knows you that you are a wonderful man and you've helped them with something (big or small) and it meant so much. I am so proud to be your daughter. I love you. 

Thank you. 


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Day 9: Kayla

Dear Kayla,

Thank you.

I just want you to know that I love you.  Tonight I was working on a project for someone.  A mix cd.

This naturally made me think of you.  How many mix cds have we made over the years?  I know that at this point they're probably pretty passe to most people.  I know everyone just likes to share playlists or whatever, but I still can't think of much that makes me happier than having someone hand me a mix cd.  What better way to express your heart or your brain or your soul or your feelings to another human being that to sing them a letter?  Because that's all a good mix is.  It's a letter.  A story.  A way to say those things we struggle so hard to say sometimes.

You know all of this though.  You know my theories about mix cds (and letters and so much else).

Kay, we may have changed a lot over the years, but I'm glad our friendship still holds true.  I am still grateful for every hug, every bit of laughter, the cards, the whispered conversations in church, the listening ear, and the advice.  You have always cheered me on and never failed to give me hope and kindness when I needed it most.

I'm sure at times you think I've gone off the deep end with all my moves and all the weird plans/dreams that I talk about (whether or not I ever manage to pursue them), but you still love me.  I worry sometimes (okay, a lot of the times) that I'm going to turn into that flaky friend that everyone kinda snickers about because they're always the one who says they're going to move to China or go back to school or teach themselves to quilt but never do.  That person with the never-ending to-do list of dreams that never manages to live.  I am scared to death that I will be that person, and sometimes I worry that's how everyone is beginning to see me (which would be fair given the track record I've had the past few years...please, I'd love more failures...), but you still make me believe that I have a future.  I don't think I'll ever have words to express how much I appreciate your love and belief and kindness.

Kayla, you are one of the kindest people I've ever met.  I've, as of yet, never met a person who could say a bad word about you or who didn't love you immediately.  And how could it be any other way?  Everyone should be so blessed as to have a friend like you.  I love you, Kay.  Thank you for loving me and for being my sister and one of my best friends through all the insanity and grief and laughter over the years.  God really blessed me when he brought me you.

Thank you.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 8: Lavendar Oil

Dear Lavendar Oil,

Thank you. 

Considering the frequent bouts of insomnia, finding something that seems to actually work to get me to sleep feels like a miracle. Especially if it doesn't require medication. Plus, you smell great. Honestly, I've slept better this week than I knew was possible. 

Thank you. 


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 7: Calle

Dear Calle,

Thank you. 

I don't know if I ever told you this before (or anyone really), but I was suicidal off and on the whole spring I lived in South Carolina. I've fought depression since I was about 13, but I'd never been that low. It wasn't even that I wanted to kill myself...I just didn't want to exist. I didn't want to feel ashamed of the total failure of CofC. I didn't want to feel the gnawing ache of loneliness or feel heartbroken and jealous that the man I thought I'd marry was living nearby with his pregnant wife. I was, undoubtedly, a train wreck of a girl. The reason I tell you this is that you were one of the reasons I held on tight. 

Calle, I think you kinda saved my life. 

Little sister, words cannot express the comfort I found in your presence and laughter and the hours we spent watching NetFlix (and Dyson's handmade vests...delightful). You were what helped keep me going because I knew I was able to do good things for you like picking you up from school whenever your mom managed to forget or talking walks or listening when you needed advice. Taking care of you in little ways and growing our friendship helped me remember how much hope is left in the world. 

God only knows what I'd have done without you. You have been such a huge blessing. 

Thank you for continuing to challenge me, pray for me, laugh with me, confide in me, and listening to me. God has blessed me so much through you, Cal. I love you so much. 

Thank you. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 6: Mulligan

Dear Mulligan,

Thank you. 

I know you're a cat, and, to the best of my knowledge, don't read my blog, but even so I wanted to write this. 

You, my ridiculous girl, were one of the few good things to come out of my time in South Carolina (like my friendship with Calle, watching Supernatural with Evan, and realizing snails are Canadian with Jordan). I really hadn't planned for a cat, but it only took being handed a tiny black and white bundle of purring charm to rope me in. Having you curl up on my chest to sleep was the only thing keeping me alive some nights. You were a tiny, furry gift from God. 

Thank you for loving me in the weird wonderful way you do, little stalker baby. Even though you make me a little crazy when you start tripping me and talking so loud when I get up for work, I love you. There's something quiet and brilliant about having someone loving you enough to make sure they're up at dawn when you gotta leave for work that makes you feel just a little better about the day. 

Thanks, Mull. 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 5: Schmoel

Dear Joel,

Thank you.

Joel, I just want you to know that I am proud of you.  So proud of you.

You moved today.  It's so weird.  I'm glad you are getting to do this.  I am so proud of you for going back to school.  I know all this change feels a little overwhelming and that there are still some aspects that are a little too up in the air for your happiness, but I know God's got this.  You are pursuing what is on your heart and the talents and gifts God's given you.  Even if it is a challenge (and it's always a challenge), I know you are going to do brilliantly.

Thank you for pursuing your passions.  Sometimes I feel like I have begun to stale (hopefully not "stale baby" stale, but you know what I mean), but your fire and light tend to make everything brighter.  Your passion to pursue your dreams inspires me.  I am so grateful for that.

It's been a real blessing getting to spend so much time with you and watching you grow into the man you've become.  It still seems surreal to look at you now when I can just as easily remember you crawling around. It's been a privilege watching you grow up, being part of your life, and just having the awesome responsibility of being your older sister.  No matter where I am or what I'm doing, you will always be a priority.  You know where I am if you need me.

Chase those dreams, little brother.  I've got your back.

I love you so much.  Thank you for never letting anything or anyone stop you from just being you.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 4: Melody Grace

Dear El,

Thank you.

Happy birthday, sweet Ellie.  I miss you so much little girl.  I can't believe you're already 2.  It seems like it was just yesterday that you were sleeping on my lap while I watched Bones and told you all about the hopes I had for your future and how you would have a truly wonderful life.  I still believe every word of it.

I couldn't believe how blessed I was to get to live with your mom and dad while your mom was pregnant with you.  They were so much fun to live with, and they were my second family.  You are so lucky to be born to parents that want and love you so incredibly much.  You, sweet girl, were so loved from the very moment they knew you were on the way.  Your folks telling me that they were expecting you was one of the happiest moments of my life, and I still can't help but smile thinking about that joy.  I've learned so much about love watching them love each other and love you.

Ellie, the day you were born, I was in the hospital with your mom and dad and Grandma and Grandpa Cain.  We'd been waiting almost 2 days while your mom was in labor, and I am still amazed at how little sleep we all got and that your mom dealt with that as well as she did.  She was just so excited and ready to meet you.  When you were born that morning 2 years ago, your grandparents and I had all been sleeping in the waiting room of the birthing center because the nurses were so nice to us.  As soon as they told us we could come see you and your mom, we headed down.  I've never seen either of your parents look so proud.  It was like they were glowing with light from the inside.

Oh, El, you were so beautiful.  I couldn't believe how tiny you were.  Such sweet little fingers and toes, so pretty.  Your grandma and grandpa both held you and I just sat.  I was so amazed by you.  When they handed you to me I felt flooded with joy.  You were my niece.  You were my family.  You were a whole new little world.  You were perfect, and I was completely in love.  How could I not be?  You were such a delicate, sweet creature and you were now as much a part of my life as sunshine.

Ellie, I am grateful that I get to be a part of your life and that I am your Aunt Jaymin.  I am grateful that I am getting to watch you  grow up.  I am blown away with how smart your are (though it shouldn't be a surprised given how smart your folks are) and how much you are growing.  You are a beautiful little girl and you are going to be a gorgeous woman (just like your mom).  I hope as you grow that you remember you always have an aunt that loves you and is here if you need her.

I love you, El.  I miss seeing you every day.  Be good.

Aunt Jaymin

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 3: Kid

Dear David,

Thank you. 

I hope you know how much I love you and how grateful I am that you're my brother. I know I threw that fit the day you were born because you weren't the little sister I'd hoped for, but I'm grateful you are you. I think I needed little brothers, even if it did take me years to figure that out. 

Thank you for living me. Sometimes I feel like you're actually the older sibling when we talk because you just naturally navigate the world around you while I'm still just hanging out in the shallow end afraid. I'm so proud of the risks you take, for your willingness to face new challenges, and for your concern and live for the family. You are a good man. 

I know you worry about me. You've watched me struggle with my health, relationships, and self-worth/esteem for years, but you've always made me feel loved and protected. One of the memories I hold dearest to my heart was from the day of my senior prom when you saw me all dressed up and told me I looked beautiful. It may not sound like much, but it meant the world. I have rarely ever felt beautiful, and it's even rarer to be told I'm beautiful. Those words were precious, thank you. 

Kid, thank you for always making me laugh. You are one of the most ridiculous, funniest people I know. Our family's brilliantly absurd humor is something you have running deep on your veins, and I think your ability to always find the humor, even in dark places, is a true source of light in my life.  

I love you so much. Thank you for simply being you. 


Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 2: Morgo

Dear Morgan,

Thank you. 

You, my dear, have been a life raft, an oasis, a cheerleader, and all around wonderful friend. Especially the past few years. I still can't believe the sweet little girl from youth group grew up to be this always incredible you. :) 

You are truly a woman pursuing God, and your faith gives me strength. I am always grateful for your prayers and honesty. I especially love our China Buffet nights and the little hodge-podge family we pull together so we can laugh together and just be ourselves. Thank you, Morgo, for helping me find a social life and harbor where I'd been drifting and alone. Your concern and laughter have been a lighthouse. I love you, sweet sister. 

Thank you thank you thank you. 

Love you,

Ps. What do you call a bear that has no teeth?
A gummy bear!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 1: Nikky

After what seems to be a long hiatus, I'm back.  I've decided to accept the Write 31 Days challenge for 2015, so for the next 31 days (barring the typical level of weird incidents my life likes to be full of) I'll be here writing.  We're supposed to pick a topic to spend 31 days writing about, and that is proving to be the most difficult part.  Part of me wants to write on love.  Part of me wants to write about gratitude.  Part of me wants to write about change and challenge since I'm trying to face both, so in the end I think I'm going to be writing about some of the incredible people I love as a sort of tribute/letter to them/thank you/love letter.  Gratitude for incredible people and the love I feel for them and what they do.  I hope this doesn't mess with the general idea of this challenge too much.  We'll see.  At any rate, here's day one.

Dear Nikky,

Thank you.

I started writing this letter and realized I was writing it to the Internet to explain who we are when the whole reason I was going to write this letter was to tell you how grateful I am that you're a part of my life.  I hope it's not too embarrassing that I'm doing this in a public forum and that people we know might see it along with who knows how many perfect strangers.  Somehow putting it out in the universe makes it both anonymous and incredibly long lasting, and hopefully you'll feel okay with that.

I'm just grateful.  I'm grateful you still write me letters back and tell me your stories even though we're states apart.  I'm grateful for the long phone calls when we find time to make that work.  I'm grateful that you call me your sister and your best friend.  I'm grateful for the gales of laughter over highly inappropriate things and incredibly awkward moments.  I'm grateful that you have always been willing to stand with me and stand up for me and that you've always had my back.

Even more than this, I'm glad that despite all the change, health issues, relationships, and everything that we are still friends and still manage to grow closer as the years go by.  I will never be able to express to you how incredibly honored and surprised and amazed I was when you asked if I would be willing to be your boys' godmother.  I've never been asked anything so important or so easy to say yes to.  A day hasn't gone by since you asked that I haven't been amazed all over again by your trust and that I haven't been awash with gratitude with the opportunity this affords me.  I adore your boys, and I will do everything I can to make them feel loved and wanted no matter what life brings our way.

My plan is still for us to be roughly 103 and living in the same nursing home stirring up trouble by racing our wheel chairs down the hall and scaring the crap out of the new CNA's, so you and Yan need to stay healthy and very much alive.  I'm still hoping one of these days I'll meet a great guy, settle down, and have a couple kids of my own so that my godsons can have godsiblings (is that weird to say? "godsiblings?" is that a thing?), but even if it doesn't, I'll enjoy getting to be a part of your boys' lives.  Thank you for giving me that joy.

And Nik, I love you.  We make the weirdest, best pair and I am glad God gave me you as a sister and as a friend.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Light's Back On

I'm caught in a moment of sweet serenity.  Fans are keeping the air cool and I've spent the last half hour giggling while working on a birthday gift for Forrest because we could both use a few more laughs these days.  I get to sleep in a little in the morning and then go to the chiropractor.  I get to meet Joel's best friend John for the first time tomorrow, and I get to go see Joel and Dad in "The Odd Couple."

For a brief moment, if nothing else, life is peaceful.

FUEL was last week, and for the first time in a long time, I could hear God again.  That took some doing.  He has been waiting for quite awhile to hear from me.  I'd been talking, talking, talking, but I'd been talking to a wall and not so much to God.  Mind you, God's been listening the whole time, but I'd done such a phenomenal job of trying to keep God at arms distance (if not further) that I had to relearn to do this.  I spent the first two days of camp trying to clean my heart back out and spent a lot more time crying, praying, and working through junk than I could have ever planned to or thought possible.  I tore down all the walls I'd spent the last year putting up around my heart and soul, and I asked God to come back in.  I thought a lot about Psalm 51 and Hosea and asked God to help me clean all the trash out of my soul and the rubble out of my heart and to help me overcome my unbelief.  I may be a mess, but at least I know I am one and have finally started figuring out where my flaws are tripping me up.  I am still far, far, faaaaaar from perfect, but now I'm back to trying to be the woman I have always wanted to be.

I made some decisions about my future.  I'm going to try to go back to school within the next year (hopefully this coming spring), and I'll keep working at my job till I find something better.  I'm starting to lose weight, and I'm going to try to keep it up.  I've been writing notes to people again.  I'd forgotten how telling people how much I appreciate them makes everything in life a little brighter.  I don't want to lose that light.

God's been doing some cool things.  He's drawn me back to some old and incredibly beloved friends, and presented me some new challenges.

God is good.  I am grateful, and there is light again.

ps.  Here's a list of my favorite things of this very moment (1:47 AM CST):

  • The Lonely Island
  • The mix I'm working on for Forrest
  • Knowing I have a chiro appointment in the morning
  • This sense of peace
  • Simpson's Tapped Out
  • Knowing I still have time to make several decisions
  • Properly switched out light bulbs
  • A chance for renewal
  • Peace

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Tonight a friend of mine told me she's having trouble in her life. She feels like she can't get ahead and that she's on quicksand. I listen to her stress and worries and wish I could provide for her answers to all her worries and give her the words and solutions she needs, but most of it is out of my hands. All I can do is pray and do all I can to encourage her. 

Tonight a friend of mine told me about someone she loves making terrible life decisions. She said she had to hear these things second hand and that it's going to really hurt the family. I wish I could fix this situation and give my friend the words she needs, but all I can do is pray and make her laugh and encourage her. 

The worries of my heart pale in comparison to the wounds in words and the cuts in the hearts of these women and the people they love. Yet as I turn to ask God for the help they need, I find my own brokenness and failure and impurities and recklessness stacked like a wall between my heart and God. 

I know You see my heart, God. I hope you see a better future for it than I do. 

My folks and I stopped at the site of a major car accident today. We came upon it minutes after it happened. My dad was an EMT for several years, and his training immediately kicked into gear. He helped a young woman out of her car and sat with her till the emergency crew could show up while 3 other men tried to get the doors of the car that caused the accident open. In the midst of all of this chaos, I could barely think, I heard my mom praying. She was just asking God for safety for everyone helping and the best outcome possible for everyone injured in the accident. As she's doing that, all I can do is text a good friend and ask him to pray. 

Do I pray? Not really. What's wrong with this?

I'm exiling myself from God. 

I am so ashamed of the mess I'm making of myself with my utter lack of self-control and consistency or intention that I don't know how to approach God. All I can see is my failures and the knowledge that I'll probably screw this up again tomorrow because I'm a wreck. 

I know that my ship is sinking because of the giant hole left their by crashing into the iceberg of loneliness floating out here in the harbor of doubt that I seem to no longer remember to leave. Instead of patching the hole I'm just letting the doubt come through the hole with is causing major damage to the self-respect, self-esteem, and self-control I had safely stored there. I know I need God to fix that whole and fill it in, but I feel like I need to clean up the damage before it's fixed. 

I need to rember, as Donald Miller once wrote that I am "not above the charity of God," and let Him fix my damage when and how he wants. I need to let him. 

I'll just keep walking and keep fighting to be the best version of myself that I can be and continue to pray even if I'm a mess. King David did and I haven't murdered anyone. If David can be up front with God, I have no excuse not to try and keep trying. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Just shy of two weeks ago, I turned 29. I'm still trying to process this. I guess over the years I've come to see my birthday as my personal New Year's Day or, at the very least, a kind of clean slate for new dreams. It doesn't always work, but I keep trying. 

For my birthday, I decided to stop messing with one area of my life that consistently screws me over: guys. I'm not trying to sound bitter, but my track record is painful. I really can't take any more rejection at this point. I've decided that until I run across a guy who feels like home, I'm done trying to win guys over or charm them. It's not worth the stress when I'm not even feeling real hope. 

The other thing I'm trying out is going to be a renewed effort to learn to play piano. I recently came into possession of one and I'm hoping to get it tuned this week. It's beautiful and all the keys work. Good things shall follow. 

Twenty-nine may not be a pivotal year that changes everything, but it will be a good year. I have faith in this.