People talk about “the mystery of life”. Typically, they are referring to birth, creation, Genesis, the Big Bang, evolution. But the biggest mystery for me, I think, is the end.
Why do people love to dive in the dirt and wallow around in it? Ford? Kavanaugh? Who do you believe? What does it say about our culture? Our world?
Not me, man. If I stick so much as a pinky-toe into that muck the whole thing will suck me in like a giant black hole and squeeze my head right off my body.
We don’t know! We choose our side based on our previous experiences or our political agendas. Why can’t we just say, “The truth is, either story could be equally possible?” If we are honest about it, this could just as easily be a smear campaign as an underreported account of a young man who did not learn to respect another person’s (or people’s) rights to their own body(ies). Both scenarios have happened, could happen, do happen. Instead, we use this awful story to fuel our previously held beliefs about the world. What we should be saying is, “ENOUGH!”
Why are we all so certain we know everything all of a sudden? Good Lord, the suffering on both sides! Where is the compassion? Why do we lean in to this nastiness like rubberneckers passing smoke on a highway?
Goodness, I ache for women who have stories that shape the very fiber of their beings. There aren’t many of us who haven’t experienced some level of powerlessness. There are stories that could break you with a whisper. And, there are stories that are so mundane they become as common as the inappropriate comments all girls receive or the dialog in a James Bond Film. But, what about our boys? When we abandon them to be raised by the internet without providing an explicit counter-narrative, what do we think we are raising? Sixteen-year-olds are supposed to just figure this out without help? For God’s sake, if we learn nothing from this, let’s look at how we are raising our kids in silence because we are too embarrassed to have the discussions that HAVE to happen.
I am standing at the edge of the abyss. This is as far as I peek in. I turn around and tell my daughter. “I will always believe you.” I tell my boys, “Your reputation has to carry you out of any situation.” Is this a double-standard? Yes.
Am I alone living in this tension?
While we struggled over rocks, sucking air, or while we were hiding under a bush during a thunderstorm at 11,000 feet, somewhere along our hiking journey, Lenora had the idea of a book featuring black characters and language for developing readers.
"You're right," I remembered my days as an inner-city teacher. "Where is the Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid for black kids? We should write it. Together."
In my experience, people who are open-minded, who are willing to try different pathways, who are hopeful, and who believe they can be well find healing. I am not blaming people who are still suffering, but I do find a lot of people who just want a medication or medical procedure that will fix them. They get angry at the mention of their own need for this condition or the notion that their own subconscious beliefs may impact their wellness. Try and put your doubts away. What do you have to lose?
I hoped to have a new book out this spring, but I realized this was just a date I put on myself. I needed to take a slower pace so I could take care of me, my family, and do my little part to help my corner of the world. I still love sharing the kids' books at schools around the state and have a few more I'm going to this spring. Mostly, I'm spending the rest of winter and spring working in the greenhouse and garden and going to wet soccer tournaments to cheer on my kids.
Thanks as always for reading. It's nice to know my words reach people. Again, I'd love to share your stories too.
Here's to being your own best valentine!
Cheryl is a friend of mine who has found her own, effective way to deal with a long-term heart condition. Something that could have killed another person appears to have become her call to live more closely in-tune with herself, nature, and the people she loves. How many of us can reset a bad mood with a walk outside? How many of us can change our life direction by spending serious time in nature? The physical and mental aspects of nature and health are interconnected in astounding ways. Let's take a walk.
"By relegating sex and vaginas to compartmentalized regions of medicine and culture, we remove them from the whole context of wellness." We leave a strange vacuum in awareness, knowledge, and honest conversation about female health because we are too embarrassed to talk about it.
Women are caregivers. We care for our families, our communities, our jobs, and our organizations, but for some reason we have a hard time caring for ourselves. We don't seem to see the connection between the effort we spend on the caregiver and the level of care we are able to offer. I love it when mamas decide that taking care of themselves might be a wise investment of time and energy. Michelle is a perfect example of a committed professional and mom who has decided it is time to care for the caregiver. This is her story.
Jake Keiser is the last person I would have expected to sell me a goat. She is beautiful, smart, and refined and she is a farm girl. I met her through a friend when she first made her dramatic move from urban Florida to rural Mississippi. Many of us dream of giving it all up and exiting our successful lives for something with more substance, but few people are brave enough to take that leap into the unknown for the slim chance that there might be something more beautiful on the other side. Jake leapt into that dark hole in her life, and came out the other side shining. This is her story.
When I was younger, I looked forward to “retiring” and doing the things I love to do. Now that the time is here, sooner than I thought, I’m afraid I won’t be able to do the things I love. Even though I was born with a congenital heart defect and health care professionals have ALWAYS been a part of my life, I never once considered that I might have to stop working because of my health – not once. Until now.
It has been almost six months since my diagnosis and the beginning of my treatments, and I am happier than I ever was before. I am thankful that through my struggle with mental illness I made the decision to be a real person with real feelings instead of an empty shell with a smile permanently plastered on my face. I would rather learn to love myself for the mess I am than hate myself for not being perfect.