Check Your Showers

Nov 30 2015

I got in an argument with my 16 year old today about who’s more annoying, him or me. I won. And not because he’s my kid with expressive language disorder, and I can talk him to death. That is NOT why I won. I won because I’m RIGHT, and he’s the annoyingest. The annoying-EST. The AnnOY. ING. EST. He’s the ANNOYINGEST.

For the record,





P.S. Because my son is the annoyingest, he insists the record also reflect that he is more mature than his mother. “I annoying, Mom? I annoying? OK, fine. But I MATURE, Mom. I mature-ER, Mom, than YOU.”

P.P.S. Fine. Whatever.

P.P.P.S. It’s 9:02pm, friends, and I’m face down in the sauce where “sauce” = “life.” Not where “sauce” = “booze.” I have no energy for booze right now. I’m face down in life.

P.P.P.P.S. I’m typing at my desk in my bedroom which is dark except for the glaring light of my computer screen and the single strand of colored Christmas lights strung haphazardly around the window which has been up since last year around this time and sports a few cobwebs that glow on the orange light and the red one in particular and stir in the wind when I blow at them.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Thanksgiving weekend was good until it wasn’t, full of family who lift us up and let us down, and this weekend I got to be both the lifter and the letter, so there’s that. Being human, man. Being human can be rough.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. By Saturday afternoon, I was in bed, down with the flu that had been chasing me, and now it’s Monday, knocking on Tuesday, and four more of us have fallen to the harfing and the runs. Three kids and two parents laid flat and oozing. We’re an attractive crowd, my family. Adorable.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I took a third grader to the doctor today. Not because of the pukes; we’re over going to the doctor for that. I’ll just give myself the $90 to tell me my kid’s sick, thankyouverymuch. But we still find plenty of reasons to visit the doc and put ninety dollarses into the office coffers. Today’s visit was plantar warts. On the way to the office to have the warts frozen, my kid and I talked about Jesus and the Light and the Darkness. We talked about winter when the sun sets early and this season of Advent and our unreasonable, relentless hope that Light is coming again. On the way home, he yelled Fuck and Shit and MOTHER FUCKER because his feet throbbed and ached from the liquid nitrogen, and my kid believes in the science of swearing. The entire round trip felt like various forms of prayer because we believe around these parts that God is in the grime and the gore as much as the gorgeous and the grace. I don’t know what to tell you, folks; we’re a strange bunch.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I took a shower tonight and prayed again because prayer was the theme of the day – obviously – and my prayer went like this… “Dear Jesus, Why is my family so annoying? Why, Jesus? WHY?”

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. When I opened my eyes, I saw this:


We’ve been showering with douche gel, y’all. Douche gel. I cannot even tell you how much this explains.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. In conclusion, check your showers.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. And also, Jesus answers prayers.

The Fastest, Easiest, Juiciest Turkey-Cooking Method is Spatchcocking. Because Jesus Loves Us.

Nov 23 2015


Mark Bittman’s Spatchcocked Turkey. Want to know how to spatchcock the heck out of a bird? See Mr. Bittman’s tutorial on The New York Times here.

I read an article in The New York Times on how to roast a turkey in 45 minutes.

FORTY FIVE MINUTES, friends, to cook a 12+ pound bird.

Not only that, but this method results in tastier, juicier, more evenly cooked meat with crisper skin.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to pee some days. I don’t have time to brush my teeth, much less my hair. I don’t have time to stop or breathe or finish a cup of coffee while it’s hot. So a Thanksgiving turkey roasting method that cuts cooking time by 75% AND is more delicious?? THAT IS THE COOKING METHOD FOR ME, folks. That makes an actual difference in my life.

And then I found out this cooking method is called … wait for it … spatchcocking.


Spatch. Cocking.

And do you know why it’s called spatchcocking?

Because Jesus loves us. Or because someone was drinking. But probably because Jesus loves us. That’s why. And Jesus is not content to simply give good gifts like a faster bird-cooking time. Nope; that’s not enough. Jesus is EXTRAVAGANT, y’all. Excessive. And Jesus knows the only thing better than fast turkey is making sure it’s got a name like spatchcocking.



So we can spend Thanksgiving getting up to our usual spatchcock shenanigans, formerly known as tom-foolery.


Just in time for Thanksgiving, American friends, I’ve decided I’m as aspiring spatchcocker.

Spatchcocking is for me.

Spatchcocking, after all, is fast, easy and juicy, and who doesn’t like fast, easy and juicy? No one. No one is who. No one doesn’t like fast, easy and juicy.


Look. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or Do Things a Better Way. This is not that blog. I’m just saying if you’re not spatchcocking… if you’re not a spatchcocker… if you’re not, you know, totally into spatchcockery… you’re probably ruining Thanksgiving. And America.

The End

P.S. While the breasts are fully exposed with any turkey-cooking method, the spatchcocked bird allows heat to be evenly distributed to all parts, meaning spatchcocking results in breasts, thighs and legs that finish at the same time. Simultaneous finishes, folks! Which is, after all, the goal.

P.P.S. I contacted my dad, my usual turkey-roaster, and informed him that he would be spatchcocking this year. He wasn’t sure he ought to discuss spatchcocking with his daughter, but eventually came around enough to ask if I thought he could spatchcock on a rack. “Do you think I can spatchcock on a rack?” he asked. I politely but firmly informed him that, while I’m generally a proponent of open communication and discussing things as a family, I draw the line at deciding for him exactly where he ought to spatchcock.

P.P.P.S. I’ve since discovered that a rack is, in fact, ideal for spatchcocking.

Things That Make Me Feel Old: A Guest Post

Nov 22 2015

Things That Make Me Feel Old
{a guest post by Liv Stecker of Bendability}

I wet the bed.

I did.

The horror of it took several days to wear off, but when I finally admitted it to my sister, she reassured me everybody does it, so I came here to find affirmation that I’m not the only one. Tell me, please, even if you have to lie.

I’ve decided since the heinous event never to take Tylenol PM again, which I had tried in lieu of half a hydrocodone to keep the pain at bay long enough to fall asleep.

Turns out, Tylenol PM also keeps bladder urges at bay, and then you dream about your triumphant return to stage in a reprise of The Music Man, except this time playing the lead. Furthermore, you think you’re seated on the toilet in the tiny ladies restroom in The Woodland Theater — the one you painted periwinkle blue in 1993 — and, well, you wet the bed.

Yes, I will forgo the sleep aids in the future so I can lie awake, instead, in paranoia of my newly acquired bed-wetting skill.

In my own defense, I will tell you I was so completely shocked that I actually woke up mid-stream and caught myself.

The trick became hiding the evidence from my husband, who of course woke up to find me changing my clothes.

He wanted to cuddle.

Gross. Who cuddles with bed wetters? Seriously.

It seems like after being married for almost two years, a little bed wetting wouldn’t be a big deal. Kind of like the time you threw up on his shoes, or, hypothetically speaking, when you had a really unfortunate case of diarrhea after a trip to Mexico … just one of those things, right?

The problem is, I married Mr. Clean.

To my knowledge, in the two years I’ve known Josh, he has never taken a crap. On the toilet or otherwise. NOT ONCE.

God bless my Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Diarrhea, my pooping habits have become a mystery long solved. I blew any fantasies he had of a crapless wife right out of the (toilet) water. I feel bad about this but have to live with the shame.

Having a husband who doesn’t even break wind is a very far cry from the boyfriends of old who could win a county wide farting contest with a single bowl of chili. The last man I lived with taught my girls to compliment each other on the tone of their passing gas, and the push behind manly belches.

Fast forward to the immaculate Mr. Weston, and nary a toilet seat is left up. In fact, Josh puts the lid down, on every toilet in the house, compulsively. This has become a marital issue between us (interesting switch up on the toilet seat debate, no?) due to an incident when I was about 7 years old and in a Very Big Hurry to use the toilet and somebody had put the lid down. All I remember is my Great Grandmother on her hands and knees mopping it up. There is a good chance my Great Grandmother had actually passed away long before that, and all I can assume is that her ghost returned to shame me from the grave. So toilet lids remain UP in my house. Now and For All of Time. Considering he doesn’t even use toilets, I don’t know why he has to go around closing them all for the rest of us.

While I’m confessing past potty sins, I suppose I shouldn’t leave out the Culmination of All Embarrassments (at least  until two weeks ago), when our family was staying at a Pastor’s house and I got to sleep in the bedroom of the slightly older and reverently idolized daughter, only to wake up with a frantic need to pee in the wee hours and wet my pants all. over. the. floor. With my hand on the door knob of her room, standing parallel to her once slumbering head, I wet the floor. She moaned at me and rolled over. I’ve hated her ever since.

I hope the rest of you get the chance to wet the bed and feel as human as I did. And as old. And as ashamed. I spent the entire next morning texting friends about bladder incontinence and whether I should rush to the ER or buy stock in Depends first. I even checked into reserving a grave plot now that the inevitable is rushing up at me and I’d like to spare my kids that worry.

In the end, I invested $50 in cranberry juice and capsules so I could blame the incident on an imaginary bladder infection if anyone (Josh) found out about it, even though I washed my wet pants First Thing the next morning.

Tell me, please, am I the only one?



Liv Stecker is mom to four wild girls. She divides the rest of the time that she doesn’t have between fighting fires, waitressing, saving lives, teaching school, writing and watching Netflix in inappropriate amounts. She lives in the part of  Washington State that Nobody has ever heard of and travels a lot to make up for it. You can find her online at Bendability, which is the only place she stays put for more than a few minutes. 

P.S. I also asked Liv to send me a picture. Here’s what she said. “You said picture and I froze. Don’t you have a blog post about this? Like head shots and stuff… Anyway… all I have are selfies, none of which are serious. You can choose the least worst selfie. I prefer the one with beer, because beer. But also reindeer are nice. If I find a seriouser  (this non-word seems appropriate here) picture, I will send it. But usually I am in a Peter Pan costume or something along those lines. I would actually prefer to use a picture of my dog. Or even wine. It really sums up my life more accurately.”

P.P.S. I like Liv.


The Touch, The Feel of Cocaine: The Fabric of Our Lives

Nov 19 2015

There’s a bobby pin shoved in my bathtub drain right now, propping it ever-so-slightly open to let the bath water out, since the drain is finicky and only decides to open sometimes, just like my kids eating vegetables or doing their chores, all, “I just did that LAST WEEK,” and, “Seriously? AGAIN? I DO ALL THE WORK around here and NO ONE ELSE does ANYTHING, EVER.” My bathtub drain has a serious work ethic issue, and I? I am an enabler. Because instead of insisting it does its job, I just prop it open myself, using a bobby pin from the toothpaste-encrusted counter, or a fork from the plate of lasagna I snuck into the tub, or the leg of a Barbie who’s seen better days, all water logged and tangled and little bit moldy; a visual representation of how this mama can sometimes feel.

There’s a bobby pin shoved in my bathtub drain right now, and my bathroom sink doesn’t drain, either, or at least does so slowly and with great reluctance out of solidarity and sisterhood with the tub. I can still shave one leg or the other in it, dribbling off-brand shaving cream and stubbly leg hairs onto the floor, before the sink fills to capacity and must be drained, at which point it whines and fusses, making a glub, glub, glub sound for 15 minutes or so, but eventually I get the second leg shaved, so I’m not winning every battle, but I sure am winning the war.

None of this has anything to do with anything and neither does the next thing I’ll tell you.

“Did you bring us anything?” asked Cai, who’s 9 year old.

It’s the usual question after mommy’s been traveling, and I was in South Carolina last week (staying in a hotel with BOTH a tub AND a sink that drained!), so the kid was on a Need to Know. An urgent Need to Know basis.

“Did you bring us anything, Mom??”

I don’t always bring the kids things because a) five kids is a lot of things, and b) we do NOT need any more things in this house.

But this time I HAD. I had brought them something because I’d spoken about Jesus in the Mess at a lovely Southern Baptist Church where the women are smilers and huggers and would win Worldwide Hospitality Contests, hands down. I was called sugar and honey and darlin‘, and I drank sweet tea like a champ… like I was born to sweet tea drinking, y’all. And since there was a bazaar at this ladies’ event, I’d picked up sugar cookies iced like little pink pigs for my kids which I distributed and they ate with relish. I mean, not with relish, because that would be gross, but with great enjoyment, they ate their South Carolina cookies.

DSC00255And as I unpacked my suitcase, which was a miracle in itself, my usual M.O. being to leave it half full in my bedroom for months, I came across one other thing I’d brought them.

Oh yeah, I thought. This is awesome! And it was, because it was cool and interesting AND, for the mommy win, an educational item. I mean, I can’t get my kids to do their chores without rolling their eyes and making the same glub, glub, glub noise of reluctance as my bathroom sink, but I can educate the heck out of them. WINNING THE WAR, mamas. Winning the war.

I knew my kids, raised in the Pacific Northwest of our great United States hadn’t seen a sprig of cotton before, which I’d discussed with one of the bazaar ladies before she gifted me a piece. I knew this would be as fascinating to my kids as it was to me. After all, this is the fabric of our livesKids. The Fabric of our LIVES.

So I hauled Cai Cai back to my room and sat him on my unmade bed and said, “LOOK! Look at this, Cai. I brought this for you guys, too. Pig cookies and THIS. Isn’t this cool?” And I showed him the pretty bag with the cute red tie, because the ladies of the South do not give things that aren’t packaged adorably, not even when that thing is a piece of dried plant.


“Do you know what this is, Cai?” I asked him.

“Yes, Mom,” he said, and, “Duh, Mom,” and, I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed that my cool thing wasn’t as cool as I thought it was, which is when he said, “It’s cocaine, right? That’s fluffier than I thought it would be. Pretty bag, though.”


COCAINE, y’all.

It appears, therefore, my kids think Mommy travels to speak at churches and brings home baggies of cocaine. This isn’t exactly what I was hoping to accomplish with the whole parenting gig. On the bright side, they also think Southern church ladies package cocaine nicely. So that’s good?

In conclusion, I may not be winning the war anymore.

Send help.

With love,





sealrock2P.S. We still a few spots available for the January 2016 Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat at a stunning beach house on the Oregon Coast. If you’re a writer or you know a writer who’s looking for a supportive community of writers and top-notch writing instruction in a relaxing environment, this is the retreat for you.

(Please Note: “Top-notch instruction” is offered by writing professors and *ahem* not by me, since I tend to write stories about bringing my children baggies of cocaine, which may not be exactly what you’re hoping to do with a writing career. I do, however, facilitate discussion groups and pour a mean glass of wine.)

You can find all the retreat details here, and you can always email me at (put “retreat” in the subject line, please). I’m considering opening up a limited number of discounted, single occupancy bunkbeds for this retreat; if that interests you, let me know ASAP so I can send you the details. I’d love to spend a long weekend with you.

In Case You Want to DO Something to Help the Victims of Terror

Nov 16 2015

Oh, friends, I have OPINIONS on the Syrian refugee crisis. And opinions on terror. And opinions on Paris. And Lebanon. And ISIS. I sure do! Opinions GALORE. And I would LOVE to share my (awesome) thoughts on immigration, security, politics and faith with you.

I have WORDS, y’all.


I just wrote a flurry of them.

And then I hit delete, erasing them all. POOF. Gone. On purpose.


From Medical Teams International: Six months pregnant, the treacherous journey from Syria to Greece was frighteningly dangerous for Ahmad and his wife – crossing oceans in small boats, walking miles by foot and surviving without access to basic sanitation and healthcare is a dangerous proposition for anyone, especially a pregnant woman. Only two days before Medical Teams met them, their two-year old son fell on the mountain and broke his arm. He received medical treatment but needs an operation and has no medication for the pain. As winter approaches, Ahmad’s family will face freezing temperatures with only the clothes on their back to protect them. This, combined with poor sanitation and overfilled camps, is a recipe for pneumonia, hypothermia and diarrhea. Your donations of refugee kits (as well as financial donations — all of which are currently matched up to $100,000) can make a life-changing difference for this family and many more.

Because instead of adding to the din — instead of adding another essay in an ocean of them, some of which are quite excellent and some of which make me despair — I’m going to offer this, a practical way to help people in desperate need.

My heart breaks for the victims of ISIS and their horrific brand of destruction and terror. Yours does, too, I know. Parisians were the latest victims; Syrians, some of the first.

And no matter what you believe about where Syrian families should go, no matter which U.S. governors you support in their polarized immigration responses, no matter what news sources you follow or what convictions you have about international policy, most of us know there are women and children, men and families, who are in crisis and desperately need help.

Frankly, it’s easier to share opinions and articles on the Book of Faces than it is to actually help those in need, but that’s not who I want to be nor is it what I want to model for my children, which is why my family will be spending the next few days joining Medical Teams International in their goal to ship 10,000 refugee kits — with enough supplies to help 30,000 people — to refugees in Greece.

I would love it — love it, love it, love it — if you’d join us in taking action. 

If your kids have been asking hard questions like mine, and you’ve been using the heck out of that Mr. Rogers quote — When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — I will tell you something important: following up that quote by saying, “And YOU can be a helper, too, kids. You’re EXACTLY the helpers the world needs” is the most empowering thing I know. For me, too.

Sending love, friends.





P.S. Assembling a refugee kit is easy and costs less than $30. Less than $20 for infant care kits. Or if you’re short on time, you can make a financial donation to Medical Teams International, all of which are currently being matched up to $100,000. All the instructions are here, along with information on how to involve your family, company, school or faith community, as well.


I Hate to Be the Bearer of Bad News, But It’s Time to Stop Being Outraged Over the Outrage Over the Starbucks Cup :(

Nov 9 2015

Listen, friends.

I like a good bout of outrage as much as the next girl. I do. Outrage is awesome! Outrage is fun! Outrage gets the blood flowing! Seriously; get me started sometime on U.S. immigration policy ( Let ’em all in! The more the merrier!) or the amount of testing in my kids’ schools (STOP IT) or why it’s apparently so hard for my children to understand that this Mommy — against all reason and common sense — occasionally wants to poop alone. Outrage, I tell you. OUTRAGE. I like it. I do.

Which is why I was outraged about all the Starbucks Cup news!

redcupDid you hear about it? The story about how some Christians are incensed over Starbucks’ plain red holiday cup? The story about how those Christians are outraged at the snowflakes and ice skates and “traditional Christmas symbols” which Starbucks removed from its vessels?

Of course you heard about it. The news outlets are covering it. All of them. CNN. Fox. NBC. No matter who you rely on for your news, they are all over this story.

And it’s everywhere in my Facebook news feed. Not the initial outrage, though. The outrage over the outrage. And I responded by being equally outraged. BECAUSE UGH. As a Christian, I am SO TIRED of Christians being outraged over Stupid Stuff. There are children dying from preventable diseases. There are people being murdered by ISIS. There are families fleeing Syria and finding no room at the inn. I was OUTRAGED over the outrage, friends — of course I was — and, as a Crazy Ass Liberal Christian (Let ’em all in!), I was disheartened my conservative Christian colleagues continue to give all of us a bad name with this kind of drivel.

Also, it felt good to be outraged. Kind of righteous, you know? And I was secure in the knowledge that I’m better than those dummies who believe that crap about the saving knowledge of a cup and think a religious war is being waged via a cardboard medium. I am so much more like Jesus than them, you guys! WAY more Christlike.

But then, um, it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen any posts from anyone actually outraged over that cup.

Like, not one.

And for a girl who has a fairly large group of conservative friends, that was odd.

So I started wondering.

And then I started researching.

And then I started asking.


OK, friends, I wrote on Facebook, I have an honest question. I am suuuuper curious about the Starbucks outrage. Specifically about the outrage over the outrage. Granted, my friends here in this space tend toward the progressive/liberal, so I may not be seeing what all y’all are seeing, but I have more than a few friends who would self-identify as conservative and as very, very, very-to-infinity conservative. Yet I haven’t seen a single post (not ONE) from my conservative friends feeling outraged about the Starbucks cup or threatening to boycott Starbucks (at least not for this reason ;)) or to give the name “Merry Christmas” when they order coffee.

My question is this: How much actual outrage over the Starbucks cup are you personally seeing? Not the articles about the outrage. Not the articles about the outrage over the outrage. Like, how many people have you personally interacted with who are upset about the Starbucks cups?

Yes, it’s anecdotal evidence I’m gathering, but I have a growing suspicion that we’re deepening the caverns between us when we’re outraged over outrage a possible teeny TINY minority of people are expressing. Very curious about your thoughts on this.

Imagine my disappointment when my conservative friends began responding with:

I’m very conservative and am not outraged over this, nor has it even come up in any conversations I’ve been a part of.


Not sure where you’d fit me on the hypothetical continuum, but definitely closer to the conservative end–I’m not a bit offended and haven’t heard anyone else who is. And I’m annoyed I went to the store and forgot to buy more Starbucks. 😉


Zero. Absolutely zero outrage from any of my people.


UBER conservative Baptist here, with 2 daughters who do or have worked at Starbucks and I think the whole thing is freaking ridiculous.


As conservative as you can get. No outrage.

I know, friends. I know. THIS SUCKS.

No one outside of an extreme (and turns out not-actually-very-vocal) minority is outraged over the Starbucks cup. Which means our outrage over the outrage was outrage over, well, nothing.

What’s more? The guy who started the whole thing is a well-known pot-stirrer and controversy-manufacturer, and we just gave his position merit by blowing it up on the internets. The shares of his video? Mostly people sharing how ridiculous it is. The likes? People liking the comments about the ridiculousness.

I think I speak for all of us when I say, GRARG! And UGH! And BLERG! 

We took the bait and responded to the false outrage by being outraged back. I mean, we did our outrage very well. We ROCKED our outrage. We were extremely good at being outraged. But we still got taken, folks.

In conclusion, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s time to stop being outraged over the outrage over the Starbucks cup. 🙁

In mourning with you,


On Sunday Afternoon

Nov 8 2015

IMG_7372IIMG_7367tIMG_7381IMG_7365‘s Sunday afternoon in November and the leaves are in a rush to vacate the trees. It’s like they’re mamas and they have urgent errands to run and important places to be, and the kids couldn’t find their socks again so now they’re late to arrive on the ground, unlike all the other leaves who seem to have it together and arrived much earlier, so they’re running to catch up. “Here are your socks, Kid Leaves, now go, go, GO!” and dozens of leaves spiral for the earth to win the relentless race against time and themselves.

The sky, gray and overcast already, is growing demonstrably darker, and I can hear distant thunder rumbling cautiously, trying to decide whether it ought to approach us or not, like we’re wild animals and unpredictable, even though we stay in our cages when it comes around. The thunder is probably right to be wary of us, and brave to come as often as it does.

It’s not usually my place to notice such things, having little time to stop and watch the sky. But it’s Sunday afternoon and, with the exception of the laundry tumbling round and round in our modern magic machines, All the Things I should be doing are on hold.

I’ve been rushing lately like the leaves and rumbling a little like the thunder, on the go rather constantly with places to be even though I don’t always feel brave enough to venture there, and, as a result, I’ve had hardly any moments to sit watch over my world. To act as gatekeeper and guardian. To find the missing socks. And so I find myself today wanting to hug the earth and rest my head in the mud and sit quietly, watching the sky and season change around me. I am, quite literally, in the calm before the storm, since storms are on the way always, and I am, just for this minute, at peace.

I’ve been wanting to write to you about prayer, friends, for quite some time — the rote record and strict structure I believed prayer was, versus the calmer and quieter and louder and freer way it’s turned out to be — and I meant to try again today, but every time I start to write it, I end up waylaid, falling beside the ocean or intercepted by the sky. So I’ll tell you this, instead: the back path to my house is muddy today, and it makes the feet of everyone who walks it messy. Those who enter my house that way inevitably track in mud and mess, but they bring magic and mirth in equal measure, and I greet them with gratitude and grace because all who arrive that way are my people.

I thought for years that prayer was a front door experience, and that I ought to arrive at God’s door via the conventional method, knocking politely, dressed pristinely, and wondering whether I’d be admitted, instead of tumbling through the back with twigs in my hair and dirt under my fingernails, having wallowed in the mire and rather enjoyed the mess. The older I get, though, the more I find people like me — those uncomfortable with the formality of the foyer — arriving at the back door, flinging the it open with enthusiasm and forgetting to shut it behind us in our hurry to reach the kitchen which is bright and boisterous and a little bit grimy.

Someone throws a pot of water on the stove while others rummage for the tea and honey, and we hand around a half-full bottle of whiskey to warm us while we wait at the big farm table that always has room for one more.

The storm comes and scatters leaves, which rush and rest and rot and are reborn, and we are, too. We are, too, friends, as we sit and swig around the table and swing back and forth on the pendulum from human to divine, fabulous and fallible and still somehow made in Love’s own image.