A Firsthand Look at the Refugee Crisis and Surprising Hope

Two weeks ago, I met a man with a gunshot wound, and a woman with tuberculosis, babies with malaria, and a toddler so malnourished she looked like the photos we saw in the 80’s coming out of the Ethiopia famine. I waited in line with refugees who arrived in Uganda from South Sudan that very day, babies on backs, belongings bundled, future uncertain. And, though we saw tragedy and enormous heartbreak — I sat a while and squeezed the hand of a mama whose baby couldn’t be saved during childbirth the night before — what took me by surprise again and again… what stuck with me and wouldn’t leave me alone in story after story after story after story… ...  read more

Feet on Dusty Ground

True confession: I’m not very good with suffering. I don’t like it. And, whether it’s my suffering or others’, I invest quite a lot of energy in avoiding it. I turn off the news. I hide the sad things on Facebook. I take Ambien to sleep at night. I eat all the french fries. And I shudder whenever I hear Christians say, as Christians often do, “I pray that my heart will be broken by the things that break the heart of Jesus.” ...  read more

On Connecting with Our Hearts

We arrived in Africa after 54 hours of travel. It was supposed to take 26 hours, but, as Greg messaged me shortly after my arrival, “no plan survives contact with reality.” It turns out the ice storm in Brussels was very, very real, which meant six hours sitting on a plane that would never take off, six more hours of waiting in line to rebook, and three more countries added to our routing – Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia – before we arrived in Uganda. But arrive we did, so WOOHOO! AND, most importantly, my traveling companion, Martha Holley Newsome, CEO of Medical Teams International, UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANCE OF COFFEE, so it’s all going to be OK. We’re here. We’re safe. WE’RE GETTING COFFEE REGULARLY. ...  read more

Carrie Fisher Drowned in Moonlight, Strangled by Her Own Bra: 10 Things to Do about 2016, 2017 and Beyond

Carrie Fisher died, drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. The media is reporting it as a massive heart attack, but we know better because Carrie told us so.

If I’m going to be perfectly honest, I’m seriously bummed by Carrie’s death, but not desolate or overwhelmed. I liked Carrie Fisher very much. I love that she was wildly herself. I love that she learned to find humor in the madness of life. I love that she was honest about her addictions. I love that she was fierce and free and believed a good story could change the world. I’m also grateful that neither outright addiction nor mental illness took her in the end. That may sound strange or even callous, but those of us with mental illness always wonder whether it will triumph; whether it will be the one holding our hand while we drift away. That she died of a heart attack drowning in moonlight, strangled by her own bra? I kind of feel like Carrie won. Like she’s gone far too soon AND like she flipped mental illness the bird on her way out. Both/And, friends. Both/And. ...  read more

Disney Like a Hurricane

Greg answered the pounding on our door in the middle of the night wearing only his boxers. This struck me as a little unusual, since, unlike his wife, Greg is a paragon of modesty. Greg is, after all, the man who refused to pee on his four-year-old daughter when she was stung by a jellyfish because, “Dropping my pants in front of a small child, whipping out my penis, and then urinating on her is worse than the pain of a jellyfish sting.” Me: “IF YOU LOVED HER YOU WOULD PEE ON HER, GREG.” But no; no, he didn’t love her that much, and now we know. ...  read more

This isn’t a real blog post, but it appears to be real life.

I spilled cheese sauce down my front tonight, and I’m still wearing the dried, crusty remnants as I type. I should probably change, except I feel this is symbolic of my life right now, to be covered in goo and grime; also I’m tired, and I don’t want to try to find a clean shirt. We’re friends, so I already know you don’t care. Besides, I smell delicious, like the call of the wild if the wild was made of cheddar cheese. ...  read more

8 Days of Giveaways! Day FOUR: Hooked by Hanna

Hello, friends and welcome to…

8 Days of Giveaways:
Day FOUR!hanna3

Hooked by Hanna

Hooked by Hanna is a cottage industry offering crochet creations of all kinds: unique hats, toys for babies and children, neckwear, etc. Items can be made to the customer’s preferences and specifications.

I Hanna1admit it; I’m hard wired to prefer buying gifts from artists and crafters and small business owners because, unselfishly, I want my money to benefit real people and not a group of already wealthy shareholders, and, selfishly, I really love giving one-of-a-kind gifts. Last Christmas, I pinged my friend Hanna, a crochet master and fellow bibliophile (pretty sure we could talk about books for hours), and ordered boot cuffs in cream and grey (for me) and in purple (for my high school daughter). Turns out, they were some of my favorite, favorite gifts last year. Pretty. Fun. Affordable. We still have them a year later, and they’ve held up perfectly — just like new, actually. My only complaint is Abby keeps stealing mine, the punk. ...  read more