On Flip-Flops, Flailing and Faith

Oct 9 2015

I should’ve known better than to wear flip-flops. Especially the kind with the higher, wedgy heel. It’s just that they were $0.99 at the Goodwill, had never been worn, and were in my size. What’s a girl to do? Still, I should’ve known better, flip-flops not being what they used to be… or my coordination, either. One or the other was to blame.

Either way, though, I tripped. Or, if not exactly “tripped,” what with nothing in my way to actually trip over, I at least managed to stumble, failed to catch myself, flailed wildly out of control, and, in no time at all, found myself face-down in gravel on the side of a winding road with a perfectly gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean.

I will tell you what; that view of the white sand and the raging waves dashing themselves relentlessly against the rocks, spraying foam into the azure sky is just as pretty whether you’re upright or ass-over-teakettle, friends, so feel free to take it in from any angle. They’re all good.

I was walking with girlfriends on the road with no sidewalk but with a plentiful gravel shoulder, and we’d just finished hanging out at a popular beach to celebrate a 40th birthday, so when I bellyflopped on the ground, I had both plenty of rocks to break my fall and passers-by to witness my rad walking skillz. I managed to embed gravel in my hands and in my knees and press some into my chin, chest and thighs for good measure, because the Bible says if you’re going to do something, you should do it to the best of your ability, and I’m a biblical girl.

I don’t know about you and how you are at doing stupid things in public, but I am, like, an expert at it. An expert who practices and practices and practices and keeps practicing because practice makes perfect, and, not to brag, but I’m getting damn close to being perfect at Stupid Stuff. So not only did I biff it like I meant it – GO BIG, friends! – I also assessed the heck out of the damage to my body once I’d completed my swan dive. With my belly resting on the rocks, my body just a touch bruised and bloody, and my brain a little bit giggly at finding myself spread-eagle in my swimmers, I sat up and checked out every part of me for damage, and, just like a small child who plays at the beach all day and finds sand in all the places later — all, “Oh my gosh!” and “How did this get there?!” and “Mom! CHECK THIS OUT!” — I found gravel down my top and up my inner thighs. WAY up, guys. Way, way up in there. It was amazing, y’all, the places that gravel traveled. That gravel was not kidding around.

Now, my friend Heidi implied I maybe shouldn’t have been looking for all the gravel in all the places in front of all the people walking by, but it wasn’t like I thought about it before I did it. Geez, Heidi. That is NOT how to perfect doing Stupid Stuff, after all; you definitely don’t think first. You just do Stupid Stuff, and it becomes second nature. But Heidi also said when those nice people across the street asked if I was OK, I probably shouldn’t have laughed with delight and hollered across the road, “I’m good! I just have gravel in all my bits! Like, ALL my bits,” while I sat facing them with my legs apart, brushing the rocks off. I mean, no offense to Heidi or anything, but she could use some How to Do Stupid Stuff lessons. Obviously.

It was a little while after the fall and after the assessing of the damage and after brushing off the gravel before I noticed my friends had their hands out, offering help up, but I eventually reached out for them, too, and we hauled me up together and washed me off and moved on, a little more battered and bruised, but in a good way, if that makes sense. In a good way, because I wasn’t sitting alone, after all, and I had a beautiful view while I sat in the mess, but also friends to give me a hand when I was ready to see it and accept it.

I got a message recently from Emma, except Emma isn’t her real name, so we’ll call her Not Emma, instead, like we tend to do around here. When Not Emma wrote, this is what she said:

Hello Beth!

I just saw this post on Humans of New York. They’re telling stories of immigrants from Syria, Iraq, etc. The last sentence is what got me, and made me think of you…

“This is the man who inspired us to begin helping refugees. We met Father Stratis back in 2008, when refugees began arriving on the island from Afghanistan. We ran a minimarket at the time, and every day this priest would come in to buy juice, croissants, and other supplies to hand out. Eventually we began to follow his lead, and soon we were working side by side. I always joke that God punished me for my atheism by sending a priest to be my best friend.  He was always pushing us to do more. The phone never left his hand.  He was always looking for new ways to help.  He died last month, but even in his final days, he was searching for diapers from his hospital bed. His final post on Facebook said: ‘God is love, without asterisks.’” (Lesvos, Greece)

I just… am a little lost. With faith, or lack thereof, and what do I teach these small children that I’m supposed to be in charge of? I wasn’t raised religious, but I want to find my spirituality now, and honestly don’t know how. I love love love the way you approach it, and it opens my heart to the idea of believing in God and having faith. But often when I try to become involved in a religion, I find so much of it makes me uncomfortable and is off-putting. Then I back away again. Where do I start?? Is it too late for me to find faith that God is Real and Love, the kind of faith I would have if I had learned it from the beginning? So if you could just have all the answers for me, that would be great, thanks.

Oh, and one more question. How am I supposed to pray?

Not Emma

Bear with me here, friends, and Not Emma especially, because I know there are people better equipped to answer these questions without starting with a convoluted story about getting gravel in her bits, but you asked me, so you have only yourself to blame.

I’m going to leave your question about prayer for another day, because I’m sitting again by the ocean as I type this, and the day is misty and overcast with the sun peeking through in fits and starts; the breeze is gentle and the temperature mild, so I’m going to risk walking again by the ocean soon, even though I fell the last time, which, I suppose, is one answer for how to pray, after all.

The question that really captured me, though — the one that stopped me in my tracks and slayed me because I I so resonated with the heart of it — was this: “Is it too late for me to find faith that God is Real and Love; the kind of faith I would have if I had learned it from the beginning?” 

I responded, I admit, a little selfishly to your question, because I thought “uh oh,” and “oh no,” because I was raised with faith from the beginning, and I am just a mess, friend. A MESS. Full of faith and doubt and fear and grace, and if you’re looking for more certainty than chaos, I’m not your girl. Not your guru. Not your guide, you know? After all, I, like you, know what it is to ache for “real faith” and wonder if I’ve found it. To think, perhaps, it’s too late, and I’ve missed that boat. To hope that God is Real and God is Love more than I always know it. But I choose it, anyway, over and over; to have faith in the mystery and the magic and the mess. To have faith in the mud and the muck and unreasonable mercy, which are all, in their own way, magnificent.

So I thought I couldn’t answer your questions at first, lacking all the answers as I am, even though I know you were kidding about that part, but then I biffed it on the side of the road, and realized I could answer, after all. It’s just, instead of answering from a place of having faith figured out, I’m going to have to answer spread-eagle in the gravel, a little battered from the fall.

My answer from the gravel-strewn ground is this: it’s not too late, Not Emma.

It’s not too late for faith if by “faith” you mean the kind that’s messy and full of doubt and strange moments of grace.

It’s not too late for faith if by “faith” you mean the pursuit of a Love too deep and wide and high and vast to fit into the boundaries of men.

It’s not too late for faith if by “faith” you mean the kind with questions that lead to answers that lead to far more questions than you thought possible.

It’s not too late for faith if by “faith” you mean a faith that hopes and perseveres, then quits entirely, and hopes and perseveres again.

It’s not too late for faith if by “faith” you mean the kind of thing that isn’t content to exist simply inside of rule books and manuals of conduct, but must spill out to help ease the suffering of others and be with them in their longing and pain, to provide what comfort you can.

It’s not too late for faith if by “faith” you mean a catalyst to mercy and justice for those who are marginalized.

The truth is, I used to expect different things from faith, like for it to be clean, and linear, and never trip me up in my bargain flip-flops. Faith, I thought, was like new sidewalks in safe neighborhoods with manicured lawns, and I had a responsibility to wear my sensible shoes, tightly laced, rather than skirting the rocky shoulder of a winding road with giddy, goofy friends and wobbly steps.

Now I understand that faith is a long road, rockier than I ever knew, full of waypoints, and parts that are tricky to traverse, and the occasional bench for resting, and I don’t always know how my next steps are going to work out. But the view, Not Emma; the view from the rocky shoulder on the winding road! It’s wild out here and rough and raw and beautiful and so worth exploring, even though we don’t have all the answers.

We expect a lot from faith, don’t we? We expect or we seek the near-perfect communities whose ideologies match well with our own, instead of looking for faith among a messy people who think differently than each other and are trying and failing and still trying anyway to love each other well. Listen; we’re not wrong to want our family of faith to already be good at inclusion and kindness and gentleness; our hearts long for belonging, after all, and God knows we each need solace. It’s just that we’re all to some degree each of the people in the story above; at times sitting wounded on the side of the road, at times picking dirt and darkness out of places we didn’t know it had managed to creep, at times needing a hand up and help brushing ourselves off, at times offering it and hollering the “are you OK’s?” from across the street.

You asked, Not Emma, where to start — where to begin looking for faith — and I’m here to tell you, you’ve already begun. You’re already on the road. It’s just that it’s rocky out here, and there’s sometimes flailing and falling involved, but the good news is, you’re not alone.

You asked, Not Emma, what to teach your small children because you want to find your spirituality now and you don’t know how. Oh, girlfriend, I have been there. HOW I have been there. But might I suggest to tell them just that? That you want to teach them? That you don’t know how? And invite them, perhaps, to the gravel road with you, as fellow travelers who are wise and capable of scouting the route alongside their mama? Tell them, maybe, what you told me — that you hope God is Real and God is Love, and that you want to go questing together. What an adventure, Not Emma! Looking for Love together!

I wish I had a tidy conclusion for you here, but I have an ocean to walk beside, so I’m signing off for now. More soon, Not Emma and friends. More soon. But for tonight, know that I’m thinking of you by the ocean shore, and I’m waving in the dark,


There is Something Wild in Me

Oct 6 2015

I think sometimes I belong to another place and another time. One not quite so civilized and without as many rules. One where the love is fiercer, the laughing louder and not at tables with fine china where we worry about bothering the other guests.

I think sometimes I belong to the night air and solstice fires and a brawny, bawdy people who care for the land and each other.

I belong to sunlit days and chapped skin and tangled hair and wild night skies, infinite in scope and beauty.

I belong to a Love wild and free and not constrained by supposed to’s or have to’s or rules in a book. I belong to a deeper sense of right and wrong and fierce compassion and relentless grace and justice for even the smallest among us — especially for her.

I belong to oceans crossed not in cruise ships but with tenacity and faith and doubt on wood rough-hewn by human hands.

I belong to suffering and loss and agony and pain and rising, somehow, again, like the phoenix from the ashes, not pristine and absent the fire, but rising anyway, with the fire within.

I belong to community and family and the Village and women helping women and children clinging to literal apron strings as the grandmothers with ample hips move and push and kneed today’s bread.

I belong to the rocky shore and the rising breeze and the fierce storm on the horizon that whips my hair and promises no quarter.

I sit in my wicker chair with a soft cushion, and I drink my coffee from my porcelain cup. I listen to the birds and the branches and the tap tap tap of my fingers on the keys, and still I know, there is something wild in me.

I did yard work. My neighbor offered to call the paramedics.

Oct 2 2015

I did yard work on Sunday.

I haven’t known how to tell you, because I feel like I betrayed us all.

After all, I did yardwork on Sunday, friends. YARD WORK.

But before you tell me how disappointed you are in me — before you reprimand me for acting like I have my poo together — allow me to explain that the circumstances were extreme.


Not only had I not done my annual one day of half-assed yard work yet this year, I also had a kid vomiting buckets. And by “vomiting buckets,” I don’t actually mean into buckets. Nope. No buckets. No buckets at all. In fact, had there been any buckets, my kid would have missed them all. Or rather, he vomited into buckets if, by “buckets,” we mean on himself, on his mama, on the bathroom floor, cascading down the shower door, on the rug, on the pile of clothes in the bathroom, and dripping off the edge of the toilet seat. Not into the toilet, of course; that would be too much like making it into a bucket. It was Vomit Fest 2015, in other words, and the kid went three hours straight.

Three hours straight of Vomit Fest 2015, timed from 15 minutes after my dear, darling husband left our house to five minutes before Greg returned. Greg missed the entire thing, which frankly didn’t bother me while I was cleaning all the vomit up, because I am a CHAMPION VOMIT CLEANER and we all have to live into our areas of giftedness, but did send me for a little loop the 100 or so times I had to explain to my baby why I wasn’t taking him to the hospital even though he kept begging to go.

“Take me to the hospital, Mom,” he’d whisper, weeping, and I’d have to whisper back, “Oh, baby, I’m so sorry.”

“No, mom. Really. I’m actually dying,” he’d say, and I’d have to say, “I know it feels like that, baby.”

“Why won’t you help me?” he’d ask pitifully and repeatedly, and I will tell you, by the time Greg got home, I was emotionally spent. Done. Finished. Complete.

“The kid’s all yours,” I told Greg, “I’m tapping out, man.” And so I went outside to do yardwork.

YARDWORK. That’s how much I needed emotional respite.

Of course, the kid went immediately to sleep as soon as dad was there. Figures. But I borrowed HUGE ASS electric hedge trimmers, and I trimmed the hell out of my hedges. It felt RAD.

I think I was outside five minutes working on my yard when my neighbor rushed from his house, ran over to me, pressed a cold beer from his hands to mine, and said, panic raw in his voice, “Don’t worry about a thing, Beth; I’ve already called the paramedics. They’re on their way. They’ll be here soon,” and then he fanned me with his hands because he assumed I felt faint. Which I appreciated because, after all, me doing yard work really was indicative of a larger medical problem, and it’s nice to know someone takes these things seriously.

In conclusion, my front yard has moved from a general Abandoned / Haunted House vibe to more of Well, At Least She Tried.

Success, and other words. Total success.

With love,





P.S. This post is part of my “paragraph a day” this week. It’s been good to hang out with you more, friends. I especially adore your responses on “On the Things I Don’t Tell You.” Thank you for sharing your real selves with me. You’re amazing.

On Jammy Pants and Our Momrades in Need

Sep 30 2015

Whenever I use the word pants, I am reminded by my British friends that it doesn’t mean the same thing in American as it does in English; Americans, of course, referring to their trousers when they say pants, and the Brits referencing the pants they wear underneath their trousers. Underpants, if you will.

I received, for example, this missive from my British friend, Fiona, earlier this very month:

So this morning, perhaps unwisely, I entrusted the task of dressing the four-year-old for school to my husband, having previously fulfilled my side of the bargain by laying out socks, underwear, a shirt, trousers and his school sweatshirt in order that the process ran as smoothly as possible.

Upon arriving home, while we were gathered around the table enjoying a post-school snack and drink, he suddenly dropped his trousers and announced “No pants!” Now I do realise that the word “pants” means something slightly different to the two of us – you are perhaps envisaging him only half clothed from the waist down yet still wearing a small garment to protect his modesty, and while in reality the semi-nakedness was rather less obvious since he was wearing American pants although not English pants, I’m still rather disheartened by the thought that he could possibly have spent all day at school in a commando state. My reputation with his new teacher, a rather serious lady, may be in jeopardy here through no fault of my own. 
It’s not impossible that he did PE today and absent-mindedly removed more clothes than necessary, but I know exactly which pair of English pants I put out for him this morning, and if I find them later, lurking in the laundry basket buried beneath the myriad clean clothes I predictably haven’t yet put away, I will know precisely who to hold responsible. Any ideas for a suitable penalty?
Now, I haven’t responded to Fiona, of course, because a) I’ve turned into a terrible correspondent of late, and b) I’m not sure how to break the news that, no matter the penalty, it may be a while before her son learns to wear pants. There is, after all, a certain girl child I know (*ahem*myself*ahem*) who has vivid memories of her mother holding her wee little face in her hands, looking deep into her eyes, and demanding, “When will you learn to wear panties, child? WHEN?” Alarmingly, the answer for that little girl was “not until the 3rd grade when she didn’t wear panties with her dress on Flip Up Friday,” and the boys, true to their word, flipped up her dress. So, you know, some people learn to wear undies before others. And some get caught on Flip Up Friday. Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you, Fi.

All of which is an extremely length way to tell you I like to use the word pants because it makes the 12-year-old in me giggle every time. When I wrote “On Jammy Pants” just now? The 12-year-old boy guffawed at, well, undies with jam on them, which is something the likes of me would write about but has, in the end, nothing whatsoever to do with this post.

Alas, this post is about pajama pants (what do you Brits call these, anyway? pyjama trousers? drawers? bottoms?), and my quest for the perfect pair.

Good news!

Thanks to you, I’ve found them! The perfect jammy pants.

In August, I asked you on the Facebook to help me out.

Question of Eternal Significance: If you have pajama bottoms you love, where did you buy them? I’m on the hunt and I need your help.

P.S. By “hunt,” I mean I’m reaching out to you sans any hunting on my own because you know things I don’t know and I’m hoping “really, really ridiculously good sources of PJ pants” is one of those things.

P.P.S. In case you’re wondering if I REALLY need your secret, insider info, I’m DEFINITELY on a need-to-know basis here because the rather enormous and socially hazardous inner thigh holes in my previous PJ pants finally made it apparent I needed stop torturing the pants and give them up for dead.

P.P.P.S. RIP, pants. I loved you, loved you.

P.P.P.P.S. I prefer shopping online, which is probably best at this point anyway since I’ll be shopping without pants. Links appreciated.

FullSizeRender (5)You had about a hundred good suggestions, but the one that got me was the post about Punjammies from Sudara.

Listen, friends; listen! THIS IS SO AWESOME. Sudara is an organization that works to free women from sex slavery by giving them living wage jobs, and “every pair of PUNJAMMIES™ is named after a woman who is now steadily employed in a stable, living-wage job with a Sudara sewing center partnership.

I know, right??


In case you’re interested, here are the details:

  1. I agonized over this purchase because punjammies are expensive. At $44/pair, WAY, WAY more expensive than my usual jammies. I had to have a little heart-to-heart with myself, honestly; in the end, I decided I was willing to buy ONE pair of jammy pants from Sudara instead of, like, 4 from Target. I’m a little embarrassed this wasn’t a no-brainer for me, but there it is.
  2. I picked the black and white Soyamma print because they were sold out of the blue ones I liked better. You know what? Good for them! Way to make a high-demand product, ladies. Go, you!FullSizeRender (1)^^Me, in my pants!^^
  3. When I ordered, though, they let me know my pants could take up to 3 weeks to arrive. THREE WEEKS, friends. I was all, don’t they realize I’m American and we’re an Instant Gratification people?? Serious first world problems, folks. But I’d made my decision already, so I proceeded with my order, knowing I’d be pantsless in the meantime.
  4. My order arrived in five days. Just FIVE DAYS! WOOHOO!
  5. I tried them on… and LOVE them.

FullSizeRender (2)

In the end? I’m glad I went this jammy pants direction, despite the cost and my patriotic fear of delayed gratification.

FullSizeRender (4)My pants are soft.

My pants are pretty.

My pants make a difference in the lives of our fellow momrades.

That, friends, is a win/win/win.

And Fi? May you have hope. Someday your son may learn to wear pants AND post about it on the internet. 😉

With love,





P.S. I recently discovered there’s a home business that specializes in fair trade products, too. Just FYI! It’s called Friends of Hope, and fellow momrade and friend of the 5 Kids blog, Jennifer Heyboer can tell you all about it if you’d like more info.

P.P.S. Neither Sudara nor My Friends of Hope/Jennifer Heyboer paid me or asked me for any endorsements here. I didn’t receive any goods or services. Sudara has no idea who I am. I just like their pants, man. And their program. And especially their pants.

P.P.P.S. If you, like me, buy punjammies, size up! I ordered a full size larger than I actually am because I like my jammy pants loose. They fit exactly right, if a tad snug around the waist, so I’d recommend ordering up a size. Also, I’m short — 5’2″ — and the full-length pants are a little long on me, which I also like, but you other shorties might want to consider the capris, instead.

On the Things I Don’t Tell You

Sep 29 2015

I don’t write a lot about my kids with special needs. Partly because handling the I.E.P.s and the quirks, the delays and the frustrations, the joys and the surprises, seem, well, ordinary for us these days. Mundane. Ho hum. Like handling any of my kids’ personalities, I guess, because it turns out we all have needs in our family — we’re very, very needy around these parts — and every need takes time and is, technically speaking, somethin’ special.

I don’t write a lot about my kids with special needs because I don’t trust myself as a competent enough writer — all blah, blah, blah as I so often am — to convey the depth of love I feel for my kids who have to navigate this curious world, and the immeasurable respect I have for their relentless, courageous pursuit of life and learning. I never want them to look back here to re-read what I’ve written and misinterpret it as angst directed at them, because they are precious people worthy of endless love, like all of us, and I want them to know their mama’s always in their corner.

But I also don’t write a lot about my kids with special needs, if I’m going to be as truthful as possible, because it seems like too much. Too Big. Too difficult to wrap inside one blog post. To tricky to pull off just one piece to examine and package and stack neatly on the bookshelf, labeled correctly, and cross-referenced by topic. And so I make the occasional reference to my kids who experience delays and disorders, and I don’t follow up to tell you I’m sometimes breathless with worry about what their futures hold.

I don’t tell you, in general, about how we don’t sleep through the night around here. But we don’t. We don’t sleep though the night around here, and sometimes it’s for the usual reasons parents don’t sleep; the bloody noses and wet beds, the nightmares and the thunder storms. Those are the good reasons we don’t sleep. They’re my favorite reasons. But we also don’t sleep through the night because of the screaming and the panic and, worse, the keening that comes from my son’s bedroom because he doesn’t believe — can’t believe, deep down — that we won’t leave him, too, like he’s been left before.

I don’t tell you about the doctor visits and the counselor appointments and the brief respite my sweet son got when the meds we refused for 10 years were finally used and worked for a little while, and I don’t tell you about the guilt I have for not using the medicine sooner.

I don’t update you to let you know that a dog named Zoey, whose name means Life, gave us back a piece of ours by giving our son comfort he can’t receive from us.

I tell you about my younger daughter’s developmental delay even less than I tell you about my son’s, because her needs, while significant, pale in comparison to her brother’s, and so she draws the short end of the attention stick, both in public and in private, and I fret about whether she gets enough from us. She does and she doesn’t, I suppose, like all our children; getting enough and too much and not at all enough from her mom and dad, but I can’t help but feel we should give this 8-year-old stuck in a 13-year-old body more, somehow, you know?

I don’t tell you that I’ve cried myself to sleep watching the status updates of friends with daughters my daughter’s age who play and laugh and sleep over and bake and craft and make memories of girlhood together. I don’t tell you that because it’s unfair to my friends and to their kids and even to my own child to burden them with my grief and steal from their light-hearted joy. My daughter isn’t sad, after all. She’s not lonely. She has no sense of missing out. The other girls? They’re kind to her and gentle and sweet at every turn. Anti-bullies, every one. They include her when she’s around. They write her special notes. Every year for 6 years now, they champion her at camp, and give her a soft space to land, and meet her where she’s at, and engage her as much as she is able. What more could we possibly ask when there’s no more she wants or more to give?

There are no villains in my daughter’s story; she has thousands of sword-wielding, horse-riding heroes and heroines, instead. The people who would slay a dragon for this kid are legion.

It’s not my daughter who is sad or lonely. It’s just her mama is for her sometimes. Because even now — even 13 years after this precious little one came into my life and I realized she’s her own, unique, very different soul — I can’t help but think about what could be. What her childhood could have been like. And I mourn the loss of it for her. Right or wrong, I do. I mourn what she doesn’t want and will never have.

And gosh, I realize I sound so down. So terribly sad. And I want to lighten that. Lessen it. But it’s a window to a dark piece of my heart, and I don’t know how to wave from the dark and let you wave back unless I let you see it, so there it is.

But I will leave you with this, because as many little dark corners as there are in my heart, there are more places that are light and bright, and Karen Pugsley is one of the many reasons why:

Karen Pugsley is my daughter’s principal. She is noble and wise, and, more importantly, kind, and when my daughter was hurt at school last year, Karen sat with my kid and me for what seemed like hours and days until my kid felt ready to go back to class, as though my daughter feeling comfortable and supported and loved was the most important thing Karen had to do that day. Ridiculous, right? Because what kind of a message do people like Karen send to our kids, you know? 

Well, I’ll tell you what message my kid got; she believes Karen’s got her back. She believes Karen’s worthy of her trust. And she thinks — get this — that Karen is her friend.

This week, my kid smuggled her Newest, Most Favorite, “She Is, Too, Alive,” stuffed animal, Quick Silver — a wolf, of course — to school in her backpack.

Please sit with me a moment and think about what might happen to an 8th grader who brings “She Is, Too, Alive!” stuffed animals to school.

IMG_1153Ugh, right?


Except not for my kid. Because I got this message in my email box yesterday from Karen:

Your kid sent Quick Silver home with me tonight to meet new friends. They had a party. I chaperoned. We had a good time. Please show her the pix. I’m bringing the cool fox to work tomorrow to hang out.

I cried, you guys. Cried big, sloppy tears.

Because as much as Karen’s care for Quick Silver was an expression of love for my daughter, it was a reminder, again, that we don’t walk these roads alone. THANK GOD. We don’t walk these roads alone.



Listen friends, I don’t know what today is like for you. I don’t know if you’re stuck in a dark corner or if your heart is happy and light. I don’t know if there are things you don’t tell because they’re Too Big and Too Much. I don’t know if you sit sometimes, sure you’re alone and dreading what the future holds.

But I choose to believe this — we are not alone. We’re not. And that’s enough for me for now.

Sending love to you, friends, and hoping for a Karen in your life,






I’m Gassy and Bubbly and Blerg

Sep 28 2015

I’m a little bit gassy tonight, all bubbly and blerg, which honestly feels like THE most important thing I have to share these days. THE extent of what I’m able to contribute. And, obviously, THE worst thing to write about in a world that complains we tweet every time we go to the bathroom and Facebook what we had for lunch.

For what it’s worth, I MISS seeing everyone’s food pictures ever since the online world was collectively Food Picture Shamed, so I’m likely not to be trusted, which is why I’m writing you anyway, gas and all.

I’m a little bit gassy tonight, all bubbly and blerg, and I’m sitting cross-legged in my chair, consumed with all I have to do this week and the time I don’t have in which to do it.

I’m a little bit gassy tonight, all bubbly and blerg, and I’m wondering even as I watch my fingers fly across the keyboard what in the world I’m typing. What in the world I’m trying to say.

You guys.

You gals.

You guys and gals.

I can’t EVEN right now.

can’t even and I don’t even, you know?

Like, I can’t even figure out what I’m trying to say, and I don’t even know how to put together a sentence, much less a paragraph, much less an entire blog post, but I miss you when I don’t write, so I’m doing it anyway, fumbling and bumbling my way through this.

I miss you because you’re community to me, which is probably why I want to see what you had for lunch. And I miss you because you’re ComeUnity to me, too — community and COMEunity because you’re the people, in the middle of all the arguing and wrangling and side-taking I witness online these days, who affirm for me over and over that we can be beautifully, brilliantly different and still be friends. I miss you because you’re the people who I truly believe wave back to me in the dark, and you’re the ones with whom I long to sit in the mud when I can’t even.

You’re the people, and this is the space, where I feel hope, I guess. This space and looking at my kids. Hope for the future. Hope that we can move beyond pettiness in our wide, wonderful, weird, wonky world and into Loving each other better.

I’m a little bit gassy tonight, all bubbly and blerg, and I’m sitting cross-legged in my chair, consumed with all I have to do this week and the time I don’t have in which to do it, but just for the moment I don’t care, because I feel a little more calm telling you the truth, even though the truth is about gas.

A flock of geese just flew overhead and honked with gusto. They seemed to be flying north, and I wanted to shout, “WRONG WAY,” because Fall is upon us, but I didn’t. I just nodded in solidarity, instead, at my fellow creatures trying to find their way.

I’m a little bit gassy tonight, all bubbly and blerg, and I’m quite certain I just said nothing truly worthwhile. Nevertheless, I elected some time ago to ignore the voice that tells me I have nothing to say, in lieu of the voice that whispers it’s OK to talk anyway. It’s OK to be heard. It’s OK to be me, even if me is gassy and bubbly and blerg.

And so, friends, I leave you with this idea tonight, in the hope that I can give a sliver to you of what you’ve given me, and it’s this: you’re worthy of being heard, too. And being fully you.






P.S. I’m over-the-top busy this week, and yet I’ve been using “busy” as an excuse to be here less and less, which, frankly, hurts my heart. So for this week, I’m writing a paragraph a day and posting it anyway. I can’t promise it’ll be good, but maybe that not’s what community needs, anyway; maybe community just needs us to show up. So that’s what I’ll do. Show up. And send you love. x’s and o’s, friends. x’s and o’s.

Candid Selfies! The Hottest(ish) New Selfie Trend and How YOU Can Master It.

Sep 23 2015

You know how sometimes you’ve turned your phone camera around so you can take a selfie BECAUSE SELFIES ARE RAD (and also so you can send a picture to a friend of the dot of probable chin cancer that has recently appeared so your friend can say, “Oh my gosh, Beth. You are SUCH A FREAKING FREAKER; it’s a ZIT”), but then your kid starts crying because his brother punched him in the penis because he stole all the Minecraft diamonds again, and you’re all, “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THERE IS NO PENIS PUNCHING IN THIS FAMILY” and “PENISES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN DIAMONDS, YOU GUYS,” and then they gang up on you because they both want to argue that Penis Punching is OK when they’re playing the Penis Punching Game, and it’s the Stealth and/or Punitive Penis Punching that’s not OK, and you wonder how No Penis Punching became an item open for debate and when, exactly, you started ranking penises and diamonds in order of importance, but while you’re pondering that, another kid reminds you you’re late to take them to school so you start yelling, “GET IN THE CAR, GET IN THE CAR, GET IN THE CAR,” and they DO get in the car which is unusual and AWESOME, but they argue over who gets to sit where which isn’t unusual at all, and while you’re trying unsuccessfully to convince them All Seats Were Created Equal and We Believe In Equality Around Here so SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN, you see your neighbor trying to get her kid into her car, and she stops and grimaces at you with barely contained fury and laser beams coming out her eyes and offers her kid to you at a brand new low, low price because her kid is driving her straight up the wall and to the left, and she’s pretty sure selling her daughter is a better alternative than the double murder they’d clearly both like to commit, so you chuckle to yourself while you drive away because OH MY GOSH, YES, you’ve been there; you look around as you’re driving, and, although you’re pretty sure you’ve forgotten something at home, you appear to have all the children and your pants, so you proceed as planned and drop the kids off and make your way to work, but coming over the hill you see a gorgeous view of the mountain so you pull over to take a picture and when you turn your camera on, instead of seeing the mountain through the lens, you see yourself because you forgot you had the view flipped to selfie-mode earlier; of course, it’s not your usual selfie-self you see with its pre-planned, flattering selfie angles and nice lighting, nor is it your is-this-a-dot-of-cancer?-self; nope… it’s your SELF self — as in, your CANDID self that you see in that reflection — and you’re all, “OH Mah GAH. I look like WHAT?”

You know how sometimes that’s a thing? When you’re genuinely startled by your own face?

Me, too.

So I was thinking about that, and about how AWESOME it is when we get to see our candid selves, and how Candid Selfies should TOTALLY be a thing. Which is why I’m writing to you today. Because this is an issue of eternal significance.

We LOVE candid photos, after all. Small children running through fields of grass at sunset. Grandma with her head thrown back in laughter. And we LOVE selfies. It’s only natural that Candid Selfies are the next, best photo trend, yes? YES. Obviously.

Of course, a candid photo is one taken when the subject isn’t aware it’s being captured, which may seem challenging when the photographer and the subject are the same person. NOT SO, friends. Not so. I did some experimenting for us, and I’m here to tell you, THIS ISN’T AS HARD AS IT SEEMS. All you have to do, really, is set your camera to selfie-mode and then — this is the slightly tricky part — forget you did it. Granted, it helps if you’ve practiced forgetting things in the past, but, with discipline and focus, it is achievable, and, not to brag, but I’ve truly honed this skill over the years. I’ve forgotten my kid’s graduation; I forgot what time school started for an entire semester; and I once forgot my own pants. So I’m, like, super good at this already, but, most importantly, I believe you can be, too.

For INCREDIBLE Candid Selfies, there are just four easy steps to follow:

  1. Set your camera to selfie-mode.
  2. Forget you set your camera to selfie-mode.
  3. When you turn your camera back on and you’re startled by your own face, FREEZE. Freeze that face. Freeze that angle.
  4. Click the shot.

After you see the amazing shots I took of myself without me knowing, I’m certain you’ll want to join the trend. Here, for example, are just a few of my favorites of me, me, and also me:




I know, right?!? I look AWESOME.

I mean, sure, we can take the usual selfies still. The ones with the good lighting. The posed shots with the camera angled down to eliminate most of the chins. The photos just the slighest bit prearranged so our asymmetrical nostrils aren’t showcased and our chin cancer is erased. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a classic, friends.

But who wants to look like this…


… when, with a little extra effort, you can look like this?





Now who’s in?