One Quick Twinsie Pic, A Life Motto, and Thoughts on Wrong Turns Which Is Really Just Another Way to Say Turns

Today’s the first day in a few I’ve had time to stop for a bit and breathe. I’m in Italy, sitting at a cafe in the plaza outside the Uffizi Museum, knocking back a cappuccino, and finishing the last bites of a fresh croissant, warm on the inside, flaky on the outside, dusted with powdered sugar and faintly flavored with orange. So you can see I’m suffering. THANK GOODNESS this trip isn’t like our last one to Italy. Those of you who’ve wandered around this blog for a while will understand the significance when I tell you my brain has been calm. THE MEDS ARE WORKING, in other words. HOT DAMN. ...  read more

A Mommy Photo Shoot: The Realistic Kind

I mentioned recently that I cleaned my room and rewarded myself by soaking in diarrhea water. It’s just one of the blessed realities of being a busy mom.

FORTUNATELY, before said cleaning, my friend Rachel came over to take some photos for me.

See, I’ve wanted to do a REALISTIC photo shoot for quite some time. You know, like, wearing the things I usually wear. Without cleaning or decluttering my house. Without avoiding the angles full of dirty dishes. I’ve wanted to do an AS IS photo shoot. What You See Is What You Get. Partially for you because EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW THEY’RE NOT ALONE in their lack-of-pristine living. And partially for me because I actually want to remember how life really was. Not a beautified version of it, but the nitty, gritty, grimy truth with its laughter AND dust bunnies, its joy AND dried ketchup, its camaraderie AND moldy flower stems, because this life is lovely. This life is wonderful. This life is gorgeous in its own muddy way, no covering up required.  ...  read more

Courage to Heal: A Haphazard Series of Brief (or not) Thoughts, Part 2

Abby, my oldest, lost a lot of blood last Christmas after an arterial bleed in her throat following a tonsillectomy for recurrent Strep. The bleed started at home, at bedtime, 24 hours after surgery, and steadily trickled into a bowl she held on her lap while she cried and I ran red lights to the hospital. After a second, emergency, surgery, I wasn’t surprised when he doctor recommended a transfusion; after all, I was the one in the ER catching vomit bag after vomit bag of the increasing stream and the massive clots she purged from her stomach.  ...  read more

On Rachel Held Evans. And friendship. And grief. And grace. And what we do now.

I was in the hospital yesterday when Rachel Held Evans died.

I’d had an unusually bad migraine, and just past midnight, I woke Greg up to tell him I needed more help. I cried on the way to the Emergency Room with Greg’s hand on my knee, thumb rubbing gentle circles through my ancient, stained sweatpants, and I can’t tell you which was more overwhelming — the pain pulsing in my head, the gratitude that I didn’t have to navigate it alone, or the unreasonable feeling of shame flooding through my body for not being able to stick it out on my own. The shame was a real contender, though; I felt I’d failed, somehow, by needing assistance. As though I don’t know better. As if I haven’t reminded myself thousands of times that we humans aren’t solitary creatures. As though I’m not aware that  independence is one of the most dangerous lies we peddle and that we aren’t somehow viscerally and foundationally communal, seeking at a cellular level our tribe and a place of belonging.  ...  read more

The 5 Stages of Grief: Thoughts on 2016, Privilege, and Hope Headed into 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. And about Spring since that’s the season in Oregon right now. And about resurrection, and the pain and joy of birthing a new thing; about mourning what we thought we had but never did, and about where we are now in the stages of grief.

We’ve been doing nonstop farm work lately, getting it ready to open, and it’s been both awesome and exhausting, you know? Like, everything we wanted and also all-consuming. I haven’t had a lot of time or energy to write here, and I miss it terribly, but baby goats soothe me in the meantime.  ...  read more

On Depression, How to Tell if It’s Getting Bad Again… and Vibrators. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It Is What It Is.

Once upon a time, I went on a trip with Greg to Southern Italy, which should have been AMAZING but was, in truth, the Most Terrible Vacation Ever. I felt the whole time like I should be able to Gratitude my way through it. Like, WHO GETS TO GO ON VACATION TO SOUTHERN ITALY, BETH? I mean, other than people who live in Southern Italy. Like, people from Oregon, you know? Who gets to go on vacation to Southern Italy from Oregon? Who have 5 kids. And a mortgage. And who shop at discount grocery stores and refuse to replace towels no matter how threadbare they get because towels are really expensive, guys. REALLY , REALLY EXPENSIVE. The good ones cost $20. EACH. Or lots more. And it’s not like you can buy one towel and tell the family to share it. You have to buy at least 4 at a time. That’s the Rule of Towel Buying. And if we don’t want the humans in our household yelling at each other over Who Gets the Good Towel (“HE HAD IT LAST TIME!”), then we have to buy seven. SEVEN NEW TOWELS. For $140. 😳😳😳 Who has that kind of towel money, friends? Not me. Which is why trips to places like Southern Italy always feel like a MIRACLE to me. We can’t buy new towels, but, by God (and by my dad because he’s a pilot with travel benefits) we CAN magically arrive in places like Southern Italy upon occasion. If we stay in super cheap AirBnbs. And if we eat only cheese pizza and gelato and zero fancy restaurant meals.  ...  read more

On Being the World Changers

I’ve begun to wonder lately what it was like to be a woman in 1918 fighting for the right to vote. Or an abolitionist in 1862. Or a civil rights advocate in 1962. I’ve begun to wonder what it was like for them before they knew they’d win — at least legally — and how they felt, beyond what we can research. Beyond their rousing words. Beyond their determination to stay the course. Beyond the paragons they’ve become in the annals of history.  ...  read more