ALERT: The Most Important Election This Fall Is, Surprisingly, in Newberg, Oregon

Here’s a true truth for you, friends: I’ve never put a political sign in my yard.

Never.

Not once in the 26 years I’ve been eligible to vote.

Not a yard sign. Not a bumper sticker on my car. Not a pin on my person. 

It wasn’t like I had a problem with people who did. They’re passionate, I thought. Outspoken. And good for them!  

But me? No. Certainly not. Those outward declarations of political support weren’t for me. I, after all, have friends and family on both sides of the political aisle. The need to be polite and ruffle no feathers exempted me. Right? That was the rule in my tiny, white, evangelical world, anyway. Politeness first, which folks around here call “civility.” I’m not sure when civility was redefined as silence, but it was definitely before my time. I inherited the system. I’m not to blame. (Says the white, suburban girl with systemically granted power. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) ...  read more

When Bullying Is Real

{Content Warning: Use of a homophobic slur.}

Alright. Middle school began last week for my two sixth graders, which always makes a mama’s heart flutter, and here’s how it’s going: MOSTLY WONDERFUL.

My kids are feeling confident.

They’re finding their groove.

They appear to have other sixth grade humans to sit with at lunch, so the Very Worst, Most Awful Part of the Day seems handled. ...  read more

School’s Starting (In Case You’re Not Ready, Either)

Summer raged and reveled through our house. The couch is covered in dog fur and dirt. So are the kids. So is everything else. Dog Fur and Dirt are our decor theme, really. We should market them as paint colors. Like Martha Stewart, except different.

The sun is etched in our skin, and all semblance of discipline — which was mostly self-deception, anyway — eroded weeks ago. The chore chart was effective the first 25 minutes of summer. Now it’s bulletin board litter. I’ve decided to rename Fortnite and Minecraft “chores” and “reading” so when people ask us what we did all summer, I have an answer that makes me look like a diligent parent.  ...  read more

John McCain and the Paper Girl: The Story of a Man Who Saw People

Helen Howard is a legend in her own right. At age 55, she retired from her 23-year career as an insurance claim adjuster to follow her passion, building Desert River Outfitters, a premier canoe and kayak guiding outfit in northwestern Arizona. Now age 70, in addition to the thousands of hours she’s racked up on myriad U.S. rivers, Helen is gearing up for her twelfth trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon; the third in the Susie Too, a dory boat she built herself.  ...  read more

It Looks Like Granola, But It’s Really Self-Care

The first step was to stop saying, “Stupid, stupid, STUPID, Beth. How could you be so STUPID?” to myself in the car on the way home from work. It didn’t matter, really, what I’d done during the day; I’d slide onto the cloth seats of my Pontiac in the late afternoon and berate myself, like clockwork, sure I’d done something unforgivably foolish or said something truly humiliating.  ...  read more

Maybe It’s a Poem: Thoughts on All of Life

Alrighty, folks. I wrote to you a bit ago about my new welcome mat which reads,

Come on in,
We’re not ready

And I told you about the joy and angst it brings me. 

Joy because YES, THE DOOR IS OPEN even though WE’RE NEVER READY. Joy because COME IN, ANYWAY, and “ready” is overrated. Joy because we choose Welcoming the Wanderers over Pristine Pretend. And joy because there’s something intimate and vulnerable and real about allowing others to bear witness to the mess and the madness.  ...  read more

The Kittens Have Landed. (Sorry, Baby Skunks.)

THE KITTENS HAVE LANDED.

I REPEAT: THE FOSTER KITTENS HAVE LANDED.

Despite a WHOLE ENTIRE DINNER last week during which my beloved partner, my mother, my father, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my eldest daughter all tried to convince me foster kittens are the Worst Idea in the Known Universe, the kittens are here. Because NEVERTHELESS, I PERSISTED, friends. ...  read more