December 31, 2017

This New Year's Got Me Hungry

It's the last day of the year, and as I peruse the pages, the hours of each of the 364 days, I realize that I am hungry. Given, if you compare pictures of New Year's Eve Me 2016 to 2017's New Year's Eve Me, you'd be wondering how in the name of all that's holy, can I be hungry.

But I am hungry. And I'm realizing this 2017's lingering hunger is a manifestation of inward starvation.

This past year, there's been so much that's starved me: everything from a dads dying -- DYING-- on social media, to grown children whose parents didn't live to see this day, to the unspeakable anguish of friends who have buried children.

Then there were the DudeBros chanting Jews will not replace us, to a crowd being plowed over by a car that ultimately resulted in the death of a mother's baby.

Then there's the horror of a President who won't call evil for what it is. And then sometimes -- a lot of times -- I've felt broken by folks who call themselves Christian and turn a blind eye to evil and/or justify evil.

I guess I'm just hungry. Famished.

But even so, my hunger carries hope.

Image result for hope

I'm hungry for courage to call out wrong for being wrong. Courage for myself to do so, and the same for my family in Christ to do the same.

I'm hungry for grace that says I've been blessed with a roof over my head, food on my table, and a stable family. Grace that says there for the grace of God that I or my child could have a disease I couldn't afford without good healthcare.

I'm hungry for ears and a mind so open that views that unlike mine evolve into a conversation bent on understanding instead of a yelling match to outwit one side into winning or losing.

I'm hungry for empathy in the simplest of things. The kind of empathy that helps a stranger in the grocery store find the peanut butter because you remember when you nearly had a breakdown that one time because the dish washing liquid wasn't where it had been for millennia.

I guess I'm just hungry.

Let's raise a glass and hope that 2018 feeds us all.

December 27, 2017

Moms Will Survive

Dig if you will the picture: On a ordinary Saturday, kids show up at high school detention to pay penance for any number of infractions. They're all there: the Jocks, the Stoners, the Brains, the Perpetual Outsider and even the embittered detention monitor.

A poisonous explosion blankets the town or the world, and our kids are now on lock down. The explosion didn't cause deaths, but it left multitudes of Undead ravenously hungry for the living.

It's The Walking Dead meets Breakfast Club. Actually, it's Freakish, a series on which my daughter was binge-watching over Christmas Break. Because I wanted to be the cool mom, I watched it with her.

Image result for freakish
"A group of high schoolers struggles against predatory mutants who have taken over their town after a chemical plant meltdown."

It was a predictable, corny plot: Undead people crazily run in stopmotion and feast on the living -- of course, in between the survivors' teen romance, angst and anxiety. Just my daughter's speed, but not so much for me.

During the first two episodes, I was like

Meanwhile, my usually quiet and composed daughter was like



Of course, the living kids find a way to hook up (in a TV-14 way), break up AND Vlog. One of their Vloggers revealed that All of us have our phones...I didn't want to ruin it for my daughter, so I fought every impulse to ask how they were even getting a signal if the world was destroyed.

But Princess Vlogger went on But none of us thought to bring a charger. And at that point, I lost it:

You know, if this had been a group of mothers, they'd be surviving in comfort.

WHAT? She snorted and rolled her eyes.

In a gush of what could or could not have been word salad, I explained that Moms are prepared. ALWAYS. Like, that's our watchword -- like, where do you think the Boy Scouts got it from?

In a group of moms, yes you'll have the Pretty One, the Foul-mouthed One, the One Who likes Vodka a little too much, The Costco/Soccer Mom, Menopausal Mom and the Crafty One. But the one thing they all have in common is preparedness.

Whatever is needed in a Zombie Apocalypse, They. Will. Have. It.
  • Insulin? (one of the kids didn't bring theirs) The mom whose kid needs it will always have a three month's worth on hand in her purse, because Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Water? (because there was a water shortage crisis during lockdown) Costco/Soccer Mom to the rescue! This is the mom who will never again be found lacking after she forgot to bring snack and water that one time to practice. She now carries a supply in the back of her minivan at all times.
  • Thanksgiving Dinner? (because the kids were holed up during Thanksgiving) See Costco/Soccer Mom, the One Who like Vodka and the Crafty One.
  • Painkillers, pads or tampons? Menopausal Mom keeps all of those things tucked away in her car and purse because she's at that phase where she can't predict when or how severely that special time of the month will or will not arrive.
  • Common sense, a listening ear and open heart? Standard equipment for all moms. They listen to each other, build each other up and laugh at the times they bungled marriage, raising kids. They all know imperfection is one of the things that go along with the job.
Most importantly, moms would survive the zombie apocalypse because they know that sometimes you just sit there with your kid, watching a stupid zombie movie just because your kid wants you there with her.

And you realize that, that in of itself, is a blessing.

December 7, 2017

It's Not About Me

I wonder how long this is gonna take. I mean, we went through classes but they never really gave us a time lapse of development. Realistically, this could take days...I've heard the horror stories. And how much is it gonna hurt?

Every thought was about me as we drove to the hospital that night. Every thought preceding those thoughts, in fact, was about me. I had resigned myself to never seeing my toes again, never putting on socks or shoes independently and that I'd be pregnant forever.

Even the final tipping point -- the thought that put us on the road to the hospital -- was about. ME:

As if my feet being strangers to my eyes isn't enough, now I've got cramps. Like period cramps. Like excruciating period cramps.

My husband snored as I powered through the crampy stomach until it dawned on me: Uh-oh. I better wake him up. This baby is happening now, despite the doctor prediction's of its arrival of the next day.

Eight hours and a final push later, she arrived. IT'SA GIRL! the doctor announced. But even then, it was about me: for the nine months that she was my constant companion, I was sure -- SURE -- this baby was a boy.

Are you sure?

I wanted to ask but didn't since my OB and at least ten residents saw this kid enter the world with girl parts and probably signed off on some certificate someplace saying that they all conferred, and that yes, this baby was indeed a girl.

Okay. I screw up stuff sometimes. Just give me my Babygirl.

And they did.

I'd like to say that we looked at each other in those first moments of her life, but science says that babies can't see clearly within hours of birth. All I know is that she didn't cry. I felt like we just looked at each other for space in time that felt frozen and sacred. I'll always feel like she saw my few lonely, happy, I-gotta-get-this-right tears all the same.

That's when life stopped being about me: after all, I got picked to be this amazing human being's momma and was a primary gardener responsible for cultivating every good and perfect seed within her to bloom.

And every minute of every day of every hour since, I'm still praying I don't screw it up.

Happy Birthday, Babygirl.

November 17, 2017

Grace and the Things That Happen

5:00pm seems so late in the couple weeks after Daylight Saving Time. It's around that time my daughter and I were heading home after an after-school volunteer meeting.

I understood Daylight Saving Time, but I knew our dog didn't. His life runs by the clock: walk at 5:43am; nap until we get home at 4:00pm; walk and then poop at 4:30pm. In that order. We were an hour late. I knew it, I knew he knew it and I hoped he could wait.

It was in that spirit that we burst into the house, screaming Okay Charley, let's go for walk! But Charley was nowhere to be found. I breathed a sigh of relief thinking my husband had beaten us home to help Charley stay on task with his personal schedule.

But something was out of place.

Our makeshift doggie gate that bars Charley's entrance to the rest of the house was still up.The basement door was slightly ajar; and its cold green hallway light cast an eerie sliver of light through the kitchen. 

The leash was still in its place from that morning. But Charley needs a leash to walk.

My brain scrambled to add up the missing pieces as my daughter headed downstairs, thinking my husband and the dog were downstairs together...Dad! DAAAAD! I went to our bedroom to look out the window, expecting to see the dog and my husband.

Why is the bedroom light on? Dad!! DAAAAD! My daughter's voice seemed to fade and narrow in my ears as I looked at the dresser: All the drawers were open, and the top of the dresser looked like...oh dear lord.

We had been broken into. Robbed.

That happened about this time last year; and I said nothing on social media about it because I didn't want sympathy.
* * * * * * * *

As more sexual abuse allegations toward the powerful roll in, I reflect on this time last year knowing that my silence wasn't so much about not wanting sympathy as it was about me buying into Anti-grace.

Whereas grace says everything we have is a gift -- whether it's getting that dream job, or car, or stable housing or food or good friends or good health or "good" kids. Grace says its all a gift. Unearned and unmerited. A gift.

On the other hand, Anti-grace says we earn everything. Everything. Cancer in remission? We Livestrong and beat it because we're fighters.

Poverty? We choose to not work hard, or we excel in laziness, or we majored in lack of motivation, or we like our bootstraps just loose enough to not pull ourselves up. We earn that poverty.

Divorce or Breakup? We choose the wrong guy/girl, or we work on not being the marrying type, or we lean into pushing him/her away. We bootstrap our way to singlehood.

Robbery? We choose to live in the wrong neighborhood because everyone knows this stuff never happens in the suburbs. We definitely deserved it.

Some guy said something to us, stalked us, or we had to fight him off? We wore something, said something, or flipped our hair flirtatiously to earn it.

Anti-grace is a megaphone of our good fortune and a silencer of our ills.

* * * * * * * *

All the fingerprinting dust left by the detectives is long gone. We've replaced the compromised door jambs and mourned appropriately over stolen sentimental treasures now living in a pawnshop or in a back alley.

It is only by grace that we recovered our sense of safety. It is only by grace that I can even talk about the robbery now, because like the people who are coming forward with sexual abuse allegations, I know what happened to us -- and what happened to them -- is nothing we earned.

It just happened.

September 11, 2017

That Day, Them and Me

That Day

A group of friends and acquaintances has gathered; and, for the first time, the conversation isn’t centered on who’s paying for the next shot, or who’s “on deck” for a round of bar darts. 

We are shocked, stunned and uncomfortably vulnerable after that afternoon’s horror show, now seemingly on a forever loop of planes crashing, buildings crumbling and people covered in ash.

It is September 11.

I’ll never trust Them. Never.

The words fall on my ears like lead. They are heartburn eating up my chest, and I am disappointed. This acquaintance is bright, funny…and kind.

But, but…I stammered through the shock and vulnerability, almost pleading, Hold on here. I mean, did we mistrust all white guys after Timothy McVeigh…did we?

The Next Day

It’s my best friend’s birthday, but the smoke, sadness a fear has wiped away any thoughts of celebration texts or calls.

I make my way to my one-bedroom apartment down the busy thoroughfare that’s dotted with fast food restaurants and strip malls on either side. I espy the tiny gas station that lies about forty-five degrees off the thoroughfare and maneuver the car to make a quick exit to get there.

I want a newspaper. Not because I need the newsprint and pictures and stories to remember, but because if I ever had kids, I’d want them to know that I lived through it.

The place is thick with the aroma of car freshener and incense, and a little left of the girly magazine display are the dailies. The television’s on, replaying on loop what we all already know.

I grab a paper and the one thousand point font headline screams TERRORIST ATTACK and the full-size graphic below confirms it is, indeed, time to panic. I take the paper to the bullet-proof cashier’s window, and realize the cashier is brown. Browner than me.

Probably Middle-Eastern.

Kindredship happens in that split second. It isn’t a kindredship in the whole I’m colorblind, we’re just humans who are hurting, frightened and vulnerable. No, it definitely isn’t that. I’ll never trust Them is still stuck and gunking up my innards.

It is kindredship based on remembrance of all the times I, and my brothers, my sister, my parents and some friends had been pegged as Them.

Even though you are but one, you are All. You are Them.

Being Them is shameful, embarrassing and sometimes frightening. You have to answer on behalf of an entire group of people for the stupidity or hatred of a singular person within the group. You have to develop a duck’s back to repel all incremental and incidental insults slung when you least expect.

I feel for the guy; and, now I’m hypersensitive that I only know of middle-eastern people, but don't actually know any. Nope. So I reach out in the way most comfortable to me: I make small talk…and giggle…and smile wide and friendly.

It’s embarrassing, really.

I’m now the equivalent of the white person who strikes up a conversation with me to tell me about their black friend, or ask me how to cook greens (fyi – I don’t know, my mom never cooked greens) or ask me if I know this one other black person within the entire city or doing everything to say but not just coming out and saying I’M OKAY WITH YOUR PEOPLE.

Geez, this guy isn’t Moses. He doesn’t have any people, to let go or otherwise. I pay for the paper, hop back in the car and head home, all the while kicking myself for being too giggly and smiley and friendly and…just unnecessarily Extra.

The Years After

Now, The Thems and the feelings around The Thems are uglier and seemingly sometimes state-sanctioned.

And there are many more Thems now – Jewish, Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQ, whatever side of the political spectrum with which one happens to disagree, Black Folks (a continuing role) and still, sadly middle-eastern and/or people who other people with ill-intent determine to be The Ultimate Them: Muslims.

Hate crimes against all The Thems have climbed exponentially since November of 2016.

I wonder about The Thems I pass everyday who are dealing with slights, insults, stupid questions and dirty looks. I wonder who is dealing with a hate crime but too frightened to say anything. I wonder what to do. I’m not a protester or a marcher and God’s the only One who knows about my conversations with Him.

The scene is a different gas station – this one blocks away from home. I see this brown guy almost weekly, and we talk about the weather, how my car drives in the winter or why they don’t carry the brand of cigarettes I like.

On this particular day, another awful thing has happened to the Them and it’s on national news and it’s eating me up inside. I grab a newspaper and a bottle of water. He asks how my day is, and I gulp and choke out

Are you doing okay? I mean…it can get weird around here…you know?

I look him in the eye while saying this because I want him to know that I am here, that I care. That I see him as a person – not a Them. I blink back tears that threaten to appear in the short time I asked that short question.

He doesn’t break eye contact. I know that he sees me – he sees me -- and says

Yes. We are fine.

Yeah…I guess we are fine. I hope we are fine.

August 14, 2017

Still Standing

It seems I’m always late, always a half-click behind, and I hurriedly keyed in the code to pick up my then 3 year-old from childcare. Her teacher greets me and says There was a little bit of problem today.

I gulp hard: it seems my little girl came to the rescue of a classmate who was being teased, and evidently, she was pretty upset but the teacher calmed her down.

I could get on board with that type of problem. 

We talked about it on the way home. Her tiny voice strained as she choked back tears Mom, they just kept calling her [her classmate] a baby…and, made me SO mad I just started screaming STOP, LEAVE HER ALONE!

To this day I can’t remember teaching her to do specifically that – to step in for kids who are being bullied. But in that moment, I just thanked God for sending her to us with that kind of heart and prayed she’d always carry that softness for others within her.

Over ten some-odd years later, she has.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The chaos, horror and hatred of Charlottesville is a thick sticky blanket of shadowy darkness that's still lingering over me.
I’ve been trying to dissect what I’ve known for some time now: that hate and racism still pulsate throughout systems, media, songs – and people. I know this, and yet seeing it march down a street torches blazing, distorting faces with its ugly pride, send a chill down my spine.
I was tempted to break from the coverage when my now teen daughter walked in the room, but I left it on. She was appropriately disgusted and then nonchalantly said Oh yeah, that reminds me… and proceeded to tell me about how she and her uncle had vile words hurled at them earlier in the week.

Gravity pulled on my shoulders and a new level of exhaustion set in. I knew this day would come, had talked to her about it long before, but…dammit. Just dammit.
She was no worse for the wear and shrugged it off. Maybe our previous talks had worked a little too well.

Even as I kept my mama bear instinct at bay, I couldn't help but think If people knew this kind of stuff actually happens to people they know who walk a path different from theirs, they’d be outraged. Certainly, if they knew my daughter -- this sweet, funny and kind kid -- they’d want to stick up for her.
Like she stood up for her classmate all those years ago.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hours later, a 32-year-old woman who was a counter protester was killed in a terrorist attack spurred by the day’s rally.
My stomach twisted at the thought of that woman’s mother and the nightmare she was going through at that moment.

Was she remembering seeing the spark of her kid being a fighter for other kids? Was she thinking of her own nervousness when her daughter told her that she was headed to Charlottesville to stand up for what’s right?
We tell our kids to do the right thing, but I don’t know if we consider what the cost might be. I definitely didn’t all those years ago when I was thanking God for my daughter’s heart and asking Him to preserve it.
And I don’t know where we go from here, but maybe a start would be standing up for each other.

Not just for the sweet, funny and kind people we know, but also for the people we don't know who are exhausted daily simply from living because others who don't like their skin, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation make their life hard.
Chances are, those same people would stand up for us.


April 25, 2017

It's a Really Short Season

The powder blue rental bikes are soldiers lined up in formation under a clear, spring sky waiting for twenty-something singles, newlyweds, families with kids who have long ago ditched training wheels, empty-nesters, and those with broken marriages, broken homes and broken dreams.

They wait to be used for a slowed down exploration of the life that, up until now, had been under the grips of a long, dormant, cold season. They seem to understand that the cycle of sun, warmth and rain has brought to fruition blooming and reawakening.

For a minute, I think I hear them say:
Push one pedal, push another and feel your knees do what they were created to do with each revolution. No one is behind you honking and in a hurry to pass on to the next thing. Go ahead, squeeze the brakes. Stop. Now look – and actually see – what you’ve been missing while driving.
This season is shorter than you think.
For many years, my car was being wife, mother, clocking in, clocking out and trying to create a reasonably perfect marriage, childhood for our daughter and household for our family.

I was whizzing by genuine memories when I was en route to perfect, manufactured memories. Driving with windows up, I never felt harsh weather, but I didn’t feel warm spring breezes or breathe in the signature smells of April showers.

I had almost stopped exploring -- much less even looking -- because I believed there was no new ground to be covered. Each day had its destinations, time of arrival and time of departure. Good conversations, belly laughs and just being were infrequent detours.

Days fused into weeks, weeks into months and months into years.

Seasons passed.

I was changing my daughter’s diapers one day and having “the talk” about periods and puberty the next. One week my husband and I were planning an impromptu vacation detour and the next week we were talking retirement options.

One minute, I realized I’d have to begin having annual mammograms in ten years. I blinked and in the next minute, I was in a doctor’s office waiting…wondering if everything was normal. The nurse told me I’d either get a phone call if something was “off” or, a postcard if there were no abnormalities.

I had never wanted to receive a postcard as much as I did that day.

In the in between time of waiting, I thought about missed seasons and the incidental moments of goofy-ness that seemed like roadblocks. The heart-to-heart girlfriend conversations cut short because of the itinerary’s pull. There were more missed opportunities for exploring than I could – or wanted to – recount.

And then just like that, the postcard arrived.

April 12, 2017

About The Bananas...Kind of

It started with the bananas. It always does.

They had been receptive to bananas for a while, my daughter and husband. Me too, if I was being honest. But our romance with the bananas began to fade as did the fruit's once creamy yellow skin.

Eat these bananas soon! announced my husband as if someone in the house must surely still love them. These bananas are going bad! Someone needs to eat them before they do! As if he wasn’t a ‘someone' who could eat them.

I lied and said it was my full intention to make banana bread out of what now looked like October leaves. They were beyond dead; and I trashed them with a wince, thinking of how my mother loathed waste.

A giggle barged into my wince as I thought of a dear friend who often said he was so old, he didn’t even buy green bananas.

The thing they don’t tell you about October leaves-bananas is that they attract fruit flies. And after you toss the bananas, the fruit flies stay…I don’t know why, maybe they’re hoping to resurrect the romance so carelessly tossed away.

This sent me to my local hardware store in search of a fruit fly catcher thingee.

Hardware stores aren’t my favorite place to be to begin with. There are thousands of aisles loaded floor to ceiling with eight million different nails, all set aglow by eerie orange fluorescent lights that buzz in time to muzak while the scent of nondescript timber wafts over my being.

At least that’s how it felt. Maybe that’s why I was so easily distracted by the daffodil bulbs on the aisle endcaps.

How long had I been threatening to plant daffodils? Three? Five? Seven years? Didn’t matter. All I knew is that every year I’d find myself in the backyard with muddied knees and then day-after strained hamstrings from planting annuals for hours when I should’ve planted perennials. Like daffodils.

At ten bucks a bag, they were worth it. I bought them, planted them and dared any neighborhood squirrel to even think about digging them up. I figured they’d shoot up in April or May and from that time forth, I couldn’t wait to wait out the long Wisconsin winter and see my handiwork.

I’m so old I don’t even buy green bananas I suddenly heard my friend say.

Now I’m not old, but as my waste-loathing mother would say: tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Just ask Charlie Murphy, Prince Glen Frey, Tray Walker, Chyna, Phife Dawg and…on second thought, don’t ask.

Green bananas aren't a smart buy after all.

Soon enough, the temps warmed and coaxed green sprouts into bursting forth through thawing soil. It was spring in Wisconsin, which meant the warm weather turned to freezing in a day’s time. I beseeched my husband to save my soon-to-be-babies by covering them until the weather would be kind to them. He did.

A few days ago, I felt the time was right and carefully rolled back their covering.

They were surviving and flourishing. I was here to see it; and, I was grateful in a way I hadn’t been in a long while.

But it all started with the bananas. It always does.

April 1, 2017

Here's to Mud in Our Eyes

File this one under Understanding Stuff a Week After it Happens.

At first glance, last Sunday’s sermon about the story of Jesus healing a blind man in an unconventional way (as if there’s a conventional way to restore sight) was about a miracle...and mud.

But I think there’s more to this miraculous story that speaks to everyone, regardless of belief in the story or faith, or no faith at all.

If you’re unfamiliar, here it is:
Blind Guy is poor, looked down upon by everyone. The Bible doesn’t even say his name – he’s just BLIND GUY. Anyway, Blind Guy is disenfranchised because somehow, someway society back then believed his blindness was probably deserved for something his parents did or something he did. (Some things never change: how are the poor, refugee, immigrant and ‘other’ viewed today?)
Enough editorializing. I’ll go on.
Anyway, Blind Guy is so desperate and without dignity, he’ll ask anyone for help – including Jesus, Who in turn spits on the ground, mixes up a mud pie, and puts it on the guy’s eyes. Nice. Blind Guy is okay with mud IN HIS EYES.
Then Jesus tells the guy to go wash off Eye Mud Pie in a specific pond. Really? Somehow, Blind Guy stumbles his way to the pond, washes Eye Mud Pie off, and viola, he can see.
I can see, y'all!

Back to last Sunday.

While pastor was talking about the symbolism of Jesus using mud, I was sitting there wholly identifying with Blind Guy and thinking holycrap (no pun intended): would I have been okay with that? Like, from hearing Someone spitting, to Eye Mud Pie ON MY FACE and being told to walk with said Eye Mud Pie through the village, past everyone who thinks I’m ‘less-than’ whilst they make fun of me, to finding a specific pond when all I wanted was sight?

No thank you, Sir. I'll happily stay in the dark, please.
And I couldn’t shake the thought of it all week. If Blind Guy had said No, I’m not about all that; he would’ve been in the dark till his dying day.

That's when it dawned on me: the healing was on Jesus -- ALL Jesus; but the Eye Mud Pie path to healing? That was on Blind Guy and his willingness to walk that muddy, embarrassing path.

Then, I preached my own sermon to myself. How often have I said a loud NOPE and put the brakes on in potentially crazy situations when those potentially crazy situations were (unbeknownst to me) temporary and might’ve been the way out and into clarity? Yikes.

Even in the current political climate, no matter on what side of the fence you sit, you gotta admit that this is a crazy, unbelievable time. What if the way out of it is to actually go through it? Nudge each other and reassure each other, yes. Tell each other that No, we aren’t crazy – we heard the same word salad, and we’ll call out future word salads along the way.

But maybe, just maybe this muddy, embarrassing path might be the path that gets us all out of the darkness and into the light again.

So, cheers everybody. Let's all raise a glass to mud in our eyes. I have a feeling we're gonna need it.

February 18, 2017

It Wasn't A Dream After All

I’m on the sidewalk in front of our post-World War II salt box, stretching for the three-times-a-week nightly run. The steep slope to the east makes it easier to jog the two blocks toward the busy street, despite the neighbor kids’ toys habitually left in the middle of block two’s sidewalk.

I take off at a fast-walk, cross the street and begin a quick jog. Despite the custom playlist beating in my head, I hear each foot fall on the pavement in rhythm. My shoulders open, I feel taller, healthier…and free. Fatigue is a phantom and I may as well be flying the 3.75 mile route instead of running it.

A voice-over murmurs There’s no way you can get back into rhythm without an asthma attack or cardiac arrest. It’s been four years and forty-five pounds ago since you last ran. The voice-over isn’t lying: I am heavier – way heavier – than the long ago running days

But I persist: one foot, then the other. Slow, growing faster and faster with each step. It feels natural. I begin to feel lighter, healthier, and agile and more like me.

Then my husband rouses himself for work and rouses me awake. Except for the voice-over’s truthful accusation of the four years and forty-five pounds ago part, it was all just a random dream.

Then again, maybe it wasn’t so random if I ponder the dream with a disconnection from life’s busy-ness and discernment.

Maybe that dream was a bit of a prophecy.


Republican, Democrat, Independent, Undecided or Apathetic, the past couple years have sapped us emotionally, spiritually and physically. Then again, maybe that’s just me.

The Sapping has been an inescapable blanket of fog that's fettered words that would otherwise easily come much like the eternity ago when I was a slimmer, more agile running me. But freed words and feelings have been a distant memory for some time.

Until today.

Today The Fog and I entered a simple library meeting room for a meet and greet/rehearsal for the grand finale performance of Milwaukee’s Listen To Your Mother Show.

It felt like we were all 14 years-old and it was freshman orientation. All of us, including co-producers Alexandra and Jenny, knew we were excited to be there, but man. There was The Fog hanging over the nervous, excited chatter, hugging and…waiting.

Waiting for the stories.

One story had us feeling something vaguely familiar to a feeling we stowed away over the past few years. More stories resurrected more feelings and we felt like ourselves. Comfortable in the words we heard and awakened feelings, we didn’t even realize that more stories had us reaching for tissues as the ache it caused melted an eye-opening empathy we almost – almost – forgot about.

We remembered our stories aren’t stories – they are uspeople – all traveling this same humanity journey. 
Photo Credit: Carrie Stuckmann
Somewhere in between and underneath those emotions, we remembered the insanity of humanity of our shared journey and giggled, guffawed with gut-busting, snort-laughing laughter. (Disclaimer: It was me who snort-laughed)

But The Fog had lifted for all of us. We flew today as we listened and felt each others’ footfalls in a rhythm to some playlist we forgot existed.

I guess maybe my dream wasn’t a dream after all.


 This year's show is so much more than a show. It's uplifting and life-changing.
You'll cry, you'll think, you'll snort-laugh.
You'll fly.
Mark your calendars for May 7th and check back here for ticket information.
Hope to see you there!