The seasons always surprise me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

photo by my lovely friend Janet Jacob
It snowed on Friday.

As much as I love living in the West, my internal clock has not adjusted to its seasons. I'm surprised by them every time. I spent the first half of my life in the South, where March promised blooming trees and t-shirts. But March here means two more months of muddy slush and sudden snow. Septembers in the South are, truthfully, awful - muggy and warm until the very end, leading everyone to grumble about the summer that just won't die. Not so here, of course. I knew it wouldn't stay hot for long. After Labor Day I took stock of our coats, but I assumed I had several weeks to replace shoes and gloves. It's only early September, right?

on all of the wins nobody sees

Friday, August 29, 2014

My name is Stephanie, and I didn’t eat any brownies last Thursday. Those brownies sat on my counter all day long, and I didn’t eat a single one when nobody was looking. Not eating them was the most productive thing I did all day. I fought those brownies – and I won.
And nobody ever even knew about it.
I'm over at Five Kids is a Lot of Kids today, talking about the wins nobody ever sees. Click here to read the rest. 
If you're here from Beth Woolsey's blog, welcome! You may like reading about how we are not created for death or how a book on natural childbirth changed my life. If you're winning a fight nobody sees right now too, I would love to hear about it. You can email me at awidemercy at gmail dot com. You can also follow along on our Facebook page. So glad to meet you! 

on refusing to hide

Friday, August 22, 2014

I didn't always see the world this way. I blame Brene Brown. Glennon Melton, too.

On September 12, 2010, I received the weirdest email of my life. Sent by my lifelong friend's estranged  husband, it simply read, "She failed an alcohol test at the outpatient clinic tonight. They are admitting her for inpatient. She just couldn't do it."

I stared at the screen, utterly confused. What is this guy talking about? Failed a test? Inpatient - does that mean she's going to rehab? What in the hell is going on? 

the day I put my homeschooled kids into school

Friday, August 15, 2014

It wasn't sitting well with me. I kept trying, but I just couldn't picture the new school year at home.

I love homeschooling. Well, I love having my older kids at home with me. I love reading books together and playing outside in the middle of the day. I love playgroups and time for adventures. I don't love the constant chaos, or how little focused time I have with my two younger kids. I don't love being responsible for creating all of the energy for our day. Homeschooling requires you to be both the engine and the track for moving your kids forward, and that doesn't leave a lot of energy for much else. I love homeschooling, but suddenly I dreaded the idea of starting another year. I mean, really dreaded it.

But I have strong convictions about education, and what young kids need to thrive. I couldn't just ignore those ideals. Colorado has a charter system, and I found myself constantly staring at my phone, googling schools throughout the day. I couldn't find a school that genuinely interested me. In my head I went back and forth, round and round, all day long. I love having them home, I would think. But I can't be both train and track right now, I would counter.

O Captain my Captain.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

“O Captain my Captain.”
My friends and I stared at the screen, mesmerized. I was in high school, and Dead Poet’s Society was only a few years old. I’d watched it so many times I’d memorized whole scenes, yet every single time Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) climbed onto his desk, tears streamed down my face. I too wanted to suck the marrow out of life. Like his students, I believed Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) when he said, “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is full of passion.” There was a powerful play going on, and I wanted to contribute a verse.
In high school, Robin Williams changed my life. I'm sharing the story today at Venn Magazine. 

We were not created for death.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Our hearts weren't made for death.

We were never meant to come into contact with it. Our souls were created before the Fall, before Adam ever tended a field or Eve knelt beside her dead son's tomb. We were designed for communion, for relationship, for life to flow in and through and all around us. We were made for green sprigs and first birthdays and falling in love. That is our truest home. We were not created with death in mind.

Is it any wonder, then, that grief would be so exhausting? That touching death in any way would produce so much anxiety and fear? When it enters our lives, even for a moment, we are forced to do something unnatural. The weight of it draws us away from our true selves. Our common reactions - disbelief, anger, withdrawal, fear - are the opposite of who we really are, because we must process this awful thing we were never intended to face.

on living through a close call

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My life has been a series of close calls.

Late one Fourth of July night back in college, a friend, my sister, and I were driving home from a day at the lake. The truck ran off a slick country road, hit a tree, and bounced. My baby sister and I weren't wearing seat belts, and as I realized we were out of control, a thought - from God - ran through my head. "It's just like 'crack the egg.'" In one motion I curled into a ball and pulled my sister down with me, and we pinged inside the cab like kids playing a game on a trampoline. When the truck stopped, we were lying on the roof. A potentially fatal accident, and the three of us rolled down the window, climbed out, and stared at the truck, amazed. In fact, rather than hospitals or worse, that accident was the catalyst to a love story. Sixteen years later, that friend is asleep in my bed right now.


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