A Night in Baltimore

I was in Baltimore the night a verdict was expected in the Freddie Gray trial. My sons and I had gotten stranded on our way to Colorado, and decided to make a day of it in the big city. All day, I was ignorant of the momentous occasion that was upon us. Privilege, to not […]

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Gifts from the Dead 2

My grandma started leaving me coins on May 27, 2014, six months and two days after the day she died. This is not a matter of conjecture, opinion, or debate. It is simple fact, as you can read in this essay if you’re so inclined. She leaves them at strategic times and in strategic places. One […]


NotHeather

My Life With Face-Blindness

In an old photo, I’m sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table. I have long brown hair and an impish smile. I’ve just looked up at the camera. A coloring book sits open in front of me, and there’s a marker in my hand. When I show this photo to my husband, he says, “That’s not you.” Of course it […]


The Truth Behind the Truth

You’re not doing it wrong. Life is hard sometimes. It just is. The people who look like they’ve got it all together–it’s an illusion. They may have some things together. They may even have more things together than you have together. But they don’t have it ALL together. I always thought of my grandparents as […]

Except this cat. This cat has it ALL together.

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Turning Tables 2

I must have been in my early 20s. I was at the grocery store with my grandma, picking up a couple things for dinner. We got in the Express check-out line, right behind a woman with a cart loaded with two week’s worth of food. Grandma leaned in to the woman and quietly said, “Excuse […]


Hey, Mom, You Need to Read This

When I was a young mom of young children, I would sometimes confide to acquaintances that I was actually looking forward to the teenage years. They almost inevitably laughed at me. They said, “Oh, yeah, wait until he…” followed by some horror story of smart-alec, obnoxious, or even dangerous teen behavior. I would smile and […]

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Encounters of Unusual Size 6

Today marks the second time in my life I’ve been struck at by a venomous snake. Not my favorite thing in the world, truly. Heart races, screaming ensues, scrambling for safety, and it takes about an hour for the adrenaline to clear fully out of my system.This time, I was walking along a creek in […]


The Power You Have

When my grandma died, I was unreasonably devastated. Wiped out. Completely and utterly ruined. A train wreck. Mowed down to the ground. This made no sense. I mean, I hardly talked to her in her latter years until she got sick. I didn’t grow up in the same town, so I only saw her occasionally […]

Photo Courtesy Ian Paterson

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Why Big Bird’s Heartbreaking Tale Matters

The story of Big Bird calling up a little boy in a cancer ward went viral under the title, “Big Bird Broke Our Hearts Today,” and for good reason: It’s a massive tear-jerker. Sweet and quiet and redeeming and heartbreaking. But I think it’s more than that. I think it’s important. BIG and important. Until […]