I picked up my book, In the Midst of Winterfor the first time in a while yesterday. I was tired, cranky, and felt a general sense of malaise. I wanted something–I didn’t know for what I was looking. I turned to the summer-fall section entitled, “Grief’s Wisdom” and found this lovely bit from Albert Camus. I read it a few times. I felt a pang of guilt at the phrase, “the loved one obstructed a whole corner of the possible.” Is that ok–to accept that there is/was possibility I would not have seen if life had stayed on the same track?


Back when “it” all happened, a friend said to me, “If this happened to me, I would pack my kids and my bags and be out of here. If you decided to do that, I would not hold it against you.” That has stuck with me. While it wasn’t immediate, I did pack my bags and get away. But I wasn’t running away. I could have found contentment and healing in my home place. I ran towards the uncovered possibility that had always been part of the “plan.”

So I look to the next line, “Freedom emerges from weariness.” Freedom is not forgetting. It is not closing a hole. It is the acknowledgment that forward motion is right and good. It is not freedom from love or memory; it is freedom from the daily in and out of grief. And a lot of the time lately, I feel free and even happy. As my weariness dissipates into fits and spurts rather than a steady stream, I hold onto this freedom with a vice grip for fear if I loosen my grip, it too will slip away.

hole. whole.

You can never fully repair the hole in your heart. It simply becomes a part of you. You mend and you grow and you make peace with it. In his piece in the NY Times, David Melham said it best, “No, what happens is that a weight that initially feels unbearable becomes, in time, manageable.” I feel like this weight has become manageable. It sometimes tears through the mended stitches but it is no longer shredded.


from the Mishkan T’filah

I walk forward. I walk on. I make peace with what has happened to and around me. For I cannot truly live without finding this peace. But, sometimes I walk at a different pace than others and I must make peace with that too. For we all walk the path of forgiveness, acceptance, and resolution in our own time. I want to heed the wisdom of the Mishkan T’filah and live fully. This means risk. It means risking the possibility that the wound will rip open once more. It means risking the possibility of more loss. And, it means risking the possibility of regaining wholeness.


The hole shall live with its stitches but it does not mean I am not whole. It simply means I have to make peace with all that was, with all that is, and with all that will be.

Alabamaversary. 2

(so I missed the first one…but here we go.)

It has been two months since I moved to Alabama. It feels like it has been six. I suppose that is how one should feel when in the whirlwind of work and starting a new phase of life. Here is what I know so far…

  1. Yes, it is really hot. All the time. Today is the first day my AC has actually made it down to 74. I can’t talk about my electric bill without oxygen or a cocktail.
  2. It is no longer appropriate to wear most of my favorite footwear or jeans. My toms are crying in the closet.
  3. I have been “yes, ma’am”ed more in the last five days since school began than in my total previous 13 school years. (I appreciate this very much.)
  4. I have also had the door held for me more times than in my previous 36 years, perhaps withstanding early childhood. (Chivalry is good.)
  5. Nowhere in town takes more than 10 minutes, even in “rush hour”. 
  6. Alabama craft beer, for the win. I suggest Good People Snake Handler for a kick in the pants.
  7. I am a little nervous for football season. Can’t the eagle just roll in the tide? (Just Kidding!!!!)
  8. Episcopalians tend to be awesome everywhere and here is no exception.
  9. I say y’all now. I mean, every day and “you guys” has started to sound weird. 
  10. When people say, “how can I help”, they mean it and they show up early and with donuts. It is not hard to be accepted here if you are genuine and kind. 

All in all, I feel happy every day about something. I am so grateful to be here. I am in the right place. That in itself, is a miracle of sorts.

and we go on

The ten month anniversary is almost here. As the teen days creep up or sprint to the twenties, the nag comes up in my head. “it’s almost here”, it whispers. Each month I’ve handled the nag differently. The first few were buckets of tears and then less and then more. This grief is like waves. Up and down. Sometimes the rip current so harsh it feels like drowning and some days, it’s placid. 

When I read this woman’s account of grief today I wanted to shout, YES! THIS! Preach Sister-Widow! It’s like she completely understood me in a way that I didn’t understand myself. It was as if she validated in my coping mechanisms (Douglas Green Sauvingnon Blanc and Netflix), my feeling about what K has missed (He totally would’ve wanted to go to Cuba and the President’s Own has a B-flat opening.), and my utter shock at my own ability to go on. To move forward.

I feel like I dropped a cinder block on my 804 mile journey to Alabama. My world, flipped upside down. And at the same time, the guilt webs it’s way into my skin. Am I allowed to start to feel better? Is it wrong? Is it too soon? I feel like every day I wake up here is a better day. I feel like I am in the exact right place where I’ve been called to serve. Is this ok? Is this fair? Does this disrespect memory?

The other thing about Rachel (my new sister-widow)’s blog was that it made me feel ok about the way I’ve chosen to publicly live grief. I do not, for one second, judge sisters who prefer a private path. For me, living this out loud has helped. It makes me feel like a can take the stigma out of grief. Perhaps that is the Yankee in me and most polite Southern gals would shy away, but I believe this authenticity has been what has kept me whole.

And so we go on.


I am now a month into living in my new hometown of Montgomery, Alabama and I’m pretty sure I’ve run more here than I did in the last 10 months at home (part injury-part life.) I’ve lived in lots of different communities all over the country and I’m always grateful when I can find the common ground in running. (Also church…and starbucks.) So now that I’ve met a few people, found the local running store, found one or two routes, ran a race, and will sign up for a few more–what does that mean for my training? Will I finally, after years off from serious training, actually regain the long lost discipline?

I would like to. My body and mind will be stronger if I nourish them with miles. I will gain energy. I will possibly fit better in my pants. My back will hurt less. So, what will it take? How does one finally get the intrinsic motivation to rebuild after so much time away? I don’t know the answer right now. I do know that there is a run tonight. I do know that there is a 10 miler in November (and a training program to go with it.) What I don’t know is how to re-fall in love with running. I want to. I need to. I want to bottle up the joy I felt a few weeks ago at the Chewacla Tri and remember it. I want to use it as a catalyst to move forward.

IMG_4680this sort of joy….

Have you had to rebuild? What brought you back? What motivated you? I’ll take any ideas. And I’ll keep you posted. XO.



photo source (perfect that it’s a Yankee #)

I am finally my favorite number! For years, my lucky number has been 37. I have three seven’s in my birthday and it always seemed like a logical reason to make it my favorite number. Also, there are a lot of interesting math things around 37. I’m #4 in our group of 7 cousins (7-4=3), I’m one of three sisters, and Ken’s classroom number in 2nd grade (his Mom’s class) was 7, so it just fits.

Starting a fresh new year of life in a new place doing new things is just what the “doctor” ordered after a tumultuous 36th year. I will officially get an Alabama license today and have officially sent my “back to school” letter to faculty today. So both feet are firmly planted for a great new year in the South.

For your interest, here are some cool facts about the #37 I think my Mom will be most pleased by the Shakespeare reference and I’m pleased that I’m the fifth lucky prime. I think K would be pleased that this is Casey Stengel’s retired Yankee number. Also, because some people have too much time on their hands, the interwebs found me this 37 Factoid site. My favorite factoid from this site is:

  • The winner of the 1996 Ironman Triathon World Championship, Luc Van Lierde of Belgium, was entrant #37. (Sweet.)

Also, not to get all morbid, but apparently Dylan Thomas died at the age of 37 (no plans for that for me…) but since he wrote one of my favorite poems, I give it to you here. (His wife was named Caitlin, also appropriate.)

So that is enough of me for one 37th natal day. Have a Sofia or an IPA today and tell your family you love them.I continue to feel overwhelmed by the grace which I’ve been given by my friends and family in the last nine months. Honor each day as a gift and a step forward in faith and joy.


good morning baltimore

My heart is breaking for Baltimore today. While not my hometown, I have spent many a day in the city-learning at Hopkins, cheering the O’s, running the marathon, hearing and singing with the BSO, and introducing family and friends to the science center, aquarium, and Ft. McHenry. But these are not the parts of Baltimore that are on fire. These are not the parts of Baltimore that cry out in pain from decades of oppression and violence.

As Baltimore burns this morning, I push away from the easy rhetoric; the “those people should behave” talk. Rather I seek the whole story. I seek to understand what drives people to lose their will be peaceful and pushes them to rage. I am not an historian. I am not a theologian. I am not a journalist. So instead of my own words, I share the words of others who are helping me glean perspective today.

David Simon-creator of The Wire

Two States of Emergency in BaltimoreThe Atlantic

Non-Violence as Compliance, Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

God was Born on the Streets of Baltimore, Jason Chesnut, Faith Interrupted

John Angelos, Orioles COO, perspective

An historical approach-MLK’s Speech in Gross Pointe, MI 3.14.68

Why Baltimore Burned, Forbes

Double Standard of Riot Coverage

I beg you, before you rant about unrest or attempt to place blame, try to get a 360 view. Turn off the cable news (all the channels, not just one.) Try to glean as much information as you can to understand the root causes. And pray, my friends, may we pray so fiercely for clarity, peace, healing, and justice—FOR ALL.


searching for sunday.

This week’s past Gospel, we call Thomas the “doubter”-he wants the evidence of things unseen to prove the resurrection of Jesus. I’m not going to debate the word doubt and Thomas’ need for tangible proof in the risen Lord. However, I find the timing of this Gospel perfect as I wrap my head around the brilliance that is Rachel Held Evans’ new work, searching for sunday: loving, leaving and finding the church.


In the vein of Barbara Brown Taylor’s Leaving ChurchRachel guides us through her crisis of faith with stories that will challenge us to consider our own doubt. Her authentic tale of evangelical upbringing, running away, and returning to the table is accessible to both the cradle believers and those who still seek. She walks us through this journey through the sacred sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing the Sick, and Marriage.

We are challenged to think–is everything I’ve been taught or I’ve thought I believed true? Is it real? Is there room at the table for all? Are our churches limiting the scope and reach of Jesus by making judgments on people, places, and things? Are we losing the millennial generation because making church a rock concert or serving hipster coffee isn’t making the great commandment relevant for us?

As a cradle Episcopalian, I am lucky I didn’t have to answer a lot of the questions with which Rachel has grappled. I grew up in a home and church that preached inclusion. I never knew a life without women in leadership at the highest level. I never heard anti-LGBT speech from my pulpit. I grew up steeped in liturgical tradition that honored reason as a part of one’s faith formation. However, as a college student in the Midwest, I gained an eye-opening baptism of my own in the world of evangelicalism. (Or as my Mom liked to call it “fundamentalism”—aka, Republican and Baptist.) This was a gift to me in a sense as it opened up scripture in a way that I hadn’t seen in my upbringing. It taught me the phrase “personal relationship with Jesus” and opened my mind to see the myriad of ways people worship and perceive God, Jesus, the Bible, and the Church. It made me appreciate my moderate, intellect loving background, but also respect the traditions and beliefs of others. It made me appreciate that doubt was an integral part of the journey.

To write a review of this book is hard. It is a “nugget” book for me. A book filled with so many quotables, that I found myself splicing the larger ideas into tastes. By doing so, I don’t want to undercut the message of inclusion that I think is at the heart of this book. Yet at the same time, I want YOU to read it, so I will offer you a few tastes with an encouragement to join our conversation.


“We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors, without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask.”


“The Spirit that once hovered over the waters had inhabited them. Now every drop is holy.”

“It was the 80’s, so all my earliest memories of Jesus smell like hairspray.”

“The good news is you are a beloved child of God; the bad news is you don’t get to choose your siblings.”

“Grace has been out of hand for more than two thousand years now. We best get used to it.”


image source


“But no one really teaches you how to grieve the loss of your faith. You’re on your own for that.”

“I wanted to believe with my intellectual integrity and intuition intact, with both my head and heart fully engaged.”

“In the company of these friends, questions and doubts were met with sympathy, not fear. No one felt the need to correct or understand or approve. We just listened, and it was sacred.”


Holy Orders
“Ultimately, we are all commissioned. All are called. All belong to the holy order of God’s beloved.”

“…go first, to volunteer the truth about their sins, their dreams, their failures, and their fears in order to free others to do the same.”

“When Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, he was showing them what leadership in the upside-down kingdom of God looks like.”



“clamorous manducation.”

“Something about communion triggers our memory and helps us see things as they really are. Something about communion opens our eyes to see Jesus at the table.”

“Communion doesn’t answer every question, nor does it keep my stomach from rumbling from time to time, but I have found that it is enough. It is always and ever enough.”



“I didn’t know how to tell them this was exactly the sort of thing that made me doubt.”

“The journey comes with baggage, yes. And heartbreak. But there are also many gifts. In a sense, we’re all cobblers. We’re all a bit like Brother Joseph, piecing together our faith, one shard of broken glass at a time.”

“And the notion that a single tradition owns the lockbox on truth is laughable, especially when the truth we’re talking is God.”

“My Mother always said you don’t have to believe much to be Episcopalian” (this one made me laugh so so hard.)

Anointing of the Sick

“The annoying thing about being human is that to be fully engaged with the world, we must be vulnerable. And the annoying thing about being vulnerable is that sometimes it means we get hurt.”

“The thing about healing, as opposed to curing, is that it is relational. It takes time, It is inefficient, like a meandering river…..Walking with someone through grief, or the process of reconciliation, requires patience, presence, and a willingness to wander, to take the scenic route.” (This was the most meaningful chapter for me entitled Healing. A stunning connection to grief and loss.)

anointing the sick SFS

image source


“We must be careful, then, of idolizing the institution of marriage on the one hand and discounting its kingdom-reflecting potential on the other.”

“Perhaps she would talk about being underestimated, about surprising people and surprising herself. Or about how there are moments when her own strength startles her, and moments when her weakness–her forgetfulness, her fear, her exhaustion–unnerve her.”

“Sometimes I think the biggest challenge in talking about the church is telling ourselves the truth about it–acknowledging the scars, staring down the ugly bits, marveling at its resiliency, and believing that this flawed and magnificent body is enough, for now, to carry us through the world and into the arms of Christ.”


Hopefully, something in those words triggered your desire to dig deeply with RHE, as she is often called in our Launch Team circle. She is not a super-hero, she is not selling snake oil. She is opening our hearts and minds to the possibility of what the church can/could be. This book has encouraged my walk and I can’t recommend it to you enough.

Come to the table, you are welcome here.


opening day

Mid day today, the gates will open up.

Fans with hats and gloves rush to catch a glimpse of #2 or #25 as they stretch and stride.

The smell of green grass, the breeze, the bright sun.

The bustle of vendors heavy laden with cotton candy, hot dogs, and beer.

The child’s wide eyes as she sees the field for the first time.

The father taking her hand amid the crowd.

The long walk to the upper deck provides a sensory overload.

Hands on hearts, everyone sings, a moment of pride.

The charge of the field, the wind up, and crack of the bat.

And so begins a new season sure to delight and thrill, madden and sadden.

For the stalwart and the fair weather, today marks the start.

Play Ball.


authentic reality.

It has been five months since my beloved left our Earthly home. In that time, I have continued to experience the ups and downs of the new reality. In the midst of my continued grief process, I am making plans for a new adventure in Alabama, renewing my love affair with Pure Barre, and coaching track. I must go forward and grow, even if it feels like burrowing into the hollow would be the better choice.

There have been words and voices around me that make me feel confident in this growth. Two weeks ago, my amazing Rector, Sari, spoke of re-birth. If we want to experience being truly re-born and experience God, we must go through a passage from one reality to another and we cannot go back. This is terrifying and true and amazing and horrible. It is real. Yesterday, his sermon focused on vulnerability and love. True love exists when we demonstrate that which is our inside on the outside–with another person. When we open our hearts and souls to allow someone in, it is then we experience God. And this, too, can be a wounding experience.

I would not give up this experience of having been vulnerable and experiencing love with Ken for anything, despite the current wounds that may never fully heal. I rejoice in this passage that has been given to me, even if it is the most difficult passage of my life thus far. I choose to live this passage with great vulnerability on the outside, so that others around me know that it is ok to be real. In our society, we view vulnerability as weakness, but I see it as a chance to be honest.  Super-hero Brené Brown writes: “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You AreIn this time of trial, change, and renewal, I can be nothing but authentic. For anything else would be something and someone that I am not.