Category Archives: Nonfiction

“I just…Nobody ever. My house. I don’t even know.”

That’s about the summation of my thoughts when I walked into my house today after a breakfast date with my husband, courtesy of a family from church.

Apparently the breakfast date was part of a plan to bless me by cleaning my entire house as a surprise.

How do you feel about your house? Do you hold secret shame about your pack-rat tendencies, handed down for 3 generations? Do you always hear yourself saying, “If I could just declutter, this place wouldn’t be such a wreck”? Do you feel overwhelmed by the state of your house as you just try to survive daily life? Do you say, “If I could just stop hanging onto the past, I could get rid of all these things”? Do you remember the panic in your house growing up, rushing around trying to make a place look presentable, whenever someone was going to come over, which as almost never, because letting anyone come over was too guilt-inducing?

Imagine you are all of those things, you are a young adult woman trying very hard to break the hold of All That Stuff, you are starting to get on top of it, and then you are slammed with postpartum anxiety and depression and a baby who doesn’t sleep well. You’re just barely scraping by, but every day you look at the growing chaos in your home and face your actual inability to do anything about it. Then imagine a group of people, out of the sheer spirit of Christ-given generosity within them, and completely unbeknownst to you, comes and cleans your house while you’re out on a date. And you come home to that.

I was so shocked that I just walked around my house speechless for a good 10 minutes, and then I just sat in the rocking chair in my baby’s freshly picked-up room and took it all in. There just aren’t words to describe. I’m going to be processing this deep, deep down for a long time. I’ll get back to you in a year about it…


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Filed under journaling, Nonfiction

In Memory of Mama Kitty

We found her in the backseat of our car when I was about 5 or 6, nursing three newborn kittens.  Our landlord didn’t allow have pets, but my mom just couldn’t turn away.  So we hid the kitties and named them all.  Mama Kitty was soft, medium-haired, and gray, with a white bib and white paws and occasional patches of tan.  We named the kittens Fluffy, Buffy and Muffy.  My mom never got them fixed, and Muffy had herself a litter of kittens after about a year, and then shortly after that, Mama Kitty had another litter, bringing our cat total to 14!  We named them, too, although we obviously could not keep that many cats at our place.  The two I remember were Curious George, who was always getting out of the box to explore, and Butterscotch, my personal favorite.

One summery Saturday afternoon when the kittens were old enough, we had a yard sale and put all the kitties in a box marked “FREE.”  Well, all the kitties minus one… My mom couldn’t give up sweet Mama Kitty.  Not long afterward, we moved to a house where the landlord didn’t mind us having pets.

Mama Kitty loved to sit on our laps, or perch herself on the couch next to us, or sleep on our beds.  She crept in so quietly that for months, I nearly had a heart attack when she jumped up into the bed with me.  Eventually, I got tuned in enough to her almost-silent footsteps that I was semi-prepared for when she leaped up.

She liked to sleep on our pillows, and if I had freshly showered, she would sniff my hair forever and try to chew it.  It drove her kitty ears crazy when we whistled.  She would poke her fuzzy face right up against our lips, like a kitty kiss.

When she was early into her double-digits, she got really sick.  I remember watching her bend her head down toward the water really really slowly, but she would never drink any.  She got skinnier and skinnier and we got really worried about her.  We finally took her to the vet, but it was too late.  She died of kidney failure in my sister’s arms on the way there.

Mama Kitty was a great family cat and we all loved her.  Miss you, kitty.

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Filed under Nonfiction

Sometimes Wounds Heal

Sometimes wounds heal.  And you don’t realize it until one day you remember two songs that used to make you cry, but don’t anymore, because instead of being in the midst of grief over what you didn’t have, you are finally thankful for the gifts you have been given that fill the holes. Namely your husband, your son, and your son-on-the-way.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Reflective Writing

Ashes and Gold Statues

(Things to note down and elaborate on later.)

Flowers between the cracks

Broken vessels

Life from the ashes

Stained glass windows

Jars of clay


Flower in rain

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Filed under Nonfiction, Writing Prompt

Why Am I A Stay-At-Home Mom?

Why did you decide to become a stay-at-home mom?

Sometimes that question comes at just the right moment. A gal asked this on a moms chat group I’m part of on Facebook.  I’ve never been able to answer it before, but this time the answer came right to me as I typed.  I’m so glad I finally have this in writing now.  It’s what I have been trying to straighten out for 2 years.

Lots and lots of reasons… The first one that comes to mind is: it’s hard for me personally to handle two demanding jobs at one time. I suspected this would be the case when I got pregnant, although I wasn’t sure, because who knows exactly what motherhood is really going to demand of you right out of the gates??? Besides that, the small business I was working for didn’t have a paid maternity leave option. So when I had my son, I went ahead and quit my job, knowing if I wanted to go back they would rehire me in a heartbeat. But–here come my reasons: 1) in those first few months with my son, it became very obvious to me that I would not cope well with working and trying to be a good mommy at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to give 100% at both jobs and so I would always feel like a failure at both. That wasn’t okay with me. 2) As I was realizing this, I was also realizing that it was much, much more important to me for my children to have one of their parents at home, being a parent 24/7, than for me to bring home a sliver of a paycheck that would basically just cover childcare anyway (and that’s a maybe! childcare is ridiculously expensive).

Those were the big reasons that clinched it for me. In addition to those: 3) My husband’s salary was enough to let me stay home. 4) That’s what he had hoped for anyway. And finally– 5) eventually I figured out that I way preferred being a mom to working out in the world anyway. I’m just better suited to it somehow. I didn’t know that before I became one, though.


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Filed under journaling, Nonfiction

Sherlock: The Final Problem (HEAVY spoilers!)

It seems so silly to be journalling about a TV episode, especially one in a series that is so wildly popular (at least in my circle of friends).  But this episode in particular affected me very deeply.  That is to say, I’ve been depressed and/or crying most of the day.

There were two parts that got me the most.  The first one was where John is trying to shoot the chief in order to save the chief’s wife.  (Is that’s what he was?)   Out of all the tests, that was really the hardest one for me to watch.

The second part was where we learned that Eurus drowned Sherlock’s best friend.  He was only, like, 5.  Actually any scene with Eurus as a little girl was incredibly difficult to watch.  But the scene in particular with the little boy… I just wanted to go hug my little son (who was asleep, so I didn’t).

It was also hard to watch Eurus at the very end, when we caught just a glimpse of her utter, beyond-help brokennness.  Really sent home the point that severely mentally ill people are just that: severely mentally ill people.

All in all, watching that episode reminded me a lot of my last year or two of college where I read all those horrible books that were devastatingly tragic, dark, and hopeless.  I’m just glad I have the space to process Sherlock.  I didn’t have that luxury in college.

In hindsight, I probably should have just told my professors that I couldn’t handle it emotionally and couldn’t make those deadlines to finish the books, because it was just too much.  I wonder how my life would have been different if I had been able to do that.

This is not about the final episode, but I REALLY loved this quote from Sherlock in episode 2 of season 4.

“In saving my life she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend.”

Just LOVE.  I can’t post it on Facebook because my MIL hasn’t seen season 4 yet.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Opinion, Reflective Writing

Comparison is the Thief of Joy: Motherhood

Comparison is the thief of joy, they say.  But when I only hear one side of things more often than other sides, I really do start to wonder if something might be wrong with me.

I have known so many women who say it was always their dream to be a mom.  Oftentimes they say this as an introduction to their story of infertility, or of singleness that seems permanent.  I’m glad I have friends who are willing to open their hearts to that level of transparency, and my heart hurts for them in their struggles.  But beyond that, I have a hard time processing this information.

I wish I could just ask these friends: What is that like?  To only ever dream of being a mom?  How is that the only thing you wished for in life?  Didn’t the idea ever scare you?  What is it like to long for and joyfully anticipate motherhood instead of facing it with fear and trepidation?

I’m expecting my 2nd boy.  A wanted, planned baby.  Our first was wanted and planned as well.  But I have nonetheless accepted motherhood the way you agree to do something because you know it will be good for you, even though you’re terrified of failure.  Motherhood isn’t something I have raced toward, with giddiness and expectancy.  It’s something I have reluctantly come to because I don’t know any other way to conquer a crippling fear of failure except to keep trying hard things.

And yet I still feel like I am missing the point.  It’s not working.  As I look forward to this new baby, I feel just as scared as I did the first time around.  Motherhood is not a path to Getting Ahead In Life.  The next baby will be different.

People tell me that it will be easier this time and I hope they are right, but I can’t know.  What if it’s just as hard?

The bottom line is, I need a different answer than just trying to gather up my strength and battle my fear of failure all over again.  This battle doesn’t end that way.  I just wish I knew the way to how it does end, because I am so tired of the hamster wheel.

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Filed under Essay, Nonfiction, Reflective Writing