Our Nonnie


I vividly remember laying in the swing my Pop Pop built in their big green backyard on a pool float because the wooden swing was too hard for my sensitive first grandchild back with her fingers running through my hair listening to her sweet soprano voice sing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” I spent so many nights at their house, sleeping in their bed with them, falling asleep while she rubbed my back. I now know how crowded a bed is with two adults and a four or five year old in between you, but they never seemed to care. I always woke up to the house smelling like bacon and big breakfasts of eggs, grits, bacon and her delicious buttermilk biscuits with homemade pear preserves. I watched her make those biscuits from scratch, never measuring, always knowing just the right amount of what to add and forming them with her hands before putting them in the buttered round pan that went in the oven. It’s how I make biscuits now.


On Sundays, being at church with them was like being a celebrity. It seemed like they knew everyone and they were so proud to show me off to their friends. Pop Pop sang in the choir and I would sit with Nonnie often drawing on offering envelopes and listening to her singing hymns. Then we’d all meet for lunch at their house after church where she’d usually have mashed potatoes, which are still my favorite food. She would frequently apologize for the lumps, but I never noticed them. Her mashed potatoes were the best thing I have ever tasted lumps or not.


Then, there was Christmas at the Country House, my absolute favorite. Nonnie grew up in Clio, Alabama. You’ve never heard of it, I’m sure, because it’s in the middle of nowhere and it’s tiny and precious and beautiful. The house she grew up in burned down and then her family rebuilt their home in the same spot and my family still owns it. Nonnie and her siblings and their families would all gather there around Christmastime when I was little. I was small and so everything seemed huge, but I’m sure it was a lot of people. I have no idea how that many people slept in a three bedroom house. Now that I’m an adult and aware of family dynamics, I’m sure it was very stressful for all of the adults involved. I remember a lot of arguing amongst Nonnie and her sisters about meals and meal planning, but as a kid it was fantastic! There was food, and more importantly, desserts everywhere you looked. I was a little taller than table height and would run around grabbing treats anytime I wanted. Have you ever had Divinity? There was a lot of that.


If you can’t already tell, I had a pretty fantastic childhood because I had really amazing adults in my life and I don’t take that for granted. Nonnie is responsible for a lot of that. I know not many people are lucky enough to know their grandmothers into their thirties. She was a huge part of my life growing up, present at my wedding and was able to hold and kiss my babies. Those were dreams of mine and they came true. I can still hear her voice singing, “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck…” I know I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to say these things and I am so thankful.


Nonnie left us two weeks ago after a lot of suffering. I’m relieved and thankful that after her stroke in 1997 and being in a very limited body for years, she is no longer limited. I know she’s at peace with Jesus whom she loved so very much. I rejoice that she is relieved of that body and her pain and I know my family does too.


And yet we still grieve her loss. I know we all miss her so much. Even though we knew it was time for her to go, we’re still sad. It’s a strange combination of feelings to know it was time, to be relieved she’s not suffering, to have the reassurance of our faith that she is safe and at peace and to grieve at the same time, but I think that grief is so much a part of our human experience. I think grief is God given because love is God given. I think our grief is big because our love for Nonnie is big.


As Glennon Doyle says, “Grief is, like joy, is HOLY. Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! I loved well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.”


I used to be really afraid of grief, like it would swallow me up if I let it catch up with me. I would run from it like a big dark monster chasing me, but I’ve learned that grief, like love, is an honor. It means we’ve had something or someone really good. It wants us to slow down and honor what we’ve lost: a person, a relationship, a potential life, a potential love, a job, expectations, a marriage, a child, whatever the loss and what it represented for us. Just like we let ourselves love, we can stop, be still and grieve who or what we’ve lost. We can honor that person or thing and what it represented for us.


It will come in waves, sometimes and especially when we least expect it, like in the grocery store or when you’re giving your kids a bath, but if we allow it, eventually, I think, it changes us. I don’t think it goes away. We never stop missing or loving our person. But I think like water flowing repeatedly rocks, it carves us more into who we are.


So as I grieve, I honor my Nonnie. She loved us so well. She and Pop Pop both made me feel so incredibly loved and delighted in. They always made me feel like I was the best thing to happen since coffee or chocolate. And I think that is like the love of the Father, what an amazing gift she gave me. The weekend before she passed she told me she loved me more than I’ll ever know, but I think I know exactly how much.




How I Broke Up With Dieting

I remember the first time I felt fat. I was in the third grade and it was the first time I remember comparing myself to other girls. They seemed smaller than me, and in my eight-year old brain, I interpreted that to mean I was fat. My mom wasn’t obsessed with her weight and didn’t put those thoughts in my head. My parents were super affirming of my intelligence and abilities and not overly fixated on my appearance. I played soccer and swam. I had a normal, healthy and very encouraging childhood. My parents did everything to make sure that I would be secure in who I was a person. And the thing is, I wasn’t overweight, but something had taught me that bigger was bad and shameful.


Oh how I wish I could go back to that little girl, the first time I separated from my body to look at it, not as just a body that functions to run and jump and provide me with experiences of pleasure and pain and living, but as something to be compared and critiqued, shaped and shamed, and later shaved and plucked and worked on constantly, molding and stuffing and wishing away, filling and starving over and over. I wish I could go back to her and tell her to stop before she started a pattern that would wound and cripple her for the next almost 20 years. I can’t go back, but I can be thankful for what I’ve learned now and share it here.


This feeling I had at eight years old began a lifelong preoccupation with weight and fatphobia that has carried into my thirties and I know I can share this without fear of being alone in it because I know that almost every single woman in America struggles with this same issue to varying degrees.


After years of restricting, dieting, comparing, wishing, waiting, praying and frustration I just decided I was sick of it. I was tired of starving myself and punishing myself with exercise. I wanted to enjoy my life and enjoy food and enjoy my body. And if I’m never a size six again, I wanted to be ok with that. I know. It’s radical. But it’s what I wanted. I was so exponentially exhausted of waiting to enjoy myself and my life until I fit in a certain size pants or had abs again. I decided I was done and that I was going to pursue peace with my body. It wasn’t instantaneous. It didn’t happen overnight, but it is happening.


I went to a LOT of therapy and figured out that anxiety largely fuels my obsession with my body and that my constant restriction fueled bingeing. When you tell yourself you can’t eat something, you often end up eating a lot of it. Who knew?? I found movement that I really enjoyed like walking, yoga and hiking and I do those things when I want to and I listen to my body when I need rest. I listened to a lot of podcasts and read books about intuitive eating, embodiment and being more in my body. I did/am doing a social media cleanse so that I’m following body positive accounts that don’t constantly post before and after weight loss photos. My social media is now full of healthy messages about life, self-care, self-compassion and NOT dieting.


I stopped pinning things like “summer body workouts,” and started looking at my body for what it does for me instead of constantly critiquing it like you would a swimsuit model. It turns out my purpose is not to model bikinis, and that my kids don’t care if I have abs, and my husband loves me for who I am, not because he thought I would always look like a 22 year old and he’s even still attracted to me without said six pack. Shocking, I know.


I feel like it needs to be said, I’m not anti-health or anti-fitness. I’m just anti trying to be something you’re not. And there is TREMENDOUS pressure on women for us to all look a certain way and be a certain size. We are so much more than what we look like. I’ll say it again for the people in the back. WE ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT WE LOOK LIKE.


Glennon Doyle says, our bodies are not our masterpieces, our lives are. Our bodies are just our paintbrushes. So pick up your paintbrush and PAINT, sisters. Kiss your babies and hug your friends with that paintbrush.

When a hair grows where you don’t want it to, instead of getting annoyed at that weird and unruly body that just won’t do what you want it to, just shave the paintbrush if you need to, and be like, “oh there’s that paintbrush growing hairs again like it was created to do. For some reason, God gave me a hairy paintbrush.” And when you see a stretch mark on your paintbrush, think to yourself, “Wow this paintbrush has stretched and grown to accommodate me throughout this life. Cool.” And if you go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to get a paintbrush holder because maybe yours got a little snug over the winter, you don’t cuss at your paintbrush and make your paintbrush do more squats. You just think to yourself, “Oh ok, I need a bigger paintbrush holder. My paintbrush grew a little over the winter. Cool.”


Our purpose is so much more than obsessing over being thin. We have so much more to do than that. Our bodies are just our vehicles for love, for joy, for pleasure, for pain, for experiences. Let’s not wait to live our lives and love our people and ENJOY ourselves while we’re trying to force our bodies to meet some unattainable arbitrary standard. No, sisters. We have so much more LIVING, LOVING and BEING to do.




For further encouragement on this topic, give this podcast episode a listen: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9n7u4-8ccaef


Some good body positive social media accounts to follow on Instagram: @rebeccastritchfield @canariesinacoalmine (I collaborate on this account). @fionawiller @theembodiedjourney @theeverybodypodcast @themindfuldietitian @benourishedpdx @diannebondyyoga @therapywithjess @hillarymcbride



Tales of a Failed Fashion Blogger

After leaving my job in April, knowing I’d be back at home with my kids and that I’d need something to stimulate my brain, I decided I’d start a fashion and lifestyle blog. I even took an Instagram, social media and blogging course, which was super helpful and I highly recommend this one if you’re thinking about starting any kind of online business that involves blogging or social media.

fall fashion blogger
fall fashion

With the course under my belt, I was ready to go and so I went. It was really fun for a little bit. I even got some free and discounted products out of it. But then things unrelated to fashion started to come up and I realized I couldn’t just shut up about them, like the earthquakes in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Then the #metoo movement gained momentum like never before, and I participated. You can read why here. Then Roy Moore ran for Senate in my state and I definitely couldn’t be quiet about that.


But the shame voices were LOUD in my head. As I started to write about these things, shame whispered that I was failing at what I had set out to do, that I couldn’t just make a plan and stick to it, that I was too emotional and too controversial, that I was too loud and had too many feelings, but the things I had to say just kept coming out of me onto my keyboard.  And I realized I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling like I’m too much, but I’m realizing now that this “too much” is only “too much” for people who aren’t ready to hear the truth of my experience. Women receive a lot of messages from birth about staying small and sweet and pretty, but I’ve decided that I don’t want that role anymore. It’s not my job to be small and quiet and pretty to keep everyone around me comfortable. My only job is to be who I was created to be and that person has a voice and it is loud and affirming and I have a lot of stuff to say.


Praise be! The things I needed to say were louder than the shame voices. And it turned out that they resonated with a lot of people and made a lot of women feel seen and heard and validated. And I felt a lot of relief after having said them.


So I stopped planning outfits and taking pictures of them. I unfollowed a lot of fashion and beauty bloggers and followed a lot of feminist, body positivity, social justice and mental health activists. At the same time, I realized I wasn’t constantly comparing myself to other women all the freaking time either. Hmmm. I still love a good outfit and will probably post a few here and there, but appearance is not the focus anymore. It turns out that I have way too much to say to be a fashion blogger and the world needs so much more than another pretty girl. It needs need our voices and our truths, our experiences and our perspectives. It needs our questions and our frustrations to foster change and growth.


There are still some lifestyle bloggers I follow that I love because of their humor and their authenticity, but it’s because of who they are, not because of the name brands they wear or what they look like. There’s nothing wrong with loving cute clothes and pretty things and sharing that with the world. I just couldn’t fit all of me into that one box. I’m way too much for that and that’s a really good thing.


The Empowered Powerless

It was just before the eruption of #metoo that I left my own job, one that I had worked hard to excel at, because of a toxic work environment, working for a narcissist who engaged in bullying tactics to do what he called “motivate” and “lead.” My former boss would publicly humiliate employees, make jokes to male coworkers about date raping me and wanting to see me in bikinis and even throw around racial slurs. Surely, you will say to yourself, this couldn’t be happening in 2017. Surely once reported, this man would, at the very least, be reprimanded, maybe change his behavior, possibly be demoted and maybe even fired? But no, that’s not how this has played out.


As the #metoo movement garnered momentum and I worked on my own frustration through therapy, I decided to participate by posting as part of the movement on social media. I didn’t name any names because outing specific people wasn’t my aim, and also because one of my closest friends is married to the man that I used to work for. Shortly after my post, I got a phone call from upper-level management at the company that I left in April. They were suddenly concerned, which was interesting because they weren’t so concerned about why I was leaving when I left, even though I told my boss’ boss why I was leaving at the time.


After a few weeks of thinking about it and some legal counsel, I decided what I really wanted was my former boss not to be able to continue to act as he had with me. I wanted there to be change. So I called upper-level management to report my experience. I spoke to my former boss’ boss’ boss’ boss who was a woman. I expected some understanding, empathy and at the very least to be believed.


I told her everything. I told her about the sexual comments and jokes. I told her about the humiliation. I told her about the racial slurs. I told her about the text messages that were sexual in nature that continued to come to friends of mine that still worked there after I left.


The message that I received on that phone call was this: boys will be boys.


And two weeks later, it was received louder and clearer when my former boss was promoted, given his own office, moved to Atlanta and given a raise.


Around this same time my former boss’ best friend started telling people he saw me making out with men in bars in an attempt to ruin my reputation.


So here I sit in the middle of, historically and socially, one of the most empowering times for women, yet in my own reality, I feel so powerless. I was not believed. Not only that, but my harasser was rewarded and there was an attempt to malign my reputation.


And I wonder, while Hollywood celebrates #metoo and #timesup, how many other women like me are in this same reality? We hear it everywhere from “out there.” Yet in our daily lives, we are still not seen. Where is the trickle down? What must be done for it to affect business executives in Birmingham, Alabama or Atlanta, Georgia?


When will believing women become more important than the bottom line? Is that even something we can hope for?

Right now, I’m not sure.


This feeling of powerlessness is almost indescribable. There is no satisfaction. It leaves me feeling empty, weak and unseen. Like surely, SURELY, this isn’t happening, right?! It’s a feeling akin to betrayal and it hurts deep down in my core. It’s the feeling of emotional rape, being completely out of control of what’s happening to you and those who have hurt you.


And I write about it to process, but also for other women who have been and are going through the same thing because I know there are so many of us. There are those who have had justice, but there are so many who have not. There is power in naming the wrongs, the injustices, in calling them out for exactly what they were and are and saying, “I see this and it is not ok.” And in this way, I think, we can start to let them go.




If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault and would like to name your experience, I’d welcome the chance to see and believe you. Scroll back up to leave your comment.

Sacred Sister Saints

In the summer of 2017, I found myself lost and lonely. I had just left a toxic work environment where I had been sexually harassed and bullied by one of my closest friend’s husbands who was also my boss. And while I lost her friendship, I found it increasingly hard to pretend things were fine with us in our group of mom friends, thus losing that group of friends as well.

I was back to being a stay at home mom and thankful for that option, but not necessarily choosing it and so bored, furious and alone.

She saw my reeling and one night, my best friend from childhood invited me out with her for dinner and drinks and as the night went on mutual friends tagged along. It was fun and a little wild and by the end, we had this group of us who were all moms in various forms, at various stages, with varied experiences. We added one more to a group text over the next week and ended up with a group of six women that carried me through the summer, fall and winter of 2017.

And then when, as it sometimes does, marriage got scary and hard again, they watched as I literally fell apart and so very carefully and tenderly held the pieces of me. They held space for my broken heart, whispered to me in the dark that I would, in fact, be ok and then helped start putting me back together again.

And then there were the lifelong sisters. The ones I don’t see or even talk to very often, but who are always there when I need I need to celebrate or when I need to grieve. They saw me in crisis and circled the wagons. They put their kids in front of the tv with food so they could make the phone call. They sat, listened, brewed coffee and prayed. Some are in it with me in their marriages, in their jobs, in their family situations and offered the oh so valuable “me too.” Some are further down the road and offered hope. Wherever they are, they know me. They see me and they call the real me out of my shame and fear back to Him, back to myself, back to life.

At a time in my life when I wasn’t sure which way was up, all of these women came alongside me and sistered me through. They carried, they held, they laughed, they loved, they cried, they spoke, they listened, they memed, they promised to set people on fire for me and bury the bodies. And it was everything I needed.

That’s the thing with pain. It needs anything but judgment and advice. It requires compassion, listening, space and some humor. That’s what these women gave me. They let me deal however I needed to, sometimes unhealthily, sometimes with too much wine, too much or not enough to eat, too many words or too few boundaries and so much fear. But there they were watching and waiting and always loving me, telling me I’d be just fine.

And isn’t that what Jesus does for us? He sees right to our core. He sees the whole picture. He sees the former boss and former friend. He sees the betrayal. He sees the disappointment and the disillusionment, the utter exhaustion from trying so damn hard. He knows who we are and how much we’re hurting and he looks on us with compassion. He watches us try to figure it out and he whispers, “I love you. You’re going to be ok.” He lifts our faces, sees our souls, reminds us we don’t have to run anymore, that we’re safe and helps us put our broken pieces back together.


To the women who are the hands, feet, ears, mouths, memes, hearts and words of Jesus to me, I love you so hard, and I will never be able to tell you enough. When my shame and confusion cover me up and I can’t see Jesus anywhere, He whispers your names. Thank you for showing me true holiness in your love for me and others. You are mending me piece by piece.





Jesus in the Dirt

I used to think cussing was dangerous. Bless my heart. I was raised Southern Baptist, you know. And that denomination gave me strong roots and a theology that was deep at its core but flawed at the edges. It introduced me to Jesus, but the Jesus I took from it was void of the real Jesus I now know, the Jesus that is dusty and dirty, in the trenches with the woman caught in adultery and the murderer next to him on the cross. It was void of his compassion, of his grit, of his authenticity. It was void of the Jesus who raises our shamed faces from looking in the dirt, looks into our weary souls and asks, “Where are your accusers now?” The one who kneels down with us in our grief, the grief that feels like the death of our very selves, and weeps with us.

It was my family and my church that gave him to me as a child, but it has been my deepest moments of pain where I’ve felt my heart crumbling in my hands that I’ve met this Jesus in the dirt. When I lost babies in the womb long prayed for, when our marriage seemed too steep a mountain to climb, when I felt betrayed and wounded and left and so so scared.

This Jesus did not come to me in the pews, but on my bedroom floor, in my bathtub, in my weeping, in my mourning, in the woods, in my headphones, in the middle of giving birth, in sunsets, in conversations and hundreds of text messages from sacred sisters, over dinner, in bread and wine, in books, in writing. He wades through my darkest waters of shame and misconceptions of him and settles in various forms. He does whatever he must to get to my heart, to remind me He’s always here, none of this through my own striving or trying to get to him, he is always reaching to get to me. I keep forgetting this and he keeps reminding me. The deepest reminders always in the deepest pain.

Maybe it’s because when our hearts are cracked wide open we can finally let love in. Maybe when we finally stop running and stop numbing, when we figure out that the anesthetics only create more pain, that’s when we can truly see Him and receive from HIm. Maybe that’s when we see things most clearly.

I think it says something about the ferocity of His love that when we are most covered in our pain, which oftentimes means we are most buried in our grief and shame, and it is harder to get to our heavy and burdened hearts, He does. He wades through the deep waters and he uncovers and he digs to find us. He is relentless in His pursuit of us and I can’t imagine anything more loving. To wade through someone’s grief and be present to them through it is not an easy or polite thing. It is a thing of fierce love and kindness. It is bold and intense and unrelenting.

And I find myself now so thankful that He is not only found in the pews or inside the four walls of a church, but on the bathroom floor, in the desperate prayer of a stripper, in a new mother’s fear, beside a hospital bed, in separation, in recovery, in group text messages, in best friends, in lovers, in boundaries, in music, in dancing, in food, in laughter, in pain, in grief, in healing.

How We Remember

Most of my life I’ve heard stories about my feistiness as a little girl, about being a “strong-willed child” that my mom had to summon her strong willedness to guide. I am the first born extrovert of two strong-willed parents who taught me my whole life that my gender had nothing to do with my abilities, my dad’s mantra, “you can do hard things,” always in the back of my mind. This is the foundation I was given, a foundation of strength, of assurance, of faith.


Somehow I found myself searching for this foundation this year. It got buried under fear and confusion. I forgot my history. I forgot my faith. I forgot myself.


Last year I started working for a friend’s husband in sales. What started out as a fun way to get back into the workforce from being a stay at home mom ended up leaving me confused, hurt and eventually walking away furious.


The beginning was so good for me. I started in this new field and did really well, hitting goals quickly, making myself proud that I could, in fact, do this business thing after years spent at home changing diapers.


But the longer I was there the more I needed to see my therapist as my anxiety, the pressure to sell, my insecurities, my body image issues and my stress level all increased. As I processed these things with her, I started noticing patterns of the toxic work environment I was in from the racist and crude sexual jokes being made in the office to the embarrassing sales meetings where flaws were pointed out in front of the entire office and made fun of.


And for a little bit, I thought the problem was me. I thought I was too sensitive and too weak and too insecure and too anxious. I forgot myself and my worth. I got buried under all of that misogyny and the confusion it caused.


But then I remembered.


I remembered that sexual jokes made about me were not my fault. Nothing I said or did caused that treatment.


I remembered when I called my parents and told them everything that had happened at my office, when my dad said, “RUN. Get out as fast as you can and don’t look back. You are so much better than that.”


I remembered when I decided to quit and reported my boss’ inappropriate behavior and was blamed for not reporting it sooner.


I remembered when I posted as part of the #metoo campaign and was supported by friends and family.


I remembered when I told the truth.


I remembered as I got quiet over the next few months at home with my family, as I read and wrote and refueled and listened. I filled up with support and joy as I grieved the loss of a job and some important friendships.


I remembered that I am brave and fierce and that I am willing to walk away from things that aren’t good for me even when it hurts and even when it’s hard.


I remembered that I can do hard things.


And from what I’m seeing everywhere, I think lots of us are remembering. We’re remembering our strength, our worth, our dignity, our freedom.


If you’re having a hard time remembering, I encourage you to look back to who you were before you got covered up by the situation you’re in. Find your little girl self and remember her fire. Ask the Lord to remind you. Fill up with the support of family and friends who love you. Let them remind you of who you are so that you can remind others of who you are.


Remember. As you listen. As you tell the truth. As you say no. As you walk away. As you stay. Remember.

Joy in the Midst of Predators

I’m so tired of seeing Roy Moore news everywhere. I’m tired of writing about him. He’s gross. He’s a misogynist. I don’t want someone like that representing any population of people anywhere, but apparently, other people feel that the Republican agenda is more important than his individual record or character.


Meanwhile, there are more men being outed for their sexual harassment or assault every day. And here we are, women watching this, lots of us, survivors of sexual assault ourselves, being triggered every time we turn on the news or the radio or any media outlet anywhere.

And this is good. This is pushing women to take a stand, to write, to create, to tweet, to be angry and all of that leads to change. But we’re also tired. Tired of the systemic misogyny, tired of men trying to explain to us what it’s like to be in our position, tired of remembering our own assaults over and over. So so damn tired.

It’s ok to be tired. This is a lot. The events happening themselves would be bad enough, but we’re also contending with people all over social media coming out in defense of these predators and that was a shock I wasn’t expecting. Oh well hello there former colleague, I didn’t realize you were a misogynist too. Good to know.


So how do we navigate this important season?

I don’t think anything will make the stress and frustration go away, but we can be gentle with ourselves and engage in some radical self-care as we traipse through this misogynistic valley we find ourselves in.

Advent is a season of joy and just because everyone else is losing their shit doesn’t mean we can’t have joy in the midst of it. Haven’t we lost enough to people like Moore already? They don’t get to have our joy too.

I grew up thinking joy was this thing you had to manufacture, this chipper happiness that you’d just exude if you tried hard enough. I thought it was being happy even when things were falling apart. And I always felt guilty for not having that, like I was missing some great spiritual key or attribute.

I realize now that joy is something to be pursued, cherished and held on to. And that we can find it in the midst of suffering, not because we feel like we have to, but as a way of caring for ourselves and surviving the suffering. It’s a defiance of the crap and the crappy people that surround us.


The political party and the church tradition I grew up in may be losing their everloving minds and I will be pissed and I will rant and cry and tweet and write about it, but I will also enjoy watching Christmas movies with my little boys snuggled on the couch.

There may be sexual predators raining from the skies, and it makes me remember and it makes me feel sick, but I will enjoy a really good novel with a really good cup of tea.

We may see misogyny everywhere and men who have perpetuated it for decades, but I will remember my husband and how he loves me well and respects me as his equal.

I’ll remember my dad and how he told me my entire life that I can do hard things. I’ll remember how he loves my mom and how my parents taught me to be a feminist by respecting each other as partners.

I’ll remember my mom and how many times she told me that cooking, sewing, and scrubbing baseboards were not synonyms for the word woman, solidifying my feminist beliefs even as a little girl.


We can feel the pain of all of these revelations and we can be angry and let that anger push us toward change. And then we can remember the good that is already there, not out of guilt or compulsion, but because it’s good for our souls and our souls could use some good right now.


Feel the pain and remember the good. I think that will get us through.






When Jesus Flips Tables

This is not the end of our story. The end of our story is resurrection and new life. The end of our story is beauty from ashes, like phoenixes, we will rise. Our story is truth and the f

A friend asked me recently if Jesus was ever angry. As I remembered the accounts of Jesus in the temple flipping the tables, I started to smile. “Yes. He was.” I texted her back.

The recent events of #metoo and #churchtoo have left so many frustrated and furious. We’re not just angry at what happened. We’re angry at the people who keep telling us to be quiet about it, or worse, defending it.

“Shhh. Don’t make waves. Don’t cause a stir. Can’t you just keep quiet and move on??”

We are furious about people claiming to know Jesus and saying those things with their responses or lack thereof. As I sit in my fury and indignation and hostility and confusion at this landscape we find ourselves in, I remember our Jesus. Not the political one. Not the pale one in church pictures. Not the neat, tidied up, friendly prophet.


I remember the one who flipped the tables.


Jesus had just returned to Jerusalem from traveling, teaching and healing people. He entered the city and went to the temple. It was the Passover, when Jews would make their pilgrimage to make their annual sacrifices at the temple. There was only one temple, and they had to go to that one. There were no satellite locations. For some, it was a long way. In the Old Testament God laid out VERY specific rules about how these sacrifices were to be made. He also made provisions for people coming from a long way off or for people who couldn’t afford as much as others. (See Leviticus 1:14, 5:7, 5:11, 12:8, 14:22)

Jesus walks into what was supposed to be a beautiful place to house God’s presence and also “a house of prayer,” for all people. (See Isaiah 56:6-7). And he sees the money changers and merchants there, selling things to people who needed to make sacrifices. They weren’t just business people. They were exploiting a people in need of specific items to make specific sacrifices. They were exploiting a spiritual need. And this is where we see Jesus get angry. At exploitation. At manipulation of power. This is when he flips the tables.

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21: 12-13


This cleaning out of the temple is loud and it is not pretty. It is noisy and scary. Other accounts of this same story say he took a whip of cords and drove the merchants out with it. This is not friendly or sweet or politically correct. It feels raucous and messy, but it is definite and it is certain. Jesus is not quiet when it comes to the exploitation of the oppressed, the unseen, the less fortunate.

But. When it’s clear and the dust has settled, we see what happens next.


And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.  Matthew 21:14.


When the house is clean, free from the predators, free of the exploiters and their manipulation, He calls forward the exploited, the hurting, the oppressed, the unseen. They are blind and they are lame. He ushers them in gently, and he helps them begin to see for the first time and gives life to their weary, useless bones. They have movement, sight, joy where there had been none. They have new life where there had only been deficit and pain.


And now. He is here. He is with us. He is helping us flip the tables of the abusers, the exploiters, the powerful, the kept safe by money, the seemingly untouchables. We are saying, “Enough!” And he is saying it with us.

And it is loud and it is scary and it is messy, but it is not the end of the story because we know, after it’s clean, then there’s the healing.

We will bring our blindness and our lameness. We will see with new eyes and leap and dance with new legs. This is not the end of our story. The end of our story is resurrection and new life. The end of our story is beauty from ashes, like phoenixes, we will rise. Our story is truth and the freedom that comes from telling it. Our story is #metoo, #churchtoo #andyet…


We are mid-table flip sisters, but hold on. The healing is coming.

What do we do now?

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A few years ago, when life was really hard, with two babies, marriage, faith and sense of self rocky, I found a book and writer that would profoundly impact me for the better by giving words to my shaky feelings and giving me the permission to feel them. I read Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle as quickly as I could, devouring the pages, soaking up all of the validation between the covers, mentally highlighting passages and even reading some of them out loud to my husband. I found quotes from the book on Pinterest and posted them all over Facebook. The reading of that book did so much more than I can express and I will carry the lessons from it and that time in my life with me as long as I’m breathing.


One of the most profound things my dear sister, Glennon, talks about in that book is just doing the next right thing. After years of being bulimic and an alcoholic, Glennon finds herself at a major turning point, facing sobriety and unsure of what to do next. She learns to just keep showing up and to just do the next right thing.


I find myself at a turning point now and in need of my next right thing. I returned to working full time in 2016 and left that job in April of 2017 because of a horrible work environment. And while I was thankful to have the option to leave while preserving my dignity and integrity, I was still left back at home frustrated, unemployed and pissed. Leaving my job because of sexual harassment also pointed me toward how passionate I am about women’s rights and safe working environments for women but without an outlet for that passion.


And now. I feel the stirring, the purpose of that infuriating experience pushing me toward something. And I feel frustrated trying to think through what I should do next. And then I remember.


I remember the deep knowing. God’s voice, the Holy Spirit, our intuition, people call this different things, but the Lord is always speaking to us. We just have to get quiet and wait and it will come. It’s not usually an audible voice or a sign written in the sky, but a profound truth that you know deep in your gut to be the truest, rightest thing.


So I lay awake in bed at night. I get quiet. I wait. I ask the Lord for the next right thing. And I know. It settles on me like a soft, warm blanket.


Write. Open your computer and start typing.


This is all I know. I don’t know what will happen next, but this feels like the truest, rightest thing to do right now.


And I know that it doesn’t have to be good or perfect or revolutionary. Just write. Just let the words out. Let them be.


And this doesn’t make much sense to me. I was never “good” at writing in school. I always made better grades on my Spanish papers than on my English ones. Writing has never been my strong suit, but this is what I’m supposed to do now. This is the assignment.


So I write. I come to my laptop in the mornings with coffee and low expectations and I write.


The next right thing.