I am excited. I am 8 months pregnant with a healthy little boy. However, the journey was not easy to get to this point. I don’t always look excited. Fear still sets in about whether I will be able to bring my baby boy home with me. It was over two years ago when we officially decided we wanted to start to grow our family. Since then, I have lost two babies. The entire process was miserable and difficult. I also struggled to get pregnant during this process, and I battled long and hard to find out everything I could about my health – and do anything I could to improve it. So this is my third pregnancy; not my first. And it is exciting; but it is also scary. I am aware that I could lose this baby too; although, I hope to be able to bring him home. During this time, support, community, and stories got me through. The story about an elephant and a dog stands out to me. This story continues to motivate me and remind me that the baby boy I am carrying is very special. He is mighty and great. His story is full of difficulty and grief and time, but when he is here, he will be very important.Read More
We visited dear friends in Michigan a couple of weeks ago. I remember early conversations with my friend, because she is one of those people who leaves an impression. She’s smart, kind, a little quirky, and willing to be vulnerable. I look forward to spending time with her because she shows up as her authentic self, which allows me to do the same. I cherish her friendship.Read More
I have always loved books. I love the way they smell, feel, and sound. When I walk into a bookstore or library, I always take a deep breath and absorb the smell of opportunity, adventure, and dreams. I have always loved books. Narrowing this experience down to one meaningful book to share about was not easy until I realized I needed to go back to my roots. Charlie by Diane Fox Downs always makes my heart skip a beat when I see it. Sightings are rare, so these moments are special. It is a Little Golden Book that’s been out of print for years. I am partial to the one with the dark green cover, as that is the book my grandmother had.Read More
I am a white, upper-middle class, heterosexual Christian female. Outside of Scripture, the story that most recently changed my life is a true one, couched within a much larger narrative that I was unaware of before that point. I will never forget the day that I saw the video of the last moments of Philandro Castile’s life.Read More
I’ve always been someone who stood up for what and who I believed in. This became real for me the summer going into my freshman year. Eric Potter ran into my dad and said they still had some open spots for their mystery mission trip. My dad called my mom to tell her about it, and I was in the car, definitely listening in on the conversation. I reluctantly looked at my mom and said, “I don’t want to do this, but I know I need to,” and I couldn’t have been any more right about that. So for the first time, I packed up my bags and traveled hundreds of miles away from my family with a bunch of strangers to places I’ve never been before.Read More
There was an old man who used to walk on the ocean. Off into the distance, the old man noticed a small child approaching. As the child walked, she paused every so often and she grew closer. The man could see that she was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it to the ocean. The girl came closer still and the man called out. “Good morning! May I ask what you are doing?”Read More
I am constantly finding myself enraptured and carried away by engaging stories. Sometimes these are in books, other times in TV shows or movies, and sometimes in a news story on NPR. NPR actually has a phrase for these types of stories, they call them “driveway moments”—stories so engaging that you just want to sit in your car and listen through to the end. But more than simply through engaging stories, I believe that the mark of a good story is one that I can keep coming back to and every time adds new depth.Read More
In September of 2014, we were living in Little Rock, Arkansas. Caterpillar had transferred us there from Peoria two years prior, just six weeks before our son was born. Out of that uprooting, we learned how to accept help from a community of near-strangers as we navigated raising a newborn with our families a day’s drive away. Those relationships became ever deeper that autumn morning when Gina had a seizure in the church childcare room. From the ensuing flurry of doctor appointments, tests and scans came those words that you pray you’ll never hear, “Your wife has a brain tumor.”Read More
In the spring of 2013, I lost my friend Vin, a beautiful local artist married to a woman who had been like family to me since childhood. All these years later, tears still fill up at the mention of his name and the heavy lump in my chest is always quick to surface when I think of how much we all lost when he passed.
I had the privilege of helping with the memorial events, and that week running from one task to another I found myself lost in a grief fog at a stop light. The lights moved from red to green to yellow and red again without me budging. The same CD that had been playing in my car for months had faded into background noise, but out of nowhere a phrase flung itself into my consciousness and woke me up.Read More
In high school I was the weird kid who drew designs on my arms with a pen. Before long, I was the weird kid who drew on a lot of people’s arms before track meets. Eventually the IHSA said I couldn’t do that anymore, so then I was just a weird kid.
I’ve been dreaming about what my first visible tattoo would be since I was probably ten- so I think it surprised everyone that it didn’t happen till I was thirty. Turns out it’s a lot harder to decide on something that won’t wash off when you get tired of it.