Fourth of July thoughts on country

Fourteen years and 86 days ago, Army Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin went missing in Iraq when his fuel convoy was attacked by Iraqi soldiers. Soon after, Arab television stations aired footage of him kneeling in front of his captors, and subsequent video appeared to show them shooting him to death. Four years later, acting on a tip, the U.S. military found his remains, and his devastated parents were able to finally bring their boy home. To show respect for Sgt. Maupin,Read more

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! I’m turning to face the strange.

I wake up early every morning to write, but often I feel stuck so instead I read. This smashes to bits the diatribe I throw at other writers during workshops: Writing is a muscle you need to exercise! There’s no such thing as writer’s block! Just put one word after another! Don’t tell anyone. This morning I wanted to write about changing myself – about creating the physical and spiritual environment in which I want to live, love, flourish, raiseRead more

The border policy of ruining children.

It took us over a year to get my youngest daughter home from Guatemala because our attorney** was trying really hard to prevent the government from enacting adoption reforms. She claimed she opposed any changes because it would harm children. Everyone in our little adoption circle believed her. Except us. We suspected she feared her money pipeline would dry up. We feared her animosity toward the government would prevent officials from approving our paperwork, and we were right. **by attorney,Read more

A brief recent history of Hot Firefighter Husband, in cars.

The husband has purchased a 1995 red Jeep Wrangler with skull and crossbone decals and a giant star painted on the hood. Coincidentally, he also has begun cutting the sleeves off his workout shirts. I’m begging him to get a tattoo. “Maybe I’ll get some barbed wire tattooed around my bicep,” he said. I shivered. “You complete me,” I murmured. Last month, we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. This month, we celebrate 28 years of being together. I use theRead more

When horses were my jam.

Friday was my dead horse’s birthday. Her name was Junie because she was born June 1. My father gave me Junie after I turned eight. She was technically a family horse, but I was the only child old enough to ride by myself back then, and she was too small for Dad to ride. Anyway, in my mind, I had paid for her. Dad told me she cost $23, which coincidentally was the amount of money I had saved, soRead more

American girl, age 11.

I remember holding her for the first time, a tiny breath of air in my arms. Now, 11 years and five months later, she’s more like a hurricane, fierce and natural and only semi-predictable.  She twirls and rages, loves and laughs, cries and sleeps, all with equal passion and abandon. Neale Rose graduates from fifth grade today, and not an hour too soon for her. She’s so excited for middle school that she’d probably be willing to skip summer. She’sRead more

Ethel finds a home, and puppies keep pooping

When the puppies were nearly six weeks old, Ethel developed mastitis. It was a Sunday, and she refused to eat breakfast, then she moped around all day. By evening, she was shivering with fever, and could hardly walk. I know this because I’ve learned how to take a dog’s temperature in the butt. Mastitis frequently occurs in breastfeeding women – it’s an infection in the breast tissue due to bacteria transmitted by a baby’s mouth. It also occurs in breastfeedingRead more

Easter squirrels make a Good Friday sacrifice. Jesus and I weep.

I went to the grocery this morning just four minutes after it opened, and it was a pleasure cruising down the aisles by myself. I only planned to buy essentials – eggs, the four different types of milk we consume, bananas, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced with 21 Whole Grains and Seeds*. Somehow those items morphed into $184. What the even heck? I can’t keep buying all this food if people are just going to eat it. *Have you had Dave’sRead more

The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part II

Are you behind? Click on Part I to read Part I It’s barely 6 am on a Sunday morning, and I’m well into my first cup of coffee. I’m in bed writing, and sweet Ethel is curled against my legs. Cookie snuggles against my hip, and eyes Ethel warily; she’s scared of Ethel, who emits a low growl if she thinks anyone’s too close to her brood. The house is quiet and still; sometimes, I use moments like these to grade papersRead more

The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part I

Currently, five humans live in this little house of ours, plus 13 dogs. I might be turning feral. We’ve been fostering homeless dogs for a while now. First there was Bernie Sanders. Then Skippy, Joey, Chicken, and Cheeto. We found good homes for all of them. Cookie, a tiny black terrier mix who weighed about five pounds, stole Neale’s heart, so Cookie has stuck around, giving us a pack of three dogs – one large, one medium, one small. Cookie’sRead more