Friday, June 23, 2023


Two weeks ago I slipped in a puddle of dog pee and ended up in the hospital for a week. I think it’s pretty hard to get compartment syndrome from a badly sprained ankle but that’s exactly what happened. I had emergency surgery the next morning to relieve the swelling and hopefully avoid permanent tissue and muscle damage to my foot and ankle. 

I’m still healing - using all the accoutrements of limited mobility available.  Walker, wheelchair, commode, cane. The pain had been off the charts but is finally easing. Our doctor mercifully put in freezing on the top of my foot yesterday when it became evident that the pain was too great for him to remove my stitches, which were buried under a thick scab. I squeezed Dearest One’s fingers as a distraction when what I really wanted to do was screech.  

Not to sound Pollyanna-ish but I am grateful that all that happed was a sprained ankle. Dearest One was out of town and I was home alone when I fell. I’m thankful that I didn’t hit my head or break a bone. Ironically, I was on the phone with a paramedic when it happened. A new work contact who got to hear me screaming and then wait while I tried to figure out how to talk on a phone that partially broke when I fell.

The normal, boring, mundane things of life are highly underrated. 

~ Hope


Friday, June 02, 2023

“The Unfinished Way……”

At supper time I found myself sitting in the parking lot of a local liquor store.  I was once again eating a meal and people watching before I tuned into this podcast

I’d just come from a therapy session where I discussed a broken relationship and my feelings about it. So many feelings. At one point I told my therapist that I just wanted her to tell me what to do even though I knew she wouldn’t. We laughed. What’s the point of paying someone to tell you what to do when we both know that lasting change comes when one searches deep inside oneself for the answers. Neither one of us can count how many times I’ve given her a “fuck you” look when she’s said something I didn’t like. So searching deep inside it is. 

Recently when (in my mind) I was comforting my younger self I’d had a picture pop into my head when I reached for her. As she came and sat on my knee she was trying to cram paper bags in her mouth to satisfy her soul hunger.  I told her that paper bags would never nourish her hurt. That they would never fill that gaping hole inside her. My thoughts came spontaneously and I recognized their truth instantly. When I asked my therapist where pictures like that come from, she said that some people believe they come from within ourselves. Our deepest selves. I’d like to think it’s some kind of work of the Holy Spirit speaking truth within my heart. Truth that was planted there from my beginning.

Kate Bowler’s guest on her podcast had a rough start in life. Towards the end of the podcast, when her guest was talking about how her mom died before everything was mended, Kate said, “…the unfinished way that people love us.” 

I need to find a way to be okay with that truth. That the way I love others may never be in the way that their soul hungers for nor may they be in the way I need, either. People can say all kinds of pithy things like there’s a God shaped hole inside that only God can fill but sometimes you just need a little flesh and blood to sooth the pain.

~ Hope

Monday, April 10, 2023

Sitting Under A Lamp Post’s Light

I’ve worked full time from home since the start of Covid, and will continue to do so until I retire in a few years. Despite being an avowed introvert, I do miss socializing. The main reason I went into the paid workforce after raising my kids, was to get some of my sharp edges rounded off.  I knew that being thrown in with random people would stretch me in ways necessary for my growth. It’s not as easy to justify communicating “go away”, “leave me alone,” because someone’s rubbing me the wrong way, when I’m being paid to show up.

Now that the most often I see people is via meetings online, I do get to feeling a little cooped up. To combat this, I sometimes go for a drive, grab something to eat and sit in my car, catching up on my favourite podcasts. (I mean, I do go (sparingly), to see real live people, too, but that’s not the point of this post.)

The last time I felt cooped up, I was on more than a mission to simply escape the four walls I’d been looking at for way too long. A recent prayer suggestion from my spiritual director, regarding a strained relationship, was waiting for my undivided attention.  Unexpectedly, another relationship had required such firm boundary setting that I was feeling bereft of emotional energy and that needed some reflection, too. What to do, what to do, echoed in my head about both situations.

After grabbing my meal, I went and parked in liquor store parking lot. In between mouthfuls of food I people watched. Trying, but knowing the futility of, to guess who was going right home to drink their purchase and who was replenishing their liquor cabinet, able to close that door without a second thought. It was not lost on me that I’d come to a liquor store parking lot to take a hard look at generational trauma that was impacting so much in my life. Nor that, at the end of that week, God willing, I’d be looking at 35 years of hard won sobriety. Generational alcoholism, generational trauma. Sitting under a lamp post’s light. 

It was here then, that I turned to a podcast episode, unaware that all that was swirling within me would converge within it. If you haven’t heard of Kate Bowler, please go take a listen to her podcast, read her books. The phrase in the accompanying photo could’ve been written by her. She is the best combination of wit, wisdom and grace plus hard earned, uninvited grit, that lets you know she’s been there

Earlier in the day I’d texted my therapist and, after explaining all that was happening, ended by saying, “what’s up with the universe? ”She replied, “isn’t the universe a hoot!”  No. “Definitely not.” She replied by sending me an emoji of an owl hooting, tiny owls flying across my screen with little hooting noises accompanying them into the ethers. Her levity collided with my angst, and I laughed wholeheartedly, despite myself. 

Right at the end of the episode with Elaine Pagels, Kate talks about how she’s learning something from Elaine about how love pulls us forward. As she says those words, my body is wracked with sobs and out of my mouth comes all the stuff that needs to be said. Sobs and words tumble out until I need to pull my oxygen hose away from my face lest snot plugs it up. Wailing, keening sounds I don’t recognize as my own, punctuate the air with my grief. 

Eventually I do the gasping short breath in - breath in exhale shudder that a two year does when they’re about cried out.  My shoulders relax. I grab a handful of tissues and wipe away snot from my face. I put my nasal cannulas back in my nose and take some deep breaths. 

I look up and take in my surroundings, grateful that I parked towards the back of the lot.  Grateful that no one pulled up beside me during my snot nosed prayer. Not a car in the lot except mine. For a moment I imagine what a fellow member of sobriety might have thought had they seen me wailing in a liquor store parking lot on the cusp of my sobriety birthday. Then I imagine what someone coming from the liquor store might have done. I picture them yanking open my door and offering me the contents of their brown paper bag. 

I would’ve told them that what I needed to drink in, was something not found in a store. I can only imagine their confusion had I told them I’d found it through a podcast. Hoot. Hoot. Hoot. 😉

~ Hope

Friday, April 07, 2023


“Do you feel like you’re prostituting yourself?”

Her words land like a thud in my chest. Tears pool at the corners of my eyes. 

I’ve been describing a work situation that has been niggling at me.  A man addressing me in a way that doesn’t sit quite right but I hadn’t been able to put into words why.

My shoulders droop with realization.  It’s such an old story in my life.  Attempting to keep men happy in order to feel safe from either very real or imagined threat. I’m transported back to a time when I was paid for sexual favours, within a situation where I was powerless. A time when I wondered where the hell were the adults and why wasn’t anyone rescuing me. 

My body screams at me to run from the room. Panic lodges itself in my chest and rises up my neck. I tell my therapist how hard it is to sit and not run. She encourages me to be an observer of the feelings. My body feels so out of sorts that I check my blood sugar mid appointment. It’s fine. Damn.  

The rescuing continues.

~ Hope  

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Be Here

Yesterday’s session with my therapist was a combination of truths being revealed and copious amounts of tears. Plus some swearing. 

Underneath it all was grief. Grief about what is and what was. Facing it.  Feeling it. It seemed easier when I was ignoring it. 

Next week, God willing, I’ll be celebrating 35 years of sobriety. The growing and changing never stops. Being here in this moment? Boy, that is not always fun. 

I’m grateful to be here to witness it, though. Being alive never gets old. Just hard some days.

~ Hope

Friday, March 03, 2023

One Life

Dearest One is a dreamer. It was the safe place he went when life got too much as a kid and is a place he continues to go. I’ve long been a realist, life too unpredictable and harsh in my beginnings. It makes for interesting conversations between us.  I’ve learned to not rain on his parade just because I can. He’s learned to face reality a bit more than he’d sometimes like. I think dreamers have more fun in life. I wish I was one sometimes.

At about year 35, following a night time chat about his dreams, shortly after I’d prayed to let go of the mess that our marriage was (he’d found an apartment but hadn’t moved out); a conversation where I kept checking in if I needed to say something as he talked (dreams usually cost $) I realized I’d been unnecessarily critical of Dearest One our entire marriage. It’s embarrassing to admit that until that moment I didn’t know that I’d never apologized to someone for the pain I’d caused them, for their sake. It had always been for mine. To make me feel better. When I saw the pain in his face the next afternoon, as I apologized for the hurt I had caused by my criticism, well, for the first time I felt his pain.

In fairy tales, and dreams, this is where people live happily ever after.  We did have a honeymoon type period of time afterward. It was a beautiful time of peace and settledness. And then the hard work began. 

Time since then hasn’t always been easy. It’s included a 24 hour period when he abruptly left. We both thought it was for good.  I realized in those 24 hours that I did indeed have dreams. To see them dashed was so devastating that I still can’t talk about it much. I’m not sure what I was reduced to when I begged him not to leave but it was demoralizing in every way. 

These days we’re continuing to move forward towards our dream of a future together in this one life we have. Sometimes it’s felt like wading through sludge, other times murky water and occasionally clear paths where we almost danced down the road. 

~ Hope 


Thursday, February 23, 2023


I watched a TikTok this week where someone was demonstrating how to tell what your default response was in a stressful situation. Flight, fight, freeze or fawn. You were to imagine you were in the room on the screen when the person in there got up and locked the door. What would you do? I felt my body shrink inward, trying to disappear into my recliner. At the same time I said out loud, “hide.”

I have therapy tomorrow. Hearing the truth isn’t necessarily getting easier in session but I’d like to think I engage more than I used to.  There’s no place to hide when I’m in session because my therapist can read me so well she knows what state I’m in at every moment.

I’m a very large woman. I think about how my tendency is to want to hide even as my body has grown larger over the years. 

~ Hope


Monday, February 20, 2023

On My Own Terms

I’m not sure what’s got into me, but I’m finding a freedom to be me. The saying over there resonated when I read it.

And then, I thought about sharing a link to a spiritual program I’m going to be embarking on in September, and realized I don’t want anyone IRL to find me.

Oh, the irony.

~ Hope

Saturday, February 18, 2023


I’ve often told people that my siblings and I are great in a crisis but don’t expect us to make our bed every day. When our parents passed away  (7 months apart) we each used our strengths to get tasks done. While I very much like the quotidian things of life, that hasn’t translated into an orderly house.   

In the past few months I’ve experienced a growing sense of settledness. When people ask me how I am, it’s a repeated surprise to me, that I can truthfully say that I am doing good. After decades of not being able to, it feels strange to check within and find some peace and contentment regardless of whether life is ticking along according to my preferred plan. 

For all those years I was unable to look any deeper than whatever circumstances were swirling around me. Resilience was foreign to me. I couldn’t be okay because of this, that, or the other thing. Years of the right kind of therapy have made the difference. 

Peace, whether it’s fleeting or not, feels not like boredom these days, but such a relief. 

~ Hope

Monday, February 13, 2023

Actually Seeing

 Glimpses here and there. I’ll take it.

~ Hope

Wednesday, February 08, 2023


Before I write anything here, I go look through my photos and pick something to post. Tonight, as I looked, I thought to myself - what depressing things I save. My nature has never been Pollyanna-ish. I’ve often envied those whose default is to look on the bright side of things. 

That said, even in the midst of uncomfortable, not easy things at the moment, I’m finding a contentment and gratitude within me. Simply being alive sparks gratitude within me more days than not. At the risk of sounding morbid, I often think about the length of years I have left. I’m not the kind of person who looks for happiness in the big things of life, but rather in the minutiae. One of my favourite words is quotidian

Yesterday I told my grandson how the sky in winter is a shade of deep cerulean blue not found in summer. Spotting a tiny leaf or stone brings me joy. Sometimes, as I’m washing dishes, and through the open window the breeze floats across my sink, the smell of the dish soap convinces me for a moment that I’m washing dishes on a picnic table in a campground. It’s a visceral and not at all unpleasant thing. 

Do we bloom only late in life? Or is it that we bloom again and again without realizing it?

~ Hope 

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Past Versions

I had the opportunity to connect this past week with someone who knew me during the worst years of my life. Years when I cried and despaired of ever changing. They were the one I called on for support and who could see in me what I could not. Who held out hope for me when I had none.

We moved to different parts of the country and over time our friendship waned. 

I used to attend, and then eventually lead, a bible study made up of older women. My children were young and I’d listen to these women chat about their adult children and grandchildren. I’d wonder at what age a mother feels no shame about what choices their kids make, especially if those choices are radically different from what you’d hope they’d make. 

One time, my long ago friend was visiting and was able to attend the Bible study with me.  She didn’t say too much afterwards.  In all honesty, I thought I was all that and then some. I had met this friend at a Bible study at her house in a time when I had never read it for myself. Now here I was leading one. Well, then.

I turned 60 this past year.  I haven’t felt shame for my kids’ choices for many years.  They’ve made all the ones I never expected them to make when they were young. They’re pretty incredible human beings. I’m proud of the people they are. They’ve each had some pretty awful seasons in their lives already. Cancer, mental health issues, divorce and more. After talking with my friend, who continues to see in me what I cannot, I’m joining her in holding out hope for not only for myself, but also for my kids as they continue to grow and change.

~ Hope

Friday, February 03, 2023


I sent this to my therapist before I saw her this week. I actually don’t hate it.  I know she sees stuff long before I do.  Just like I sometimes see things in others before they do. And they do in me. 

It’s been a week of recharging my batteries before I head into the busiest stretch at work, which will last for months. 

I originally went back into the workforce because I knew I needed to rub shoulders with people who saw the world differently than I do.  I needed to stretch and grow. 

I mentioned to a friend the other day that hadn’t I been stretched enough? She replied, “Well, you’re not dead yet.”        

~ Hope

Monday, January 30, 2023


Yesterday I was that old lady hunched over the steering wheel as I drove 8 hours home from my daughter’s place. I’m sure I looked a sight with my oxygen cannula stuck up my nostrils and all.  My oxygen cannula that my 5 year old granddaughter had told me earlier that she’d stuck up her nose to see what it felt like. 

The six lane highway was sheer ice for the first hour and more of my trip home. Dearest One talked me through it as I sobbed my head off due to my fear and anxiety. 

My visit was the best of times and the worst of times. It ended with my daughter not speaking to me; no hugs goodbye from my granddaughters. 

I could spin the whys of that any which way to suit me. Without the support and reassurance from my therapist these past few days, I would feel totally crazy in the head.  But I’m not. Healing continues, but it sure is not for the feint of heart.

~ Hope 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Rest and Work

 This is not a question to ask oneself when you’ve been up since 5:30 with two energetic grandchildren. How to get rested to do my most meaningful work? Which is, these days, my grandchildren. We were faced with cat puke on the table and dog poop in the living room first thing. Lord help me.  

~ Hope

Wednesday, January 18, 2023


My wish for you, today. 

Last night I was helping my granddaughters put together a colourful craft cart. They were so full of excitement I felt like bursting into tears. 

~ Hope

Monday, January 16, 2023

What Is

Opportunities abound to heal while I visit my daughter and her daughters. 

All I can say tonight is that every ounce of fight I’ve had within me, all the grace shone my way, and every one step in front of the other, no matter how much I’ve gone backwards - I’m full of gratitude tonight for what is.

~ Hope

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

This Chance

 It’s been a long day. Grandchildren awake way before dawn. Mornings are a struggle for me. I managed to get the girls delivered to school on time before I came back to their house to start my work day.

Before I started work, I read this post. It was just what I needed to gain perspective. To be reminded that this chance to love is a gift. 

Oldest granddaughter came home from school and shared about her day. Out of that conversation we came up with a plan to have a game night this weekend. 

Anyway, my bed is calling and morning comes early. 

~ Hope

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Your Humanity Is Good

 That page of words over there could possibly sum up what I’ve learned in life. Or what I’m trying to, at least.

It’s such a far cry from the days when I would’ve said, ‘fuck that shit.’ I was striving for perfection or nothing at all.  And lest I think I’m all that and then some……

Today I was relaxing on the couch with my hand trailing off the side of it, absentmindedly petting the dog. Until I thought, “that doesn’t feel right.” I leaned over to see I was scratching the dog’s butt. 

~ Hope

Monday, January 09, 2023

Be Proud

 This is something my therapist reminds me of often.  I don’t know if we grow any other way. I don’t seem to. 

I was born stubborn. Sometimes it serves a good purpose. 

~ Hope 

Sunday, January 08, 2023


 I’ve been travelling for a few days to get to one of my kid’s houses.  My first time travelling with portable oxygen and doing so solo as well.  All is well. I saved the quote in the photo because it immediately made me think of my mother. There were worlds I inhabited that she wasn’t privy to.  One of those was my marriage. She was not good at listening and after a few times of shitty, judgemental advice I stopped trying. Things were very rocky in my marriage the last few years she was alive. She mentioned changes she’d seen in Dearest One and I knew she’d given me an opening to share and I deliberately chose not to. It felt unsafe. 

So here I am for an extended stay with one of my kids. One who I’ve had a rocky relationship with for chunks of time over the years, including non contact. These days it is calm. There is trust. Hard won on both sides. It’s hard to stop thinking you know your kids because you knew them then. My kids are mid to late thirties now. Then is a long time ago now. 


Friday, January 06, 2023


Sparkly eyed grandchild is having a sleepover tonight.  We’ve watched the Home Alone movies many times together. Tonight we did so again. At one point in the movie tonight something kind happens. They looked at me and said, “Kindness and generosity are my hobbies.” I told them those were virtues and they gave me a very sparkly eyed look. May that be so, child.

My mother had a snarky tone that she used to let my father know how irritated she was with him. I used that same snarky tone with Dearest One for years. Less and less as the years have gone by. I was oblivious to my use of it for much of our marriage. One day I not only saw it but, for the first time in my life, I gave a sincere apology for how my actions had hurt another human being. Before this I had apologized to make myself feel better. Not that I was aware of that before that moment, either.

This is where my therapist would remind me that self compassion will bring about more change within myself than harshness ever will. She knows how apt I am to be unkind towards myself when I peel another layer off the onion called growth and healing. Learning how to live out the virtue of kindness continues. Including towards myself.

~ Hope


Thursday, January 05, 2023

The Kicker

That’s the kicker isn’t it? Not running away when faced with a truth. I’ve spent serious time in my life believing I had a corner on the truth. And less time dismantling that belief. The important thing is that I woke up enough to see what I was going to lose if I didn’t change. I would’ve lost my most important relationships and a crappy relationship with myself. 

~ Hope

Tuesday, January 03, 2023


 I saved this as a photo to send to my therapist. I’m not sure I can go for even a calm eagle walk.  I haven’t tested my endurance too far since I’ve been on supplemental oxygen. 

People around me are being diagnosed with cancer. I think more about my mortality than I care to admit. I feel good about how hard I’ve worked in therapy to heal so that generations behind me have a better chance at healthy relationships without waiting 40 years for them to come to fruition.

For now I’ll continue walking on my journey.  Who knows how far I’ll get.

~ Hope

Monday, January 02, 2023



Increasing awareness. Actually seeing. So valuable. So difficult.  One of the questions I ask myself and sometimes, others, is “What am I pretending not to see?” I have talked myself into a corner when I write and suddenly see something within myself that I sure didn’t set out to see.  The other place it happens is in my therapist’s office. 

Then there’s the question of what to do with the seeing. 

~ Hope

Sunday, January 01, 2023

It took until I went on social media today to give some thought to it being the first day of the new year. 

I don’t think that life gives us lessons. That feels harsh.  Growth opportunities maybe? Whatever it is I’m not a fan of them most of the time. I’m not sticking my hand up in the air yelling, “pick me!” I doubt that anyone does so willingly. 

This past year contained much growth for me.  Deeply satisfying, hard-as-fuck growth. 

Who knows what the year ahead will bring.  I’m grateful to be alive to see it unfold. 

~ Hope