The Gift

Nani is magic.

She persuades sullen children to sleep,

breaks up fights with merely a look.

She calms fears, theirs and mine;

remembers little moments and treats them like holidays.

She’s the parent I am not as I travel the country.

Their eyes light up when she walks in the door each morning and announces her presence.

It’s a gift these days with her.

This gift, in this way, would not have been possible had he lived.

They had a plan.

A beach house on the shore and a retirement within reach.

Yes, they would have been magical, the two of them together with those three little girls.

But, it would have been a different kind of magic- one made after 12 hour-long road trips to that cottage on the island.

We don’t get to decide the gift given or choose the form it takes.

We can ponder the would have been, but all that would do is tarnish the image of what is.

So we will love this gift that comes wrapped in the package of the woman called Nani. The one, if it had worked out differently, might be a thousand miles away and instead walks through our front door each morning and brings her magic.



20 years past.


A lifetime lived in the blink of an eye.

And here I stand offering them advice about cherishing the moment. The joy in the friendships they have. The reminder that they are merely scratching the surface of what these relationships will grow to become.


The tears welled up as I told them about the moments women had lifted me. Moments I could not have imagined all those years ago while standing in the same spot they were.

I mentioned my own girls and my hopes for them in the years to come. My desire that they too find a community that will support them when family may not cut it.

After the talk, two young women took me through the hallways of the house, past my room that spring semester junior year which housed a million late night conversations.

The pictures on the walls brought an overwhelming sense of happiness.


Happy that I could be here at this time to share a small snippet of my story.

Happy that the young girl smiling at me found a place like this.

Happy that 20 years later the legacy of what we started there has lived on.


For my former spouse and his soon to be bride

Dear Brock and Allison,

These last two years have been a journey for all of us. But your wedding day is not about what was, it is about what is.

You have found in each other what many dream of and your life will come together before your friends, family and our God in just two short months.

As we lead up to this joyous occasion, but before the frenzied pace of the last weeks before your wedding, I wanted to pause and let you know a few things I have been pondering.

There is great beauty in this moment.

A story of God’s grace.

The chance to start anew.

While I play no role on the day of your wedding, know that the role I play in the coming years of your marriage is one I take very seriously.

As the mother of your girls Brock and of your mentees Allison, I will be here to support you on this journey. I will always hold your marriage in the highest regard.

I will seek to reinforce its place in the lexicon of our family.

I will remind my children of the extra special life they lead to have so many grown ups committed to nurturing them through their formative years and beyond.

Your marriage will have a very important place in their lives.

You see you have the chance to do what thus far has alluded me.

You can show them the stability and strength in a lifelong commitment. How man and women can live in unity with each other.

I may never get to be that example for them. But you two do.

So I will have this unique privilege of watching your married life unfold and lifting it up from afar.

I will pray for you daily and seek God’s guidance as to the best way forward for all of us.

Enjoy this time in your lives.

Know that I believe the best is yet to come for you both.



merton quote