Shake it free {an essay from The Drafting Desk}

This essay first appeared in the January 20, 2018 issue of The Drafting Desk.


Back in October, I embarked on a self-prescribed assignment to pay more attention to the world around me—to look up more, to notice subtle changes, to really see.

Naturally, this led to me making a lot of observations about, well, trees. Let’s just say I took the looking up thing quite literally.

Well brace yourselves, friends, I’m about to talk trees again.

Hurricane Irma thundered through our neighborhood last September, and though cleanup has long since ended, evidence of a storm lingers: mismatched shingles, blue tarps draped across still-leaking roofs, gaping spaces between yards where fences used to separate one person’s property from another, and stumps—so many stumps!—where grand oaks and sycamores and sweetgums used to tower. Continue reading

Peace, joy, and cheese balls {an essay from The Drafting Desk}

This essay first appeared in the November 20, 2017 issue of The Drafting Desk.


Every Thanksgiving Day, my side of the family gathers at the same home we moved into when I was five and participates in one of our most sacred and meaningful holiday traditions.

My four sisters, husband, niece, nephew, and brothers-in-law (and now, my own children too), circle up, lay down some ground rules, and begin… our annual cheese ball competition.

That’s right—not joining hands and going around the table saying what we’re thankful for, not baking pumpkin pie together, not making handprint turkeys with the kids.

No, we commemorate this day of gratitude by lining up to take turns seeing how many cheese balls we can consecutively catch in our mouths. (Three misses, and it’s on to the next player.)

I’ll wait while you pin the idea to your Thanksgiving board on Pinterest. Continue reading

Letting change change me

I wrote the essay below for the May 20, 2017 issue of The Drafting Desk, a monthly collaboration with my friend Lindsey. Click here to learn more!


It’s hot enough here in Central Florida that my kids have already been in their grandparents’ pool twice (though the water is still too cold for Mom).

In an effort to get a jump start on things this year, I went ahead and signed up my 3-year-old for refresher swim lessons. At 4pm every weekday for the last three weeks, I’ve sat next to the pool and observed as the skills came back to her—kicking, paddling, holding her breath, rolling onto her back to float—like riding a bike. She loves the water, and I love watching her and chatting with her swim instructor for those 10 minutes every afternoon.

But then, just like that, she was dubbed swim-ready and we were finished. On the last day, we said goodbye to the instructor and I choked back tears.

Tears. Over the end of swim lessons.

What is wrong with me?

We’re standing at the edge of a season when so many things wrap up—end-of-the-school-year concerts, dance recitals, class parties, thank-you notes, teacher gifts, goodbyes to friends and other parents and teachers I’ve come to adore. I dread all of it. It reminds me that my children are growing, moving up, moving on (and often that means I have to move on with them). At 8 and 3, at least they’re not moving out—but I know it’s only a matter of time before that happens, too.

Oh gosh. Hold on while I look for the Kleenex.

It would appear I don’t cope well with change—but then, I already knew that.

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Continue reading