Thursday, December 13, 2012


i needed it to rain today. i needed the water to bring a new, to soak into this dry land. days of empty eyes have left our lives questioning. what are we doing wrong? what must change, somethings got to give? and is the barrenness just boredom or are we becoming more aware that being alive feels like we are actually dying. and the rains falls down like grace from above filling the ground of our souls. and i let the liquid make my soil like mush, letting it seep into all the cracks and into all the callused because nothing renews like living His water. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012


i see her now like i've never seen her before. her body bent over, her movements slower, her steps more calculated, her wrinkles deeper around her eyes. slow has never been a word to describe my grandma. having traveled the world, living in india, japan, and china most of her days. years spent sharing the love of God with anyone who would listen. when she was gone she missed a lot of our lives, my life. but she was here today. she sat in the second row of tables on the left side of the room. and when i sat down after sharing at this morning's event i saw her looking at me and i knew she felt proud. and for a few seconds our eyes held each other, both filling with tears. she said, "i never knew emotional pain could be more painful than physical pain." she reached for the tissues. i saw, really saw, my grandma this morning. a morning where i shared my story before hundreds. i said a lot of words and hugged a lot of women. but i don't think i'll remember anything more clearly than the way my grandma looked at me, eyes brimming with tears and our hearts meeting in the middle.

Friday, December 7, 2012


we met for a few hours. it was chilly. the kind where you cup your hands around your coffee mug and curl your shoulders into the table. conversation moved gracefully and carefully because when someone has been emotionally beaten up, you know to move gently. words balancing on top of topics, we settled into one for a while. we let the silence fill the space, until she landed her heart into the hole of her pain, "he stole my voice." and the tears fell. 
i fumbled around words, trying to find the right ones to fix her, knowing i had none. she recounted moments when she left herself, fell away in the shadows, and lost who she was. and after all the lies, all the betrayal, and all the pain, she was left with one thing, silence. 
the only way to have a voice is to speak, "give your voice a voice." i said.  and we did that that morning. we spoke and cried and laughed and even dreamed a little. 

she walked away. and even though we have been friends for years, it felt like we had just met.
she is waking up.
she is coming alive.

the accident

it has been 19 years since the accident.
november 26, 1993.
i was 13 years old when i walked out of the bathroom, met in the arms of my sister, Malina. she said they had died. both of them. i ran down the stairs, shaking. my skinny body fighting against all forms of comfort, head pounding no, no, no.
i cried. we all cried. but no one cried more than my sister wanida. for it was that day that her best friend died. 
jenni was 16 and mylene was 24. the oldest sister and the youngest sister died in one fatal car accident. they were on their way home from visiting their middle sister, emily, on her honeymoon. emily was only married 6 days prior to the accident. can you imagine, can you even imagine. in the span of two weeks there was a wedding and two funerals in one family. an absolute nightmare. 

19 years later we stood in my kitchen chopping chicken and mixing a cucumber salad and i asked if she was okay to talk about her sisters. she replied, "as long as you're okay if i cry." i listened, bouncing noelle on my hip, to emily recounting that day.  she told me details i never knew. things that only God could have ordained. like the way Jenni spent her last night beside Emily, their bodies shared a bed. and even though it was her honeymoon, she slept side by side with her little sister for her last night on earth. or how the other car in the accident was a father to three girls, one girl whose name was emily. he survived the accident, but has never taken another step since that day. emily told me that when she woke up that morning, one week after her wedding day, she sat down and her husband told her that both sisters had passed away.  they had only hugged outside the gas station just 8 hours earlier. emily and i both started to cry. she kept cutting and i kept swaying my little girl. she said she cried all the way from mammoth to san marcos. after 8 hours the tears were no more. her mom lost two children that night and for months her mom kept a banner hanging above their doors that said, "welcome home." she believed that the girls were on a trip and she was just waiting for them to come home. and when the girl's bodies were lowered into the ground her mom was held back from following her girls right there into the ground. and what pain could be greater than losing a child, but she lost two in one brief moment, gone. i'm sure she died that day, too.

it's been 19 years. almost another life time since Jenni and Mylene died. emily has had three kids since. kids that only know their aunts by pictures, names, and stories. when people die they are never forgotten, i just think sometimes we forget to talk about them, even 19 years later. but i still miss them. i wonder what they would be like, who they would have become. if they would have been there with us, chatting about recipes and the cost of sushi and homeschooling.

noelle was born november 26th, 2011. 18 years after the accident. noelle hope paschall. Hope is also Jaylene's middle name. Jaylene is emily's third child. a daughter bearing the name of both of emily's sister's.


i'm freaking out and i'm not sure how exactly to respond to my mom's text, "how are you?"
well, i'm freaking out, that's how i'm doing. and i don't know what to do to make my anxiety go away. my anxiety tonight isn't going to go away. it's the kind of anxiety that i am walking straight into. tomorrow, i'm going to walk into a room of 150 women, whom i don't know, and tell them my story. i'm going into a silent space where my voice will be amplified. and in the simplest of words i'll let them into my heart, peek into my soul. and this night, with fire crackling and Christmas music soothing and tea warming, i think there is no other way to share my soul, to be vulnerable, without anxiety, without a tad of freak out. being vulnerable is peeling back my skin and saying this is who i am, will you still love me? and when i'm done and walk to my sit will i feel shame? will i wonder what thoughts are running through their heads? will i sneak out and make a mad dash for the parking lot? yes, probably all three. it's vulnerable to be ask to be loved as you truly are, but there is no love without vulnerability. none. love and vulnerability are of the same breath. and in one breath a baby entered the world thousands of years ago. for what is more vulnerable than a baby? what is more fragile, tender, and captivating than the first moment of life? he was a vulnerable soul, born into a tragic terrain, that became the source for the very existence of love at all.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


alarm blaring at 6:23.
already my heart racing.
 anxiety of all to be done and all that has been left undone.
we circle each other in the kitchen with morning cartoons already enticing battles over who picks and who can't see the screen, the waffle is burning. think. grab clothes, grab baby awake, grab peanut butter.
overwhelmed but what task to actually complete first, making a mental list prioritizing the important to what can be procrastinated. and all these thoughts make me irritated, short, and snappy with the little ones doing everything the opposite of what i ask of them. 
tie your shoes, he takes them off.
put on jeans, he comes out wearing shorts 2 sizes too small.
and i can't get the sippy cup cap on correctly, water spilling.
and the noise of wedding pictures to blog, and phone calls to clients, and diapers to buy all cloud my mind. frustration fuming.
and yet, the most overwhelming thing of it all isn't what must get done or what hasn't been accomplished. my greatest weight is me and not my list. all things, in there time, will be done. it isn't the tasks, it's me. my heart, my need to please, my uneasiness with my heart these days and all that i see inside there, my need to keep up with the masses, my need to find admiration from others. my list has little to do with my messy morning, but everything to do with mobilizing me to encounter my mess. my restlessness has less to do with my crowed calendar and all to do with my true condition. and all the while i hear one voice echoing in my heart, "my heart is restless until i find rest in thee."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

one year.

one year ago today we moved into this home. our first home. walls still sealed with masking tape and plastic and a kitchen without appliances or counter tops. the moving truck filled with people filing in and out carrying boxes, and couches, and cribs. i remember sitting on our piano bench and i started to cry. i was so moved by the moment. our first home. hopefully our last home. people continued to march in and around and about the rooms. i sat, pointing, directing and correcting the stream of people. my body still on pain medication from my c-section 6 days earlier. noelle arrived three weeks earlier than we expected. she was early and the kitchen cabinets were late. some things can never be planned. someone brought pizza and we ate and sam never sat down. answering questions and providing tours of our 1,400 square foot place, i smiled non stop. our friend arrived and mounted the mantel above the fireplace as several bystanders made him do it over at least four times till it was perfectly straight. and women, a lot of women, in one room can probably drive a man crazy, but we laughed and it makes for a good memory. it was a cold night, but the love of so many people ushering us graciously into our new home brought so much warmth. oh and who could forget the piano that weighs a million pounds. it was the same piano that we pushed down a hill when we moved from the top of 7th street to the middle of 6th street. that piano is a beast and sam swears that he will never move it again. but 8 guys rolled and hauled it through our front doorway, shouting directions, and motioning hands to move it forward. and then the boys arrived. four and two. and we couldn't find the the two year old's crib screws. so sam drove 20 minutes to scour the old place for the missing zip lock bag. he couldn't find it so that night the little one moved to a big boy bed. and they jumped on the beds shouting, "we don't have to move again until we go to heaven!" and i can't remember what un-godly hour they fell asleep that night. and slowly everyone left and we were alone, our family of five in our first home.
 one year later. we lay feet fixed up on the fireplace, listening to a mix of music and remembering that night a year ago. and a song comes on. sam asks if we can just listen. "life is about people." the lyrics repeat this line, "life is about people," again and again. our kitchen is completed, the walls painted the perfect color of blue, and i've rearranged the furniture a few hundred times, but essentially none of that matters. life is about people. life isn't about property or sq feet or a perfect styled pinterest home. life is about the people. the hands that carried boxes and sewed curtains and hung towels. all the people that walked through our front door and shared a meal. all the mornings sipping tea and evenings spent playing settlers. forth of july parties with thirty some children and giggling in every corner. a three year old living a dream day and having a dirt birthday party in our unfinished front yard. people arriving unexpectedly, head in hands, heart in tears. counter top conversations eating candy at midnight. children learning to swim, children and mom's crying because swimming is apparently equivalent to torture. people shoveling rocks, placing new patches of grass and planting trees. surprise knocks on the front door from sisters and spouse. so many of these moments that i can hardly recall them all. there have been so many wonderful people within these walls this year. a home is nothing without people. life is about people.