Seek justice.

Let’s consider this scenario. A white woman goes for a run. She’s training for a marathon, so her daily runs have gotten longer, so for a couple weeks, she’s been running through a neighborhood a couple miles away from hers to get the extra training miles in.

A father and son have been sitting on their porch, hanging out, chatting, occasionally cleaning their guns, and have noticed her in the neighborhood. They’re a little suspicious. They don’t recognize her. And she’s back again. They start following her, they heard that their neighbor’s house was vandalized last week, maybe it was this chick. They take the guns they were cleaning as they get in the car. You never know if someone is armed.

They drive up behind the running woman and slow to a crawl, she looks over her shoulder and speeds up. Well, that’s suspicious. They pull up alongside her, shotgun in hand, and shout out the window to her to stop running. They want to talk to her. She glances over and just runs faster.

They can’t let her get away. She might have vandalized the Smiths’ house.

As she crosses the street, they speed up and cut her off. The son jumps out of the front seat with his shotgun, yelling at her to stop, demanding she answer his questions. He runs toward her aiming the shotgun. He shoots. Can’t tell why, maybe to scare her, maybe to stop her. She pushes him away. But he persists. She tries to get the shotgun away from him and he pulls the trigger a second time. Blood spatters from her hand that he just blew away.

She looks terrified. Like she knows what’s next. She wildly punches at him and tries to pull the gun away from him in her last desperate attempt to save her life. He pulls the trigger again. She stumbles back, blood seeping out from her chest, and falls to the ground. The son’s dad runs up and turns her over. There’s blood everywhere. She’s dead.

He stands up over her body next to his son. They start to notice neighbors are watching. And there they are: two black men standing over the body of a dead white woman.

What would you think? What would happen next? What should happen next?

Because that happened. It happened to a young black man named Ahmaud Arbery. Only, the two men standing over his body were white.

I’m so angry. I want justice for this young man. And I don’t have any ability to do anything about that. To make a prosecutor do the right thing—which is to arrest and prosecute the perpetrator/s.

But I do have my voice and my privilege. I’m very aware of the gift of both. And I will raise my voice and throw my white lady privilege behind the cause of justice because this murder breaks my heart. And I truly hope it breaks yours, too.

This is not okay. It needs to stop.

We wonder why bad things happen. We’re good people, we think. No, we are people who tell ourselves that we’re good people and allow injustice to flourish. It must end.

I’m a conservative. I’ve worked for multiple Republican office holders. I’m a strict constructionalist. I believe deeply in the Constitution and our constitutional rights as a citizenry. I believe in the 2nd amendment.

If you are those things, if you believe in the constitution, then you should also want these murderers brought to justice. Injustice, especially injustice perpetrated by systems of justice, undermines the rule of law.

We are a nation of laws. And we allow the justice system to deal with criminals. We don’t shoot people in the street.

If you suspect someone of a crime, call the police (for the record, it seems pretty clear there was no crime that took place, other than Ahmaud’s murder). Don’t chase the person down with a deadly weapon. Of course, Ahmaud ran away. This father and son had no legal right or authority to stop him, they are NOT the police, and they were brandishing multiple guns.

If someone is driving a car after me waving a gun and telling me to stop, I’m trying to get away as fast as possible. If they physically try to block me from leaving, I’m defending myself, I’m fighting for my life. Which it turns out is exactly what Ahmaud was doing, and he lost that fight.

This father and son decided Ahmaud was bad or had done something bad, that’s clear from their statements to police, they believed he robbed several houses (even though there was only one reported robbery in the neighborhood all year). So they got together a cadre of guns and went to confront him. They didn’t call the police first. Instead, they made themselves judge, jury, and ultimately, executioner. And then the dad, who is very familiar with the criminal justice system as a retired district attorney’s office investigator, made up the most plausible explanation to tell law enforcement.

This is insanity. Only made worse by the decision not to arrest and prosecute. Maybe they didn’t intend for it to end this way, I certainly hope that’s the case. But the reality is, they took Ahmaud’s life.

I am also a Christ follower. I love and fear God. I read the Bible.

If you are also those things, then you know God’s expectation that we seek justice for the oppressed.

And you, too, should hear Ahmaud’s blood cry out from the ground for justice.




*Photo taken from publicly available sources. Please contact me if it should be taken down.


Four things to do when there are no good words.

Recently, a good friend asked me how to support a dear friend encountering a devastating loss.  There are no good words, he said.

My friend isn’t wrong.

My hope is that my journey through grief can light a path for others. While everyone’s experience is different, here are four ways that I would suggest to encourage those in your community walking through loss and grief.

  1. Be a haven.

A haven is a place of safety or refuge, a shelter. In the storm of grief, seek to be a shelter for your friend. Whether that is by opening your home or a bottle of wine. There are so many ways to do this, but it’s important to know there are two things grieving people need to feel deep in their bones to feel safe:

You are loved.

Say it, show it, let your actions do the talking. When your heart is ripped apart, you need to know that others care that your heart heals. That you heal. That you matter to them. Your wholeness, the care of you matters to them.

As humans, we want to be accepted. When a loved one passes, it upends your support network, one of your go-to people is no longer here with you. You worry that you don’t or won’t matter to anyone else.

There are lots of ways to show love, and everyone receives and feels it differently. Think about the ways your friend or loved one expresses their love to you. Odds are, that’s their love language. Mirror it back to them. Gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, or some combination of a few or all. Figure out how they will feel you love them and do that.

And then say it, say it, say it. Even when you don’t hear it back. Say it.

You are not alone.

When my Mom passed, I felt so alone. Actually, I didn’t realize that I felt alone until my best friends told me over and over, that I was not alone. I felt such relief. Those words made me cry.

But the ways our community showed up over and over let me know it is true. Prayers, texts, emails, meals, flowers, visits, cards, calls.

Some of my Mom’s best friends sent notes on significant dates. My godmother accompanied me to doctor’s appointments after I ruptured my ACL. The kindness of it is overwhelming.

Pay attention and put the significant dates in your calendar—the day of the month and check in at one month, six months, a year. Check in every year during the month of the anniversary of the passing. For friends who have lost spouses, write down their wedding anniversary. Know holidays will be raw and difficult for those grieving, so find a way to reach through busyness that surrounds holidays to say I see you and your pain is not forgotten.

  1. Acknowledge the shitty.

I don’t know anyone who is walking through grief who hasn’t looked around and gone, this is some bullshit. And it is.

No matter how it happens, whether a long illness or in an instant; no matter the age of the loved one who passed. The gaping hole of their absence will be something your friend deals with for the rest of her or his life.

Acknowledge it. Doesn’t even have to be complicated. Just put it on the table, look at it, and know that not trying to cover it up in some platitude is a way to unflinchingly see and affirm the grieving process. Say the nice things, too, but let’s all start with being honest.

  1. Listen, be present, and just be.

When a loved one passes, you honestly don’t know what you’ll need or when you’ll need it. You don’t how things will get put back together again or if they ever will.

There are all different kinds of people—introverts, extroverts, introverted extroverts, etc. Some people will need to talk. Maybe a lot. Some will want to lose themselves in nature. Sometimes, your extroverts will just want to sit with someone in silence. Do all those things.

Some will want to pray together. Others will want to cry out to God in anger. Give grace for that. Hold their hand through it, literally or in spirit. And provide a safe space for that process.

Ask the how are you doing question, mean it, and be ready to really listen. Don’t shy away from asking the question. Don’t worry that you’ll remind them of their loved one. They do not forget for a moment that their loved one is not here. Ask the question, give the space to answer or not, and follow their lead.

  1. Bring the joy.

Loss is deep water. And joy knows how to reach into the deep, how to cut into the darkness with light. Joy can abide with grief in a wounded spirit and give it a hug.

Find ways to honor, remember, and share. If you know the person who passed, share stories—not just the proper ones, but the funny ones, sassy ones, inappropriate ones. Your friend knows who their loved one is. I love hearing stories about my Mom. Especially when she was being sassy. The lady is no wilting flower, I know she’s sassy. She was sassy with me all the time, and opinionated, and bossy. She loves to giggle. The best giggle. Talking about her, hearing how she impacted the people in her life, sharing memories is such a loving way my friends and family let me know the difference she made to each of them. And I’m so proud of who she is, so I love to hear about the way she lives on in the lives of others who love her.

And encourage your friend to celebrate. It could be small things. But find the small things that lift the spirit. Share photos on social or send hard copies through the mail, so they can be framed. Ask how or if they want to mark significant milestones and support them in it. Do activities with your friend that their loved one enjoyed or that they always did together. Be ready to share a meal, make a drive, or jump on a flight if you’re able.

Finally, don’t get bogged down in trying to do the perfect thing. Keep it simple, keep it real. Show up, show love.

Showing up.

An art.

A grace.

An action.

Showing up.

It’s the practice of showing people they are not alone.

Grief can be isolating. Because it feels like it pulls you out of the present world and into this strange in between. Where you can be present in a meeting, but also present in a memory at the exact same time.

You tear up at inopportune times. You say things that make people uncomfortable.

You need. A lot. You are a big raw ball of need. And you need to know you’re not alone.

To hear it over and over.

It still surprises me how every time I hear those words, I feel some relief.

But it’s not just the words.

It’s the showing up.

Our capacity to love each other across time and distance is incredible.

The ways friends, family, colleagues, my Momma’s friends, and relative strangers have shown up for me floors me. Knocks me to my knees with gratitude.

A phone call. A text message. A letter. A care package. A visit. A meal. A glass of champagne.

A prayer, continual prayer, so much prayer. Prayers to fill voids and hearts and emptiness and ache.

All of it pours salve into the gaping need. Into the hole in your heart.

Bringing hand lotion to the hospital because you have to reapply hand sanitizer every 30 seconds in ICU.

Driving hours to stand in a rain-drenched mountain cemetery when the heavens wept with you.

Flying across the country to pay respects. No notice, no heads up, no asking, just literally showing up sitting there in a pew.

Opening your home to be a haven, a shelter from the storm, and letting you claim the TV room as your bedroom, never asking when you’re leaving, but instead when you are coming back.

Taking the keys to your new apartment and unpacking all of your boxes from your cross-country move.

Flying across the country to hold your hand, help you organize a life out of all the mess that came out of those boxes, lovingly telling you to stop being a hoarder, and then making you give away all the crap you don’t need. Just like your Momma would. Definitely the way everyone wants to spend their vacay, I’m sure.

Bringing over shelving and a drill to turn your second bedroom into a girl’s dream dressing room.

Receiving photos out of the blue in the mail from an old family friend of your Mom pregnant and radiant at her baby shower for you, which lets you see an expression that you never realized you get from her.

Sharing memories, experience, wisdom. Just sharing.

Not turning away. Sitting in the discomfort, in the awkward, in the rawness and tears. Asking again and again. Checking in. Understanding there is a process, a journey, and leaving space for it.

Sitting beside you in silence.

Showing up.

In ways, big and small. Over and over.

Showing up.

Because life is best walked in community.

And you are not alone.

Feelings taste delicious.

Feelings taste delicious.

I know because I have been eating my feelings for about 10 months now.

It’s not so terrible; it’s also not a solution.

Especially when you rupture your ACL halfway through that 10 months.

So it is time to stop eating my feelings and just feel them. Feel what happens when I don’t put something comforting between myself and the discomfort.

Part of life is sitting with the discomfort.

There are lots of things we don’t get to choose, that we wish were different. And the only way through those situations is through.

So I started the Whole 30 last week to remind my body and my mind of healthy practices. Like grocery shopping more than once a month, or how to prepare my meals from ingredients rather than takeout boxes, or cooking meals more frequently than just for Sunday night dinner.

30 days of no alcohol, no dairy, no refined or added sugar, no janky carbs. And probably no of something else that I’m missing from that list.

Honestly, cheese is the base of my personal food pyramid and I’m pretty sure champagne constitutes the entirety of the second level. I literally have a cheese and champagne shelf in my fridge.

But when you are ready for change. Sometimes you come to the difficult thing and it feels like it has already been done. Because your health is more important to you than your resistance.

Normally, I agonize over when to start a cleanse, so I can time it just right to miss all important occasions where I will want to sip champagne or eat crostini. And I started to do that again and then I just thought, how do you want to live? Be bold, this starts tomorrow. It was Wednesday.

One of my friends pointed out that I’m usually a little angry around days two through, I don’t know, pretty much every other day of a cleanse, but this time around, it feels invigorating.

I’m not saying it is the easiest or every meal I make wouldn’t be better with cheese. Every meal is always better with cheese.

It just feels good to nourish and listen to my body and, in doing so, refresh my spirit.

So any ideas for yummy Whole 30 recipes and snacks? Hashes and stir fries are my favorite so far.

Lay it down.


On the surface, it seems like a great concept. I’m a type A, so I’m all for it.

You are the captain of your ship, the master of your destiny.

Except you’re not. At least, not always.

Because if I could control everything, my Mom would still be here.

And even now, ten months on, that’s still what I wish. That my Mom would still be here.

And if we were in control, I’m sure a lot of us would want to change something. For ourselves or for someone we love.

Change something to keep them from the pain.

For a long time, I thought I could control my way out of any situation, out of hurt or confusion. That by being the most organized, the most together, thinking ahead, looking around every corner, being prepared, I could spare myself. Honestly, I still try.

When your heart breaks. When you experience crazy pain. When you can’t change the thing you most wish you could change. You realize you have to stop putting your faith in control. In what you can do or what you think you can do.

You have to lay it down.

And there is One who will pick up what you carry. And then will pick up you.

But I have to hand it over. Hand over control, hand over the outcome.

Do you ever notice that the moment before we release things, there is this burst of holding on tighter? One last grasp at what I can do on my own.

And it doesn’t work. Because we are made to be in community and in communion. We are made for sharing the load.

So I pray to let go, lay it down, and rest.

What we carry.

Some experiences burn into our souls.

Change who we are. How we live. How we work and see the world. How we view others.

I’ve had a few of those. Losing my Mom burns the deepest.

I wish I could say burned, but it burns still.

Who I was is not who I am. I’m the same person, but how I walk in the world is different.

Because with every step now, I carry my grief. In every breath, I carry my loss.

But because of what I carry, in every interaction, I know that I may walk into someone else’s burden. Bump into what they carry. In their arms, on their backs, in their minds.

Grief, infertility, a struggling child, illness, depression, shame. We carry our experiences, the joy and the deep pain. Sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly or awkwardly.

What is wrong with him? Why does she do that?

Those questions used to be accusations. Now, they are openings.

I look at people differently. At my best, I stop before I accuse. I ask why. And I want to know the answer.

I try to see what each person carries, learn how it changes how they walk in the world. Love the person with their stuff. In spite of their stuff. Because of their stuff.

Know that I cannot always carry their load. But I can say, I see that you are weary, you are burdened, you feel alone, lost, confused. Sad.

That’s okay. Sometimes, I do, too.

And I see you.