23, 2.0

march 23, 2017

two years ago today. it’s not something we’ve been shy about sharing in this space – the way the door opened and the light was perfect and all the things that had been so scary and off balance and lonely fell into place in an instant. the way a moment can literally change everything.

we’ve talked about the pain and loss, the love and joy, really just two sides of the same coin, impossible to have one without the other. we’ve laughed together and cried together, found our people, worked hard to make a safe space for our family, healed some of the broken places, traveled, eaten amazing food, adopted two terrible dogs and a couple of pretty okay cats, rearranged furniture, taken trips, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries (so many anniversaries), and settled in to a life that feels so normal sometimes it surprises me.

the days that followed the very first 23rd were a crazy mix of emotions, some good and some that i hope we never feel again. but that day? magic. (there’s a reason we write about the 23rd so often.)

for me, the day started with a nine hour car trip – driving due east and watching the sun rise on a day i didn’t even know i would remember forever.


the rest is pretty well-documented history by now (you can read about it here and here), but looking back, those nine hours in the car were exactly what i needed. time to think and sing and car-dance without anything (or anyone) else. it was just me, alone with my thoughts. i made big decisions in the car that day about how i wanted to live my life and what i needed to do to make that happen. i was feeling pretty smug when i arrived at bridget’s house, ready to share all of my big plans with two of my closest friends. and then…


it feels like yesterday and ten years ago. part of me can’t believe it’s been two years and part of me can’t believe it’s only been two years. nevertheless, i’m grateful.

i hope that when we’re 90 the 23rd will still feel as magical as it does today, and i hope i never forget dancing in that weird little beer garden or watching the sun rise over the ocean.

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happy 23rd, y’all.

xoxo, k



take me to church

today, we went to church. it seems strange that we hadn’t been in so long, both of us being pretty church-y people, but after – well, everything – we had a hard time with church. the evangelical churches aren’t exactly a safe place for a family like ours, and my trusty presbyterian church, while accepting and welcoming and affirming as a denomination was chock full of hard relationships. we’d visited a handful of other churches, but the truth is that church shopping is exhausting at best and can be downright disastrous at worst. add eight children to the mix and it becomes impossible.

our kids settled in to the youth group at the presbyterian church, and we are so thankful for that. it has been a steadying force for them and they have formed important friendships there. they have important conversations about the world, jesus, themselves…it really has been a blessing to them.

i guess we just got…comfortable. comfortable with the kids having a place, comfortable with sleeping in on sunday mornings, comfortable with not church shopping. we’d talk about it sometimes – “i wish we had a church.” “we should go try this church or that one.” and then we just didn’t…for a lot of reasons.

listen, i love church. i do. i’ve been convinced that god is real since i sat in the sanctuary as a 4 year old thinking that our head pastor was god himself. i experienced god in really tangible ways when, as an 11 year old, my mom died and i navigated that grief with our brand new youth pastor who wasn’t quite sure what she’d gotten herself into. i felt god move over and over again at our middle-of-nowhere church camp – scattered in a field under the stars with only the light from our candles, huddled around a campfire singing songs i still remember the words to, at vespers on top of the mountain, and late at night in cabin two with the best friends i’ve ever had.

i have really amazing church memories, and i (still) really love jesus.


(there’s always a but, isn’t there?)

the church is made up of people, and sometimes people get it wrong (really, really wrong in ways that are so damaging). people can be terrible. church people can be especially terrible, twisting the bible to fit whatever interpretation they have deemed correct and then hiding behind it to justify their terrible-ness.

it’s easy to take the hurt caused by the people of the church and make it about the church or god or some combination of those three things. and i guess that’s what happened and why we needed a break from church. when you are hurt by something that is supposed to be safe – it’s a different kind of healing that has to happen before you’re ready to put yourself in that position again…to open yourself up for possibly more hurt.

but today we did.

we visited the sweetest country church, and it was like walking in to a family gathering. people were milling around talking about their weeks, and we had barely taken our seats before introductions were made, smiles and names exchanged, and conversations started. y’all…if you want to fall in love with a church, go to a small town and find a welcoming little church with weird stained glass and artificial flowers. find a place where, during morning announcements, someone in the congregation points out that wanda in the choir celebrated a birthday yesterday and the entire church breaks into singing “happy birthday” to her. go to a church where mom hugs are the norm, where they love their community, believe in justice, eat together, pray together, and welcome visitors with open arms.

jesus met me at that little church today, and he reminded me that it doesn’t have to be perfect, that there’s no guarantee we won’t get hurt by the people of the church, that he loves us whether we’re at church or not, and that there’s something really magical about a community of people gathered together to love, pray for, and honor each other.

i don’t know where our church journey will lead us, but i’m glad we went today.

happy birthday, wanda. and happy anniversary, mr. and mrs. lewis. thanks for being so kind and welcoming, sheila, marlene, adele, bob, jim, adam, and everybody else whose names i’ve forgotten. ouita, thank you for inviting us (and for the best hugs).

xoxo, k


Ma’s House


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Ma’s… Listen nothing in life is perfect but her little museum of a house comes close and every time she has us over for pizza and the kids gather around this table and then run around like maniacs in her perfect little basement my heart swells. 

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Ivy loves Ma to pieces, and this time while we were over Kara gave Ivy a little tour. She showed her the pink room, and Ives immediately claimed it as her own. She even opened up her mom’s old music box and showed her the inside. 

Processed with VSCO with a8 presetI don’t know if Ma wanted to like me, she had enough people telling her she shouldn’t, but I think she does like me. I didn’t know I’d like her so much to be honest, but I do. I like her and her impeccable furniture taste and her white keds and how she lights up at all of our kids stories. I like how she makes manhattans and how she points her finger when she talks in perfect old lady style. Processed with VSCO with a8 presetProcessed with VSCO with a8 preset

Nothing in life is perfect but this little Friday family night at Ma’s House was pretty close. And I know we talk a lot about the ones who left, but I’m so thankful for all the people we haven’t lost in all the mess of this Wild love. Processed with VSCO with 5 preset