Skip to content

Jillosophy

Non-Fiction

Of Fog and Rainbows

Door County, Wisconsin is a tiny finger of land jutting out into Lake Michigan’s northwestern coastline. It’s a gorgeous area made up of small, charming little towns dotted among the best that nature has to offer, the communities encircling the peninsula like an antique necklace of pearls adorning the neck of a beautiful woman. Door County has often been described as the Cape Cod of the Midwest, and having spent time in both areas, I’d agree. It’s also an incredibly healing place, as my friend Janet, who has a vacation home there, reminded me when she generously offered it to

Read More »
Political

The Price of Our Beliefs

I was fresh out of college when I first read the book, The Handmaid’s Tale, which is now also a TV series. It depicts the US as a police state ruled by Christian fundamentalists who oppress women while surveilling and regulating the lives of its citizens. When I read it, I was struggling to reconcile my Catholic upbringing with my staunch feminist beliefs. My Catholic feminist mom was struggling with the same. Given that the church we both attended back then was widely regarded as the most liberal in Milwaukee, we were in good company among plenty of Catholics who

Read More »
Political

It’s Not You. It’s the System.

Just about every woman I know has told me the same thing: “I’m so tired.” Women who are young mothers. Women who are retired. And women in between each of those stages of life, all saying and feeling the same thing: “I am so, so tired.” I feel the same. And this sentiment is not going unnoticed. Books, articles and podcasts offer similar antidotes to wake us from our communal slumber: Take more bubble baths and naps. Schedule more massages. Demand that your husband/partner/co-worker/boss do more, and/or expect less. In one article offering 50 Ways to Better Self-Care, I found

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Forever

On this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share some thoughts about love that may be different than a typical Hallmark movie. The following guest post is by my wise and wonderful friend, Karen Vernal. In her essay, Karen describes her grief over losing her beloved first husband John and then, how she found love again with Tom, the second man to capture her heart so completely. Karen’s beautiful essay resonates so fully with me because I’ve recently experienced the pain of grief and the joy of love, and I’m beginning to recognize that these two emotions often show up together,

Read More »
Fiction

All That I Carry

(The following piece was recently published in Persimmon Tree, an on-line magazine. I hope you enjoy it.) I’m walking barefoot uphill. Under one arm, I carry my elderly mother, my siblings, and assorted friends. Some are silent. Some want to assist, but aren’t sure how. Others offer to help but, too tired to direct them, I politely decline. Then there are those who shout instructions (“Turn that way! Move faster!”), which only elevates my unrelenting anxiety and fatigue.  Tucked under my other arm are the other members of my family—husband, kids, grandkids. They cheerfully urge me on and while I

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Love Wins*

My 90-year-old neighbor Gerry died last month. We’ve lived next door to him and his family for more than thirty years. At the church service, two of Gerry’s children shared stories of their dad, the common thread being how Gerry didn’t suffer fools. In their eulogies, they’d described him as a demanding dad, expecting his children, and the students he taught as a dental school professor, to strive for perfection in everything they did. This didn’t surprise me. Gerry was a man whose lush lawn could’ve doubled as a country club putting green. He diligently swept his long driveway clean

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Gifts from a Friend

My friend Mandy is a woman of many gifts and one of the smartest people I know. In our small group of girlfriends since junior high, she’s known as our collective memory. “Mandy, who sat next to us in Mr. Stone’s science class in eighth grade?” She’ll know the answer, just as she knows any line or verse from just about any movie or song we throw at her. Mandy is also a creative, an artist and singer/performer who has the ability to bring beauty into the world with her voice, her words, her actions. She’s the friend who’s always

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Not Pretty

Fair warning: If one more person, no matter how well meaning, tells me, “Well, at least it’s pretty,” my snow shovel may turn into a lethal weapon. Snow in springtime is not pretty. You know what’s pretty in springtime? A warm, white sand beach is pretty. A pastel sunset in Key West is pretty. A sweaty, umbrella-garnished piña colada in my tanned hand that I slurp while sitting under a cabana is pretty (or maybe even one version of heaven). But snow in Wisconsin, in March, (or in April and May, if history repeats itself) isn’t pretty. Let me be

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Serving a Friend With Mental Illness

I’ve looked up to my big brother Mike my entire life. And I’ve had plenty of reasons to do so. A natural leader, as well as a strong and accomplished athlete, Mike is also funny and kind, super smart and handsome. He and his wife Lisa met in high school, where they were not only voted homecoming king and queen, but went on to nab the title of prom king and queen as well. Everyone—students and teachers alike—loved them. After college, Mike and Lisa married and had two beautiful children, a son Jared and then a daughter, Kristen. She was

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Two-By-Four Lessons

A few months ago, the wheels fell off my somewhat-organized life due to some major health setbacks my Mom suffered and continues to address. But I’ve recently had a moment to take stock about what I’ve learned through this experience. I’d like to share my lessons learned to continue my own self-reflection, but even more importantly, to hear about your own, perhaps similar experiences in dealing with the challenges of helping someone you love when they’re most in need. Some of what I’ve learned so far: -My mom is one of the strongest people I know (okay, I knew that

Read More »

Categories

Subscribe to Jillosophy

No spam. No fundraising solicitations for popcorn, cookies or Christmas wreaths.
Just new blog posts delivered straight to your in-box every so often. I promise.