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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

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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