Monthly Archives: May 2015

In Which I Got to See the Innards of Chronicle Books and They Were Beautiful…


I got to be one of thirty privileged people on a tour of Chronicle Books on Friday, thanks to my phone appendage and the connections of SCBWI.  I only took four pictures and two of them are blurry because, well, no one else was taking pictures. And I didn’t want to be the only one flipping out and taking pictures of everything, so I tried to be all sly about it, the result of which is four pictures, fifty percent of which are blurry.

Basically, it was awesome. Basically, it was like a dream. The people who work at Chronicle Books have a book store in their lobby, mostly art, food, and children’s books, like, all the best kinds of books. And each desk has a bookshelf next to it full of the same.

The design floor had this beautiful texture wall for inspiration and ideas.


The cover wall had all the covers of the books coming out in the next year.

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Jonah Moment…


I nearly tripped over a homeless man today on my way to the bust stop from work. He was tucked up on one elbow, reading a book, and precariously wedged into the very small space available between sidewalk and parking garage exit. As I stepped broad to miss him our eyes met and he scowled at me. In my imbalance I had fumbled the unspoken cultural politeness of ignoring him in his living space.

I checked in with God if he had a message for this man who flipped his page angrily at me in rebuttal. I mentally sorted through the contents of my bag, if there was food or anything for him. There was half a chocolate bar, but that was for me for later, my chocolate bar. God knew his name, hadn’t forgotten him, blah blah blah. But I didn’t stop. I didn’t speak. I didn’t go back. And who would blame me, I thought. No one would blame me.

For one, it’s after work and I’m on my way to catch a bus. But two, I’m a woman and, you know, I don’t want to be unsafe, as if God has called me to safety. And three, well, I have plans for that chocolate bar.

I read the gospels over Lent which particular activity always leads to an uncomfortable stirring sensation within my too-viscous soul. And something that jumped out at me, tweaked my nostrils, and slapped me upside the head in a very three-stooges fashion was how frequently it talks about Jesus healing in response to being moved.

It’s so comfortable for me to think of Jesus as already knowing everything, no surprises, “I’m gonna heal a lame man today and I’m gonna do it like this”. It’s decidedly uncomfortable to wonder if he didn’t. Maybe he went out to preach and just happened to come across these holy prompts in their broken physical forms and healed them urged solely by a movement in his heart. How undefinable and unpredictable! No one would have blamed him if he had kept walking, would they have? No one would have blamed him. And it wasn’t like he avoided it, he went to the cities, he walked along the ways where the broken people waited, and he listened for them.

I have had Jesus in my heart for a very long time. I am becoming more like Jesus every day. I have covered the very longest of distances to get to the point where my compassion can move me to think a silent prayer on the bus.

And as I traveled home on the one-bus waiting for the massive breakdown in which I would have to yell over the screaming, “It’s me! I ignored God’s message! Kick me off the bus and save yourselves!” and return to the angry reading man and give him half of a chocolate bar, I thought, thank goodness Jesus is Jesus and not Barbara. Thank goodness Jesus is moved to do more than pray. Thank goodness he is moved to touch us, heal us, and weep with us.

This is my God. He works in me every day so that, hopefully, in another thirty years I can give away my chocolate bar.

A Letter to my Mommy on Mother’s Day…


I dug out one of my favorite pictures of you today.

I keep it right in front of another one, the same size, of your mother. I grabbed both when I was there for her funeral, when we were looking through pictures, before they went back into a box. And I tucked them into her prayer book, which I also took. She is laughing as I never saw her do too much when I knew her. And the picture is slightly blurred, which lends itself to the idea that it was farther back in time, to become more blurry still, perhaps, the farther I continue to move away from her, from her smell of red wine, roses, and cigarettes.


Your picture, however, is clear. Your shoulder is bare, halter top tied back around your neck, leaning into the sun over your guitar. You are young, only just a little younger than the young-you of my memory when love first burned your image into my brain. And your hair is dark brown as it always is in my mind.


We share the same memory of this younger version of you. When someone refers to you as “blonde” we look at each other, sure that they were talking about you just a minute ago, but who is this blonde lady?

And I wanted to make sure that you knew today:

Do you know?

Do you know that I am as surprised as you are at your strange soft skin and the laugh lines around your eyes?

The passage of time is not more evident than when looking at my kids and at you, my Mommy. First images of love burn strong and deep. That is why my children are still babies at my breast. That is why I don’t notice my husband’s greying hair. And that is why when I come for a visit I am sometimes surprised to find you different.

And I know that’s how it will be when you are the oldest you will ever be, many many years from now, and I walk into your room, breath taken away by the site of how much you have changed since just a moment ago when you were a young woman with a bare shoulder and dark hair leaning into the sun.

Love seems to make a fool of time, whereas, somehow, time proves the soundness of love.  And that is why you can never look so very old to me. And that is why I will never look so very old to you. And that is why my children will remember this young-me with my dark hair and smooth arms, too.

I love you, my young Mommy.

Your Little Girl.