Pandora, Mother and Hope

To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart. Rebecca Solnit My mother died thirty years ago on the night of the winter solstice. Many of those years I’ve stayed awake  ’round midnight because … Continue reading

3:00 a.m.

I am no stranger to middle of the night risings. Too often I am wide awake at 3 or 4 a.m., filled with a mix of fear—of real possibilities or something wild from my imagination—and creativity. For much of the fall, however, I cozily slept past my usual time of night risings. That shifted after … Continue reading

Giving our Allegiance

It was a quiet statement, probably unnoticed by the people standing next to me. One hand holding the Sunday hymnal, one hand holding onto the church pew in front of me, knees shaking slightly at what felt like disobedience, I scanned the creeds and hymns to see which parts I could honestly say or sing. … Continue reading

All Lives Matter/Black Lives Matter

Do black lives matter? Yes. Do all lives matter? Yes. Since black lives are obviously part of all lives, why is it important to highlight that black lives matter? In America today, blacks are far too often treated as if their lives don’t matter as much as white lives. It’s been that way for a … Continue reading

Stepping into What I Hated

I hated economics in college, yet most of my adult life has been diving deeply into money, class and economic justice. I hate fundraising, yet I have been part of Be Present, Inc.’s fundraising team for twelve years. Though I entered this field kicking and screaming, I’ve discovered that working with money offers an exquisite … Continue reading

Go Set a Watchman: Critical Warning for Whites Like Me

Atticus, To Kill a Mockingbird’s small town attorney, was one of my childhood heroes. My girlfriends and I—white girls who rarely thought about race but considered prejudice ghastly—were deeply moved by Atticus. He was clear, inspiring and willing to stand against the racism of his Alabama neighbors. We hadn’t noticed signs of racism around us … Continue reading

Double Helix Transformation

Science has affirmed what I know intuitively—genetic changes happen throughout our lifetime, can affect our behavior and are passed from one generation to another. In the last few decades, epigenetic research showed that epigenetic changes (molecular methyl groups attaching to our DNA) occurred during one’s lifetime.  In the middle of writing Big Topics at Midnight, … Continue reading

Grandmother Ann Takes the Lead

“I loved the idea of grandmother and granddaughter dancing together, plaiting beauty across the tears in the fabric of the world. Together we twirled, hoping beyond hope that our dance across the generations would serve those yet to come.”1 Ann Cahoon Mathys take the lead: Unlike some of my ancestors, I avoided epidemics, early widowhood, … Continue reading

Anointing Ancestral Land

This was the first time I’d felt called to go on a spiritual pilgrimage. I needed to meet God on the land of my ancestors, trusting that this would help me step outside of my collapse with shame over the fact that they’d owned slaves. Within the week, I’d confirmed that my friend Alease Bess, … Continue reading

Cosmic Cowgirl

It’s a cowgirl’s dream—mine anyway. Sitting high in the saddle, one hand holding on for dear life while the other is waving about in glee. This is no ordinary horse I am riding. It is the planet Uranus. The far-out planet in our galaxy with a name that sounds like potty-humor but energetically represents cosmic … Continue reading