Waterfall

Two and a half years ago, on a Friday night, my son and I were leaving Houston when our car broke down. That was the beginning of an adventure: getting towed off the interstate in rush hour traffic, figuring out how we'd get home (we lived three hours…

Resurrection

Years ago, I read an article about mental health recovery whose advice continues to support and help me. She said to do one thing each day that you're good at - even if it's something as (seemingly) simple as making a grilled cheese sandwich. And she…

The Risk

A few years ago, we built raised beds in our backyard in an attempt to grow vegetables – ever the humbling process. This spring we had a mild April with lots of rain, which gave us lots of tomatoes. Many mornings I began my day by collecting the new tomatoes before…

Room at the Inn

I live in a busy city in Texas, a border state with Mexico, and I see many refugees where I live. They're often families with children, selling flowers at street corners or asking for money at busy intersections. My great grandparents were Italian and Polish immigrants. They labored…

Prayer Before Sleeping

The other day I was thinking of the phrase that we often toss out when someone we love is doing something that alarms, frustrates or distresses us: "They'll learn." We can feel so helpless and powerless when the people we love are suffering. This powerlessness can…

The Overstory

Ida Zaccagnini Zborovancik was my great aunt - my maternal grandmother's younger sister, one of seven children from an Italian Catholic family. These old ones lived long: most past ninety. But over the past decade, year by year, another one died. Last fall, my great uncle Tony died,…

Sin cera

In my last writing group, the monthly theme was courage. It was a day when courage, for me, felt absent. I was recovering from another bout of illness - a very frequent visitor in my guest house these days - and I felt vulnerable. When the time came to write,…

Putting on your grandfather's coat

Today is Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, which I became familiar with and began celebrating twelve years ago when I moved to Texas, just north of the Mexican border. If you want to be moved and educated about this holiday, this movie will do the trick.…