Focus on my father...

My husband made it a practice of naming his children only after he saw them face to face, and so we had no list of potential girl or boy names stockpiled. When you have four children weighing in on the decision as well, it isn't a quick one, and, therefore, when I left the hospital with my newborn son, his birth certificate simply read "No Name Dagen." All I knew was that I wanted to honor my father, John Edward Souders, by using some part of his name; I thought we could also honor my father-in-love Thomas Thrower Mayo by using part of his name....more

My Childhood Imaginary Friend (Alternative Title: Proof That I've Been An Odd Bird For Quite Some Time)

My parents got a video camera when my younger brother was a baby in 1985, so there are a lot of videos of us when we were growing up. They didn’t just whip that ten pound mass of equipment out on special occasions like holidays and birthdays, but took tons of footage of lazy afternoons and diaper changes. I’m grateful for this because now that I have C, I know that those everyday occurrences are where the gold is hidden. While you’re supposed to remember holiday traditions, you find that the memories that stick around are the ones that you make when you least expect it....more

Soundtracks of Our Homes

Every house we have lived in has a soundtrack. I can hear a certain song or show and instantly I'm taken back.  ...more

Loving back words...

When I was defrocking my mother's home this past weekend, I came across some plaques that some of us had given her. Ever practical, I thought that some of these plaques honoring mother or father might be reused by some Goodwill shopper. I had gathered a few of them together to dust when I happened to notice a message handwritten across the back of one. The front said a simple "There is no friend like Mother and no Mother quite like you," but the back words were much more specific and personal in their expression of love:...more

Praising a woman of excellence...

As my siblings and I rifled through my mother's belongings this weekend, distributing what held value to each one of us, I searched for something I had made myself. Two books. One titled Focus on the Father; the other titled Praising a Woman of Excellence. Each was a tribute to my parents I created on behalf of their children and grandchildren, who contributed something, a writing, a picture, a hand print. Back in 1999, back when I had more time to be creative, I had made books with my own children and those in our home-school support group....more


It smelled sterile and yet gross, the mixture of blood, urine, sweat, and bleach made my terrified stomach roll over. I wasn’t ready for this. My mouth was so dry. I swallowed to try to bring up something to make my tongue stop sticking to the top of my mouth but this only proved to make my throat ache instead.  I stood there in my PJ’s and sneakers waiting for someone to come and comfort me, make me feel better about this day and this situation. Instead they walked passed me and their cold stares judged me silently. “ She’s just a baby” I heard them whisper....more

Memories my mother never mentioned...

Between the ages of 6 and 19, I moved often. When I was in fourth grade, my family lived in one house for just three months before abruptly moving to another for an equally brief period. The reasons we moved were different---my fourth grade year, for instance, high rent necessitated the first move while the death of the landlady required the next---but the results were the same: We became adept at packing. We also got into the habit of not fully unpacking....more

Gramma's Quilt and Angels

 When I was a little girl I stayed with my Gramma  quite often.She made the most beautiful quilts that were warm and cozy on cold winter nights.One night when she was tucking me in I told her the quilt was awfully heavy.She said the quilt seemed heavy because my Guardian Angel was on the bed with me.Of course, I believed her, Gramma would  never lie....more