Vision and Hindsight, A Tale of Two Lists

The year flew by.  This morning I was sitting at the kitchen table, lamenting all the things that I meant to do last year–my open journal with the list I scribbled down, wide-eyed, like a child on her birthday, a January ago.  Beautiful vision.  And just like that, I blinked, and those twelve months are…

Grief is a River

Grief is a river that now runs through my life.  Sometimes it is slow and steady, passing gently over rocks of remembrance, pooling up in beautiful, idyllic scenes where the late afternoon sun brushes through the trees and paints the waters and the riverbank in bright splashes of quivering light.  The aching beauty of having…

My Beautiful Dying Mother, A Birth Story

Mama had nine children.  I am the youngest, and I have often felt a deep sense of gratitude that she surrendered her life to this process so many times.  I see it as no small miracle that I even exist in the world.  And that my seven children exist. Mama was always the first person…

Being There (On the Shores of Life and Loss)

A week ago we cried over the body of my beloved Mother.  She is gone.  This keeps hitting me like ocean waves, one after the other. How it swells.  How it breaks.   It all seems like a dream.  The next day was of course a birthday.  My daughter’s third. The only time to cry was…

Standing in the Hallway of Sorrow, thoughts on losing my Mother

(In honor of my beautiful, selfless Mother who went home to be with Jesus yesterday afternoon, hours after I wrote this post.) I am going to write something that is braver and stronger than I now feel, but I believe it with all my heart. Daddy met Mama on a Sunday morning at a little…

Voices of My Life, an abridged biography

It’s easy to look back over years as a series of big events–the day I was born, schools I attended, graduations, marriage, jobs held, the birthdays of my children…  These are the visible rings around my tree, the important details in a brief biography of my life. But when I close my eyes and let…

Thoughts on My Mother and the Miracle of Existing in this World

My Mama had nine children.  I am the youngest.  The fact that I exist in this world at all is not a small miracle.  I see it all now, like the iconic scene in It’s a Wonderful Life, where Mary is closing up the library.  A world where I don’t exist.  My husband is scorching…

Big Announcement from The Chester Family!

Well, the day is here that I share something big that is happening to our family. After years of wrestling with a vision of a more creative life, showing up season by season to journal, write, make art, make music, encourage my husband in his incredible music, support our children through homeschool and giving them…

Embrace the Mess, A Letter to My Future Self

This letter is to my future self. One day, when you are storming around your messy life as a mother of many small children, scowling at spilled crayons and upturned buckets of legos, haunted by the ghost of clean kitchens past…  When you reach the point, clocking in late for laundry after a long day…

Marking a Season

I miscarried nine days before our 15th anniversary. There we sat, across the table at a little cafe, drinking coffee together.  Our six living children were home with a friend who gave us the day together to celebrate our marriage. The week before, Randy and I had privately laid the whisper of a body down…