Author Archives: Bridget

my maggie moo

My heart says that she went off,
found a quiet spot,
and died.


But my head still turns
at every rustle in the bushes,
every distant bark,
every knock or click or bump.


For the past few weeks, I’ve been letting her ride in the car with us
like I used to when she was a puppy.
I remember this one time – oh, it brings tears of joy to my eyes even now –
I left the pups in the car when I went in to pay for gas
(Back when you had to – gasp – go inside to pay)
And she put her two front paws on the horn and honked
and honked
and honked
and honked
and honked
until I finally came back out to find
a big dog grin, tongue out and her little nubbin tail wagging as hard as it could.
And her silly sister sitting beside her with that dopey smile on her face.


I remember when she bit Marshall.
He playfully tried to pop my behind.
She never bit another soul.


I remember how it took her approximately 8 hours
to outsmart the dog-proof trashcan.

I remember how she’d crawl under the crib
while the babies were sleeping.

I remember how I bought costumes for the dogs one Halloween
and she ate hers.

I remember how she’d squirm on the ground,
scratch her back and smiling.
And how she’d flop on the floor with at big sigh
and that one back leg tucked under.

I remember the time I was lounging in the hammock
and BOOM she jumped right up into my lap.

I remember how she hated the snow.
All 2″ of it.

I remember the beauty of her when she ran,
all muscle and speed.
And I remember how many times Marshall chased her and lost.
(Especially that one time when he full-body lunged at her and missed.
She and I were both amused.
He was not.)

I remember how she used to chase a light ’round and ’round and ’round
and if you ran the light up the side of the fence,
she’s go right up it, too.

I remember how her breath was always awful
and how she smelled like Doritos when she was wet.
(I never understood that).

I remember how fiercely she loved me and I her.
How, when she was around, I felt safe.

I remember how many tears she caught in those long, long days
of med school, residency, and early motherhood.


Fourteen years is a long time to have a shadow.
And now that the sun has set on her lifetime,
the darkness has stolen it away.

One day I may love another dog.
One day.
But it’ll never be the same.


I miss you, Maggie moo…


encountering eucharist

For over a year we’ve been attending an Episcopal Church.
It’s a far cry from our Baptist background, but it fits in a way that I never expected.
I can’t call one way good and the other bad, nor can I call one way right and one way wrong.
That’s both the mystery and beauty of religion, if we allow it be.

At first, I fumbled to hold this book and that book
and figure out what the S-songs were in the blue book.
Some people knelt in prayer,
some people leaned forward,
some didn’t move at all.
Some did the sign of the cross upon their foreheads,
some on their lips,
some over head and heart,
And some did a little of this and a little of that,
while some didn’t cross at all.
We weren’t sure who to follow or how to cross or when or where to genuflect.
But in this place where everyone was a little bit different,
Different didn’t seem so bad.

And yet, for months I struggled,
trying to follow everyone else’s lead.
Kneeling and standing,
Creeds and collects,
Prayers and Peace.
Which page?
Which prayer?
It was, quite frankly, exhausting to keep up.

But as we travelled around the liturgical calendar,
I found a soothing rhythm in the words and the sounds.
Each season with it’s own tone, one that I’d never quite noticed before.
And the words…they settled down into my heart-gut and ruminated there for months.
Until one day I realized I wasn’t just reading any more. 


We work together in silence.
not an angry silence.
or a resigned silence.
but in a calm, easy, comfortable silence.

Once upon a time, I would have worried
about what he was thinking, what he wasn’t saying.

But our nows are very different from our thens
and quietness has become a language that I’ve learned.
His language, actually.

Years of his lack of words
have taught me to listen to the in-betweens.

Years of his placidity
have taught me to take my thoughts
and slow.them..down…

Years of his quietude
have taught me that sometimes
there’s nothing inside the silence but silence.
And that’s okay.


a mama’s heart


Standing by the crib with my hand upon her back,
I feel the rush of life push in and out,
in and out,
and in and out again.

My heart wooshes and aches and pushes the limits of my chest.
The warmth of the moment – so secretly shared – flushes warmth to every inch of me.
My skin is electric and alert.

I hear each sound and try to hold it in my head,
but I know that – no matter what I do –  it will slip away.
So instead I close my eyes and listen with my heart.



She doesn’t need me right now.
The fever is down and she’s sleeping.
She doesn’t need me, I remind myself.
But you, my love, need her…whispers my soul.

And as I crawl into bed beside her,
I feel the rush of life push in and out,
in and out,
and in and out again.

A mama’s heart never forgets.
My heart wooshes and aches and pushes the limits of my chest.
And that same warmth settles in my soul.

Oh my baby, my sweet girl.
I look at her and millions of moments gather in my heart,
and fill it up all the way into my throat.
Memories both happy and sad roll down my cheeks and onto her hair.
She stirs just enough that I fear that I’ve over-tempted fate, and I hold my breath.
One twist and one turn and she settles herself into the crook of my arm
like a puzzle piece falling into place.

I slip my hand into hers, her perfect chubby little hand.
And I squeeze a little harder.
And I stay a little longer.
And I feel all the old moments welcome the new.
And they settle deep into my heart.
Where forever, I pray, they’ll stay.

one fraction at a time.

A hundredth of a second. That teeny, tiny moment before she says the words that you know are coming, the words you see in her eyes. A hundredth of a second and a hundred years all at once.

I think I want to go to “real” school.

I think I want you to go to “real” school, too.

And so it was.

And ever-so-quickly we made the calls, signed the papers, provided the proof that yes, we are indeed alive and living and in this place at this moment…something that on paper sounds simple, but is it really?

We both knew, in a hundredth of a second, that she was right, that our heart-guts were searching for answers and then oof just like that, our truths collided and we both knew this was the right thing to do.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Seven hundredths of a degree. That’s how far we moved. Seven hundredth of a degree to the north and just under three tenths of a degree east. A hop and a skip and a leap and a bound all at once.

I think we should move.

Me, too.

Words uttered months ago, maybe even years ago, in the darkness of a quiet room long after the chaos of life died down. 

The slow and arduous process began, and we found what we were looking for – or thought we did – until it was ripped from under us and we walked away with drooping shoulders and moist eyes.

And then doors opened, and fate – or something like it – stepped in. One bit of truth after another sang to me, to us. My heart-gut heard, and I said yes.

And we moved.

A world apart, but only the smallest part of the world.
And yet somehow still a whole, wide world apart.

Life changed, continues to change.
As it should.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Two hundredths of an inch. A movement so small, just barely there. That shift in your heart and in your head. The changing of who you are, bit by tiny bit. Ever-changing, we are. Millions of moments of milliseconds that make up a lifetime.

I’ve always been me.
I will always be me.

I know this to be true.

And yet I wonder.

We change, all of us.
And as we change, are we still us?
Is there a point, some magical point, when we have changed so much
me is no longer me, but someone else entirely?

Who I am and what I was.
Ever-changing and never-changing.

Defining and then redefining.
Fundamental changes expected, yet not.
The rush and go of life, the tumbles up and down…

Knocking away the rough edges gradually, almost imperceptibly.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

This is the story of our lives
Of all of me and all of you.
A package full of fractions waiting to be made whole.


my yesterday, your tomorrow

crying babyI see you there, new mama, with that worn-out, weary look and I want to whisper to you: I’ve been there. And the moment you are in is terrible and beautiful and wonderful and exhausting. But it gets better. It gets better and better. Those little babies grow into toddlers that will try your patience in ways you never knew were possible, but you will love them even more fiercely than you do now. And those toddlers grow into preschoolers with their maddening I-do-its and unexplainable tantrums. And you will be weary of the whining, but you will love them even more fiercely than you did when they were babies or toddlers. And then those preschoolers slowly and suddenly blossom into kids. Real kids who can have a conversation with you and come up with jokes that actually make sense. Sometimes they’re even funny. You’ll have weird conversations when their uninhibited mind rushes and gushes with ideas that you know probably won’t work, but you let them dream anyway…because you never know, right? And they get bigger and bigger and your love for them grows as they grow and you think your love for them is as big as it can get and yet it keeps stretching the limits of your heart so much that sometimes it crushes your lungs and you just.can’t.breathe.

I see you there, new mama, and I want to tell you these things. And as much as you try to listen and understand, you won’t be able to. But you’ll hear the words and file them away and maybe one day you’ll find yourself dragging your screaming preschooler through the bookstore, trying your best to balance discipline and total embarrassment and you’ll remember. It gets better. And this will pass. And some will tell you that you’ll miss it one day, and you know what? You may or you may not. And that’s okay. (I, for one, don’t miss those early days where everyone was tired and screaming…myself included). But either way, I can tell you that you both make it through and you both love each other more today than you did yesterday.

And, new mama, I want to tell you that I don’t know it all. Not even close. And I, too, am learning from those who have travelled these roads before us. Those mamas who have pulled and pushed and dragged and cuddled and loved and lived these years where you and I currently have our feet firmly planted. And they made it. Their beautiful, beautiful babies are now beautiful, beautiful adults and they’re telling us their story so that we can hear it from farther down the road and they’re shouting and cheering and praying us on, just as you will do for others.

Depending on the day, the moment, you may not be able to hear me over the crying, the screaming, the tears. Or maybe you can’t hear me because you are cradling that glorious piece of your heart in your arms and the you feel your blood course through your veins and hers and every ounce of both of you beats as one and there is nothing in the world but the two of you. Maybe you can’t hear me, but the words are there, waiting for you to catch them. Hundreds of thousands of mothers have prayed the same prayers and uttered the same thanksgivings. Listen, and you will hear. When you need it most, it’ll be here; a host of hopes and dreams and plans and promises and wisdom. It’s here, waiting on you. You’ve got this, mama. I promise you do.


There are times (many times, actually) when our life begins to barrel downhill with nothing to slow us down. We hit bumps here and there, of course, but we manage. I say we, but it’s really more like he. I’m a catastrophist, full of “what if”s and “oh, no”s. He’s much more reasonable and fairly unflappable. He takes things in stride and keeps on going. In the past month, the children and I have been on two week-long adventures without him – once to the beach, once to the mountains. And he? He’s been back home working hard. When we got home after our last trip, I had a few opportunities pop up that we a really good fit for me, and he insisted I go and leave the children with him. And this past weekend, when he had a rare weekend off, he spent the entire weekend wrangling children in the heat and cleaning up the giant mess I made. He also sent me off with my mini-me for a 2.5-hour painting class.

Have I ever told y’all how fortunate I am? And how grateful. Oh, so very grateful. He tolerates my wildest whims and pushes me to explore more of the things that fill my heart with happiness. He helps me when I’m struggling, and picks up where I leave off. He works hard and makes so many sacrifices – both small and large – for me, for us. If you ask him, he’ll say that he’s nothing special, just an ordinary ol’ guy. He’ll tell you that he’s just doing what needs to be done. But I promise you that he’s anything but ordinary.

I can’t believe that for 14 years, he’s been so perfectly un-ordinary. That for 14 years, he’s listened to my ramblings and helped me flesh out the craziest of ideas. That for 14 years, he’s always been there, always loved me. And that he has continually put family first and given us all a steady place to come back to when life gets a little helter-skelter.

I love you, Marsh. Here’s to 114 more chaotic and happy years.



ups and downs and smiles and frowns

I got all the clothes* out, ironed, and ready.
The girls got their hair trimmed and primped at the salon.
I walked into the house and gagged.
My poor pup had a tummy bug and it didn’t end well for her or the floor.
I went to clean it up only to realize that we were out of paper towels.
Because of course we were…

I started spraying and soaking and scrubbing and soaking some more.
And with a mother’s ear, I heard screaming from across the house and through the yard.
I rushed out to find Mr. Adventure hanging from the tree with his shirt impaled by a branch.
(The others were just standing there watching. Proof in the gawking effect, I suppose.)
I helped him down to discover that he really was scraped up quite a bit.
We went in and cleaned it and dressed it and gave many magical mommy kisses.
And he walked out of my bathroom looking like a mummy.
But apparently that wasn’t good enough so he went and created his own solution.


It doesn’t stop with poop and blood. Oh, no…
When we do something, we make sure to really do it.
My happy-go-lucky girl had a late night, so she was exceptionally grumpy.
My little bit fell asleep in the car so we woke her and got her out of the car…
And then she promptly ran into a tree.
(I couldn’t make this stuff up).

So this is the first thing the photographer saw when he met us.


I voiced my frustration on Facebook and I love that one of my friends immediately laughed.
Because you know what happened for me in real life?
At one point I just started laughing and couldn’t stop.
It’s something I learned from my parents and I try to keep living it and passing it on.
Real life isn’t always pretty and sometimes it’s really hard,
but there’s usually something to laugh about.
(We are dark humor people, so there’s always something for us to laugh about).

As we were pulling out of the driveway on our way to the shoot I checked the mail.
A little brown package tied up with string and addressed to me.
Unmistakably Studio Jewel.


I’d been waiting on this bracelet for years and here, on the day I needed it most, it came!
The best part? The verse I chose to have stamped on the bracelet.
God has brought me laughter… Genesis 21:6
And there it is.
God has brought me laughter.
(But it’s nice to have a reminder sometimes).

*The girls designed their own dresses and “we” made them.
I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out and I can’t wait to show them to you!



detour of dreams

I won’t be getting my thwack-bomp-bomp-bomp screen door.
Or my chickens (for now).
No sleeping porch or attic fan.

But let’s be real.
After a few weeks of kids rushing in and out of that door
the thwack-bomp wouldn’t be as romantic, would it?
And the sleeping porch? It’s Georgia, y’all.
I’d only be able to use it comfortably when the weather was just right
(which is two whole weeks a year).

But windows?
I’ll have those. Lots of those!
And laundry on the line.
And love and laughter.
And rocking chairs.
(Well, 3 rocking chairs since 1 went missing).
There will be a symphony of crickets and frogs, sitting still, and hopefully a few hymns.

It’s funny how your dreams have a way of shifting,
of washing in and out with the tides of life.
How one little thing can wipe the slate clean and you start all over.
We didn’t get the house we’d dreamed of.
But this? This is so much better.

Thirty acres.
A house with giant windows.
A barn and a chicken coop.
A creek and a big playhouse that I’ve claimed as mine.
A writing space, a home for my art.
I didn’t even know that it was my dream
Until my eyes saw it and my heart said yes…


little bitty babies (that aren’t mine)

You forget so quickly.
The little sighs.
The quick, shallow breaths.
Fluttery eyes begging to stay awake.


You remember so little.
Sleep deprived nights.
The rush to get the bottle all warmed and ready.
Little sounds that only a baby can make.

But you also remember things long forgotten.
The glow of white Christmas lights in his room.
The world’s loudest creaking board beside her cradle.
The velvet touch of the chair and its gentle eek-eek, eek-eek.
The reflection of you both in the mirror, illuminated by the dim closet light.

Memories stretch from the back to the front and  a smile bubbles up,
giving every atom in your being a shiver as warmth floods your soul.

Him and Her and He and She.
My four tiny(ish) humans, so different but the same.
I miss their teeny-tiny little selves, but I don’t.
Because beyond the babies lay beautiful stories that make you laugh and cry and sigh.
Growing pains and growing strains.
And dreams of lives well-lived.