Morning Musings


I’m not sure why I wake up in a better mood some days and others I don’t. I assume it has something to do with the amount of warm morning light I see, and probably the amount of restful sleep I get, too. 

But some days I wake up and I feel like I’m ready to take on the world and its issues. 

It has to help that I saw wonderful sunlight coming through my bedroom window blinds creating deep dark contrasting lines onto our dresser, right? My son stood in sunlight pouring in from my window with his bowl of Frosted Flakes. It immediately caught my attention and put me in a better mood. I snapped a photo with my phone and posted it on Instagram. 

The view from my bed.


The morning routine the last couple weeks has been nearly a ritual. I get up at 6:00am for the girls in my home that leave for morning weights and fitness. They have about five minutes or so to get what they need from the kitchen and then leave for the field house on campus. 

I’m often groggy, as are they. But by this point in the summer it’s just what it is. My six and five year olds often wake up around this time, and so I attempt to be as quiet as I can so that I don’t accidentally wake them up. My wife on the other hand is always in a deep sleep laying motionless in bed at this point in the morning (and well-after). 


It was recently the summer solstice, so the sun rises even earlier than I do right now. I can’t say that for most of the year. 

The light coming through my bedroom window.


At 8:00 or so, I begin my coffee ritual. I pour and measure my beans, grind them, and brew them using whatever method suits me for that day – Chemex, Aeropress, French press. They all have their perks.

At 8:15 the rest of the girls in my house get up and ready for their day. It’s kind of a chaotic scramble. Sounds of cereal bowls being filled, toast popping up from the toaster, the smell of the cheap Folgers coffee the girls drink fills the air. (I don’t let them touch my good stuff.) 

Before the girls leave for the morning, their dishes are placed in the dishwasher, the floor is swept, their rooms are clean. They leave at precisely 8:52am each day because that is the amount of time it takes to get to school by 9:00 without finding extra time to get into the trouble that so easily entices them. 


A little before 8:00am my wife flops herself out of our bed with a sense of bitterness because it is, once again, that time of day where she has to get out of bed and do stuff. 

She gets the boys ready for summer school, prompting them about five or ten times to put on their daytime clothes, socks, and shoes. 

The boys have been up for at least an hour and a half at this point in the morning. They’ve begged me for seconds and thirds of their morning’s cereal. I usually give in. But sometimes I don’t. 


My wife takes the boys to their summer school while I carry out the morning routine with the girls. She usually gets back right as the girls are leaving for school, at 8:52. 

The next couple hours of time are precious. They are the only part of the day in which we do not have the boys home with us. They get picked back up at 11:50, and we have to leave at 11:30 to go get them. 


One of our girls is sick in bed today. She’s not been feeling well recently. But when that happens one of us has to remain at the house. So in a way, we are trapped at home for the day. But that’s ok.

So today I decided to go outside on the front patio, to enjoy the sunlight and that wonderful morning air. I made another cup of coffee, grabbed an Annie Dillard book, my camera, and came to sit and read. 

My morning reading and second cup of coffee.


Reading authors like Annie Dillard only can last so long before I want to write something down myself. And so here I am on my phone, in my Notes app, writing. It’s ok. I find it extremely relaxing. No boys running around to account for. My wife went back to bed, as she does. And so it’s just me, my camera, my coffee, and Annie. 


I smell summer flowers. I hear so many summer sounds. Both the sounds of nature and of our industrialized modern world. The repeating melodies of songbirds mixed with the growl of motors from various lawnmowers and lawn equipment. The chirping squirrels and the beeps of people going in and out the door of the police station, which is the building adjacent to me. 

A bird on the roof.

The clouds are moving quickly today. A slight breeze keeps things cool. It’s supposed to get up to 85 degrees today. A true summer day.


A spiderweb stretches from the blue patio umbrella to the flowers to the chair, swaying in the wind, shimmering in the sunlight. 

A bird dances a half-hearted dance on the roof of my building. What is she looking for? 

A bee lands briefly on the vibrant flowers in front of me, but didn’t seem to find anything worthwhile. 

The clouds are slowly getting bigger and puffier, and the sun is being hidden more and more frequently. The patio goes from nearly too bright to just right, but both are nice in their own way.

A few of my neighbors have passed by with warm mid-morning greetings. A couple even thanked me for the “good word” I gave on Sunday at the Protestant church here on campus.

I spoke on the book of Micah this past week, filling in for the Pastor who was away giving a message at summer camp at Lake Okoboji in Iowa.


I have only read two pages of the Annie Dillard book I took off the bookshelf. But I figured this would happen. And I’m totally ok with it. 

A weird coincidence. But such is life.

Out of control


The cooler temperatures have stuck around well into the fifth month of this year. Winter stretched on for what seemed much too long, and the cooler temperatures of early spring seem to be overstaying their welcome.


Most mornings this season I have woken up to gray and dreary days. And for whatever reason that dramatically impacts my mood. Even though I am aware of this, I am unable to change it. And that seems makes it worse.

On the flip side, days where I wake up to ribbons of sunlight dancing on my bedroom wall I am simply a better person. My patience is much higher. My energy levels are high. And I’m motivated to make healthy decisions.

How can something like sunlight or the lack of sunlight impact me so much?


It’s frustrating that elements like weather can affect me so much. My mental health is very important to me. And so I need exercises to help me remain healthy on the gray days as well.

Interestingly enough, physically exercising does help my mental health quite significantly. The catch 22 there is that I have to have the mental fortitude to see past my current mood and remember how I feel after working out. When I choose to do that in the morning, it impacts the rest of my day positively. I just have to convince myself to do it.


Reading. Journaling. Writing. Listening to podcasts. Keeping my apartment clean. These things definitely help me, too.


I do very much love sunny days with dramatic light and shadows all around. A cool breeze. But I can’t put so much weight in letting those days impact my mood, either. I set myself up for failure when I do that.

I live in the midwest after all.


Recently my wife was on a walk and talking with one of the newest girls in our home. (We have nine teenagers that now live with us.) The sun was shining, there was a nice light breeze, and there are flowers all around.

My wife made a comment like, “Doesn’t this weather just make you so happy! It’s so beautiful! The smell of the flowers, the warmth of the sunlight, the cool breeze.”

The girl replied, “Not really.”

Kind of shocked, my wife asked, “What weather do you like?”

“I don’t like weather.”


Depression is a daily struggle for many people. When the world seems to lose its colors, people tend to stay in the shadows. We all want to experience the highs of life. Many of us attempt to escape the lows of life through drugs or alcohol.

And yes, you will experience a high that way. It just doesn’t last very long, and the crash back down to the bottom is a hard one.

We want to think that life is made up of mostly highs, but it’s not. But the thing is, life isn’t made up of mostly lows either. Life is mostly in the middle. It’s often…blah. Monotonous. The same stuff every day.

Some of us struggle to live in that middle area. The in-between. We’d rather experience lows or highs than have to live in that middle area every day. But for those of us who find ourselves in that category, much of life is learning how to find rituals and routines that we actually like. Structure that creates environments that we are more likely to notice the little details of life that have meaning if we simply pay attention.

There is a bigger narrative going on behind the everyday routines of our lives. When we start to notice that bigger narrative, I find that our brain starts to be ok with the in-between. Because at first we think the devil is in the details, but with closer inspection we realize that’s where God resides and carries out his daily business.

Words aren’t meant for grief

It seems fairly cruel that grief isn’t bad enough on its own. But it’s so individualized that it’s hard to communicate how you feel grief to others.

It’s a very deep-seated emotion.
It’s low. Rumbly. Persistent, yet fluctuating in its intensity.

And perhaps the most frustrating element of grief, or at least the most universal aspect of it, is that even though it feels like grief causes time to slow down, or even stop for you, that’s not really what happens. The world continues on in its indifference. And the starkness of that, that’s hard to deal with.

Words. They don’t do grief justice. What am I supposed to say? I feel sad? I’m upset? I’m mad? I’m disappointed?


No one in my family has died.
No one found out they are sick with a terminal illness.
No one was physically injured.

One of the teenage girls that lives in my house has been struggling with her behaviors recently. Since right before going to Christmas break. Who knows what really is going on. Perhaps it’s the stress of being a senior. Perhaps it’s the unknowns of what she is going to do once she leaves our home. Perhaps it’s the pressure of being the first person in your entire family expected to graduate from high school.

Whatever the case, she’s been struggling with her behaviors. She’s tried to game the system to get away with things even though her behaviors haven’t truly warranted the privileges she’s been given.

She overreacted to being given a consequence last night. She flipped chairs. She threw all the stuff out of her closet in anger. She yelled. She cried. She screamed into her hands. She flopped onto her bed and sobbed.

Her reaction, her temper tantrum, even though I sympathize with her situation, at this point is simply unacceptable as an eighteen year old young woman. She comes off as threatening. Aggressive. It disrupts the home. Her unpredictability creates too many question marks related to safety. And at that point, the good of the whole home, including my two young boys, has to take priority. These are her behaviors that she’s choosing to do, and so the consequences are inevitably on her.

So last night after talking to my supervisor, she was removed from our home to be in a temporary intervention home. It was a very hard decision. One that I pushed back on because I knew that if she left, there was a very slim chance she’d be returning to our home.

I’m not sure why exactly I was holding on so hard to a girl who has been threatening and violent at times. I rationalize her behaviors too much perhaps. Perhaps her personality, which is one full of humor and interesting introspection, caused me to look past some of the behaviors she’s exhibited in our home.

Maybe I’m overthinking it. Maybe I’m just loyal to a fault. Or I work from the fallacy that since I’ve put in all this work, especially relationally, that we can’t give up now.

But “give up” is the wrong framing of this situation, perhaps. I most definitely am not giving up. None of us are. It’s more of a letting go.

But that’s so damn hard for me.

The frustrating thing about people making bad decisions is that we can’t make better decisions for them. We can give them opportunities. We can set up empowering environments which recognize their dignity as human beings. But we can’t make decisions for them.

And for whatever reason, some people are hellbent on having to learn things the hard way. They take what seems to be the easy route, but in reality the easy route is the rockiest terrain.

And so why do I say I am grieving?

A relationship has been severed, or at least dramatically changed. She no longer will be in my home.

That’s really hard for me.

I’ve given her so much of myself. She’s grown a lot in the time she’s lived with us. And I just struggle to let go since we’ve gotten her this far. I wanted to be celebrating her graduation at the end of the year, taking photos of her and her family celebrating. But that won’t be happening now. And that is a loss. That is a cause for grief for me.

I really liked having this girl in our home. I have some really great memories from the past year with her. It’s hard to let go.

After she calmed down a bit yesterday evening, before she left our home, she set the table for dinner. Micah came running out into the dining room and saw her and told her “Hey! I missed you today!” and gave her a big hug.

These girls become a part of our family. Our boys see them as their sisters. And I hate that our kids get normalized to their sisters having to leave when they exhibit bad enough behaviors consistently.

I’ve tried to use some words to describe the situation. The details which lead to the grief that I’m feeling. But I haven’t truly attempted to expose what I actually feel like. How grief impacts the interactions with have with other human beings. Because those other human beings are not experiencing grief. No matter how badly I feel, their lives aren’t dramatically changed. So you have to navigate the world where you can adapt like a chameleon to the moods and emotions and needs of those around you.

And that can be exhausting.

But because grief is a deep-seated emotion, it does give opportunity to connect with others deeply if you so choose. And if other people are willing to connect in that way, too. My wife and I see this situation differently. We process the world differently. That’s normal and ok. But it makes it hard to process it together. I have to learn how to express myself in ways which are able to be understood. I think grief affects our rational thinking. It’s almost like it pushes us into a desire to blame anyone, anything. And when that happens, it seems to impact those closest to you.

And so I strive to be patient. To avoid blaming. And sit with my feelings before I blurt out emotionally charged thoughts which are highly subjective and often incorrect, and therefore harmful.

This is where I am at right now.

What I’m learning about myself through Photography

Photography exposes more than just what was captured with the click of a shutter. It shows what the person who took that photo finds interesting enough to capture. And when you look at a collection of photos taken by one person, that collection as a whole starts to expose elements of whom that person is.

Self-portrait (Second Attempt)

At the beginning of this year I started getting more serious about taking photographs on a near daily basis. That’s really not something all that new for me. But this year I wanted to be more intentional about the photos I took, and then be more reflective about my general photography style, so to speak. What are the common themes that I find in my photography? What kind of moments cause me to take out my camera? What kind of light is common in my shots?

What does my photography say about me?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself so far this year.

To be able to answer that question, I decided that I needed to understand what the photography of the masters that have come before me says about them. I knew I needed to learn from them to truly understand what my own photography says about me.

Nana at 99

So I’m currently on a journey of both creating photographs, while also digesting the photos from the masters of the past (and present). So I have been watching documentaries and reading books about many of the top tier influential photographers. I’ve gotten a number of photo books filled with incredibly inspiring photos.

I have been learning so much about photography. About light. About composition. About portraiture. And it seems the practice of studying the masters and then going out to take photos myself, then studying my photos, then going back to the photography of the masters has been a great way to do it. It gives me a bit of validation of what I see as good photography, and challenges me to notice what makes a great composition. What makes a photo stand out compared to others.

Playing with light

So far I’m learning that photography is something I find therapeutic. I’m introverted, so taking photos gives me a way to express myself to the world in a controlled and intentional manner – just the way I like it!

Thankfully I’m not deeply motivated by follower or subscriber counts, or by how many likes a photo of mine gets. I simply love the process of taking a photo of a moment that interested me and then sharing that moment with the world.

I often get excited to go out simply because of the possible photo opportunities that may arise. I have my camera with me pretty much 90% of the time anymore just in case there’s a moment that presents itself that I would want to capture.

Sarah in the hotel room

My camera challenges me to be brave and interact with other people. But at the same time, the camera is a tool for me to realize that even though talking with strangers can be intimidating, other people often want to be noticed and appreciated. A huge challenge I have for myself this spring is to get out into the streets and take photos of random people. Some candid, but my real goal is to ask for posed street portraits – probably my favorite genre of photography.

For the longest time I didn’t know what my camera and lenses were capable of. What were my limitations? Would the photo I want to take be possible with what I have? And I’ve come to realize, eh, that was just an excuse. I’m never going to have photos that look as great as the posed large format film portraits of celebrities with great lighting. It’s about capturing moments and people and things that catch my attention in this world. I can ask to take a photo of someone, and they can say yes, or they can say no. And that’s about it.

I have various chapters within my photography journey. I think I’m in a new chapter, pushing forward with more boldness. As I’ve watched the photographers that have given me so much inspiration, I’ve noticed how they were unfazed by people’s reactions of them taking photos. I think that’s been one of my issues for the longest time. I didn’t want to seem rude or weird out in public with friends, family, or even around strangers. But the moments that get captured are much more important than any reactions I get out while taking photos. Keeping that in mind is the key. There’s not a worse feeling to me than wishing I would have had my camera with me so I could have captured a specific moment. That regret is way worse than any reaction I might get for taking a photo.

And so, I press on within my photography journey, challenging my own boundaries so that I can get the sorts of shots that I want and notice all around me.

me in the mirror

Loss and Abundance

I’ve recently been listening to stories of loss and grief and horrible pain via the podcast, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.”

I’ve probably listened to 15-20 of the episodes now. The host, Nora McInerny, has an incredibly sad story of loss and grief in her own life. But she is able to use her experiences of grief and tragedy to really create an incredible space for others to share their stories. She’s deeply perceptive and non-judgmental, and is an amazing interviewer and storyteller. 

It’s felt oddly helpful to listen to other people’s stories of grief. The vulnerability. The way that their lives seem to match the weird balance in this life of being surrounded by the beauty of the way of grace, while living in a world where we must all still experience the cold reality of the way of nature. 

And as I enter this advent season, I want to be laid bare and be open and honest with myself about my own story and my own realities. The gifts and blessings I have, and the baggage that I carry around with me everyday that hinders my own growth as well as impacts my relationships with those whom I care about most. 

My soul is begging for me to push forward into the harder aspects of what it means to be intentional in addressing the aspects of myself that I have wanted to avoid. And I think that is what this last month of the year has in store for me. 

I am still slowly purging and cleaning my stuff. Getting rid of things I don’t need or use. Figuring out more ways of being intentional in my life, structured. Meanwhile, we went to storage to get out all the Christmas decorations. There’s an irony about that somewhere for me. 

In just a week and a half my wife, and my two sons, and I will get on a plane and travel to Phoenix, Arizona. There, my friend will pick us up in his car and we’ll drive back to Tucson for the week of Christmas. A couple days later, another one of my best friends and his wife will come to accompany us as well. 

I am extremely excited about this trip. There are some elements I’m nervous about regarding the actual travel, but overall I anticipate this vacation to be a life highlight for me. I know that’s putting a lot of expectation and pressure on one week, but last year we took our Christmas vacation with this same friend in Colorado Springs, Colorado and it was one of the most fulfilling weeks of my life. 

The key for me is to allow it to just happen as it happens. I have no expectations being put upon me by anyone. I don’t have eight girls to account for or teach to. I only have my own two boys, whom my goal is to focus on a spirit of adventure and exploration, of fun and family. 

It is right during the peak of the Christmas season. A season pregnant with all sorts of amazing moments of depth and meaning. To experience that with some of the most important people in my life is experiencing the overlap of heaven and earth. It is my happy place. 

Upping my game

I talk about setting photography goals for myself frequently. I’ve decided to actually follow through with some of them over the course of the next year. 

My first goal is simply to be consistent and intentional with my photography. I’ve learned a lot about photography in the past year. Perhaps one of the most important things I’ve learned about photography is that each photographer needs to have his or her own style to stand out in any kind of meaningful way. To be noticed, a photographer needs to know what sort of photography they like to shoot and what style of images they like to publish. Over time a photographer establish a look that is their own, so that when people see it, they know that it is shot from that specific photographer.

One of my weaknesses as a photographer has been an inconsistent style of photography. I mean, I know what I like. I know what sorts of images I am drawn to. I know which photographs are my favorite that I’ve taken. But I’ve published all sorts of different images with all sorts of different edits and post-processing. The images in and of themselves might be good, but without a consistent look, I lose out on a huge piece of what it means to be a photographer or an artist these days. 

So, goal one is to establish a consistency within my published photography. 

Goal two is to publish my photos consistently. I plan to do this on primary three different platforms. 

  1. Andrews.Photos  : This is my personal photography blog. In the past I have tried to post two daily photos with little explanation. This has been hard for me to keep up with, and when I fall behind it makes me want to throw in the towel completely. But photography is going to be a huge focus of mine in 2019, and so I hope to really create an online presence of my own photography there. 
  2. : This is a project that I thought up last year, but never followed through with. I was conflicted about the images I wanted to post on this site. I would have photos of some of the girls that live with me on the site, but I’m not allowed to show those to the public due to privacy laws. So I wasn’t able to showcase some of my favorite photos, and it caused me to lose interest in actually following through with the idea. However, this year I do not plan to post any photos that include any of my girls, so therefore I can keep the site public. The idea is that I post my favorite image from each week of the year. There will be some overlap between and this site, but that’s ok. That will be less work for me. 

Recently a fellow family-teaching couple lost their baby at about 26 weeks into their pregnancy. It has been very sad to follow along with their story. They have posted a lot on Facebook about their grief, posting photos of them and their baby soon after she was born. The images are powerful and raw. They are extremely powerful and full of emotion. They have captured moments that are invaluable. Memories of the worst moments of a parent’s life, yet moments that are wanting to be remembered forever. 

There is an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, which uses photographers and editors to capture these moments professionally. My wife was a labor and delivery nurse before becoming a family teacher, and she has mentioned the times in which families have lost their babies as being some of the most emotional and powerful moments she’s ever witnessed or been a part of. The photos that are taken are extremely precious to the families, and this organization does something incredibly generous for these parents in their worst moment of loss. 

It has been my goal to one day be an official photographer for this organization. But, understandably, their standards are extremely high for becoming a photographer for them. You have to supply a number of high quality photographs for them to review and accept before you are qualified to shoot for them. One of the required shots is a photo which shows you know how to use artificial lights appropriately. So either a speed light or a soft box setup which highlights your ability as a photographer, producing high level professional photos. 

My weakest skill as a photographer has been my knowledge of using flash and secondary artificial light sources within my photography. I’ve stayed away from using flash for two reasons: 1) I don’t have the equipment. 2) I generally don’t like the look of photographs which use flash. I mean, I can recognize what makes them good photos, as well as the skill it requires to do flash photography well. That doesn’t mean I like it, or am able to do it proficiently myself. But I want to change that.

On Friday I purchased an online class to learn more about lighting for photography. I do not own any sort of speed lights that work with my Fujifilm cameras; I don’t own any soft boxes; And up until last week I wouldn’t even know what to purchase.

But now that I’m a few hours into my class, I feel more confident on what my next steps should be in developing my skills as a photographer. I’m still going to wait to purchase any flashes or secondary lights, like a soft box or something, until after I finish the course. But I’m excited about this whole world of photography that has opened up to me, that I’ve never really ventured into. 

But it’s important to me because I really do want to take my photography to the next level and be able to be hired, or accepted, by Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep by the end of next year. 

One of the aspects of my photography that I have wanted to improve is my ability to take photos without needing to shoot the photos in RAW. Fujifilm does such a great job with their JPEG images straight out of camera that I have wanted to really publish nearly unedited photos on a regular basis from my cameras. Recently I have been doing that on Instagram using my X-T3 camera. I am able to shoot in JPEG to one card, then connect to my phone via bluetooth and wifi and transfer the photos quickly. 

It’s been very fun, and it takes a dramatic amount of less time to go from taking a photo to publishing it on something like Instagram. I have been happy with the JPEG images and I plan to continue to publish them using this method. 

If you’re interested in following along with my Instagram, my handle is @amseaman

You can take a photo of this badge with your instagram camera to follow me.


Sometimes I think my greatest frustrations come from me not living into my own ideal expectations. As I have grown older I think it has only gotten worse over time.

I am someone who loves routines and rituals. Or at least I say I do. I think I do.

Some of my routines are easier to follow than others. If others participate in my rituals and routines, it makes it ten times more likely for me to follow through consistently. If it’s up to just me however, or up to me to initiate, I am good for a little while, or here and there, but I’m just not consistent. And that really bothers me. Like, a lot.

For example, I have the extreme desire to write nearly every day. But I’m the only one motivating myself to do it, so it just doesn’t happen. I love to make coffee every morning using my aeropress or chemex, and if my girls make themselves a pot of coffee, I almost always make myself a nice cup of coffee for myself as well. If they don’t, I often don’t (unless I really need one).

I’m not sure exactly why that is.

A few years back when I shot photography using Pentax cameras, there was a great online community of Pentax users who shared a daily photo with each other. We all commented on each other’s photos every day from all around the world. I loved being a part of that group and it really helped me to understand the craft and art of photography. It forced me to be creative, to notice things every single day that were around me. I felt the pressure, but it was a good pressure. I loved the ritual.

want to do that now that I’ve switched to Fujifilm, but that sort of community doesn’t exist as far as I’ve seen. So here I am wanting to take photos like I used to, at least one each day, challenging myself to notice things around me and capture them in interesting ways, but I just don’t do it without the support of others. And then I get frustrated.

But it’s not just those sorts of unnecessary routines that I don’t follow through with, it’s also the ones that I definitely should be doing. Laundry. Cleaning up after the boys. Taking out the trash when it first needs to go out. Organizing the bills and mail and emails and tasks. I’m not as good with that stuff. I also don’t have people encouraging me to do it. My wife is good at almost never nagging me about it, but there are times I wish we were more supportive with each other to get these things done.

I don’t do the necessary routines, I then I get frustrated with myself that there’s laundry all over the floor, or that the boys have their toys scattered all over the room, or that there’s now two bags of trash sitting next to the trash can that I need to go take out to the dumpster.

The other day I was super frustrated about it and I just said in desperation to Sarah, “I’m so sick and tired of living this way!” And I am. But I don’t really know how to overcome it. I could make myself artificial motivators. I could create checklists and chore lists or something like that. But I’m not sure that would even work.

I have no real solutions to my problems right now. But my frustration has opened a window into an insight about myself that I’ve been recognizing recently. I plan to write about it soon (but probably won’t because…well…yeah, no other people encouraging me to do so). But I think I’m actually an anxious person and just haven’t seen it until recently. Maybe it’s that I’ve always told myself that I’m not an anxious or stressed out person in comparison to those in my family. But perhaps if I can address this element in myself, then perhaps these other daily tasks and rituals have a better chance at coming more naturally to me and actually happening more consistently.

Who knows? But it’s the path I’m planning on taking for now.

A Root Cause for Fickle Emotions


I woke up this morning feeling emotional.


I usually sleep very well. Extremely well. But last night I woke up around three times that I can remember. I have a faint feeling like I was having bad dreams. But I cannot remember any of them.


Which made me wonder what is really going on in my brain right now. I know I was fairly feisty and moody yesterday. I chalked it up to being tired from the night before. (I was out late on my weekly Taco Ride bike ride.)

But it’s clearly more than that.


I brought my mood up with a couple friends and they suggested that it might be that a lot of the emotions from the past couple weeks’ drama in my house is catching up to me. I’ve been on autopilot up until now.

I do think there’s truth in that. But it’s not the root. But I think I can identify the root.




Micah has been on an extremely low carb diet. This in and of itself has added stress to my life. Always having to think ahead about what he will be eating. What he is willing to eat. Limiting his carbs. And his constant nagging of saying that he is hungry.

Micah’s behaviors are a constant drain of energy. I cannot leave him alone for any amount of time. He has to be constantly observed and entertained, or else things get crazy. So just that in and of itself is a constant source of stress for me. But things between him and his brother have seemed to get worse. They are always fighting and bickering. Punching, kicking, throwing things, biting. It’s a battle everyday.

Micah has had lots of ear infections recently. Ones that seemingly never go away. And so, long story short, he is going to get tubes in his ears soon. They will also take out his adenoids. And while they are at it, they are going to clip his tongue tie. All in one surgery. He’ll be under general anesthesia, which is definitely a source of stress. And for me it’s bigger than I anticipated.

I imagine him lying motionless on a surgery table. His little self. And it really bothers me. I don’t really know why it bothers me so much, but that image is deeply disturbing to me.

Micah starts school on August 13th. He’ll be in a regular kindergarten. Riding a regular bus. All day. Every day. I just can’t imagine things going smoothly. I don’t anticipate it at all. Even within the first day he’ll be up and walking around on the bus. No doubt. And he’ll probably get made fun of by the older students. And I, I’m not doing well with that in my mind.

An entire day of school? Seriously? It sounds really great if it works out. I’m so excited for him. But I just can’t imagine it. He can’t stay seated in a chair for more than three seconds. I have no idea how this is going to work.

That’s probably the tip of the iceberg. But I know that.


Someone in one of the Kabuki Syndrome groups I am in posted that her daughter died. Out of respect I won’t say who or what group, but there’s a part of her post that really was just…I don’t know…so real to me. I can’t help but tear up when I imagine her life at this point.

Last night we lost our sweet ——–. She put up such an amazing fight until the very end. I really don’t know how I will adjust to life without her but my heart is shattered in every way possible. I cannot believe she’s gone, our little girl is gone…. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. What a fucked up life this is… The only thing keeping me sane is knowing that she is no longer suffering. No more pokes, no more pain, no more wires, nor surgery, just rest.

What a post.

Because I do sometimes think, “What a fucked up life this is…”

I don’t mean to be crass. If there is ever a time for using the f-word it is in this context. But man, this world sometimes. The stories. The suffering. The struggle.


Life is just too short to be angry. To buy lots of shit. We have to invest in each other. What else is there?


There are days where I just want to go through all my things and get rid of almost all of it. Cut down my belongings to my computer. camera and lenses. A few sets of clothes and shoes. My watch. My bike.

I sometimes have these nagging feelings to just do that. We have so many toys with so many small parts. The house gets messy every single day because of the kids. It drives me bonkers.

Laundry. Toys. Trash. Mail.

It never ends.


The end.

Sifting and shifting


My home right now is down to five girls. It feels a bit strange after having eight for most of this year. Two girls have left our home in the last week. And their departures were, well, not truly “successful.”


It makes things complicated.

For one of our girls, she was in our home for maybe 10 months. And it wasn’t truly until the last couple months that things started to go downhill. And that’s really sad to me. There’s such an opportunity to leave well and with a good relationship, a lasting one in which we can stay in contact for years to come. But she did not leave in that way. She left by giving girls marijuana as a goodbye present. And manipulating things behind our backs (even though we knew she wasn’t being honest).

And to me, that’s just taking all the progress and social capital you’ve built and throwing it down the drain.


The other girl who left our house this week left after only being in our home for about three weeks. And she had moved to our home from another because of her behaviors. She had some pretty nasty sneaky behaviors. She only needed a couple credits to graduate, however, and so we worked with her on a plan to be able to take two classes online intensively over the course of two weeks, while she finished up her summer classes, to be able to “graduate.”

Her situation is complex, but we do sincerely hope for the best for her and her family. Her parents are super kind and wonderful people, and I hope that things are able to settle down for them and her.


That’s one of the hardest aspects of this job. You can pour your life into these girls, and they can accept the help for a while, but they can still crash and burn out of here. Or reject your help at the end just because they are determined about getting out.


It feels like sometimes they just think that we see our role in their lives as a job. But we don’t see it really as a job. We can’t. We see it as a lifestyle. A calling, almost. It’s something we choose to live and be, not just do.


So right now we are left with our five. And they’re all in trouble because of the weed that our former girl gave them. But this is our crew. I love the five of them dearly. I told them yesterday that I’d fight anyone for them to stay with us and be successful. And it’s true.

I hope they understand this isn’t a job to me. We’ve chosen to live this life because we care about them deeply.