Thursday, January 26, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Originally published on Facebook, January 21, 2017 

Hope. Today filled me with HOPE. Surrounded by amazing people filled with love, kindness, and fierce determination, I marched in Washington D.C. I marched with my oldest kid and her grandmother. We were three generations of peaceful resistance, three generations of voices raised for those who face discrimination.
I watched my daughter take it all in. I watched her exude strength and pride as she held her sign that read "When they go low, we go high", as high up in the air as she could. She was the picture of "though she be but little, she is fierce". I was moved by the kindness and love from so many we marched with who went out of their way to tell her they loved her shirt that read "Protect Me" with a trans flag, that thanked her for being there, who were moved to their own tears by her authenticity and courage, who told her "you are why we march". I was brought to tears watching her joy and relief as she internalized that message of love and solidarity while reading signs, listening, and learning more about all the other reasons we march, for all the children who deserve better.
Hope. The challenges ahead remain, but I'm rooted in and renewed by this community's strength and spirit. Tomorrow, the real work begins. Letters and meetings with legislators. Community organizing and education. Listening to the stories and needs of our neighbors and beyond. And continuing to tell our story. We're ready. #bringit2017 #womensmarch #transkids#ourchildrenarewatching

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy Birthday to My Mom!

Originally published on Facebook on January 22, 2017. Posted today for my mother's birthday - Happy Birthday, Mom!

Yesterday in D.C. I went to grab a quick selfie with the crowds and signs me behind me. The picture I grabbed isn't what I expected but it's even more poignant. That's my mama behind me. You see, she's always behind me. 

As a kid whether I wanted to play sports, take dance, or be the youngest person on church council, she was behind me. When I was determined to go away for the summer to work at camp at 15 years old, she was behind me. When I told her I was skipping my senior year of high school and going to college early, she was terrified but she was behind me. When at 17, I traveled the country doing day camps for kids who had recently experienced natural disasters, she was behind me. With every big idea I had and next adventure embarked on, she was behind me. When I graduated college at 20, got married, and started a new and unexpected job she was behind me. When I tackled graduate school, a full-time job, and becoming a mom all at the same time, she was behind me. When I gave birth to two of her grandchildren at home, she was behind me. When we decided homeschooling was the best fit for our kids for a period of time, she was behind me. And when we told the world who my daughter was, a young transgender girl, she was behind me.

This week, I had the opportunity to go to Creating Change Conference, an amazing conference sponsored by the National LGBTQ Task Force, she said "Go, I'll help with your kids" even if it had meant not being able to go to a march on Saturday. She said she figured freeing me up to do the work I'm doing is her contribution to the movement at this point. And it's a HUGE contribution, always having her behind me, behind my family, behind my daughter.

So I went to the conference but shifted some things around so we could go to DC... my transgender daughter and I, with this woman behind us.

I haven't always made it easy for her with my affinity for crazy adventures and rejection of any type of normalcy, but she continually shows up, doing what needs to be done at any given time to empower me and now my daughter, to lift us up and to support us... sometimes quietly in the background doing my dishes and laundry when life gets crazy or taking my daughter to dance class and sometimes marching with us and half a million other people for women, for equality, for trans kids, and for justice for all people - regardless of color, culture, creed, ability, economic status, sexuality, or gender identity.

I marched for her as much as I do my daughter.

#whyimarch #strongwomen #womensmarch#transkids #threegenerations

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bring it, 2017.

Originally posted on January 1, 2017.

#2016bestnine is super fitting today. 

Today, this courageous, authentic New Year's baby is 10 years old. She made me a mom and has taught me everything I needed to know along the way. Her bright spirit and huge heart lead the way as we continually navigate the unplanned and unexpected. She knows who she is. She cares deeply about injustice. She never stops dancing, singing, and making music. She works hard at everything she does, continually striving to be better and do better. And at the end of the day, whether she succeeded or failed, whether it was good or bad, she knows snuggling with her family, where she is safe and loved, makes it all okay. Unconditional love and abundant grace.

Of course, that tattoo in the middle isn't Rebekah's. It's mine. The mountains. The mountains we will find, climb, and move. The peaks and the valleys we are certain to experience.

We don't know what lies ahead in 2017. The future is filled with uncertainty. But we're going to fight with everything we've got to make this world a safer and more welcoming place for Rebekah and every other transgender and gender non-conforming kid.

And Rebekah... she's going to keep changing the world, just by being who she is and living her truth.

#rebekahturns10 #protecttranskids#thisiswhattranslookslike #bringit2017

Seeing Ourselves in the Divine

Originally published on December 18, 2016.

My daughter was assigned the role of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the church Sunday School Christmas program this morning. 

When I reminded her it was today, she touched her hair still in braids from the night before, "oh I forgot.... well I hope Mary had curly hair.... curly blonde hair??"

I laughed, " um, no. Mary was not blonde-haired blue-eyed with pale skin...."

She looked at me confused. She said, "but that doesn't make sense since Jesus was...."

And so I explained to her and her brother. I explained what people who lived in the time and place of Jesus looked like. We looked up pictures.

She was confused, "but how come in the pictures I always see he doesn't look like that." And so we talked about how when people first began to make depictions of Jesus they made him look like themselves, everyone wants to see themselves in God. I pointed to the different nativity sets we have depicting people from different places and cultures.

And we talked about how why the blonde-haired, blue-eyed depictions of Jesus persist today and why that matters, what it says about and informs how we view the "other", and what is our responsibility in light of that...

When we finished talking, my son said "thanks for the pep talk, now can we have breakfast?" Of course. They are used to me and my "pep talks". But I can see that it sinks in, and it informs how they process the world around them, how they begin to become more aware of their own privilege and think about the lives they are called to lead in this world.

We ate breakfast, headed to church, and my transgender daughter played the role of Mary beautifully... seeing herself in the story of Jesus's birth.

#raisethemright #ourstoriesmatter#welcomingchurch #transkids

Our Stories Matter: PANS/PANDAS Awareness

Originally published on December 17, 2016.

I love this kid so much. He is brave, kind, joyful, witty, and creative. He loves to build and create, and he could spend all day making gifts for people year-round. He loves to laugh. But many days his brain and his body make it hard for all that to shine through. 

He has PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome). PANS and PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep) are when an infectious trigger, environmental factors, and other possible triggers create a misdirected immune response results in inflammation on a child’s brain. In turn, the child quickly begins to exhibit life changing symptoms such as OCD, rage, impulsivity, focus concerns, severe restrictive eating, anxiety, tics, personality changes, decline in academic abilities, sensory sensitivities, and more.

Some children suffer debilitating flares while others function enough to continue to go to school but not remotely at the same functioning level. Symptoms may relapse and remit, and the treatment itself may exacerbate symptoms. For many, my kid included, it takes years to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. The research surrounding PANS and PANDAS is growing, and as information grows, more kids are getting accurately diagnosed and treated.

Just as I share our story as a family with a transgender child, I will share parts of our story as a family with a child with PANS... because our stories are bridges to awareness, empathy, connection, and support... and because if I can help just one family whose child is struggling with this, whether they know it or not, it will have mattered.

#ourstoriesmatter #pansandpandasawareness#loveandgrace

Additional Information:

Girl's serious disease may have started with strep
New England PANS/PANDAS Association

Transgender Day Of Remembrance

Originally published November 21, 2016.

Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed yesterday, Nov. 20. People gathered all over the world to name, honor, and remember those whose lives were taken in acts of anti-transgender violence. They gathered in community sharing their grief, outrage, and fear. They gathered in solidarity in the face of the hatred, violence, and discrimination. And I sat as a witness, overwhelmed and humbled. I read names aloud. I absorbed the horrific details of their deaths, rage-filled and terroristic murders that reverberate beyond the individual, attacking and degrading the entire community. I hugged strangers and heard their stories, stories of struggle almost too great to name, but they named it. I stood in awe and deep, deep gratitude for their strength, authenticity and resilience. 

I was asked to speak, to share our family's story, and to be honest, I felt like I was crashing a party that wasn't mine, a party that was no party at all. I'm an outsider to this community, standing in the doorway looking in for the sake of my kid, my kid who has been so incredibly fortunate in her life this far. But if I could express one ounce of gratitude, if I could share about the large and growing communities of parents of trans kids also filled with gratitude and ready to fight for this community, if I could share hope... that because of all of those who came before her, my kid lives a life where acceptance, love, and support are the norm... well, I was willing to try to do any of that. 

{Here's video of what I did end up saying}

I'm still not sure I belonged there, not up in front talking for certain, but I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity to connect and share space with this beautiful and fierce community of people.

Our Stories Matter - Our Family

I believe telling our stories is one of the most important things we can do in this world. Knowing people's stories opens a door for understanding, empathy, love, and grace. If you've followed my page for long, you know a bit of our story. My 9 year old daughter is transgender. For more of our story, check out my Facebook page or click around the blog here. 

For Transgender Awareness Week 2016, I'm chose to introduce other members of our family via Facebook. This journey as Rebekah's family has impacted us all, taught us what it means to be an ally, and changed the way we see the world. I wanted to share those stories here, too.

First, I'd like to introduce you to our middle child, E. At 7 years old, he is authentic and brave. He watched his sister grow, change, and articulate her truth. He wholeheartedly accepted her and advocated for her without thinking about it or even realizing he was doing it. He continues to be a bold example of what it means to be who you are and love others for who they are. He comes home from school often frustrated that other kids don't understand that there aren't "boy things" and "girl things", but he keeps telling them. He will happily wear all colors of the rainbow, his sister's hand-me-down shoes, and pink and purple winter hats. Pink's not his favorite color, and he doesn't prefer typically girl things over typically boy things. He just truly understands that he doesn't have to limit himself based on our society's expectations. He loves painting his nails, and if I ever cringe at the unconventional (whether based on gender, fashion or pretty much any other norm) outfit he's sporting, he reminds me "Mom, I like it. It doesn't matter what you think. It only matters what I think." And I can't argue with that one bit.

We get a lot of credit from friends, family, and strangers for being such "amazing parents" to Rebekah. She scoffs at that a bit, and honestly so do we. We appreciate the love and support, but we just can't take that credit. What I can say is that as a family, we're just doing the best we can, messy and imperfect, to love ourselves, one another and the world.... and these small humans are leading the way.

This is Oliver. He's 2 and a half years old. He doesn't have an opinion on having a transgender sister. He doesn't even know he has a transgender sister. When I was pregnant with him, we thought we had two sons, and everyone couldn't wait to see if the baby in my belly would be the first girl of the family. I got so annoyed by the questions and the expectation that I walked around a lot saying "oh, I'm sure it's a boy. I'm just meant to be a mom to all boys." I cringe now when I remember that, and I wonder what Rebekah was thinking when she overheard me say it. Oliver was born, and he was assigned male at birth. As far as we know and, yes, as far as we assume, he is a boy. Rebekah has always had a special connection with her little brother. It was a strange thing to think when she transitioned socially to live as herself right before Oliver's first birthday that he would never remember her being anything other than Rebekah. When he sees pictures of her when she appeared as a boy, he doesn't know who they are. He doesn't point at them and say "Beba" like he does to all the pictures of his sister now. It's strange, but also beautiful. Of course, he will someday know that his sister is transgender and will come to understand what that means. But what a beautiful gift to have someone so near and dear to you, someone who loves you so deeply who has never known you as anything other than yourself, someone for whom the label transgender is a footnote instead of a preface.

Oliver gives us perspective. When the transgender thing begins to feel like it starts with a capital T, when it's something that feels heavy and challenging... he's the one who reminds us that Rebekah being transgender is such a tiny part of who she is, so tiny that he has lived with her since the day he was born, and he is completely unaware. Her smile, her joy, the way she snuggles, her love of books, her willingness to play even when she really doesn't want to... these are the things Oliver sees and cares about.

This is my husband, Rebekah's dad. He is a Lutheran pastor (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). As a public figure in the community, he's out there. Standing up front. Visible. Vulnerable. Looked to and looked at. There is expectation that comes with being a pastor and a pastor's family. As a "pastor's wife" I have always pushed back against those expectations, but that's easier for a spouse than a clergy person. So as Rebekah's gender non-conformity intensified, he was the lucky recipient of regular Sunday morning text messages from me about our kid, who at the time everyone understood to be a boy. (Sunday mornings being his busiest and most stressful time of the week). The text messages would read something like "hey, FYI, coming to 8:30 service, B is wearing pink nail polish, 7 sparkly bracelets, ballet flats, and barrettes in his hair. Just a heads up." So amid worship preparations, sermon fine tuning, and conversations with every person who walked in the door about everything from the budget and the building, to sick loved ones and pastoral needs... amid all of that, he would receive the text, take a breath, send a quick "ok" and go on with his morning. Never once did he say, "no". Never once did he say we have to consider what people will say or think. Never once did he say, hold on, we need to slow down. He never chanced sending the message to our kid that we love and support you, but we need you to stand out less, fall in line more.

As we came to understand that Rebekah is who she is and went about revealing that to the world, he was deeply aware that not everyone was going to be okay with this. It's no secret the challenging relationship the LGBTQ community has with the Christian church. There was never any question for us, as a family of faith, that God made our daughter to be exactly who she is and that God loves and claims her as a child of God. And we were blessed with support from colleagues in ministry and denominational leadership on all its levels, but we still knew we were in sticky territory. We don't live in a particularly progressive area. We weren't just church members. He was the one standing up in front. We couldn't simply stop coming on Sundays. And even if our church was supportive, we knew there could repercussions in the community as the word got out that the pastor at that church down the road "was letting his son be a girl" as some who don't understand might say. But none of that stopped this man from proudly, publicly loving and supporting his daughter.

And I have no doubt that it's because he never let church be a reason to hold her back, that she confidently answered a psychologist who asked her to explain what it meant to be transgender, "it's being who God made me to be." And by the way, our church... our church welcomed her with open arms.

This is me, and I'm ready to fight.

We're fans of Hamilton: An American Musical in our house. Every time, especially lately, I hear "Dear Theodosia" my heart gets stuck in my throat. And every time, I see this picture of me and my kid, I can't help but hear the words echo. 

"I’ll do whatever it takes
I’ll make a million mistakes
I’ll make the world safe and sound for you…
…will come of age with our young nation
We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you
If we lay a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away..." - Lin Manuel Miranda

I'll fight for her. I'll fight for all my kids and all kids everywhere that they don't grow up in fear, in hate. I'll fight so they know their worth and the worth of every person around them, regardless of race, color, religion, ability, immigration status, gender identity, sexuality, or appearance. I won't be quiet and small. I will stand up loudly, I will call my representatives, I will march, I will protest, I will implement policies, I will write my truths, and I will share our story. I will show my kids that being brave and kind matters more than anything else in this world... more than stuff, more than accomplishments, more than grades, and more than money. They will know that being quiet in the face of evil, standing by as fellow humans hurt, is no different than doing evil.

We will make it right for them. And I have no doubt that they'll blow us all away...

The Day After Election 2016

Originally published on November 9, 2016.

I told E, my 7 year old son, the news, and he asked if we could move to Ohio. After some clarifications about, you know, countries vs states, he asked if we could move to another country (which we haven't spoken about in our home for the record...).

Me: No. No, we cannot move. There is much work to be done. We have to be BRAVER and KINDER than ever before. We have to stand up for and stand with the most vulnerable in our country.

E: like Rebekah and Jaxon?

Me: Yes. Trans kids like Rebekah and kids like Jaxon whose skin isn't white. And people who aren't the same religion as us, people who are Muslim... People who speak different languages.

E: like Spanish?

Me: YES! Like Spanish and so many others.

So we will not move. We still stand up for the most vulnerable. We will declare Black Lives Matter. We will continue to fight for LGBTQ rights. We will love our neighbors who are Muslim, who are Latino, who are immigrants. We will be a voice for refugees. We will fight for women, their worth, their rights to their bodies, their rights to their lives. We will LOVE. We will build peace while others work so hard to build walls.

First, we mourn. Oh, the mourning.

But then, we get to work.

I Will Vote for My Daughter

Originally published on November 8, 2016.

It's Election Day. My 9 year old daughter's already announced that depending on results, she may never come out of her room again. She has a plan. She'll stay in her room, she'll withdraw from school, and she'll never come out even after our family moves from this house. 

This isn't typical tween dramatics. And this isn't because she listened to too much election nonsense, we've actually kept most of it out of our home to protect her. But she knows.

She knows deep in her gut that as a transgender girl, as a member of the LGBT community, her rights and safety and the rights and safety of so many like her are at stake.

She knows it the same way she knows that some day one of her friends will find out she's transgender and will no longer want to be her friend because of it.

She knows it the way she knows that if it's not her friends, it could be their parents, our neighbors, church members, teachers, or strangers on the street. She knows that just because she is who she is there are people who believe she is a danger to their families and communities.

She knows it the way she knows that her just going to the bathroom in a girl's bathroom, like all her friends, is nothing short of a revolutionary act. And that there are people trying to take that right from her.

None of that changes who she is. In the face of all these things and more, she knows this who she is and she refuses to betray herself to make others feel more comfortable or to make less waves. Her bravery and authenticity leave me speechless.

So today, I will vote. I will vote against hate. I will vote for my daughter. And regardless of the results of this election, I will continue to do everything in my power to keep her safe and give her hope. I will remind her that brave and kind is all we can be, and there are millions of people out there who have her back.

#LoveTrumpsHate #transkidsmatter

(Posted with my daughter's permission. I don't ever post about her without permission.)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Raising My Rainbow

Originally published on September 30, 2016.

I was going through old school papers and filing them this morning. I came across this. This is a picture my girl drew in the beginning of first grade. A year and a half before we understood she was our daughter, before she started living as herself. She never told us this was her, but now it's all I can see. That's my girl, and I'm so grateful we get to see her rainbowy smile everyday. Not all day by any means... shes a fourth grader, a tween... and a spirited thing with all sorts of big feelings that come out in big ways (geesh, I have NO idea where she gets that from 😬)... but not a day goes by that we don't get to see that bright, shining, authentic rainbow smile and that is a beautiful thing.

#bewhoyouare #transkids #raisingmyrainbow


Originally published on August 25, 2016.

Camp. This week has been a really hard week for our family at camp. I'm on week two of being really sick, and when mom is sick, everything is harder. My kids are all sorts of tired. One came out of a summer of theater into a week of sleepaway camp into this week of family camp. Another is struggling with some health issues that have been challenging them and our family all summer long and we're inching towards answers. And one is a toddler, full of toddler-ness in all its glory and its terror. This is our "hard" right now, and it hasn't been pretty.

But camp, camp is still camp. Camp is grace and rest and community. Camp is renewal and growth. Camp is a toddler sitting in the dirt putting acorn hats on rocks, wandering, exploring, and learning. Camp is chaotic worship and holy chaos. Camp is a 7 year old watching the whole camp play the all camp game he created and planned. Camp is a 9 year old leading worship with her friends, praying the prayer she wrote. Camp is seeing and being seen. Camp is another parent proudly telling you that your kid allowed them to help them de-escalate in a tough situation. Camp is relationships. And this week camp has been taking a lot of naps and a lot of medicine for me. Camp meets you where you are. Camp is laughter, exhaustion, dirt, and lots of coffee. Camp is your kid making a camp site in the woods, a nice spot to sit and rest, not forgetting the vase of flowers. Camp is beauty. There are new friends and old friends, new skills and favorite games.

Camp is my kid looking up at me as we walk back to our cabin saying "mom, it just feels like home here." You're right, kiddo. It is home.

#thisiscamp #freerangekids #loveandgrace#wecandohardthings

It's Official: Name Change Day

Originally published on July 2, 2016.

Yesterday, we went before a judge to change my daughter's name legally.

She showed her bravery once again. She walked into a court house, sat in a plaintiff chair, and waited for the judge to affirm that her name can be her name in the eyes of the state. She was nervous. It's intimidating. It was intimidating for me, and I'm 34 years old. She's 9. 

My heart hurt a little that she had to go through it at all. No parent wants extra challenges for their kid. It's why I never understand critics who accuse parents of young trans kids of forcing this on them. Nobody wants this road for their child. And sometimes my heart hurts that we didn't fully understand who she was for so many years, that we couldn't affirm her from birth. We just didn't know.

There's so many emotions with the name change. In some ways, it felt anti-climactic. Of course, she's Rebekah. We didn't need a judge to tell us that. We can't imagine her being anything but Rebekah anymore. It felt strange and uncomfortable to hear her birth name read aloud. I loved that name... but it's definitely not the name of the girl who sat beside me. And so we celebrated her identity being affirmed in one more way. A name is a big deal. Now, she has claimed hers. There can be no question.

After, we were done the judge invited her to come sit in his seat. He gave her the gavel and told her to order her parents to take her out for her favorite restaurant. She couldn't decide where but she banged the gavel anyway, shyly grinning.

As we walked out of the court house, it dawned on her. "Oh I know! I should have ordered you to take me to Starbucks!" I chuckled as the stress melted away. That's my girl. #transkids #transkidsmatter#keepingitreal #loveandgrace

LGBT Pride Matters

Originally published on Facebook on June 28, 2016.

As we approach the end of June, Pride Month is coming to a close. I have seen such beautiful celebration this month along with immense pain especially in light of the violence in Orlando. I've seen amazing support and frightening hatred. And I've heard as some have grown tired of the celebration of LGBT Pride, annoyed that there is even such a month with parades and celebrations. Why do they need a whole month anyway?

Then on the weekend, I woke to discover another transgender child took their life... another parent was grieving a loss no parent should have to grieve. Once again, I felt sick and couldn't seem to find words to respond. This is why language and words matter, safe spaces matter... this is why bathrooms ARE a big deal... this is why names and pronouns and everything else MATTERS. This is why our churches need to stop hurting and figure out how to actively be places of healing. This is why Pride matters.

Ongoing violence against LGBT people - the ones you hear about and the many more you don't. Alarming rates of homelessness, suicide, self harm, and at risk behavior among LGBT youth. The hatred and discrimination pointed at people who just want to use the bathroom. LGBT Pride is an act of defiance in the face of all those who would have the LGBT community hide in fear and hang their head in shame.

We will not be quiet. I will not teach my daughter to hide. I am thankful for all those who celebrated this month. It was a wonderful example to my daughter that she is a reason to celebrate. She can be proud of every part of who she is, transgender and all.

Pride Month may be ending, but the work of the LGBT community and its supporters is certainly not. I hope and pray for a world where all LGBT youth feel safe, loved and celebrated. It's going to take all of us to get there. #pridematters #lgbtpride#lgbtyouth #protecttranskids

An Open Letter to Target

Originally published on Facebook on April 22, 2016 in response to their statement that they continue to stand for inclusivity and support the rights of all people to use the facilities that align with their gender identity.

Dear Target,

I want to say thank you for standing for inclusivity. As the parent of a transgender child, it means a lot. Like so many other people, we love Target! We go in planning on buying one household necessity and come out with a handful of goodies. It never gets old.

One particular trip to Target is one that I will never forget. My daughter is transgender, and she transitioned to live as herself one year ago. Before that, she was a gender non-conforming boy. I'll call her B. B always loved all things pink and sparkly. That was fine by us, we told her she should be any kind of boy she wanted to be. She had pink dress up costumes, shoes, and accessories. But in May 2014, she was begging to go shopping. She wanted pink shirts, but was terrified she wouldn't be able to find them as they are hard to come by in the boys section. I reminded her, "colors are colors and clothes are clothes. You can buy from whatever section you want." You know where we went? Target, of course.

I had a three week old baby. It was Saturday. Your store was packed. I was juggling a fussy baby and an excited, anxious 7 year old. She was really nervous. She's a bit of a rule follower, and she was scared to cross that line between boys and girls. With a crying needy baby and a big kid who needed my attention and support I felt totally overwhelmed. We walked through the boys section a bit, and it looked like B was trying to find something she liked, but it wasn't working. I whispered in her ear, "you can go to the girls section. it's okay."

In desperate need of feeding my newborn, I sat on the floor in the middle of the girls clothing section and nursed him while I encouraged B to go find things she liked and bring them to me. Off she skipped (within my eyesight of course), filled with glee, returning with all sorts of goodies covered in pink, sequins, and glitter. She was so happy. She was so relieved. It's like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

And I sat there on the floor, people staring at me nursing my newborn amid the racks of girls clothes while my 7 year old boy bounced about excitedly bringing me things she wanted to try on. It was not a parenting moment I ever expected, but it was one I will never forget. She proudly wore those first few pieces of clothing that made her feel like herself day in and day out for months.

B goes by Rebekah now. she's 9, and she still loves Target. She was nothing short of thrilled to hear that her favorite store made a statement supporting and protecting people like her. She was once again so happy and so relieved. Thank you Target for being a place my child can be herself, and we look forward to many more shopping adventures in your stores.

A Grateful Mom

(Photo credit Maegan Dougherty Photography, outfit courtesy of Target)

New Running Shoes

New running shoes. It's been three plus years since I have ran consistently. I've missed it. I've managed a few miles here or there, but that was it. Now, I'm ready. I'm on a slooooow and determined road back to being a runner. 

Today I celebrate that with these new kicks. I'm letting go of the old ones that carried me through many, many miles... a 5k PR, the worst half marathon of my life, giving up on marathon training when an injury told me it was time, and six months of physical therapy. I'm thankful for everywhere those shoes took me (and know I should have retired them far sooner) ... but none of that matters now. Years later, I'm starting fresh.

It's easy to get frustrated when 3 miles feels hard when I could once pound out 15. It's easy to beat myself up about what I haven't done or what I could have done. But this is a new beginning. Zero fitness, but zero injuries.

No matter how hard it is to start all over, I will run. I run because it taught me I can do hard things. Because other than birthing my children, running my fastest half marathon was the most physically affirming experience of my life. I run to be strong, physically and mentally, to take time and space for me. I run because it keeps me humble. I've run 5 half marathons but the road doesn't care as I hobble my way back with walk/run intervals. I run because running is something I do for me and not for anyone else. #motherrunner #thisisselfcare #babysteps

(Originally posted on Facebook on March 11, 2016)