I toast a sourdough muffin golden, two halves, and slather them with butter and mounds of strawberry freezer jam.

I love the jeweled color of strawberries mashed in the making.

Red to me is the color of hope.

I steep a cup of Earl Grey Green, inhale the fragrance of bergamot, and settle at the table.

The hummingbirds have gone, I think.

And I’ve seen geese fly in V’s.

The ashen sky hangs heavy.

The soybeans are browning.

The leaves are beginning to fall and lie all wet and matted on the gravel.

Life is seeding.

Yet there’s color in the changing, in the dying.

The earth’s getting ready to pull up its blanket.

To rest and gather strength.

For the first time, I’m looking forward to winter.

I crunch and sip, and I remember ashen days.

When after months of tests and corrective surgeries, life seeded and grew.

When I stood in front of the mirror and imagined my body changing, taking on a new shape.

When I hummed and patted my tummy.

When I smiled as I caressed soft blues and pinks and bought a new flowing top.

When my heart danced with every hint of nausea.

When I ignored—denied–my doctor’s concerns.

And when I almost died as red slowly seeped into my belly.

Until one morning I was so tired.

So. Very. Tired.


Worried faces hover around my bed.

Someone removes the color from my toenails.

Someone else tries to start fluids in my arm.

My husband strokes my forehead.

And my pastor comes to pray.

I wake up to be told that I am forever changed.

But that my body will never change to see life grow or feel it move.

And part of me dies.

But there is color in the changing, in the dying.

There is hope.

I pull up my blanket and hide under the covers of my hospital bed.

And two days later, I curl up in the green chair with the Word.


To rest and gather strength.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and

the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles . . .~2 Corinthians 1:3-4a


There’s a commotion in the hall.

A gurney rattles through the door accompanied by two nurses.

They help the ashen-faced teenager into the other bed.

And then they leave, and she cries.

I go to her, and she sobs. Her baby grew in her tube, and her parents don’t know she is pregnant. Was pregnant. But they’ve been called. Her boyfriend is on his way.

And red spills into her belly.

I hold her hand and stroke her forehead as they come to strip her color and start her fluids.

. . . so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive

from God. ~2 Corinthians 1:4b (NIV)


Months later a miracle seeded and grown in another’s womb brings life to me.

And something dies within her.

Lives forever changed.

I nibble strawberry-topped muffin and sip my tea and ponder this.

Sometimes we are mashed in the making.

But there is color in the changing, in the dying, in the growing.

Then sweet flavor uncapped.

And there is hope.

(this made me cry, dear sandra. such healing in your words. thank you)

–i so appreciate all of your imperfect prose, friends. am slow to getting to them this week; thank you for grace. love you. have a beautiful weekend.