Look Up: On Family and Memory


Amanda Mininger

My brother came to us in an airplane when he was one and I was two. He left Guatemala and traveled in the night sky across jungles and sea with a woman from the agency who soothed him over the noise of the engines. They landed on U.S. soil and he was delivered—small, malnourished, with big round eyes—into the arms of our expectant family.

It’s fitting that his new life with us began at night under the stars, because my brother is Mayan, descended from that proud, ancient civilization who looked upward to the constellations. They followed the movement of the planets and the path of the sun, plotted courses, predicted events, developed a calendar. Makes me wonder: could they have read in a comet’s tail how far away their sons and daughters would end up, or what their fortunes would be?

Almost at once this new child pulled on…

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Why I Still Need My Mom


No Cigarettes, No Bologna

mom_jess_wedding It was 7:00 the morning of Emma’s First Communion, and I already had been up for two hours prepping for the intimate gathering  sacramental bender for 65 people following the ceremony.

My mom arrived earlier in the week, and we had been prepping ever since. We sipped coffee as our eyes scanned the room, our list-making brains doing their thing.

“The succulents don’t look right in that planter – they aren’t raised up enough or something.” I mumbled quietly to myself. Or so I thought.

But in the time it took for me to park Phoebe in front of Frozen, my mother had abandoned her coffee and disappeared. I looked out the kitchen window and there she was, in my backyard wearing her nightgown and robe, gathering bricks from my garage. Sweet Jesus. She’s collecting bricks to raise up the succulents.

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My mom is a fixer, a do-er, a…

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What a Headache Taught Me About Procrastination


JAG GYM Blog

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My head is throbbing.

My neck hurts.

My eyes are sensitive to light.

My shoulders are tight.

Yes, I am suffering from the common malady: a headache.

It’s not my first rodeo. In fact, I know exactly what I can do to help it go away. And they are all pretty simple to do:

  1. take two Excedrin.
  2. drink a bunch of water
  3. have a snack, preferably with protein
  4. sniff some peppermint oil (trust me, it works)

And, presto, within a half an hour I will feel considerably better.

Yet for the past two hours or so (since the headache started) I have done none of these things.

What I have done is felt sorry for myself. Oh and I also complained to my 15 year-old daughter. I texted my best friend to tell her about it.

Then I felt sorry for myself a little longer. And then I remembered I…

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