Sometimes real life – all of it – sneaks up on me. Like that old story about the frog not realizing she was being boiled to death because the water started out cold and only got hotter over time. Stress builds and mounts and piles upon itself until I reach a point where just one more thing is more than my system can handle. The big things are easy to spot: kid stress, school, relationships of all sorts. But for me, at least, those are easier to wrestle with because I can see them coming…sort of like watching a Mac truck run straight at you going 80mph on the wrong side of the highway median. Instead, it is the smallest things that can completely and utterly throw me off my game: a bad haircut without the possibility of a ponytail, a celebratory dinner ruined, someone else’s life dramas that hits a little too close to home. These small degrees of discomfort seem to crank up the water temperature until I’m sleepy from the warm bath and start to smell something cooking that I’v been told tastes just like chicken.

To be true to these little life notes I’ve been leaving each week, I have to tell you this is where I am at right now. My hair is too short, a beautiful dinner was interrupted with scary news, I have not one – but two – dear friends struggling with the same issues I am which makes it hard to support them through my own personal fog. And in the last twenty-four hours my car started making a horrible grinding noise and my AC froze solid.

I am not telling you this for pity – I hate pity – or even sympathy.  I just want to be honest with you, as I hope you would be with me if we ever get the chance to sit down over a hot cup of coffee or cold pint of Guinness (or whatever your favorite liquid comfort may be).

If my words are darker now, this is why. I still love. I still hope. I still dream.

Just as I pray each of you do, too.

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