A wandering thought-bubble and writer’s block walked into a bar..

I’ve been suffering from a rather mild case of writer’s block lately. The last handful of posts I’ve shared, while heartfelt, were more forced than flowy. Yes, even the one about my favorite little five-year-old. I found myself wanting to write the last couple of months or so with a purpose at hand but when it comes time to take a seat, nothing comes out the way I envision it. I don’t know what that means. Writing has always been my outlet, even pre-blog. I’ve never been impressive off-the-cuff but I’ve always taken pride in what I can scrounge up if you give me a few minutes to breathe and organize my thoughts.

I’ve found that, over the years, my best writing comes from a place of pain and heavy-heartedness which, makes sense. I mean, even as a child, I’d put myself into a corner to write out my feels because I felt so broken from the child-size versions of Karen’s and Terry’s out there taunting a kid who desperately just wanted to disappear. I never even wanted to be seen in that way or to be one of the cool kids. I simply wanted people to be nice; something I thought everyone was born with, kindness. I found out that wasn’t really a thing and if it wasn’t possible, I wished people could just pretend I didn’t exist. I think I figured if I was invisible, it’d be easier than being ridiculed for looking so differently than the stereotype.

The thing is, I know I’ve come a long way since the days of summertime sadness. Of winter and fall and springtime sadness, too. While I may not be totally healed from the bummers of my childhood, I eventually figured out a way to overcome it and adopt a treat-everyone-with-kindness mentality, most of the time. But that, too, has gotten my heart into trouble.

The details aren’t nearly as important as the grief of realizing how mishandled your emotions were relationship after relationship, friendship after friendship. I learned how to show empathy and help people when they’re down but that only later put me in situations where I tried to fix people that were broken from their own unaddressed trauma. And the thing is, no one tells you that you can’t cure people that aren’t ready to travel down the yellow brick road of healing.

Those experiences taught me to keep my opinions to myself, they taught me to be quiet, they contributed to the diminishment of any self-esteem I bothered mustering up as a teen and young adult. I often found it hard to connect with girls; I still don’t know how to actually have a female friendship. Don’t come at me for this but woman are complicated. And mean.

I know it probably doesn’t make sense but all of this feels like some sort of twisted mind-fuck ripple effect.

Our parents start us out in this world with so much hope and joy for what their babies will grow up to be, maybe even how they’ll be. But so slowly, one small action causes another and another. The first weird look or hurtful thing turns into more than you can count on your fingers and toes. I’d rather have sticks and stones be thrown because contrary to the popular lies we’ve been told, words really do hurt. Pretty soon, those little babies are so self-aware and self-conscious of so many things that they don’t quite know what’s right and what’s not; what’s normal and what’s weird. When did all that happen? How?

Sometimes I wonder if parents-to-be ever think about the balance between protecting their children from the hate of society and allowing it to happen, because it will. Even the most sheltered of kids eventually are subjected to it.

Anyway, isn’t it weird? I often wonder if the reason I’m an perfectionistic constantly-observational overthinker with niche nerd pathways and anxiety-ridden tendencies is because of something that happened in 2nd grade. Or when I was 15. I wonder if I’ve always had the spirit of a vagabond and the mind of an organized spaz by nature, or by nurture. I wonder if I feel like I’ll be alone forever not because I’m not capable of loving but because I’m unbearable to be around. And why would that be? Is it because I gave too much of myself to other people throughout my time here on earth; like the wishes of a dandelion being blown in the wind?

The thing that really gets me though is while my best writing has always come from a place of hurt and I’m far more healed now in life than I ever have been in 31 years of millennial existence, I still experience all sorts of wounds in my wanna-be-tough-girl mind on a way-too-often basis. So why have I found it more difficult to write lately?

These wounds, they are more streamlined now though. Through a whole lotta faith and a little bit of therapy, I’ve had an opportunity to deal with some really crappy shit head-on. Which has been fulfilling to work through and overcome but where does that put me with the thing I enjoy most, writing?

I think I really just want to be heard. My whole life I’ve felt both seen and unseen at the same time. Seen for reasons I didn’t want to be and unseen because no one quite understands me. I figure if I spill my guts out to a white page somewhere on the internet, what? Someone, somewhere, will finally be like “girl, I get you.”

What a wild dream that’d be.

Holidaze: Food for thought.

Last weekend my immediate family gathered together at my brother’s place in Horace. My grandma Rita joined in on the fun too, which was a sweet (sorta planned) surprise. Usually she finds herself at my Uncle Troy’s but due to everyone’s comfortability with health and whatnot, that just wasn’t in the cards.

We did the usual things; visited, opened gifts, and played games. At one point, the games got so rambunctious that my dad asked my mom how much we’d all had to drink. Shocker, pops but we were simply jacked up on cheer and chocolate. He and my youngest brother sat idlily by while we quite literally displayed Utter Nonsense in various accents round and round again. A game everyone must have in their collection!

I do think this was one of the most enjoyable Christmases I remember having in quite some time. The food was good, the company even better. No one seemed to be too bogged down by having to spend quality time with each other and my dad even got out of the house to go pawning; a regular activity that really seems like a holiday tradition.


Fast-forward to the real deal, Christmas itself.. I found myself with nothing to do and I was actually pretty okay with it. I felt blessed that my family was all in good health and able to spend time together the weekend before. I had decided weeks ago to keep myself busy by volunteering at church on Christmas Eve and filling my Christmas Day with holiday movies galore.

For the first year in three, I wasn’t sad. I had a couple of blips, sure. A few moments in the days leading up to the holiday when people were describing their plans and I was like “well, we celebrated last weekend so just me, myself, and I.” And actually, I think more people felt sorry for me than I felt for myself, which was new.


I hadn’t physically stepped foot in Prairie Heights in months; only twice since our worlds changed. It was weird and uncomfortable both times but not for lack of trying. We all have had to make due with what we can; evolve to live. We’re taught to believe that church isn’t a building but people. It’s true, I do believe that. But it’s hard to be the church without the people. Without seeing the faces IRL that keep you accountable in whatever it is; life, faith, or otherwise.

My eyes swelled up before I even opened the doors at PH and when I was greeted with the same smiling eyes as I always had been, I was reminded that the church is in fact people but it didn’t sink in until I was in the building. How is that?

I felt like I was both home and away from home in the same moment. I watched from the sidelines as the service before the one I volunteered at get dismissed; families gathering together for what I can only assume is a holiday photo opp. I watched other volunteers embrace one another in elbow bumps and air high fives, radiating such immense joy from behind their masks.

I listened intently as Marni, the director of Guest Services thanked us, prayed over us, and shared the hurt in her heart over how different her holiday was this year in comparison to years past. I found myself feeling remorseful for getting to spend the holiday with my family just last weekend, forgetting how many households didn’t have that luxury this year.


A dear friend of mine was asked to share her story with the PH community this Christmas season. The theme being “The Thrill of Hope.” Now, I don’t know if it’s just because I know her or if it was the feeling of community on Christmas Eve or the holy spirit at work; likely a combination of all three but her story, even though I’d heard it previously, hit me like a ton of bricks.

I met Anna before she’d even attended Prairie Heights. She joined the same Grow Group I did at the same time, but she had yet to step foot in the church. We both came with broken hearts for different reasons and had the courage to not only show up but trust others to be gentle. To ask for prayers. I feel so honored to have seen first hand how God has been working in her life since that first evening I met her. One of my very favorite things Anna has ever said in our small group and in her testimony is: “I had a God-shaped hole in my heart and I was trying to fill it with everything else. But it was Jesus, that’s what was missing.” Uffda, is that ever true. You can watch Anna’s video below:


To my surprise, I actually didn’t end up being alone on Christmas either. My aunt reached out asking if I’d like to come over for dinner and to visit. All of my cousins on my dad’s side were there and it was such a fun time. Growing up, we were hours and hours away from that side of the family. We’d see them occasionally but we didn’t grow up with them, like on my mom’s side. So, as the oldest, it’s always been so weird for me. Like, I remember them young. In diapers. Little kids that were too tiny to play Scrabble or have anything in common with. Now, fast-forward two decades and we’re all adults. We’re on different paths and have completely different worlds but we have the opportunity to connect in a way that we never did before. It’s still weird though. I still feel like the old one in the bunch but I’ll take what I can get!

We played what seemed like a plethora of games and changed the rules of some. We ate delicious foods, too many sweets, and I may have participated in an olive showdown challenge with my cousin, Dallas. I even talked them into taking part in the inaugural adventure of the Adventure Challenge book I gifted myself this Christmas. ‘Twas a fun time.


I originally had a different plan for this final post of the Holidaze series. I wanted to focus on the story of Christmas; that it’s not about the gifts or the food or the fun. Because faithfully, it’s not. I think we all know that. And I think we’ve all just come to accept that it’s morphed into this Americanized “vacation” that everyone either looks forward to or dreads.

  • Whether we celebrate the holiday for the right reasons or not, I was reminded in my BEMA small group this week of Micah 6:8 “..to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
  • I was nudged to serve at Prairie Heights for Christmas so others could spend quality time with their loved ones.
  • I was moved by Anna’s message of hope when everything seems so hopeless.
  • I was reminded by Pastor Beth in her Christmas message that everything has meaning in God’s plan.

Christmas isn’t about the gifts or the food or the fun. But it is. The gift of life and community that we’re fortunate to be given because of Jesus. The food of wisdom and the God-moment reminders in every day life are there, if we are hungry enough to listen. The fun in the joy we feel by seeing and being with people we love.

Jesus taught us to simply love one another. That’s it, really. The story might get lost and the traditions might change but the message never has. I hope that even if your holiday season was filled with piles upon piles of wrapping paper and garbage bags full of leftovers, that you were able to take pause and feel even the slightest sense of gratitude for all that Christmas is regardless of creed.

Merry Christmas from here and thank you for reading! -Ori

Holidaze: An Intro

I decided to pull out my ol’ keyboard and start this series to share a little bit of my world with you all. I love to write more than anything, I find it therapeutic and it helps the socially inept side of me connect with others but I let the monotony of a mostly isolated life take up my time. Think: work, tv, bed, repeat all from the same 750 square feet, day after day. I’m tired of it and I need to make an active effort to change the bad habits I’ve adopted over the last nine months.

‘Holidaze’ is a series about navigating the weird time we’re in these last few weeks as 2020 comes to a close. The holiday season meets a state of confusion right in the middle of a pandemic, or something like that. I hope you follow along if you’re into it and feel free to share with others!

The holiday’s are always so tricky for me. On one hand, this is the time of year that brings me a lot of heartache (more on that another time) and reminds me of how lonely I am. The holidays definitely weren’t made for the single ladies.

But, on another hand, I love every single second of it. I love getting together with family and friends. I love the quiet days in with the fireplace crackling, a cup of hot chocolate steaming, and a sappy Christmas movie. I love the holiday festivals and events. The gift exchanges and the cute cards and the unknown of what my sister-in-law will decide to make for Christmas dinner! I love the celebration of a New Year and the tradition of Advent. The season truly is a magical time.

Unfortunately, a lot of that isn’t happening this year. And the parts that are will be different and unusual. It’s uncharted territory for us all and I know I’m not the only one that is and will continue to struggle throughout this season both in the holiday spirit sense and in the ‘winter = situational depression’ sense.

This season, I hope to invite you into my weird little world a little bit. I hope to connect with people I haven’t had an opportunity to connect with in a long time and I hope to make it through this pandemic alive and healthy with each of you. I hope to remind myself of all the wonderful things this world has to offer, of the bittersweet memories of days past, and of the many blessings we have in life.

Thank you for reading! -Ori

I Love You More.

Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and emotions. It’s just how you choose to deal with them..

Through a hectic that shouldn’t have been hectic weekend, I’m finally home with my Tim Hortons hot chocolate. In the beginning of and actually most of the day I had such a negative point of view. I was being a Debbie Downer and let other people get to me when I should have really been enjoying time spent with the people I was with.

BjbrLqlCQAA70YM

Setting all that aside though, I was happily humbled by the once again realization that I am immensely blessed. I have the best family anyone could ever ask for. There are no words to describe how momentous of an impact my parents have made on my life. In a world of drug addicts, adultery, divorce, and hate; they managed to still bring up three awesome (if I do say so myself) kids. They filled our hearts up with love, our brains up with knowledge and our minds up to be open.

I was reminded today that although I’m not going to like everyone. I’m not going to accept everyones lifestyles and I’m not going to except everyones inconsiderate foolishness; that no matter what, I’ll always have a family. I’ll always be loved no matter what. And even though it just sounds silly, I’m not talking about the usual love. My parents don’t just love us kids because we are their offspring. We aren’t just three toads that they raised and threw off into the world. No matter where we are in our lives or how old we ever get – they will still care about us.

The sad thing is, I don’t think this is as common as I previously thought it was. I think there are a lot of people out there that hurry up and get the kids old enough to raise themselves and then they are set free without the support of what is right and what is wrong. Do they give up on parenthood? I don’t know, to each their own. What matters is that my parents never gave up.

We are now 24, 21, and 18. We all live completely different lives in different towns. We are all at different stages of our early adulthood. We pay our own bills (except the 18 year old who is still in school). We make our own decisions and we have our own viewpoints on every situation but the one thing we have in common is that our family, all 5 of us, matter to each other more than anything else in this entire..everything. More than the world can even handle.

So thank you mom and dad. Thank you for creating a good wholesome family structure. Thank you for showing us what love is. Thank you for staying home on Friday and Saturday nights. Thank you for picking me up drunk and grounding me for an entire summer. Thank you for teaching us lessons and for giving us the sex talk. Thank you for letting us make our own decisions. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for being the best parents in the entire history of parents being parents because believe it or not, people would kill to have what we have. I love you all.

I can’t figure out how to embed a video into a post so here’s the link for the Flipagram I made with my favorite people in it: Family!

God Loves Us Just The Same I Figure.

I overheard a conversation about churches, religion, and it’s relation to dress code today. At first, I almost had a “no way” moment but upon analyzing the situation; I’ve found myself thinking about it all day. To be clear – I wasn’t a part of the conversation but in such a small office space, anything that anyone talks about is open to all ears so of course mine were peaked.

The two women were talking about the churches they attend or have attended in town here and elsewhere. They were discussing the strictness and leniency of the dress codes. On Wednesday nights – it appears – is no big deal. I don’t know if they actually have mass on Wednesdays or if it’s the same as when I was in school and we just had Wednesday night religious ed. Regardless, come as you are on Wednesdays I guess. However, on Sunday; it sounds like your ‘Sunday Best’ is a requirement. 

Now, I don’t know if it’s literally a rule per the church, God, or society but I just about had to pick my mouth up off of the floor. Really? A requirement? I pondered this the rest of the day waiting until I could give my mom a call this evening. The women talking were discussing the practices of their Lutheran faith, respectively.

I was born and raised Catholic and per the confirmation of my mom – strictness and Lutheranism don’t really coincide so I was than even more perplexed with that conversation. Growing up Catholic, we were taught many things. Even though I went to Sacred Heart every Sunday, we were the minority in the little ol’ Lutheran town of Roseau. So I’ve been used to the un-christian-like slander my whole life. That’s another story, we’ll save that for later. But I just had to ask my mom: “Did we dress up to go to church?” Turns out we didn’t. If we wanted to wear a sweatshirt and jeans, God didn’t care. We were there, that’s what mattered. We practiced good faith and possessed good morals. Growing up, what we wore on Sunday was never a topic. I think that is the reason that this minuscule overheard conversation rattled my brain a little.

Looking back, I remember certain families that always dressed up. I guess I might have noticed back then but I really only figured that they dressed up to keep up with their image in town. In case you aren’t aware of the quite obvious fact, your status in Roseau, MN is a very important thing and to this day; I think that people put on an invisible mask in order to maintain that said status.

CHURCH2

Sacred Hearth Catholic Church – Roseau, MN

I also figured that the women in dresses, fathers in suits, and little kids with fancy new clothes were just rich. We’d go to church with sopping wet hair making water marks on our backs, shoes untied, and a crying snotty nosed brother in tow. God loved us just the same I figured.

It’s actually pretty crazy that this little conversation I eavesdropped on today would cause me to analyze so many people and years of my life in the church I grew up in. I feel very fortunate that I grew up the way I did. We had a great priest. I retained some of the best life lessons in that little community of a church. All teasing from school during the week disappeared. The music in my head all week was sang and the communion and forgiveness of sins made me feel whole.

Once we left Roseau, I began to slip away from the Catholic faith. Although, I still credit many Catholic beliefs to my upbringing; I don’t necessarily agree with certain areas of the faith now. Between the combination of the modern church and it’s scandals to my individual growth; I have my own opinions and beliefs. I’ll always acknowledge being born and raised Catholic but when I think of the church, I think of Roseau. It was very welcoming and accepting. There was no “wrong way” to dress. And if there were stares, I was young enough to be oblivious to that but nothing will ever take away from the great memories I had there. 

In conclusion, what is your stance? Have you ever felt that you needed to pull out your Sunday best on the day God rested? Why? Does it matter? Do people only choose to dress up for a social standing? Are you embarrassed of yourself or your family if you don’t? Let’s start the conversation.