Goodbye, My Crazy, Dear Friend

Death has a way of teaching us how to live. It teaches us to lean in to love.


Yesterday, we said, “goodbye” to our beloved dog of 14 years, Leroy. For those of you who knew Leroy, you know what I mean when I say he was dear, and he was crazy. On a sunny spring day in Huntington Beach, Caleb went to the animal shelter and picked-up a very handsome, and very rambunctious pup about 14 years ago. He felt like he had won a prize that day. And in a way he did. There was a waitlist for Leroy and Caleb was the lucky one to get the call. What Caleb didn’t know was that he was in for years of schooling. Lessons that only life can teach, such as how to not lose your shit when someone you love is losing theirs.

IMG_0043 (1)Caleb swears that having Leroy made him a better dad. When we buried him yesterday, Caleb thanked Leroy for being his “teacher of patience.” Luca looked up at Caleb and said softly, “Don’t worry Dad, I’ll be your new patience teacher now.” We both laughed and, of course, agreed.

For me, Leroy taught me also how to “hold on to myself,” a concept in psychology that IMG_0371
refers to the ability to stay grounded and stay true to yourself while in relationship with another. It’s incredibly difficult to do this and I’m still learning. But who would have thought that a dog could teach so much? Who would have thought that a dog who actually bit the ankle of our UPS man, snapped at anyone who seemed threatening on walks, and wailed like a walrus when a skateboarder rolled by- could teach us to love the parts of ourselves that seem unlovable.

And that was his greatest gift. Leroy taught us unconditional love. We worked hard to train him, to help him feel secure in his “place in the pack” (ode to Cesar Milan), and fought to give him grace when we were tempted to throw in the towel. We saw good in Leroy. And there really was a lot of good. We also knew that his less-than-desirable qualities were almost certainly remnants of trauma from his pre-Caleb life. He helped us to be better because he helped us remember that all of us have wounds and when we act in our own undesirable ways, we are acting from those wounded places. In this way Leroy taught us to love our family, our friends, our clients, our kids, and ultimately, ourselves on a deeper level than any philosopher or Bible scripture could conjure.

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Thank you God, for giving us time with Leroy. He was a beautiful soul and we are honored to have called him ours. Now he is yours and he is free.



Dear Progressive Church,

*This was originally written in August 2016*

Dear Progressive Church, My Friends,

I can look you square in the face and tell you all of the reasons why we shouldn’t drive faster than the speed limit. I know it increases mortality rates. But yeah, I just got a speeding ticket for going 15 miles over the speed limit a couple of weeks ago so… So my point is, what I am about to write about isn’t something I’ve perfected. In fact, I think I’m actually pretty horrible at this and I want you to know I’m really not saying that to sound humble. But I’ve been feeling really convicted to write about it. This is one of those pieces that I just can’t shake. So here it is.

I avoided Christianity for years because I didn’t like Christians. They seriously annoyed the heck out of me. How can people be so exclusive? How can people be so judgmental? ESPECIALLY people who claim to follow Jesus, a man who radiated love and inclusiveness. A man who effortlessly loved the outcasts and the marginalized. The outcasts of our day, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, people of color, muslims, etc., are seeming to receive no such love from the church. How can a group of self-proclaimed Jesus followers be so hateful to those groups of people?? It makes my blood boil. I’ll stop there but let tell you, I could go on for paragraphs about this.

I don’t think I’m alone here. I’ve heard many of my progressive Christian friends and even pastors talk down about this group of people. We are harsh when we remind them that the only people Jesus was harsh to were the Pharisees. We rally ourselves around this and claim that we will not be like them.

Now, I’m going to write about the part I don’t want to write about. The part where I admit what is probably quite obvious to outsiders. Wait for it, it’s going to sting. Take a deep breath: We’re projecting.

The Pharisees were the judgmental, exclusive, rule-obsesesed religious folk of Jesus’ day. Somehow, this has given us license to exclude, judge, and maybe even hate the Pharisees of our day. This is not ok. We are doing to them, the same thing that they are doing to the “least of these.” My fellow liberal Christians, we have to figure out a way to extend love to this group and here are a couple of reasons why. Continue reading

Dear Christian Men, We Need You


First, I want to thank you for reading this. Whether you subscribe to my blog (extra points!) or a woman in your life forwarded it to you (even better, extra points with her!). Just the fact that you’re reading this is evidence that you care about the women in your life. I appreciate your heart. This really isn’t another political opinion article trying to sway you to vote for the candidate of my choice. I will not be promoting a vote for Hillary or anyone else. This is a call for you and other men of faith to please tread cautiously and intentionally this election cycle for the sake of those you care about most. Because the truth is, we desperately need you to.

Let’s take a step back from this whole circus for a minute. Take GIANT step back, keep going. Ahhh, isn’t that nice? We can breathe easier over here. So from here we can see that there’s a guy running for President of the USA who totally breaks political barriers, he’s not a political puppet, he’s radical. Finally, someone out of the box.  Finally, someone who isn’t “playing the game.” Pretty cool right? And then, equally cool, there’s actually a woman running for president, for the very first time! This is so great because now you know you really can tell your daughter that she can be anything she wants to be. She really could be President of the United States of America. That is so awesome.

Now, you know this article is about women so let’s talk about that for a sec. Let’s turn our back away from the whole election completely and look at what life in America is like for the women you love in your life. I want you to think about your mom, your wife, your daughter, your niece. For many reasons that I won’t get into here, these loves of your life are being paid less than men with equal qualifications. This isn’t necessarily your fault, so no need to get defensive here, just let it be what it is: reality.

Keep thinking about your daughter, your niece, your wife, your mom… They are more likely to be victims of sexual violence. Imagine that. This is primarily because women are globally disrespected and objectified. Continue reading