to have and to hold

by Joanna on April 3, 2014

I’m on an airplane, heading to Iowa for a friend’s wedding. There’s a little boy in front of me, maybe three years old. He’s wearing footie pajamas and it’s clear he’s getting a little restless. It’s almost 10pm. Aww, do you want to sit on my lap? I wonder. It’d be so nice to hold a little kid in my arms.

And then this big, emotional thought hits me. Someday, I could have a little boy like that. And not only will he be mine and sweet and cuddly. But he will be Mike’s. The thought of having a little Mike to hold overwhelms me, fills my body with this deep emotion that I’ve never connected before.

I love holding my husband. Cuddling, hugging, holding hands. Being able to hold a smaller human that’s part Mike is almost too much to handle. The joy that will come of that fills my heart so much. I want to wrap my arms around this person and surround them with all the love in my heart the way I want to do/try to do with Mike, their future dad.

It feels like my heart is expanding in my chest to make room for this possibility, this reality. My throat starts to choke up because the depth of this is unspeakable.

When I think about having a baby, I always think about him or her as mine. I think about how Mike will be as a dad. How I’ll fall in love with him all over again when I see him holding our baby. But putting together how that baby will be part of my husband, will be his too, is a thought I’ve never consciously had before.

Tears stream down my face as I think about how special that will be. How amazing. The love I have for my husband and this future little person, little version of him, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt anything like it.

Is this what Mike’s mom feels when she says she’s ready for grandchildren? Is this the feeling she’s looking forward to? If so, no wonder.

I think I’m starting to get it. That though kids come with so much uncertainty, so much risk, so many things you can’t protect them from, they are an expression of love. To create a child in that image, from that space, that place of love, has got to be unlike anything else in the world.

I’m looking forward to experiencing these things some day.


tuesday things

by Joanna on April 1, 2014


1. We were in Pella, Iowa for a wedding two weeks ago. Gotta love a nice small town–especially one with a town square. The bride’s twin works at a flower shop right in town and we stopped in to pick up flowers. It was such a quaint, beautiful shop. Doesn’t that sound like a great gig? I was definitely a little bit jealous! There were also two coffee shops right in town too.  I can’t believe it, but I only made it to one. And I may have visited three times in one day (yes, I’m embarrassed). I definitely want to go back for Tulip Time sometime.

2. Unlike a lot of people (including Mike), I really enjoyed the How I Met Your Mother finale.

3. I’ve been craving books that draw me in, that I can’t wait to pick up after work, that I think about when I’m not reading it. And I think the universe is answering. A coworker let me borrow Anna Quindlen’s latest Still Life with Bread Crumbs. Now I’m finishing The Book Thief. I bought in January and got about halfway through and put it down. Then, Jacquelyn posted on Facebook that it’s one of the best books she’s ever read and I thought “alright, I’ll pick this up again.” Up next is Where’d You Go, Bernadette. I heard good things and saw it on a different coworkers desk. When I asked if she was reading it, she told me to take it, that she wouldn’t have time to read it until the end of the semester. After that, I think I’ll read The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. But, I’m looking for books to take me through the end of the summer, so if you have suggestions, tell me in the comments, please!

4. My teammates and I have been watching Jimmy Fallon clips at lunch recently. I’m loving him on the Tonight Show. My favorite is hashtags: #misheardlyrics.

5. I found a walking buddy! My bus friend Kristen and I went for a walk after work yesterday. It was amazing. Two miles, good conversation. I’m looking forward to continuing this as it keeps getting nicer out.

What’s your favorite part of a small town?

What are you reading these days?

Are you a fan of walks?

(If you comment about How I Met Your Mother, please, no spoilers :) )



don’t cry. don’t say that.

by Joanna on March 18, 2014

I’m a crier. I’ve always been a crier and will always be a crier. I cry in conversations with friends, I cry at commercials. I’ve cried at work, and in yoga class, and in church. This is all pretty normal for me.

So take it from me, when someone is crying, the last thing they want to hear someone say is “don’t cry.” Please don’t say that. It doesn’t do anything for the person crying. When you say that, it cuts off the connection.

When someone is crying, you don’t necessarily have to say anything. When someone is crying, you don’t necessarily have to do anything.

The best thing you can do for a person crying is hold space for their tears.

Tears are sacred. Don’t be scared of them. Let them come. And let yourself be present for the person shedding them, whether that’s you, a loved one, or a stranger.


P.S. A beautiful little short on the power of empathy. Please watch this.


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by Joanna on March 16, 2014

This weekend I’ve felt more grounded than I have in a while. It feels so good. I didn’t feel anxious. Didn’t feel like there was something I “should” be doing. I really felt OK, stable, grounded for the first time in a while.

It started with brunch with a friend on Saturday morning. We went to a boozy brunch in a vibrant part of town and it just felt so good to be out and about. I have a tendency to stay in my neighborhood on weekends, and truthfully, there’s not a ton going on around here. It can feel pretty isolating. I think having that activity as an anchor in my weekend really helped.

Between brunch/girlfriend time yesterday and a day filled with my other favorite activities today (made two meals, went to the gym, had quality time with Mike, took a long nap, went to my favorite yoga class), I’d say this was one complete weekend.

I think this means I need to go to brunch every Saturday ;)

How about you? What constitutes a “complete” weekend for you?

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a quote to help with uncertainty

by Joanna on February 11, 2014

I’ve been feeling a little uncertain about my career and purpose lately (read: since college) so this quote, shared in my Desire Map Book Club Facebook group, really resonated with me. I read it and felt like it was written just for me. If you’ve been feeling uncertain or anxious, I hope you find comfort in it too.

Sending so much love,

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”  ~Rainer Maria Rilke