The Glorious Muddle
glimpses of grace in the messiness of life

December 23, 2023

A Quiet Christmas

I wanted to be snowed in this Christmas. To be tucked away at home, all cozy and wrapped up in blankets, reading books in front of the fireplace, my husband and I with cups of hot chocolate in our hands. Exactly the way I love for the week between Christmas and New Year’s to be: quiet and unplanned. But this year I wanted to be snowbound on Christmas Day itself.


November 28, 2023

Empty Seats, Empty Tables

Photo by Jack Brown on Unsplash

Our number has been cut in half this year. With the loss of both my parents, my father last year and my mother three months ago, we’ve gone from four to two. Any season of grief is hard enough, but the holidays magnify the sense of loss and sadness exponentially. We all expect to be surrounded by family, by smiling happy family, and when we’re not, we’re disappointed.

This is our holiday season of firsts. First one without any parent. First one with just my husband and me. To not only survive the holidays, but to make them special and meaningful, we have to be intentional.


September 16, 2023

Learning How to Grieve and Mourn

I am fresh into a new grief that started three weeks ago and I’m still living in the wake of one that began many years ago. Everyone faces grief at some point; it’s part of being human. I’ve learned a few things about grief and mourning that I hope may help you.

Did you know there’s a difference between grieving and mourning? Grief is the feeling of great sorrow, the profound sadness. Mourning is the expression of that feeling. It’s the lament. Grief is inward and personal. Mourning is outward and can be done in community.


August 24, 2023

Yesterday My Mother Died

Yesterday my mother, Patricia Adele Patton Richardson, died. Did you notice the world grow dim about 3:42 pm? I did. That’s when Mom opened her long-closed eyes, looked toward the light streaming in through the window, took one calm quiet breath after days of painful labored ones, and then no more breaths on earth. Her next breath was a gulp of the sweet, pure air of heaven.


July 5, 2023

Going Backward

Every week, babies change. They grow. They develop. It’s exciting. Parents, grandparents, everyone marvels the first time the baby does anything. Smiles. Rolls over. Laughs. Recognizes their hand. Crawls. Stands. Each new word is reason to cheer. Each accomplishment, no matter how tiny, is met with enthusiasm. Videos are made and shared. Every week, if they are healthy, babies accumulate new skills in their repertoire.

At the other end of life, people with dementia also change each week. But instead of adding skills, they lose them. They go backward in their development.