I am from wine country and winding roads, hiking through the woods and exploring new experiences, always drawn back to the magic and mystery of the sea.

I am from draping jasmine, sweet wisteria and tall redwood trees; the walnut behemoth in my backyard that stained my little fingers black and silently accepted my childhood laughter and tears cradled in their strong, wooden arms.

I am from San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Barcelona, Petaluma, Paris, Milan, Missanabie, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Los Angeles – always moving, yet never leaving unchanged.

I am from my parent’s atheism transformed to Lutheran intellectualism and a religiosity of performance.

From brand names and brand new dresses that turned into broken leftovers no one wanted but had to make do once we lost everything.

I am from controlled chaos, competition and perfect presentation – the show must go on while everything falls apart behind the curtain.

I am from loss and grief, four funerals in one year, pain and poverty, dishonesty and infidelity, a bruised marriage and broken home, manipulation and abuse.

I am from questioning and doubting, 3 a.m. prayers to a harsh, cruel God I wasn’t even sure existed, for if he did, how could he allow all this and still be good?

I am from a new community of warmth and light, mountain peaks and peace, promises and adventure, sunsets and sunrises, days in the ocean and on the shore with good friends.

I am from a tender and timid hope, painting and drawing in the shadows and light in my life. I am from slow spirals of healing and forgiveness. 

I am from a faith that His grace is new every morning, and He has taught us what is good: to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

I am from running as fast as my body will let me on tracks and trails, and forever learning how little I truly know.  I am a writer and an artist.

I am a storyteller and a lover of language. I am a seeker of truth, beauty and integrity, a theologian in mind and spirit. I am Jess.