A Step-by-Step Guide to Academic Puberty: Transitioning from a Graduate Student to a Young Professional

Someone I respect saying things that are important.


Today, for International Women’s Day, I’m throwing my love for mud up on a shelf to talk about a broader and more impactful topic: being a young (female) professional in a STEM field. Yes, it can sometimes make you feel insignificant and powerless, but it can also spark up a fire of determination and sisterhood that will drive you to do great things.

As a young earth scientist, I have been told that I am not strong enough for the field work and that I should monitor what I wear so as not to tempt may male coworkers. At times I have thought of dropping out, not because I am not capable, but because I am often disrespected and objectified. But for those very reasons I have stayed in the field I love and am now surrounded by inspiring female senior scientists and extremely motivated, intelligent, and hardworking female…

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I saw a photo today

Of Mountains, dark in blues and blacks,

Edged and capped with streaming wisps of white clouds

Palms in the foreground

Dark silhouettes against the light.


It was beautiful.


I see images every day

Of beautiful places I may never visit.


Shared perspectives,

Moments held by other souls,

Foreign memories.


I’ll share too.


I live among fields.


Fields brown

And green,

And white,

And gold,

Changing through time and season.

Bordered by dark trees

That edge into quiet woods.


I live among old farmhouses

Falling into their age,

Crumbling old gas stations

On roads untraveled now,

And black rivers winding their slow way

Past deer and possum and wren

To the lowland coast.


I live among flat salt marshes

Of thick black pluff mud,

Beaches edged with sweet grass and black gum trees,

Dogwood and saw palmetto,

And sculptures of driftwood, shaped by sun and wave.


These are the pictures of my life,

The memories,

Drenched in the past and the present,

Sprung from the deep soil that birthed my bones.


I hope you can see them.






Asking Harder Questions

I have wise friends.


John 13:16 “I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master.Nor is the messenger more important than the one that sends the message.”

49If Jesus calls us to do greater works than He did (I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father) how are we supposed to wrap our heads and hearts around the hard questions that lead us to spiritual tension within ourselves?

For us to be greater leaders, we must ask, how to be greater servants? For us to be greater servants we must be more compassionate.

How can I be more compassionate? We must need more intently.

Why would I want to need more intently? To share in the suffering that requires surrender… second by second, and that is done by realizing the world…

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Winter is long.


Winter stretches on,

Sometimes beyond the horizon.

Winter follows winter follows winter follows winter.

Sometimes the world seems frozen forever.



Winter is the long rest.

Life lies fallow.

Life gathers itself quietly.





Spring comes.

Patchwork fears

I wear a shirt of patchwork fears

Stitched piecemeal,

Slow gathered,

Lovingly layered with trembling fingers 

Patch by patch,

To hold me safe and warm. 

Safe is a place beyond the reach of pain. 

Beyond the reach of cold winter mornings 

Where each breath burns the lungs with life. 

Beyond the reach of summer sunshine 

Baking my bones to the marrow with its fiery passions. 

Beyond the reach of every stumble and ache, 

Every fall and cut, 

That might teach me to be better, 

Might teach me to feel… 
I want breathe chill and crisp breaths in the heart of winter. 
I want to burn with passion in the swelter of summer sunshine. 
If life brings pain, 

So be it. 
No more wrappings of raggedy fears. 

Sharp Winter World

The sky tonight is made of glass,

The stars glitter in an onyx vault

And the edges of the moon are crystal, smooth and razored.

The air is cold and sharp,

Resting on the skin like soft ice.

This is a night to look up.

A night to look beyond the bounds and bonds

Of the common life,

Beyond my skin.

This is a night to breathe in

The sharp-edged world

And let it wake me

To the wonders of

A crystal moon,

Stars set in onyx,

And a sky made of glass.






The heart of me lies not in the words


But in the spaces between the words,



Before the words,


After the words.




I believe,


That our,


(Yours and mine),


Most heartfelt cries,


Deepest sorrows,


Swelling joys,


World-shaking rages,



Are expressed,




In the moments of quiet.




The deepest communications


Never mark upon the paper,


Never vibrate the air.



The deepest bonds

Are with those who,


With a look,

Or a touch,

Or a smile,


Manage to listen well enough

To hear the words

Written in the