In which I meet a coyote and other matters of little importance

This morning I went for a walk just after dawn. I headed up the hill and I watched the sun rising on the valley, right over the blueberry fields. There was a heavy mist on the hills and I felt like I was in an enchanted Tolkien novel. It was cool and damp, I was breathing deep and smiling so big, my cheeks hurt. I wandered through the cemetery across the street and headed over to the walking trail. I noticed that all of the blackberry bushes – which are an absolute menace in our area – were ripe and began to make plans to wash all of the sand pails when I got home so that I could take the tinies blackberry picking later.

And that is when I came face to face with a coyote.

We stared at each other in the weirdest game of chicken I’ve ever played in my life. He stared at me. I stared at him. In my head, I was all HOLY SH*T! Either that is a HUGE dog or a coyote. Oh, sweet Jesus. It’s a coyote. I thought coyotes were scared of people? Is he going to charge at me? Am I going to be attacked IN A GRAVEYARD by a COYOTE? Who gets mauled by a coyote at dawn in a graveyard? ME, THAT IS WHO!

He turned and trotted off. I turned and walked very swiftly because, even if a coyote is chasing me, I am completely unable to run. If you ever see me running, come quickly because I will be dead by the end of the block.

We did not go blackberry picking.

That about sums up the day.


I am now the mother of a  5 year old. We had a lot of fun yesterday.


In related news: Joe has absolutely no fear of water.


Speaking of my tinies, I’m wondering about how to write about them as they get older. (I love to write about them. And not like the Practices of Mothering stuff but about them – their stories, their victories, the stuff we’re figuring out together.) I know it’s kind of frustrating for some readers because you read here for other reasons and the “mommy-blogger” stuff can be kind of irritating. And they are getting older, needing more privacy. I guess I’m wondering about my site overall. I don’t feel like I fit the “mommy-blogger” world but because have the mummy-stuff on here, I can’t fit in the spiritual/deep/writer blogs either. I’m kind of swinging both ways these days and I’m thinking that the spirit-writer part of me is going to win out, the one writing through my own faith and journey and spirituality with some authenticity.

The truth is that this blog doesn’t really fit in most boxes. I’m too liberal and crazy for the nice Christian bloggers, too theological for the mommy-bloggers and so thankful for you crazy people and how  we don’t fit the box but somehow we fit together.

But can these things co-exist int this space? Can I write about faith and politics and struggles but still post pictures of my tinies’ birthday? Or is it just time that their personal lives began to have a bit of a curtain over the details?


Oh, and I am giving away $250 gift card to Lululemon over on my Reviews blog, if you’re interested.

post signature

  • Jenn

    Well, seeing as I’m a total stalker given how often I’m the first to comment….I clearly enjoy your blog…mommy stuff, fringy spiritual stuff and all. Maybe because I’m just a misfit too? Only you would meet a coyote…in a graveyard. Yikes. So bad it’s kinda a funny, 😉

    • Sarah Bessey

      Seriously. I almost couldn’t believe it. But then I was all, Of course, I meet a coyote in the graveyard at dawn. Of course.  It’s absolutely so ridiculous it’s funny. P.S. You’re my favourite stalker. xo

  • bekka

    Some interesting questions.  I understand where you’re coming from.  When I first started blogging, I wasn’t even married, let alone a mother, and so there was freedom to tackle whatever I wanted to.  I talked about work as a children’s librarian, about faith, and art and anything else that I felt moved to write about.  But blogging took a back seat to starting and growing a family and work in a horrifically busy real estate office.  Since taking maternity leave in January, I’ve been back to blogging again and I do wonder sometimes what is that balance between blogging about being a mother and all the funny things that my almost-three-year old says and does, and blogging about faith and grace and politics and hockey and all the other things that I’m passionate about on any given day.

    I think with categories and tags and such, it’s totally possible to be an “all-of-the-above” blogger.  As far as how much more of your kids you will share, well, I can’t answer that for you.  I might suggest that you consider password protecting some of those posts and only allowing certain followers to glimpse into your kids’ more private life, but that still brings a quandary of its own – who do you allow that privilege?

    In any event, I think that no matter which way you go I would still read.  I soak up as much of your words as I can.  I find it difficult to get to the heart of some of these topics with some of people that I am friends with in real life as I often think more deeply about these things, or more passionately, than most of them.  I love the internet for being able to hook up with people who are willing to talk about these topics without bashing people who believe or feel differently or without ostracising people who don’t conform.  And then, to find someone who not only tackles the tough stuff now and then, but does so in such an eloquent and beautiful way – that’s a treasure.

    • Sarah Bessey

      That’s some great wisdom for me, Bekka – thank you. I guess that’s just it – I’m not selling anything just writing through my life so I guess there’s room for all of it. We’re all real people, after all. xo

  • Kendra

    I actually really like the fact that you are a mom who blogs about the everyday life stuff (which obviously includes your kids), as well as the spiritual stuff. Mom blogs that are all about the kids and don’t have a lot of depth do not hold my interest.

    My interest is definitely held here! Your blog fits my interests – I’m a woman who loves Jesus and my family. I want to be growing deeper in both of those areas. Your blog challenges me to do so. I’m glad you write what you do!

    • Sarah Bessey

      And I’m glad you’re here and a part of my life, Kendra! Thank you.

    • Another Sarah

      Kendra, I agree with your thoughts exactly.  Thank you for putting it so well :)

      Another Sarah (who’s a fan of the EmergingMummy Sarah)

  • crys

    True story: I live in the city and my neighbours saw a coyote in their backyard two nights ago.  I have two wee ones myself and wonder how high I should build my fence…  And also, as a mommy who loves theological thinking, political writing, and beautiful baby stories, I enjoy your blog quite as it is. (:  But of course, I’m sure it’ll be great however you write it…

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Crys. I appreciate that. We have coyotes around – often hear them howling at night – but never met one quite so “face to face” as that.

  • Christa

    I am a fairly new reader, and honestly I don’t think you need to try to fit into one blog category. I love how you have these awesome and deep theological posts, but still share the little moments of your life, too. It makes it feel like you are allowing us as readers to get to know you as a person with a real life, which I find more interesting than a collection of theological insights with no real connection to who the author is. I really look forward to your posts, so I think you’ve struck a nice balance here :)

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Christa – I admit that those are the types of blogs I like to read too. I like story and narrative and personal understanding. Those are teh blogs I read, too, so I guess it makes sense that that is what I write. Who care what the “professionals” think, eh?

  • wendy

    short answer: yes. In fact, yes, please!
    I find myself getting impatient these days with ‘boxed’ blogs…
    Not that I’ll go away, no matter what you choose :)

    • Sarah Bessey

      I tend to agree with you, absolutely. It’s a bit boring, isn’t it? It feels like its not personal.

  • Nancy

    Your coyote sighting reminds me of the last time I went blackberry picking, two years ago, in Port Moody. Except in that scenario, I was picking them about 3 metres from a paved trail with my newborn parked in the stroller sleeping, with the brakes on. I must have stepped on a nest of yellow jackets and started getting stung! I tried to grab the stroller but couldn’t get the brake off and was able to grab him while being stung on the head as I fled….luckily he didn’t get stung….those blackberries are sure great though!

    I also wonder about some of the same questions regarding blogging – and the kids privacy – you could always do two separate ones, but I also think we all enjoy different posts – some deep, some fun.

    • Sarah Bessey

      That is the craziest story! I would have FREAKED out. I think I will start to adjust *how* I blog about them but not sure how that will look.

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    you and me both, sister!  i often feel too-something, especially among christian communities that are dominated by the shiny or masculine.  i love your mothering stories just as much as your other content and think we’d all do better to see those kinds of tales as important instead of a fringe, women’s/domestic niche, but THAT is a whole other conversation! her bad mother touches on it from time to time:

    we come here for your voice.  write your heart:)

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, that’s good word right here, Suzannah. You always know just what I need to hear. Thank you.

  • Sandy

    You don’t need to fit in the catagories- just define a new one.
    Oh, a glad you didn’t have an even closer encounter with a coyote.  That would make your life like a Twilight novel.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Somehow I don’t think that Bella Swan and I have much in common…. (although if Brian wanted to run around with his shirt off, that wouldn’t be so bad…)

  • Bethany Bassett

    Oh do I ever hear you regarding the What Niche Am I? internal debate. It’s one I struggle with endlessly on my own site where I write about God and religion (they’re different, of course) and mothering and travel and the creative life and marriage and my difficult past and pretty much everything that pushes sufficiently on the confines of my heart to be let out in words. I know this scattershot categorization is the prime Thou Shalt Not of blogging, but I can’t bring myself to silence whole sectors of my life in order to gain more online prestige. My site is the multi-faceted me, yours is the multi-faceted you, and I for one love that. 

    • Sarah Bessey

      I loved this whole comment, Bethany. Wow. RIGHT ON.

  • SortaCrunchy

    “I’m too liberal and crazy for the nice Christian bloggers, too
    theological for the mommy-bloggers and so thankful for you crazy people
    and how  we don’t fit the box but somehow we fit together.”

    You and me both, sister. You and me, both.

    I tend to agree with the others that there is something to be said for presenting the holistic woman. You post incredibly thoughtful, challenging, and POWERFUL words that have to do with culture, faith, and life. Part of the whole that is you are the insights into your daily life of mothering and work and all of these things that make you Sarah.

    And believe me, if anyone understands feeling a little boxed in but not knowing how she got into the box, it’s me. I understand your struggle. I just want you to know I love what you do here.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Megan. I suppose that’s just it – we’re trying to bust a few boxes and sometimes it feels like all that means is that we’re not welcome in *any* of the boxes. But I’m glad I have you.

  • Tez

    A coyote.  
    In a graveyard.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I knew you’d appreciate that one.

  • David Nilsen

    I feel kind of the same way. I had been trying to run my blog as both a theology and faith blog and a daddy blog, and I found the daddy stuff had to start fading into the background. Now when I write about parenting, it is in the context of figuring our how to teach my daughter to follow God when the example I’m giving her is messed-up and unresolved. I think training up the second generation is the hardest challenge facing us emergent/progressive types, and one we haven’t been talking about enough up until now.  

    • Sarah Bessey

      Your last sentence there? EXACTLY. How do you raise kids in a different and more authentic way than what we’ve experienced in many evangelical churches? Who knows? I’m figuring it out, too.

  • Michael Thompson

    A great aunt of mine told a story once about berry picking in which she looked up and noticed a black bear nearby. (They’re also supposed to be afraid of humans.) He was sitting only a few yards away picking berries himself. She decided that he was more focused on the berries than her so she kept picking.

    As for the blog, keep writing from the heart. You’re an excellent writer, so the topic is not important. I just like reading what you have to say.

    • Sarah Bessey

      That’s like one of our favourite books “Blueberries for Sal” – so cool. And scary. But cool.

      And thanks!

  • KathleenBasi

    You can do whatever you want to, especially if it works, because obviously it does. I see your name pop up all over the place on other blogs. :) My blog suffers from the same multiple personalities, and I’m afraid I may have to address that at some point. (But not until an agent or editor makes me!) After all, we are integrated individuals, and spiritual growth happens in the context of real life, ordinary things. Personally, I think that it’s entirely appropriate for a blog to reflect that.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I like that – until an agent or editor makes me! 

  • Lisa Mamula

    I think that more blogs should be like yours, frankly.  I like that you are willing to share more than one aspect of yourself.  My own (un-famous, less awesome) blog is like this, too.  I talk about my kids, and my garden, and how living in Nebraska is hard and also lovely, and about this and that, because it’s who I am, and I can’t separate the parts of myself so easily.  But that’s how I want it to be; I want it to reflect who I am. 

    I started reading your blog because of the name.  I live in rural Nebraska, and so there’s not much chance I can chat with a girlfriend at work about how I’m working through my understanding of the atonement or meet a friend for coffee to discuss how I fear the church may impede my children’s relationship with their Father.  I was happy to find out that there are other moms like me.

    That’s why I started reading.  (Geez, this comment is getting a bit long!) I keep reading because I think there is value in your content.  All of it.  So do what you like with your blog; I imagine most of  us aren’t going anywhere.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I love rural Nebraska. When we drive through eastern plains, with the green hills rolling, there isn’t much more beautiful than that. But isolating, I imagine, so yes, I’m with you – the Internet helps us find our people, doesn it? And I love long comments like this! I love hearing your heart, too. 

  • Amy Ellison

    Hey there – I know that in the blog world we are supposed to pick a theme and stick with it.  But honestly, I love your blog, and the fact that you change it up.  I soak up every line of your spiritual posts, and I enjoy a light-hearted smile from your mommy posts.  I think they provide balance rather than distraction.   

    And as for sharing too much about growing kids, that’s hard.  My oldest will soon turn 11, and he would just about die of embarrassment if I wrote much about him.  So I say write what you can while you can; you’ll know when it’s time to start being more quiet. 

    • Sarah Bessey

      That’s good insight, Amy – thank you!

  • val

    I like your blog just the way it is.  It hits me on all levels.  I would not change a thing.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you, friend.

  • Beverley

    I enjoy what I read, so I say keep doing what you are doing…..maybe a curtain needs to come over the children a bit….more generalised parenting tone, rather than particular child…

    • Sarah Bessey

      Yeah, especially if it’s about a struggle or a problem or something, I imagine. That sounds right.

  • Naomi

    The whole power of your blog Sarah is that you have a real voice,  the real voice of a real person on a real journey. So PLEASE don’t edit yourself. As humans with souls, there are many facets to us. Life is about mundane details as much as theological insights and so keep serving it up! As a Mum to 3 of my own tinies, you are a bit of a poster girl in my mind for mums that are whole people as reflected in the diversity of your posts. Keep doin what you’re doin x 

    • Sarah Bessey

      The thought of me as a poster girl for ANYTHING is just plain amusing. But thank you, Naomi – I hear what you mean. I want to live authentically, holisticaly instead of compartmentally so that is exactly what I think – I think. :-)

  • Arianne Segerman

    Add to your list “and also writes style posts sometimes” and you have my non-niche self. I think you are blogging YOU, and your voice is specific and beautiful. I don’t want less of anything, and I’d be sad and miss you littles if they had a curtain in front of them! It’s all a part of what makes up you. The emerging mummy.

    Also: weird things always happen in a graveyard.

    • Sarah Bessey


  • Jennie

    The look on her face in that picture with the cake! Oh my heart!!!

    • Sarah Bessey

      I know, I know. I melt.

  • Natalie Burris

    Sarah, I recently found your blog, back in March or April, and would read any and every word you wrote.  The privacy concerns for your chickies would have to be worked out within your family, but if you do choose to continue sharing stories about them, I would definitely keep reading!

    • Sarah Bessey

      thanks, Natalie – I will always write about parenting and the tinies but I am not sure *how* to do it as they get older. I think you’re right on though – it works out within the family. Especially as they get older and have opinions, I’ll ask permission. The truth is that it starts to change from my story to “their” stories, doesn’t it?

  • Amy Willa

    I adore everything about your blog! If you stopped talking about your littles, I’d be sad. If you stopped musing about theology, I’d be sad, too. If you stopped writing altogether. . . I would have to seek you out and have coffee with you. . . and that would be tough, because I don’t know where you live, love (although I’m glad I’m not there, because I would have been totally freaked out by the cayote!) I don’t think you need to worry about writing in one niche. . . your blog speaks and it speaks well. I love it!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Well, don’t let that be the cause of a coffee date! We can get coffee even *if* I stop blogging – which it’s pretty safe to say I won’t. And thank you!

      • Amy Willa

        Well, I will certainly make sure we get together for coffee and musing if hubs’ service ever brings us to where you are! :)

  • Christy

    Hey!  I’ve been reading your blog several months now and I love the mummy/spiritual combo.  I don’t really have any mummy friends who like talking about this stuff so this is great!  Plus I think you are a talented writer! 

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Christy – I appreciate that!

  • Lisa_DiggingForMyrrh

    For what it’s worth, I encounter coyotes on a fairly frequent basis while hiking (I live in Arizona). They are the most amazing and wonderful creatures. Naturally if you have kids (or a small dog) with you, you’ll want to keep them close. But I’ve never been shown aggression by any of the coyotes I’ve encountered, although they have given me the most hilarious “Hey! You’re on my trail!” looks. : )

    • Sarah Bessey

      They are wonderful and we have many here in our hills, singing us to sleep (okay, howling mercilessly). But it was my first one-on-one encounter and that was EXACTLY the look I got! Hilarious!

  • Mama Bean

    in terms of “marketing” a blog, “they” say you “gotta” have a theme, a focus, whatever. but as a fan, from my heart, you just “gotta” do YOU, which is all of it – the mommy and the politics and the faith and all the rest. meeting coyotes. you doing YOU is why i keep reading.

    my blog doesn’t have a theme, because i have too much i want to write about, but i don’t need for my blog to make money. so i guess if you need the online thing to be a money maker for you, maybe you need to have a separate site where there is a focus/theme and you put energy into making that focus something profitable for you. but if not, well then, just keep doing what you’re doing.

    also, i totally feel the frustration (is that the word?) of feeling not quite theological enough for the “real” theological blogs. it keeps me from writing some stuff, because i can’t face the intellects coming around with their ten-dollar six-syllable words that i don’t understand. so i LOVE that i can come here and read real honest true spirit thoughts without the academic mumbo jumbo, and still receive the touch of God. so know that God works through you, now, and will keep doing so, no matter what your blog looks like :) just keep writing!

    • Sarah Bessey

      I suppose that’s exactly it – I agree with you. It’s not a money-maker (rats!) but just a love of mine so I should let it reflect that. I don’t have advertisers to keep happy or anything.

  • Mar

    I love the “spiritual journey” aspects of your blog … it’s what I “check in” for … but as a Gramma, I enjoy your parenting thoughts as well, because they actually are “theological” — what we believe about God as Father will inform all the “big picture” decisions we come to in our child rearing … I enjoy your day-to-day, but find myself (honestly) longing for the blogs where you go deeper in those places which resonate so fully with me.  Biggest recent impact: your post about body image and it’s impact on your daughter …

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Mar – I appreciate that!

  • Amy Carrigan

    Your blog was one of the first I found after the birth of my first tiny (in May). It has continued to be one of the few that has me looking forward to every post. I love your authenticity and your heart. I pray that, as you work out exactly what the balance should look like for you, you continue to come back and tell your story. Where ever that story is occurring, whether it is in the faith sector, marriage sector or mommy sector.

    Thank you for your honesty and your openness with your heart. It has truly blessed me.

  • Jenn

    Oh I hear you on so many parts of this post. I’ll agree with what some others have said – having story along with ponderings makes the blog seem more complete – more interesting – more captivating. There are several blogs that I speed read/scan because they have cool house stuff that I like and find inspiring, or a recipe will catch my eye, or whatever… but there are only a few that truly draw me in, that I truly feel like I connect with. That truly challenge me to do better as a Momma, a wife, a servant of Christ – your blog is one of those that challenge me and though I don’t comment often I do read about every post you write and I appreciate what you’ve done with this space on the internet.

    As for the tinies… yeah, I struggle with that too. I’m finding that I’m less and less willing to write about some of the specifics, the struggles, the attitudes, the things we’re working through, the cute things they say and do – at the same time there are things I have no qualms about sharing. I always remember my step-mother and how she told everyone our business, my sisters and I don’t share much with her because we don’t know who she’ll tell next. I don’t want my little ones to feel that way about me, so I’m cautious – even though my little ones are only (almost) 4 and 2.

  • Julie

    I’m a blog stalker as well… guilty as charged, and PLEASE keep it all in here… as so many of us mama’s are the mix of all that you write about, we don’t have to find 7 different blogs to read, when we can get it all here!  Keep it together, we love it :)