Heaven and Hell


I started thinking more seriously about heaven and hell around the age of seven. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but I did own a bible. I even went to church without my family, securing rides from an older couple who made my salvation their personal mission. I had known about death for a while, but it wasn’t until around second grade that my investigative skills started to catch up with my natural curiosity.

I’ve always liked to think about things. I mean, just sit in one spot and work out a theory until it becomes exhausting. I truly believed I could reason out the answer to anything if I thought about it long enough. I still believe it, but I have since figured out that the length of time it takes to reason out an answer may vary; from a moment, to an entire lifetime. Sometimes the answer is that the answer is out of reach- which can be a surprisingly satisfying conclusion.

The information a seven-year old can find in the bible about eternity is disappointing. Up until then I had pulled most of my knowledge from television. Adults were always talking about heaven as this magical place where everyone meets up someday. I couldn’t find that story in the bible.

If it is true, and you think about it long enough, you might believe that heaven must be some kind of matrix. I prefer my relationships to exist in mutual reality, so I found a strange relief in the bible’s lack of detail. The bible focuses less on joyous reunions and more on golden streets and days without night. It looks like praising God 24/7 could cut into our social life a bit, but I hear it’s amazing. Continue reading

Surviving the Real Thing

Viva and Edgar 1942

Grandma and Grandpa Boulter

I was Teghan’s age when my Great-Grandma Boulter died. I had been to her home on several occasions, but I’m not sure we ever had a conversation. The only thing I could have told you about her was that her birthday was on Christmas. That was an interesting fact to me back then.

Of all my family history projects, her story has been the most detailed, and complicated. I would love to have a conversation with her now but I’m not sure she would give up all her secrets. I have no intention of telling her whole story here, but there is one part of her history that I think of often.

As a mother, she endured losses that are foreign to me. If not for an interest in genealogy, I may never have even known about it. I knew her as Grandma Boulter, but her given name was Viva (something else I never knew as a kid). And Viva had ten children in her lifetime. My grandpa was number four, from her first marriage. That marriage ended in 1931.

There is a baby book she kept for her sixth child, Lillian.

Lillian was born on January 15, 1937. The book documents her milestones. Viva mentions moments of her daughter’s first smile in the bath tub, along with concern for her health. The love she had for her daughter is obvious. Lillian died that September.  Continue reading

It’s Complicated


This isn’t a post about autism. It’s about my sister, who passed away two years ago today.

For the first eight years of my life, I was the youngest child in the family. Eric and Amy were six and five years older than me- which meant they mostly liked me because I was little and cute. I was constantly used as a pawn in their battles. It was always two against one, and I am pretty sure I was never the “one” in that equation. They fought for my favor.

I shared a room with my sister, so she was at an obvious disadvantage. She didn’t like me touching her things, and she yelled at me a lot. Also, I was kind of a tomboy, which she did not relate to at all. I never let her put eyeliner on me or curl my hair, and she was always disappointing me by running home crying every time she got hit in the face during a neighborhood sporting event. It happened so frequently I am convinced she made an actual effort to catch things with her face.  Continue reading