The wisdom in pruning.

I”m starting to realize the wisdom in pruning.

John 15 has a lot to say about it, and one of the things that I find fascinating is that God doesn’t just prune the bad things from our lives, He might even prune good things so that we become even more fruitful.

I’ve adopted this thinking when it comes to my writing ministry.

God has created me to be a “one thing at a time” person, but I keep taking leaps into territory not made for me. It’s so much easier for me to nurture one thing to its fullest potential than to do five million while trying to keep my head from spinning.

BUT, I think I’ve finally gotten the memo (and printed it off and framed it for good measure).

I’m going to continue writing and posting my “podcast” through my website. But I’m no longer calling it a podcast. It truly is a recorded diary that I love sharing with you guys, but I really have no intent on becoming a podcaster. However, I’m still publishing my diary as a video series you’ll still receive in your inbox (it’s also available on YouTube). Just push play to hear my heart.

So I’ll continue to write my heart out and talk to God, offering it all up to the One who hasn’t failed me yet.

A poll.

This week’s posts.

Except pray.
My mental health journey as a Christian writer.

“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…”
– Job 13:15

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Except pray.

My thumb fans recklessly through all these years until I find her—blank-faced, the tears a silent delight, the stoniness the only thing that can keep the rough barbs of a thirteen-year-old at bay.

There she is. My mother.

And there I am, small and stupid, because what else would you call a reckless mouth and a self-centered heart? I am young and growing beautiful like a rose rooted in poisoned soil.

I don’t know any better, and isn’t that the sweetest gift a person can receive?

But one day, I do know better. I’m in my late thirties like my mother used to be. I hit the gym, and listen to other parents wax on about parenting. I take my dog for a walk and try not to stumble on loose pebbles. I’m reaching the age of “she used to be,” while I’m still firmly footed in the “she is.” What can you say when your biggest adversary sprung from your womb?

I shuffle back there again, my finger holding the page to look at my mother’s face. I’ve hurt her again, but to hear me tell it, I’ve never hurt her at all. I love her, that I know, but I must be going now because sixth, and seventh, and eighth grade, onward and upward, offer all the things a mother can’t. And she knows this too. Maybe that’s why her suffering is basking behind her steely resolve. What hope is there in hoping for everything you’ll never be able to change?

I think of my mother’s prayers, each one braided like flowers in my hair. Each one anchoring me in the ground as the angels watched me drink my life away. I wonder about their eyes, round orbs, watching my next move, waiting on God’s. What will happen to this girl who thought she knew everything, hoarding nothing at all in the back of her mind?

But I didn’t die, and I suppose it was my mother’s reckless heart, breaking through any bit of stoniness, her steeliness, her frank understanding that nothing can be done, so nothing she did.

Except pray.

And now here I stand, heart for God as if I’ve cut it out and offered it in my trembling hand. How powerful those prayers were. I shuffle through the pages, gathering all of them, hoarding them in my empty mind for my own daughter, her face not close enough to touch.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Breaking my own heart.

Yesterday, I deleted everything. I deleted my diary and these writing updates. I felt numb and questioned why I even write.

I considered deleting my blog posts, too but just left them fearfully clinging for their lives on this website.

It wasn’t a great day.

I haven’t had one like that in a long time. Today, I feel differently. After a friend commented that she couldn’t leave a comment on my post (because I had deleted it), I realized these aren’t about me. God is using me to give comfort to others. To show that they’re not alone. To make them see things differently, maybe from a Biblical perspective for the first time.

Who am I to tell the potter that enough is enough?

I’ve talked about self-sabotage before, how I’m the queen of it. I often second-guess myself, mired down in my own incapacities. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood of a teenage daughter? Even harder. And I don’t have a long history with children, how they grow and sometimes turn on you, and how your heart has to be guarded and resolved.

Thank God for…well…God.

There was a voice yesterday, small and still. It said there will never be a point where I’m perfect enough to do this. I just have to do this. And that’s all there is to it.

So here I am, doing this, whatever this is. Writing words, recording words, breaking my own heart, and watching God get to mending it.

I am tired, so exhausted. And wondering where we go from here.

I have a feeling He’ll let me know.

For my paper people.

I thought long and hard about it, and I’m still giving away my books for free. BUT, I know there are those of us who like the smell of paper and ink, so I will be continuing to offer print copies of my books through Amazon. I have lowered the prices so be sure to check those out if you’re interested. I only offer my ebooks through my bookshop which you can access here.

This week’s posts.

The dust of ourselves.
Taking hold of my writing future.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
– Psalm 34:18

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Embracing scary…again.

Not too long ago, I recorded a diary entry where I talk about embracing scary as a writer. This “scary” for me was leaving Amazon KDP forever to start my own bookshop on my website. I then backtracked and decided that was a bit too scary and left my books on Amazon.

But I’ve never felt settled there, and I think the main issue is that KDP gives you this nice little screen where you can see your book sales, and I’m just not into that anymore. As I’ve opened up all the doors and windows of my life and have asked God to take over every inch of it, I’m learning more and more about my sinful tendencies. And one of those tendencies is to see results ASAP.

Results aren’t necessarily bad. Assessing where you are in a process isn’t bad either. But what if that process was never meant for you in the first place?

Staying on KDP started to feel like how staying on social media always felt for me. I knew I didn’t belong there either, so every day that I continued to fire up my accounts and anxiously scroll was another day spending my time and energy in a space not meant for me.

KDP is the exact same thing.

So I’ve decided that it’s okay to go where I’m being led even though it seems a little strange. And as much as I’d like to sell my books, God’s been asking me to give them away for free.

I know.

A few months back, I was listening to a book called Angry Conversations With God. It’s a really great memoir about a Methodist woman who has to confront the fact that her image of God isn’t the true God of Scripture. She’s an actress, and there’s a part where she realizes God wants her to act “for fun and for free.” This makes her pretty upset considering she’s quite good at acting and all her friends get to be paid for it, so why not her? But she realized her path isn’t the same as everyone else’s. And that line? “For fun and for free”? It’s been plaguing me all these months.

And I know that was God speaking to me.

So I’m giving away my books in ebook form in the spirit of “for fun and for free.” I’m no longer weighed down by sales and marketing but get to do what I love and share it with some really great readers who have blessed me with their stories and struggles and have given me the opportunity to look outside myself and pray for them.

In exchange for free access to my books, I am asking that you subscribe to my blog. That’s it. Just enter your email below, and you’ll receive an email with a link to my free books. You can also directly download your books here.

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NOTE: If you’ve already subscribed but haven’t received the link to your free books, please contact me. You can also always purchase print copies of my books on Amazon.

Because story is necessary.

A while back, I started a series of testimonies that in-person and online friends sent me to publish. Life happened, so I didn’t continue the project, but recently, a good friend of mine wanted to share her story and asked me to help her with it. I suggested I lightly edit it for her and post it in this series.

It reminded me how important it is to share our stories when sharing Christ. And now that I have time devoted to my online writing ministry, I’d like to officially start this series back up again. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me. I can either chat with you and write your story myself as I did for this testimony, or you can write one and send it to me, and I can edit and publish it.

All I ask is that this a redemptive piece that shows how God has been walking alongside you all along, even in the times you’ve forsaken Him. Because it’s in our weakness that His glory is revealed to the world.

This week’s posts.

Like a flower breaking earth.
How self-assessment can heal your heart.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Like a flower breaking earth.

You’re still here in all your flesh

and memory serves to correct me

on the little details caught up

all around me like dead skin in dust.

How often I look at photos memorizing

the ghost lines of a gone face,

paying my condolences to an empty casket

and curled consciousness, yellowed with the wear

of bringing you out and setting you in my sun.

And grief is a cruel mistress, keeping the dead alive,

or maybe the living just dead enough for me to still own you,

take your future captive,

to tell stories to my friends of the used to be,

ignoring that there is a right now going on in a universe

I don’t belong to.

And it’s only when I set my heart on my Portion,

On the lone One who knows the intricate weave of all the cells

I can’t see,

That I can see my right now, too, how it doesn’t have to be

darkened by the once was.

How I can bury you whole and still breathe,

watching you breaking through all my wrongs

like a flower breaking earth.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay

You might also like…
Forge me anew.
The elder’s wife.


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Learning to push pause.

I’m officially calling it. I’m pausing on writing my novel. I have quite a bit on my plate right now, which I’m loving, but having a huge looming project like writing a novel over my head isn’t helpful at the moment. BUT, I know summer will be here sooner than later, and instead of waking up super early to take my daughter to school, I can instead wake up super early to make myself some tea and get to writing and editing.

I think I’m learning not to strive for perfection. I’m learning that it’s okay to hit “pause” and to realize what season I’m in. And I’m also learning a lot about myself as a writer. I love reading fiction, and I’ve felt convicted to write a few novels for the Lord. But I feel there might be a shift in what I write after my next book. I think maybe instead, I’ll be thinking about writing a nonfiction book. I have no clue what that will look like, so can you do me a favor and pray that God confirms my next steps?

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. 
Psalm 90:17

I did want to mention I finally have a schedule down. Monday (blog posts), Wednesday (diary episodes), and Friday (updates like this one). Planting away and watching God grow this thing!

P.S. – If you’re wondering where you can listen to my diary, you can do so on YouTube.

Love edgy Christian fiction?

I’m doing a promo with a few other Christian novelists and thought you guys would love to check it out. These are Christian fiction reads that aren’t your typical Christian fiction–right up my alley! Click the button below to check out where you can purchase them! Click here to check out this promo.

This week’s posts.

Making changes, finding routine.
Finding faith through parenting.

“In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalms 4:8

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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The peace I feel is surreal.

If you’ve been following the saga that is my life, you’ve probably been aware that peace isn’t something that I’ve had the past several months. I’ve been bogged down by my writing, the idea of marketing it, and this in turn has led to a ton of headaches and dead ends that have exhausted me.

But in truly submitting (and I mean TRULY submitting), I’ve seen God’s redemptive hand, and I’m blown away.

He’s blessed me with a diary (or my random ramblings into my iPhone), a blog I love, a book I won’t stop writing, and beautiful readers and friends who keep reaching out.

I’m starting to realize what my head and heart were so stubbornly set against for so long–the beauty of being in the journey and watching God transform my stupid mistakes into something that finally makes sense.

I have to decrease for Him to increase. And the fruit of something like that is amazing to watch blossom.

A little housekeeping…

I’m full-time on WordPress now, friends. I’ve created an updates section on my website, so instead of a Mailchimp newsletter, you’ll be seeing updates like these every once in a while. You can also read my creative posts on my blog and listen to my writer’s diary.

I do have a list of my email subscribers I’m able to download, so for book releases, I’ll be sending you a personal email from

Finally, a rhythm.

Thank you for all the kind words about Chapter Twenty-One of my novel I sent last week. I’ll send out the link to another chapter soon in one of these updates so be on the lookout!

This week’s posts.

Forge me anew.
My ultimate goal as a writer.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Forge me anew.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m still three. I’m sitting on my grandfather’s lap, and he’s feeding me sips of his beer from his bottle cap. My grandfather’s hair is black and shiny and smells of V05 hot oil, and I’m the most important person in the world until my mother comes and takes the bottle cap away.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m still five. The boy across the street comes over, and we swing on the swing set in my backyard. I’m swinging higher and higher and he twists and he twists his swing around until he sets himself free, and I see the trainwreck in the width of a second. He hits me hard as I fly high, setting out into the ether with no one to bring me home except the solid weight of gravity and the sick thud of my body against ground. My father shuffles him out to the tune of my wailings. I never want to see that awful boy again, and my father pats him lightly on the shoulder, knowingly nods, and in a quick glance, offers a lifetime of sympathy, knowing himself the shrill sound of the girl you hold in your heart.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I sit shell shocked as my mother leaves us at the chicken sandwich place. My father and I gape, two fish at a table, the checkered tablecloth covering the nervous bounce of my knee. She’s never left me. She’s never walked away. And it’s only years later with a husband and child and two dogs that bark a nervous twitch in your eye that you understand the art of wanting to leave and the grace of coming right back.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m a stupid teenager who did stupid things and loved a boy and lost all of it like the time I was three and I dropped the crystal bowl at Jones department store after my mother firmly told me not to touch. Everywhere there are shards of it, bits of story and one-liners, and lost smiles, sunflowers growing wild like weeds and every bit of happy I’m sure I’ll never have again.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m a grown adult who spits in Your face. I do it like rhymed verse and broken characters and swooping storylines that lead to nowhere, and my hands are invisibly inked with the pain of wanting to lose yourself tub-deep but not even having the guts to start the faucet.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I let go, my pride like broken diamonds crushing into the soles of my feet, and all I can see is the bright lights of the megachurch above my head, and that deep water, that filled tub, that turned faucet, and down I go, buried with You, until somebody’s strong arm brings me back, and I’m there again where I started, only it’s not the same place in the slightest.

And there You were, all in the thick of it, even when I couldn’t see You. I sometimes wonder, why didn’t You stop it? The hard parts, the pain, the constant whine in the back of my spine? That voice that licked at my ears and broke my heart? But then I know now, You were there, on Your knees, broken shards stabbing through the skin of Your palms, picking up my lost pieces, holding me close until it was time to forge me anew.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Bottled-up insanity.

The worst thing I ever did was force my mother to return our puppy.

Okay, that’s not the worst thing, but I’m striving for a PG rating here, so let’s go with it.

When I was in kindergarten, my parents bought me a boxer puppy. I had named it Sox because I believe its paws and legs were white like stockings. I also think I added the “x” to the end instead of the “cks,” which is strange because at that time in my life, I was a five-year-old girl from Arkansas who didn’t know who the Sox were, red or white.

This puppy was terrifying. I know, you’re rolling your eyes, but this thing was insane. And I love dogs. I even got bitten in the face by one when I was three (rude), but that in no way deterred me from them. I wasn’t scared. I just wanted to love them like Elmyra from Tiny Toons with roughly forty percent less force.

But the three days I owned Sox, I was in utter terror. I would come home and my mom would send us outside to the backyard, me in my uniform jumper, Sox in his…well…socks. And the first day wasn’t bad because I didn’t know the murderous glee this dog was holding inside. You can’t be scared of bottled-up insanity. But you definitely can be when it’s running at you like a bat out of hell. And there he’d come, lunging at me with every maniacal gallop. And let’s face it: boxer puppies aren’t small. And kindergartners aren’t big. It was a terrible combination. And the worst part was when he’d attach his giant jaws to the edges of my skirt, and I’d twirl faster and faster and faster until he couldn’t hold on anymore and there he’d go, flying through the ether, those murder eyes memorizing every curve of my face.

But I didn’t have long to watch him soar because I’d be high tailing it back to our kitchen’s glass sliding door, the relief washing over me that I was this close to freedom. Only to find that it was locked. And I as beat on the glass and waved my hands around my face, my mom would smile and nod at me with our house phone in the crook of her neck, her finger pointing to the fact that she would rather engage in a three-hour long phone call than scrape my remains off the back patio.

But like I said, the first day wasn’t so bad because I didn’t know the outcome yet and had pretty high hopes that spending time in the backyard with my puppy wouldn’t result in some sort of violent nightmare.

It only took two more days of this until I was ready to ask my parents to return their love for me to the lady who was nutty enough to raise these ferocious beasts. They did. And a few months later, my grandparents bought me a tiny black toy poodle that could fit in both of my hands and only showed her disdain for the world with a quick sniff of her nostrils and a belittling glare.

I still miss Sox. I really like boxers now that I’m practically the size of a full-grown human. I said prayers for him for the longest time until I realized he’s dead now because you know, it’s 2023, and I’m no longer in kindergarten. But I feel good knowing the God I serve already planned his journey, and I hope Sox got to spend the better years of his life with a masochist who thoroughly enjoys torture.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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This crazy thing called life.

One year, we moved.

We seemed to do this for several years, somewhat sporadically. We weren’t nomads or degenerates on the run. My dad just kept getting promoted or changing jobs, and we’d find ourselves in Texas, and then Massachusetts, and then Texas, and then Massachusetts again.

We somehow managed to forget other states existed.

But the first time we moved to Houston was one of the best Christmases ever because nobody bought me anything.

That sounds terrible, but I suppose now that I have a kid, I can appreciate how really hilarious it is. “Merry Christmas! Open this box. Just open it!” as I have my iPhone camera waiting, and I’m trying not to giggle until I choke.

Some would say that’s pretty cruel. But that’s probably just because they haven’t met my daughter.

The first part of an IOU Christmas involves your mother finding your father’s fake office plant that’s wedged in the back of the U-Haul. You have to give it several good tugs, and then everyone shouts “Christmas shall commence!” as a couple of plastic leaves are shed and one annoyed spider hangs on for dear life.

This tree is then placed in the middle of your brand new and preferably very empty dining room. You don’t bother putting actual furniture in it because you just arrived the night before and you still have “car body” that makes you feel like walking spaghetti. I mean whose grand idea was it to put Arkansas so far away from the Lone Star State?

But no worries. You don’t need furniture. What you need is an imagination.

IOU Christmas is much like that scene from Hook when the lost boys teach Robyn Williams (okay, I guess they’re actually teaching Peter Pan) how to use his imagination as he’s “eating,” and suddenly real food will appear. Except instead of a five-course meal, it’s more like those jeans your best friend wears and you’ve always wanted and a poster of Hanson.

“Look! It’s the Game Boy I wanted!” And everyone oohs and aahs as you lift up a tattered sheet of paper your mother ripped from back of her People Magazine with the words IOU sharpied on it.

“Somebody’s going to get a lot of use out of that!” Your grandmother says as she sips from an invisible mug of coffee because nobody’s unpacked the dishware yet.

It really is hard to choose the best part of IOU Christmas, but mine really is the familial trek to the local Marriott where you eat a holiday buffet with roughly nine other people who either also have car body or accidentally lit their kitchen on fire.

Together, you consume some of the more traditional Christmas fare like crab legs on ice, or macaroni and cheese with way too much salt, or a lone pudding cup that you’re pretty sure is pudding. It’s best not to ask questions.

As you look around, you’re thankful to be there because you’re alive, and besides, Christmas is not about the gifts or home cooked meal. It’s about Jesus and being with the people He gave you to weather this crazy thing called life.

And for the fact that when you get home, you’ll get to watch that brand new IOU TV for hours because nobody can fight you for a remote that doesn’t exist.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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How much we don’t deserve.

He looks good for 105. Okay, he’s technically just fifteen, but for a dog, he should be dragging at least one hind leg around and losing teeth in his breakfast.

Instead, Rocco reminds me of one of those old men you see walking in a jogging suit around the mall while his wife phones it in and sits morosely with an Auntie Anne’s pretzel in front of Hot Topic.

He just won’t quit.

And this is evident by his smiley dog face and waggy tail, both of which are set off every time he tries to urinate a small puddle roughly the size of a half-dollar on my carpet. I mean either go or don’t. Why make me get out the steamer vac for dribble?

Rocco’s lost a lot in his life: his sister and two uncles. Okay, he wasn’t technically related to any of them, but I’m not sure that matters in dog world. I think it just matters that he loved them with that same stupidly open dog grin that reminds me how my heart isn’t as pure as I wish it were.

Riley was the one we worried about the most. Technically, according to my parents (mostly my father now that I think about it…maybe he is trying to kill me), Riley is the fourth born. It was me and then my sister, Fifi (she always had a knack for pulling off a tiny bow in her black curly hair. Not fair considering we all can’t be poodles) and then Ross who was overgrown as a puppy and had a permanent worried look as if he cheated on his diet and he was afraid somebody was going to rat him out. And then there was Riley.

Riley. If a dog ever needed a helmet.

Riley was afraid of the fan. Riley, in short order, was pretty much afraid of everything. He was an apricot standard poodle, and there was something almost otherworldly about him. Like he was some sort of alien-slash-deer that ended up on my parents’ couch one Christmas.

My mother had asked for another toy poodle like Fifi, and instead, my dad decided to get Riley because who doesn’t like it when a full-sized dog vomits during an anxiety attack?

Maybe he’s trying to kill both of us. Hmm.

Anyways, I’ll always remember Riley looking far off, as if his mind was somewhere his body would never catch up to. It seemed like a nice place, wherever it was.

My parents were excited to get a puppy, but when I stumbled home one college night into their room, I wasn’t met with a puppy.

I was met with a chocolate-colored butterball turkey shaking with anticipation on its doggy bed. I sat down on the hardwood floor, and the butterball let me pet it, and it calmed down a little. It was thick, soft, and about ten times the size of Fifi who was perched on my parents’ bed, giving me a look that said, “Can you believe they did this to us?” I could just foresee a future where all three of us were sitting in the lawyer’s office, the entire estate being given to Butterball Ross and Fifi fainting from the audacity of it all.

Good thing dogs have shorter life spans. And can’t own property.

Ross was solid in body. You’d often see Rocco lying on Ross’s back like one of those birds that eat insects off a hippotamus. He was good-natured, and a great snuggler, and was easily embarrassed when he passed gas, and my father would make a big to do about it.

I know, Ross. But at least he never tried to kill you.

And he, of course, was the best swimming instructor money (or the absolute lack of it) could buy. Our three-year-old daughter would hold onto his back in my parents’ pool, her legs kicking as he took her around, and she’d choke him silly with her tiny arms and massive-sized floaties.

Maybe that’s less dog smile, and more dog terror, now that I think about it.

I find myself randomly missing Ross, like when a day is really cold and the chill has wormed its way inside of your bones. Or when I see other chocolate labs, none that are as thick or soft.

But there’s something about them that catches your eye like you’re seeing a ghost. Like you’re catching a little piece of something you used to know.

Roxie. What else can I say that I haven’t said here or here?

Nothing, I guess.

But maybe, I should look at it from a different angle as if I’m holding a small diamond in my hand.

If there ever were poster children for sibling rivalry, it would be Roxie and Rocco. From head humping to charging into each other to get out the back door, these two were a constant study into how to not make friends.

And yet, they loved each other.

At three o’clock sharp every day, Rocco would clean Roxie. He’d lick her face, and inside her ears, and scrub her eyeballs hard with his tongue. And she’d sit like the queen of Sheba, sending a strong vibe of “Jealous yet?” to which I’d firmly shake my head, “Um, no.”

It always looked like a one-sided love. Rocco, the beta, sitting dumbly by as Roxie eats the last bits of his food with what she’s considered stealth and planning when in reality a rhino with a metal bucket on his head would have been quieter. But there would be moments when she thought no one was watching, when she’d put her head on his neck and those freshly scrubbed eye balls would be looking into something I couldn’t see.

Like when she was dying.

I think I’d like to always remember them together to know that kind of love can exist. You don’t have to like everything about a person to love them. It’s sometimes a choice whether their tongue is in your eye or they’ve just stolen a bite of your cookie.

You can choose to walk away or you can still meet them every day at three o’clock sharp.

The choice is always yours.

Rocco keeps trucking. Everyone else is long gone, everyone he loved. I like to think he still loves them, but I’m not sure, considering sometimes, he eats his own vomit.

I think a lot about God, how you can see Him in the intricacies of a wide-open dog eye and the warm assurance of its tongue letting you know the world isn’t always as cruel as it lets on.

Because in the beginning, there was the Word, and there was constant relationship with our beautiful Creator, and there were animals He made to keep us company.

To love us, even though we know how much we don’t deserve.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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The bad news fridge.

At the gym today, I realized that most people have to succumb to the merciless grips of either Fox News or CNN to receive their bad news.

Fortunately, growing up, I had my mother.

My mother was what one would call a curator of a very dismal museum. Instead of bright floral patterns or even thought-provoking pieces that edged beyond the expanses of the human imagination, my mother dealt in small, clipped-out articles of random destruction and had the foresight and adept scissor-cutting skills to make sure that destruction always remained eye-level on our refrigerator.

Headline: Local Man Decapitated While Driving His Convertible Down the Highway

Me: “Well, that seems unfortunate.”

My mother: “Unfortunate or kismet? Life’s what happens when you’re busy not wearing a helmet.”

Headline: Local Girl Drowns in Pond Behind Her Family Home

Me: “That’s just…terrible.”

My mother: “It is. And so is trying to swim right after eating.”

Headline: Local Animal Lover Takes in A Family of Newborn Kittens

Me: “Well, that one’s quite lovely.” **Scans to the headline underneath this one that is circled in red and underlined three times.** “Oh no. Why would she go jogging at ten at night??”

My mother: “Because common sense isn’t an innate life skill. It has to be beaten into your head…by your mother.”

Finally, I moved to college. I attended a small liberal arts school while my parents moved back down to Texas. And for a much-needed and peaceful reprieve (roughly six days), I didn’t even know who was getting murdered where or which manufacturer was currently supplying the best deals on pepper spray.

But then, of course, she found me.

Roommate: “My mom baked and sent me cookies! What did your mom send you?”

Me: “A ten-car pile-up on Interstate 95.”

Some people say I’m, well…different. Maybe it’s just because I truly understand this world for what it is: an absolute dumpster fire. And maybe, just maybe my mother is the smartest, most dedicated evangelist in the world. Because Lord knows it can only be Jesus Himself who will one day come to put a final end to this nonsense.

I mean, it most certainly won’t be me. I’m still waiting for my order of half-priced pepper spray.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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