@stem_t4L

A few years ago, a small girl was caught in a war zone with bombs exploding all around her. Her six-year-old fingers grapsed tightly to the assault rifle she had been given for her own protection. Her heart raced, the sweat made it difficult for her to keep hold of her weapon. She looked left and saw the fear in her seven-year-old brother’s eyes as he grasped his weapon as well. She looked right and saw her mother’s sweat dripping down her forehead. The sweat was real. The fear was real. The war was not.

This girl was the daughter…


Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Twitter banned Trump permanently.

There’s a lot of ado about this.

From the right, I mostly hear upset. From the left, I mostly hear “‘bout time.” More specifically, the right tends to feel it was unfair, potentially illegal even while the left mocks the right for not understanding the difference between private and public rules. “Twitter is a private company and can do whatever they want,” the left says.

But can they?

Now, when it comes to goals, overarching values, and ideals, I tend to lean very left. But I want to remind my left friends of an important principal…


I woke up early, as I usually do. There was a welcome blanket of white snow over the ground and on trees and roofs outside. I saw it as I quietly shut the door to the room wherein J was snoring (he wouldn’t call it that; this is a regular argument neither of us has yet to win. He’s probably right, but don’t tell him I said that). On the floor in the room were my 9- and 5-year-olds who were lucky that Dad fell asleep first last night (Mom did not move them to their own beds, but Dad…


Drawing at the Table

The phrase, like a scent, holds many memories. Like parts of a collage they come tumbling together, overlapping and crisscrossing into one large, beautiful piece of art. Drawing at the Table means grey-blue light from winter mornings pouring through the large, kitchen window. It means perforated stacks of printer paper with holed edges. It means Cole was there with me, back before our minds and lives complicated things for us. We drew together there.

The phrase came wandering into my meditation session this morning. I guess it had gotten lost and wanted to be found, at…


We’d been talking for hours. I’d let the night turn from reasonable hour to unreasonable hour, because the conversation was enthralling, when I suddenly felt the strangest urgency to leave. Immediately. I apologized to my college friend and let her know I needed to get going right away. Within minutes, I was out the door and driving home, passing under stripes of light cast by the street lamps. If I hadn’t left exactly then, I wouldn’t have seen it.

Less than a block from home, a car pulled right then jerked left in front of me. It stopped at the red light ahead, and a female passenger opened the door and started to get out when she was pulled forcefully back in and the door slammed shut next to her. There were some furtive movements, some shoving and pulling. A couple teasing each other, maybe? I reasoned.

The light turned green and I followed the car up the road and to the left near my house. I lost sight of the car just before the hill. As I reached…


My phone dinged its familiar Marco Polo notification last week. I ignored it. Then it dinged again. I ignored it. Then it sent out a proper gaggle of dings which I could not ignore. This turned out to be a group of my amazing friends playing a rousing game of “What Should Candice Do About Her Neighbors?”

Synopsis: My friend Candice’s neighbors asked her to watch their dog, and, as luck would have it, Candice loves both these neighbors and their dog. Great! But (there’s always a but)…problem: Candice has watched this dog before and learned the hard way that…


I read a beautiful piece of art today. Words or acrylic. Sentences of color. Paragraphs of canvas. And as I read, I thought, “Yes! This!” and then I thought “I must go… I must do… I must be more…” And then I stopped.

Because I was already there. The thing I was reading, the inspiration I felt, that was the thing I wanted. I believed it was the path, but it was not. It was already the destination. One of many.

We tend to read or hear or watch or do something inspiring and think to ourselves “Wow, I want…


Framing: Life’s Magic Wand (for better or worse)

Mental framing, religious shame, guilt, dogma, brainwashing, mind control
Mental framing, religious shame, guilt, dogma, brainwashing, mind control
Framing: Life’s Magic Wand

Many unimaginable cases came across my desk when I was an SVU prosecutor. One, in particular, is etched in my mind. A young girl of about six was forced to live in a war zone. That’s right: forced to live in a war zone. She awoke every morning to shrieks and screams, the knowledge that bombs were exploding around her, killing her neighbors and friends. She was lucky to wake up at all. At her very young age, she was taught that the enemy was constantly sweeping the area looking for her…


I’m sitting in my home office, working on probate cases (don’t worry; I stopped the clock to write this), listening to Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba singing a song that unduly moves me to tears. It magically conjurs up memories of my children in a world where they are deceased and missed. Such a world, of course, is not reality right now; my children are alive and well. But then again they aren’t. Every day is a death.

My baby’s blue eyes fade to a stormy grey the older he gets. His infant cheeks disappear and mold into a child’s jawline…


I notice that my jaw is tight. I command it to loosen, and it listens. My eyes feel like they’ve just finished gorging on a Thanksgiving feast — swollen now, they’re hoping to get a bout of rest after lunch. My neck threatens to freeze in place if I demand one more thing of it this morning. I don’t. All physical signs point to…what? Compared to the world of emotion we experience, there is only a small village of physiological symptoms. Since mine can travel anywhere they want, I suppose I will ask them to travel somewhere nice.

But I…

Brie Sweetly

Thoughts. About Stuff. On purpose.

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