My brown leather bag lays next to me on the passenger side seat between the diaper bag, my purse, and library books. A light snow covers the ground remnants of our first bout of winter weather. “Blue sky out today,” Charlotte declares. “I go my class today,” she continues with a smile. “Mama go work?” She looks at me and I smile in return.

“Yes, I’m going to write while you’re in class.” I say as I point to the bag filled with notebooks, journals, my computer, and colored pens.

“Mama, write?” She asks again with a knowing smile. It’s our routine every day we go to preschool. Charlotte declares she’ll go to school and I declare that I’ll go and write. I see the joy in her eyes as she thinks about meeting her friends at school, and I know my eyes possess that same joy as I think about writing.

There hasn’t been a time when writing wasn’t a part of my life. I owe deep gratitude to many people, places, and experiences. During this month of giving thanks, I offer my acknowledgements for those who have shaped the way I cultivate words and stories.

*My children, Charlotte and Isaac, who teach me every minute of the day to open my eyes and see the beauty around me.

*My husband, Stephen, who keeps me laughing, found the perfect writing desk for me, helps me plan nights away to write, and keeps cheering me on with every new essay.

*My mother, my first reader, biggest cheerleader (and also the one with the most honest feedback), and most prolific sharer of my work. She’s also the one who helps provide uninterrupted writing time by watching my children.

*Living Lutheran who responded to my inept query and pitch 4 years ago, took a chance on my writing and stories, and has continued to share my work and invite me to be a part of their Lutheran witness in the world.

*My friend and writing partner, Sara, who is always there with an encouraging word about my writing and at the same time trusts me with her words and stories.

*My friend, Jon, who invited me to write for The Episcopal Cafe weekly. It’s a gift to reflect on my faith intentionally week after week keeping my eyes open for God’s work in the world.

*My penpal of 29 years, Annika Grace, who shares a love of the written word and inspires me to keep putting pen to paper through letters, notes, and journals.

*The Collegeville Writing Workshops which have gifted me with a week at a time to focus on writing in community. There’s something special about hearing other writers read their work out loud and to give witness to their words. I’m grateful for the friendships fostered and the many words that have been birthed through my time at the workshops.

*The Exhale Community through Coffee + Crumbs who make it their mission to foster a place for mothers to catch their breath, and breathe life into one another. I’ve been a member of their online community for over a year now and find great joy in writing alongside other mothers who are finding time to put words to paper in the margins of the days.

*My college and seminary friend, Mark, who created a beautiful space for my writing online.

*Broadway Presbyterian Preschool which infuses a love of learning in my daughter week after week through song, art, story, and play. Charlotte loves to learn and create and I love watching her bring her gifts into the world.

*Ozark Coffee Company which provides the space I need to write when my daughter is at preschool. Whether it’s their signature iced drink, a soy salted caramel latte, or a hot mocha, the sounds of the espresso machines and the hum of people coming and going inspires me.

*Voxer, a voice messaging app, that allows me to connect with other mother writers to cheer one another on, check in on writing goals, and share the joys and challenges of the writing life. I love hearing the voices of friends I haven’t met in person but who know intimately what it’s like to bring words to light.

*And finally, to all my readers. The people I know in real life and those who have found me by way of my stories, I’m grateful. I hope my words continue to transform, inspire, and bring hope to you.

**This post was written as part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to read the next post in this series "Acknowledgments."

**Photo created by Phoenix Feathers Calligraphy for C+C, 2019