That Boy is Dead

I recently went home to celebrate my mother’s 60th birthday (she doesn’t look a day over 38). It was a weekend of laughs and meals and car rides that reminded me how blessed I am to be a Zuniga. And yet part of that weekend pricked a wound still in me. As part of our collective gift for our mother, my siblings and I converted a dozen home movies on VHS to DVD. We watched one over the weekend, featuring […]

Why I Do What I Do

A year ago, I knew nothing about recovery. Phrases like “twelve steps” and “Alcoholics Anonymous” may as well have been as foreign to me as “World Champion Chicago Cubs.” But then I started working with teens in recovery, both in the woods and in a beautiful building, and I’ve learned I’m not that different from them. “You’re a flawed individual,” an instructor told one of our students this morning. He didn’t mean it in a derogative way. He also called […]

When the New Man Looks Like the Old Man

“If anyone needs prayer, I invite you to speak with someone at the back of the room before you leave our service today. We’d love to pray with you.” I do need prayer, I think to myself from the back row. I need prayer very much. I need freedom from passivity. I need courage. I need strength to take initiative and step forward again. But therein lies the problem: I need someone to pray for my impulse to move because I […]

All We Like Butterflies…

We’ve been raising monarch caterpillars at work for the last month. A woman we affectionately dubbed “The Butterfly Lady” came in with an aquarium full of milkweed and caterpillars the length of your pinky nail — dozens of them. You’d have never noticed them from afar. Most of those poor things died. It wasn’t our fault. Apparently the milkweed had pesticide. The Butterfly Lady apologized profusely. For all the fallen caterpillars, three survived. And once we got them healthy milkweed to eat, they ate to their little […]

I Have Nothing to Say About Orlando

I read many tweets in the 48-hour aftermath of the Orlando shooting that claimed fifty lives. One jumped out at me most. It said: Christians: your silence is a deafening roar. I read the tweet, felt sobered by the tweet, grew annoyed by the tweet, and then pondered my own “role” or “responsibility” with regard to Orlando and that tweet. Do I need to tweet about whether we need better gun control? Do I need to tweet my prayers for the victims and/or their […]

The Hardest Video I’ve Ever Made

I don’t consider myself a videographer. I’m an artist first, a writer second, and somewhere within my inner swirl of creativity there’s room for music and painting and photography and even a little film. I have a YouTube channel, and I’ve shot/edited/published several videos over the years. Most of them are carefree and spontaneous and wandering-induced and maybe kinda sorta entertaining? But there a few videos I’ve uploaded over the years that have been much harder to put out there. My […]

On This Good and Not-So-Good Friday

27 years ago, I was born on Good Friday. I spent that Easter Sunday of 1987 in a blessed hospital, though the specifics are a bit fuzzy. I haven’t celebrated a “true” Good Friday birthday since I was 5 years old, and I won’t celebrate another Good Friday birthday until I turn 84. This year, my mid-April birthday fell closer to Good Friday than it has in the last decade of Good Fridays. Over the last 24 hours, removed from the ritualistic confines of “church” for […]

We Are a Fairy Tale and We Have a Happy Ending

Once Upon a Time is one of my favorite shows. It’s a show about fairy tale characters come to life, but it is also a show about more than this. Every episode is just so rich, so deep. Themes of good versus evil, and hope versus despair. The classic fairy tale characters we all know have intricate complicating layers, and I resonate with them on many eerie levels. I am Snow White, the good person with a good heart who cannot catch […]