It’s become a tradition

For years, Lake Michigan beaches, nearby ski resorts, and majestic sunsets have drawn my husband, Sam, and I to Northwest Michigan. The quaint shops, fabulous restaurants, and scenic drives add to the allure, but nothing gave me a bigger thrill than fingering Ernest Hemingway’s hole.

I found it by accident

Sam and I wandered into…


He gave me something far more precious

We both needed some mending

I met Tommy in Ann Arbor at a place where broken people went to get fixed.

I had a few dents and scratches that were easily buffed and smoothed out.

Tommy needed his engine changed.

We got to know each other between treatments. There wasn’t an attraction between us, instead…

I think I set a world record

The invitation

My uncle called me a few weeks before Christmas on a Wednesday night.

“My church is having some inspirational speakers and music tonight. It’s the Catholic equivalent of a revival.” He chuckled. “Afterward, there’s going to be several priests hearing confessions. Wanna go?”

I made a face. “Sure.” I didn’t…

How confession was key to my mental health

It wasn’t the first time I had come to talk to this priest. We’d met privately a couple times before. I was going on my fifth consecutive year of pain, fear, and misery. There was no end in sight.

I clung to my torso with my arms crossed as if…

The struggle is real … and all too common

*Names, identifying characteristics, and details have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

I am lucky to be in a circle of five close girlfriends. Our tight-knit group gets together to laugh, cry, and celebrate each other’s achievements. Most of us have children in high school or college…

The pandemic has changed everything

I’ve often been described as a social butterfly, but my wings were clipped in March 2020 along with all the other extroverts on the planet. Lockdown was a blow I didn’t see coming. I found myself sipping a wicked cocktail of fear, uncertainty, with a generous splash of depression.


Tracy Stengel

Writer and freelance fiction editor. Find me curled up w/ a blanket of metaphors or at You can buy me ☕️ at

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