When “it” means everything, including morning coffee.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

A Toxic System

There is a fundamental belief that guides me. It’s a paradigm around which I make most of my daily life decisions; a framework I use to evaluate every element of my experience. It is a toxic, insidious, oppressive system that issues hard judgments if I fail, even though failure or…


Captivated by the power of sharing stories.

The author listening for a story. Victoria, Canada.

I was a hyper child. I spent a lot of time in my early teens creating a list of synonyms for hyper.

Effervescent. Enthusiastic. Gregarious. Energetic.

I was, and still am, quite enthusiastic.


I don’t think I need one of the judges in it.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I’ve been watching the popular television show, “The Voice,” for a few seasons now. And it just dawned on me why I love it so much. My attraction goes deeper than childhood fantasies of being able to sing like Carole King on stage with backup singers. …


Navigating hard things on vacation.

Photo by the Author.

We were visiting the Big Island of Hawaii for the first time, in the middle of our week vacation, and I was angry at my son for having feelings.

More specifically, that he was having very particular feelings I didn’t like while we sat in a restaurant beside the beautiful…


Can you get to the nearest beach?

Photo by Point Blanq on Unsplash

Over the past crazy months, I’ve read and watched and listened, becoming more and more irritated. The tension that accompanies a divided country limping out of a pandemic has gradually seeped into my skin, my shoulders, my gut. It’s ever-present.

And I see this irritation mirrored in people around me.


It isn’t pretty.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Simply Ridiculous

It has suddenly occurred to me that my current status is simply too ridiculous not to record.

It is a cool evening in Southern California after a warm day. I am using this to my advantage with a whole-house fan (we do not have central air conditioning) that draws in…


Answering this question while meeting my daily 1000-word goal.

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Goals are good

This is simply a writing exercise to meet one of my goals: writing 1000 words every day this summer. Rarely have I had such a goal, except for say, brushing my teeth or drinking coffee.

I often read insights and advice from fellow writers like Shaunta Grimes. Many repeat the…


Finding healing in the craziest place.

This is not the author. Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

I Will Never

Do you have a “never” category in your life? A list of things under the heading, “I will never…?” I do. Sky diving. Marathon. Hot Yoga.

I am emphatic on these points. Certain. Unwavering. There are just some ways in which I simply do NOT want or need to push…


The house doesn’t just hold my memories; it holds my DNA.

Photo by Eirik Olsen on Unsplash

The message came from across the country via Facebook. “We are selling Cedar Avenue,” he wrote. The timing was uncanny. In just a few days from reading this, I would be back in Virginia visiting my family.

“It would be incredible to come see the house, if possible,” I replied…


I’m so glad I didn’t take it with me.

Photo by Jacob Morrison on Unsplash

I am wrapping up a week-long visit to my favorite place, to my home state, to my roots. Virginia. Virginia holds a special place in my heart and soul. So much so that in my early 40s, I decided it was time to get the tattoo I had wanted for…

Mandy Osterhaus Ream

Woman in middle age. Professor. Mom to one surfer and one kid with Down Syndrome. Fireman’s wife. Writing about all of it. mandyosterhausream.com

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