We are so excited to present the winners of our Spring Micro-essay Contest in this issue. This month’s featured writers responded to the theme of “roots, growth, and blossom” in so many varied and creative ways. Our First Place winner, Rachel Hartley-Smith writes about childbirth from the unique perspective of a future mother-in-law present when her young son’s fiancé gives birth to her grandson in “A Natal Sun.” Hartley-Smith honors childbirth with stunning imagery and with writing that doesn’t gloss over the mess.

In our Second Place essay “On the Path to Hope,” Karen Hugg takes us on a journey with her adopted daughter as she heals and grows toward hope. Cristi Donoso Best writes, in her Third Place essay “April Showers,” of her drive home through a rainstorm with her young foster son in the back seat. Finally, our Fourth Place essay “The Sisterhood of Bereaved Mothers” by Rebecca Hope will wow you as she draws together all of the mothers in her life who have suffered the loss of a child.

These essays and others which we will feature throughout the month of May far surpassed our expectations with regard to the level of craft and story that could come out of an essay of fewer than 500 words. We hope you find them as inspirational as we do!

All my best,