Jody Gifford

Jody Gifford

Jody Gifford is a freelance writer and veteran journalist who has worked for The Des Moines Register, The Indianapolis Star and She’s a member of the Iowa Writers Collaborative and writes a column, Benign Inspiration. By day, she’s in communications for a malpractice insurance company, and by night, she’s a busy mom, leader, volunteer and staunch ally who takes every opportunity she can to make the world a kinder place. She lives with her partner, three teenagers and two cats in West Des Moines, Iowa.


The power of a hug to support LGBTQ+ communities

By: - June 14, 2023

Sara Cunningham was, by all accounts, a devout Christian, but when her teenage son, Parker, came out to her, it tested her faith. Torn between a love for her son and a love of God, Cunningham began searching her heart for answers. What the Oklahoma mom did next started a movement. In June 2015, Cunningham wore […]


Hospice shutdown closes Dad’s final resting place

By: - June 9, 2023

I was working from home one Friday afternoon when my sister’s face popped up on my phone. She and I mostly text so when she calls, it’s usually about something important. “Did you hear that hospice is closing?” she said. She was talking about MercyOne’s Hospice House in Johnston — the same hospice center where my […]


Why ‘Love Actually’ is more than a holiday movie tradition for me

By: - December 21, 2022

Everyone has their Christmas traditions. Mine includes watching/rewatching the movie “Love Actually.” I’d like to say I reserve this tradition just for Christmas, but I don’t. It’s in my top five favorite movies, so not only do I own it on DVD, but I see it in the theater when it’s playing during the holidays, and […]


Growing up without: Looking back on a childhood with very little

By: - November 30, 2022

I remember very little about my childhood. My parents divorced when I was 6, and I have fond memories of my dad— like tinkering in his garage and bringing his treasured street rod to car shows — but very few of my mom. To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of good things about my […]


Mind the gap: Women fall victim to inequities in wages, health care and more

By: - November 15, 2022

I was in elementary school the first time I learned the phrase, “Mind the gap.” I must have been 9, maybe 10 years old, and I was obsessed with London’s public transit system — particularly the Underground. I’d never been to England, let alone on a train, so it’s hard to say why this was […]