Back to my desk

For the first time in 21 years, neither one of our daughters are going back-to-school. Both are college graduates. Both are making inroads on the job market. Both are strong, lively, caring young women. But there’s no “Back-to-School” this year. It’s now “Back-to-Something-Else”!

From their public school days, I don’t miss the homework assignments that the student does not understand. I don’t miss the “creative” book report assignments. I sure as hell don’t miss the group projects. (And I suspect my daughters would agree!)

There’s plenty of appointments on my calendar. But there’s no dorm room to fill. No sweaty elevators or staircases. No jaunt to buy desk supplies or refills for the printer. No awkward good-byes (and tears by Mom in the car on the way home). 

I gotta tell ya, it feels a little weird. 

Ok, a lot weird. But in a good kind of way. 

Now our years now fall into the natural seasons of Creation. The year doesn’t reboot in September every year. Instead, each new day is a new start. 

I’ve put a new practice back in my life called The Daily Examen. You can use the website or an app (scroll to the bottom for the links). You can write out your own questions for daily reflection. It doesn’t matter how as long as you do it. 

When the house is quiet in the evening, I pause and do a mental reset. I wait. Sometimes I worry. I pray. Sometimes, I rage. But always, I feel re-engaged and ready for sleep. 

So whatever your fall season brings, I invite you to embrace it. With questions. With honest reflection. With integrity. And then with action. 

I have warped my daughters… and I’m proud of it!

I have warped my daughters… and I’m proud of it!

Next week The Harpist leaves on a mission trip. This is the third year in a row that she will visit the kids at the Casa de Hogar in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Each year she learns something new about herself, and about God. And she gives away a ton of hugs, smiles and TLC to the kids there.

SOoo… earlier this week The Harpist was helping sort and pack toys and supplies for the upcoming mission trip to Casa de Hogar. There were lots of little things to sort. Little stuffed animals, plastic toy animals, etc. Everything was great except… she was told to sort them into BOY and GIRL toy piles. It bothered her that the boys got all the dinosaurs and toy snakes, and the girls got dolls and jewelry. And it flummoxed the team leader that she argued for letting the girls have dinosaurs and snakes, too. I guess it is predictable, though, since this was from a girl who has a pet snake… and whose favorite stuffed animal was a dinosaur.

But I realized as we laughed about it that I had taken a great deal of effort in her “formative years” (gad, what a phrase) to introduce her and her sister to all kinds of situations, events, and yes, toys. So when she was curing Rainbow Dinosaur of a “chicken pock” or tromping down enemies with Prince Caspain, I guess it made an impression.

Her sister is no less independently minded, rolling her eyes when she tells us about the girls she has at daycamp who are afraid to play in the rain, or don’t want to get dirty. She has little tolerance for classmates who insist they must have the lastest fashion or they will DIE, and she resisted reading all of the vampire-du-jour series because she thought it was just a little, well, dumb as far as the plot goes. (No offense, Ms. M., but you could have been given a better editor…)

It just drives home to me the little choices that we make with our lives, as parents, role models and teachers have a bigger impact than we realize on our children, and on their peers. That I don’t spend hours on my appearance each week has its own repercussions, I grant you. But I would rather raise daughters who have been taught to think critically, serve humbly and act kindly. And everything else… is really not that important.

Unless, of course, we are denying snakes and dinosaur toys to little girls…

Just proud to be a radical feminist mama…


P.S. We would appreciate your prayers for The Harpist and the rest as they travel to San Luis Potosi August 4-11…

[edited to add…]
P.P.S. To learn more, please see a video of last year’s trip HERE! You’ll find The Harpist at about the 1:30 mark.


This month we had two celebrations at the end of the year…

The Harpist graduated from high school… (Her regalia includes medals for her excellence in the humanities and arts program, music honorary, National Honor Society, and public service.) She will be “a Johnnie” and attend St. John’s College in Annapolis next fall.

My mom traveled from Ohio to celebrate with us. Here’s a three generation photo.

Reedy Girl finished middle school. She is pictured here with the Bearded Brewer.

She will spend her summer as a CIT in a county recreation program. And is more than ready for what’s ahead…

And I am amazed at where the time has gone…


In the… You’ve GOT to be kidding department

In the “You’ve GOT to be kidding!!” department…

Perusing Freecycle while I wait for dinner to cook, I read this gem:

13. wanted: musical instuments

Posted by:

Date: Fri Oct 3, 2008 12:35 pm ((PDT))

looking for something for my two boys, 2 & 4. Drum, cymbals, guitar.

Sturdy is key. Thanks

HUH??? Boys. Ages 2 and 4. Drums, cymbals and guitar. Does the wise and sane parent even seriously put those together???

The mental image and ear-drum torture is… stunning.


I have a 17 year old daughter, too…

Bristol Palin is 17. So is The Harpist.

Life happens, sometimes faster than you planned. I commend McCain on not making the news of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy a non-qualifier for his veep pick. It hasn’t been the final catalyst in my decision on who to vote for in November…

What would I do if I were in the position of Sarah Palin?? I struggle as a mother to know what to say, or think. What would I do, say, think, advise my own daughter? And could I stand the stuff that would hit the fan in the attitudes and comments of the nitpickers around me?

As I mull this over, I only know one thing:
The mudslinging and innuendos, from BOTH parties, has to stop. I am sick of nasty, spiteful, catty words!

Peace… and hope for all those involved…



Calvinomics: [Kal-vinn-ohm-iks]

1. The science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with the theory and management of Calvin’s systems.
2. A state of being chosen, whether you know it or not.
3. “This snake chose ME.” (to paraphrase a T-shirt)

Maybe you wondered how snakes eat. (Well… maybe you didn’t. If so you can skip this post.) Basically, to eat like a snake, you hug your food to death and swallow it whole.

FIRST – you have a snake. And a mousie. Mousie is verrra verrrrra still so snake no see him?? Maybe??

No such luck, mousie! Snake DEEElighted to see mousie and gives BIG hug. Scares the – uh – STUFF out of the mousie.

REALLY hugs. REALLY scares.

Bigger BIGGER hug. Nom nom nom nom nom…

Snake smileth. Helps girl do homework. (Probably math… snakes are ADDERS you know…. heeheheeee…. Sorry.)

I promise I will get more sleep…


Motherhood ain’t for wimps…

Every now and then, I read someone else’s blog or writing and have a good, hard, laugh-until-you-cry giggle session.

This afternoon was one of them.

First you need to read this eBay listing… originally listed here. (If the link doesn’t work, give me your email in the comments… I have saved the text!!!)

Then you need to visit her blog.

A woman after my own heart…