Because life
never stops teaching.

Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.

Children’s Views

Last week Adeline learned about Martin Luther King Jr. in school. She came home with a story to read aloud to an adult. When we sat down with the book, I readied myself for an essay on a man who believed in freedom—a second grade adaptation of this history.  But I was wrong. Apparently second grade is quite old enough to be ready to learn about hate, because the story outlined all the details of slavery, prejudice, violent riots, and of course, Martin Luther King Jr.’s amazing movement toward peace that ended too soon with his assassination. I was shaking a little as I listened to the soft, gentle voice of my seven-year-old read to me this history. She looked …

Continue reading Finding What’s Right With the World

It’s 2014! Remember when that sounded futuristic? It feels like we should have flying skateboards by now, à la Back to the Future II. But when I got up on the 1st, the only thing that seemed futuristic was the fact that I had just completed a project that I was never quite sure would come to fruition. The book is out! And now, with vulnerability at its peak, I have to take a shot with it and see where it’s meant to land.

With the end of winter break, my three-year-old, Brennan, seemed slightly unsure of where he was meant to land. Monday he had mixed feelings about going to school. He pouted over breakfast and put up a fuss …

Continue reading Taking a Shot

Remember ice skating and drinking hot chocolate and wearing Christmas pajamas cuddled up under the covers? Remember baking cookies covered in sprinkles and putting them beside the fireplace before peering up the chimney? Remember the magic of giant Christmas trees and twinkle lights and how it seemed just about anything could come to life—a wooden nutcracker or the electric train wound around the tree? There was a stretch of time when I’d outgrown Christmas pajamas, hadn’t seen the inside of a chimney and found my wooden nutcracker to simply be a nice centerpiece on my coffee table one month of the year. Then, I had children. And the magic came rushing back.

About a month ago I told Adeline, my daughter …

Continue reading Even if the House Falls Apart

The other day my friend said of her ten year old, “She’s so much like me that sometimes I feel like I’m looking in a mirror.” Genetics are truly crazy. As much as I know that each person is unique and entirely their own, I can’t get over how much Adeline and I have in common. That was clear from the time she was a baby – her awareness, her passion, her drive. Still, so much of who we are is a collection of what we’ve picked up along the way. And that’s the part that scares me. I told my friend, “I see my kids soaking up so much of what I say and do. It’s like having a …

Continue reading Mirrors

There is a saying that goes, “Home is where your story begins.”  That certainly seems true for me.  I have great memories of my childhood, and I know they have shaped much of who I am today.  I had my Chicago home, my family around me.  And I had a world all my own that was comprised of fragments of places I’d read about or dreamed of going.  At age eight my bedroom was equal parts pink flowered wallpaper and what I imagined it could be: the farmhouse room of Anne of Green Gables, the castle in The Princess Bride or my own Secret Garden.  As I grew my dreams of home grew and changed many times over.  Where I …

Continue reading Home Is Where Your Story Begins

The life of the mother includes making a lot of decisions. Sometimes big. Sometimes small. From which brand of BPA free water bottle to buy, to where the kids should go to school, to whether they need to see a doctor for that most recent cough. While there are days when I really wish I had a magic eight ball that would give me all the answers, it really just comes down to trusting my instincts. But I have to tell you: my usually decisive self has been second-guessing herself lately. Maybe it’s the nature of the end of the school year, the tasks that have surmounted. (Only one day left of school – yippy!) Nevertheless, a couple days ago …

Continue reading I Feel Funny

The magnolias and star jasmine are in bloom all over town.  The yard smelled like good shampoo this afternoon as the kids and I threw paper airplanes.  Keegan, who turned “four and a half” this week (major mile stone for my little man), did not tire of throwing his plane, getting it caught in the tree branches, and then shaking it down.

At a point I left the yard to send an email and meet a deadline that would put me quite close to the completion of my book.  I’m rounding the end of this project that has kept me inspired for the last several years, and as I’m pulling together the final pieces, feelings are surmounting.  The pressure is on, …

Continue reading This Is My Favorite Part

We’ve been thinking about moving – a move that we hope would be one of the last. I’ve spent a few months watching the market, checking listings daily and visiting several homes. But inventory is low and the cost of homes is high (in southern California), so it’s a search that has caused a bit of stress. What is more, I have been so excited about the future that once I was halfway into this process I realized I’d taken a step out of the present. I was living in my lovely little home on my lovely little street in my awesome neighborhood, with one foot out my front door. I was halfheartedly making plans for the summer – signing …

Continue reading Make a Lemonade Stand

It’s amazing when the things you’ve taught your children come back to you and bring you comfort.

My grandmother died last week. She was ninety-seven, and had lived a good, long life. But the last year and a half had been difficult, as she had suffered with dementia and struggled to connect with those she loved. Despite the fact that my kids had seen her only once a year when we would travel to Chicago, they developed a relationship with her through pictures and stories. We kept her with us through drawings and prayers.

When I told Adeline and Keegan that Ninny (the name my grandma Jinni had been given by my cousin forty years ago), had gone to heaven, Adeline cried …

Continue reading An Angel for my Children

The thing about being the third child is that you have no choice but to go with the flow. Brennan is now two and a half years old and quite used to being schlepped about. I get him in the car several times a day, and he climbs in with no sense of time or direction or what is to happen next. Often I explain to him our plans or he’ll ask me, “Where we gonin’ Mama?” But he doesn’t seem to have a great interest in the answer. He looks out the window, he sings, he tells me what he sees as we drive, and once we’ve arrived to our destination, he busies himself with new details, always fiercely …

Continue reading What We Hold Onto

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