What I Think About Today

There’s so many good posts out there today. There’s a lot of meaningful writing, hilarious videos, and there’s even some movies out there about Mother’s Day. But I want you to know what I think about on Mother’s Day. Perhaps it will resonate with others of you moms out there who loved your mom but she’s gone. And you can’t rest in her soft hug today. Or smell her. Or be annoyed by her. Or get advice from her. Or get her to hem your pants by asking really nicely. Not anymore.

Truth be told, I don’t love this holiday. But it is holy. Flowers, cheesy songs at church, and well meant greetings just remind me that my mom’s gone.

And yet, here’s these four daughters wanting me to feel special. They know I’m sad today and I love them more because of it. I know some look at people like me and just wonder what I am thinking on this day.

So here’s what I’m thinking…

About her.

Her hair. Her smell. Her hugs.

Her voice. Her hands. Her legacy.

Her quirks and annoying habits. The way she said my name. Nobody says it like that.

Fighting with her moments of hate and moments of love.

Laughing with her. Feeling the weight in her face when I held my first baby.

Watching her live and watching her die…

About each of the days I became a mother. How magical and painful those days were…each of those births created a new me….

About the baby I lost…

Being real with each of the girls….

What they need from me, each uniquely.

What they don’t need from me…

How they have helped me mother….

How we change each other…and the gift that is for me.

Also what they have forced me to face…in letting go of myself and keeping it all the same.

And as I watch their hands grow….

Hug them…

Smell them….

Laugh with them…

We live.


1. I had a baby yesterday 

She said this is Clickbait. But I really did have a baby yesterday 17 years ago. And look at her now! Also, do you see that cake?  I made part of it before work yesterday morning and finished the rest when I got home. She picked it from some website called Sally’s baking addiction and said, “only if it isn’t too complicated Mom.” It was certainly worth the effort that I got because of it. 

That’s the reason I didn’t blog yesterday. So today is day one people. This day I became a mother. What a magical day that was! Truly it was. 

And every day since has been magical! Not. Someone told me the other day that I made parenting look fun. Yay! I was so happy. 

Then I thought about all the things that aren’t fun. And I pondered about the evidence that caused my friend’s conclusion. 

Parenting is fun. But you have to make it fun a lot of times and I work hard at that. I truly enjoy my children but I also have to help them learn to be enjoyable to be around. A wise woman told me the other day that making any situation fun is a poor man’s therapy and the way to cope with the hard parts of life. 

So Day 1 of the story of 30 days:

Make it fun….what ever it is. 

P.S. Goodness! Look at her 17 year old face…she’s having fun. 

The story of 30 Days-

Yes, we are playing the Oregon Trail. Three of the girls are still alive. Also I just died in the game so now I can blog. Hey so instead of being perfectionist and all that I’m just going to post every day for 30 days. Cool, huh? Probably not but I’m inspired by a podcast about this 30 Days of New Things. And I’m in. But with writing. Oh no, there’s only two girls left on the Oregon Trail. At least they’re splitting their supplies to survive. With teamwork evidenced, I’m going to sleep!

P.S. You should play board games with your kids. It teaches patience. Also you laugh a lot. Then you wonder about the level of competition that has been passed on. 

Camp on Sunday

Sunday morning we took it slow in camp. We still had a few days before the big hike down and so we just chilled, cooked a good breakfast and enjoyed a morning fire. And then, the kids planned church for us. And we had some Sabbath together. 

I’m not sure why adults think they always have to lead. You should’ve seen the kids take over when we told them they should plan church. We had an invocation, 2 songs, 4 Scripture readers, a sermonette, and a benediction. Kids are great leaders and they can plan without your help. Just let them know you’ll wait for their plan and leave them alone. Don’t underestimate them. 

After church we got ready for the day. No rushing. Just slow by the fire….

Then we made some plans…A Desert View picnic coming up…..


You might say this was Eliot’s agency moment, the moment when she began the process by which she would stop being blown about by her voids and begin to live according to her own inner criteria, gradually developing a passionate and steady capacity to initiate action and drive her own life.

Agency is not automatic. It has to be given birth to, with pushing and with effort. It’s not just the confidence and drive to act. It’s having engraved inner criteria to guide action. This agency moment can happen at any age, or never. -from Pg. 164 The Road to Character by David Brooks


There is a way to greatness. Can you not see?

It is not what you think. It’s not about giving all you have to give.

It’s about giving the right thing.

Letting go at the right moment. Finding the discipline you need for that thing you do.

It is easy to think its about wearing yourself out. Or being poor. Or being rich. Or having a lot of kids. Or having none. Or public school. Or home school. Or Republican. Or Democrat. Or staying at home. Or working. Or eating paleo. Or working out. Or being fat. Or being thin. Or eating gluten. Or not.

But it’s not about any of that. Really. You already knew that, didn’t you.

It’s there. For you. Waiting. Greatness.

But this moment of agency seems to be a precursor…to becoming a leader, to knowing and seeing what true greatness is.

I realized after I read the passage quoted above that this is what we are moving towards as people, as parents, as leaders. Unlocking potential is what I want to do with my daughters and others; giving them all space for a moment, their moment of agency is essential.188

Agency comes in circular movements and it also comes full circle. With Super Bowl and Lent ahead…Here’s to you and the way of super greatness, to agency, and to the space we need to find it.

To not be driven by external criteria.

To not be so blown about by economic disruption, arbitrary leadership and general chaos….making our way to “engraved inner criteria to guide action.”

You know it’s about time….for you.

Dr. S. CLAM and Richard from Chapter 3

  I know what you’re thinking. I haven’t been writing. Guess what. I know. Here are my reasons:

  1. Sleep. The truth is I’ve been tired. Also, my life is demanding.
  2. Commitments. I finally finished some curriculum I was writing.Yes, I have other commitments.
  3. Survivor. Oh, and we have been on a little tiny marathon watching of old seasons of Survivor. I introduced the kids to the first season of the show when we were doing ticket counting for the school fall festival. We are all somewhat addicted now. It’s funny. I love listening to my kids try to decide who they would vote off. We are on the Cook Island season. I’m thinking about applying.
  4. Dr. S. Clam. Once this summer, my kids made some letter photo collages at horse camp. One girl put them on display; and then they discovered Dr. S. Clam. These are their initials put together with a couple of horse name initials. We are weird. But, it was funny, and now Dr. S. Clam is part of the fam. Also, now I can blame Dr. Clam for keeping me too busy to blog. And I can threaten the girls that I’m going to sick Dr. Clam on them if they don’t mind me.
  5. P90x3. Insanity. So, Anna and I finished P90x3! And they still haven’t sent me my tshirt. I don’t know what their problem is. I must not have the beachbody yet. Oh, well. So, now I’ve started Insanity. It’s insane. Seriously. Try it. But, I have to say, I like these workouts from Beachbody. It’s convenient. And hard. And you’re family can camp out on the couch and watch you and make comments about your form and how, ooo, gross, your sweat is dripping on the floor. I’ve realized I want to be strong. You should too.
  6. Rodeo. We are committed. It’s a work in progress. There’s always another one. I love seeing my girls work hard and improve and win some.
  7. Richard from the 3rd chapter. If you haven’t read yet, I guess I forgive you. A lot of people have been whining to me about it not being digital. Ok, people! It’s available in digital format! Yay! No more excuses. Go get it. Anyways, if you had read the book, you know about Chapter 3 being set in Australia. Well, my friend Richard came to visit us! It was so fun! He brought us Vegemite and some disgusting musk candy from Oz. We took him shopping for cowboy boots, fed him Mexican food, took him to a rodeo, and put him on a horse. It was a meaningful time for all of us. I hadn’t seen him in 16 years. It was a journey back and forward to places then and places now. And now the girls are dying to go to Australia. Thanks, Richard. Thanks a lot.

8. School projects. No need to say more. They did well. It’s over. Phew!

9. Life planning. Do you do this? I’m recently finished with a book on tidying. It’s kinda trending and culturally different, but I found it to be very helpful. I’ve realized I jump out there and take risks a lot, and I like stability. I realized I want to keep possessions in their rightful place and I want to surround myself with some things I love.

Did you know that we all categorize things, people, situations, and ideas? These categories stay with us. It’s a calculation thing. It’s a survival thing. It’s an identity thing. There’s a problem though with categories. Things change. People change. Situations change. Ideas change.

Durn change.

It messes everything up…

…so very beautifully.

I think I’ve decided that I’m breaking up with categories. I know you might not understand me, but I think you kinda do or you wouldn’t be here. I will explain more later. It’s time to reopen all the sections and take a gander. It’s time to re-evaluate everything.  It’s a great time of year for reflection. Join me?

So, that’s my story. Well, of why I haven’t been blogging. Here’s my real story…

…tomorrow. I’ll be back.

I just have to go check my beans because I’m pretty sure I just burned them to death. I was making Painted Rooster but then I started blogging so now….Now my house is going to stink. Change. It does stink. Bad. At least this photo doesn’t stink. At least the people in it didn’t at the time. I wish you could see their faces when they come in the burned beans house. It will be worth the stink probably.

Pets, Pork and Book Signings


So, I have a question: sometimes you have to go to an unexpected funeral at the end of a heavy work week in the middle of writing curriculum at the end of summer while you are on day 63 of P90x3 with your oldest daughter (working out every single day) in the midst of the week of your local book signing. So, you’re distracted a lot. Your kids are soaking up their last bit of lazy at your house’s expense, your bathroom needs a good AJAX scrubbing, and you have callousy-flip-flop feet. I’ll bet you don’t know what AJAX is. Go ask your mom.

You call your big kids from work and ask them to take out the ribs from the freezer feeling good about remembering the dinner plan. But, you have church first and your last appointment at work goes well but longer than you thought. You rush in to get the kids for church and see the meat on the counter they pulled out for you. It ain’t ribs. And you forgot about this mystery meat wrapped in white paper. So, you turn it over, and it’s a pork shoulder from a wild pig your neighbor shot last year and generously shared. I love that neighbor. Except I didn’t receive any bounty from the hunting this year, so I don’t know what that means. And your feet hurt. But you have a book out, so that’s something.

What do you do?

It sounds like a bad riddle. Not clever at all. Here’s the answer:

Deep breaths help. Dude. Just take that pork shoulder, slap in it the oven with some olive oil and garlic salt, and go to church. You need to go to church anyways. Then when you get home, eat it with your kids (the ones who don’t know what ribs are, apparently). Then just sit and enjoy your family. That’s where it is anyways. Sit on the floor. All your pets will come see you. Then you’ll realize you’ve been so busy to even notice them much. And it’s fun because your kids will decide to do a photo shoot with you and the pets and then everyone is smiling even the oldest dog. If you’re lucky, you might have a little dance party with the kids before cleaning the kitchen.

And then there’s the book signing (Yay!), so maybe you should paint your toes, maybe, probably, definitely. And get some sleep because there is yet another workout tomorrow. Also, you can have ribs tomorrow.