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Nature red in tooth and claw

The poison ivy saga continues.  Lorelei and William are covered in it.  I now have patches all over my body, doubtless from clingy Lorelei's little hands since there is no way the actual ivy touched me in most of these spots!  To add to the fun, I also have enormous...

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Peace

Peace

Just this morning, as my husband and I were rushing through breakfast and trying to wake our older kids up for Mass, I said, "Sometimes I envy those people who post things on Facebook like, 'Having a peaceful Sunday morning reading the paper,'  don't you?  Wouldn't it...

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More on kindergarten

More bad news for those of us who have kids entering kindergarten (plus more dismaying news about education in general): Up until very recently, it was considered developmentally appropriate to begin serious reading instruction in the second grade. Now, however,...

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If you love Knoxville . . .

. . . you will enjoy this site.  I stumbled upon it when looking for illustrations for another post.  It contains a variety of shots oh Knoxville--I especially enjoyed the downtown pictures and the Neyland Stadium shots.  And if you don't know Knoxville, taking a peek...

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Coffee:  A Love Story

Coffee: A Love Story

It all began in the summer of 1986.  I was home after my first year at Georgetown, working as a waitress at Cracker Barrel, a thankless job if ever there was one.  Each evening, around 9:30, my exhausted fellow waitresses would retreat to a smoky cubicle equipped with...

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Finding Balance

Finding Balance

Balance.  Does anyone have it?  You hear everyone talking about having too much on their plates.  Of juggling all their responsibilities.  Well, my plate overflows on a daily basis and I can't keep all those balls in the air (in my case, it's actually flaming...

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I'm gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion

I HATE POISON IVY.  I cannot seem to escape the stuff.  It encircled the backyard of our first house, right where I wanted to plant a border of daylilies.  I wore gloves and long sleeves when I tried to pull it up, and still ended up with welts all over my arms.  My...

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'Tis the Month of Our Mother

'Tis the Month of Our Mother

Sitting outside this evening, I smelled the honeysuckle and looked over at our garden statue of the Blessed Mother and suddenly found myself launching into "'Tis the Month of Our Mother." (I frequently burst into song at the least provocation and have an extensive...

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Tennessee Tragedy

If you don't live in Tennessee, you might be unaware that heavy rains flooded Nashville.  My cousin and her husband went canoeing around her neighborhood.  The pictures from downtown are simply unbelievable.  Read about one family's experience in my friend (and sixth...

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This is the Time to Remember

This is the Time to Remember

This column reprint from 2007 seems especially apropos for a lovely spring day which I spent sitting at a desk drafting motions for continuances while my kids played outside in the sunshine.  Over the past few weeks several people have mentioned that they haven’t seen...

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One Is Silver and the Other Gold

One Is Silver and the Other Gold

The popularity of Facebook has made the concept of community-building via the internet commonplace. But for most of us, our Facebook friends are people we know in real life, even if we haven't seen them in a long time or do not know them very well. The idea of...

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Two Walks

Two Walks

I love walking, but I like to walk SOMEWHERE. That's something I miss since our move from an urban neighborhood with sidewalks and shopping, parks, and more within just a few blocks, to a suburban home on a dangerous road with no sidewalks at all and no safe way to...

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Thanks be to God

 If you are a mother, you remember how excited you were to hear your baby say, “Mama,” for the first time. Today my friend Katie got to experience that joy again, but infinitely multiplied, when Henry woke up and said, “Hi, Mama.” Praise God! But please keep praying,...

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Please Pray . . .

 . . . for my friend Katie, and her 18-year-old son, who is in the ICU in critical condition after being brutally assaulted.  She is the mother of five (one in utero) and I know that she is just devastated by this.  Thanks.

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The Impermanence of Things

The Impermanence of Things

When we were preparing for our wedding, around 21 [now over 28] years ago, I made sure to register for a 12-piece place setting of everyday dishes and flatware, because I planned on having lots of kids.  We requested Pfaltzgraff stoneware, which seemed like it would...

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Homeschooling for Dummies

Homeschooling for Dummies

Catchy title, huh?  Seriously, though, I just don't think homeschooling is as hard as many people seem to think it is.  Or at least it doesn't have to be. Let me tell you how I approached it.  When I decided to keep Jake home for fourth grade, I registered him with an...

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Facebook Friends . . . and Foes?

It's still Education Week, but I'm taking a short detour to ask what you think about discussing controversial topics with your friends on Facebook.  Specifically, since it's a social site, is Facebook kind of like a virtual living room, where discussions of politics...

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Let's Talk Amongst Ourselves . . .

I see I have an enormous uptick in visitors today thanks to the mention by my friend Katie Allison Granju in her awesome blog.  So let's introduce ourselves in the comments below--I'll start!  Let me know who you are, how you got here, what you look for in the blogs...

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Math: How Much Is Too Much?

Math: How Much Is Too Much?

The accepted wisdom these days seems to be that our kids need more math in order to be "competitive."  The requirements at my teenagers' school just changed from three years of math to four--regardless of what level a student has reached upon matriculation.  For my...

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I Hate Homework

I Hate Homework

Since this is the week that public school students are taking the TCAPs, I've decided to make it Education Week on my blog.  I have enough opinions on this subject for an Education Month, but we'll just have to see how it goes. I've got a busy day ahead of me and as...

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She'll Be Gone

She'll Be Gone

It's late, and I haven't had time to post anything today, so I thought I'd share something I wrote a long--VERY LONG--time ago (about 15 years ago). [edit: this happened in 1993] The incident I recount below touched me so much at the time that I wanted to write it...

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The Feast of St. Bernadette

The Feast of St. Bernadette

When I was a little girl, I received The Song of Bernadette as a Christmas gift.  The story of Bernadette and the apparitions at Lourdes captivated me, and I immediately decided that Bernadette would be my Confirmation saint years down the road. I recently re-read...

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Jesus Is My Uncle

Well, maybe he's not.  Actually, I don't believe it at all, because I'm Catholic and our tradition denies that Jesus had any siblings.  This is some of the suspicious information you run into doing internet-based genealogy.  I was investigating my family history on...

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Why I Love Ebay

It really is true that you can find almost anything on ebay.  I know that many people shop for clothes there, and even big ticket items like cars, but I like to shop for treasures from the past, childhood toys, the kinds of things you think you will NEVER be able to...

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What Is a Baby?

What Is a Baby?

Twenty-eight years ago today--and I remember well my horror at the time, the parents of a child known forever as Baby Doe apparently decided that he was not a human being deserving of love and care when they allowed him to starve rather than correct a minor defect. ...

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Mysterious Wisteria

I love Springtime in a new house.  Every day is a discovery, as blooms appear, whether seeded by chance or some long-gone resident.  Just now I am basking in the beauty of wisteria.  I'm sure some people consider it invasive, but I've always wanted some.  And now I...

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Uncle Charlie

The picture that currently heads this blog comes from this image: This is a picture of my Uncle Charlie holding my oldest child at the hospital the day after she was born--that's more than 19 years ago.  I treasure this picture because Uncle Charlie died just a few...

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Hello world!

Since 2001, I have written a bi-monthly column on life issues in the East Tennessee Catholic newspaper.  Recently I learned my column was being cut "to make room for some new voices."  I was disappointed because I still felt like I had more to say. I've often felt...

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