Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Leadership!  McCain has declared that things are bad enough to stop campaigning, and he is leading on this.  I am so relieved.

I have been a grudging McCain supporter, until he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Then he had me, hook, line and sinker.  The pink McCain/Palin stickers have been ordered, the RNC envelope has been filled out (just need to stick the check in there, a crucial step, yes). 

But then the bottom fell out of the market last week and both our presidential candidates have done little to nothing.  For a while there it looked like neither guy would even show up for the vote.  I expected Obama to avoid a position, but the Maverick?  I wanted him out in front, saying the hard thing, taking names and kicking some--well, you know.  (And, by the way, my envelope sits unfilled...are you listening, RNC?)  

Now he's leading, on to Washington!  I'm looking forward to his trying some things, even if I don't agree with all of them.  The next couple of weeks are looking up.

UPDATE:  I really love this idea.

What I miss

I need to do a time (mis)management post, about what it is really like to fold graduate school into an already pretty full life.  This is not that post.

I miss some of the stuff that I used to do, though.  I sew, or I did, and I miss the rhythm of cutting and pinning and I miss the sound of the sewing machine.  I have to think really, really hard about what I'm doing when I sew, and it is refreshing to be able to completely focus on a task.  I always emerge from my sewing sessions feeling cleaner, like I've been meditating for a while instead of actually producing something cute.  And my DDs love my sewing for them.

I also miss the painting I used to do.  I'm not much of an artist but I do have this nifty easel that sets up anywhere.  Putting those colors on a canvas...well, the first few times it takes a lot of nerve to destroy the pristine whiteness.  I'm not the first person who thought that--Winston Churchill himself said the same thing!

I used to take a Tuesday morning Bible study, and I think I miss that most of all!  The camaraderie was awesome and we had the best teacher ever.  But the "problem" with the Disciple Bible studies is that it presses you to do things.  In my case, it pushed me to confront my desire to help people one-on-one and my passion for helping teenagers and families.  And that pushed right out of the class and into the Professional Counseling degree program I'm in now. Rats.

There are plenty of other things, but it makes me sad to dwell on too much.  And it totally ignores the cool stuff I've been learning and the progress I'm making toward a much bigger goal.  So, sometimes part of following a path means lightening my load, even if it's only for a season.  Something else to think about.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Getting off the high horse

I've settled down a little, and it only took me three days!  I've decided my approach to my perplexing class is to keep a sense of humor and to remember why I decided to come to school in the first place.  (Why? Because I like people and want to help them live the best life they can--like Oprah but without the cash.) The key for me is to take the useful insights, the things I didn't know, and leave the politics at the door.  There are plenty of research-driven techniques that I can learn from with out drinking the kool-aid.  Thanks, Dr. Helen!

In the skills class we are practicing and practicing: reflection, check-in, open question.  Over and over, questions to friends, strangers, children, and inanimate objects.  Nothing makes you feel like you need to some counseling yourself faster than walking around asking the car, the sink, or the lamp an open-ended question.  This class, though, has some lasting effects.  I find myself able to listen to my kids better, without interrupting and without telling them what to do quite so fast.  I'm still their mom, but I'm definitely getting more information out of them now!  Someday I'll probably pay for their being my little guinea pigs, but right now having my own practice lab is a total bonus.

Sunday...time to teach my Sunday School class, go to worship, and then spend a quiet day in this glorious fall weather.  DH is finally back home after a whole week away and we have so much catching up to do!  And then there is always reading and reading and reading.  And writing.  The papers are starting to kick in and the first one is due tomorrow.  Juggling all of these priorities takes a lot of attention.  I need to think about this some more and then maybe I'll post about it.  Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


My classmates are mostly much younger than me, one of the hazards of attending college as a (I hate to admit it) forty-something.  They are much, much more liberal, as a group, than any people I have ever been around in my life, one of the hazards of learning to be a therapeutic counselor.  And it's the liberalism that I'm struggling with--some days I say to hell with it and say what I think.  More often, though, I just listen and bite my tongue.  It really isn't the wimpy way out, I hope.

Here's what happened today, though.  Palinsanity broke out in front of my eyes during our discussion of gender differences.  (Or maybe they were just Palindignant?) She was run down for not having the "right" views, and for having her baby at her acceptance speech, and for her daughter being pregnant at 17 while the governor advocates abstinence education.  And for trying to have it all when she should be home with the kids.  I kept quiet except to point out that Geraldine Ferrarro had given Palin full marks for running, even while she disagreed with Palin's politics.  But I want to talk about this here, lay out my thoughts and see how it sounds:

First, even Camille Paglia, a renowned feminist who I don't always agree with but who does have a history with feminism, thinks that Palin is great for women.  Expecting a woman to hold certain views merely because she's a woman--that is the opposite of what feminism should even be about!  I agree with Gov. Palin about lots of things, and it doesn't make me less of a woman. More important is the alignment of professed beliefs and actions.  I don't find the governor to be hypocritical at all, which is key for me.

As for Trig being at the speech, and Piper, too, for that matter:  Some days in the life of a family are bigger than bedtimes and an orderly schedule.  Some days need to be experienced together, even if everyone doesn't realize exactly what is going on.  Maybe this is an observation borne of having a bunch of kids myself, but "the team" needs to hang through things together.  When you have big good things happen, like this, you get to experience them together.  Then, when the hard times come, and they will, you can experience those things together, too.  I think it was important to Gov. Palin and her husband to see ALL their children and her parents there.  I even think it was terrific that "the boyfriend" was there.  He isn't "the boyfriend" at this point:  he's the Palins' future son-in-law, hopefully a member of the family from now own.  

The snickering, the schadenfreude that ran through the room when discussing Bristol's pregnancy...disgraceful.  I really believe the Palins handled this beautifully, issuing their statement that didn't endorse her actions but emphasized their love for their daughter, and their respect for her as an autonomous person and adult.  If I'm ever faced with such a situation in our home, I hope I can handle it with that kind of grace.

Finally, has anyone actually asked Gov. Palin if she thinks she has it "ALL?"  I'd be surprised if she answered "yes."  I don't think I know one woman who truly believes she has it all.  I have a really great life, but there are always things I'd like to change or have more of--time with the kids, more exercise, an actual job (shoe money!), more time to spend with friends or my DH, or a better prayer life.  I believe each one of us can have it all, just not all at once.  Until anyone asks the governor this question, I'm of the opinion that Gov. Palin and her husband have figured out how to make their family life and working lives work for them.

As I write this, though, the worst part of my day is realizing that the people in the room all want to be counselors, people committed to empathic, nonjudgmental listening and helping. What happened in that classroom was the furthest thing from empathic or nonjudgmental.  How in the world will they deal with people who have values so different from theirs?  For that matter, how will I?

Monday, September 15, 2008


Wow.  Things have gotten crazy, between the kids' school, my school, all the concomitant activities, the birthday-palooza that is late August/early September around here.  And this poor blog has gone neglected.

I've missed it, and need to have a space to reflect on everything going on, the relationship between what I'm learning and what I believe and what I've experienced.  And also the shoes.

More later (really, I promise!).  I find myself with a couple of open hours, unexpected, so I'm going to blow through the house and then I'll be back.

UPDATE:  Yish.  I just read my last post, about not finishing.  Okay.  I'm back.