Boz taught me an important lesson last week.

She said that she regretted not getting up to St. Louis to spend time with Schmilly over the summer. I was trying to reassure her, or make her feel better, as is my tendency, and she said, “I’ll just need to remember this feeling.”

She didn’t need me to reassure her. She didn’t need or want to feel better. She wanted to recognize that she had this feeling of regret, and though Schmilly wouldn’t want her to feel badly, Boz wanted this to be a lesson to herself for next time.

I realized all the ways this applies to parenting and life in general.

Shortly before Buds and I were married, Mom and Dad’s next door neighbor, who had been a family friend for decades, was dying from brain cancer. Buds and I were home for the weekend to firm up wedding plans, and I saw Jim sitting on his front porch. Even from a distance, and from reports from Mom and Dad, I knew he was very, very ill.

I chose to wave and drive off to our appointment with the reception hall.

That was the last time I saw him.

Over the years I’ve looked back on that time with so much sorrow and regret. The lesson of that decision has taught me well over the years.

Showing up matters.

Being a face in the crowd at the funeral…it matters.

Sending the card, making the call, dropping off the food…it matters.

Boz got that. She’ll remember the next time.

Our children, they deserve these lessons, too. This is one of the reasons Buds and I make the choices we do as parents. We talk with the children about their choices to try to ensure they understand the options, but for many decisions, we let them make the choice.

Regret can be your friend, if you learn from it.


The Buster came in search of company about 3:15 this morning. We wandered down to his room, and snuggled in for a few minutes to visit before settling back to sleep.

“Mom, would a perfect person be considered a superhero?” he asked.

“You can decide anyone you want is a superhero,” I replied.

“Then you are mine,” he whispered with a hug.

But wait, it gets even better…

As I’m snuggled next to him, enjoying the warmth under the quilt my grandma made, and the warm glow from my heart, I think, “this will make a great blog post.”

Then he says, “This needs to be a blog post.”

“That’s what I was thinking!” I laugh.

“I’m psychic,” he responds before rolling over to snooze.

Those moments in time where your world is in sync, those are moments to live for.

Moments of love

Moments of love

In Remembrance:

Schmilly’s Celebration of Life was yesterday. This poem reminds me of her. She left more behind than love, but the love she did leave behind is the stuff of legend.

By: Martin Willitts, Jr.

—Emily Dickinson, # 510

It is not anything that stopped; but me.
It was not Death’s hearse of autumn leaves
slowing down to find my Last Testament.

If I made the smallest dent, I hope it was with Love.
Nothing in this reflective silence is long enough.
Nothing stops ticking in order to speak of me.

I came into the world with nothing except in Love;
and I leave behind nothing of value except Love.
Love—Love never stops. It keeps on going.

“When everything that ticked—has stopped” by Martin Willitts, Jr., from The Heart Knows Simply What It Means: Poems Based on Emily Dickinson, Her Life and Poetry. © Aldrich Press, 2012.

I told you so…

The Buster cried when he got his new glasses last week. His was the prescription that changed the most, and the goal was to encourage the weaker eye to make more effort.

This meant the new glasses made his vision feel fuzzy and uncomfortable. He felt awful from the physical discomfort.

We agreed he would try them for a few days, and then we would go back to the eye doctor if necessary. He wore them a little more each session over the weekend and into the start of this week.

On the way to rock climbing on Wednesday, I asked him if the glass were feeling enough better or if we needed to go see the eye doctor when we were at Costco today.

“They feel enough better,” he said.

And he went on, “and I know you wouldn’t say ‘I told you so,’ that they are feeling better.”

“Of course not,” I said, “because we just didn’t know.”

His words about me not saying, “I told you so,” moved me much more than he could know.

Because, I AM an “I told you so.” I’m also a “Who did this?” And a “What happened here?”

I’ve been in households where someone had to be blamed for anything that went wrong. It is a very difficult habit to break.

I’m trying to learn to recognize that a lot of times it doesn’t matter who did what.

“I told you this would happen,” doesn’t actually do any good to the child who is crying from the anguish or pain. Better to comfort and support with, “How can I help?”

Blame, in general, I’m sort of over it.

Because what happens when someone has to be blamed?

You learn to hide and you learn not to share your ideas or plans.

I don’t want my children to have to hide or lie. It isn’t a fun way to grow up, and it doesn’t bring a family closer together.

Thanks, Buster, for reminding me about choosing to be my best self. I’ll keep on trying.

New Specs

New Specs


Introvert and Extrovert are too limiting, as are most labels, but it is intriguing to me to think about those who choose to comment on this blog.

My mom and Nonni, they always/generally/most of the time comment. ‘Cause they’re my moms. That’s what moms do. Keep it up, you two.

Kelly, my darling extroverted friend, sister-from-another-mother, she always/often comments on the blog because, of course she does. She’s like me, so she shows me support and love in this public way. That means a lot to me.

Buds, when he really thinks I’ve written something that can improve our culture or strengthen families or drive people to be better people, he’ll post it on Facebook with some rousing admonishment, “Facebook, this one’s for you, and it will make your lives better.” That’s his way of showing me he’s proud of me and thinks the whole world should love me, too. He wants me to go “viral.”

The rest of you, the ones who like to comment or give insight, you do it in a direct email to me. And I love that, too. The intimacy of sharing your insights and your stories and your support, that matters to me so much. You tell me when I’ve touched your heart or reminded you of a childhood memory. That is why I continue to write…stories and memories.

Monkey is the one who comments to correct or give her own insight into a story. I live with three-attorneys-in-training. When Monkey is 40, she’ll look back and see her own words recorded here.

Those of you who just read and don’t comment. That matters, too. The Buster and Poppi are two of those. I know Buster’s reading the posts, because he’ll randomly say, “Write a blog post about this, Mom.” Or, “Take a picture for the blog, Mom.” Or, “This is like that time you wrote about in the blog, Mom.” Poppi always tells me how much he likes knowing what’s going on in our life. And he’ll ask questions to learn more about the stories. If you take three minutes of time to read what I’ve written, that’s a gift you’ve given me.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this today, nor what my intended goal is. I’ve been writing this blog over 5 years and we’ve posted over 600 posts. I’m proud of that. I’m grateful that so many family stories have been recorded for us to look back on and remember.

Jason has decided to continue posting on Schmilly’s blog. He shared a story about when they were first dating and about the joy and laughter Schmilly brought to any, even stinky, situation. I loved reading it and told him so in a comment.

Maybe that’s what this post is about. Stories and memories and love, that’s what we’ve got to show for our time on this planet. I’m grateful to have all those things.

So many good times.

So many good times.

So much love.

So much love.

Plenty of room on this couch for a book and a snuggle.

Plenty of room on this couch for a book and a snuggle.

Relaxing and visiting

Relaxing and visiting

Tough times

Tough times

The one whole group picture we have of the entire trip.  Priceless!

The one whole group picture we have of the entire trip. Priceless!

Long ago times.

Long ago times.

Happy Friday!

It’s Not About The Lips

We almost had an argument in the car this morning about who has had dry lips the longest. Yessa and Buster were attaching a timeline to their dry lips, and mine. Discussion was getting heated.

I was just about too say dismissively, “Who cares?! It’s just dry lips.”

Then I realized, it’s not about the lips.

It was a rough morning at our house. Monkey’s introvert battery is running low. Buster had his feelings hurt and was feeling fragile. Yessa’s attempts to help were sharply rebuffed, and I was little support to anyone as I ran around stripping beds and making sure people had socks for rock climbing.

It wasn’t the dry lips.

It was a need to be heard and respected and reassured of the value you hold in our family.

So we talked through the dry lips, and came to consensus on who had them longest. Monkey was able to escape into her own world in her kindle, gaining a small measure of balance. We listened to each other.

By the time we pulled into the parking lot for climbing, we were laughing about silly things, and feeling connected. A little more balanced, a lot more settled in our skins.

We walked in the door, holding hands, ready to take on the final climbing class. Ready to take on the world.

Jason’s Post About Schmilly

I’ve linked to Schmilly’s blog before. Jason has written a beautiful, eloquent, moving, and inspiring post about her.

Since many of you have sent me your kind words and loving thoughts, I wanted to share the post with you so that you can be holding Jason and Rory in your thoughts and prayers in the days and years ahead.

Love, folks, that’s the good stuff.

May we feel it.
May we share it.
May we grow it.

Celebrate Jilly

Happy Sigh

When the eight year-old looks at you and says, “I hope when I adopt or have a baby that you will be there with me. Not just because I want you to be there, but so you can teach me how to wipe it and all that.”

You want me there, Kid, I’ll be there.

My future's so bright...

My future’s so bright…

Building a Putz House

I was initially drawn to this project because of the name “Putz,” but after reading more, I realized they are beautiful.

When The Chan Chan Clan is in town this week, we’re going to give these a shot.

Since I know there are lots of crafty folks who read this blog, I thought I’d share the website with you, too.

I’ll share our pictures after we’ve given it a try. If you try it, send me shots of your attempts.

Glitter Houses

From the linked website above.

From the linked website above.

Isn’t it beautiful?

“Free” Airline Miles

We hope to finance many of our flight and train tickets using the miles we earn on our credit cards. We pay the cards off every month, so we put everything we can on them. We’re saved up about 160,000 miles so far.

The card I use most frequently is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. We applied for the cards when they were running a deal I learned about from Chris Guillebeau on his Travel Hacking Site. Mia and I read his “A Brief Guide To World Domination” many years ago, which lead to us taking over the Religious Exploration Committee at church, but that’s a different story.

There are two reasons I’m writing this spam-sounding post.

First, I sincerely hope that most of you who regularly read this blog will plan to join us for a week or two in at least one of the countries we will visit over the next several years. I hope you have already known that. A carefully selected credit card may be part of your plans to finance that trip.

Second, Chase is running a decent deal right now for the Sapphire Preferred card, and it would benefit both you and us. If you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening the card, you’ll get 40,000 bonus points. In addition, for each person that signs up for the card using the referral link you’ll be sent, we’ll receive 5,000 bonus points on our card.

Full disclosure: Chase will randomly run a deal for 50,000 bonus points with a set spend amount in the first three months. I think ours was only $3,000. So, this deal isn’t as good as that one, but we both still benefit.

Signing up for the travel hacker emails is a fantastic way to learn about these types of deals when they come up.

So, if you are at all interested in a new credit card, please send me an email to let me know, and I’ll send you the link.

If you aren’t at all interested in a new credit card, send me an email to let me know something joyful and interesting that is going on in your life.

No matter what, we all win.

Happy travels, Dear Ones.



It’s a great deal for…YOU!