Every goodnight kiss is a gift.

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When you’re a new mother, it feels like they’ll be little forever.
You study their every part. You learn their every mood. You breathe more deeply in their presence.

But then life changes, and you settle into routines. And you begin to understand the difficulty that comes with children growing – evolving into better humans.

And, at some point, you may return to work.

Continue reading “Every goodnight kiss is a gift.”

Working Hard for No Money

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The Gratitude Gospel: Day 9

Lately, I’ve been thinking about jobs.

Our rental has become a bit of a fishbowl in recent days. A deck is being built outside. Shirts, as we have learned, are optional.

The whole environment is strange until you consider that the beings clanging around our home are humans. They have families, too. And when they work long hours after a long day of work, they leave them behind.

Continue reading “Working Hard for No Money”

We’ve forgotten how to use our hands

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My father’s hands were always calloused – filthy from the day’s work. His meal ticket wasn’t a college degree but back-breaking labor. In all of my life, I have never seen anyone work harder.

Which is why he readily accepts projects during visits to our home. This past December he removed rotten wood and adhesive from our front steps and completely replaced our laundry room flooring. In the process, he ruined a well-used long-sleeved T-shirt with Virginia Tech, my alma mater, written across it.

My father’s four-year plan ended prematurely, and he didn’t finish college.

Continue reading “We’ve forgotten how to use our hands”

Time: The Missing Ingredient

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Sometimes the muffins don’t rise, and sometimes it’s your own fault.

If there is one thing to be said of college students, it is this: they stay hungry. During my undergraduate years, I remember, with a weak stomach, subsisting off a diet of highly processed foods. I believe rock bottom was the morning I ate microwaveable mac and cheese at 7:30 a.m. before a final exam.

Of course, I see this same struggle in my students, which inspires me to bake a homemade treat for each of my classes during the semester.  Two weeks ago, I gathered the necessary supplies for double chocolate chip muffins and committed myself to the task, which happened to be at 10 p.m.

After nearly an hour of preparation and baking, I peered into the oven with the kind of devastation that always finds teachers who try too hard. The muffins were dense and flat, and I immediately recalled my missing ingredient: baking soda.

I went to bed that night with a heavy heart and a full trash can.

Continue reading “Time: The Missing Ingredient”

The Two-Career Conundrum

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In Matthew Chapter 6*, Jesus discusses a person’s inability to serve two masters, but I would have to respectfully disagree – that is, if we are to consider the two-career conundrum that mothers who wish to work outside of the home face. Mothers, of course, seek or return to an external occupation for various reasons, but the emotional, psychological, and, often, physical ties to their children never diminish. If a woman is to contribute to the world vocationally, she must bear the weight of an additional career and somehow find a balance between the two.

For myself, this looks an awful lot like a hangover. Continue reading “The Two-Career Conundrum”