Articles & Essays

Samples of recent work.

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Perspectives


Flip Side of Gratitude The highest response to nay-sayers is to flourish joyfully in our choices. Letting them understand how and why is a route we rarely take. Here’s how.       Pathways to Family Wellness issue 33

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Light & Shadow  We can past the need to separate our lives into good and bad, putting us right into the seamless whole of a fully lived life.    Lilipoh spring 2011

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10 Reasons to Become a Library Addict   Unlike most human relationships, my library is always buying me something new, forgiving me when I screw up, and consistently planning unexpected ways to lure me.  American Library Association

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Mother & Child Are Linked At The Cellular Level  We heal our mothers and our children heal us. Science gives us a glimpse into nature’s awesome secrets.

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Listening to Bees  Our beehives stand within the boundaries of woodland, blackberry bushes and pasture. Each time  I   approach this clearing I sense I am entering a separate realm.    Geez Magazine issue six

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Life as a Quest I am burdened by positive motivations. I am convinced that I am on this planet to spread peace,  deepen truth and create joy.  Unfortunately details get in the way. Geez Magazine issue seven

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Public Love  I couldn’t resist clicking on a link titled “Learning to Love You More.” Turns out it’s a site where participants share art in response to numbered assignments. These assignments are compellingly odd…    Geez Magazine issue 13

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Five Fixes For The Crazy Busy Syndrome     I confess to suffering from Crazy Busy Syndrome but I fight back with these tactics.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Ask The Most Important Question   Maybe it’s foolhardy. Maybe it’s brave. Prepare yourself, because you never know what the answers will be.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Memoir

Imaginary Motherhood The real me falls terribly short. I kvetch. I get tears in my eyes easily, even from poignant long distance ads. I plot giant world saving accomplishments while forgetting to water the plants. I fuss and grumble and speaking of short, I’m also shorter than everyone in the house. That can’t be right. In my imagination I am tall.    Secular Homeschooling Magazine

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Pride Goes Before Tiny Bite Marks    There were a few early years when I thought, probably with obnoxious smugness, that my wonderful parenting had something to do with how well my kids were turning out. Then my third child showed up…    Mothering.com

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How The Secret Garden Saved Me  A child’s inner life can be a mystery, to her and to the adults in her life. That’s why books are so important.    Rethinking Everything Magazine

 

The Bomb & Me  How the atomic bombs dropped on Japan resonate in my life, in ways I never imagined.  The First Day

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Talking During Recess  I went up to Mrs. Lauver’s desk as slowly as possible. Anxiety made my senses acute. I could smell the awful geraniums she kept on the windowsill, their brown sickly leaves rotting away. I could feel my classmates’ eager curiosity—cartoon watchers waiting for the silly wabbit to be  shot.    Writer’s Eye May/June 2009

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How School Violence Led Us To Homeschooling   When my son called to say a gun had been pulled on him in school, I couldn’t even rush there to get him. All I could say was, “Get out now. Run.”    Wired.com/geekmom

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Moving to the Hinterland   The car stereo shorted out repeatedly during our move to the country, defaulting from quiet public radio to a station transmitting evangelical hellfire at top volume. I guess that was the first sign.    Geez Magazine issue six

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Newcomers to God’s Country  I’d been in the township less than two months and now I was heard threatening to use restraints on a poor confused woman and three disorderly little boys.  Penduline issue four

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From Pregnancy Disaster To Newborn Wonder   The baby arrived exactly a year after my husband sat all day in the waiting room afraid I might die, the day the darkness was taken out of me so life could flourish again.  Wired.com/geekmom

 

Thanks To Mom, We Tried Turkey Farming   For years my mother was reluctant to turn Thanksgiving over to me, even though it was increasingly difficult for her. Turns out, I just had to promise to use white bread in the stuffing. I took it farther, of course.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Piper, Pipe That Song Again  Bagpipes weren’t something one heard often in Ohio the 60’s, at least I couldn’t tune them   in on my plastic AM radio.   Bewildering Stories issue 309

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Family Architecture   A family is a building. The ground under it shifts, settles, shifts again. Sometimes there are blocked off rooms, steps leading nowhere, basements flooded with ruined memories. Its size and strength can’t be seen from the exterior. Inside, it can be reinforced with the simplest tools—a warm meal, a lingering touch, shared laughter.  Rose & Thorn Journal  fall 2011

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Worst Christmas Becomes The Most Memorable Christmas    No job, no money. Then a last minute opportunity to reach out to a family in much worse trouble.  Wired.com/geekmom

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No Pain, No Gain?   Knee surgery. No big deal. Simple carpentry techniques applied to a human leg. Okay, recovery is a big deal.  You & Me Medical Magazine

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Living Beyond Boundaries, Thanks To Dad  Some people are like lighthouses. They’re quiet, even taken for granted, but they shine the way.   Wired.com/geekmom

 

Learning


Fun Theory    I’m not aware of any official Fun Theory in the field of learning. But fun shimmers under the surface of motivation and focus like a very big fish.    Home Education Magazine May/June 2010

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A Child’s Place is in the Kitchen It’s easier to cook when our kids aren’t in the way. Besides, bubbling pots and sharp knives are hardly child friendly. But there are many reasons why our children belong in the kitchen. One is the way their learning advances as they stir, chop and converse with us. What may seem like average culinary tasks are actually rich educational projects for them.    Culinate.com


Climb, Swing & Snuggle: Reading Readiness Involves the Whole Body  Readiness isn’t created by workbooks or computer programs. It’s the result of brain maturation as well as rich experiences found in bodily sensation and movement.  Natural Life Magazine

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The Boy With No Toys  Find out how one child may actually benefit as he grows up without a single purchased plaything.   Natural Life Magazine  Nov/Dec 2011

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Five Ways Frugal Living Benefits Kids  I’m talking big benefits. Some of them life-long.  Natural Life Magazine *

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Subversive Way To Promote Map Use By Kids  A casual yet entirely underhanded way to advance geographical familiarity. Sometimes involves dragons.  Wired.com/geekmom

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Making History Relevant  Twenty-five engaging ways to bring history into our everyday lives.   Home Education Magazine July/Aug 2011

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How Kids Benefit From Chores  Sharing household responsibility with kids has a major impact on their learning, emotional intelligence, and long term success.   Mothering.com

2013/01/find-learn-from-experts/

Innate Gifts Few young people have clear indications of their gifts. Most have multiple abilities. A single true calling is rarely anyone’s lot in life as it is for a legendary artist or inventor. Instead, a mix of ready potential waits, offering a life of balance among many options. Education emphasizing the child’s particular strengths allows that child to flourish, no matter if those gifts fall within mainstream academic subjects or broader personal capacities. Traits such as a highly developed sense of justice, the knack for getting others to cooperate, a way with animals, a love of organization—-these are of inestimable value, far more important skills than good grades on a spelling test.  New Awareness Magazine

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Free Range Learners “Don’t help, Mom,” Claire says as I go to pick up the three-day-old chick. So I watch instead. It’s peeping helplessly…   Home Education Magazine Mar/April 2008

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No Parrots Here I like safety precautions like helmets, seat belts and peace accords.  My 10-year-old son adores skateboards, stunt biking and tree climbing.  He plans to be a pilot. He talks to me about airfoils and ailerons. I’d only fly if I were being awarded the Nobel Prize. Even then I’d probably ask if it could be delivered.  Home Education Magazine

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Re-engaging Youth In Community Life The benefits of bringing kids back to the commons, with five ways to involve young people in the workings of their communities.  Front Porch Forum

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Armed Only with a Clipboard Long ago, we declared freedom from workbooks. Here’s how to learn outdoors, with or without a clipboard.  The Link

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Sprouting Plant Advocates “She wanted me to kill it Mom!” he said, wide-eyed at the injustice…    Green Prints issue 77

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Interest-Based Groups Just about any interest can spark friendship and learning in a group of children.  Here’s how to start and run them.  Heart of the Matter

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Educating Too Early   Structured learning is downright counterproductive for young kids. Here’s why.   Wired.com/geekmom

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How To Raise Word Lovers   It takes one simple object you probably have lying around the house.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Helping Young People Establish Mentoring Connections Mentoring relationships are vitally important as young people mature. Why as well as how to find mentors in fields of interest.  Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice volume 23

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Do You “Tell” About Santa?   Decades ago I had the gall to express my doubts to a fellow kindergartener. That didn’t go well. So I had no intent of lying to my own kids.  Wired.com/geekmom

 

How the 10,000 Hour Rule Benefits Us  Thousands of hours spent, not in one pursuit, but in many still add up to innovative thinking, competence, strength of character, and much more.  EducationRevolution.org

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What the French Revolution Taught Me About Parenting    Those who don’t see the consequences, don’t understand.   Rethinking Everything Magazine

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Community Building & Peace

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Making Peace in Your Life & Peace in the World When we deal with signs of conflict right away, firmly and with compassion, we don’t permit problems to get worse. That’s just one principle of nonviolence. The more we know about nonviolence, the wider the range of options we have to choose from in each situation.    Natural Life Magazine

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Bringing Kids Back To The Commons Five ways to involve young people in the workings of the community around them.  Front Porch Forum

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We Don’t Need No Age Segregation The tale of a teen seeking his own adult role models, a radical concept in today’s safety-obsessed culture.   Shareable.com 

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Fighting Mean World Syndrome   How do you come down with it? What’s the cure?  Wired.com/geekmom

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Perform Guerrilla Encouragement Efforts   Acts of encouragement that you can commit with a child’s help.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Crisis Brings Out The Best In Us  Even those suffering the most horrific misfortune often turn around to aid others and later remember it as the defining moment of their lives. This is a testament to the human spirit, as if disaster cracks us open to our better selves.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Farming

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A Cow’s Life When we were new to farming, everything we read warned that a calf left with its mother to nurse freely was likely to develop scours, a potentially fatal condition. We couldn’t imagine that nature had it wrong…   Culinate.com

 

Neighborhood Cows & Pigs: Real Food Sovereignty  We can learn from traditions abandoned only a few generations ago by bringing back neighborhood livestock.

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The Queen’s Gift   It’s human nature to look for signs. Easy success appears to be a portent of even better things to come. Enough bad luck and we tend to think perhaps we’re meant to change direction. Give up. Run away.    Farming Magazine winter 2009

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Adventures with Isabelle  Within 24 hours of Isabelle’s arrival, we understood how the nursery-rhyme cow might have jumped over the moon.   Grit Nov/Dec 2007

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Sold to the Highest Bidder  “There’s a lot of talk about maintaining family farms, but there’s not much done,” Owen says. “Over the years, the total amount of dollars kept local by the auction is in the millions.  That means hanging on to farms for a lot of people.”  Grit July/Aug 2008

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Case of the Disappearing Honeybees  More than 4,000 natural pollinators, including butterflies and bumblebees, actually live in North America, but habitat loss and modern farming practices have left much of the workload to the busy bee herself, Apis mellifera.*Grit July/Aug 2007

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What Children Learn on the Farm Life lessons learned working together.   Countryside & Small Stock Journal, Jan/Feb 2011

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Humor

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Brilliant Trousers   I was called “Smarty Pants” a few too many times in my childhood. A little girl who can’t keep sarcastic asides to herself isn’t silenced by a nonsense term, especially when the invective is hurled by underpaid math teachers who are encased in terribly unflattering polyester slacks. The ultimate not-smart pants.   Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k)

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Vegetation Attack Disrupts Peace Meeting   The dark leaves seemed to grow as they headed toward my lips. Since the food was partway in my mouth it was too late to throw the whole action in reverse. So I shoved the rest of it in, afraid that I looked like one of those mulching machines grinding a tree branch.   DreamofThings.com

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Shunned by Polite Society Our smiles and greetings were completely ignored, as if we were low ranking primates walking slack-shouldered around the perimeter of alpha animals. Fine with me.    Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k)

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Dread Experience.  He looked the way our dog does when he’s been outside after the rain and his belly is a dangling chandelier of mud.  Errant Parent

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Interrogation Tips.  I was pretty sure the Bad Haircut Fairy hadn’t visited in the night. Errant Parent

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Poetry Diet  If I started a Poetry Diet now I’d be svelte in a week, thin rather soon and after that, starving artist might be a literal condition.    Rose & Thorn Journal

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Naked With My Editor   Freelance writing isn’t what I expected.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Health

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Will Fracking Impact My Family?   It’s happened here. I take a close look at the disclosure, rights, health, and environmental impact.   Wired.com/geekmom

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Eating Like Monsters: 12 Ways To Get Kids To Eat Well   Promote relaxed and healthy eating without power plays, bribes, and frustration.  Culinate.com

 

Junk Food Changes Your Behavior Never mind eating it. Just glimpsing fast food logos changes the way we think and act.   Culinate.com

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Fed Up With Mandatory Snacking  I’ll never live down my reputation as the anti-snack mom in a certain group. Ok, in pretty much every organized activity my kids have been in.  Mothering.com

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Don’t Sit Up Straight  Sit as if you’ve got a tail, plus other unexpected hints.  Wired.com/geekmom   

 

Frugal Fare: Eat Well Without Breaking The Bank   Sometimes a difficult economy causes us to rely more on ingenuity, thrift and community-building interdependence. Dozens of tips for saving on healthful foods.  Culinate.com


More About Mad Cow Disease These findings will have significant public policy as well as research implications.   Natural News

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Does Technology Improve Memory? There are many other ways to improve your memory without spending time and money on mental gymnastics.  Natural News

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Lose Weight Using Honey   Losing weight has never been sweeter.   Natural News

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Holistic Living


Dandelions Celebrate spring by eating this nutrient-packed, colorful plant.  Natural Life

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Your Wallet Changes the Marketplace  A quiet revolution based on information and idealism is changing the marketplace.  Wired.com/geekmom

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Improve School Lunches with Locally Grown Food  Connecting school lunch programs directly to local farms is good for everyone.  Natural News

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Word of the Year Describes Eco-Friendly Eaters   Each time a choice is made to eat healthy, locally grown food we put sustainability on the menu.  Natural News

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Truth About Honeybees=Clues to Disappearance   Honeybees are disappearing. Searching for likely causes leads us to find out about adulterated honey, poison in beehives and other shocking realities.  Natural News

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Make Grain-Free Dog Treats  Healthy alternatives to processed dog treats, including recipes. Y our pets will happily serve as taste testers. 

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Spirituality & Religion

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Urrealism Reynolds is waging creativity in the streets, the classroom and even in academic journals. He is the originator of an art movement called Urrealism. It is backed by a complex philosophy connected in ever-widening circles with such disciplines as depth psychology, cultural studies and astronomy.

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Mixed Messages Some come as a last resort, their faces dulled by pain or sorrow. Many are loyal repeat visitors. And a few arrive with giddy anticipation, giggling and hushing each other like fans waiting for a celebrity to appear. Who are they expecting? The Virgin Mary.

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Biking to Salvation Graskemper, with the worn good looks and bad boy laugh of a rebel, opens the meeting with a gentle prayer. He asks that the group act as “light and salt” in their ministry. His hands, scarred from years of working as a glazer, open the Bible with confidence.

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Worshipping (series of 35 articles) The organ postlude, “Siyahamba,” based on a South African freedom song, resounds through the building. No one stirs. As the last note fades, congregation members can’t help themselves. They clap.

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