I’m a Stand-in Mom for Other Mothers

A Stand-in Mom for Other Mothers Before I married, I used to think I wanted to marry a man with the last name of Baker and have 13 children. Instead, I married a man named Ojeda and we decided early on that as teachers, we could only afford two children. These days my refrigerator holds certificates and graduation announcements from my kids from other mothers. After teaching for close to 30 years, I have a lot of children. Sure, Pedro…

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A Shower of April New Releases

Intrigue and Romance (Not Necessarily in that Order) Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano (April 4) With a name like Permilia, you know the characters will be filled with quirks and foibles. Permilia might be a society wallflower, but she manages to work behind the scenes to create an acceptable life for herself that’s meaningful and stimulating. Asher thinks he has no room in his life for Permilia—a woman who doesn’t fit his ideal of a perfect life partner—despite the…

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The Darker Side of Should: When to Eliminate it

The Friendly ‘Should’ I used to use the word ‘should’ all the time. It felt benign and friendly. “You should put your toys away before supper time,” always sounded kinder than, “Put away your toys before supper.” Telling someone what they ‘should’ do sounded so much nicer than telling them what to do. It allowed me to hide my bossy nature from the world (or maybe just deny that I HAVE a bossy side). And then our daughter entered the…

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The Rest of the Story: More Adventures Await

More Trouble and Destination Disappointment There’s more to last week’s story about my misguided adventure with a busload of students. After negotiating through an additional seven miles of bumpy dirt road, we came to a water crossing within sight of a paved road. This time, I stopped the bus and the boys hopped off and built up the banks of the road with more rocks BEFORE I attempted to drive over. When we finally turned onto a paved road, the…

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When You Plan a Trip, Check a Map!

It Seemed Like a Good Idea I should have known when I passed the sign that said, “Unmaintained Road.” And we should have just turned around when I blew by the sign that said, “Road Impassable When Wet.” But it had been a long day. After a late night wrangling the final details for outdoor school, I had arisen at four. I had to finish packing and load my stuff and shepherd everyone aboard for our outdoor school adventure. When…

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The Simple Antidote to Not Enough: Praise

Feeling Like I’m Not Enough I wander along the road in the desert, feeling off-kilter and slightly out-of-sorts. Maybe my feelings of discontent come from wondering if I have enough. Will I have enough time to fit everything into the day, enough money to pay my taxes, and enough patience with my spring-fever-filled students? I long for assurance that I will make it through this quarter, that I will have enough to meet my needs, that the hummingbirds will actually return,…

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Finding Community at the Sewer Ponds Whilst Looking for a Wagtail

  Confessions of a Wanna-be Birder I confess, I might classify myself as a birder. Although I don’t hope to join the birding legends (yeah, birding has ‘legends’) who seek out 700-plus bird species in a single year, I do have a life list. I can’t drop everything and jet off to the corners of the United States when a rare bird happens by. Fortunately, I live in Arizona, a state that gets its fair share of rarities. This weekend…

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How Do YOU Define Christian?

Doing Research in the Age of Information Leading high school students through the arduous process of writing a research paper leaves me feeling exhausted. Since the advent of the Internet, Google, Wikipedia, and social media, kids define cutting and pasting content from other sources as ‘research.’ I beg to differ. And so we do things the old-fashioned-sort-of-technologically-advanced way in my classes. The students make photocopies of everything they plan on using that comes from a book. They print out web…

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I Survived Hell’s Revenge (and Learned a Few Lessons Along the Way)

Headed to Hell’s Revenge “Let’s do Hell’s Revenge!” Pedro exclaimed when we finished eating lunch the first full day of our Moab vacation. “I’m in,” Louis, our son-in-law, said. Laura and I looked at each other and headed into the trailer with the dirty dishes. “Maybe we won’t have to go,” I said with a hopeful grin. “We could stay here and write or something,” Laura agreed. Neither one of us relished a tour of one of the most difficult…

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When Someone Grieves, Offer an Embrace

The Passing of a Family Friend I wanted to reach through the phone line and embrace my daughter. Instead, I texted her back and tried to concentrate on reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my freshman class. I kept losing my place and glancing at my phone. Not professional behavior, I know. But when your daughter texts you that her beloved German Shepherd has bladder cancer and the vet sees no hope, you do what needs to…

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