Sunday, March 13, 2022

Focus on the Practice

 “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds…”  Theodore Roosevelt

This quote is on a poster sitting on my cluttered desk. Perhaps, the unframed poster is a metaphor for my work life this year.  Even my motivational reminders lie there, unfinished.  There’s time to buy them, but no time to frame and hang them.  In the world of public education, things have been tough for years.  Honestly, there is only a small hope that they will get easier.  Most of us working in this world show up every day to do something difficult. 


As a public school administrator, I am frequently faced with at least two valid choices, either of which will be difficult for an important group of stakeholders.  I'm pretty new at this, and I feel uncertain every day.  How do we balance the need for social and emotional support to build student capacity and the need for challenging academic tasks to increase student learning?  How do we balance the need for families to be heard and the need for teachers to be supported?  Truly, one of the biggest challenges in my life is to make the right decision at the right time for the right reasons.  

These days, the loop of conflicting decisions rarely closes, or when a new challenge arises as soon as the previous one is met.  Sometimes, it is difficult to feel like I am making progress or having a positive impact at all.  When I am worn down by pervasive doubts, I think of one of my favorite stories, a parable of sorts:  

There was a Zen archery instructor teaching in the U.S.  After he’s been here for a number of years, a reporter interviews him and asks, “How is your teaching going?”  The master replies, “Terrible!  These Americans just cannot learn the concept.  I try to teach them not to aim for the target, but to practice mindfully, and trust the process.  No matter how hard I try, they cannot get it.  They insist on trying to win.”  The reporter asked him, “Do you plan to return to Japan, then?”  The instructor replies, “No.  This is my practice.  Teaching Americans not to aim for the target is my practice.”

The old Zen master knew his students might never fully grasp the true lesson, yet he showed up every day to strive, knowing that the effort was his practice.  Of course, I want my efforts to result in the right outcome:  successful, happy students, effective, satisfied teachers, and an informed, engaged community.  Like the master, those results may elude me; however, I can focus on the practice. Showing up every day to make the best decision I can.

So, thank you to all of my friends in the arena, struggling valiantly to do the deeds.  We are united in our goals and connected through practice.  Let us keep calm and keep up the practice.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

A Fierce Mother's Love

 If you wonder where I get the steel in my spine or the set to my jaw when I’m ready to stand up for something, it’s from my mother.  

I was not raised by a sweet, gentle, retiring woman. I was not raised by a mother who baked us cookies in an apron or who took us to nail salons for girls’ days out.

My mother is the kind of woman who chops wood by hand or with a chainsaw to heat her house.  Whose favorite seat is in the summer on the lawnmower.  Who can back up a horse trailer, a tractor, and a school bus.  Who fell off the ladder painting the garage, broke her foot, and drove herself to the hospital with a stick shift car.  She got pulled over on the way there, and the policeman gave her an escort to the ER.  After she got treatment, she proceeded to wear out her walking boot by walking a few miles every day with a broken foot with her friend, Bessie.  My mother is the woman who got run over by a tractor after brush-hogging the field and ended up with a broken leg.  Don’t worry, she’s fine now; she just has a bionic femur now--all the stronger to walk those miles.

My mother is a fierce woman who loves fiercely.  She set boundaries for us. She expects that her children act with integrity and respect. She taught us that it's OK to fail, as long as we've given an honest effort. She dusted us off after our failures and set us back to the path again.   When the "evil coal-mining baron" neighbor abused his right-of-way over our farm, she used her savings account to fight him in court--because it was the right thing to do.  She stands by her convictions and her quiet, strong, Mennonite faith.  It’s a different thing to be hugged by a woman with calloused hands.  It’s a different thing to recognize a mother’s love in the mowing of the lawn and the cleaning of the gutters, just as much as in the cooking of dinner.

My mother is a woman who cares for the helpless.  She taught us the art of mothering the baby kittens that we found in the barn every year.  One litter had two little ones that were born with missing toes and legs, because the umbilical cord was wrapped around the joints.   We treated those tiny, tough little kitties just like the others--brought them into the house in a cardboard box in the evenings to “gentle” them and to give them milk.  They grew up strong, but not gentle.  We named them silly things like Marshmallow, but they were fearsome wee beasts, running around on their three legs for years, keeping the barn free of rodents.  We nurtured them into wild independence.

My mother is the kind of woman who understands the circle of life with all its kindness and cruelty.  She taught us to treat poison ivy by scratching open the blisters and pouring bleach into them.  She taught us to treat our own splinters with a sharp knife.  She knows that sometimes healing hurts.  She birthed foaled, nursed orphan colts, and buried the broodmares on the same farm.  She has seen her mother, father, and her husband all go home to glory while she stays on earth, caring for the rest of us.

My mother is the kind of woman who taught us to love those who need it and to stand on our own two feet.  She taught us to do what needs to be done--cleaning the gutter, shoveling manure, standing up for the disadvantaged.  She rolls up her sleeves every day and pitches in with her effort.  Once in a while, a colleague or friend remarks that I am “not a woman to be reckoned with”.  In those moments, I know it is because of the fierce love of a strong woman.  In those moments, I know I am truly my mother’s daughter. 

To all of the fierce, tough, take-no-prisoners kind of moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What have you learned?

Unprecedented.  This word has been used so often during 2020 that I fear it has lost its meaning.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “In these unprecedented times…” during the last year, well, I’d have a bunch of dollars.  Of course, there are no precedents for our circumstances and our decisions, especially regarding the education of our children.  We do not yet know the effects of this pandemic on our youth.  For teachers and school administrators, uncertainty leads to worrying.  We worry about our students.  This year,  I have been in numerous meetings with worried teachers during remote instruction.  “Our kids are struggling.  They are not engaging.  They will be so far behind.  How can they go to the next grade?  Where will we start with them?”

We are afraid that our students have “lost time”. We are afraid that they will not “catch up”.  We are afraid that they will be behind the starting line of the races we set for them every year.  We know the stakes:  high school courses, standardized tests, college admittance, career readiness.  We are constantly measuring our current students against our assessment yardsticks and we are mortally afraid that they are falling short of the measure.  As we face these fears, it’s time to raise a new question.  Theresa Thayer Snyder (2020), superintendent of Voorheesville district in upstate New York asks, “In our determination to ‘catch them up’, I fear we will lose who they are and what they have learned …  What on earth are we trying to catch them up on?”

Friends, in these unprecedented times, perhaps it is finally time to lay down the yardsticks (at least for awhile).  Now, let me be clear.  I am a special education teacher, currently working as the Pupil Services Coordinator in my district (or assistant director of special education).  I love data and assessment.  I see spreadsheets and graphs of student achievement in my head.  I can recite the Common Core standards from memory.  Common formative assessments make me happy.  Of course I want to know the exact present levels and current skills of our students.  So, the call to lay down our measuring stick didn’t come easily to me.  

As I listened to my caring colleagues who are so worried about their students and how they will be left behind, I have to wonder, “behind what?”  What is the magic goal that our students are missing?  What is the mark of normal that they are failing to hit?  None of us are at the goal line and there is no normal.  Our students have spent the last year traversing new territory.  They are learning in new modes and new environments.  They are navigating home life and school life all wrapped up together.  They are dealing with distractions from parents, siblings, and pets. They are organizing their materials and managing their own agendas.  We cannot use last year’s measures to assess their progress.

Rather than comparing them to an arbitrary yardstick of grade-level achievement, perhaps we should be listening to and learning with our students.  Even for a data-loving assessment-minded administrator, it is time to take a pause.  We do not have adequate tools to measure the learning that occurred during 2020.  We cannot chart the course on our curriculum maps just yet.  My favorite English teacher used to say, “No matter where you go, there you are.”  Our students only behind compared to our measures.  In reality, they are exactly where they ARE.  We are traveling a new road and our maps may not be so useful.  Rather, let’s take the time to learn what our students have learned this year.  

We can use our carefully crafted curriculum maps and assessments of student learning to guide the conversation, but we need not be slaves to the measures.  Remember the big ideas and essential questions that we want our students to struggle with through their learning.  They have come face to face with the nature of humanity.  They have learned how circumstances shape character.  They have had to consider life from various perspectives.  They have learned so many lessons. Remember the point of education:  to empower students to be successful learners in life.  Let’s ask them about their strengths, their needs, their stories, and their fears.  Let’s find out where their unique journey has led them and what they have learned in the process.  

When schools are finally re-opened and ready for business as usual, I can almost guarantee that it won’t be usual.  Rather than beginning with worry and fear for all we have lost, let’s take a moment to assess what we have accomplished.  Perhaps our first words when we finally are face to face with our students should be, “I’m so glad to see you.  Tell me what you’ve learned about life."


Teresa Thayer Snyder: What Shall We Do About the Children After the Pandemic. (2020, December 08). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Toxic Positivity: Healthy Negativity

The circumstances of 2020 have brought us many new buzzwords:  unprecedented, adaptive pause, pivot, and, my favorite, toxic positivity.  As a self-described pessimist, I am absolutely fascinated by toxic positivity.  According to The Psychology Group, “We define toxic positivity as the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. The process of toxic positivity results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.” (2019).  This seems to be the idea that it is painful and destructive to counsel or support or collaborate with people going through difficult challenges with platitudes.  For example, when a friend is in crisis, it can be less-than-helpful to say, “look on the bright side”, or “be grateful for what you have”.  To this new idea of toxic positivity, I want to say, “Well, duh…”  

From my personal experience, I know that when a person is experiencing grief, pain, loss, or despair, exhorting them to “cheer up” and “make the best of it” is just dumb.  When my father died after enduring cancer treatments for years, there were a few well-meaning people who said things like, “He is at peace now”.  Not helpful.  That man was at peace every day of his well-lived, well-loved life.  I missed my father.  My soul cried out against the idea of a world without him.  My heart hurt--literally.  I could point to the place in my chest where my grief lived.  It still has a home there, after fifteen years.  If I had tried to put on a happy face, I would have never healed.  Instead, my wise Uncle Dan (an Episcopal priest) gave me some of the best pastoral advice I’ve ever received, “Linda, sometimes, things just suck.”

I needed to be allowed to let things suck for just a little while.  Not to wallow, but to feel and explore the pain.  To dive into the suckiness and swim around a bit. Since then, this simple statement, “Sometimes things just suck” has seen my friends and I through grief and pain many times.  When my dear friend’s sister was killed in a car crash, she said, “You know, you’re right, Linda, sometimes things just suck”.  When another dear friend’s baby was born stilborn, acknowledging the suckiness of it all was the only comfort I could offer.  We acknowledged the pain and sat together while we felt it.  Sometimes we need someone to crawl into our hole with us so that we can find our way into the light.

It’s 2020 and let’s be honest:  things pretty much suck.  We are in a global pandemic, when people are losing their jobs and incomes, and when people are being asked to put their own health at risk to earn their living.  Wallowing in self-pity won’t help us.  But pretending to be happy about things won’t help either.  We need to find a healthy balance of admitting that things do suck and getting on with the important work that lies ahead.  As a person who has little patience with pretentiousness and inauthenticity, toxic positivity just isn’t a trap into which I will fall.  I tend to lean more towards the “healthy negativity”.  It stands to reason that if too much positivity can be toxic, then a certain amount of negativity can be healthy.  

Of course we want to celebrate all the hard-working health-care workers, essential labor, educators, and other professionals who are going above and beyond during these challenging times.  We call them heroes and we make memes about how hard they work.  We tell them they can solve the world’s problems, that “we are in this together”, and that “we can do anything”.  We should celebrate them--we need them and we love them.  It is natural to want to prop our people up and put on a brave face.  However, at the heart of this problem is a very sucky situation.  We are in a global pandemic, when people are losing their jobs and incomes, and when people are being asked to put their own health at risk to earn their living. 

Sometimes, things just suck.  And we get up every day and do our very best.  Sometimes, we need to dive right into the suckiness of it and swim around for a while.  And, then, we have to go to work.  Because, things will always suck from time to time.  Life isn’t fair and (many times) it isn’t fun either.  But things can get better.  We are in this sucky world together.  We can do anything when we help our neighbors.  We are heroes.  So, rather than shielding ourselves with positivity, maybe we could wrap ourselves with healthy realism.  That might help us to get down to the work of making things suck just a little bit less.


The Psychology Group Fort Lauderdale.  (2019).  Toxic Positivity:  The Dark Side of Positive Vibes.  The Psychology Group.,the%20authentic%20human%20emotional%20experience.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter--Where Everybody Knows your Name

Easter is different this year. In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, I attended a few virtual church services.  Honestly, on the first Easter of no church for me in the last twelve years, I probably had more church than on most other Sundays.  I read several sermons and “attended” a few Easter services on-line.  In the midst of all that listening and watching, the theme of relationship rose anew for me.  It’s nothing new to discuss the relationship of Christ, or the concept of seeing Christ in others, or the idea that one cannot be a Christian by ourselves.  However, relationships can be frustrating and surprising.  Church community is a prime example of surprising frustrations.  We might want to be Christians all on our own, especially during times of social distancing, when we are afraid of other people.  We cannot come within six feet of another person without worrying for our own safety.  

It is tempting to want to separate even further and to stay in my own virtual community of choice.  I wonder if that’s what Mary was thinking as she went--alone--to the tomb that morning.  She must have been terrified, grief-stricken, frustrated.  I wonder if she went alone so she could be safe in her own grief, or maybe because she just needed a break from the community.  She gets up alone and goes alone to the tomb.  And she finds, in shock, that it’s empty.  The angels don’t comfort her; she doesn’t understand what they're talking about.  She’s annoyed by the random gardener talking to her.  She is lost--until someone says her name.

Mary mistakes Jesus for the gardener--until he calls her by name.  She misunderstands the mystery--until it becomes personal.  Our names are perhaps the most personal aspect of ourselves.  Some stories tell that to know the name of someone gives power over that person.  New parents argue and agonize over names for their babies.  When we are confirmed in the church, we take new names.  When we are married, we often take new names.  When Jesus adopted some of his disciples, he gave them new names.  One of the first things you do when you worship in a new church is shake hands and exchange names.  

I’ve been a little apathetic towards my church community for the last few years.  Initially, I dove into the Episcopal church with vigor and commitment.  Within a few months of my first church service, I was leading projects, serving on committees, and taking charge of things.  I felt special--respected.  Our church relationship was going along just fine.  But, as most relationships go, there are bumps in the road.  As is inevitable in any true community, I was disappointed and dismayed at certain decisions that the community made.  Things didn’t always go the way I wished they would.  Due to a few different conflicts, clergy changes, and general shift in priorities in life, I have stepped back from church leadership.  I have begun to doubt whether I should remain in this particular community, or look for a new church. In my head, I know that trials and tribulations will follow me through the doors of a new church; I will only find new conflicts and new compromises with new people.  In my heart, I wonder if I need a change and new inspiration to waken the earlier passion I felt for community life.

One benefit of the COVID-19 quarantine is that I don’t have to make a decision now.  Nothing can be done right now--churches are closed.  I can shop around and attend any on-line service that I can find.  But there are no new people to meet in real life.  I won’t be shaking new hands and telling new people my name.  However, whether or not I find a new church, I need a church.  Just like Mary mistaking Jesus when she saw him, I mistake God in my daily life--all the time.   I miss the sight of Jesus in others and I miss my chance to be grateful and to worship and to serve.  Those chances come clear to me when someone speaks my name.  Mary responded to Jesus because he KNEW her.  You see, when Mary was alone, she saw the risen Lord, but she didn’t recognize him until she recognized the relationship between them.  Spending time alone can keep us safe, it can restore us, and it can heal us.  But the mystery of Christ happens when we are in relationship with others--others who know our names. The miracle was personal to her.  She didn’t understand the angels, she only understood the man who called her by name.  

God happens to us, within us, around us.  We recognize God when God calls our name, in the voice of a person standing in front of us.  The God incarnate, human divine speaks to us through our fellow humans.  During this time of separation, personal connection is even more important.  Virtual church comforts the mind; our fellowship comforts the soul.  I am finding fellowship through group texts, Zoom chats with friends, Facebook Live services with friends separated by miles.  When we are “set free” from this quarantine, I will find God again in a church community.  Like the old tv show, Cheers, I will find the place where everyone knows my name.

Wherever I worship, I will find people and I will relate to them.  We will know the mystery of Christ when we call each other by name. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Teachers--Let's Tell our Real Story

I am a teacher.  And I’m tired.  Not tired in the way that we always hear of teachers being tired--overworked, stressed, defeated.  I’m tired of the story we tell ourselves about teachers and teaching.  We post blogs and share videos of overwhelmed teachers with a heart of gold, share articles about why so many teachers are leaving the profession, describe in detail all the challenges of our profession.  They are all true--trust me, I know.  I live and work with educators.  We are tired.  But I want to challenge us to something better.  I think it’s time to change the sob story.  Because, let’s be honest, it isn’t working.

We are still fighting for fair wages and smaller class sizes and resources.  Complaining about how much we work and how unfair our demands are and how much we sacrifice our family and our free time just isn’t getting us anywhere.  Truthfully, my brothers and sisters, almost everyone I know is also overworked, stressed, and defeated.  My friends who work in health care, or in corporate offices, or in social work agencies, or in graphic design agencies are also struggling to pay their student loans and to deal with difficult coworkers and to balance their family and personal lives.  As Cherry taught Pony Boy in the Outsiders--guys, “it’s rough all over”.  Complaining louder isn’t changing anything.  Teachers have tried to be the squeakiest wheel for years and we still get the shaft--low pay, low respect, low resources to do our jobs.

Even more importantly, complaining about how difficult things are and how overwhelmed we are demeans all the work we do every day.  Teaching is hard--that’s no lie.  It is time tell the REAL story behind our work.  That we do a difficult job with care and competence and we deserve to be proud. My friends who show up to work every day are damn good at it!  We are experts in our field, experts in our content area, experts in social and emotional development, experts in data review, experts in curriculum design, and experts in collaboration.  We are experts because it’s our job and we are supposed to be.  

We teach children that letters and sounds are connected and that they form syllables and words.  We teach children that numbers have predictable patterns and relationships.  We teach children that stories follow certain structures and that all living things are interconnected and that ancient societies affect our lives today.  We teach those ideas to six-year-olds.  It’s is our job, because we are teachers.

We take complex skills like balancing chemical equations and calculating rate of change and break them down into manageable steps so that twelve-year-old students can master them.  We take universal concepts like the dehumanization of marginalized groups, or the development of identity, or coming of age, or solving problems in society and we make those concepts relevant to teenagers.  It is our job, because we are teachers.

We take those steps and concepts and plan lessons where every student is engaged in the task, communicate clearly the expectations, collect evidence of student understanding, analyze the data with our peers, and plan better lessons to teach the ones who need more help, or to extend the learning of those who already understand.  We analyze state and national data to ensure that our teaching is making an impact.  We hone in on individual students who are struggling and we teach them creatively and responsively until they master the skills.  It is our job, because we are teachers.

We collaborate with coaches and specialists, we attend workshops, we read professional books, and we watch webinars.  We constantly work to refine and reform our craft.   We seamlessly integrate technology that didn't exist when we were students, that didn't even exist last year.  We support each other and challenge each other to do better when we know better.  It is our job, because we are teachers.

We learn about diverse cultures, we make connections with students who lack connections in their lives, we empower the weak and we temper the wicked.  We build communities of life-long learners, who care for each other, and support each other.  We collaborate with teams of people (parents, advocates, social workers, psychologists, specialist, and administrators) to ensure that every student receives the free and appropriate education that he or she deserves.  Sometimes, we may not even like some of those people, but we do it because they are part of our team and they matter in our students’ lives.  It is our job, because we are teachers.

We are overworked and underpaid.  Let’s stop telling stories of overwhelmed, stressed, and defeated teachers.  Let’s start celebrating effective, competent, and empowered teachers.  I know we are there because I work with them every day.  Imagine if someone in power finally told us, “I know your job is tough and demanding.  That’s why we need someone as powerful as you to do it.  And we are going to pay you a fair wage for all of your expertise and knowledge.”    We do a vital service to society and we deserve to celebrate that.  We deserve to expect fair compensation and resources because we are kick-ass makers of positive change.  My friends, let’s tell THAT story.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

#blessed on Mother's Day

#blessed:  the image of the perfect mother, with the perfectly dressed and well-behaved children, in a perfectly organized and clean house.  I really struggle with it.  I can't believe it's real.  It seems to me to be less #blessed and more #lucky or #liar.

Lately, in the midst of raising a few young children, teaching other children, and preparing a message for Mother's Day Sunday, I've been considering the role of mothers and the role of shepherds, especially the Good Shepherd.  And how the miracle and mystery of the incarnation affects all of us.  And what #blessed might really mean.

The reading for the week was: John 10:22-30
At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, "I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."

In this reading, we hear Jesus continuing the story of the Good Shepherd.  His followers keep asking him if he is the Messiah.   So he says again, “I have told you, and you do not believe.”

I can almost hear the frustration in Jesus’s voice.  It’s like he’s saying, “I just told you!  Are you listening to me?”  Are you listening to me?  That must be the most common phrase uttered by a mother of young children (maybe any children).  I swear, I say it a million times a day--to my students, to my children, and to my husband.

We have all heard about how difficult sheep can be--smelly, not so smart, stubborn.  Every year on the Good Shepherd sermon week, we hear about how sheep aren’t easy to deal with and being a shepherd is not very glamorous.  So, today, Jesus is speaking to his people as if they are sheep and he is caring for them.  They don’t understand, so he is explaining it one more time, a little louder and a little slower.  And he says to them, “What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."

Here is the beauty of this passage.  Jesus was given grace by the Father.  Through him, we receive that grace.  And how did Jesus come to be standing there proclaiming this grace?  He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, came to life as a vulnerable baby, and was MOTHERED into this messy, real life, where he became the shepherd to the people of God.

Jesus was MOTHERED into being.  Babies don’t grow up on their own.  In order for a child to thrive, or even survive, another human being must act as a mother--must MOTHER the child.  And Jesus wasn’t mothered by the Mother of the Year, a woman of property, agency, and status, a woman who had proven her child-rearing ability by producing leaders and dignitaries.  He was born of an unwed, teenage mother, and raised in a blended family (Joseph was his step-father, after all).  

I like to think of the Virgin Mary as a young mother.  To imagine her, just as harried and just as tired as the rest of us with young children.  I bet that if Mary had a Facebook page, it wouldn’t be filled with well-dressed, perfectly posed pictures of the Holy Family at the dinner table, or on vacation at the beach, or on their way to temple.  I bet it would be full of real-life moments--the nitty-gritty of raising children.   

My other mom-friends continually text each our own versions of #blessed.  Whenever we are overcome with the messy, frustrating reality of life, we text each other.  Things like: The washing machine is broken.  Guess I don’t have to do laundry today.  #blessed  My child threw up all over me.  At least it didn’t get in my mouth.  #blessed.  None of my children bit anyone today.  #blessed.  I think Mary would be like us.  I mean, Jesus wasn’t a piece of cake to manage, I expect.  After all, when he was a teenager, he got sassy with the other teachers in the temple and refused to leave town with his parents.  It took them days to find him.  I bet the Blessed Virgin Mother wasn’t feeling quite to blessed at that moment.  Thought I lost my kid.  Turned out he was just hanging out at the Temple.  #blessed

All sarcasm aside, I am truly blessed by my children and the friends who are raising their children by my side.  As my wise mother friends often remind me with a wink and an understanding smile, “children are a blessing…”

We are blessed by the love of God and we bless each other when we share it.

The grace that God has given us in Jesus Christ was raised by a mother and is returned to man through our relationships with God and with each other.  We bring about the kingdom of God through our relationships.  We mother and shepherd each other through the messy, loud, frustration of life.

Today, we are all #blessed.