Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poetry Friday, Cruella, Lucy, and Wyld Style

A snippet of this Halloween at the Edmistens: 

Halloween At Our House
by Karen Edmisten

Lucy Ricardo,
Cruella de Vil --
These are the people
You'll see if you will

Come to my house
On Halloween night.
They'll dish out the chocolate,
Not give you a fright,

Unless fakey red hair
And wigs scare you to pieces...
Then do plan on screaming
And tossing your Reese's.

(The fur coat's a fake,
There's no need to protest
And Vita-Meata-Vegamin's
Really the best.)

Ramona's cool get-up
Is Lego's Wyld Style
But I just keep calling her
("Mom!") Wild Child.

Atticus carefully
Plans out the route,
Scopes out the best candy,
And finds all the loot.

My costume, as usual,
Will be the bomb.
I'm gonna go dressed
As a homeschooling mom.


The Poetry Friday round up is at Teacher Dance.  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More Resources For Healing After a Miscarriage (aka, This Is What I Love About the Internet)

Since I've been posting over the last week about giving away a copy of After Miscarriage, a couple of things have come up that I want to share:

Cecilia's lovely site, Magnolia Sweet Healing, offers women in need a free copy of my book. I'm so touched that this ministry is generously funded personally by Cecilia, and I am immensely grateful for her help in getting the book to women who need it.

Conceiving Hope has a resource page that is huge and helpful. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Minion Pumpkin is Done!

We used this example as our model. So fun! 

A Minion Pumpkin With Ramona is...

... still in progress. 
We are listening to the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack and painting. Great morning.
I love homeschooling. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Poetry Friday: Called (aka, waking in the night with a child....)

This is a lovely little poem about rising in the night to answer the call of a child, and it reminded me of the one I wrote on the same idea, "Thirteen Ways of Looking At an Interruption."

May you not hear a distress call tonight, may your home be filled with peaceful slumber this weekend, and if you do hear that call, may you answer it with math, grace, and whatever else helps.

by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet

and I go

down into it, the hall again
(streetlights, blinds)

all the same all the dark

down into it and do what must be done

(Read the whole poem here, at


Cathy Mere has the round up at Merely Day By Day.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'll be talking with Al Kresta today about After Miscarriage

I'll be on "Kresta in the Afternoon" today from 4-5 p.m. (central time), talking about miscarriage, and we'll be taking calls during the hour, too.


If you are interested in finding about more about After Miscarriage, you can read about it here, or here, at Franciscan Media's website.

There is also a giveaway of the book in progress: go to this post for all the details.

For more posts and discussion about miscarriage, go here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Not God's Type: My Type of Book

Not God's Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms by Holly Ordway is a story of love and resistance.

It's a tale I know well. So many similarities: the attraction to and influence of C.S. Lewis, the encounter with Aslan, the lure of poetry and beauty, the stubborn refusal to, as Lewis said, lay down our arms. There was the intellectual thirst to investigate, grasp, comprehend, the need to find real and concrete answers. The relentless search for truth, wherever it led. There was the stop at the Episcopal Church before reception into the Catholic Church, and the recognition that this is not the end of the journey, that surrender is not something now in the rearview mirror but something that is asked of us every moment that we continue down this road.

It was uncanny, at times, to read Ordway's story, as there were many moments that echoed my own experiences -- at times she even quoted the same poems that touched me in my conversion process, with perhaps the most powerful echo ringing from John Donne:
Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

Not God's Type is a beautiful book. I hesitate to say much more about it because Ordway's story doesn't need to be dissected. It is a story -- a reality -- that you should simply breathe in, and you don't need me to tell you how inhale deeply of clean, clear, fresh air.

A Favorite Old Picture from (in a way) the Early Homeschooling Days

This was our backyard (I miss that yard!) two dwellings ago.

Anne-with-an-e (in the Cinderella gown) was about four and a half, and Betsy was almost two.

Although this was before our homeschooling days actually began, this picture (I love this picture) captures the essence of homeschooling in the early years -- what I wanted it to be, what I strove for, what it was at its best.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Giveaway Details: After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman's Companion to Healing and Hope

Elizabeth Petrucelli, author of All That is Seen and Unseen, has been hosting a contest this month and After Miscarriage will be her final giveaway.

To enter to win After Miscarriage, you can simply leave a comment below, on this post (as simple as, "Pick me!") Your comment can be anything, but please be sure to leave some contact information (Facebook page, Twitter, Google +, a blog, your email address -- anything that will allow us to get in touch with you if you win!)

Comments on this post will be accepted until October 31st at midnight. A winner will be drawn at random from the comments on November 1st.

I hope that you never have a need to read After Miscarriage, but if you have experienced the loss of a baby, please know that you have my fervent prayers. If you have never suffered a miscarriage, you might consider entering the contest in order to win the book and give it away to a friend who may be in need.

Thanks for your interest in and support for After Miscarriage, and thank you, Elizabeth, for hosting the giveaway in this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Poetry Friday: Louis Jenkins

I recently ran into one of Atticus's old students, married now, with children. Atticus knew her when she was a gangly eighth grader, when he taught in a small town not far from where we live now. Ramona and I were in Target, looking for paper plates, when I heard, "Mrs. Edmisten?" I turned around and saw a confident young woman but for a brief flash I also saw a kid -- the sort of smart, sweet, kind, funny kid who makes Atticus's job easy.

She and I started the game Louis Jenkins describes in "Old Friends":

Old Friends
by Louis Jenkins

There's a game we play, not a game exactly, a sort of call and
response. It's one of the pleasures of living for a long time in a
fairly small place. "You know, they lived over by Plett's Grocery."
"Where that bank is now?" "That's right." "Plett's, I'd almost
forgotten. Do you remember where Ward's was?" "Didn't they....

(Read the rest here, at The Writer's Almanac.)


The round up is at Today's Little Ditty.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Four Things About Today -- Pancakes, Flooding, Atticus, and Wine

1. My college girls were on fall break today and we were all having a leisurely morning so I decided to make pancakes for everyone. Pancakes, and chatter, and laughter and delight. And suddenly I had a flashback to the old days.

Homeschooling three girls, no one needing to rush off anywhere. Just us Little Women. Sigh.

Those were lovely days.

Sweet and bitter and bittersweet is this growing-up business.

2. Due to some poor plumbing (which is not worth explaining, and which seems to be a recurring theme in my life), a clogged shower drain caused an inordinate amount of flooding in our bathroom and -- eeek! Spillover! -- into our laundry room. There was much clean up, the borrowing of a shop-vac (thank you Danae!), much drying out of carpet, lots of laundry and drying of towels and rags, and there was gratitude for the help of my college daughters (who should have been enjoying their day off but instead helped me clean up messes.) We all had a wonderful talk at the end of the day about how God provides. It wasn't the day we'd all looked forward to -- relaxed and lazy and recharging stuff. But if we had to have flooding, the timing was as good as it could be, given the rest of our week's plans, if that makes sense. I told my daughters that it was sort of like the times when there suddenly seems to be extra money, and my first thought is, "Great! Extra money! What shall we do with it?" Then something goes wrong and the "extra" money is needed to repair or replace something. It's always tempting to gripe, "Hey! I had plans for that money! Why did that stuff have to go wrong?" instead of saying, "Thank you, Lord, for how nicely You provided for that repair."

This was not the day I'd planned to have, but in some way it must have been the day I needed to have.

3. The Difference Between Atticus and Me: I was still doing some clean-up downstairs and Atticus said he'd make pizza for dinner. I stressed, "You don't have to cook!" and he said, "No, I need to relax -- I want to cook to wind down after all this mess."

Cook to wind down?  Oh, sweetheart, we are so different.

4. Danae, thanks for the wine you provided along with the shop-vac. It's about to be enjoyed.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Response From a Priest to My Post, "Dear Father, Deacon, and Anyone Else Who Has Ever..."

I got some wonderful comments on Wednesday's post and today a priest friend of ours left a comment, too. His comment deserves its own post. 


I know and love Fr. Scott but there is no bias in my recommendation that you read his comment. It's just that he's a wonderful priest with valuable insights. His thoughts are always worth reading.

Second disclaimer:

We never deliberately plied him with pie. We just like pie.

In response to the post, Fr. Scott said this:

A great post, as always! This one’s stuck with me for a few days. 
Speaking only for priests, I wonder if I can offer a suggestion to those who have posted comments. Priests are guys. We’re almost always unmarried and almost always have no experience with fertility beyond what we read or from the people we encounter. We are pro-life, pro-family people. Think, though, what most unmarried non-fathers know about fertility—almost nothing. Think about how couples are different the second time that they are pregnant from the first time. Experience gives perspective and understanding. We don’t generally have either. In particular, young priests are zealous and excited about being priests, but they've got a lot to learn and in a lot of areas. Most of their friends are their age, too, and with couples often putting off even the desire for children later and later, young priests often don’t know many people who have lost children or struggled to get pregnant. If they do, this subject is only recently something people seem to talk about, and often not something people bring up to us. What we rely on is experience gathered from people around us. It doesn’t take long, I don’t think, to see how so many people struggle with fertility and pregnancy, but we need time and experience to see this. So, here’s my suggestion. Just tell us. But, don’t do it right after Mass or in passing. Like everyone else, we receive criticism better when we trust the people giving it. Invite us over for dinner, ply us with coffee and pie, and then bring it up. We become priests because we want to be involved in the lives of the people around us, so involve us (and I reemphasize the pie...).  
In my own experience, the early friendships I made as a priest were incredibly formative. Luckily—and gratefully—people had the goodness to do exactly what I’ve suggested. As a result, I treasure those friendships, in general, and the trust they give, in particular. In short, my friends who have been willing to share their struggles with me and let me share my struggles with them, have helped me to learn how to be a better priest.  
As it turns out, Atticus makes a killer coconut cream pie. 

Thanks, Fr. Scott, as always. For everything.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Poetry Friday, Sort Of

If you have the chance 
To see Lemony Snicket
Know that he's worth
The price of the ticket. 
          -- Karen Edmisten 

Confession the First: We didn't actually pay for a ticket. The event was free.

Confession the Second: I have read only the first book, The Bad Beginning, in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Confession the Third: I would never have gone to see Lemony Snicket (because I had not even finished the first book -- I did that just last night) aka Daniel Handler, nor would I have planned to stand in line for 90 minutes in order to have my newly-purchased copy of a book I've never read signed by the man, if not for the fact that my two older daughters and the son of one of my best friends loved A Series of Unfortunate Events. This combined love, which spans the ages -- from a nine-year-old boy to 18 and 20-year-old young women -- led me to think that a road trip could be a fun thing and would be a good excuse to drink a lot of coffee at night.

Confession the Fourth: I did not have late night coffee. I grabbed a Coke for the drive home because I do not trust McDonald's to have freshly brewed coffee at 9:30 p.m. and, alas, McDonald's was the most convenient stop. I do not, in fact, trust McDonald's for much of anything, but no one can really mess up a Coke too badly, unless they add far too much ice. Which they did.

Confession the Fifth: My favorite part of the night may in fact have had nothing to do with Snickety happenings. I was extremely tired, and our eta home was about 11:15 p.m. My daughters had promised to talk and sing loudly on the drive home so that we'd all stay awake. I requested that they sing "Frozen."

What I really meant was that I wanted them to sing "Let it Go" but I was tired and the request came out, "Sing Frozen." So they did -- as in, they belted out the entire soundtrack* starting with the movie's opener, the Norse chant of the ice workers, and finishing up with the reprise of "For the First Time in Forever."

I think my favorite rendition was when Betsy and Ramona did "Love is an Open Door," complete with the overlapping duet parts.

But back to Lemony Snicket, because, theoretically anyway, he is what this post is about.

Daniel Handler is an utterly delightful presenter and if you get the chance to go to one of his book signings, you most certainly should.

But do plan on something better than McDonald's coffee for the drive home. And be sure to take my girls with you to keep you awake.


*Except the trolls' song, which apparently does not make a home in the brain as do all the other songs.


The Poetry Friday round up today is at The Miss Rumphius Effect