Monday, June 29, 2009

Giving of yourself

One look into my sweet baby's face, and I am faced with my own mortality. He makes me appreciate the fragility of life and how important it is to make the time that we have been given count. How do we do that? By giving of ourselves. We give our time by volunteering with worthy organizations. We give our talent by doing things that we are good at for others. We give our treasure by donating money to people or groups that we believe do good work.

I know exactly what you are thinking. I'm too busy. I don't have a special talent. Money is too tight. Maybe next week, next month, next year. But maybe, just maybe, we won't have that next week, next month, or next year. Maybe this is all the time we have.

So what is your legacy going to be? What will you do with the time that has been given to you? What will you do to change the world?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What happens when you aren't specific with kids

Tonight, while I was putting Brother (my son) to bed, Sister (my daughter) and Daddy (my husband) sat in the living room. Daddy was working on taxes while Sister wrote on a pad of paper. Apparently, she started to write on her leg, so Daddy told her not to write on her leg. That's when he stopped paying attention. Once I came out, she had pen all over her face.

What's the moral of the story? Children need specificity. She obeyed. After Daddy told her not to, she did not write on her leg. But he ever said anything about her face.

Next time, we will tell her don't color on your leg or face. Or arms. Or couch. And don't spit on the dog (not that she has ever tried to spit on the dog, but perhaps it would be good to cover all of our bases).

Step by step

Don't laugh at what I am about to tell you.

I have been thinking about and planning my dissertation for years. Long before I started grad school I would dream about the research that I would conduct.

Yes, I realize I am a nerd. It's okay. I have embraced it.

Anyway, as much as I have been looking forward to my dissertation, it hit me today - it's almost time to start.

I am reminded of my pregnancies. For those that have experienced pregnancy and birth, maybe you can understand. You get pregnant (start grad school). You have some early pains and adjustments (kind of like the morning sickness) but nonetheless, you are very excited. Eventually, the discomfort passes and you feel great. You have gotten in a rhythm and are enjoying grad school (welcome second trimester, the only tolerable point of pregnancy for me). Then one day it hits you - you have to write a dissertation (or give birth). The feat seems impossible. I mean seriously, who can write a 400 page paper on something new that has never been done before (or push a human being out of...never mind). Now, you know people that have finished this (and mothers that have given birth), but you still doubt yourself. You try to prepare. You read as much research on your topic as possible (read baby book after baby book after mind numbing baby book) and get your computer and workspace ready (decorate a nursery with a crib that the baby won't actually sleep in and coordinating colors that the baby will never notice). You choose the people that you want to be a part of your birth (your committee) and the expert that you trust more than anybody (your chair). Of course, in academia and pregnancy, the experts can sometimes let you down. In the end, you will go through the painful and rewarding experience of the dissertation (labor and yes, labor can be rewarding at moments) until the paper is complete and then go through the final push of the oral defense (birth). Although it is incredibly difficult, the entire process is completely worth the outcome of the degree (okay, you have followed me this long. Please tell me that you can complete the metaphor on your own here).

I wonder if I can do my oral defense in a tub. It helped with the labor pains, maybe it will help here.

My new blog

If you read my other blog, you are continually treated to pictures and stories of my wonderful children. This blog will be fewer pictures and less about what they are doing; instead, I will focus on my thoughts concerning parenting and my PhD process. Please leave comments. Tell me what you like, what you don't, or just say hi.

I look forward to taking this journey with you.