A Pearl of Great Price

I awaken and am immediately struck by the silence . . . the complete stillness.  I breathe in the sweet calm of Paradise Valley, Montana. Its name fits.

The western view out my bedside window is of the Gallatin Mountain Range, massive rock faces covered with expanses of white snow, interrupted by bands of deep green pine forest. Even at 8:00 a.m. all I survey is bathed in muted tones of gray as the sun still works its way up from behind the wall of the imposing Absaroka Range to the east.

Early Morning Paradise Valley, MT

The Yellowstone River runs through the property, not 100 yards from my window.  The sides of the river are beginning to freeze.  The only sign of movement in the landscape is the center of the river where the water rushes away, as if trying to escape winter’s grasp, tossing chunks of ice downstream.  The bed is warm, the log cabin cozy, and outside is some number of degrees below zero.

Husband stirs beside me.  What time is church, I ask.  Not until 10, he responds.

That’s good.  Time to figure out the espresso machine downstairs.  (It’s quite a log cabin.)  Let’s go sit by the fire, drink coffee, and watch the sun come up over the mountains.  He agrees.  For once he has time. I have time. Continue reading

A Girl Just Like the Girl

 

kate and dan wedding cakeShe stands in the street next to his open car door, flirting with him, delaying his departure.  He laughs.  She leans in and kisses him and says she knows he needs to go.  She will miss him, she says, and touches his shoulder.

Second son Andrew and I look on together as his grandmother finishes settling her husband of 52 years in to the passenger side of the car.  She tucks his jacket out of the way and tells him that she will be following behind in another car.

They aren’t often separated these days but are driving home from Nashville to Montgomery in two cars driven by my cousins.  They all thought it would be fun to have a girl car and a boy car.

She tells him, teasingly, to behave himself on the ride.  He laughs heartily, saying how could she expect that of his nephew and him without the womenfolk to keep them straight.  She says goodbye and closes his door for him.

Andrew continues to look on, with a faint smile. Continue reading

Consider the Trees

Had enough of reading about the election?  Consider, instead, the wonder of  trees.

In my upstairs bedroom is an alcove with a window. In the alcove sits a drafting desk  — a place for me to retreat today, in peace, to write.

It is quiet up here.  No hum of the dishwasher signaling its service to me.  No buzz of the dryer calling for my attention.  No background noise of husband on the phone.

And best of all, on this day following the election for president, I hear no prattle of television commentators. Continue reading

What’s a Woman to Think?

 

 A Tale of  Ambush by Sexist Feminists

I am tired of hearing that, because I am a woman, I must think a certain way or vote for a particular candidate.  The notion that women should be allowed to think for themselves is certainly foundational to the feminist movement, but you would never know that listening to heads of various women’s organizations, prattling on about how women do not support Romney.

They don’t speak for me, and they certainly do not think for me.

These “women’s leaders” claim that one candidate is anti-woman because he does not want to force all employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives.  Does caring about women require the religious freedom of some to be infringed to provide a financial benefit to others? Cheaper gas would free up a lot of money for contraceptives or whatever else a woman might decide she values most.

They claim Obama is a stronger champion of equal pay for equal work, but that has little value when you have no job and the equal pay equals zero.

They even took issue with Romney’s debate language of “binders full of women” claiming it was offensive. Really? Continue reading

A Word Person

I have always been a word person.

I read a lot as a child.  In the summer I would max out my library card and that of my mother every two weeks.   I did all my mandatory summer reading for school.  I even read the dictionary.

I excelled at word games like Boggle and Scrabble.  A boyfriend in college, an engineering student, was the first person to ever beat me in Boggle.  I was impressed.  I married him. Continue reading

Climb On, Emmanuel

“Stories allow us to imagine and live momentarily the lives of others.  And thereafter set a different course and perspective for the life we seek to live.”                                                                                                                                Emmanuel Manirakiza

I hesitated to post this because it makes everything I write seem silly in comparison. But it is a story that must be told.

Through the generosity of the Morehead-Cain Scholars Program, my second son, Andrew, was able to work at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa this past summer.  While there he met Emmanuel Manirakiza.

This is Emmanuel’s story.

Another ALA student, Andrew, and Emmanuel Manirakiza.

Emmanuel Manirakiza: Uphill Climb

Originally written and posted by Andrew Powell at APatALA on May 31, 2012

I have a new friend, and his name is Emmanuel Reed Manirakiza. Last week, I was fortunate enough to hear a bit of his life story, as he spoke in front of African Leadership Academy. A small, smiling boy from Rwanda stood before a group of 200, but for ten minutes, the room felt almost empty, as if Emmanuel and I were the only two there.

I did not know a group of 17-19 year olds could pay such reverence and respect to one of their peers. Continue reading

Football Moms

 

Football Moms Rock.  I should know, as I have been a football mom for 4 sons over the course of 11 seasons. One year, at my peak, I attended 48 football games.

My younger sons started playing in early elementary school. Walking into those games, dressed in football pants and t-shirts, the boys labored to carry the bulky shoulder pads and helmet. Once, I offered to help John carry his pads.  I got what I can only describe as a look of disdain coming from that little tan face.  Disdain, not directed at me, but at the idea that a football player wouldn’t carry his own gear. Somehow he knew that was just not right.

Unfortunately, the idea that mom would be the one to wash the football pants and wrestle to replace the knee pads was not similarly offensive.

Through the years, my boys learned a lot about being men from football.  I learned a lot about being a mom to boys. Continue reading