How to wait

With this one piece of paper, we’ve begun our wait… it was as exciting as I might imagine having 2 lines show up on one of those sticks…. I think even more exciting.

As I wait for my child, I will not have the physical milestones to mark the way. I won’t have morning sickness, stretch marks, or weight gain (I hope). No doctor visits, ultrasounds, etc. So how to mark the days? A photo every day – something to show our child what these days were like. So as the journal swells, we know we must be getting close to our child’s arrival.

DAY 1 , 8, 23, 69

The Start of It All

This is the one that started it all. I love this photo – It captures my best buddy soaking in the smells of the Black Hills. After I saw this photo, I was hooked on photography. I love playing with composition. I’ve been reading posts on Shuttersisters since it started, and I’m learning a lot. Today it’s all about framing the shot today. Go check it out:

Listening for the Song

I find a certain peace when I am alone among the trees. Wendell Berry explains it perfectly:

“I go among the trees and sit still
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.” Wendell Berry, A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997

In the calm of the day, I am listening for the song. I’ve already started humming along…and I am at peace.

This Boy’s Life

When you see this face, what story do you tell yourself about this boy’s life? I’ve been thinking a lot about how I project stories onto people that I do not know. If I’m honest, my mind wanders to stereotypical projections. I hate that! Why can’t we listen for a story before we create one? As my husband and I prepare to welcome a new child, I am constantly evaluating how I interact with others. I know that others will meet our child and create a story that is far from the truth. How will our child be happy with his/her own story when so many other versions are thrust at him/her? I guess that’s our job as parents. Perhaps recognizing our tendencies will help us listen even closer before we start making up stories for others. What is this boy’s story? It’s his to tell.


As an ecologist, I’m cautious about anthropomorphizing animals. Do animals love? Certainly they have instincts to care for their young, but do they feel what humans feel when they experience love? I don’t know, but when I see moms with their babies I am reminded what “love” feels like.

Cement Houses

Everyone should live in a small cement house in rural Kenya – for at least a week. Whether kicking and screaming or with jubilant expectation…
everyone needs this experience.

to be greeted with the biggest, most sincere smiles you have ever seen…
to run through the rain to the kitchen, breathe dark, spicey smoke and watch mamma stir the ugali until you smell that it’s ready… Dinner never tasted so good. There is something about eating with your hands in the dark that makes the flavor if ugali and sukamawiki rival gourmet.

Everyone should sleep warmly under thick blankets and a mosquito net, wake to exotic birds and a warm bucket shower in the middle of the yard…followed by a cup of chai for breakfast (you can picture your new friends plucking each tea leaf).

No luxury vacation can rival this…Feeling loved by strangers who pour out their lives to make you part of the family. Teaching you how to participate in their lives by plucking tea, digging potatoes, and milking cows…never realizing the paradise that is theirs…Taking each day as a new gift. Yes, everyone should experience this.


It’s been a long time…all talk, no written words. I’m going to give it another try.

So this week, I learned a bit about action. Every profs dream…seeing your students put something from your lecture into action. We’ve been studying vector-borne diseases in my public health course. Malaria is the number 4 cause of childhood deaths, and there are 300-500 million cases every year. Surprisingly, one of the best approaches to preventing disease is a $4.00 mosquito net. One net could protect up to 3 children, but nets aren’t accessible to many people who need them. The cost of a net is tremendous for people who make $1-2 / week… So my students organized and held a fund raiser and purchased nets. Action…transforming words into deeds.


We live a privelaged life. Water is only as far away as our sink…and usually clean enough to drink without boiling. Recently I had the privelage of working with my husband, my students, and my new friends in Honduras to help install a gravity-fed water system. Las Brisas, Honduras…. a beautiful place not too far from Nicaragua…until a last week most members of the community had to walk at least 2km for water.

We worked hard during our week in Las Brisas… though in reality, the digging we accomplished was nothing in comparison to the amount of work our new Honduran friends have done and continue to accomplish. The goal of our trip was to develop relationships. We made new friends and learned to live in community with each other (fellow Wheaties) and with our new friends in Las Briasas. We learned a little about poverty…though we can’t ever really know what it means to live with few/no options…we have so many choices! We have the privelage of education (though thankfully many in Las Brisas do too), vocation…I doubt any of my students will choose a life of farming coffee… and none of the young women in my group would choose to give up their independance for a life of making tortillas and caring for children (if you will allow me to oversimplify the lives of the extraordinary women of Las Brisas!).

What a week… extraodinary people… so thankful for the few things that they have…the most important thing being extraordinary hearts!