Warning:  Slightly melodramatic post ahead.

You guys know what a Presbytery service is?

A presbytery is a governing body of church leaders; however, in the church, a "presbytery service" is (can be) one in which church elders have a time of formal prophecy for you.   I know.  It sounds odd.  Despite your faith backgrounds, you'll just have to take my word that it can be an entirely validating experience.

I took part in my last one in 2002.  Pastor Bob McGregor from City Harvest in Vancouver, WA killed it - right on the money.  I'd never met Bob before, but he quietly informed me I worked with people in crisis (at the time I was working with DV victims) and that I had known a lot of pain.  According to Bob,  I would know a lot of pain in the future (enter 2007), but I would go back to graduate school and I would counsel families.

I've held on to that for 9 years, which, at times, has sucked.  And that's my clinical term.  Definite low spots since early 2007.

But let's revisit where I'm at:

I went through a terrible two years, but
now I'm in grad school and
I've just been offered an internship position at my first choice.

I got the phone call this afternoon, right before I was set to lead a group on "Americans' Relationship with the Muslim Community."  The lady who interviewed me last week said, "So, I haven't had a chance to check your references, but I can't leave you hanging.  Pending a good reference check, we'd love to have you here.  I really like you and you'll fit well with the agency."

Next year I'll be providing individual counseling (to kids) and family counseling (to kids and families) in NE Portland.  This is what I came to school to do -- I've waited 9 years to do this.  It's strange to remember a time when I couldn't think past the end of the week when, now, I can't wait to see what next year holds.

(Hopefully it also holds a mouse free apartment, an improved golf game, and a little bit of icing for one of my ring fingers, but we'll start with this internship.  Enter sigh of relief and a well of gratitude here.)
They terrify me.

Simple as that.

When I was in high school we lived on a farm in Eastern Oregon, and every time they cut the fields, the mice would flee to our basement in droves.  In my head, it was like watching a 1950s horror movie.  Now that I'm 32, I realize logically that there weren't that many.  Emotionally, however ...

Two nights ago I was sitting in my small, graduate student apartment, making some desperately needed updates to this blog, when I looked casually over my right shoulder to see a gopher sized rodent lazily trundle across my kitchen floor.  I did what any mature, grown up 30 something woman living on her own would do:  I shrieked and tore out of the apartment, wearing only socks, raced through the rain to pound furiously on my landlord's door.

My landlord, who is a spunky, confident woman in her early 60s, grabbed a broom, set her jaw and said, "Let's go get it."

She broke through the front door of my apartment while I hopped around outside, freezing with soaked socks.  Two seconds later she hollered, "I see it!!"

And then,

"Lisa?  This thing is so tiny.  And fast.  I don't know that I'll be able to get it out.  Squirrels are easier."

Turns out my imagination may have blown the size of the little guy out of proportion.  We chased that thing for 2.5 hours.  Tore up my apartment.  Emptied out closets.  Went and got my landlord's cats from upstairs, who casually sat, twitched their tails and, without moving, watched the thing run in front of them.  We never got it.  What could I do?  I thanked my landlord profusely for trying to help and then got in my car to go buy mouse traps.

And I called Shoes (because what  other logical thing is there to do than to call your partner who lives 4 hours away and has a district court docket first thing the next morning?).  Shoes was less than helpful.  Not unsympathetic, but unhelpful in the, "Well.  We could name him Gary" type of way.

I arrived home, gingerly (somewhat nauseously)  baited the traps and put them down.  I sat on the bed.  And waited.  And waited. And when 45 minutes had gone by and nothing had happened, I cautiously started to clean up my torn apart apartment.  But.  When I put my coat away in the hall closet, there was a furious scurrying at the back.  I slammed the door, threw down a blanket in front of it to stop the gap underneath and raced back upstairs to pound on my landlord's door again.

She couldn't find it.

With nothing left to do, I shoved towels in all of the door cracks, left all the lights on, and went to bed.  I laid in bed, cowering, my heart racing.  The last time I looked at the clock, it was 12:30 and I know I woke up 5 times before my alarm goes off at 5:45.
Left all of the lights on.
Heard one of the traps snap shut in the middle of the night.
Pulled the blanket over my head.

I haven't seen one since then, but the cats upstairs have since killed 2.

They're there.

I know they're there.
We're undergoing a bit of construction here at this blog.  Looks a little sloppy and redundant in places.  Apologies and it will look better soon.  What can I say?  I wanted to get it all out in one big push, and still have time for socioemotional selectivity theory, but then a 4 legged, long tailed creature appeared in my kitchen and my remodel was quickly abandoned to show this little guy (who scares the poop out of me) who's the real sheriff.

(I'm pretending the real sheriff is me).

Remodel abandoned & I'm behind on my research.   What a carefully constructed life I have.

I'll post soon about the mouse Shoes has named Gary.  The mouse doesn't deserve a name.  Shoes deserves a time out.
... and I am not a patient waiter by any stretch of the imagination ...

I will tell you that it was my full sister's Birthday this week and the night we had out was filled with twists, turns, a fancy dinner, an Irish pub with Irish music, and a club with dueling pianos and pianists willing to take any song request imaginable.

Kudos to the waitress who sang Snoop Dogg; I'm still amazed.

We never do fancy downtown because we are very serious students who never go out.

But since it was a special occasion ...

Happy Birthday, Cheryl.  Welcome to this side of 30.  While my 20s were fabulous, the 30s have been even better.  To you!
Last year at about this time I was interviewing for my first year of internship.  Your first year you go where they tell you.  Your first year they put you with a client population you haven't worked with before and you're not supposed to ask for a specific placement.  That is the What.

But I did.  I did ask.  Because I'm a good student with 9 years of bachelor level social work experience.  A 4.0 graduate student in the only program of its kind in Oregon (it's a little hubris-y in here).  And the worst they could tell me was no.  But they didn't tell me no -- they told me yes and arranged for an interview with a Hospice and Bereavement Placement.

The interview went terribly.


Something was just off, you know?  That's the worst ... when you can feel it slipping away and you're not sure why and you don't really know how to get it back on track.  Not surprisingly, the phone call I received a week later informed me that they had chosen someone else for their internship.

I was crushed.  I told them I was glad they had found somebody right for their position and asked them if they had any feedback for me (knowing I would have to interview again).  Their answer could not have surprised me more.  They said, "Oh, nothing, actually.  You said everything right.  We just aren't looking for someone with as much work experience as you have.  We really want a younger intern we can mold."

A younger intern?
Too much work experience?
Dear hearts, this has an -ism attached to it!  Ageism!

Knowing that bringing that up wasn't going to get me anywhere, I thanked her politely, hung up, and then called the Field Placement Team with my tail between my legs.  They had been so gracious in setting this up for a first year student and I so felt as though I had let them  down.  Lucky for me, they were equally as baffled and a little unhappy with this agency (turns out for more than one reason).  Then they set me up with the internship I have now and it's been a love-love relationship.  One of the best experiences in my professional life.  Heck, my personal life, too.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Because later today I will be interviewing for my 2nd year Advanced Internship.  And I am stinking scared ... mostly because of how terribly the first interview went last year.  This internship is the big one.  This is the one for which my student profile went before a Graduate committee (and I was discussed in detail) to see if I was social worker worthy enough to be placed with my first internship choice. (Your 2nd year, you do ask.)  So far, yes.

Interview's at 1:00 with my first choice.

Fingers crossed.
A spunky co worker decided to throw a murder mystery cocktail party set at a women's college in 1960.  That part you already know from the previous post.

We had all received a few lines on who our characters would be.  I was "Mary" - quiet, bookish, nerdy.  Shoes was "Lawrence", dating me, conservative, son of a preacher.  A group of about 15 of us or so showed up at the party and were given extra information.  Reveal this, deflect this, try not to admit to this.

And then from there, the process is far too complicated to try to explain here.  Not even the character who did it knew she did it until the very end.

Good to know!

None of us figured it out, but as the night wore on and we got more and more into it, voices started to raise and laughter started to take over.  A good time, no doubt.

One of my most favorite parts was when gentlemanly Lawrence stood up suddenly, pointed at the "football captain" of Lone Pine College and shouted, "You, sir, are a pig!"  Which was met with a chorus of "Indeed!"

I have to start with the accessories for my costume first; the other pictures don't show them well.

So fun.  Shoes found them when I drug him to 5 antique stores one morning looking for them.
He was very relieved to find them.
It meant we were done antique shopping.

Fabulous little non matching hat.
My character was booky and nerdish, though.
Nerdish people don't have to match.
I know this because this is art imitating life.

Little black cocktail dress.
Clicking on the image should make it a little larger.

I am slouching because my heels are very high.
I am very tall.
Shoes is not very tall.
And I should know that this takes a very unattractive picture because it's definitely not the first time in my life I've had this experience or dated a man who was shorter than me.
You should see my Senior Homecoming Pictures.

In conclusion, Shoes was well liked by the other party goers.  They appreciated his commitment to the event and to his character.  And once again, I am in awe of this amazingly patient man who agrees to do things like this with me.  

I have a feeling there may be payback.

I'll keep you updated.

It is Friday and I usually post on Fridays.

But I have nothing to post today.  In fact, it's a hectic, where's my brain, where's my planner, seriously I just spilled coffee on myself?, I wonder if my dress is a little too short for internship because all the extra weight I've been putting on through grad school is making things fit in funny ways, I have supervision in 6 minutes,  I have to write a paper and come up with a budget for a World Cafe (look it up) event that's in 3 weeks and the school has allocated exactly $0.00 to feed 50 people on by the end of the weekend, research intergenerational counseling techniques for frail older adults and their adult children type of day.

And tomorrow night I'm taking Shoes to a 1960 Murder Mystery Cocktail Party a dear friend in N. Portland is throwing.  He is less than enthusiastic.  But he is also A Very Good Man, so he has agreed to go.  My costume is fabulous.

I can't shake the feeling this might jeopardize any upcoming proposals.

Happy Weekend!
/ control"
            - Phillip Booth, 1990

To B.B.,

My very first client with Advanced Alzheimer's.

If I could, I would visit you in the Afterlife and tell you what a cosmic impact you had on this graduate student's life.

I first met you when I opened the electronically locked door to the Memory Care Unit.  At 5'3", thin as a reed, and as steady as two reeds poorly fastened together, you hobbled up and said something I will never forget.

"Smaa tule reen.  Doh CAP!"

You were telling me something.  And then you were asking me something.  And in our time together you only came out of the word salad fog 2 or 3 times - one sentence, and a couple of words.  I have to tell you, quite obviously, I had no  idea what you were trying to tell me.  But you were out of your room and you were being social and you weren't pulling another resident's hair, so, in effect, it looked like a good day.

I responded to "Do CAP!", with "I'm so glad you were able to meet me today.  I was just going to take a stroll this way" (and I indicated to an arbitrary hallway).  "Would you like to come?"

And you held out your hand.  And I took it and placed it in the crook of my elbow.  And we slowly walked around and around in the circle that is the locked memory unit. Is that a metaphor for the last part of your life?  Walking the same circuitous paths over and over, seeing if there's something down this way you needed, wanted or thought you might possibly remember?  It's hard to tell.

That first day, when I needed to leave, I said, "B.  Thank you so much for spending time with me.  I have another appointment, but I'll be back to visit with you soon."  To this, you screwed up your face, stuck out your lip and angrily told me, in B. language, where I could go and what I could do with myself.  Although I'd never be able to prove it, I truly believe you were asking why somebody else was more important than you at that moment.  In fact, you were so angry, so inexplicably angry and snarly, that I turned to one of the CNA's, bewildered, and said softly, humbled, "I think I'm having some problems transitioning here."

And this CNA, who has shown me more patience than one should be asked to show a graduate student, smiled and said, "Just go."

So I started to walk away, and you said the only coherent thing of that day: "Where's she going?"

And the CNA said, "She'll be right back."

My task supervisor would later tell me that although it might feel disingenuous, it was better to focus your attention on a different worker and tell you just that.  It seemed to work.  You never remembered who I was, so you never held it over my head.

During a separate visit, you refused to wear shoes, but insisted on walking around anyway.  Although it was your home, and I was always a firm believer of enforcing the idea that the common area was your living room, well.  Come on, B.  A locked memory unit is not the safest place to not wear shoes.  You yelled at a different CNA when he put your slippers down before you. So I quietly slipped my own shoes off, walked away, came back and said, "Oh goodness, B!  It's time for our walk!  I need to put my shoes on for this.  Hey!  Here are yours!  Do you want to put yours on?"

Lucky for me, you did.

We went on many strolls.
You were often so feisty it took every imaginative, calming idea to focus you otherwise (hence our many strolls).
You sometimes like to sit quietly in the common area, watching the Price Is Right, holding my hand.
You loved music.
You loved SINGING - word salad jingles.  Catchy little tunes.
I learned to keep you away from your arch nemesis resident  in the memory unit, but it never made sense to me how a person with no memory could single out the same resident again and again to pull her hair.
Have I mentioned how feisty you were?
Near the end you were agitated and restless
And that it when I loved you more.
As the Hospice nurse continued to increase your sedation, the more I knew your time was close.
A tiny bit of the feistiness started to give way to long, quiet looks into my eyes with a look in yours that was more meaningful than any prior.
Did you know?
I think you knew.

You were a pain.

And  I miss you terribly.

Working with you was a head on collision of what I know about human nature, what I was learning in Mental Wellness and Aging, and my gut instinct -- a 3 vehicle pile up.  You  made me think long and hard about what it truly means to avoid infantizing somebody with advanced dementia, what it truly means to honor somebody's preferred sense of self, and how to honor the full life you had lead before this disease had ravaged your brain and the life you were living then.  And you taught me about you - who you were, what you liked, what you did not like, and what mattered to you in those last days.

I always remember the firsts, B.

I always remember the firsts.

Rest well.
"I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land"
            Lee Hays, Pete Seeger

Just a couple of things for this week.  Life's been pretty slow.  I'm no longer taking that horrible, dreaded, no good, no use, Social Work and the Law class this term ... the absence of which has improved my attitude immensely.  Immensely.  Feels like an entirely new term.  Er, well, technically, it is an entirely new term.  A term  in which I'm taking Midlife and Beyond and my year long Social Work class (it's called Generalist - which is pretty fitting).  (My 86 year old client at my internship asked what I was taking this term and when I told him about Midlife and Beyond, I told him it reminded me of Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear's "To Infinity ... and beyond!"  He cast a weary eye towards me and said, "There's nothing that exciting on this side of midlife.")

But that's not the point.

The point is that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness Month.  The president of my university just sent out the driest, most impersonal letter about Sexual Assault Awareness Month linking the avoidance of sexual assault only to Social Sustainability.  But maybe the point is that he sent it at all.  Here's what I'll say about sexual assault:  if you have general questions, go ask your local Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocacy Center -- they'll be so excited to talk to you.   If you, yourself, have been a victim, and it's possible that you may question if you have been a victim, please call a hotline - how about 1800 656 HOPE --  or your local advocacy center.  You don't have to get give your name.  You get to follow up how you want to.

And April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.  Oh, the stories I could tell you.  Of hurt, of trauma, but even more incredibly, of hope, healing, redemption and restoration.
Some of the images that agencies use for this month are really and truly terrible.  They're true, and attention must be paid to this intensely impacting trauma, but I'm of the mindset that people don't need to see pictures of bruised babies more than what's necessary.

Image by HandsOn Network

So Child Abuse.  Soooooo many things you could do.    You could donate clothes, cribs, baby clothes, etc. to your local Child Welfare office.  Times are tough and these agencies are experiencing cutbacks like you wouldn't believe.   You could do more on the risk prevention end and volunteer for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  You could help with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)! You could contact your local Child Welfare office to see about Foster Parenting.  If you're really ambitious, you could contact your local Child Welfare office to see about adopting a foster child. Now here's the thing about adopting foster kids, I must tell you.  These amazing kids have a range of experiences and some of them are still healing.  So ... they may act like kids who have been abused.  If you have questions about this, drop me a note and we'll chat.  If you can't do any of these things, you could devote some time during the week towards prayer / sending positive thoughts.  I love these kids.  I love these kids more than I can say.

Also, next week is Volunteer Appreciation Week.  Doesn't that coincide nicely with the previous paragraph?  I think so!

 I don't think I could begin to tell you what crucial work volunteers provide to our public sector.  I've volunteered, or supervised volunteers, for the past decade. (How am I that old? I don't even know.)  Volunteering is altruistic, yes, it's rewarding, it's challenging, sometimes it's frustrating, it creates community.

Image from Child of Office and Youth Protection

We're part of a human family.  There are so many different ways to volunteer (one of my best friends in my graduate program has a husband who volunteers at a tool library.  A tool library!  People check out tools for home repairs).  It's part of us taking care of each other. (I have no idea when this blog started to sound so touchy / feel-y / earthy.)  I'll spend the next 30 seconds listing off the top of my head ways I can think of to volunteer:

Your church
The Public Library
Big Brothers / Big Sisters
Your local nursing home
Your local domestic violence / sexual violence advocacy agency
Your local hospital (this one should count for 15 more due to the variety of opportunities)
Your local refugee advocacy agency (do you speak a foreign language?  Are you bi cultural?)
Habitat for Humanity
Your local animal Shelter
Highway cleanup
Tutor at a local school
The Zoo
The Children's Museum

Ok, that was 30 seconds.  The point is not the list. The point is to be inspired to help in a way that is good for you, doing work that matters to you.  Somebody will always receive.

I was first a volunteer with my church.  Then I volunteered at a Domestic Violence Hotline.  Then I volunteered as part of a Sexual Assault Response Team.  Then more church volunteering.  Now I volunteer my time as a courtesy CASA for a local foster youth and I conduct mock job interviews at a local high school  for teens with learning disabilities.

My sister used to volunteer for the Emergency Room and the animal shelter.  My mother and father are Red Cross volunteers.  Red Cross!  I should have remembered that for the list!  And your local Juvenile Detention Center -  I should have remembered that one, too!  (Now I'm just cheating.)

If you have anything you'd like to add here about volunteering, please do!  I know that it's not right for every person in every season ... but it's my hope that during at least one season in our lives volunteering will play a significant role.    I'm also curious as to what other volunteering opportunities my 30 second list missed ...
each of us going on
in our own inexplicable ways
building the universe"
       -- Mary Oliver, 2004

I just don't know how to start this post (but I've tried about 12 times -- it's been in draft form for weeks).  I certainly don't wish to offend anybody, and I think my dearest friends know my heart and know where I'm coming from.  And it's long.  Kudos to you if you read all the way through; I certainly can't blame you if you don't.

I'll start with a list of disclaimers - which, in and of itself is an interesting choice, as women use far more qualifiers in conversation than men.

Disclaimer One:  I. Love. Children.  Ask anybody.  I seriously love children.  If I come to your house, your kids will not want me to leave, and I probably won't want to leave either.  Dress up, hide and seek, tag, baseball, Transformers ... I love it all.  I'll be the one asking to take your kids outside in the yard.

Disclaimer Two:  I'm a kid pro.  No really, I mean that literally.  I am a professional, soon to be licensed, mental health worker specializing in children with nine years of field experience.  No arrogance intended, but I know my stuff.  See Disclaimer One as to why I'm a kid pro.

Disclaimer Three:  You wouldn't believe how family oriented I am.  I gush with excitement when I find out there's about to be a new addition to the family (including friends so dear and so old they might as well be blood related). Mamas, Papas, Baby Bears, the whole works.  Families are amazingly dear to my heart.

Disclaimer Four:  The gender normative and heteronormative language in this post is phenomenal. I thought about it, but just decided to keep it as simple as possible.  But in case you're curious, yes, I realize.

So here's where I'm at, now that the disclaimers have been put out there (and they are all so, so true).  I'm struggling right now and bristling a little and wrestling over the expectations that have been put on me over the past few years.

This is one of the most fascinating things about my life:  I am nearing the point where it may begin to be difficult for me to have children. By the time I'm finished with graduate school, I will be 34 and, if it's the direction we choose to go, Shoes and I will have just started our life together.  That would probably mean the delay of any future children by yet another couple of years (I'm also working towards a very specific type of licensure that requires a state exam at the end of two years of supervised clinical work [post MSW graduation]).   (I know that women have children well, well into their 40s, but a woman's peak fertility time is not then.)   My feminine role in society is quickly changing from one in which I am a viable womb to one where I am becoming more and more and more the cherished "auntie"  .... and I'm ok with that.  I  haven't ruled motherhood out.  Those of you who followed the blog in 2007 / 2008 knew that former husband and I went to great lengths to try to have one of the little lovelies ... and it didn't work.  I absolutely haven't ruled motherhood out.  So God and I talk about it sometimes and I'm beginning to experience this great peace that it might not happen for me.

Despite my own personal peace, however, it is still very odd to be a woman of my age in a society which still greatly values women for their ability to parent.  People are beginning to know less and less what to do with me.  Members of my family are beginning to know less and less what to do with me.  I understand that I'm beginning to defy some very tightly held notions of traditional feminine roles.  But even within that understanding, I'm beginning to bristle a little, too.  There is so much to my life -- outside my ability or desire to have children.

But most people don't ask about the other parts of my life.  Most people ask about Shoes.  When we'll be tying the knot.  When we'll be ready to have kids.  I saw my father for the first time in two years several days ago (first time we had spoken in six months) and his only question for me was, "What are Shoes' intentions towards your relationship?".  (He does not know what I am getting my Masters in.  It's troubling.)  (And please don't read any fatherly concern into his question; you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that's not the place from which the question was asked.)

I am more than Shoes' partner or the children we may or may not have.  But this seems inexplicably lost.  I am Shoes' partner - happily, happily so.  I am also getting a 4.0 G.P.A. (in my second year) while I obtain a graduate education at a  highly ranked university.  I provide geriatric psychotherapy to a host of amazing clients.  I follow current events to the letter.  I read voraciously. I fret over politics and policy.   I ask people questions about the things they state matter most to them.  I have lots to talk about.  That includes kids.  But it does not preclude everything else.

It is so very tempting for our womanhood and our femininity to be defined by the presence of children in our lives.  I am becoming more and more convinced we have to find a place in our society, in our churches, in the blocks in our neighborhoods, for the women who cannot, or do not want to, have children.

I begin to cherish more and more the time I spend with the ladies in my program at school.  Ladies who do and do not have kids, but ladies who have a lot to say about everything.

And a couple of things that are starting to grieve me just a little?

1)  Phone conversations with women who allow their children to scream into the phone receiver and continue to speak as though nothing is wrong (forgive me, but I just cannot hear when there is an unhappy kiddo).  I've had phone conversations with women who pause our conversations to have lengthy (and I mean *lengthy* - this isn't a break to answer a question) conversations with their children.  At this season in my life, when I think about work, school, homework, research, internship research that I could be doing, I despair a little when I lose precious, precious minutes from my day listening to women have a ten minute phone conversation with the little one.  I know that kids are awesome and random and cute. I like to talk to them too.  But I would so much rather that these moms just called me back at a time that's more convenient for them.  I'd be so perfectly ok with that.

2)  Comments such as, ""There is no harder job than that of being a mother."  I appreciate how exhausting and difficult it is.  I appreciate how extremely rewarding it is.  I appreciate that it truly is a life-long commitment.  It is, no doubt, incredibly hard.  But let's put hyperboles aside.  It's a little insulting to work with someone in their dying days, helping them navigate through impossible questions about what their lives have meant and if they're ready to pass on, to come home exhausted and spent, only to be told that there is no harder job than that of being a mother. I get sassy when I feel that the work I do is demeaned because it does not include parenting.  It's all relative and it's all hard.   Today I helped somebody get ready to die.  That's no walk in the park.

3)  Comments such as, "You'll know when you're a mother."  Well, loves, we have already established I might not, so maybe it's ok to accept my feminine, sans children experience as perfectly valid and perfectly whole.  I have no doubt I am pouring myself out to my community, my neighborhood, my society.  There is an experience I will miss by not being a mother - absolutely, no questions asked.  But maybe it would be more appropriate to speak about the life altering, mysterious experience of being a mother with other mothers.  I'm just not sure how productive it is to say this to a non mother.

I'm just about ready to wrap this post.

I have no doubt that I've, quite unwillingly, offended somebody.  I receive that and I hear that.  It doesn't change my personal experience, but I do appreciate that viewpoint.

As I finish, I'm reminded, in my own life, of one of the most powerful, veritable forces of nature non mothers I have ever met.  When I was in undergraduate school, one of the professors I knew best was a sociology professor, unmarried, no children woman.  She was an ex Catholic Nun who was, and is, a never ending, never tiring advocate for social justice.  A woman who has room for all narratives.  A woman who once was arrested, during her days as a nun, for protesting nuclear weapons on a military base.  A woman who once answered a student who asked her, "Are you still Catholic?" with, "Although I am uncomfortable with many of the church's stances, I will never lose that desire to believe."  A woman so ferociously loving and gentle, I can think of no student, co worker or community member that did not love her back ... despite fundamental ideological differences.    Her feminine life made seismic waves in my own feminine life, and when I realized that, I realized that mothering, in all of its majestic, mysterious, loving glory, was not the only way to profoundly shape the lives of others.

To those of you who are mothers, bless you and may you have all the wisdom, experience, love and grace that you need every day to do your job with excellence (er ... add a sense of humor to that as well!).

To those of you who are not mothers, my feminine heart and yours are one.  I see your creativity, your love, your contribution to society and I affirm that you are whole.

For all of us, in an effort to bridge the polarized gap between those that do and those that do not, grab a bottle of wine and come on over to my house.  We'll talk about books.  We'll talk about Ghadafi.  We'll talk about green energy.  We'll talk about your kids.   Let's just broaden the experience and the narrative.  There's room at the table.