Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lent Cake

The cake my daughter imagines she's making me..... 

Now that we’ve gotten a few weeks of Lent out of the way, I can safely say that my Lent has been just like Birthday Cake.   No, I don’t mean it’s fun and delicious and something worth waiting a year for.

 I mean it’s been like baking a birthday cake. With a Toddler. For your own birthday.  And in this situation, I’m the toddler.

My toddlers love to make birthday cakes for the people they love.  They DEMAND to make birthday cakes for the people they love. In fact, they are convinced that they can make the best birthday cake ever, by sheer force of will, because they love you and it’s your birthday and birthday’s mean cake.

But they can’t make the cake for you unless you help them make the cake. They need your help from beginning to end. Without help, the birthday cake turns into a mess on the floor, a pain instead of a present.  

 To let your child give you the great gift of a cake, you need to open the box. Read her the directions. Help her measure. Remind her to stir. The moment the toddler decides to charge on ahead without you, the cake ends up a mess and you start thinking you’d have been better off doing it yourself. But you bite your tongue and help, because you love the toddler, and you know that she NEEDS a way to show her love for you and to give you a gift, even if you’re doing most of the gift-making yourself.

That’s Lent. We want to give Jesus a really big cake. We want to show him how much we love him, how we want to be like him, how closely we’ve been watching him and how we’re big enough to do what he does.   And in our toddler minds, we can totally do it ourselves until the cake ends up on the floor and we have to clean up and start over, with more humility and more help this time, but with just as much love.

Jesus doesn’t need the Lenten sacrifices any more than we need the toddler cake. Heck, I’m all powerful. I have a debit card. I can go to Dairy Queen and get myself an ice cream cake. But I don’t, because I love my toddler. 

Lent is about asking Jesus to help us so that we can make a cake for him. A lopsided cake that might taste a little weird, but it’s the best we can do, even with extensive help.   The alternative would be to not make a cake, to not show our love, and to feel awful and broken because we have no way to reach out and love the person who loves us most.

So… Yeah. Lent has been like a birthday cake. And it’s time to wipe the eggs off the floor, ask for help, and start again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Secret Shame

I have a confession to make.  I write fanfic.  In fact, I spend at least an hour every night coming up with new stories set in beloved worlds. Sometimes, I even write crossovers.  

You may wonder why this is an embarrassing admission for me. Lots of famous F+SF writers got their start writing fanfic. This is a legitimate career path for an aspiring author, right?

You know, if I was writing awesome adventures set in the worlds of “Clockwork Angel”, “Magic’s Pawn,” or “His Majesty’s Dragon,” I might agree with you. That could be some really excellent fanfiction. 

Unfortunately, my Fanfic has an editor, and she just turned three. So, instead of something people want to read, my stories revolve around the world of Dora and Diego, with occasional Winx crossovers when things get really crazy.

They are the bane of my existence and the cause of my exhaustion.

Want to see what I mean?   

I present Dora and Diego and the Hungry Hungry Bears who Eat All the Mommies and the Daddies.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Links to Selected Web Publications

I'm updating my LinkedIn profile, and I have too many web publications to put them in individually.

This post will be a mega-list of things I've published online. I'll update it regularly, but it's not really interesting unless you're planning on hiring me.

Print Publications
Short Stories
“The Poetry Quilt.” Highlights For Children. April 2014. Winner of “Author of the Month” award.
“Tough Shell”. Clubhouse Magazine. March 2008.
“How Zebra Learned to Hide.” Clubhouse, Jr. Magazine.  March 2007.
"Bill's Trick." Highlights High Five. Date Not Set

  "Morning Greeting". Celebrate. November 2007
  "Evening Lullaby". Celebrate November 2007.
  "The Geese". BabyBug Magazine. November 2006.
"Baa-Baa Lamb". Wee Ones. March/April 2006.
"Monkey Bars". Spider Magazine. Date not set.
"Swinging" The Friend. Date not set.
 "My First Garden" The Friend. Date not set.

Selected Web Publications

CK12 Foundation:

CK12 Foundation (Continued):

Tom’s of Maine:



Personal  Mommy Blogs:

Other Posts:

Ebooks Available on Amazon:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Exciting New Book in October

I know I haven't blogged in a while -- my math writing over at the CK12 project has bumped all my other work off the schedule.

But I wanted to duck in here because there are people who follow this blog but who don't hang out with me on Facebook, and because one of the Jesuits I knew at the University of Chicago has an exciting new book coming out in 2 weeks.

I've only read the excerpt so far, but I'm excited, and you should be too!

The book is going to look at science, faith, and how both have a place in understanding the world. I'll be reading it out loud to my kids as part of their school work, because some of them have been wondering if you can love Jesus AND science. (Answer. Yes. And the pope has a crack team of astrophysicists who can prove it to you!)

The book's not out yet, but I'm counting down the days-- because choosing between theology and science is like choosing between peanut butter and bread. God wants us to have BOTH.

Or, as a friend of mine loves to say, "God loves science! That's why he made so much of it!"

Anyway, check out the excerpt that I linked to above-- you'll be hooked.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Drawing with Simcha, Week 2

We're still doing the Simcha Fisher drawing club, but my 8 year old found this week too frustrating and didn't want me to show off her work.

So, here's what we DO have: (In a hurry, so they're off kilter..)

My Picasso. I'm really proud of this one!

My daughter, from a pencil drawing in the 'Drawing' article in the World Book.

This exercise was a lot of fun too!
Thanks, Simcha, for running this class! It's great fun already!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Can’t We Force Companies Owned by Christians to Buy Contraceptives? :An Explanation for Hardcore Liberals

"Hey, Barb, can you hold my sign? They just marked the silk flowers half off..."

The Supreme Court has decided the Hobby Lobby case, and my Facebook feed is full of earnest (or perhaps very cynical) young (and rapidly approaching menopause) liberal women complaining about a war on woman, an attack on their sexual autonomy, and the coming of a world which previously only existed in Margaret Atwood novels.

So, why can’t the government just force those evil, plutocrat woman-hating Hobby Lobbyists to provide contraception like good upstanding corporate citizens?

Here’s a thought experiment to help you understand the problem.

I am Catholic. I am pro-life. In my younger (stupider, angrier) days, I thought that I could simultaneously be anti-abortion and pro-death penalty.  After much study, I discovered that I was wrong, and that the Church asks me to oppose both abortion and the death penalty. So I now oppose the death penalty.

Imagine I opened a chain of craft stores (almost unimaginable, I know, but bear with me here). I try to run my stores in accord with my religious principles. We don’t sell things made by prison labor, we don’t sell products made from inhumanely slaughtered animals, and we don’t donate to or in any way support groups that advocate for the death penalty or abortion.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Simcha Fisher Made Us Draw These

The girls and I are doing the 'summer drawing club' with Simcha Fisher. This week's assignment was to do a set of 'before' pictures: A person from memory, a self-portrait, and a sketch of your hand.

Here are our results. Clearly, we need the class!

10 year old's hand

10 year old's self portrait

10 year old draws 2 year old from memory

8 year old hand

8 year old draws friend from memory

8 year old self portrait

My Hand. I'm apparently a zombie.

My person from memory. Except the ADHD kicked in and I couldn't HOLD one person in memory. So this is more of a pastiche... of random people that I've seen in places... or maybe deep insight into my memory of 'person.' Or just random. Look, I'm really, really bad at remembering faces, OK? If you change your glasses, I won't recognize you!

Self portrait, from an ipod pic instead of a mirror because if I sit by the mirror, the toddler attacks.

Anyway, good clean drawing fun! If you want to join in, head over to Simcha's Place!