Guinea Antics

guinea2This morning I let the birds out early, and later on, I noticed the mother hen bringing the chicks and guineas out of very tall grass–and there was only two guineas with her, instead of three.  This made me nervous, and I looked around for the third guinea, which was no where in sight.

A few hours later I ran back out to check on them, and there were still only two guineas. I usually let them eat bugs during the day, so that they do their foraging when they’re the hungriest, and feed grain at night when I lock them up in the chicken house.  I thought about feeding them just a little to round up all the birds, and maybe get the guinea back before he got too far away.

guinea4I was standing in the chicken pen, contemplating my next actions, when I noticed an upturned water tub move.  The tub is very lightweight, and holds maybe three gallons of water for our sole duck.  (Ducks need something they can submerge their beaks in to fully clean their nostrils, rather than just sipping out of a standard chicken feeder).

guinea3I watched the water tub scoot across the pen, and when I picked it up, a bundle of feathers launched up into the air, and beat itself against the wire ceiling of the pen.  Over and over.  (The guineas don’t understand wire, even after living in it part-time for over a month.)  I felt terrible that the guinea had been stuck in the upturned tub all morning, but if it had just stood up straight, I think it could have overturned the tub and escaped.

guinea1I waited until it drank as much as it wanted, caught it with a net, and reunited it with the other guineas and baby chicks. I really hope these guys do a number on our snake population, because they sure aren’t smart.

guinea5

What I’m Reading Twitterature Edition–October 2014

book2

Highly sensitive people, this book’s not for you.  I enjoyed the first Cormoran Strike book, and eagerly dove into this one, but The SIlkworm is grisly and graphic.  Both books are murder mysteries, but The Silkworm goes overboard in describing horrific details.

I slogged though the entire thing, skipping the overly descriptive passages, since I’m sure there will be more in the series, and I’m hoping future books to be less gory.  Honestly, I really lost interest in the characters and plot–it really drug out for me, but perhaps I couldn’t get past my distaste for the bloodbath.

book1Let’s move on to the good stuff–Everyone is Beautiful is about a stay at home mom of three boys, something I certainly can relate to.  I’ve read online discussion about this book, both pro and con–some people read fiction to escape, and don’t want to read about a SAHM with a life similar to their own.

I liked the book, partly because it gave me hope that change is always possible.  Lanie is deep in the day-to-day survival of having three young boys, yet she still is able to make positive changes in her own life, both in her physical health and in finding a new interest outside of parenting.

Also, reading about other mischievous boys makes me feel better in my own parenting skills–when her boys ruin the bedspread at her girlfriend’s house?  I breathed a sign of relief that mine haven’t done that (yet).

book3Hogshead claims that to be more successful, you do not have to change who you are–you have to become more of who you are.  This book focuses on how others see you, and teaches you to identify strengths in your personality that will enable you to communicate better with others.

It’s written from a business perspective, but I think the results translate into any aspect of your life.  While my copy was a library book, and I didn’t have access to the code to take the online quiz, I feel confident that I was able to pick out my own personality archetype just by reading the profiles.

Care to join me as I dive headfirst down a rabbit trail?  Hogshead provides asterisks throughout the book, providing tidbits of information she finds interesting or noteworthy.  One toward the end of the book made my geeky little brain explode a little.  While discussing taglines, she states that the state of Virginia’s tagline used to be “Virginia is for Lovers”.  The asterisk says, “Which is a little ironic, considering that Queen Elizabeth I was ‘the Virgin Queen'”.

Yes, Queen Elizabeth I was known as the Virgin Queen, yet she actually had more than one romantic relationship that may or may not have also been a physical relationship. (So perhaps the state of Virgina wasn’t that far off track).  Elizabeth was known as the Virgin Queen, while her virginity is still up for debate.  Her mother, Anne Boleyn, was known as the Great Whore, while most historians agree that she likely remained faithful to her husband Henry VIII.  Now that’s ironic.

book4I really enjoyed le Billon’s other book, French Kids Eat Everything, and this tells you how to accomplish the fantastic and varied eating that the French have mastered.  We have one picky eater in our family, and we are beginning the games and strategies outlined in this book.  From reading through it, I’m hopeful that we’ll have good results, even though we’re late in the game (our picky eater’s 7).

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs Darcy’s Twitterature–check out more great book recommendations there!

Our Trashless Lunches

I’m no expert, nor have I researched all the options that are available.  However, I’ve been packing school lunches three and a quarter years now, and for the most part, they’ve all been trashless.

I have two boys in school–one buys his lunch one day a month, and the other refuses to buy school lunch.  I’m thrilled with this arrangement, and the way I approached school lunches from the very beginning was to assume they would bring their lunches most of the time, and try not to make a big of a deal about it when they wanted to buy.

lunch2

The summer before our first kindergartener rode the big yellow bus for the first time, we hinted to grandparents that lunchbots would be a fun birthday gift.  (He also received his adventure backpack as a birthday gift–school supplies as birthday gifts for subsequent children doesn’t work as well, the novelty has worn off, fyi).

lunch4

The same two lunchbots (the uno and duo) have been used almost every day from kindergarten through 3rd grade, and they’re still going strong.  There is very minimal wear to the paint on the top of the lid, and to my knowledge, lunchbots changed the manufacturing of their lids in 2013 to eliminate the paint chipping.  I’ve read reviews on Amazon which state the company will exchange old lids for the current ones, although I haven’t felt the need to exchange ours. (The inside of the lid isn’t painted).

When #2 child headed to school, despite my satisfaction with the lunchbots, in the name of economy, I bought a set of BPA-free plastic lunch containers.  Not only did I not learn my lesson when the first set got destroyed, I actually bought a second set.  (Seriously, what was I thinking?!)  When those bit the dust, I realized that I had now paid almost as much as a set of lunchbots for pieces of plastic that ended up in the recycling bin.  (I’m a slow learner, but I do get there eventually!)

lunch1

This time I bought the bento trio–a sandwich and two (small) sides will fit in it.  The lid isn’t painted, so there’s no chipping paint to contend with.  The only downside to the lunchbots is the price–they’re not cheap, but I’m thrilled with their durability.  When I buy another set, I will probably buy aother uno and duo set–I prefer them for the type of lunches I pack.

lunch3

This year, since we had no kindergarteners, we bought each boy a Thermos to carry hot food in.  Both boys can open the thermos and unfold the spoon (their favorite part), although I’m not sure a kindergartener would be able to manage it alone.  Being able to take hot food to school has opened up a lot more options and variety.  Although, the thermos and duo lunchbot is much easier to pack than the thermos and bento trio lunchbot.  Live and learn.

Have you had good or bad luck with reusable lunch containers?  I’d love to hear–I’m still searching for a great drink container.

Storybook Inspired Cardigan

cardi12

I get really distracted by pretty, shiny things.  While window shopping recently, I found embellished tops and cardigans that gave me inspiration to make my own. If you’re not a sewer, as long as you can sew a button, you can make a cardigan like this–craft stores have lots of fabric and feather flowers that can be easily sewn onto any top.  However, if you’d like to see how I made my fabric flowers, which requires only minimal, straight-stitch hand-sewing, keep on reading.

This is the first top I spotted:Jewel button crop top, and here’s what I came up with:

cardi2

All of the buttons I purchased were from Hobby Lobby, from their Sew-ology line, and I bought them at 50% off, around $2 per button.  This top I already owned, so the only expense was the buttons.

cardi1

I also wanted to put my own spin on this cardigan: Lace printed cardigan.  I really liked the fabric, and actually found a similar fabric to make one of my flowers (from Jo Anne Fabric).  I bought a plain black cardigan from Old Navy, and found my charms/buttons at Hobby Lobby and Jo Annes–they were all purchased at 50% off.  When choosing embellishments and fabric for flowers, choose lighter weight options, and sturdier cardigans.

cardi3I used a 3 inch pyrex dish top for the smaller flower, and a 5 inch top for the larger flower.  Trace around your circle pattern on the fabric’s wrong side.  Cut out, fold the circle in half, and cut the circle in two.

cardi4Fold the half circle in half, right sides together, and stitch up the straight side.

cardi5Turn it right side out, so that you have a fabric teepee.

cardi6Fold your teepee in half, so that the seam goes down the middle backside of the teepee.

cardi7Make a single stitch (like a drawstring) along the curve of the bottom–use a matching thread, but I used red so you could see it better.

cardi7.5Then pull the thread, so the fabric gathers,

cardi7.75and continue threading all of the petals on the thread–I usually make 5 petals per flower.  When you have five, sew the first and last petal together to form a circle, making sure all the seams on the petals face the back.

cardi14You can sew/glue anything in the center of your flower, I used a flower button, and sewed it all together, and then hot glued a pin back to the flower, so I can easily remove it to launder the cardigan.

cardi9I use bar pins that are an inch and a half long, and I trace a quarter on felt, and hot glue over the pin to cover up all the loose threads.  Then I sewed on the smaller charms/buttons onto the cardigan, and pinned on my fabric flowers.  I discovered a line of charms at Hobby Lobby called ‘fairy tale’, and they have some really cute bookish charms based on classic books and fairy tales.

cardi10I really like the ‘Once Upon a Time ‘ charm, and I found this one as well, which I glued a pin back to:

cardi11There are a lot of cute Alice in Wonderland inspired charms in the fairy tale line as well, so I’d like to make something else as well.  What have you been inspired by lately?

 

What I’m Reading

I’ll begin by a spoiler alert–the news about the latest Bridget Jones book came out so long ago that I’m guessing most people have heard it, but if you haven’t (and don’t want to), scroll down to my next book selection.book1When I heard about the situation with Mr. Darcy, my first thought was that Fielding took the easy way out.  Bridget is the quintessential single girl, and instead of changing and developing her character and storyline, Fielding thrusts her back into the single girl’s world, now as a single mom.

Many outraged readers boycotted this book, and while I didn’t take a stance that drastic, I was pretty suspicious of Mad About the Boy.  I’ll also say that I’m not a huge chick lit reader–I have read the first two Bridget Jones books, and I like some of Sophie Kinsella’s books, but that’s about as far as I’ve ventured into the genre.

I read the first 60 pages, and the last 10, and I gave up.  Did I give the book a fair shot?  Probably not.  But I just didn’t like the book, and I had too many other good books laying around for me to invest more time into it.  Usually I enjoy British English words, but there’s a lot of talk about nits, or lice in this book.  Which completely grossed me out, and did nothing to encourage my further reading.  If you loved it, and feel I really missed out, feel free to convince me in the comments!

book2

I really admire those that read a broad range of books–I don’t, and often when I branch out, I get annoyed, forcing myself through a book I’m not enjoying.  However, this time branching out worked, and I discovered that I enjoy mystery/detective books.  I sped through these three, trying to put the pieces together and figure out whodunit, and I’ll definately read more from both authors in the future.

book6All of the great things written/said about The Invention of Wings are true. I love stories told from two different points of view, and I found myself enjoying the fictional Handful’s story even more than the based-on-fact Sarah Grimke.

book3Since I like old houses, this book about a family living in a ramshackle English castle was right up my alley.  I watched the movie after finishing the book, and it does a nice job of transforming a book into a film.

book4Since I’m always on a quest to improve my lackluster kitchen skills, this book is full of helpful tips and tricks for a kitchen beginner like myself.  I also read and liked Payne’s The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking.

book5Dad is Fat is hilarious–I laughed out loud at so many parts of this book.  I realize it’s part of Gaffigan’s comedy to poke fun at himself, but I loved how he was so complimentary and had such admiration for his wife.

That’s what I’ve been reading–what good books have you read lately?

A Fowl Update–More Eggs, Less Snakes

Earlier this summer, we had a hen hatch three chicks in the yard.  Now the chicks are all grown up, and they turned into a rooster and two hens.

chicken6chicken5 After seeing what a devoted mother the hen was, I began thinking about starting a sustainable barred rock flock, and bought some day old chicks.  They stayed inside under the heat lamp for about 6 weeks.  When they had almost all of their feathers, we moved them out to the chicken house, where they still have a heat lamp at night.  The mother hen has adopted them, and treats them like her own.

chicken2Woe to any bird that gets near them; she even sends the roosters running.  She talks to her chicks constantly, clucking and fussing over them.  She struts around with all of her feathers fluffed, announcing to the world that her flock of chicks are on the premises.

chicken3Earlier this summer, I went to collect eggs, and was greeted by this:

snakeCan you see it’s getting ready to swallow that egg?!  I’d like to tell you that I responded with grace and composure, but sadly, that wasn’t the case.  There might have been some shrieking, hand wringing, and minor hyperventilation.  I’m terrified of snakes, and we have a lot of them.

I had never heard of a way to get rid of them, until I read this post.  Guineas as a snake repellent? Yes please!  Plus guineas eat bugs out of the yard, and forage for most of their own food? It just kept getting better and better.  I brought home guinea keets with the barred rock chicks, and raised them together.

chicken4The poor things won’t win any beauty contests, and are also known for their stupidity. I’d like to raise more of them in the spring–I’ll have a whole flock if they’ll keep the snakes away.  We have three, and I can’t tell if they are male/female yet.

chicken1These are royal purple guineas–I had hoped to combat their stupidity by raising them with the chicks.  One common complaint about guineas is that they wander far from the coop and are an easy target for predators.  So far all three of ours have stayed close to home, even when free ranging in the yard. (Mama hen does a really good job of keeping her eye on them).

If they do get separated, the one lone guinea runs around, screaming like a banshee, until he’s reunited with the other two. (If one is outside the wire pen, he gets frantic, trying to reach his friends, but can’t figure out how to walk through the open door.  How these birds survived in the wild is beyond me).

So the plan for the spring is more eggs, less snakes.  We’ll see how that goes…

How to Watch a Caterpillar Become a Butterfly

This is one of my very favorite projects to do with my kids–I might get more excited about it than they do.  We have Swallowtail butterflies where I live, so I plant lots of parsley for them in the garden.  (Swallowtails eat plants from the carrot family: Queen Anne’s lace, carrots, dill and parsley).

butterfly1I got so into watching butterflies hatch, my husband and boys bought me this field guide one year for mother’s day, and I love it.  I never thought a book about fancy worms would make my day–yet another surprise of motherhood.

butterfly10I pick the parsley stem the caterpillar’s on, and put the whole thing in a jar.  Then I fill the jar with lots of parsley.  I use a canning ring for the lid, and mesh fabric or cheese cloth works well for the top.  I like to reuse mesh bags fruit comes in–if the mesh is large and the caterpillar is super tiny, consider doubling up the mesh so the caterpillar can’t escape. (If you look carefully at the photo below, you can see the caterpillar at the very bottom of the jar).

butterfly3I used to put a few drips of water in the jar, but the caterpillars seem to get everything they need from the parsley.   Make sure you keep fresh greens in the jar for them–they eat A LOT. They grow so much, you can see quite a bit of growth in just one day.

butterfly4If there’s a way to tell caterpillar gender, I don’t know what it is–but the male and female butterflies have very different coloring, so when the butterflies hatch, it’s obvious whether they’re male or female.  This very small caterpillar lived in the jar for 6 days before starting her cocoon. If you find larger caterpillars, closer to their time of building a cocoon, you’ll have fewer days to watch them being caterpillars.

It’s hard to tell in the picture, but she found a place on the side of the jar, and connected herself to it with tiny white threads.  I kept a close eye on her, wanting to photograph the change between caterpillar and full cocoon, but it happened very quickly.

butterfly5They attach the cocoons to the side of the jar with two tiny threads, as you can see in the photos.

butterfly6

butterfly9When the cocoon is first complete, it’s bright green.  It takes 10 days for the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly to occur.

butterfly11The cocoon looks blackish right before the butterfly is ready to hatch–presumably the black butterfly wings showing through.

butterfly4A watched pot never boils, and a watched cocoon never hatches–I haven’t been able to watch a butterfly in the process of hatching, but their wings are wet and floppy when they first emerge–let the butterfly hang out in the jar until the wings dry and look normal.  Here are what wet wings look like:

butterfly3Here are two male swallowtails:

butterfly2

butterfly7And this is a female swallowtail:

butterfly8We’ve watched probably 15 caterpillars turn into butterflies this summer, and it always amazes me to watch them go from this:

butterfly1

to this:

butterfly8I happened to run across my childhood copy of “A Girl of the Limberlost” during all of this butterfly observing, and began rereading it–although parts of it are dark, it’s a nice companion to this science-y project.

butterflybook

 

What I’m Reading–Twitterature Edition July 2014

careers1.   The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin–about a bookshop owner dealing with a recent tragedy, and how a package dropped off at the shop changes his life.  I really liked this book, the style is just a little quirky, and AJ begins as a very unlikeable character, but goes through a significant transformation.  This book was written for those who love to read, and will add to your growing ‘to-read’ list.  One (tiny) detail I didn’t agree with–I have a hard time believing that policemen would want to read crime novels, much less start a book group to discuss them.  (There’s an early episode of Friends that touches on this–Rachel is waitressing at the coffee shop, but doesn’t want to drink or serve coffee outside of work).

book12. Eating Wildly Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin–this is very different than the other foodie memoirs I’ve read, and I was fascinated by her stories of foraging in New York City, especially after my baby steps into foraging.

book2

3. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg–even more enjoyable than her first book, A Homemade Life.  She tells the story of opening a restaurant with her husband, and how it changes their lives.  It’s funny and sweet, and I love how different Wizenberg and her husband are, but their opposite strengths make their marriage and restaurant succeed.

book3

4. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson–talks about boldness, chasing your dreams, and turning setbacks into opportunities. A book to read slowly, as Batterson packs in a lot of information and stories.  Great for those at a crossroads, or wondering what direction to take next.

book1

5. That Summer by Lauren Willig–fans of Kate Morton may like Willig’s newest book.  I’m a sucker for any book where the main character inherits a crumbling old house full of treasures.  And if said house in in England?  Even better.  The story flips between 2009 and the 1840s–I’m also a sucker for split narrative books.  It’s a quick enjoyable read, written in the same style as her Ashford Affair, which I’ve also read (and enjoyed) but never posted a full review.  (I don’t care for her Pink Carnation series).

The thing that bothered me the most (and forgive me if this is horribly obnoxious) is the cover.  The house is central to both stories being told, and while the house on the cover is nice, it doesn’t match the author’s description (in the book it’s stucco, the cover shows brick/rock).  The well-maintained cottage garden is lovely, but Herne Hill has fallen in disrepair for many years, and the grounds have become quite grown up.  From what I understand, authors have little control over what their covers look like, but it seems as though whoever picked this cover photo must have never read the book.

book4

6. The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith–I’ve been a reader of the Nester’s for a long time, and her book was just as inspirational as her blog.  I loved that she shared all the homes they’ve lived in over the years, and the mistakes and lessons that have come from each.  She got me up out of my chair to dust off a few of my own house projects that have been pushed to the side.

7. Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze–read my full review here.

8. The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron and Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Kurcinka–read my thoughts on the books and highly sensitive children here.

Here’s what I’ve just started, or am getting ready to dive into–so let me know if you’ve read any of these, and what you thought (but no spoilers please!).  I’m a little suspicious of the new Bridget Jones, I’m not thrilled about the situation with Mr. Darcy, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

book2    Linking up with Anne at the Modern Mrs. Darcy–head over there for more great book recommendations!

What I’m Reading–Smart Money Smart Kids

I’ve read several Dave Ramsey books and taken the Financial Peace University class, so the basic concepts in this book weren’t brand new to me, but it was nice to read the opinions of his daughter and co-author, Rachel Cruze, to hear the perspective of a child who was raised using these principles (and lived to tell the tale).

The book covered all ages of kids, from toddler to teens, so it’s definitely a book I’ll reread and reference as my kids get older.  It also covered how to talk about money in front of your kids, and how in some cases, you need to go out of your way to show them what to do.

Rachel Cruze uses the phrase ‘more is caught than taught’ throughout the book, and illustrates that parents often do money related chores like paying bills, budgeting, or donating money when the kids aren’t around, when they should be doing the opposite.  It’s good for kids to see parents working on a budget, discussing money, and physically donating money to causes they wish to support.   Sometimes this means writing a check when it might be more convenient to make an online payment or donation.

Parts of the book talked about raising children who are upstanding, caring, considerate people–the premise of if they are taught responsibility with money, that responsibility will bleed over into other areas of their life.  If they are taught to care about others, this helps them become caring and compassionate people overall, not just where money is concerned.

A quote that really struck me, “…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a spender.  Like any other part of your child’s personality, it’s a natural part of who he is.  It is something that you should direct and nurture, not something you have to correct.”

I hadn’t realized it before reading Cruze’s quote, but I had always categorized ‘spender’ with ‘bad’ and ‘saver’ with ‘good’.  It was extremely refreshing and eye-opening to have this (unconscious) thought challenged, both in regards to the big and little people at our house.

All kinds of teen topics are covered–guiding them to a future career, balancing a career to make money with your passions/hobbies, how to pay for college and a car, and the emergency fund teenager-style,

SMSK breaks down the Ramsey concept to a kid/teenager level, and gives a lot of concrete ways to teach kids about money, starting with toddlers, and ending with teens getting ready to head out into the world on their own.

It also covers how to approach money as a family unit–in conversation, attitude and overall concept.  I appreciated the two voices the book was written in–father and child, and the different perspectives they had on the same situation.  It was inspiring to see what’s possible for your children can achieve by implementing these principles early on.

 

 

 

 

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

careers1When I was in school, a common icebreaker game was to tell what we wanted to be when we grew up. From about sixth grade onward, my answer was always the same, “A millionaire’s wife.” I said it because it always got a laugh, but I also said it because I had no idea.

During my senior year of high school, I had to answer that question in front of a huge group of people–the majority of my school plus more.  I said I wanted to be a doctor in the ER–to those who didn’t know me, it sounded impressive.  Those who knew me hid a smile, because it was obviously a joke. Earlier that year I had passed out multiple times in biology and psychology classes because of my incredibly weak stomach .

It wasn’t that I was unambitious–I got good grades, took honors classes, was involved in lots of extracurricular activities–I was even captain and editor of various things. I always focused on the task at hand, not on the future.  Although there were choices in high school, it was still the basic format of science/math/English/electives, so I focused on my grades and after school activities.  I went to college and I still didn’t have a clue.

I started out in psychology (because my high school psych class had gone so well), but after a one hour intro to psychology careers, I decided it wasn’t for me because of the math involved.  I changed to English Literature, because I’ve always been a bookworm, and advisors said to pick the classes you would want to take even if you didn’t have to.  I jumped in with both feet, and started with a sophomore and junior level class the second semester of my freshman year.

Even though I bit off more than I could chew, I survived the classes, but it wasn’t the bliss that I envisioned.  My critical analysis class read several modern books I hated, and the class with the material I enjoyed had a professor that made watching paint dry seem exciting.  Someone I randomly chanced meeting asked what I was majoring in, and when I proudly announced, “English Literature”, so happy that I had finally figured out who I was and what I was supposed to do with my life, they replied, “Well, that’s a pretty worthless major, isn’t it?”  I was crushed–the carefully constructed pieces came crashing down around me.

I managed to pick something and graduate, but if I making the choice over, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t make the same decision.  I dated my husband all through college, and he went through several majors like I did.  Although he is extremely good at his profession, and enjoys it, I know there was a close second runner up that he would likely choose if we found ourselves to be 18 again.

Things happen for a reason, and we are happy with the life that we have, but I do want to be intentional about helping guide my boys in discovering a career path that they will excel at and enjoy. My kids are all under 10, so the conversations at our house are very casual and informal, but we regularly discuss different aspects of all kinds of jobs.

Some jobs make more money than others, and some jobs you have to go to school longer for than others.  Teachers have summer vacations, while doctors, policemen and firemen have unusual schedules.  Some jobs let you set your own schedule, some jobs are dangerous and other jobs are less dangerous.  Right now I just want them to think about all the possibilities that are out there, and what sounds interesting.

We read books about different jobs, and when I ask what they want to be when they grow up, no matter what they say, I always tell them they can be anything they want to be.  I think understanding one’s personality is so extremely helpful, and it helps me parent them to recognize the personality traits and tics that each boy has.

When they’re older, I hope to help them recognize their own strengths and weaknesses.  Strengths/interests can be channeled into different vocations, and weaknesses can be overcome to create a well-rounded personal and professional life.  I want them to recognize their strengths, gifts and preferences so that they can make a wise career decision when the time comes.

I have no agenda–I want them to be happy and successful at whatever they choose, but I don’t have a specific dream or plan for any of them.  One is fascinated by building, so I wonder if engineering is in his future, but right now he wants to be a teacher.  No matter what they do, I want them to help people, and feel like they’re making a positive contribution to society.  Everyone has a different role in life, and we function best when we’re doing the role that best suits us, not trying to take on someone else’s role.

eyeballs

A friend gave this illustration once, and I think about it often, although when I picture it in my mind, I do so in the cartoon version, because otherwise it would just be gross.  She said, “We can’t all be eyeballs–if we were, there would just be a huge pile of eyeballs sitting there, and they couldn’t get anywhere, or talk, or eat.  Someone has to be the foot, someone has to be the hand, the fingers, the elbow–everyone has a different role in life, and all those roles are important.  So if you’re an elbow, be the best elbow you can be.”

I gave the millionaire’s wife answer many times, and I wish that just once, someone would have taken me aside and asked, “But what do you really want to do with your life?”  I know that it’s commonplace now to change careers several times, and that may or may not change by the time my children enter the workplace.  I don’t necessarily think that there is one ‘right’ path and all others are ‘wrong’, they may have a variety of options that would all make suitable careers.  I just want them to be thoughtful and intentional about what they do, because life’s too short to do something you hate.