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I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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life is NOT fair

One of my part time gigs is helping high school students prepare for the ACT and SAT.  I actually enjoy it–I’m geeky like that.  It’s a good mental challenge for me, and while I’m not a big fan of standardized testing, I do enjoy helping kids beat that stupid test and open doors to their future.  [...]

a story of mud-slinging siblings

“Mom, I just can’t stand to be in the same room with them anymore,”  she said, with tears welling up in her eyes.  “No one understands how bad they make me feel.” 
I felt the puddles well up in mine too.  The constant banter of put-downs slung between siblings over the long holiday was taking its toll.  My [...]

practicing parenting: allowing mistakes

Not long ago, I had a good lesson on practicing what I preach.  And it was really hard.
My middle son (age 11) is a dramatic one.  He loves goofing around, speaking in funny voices, and even dressing up upon occasion.  He’s always dreamed of being an actor.  I have no idea whether he’d be good at [...]

The Twilight saga: New Moon–important questions for teens and tweens

Many of us have devoured the Twilight book series and waited with great anticipation for movie #2, New Moon, which opened this week.  What’s not to like?  Vampire fantasy, hot actors, forbidden love, and imminent danger combine for a fantasical spectacle sending screaming girls to theatres across the country.   It doesn’t even include real sex [...]

culture immersion via dress-up

I couldn’t help but share some photos of our student ambassadors in Japan.
They had the amazing opportunity to don authentic Japanese costumes and march in the Hikone Shiro-matsuri (Castle Festival) Parade:

The boys are probably thinking, “Don’t mess with me.  I’m carrying a sword.”

And a beautiful blend of the two cultures, old and new:

off to Japan: the adventure begins

 

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides
I sent my fourteen year old son around the world to Japan last weekend.  He’s traveling with a dozen eighth [...]

getting teens to think ahead

How do you get young teens to pack for an international trip without waiting until the last minute?
Schedule a one mile “luggage walk” with their fully packed travel gear a week before departure:

Might seem silly, but it’s a very effective way to ensure they can carry all of their stuff.  
Sometimes the most brilliant strategies are the simplest.  
How [...]

the thrill of the ride

“It was crazy, mom,” my sixth grade son breathed when he burst through the door after his first middle school fun night.
“Is that good?” I wondered, my imagination filling with crazy things that could happen in middle school.
“I think it was the best night of my life!” he gushed. 
Whew.  I breathed a sigh of relief [...]

how to start kid conversations

Here’s one more goodie from the archives to help with those fall routines:

Now that fall is approaching full swing, are you having conversations like this?
How was your day? fine.
What happened at school (or work)? not much.
Wanna talk about it? not really.
It seems like no matter how hard I try, those questions never seem to elicit [...]

football, tv drama, and morality

I’ve been watching the DVDs of NBC’s Friday Night Lights (just the first season) with my older sons.  I’ve been strangely drawn to this series, which chronicles the adventures of a football-obsessed Texas town that is hauntingly familiar.   Actually, I didn’t grow up in Texas, we weren’t that good at football, and our lives weren’t quite so dramatic, [...]