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Equality Family Journey Motherhood

Two Marches, One Daughter, One Blue Haired Young Lady, and Not One Shrinking Violet

I told her I don’t want her to live in a world where her vagina is a liability. How can a person who is essential to bringing life into the world be treated so poorly? This is a country where her gender means she makes 28-cents less than her male equivalent. A country where “equality” is a hollow word filled with adjectives like homophobic, racist, misogynistic, supremacist, narcissistic, ugly, evil, and wrong.

Faith Journey

The Gift of Suffering?

I never fully considered the upside of “suffering” but after reading Janine’s poem this morning, I smiled. When I awoke this morning, I was intent on finding beauty today. I was intent on finding joy. I was intent on writing something uplifting this morning. I was intent on appreciating happiness. I found it in Janine’s poem. 

Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee
Health Improv Journey Mortality Motherhood

No Expectations = No Resentments

Just like in Improv, it’s not always easy to roll with the line, though. But it’s better than killing the scene. In life, when we accept what’s put in front of us, the outcome, at least in my experience is healthier. Acceptance sure works better than Pepcid, TUMS, and Zantac. It’s cheaper, too. Denial had me drinking alongside the alcoholic, ignoring the problems, and in a constant state of resentment. It sucks to be perpetually disappointed. Saying goodbye to denial is a great relief to the mind and liver, too. 

Bridget atop the Chicago Tribune Tower
Family Favorite things Journey Motherhood

Keep looking ahead

On this last day of the year, I could focus on the worst parts of 2017, but that’s foolhardy. Who wants to look at life half empty, when it is so full of promise? Not I. For that reason, I’m going to say goodbye to this year with love and admiration for the friends and family who brought me so much joy, so that I could return it. As I look ahead to 2018, I know in my heart and mind there is nowhere to go but up. 

Karen in Calligraphy, Karen Craven Studio Art 1989
Family Favorite things Journey

KB, KC, and the Karens of the world

My Aunt Karen called me last night. And did we have a gab! I am named after her, a point of pride for me, and at some point in the conversation, we talked about our shared name. I love my name! I love how both Karen and Craven are two syllables and how each start and end with the same consonant sound. Before I even came to appreciate those things, I first loved that I was named after my mom’s younger sister. 

Craven Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Equality Faith Family Forgiveness Journey

If we only understood

We are always told to “Put yourself in their shoes” or “Walk a mile in their shoes” or some other iteration. And I have tried over the years to do just that. I recall sitting in court at 26th and California, listening to the public defender plea with the judge or jury as a death penalty was considered and begging for forgiveness. Those moments almost always made me think about how we choose our paths, and ultimately how our environments contribute to our behavior.

Mom's Christmas note to Karen
Career Family Favorite things Motherhood

Dance cards, Pentagon papers, and history keepers

I’ve always wondered without journalism where we would be? What if no one photographed Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, or September 11, no one documented the Civil Rights Movement or Women’s March, nothing to intricately connect our shared experiences like fine Irish lace? Outside of our those shared experiences, each family needs its own history keeper. Each family should know its own truths. Who knew that when my mother gave me a Christmas ornament 24-years ago that its meaning was not so much about the trajectory of my career, but more about my role in this family, its history keeper?

Family Friendships Journey

No pity parties on Christmas

Yesterday morning I spoke with my sister and shared my blues about being alone Christmas Day. Bridget will be with her father today, and I am not making Christmas dinner, which we’ve always shared with my parents. I was dreading being alone. In spite of my little pep talk, about subtracting “no” and “can’t” from my vocabulary, I was falling right into the trap I desperately wanted to avoid: Self-pity.

Palmer House Hilton Chicago
Family Least Favorite Things Motherhood

Trash can or regift: A short Christmas tale

I picked out a nicely wrapped gift. Once unwrapped my eyes welled up with tears as I discovered the contents. The gift made no sense to me. Just like Bridget and the cream cheese, I didn’t understand why someone would give a second grader an ADULT nail clipper set. Really? A nail clipper set? It’s been nearly four decades and I’m still befuddled and bewildered at the thought of that gift. 

Kitchen Aid | Old faithful, by Karen Craven
Favorite things Health

Black coffee = Clear liquid. Huh?

Those who know me well, know how much coffee is part of my morning routine. I used to smoke. Just like milk and sugar in my coffee, my cigarettes loved red wine and coffee. I was the justice of the peace, jubilantly joining and blessing the unions of cigarettes and coffee and cigarettes and red wine. Kiss the bride, kiss the bride. I realize now my cigarettes were hardly monogamous, but they were happy couples all right. I remember impatiently sitting at Billy’s Grill, a diner on the South Side on Southwest Highway, and waiting for my coffee just so I could light up. That behavior is evidence that every relationship can get tense.