27 | Weird in All the Normal Ways




This week’s interview is with writer and photographer, Lisa Howard. Lisa is the mother of 12-year-old Chase and seven-year-old Jordan. It is quite possible that Lisa is one of the busiest gift-givers I know. She and her wife, Cayne, mark the beginning of their relationship 19 years ago, their decision to become domestic partners 12 years ago, their marriage in California five years ago, and the federal governments’s recognition of their marriage earlier this year.  So, that’s like five anniversaries.

Lisa talks about the joys and challenges of motherhood, the unique parts of becoming pregnant as a lesbian, and the ways in which her family is weird in all the normal ways.

I get interviewed

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Most of the time I get to listen to interesting, wise folks speak insightfully about their family lives. I like that. I like to listen.

I few weeks ago, I was asked to do an interview about my family life. Role reversal- yikes!

I have been tempted to calmly pretend that there is no evidence of this conversation (suddenly feeling very shy). However, I realize that I can’t really go around asking other people to be vulnerable, if I’m not.

Bretch and Scott are a couple of dads who are in the process of building businesses. I hang out with folks like this because of my husband, Rob who is something of a start-up, entrepreneur guru. In this interview, Bretch, Scott and I talk about the ways that entrepreneurship and family intersect. We also talk a bit about homeschooling, my own career choices and I make reference so my love of shoes. It was fun to be part of this conversation. Thanks, Bretch and Scott!


Episode 26 | Nurturing Music


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K.C. Simba-Torres is a professional musician and a Suzuki teacher. She is also a Suzuki parent. She and her husband, Juan, have two children ages 10 and 6. In our conversation, we talk about the value of learning music early and the role that music plays in helping kids develop character. K.C. also talks about her hopes for her tremendously talented children and she reflects  more personally on the ways that parenting has changed her.

K.C. runs a private music studio and plays violin professionally. To learn more about her work, visit her website: simbaschoolofmusic.com

The music featured in this episode is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Variation 1 by Dr. Shinich Suzuki. The second piece is Flight of the Bumblebee composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and performed by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.



Episode 25 | Returning to Nature



Last summer, Todd and Carrie Minturn took their two young sons on the road trip of a lifetime. They visited twelve National Parks and National Monuments, camped, hiked, collected ranger badges, and logged thousands of miles of adventures. On this trip, Todd retraced the path of a trip that he took with his parents when he was six. Revisiting these wild spaces with his children was an invitation to reconnect with his own childlike sense of wonder and innocence.

In our conversation, Todd and I talked about the importance of nature and the power that nature has to draw us into our true selves. Todd reflects on what nature has taught him about fatherhood and what he hopes to instill in his boys by making sure they have lots of time exploring wild places.

Our conversation reminded me of a book that I read several years ago, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.  The author describes nature as an essential ingredient for healthy child development. It is a beautifully written, well-researched book, perhaps best summarized by these words:

Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of senses. Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in the creek, and turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion. Nature can frighten a child, too, and this fright serves a purpose.  In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace.

Enjoy this timely reflection about the deeper process that may be happening on that family camping vacation.



Episode 24 | Travelling with New Eyes: A Family’s European Adventure


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Melinda Bey is an artsy, blogging, stay-home mum from Melbourne, Australia.  I recently came across her lovely blog, stupendousjoy.  Her artistic eye and open, reflective writing drew me in immediately.

Melinda, her husband, Shef, and their five-year-old son are in the midst of a three month international adventure that has taken them throughout Western Europe. In our conversation, she reflects on the value of international travel, what she has learned by parenting on the road, and the ways that her Buddhist practices have shaped her as a parent.  Mindfulness, gratitude and humor are central themes in her life, her travels, and in her parenting.

I highly recommend her blog: http://stupendousjoy.blogspot.com/.

The photos on this post are © melindamelou and are used with permission.



Episode 23 | Finding the Sacred in Life and Death: A Conversation with Juli McGowen Boit


Juli McGowen Boit is a nurse practitioner who has been living in a rural part of eastern Kenya for the past nine years. She founded The Living Room, a center that provides hospice and palliative care to those affected by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life threatening illnesses. She cares for men, women, and children in immense pain. At times, her work involves the sacred act of tenderly accompanying people to the last moments of their lives.

She and her husband, Titus, are expecting their first child, a daughter, later this month.

Our wonderful conversation covers a range of topics, including the parallels between birth and death, her village’s sense of communal responsibility for children, and her prayer that her daughter will develop a compassionate heart as she grows up in the midst of the poverty and suffering.

To learn more about Juli’s work visit The Living Room website or find her on facebook.