Friday, November 30, 2007

Email ease

One of the joys of the blogosphere is getting to know delightful people whose path might otherwise never cross my own. Over the last couple of days, Jill Davis Doughtie has left a couple of comments on my blog here, so like any curious blogger, I clicked on her profile to see who she is. She is one busy lady, that's who she is! Jill has about 80 different blogs (okay, five). Go check them out, cause they're all cool.

Turns out, Jill is a stepmom and one of her blogs is a joint effort with the mother of her stepchildren. I have about ten different things on my 'to do' list today, so I haven't spent much time perusing the blog, but one of the first things that popped up was a post about email. Jill and her husband and his ex-wife have set up a joint email account that they give out as the contact information for their children. So when teachers, coaches, or friends' parents need to get in touch with the parents, all the parents get the message.

What a terrific idea! All the parents know what's going on, the kid doesn't have to squirm with embarrassment at having to give out a gajillion different email addresses, and the teachers etc only have one email address that they need to send everything to.

Kudos to the Doughties for such a great idea that I'm sure makes their lives and their kids lives much simpler!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good books

I am reading Out of Africa, partly because I have a fascination with Africa these days, and partly because of a wonderful quote that has stuck in my head for several years, from Martha Gellhorn's Travels with Myself and Another. Gellhorn wrote, "The power of 'Out of Africa' is her self-possession. The charm of the writing is an archaic and quaint elegance--the idiom not quite right. But she worries me on God; as if she knew that He and she were both well born."

The writing is, indeed, charming. Dineson's descriptions of the African plain that she called home for many years are stunning and beautiful.

The following passage, however, struck me for an entirely different reason. In a section titled 'Kamante and Lulu,' Dineson tells of a conversation she had with one of the boys who lived on her farm about the book she was writing. He was having difficulty imagining how her piles of papers were going to be transformed into a solid book.

One night as I looked up I met these profound attentive eyes and after a moment he spoke. "Msabu," he said, "do you believe yourself that you can write a book?"

I answered that I did not know.

...Kamante...then said, "I do not believe it."

I had nobody else to discuss my book with; I laid down my paper and asked him why not. I now found that he had been thinking the conversation over before, and prepared himself for it; he stood with the Odyssey itself behind his back, and here he laid it on the table.

"Look, Msabu," he said, "this is a good book. It hangs together from one end to the other. Even if you hold it up and shake it strongly, it does not come to pieces. The man who has written it is very clever. But what you write," he went on, both with scorn and with a sort of friendly compassion, "is some here and some there. When the people forget to close the door it blows about, even down on the floor and you are angry. It will not be a good book."

Dineson went on to explain about bookbinding and publishing.

A few days later, I heard Kamante explain to the other houseboys that in Europe the book which I was writing could be made to stick together, and that with terrible expense it could even be made as hard as the Odyssey, which was again displayed. He himself, however, did not believe that it could be made blue.

My book will have a soft cover and I do not know yet what color the cover will be, blue or otherwise. However, the first round of edits has been turned in, and I have great hopes that my editor will indeed make it all "hang together from one end to the other" so that it will not come to pieces even when shaken. You, the reader, will have to judge, and I can only hope that you have more faith in me than Kamante did in poor Dineson.

Over the river and through the woods to...where??

Boundless has a post up about children of divorce at the holidays. While the post is mildly interesting, the comments are what drew me in. Scroll down, and you'll read a number of stories of children of divorce who are realizing that becoming an adult doesn't mean they get to leave behind the duo-family dynamic of pre-adult custody arrangements, especially around the holidays.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We thank thee, O God

A few days ago, over some pizza lovingly made by Papa John, I asked my brilliant writer friends what they were thankful for this year. Yes, I'm that goofy person who wants to know at Thanksgiving time what we're giving thanks for, the one who makes the family pause before the turkey to hear the story of the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving or Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation read. Here are a few of the things for which I am especially grateful this year:

  1. A job I love and that (mostly) pays the bills.

  2. The birth of my new puppy last Friday.

  3. Friends who are a joy, challenge, and comfort to me (especially K, J, L, & C).

  4. My family, and the fact that we'll all be together for the holidays.

  5. Book edits being done!!

  6. A church that feels like home.

  7. A roof over my head and food in my belly.

  8. God's persistent pursuit of my heart.

  9. Good magazines and a steady supply of crossword puzzles.

  10. The love of God, so rich and free!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Getting to the point

Today's "The Point" radio broadcast with Mark Earley is on Julie, the American Girl child of divorce doll. I did two postings earlier on Julie. You can read them here and here.

Also, here are several additional resources that were not listed at The Point:

Also, see the sidebar for recommended books. I will continue to add to that list as I come across new ones that are especially helpful.

Monday, November 12, 2007

To tell the truth?

The Ex-Etiquette divorce columnists answer a question about what to tell kids about divorce. Go read the full Q&A, but the gist of their advice is, don't tell even adult kids why a divorce happened. Their reasoning is that a parent can use the "it's never one person's fault" line to teach the kids a good lesson about the hard work that marriage requires.

While I understand where they are coming from, what this advice misses is the effect of this message on the kids. (And, again, we're talking about adult kids here.)

One of the individuals I interviewed for my book didn't learn the real reason for his parents' divorce--his mother's ongoing affair with another man--until well into his 30s. Without knowing the truth about the breakdown of their marriage, he always thought their small bickerings caused the rift; so, whenever he and a girlfriend would begin to argue over small things, he saw doom ahead and broke things off. When he finally learned the truth about his mother's infidelity, his perspective on his father radically changed, and he began to see a new way to approach his own relationships with women.

There are appropriate times and ways to tell kids about things like this. What About the Kids? has some great guidance for parents on this issue. Do kids need or even want to know all the grimy details? No, but this is one instance when the truth really can set us free.

Michael Jordan, divorced dad

MSNBC on Michael Jordan:

He and his wife, Juanita, married in 1989 and had three children, Jeff, Marcus and Jasmine. They filed for divorce in 2002, reconciled, then finally dissolved the union last December. He’s never talked about it until now.

“It was hard,” Jeff Jordan said. “I could see it coming a little bit more than my younger brother and my younger sister, but it was hard for all of us.”

“But he was very mature about it,” his father added. “His mom and I were on the same page when it came to that — our kids came first. We still communicate each and every day. Nothing's being done with the kids that we don't communicate. And we're very good friends actually. And they can sense that.”

Monday, November 05, 2007

No silver lining

From the London Times Online:

When Jackie Warren’s three younger grandchildren were christened last year, her son found himself caught between his parents, who had divorced six years earlier after 36 years of marriage. Warren, 62, recalls: “I couldn’t face going because my son had invited my exhusband’s new partner. My son thought it was reasonable since they had been together for a couple of years, and he also invited my new partner. It tore me apart. But looking back I can see that my son was trying to do the right thing for his father. He was in an impossible position.”

Denise Knowles, of Relate, says: “One of the myths about divorce is that, if the children are older, they cope better. But it’s a double whammy for the middle generation of adult children who have to manage their own loss, grief and anger as well as dealing with their children’s emotions and anxieties about their grandparents splitting up. “Even if the divorce is seen as a positive step after years of unhappiness, the adult children still have to explain the situation to their own children, who may be thinking: If it can happen to Grandma and Grandpa, when is it going to happen to Mum and Dad? So they need huge amounts of reassurance.”

Santana divorce

Another long-time show biz marriage is coming to an end, with the announcement that Debbie Santana has filed for divorce from Carlos Santana, her husband of 34 years.

From Associated Content:

"Interestingly enough the divorce comes just as the couple's youngest child approaches adulthood. The Santanas, who live near San Francisco, have three children ages 17, 22 and 23."