October 2008

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alex's life book

  • In early 2006, I began creating a life book for my daughter, Alex. Click here for links to articles describing my experience.
  • And for those of you who are more digitally inclined, in late 2006, I recreated key pages of Alex's lifebook for an article I wrote for AlphaMom, using Scrapblog.

    You can see the final digital result (and leave comments, if you'd like!) here.

what's been on my nikon lately

  • And you can view my favourites here.

if i'm not here, i'm here

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This is a thinker...I read the book a few years back while pregnant with my second son. It sure generated a lot of emotions because my father was awaiting his second organ transplant but would not sacrifice his livelihood so he was also still working fulltime as if nothing was happening. Obviously the book was touching because I remember so much about who I was, where I was, and what I was doing while I read it.

I think you have summarized the most important lesson we have to learn, how to love one another, take away everything and the only that can make you whole is love, and the ability to love.


Stephanie is right; you hit on the most important life-lesson already. To love people. We can get so caught up in work and responsibility, that we forget that nurturing the people we love is THE most important thing we can do. Jobs will come and go. Houses that are clean will get dirty again. But hurt a person and it take s much longer to heal and they will never be quite the same.

I try to be present in our lives and try very hard to not hurt those that I love (and even those that I don't). I don't always succeed and sometimes I have to tell people that the things they say or do hurt ME, but at least I'm trying to recognize when things should be corrected.


When I read that book about a year ago, I told my husband it's a book that everyone should read.

I was very impressed by the message(s) in that book.



"Tuesdays with Morrie" is one of my favorite books and I gave it to everyone for Christmas the year that I read it. So glad you discovered it.


I thought it was "Love everyone," for a long time. Then I amended it to, "Love them anyways."

Special thanks to Mother Teresa for her "Anyways" philosophy.


A few of the hydrangeas are still blooming here in Vancouver and I love it! They are a most amazing flower. This past week, somebody at our church here talked about praying every day for God to give him love for everyone and everything around him, and that was all he was asking for. I loved that idea. The capacity for giving love is astounding, if you find a way to tap into it. What a beautiful thing to teach our children.


I loved that book too. Simple, sweet and wise. I read it when I was in college, in the bookstore, since I couldn't afford to buy it myself. Maybe now that I can, I will get myself a copy to reread when the moment calls for a reminder.

I am glad you are feeling better about the gymnastics situation, a very tricky situations to be in. The school has handled it so well. And so have you.


In the years of ART leading up to our daughter, I found myself questioning every single expectation I would have of an eventual child. And in the end, it came down to this, which is all I hope to pass on to Polly and Jack: be kind (bone-deep kind), and know how to make yourself happy.
That's it. If they have those two things, the rest will follow.


My parents had an arranged marriage. They met once. The second time they met was on their engagement party, and the third time was on their wedding.

I asked my mom how she knew it was the right decision or that my dad would be the right man for her. She said, "I decided to love him the first time I met him". I believe my dad also did the same thing for her.

53 years later, they are still together happily - and I am one of 5 children born into their world.

Yes, love is a decision.


I usually read your daily entries with great pleasure, but these past few days I didn't really.

I feel for the message of spreading love and respect, but I think people will only be allowed to act that way when they keep an open eye for people with other perspectives and views in this world.

I can't help but thinking about that teacher. What if he turns out to be innocent? Who will love this teacher, whether he's been doing wrong or not? You want Alex never to prejudice, which is exactly what you did in this incident (or was it?), and you're pleased about it. Of course Alex should be your number one priority always, but that doesn't mean other people can be overlooked without looking back.

And then one other (smaller, I promise) thing that's been bugging me these days: you're talking about the environment a lot, but in every other post you either catch a plane somewhere or you turn on the air conditioning by switching your car engine on.

In Europe you will be penalized when letting your engine run stationary while the car is parked, because the pollution in the direct environment is enormous and triggers asthma etc. It seems so irrational: why not read in the bookshop, or in the hallway at Alex' school?

And now I'm going to see if I can order a copy of this book you recommend so fiercely! I often wonder where you get your calmness, since I tend to get wound up so easily :-)

(I sincerely hope I didn't sound too harsh, which happens often when I write in French or English, which are not my day-to-day languages... Love your blog, your stories and your beautiful pictures very much!)

Mom Nancy

I've been trying to work up the nerve to read Tuesdays With Morrie - my sister was diagnosed with ALS last year.

I'm on the same page as you with the gym teacher situation. The bottom line is protecting Alex, who is too young to do so herself.


I've heard good things about that book but haven't read it yet--I'll definitely check it out now that I'm past an especially busy time work-wise.

Cheryl Brogan

Hi Karen,

I decided a very long time ago to play nice with the other kids while I'm here!
xo Cheryl


When my nephew was a Senior in high school in eastern Ohio, their language teachers assigned the book _Tuesdays with Morrie_ to their class as a whole, to be read the summer before school started.
The rest of the year, no matter what they were studying, references and connections were made back to that one book.
At the Commencement ceremony, all of us in the audience were given a brief description of the situation, and some personal writings from the students.
It made quite an impact on the relatives, and we were discussing at the graduation party.
Neither my sister nor her son wanted to loan their copies, so I bought two, one for my mom and one for me. We all do quotes from it over the phone.

It paraphrases the Bible "Love thy neighbor as thyself" which are fine words to live by.


I loved that book. I have it as well as 5 people you meet in heaven which will make you wonder who will be your 5 people in heaven.

Love is the rational act. It is also the most irrational of all emotions. As for respect and love, I think it goes hand in hand. So you're doing real well. I hope I do the same for my lil boy.

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