An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Speak to Me Sunday, vol. 6 (Come to the Quiet)

"The name Saul means great one; the name Paul means little one. While making this film I learned that by changing one little tiny letter we can become great in the eyes of God, but it requires us to be little if we wish to be great. This is the way of saints, this is the way of the holy, and this is the way Saul became St. Paul."
~Jim Caviezel,
Student Leadership Summit (SLS18)
sponsored by The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS)


I start with this inspirational quote to set the tone for describing yesterday -- a day which began at Regal Cinemas with the movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ.


Now, this isn't a movie review, but I will say this: it's a quiet movie -- a contemplative movie -- and if you are going simply to "watch a movie" then, by Hollywood standards, you may not be entertained. But if you go to the movie with purposeful intention, to listen and learn about those early years of Christianity, to look within yourself and examine your own contribution to the faith, then the experience will be an altogether different one.


As it was for me. The movie put me in a place, a "come to the quiet" place which I can only explain like this: There is a scene in the movie of total bedlam -- Rome is burning, Paul is imprisoned, the Christians are being persecuted, killed, or thrown into Nero's Circus, and  Luke and the Christians are debating whether to flee Rome, stay and minister, or take up arms and fight back. Then Luke, who stands strong on his belief in front of others but privately expresses his doubts to Paul, reminds them that Christ's love is the only way and then says, "We live in the world, but we do not wage war as the world does. Peace be with you."


Four words: Peace be with you.


There among the fires, fear, indecision, death and agony, there was peace. It was there. The early Christians may have had to dig through the rubble and roll aside the stones of fear, doubt, loss and feelings of abandonment, but peace was there.


Peace be with you.


A few hours after the movie we went to Mass -- Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion -- and as I entered St. Mary's and saw the crucifix and statues draped in purple cloth, I again entered into that quiet place from earlier. I also happened to be serving as Eucharistic Minister, and as I said the words "Blood of Christ" I felt the weight of those words ... of blood spilled for a peace that is not of man.


Peace be with you.


Later that night Joe and I watched a documentary on the 50th anniversary on the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. We saw the horrific photos of lynching and murder, we watched the hatred aimed at the black students in Little Rock and the beatings given to the Freedom Riders, and it was sobering to be reminded that here we are, two thousand years later, and people still kill -- for race, ideas, money, power, and fear of the unknown and different.


But you know what? Despite the images, I was still in that quiet place because even today, among the news stories of terrorist attacks, school shootings, intolerance and injustice, there is peace. We may have to dig through the news, roll aside the stones of race, political affiliations, assumptions and accusations, but the peace that can be found in Christ (who is himself our peace) is still here.


And this week, Holy Week, I want to come to that quiet and remain in it; I want to savor it, live and breathe it.


Peace be with you ...





Friday, March 23, 2018

The best thing about memories is making them

As I continue to plan, research, and GET EXCITED about hosting another girls' trip to Italy next year, I leave you this ... a fun quiz we gave everyone during our one year reunion from the first trip.


As you can see ... we had a lot of fun.


We didn't realize we were making memories;
we just knew we were having fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Brawl on Main Street, USA (a Once Upon a Time story)



Once upon a time
... a mom and dad took their three sons to Disney World. It was a beautiful trip, truly magical, and they returned home with many, many happy memories.


Now, most people think Disney memories involve fairy dust, character hugs, prince and princesses, or pancakes, ice cream bars, and chicken nuggets shaped into Mickey Mouse ears. But for this family, the favorite, most stand-out memory involved a scuffle between two brothers, a scuffle which has since become the stuff of legends. It happened like this ...


One hot afternoon in the Magic Kingdom the family exited the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and spent some time browsing in the gift shop. (How do they do that? Every time you exit a ride --POOF! -- you're in a gift shop. It's magic, I tell you.) Anyway, Son #2 politely asked his parents for a Captain Jack Sparrow sword -- a three foot long Captain Jack Sparrow sword -- and since it was the last day of their vacation, and probably because the mom and dad were suffering from mild heat stroke, they agreed.


In hindsight ... WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?


That evening the family stayed to watch the nighttime parade and when it was over found themselves caught up with 500 million other people leaving the park at the same time. Sweaty people. Tired people. Lots of crying kids people. So the family shuffled shoulder to shoulder in a crowd of epic proportions until IT BEGAN.


"Stop it," said Son #1 to Son #2. "Your stupid sword is bumping into everybody."


Now, those were fighting words. A Captain Jack Sparrow Sword is most assuredly  NOT stupid and Son #2, who up to that point had been practically sleep walking, stood up straight and tall.


"You just need to move your stupid fat body," Son #2 shot back.


Some shoving ensued on both sides until all of a sudden Son #2  took a deep breath and morphed into Captain Jack Sparrow himself. (I'm pretty sure there were fireworks at this point). He drew his sword and, holding it with two hands, began swishing it about like the swashbuckler that he was. He lunged, he parried, and he swished.


Remember the crowds? Well, no one could move out of the way, so imagine if you will (and for effect imagine this in slow motion) everyone BENT BACKWARDS at the waist trying to avoid being decapitated. It was a very un-Disneylike moment.


Things were spiraling out of control, so the dad stepped into the fray and for a few moments all I could see was one set of long daddy arms, two sets of little boy arms, and the flashing sword. The dad finally managed to grab the sword and silence ensued. The battle was over. And as they shuffled along Son #1 was crying, Son #2 was crying, and the dad was carrying a Captain Jack Sparrow Sword over his shoulder.


And the mom? What was she doing?


She couldn't help it, she was laughing. The entire episode was so ridiculous it was funny.


The End





Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Life Lately: It's all about the hashtags (and the wisdom teeth)

~1~ The Spring Break that Wasn't


Jonathan's spring break started last Friday, except it only lasted through Monday. This semester, in addition to carrying a full course load, Jonathan also has an accounting internship which meant he had to return to school to work the rest of the week. #taxseason The good news? Last Friday this very same accounting firm invited him to stay through the summer ... so HOORAY to an extended internship leading right into a summer job!

sneaky mom photo
#alwayswalkbehind


~2~ To alphabetize or not?

The spice drawer that is. #alphabetize




~3~ Something I never imagined happening


Getting the following text from my son while I was at Publix: "Mom, actually if you want to get me some hard cider that'd be great. It's the one called hard pressed, in a silver box." #twenty-one
And he even included a photo ...



~4~ Have luggage, will travel

Nicholas called to tell us that he is planning a trip to Europe to meet up with a high school buddy. Do you think he'd let me go with him? #justkiddingnotkidding #okaykidding


packed and ready to go ... ;-)


~5~ Easiest birthday party EVER

How easy is it to host a birthday party for a boy? Street basketball, backyard football, indoor gaming, and a cookout. Didn't have to do a thing but feed them. And the bambino-who-isn't-a-bambino-anymore FINALLY got his wish ... an Xbox One S. #fortnite #wheredidmybambinogo




~6~ Easiest birthday cake EVER

A St. Patrick's Day shamrock cake from Costco. But HOLY MOLY would you look at the label. TWO POUNDS OF CHOCOLATE MOUSSE???? #sugaroverdose



~7~ Why did God give us wisdom teeth?

Especially when they have to come out. Jonathan and Timothy need to have wisdom teeth extracted this summer. Yes, BOTH of them. (#ouch ... and that's ouch in our wallet and not in their gums.) When Nicholas had his wisdom teeth removed Nonna and Nonno made him this get well card. Jonathan and Timothy remember it well. #winkwink #hinthint


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What I Discovered in My Camera Roll (which will help when packing for your next trip)

Yesterday I was going through my iPhone photos and came across these -- my travel outfit ideas for our 2015 Girls' Trip to Italy.


The photos brought back memories of packing and planning outfits for a 9-day tour of Rome and the Amalfi Coast, a trip my sister and I extended with a visit to our relatives in Verona. In other words, I was packing for a two week trip to Italy with only a carry-on suitcase and I needed to pack strategically. Outfits needed to mix and match. They needed to coordinate.


Which is why I took photos of these flat lays before even leaving home -- so I wouldn't waste precious time figuring out what to wear. There was too much to see and do! Around every corner, in every piazza, and at every café was an adventure!

And I wanted to be ready.


*********************************************************************************


For packing tips and tricks, check out La Dolce Vita Travels: The Art of Packing





Monday, March 19, 2018

St. Joseph Feast Day Box

Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph, or la festa di San Giuseppe! It's a big celebration in southern Italy, and it's one we celebrate as a family. Some years we go all out and host a big party, inviting the parish priests and setting a table filled with Italian food and wine; some years we celebrate quietly with just the family; one year I hosted March Bunco and shared the tradition with my friends.


This year I wanted to give the means for our older boys to carry on the tradition no matter where they are in the world, so I prepared a St. Joseph Feast Day box and mailed it to them. The contents included: a small St. Joseph statue, prayer cards, a published article I wrote on St. Joseph, the story behind the tradition, a package of pasta, a container of breadcrumbs, and fava beans.


Now, I don't know if my sons will do anything more than open the box and give its contents a cursory glance. And that's okay. But maybe, on a March 19 in the future, they will share the tradition with a girlfriend or some roommates; maybe one feast day they will prepare a simple pasta dish and set out a bowl of breadcrumbs signifying sawdust of St. Joseph the carpenter; and maybe there will be a year when they will need the comfort of family and tradition and reach for the box.


St. Joseph will be waiting for them.




**********************************************************************************


You can read about our traditions below:


I Never Knew, a published article about my affinity to St. Joseph


Celebrating Italian Style, how we celebrate St. Joseph's Feast Day


Photo collage of St. Joseph celebrations through the years ...



Sunday, March 18, 2018

Speak to Me Sunday, vol. 5 (In which I accidentally say something "pretty smart")

Yesterday, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, we had Irish soda bread for breakfast and listened to Irish music all afternoon on satellite radio, but for some reason we didn't think to wear green to Saturday evening Mass. I'm pretty sure we were the only non-green attendees.


Today, the St. Patrick's Day theme continues with Timothy's birthday, mainly because when your birthday celebration takes place over St. Patrick's Day weekend you're pretty much guaranteed a chocolate cake with green shamrocks.


In the meantime I leave you with two inspirational nuggets from this past week, one of which I contributed. It was during a conversation with my son and the words just popped out of my mouth. Timothy was like, "Whoa, Mom. That's pretty smart."




~1~
"You won't be judged for being too generous, but you can be judged for not being generous enough."
(Me, in a conversation with my son)

~2~
“Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.”  
(from Benedictine spirituality)





Friday, March 16, 2018

Lenten Friday: Oreos and Fortnite


Things haven't changed much around here. One year our little guy gave up all cookies for Lent EXCEPT Oreos ... when all he ate was Oreos. This year our not-so-little guy gave up computer games EXCEPT Fortnite ... when all he plays is Fortnite.


"Mom," says our little guy yesterday. "Don't put cookies in my lunch. You keep forgetting that I gave up cookies for Lent."

Now, as we are having this conversation he is sitting at the kitchen counter with a tall glass of milk and a stack of 6-8 oreos. Dunk - munch, munch. Dunk- munch, munch.

"What do you mean?" I ask. "You're eating cookies right now. You've been eating cookies ever since Lent started!"

Dunk - munch, munch.

"No one gives up Oreos for Lent," he explains matter of factly. "I gave up all the other kinds, like chocolate chip."

Huh. I'm thinking that's like someone giving up all sodas for Lent except Diet Coke ... when all they drink is Diet Coke.

He smiles, a very oreo encrusted kind of smile.

Okay, then.

I reach for an Oreo and ... dunk - munch, munch. After all, I did NOT give up cookies (of any kind).







Thursday, March 15, 2018

An Illustration on True Freedom

I'm always looking for ways to explain free will and how true freedom comes not with doing what we want, but in doing what we ought.


This morning I came across a short video of Jim Caviezel speaking about his upcoming movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ, and his words reminded me of this post about a conversation with my son ...


A couple of weeks ago we attended an Open House at the Catholic High School my son will be attending next fall. At one point my son, perhaps in awe of all the high school students, made a comment along the lines that he can't wait until he gets older so he can be free to do what he wants.

Hmmmm. He was expressing a very common attitude in young teens who tend to think of freedom as not having a parent, or a teacher, or anyone for that matter, telling them what to do. To them, freedom is doing "what I want".

It was just a passing comment, but I didn't want him to think freedom was simply having a selection of choices; instead, he needed to know that true freedom is found in the right choice you ultimately make. It's a hard concept to understand.

To illustrate my point I reminded him of something that happened not so long ago:

One evening last fall our middle son, Jonathan, was excited about an upcoming football game and he wanted the entire family to come see him play. It had been a very busy week and Nicholas did not want to go. I could see that this was hurting his little brother's feelings, so I had a quiet talk with Nicholas.

I explained to him how much it meant for Jonathan to have his older brother come cheer him on, but since it had been a stressful week, we were going to leave the decision up to him. He could freely choose to come to the game, or he could stay home.

Now, neither decision was wrong, but one was definitely more right.

When it was time to leave, Nicholas came downstairs, high-fived his brother, and climbed into the van. We all went to the game and had a lovely evening.

As I told this story, Nicholas smiled...he remembered. But I wasn't done, yet.

I explained how that night he had been given the freedom to choose, but with his decision he experienced the true freedom that is God's gift to us. It's not the freedom found in the opportunity to choose, but rather the freedom that comes with choosing the right thing.

And the beauty of this freedom is that it manifests itself on so many levels.

That night Jonathan was free from having his feelings hurt.
My husband and I were free from any feelings of disappointment in our son.
Nicholas was free from any guilt he may have felt had he chosen not to go.

All these graces because he made a decision that was the right thing to do.

Of course, life is complicated. Decisions aren't always easy, or clear. But when we turn to God and pray for discernment, He shows us the way.

Only then can we be free.



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Welcome

come in,
let's chat, laugh, cry
bide awhile
excuse the dust, some clutter
and tell me about you


come in,
let's have a frothy cappuccino
in chipped mugs
let's sit at the kitchen table
with memories etched in its surface


come in,
let's enjoy this moment
of sharing
I cannot offer anything perfect ...
just me as I am


*from the files of very bad poetry by bia


front door
Spring 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Family Room Makeover: It Started with a Rug

The time was here, the time was now ... a family room makeover, and it all started with a new rug. Isn't that how home improvement projects begin? You start with one thing -- like a fresh coat of paint or a new couch -- and then things spiral out of control. That one thing makes everything else look dated, or dingy, or just bleh, so before you know it the one thing has multiplied into many things.


So, the rug. We purchased a lovely one which brought some new colors into our room, mainly blues and greys which I found very soothing and fresh. Then, because the rug was smaller and exposed more of the hardwood floor, I suddenly didn't like how the exposed bricks on the fireplace looked anymore. And so I painted them ... farmhouse style.


I was starting to like the brightness of the room and decided to make some additional changes. After deciding what would stay (the couch) and what would not be changed (the wall color since it was painted recently) I reevaluated everything else.


Before long I replaced our brown coffee table and our wooden end tables. Then the window panels, artwork, couch cushions, and even the coffee table accessories.


My favorite purchase was the coffee table. It took some searching because I didn't want anything brand new but rather something with a little character. After visiting antique stores and browsing online, I finally found exactly what I was looking for at Consign Design, a local furniture consignment shop.


And now we have a new, updated family room anchored by a very nice rug which was the genesis for all these changes. I'm still tweaking a few things. I'm not sure about the artwork over the fireplace (I think I want something with a dark frame for the contrast), the reading chair in the opposite corner needs to be replaced, we need some lamps, and I may change out the window panels for something with a bit more color, but give me another week or so and I will have everything done.


In the meantime, here is the result (so far) ...


Family Room: Before



Family Room: After












P.S. In case you're wondering, here is where I got everything (most of it on sale or on clearance!):


rug: Home Depot
curtains: Pier One
coffee table: Consign Design
end tables: Carolina Pottery
artwork: Pier One
couch cushions: Target

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Speak to Me Sunday, vol 4 (Why Mr. Clean and his magic erasers have irrevocably taken over my life.)

So, this past week I did not blog. At all.


Not one post did I write, and the reason is simple: Masters Spring Cleaning. If you are not local and don't know what this means, visit my blog sidebar and click on the link for an article I wrote entitled The Women of Augusta can Arrange it All. Take a moment to read it ...


There. Now you understand. Spreading 40 bales of pine straw, cleaning out closets, wiping baseboards, and maintaining a personal relationship with Mr. Clean and his magic erasers have all taken over blogging. Oh, and let's add to all this a family room makeover AND a yard sale this past Saturday.


But stay tuned because this week I do have some posts scheduled ... including the reveal of our family room. (On a side note: while I neglected my poor little blog, I did throw out a few posts on Facebook and you can always visit me there!)


In the meantime, in the midst of inhaling pollen while spreading the aforementioned 40 bales of pine straw and trying to decide on this rug or that one, I did have some moments -- teeny tiny ones to be sure, but moments nonetheless -- in which an inspirational nugget worked its way into my conscious. I especially appreciated Helen Keller's quote in light of, and I mention this again, those 40 bales of pine straw.


Happy Sunday, everyone!


~1~
"To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug."
(Helen Keller)

~2~
"There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world."
(St. Teresa of Avila)


~3~
"The Lord measures our perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner in which we perform them."
(St. John of the Cross)


~4~
"My father used to say that stories are part of the most precious heritage of mankind."
(In Arabian Nights, Tahir Shah)


Many years ago Nana planted daffodils in our back yard. 
And every spring they bloom.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Speak to Me Sunday, vol 3

This past Friday I attended Stations of the Cross and one passage in particular spoke to me ... so much so that I took a photo of the passage to ponder later. It's a terrible feeling to stand on goodness and truth and be targeted with judgment and dislike. In big ways and small, we have all felt that sense of betrayal when we are accused of something we didn't do, disliked for no reason, excluded without cause, or even attacked verbally.


We all have stories (here's one of mine) but during this season of Lent when we are meant to follow in Christ's footsteps, I am grateful for those life lessons which remind us -- in a very small way -- of that sacrifice on the cross.


Peace.



Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Attic Regurgitation

I apologize for the crude title, but that is the only way to describe the labor-intensive emptying out of our third floor attic this weekend.


It all began with the neighborhood yard sale scheduled for next weekend. Joe and I couldn't decide whether we wanted to participate; I mean, it's not like we don't have a million other things to do before we rent our house for Masters. But we've been wanting to clear out the attic for some time now so we decided to at least bring down some big pieces and put them in the yard sale.


Except, once we started we just couldn't stop, mainly because to get to the big stuff we needed to move the little stuff and, after 20 years of living here, there was a LOT of stuff, big AND little.


So this is where the regurgitation imagery comes in: my poetic self couldn't help thinking that for 20 years we've been stuffing our attic, for 20 years the attic has been holding it all in until today when the contents of the attic spewed down two flights of stairs and landed in one of three piles: Donation, Trash, Yard Sale.


Oh, the things we found ...


-a Barbie Townhouse
(Now, I ask you ... are there any girls in this family? No. Other than the boys using it ONCE for their G.I. Joe headquarters, it has been collecting dust all this time. It's old, brittle, and I needed to let it go.) (But man, oh man, I loved that thing ... yellow elevator and all.)
 
-not one, but TWO foosball tables
(one for little boys, and one for teens)


-a baby crib
(our baby will soon be 14 years old)


-all my old lesson plans
(dang, I was a good teacher)


-a weight bench
(the boys used to work out in the attic)


-a kitchen table
(which the boys don't want because it's white and deemed "too girly")


three director chairs
(from Joe's bachelor days)


a television cabinet
(again, from Joe's bachelor days)


And so much more. We walked up and down two flights of stairs all morning. My Fitbit was going bonkers.


But, our attic has been purged. The donation pile has already been taken to Goodwill, the trash pile is in the trash, and the yard sale items are hanging out in the Regurgitation Station (rec room) until the yard sale.


And now I've got one week to price all the darn stuff.


That was a good Christmas for Bia and Ua ...
bikes AND a Barbie townhouse.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Who am I (two years later)

Two years ago we experienced a presidential primary the likes of which we will always remember. On one side there were two qualified candidates who you either liked, or didn't. On the other side there were a dozen qualified candidates who you either liked, or didn't, but also one candidate who created division everywhere. At the time, I wrote an op-ed for the Augusta Chronicle on the one candidate thinking that, with all the other worthy candidates, how could he possibly win the primary? But he did. And then the presidency. The piece wasn't about Republican or Democrat, but about choosing a worthy candidate. That's all. Someone to look up to. Is that too much to ask?


Who am I? (One key question can help us recognize our role in the political arena)

By: Maria Novajosky, Guest Columnist
*published in The Augusta Chronicle (Sunday, March 6, 2016)


In the world of politics, who am I?

I vote, but I don’t campaign; I have opinions, but I don’t force them on anyone; I listen to talk radio while driving, but I don’t use bumper stickers to promote a candidate; I watch political debates, but I don’t enter into one.

In the world of politics, I am not particularly well-versed, or savvy, or even influential because, after all, in the vast political arena I am but a grain of sand.

So who, then, am I?

I am an ordinary person whose vocation in life is to be a wife to a wonderful husband and a mother to three sons, two in college and one in middle school. I work both at home and from home – doing all the things that moms everywhere do while also working as a freelance writer. My world is uncomplicated. You might even call it simple.

And yet, it is from my world of carpools, basketball practices, spelling words, college applications, school uniforms and writing deadlines that I can look at someone like Donald Trump, listen to his speeches and watch his debates and, from my simple, uncomplicated world, see him for what he is.

I look at Trump, and I recognize the playground bully who pushes, ridicules, belittles, and thinks that he is smarter, faster, and better looking than anyone else; who, like a child, pokes fun at people’s appearances – their big ears, or propensity for sweating, or way of talking; who resorts to pettiness by name calling and labeling and hurling clever insults which incite others to be just like him; and who, with a bully’s ruthlessness, will do anything – threaten, sweet talk, fight – to make sure his reign on the playground is unchallenged.

I watch Trump and see a spoiled child who pitches a fit when he doesn’t get his way; who says I want and, incredibly, people rush to do his bidding; who, when caught with his hand in the cookie jar, blames everyone and everything else; and who never, ever says I’m sorry which, in my simple world, shows lack of conscience because if you believe you are always right and can do no wrong, then  apologies are not only weak, but unnecessary, and  . . . well, do you see how dangerous this can be?

I hear the things he says about women, how he justifies his rudeness, trash talk, and total lack of respect by saying that, man or woman, it doesn’t matter. He'll go after anyone. But in my world, men don’t talk to women like that and get away with it because every woman is someone's mother, sister, grandmother or auntie and no man in his right mind wants anyone to speak to his mother, sister, grandmother or auntie like that. In my world, how a man treats a woman is the litmus test of his character.

I listen to him planning to build a wall to keep out immigrants and close borders to keep out Muslims and I go back to history and read of those who thought similarly and who, after wars and unspeakable atrocities, are today vilified for their actions.

I see how this non-politician is perhaps the most political one of all. He takes people’s frustrations and anger and –very cleverly, I’ll give him that – uses them as mortar to build a platform on which to stand. He gives people what they want and says what they want to hear, and so they come to civic centers, auditoriums, and school gyms where he is speaking to be swept up in a wave that says it’s okay to think, say, and believe as he does no matter how outrageous or offensive; he panders to ideas which, under normal circumstances, you would never tolerate because conscience, morality and all that is decent and good would have prevented you from going there in the first place.

And in Trump I recognize someone who sees life as one big business deal in which the bottom line for everything is money. Every move is a negotiation; every handshake is a financial transaction. People are numbers on spread sheets, and success is measured in dollar bills. He is a businessman to the core, and for the life of me I can’t imagine how he can serve as our president and not make decisions that wouldn’t somehow line his own pockets.

Alas, no candidate is perfect. They all have flaws because they are all human. But from the ordinariness of my life, I recognize in Trump a man in whom I don’t want my sons to emulate simply because we have raised them to be better than he is. And in an election year, in which two of our sons will be voting for the first time, they call us with their political insights and text their political commentaries and we have wonderful, mature discussions which reassure me they will never place their loyalty at the feet of someone who would just as soon step on them. They get it.

In the end, where do I fit into the grand scheme of things? Because in the political arena of candidates, pundits and pollsters, in this time of speeches, rallies, caucuses and primaries, on the political map of which I am but a speck, who am I, really?

Well, if this election has taught me anything, who I am is more important now than ever. I am a wife, a mother, a writer. I drive for field trips, bandage skinned knees, and prepare dinner for my family. But I am so much more.
Who I am is a voice.

And from the extraordinary ordinariness of my life, I choose not to be silent.