Who am I?
The basics for me include that I'm a mother of 3-year-old twins Jackson and Owen, wife to Andy, and a teacher of research methods and developmental psychology. I currently live in Seattle, WA. My PhD is in human development and family studies. And I love yoga and cooking!
How did you find FORM?
I've been a long-time reader of Carolyn's FORM-related messages, which were always forwarded my way from my sister, Jenny. Jenny has always been so inspired by your teachings and she knows that my background is in human development and that I love this stuff, too; that's why she forwarded things my way. I think it was last year sometime that I was simply added to the FORM e-mail alias so I was able to get the messages directly.
What aspect of the Educaring® Approach resonates with you the most and why?
I love that it dignifies children. It reconceptualizes what many in our society see as unrefined or uninspired or simply needing-to-be-reformed behavior in our very young children into precious behavior, full of rich information that can teach us something very important about development. I love that. And I love the name of this approach. It's equal parts education and caring.
What are you most grateful for?
Jack and Owen. I feel really fortunate to be their mom.
What is one thing you do for yourself? Or what would you like to do for yourself?
I practice yoga and I bake bread. Both are meditative practices that help me to slow down and pray.
If your life was a book or song, what would the title be?
(Love this question) My kids really love hymns and lately they've been singing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing a lot, which is pretty cute. I love that hymn because of the phrase "tune my wandering heart to Thee". I feel like I'm continually needing a heart tune-up. I've also heard the expression that parenting little ones is "the longest shortest time" and that "the days are long but the years are short." There's a lot of truth there. The days do indeed feel very long. It seems like there are about 5 dozen instances in every day when I need a heart tune-up because of some minor, but still significant, battle I am trying to resolve with Jack and Owen and I feel such intense feelings of frustration or anger or weariness, followed by contrition for feeling that way! As you've said before, Carolyn, the pattern is often one of rupture-repair, rupture-repair. Grace always finds it way into that repair, and the message of Come Thou Fount resonates with me in these long days.
What was your favorite book as a child?
The Giving Tree
What teacher inspired you the most? How?
My mentor at Penn State, Dr. Sherry Corneal. She was the one who seemed to see potential in me to teach and give to others. She also taught me a lot about research methods in a way that allowed me to "relax into learning" (her words) and to get my ego out of the way of authentic learning. She would also say something to each class at the beginning of every term that I loved. She'd say: "Keep your feet on the ground, your soul in the room, and take what you get." Essentially, Sherry was saying that it was important to show up to class (keep you feet on the ground), to stay mindful and cognitively present in the lessons (your soul in the room), and to show yourself grace for what you can and can't understand at the present moment (take what you get). I loved that. I find that that wisdom applies to pretty much every situation, not just the traditional classroom. Her grace-filled way of teaching is an inspiration to me as a teacher.
What 3 words best describe you?
Hard-working, affirming, generous. (I hope, anyway!)
What is the best question anyone has asked you?
I'm part of a small group right now in our church and every week we have a discussion question to help facilitate conversation and group bonding. Our last question was: Think of a time when you felt like you were fully yourself. What were you doing? It was a wonderful discussion prompt. It got me thinking about the moments when I've felt that sense of "flow"--of losing all sense of time and place and fully immersing myself in what I'm doing. Those moments have almost always been inspired moments of teaching, when I've known, deep in my bones, that I'm doing good work. On the surface they may seem trivial, as they've been moments when I've taught the construction of a paragraph (I've taught academic writing) or the sequence of a yoga pose (I've been a yoga teacher), but to me and, I believe, to my students, too, they have felt profound and significant. I'd like to think that it's been in those moments that I have been fully myself.