The Deeper Cuts

Tonight is graduation for most of the high schools in our area. It’s a big deal everywhere but nowhere is it as big of deal as in Hawaii.

Traffic snarls around graduation time as lei and balloon encumbered parents, relatives and friends jockey for parking spaces and then make their way to the local football fields for the ceremony.

Those fortunate enough to have scored a ticket get to hang out in the bleachers for the proceedings while outside the fence the crowd of well wishers swells waiting for the security to allow them on to the field.

By the end of the evening every graduate will be smothered in leis, often stacked so high that they can barely see.

It is the big event that every family member celebrates. Well, almost every family member.

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Learning by Degrees: How Mommy Earned a New Diploma

My daughter isn’t really the one graduating. It’s actually me. 

My other degrees suddenly seem cheap, just small-time tokens of my own ambition. But the one I’m earning this month? It’s the big one--the one from a preparatory school known for the hardest tests on the planet and the highest number of credits. It’s the diploma that I never really thought about eighteen years ago when I enrolled at 12:17 a.m. at St. Agnes Hospital on the sixth floor, Maternity Ward B. 

The other mothers and I whisper about it quietly in between the graduation parties and awards nights. None of us knows quite what to do, even the ones who have two or three of these honors behind them. It’s not because we lost the graduation instructions, but because for us, it’s the season of loss. Diplomas are supposed to get you somewhere. They’re supposed to launch you into another galaxy of opportunity. But this new honor I’m earning seems, at least for now, to be taking everything away from me, just as it’s giving my daughter everything I prayed for. 

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Promise of Spring: A conversation with my 20 year old self

The fruit trees are blossoming.  The promise of fruit – someday.  But definitely the promise of spring’s entrance.

I used to correlate spring’s arrival with the bathing suits’ overnight appearance at Target. Summer is almost here, I would chant in my head seeing spring as something to survive to get to freedom.

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I'm not the one-year girl

There is a new fad in the world of publishing.  I call it the "One Year Phenomena." For one year you can try... just about anything: Live the Bible literally or femininely, work in a women's prison, live locally, try out homelessness, or live according to Oprah... and you'll get a book deal. 

I'm only going to say this once (and then explain it a bit - in this blog and next weeks): I am not a one year kinda girl.

It boggles my mind really when I see these seasonal lifestyle changes marketed before my eyes proclaiming a way of life... for a year. Come again?

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New Endings and Old Beginnings

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I didn’t mean to take a hiatus from blogging. It sort of just...happened. Kind of like how becoming the foursquare mayor of your local McDonald’s and Chipotle just…happens. You don’t set out to become the mayor but a conflux of proximity, deliciousness, and competitiveness converge and suddenly you find yourself making a point to eat there simply so you can “win”. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go visit You’ll either instantly get it or instantly hate it. You can probably guess which side of the spectrum I’m on.)

Anyway, my hiatus evolved as I began wrapping up some projects I’ve been involved with over the last couple years - the most important of which was my Master’s Degree.

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Post (College) Graduation

There is a movie out that I think hits some of the core issues college grads are faced with today: Searching for work, searching for love, and searching for self. Those are the words the trailer of "Post Grad" uses to describe the journey.  I'd say that's pretty much dead on. And then add to that the feelings of the potential of having to move back in with family.  I plan on watching this movie.  I doubt it's a great movie (at least not my kind of movie), but I do think it hits some of the core issues faced today.  Mainly, crushed dreams.  I recently wrote an article about this called, "Bachelor Degree: Passport to Privilege?"  You can find that here

Here's an E! New Exclusive about it (notice what Alexis Bledel says in her commentary). Below that exclusive is the official trailer. Unfortunately I think "Hollywood" is seeing the pressures of college-age life and addressing it before the Church does. And even though it's in theatrical form, they have made a movie that's going to relate to and address every day life better than the Church does. It bums me out.

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The Commencement Address I’ll Never Give

Welcome Graduates and Honored Guests.

Whoever voted for me to speak at your commencement made a grave mistake. I will not be giving you tepid advice for the future. I will not mention your square cardboard hats. I am certain to offend some of you, and while I’m moralizing, I will be convicted of my certain hypocrisy. As for quotes by famous people, there will be none; the temptation of plagiarism was too great.

If a motivational speech married your mother’s lecture (who ate Hallmark cards for breakfast all during her pregnancy), they’d give birth to a typical commencement address. So first, let’s get the metaphors out of the way. You can pick which ones you like best. You graduates are a lot like (eagles / shooting stars / Olympians), and as you leave today, you will want to (soar / fly / blossom).

What are we fighting for?

It’s finals week on the campus where I work which can only mean one thing: summer break is 48 hours away.  To me it means quiet, rest, and a slower pace, but it also brings with it space for reflection and planning.  I’m entering into a reflective mode this week as students wrestle with, “What’s next?” and I find myself asking the same question.  One student said yesterday she has been asking people who she sees as “settled” in their careers if this is where they thought they would be when they were in college.  She was surprised to find out that for most, life’s journeys took them in directions they could not have even begun to imagine.  They love where they are at, but would have never predicted it.

As I thought about it, I began to think of people I know who are “settled” in their careers.  This year more than any other I have felt like a “grown-up” as I settle into my career, gained a mortgage, have been married for 4 years and the honeymoon is over (I mean this in the sense of now we know what for better or for worse means and in sickness and in health – even though I still get butterflies when I pick my husband up from work), no one knows what Jem and the Rockers were, and recently I was told that U2 is classic rock.  (I’m sorry what?)  This was a year when huge decisions were made for our family and I am choosing who I want to be.  Of course this comes with job choices, communities joined, and passions to pursue, but life always throws some curve balls in there and I’m learning every week what “pick your battles” means more and more.
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