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For Jack, Scenes from a Life, Together

May 5, 2005 | By | No Comments

Update for May 2012 from Jack. You know when the old folks used to say, “Enjoy it all while you can-time passes so quickly?”

And you were thinking, “What are those old farts coots talking about?

Well. The old folks were right. As they usually are. Time passes so quickly.

Charmaine’s post from 2005.


May 5, 1990

To have and to hold, from this day forward,

Those two didn’t know what they were getting into did they?

for better, for worse,

May 5, 1990: The day dawned dark and dreary. . . but, then — midway through the service, the sun broke through, a single ray of light piercing the chapel windows, illuminating the altar. . .

for richer, for poorer,

No, we had no way of even imagining the hurdles and challenges that lay ahead.

in sickness or in health,

But then, no way of even dreaming of the joys either.

The Penta-Posse

Four Corners Monument, April, 2005

to love and to cherish

May 5, 2005: another dark and dreary day. . . just take-out dinner on folding chairs at the ball-park, . . .but there, still, rays of light, piercing our hearts, illuminating the future. . .

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james light.jpg

’till death do us part.

I do.

National Day of Prayer

May 5, 2005 | By | No Comments

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A prayer for our soldiers. . . and most especially, for the families today who grieve. . . our debt of gratitude is unbounded.

O Trinity of love and power!

Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;

From rock and tempest, fire and foe,

Protect them wheresoe’er they go;

Thus evermore shall rise to Thee

Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Eternal Father, Strong to Save, “The Navy Hymn,” Fourth Stanza

It’s Just What Moms Do . . .

April 30, 2005 | By | No Comments

If you are coming over from LaShawn’s Corner, welcome!

With the writing I’ve been doing on women in combat, I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between men and women, moms and dads. A lot of people want to argue that there isn’t much difference.

But my friend and mentor, Steve Rhoads, wrote a book this last year Taking Sex Differences Seriously which lays out all the evidence that, in fact, moms and dads, while equally important, are not interchangeable. (You can find a direct link to get this important book on the left sidebar!) For example, moms are better able to hear their baby’s cry than dads are. Strange, but true.

This week was the Dude’s tenth birthday, so we had the cousins over last night. The Penta-Posse plus Two were camped out in the family room, including the Dancer, who hasn’t been feeling very well this week. The physical space separating us included stairs and a door. . .

In the middle of the night, I woke up, for no obvious reason, so started trying to go back to sleep. But I couldn’t. Something felt wrong. I listened carefully. I heard nothing. Or was there something faint?

I decided to check on the kids since I was awake, and as I opened the door to head down the hall toward the family room, I heard the Dancer crying as if her heart would break. She was curled up in a ball on the couch, the blanket on the floor, her body cold, her head hot.

Why didn’t you come to me, baby? I asked.

It was dark. . . I was scared. . .

I got her some medicine, took her to our room, and got her settled in snugly. She burrowed in and went to sleep immediately. With the commotion, Jack woke up. What’s going on?

Over the years, with five kids, we’ve had our fair share of multiple kids throwing up, so he’s been a part of plenty of night-time traumas.

But, usually, mom is the one who hears the first cry. It’s just what moms do.

Farewell to a Friend: Diane Knippers

April 23, 2005 | By | No Comments

This afternoon, on a grey and rainy day, several hundred people gathered at Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, Virginia to say farewell to our friend, Diane Knippers. Her husband, Ed, is an artist, and one of his remarkable paintings graced the cover of the bulletins handed out at the sanctuary entry. This one was of Jesus, hanging on the cross; underneath, it read, “By his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:56

Faith McDonnell and Diane,

protesting Chinese President Jiang Zemin

As we sat waiting the beginning of the service, the storm clouds were clearly building outside the windows. How appropriate I thought. A grey day. A sad day.

Even so, the bulletin was entitled, “Celebration of a Life,” and indeed it was. It was such a day of sorrow — losing someone like Diane so young; she was only 53 — but the service was so beautiful, and God was so very present, that it was, in a way, Diane’s last gift to those of us privileged to have known her and to have been there today.

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18 Apr


In Memoriam: Diane Knippers

April 18, 2005 | By |

The Dude was singing to himself in the back seat: “There’s a hole in the world tonight. . . ”

He didn’t know it, but it’s true. With the loss of Diane Knippers, after a brave battle with cancer, at 2:00 this afternoon, there is a hole in the world tonight.

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Diane Knippers

There will be a lot said and written about Diane in the coming days — as President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, she was recently named as one of the nation’s top 25 most influential evangelical leaders by Time magazine.

But I just knew Diane as my friend.

She so deserved that honor from Time. And I’m sure she was pleased about it. But that kind of recognition was not what Diane was about.

When I first moved to Washington D.C., straight out of college, Diane took me out to lunch. She was a busy woman, everyone in Washington is, but I do remember that she asked a lot of questions and let the lunch go long. It was the kind of lunch that you leave feeling a little chagrined that you talked too much . . . because she listened, and she cared.

That’s who Diane was. She wasn’t about landing in Time magazine. “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” (Samuel Johnson) That was me — no gain for Diane. I was young, and needed a friend, and she was one. Even in a town where they say there is no such thing as a friend.

In a city marked by ambition and compromise, Diane modeled conviction, dediction to purpose and a purity of faith.

Truly, there’s a hole in the world tonight. . .

16 Apr


Marine Corps Marathon

April 16, 2005 | By |

We made it into the Marine Corps Marathon! Jack, me and my dad will be wearing Reasoned Audacity t-shirts and running (well, if you can call it that) 26.2 miles in October. . . Jack and I ran the Richmond Marathon a few years ago, and also the Country Music Marathon (very fun) in Nashville.

I have always wanted to do our “hometown” run here in DC with the Marines, but haven’t been able to get in in the past. The first time I tried, I sat for hours hitting the refresh button for the online registration, but the server had crashed. But this year, we made it!