Tiny Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What more could one ask for?

Cooper to me:
"Mom, you're the best mom in the whole galazy!"

Me to Cooper:
"I have the best kids in the whole galaxy!" (I can't say he's the best, because what about the other two - so this way, I'm covered.

Cooper to me:
"I love you all the way to heaven. All the way to God's house and then all the way until the whole thing ends."

Me - speechless. Can't top that - just take it in.

Here's praying in the new year you each have someone to love you all the way until the whole thing ends.

Thursday, December 18, 2008



Not long ago I ran the Marine Corps marathon. I have been running long distance since high school, and this was my first. For as long as I can remember I've said how much I wanted to run one. Around mile 7 I told my running partner that I felt as if I would cry, because I was so happy. I think I had a smile on my face for the first 13 miles. Every step felt like one step closer to the fulfillment of a dream. Then, the pain started to set in...and at mile 19 I was pretty sure I couldn't make it. But, I kept plugging along - putting one step in front of the other and I finally got there - crossing the finish line, holding hands with my running partner.

But, here's what I've been thinking about a lot these past few days (especially today). The marathon - those 26.2 miles I ran - that was the easy part. It was the short part. The hard part was actually the months leading up to the race. I didn't want to just run it - I wanted to do well. I wanted to qualify. The long runs on Saturdays (22 miles), logging miles at 5:30am every morning, and the speed work on Thursdays - that was where the work really was.

The race was just the culmination of a whole lot of sweat, exhaustion, and perseverance. I am so thankful I could enjoy the race - that I smiled and cried, that I took in the sunshine and the music, that I ate the free jelly beans and felt a rush dashing through Georgetown. It's what I worked for and it was over so fast.

Sometimes I think we focus so much on the goal of getting to something, that when it finally gets here, we forget to enjoy it and then it's gone. The it, whatever that may be, becomes something to check off, rather than something to celebrate. I'm trying to remind myself of this right now with Christmas upon us, with my semester coming to a close, with my kids growing up so fast.... I don't want it to be gone and wonder where did it go.

I wonder what it would actually be like if we really celebrated Christmas; if we really celebrated accomplishments, even if it's as small as learning to tie shoes; if we really celebrated the joy of family and friends. Who really cares if the Christmas tree cut-out cookie actually has green sprinkles on it? Maybe, just maybe letting lose and making it a red tree this year is okay. Maybe it is more fun to order a pizza, so we have time to chat with friends, rather than spend the whole night in the kitchen. And, it really is a big deal when you learn how to tie your shoes or know all your multiplication facts. Because the fact is, most of life is the training part of the marathon - the sweat, the tears, and the exhaustion, so when we get the opportunity to bask in the warmth of friends and family, love and laughter may we take it all in. Celebrate the 26.2!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stating the Obvious...

I have not really been asleep at the wheel (or the computer, so to speak), but mass quantities of school work have occupied my life. Stay tuned...five days until the end of the semester and then I will have time to ponder the wonders of life. Until then, no pondering, just producing papers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What is love?

Said to me by my youngest son, Cooper:
"Mom, you know how I love you all the way up to the sky?"

Me: "Yes" (with a big smile on my face and in my heart)

Cooper: "Well, I love these new lego fruit snacks almost that much, only one inch less."

Hmmmm - either, the fruit snacks are phenominal or I am on the same level as a FRUIT SNACK! Actually, maybe it's more....my providing the special surprise treat said, "I love you" to him, so his relishing the treat so much is saying "I love you" back.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Agnusday.org - The Lectionary Comic

I think this speaks volumes, especially in these difficult economic times....
Agnusday.org - The Lectionary Comic

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Things You Don't Sign Up For

Something I never planned on signing up for as a mom:

Trimming the fur of a long-haired guinea pig.
Washing the toenails of the aforementioned guinea pig
talking to the guinea pig in a soothing 'mommy' voice.

Who knew?

I think this is something only a mom would do...

Friday, October 10, 2008


There are many times I feel like I am failing as a mom, but then there are those moments when my kids in their own little ways assure me that I am doing ok.

Each night after prayers I trace the sign of the cross on my kids' heads and say, "I love you every minute of every day." Normally they just smile - which is enough. Last night though, I did my normal ritual and Jackson said, "I know that, every minute of every day."

What a gift. I am so thankful he knows that - that he knows it deep in his heart, even on the days when I have probably yelled too much or been too impatient.

Then, as I was climbing into bed I saw a note on my pillow from Carter, my oldest. It said:
"Mom, thank you so much for the candy bar. It was delicious! You are great! Love, Carter." Below that was a huge smiley face.

Another gift. Sometimes it's nice to know that someone thinks we're great.

It's amazing how attuned kids are to the needs of others - somehow they each knew what to give me. I pray I see what they need....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Elementary, My Dear

Conversation with my oldest son, Carter:

Carter spontaneously asks,"Mom, guess what?"


He replies, "We get to do this totally cool project in science with the Periodic Table and research an element."

"Cool," although I am actually thinking - YUCK! Not something I would ever want to do.

"But," he continues, "I wanted to Krypton and I'm not allowed."

"Why not?"

Matter-of-fact Carter says, "Because it's a noble gas and we can't do noble gases because they won't let us mix them."

"Oh." I thought he was going to say, "because Superman lived on Krypton." Boy was I wrong.

So, here's want I want to know: when did my 11 year old get smarter than me and when did they start teaching stuff that I didn't learn until high school chemistry? I think there are some amazingly smart kids out there.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Food For Thought

Yesterday was a day jam-packed full of parties, soccer, errands -all the things which make me feel like weekends are way more work than a regular old weekday.

Cooper (my youngest son) and I attended the Baptism of a dear friend, after which we celebrated by eating CAKE.

Cooper pointed to a corner piece with a giant red icing flower on it, "I want that one."

"Of course you do, " I thought, with my eyes rolling in my head. What I said was, "Coop, we are going to be eating junk all day, how about half of this piece which is already cut."

"OK, but I want the whole piece."

I gave in, he ate it. Then we dashed from the Baptism celebration to a friend's birthday party. During which he had bubblegum ice cream and CAKE. Oh boy, I am thinking we are on sugar overload.

Then last night, we had our family celebration for Jackson (my middle son who turned 9). I should preface this next sentence with the fact that we did eat a nice big, healthy, home cooked meal, but we all also had...you guessed it...CAKE! And for Cooper, it was his third round of cake.

I was thinking about this as I tucked him into bed and he was completing melting down - I guess coming down off his sugar high. It's often all or nothing, feast or famine.

When there's too much cake it just isn't special anymore, it doesn't seem sweet or like it's something to be savored. Like too much soccer, too many parties, too many emails, phone calls. It all just becomes ordinary and we don't savor the fun and celebration of life.

But, also when there's too little cake we crave something more, so we search and search for something to satisfy that hunger. Like when there's too little love, too little forgiveness, too little enjoying what we are given.

Feast or famine, all or nothing. It leaves us with a stomachache.

What was it Jesus prayed? "Give us this day our daily bread." Give us what we need, what satisfies our hunger. I truly believe that we are given more than we need. Saying it's all about 'moderation' seems way too easy to me - we know that. I think digesting all that fills up our lives is more about savoring....

Friday, October 3, 2008


I have a friend who is incredibly passionate about economic justice. While many of us agree that oppressing others is wrong, I think there are very few of us who really speak out and own our part in the injustices of the world.

Earlier today he and I were talking about life - the struggles we all face, our failings, our dreams and hopes and I noticed a piece of art on his wall. It was a Monopoly board which he had turned into a three dimensional representation about economic justice/injustice. In case it's been a while since you've played Monopoly, the pieces are Chance cards, property cards, houses, and Community Chest. The game is all played with a role of the dice. It's about luck, but it's also about buying up everything you can get your hands on to secure your winnings.

My friend glued the Property cards around the outside of the board and wrote on the cards in permanent marker the median annual income for a family in different areas of the country. The statistics took me by surprise (even in our current economic devastation). Washington DC - $49,000 (the center of government) as compared to Pine Ridge South Dakota - $5000 (an Indian Reservation - the outskirts of America).

$5000 - seriously! For a family to try to exist on $5000 a year is appalling to me. When I was an intern I made more than that as a stipend! I don't pretend to have all the answers to how to fix the huge disparities which exist in the world, but I am certain that a large part of peace in the world, in our communities, and in our families is tied to justice. I may sound juvenile, but "it just isn't fair" for some to 'have' and others to 'have not'. We don't have to wait for a government to bring about peace, or justice, or fairness; it begins with us.

Life does involve a lot of chance, but also involves a lot of community. Life is not a game to be won - a Monopoly of sorts. Rather Life is waking up to see what we have been given each day whether it's a small thing or a big thing - and sharing that with the world. The giving away of ourselves is when true Life happens.

My friend said something like, "Working out there {South Dakota} - that would be something worth giving my life to." Made me think about what I am giving my life to. What about you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I have a cat named Moses; he's about 13 years old and an outdoor cat. This means a few other outdoor cats have become friends with Moses via food stashes. About two months ago a new cat emerged on the scene - a very striking Siamese cat. I would see him often darting off in the mornings.

Last Tuesday I was returning home about 9pm and I saw the Siamese cat on the side of the road right in front of my house. I knew immediately he had been hit by a car, but as I pulled into my drive he lifted up his head and looked at me. Another car had stopped too. I dashed inside to get my flashlight to check on the cat. Since he had looked up at me I was hoping maybe just his leg was broken and we could take him to the Emergency Vet Clinic.

As soon as I went over to check on the cat I knew he had died. And I knew he had died a painful death. I felt awful.

The passengers of the other car and I knocked on my neighbors' doors to see if anyone knew who owned the cat. No luck. My dad was visiting last week and decided to call the police. He ended up calling 911 - who promptly told him they did not handle dead animals (which makes total sense to me). They did transfer him to our local police who said they would let animal control know. All day on Wednesday - no animal control, but many sad children and adults as they passed by the poor cat. Late Wednesday afternoon my dad physically arrived at the police station to ask animal control to come out. He was told they had no record and he could talk with the dispatcher (which he did). Still nothing.

By Thursday afternoon my dad could no longer stand it. His words to me, "It's just irreverent!"

I've thought a lot about that and how we each are distinct, valuable creatures. And I have thought a lot about my response - I could barely look at the poor creature. I felt awful, but I also didn't really do anything.

Later on Thursday the cat was gone. My dad had gone out, scooped the cat up and buried him in my backyard. In some small way he returned the cat's dignity. A 'proper' burial - a little reverence.

I wonder what would happen if we all appreciated and revered the dignity of others instead of covering up our eyes or closing our ears to the things which are hard to see and hear.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Male Nutrition

This past Sunday my oldest son, Carter, had his 11th birthday. My husband and I were amazed at the mass quantities of food they ingested. We laughed every time some kid would say, “Can I have more?” In three hours 7 eleven year old boys (with a few younger siblings thrown in) consumed: 2 1/3 extra large pizzas, 2 containers of ice cream, 1 chocolate chip cookie cake (the size of a pizza!), 8 bags of microwave popcorn, and Gatorade, water, and juice bags. And – I think it was actually tamed down by the fact that they were spending time ‘partying’ too.

A few of the parents and us were laughing about this as they waited for their children…. And I remembered the below chapter from a book I read once. Take a read…it’ll probably give you a laugh and, if you have kids, make you start budgeting for their teenage years!

Except from Karin Kasdin’s book “Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy”

"This chapter is about feeding a teenage boy. It is also the only chapter for which I have curbed my natural tendency to hyperbolize. Today (truthfully) Dan ate:
Breakfast at a diner
One twelve-ounce glass of orange juice
One eight-ounce glass of milk
Two scrambled eggs
A pile of homefries
Two pancakes
Three sausages
Seven pieces of toast
Five Oreos
One eight-ounce glass of milk
One triple decker sandwich made with one half-pound of turkey breast and one half-pound of bologna and one quarter pound of cheese;
One-half of a giant bag of tortilla chips
One cup of salsa
Six Oreos
One quart of iced tea
The remainder of the giant-size bag of tortilla chips
One cup of salsa
One quart of iced tea
One apple
Two Ho-Hos
Sixteen ounces of milk
One roasted chicken
A plateful of French fries
No vegetables
Two lettuce leaves
Half bottle of Paul Newman dressing
Early-evening snack
The rest of the Oreos in the bag
One twelve-ounce glass of milk
Late-night snack
One large frozen pizza with pepperoni
One quart of iced tea
I could say more but why?"