The Tom-Foolery of Carving a Jack-O-Lantern

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Categories: 1015 The River, Blog, Holidays

Carolyn Savage

It started with the best of intentions.  It’s the week before Halloween.  We’ve been to the Gust Pumpkin Farm no less than five times.  We have a herd of pumpkins decorating our house.  So, the next step seemed obvious.  Time to carve those puppies up.

Afterall, it’s a tradition.

When I was a kid my parents would carve a pumpkin for each of their children.  I have memories of perching myself on a kitchen chair while my dad used an electric knife–later replaced with a jigsaw…he’s a power tool kind of guy–while my mom rolled up her sleeves gutting the innerds into the kitchen sink.  I’d bark orders about the shape of eyes, or the slant of a smile and regardless of how I wanted it to look, it always kind of looked the same.  Triangle eyes.  A toothy grin.  And if one of them was feeling extra crafty, a nose.

Of course, all of this occurred the hour before trick-or-treating so they could be promptly lit for the onslot of trick-or-treaters.

When Drew and Ryan came of age I tried to replicate the process.  I’ll never forget thinking it was oh-so-simple.  First, we’d carve.  Next, we’d illuminate.  Then we’d get into our costumes.  Finally, we’d enjoy the chile from … Read the rest

Remembering The Value of Suffering

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Categories: Blog, compassionate parenting, perspective, Resilience

Carolyn Savage

Sean and I have spent our entire parenting careers trying to instill certain values in our children.  They are the same values that were instilled in us by our own parents and to us they are platitudes to live by and remember.  And, my guess is, they aren’t all that unique.  Good people don’t become good people without walking a certain talk and sharing certain values.

The values of dedication and diligence; honesty and integrity; and compassion and humility have always been common threads of our parent-speak.  Those lessons are so well-intended but, I fear there is one lesson about reality we forgot to instill in our kids.

An unpleasant one at that.

Teaching our kids to live a good life–to be a good person–always includes the aforementioned virtues.  But somewhere down the line, I allowed my children to assume that if you live a certain way;  if you walk a certain talk; if you work hard and consistently;  if you tell the truth and live honorably;  if you are kind to others putting their needs ahead of your own the people around you will value your efforts.  You will be rewarded.

And that isn’t always the case.

Because life is often unfair.

I suppose teaching our children about the … Read the rest

The Name Game…Part Deux

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Categories: 1015 The River, Blog, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45, Recipes

Carolyn Savage

I received an email today from a loyal reader asking me if I’d gone “off the grid”.  It made me chuckle because I’m not exactly “off ” the grid.  I’m more like “under” the grid.  And, the grid isn’t so much a grid.  It’s more of an onslot of book edits,  a pile of laundry and never ending doctor’s appointments that seem to be usurping my schedule in a way that isn’t allowing me to spend the time in this space that I’d like.  Plus…I’m friggin’ tired.  And I’m huge.  I’m probably tired because I’m huge.  Or maybe I’m huge because I’m tired.  It’s a chicken/egg thing.

Bottom line is I’m alive…my pregnancy is well…and  I’m profusely sorry for leaving anyone hanging.

I do have to say I always love it when one of my readers notices I’m missing.  It makes me feel safe because sometimes I actually wonder how long it would take Sean to notice if I was MIA–he’s a busy guy.  It’s good to know Debbie Schaaf has my back.  Thanks, friend.


This past weekend Sean and I attended my cousin’s wedding in Chicago.  It was a quick overnight trip that gave us some alone time to talk about important stuff.  Like, how the hell did … Read the rest

“Throwing The Kitchen Sink at This”: A Pregnancy Update

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Categories: Blog, Health & Safety, Prayers, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45

Carolyn Savage

Last week was a bit of a milestone for us.

I delivered Ryan at thirty weeks on the dot so every pregnancy since I’ve celebrated passing thirty weeks sans delivery as an accomplishment. When I was pregnant with MK I vividly remember a family dinner where I confidently announced that Ryan would officially be our smallest baby.  I incorrectly assumed that since I carried MK to 32 weeks she’d be bigger.  Imagine our shock when she was actually 2 ounces smaller despite the extra two weeks of cooking time.

Mary Kate, 2008 at a whopping 2 pounds 15 ounces.

As I type this I’m sitting at 31 weeks three days and as much as I’d love to report that I’m cool as a cucumber about the remainder of this pregnancy the truth is I’m a bit jumpy.  Because of my history of early onset of HELLP Syndrome and other pregnancy related complications I’m on what I would call a close watch.  My doctor’s appointments dropped to every two weeks at 28 weeks and last week it was decided that I should be seen once a week for a non-stress tests (NST).  If you’ve read Inconceivable you know I hate non-stress tests because…well… they stress me the hell out.  As … Read the rest

Five Candles

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Categories: Blog, Focusing on The Joy, Logan, Resilience

Sean Savage

Blessings do not take away life’s pain, they just tuck it into a smaller part of your soul

September 24,2009 – I sat next to Carolyn holding her hand with full hospital garb on as she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, a boy we held as our own for a few precious moments.  I held him up to Carolyn’s face so she could capture a good glance and revel in his presence before the inevitable.  I departed that room with several nurses and the baby to a room which held the people who would leave the hospital with him for life.  An intensely emotional moment as I delivered Carolyn’s sacrifice, a newest of newborns to this exuberant mom and dad while the crushing blow of this loss struck our hearts.   Tears ran down my face as I saw the baby boy Carolyn had carried since February in the arms of another mother and I knew he was never coming back.  The moment was a gift of humanity to others wrapped in personal pain. Tonight I imagine there are five candles on his birthday cake as he celebrates an important milestone with his family.  With the passing of five years I decided to share some perspective time … Read the rest

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