Recent Posts

young children's paintings and drawings taped onto a door

Start of the Homeschool School Year with Three Children (Fall 2021)

Our kids are young still, but pretty much all of daily life counts as homeschooling. Here's what we have planned this year: books, music, crafts, math, and more!
Anzac bridge in Sydney, Australia on a sunny day

The Learning Edge: Independence Outside My Comfort Zone (Study Abroad #5)

To grow and change, we need to reach our limits and push beyond them. Being abroad was one big out-of-my-comfort-zone adventure—on campus, exploring Sydney, and beyond—and here's what I learned.
Jacqueline stands at a metal railing at a trailhead in the Blue Mountains, Australia, overlooking the steep hills and the three pillars of rock known as the Three Sisters

How My Phoneless Semester Reminded Me To Stay Present: Life Isn't All Digital (Study Abroad #4)

Phones connect us to the not-present. But the present is where we are. Here's why, and how, a semester without a phone showed me the best of putting my phone away to attend to what's in front of me.
the skyline of Sydney, Australia across the water of the bay, the famous opera house on the right

Finding a Voice Down Under: A Short History of My Blogging Career (Study Abroad #3)

I started writing my first blog while abroad in 2009. Here's why I began, what I enjoyed about blogging, and the key reasons I continue now.
an inlet of bright blue water in sharp red-brown rocks at royal national park in sydney, australia, bordered by round green trees

The Necessity of Solitude and Reflection in Learning (Study Abroad #2)

Learning can have a cyclic nature from experiencing, to reviewing and reflecting, to learning from the experience, to planning for future experiences. Here's how that cycle played out for me while abroad.
part of the Quadrangle at Sydney University, a sandstone building in the Victorian Academic Gothic Revival style

Seeking Growth: Why I Decided to Study Abroad in College (Study Abroad #1)

Vassar's campus was a happy green bubble—but a predictable bubble. Outside the bubble, the unpredictable heralded change, learning, and personal growth.
folding chairs hanging upsidedown on a hook on a wall

Incremental Organization: How We Made Our Garage Better For Playing, Storing, and Working

Every week, we ask: What’s one incremental thing we can do to make our living space work better for us? This week, we tackled the garage.
closeup of braided rag rug made from colorful tshirt strips

Life as a Practice: Pursuing Excellence in Daily Life

In a practice, you progress: you level up. If we treat daily life as a practice, what does it mean to level up? Hint: It involves effort, excellence, and virtue.
close up of an MIT brass rat class ring

Why I Left Full-Time Academia and What I Do Instead

A PhD doesn't mean you're stuck with a traditional academic career. Flexibility, family, freedom: Here's how and why I decided to take a different path.
gold, silver, and bronze medals Jacqueline won at fencing tournaments

Why You Should Pursue Excellence, Not Success

Pursuing excellence will help you succeed—but pursuing success won't make you excellent. Here's why I follow this life philosophy, and why you should want to, too!
jacqueline in fencing gear on strip, lunging at an opponent during a college fencing tournament

It's Just Fencing: On Approaching Life with Playfulness and Sincerity, Not Seriousness

My fencing coach used to tell me to train hard... but in the end, it's just fencing. It's the paradox of play: real and not real, serious and not serious. Here's how to apply that paradox to the rest of life.
sunrise over the water in La Paz, Mexico with a quiet sailboat in the foreground

Important But Not Urgent: How I Manage Daily Incremental Routines

Before I had kids, I had a regular morning routine. Now? Mornings don't proceed the same way twice. Here's how I make a routine work anyway and ensure I don't leave important tasks behind.
a toddler standing on a folding chair at a desk with three computers, pretending to type

How to Involve Kids in Modern Work

My 4-year-old son wants to help me work, but I write software—so how do I involve him? If I did physical labor or owned a farm, it'd be easy. But I sit at a keyboard. Here's what I'm trying.
a shelf of colorful cognitive science books

How Reading Books Can Help You Reclaim Your Attention

Ever felt like you can't concentrate the way you used to? You're not alone. Scrolling through social media is easy. But reading a novel? You're in luck. Here's how to retrain your attention span.
word processing program with the words once upon a time

How I Wrote 50,000 Words in Less Than Six Months (As a Parent Without Childcare!)

I write a lot—so how do I hit 50k words while also caring for my young children? Here's my secret. It hinges on one plain fact: The job of your first draft is to exist.
woman sitting at a table writing in a small journal with a cup of coffee

My Experience Writing Morning Pages As a Parent With Young Children

Julia Cameron initiated Morning Pages as a creative practice. In theory, it's easy to squeeze into your morning and leads to profound changes. In practice? Read on.
sun setting behind clouds hills silhouetted

Freedom Through Constraints: Why Submitting to Rules and Tradition Helps Me Improve

I used to think I had to understand the reasons for rules before accepting and following them. Here's why I was wrong—and how tradition, history, and rules can help you, too.
small pepper plant just planted in the dirt in the garden bed

Backyard Gardening, Year 3: Spring Planning, Planting, and Pests

Starting tomatoes, planting herbs, and preparing for a season of fresh vegetables! But how do we deal with the neighbor's new bunnies?
man standing at the top of a ladder pruning a tree

Bad Risk, Good Risk: Minimize Downsides and Maximize Upsides

Risk is to be avoided—right? Wrong! Some asymmetrical risks are good to take. Which ones? How can we minimize potential downsides while maximizing potential upsides?
toddler holding a magnifying glass up to her eye and looking up at the sky

How Curiosity Helps Children Build a Habit of Attention

Want your children to engage deeply with the world? Here's how to help them build a habit of deep attention and keep their curiosity intact.
black swan floating on water

A Strategy for Developing Antifragile Finances

How can you arrange your work and finances to not only be robust to unstable times and black swan events, but even thrive? Here are five ways to take advantage of uncertainty.
pens on a small notebook in front of a computer and mouse

How I Manage Deadlines: 5 Ways to Keep Projects on Track

In college, I never pulled an all-nighter and often turned assignments in early. Here's how I did it—and how you can get better at managing projects, reduce stress, and never pull an all-nighter again.
boy pulls a big black wagon of squash and his little sister through a weedy field

Our Children's Future: Eight Current Trends in America to Prepare For

What will the world be like in two decades? I analyze current trends in America and discuss how I can prepare now to help my children flourish.
yellow marigolds in a garden bed

Gardening, Year 2: What I Improved and How I Planned, Planted, and Harvested My 200-square-foot Garden

Could I replicate year 1's magnificant tomato harvest? Here's what I planned, how it went, and what I learned.

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About

We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

Our goal is to encourage deliberate choices, individual responsibility, and lifelong curiosity by sharing stories about our adventures in living, loving, and learning.

Learn more about us.


Connect:

whoo@deliberateowl.com

Start here

Curious about our life and journey? Here are some good places to start reading:

Jacqueline and Randy leaning their heads together smiling at the camera

A Blog About Education, Lifestyles, and Community

A brief history of how the Deliberate Owl came to be and why we're writing a blog about us, our lives, and how we're living out our values.
Priests in red and gold celebrate a traditional Latin Mass

Discovering the Traditional Catholic Mass

How I discovered the traditional Latin Mass a few years ago, why that discovery changed everything for me, and what was wrong with the Novus Ordo Masses I'd attended.