Recent Posts

top down view of a bucket of spiky chives, many with buds or flowers, kind of like a chive firework exploding toward you

How I Planted My Suburban Yard Garden, How It Grew, and What I Learned (Gardening, Year 4!)

A long, cold spring; a late first frost; new spaces, new flowers, new tools—here's how this year's garden grew!
section of a tapestry depicting a flower, woven on a lap loom using strips of fabric and yarn

How To Consciously Be a Role Model in Creativity, Curiosity, and Crafting for Children

I want my children to be creative and curious, to do projects and work with their hands. How do I deliberately and consciously inspire and encourage them? Here are some ways.
new raspberry leaves, vibrant and lush

Backyard Gardening, Year 4: Spring Planning, Planting, and Improvements

Each year I try to level up a few gardening skills—and this year we have to landscape along a new front fence and incorporate the chickens into our routine!
randy and jacqueline walking away on a path in a park toward trees and grass

Ideation, Evaluation, and Iteration: How We Plan Our Lives

How do you design a product, project, business, or your own life? Here are the keys you can use to make options and not get stuck on an 'anchor problem'.
Mason jars of apple jam lined up on a wooden cutting board

Seasonality and Natural Rhythms: Why Growing and Preserving Your Own Food Matters

Having a garden isn't just a hedge against the End Times. Whether canning jam, fermenting cabbage, or dehydrating tomatoes, here's why the natural rhythm of growing and preserving food is good for us.
Tomatoes and cucumbers climbing their twine trellises, with marigolds, peppers, and basil underneath

Gardening, Year 3: What I Grew and What I Learned in My 200-square-foot Backyard Garden

Every year in the garden is different. I never know which plants will grow well, based on the weather and where they're planted. Here's what happened this year: what grew, what didn't, and what I learned.
black coat hooks on a wood board on a wall, with a couple coats and bags hanging on them

Making the Most of Our House with No Unused Space

The average American family uses only 40% of their floorplan—but we're not average! Here's how we make the most of our space, and how you can, too.
ceramic plate with a fresh salad: spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken, cheese

Why Watching My Parents Cook Means I Can't Share Soup Recipe—And How I'm Encouraging My Kids to Cook Too

Growing up, I spent many hours swiveling a barstool at the kitchen counter, watching my parents cook. Here's what I learned—and how I'm setting up my kitchen to encourage my kids to learn the same.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
big beautiful red tomatoes in a wooden bowl

Gardening, Year 1: How I Planned, Planted, and Harvested a 200-square-foot Garden and What I Learned

I used the square foot gardening method to grow flowers, herbs, and tomatoes. I was most excited about tomatoes. If I grew some, the garden would be a success!
Hardcover edition of the book Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher

Book Review: Live Not by Lies by Rod Dreher: A Manual for Christian Dissidents

This book argues that communist totalitarianism is coming to America, soon, and we have to prepare now if we're going to survive. But Dreher isn't nearly worried enough.
Paperback copy of the book The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher

Book Review: The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

This book presents a strategy for Christians living in a post-Christian nation: namely, that we've lost the culture war and need to focus on preserving the light.
Our first son as a newborn

Only a Parent Can Understand Love

I thought I knew what love was. Then I had a son and it changed everything. I felt love for the first time, and it was that day that I really grew up and became a man.
Randy and Jacqueline sit on a mountain in New Zealand

How We Live Debt-Free in a World of Chronic Debt

Debt is ingrained in the modern economy, but it’s not the best way to manage money or build wealth. We live debt-free, paid cash for a house, and can maintain our freedom on $20k/yr. How? Read on.
the sun rises behind the steeple of a church

How We Are Intentionally Building Strong Community Ties

Before moving to Idaho, I'd never been part of a strong community. Now, my friends are people I can truly rely on—which is how it's supposed to be! Why is strong community so rare? And how can you build your own?
Shoreline by Couer d'Alene Lake in North Idaho

Adjusting to Life in North Idaho

How I began switching from being a full-time academic in Boston to some mishmash of stay-at-home-mom, scholar, gardener, and writer. Change is a process; here's part of the story.
Baby Elian stands on Randy's lap and types on his keyboard in front of three monitors

Opting for Flexibility in Work

Self-employment enables me to achieve the work-life balance I want. Here's why I love the flexibility—and how you can get the same flexibility in your own life.

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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.