Recent Posts

book cover of This Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick featuring yellow and white text on a red background with line drawings of houses in the between

Book Review: This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

How many times have you moved? Do you wish you had deeper roots? In this book, Warnick explains that if you want to love your town, act like someone who loves your town. See my book club questions!
dry stone wall along a grassy path in the countryside

The Farmer's Lament, a Poem

Tolkien recognized the importance of lay poets and musicians. His characters sing and compose verse about the great deeds and events of their age. What about in our world? Here's one attempt, inspired by Tolkien's Durin's Song.
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'.
book cover of Drive by Daniel Pink

Book Review: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Without external rewards and punishments, people wouldn't do much. Or would they? People are actually driven toward autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
the cover of the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designing Your Life: How To Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

How you can use a designer mindset and iterative improvement to build your way forward to a coherent, satisfying life.
closeup of gold wedding rings on a lace table

The Tragedy of Marital Strife: Why Marriages Fall Apart (And How To Stay Together)

Two of my friends' marriages fell apart. Why does this happen? And what can we do about it? Here's why I think marriages fail, and the strategies we use to keep ours strong.
cover of the book The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feller showing the title in red text on a white silhouette of a house, with a blue background

Book Review: The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

We're accustomed to working on our jobs, our marriages, and so much else. What about our families? This book explains how families can be happier, healthier, and flourish together.
three two-dollar bills loosely stacked

Why You Shouldn’t Save For Retirement (Five Things to Do Instead)

The future is uncertain, the economy isn't growing, and inflation is rising. It's time to invest in your family and local community, rather than putting money away.
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.
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.
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!
sun setting on a hill of red sand in the Sahara Desert

How to Practice Self-Denial—and What You'll Gain By Doing So

Human desires are insatiable. But if we do the counterintuitive—practice self-denial instead of giving in to those desires—we build virtue, gain freedom, and step closer to the eternal.
marble statue of aristotle showing his head and shoulders

Forming Good Habits and Breaking Bad Habits: Aristotle's 4 Levels of Virtue

Virtues are good habits. Vices are bad habits. We can learn from Aristotle's four ascending categories from vice to virtue when struggling to become better people.
Jacqueline, Randy, and kids smiling in front of a Christmas tree

The Best Reason to Have Children

It amazes me that strangers feel comfortable saying to parents 'You sure have your hands full!' 'Why so many kids?' 'Are you expecting another one?' Uh ... it's okay to want and love children!
the cloisters at gloucester cathedral: the intersection of two long stone hallways lined with windows, stained glass, and elaborate archways

Recovering Beauty in Modern Life

Beauty is vital to humans, but there's a breakdown of beauty in present culture—in architecture, art, music, more. Why? How can we recover and cultivate beauty?
two kids stomping in a big muddy puddle filled with pine needles in a pine forest

Why Outdoor Time Is Important For Kids

We spent a lot of time outdoors. Being in nature makes everyone happier—and allows our kids to have more freedom and independence.
old fashioned alarm clock sitting on a wood table

The Power of Waking Up Early: 9 Tips for Becoming an Early Riser

I default to being a night owl, but rising early enables me to do more and be better. Here's how I switched my mornings from lazy to productive.
sunlight and blue sky behind wide green leaves

Book Review: Forest Therapy by Sarah Ivens

A book filled with suggestions for seasonal ways to embrace nature, ideas for incorporating the outdoors into daily life, and research on how being outdoors improves well-being.
modern bridge over a river

Dialogue Takes Two: Why Sharing Ideas Matters

Friends have shut down conversations because they disagreed with me. But dialogue is important—for finding common ground, truth, understanding—and it's only possible if everyone in the conversation is willing to talk.
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?

Join our community!

Did you know a group of owls is called a parliament?

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.