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Thursday, October 30, 2014

You are a warrior.

Here is the thing. Here is the inspiration. Niko brought this letter home last year at 6 years old and I thought it was one of the best things that I've ever read. This is why I wanted to write a children's book that is not so much anti-bullying as it is pro-kindness. I'm in love with the concept of taking the power away. And what if instead of being afraid that we have to do these huge giant enormous heroic acts that seem on the intimidating side of life to make a difference, what if we show our children (and ourselves) that it really can be done as just one (seemingly small but actually amazing) kind act at a time. What if it is just showing up and being kind? Everyday.

Be kind and you will be a warrior.

You will make a difference.

Also, I really wanted to write a children's book that had a female hero. It is beyond time for that.

The art is a mixed media collage featuring the illustrations of my four favorite artists, my children. Whimsy, love, hope, light and a side of warrior strength is what we were going for. If you like it please be gems and review it.

Coming your way on the 1st of November... and it is out on Kindle right now at this moment...

Wishing light and all great things to you warriors-


(if I got all the links to work right)...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Marriage. Is. Hard.

Can I just tell you something on the real and raw side? Marriage is hard. Insanely hard. There have been more moments in the last 11 years that have left me fragile and weak and broken that I would ever want to expose out loud. And you might not have ever experienced a moment in your "till death do us part" adventure that comes close to that. To which I would say to you friend "That is amazing. I hope you never do." But here is a truth in marriage (and definitely in parenting) you might not have reached your hard yet. You might not ever. But you may. And you're not alone. I think that is always okay to let one another know that we are not alone. Because that alone feeling can lead to many shades of darkness. And the thoughts that come under darkness are beyond frightening. So lets find the light. Together.

The reality is that marriage, to me, is like the ocean. Sometimes we just need to ride the waves. Sometimes we are up so high that we forget what it feels like to be down. And just as fast as that high came on, it all can come crashing down before you had a chance to brace yourself for it. And then there is the ripple effect that always follows when you are nose down in the sand. You yell. You take it out on the kids. Or the dog. Or your cell phone provider. And that's when the septic system breaks and there's a car accident and someone gets sick and we are late to practice. And Christmas is just staring at you in the face alongside the Halloween decorations. And it all looks so horrendous together that you want to scream but remember that you have dignity so you open your bag of Reese's peanut butter pumpkins and you eat them with vengeance to show that you are on Team Halloween. Ha ha ha (insert evil Halloween laugh)...TAKE THAT TARGET!

That my friends is marriage. And life. 

It rains sometimes. It is dark sometimes. And then it is light and beautiful and so full of future that you could just burst open. And it has the power to make you melt and crack then feel whole again once more. 

And sometimes all it takes is breathing in that other person. And listening to them. And turning off muting the football game in the background. And getting out of the way of your own hurt so that you can listen to them. And to not instantly pounce on judgement or defense but to just listen wide open. To own your imperfection, not to just point out theirs. 

Wine usually helps these conversations.

And you have two choices here: to harden or to soften. What outcome do you want? To build a wall or to break one down. It is as simple and as complicated as that. The softening isn't admitting defeat. It is saying: I choose you. I choose us. This day and maybe just maybe everyday, just one day at once, I am going to pick you on this path. Our path. The softening just may be the key to the lasting.

Yesterday was my husband's 35th birthday. We met when we were 20 years old so we haven't yet grown old together but more trying to survive growing up to adulthood together. I usually try to write something (irritatingly) gushy and romantic for his birthday. But this day, nothing feels more romantic than to be real. And open. And to soften.

And to say:
I am ridiculously imperfect. And I'm sorry that I enjoy shopping so much. I'm sorry that I despise laundry. And I'm not so great at cleaning but amazing at procrastinating. And googling (it is an art, thank you). But I love to cook and laugh and sing loud when I don't know the words and I love to dance like the world depends on it and in my eyes that is not such a bad combination. And I choose you. Everyday. At the end of the day there is no one else that I want to dance with. Or laugh with. Or love out loud.

So let's keep riding the waves. And to pull each other out of the sand. Movies can keep the romance. I'd rather have the love.

Here's to all of us. Cheers.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stand for Kindness

I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed this morning and I was overcome by all the sadness and loss and negativity and bullying and judgment. It was mind blowing and numbing all at the same time. One story in particular really struck me. My father-in-law mentioned it to me and then I saw it on the very lovely site "A Mighty Girl".

It is the story of Jetta, a beautiful 10-year old who donated her hair to a charity for kids and is now enduring bullying from classmates. The school had a disappointing, less than weak response to it. Heartbreaking right? So her mom created a "Stand with Jetta" Facebook page to show support for her and I liked it instantaneously when I saw the bold think positive cover photo. I scrolled down to learn more about the story, more about the inspiring Jetta and her devoted family. I couldn't believe that here in this community of hope, optimism and anti-bullying that her mother had to remind people that this a place of encouragement; she had no choice but to post this:

I am starting to see a few negative posts and messages come through... I know that not everyone agrees with our decision to use social media, approves of Jetta's name, etc... There is no need for personal attacks... This page was set up to offer support and encourage kindness! Thank you to all of you who have been so positive and so kind!

That seems especially heartbreaking to me. Sometimes can we all just keep our negative opinions to ourselves? And it is not just on this site... it is everywhere. Adults, role models, grown ups attacking one another; people that children look up to. 

We are all human beings. So let's start acting like better ones.

Thank you Jetta.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

To Lucy On Your 10th Birthday

Dearest Lucy...

Smart stunning girl. Ten years old today. Are you sure that's right? Yes, 10 it is. 10:24 pm on 10.2.04. Thank you for simplifying the math for me (we both know that it's not my strong suit).

So I've tried, cried and bled to show you the good stuff over the last decade... I know I am no perfect teacher (ahem: nor are you the perfect student) but the world needs less attempts at perfection and more celebration of flaws. I do know time and time again that this what a child needs from their momma: to kiss your wounds when you fall, to be brave even when it is the last thing you feel like doing, to be kind no matter what. But what I haven't told you is that those things don't get any easier over time. You have to still be kind no matter what and be more brave than what you think your small body can even hold. Because there are going to be more falls, inside and out, ones that will rock you to the core and I won't always be there to kiss each one. But keep going forward. You are resilience with a hefty side of potential. You've got this next decade by the horns. You are enough. Never doubt that.

Please know this: life is not fair. Your grandfather used to drive me insane by telling it endlessly to me until it was my own mantra when I was old enough to realize that he was right. The world is not fair and it owes us nothing. We owe it with all the gifts entrusted in us to take it on each day and take it with a smile. Keep on smiling love and hold nothing back.

Don't forget this: you were born of tenacious spirit and mind. I would expect nothing less. Sugar and spice and everything nice? No thanks. I'll take my girls fierce, strong and all things mighty any day.

Always remember this: find your own happy and you will never feel at a loss for joy anywhere your life leads. Strive to be a better, more joyous you every day and let others worry about themselves. Don't get caught up in that type of worry of what everyone else thinks or comparison of what they have to what you have. It will steal your joy.  Nobody has time for that. The world needs more originals anyway.

And most importantly: when in doubt, dance. Life is always more fun when you do.

Cheers to the next decade and embracing it loud and proud. Stay awake for the adventures ahead love. The world needs more eye openers and big dreamers.

The world needs you.

You are more than I could have ever hoped for. Happy birthday beauty.