I went to the grocery store yesterday morning (unsuccessfully) rushing to get out of there before it was packed with throngs of Christmas shoppers, running out of time to prep for their holiday weekends. I finished up by grabbing the last of the produce I needed and was winding my way towards the checkout counters.

At my grocery store, the produce section is directly in front of the entrance, so it often becomes bottlenecked both with the shoppers buying fruits and vegetables and the people who’ve just walked in the store. They inevitably stop right in front of moving carts as they try to get their bearings – it’s not a great setup. In other words, there were a lot of mildly irritated people trying to get their carts through a small space with varying degrees of success. Add to that the stress of the holidays and I was honestly waiting for someone to lose their shit. For someone who absorbs the energy in a room like I do, it meant I was in a hurry to get out of there as soon as I could.

As I was waiting my turn to get past, a women coming from the opposite direction suddenly yelled rather dramatically, “It’s your birthday?!?!?!?” I, along with most of the produce section looked up to see her talking to a small girl sitting in one of those enormous double-seater kid carts. You know the ones- they weigh about 100 lbs empty and if you’ve ever tried to maneuver one, you know it’s like trying to land a 747 right there next to the organic strawberries. The mom had just entered the store with her two daughters sitting in the molded plastic seats – the kids were maybe two and four. The oldest girl, sitting closest to this woman must have blurted out her news as they were waiting to pass. The woman wished the little girl a happy birthday with the same enthusiasm and then looked around for a moment impishly. Suddenly, as loud as she could, this woman cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “Hey Everybody!!!! It’s this little girl’s birthday!” She stopped, looked at the girl and quickly asked, “Wait, what’s your name?” The little girl whispered something shyly to her and the woman yelled again, “It’s Maddy’s birthday right here!”

A few of us close by answered with a “Happy Birthday, Maddy!” and a small smattering of applause. But that wasn’t enough for this woman. Suddenly she started belting out “Happy Birthday to you….” And we all joined in. By all, I mean EVERYONE in the produce section: all the people stuck in the log jam by the door, and all the people grabbing fruits and vegetables in the back who couldn’t even see Maddy. Cashiers and managers looked our way and started singing too. All the annoyed people trying to just get home before traffic got bad. We all stopped our busyness for 30 seconds, united to sing a rousing chorus to this child as a woman who didn’t know her but knew the importance of this birthday, directed us with a huge grin on her face. The song ended, people applauded, the mom thanked the woman and everyone went back to what they were doing before.

And yet, as we dispersed, we all had smiles on our faces. I can’t speak for everyone, but my heart was filled, my stress lifted for a few minutes and I felt a lot of gratitude that a little child in her innocent enthusiasm told a stranger about her special day and that woman knew exactly the correct way to respond.

Happy birthday, Maddy, wherever you are: thanks for giving us all a gift.


It’s true. In the last 20 years or so I’ve seen Sister Hazel play more than 100 times. If you know me well, you’ve seen me post about these guys on FB:


What’s that? You want me to come on tour and sing with you? Sure!

Continue Reading »


My younger daughter is attending Girl Scout camp. She’s participating in lots of traditional camp activities like first aid and rock climbing and archery. They’ve made God’s Eyes (those yarn wrapped popsicle sticks that provided days of fun when I was a kid too), and duct tape pouches and they’ve tie-dyed shirts. They’ve sung many, many silly songs and chant-alouds (those not-quite-songs that children echo after a camp counselor) and memorized the hand motions that accompany them; songs that get stuck in their heads so they sing them not only at camp, but at home too, over and over again. Continue Reading »

Screen-Shot-2016-06-12-at-12.41.35-PMThe world has been a particularly harsh place lately. I don’t know about you, but when horrific tragedies take place, even though I may not have any direct connection to them, they feel personal. I’m an empathizer big time, so when I hear or read about pain and suffering and tragedy, it drains me and I walk around sad and exhausted and a little hopeless. I think a lot of creative people are this way. Connection is our drug, and like any drug, it can makes us feel great but it can also make the world come crashing down on top of us.

The thing is, I don’t have time to walk around feeling sad and drained and hopeless. That’s not what this world needs. I need to find the energy and strength to infuse the world with more love and kindness and empathy because while it might not be everything the world needs to heal itself, it’s a good place to start.

So in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando and all the tragedies, big and small, we are constantly bombarded with, if you too are feeling overwhelmed, and sad and tired and want to get yourself back into the game, here are some things I do to heal those parts of me.

  1. Turn off the news. Seriously. Turn it off. In my household, I realized that the nightly news did nothing but bring negative energy, fear and anxiety into my home. So for the past 15 years there has been a “no television news rule.” As a kid, I remember my parents watching All. Of. The. News. And I would get anxious as my mother picked me up wondering what horrible things I was going to see on the tv as she made dinner. While you are at it, severely limit your online news. No need to read all the articles. No need to know every little detail. Seriously. You can let it go- plenty of other people are reading it all; you don’t have to. If you want to be supportive of people involved in tragedy, action, not reading is the way to go.
  2. Get outside. Walk, jog, bike, geocache, drive with your windows down and the radio up. We all need some time to be away from all the electronics and just breathe.
  3. Do something. Anything. At these times, what I want to do is curl up n the couch under a blanket binging on Gilmore Girls. Instead, I try to accomplish anything at all no matter how small. I usually go for the easiest and mind numbing things I can think of. I fold laundry. I weed the garden. I clean out the car. Easy things, but they make me feel productive and centered. Think of them as active meditations. Then move into bigger actions if the situation warrants it. Donate blood, call your political leaders, collect tangible donations for the needy. Action doesn’t need to be huge to be powerful. Do what you can, your action will inspire others.
  4. Be unusually and radically kind. Again, these don’t have to be huge initiatives or gaudy displays. Wave to a child in a car at the light next to you. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while and tell them you’re thinking of them. Write a letter to someone who has changed your life. Pick up trash in your neighborhood. Kindness matters and changes the world in tiny and profound ways. We can never be too kind.

This last one is the most powerful for me. Sometimes it feels like there’s very little kindness left in the world. But then I remember, I can be kind. I can be loving and accepting. And quite frankly, I am powerful when I wield all those things. So that’s what I do. I tap into those qualities often and excessively when I am feeling despondent about the world. Does it take away all my sadness? No. I’m still a weeping mess much of the time. But slowly my heart fills up again, and I am able to see all the other kindness and love and hope that’s out there in the world and that further empowers me.

Am I naïve enough to think that folding the laundry is going to change the world? Nope. Heck, it might not even change my world…directly. But all world-changers start small and their impact increases over time. And you can’t change the world if it constantly leaves you hopeless and depleted.

So my friends, take care of yourselves. Take care of others. In times of darkness, put out more kindness right where you are. Changing the world starts right in front of you.

I hate it when I overthink things. And I overthink things a lot. How about you? I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for more than a year now. Really. And for about 6 months before that. Each time I spend so much time considering ALL the possibilities. Seriously I consider every last one of them, which keeps me from writing anything at all.

Maybe you can’t relate. Maybe you’re just one of those people who just decides to do something and does it. You want to learn to draw, BAM! You go pull out a pencil and start drawing. Maybe after a couple of hours you pull up a video and watch it or grab a book at the library the next time you’re there because, hey it couldn’t hurt to see if they have anything useful to say now that you are drawing. If that’s you, then this blog post is gonna feel really foreign to you, I bet. Just for giggles, here’s what my process would look like if I wanted to learn to draw:

  1. Decide I’d like to draw.
  2. Think about it for months to see if I really want to learn to draw.
  3. Pin a bunch of articles about drawing on Pinterest.
  4. Start a list of a bunch of YouTube videos I could watch about drawing but read all the comments first to see if it’s a worthwhile video about drawing.
  5. Start to doubt the negative reviews on YouTube, remembering that people complain about every little piece of minutia. But skip the videos anyway in case the critics were right.
  6. Get out all the art supplies- pencils, colored pencils, sharpeners, paper, ink etc.
  7. Stress for at least one week that I have all the wrong supplies.
  8. Go to an art store, walk around, feel overwhelmed, go home with nothing.
  9. Get onto Amazon, load up my cart with arts supplies – never buy any of it.
  10. Mention that I’m thinking about drawing to a friend and then tell them all the reasons (excuses) I’m not actually drawing yet
  11. Feel guilty when my friend, completely non-judgmentally asks me why I don’t just pick up a pencil and draw if that would make me happy?
  12. Finally pick up my pencil, draw for two minutes, decide I can’t possibly be any good at it, become completely anxious and walk away.
  13. After a few hours, contemplate taking a drawing class.

This is Olympic level overthinking people! Trust me, don’t try this at home.

I was going to explain to you all the reasons I haven’t been writing for a long time. I felt like I couldn’t just start writing again without some sort of explanation. But then I couldn’t figure out which pieces to tell you, what would make sense, what you would care about, etc. etc. etc. Overthinking for the win once again.

You know what overthinking is? It’s fear and perfectionism swirled together in a lethal combination. It’s that misguided, bat-shit crazy notion that if I just consider and reconsider and re-reconsider all the possibilities, I am going to be able to figure something out and then execute it perfectly and not make any mistakes and not disappoint anyone and…and…and…

And we all know where this leads.

So today, I’m trying to not let the overthinking beat me.

Here’s what you need to know:

My blog is going to change. It needs to change, because I burned out trying to be someone I wasn’t, trying to impart wisdom I didn’t have. I’m going to fumble and misstep and I’m going to try to be more authentic and vulnerable and I’m going to fumble around that too. I’m going to try for a more, here’s where I am, show me where you are and maybe we can muck through this whole messy life thing out together, sort of vibe.

I’m predicting I’m gonna look  a lot like this at first:



And it feels a lot like this at the moment:



But I‘m gonna try to remember to have fun even through the fear.

I hope you’ll join me.

Creative Februarys

flairA few weeks ago in a couple of the online homeschool groups I’m in, moms started posting a very similar request: “Help! I’m a first year homeschooling mom and suddenly nothing is going right. Continue Reading »

Word of the Year 2015

word handsJust about a month ago, I held a Word of The Year Workshop. As many of you know, instead of New Year’s resolutions, I encourage people to choose one word to focus on for the whole year – a Word of The Year. Continue Reading »

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