October 2013

I don’t need to tell you that it’s important to sit down together for dinner. Either we do it or we don’t, depending on our habits and schedules. So, right now, either you don’t feel guilty because you are sitting down together for meals as much as possible, or you do feel guilty because dinner has somehow become some sort of shifting chaotic short order cook phenomenon. Either way, I understand. We’ve done both over here. Life sometimes makes every hour of every day pretty messy, so go easy on yourself if you’re in the trenches. There will come a time when the baby is not crying and the toddler will grow into a child who sits still longer. I promise. That said, I’m sharing 5 things we do over here to connect (and stay) at the table:   QUESTION TILES: A couple of years ago I made a trip to speak at an event in Kentucky. While […]


Just Write 108

October 28, 2013

The streets through the neighborhoods here are so curvy, so when I ask the kids to spy Halloween decorations as I drive, they have to do all the looking. I’m too busy making sure I don’t remove my eyes from any surprises around the next bend. Today I glanced, because this ginormous blown up black cat was so…well, distracting. It was as big as the front yard’s trees and those trees were big. I only caught a glimpse of the cat, and a middle-aged man loading things into an SUV in the cat’s driveway. The radio was playing Family of the Year’s song, Hero: …But I’m just a kid like everyone else. So let me go I don’t wanna be your hero I don’t wanna be your big man… And I wondered if the man in the driveway feels like that. Like I do sometimes–just a kid like everyone else. I wonder, does he […]


One Day, Elsie Jane

October 24, 2013

The closing keynote at BlogHer Pro was a singer/songwriter named Daria Musk. I had read a brief bio, but didn’t know much about Daria. So I sat back in my chair and learned…no, more than that, I soaked in the interview Elisa had with her. Daria is someone who has a beacon-like energy that I was drawn to for its light. She is joy embodied and said this is a decision for her–to have fierce joy, to live fierce joy. When asked about her perspectives on life and creating and building her empire (truly, an empire born on Google plus!), Daria frequently returned the compliments and insights back to her mother. She said that her mom taught her this:     Daria added (and I paraphrase) that if you pick a dream bigger than a lifetime, you have something to do for your whole life. With setbacks and fighting your way up and […]


Just Write {107}

October 22, 2013

This morning waking up felt like it had something to do with quicksand. I made us run late, but just a “it’s going to be okay” from Ryan reminded me not to freak out about it. The boys helped get Elsie up and ready and that made me smile. I brought her next door and another mom was dropping off her boy and I told the room, “I overslept. LIKE A BOSS.” They just stared at me, and my bedhead and probably the lines still creased into my cheek. Okay then! SeeyaBYE! I’m still walking Asher in to school these days, it’s what he needs. But I wanted less people looking at my bedhead and creases, so I told Miles he would need to walk Asher today, down his hallway. He said yes without complaining, which made me smile. LIKE A BOSS. I am very sneaky and proud to have a backup plan on mornings […]


So then there was that ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer show. It’s weird to see yourself on TV, friends. I’m starting to get middle-aged lady jowls. (Just to keep it real around here, I want you to know that I just tried to make jowls, “jowels”, for a really long time and I could not for the life of me remember how to spell it right.) (Ahem.) Anyway, after the nightly news gig, people came over here from abc.com, and then they sent me emails or they clicked over to Shining Strong, a non-profit for people struggling with addiction. That’s why I let people see my jowls on national TV. All joking aside, this really is what matters. It’s terribly common for a woman to find herself overly dependent on wine. I hear from a lot of people who share their stories with me and every single one (even if I can’t […]


Disclosure: This blog post was written for The Momiverse, pursuant to their engagement by brightpeak financial. All views expressed are entirely my own, and were not influenced or directed by either the Momiverse or brightpeak financial.  :::::: It’s not like I haven’t kept it real around here from the start, so let’s just keep going with that: I’m terrible at managing finances. Maybe it all started with my brain’s inability to math. Seriously, my brain cannot math. (That was not a typo, my friend Vikki taught me that math is a verb, one I cannot do.) Through all my single years I didn’t have a budget. I was vaguely aware of how much was coming in via my high-powered and high-paying social work position and how much was going out for my fancy lifestyle tiny one-bedroom apartment, but I spent money without really considering the consequences and held back only when I started […]

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Tonight on ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer, I’ll be sharing some thoughts on women and their relationship with wine. (You know, since I did a lot of research by practicing alcoholism before I got sober.) (I should clarify: The name of the show is ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer, but I will not be seen sitting down with Diane Sawyer herself. There will simply be clips of an interview I did with a lovely producer who asked me questions about my journey with alcohol.) I’m so honored to have a voice in this discussion, and what I want from this is for more women to know they aren’t alone, if they’re struggling with addiction. If you’re here because you saw the show, welcome. I hope my words made sense and encouraged you. I hope you know you aren’t alone. I hope you know there’s hope. If you’d like to learn more, […]


Just Write {106}

October 14, 2013

I have no idea what the date is, and I’ve had too much caffeine. So I’m dropping things and I’m craving protein. I’m on a plane and to get  here I took a cab. The driver went too fast and talked on his phone and we were zooming past the goldens and greens and rubies and oranges of the Minnesota autumn. Hold on. Slow down. The security line can wait. My Dad turned 65 during my visit home. I remember clearly when he turned 50. My nephew Zach was a toddler and on that birthday, he sat with Dad in the front of my parent’s split level home, in the sun. Dad had on a blue Harley Davidson shirt and he was working on the bottom of something, I can’t remember, with one tool or another in his hand. Zach sat next to him repeating, “I help you fick it, Papa.” I have […]


Ready for Air by Kate Hopper

October 14, 2013

My love affair with Kate Hopper’s first book, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers is clear–I mention it often. It is a book for every writing mother to carry with her through the years, a resource filled with valuable advice and encouragement. Now, Kate has released her memoir Ready for Air, and it is a beautiful example of what a mother can do when she “uses her words”.  Kate’s daughter was born prematurely and needed to stay in the NICU, battling for life. So many families have experienced this painful journey, waiting and hoping, fearing and waiting. Kate writes beautifully, with humor and candor, of her own painful struggle to accept life’s terms when it came to the wait; to motherhood’s harsh introduction. One of the gifts that Kate’s book brings is an opportunity for every NICU to carry this book, to give to parents who are sitting in the struggle, waiting, watching the monitors, […]


Just Write {105}

October 7, 2013

We had taken quite a detour to get there, initially going to the wrong hotel and then taking Atlanta’s train system to the right place. We laughed the whole time, even when it felt like we were entering the center of the earth via the longest and slowest down down down escalator I’ve ever seen. There was no one else around, which made the dark and the damp and smelly air even more eerie. We found the terminal, down in there and came across a few good men, who noticed our possibly entirely lost looks and helped us figure out what train to take. A couple of days later, when we went to dinner again, a few people at a table turned to look at us as we stood at the hostess stand. They turned back to the large group with them, said something, and everyone turned to look at once. Staring. Staring […]


Sun Shine Down

October 7, 2013

  Of course I could relate to the particular excerpt I’m about to share with you. Motherhood surprised me in so many ways, and for so many of us it is the very way that we come to the end of ourselves to begin again. Especially if our babies come along with needs beyond what we had imagined, only feared. Please welcome my friend, Gillian… ::::: An adapted excerpt from Sun Shine Down, a memoir, about a pastor’s wife and missionary’s human reaction to having a baby with Down syndrome:   One night after four or five glasses of wine, I climbed upstairs from the basement in search of Polly. The house seemed to be in a dream state. My head was swirling, and I swallowed often, forcing the acid from the wine crawling up my esophagus back down. The light above the kitchen sink highlighted my path into the living room; the glow […]