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 {95}

July 29, 2013

At O’Hare I got confused about where to find a cab. Then I found one with a driver that smiled big and took my bag and we had a very long talk about faith and life. He is openly Muslim and I am openly Christian. We both have our reasons for hiding from our labels. Javid, his name, and he laughed when I told him mine. Heather is apparently (with a little different spelling) a male name where he comes from, almost thirty years ago, Pakistan. He said it means brave and strong and then teased that I don’t look all that physically strong. He explained why it’s good to be near a friend or family member’s grave so every time you drive by, you can pray for them. He said it’s best for the parents to pray because God is more sure to listen. You can’t get away with doing whatever you […]


from here

July 24, 2013

It’s been over 4 years and I still remember clearly. I walked back from a party by myself, leaving my friends behind and heading for the hotel. I was in Chicago, alone and walking and I didn’t care. The whole night was a blur except for that walk because even though I was drunk, I knew this was stupid, being lost in a city I don’t know. Thank God I found the hotel. I had thought I couldn’t find my friends at the party, but they called to ask where I had gone. They said I was standing right next to them one moment and then I was gone. I thought I had walked around looking for them. I thought they had left. Or maybe I just wasn’t thinking. It was BlogHer ’09, the last conference I went to before I quit drinking. I went up however many floors and into the room […]


Every year, the BlogHer Serenity Suite is run by volunteer hosts. As busy as conference-goers are, these people take the time to host the Serenity Suite, and their welcoming faces are what make the Serenity Suite the calming force that it is. This year we’re honored to have even more volunteers since we have TWO Serenity Suite locations. Please take a moment to get to know the 2013 BlogHer Serentiy Suite hosts! Thank you, each and every beautiful one of you! Galit Breen – These Little Waves (bottom left corner)Stacy Calvert – Geek ‘Til You Drop (2nd to bottom right)Brook Easton – Redhead Reverie (2nd from right, bottom)Jen Gaskell– Tranquila Mama (3rd from bottom, right)Jane Gassner– Midlife Bloggers (2nd from bottom right)Maggie – Violence UnSilenced (with Ellie and yours truly, middle)Jennie – A Lady in France (bottom right corner)Ann Imig – Ann’s Rants and Listen To Your Mother (top left, in the middle)Jen […]


  What is it?  The Serenity Suite is a low-key, comfortable and welcoming space to unwind: Do you need to sit down and literally and figuratively recharge your batteries? Come on in. Need to hide from big crowds but don’t want to be alone in your room? Come on in. Need a simple break from the action and some coffee? Come on in. Feeling a little overwhelmed? We get it, come on in! The Serenity Suite began as a safe haven for those of us who need to be able to attend an amazing, fun and educational conference while also staying sober. Today, it continues as an alcohol-free zone, but serves a much wider purpose. Maggie and I could not have imagined the possibilities, and we’re so grateful that BlogHer attendees love and use this space. Where is it? When is it open?  This year, the Serenity Suite will be located at BOTH the […]


(photo credit:   It isn’t wrong to feel disappointed if things don’t go the way you hoped when you’ve taken a courageous step and submitted your writing, or art of any kind. Our words or photos, graphic designs, drawings, paintings, etc are born of us. Having someone turn away from our art to choose another’s work feels very personal. We’re only humans, with fragile egos even if we’re as emotionally and mentally healthy as we can be. Maybe you’re mostly confident and strong, but you still feel pangs of disappointment that feel like rejection. That doesn’t mean you’re weak and insecure. You’re just normal. It’s not silly. But let’s talk about negative reactions that go beyond disappointment… In the social media world, it’s the time of year when we hear The Big News about writing that’s been nominated and submitted. The BlogHer’s Voices of the Year were announced just yesterday and then […]


If you’ve never been to a BlogHer conference, you can do your best to get all your ducks in a row, to research, to prepare, and still…. you don’t really know what to expect. I mean, FOR REAL. All the tips and recommendations in the world cannot FULLY prepare you, but that does not have to be a bad thing. IMHO (Grandma, that means “in my humble opinion”) what you need to do is something that goes along with the whole philosophical poetic and touchy feely vibe of this website of mine here on the worldwide interweb…. BE YOU. No. Really. YOU. You are good stuff. Be the good stuff you are. Believe that you are you for a reason and carry on with your bad self. Please don’t look around and think there are cliques and people ignoring you. They are just people who have made friends and they are hanging together […]


When Ryan is out of town for work, we sometimes get time to talk on the phone at some point during the day, but mostly we don’t get that time. He’s super busy with teaching some sort of software thingys to people and I’m busy…yeah, busy. Three kids + one of them being a very demanding and quite feisty little lovely creature + the start of school + working + All THE THINGS = a very tired and forgetful mommy. I was talking to Ellie yesterday and she knows how much I love Elsie Jane, how grateful I am for her. So I can vent and say that sometimes, when Elsie is especially…spirited…I feel like I might explode or like my insides are just going to turn to mush and then I’ll fold over and be stuck like that for a few days. Which doesn’t sound so bad, actually. As long as I […]


Just Write {47}

August 6, 2012

The house is growing dark around me. I just got the small people to bed after a busy day of re-entry, all of us home from time away. Ryan and the kids went Up North to stay with Auntie Janie and I was in NYC for BlogHer ’12. Ryan left this morning for a short work trip. He gets back on Wednesday and I leave Thursday for Kentucky. Life is normally not like this. We are not jet-setters. Well, I’m not while he is, but only because he works all over the place sometimes. Something about software. BlogHer ’12 was so beautifully exhausting. I roomed with Ellie and Maggie and I saw so many people I love like crazy and on Saturday night one of my favorites of them wrote on my skin with a big fat marker, “Go to the love.” I had heard this the night before from a new friend. […]


Dear BlogHer Attendees,

July 30, 2012

Have you been applying your wrinkle cream? Are your teeth white enough? What color polish did you choose while you had that mani-pedi? Or are you waiting until the day before to make sure it’s as fresh as possible? Have you been shopping and packing, packing and shopping? Did you get your hair freshly coiffed on just the right day so that it doesn’t look like you just had it done while it also looks totally fresh and healthy? No, I haven’t been watching you. But I have been applying my wrinkle cream and looking more closely at my teeth. I’ve been thinking of when to fit in a pedicure and wondering how many people will notice that I bite my nails. I didn’t go BlogHer shopping, but I’ve been standing in front of my closet wondering what fits and what doesn’t and then holding things up with other things, asking myself which […]


I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and tackle some things. Just for this moment, while Ryan takes the constantly (not exaggerating) crying and sick Elsie Jane for a walk to distract her. (Thank the good Lord he came home to rescue us.) (Yes, I had her ears checked. They’re fine. She just has a big nasty green slime producing cold. She’s really mad about it.) It wasn’t that good of an idea to sit down for the tackling of the things after all because they are growing around me, as I speak-type. Do you know that feeling like your eyes won’t ever stop reading over lists and lists and lists of things to do and so you just kind of freeze? That’s when a lot of bloggers blog. Just so you know. I realize it makes no sense but it does something in which all the growing of […]


{This is sponsored content by outmywindow and BlogHer.} This is a story about how I left Elsie for the first time and was Phoebe instead of Heather, for a moment. If one can randomly fly to California that’s exactly what I did. I wrote snippits of the journey for Just Write this week and I don’t really know why but it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Maybe because snippets of life is where it’s at, you know? It was a whirlwind trip, just an arrival in the afternoon, an overnight, a full day at Warner Brothers studios and back home again that same day. Or night, really, since I pulled in the driveway at about 3a.m. This was my first time away from Elsie and even though it was super short, I missed her and her brothers super much. But I had a great time and it was so good for both […]


Every year Maggie and I are humbled by the outpouring of volunteers willing to spend some time as hosts in The Serenity Suite. This year is no exception. So with no further ado, I give you the 2012 Serenity Suite hosts! (Oh wait, here’s more ado–imagine a line of beauties entering stage right while waving above their heads and grinning.) (Anissa’s wheelchair,which is the new black, is being pushed by Smacksy, who is wearing Bob on her shoulder (that’s the new trend in bigboywearing). He is waving for both of them. Anissa is not waving. It appears she is flipping off the crowd for singing You’re The Inspiration.) Can’t you just picture it all… Kim Tracy Prince (@kimtracyprince) Suniverse (@thesuniverse) Alexandra (@GDRPempress) Maggie Dammit (@maggiedammit) Emily Elling (@designhermomma) Anissa Mayhew (@AnissaMayhew) Kristin Kaufmann Wilkinson (@kristinnw) Jennifer Williams (@mommadeitlookez) Jennifer Denning (@redheadedjen) Annette Kiesow (@annettek) Andrea Bates (@goodgirlgonered) Alexandra Rosas (@gdrpempress) Varda Steinhardt (@squashedmom) Greis […]


ROOM 4246 That’s right, friends. Maggie and I are back to BlogHer this year in New York City to provide a low-key and relaxing space to take a break from all the beautiful conference madness–scheduling, sessions, socializing, parties and the busy New York City streets. This peaceful place? The Serenity Suite! We’ll be located in a lovely BlogHer sponsored suite in the very hotel where the conference is taking place, and we’re working hard to provide a warm and inviting comfortable space to relax, rejuvenate, regroup and talk with friends, old and new. (This is a great place to set up that “let’s get together at BlogHer!” meeting with the blog friend you feel so connected to but haven’t yet had the chance to meet in person.) Come and visit us at the Serenity Suite, have a cup of coffee or tea, a yummy dessert or three and say hello to the hosts […]


7 quick (riveting) takes

July 29, 2011

What I love about 7 Quick Takes with Conversion Diary is that you get to cover 7 whole random things. I love random. So does my brain… 1. For two nights in a row now, Elsie has cried less and slept more. She fusses on and off throughout the day, but she’s more….fixable. (What mother doesn’t love fixable?) I’m beyond grateful and of course I’m holding my breath and knocking on wood and avoiding walking under ladders. I am also praying big thank yous instead of just please please please and that feels like coming up for air.   2. I was thinking, just in case there are moms out there reading this who are in the trenches with colic as well, that I should share what I’ve tried. I’ve been given so many recommendations and tried many of them. I also re-used some once forgotten knowledge from Asher’s colic days. Some of it […]


In just over a week, Elsie and I will leave on a jet plane and head to California for our first trip together! We’ll be attending the BlogHer conference in San Diego. I’m so excited to show off my sweet Elsie, to get some face time with far-away friends and to be a part of the Serenity Suite again this year. The suite was quite the success last year and it was an honor to help provide this space for people to relax and get some support in the midst of a beautifully busy conference experience. With Serenity Suite planning in full swing again this year, Maggie and I wanted to be sure attendees have all their questions answered in one place. You’ll find our best efforts to cover all the suite info. below. If you’re attending the conference, please stop by and visit us! ::: What is the Serenity Suite? Open throughout […]


1. There are things about each of my children that mirror who I am. Some of these parts are appealing, I suppose. Others…notsomuch. One thing that Miles carries of mine is neither good nor bad. Or, maybe, it’s both good and bad. Memory. Fierce memory. Just today he said, Remember that one time when I was three and that fly landed on my hand and I stood very still and it stayed there a long time. I do remember, mostly. I know he remembers entirely. That boy seemed to enter the world intent on memorizing every moment and everything. He hardly ever cried as a baby, so unlike his brother and sister, and looking at him you would have seen a furrowed and concentrated expression. It’s as if he arrived here knowing everything that was going to happen, an old soul, if you will. And it seems if that’s the case, he just […]


Foot in Mouth Disease

July 30, 2009

Thursday~July 30, 2009 I kept tripping out of the bathroom at the hotel last weekend. There was the tiniest raised area in the doorway, and I would catch my shoe or my bare toes on it nearly every time I tried to walk through it. My lovely BlogHer roommate Kim just plain got used to it, me flopping into the closet door mid-sentence and then laughing hysterically at myself. That’s me, people. I’m clumsy and scattered, and I have a gift for completely humiliating myself in general. Most of the time I do it with my mouth though, not my feet. I wasn’t really nervous to meet bloggers that I respect beforehand, but for some reason, I’d still get all weird when I would find myself standing in front of certain people, grinning and trying to think of something to say. Anyway, because my friend Jennifer wasn’t able to attend BlogHer as planned […]


All the fishy business

July 29, 2009

Wednesday~July 29, 2009 I felt like a fish out of water at first. A guppy on the shore flopping around in the sand watching the sharks and dolphins rub fins, sometimes spraying water at each other over something called swag. I have fins too, they just suddenly seemed very small. Itty bitty writing fins. I had been taken from a tiny little lake and thrown into the ocean. I was hearing all of this about selling out…What is this all about? To what end? What are we trying to do here? Where is the writing? BlogHer’s ocean. Yes, that’s how I felt at first. And then I listened to the community keynotes, and I was sitting and crying as fellow bloggers read their absolutely brilliant posts, standing up there in front of all the fish. I realized something that night. Those writers submitted what they had to say and wanted to be heard […]


Tuesday~July 28, 2009 I absolutely love that when I read their words now, I’ll be able to picture them talking.And laughing. Lee from Moms Without Blogs and Deb from Dirty Socks and PizzaYes, I know. We’re HOT. These ladies (and more) made BlogHer ’09 the very best thing it could have been for me. In the strip on the right, you’ll find my roommate, Kim from Prairie Mama and her edible little morsel, Libby. I got off the plane and hit an instant comfortable rhythm with this lovely duo. Then we met up with Lee and Deb and laughed for an entire weekend. What I love most about hanging with these ladies at BlogHer is that they’re the most genuine people on the planet. They are exactly who they are, not forcing anything in an effort to impress anyone or grow a readership or any such thing. I love that. And that’s exactly […]