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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


There was a force in the social media world named Susan Niebur. (Many of you may have known her as @WhyMommy) Susan used her influential voice on and offline to educate, empower and inspire. On February 6, 2012 Susan passed away, but I’m not going to say she lost her battle with cancer. That phrase doesn’t sit right in my heart-gut, not when speaking of anyone who has died after living with cancer.  The word lost and Susan just don’t go together because her legacy, the way she fought to bring awareness to the world, will be kicking cancer’s ass until a cure is found. So I think I’ll change my first sentence to, “There is a force in the social media world named Susan Niebur”. That’s not just hyperbole, my friends. That’s the truth. This spitfire of a woman with a blog called Toddler Planet changed the planet and that’s why Maggie and I […]


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 […]


(Grandma, I’m about to make no sense to you. So please don’t feel bad if you don’t get what I’m talking about. I love you!)~~~~~ “Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside-down, now I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, and I’ll tell you how I became The Prince….” Oh wait…I love that song, but it’s just (sadly) not my story… Actually, this is a story all about how The Serenity Suite at BlogHer ’10 came to be. It’s actually more exciting than “shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school…”Maggie and I were talking about BlogHer ’10 on the phone one night right after we quit drinking, “when a couple of guys who were up to no good, started makin’ trouble in my neighborhood….”Or wait….okay, um…we started talking about how Maggie is speaking at the conference this year and then I was being […]