Thursday, December 14, 2017

Point of View - Seth Godin

That's the difference between saying, "what would you like me to do," and "I think we should do this, not that."

A point of view is the difference between a job and a career.

It's the difference between being a cog and making an impact.

Having a point of view is different from always being correct. No one is always correct.

Hiding because you're not sure merely makes you invisible.
-Seth Godin

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas weekend

We celebrated Christmas with the family this weekend.  The house was bustling with cousins and friends.  My parent's house felt just as I remembered it as a kid - warm, loving and a little bit chaotic.  Kids were tearing through gifts, getting one half-way out of it's package before the next distraction.  Talking to each other over walkie talkies, throwing footballs, a sleepover at Grammy & Papa's so the fun wouldn't stop.     

J truly believes in the magic of it all.  We sent his elf Maxi home to the North Pole (J didn't really like being watched all the time!) --- Rudolph came and picked him up and believe it or not, the next day it snowed!  We think Maxi was sending a message that he had arrived safely.   On Sunday at the family party, Santa came with a gift for all the kids and amazingly enough he knew J liked monster trucks (!!) 

A season of magic and anticipation...  we had a great time!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Wholehearted manifesto

I always come back to this.

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto
Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.

Monday, December 4, 2017

To travel

We long to travel.  To explore a sight unseen, embrace the unfamiliar.  What draws us to it, I am not quite sure.  Perhaps to be in a place that you do not know allows a certain freedom that we long for - in unfamiliarity there are no norms or favorite spots or schedules.  If critical thinking is connecting the dots between things, a joy of travel - and exploring the unknown - might be a way of identifying new dots of which you can later connect a thread. 

.A Jose Andres restaurant, two charming dining rooms, a new neighborhood, history, an expansive evening of freedom.   A weekend in DC. 

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”  - Pico Iyer 

Thursday, November 30, 2017


We had a great time celebrating your 5th (!!) birthday.   My Thanksgiving baby, we started the week with an early school dismissal and your favorite way to be picked up - "mom at the door"- part of the preK pick-up process.   We had a fun day opening presents and playing legos and monster trucks for hours.

On Thanksgiving we celebrated with Grammy & Papa and your favorite, a bowl of vanilla ice cream with extra colored sprinkles.  On Sunday, we had a fun bowling birthday party!  Your closest friends - new & old - joined us for the festivities and you were beaming with joy to see everyone.  We bowled a full game, sang Happy Birthday, and finished the afternoon with plenty of arcade games. 

FIVE is off to a great start!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The center will not hold

Happy to have enjoyed this fantastic documentary over the weekend.   I found myself enamored by Joan Didion: her brilliance, her charm, her unapologetic interpretation of the world.   

I was surprised to see that the reviews were not as great as I thought the film was.  A reminder, I suppose, that we all go to the theater or turn on the tv for a different reason.  For me, it was beautiful.  I thought the direction - combining interviews, old photographs and video clips, her writing - was just right.  She didn't claim to be a perfect mother and the grief and reflection surrounding the death of her daughter felt raw and real to me.   I wanted more.... it prompted a trip to the bookstore and a Sunday morning coffee date with her 1970 classic, Play it as it lays. 

I don't know what Griffin Dunne's goal was in producing this film. If it was to spark an interest from a reader who was otherwise not very informed about the life and work of Joan Didion, he was successful. 

A few lines worth remembering:

“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.”   

“I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”   

“Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.”   

On Trump:  There's no subtext or subtlety in what's going on politically. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Helping Hands

Happily supported the Holiday Helping Hands project organized by Together Rising this week.  Glennon Doyle Menton has been a mentor to me as I have navigated my divorce and the rebuilding of our family unit.  For me, participating in her foundation is a way to say Thank You for the wisdom she generously shares.

700 families were supported through thr Holiday Helping Hands program.  Simple wishes: $100 was the maximum that a family could ask for, just enough to buy some toys for Christmas, a winter jacket...

I emailed my Amazon gift card directly to a fellow mom, going through a divorce and trying to give her three kids a special Christmas.  No overhead, no administrative cut, just a way to help a fellow mother who may just need a boost this season.  I've been lifted and I've needed lifting.  I'm reminded of this:

It is among the most basic human truths: Every one of us, some day, will be brought to our knees.  By a diagnosis we didn't expect, a phone call we can't imagine, or a loss we cannot endure.  That common humanity inspires our mercy.  It fortifies our compassion. It drives us to look out for the sick, the elderly, the poor and the most vulnerable among us. 

We must decide, instead, to take care of each other -- because, but for the grace of God, we will all one day wake up in need of a little mercy.  This nation's character has never been defined by the power we give the already strong -- but by the strength we give the weak.