Happening Now

I Found My Unicorn

You might (or might not) remember the custom necklace I made and posted about a while back. I mentioned that it came with a story. Said story is ready to be told. 

*insert high-pitched squealing

Unicorn and gold bar necklace

Let's talk about unicorns for a moment, shall we? 

Here's the thing about unicorns: some people believe in them; (many) others don't. 

Those who do not believe often don't based on the simple fact that they've never seen a real, live unicorn. 

Those who do believe often do so---not because they have seen one---because they believe merely in the possibility. 

Belief in possibility changes everything.

I believe in lots of things that don't come packaged in a box with a perfectly tied bow and tangible proof: God, true love, miracles, and unicorns.

Also, pigs that can fly. 

I remember hearing, years ago, about the many agents who passed on J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter manuscript. While the focus was often on those who said "No," the agent I wanted to have lunch with was the one who said "Yes."

Because, no doubt, he believes in unicorns. 

I admire the music producers and directors and agents who pluck someone out of obscurity, not because they know that their work will make them a fortune but because they simply can't just walk away from that voice. They have to take a shot. They see how remarkable someone is in the dark, and believe that they have a responsibility to attempt to bring them into the light so that they can bring others out of the dark.

Adam Levine's unicorn: Jordan Smith (yes, it almost always comes back to Adam somehow).

United Feature Syndicate's unicorn: Charles Schultz

Britney Spears' manager Dan Dymtrow's unicorn: Taylor Swift

I think that just finding your unicorn in this world is a miracle in and of itself. You have to be open, you have to trust, you have to be a bit crazy, and you have to be ok with uncertainty.

Which is ironically hysterical because I'm not even a little bit the last one. Ask anyone who's spent more than 2 minutes with me.

So there I was on a normal, average day in October when, through the magic that is a few awesome women procrastinating via Facebook with their triple-shot venti latte, Genevieve Georget's glorious Facebook post showed up in my feed (proving that my friends have fantastic taste in coffee and people). 

Among other revelations, she noted that she had always wanted to publish a book, but was afraid no one would think it was worth reading. 

I, for one, KNEW it was worth reading. I wanted to read it, so I needed her to write it. Also, I was pretty damn sure that thousands and thousands of other women ALSO needed her to write it. Because THEY needed to read it. 

I simply had to try to connect with her. "She will likely never see my message amidst the thousands she's receiving," I thought. "But I'm going to send it anyway." 

I took a chance. Because if you don't take the shot, you'll never know. To use her analogy, if you don't let go once you pull back the arrow back, you'll never know if you might have hit the bullseye.  

She wrote back. 

And we are exactly alike (meaning that I have just a few of her many amazing qualities and she has just a few of my crazy ones). 

She freaks out on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday while I take Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

We love the Starbucks red cups and give zero thought to the controversy surrounding them.

We're both scared to death every second of every other day. 

I've yet to meet her in person, yet I'm pretty sure I've known her for thousands of years. 

She let the arrow soar by "outing" our plans this morning

And we have no idea where this will go. But I'm all in.

Because she's my unicorn. 

Keep Dancing


You know I love analogies. And today I've got two of them to weave together, so bear with me. 

In anticipation of traveling to Ethiopia to meet our daughter 7 years ago, I read an emotion-stirring, eye-opening book titled, There is No Me Without You

"How on earth," I asked my mom, only 45 or so pages in, "am I going to be able to leave behind all the other kids who need a forever family?"

A few weeks later, a package arrived in the mail from my mom. It was a sterling silver starfish charm, along with the following story:

Once, a little boy stood on a deserted beach throwing back to the sea starfish that had washed ashore, knowing they would otherwise die. 

An older man approached the boy and said, cynically, "You know, you can't save them all."

Without stopping, the boy picked up the next starfish, flung it back into the sea, and replied,  "No, but I can save this one."

To be clear, I have never thought of my daughter as someone I saved. Far from it. In fact, in many ways it's been very much the other way around. There were many people in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, however, who needed assistance---and that starfish charm reminded me that there is value in focusing on helping one person instead of on the fact that you can't help everyone.  

There was the old man sitting on the side of a bridge with an open wound on his hand. There were children on the backs of other children desperate for food. There were hundreds of people with makeshift shoes, or no shoes at all. There were babies in government orphanages, two or three to a crib, with blanket-propped bottles because there simply wasn't sufficient staff to personally feed them all. 

It was heartbreaking not to be able to do what we could easily do in this country --- bandage a wound and provide antibiotics, donate shoes, feed a baby and know that he'd never again be fed by a blanket, lead someone to a shelter where they could have a warm bed and food.

My travel companions and I focused on what we could do for one.  

For the children with children on their backs, we gave our containers of peanut butter (which is like gold in Addis Ababa). For people without shoes, we gave shoes. To the kids in the orphanage looking for entertainment, I gave harmonicas. I almost immediately regretted it, and the staff probably hopes I never return, but nonetheless. For the man with the gaping wound, I said a prayer. And I watched in awe as one of the dads traveling with us jumped out of our slowly moving van and ran to the side of the road to pray over a disabled, homeless man.

There are so many people in need in this world. In this country. In this state. In my own neighborhood. When each of us focuses on what we can do for one person, we can collectively help a whole lot of people. 

Tessa Prothera is a beautiful, vibrant, determined little girl battling neuroblastoma, which in and of itself is unfathomable to me---and not only is she fighting this beast with everything she's got, she's dancing in the rain instead of waiting for the storm to pass.  

When I come across people like that --- especially when they are kids --- I think, "I could not be more disgusted with myself for thinking the day was ruined because Starbucks was out of coconut milk." 

Those moments are what I call a DIP: a Dose of Immediate Perspective. And they are what drive me to walk along starfish-covered beaches. I don't pick up starfish because I believe that I'm saving them. I pick them up because I take one look at them, and they save me with their Dose of Immediate Perspective.

Yesterday I walked the beach, and one of the starfish was dancing. Her name is Tessa. And I picked her up.  

Keep Dancing, beautiful girl.



*Proceeds from the sale of each Keep Dancing bracelet will be donated to Tessa's medical, travel and dance party fund. 




Is Passion Enough?

Join the Girl Boss Chronicles, where we're in the Business of Building a Life Fueled by Passion:

This past weekend I watched a fantastic LiveStream hosted by Suzanne Evans and Larry Winget. They are dynamic (and hilarious) speakers, and about 10 minutes in they began talking about their belief that PASSION isn't really what you want to be going for.

Larry used the following analogy:

"If you were about to have a quadruple bypass, and you had two surgeons to choose from---one who was passionate about cutting people open and another who was the very best at cutting people open---which would you choose?"

The assumption is that you'd choose the one who was the very best over the one who was simply passionate about scalpels and blood, I suppose.

But there's a component I think they missed.

Perhaps not inherently, mind you. 

If your greatest passion involves surgery, for example, you likely won't be born with top-notch skill as a surgeon. Gaining that skill will require years and years of study, practice and mistakes (hopefully not on a living person!).

But BECAUSE YOU ARE PASSIONATE about fixing the human body through, in many cases, surgery you will ENJOY the process of learning and honing your skills.

I'll make an admission, and tell you a quick story.

I don't have a ton of perseverance. I picked up a tennis racket my junior year of high school and put it down again after I wasn't Martina Navratilova within a week. I picked up a guitar my freshman year of college and put it back down after I wasn't Eric Clapton after 27 minutes.

It's not that I couldn't have GOTTEN there (well, probably not all the way to their level, but...) it's that I wasn't truly passionate about tennis or the guitar.

Fast forward a decade (or two) to the point when I became interested in jewelry making. 

Guys, you should see the first (also, the 2nd, 4th and 10th) items I soldered. They were ugly with a capital U. 

But I was fascinated. I became more and more passionate about the art of it. And I practiced and practiced and my passion grew and grew. I found new materials, new teachers, and more than a few times new materials altogether after I melted the ones I had!

So while I agree with Suzanne and Larry that you can't JUST be passionate about a topic, you must HAVE passion for it in order to persevere and, perhaps ultimately, make a GirlBoss-style living doing it. 

Because while being a Girl Boss only means that you have a passion-fueled life (not that you necessarily make a living from it), if you DO intend to make a living from it, you gotta love 95% of the minutes you spend doing it. 

Making millions of dollars doing something you aren't passionate about isn't what a Girl Boss does. Period.

So, now I want to hear from YOU, *|FNAME|*!

What are you SO passionate about that your spirit simply will not allow you to quit, even after you mess up or advance more slowly than you'd like?

Leave a comment and share! I can't wait to hear from you!

With great love,

Girl Boss: Living the Dream

A friend of mine asked how I was during a phone call yesterday.

"Living the dream!" I answered, with a good bit of both truth and sarcasm.

"You really are living the dream," he said. "Your life is so blessed. You've got it all going on over there."

While at first I simply agreed and continued the conversation, I was compelled to return the call a bit later.

"I need to clarify something," I said. "I am indeed blessed. I've got a crazy, wonderful life, and I'm thankful for every moment. But I'm concerned that you're translating the way I consistently speak about my life to a perception that I've got fairies flying around over here cooking and cleaning, and there are $100 bills growing on the lemon tree in the backyard."

Before I go on, can we all take a moment to process the fact that I was voted "Biggest Complainer" my senior year of high school? 

Truth. If you don't believe me, here you go (sidenote: WHY am I smiling if I was the biggest complainer?)

My God, everything was a problem, all the time. The wind was coming from the East, my sock was only 91% cotton, tile #398 in the cafeteria was chipped, we didn't order pizza often enough, and when we did there were only 20 pepperonis on it and my magic number was 23.

There are several hundred people who will confirm that I once lived this way, for they suffered through the dark gray cloud known as Liz on a daily basis. I'm sure they'd love to chime in with their memories. Comment away, folks. I can handle it.


By this point, you're likely wondering, "How, Liz, did you EVER get from there to here?"

I'm so glad you asked.

This blessed, beautiful space in which I now admittedly live arrived---as it does for many people---after navigating a series of trials, most of which weren't seen or known about by anyone beyond my closest friends. 

It also arrived after...wait for it because this is super deep and extremely complicated...a change in my attitude!

Reality: I still have minutes, hours, days and weeks where, if I wanted to, I could likely (justifiably) lament the challenges that arise.

And while I do realize that most of my challenges are the kinds that my spiritual guru, Erin, would refer to as "luxury problems"---the kinds of problems millions of people would literally kill to have---they were still my battles to fight, and they weren't easy.

What defines a challenge in each life is completely subjective---and it's no one's place to judge the "degree" of one person's challenges as compared to someone else's. Doing so assumes an awareness of a person's backstory and brain chemistry, and there's also probably something to be said, depending on who you ask, for what their sun and moon signs are and whether they are rising in Aries or Libra.

As you can clearly see (so long as you haven't been distracted into wondering about the influence of your own astrological signs, because I was), judging is not only pointless but a ridiculous waste of time.  

The ONE reason you can be sure of as to why I consistently proclaim that life is great (albeit overwhelming and terrifying) and I'm so very blessed is: I CHOOSE to see it that way, regardless of what emotional or logistical challenge has recently presented itself (and you can be damn sure one has).

It's RULE #2 of my third book: CHOOSE HAPPINESS.

It's conceivably the one and only area over which we DO have constant and complete control in this life. Nothing and no one can take away your decision to be happy, even in the midst of the "worst" circumstance.

And everyone's definition of "worst circumstance" differs. I've seen people brave terminal illness with more grace than some brave 2 red lights in succession when they're late to a job they don't even want to go to.  

I've no need on any given day to make a laundry list of my challenges because they're irrelevant and boring.

But of course I have challenging days. Hell, I've had months (and not all that long ago either) where I wasn't 100% sure how I'd pay the electric bill! And, being all too intimately aware that finances and health are two areas that can change status in an instant, it seems we'd better not get real comfortable only being able to declare happiness when either is in good standing.

Beyond Karen and Erin reminding me that I'm going to make it and bringing Starbucks and a paper bag when things get REAL bad, I no longer need anyone to validate whether or not my challenges entitle me to having a bad day. THAT is why I no longer publicly list the day's challenges with any regularity, not because there aren't any. 

If you think about it, the primary reason people share their challenges in public forums is that it's the only way they know to get the support they need. And that's fair.

But can we just get to a place where we support one another by acknowledging that we ALL have challenges. No one's are necessarily any more luxurious or any worse than anyone else's. 

I don't love that it appears as though I have it all together all the time because I don't. And I don't love that we assume that because people are smiling on the outside they are smiling on the inside. 

Robin Williams reminded us that's often not the case. 

We need to be compassionate about what we don't know while craving what we (think we) do.  

That high school girl who was convinced that every day was the worst day ever because the grass wasn't the right Pantone color or a ceiling tile was missing in the chemistry lab? She simply decided at some point that that mentality just didn't work. And in one moment---almost literally---she decided to switch it up.

A new habit was created as I reframed one asinine complaint at a time. 

I've been at this new habit for a while now. These days, for the most part, I choose silver linings, happiness, and laughter, and I ask forgiveness from my children or undeserving bystanders in Target when I'm so exhausted that I'm not capable of the above and, therefore, tell them (loudly) that we are NOT getting 5 cartons of ice cream and they they need to agree on 2 and meet me at the register. 

The above described Target incident? It occurred 15 hours ago. I could hear them "negotiating" from the other side of the store (at least I knew they were still IN the store). We left with two cartons of ice cream everyone then refused, a fact that somehow became my fault.

The dog is limping for no apparent reason.

4 of my kids have to be in 3 different places today at 3:30.

I have what I think is a mosquito bite on my leg but it also might be Ebola and WebMD isn't giving me specific enough information to make me feel better. 

And I'm pretty sure my toilet is broken.  

But I'm very blessed, just me and my chaos, living the dream. 

With great love,

The Girl Boss Chronicles: Episode 1

It's time.

Time for an honest, fun, what-really-goes-on-behind-the-scenes look and how-the-heck-does-one-do-all-this conversation with and for women who want to pursue their dream business or are in the midst of pursuing their dream business.

And who, some days, wake up and think 'I love this life!' and other days wake up wondering 'What the hell am I doing?'

This is a conversation for women who are at once excited, passionate, overwhelmed and terrified.


From the nuts and bolts (how do I even form a business?) to the practical (how do I grow an authentic Instagram following?) to the real insanity (how do I care for 3 children and 2 dogs if I'm supposed to spend every waking minute launching a business?), we will debunk the myths, streamline the essentials, and support one another while we laugh our way through.

Feel the Fear. Do It Anyway.

To join the (completely free) group and ensure you don't miss a thing, simply CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

Click here to sign up!

PS -- In order to get this project off and running most efficiently, I need to hear from YOU!

Where are you stuck? What practical questions do you have? What fears are holding you back?

Let me know in the comments, so we can address them and get you on your way to running the business of your dreams. 

Be Afraid

If you've been around for more than a hot minute, you know that I talk about the importance of being fearless a lot.

A whole lot.

I believe that fear is one of the greatest obstacles---if not the greatest obstacle---to getting everything we want in this life.

I admonish everyone (as well as their brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, dog and ferret) to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

I've stamped it on bracelets. And handwritten it on Post-Its and the fronts of journals. And said over and over to myself as I walked into meetings for which I felt less than confident. 

And yet I've realized, as of late, that there are a few things in life of which we simply MUST be afraid.

We simply MUST:

  • Be afraid of not identifying and pursuing our passions. It's why we are here, and it's never too late. As it's been said, a year from now we'll wish we'd started today.


  • Be afraid of not going to an event simply because we "have nothing to wear." After all, we never know who we might meet there!


  • Be afraid of saying No to rock climbing. Or hiking. Or sky diving. (Scratch that. I'm not EVER saying Yes to that!). Or petting a snake. We might actually like it! And we might not. But we won't know unless we try.


  • Be afraid of not being owning and celebrating OUR UNIQUE SELVES for exactly who and where we are RIGHT NOW. 


  • Be afraid of getting on the road with our newly licensed child. Seriously. We must be VERY afraid of that. 


  • Be afraid of holding onto our gifts and not sharing them with the world because we're worried about whether everyone (or anyone) will approve.


  • Be afraid of not seeing how far we can take ourselves by the power of our own feet and authentic hearts. We'd probably surprise ourselves.  


  • Be afraid of raising kids who don't believe in themselves.


  • Be afraid of letting fear be what stops us from doing ANYTHING that we feel our spirits are being pulled to do. 


Mostly, we must be afraid of being afraid. 

And then, we must FEEL that fear. And (say it with me) DO IT ANYWAY!

I want to hear from you! 

What are you afraid of that you know you MUST be afraid of, and that you're willing to work on DOING ANYWAY? 

Leave a comment below!

With great love,


Would you be ready?

Have you ever said, "I'm ready to receive everything that's meant for me. Right now. (I swear.)"

Of course you have. Who hasn't? 

Ironically, I thank God some mornings (literally) that I was not given all that I thought I was ready for 5 (or even 2) years ago. 

5 years ago, I definitely would have pulled an MC Hammer and squandered it all for one simple (but incredibly powerful) reason: I didn't know who I was.

When you don't yet know who you are, if given the opportunity you'd like attempt to BUY in some way who you think you are SUPPOSED to be. You would think: 

"Oh, I think I'm that big house with a central vacuuming system," or

"I'm 99% sure I'm that awesome car that parallel parks with the touch of a button," or

"I'm definitely that trip to Fiji, staying in one of those $5,000 a night huts on the water. Yup. All me," or

"I'm pretty darn sure I'm that not-on-sale outfit from Anthropologie."

Well, that last one is true in my case. I went into Anthropologie yesterday prior to the Victoria's Secret swimsuit try-on debacle, and I am here to profess that I AM about 9 dresses in there. I am NOT, however, a Victoria's Secret swimsuit. But hey, now I (and all of you) know.

Anyway, I digress.

The point is, we THINK we're ready all the time. And why wouldn't we? Who says, "Oh, I'm not ready for all that good stuff. I wouldn't even enjoy riding in a car with curtains on the windows!"

Wait...I actually wouldn't. It's weird.


Who says, "I don't want a 5-star trip to Fiji. I'm not ready to receive that." Or,

"I don't want a gorgeous new wardrobe that fits me well and lasts more than 3 wears without developing holes. I'm not ready to receive that." Or,

"I couldn't possibly accept having a bank account big enough to support all of my kids through college. I'm not ready for that; I'd rather sit here and stress about it instead."

If you could utter any of the above, you're a more in-tune woman than I, my friend.

For years, I thought I was ready for EVERYTHING.

But the truth says that you attract what you are ready for --- nothing more, nothing less.

The reality of your circumstances is the universe talking. Now, whether you make good choices when you actually receive great circumstances? That's your humanity talking.

Looking back, while I so believed I was ready to receive it all 5 years ago, I realize now that I was not. 

And, of course, I believe that today I'm beyond ready.

But I continue to work on myself -- honing my values, my desires, the way I love and support and give to others, so that when the universe DOES decide that I'm ready, my humanity will be ready as well and we can go on a crazy fun authentic adventure together.

Because I'm not sure the universe gives second chances on that kind of thing. And I'm sure as hell not crazy enough to test the theory one way or another!

Tell me, if you were given everything that you desire right now, would you be ready to receive it? Are you in a place emotionally and spiritually where you feel like your choices of what to do with that gift would be in line with your true self? If not, how can you continue to intentionally get closer and closer to your true self on a daily basis so that when the universe hands you all you've ever wanted, you can receive it with gratitude and honor the gift?

With Love,

An Open Letter to Educators

Dear Everyone Presently Involved In My Kids' Education,

You won't remember me as Elizabeth. Or Liz. Or Grace's, Jack's, Henry's, George's and/or Nina's Mom. You will remember me, this year anyway, as That Parent. I'm going to own it right from the get-go in order to save us both time and disappointment. You're welcome.

No doubt, you are some of the most under-compensated, under-appreciated individuals on earth. And not for one moment do I want you to believe that you are under-appreciated or under-valued by me. You aren't. You hold a very dear place in my heart as a catalyst to ensuring that these kids can move out one day. And survive for more than 22 minutes.

We have just embarked upon what is sure to be an indescribably long school year, and I feel it's incumbent upon me to identify and justify myself before anything really embarrassing happens within the confines of your classrooms.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first year in 14 YEARS that I've had all 5 kids in school full-time. I apologize in advance.

I thought this was going to be the start of a totally awesome new era. And it is. Sort of. I mean, as it turns out, having these guys in school all day is harder than I thought it was going to be. It's a LOT of work.

You know those papers I was supposed to sign acknowledging agreement that kid would have to run a mile every Monday? And that she might have photos taken of her? And that if he searched for porn on the school computer he'd be expelled?

To be clear, the reason they haven't yet been returned to you is not that I don't support my kid running. Or that I support inappropriate Internet searches. I don't. The "Selena Gomez naked" search recently discovered on our home computer was dealt with. Okay? I have no problem with my kid having to run a mile. Now, I've never seen it happen, and I've no idea if it's even possible, but I don't have a problem with it. Nor do I have a problem with them being photographed. In fact, if you could do it frequently, I'd appreciate it as I haven't taken a quality photo with a real camera since 2009, or printed one since 2006. If you think you're overwhelmed, you should touch base with Shutterfly's servers.

I didn't sign them because I've decided that rifling through my kids' backpacks is an activity from which I graduated when they graduated kindergarten. You have my permission to present the logical consequence of them not having forms signed. If I need to sign a form consenting you to dole out that consequence, we may be at an impasse.

To the band instructor: Jack does not yet have an instrument. This is not my fault. This is because Jack signed up for strings thinking that he thought he could play the electric guitar. After accepting (read: violently acknowledging) that electric guitar isn't an option, he chose the cello. Sir, a cello won't fit into my car. As soon as he accepts that I'll order his violin.

To the language arts instructor who gave my oldest child a "0" on Monday because her copy of To Kill A Mockingbird hadn't yet been procured, it's all Amazon's fault. I plan on blaming them often this year. So you know. But their pricing is just really good.

To the nurse: Every time the school's number pops up on caller ID, I panic. I'm at first relieved it that it isn't the principal. When I learn it's you, however, I go into fits. Remember that part about this being the first time in 14 years I've had 6 hours per day to myself? Therefore, I'd like to state up front that if Jack or Henry hasn't thrown up and doesn't have a fever, he needs to go back to class. It's not that I don't care. It's that their stomachs experience divine healing the moment they are within 10 feet of an XBOX which tells me that, 99% of the time, they are just fine.

To the art teachers: I realize I'm late with my payment for the kids' supplies. This is because the vat of supplies they needed just to start school cost $7689, and it wiped me out of Starbucks money, without which I can't deal with the fact that more money is required. So just hang on.

Speaking of supplies, I would like to communicate my joy that I didn't have to purchase toilet paper as a supply. Because I hear some schools in the area required that. Just wow.

To the math teachers: Please just tell the kids that asking mom for help is cheating. When George, who is 9, came to me asking what the probability was that a sock chosen from a group of 6 red ones and 5 blue ones would be red, I told him probably the same as the probability that I would survive the next 10 years, and I don't know what that is either. My apologies if he actually wrote that down as his answer.

I guess that's all for now. I'm exhausted. If any of you would like to meet me at the liquor store around the corner anytime after 4:00 today, I think they're having a 2 for 1 special on Skinnygirl. I'll bring the straws.


Elizabeth, AKA That Parent

On What to Do with Fear

"I'm afraid of everything," I blurted out during a phone call with my sister.

"You're kidding, right?" she responded. "You're the most fearless person I know!"

"Everyone seems to think that. The truth," I confided, "is that I'm terrified all the time."

It was in seeing this quote from Georgia O'Keeffe years ago that I felt I'd finally found---in words---the truth that my spirit speaks on a daily basis.  

I'm terrified of just about everything. Except cupcakes. And phenomenal lighting. Neither of those things terrifies me. To be clear. 

The horrifying truth is that I'm actually lonely without fear; it's been my constant companion all my life.

I've learned to see fear as protection, and I'm afraid that without it, I won't see something coming (which occasionally and unfortunately causes me to "see" something coming that isn't in fact coming at all---an ability that would be pretty cool if what I saw coming was a trip to Bali with Gregory Zarian, a guest spot on Jimmy Fallon, or dinner with Amy Schumer; but alas what I see coming is usually a bit more...shall we say...bleak).

Fear plays tricks on my mind. It makes me paranoid. It makes me question those around me. It robs me of joy and hope. It prevents me from living in the present moment. It ensures that "What if?" is followed by an unmanageable finale, not an exciting one. 

That meme above? I'm that girl. That's me all day; twice on Sunday. 

But we have two choices when it comes to anything that can hold us back in this life (and, for the record, most of those items boil down to fear of something).

We can let them define us, and hole up in a corner with lots of cats and magazines and be great contenders for a Hoarders: The Best Of episode, or we can look them in the eye and tell them to F*%& off (sorry, Mom). 

What saves me on a daily basis these days? 

That's my mantra. It's what keeps me from holing up in a corner of my own closet with cats and magazines, just rocking the day away. Because there's no triumph in that. 

If it were just me, maybe I wouldn't be this fearless. But I have these kids, and I want them to pursue their passions like a motherf*$^er (as Cheryl Strayed said; you can blame her for that particular profanity; I own the previous one). If they see me fearing everything HOW WILL THEY DO THAT? So for them I began practicing the art of mindful fear taming.  

What I've learned is that fear doesn't have to prevent you from actually doing anything. 

You just have to learn how to meet it and greet it. 

Just say, "Hello! Nice to see you. You're here because I don't want to screw this up. Thanks for that. Now get in the back seat and fasten your seat belt. We're going for a ride!"

In fearful moments, act as if---simply act as if you're not afraid. 

Work backwards. Envision the result you want, and work backwards to the present. Then you can see the steps, and you merely follow them. You remove the fear of the unknown because you know how it's going to work out. You adjust along the way as necessary, but each step isn't filled with the same level of peril it would be if you had no idea what was coming next. 

Be the caterpillar. That poor guy goes into that cocoon and doesn't know what the hell is happening. It's dark and crowded and lonely and there's no breeze or comfy hammock in that thing. But he patiently waits. He takes a nice nap perhaps, I don't know. And just when it seems like his life is over, he emerges with skills and colors and a life more glorious than he ever imagined. 

Don't feel bad about being fearful! Fear isn't "bad," per se. Ironically, it's usually indicative of a positive quality. I have fear because I want to do well. I crave control over outcomes because I don't like not knowing what comes next. I don't want to disappoint the people I care about. It comes from a place of great intention and love.

But there's a fine line between acknowledging it and using it as a justification and excuse for standing still.  

Look fear in the eyes, and simply say, "Man, you're powerful. But you're also like a bad dream. The more I believe that you're true, the more real you become."

Have faith. 



Center yourself.

This is how we grow. Sometimes, it's not about eliminating part of ourselves, it's about learning to live in tandem with it. 

My to-do list this week is a bit long. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. There are a few calls I need to make this morning that terrify me. What if they say "No?" What if they hang up on me? What if I introduce myself as Betty and have to start over?

Or, what if they say "Yes" and the person who answers the phone becomes my new best friend?

I'm also afraid of pushing the Publish button on this post. 

So. Breathe. 

Good morning to you, Fear. It's nice to see you. Now get in the back seat and fasten your seat belt. We're going for a ride.  

Summertime Sadness: An Honest Letter to My Children

To my precious children,

I love you, and I believe it's always important to start hard conversations with these 3 words.

Here's the thing.

Summer Break is an incredible time. It provides ongoing opportunities for us to read wonderful books, embark on a few surprise excursions around town, curiously visit art galleries, eat delicious meals 7 (or 15) times per day, eat crazy awesome dessert every night, surf in Hawaii, play with kangaroos in Australia, and just generally appreciate the hell out of each other.

Why do you look confused? 

Oh yes, this is what you think everyone ELSE is doing, but we aren't doing these things and so your Summer Break sucks. Let us discuss the realities of our situation, shall we? 


We live in the desert. It's been a decade now, so let's accept it already. 

It's simply not safe to play tag or basketball (wearing jeans) when it's 118 degrees out. 

What? You have to wear jeans because you don't have shorts that fit? Okay, but how would I know that? Have you SEEN the laundry room? I'm pretty sure you've been wearing the same thing for weeks. The clothes aren't going to put themselves away so let's play a game. No, not Minecraft. This one is called In Whose Room Does This Clothing Item Belong?

Hint: Mom's Room will never be the answer.  

After that, there's an adorable coffee shop just a block away. You can walk there (in your newly found shorts) and get lemonades with a shot of raspberry syrup!

No, you can't get giant smoothies. There are 5 of you; do the math. Unless you want to pay for them out of your own money?

I didn't think so.

I know. The whole experience is ruined now. 

But go. And have super fun. But please don't look so excited. It makes it hard for me to feel like I'm doing a good job.


Speaking of being excited, I don't know why I didn't see it before. Why on earth would you want to read when you can spend ALL DAY exploring the worlds of Minecraft on your iPod/Pad/whatever?

Oh. Your device is dead and there are only 3 chargers to go around and they're all missing? Yeah, that's a tough one. 

So now that the map you're building (or whatever the hell you do on there) is no longer an option, who wants to go to the library or the bookstore and pick out a book about something (or someone) interesting? 




I know. It's impossible to decide where everyone will sit in the car to ride a whole 8 miles to Yogurtini where I'll drop $30 on frozen yogurt with a side of "This is the worst day ever; they don't have gummy worms to go on top."

But I get it. It's totally reasonable to be unwilling to sit in the back row because someone (and by "someone," I mean a ghost) left an empty chocolate milk cup back there 2 weeks ago and no one will just throw it out already.


Yes, art galleries and the like are completely out of the question. We don't know how to feel in too-quiet environments. It's just so outside of our element, and it's uncomfortable. Also, you can't take drinks into art galleries. Which is too bad because it would be really easy to grab water bottles from home since there are 37 on the counter. 

Even though there are only 5 of you.


It's so weird. To my eyes, the refrigerator is full. But I see it from  your side now: it's full of apples, organic strawberries, a watermelon that needs to be cut, and weird eggs. "Weird" meaning light green because they come from happy chickens. But I know, weird is different, and different is bad. I totally should have realized that. 

No, the pantry is not full of Nutella and mac and cheese. You are correct. By the way, how do y'all go through an entire jar of Nutella in a day? Is it perhaps because you don't scrape the excess off the knife back into the jar? Because I swear to all that is holy, there are 16 Tbsp of Nutella in that sink every night covering the knife blades. 

As for why there is no more mac and cheese, well, you are brilliant chefs, and I'm so proud to know you can work the stove and, at the very least, make yourself this carb-laden meal. But it does beg the question: if you can MAKE it, how hard is it to put that pot in the sink and fill it with water when you're finished? 

The last time this happened, I said I wouldn't buy mac and cheese anymore if I ended up cleaning the pot. I ended up cleaning the pot and, well, there you go.  



Desert is a treat, not part of the nightly meal. I've been saying this since 2001. Will it EVER sink in?  


You know what they say about the grass always being greener. Wait, you don't? I'm sure there is a book about this concept. Shall we go to the bookstore? OKAY! Geez. Stop screaming.

Anyway, from what I've heard, you can't really pet the kangaroos. Or ride around in their pouches. 

It's kind of like Disneyland---parents think it's going to be all "I love you so much for bringing me here, Mom" and instead it's more like, "I'm tired! My feet hurt! We've been waiting for 7 minutes to get on this ride! I'm hungry! I don't like giant turkey legs; they're weird!" 

Also, 6 hours on a plane? You can't even decide where to sit in the car. How's THAT gonna work? 



Unfortunately, my job doesn't allow a Summer Break as one of its benefits. 

However, (among other things) it DOES allow me the flexibility to be here with you ALL DAY! (The eye rolling really isn't necessary. Please stop.)

It also allows to pay the (unreasonable) cost of seeing Minions at the theater with the reclining leather seats (the ones I can fall asleep in when I realize these yellow creatures are not going to speak English EVER).

Look guys, it's almost over. The school supply lists came in yesterday. In total, it's 8 pages long. So I'm going to get back to work. Then, let's take a trip to the store and work together to acquire it all. Quietly and happily. No we will not be getting Grande Frappuccinos on the way out. No you do not get paid for helping.

But maybe, if you have a really good attitude, I'll let you get folders with Nick Jonas or Darth Vader on the front.   

With Great Love,

Your devoted (and completely exhausted) mother

P.S. All those friends you think are in Australia, on cruise ships, and eating with reckless abandon (i.e., living the "good life")? Yeah, they are, by and large, also just hanging out at home driving their mothers to seriously consider a career as a professional drinker. Just so you know. 

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