This is Her.


I have tears in my eyes as snow flakes swirl outside my window. Wind blows wisps of white in circles of stark beauty. It is the month of May and Mother’s Day weekend falls amid winter’s welcome.

Sedona-Grace is outside bundled to the hilt.

She sails past the front of our home on a hot pink scooter.

Morning started first with an adventure to find what kind of animal left footprints deep in snow. My little explorer then transitioned into faster movement with the aid of a side-kick — wheels maneuvering through mixtures of slush and mud.

She is undeterred.

I glance up every now and then to see her push her little body forward – propelled by music sung from the top of her lungs. I feel emotion rise further as Sedona-Grace perseveres in elements leaving most of us cozy — inside.

Not this one.

Not living proof of my own scarred and haunted womb.


Like a comet shooting towards the endless atmospheric universe, she trail blazes upward and I’ll be lucky if I can grasp the tail end of her glorious effort.


This is the fearless, limitless Sacred Feminine inherent within a vibrant, joyful Soul.

I remember Her, too.

As a little girl, I used to ride my purple bicycle and explore the neighborhood streets near home. I felt both freedom and curiosity about life beyond confining restrictions of home, rules silently stifling spirit.

Somehow, at some point, this part of my Soul fell quiet – retrieved in small moments gathered up from tears falling.

The reclamation of ourselves is no small feat.

And as I watch my own daughter unfold, I wonder if I can swallow past a deep ache.

She will face so many (more) challenges and though I can access ferocious protection — it won’t be enough. She will be further exposed to events I cannot control – events which may carve their own scars across a chest of Innocence.

How often I hold her in my arms – rocking her back and forth like she’s still no more than a few minutes old. I cover her head, face, neck and arms with kisses upon kisses. As if these imprints can protect all I cannot.

A candle nearby flickers. My coffee grows cold as minutes pass. I contemplate sentiments of Mother’s Day from a vantage point new to me – also.

For many, many years I chased Maternal need, longing and reparation. I could not conceive of mothering myself. Necessary, yes. Capable? Never quite sure.

Until now.

She awoke amid molten lava rising within –  from a piercing eruption I thought would destroy every piece of life held dear. How wrong I was. Although the burning lasted, and lasted, and lasted – it did not annihilate.

In the center of layered ashes, a golden heart gleamed. My own maternal, feminine, discerning knowing formed in the shape of Love eternal. I picked up this unexpected manifestation and held it close to my chest.


Dearest daughters, there is a home within no matter life’s detours and it expands outward in wildly beautiful trajectories.


And in the reclamation, I invite savoring of awareness to all the ways our/your woman/ness includes maternal gifting not only to your own heart, but the hearts of those around.

Uninhibited by any pandemic, the Great Mother, reaches down, out, and through into any receptive spirit.

More than ever – She soothes and comforts those who might weep on a day when others can feel the warmth of their children.

More than ever – She reveals our ability to inspire, connect and encourage despite the isolation and disruption of life as we ‘knew it.’

More than ever – She brings awareness to beauty while holding any type of hidden heartache.

More than ever – She lights up any space and inhabits it with Grace.

This is Her.

And She is here…here…here.





Reinvention wasn’t kidding.

I should have known – the way she pushed Self-Doubt off the porch last summer with a mere flick of a finger. Unfortunately, I was too dumbstruck by her very existence.

Each time we sang hymns by firelight her voice rang clear, strong.

It…is well…with my Soul….”

At this point in the story winter had long settled in. Subzero numbers replaced inviting outdoor fall temperatures and most nights we found our ourselves wrapped up in handmade afghans like snug little bugs.

Mid-Life never failed to find her spot. Several months ago we’d gotten together and Mid-Life wore the usual ‘know-it-all face’ like things she’d seen over the years made her a local expert on all parts: Jen.

I tolerated her rants. Barely.

This time it was an uninvited commentary of work dynamics, personal life disasters, self-care failures and mothering mishaps while perusing books on the shelf as if to ask ‘did you learn anything from these‘?

And I hated she was wearing that black t-shirt again with ‘805’ across the chest. Santa Barbara was 20 years ago. There was no going back-but she wore the damn thing at least once a week.

Finally Reinvention set her mug down on the brown coffee table and told Mid-Life to sit.

Look” Reinvention said. “Quit.

Quit, what?” Mid-Life retorted.

This isn’t the time for finger pointing. Jen’s world is going to speed up quick and everything you thought she’d ignored — well, she didn’t. She’s paid more attention than you give credit. You aren’t driving this bus- so sit back and zip your lip. Change your shirt, wash your face, fix your hair, sit closer to the sunlight and see what happens. And…if you (still) can’t say something nice – don’t say anything at all.”

I grinned. Reinvention must have met my mother in her travels because both Mid-Life and I heard that one before.

She left in a huff.

When Mid-Life returned a few weeks later my daughter was the first to notice she wore a white t-shirt with a Peace Sign. As she stepped through the mud room and into our kitchen we both went straight for two coffee mugs bearing fortuitous statements: “You can” and “You will.” She took the former, I took the latter.

Reinvention arrived only a few moments later.

Every time she entered my home – the whole atmosphere shifted.

This woman was pure glory.


So when one word came out of her mouth — I just about dropped my mug — because she said it strong. Fierce. Like a human agent on a mission from the Unseen Realm.


What?” I looked around.

Excuse me?” I answered. Baffled.

Stop. Now. This crazy, stress filled soul crushing life. You crossed the threshold, leaped over the chasm, made the break, paid your penance, carried your baggage long enough. I’ve listened to you since last summer. It’s time.  I’m looking around and a lot of this stuff has got. to. go. It doesn’t fit anymore. You’ve repented, grieved and run yourself ragged with a weight breaking your back. I told you it was time to live last June and I meant it. 

I challenged her. Defensive. Argumentative. Frightened. I’d never been free from the chains of my past. I hated that they dragged behind me, I wanted my daughter to know different. But I couldn’t get free. Good Lord, I had tried.

She looked at me.

Mid-Life squirmed.

I felt something twist inside my gut.

And I’d never seen Reinvention’s eyes burn so bright.

The truth was a huge part of me had been dying for several years. I knew it. My daughter knew it. I was in a beautifully terrible bind and although convicted by Reinvention’s wisdom last summer — I metaphorically ran the other direction (as evidenced by changing: nothing).

I watched her stand up and extend a hand.

I brought 6 boxes of Hefty trash bags.” She said.

“We’re starting in the basement – and we’re starting: now. Get up, Jennifer and follow me.”

I stumbled down the stairs, behind her, like I’d forgotten how to walk. Mid-Life in tow –not much better at it either.

Reinvention began in one corner without a word. She loaded (and heaved out the back door) one bag after another. Parts of my life I’d held on to – some for decades. There went my 20’s. I remember that snapshot by the beach and pieces of broken hearts.

We’d only just begun.

Here came the 30’s. Oof. Those fragments filled about 25 bags alone. Why in the world did I keep those wedding dresses. Holy cow I forgot about those pictures. And here comes all my diaries from California, Tennessee and Kansas City. So many words. We mostly worked side by side. I’d pull one or two things apart from the massive heap of shit and she’d say, “alright. but watch yourself.”  Sigh.

Poor Mid-Life looked like she wanted to disappear as I removed years and years layered in shame, sorrow or guilt. At one point my sweet daughter came downstairs and asked if she could help. “No, baby girl. This is mama’s job.”

When we hit the 40’s I thought I’d have apoplexy. More journals, images and bits pulled off shelves, or out of closets, sang like mythological sirens towards destruction.  But Reinvention grabbed my hand and pressed on.

We worked until dawn. One floor after another cleansed of damaging debris. I couldn’t believe it was happening. Mid-Life crashed at some point on my living room couch. I covered her with a multi-colored blanket and brushed a strand of hair from her forehead. She wasn’t so bad, after all.

I heard Reinvention take the red broom and dustpan back to it’s hook by the door and stand for a moment in my vintage kitchen giving everything one last look.

I knew she was leaving this time for good.

God, I was scared.

I’d never been so weightless or free.

As if reading my mind, Reinvention moved closer and put her ancient hands on either side of my face. She first kissed my forehead, then drew back, kept a steady gaze and said with measured intention: “Trust.”

And so…

I did.






Grandmother Wisdom



Self-doubt is a relentless menace -regardless of birthplace. And telling him you’ve ‘got his number’ won’t stop momentum in the slightest. He doesn’t care a whit about whether you can identify his malfunction. He has one agenda: ruining your life. Nestling deep into neural pathways he’ll light big blasts of bullying fireworks; kick back and watch the show.

When this happens some find blessed refuge from concepts defined by religious beliefs or meditation practices-led by individuals who found their ‘center.’

Except, there’s a few who aren’t standing at the gates of either option.

I know I’m a part of that motley crew. Vulnerable, tired and suckered in by seductive logic frames.

Anyone who’s lived long enough will experience the consequence of stupid decisions. And some of us (me) will make really bad decisions more often than we ‘should’  — busting all parameters of ‘acceptable windows of learning.’

I don’t know exactly who makes those rules -it’s like there’s a term limit on getting your shit together and if you reach a certain age and your life doesn’t reflect ‘that’ — no other explanation counts. Before too long, words like “mental illness” or “personality disorder” start heading your direction and let me tell you –Shame and Stigma aren’t far behind. Whether it’s true — or not.

When I came to the Northeast two years ago, I packed up as much Grit and Determination I could find in order to accomplish one objective: build a new life for me and my daughter.

But our culture has a trajectory for how things need to go, generally speaking, and if a person lives as an outlier to those ideas…well, let’s just say, Self-Doubt descends like a heat seeking missile.

At least he did in this little corner of the planet.

It took me a long time to acknowledge his presence. Which is funny, and a little pitiful, seeing as how he managed to create (and install) enormous, poorly made billboards all around with statements like:

You’ve been here for a while now. Shouldn’t things have turned out better than…this?

And other not-so-nice sentiments like:

Anyone paying enough attention knows you’re just hiding up there in shame.”


Well, telling him to just Shut-UP works – sometimes.

Not often enough.

Then Mid-Life sort of sits around, a lot, on my overstuffed chair and gives that knowing (annoying) look while she’s flipping through a National Geographic “uh-huh, yeah…. you’re on the downhill slide, closer than ever to 50. Good Luck with all this.”

Mid-Life is like that well intended, ‘honest’ extended family member who comes over every weekend because no one else lives closer. She says whatever’s on her mind because she likes to keep things “real.” Lately I can’t get her to leave.


When Reinvention knocked and I answered the door – I honestly thought she was selling something illegal.

Self-Doubt just about elbowed her off the porch with his arrogant buffoonery.

But She’s good. She’s got this stance. Like Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth.

She’s just not moved.

I still made her stand outside for a while.

Letting her in meant shoving Self-Doubt aside — requiring every fiber of strength.

He knew it too.

I debated for a bit until Mid-Life opened her yap and said “Come on, Jen, what do you have to lose. I mean: really.”

Finally opening the front door I gave Reinvention a look of despair.

She winked and with the slightest flick of her finger tipped Self-Doubt right off the porch and calmly walked inside.

Mid-Life eye-balled her a bit but didn’t say a word.

Reinvention sat down, opposite Mid-Life, and all I could think about was how the couch she chose reminded me of Chattanooga, TN.

I almost started in on that tangent but she put a finger to her lips and said “Shhhh…..wait.”

Reinvention’s arms were covered in scars and she had a limp. She wore bright clothing and a sky blue scarf around her shoulders. Her posture was straight, shoulder’s back, eyes steady. Chin up.

She was old–

and she was beautiful.


And then she began to speak:

Stop leaving food out for Self-Doubt. He’s not a victim in need of rescue. He’s nothing but a destructive bully. Get him off your lawn and never let him back. He’ll never tell you the truth. Ever.

Trust the forgiveness you’ve given others and yourself. Whether they acknowledge you, or not, doesn’t change the truth of your own heart. You aren’t in exile. You Belong.

Do not buy the terrible lie of being defined by Critics, Grief or Losses experienced. Those are only some of many Teachers. Use that wisdom as a restorative function for building a maternal legacy your daughter, and your daughter’s daughter’s will remember.

They need your lived example of choosing Love, Hope, Kindness, Compassion, Resilience, Honesty, Accountability and Self-Forgiveness over bitterness, suffering, angst, blame, hatred or disconnection.

Refuse comparisons. I promise you have no idea what their lives are truly like. Keep the vision of Service and Meaning you’ve developed over the years. Collaborate with others who walk similar paths. I will help you. Believe. Live.

I can’t remember when, but at some point she motioned for me to come sit next to her. And when I obliged, she took my hand and held it for the longest time. She didn’t care I’d used 1/2 a box of Kleenex while listening. Wouldn’t you know, Mid-Life ended up sitting on the other side and although she saved her two-cent comments for another time – her energy felt different. Kinder. Softer.

Then Reinvention folded me into arms. She smelled like Lavender. Tears kept streaming down my cheeks. I heard her whisper “You really aren’t the first I’ve had to visit. You aren’t alone.”

I later learned Reinvention brought an old 1987 camper and claimed a spot at the local KOA before ever coming over. And when she said she’d stick around for as long as I needed, she wasn’t kidding.

Now, most evenings, she stops by and we burn together all the nasty billboards Self-Doubt ever made. (Every once in a while he’ll lurk near the property but Reinvention just shoo’s him away like he’s nothing but a pesky housefly.) Mid-Life often waits in the kitchen, but I suspect she’ll head on out before Summer’s end. She simply can’t help herself.

As the blaze starts Reinvention often takes my hand and starts to sing:

It is well…..with my Soul.”

Last night — I joined in.



The Shadow Side of Motherhood




It’s a brand new morning, the end of another week and Sorrow keeps pounding on the back deck door like if she stays out one more second she’ll freeze to death. With these winter subzero digits she’s not all wrong.

I’m half-tempted.

Shuffling in she bears a small glint in her eye, like she knows I needed her (ugh).

I watch her head straight for the cupboard and pull down a mug that reads: “Give me coffee and tell me I’m pretty“.

Handing it to me she says, “I’ll take it black.”

I live to serve” I retort. To which she ignores.

Reaching for my own cup of liquid coherence — I give the stink eye.

I didn’t invite her over and I don’t want to listen – even to her silence.

Especially the silence.

But my uninvited companion knows the weight on my heart today. I’m in the middle of a hard place that matters — straining to see the light.

It looks so dark.

I fear neglect, harm, narcissism, selfishness and pain are happening to people I love and Sorrow isn’t feeling too helpful.

She comes alone, sits, and I’m quick to forget the gift of Presence.

(To be fair, Wisdom is probably locked out on the front porch but I don’t want her coming in – either.)

(Not yet.)

Whenever Wisdom comes around I feel like I  failed another yoga class or forgot to be smarter. Again.

Well, right now I’m worried about the well being of children I care about. A lot.

I  want coloring around the kitchen table. Playing games next to the fire. Building Lincoln Logs and reading stories from books printed in 1976.

And most of all – I want them to know Love.

All of which I am powerless to make happen.

I live here, they live there and a there’s a whole lot of tree’s in between.

Okay, maybe Wisdom can come in. I’ll scoot my fat butt over – make room.

She keeps showing up anyway…like a literature evangelist minus the pamphlets — holding on to something I keep losing in the dark.

She trusts a Benevolence so far beyond what I can see, predict or control with a belief both inspiring…and impenetrable it’s maddening.

I watch Wisdom pick out “Jesus and Coffee“– pour the last bit, sit down and look at me.

I want to be so immature and roll my eyes with her mug of choice but head for the rant instead:

“So….here we are….on this little spinning blue ball of a planet suspended somewhere in the universe with one primary ‘task’ we’ll never achieve: “to love”. Well, no-thanks. I’m too judge-y and too angry.  When handed a big steaming plate of hurt, fear, uncertainty, confusion, anger and surrender — I take that hot mess and dump it in the garbage. I like taking charge of situations — make them better. Confront the barrier. Find a way in. It’s visceral. And, just so you know, I’m not alone. There’s a lot of us out there who don’t have time for the gobbledy gook of nice ideas and better behaviors.”

“Uh-huh” — they say, except for…
“Except for what?!” I retort.

“Except for when you can’t actually “do” anything at all. When you’re in an emergency room, or on the couch after taking a call, or after the letter falls from your hand and you’ve heard the news.”

Wisdom keeps going…

“These moments represent a part of adulthood you have to teach your children:  now. They need skills and abilities that will help them move through and accept parts of life deeply unfair and imperfect.

Discernment can help but you probably left him at a park bench last week when you thought you had time for a midday chat.”

I know she’s right.

Suddenly I feel an arm around me.

I inch away.

Wisdom inches closer. These guys are pro’s.

They know, with a little love of their own to give,  I’ll find my way out of this paper bag.

Something, someone bigger than me does hold all this in a Palm far greater than mine. Because…I was never meant to.

Today, it’s not complicated.

I have to let go of a situation I want to hold close forever. I have to surrender and trust in an unseen force that claims it’s got my best interest at heart…and (more importantly) the best interest of those I love.

I don’t know, yet, how to teach Sedona-Grace the full power of all this Surrender stuff but I’m willing to try.

Every hard lesson learned  has made me a better human being- for her, and for any other child (or human) I needed to love.

I am certain it can do the same for you – if not already.


Sedona what is the most important thing about being a mom?

It’s that I need a mom…or I wouldn’t even be here.

What’s the most important thing a mommy should do?”

Make sure I’m safe…and make sure you’re safe too.

I feel you.

18JenFamily_02My daughter sailed into La-La Land about 6:30pm last night and I wanted to follow suit. Maybe get over this cough I’ve had since Christ was a child. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, I laid in the dark feeling an unexpected solidarity with other women doing some – same version of being a full-time working mother.

I understand the “role/combo” isn’t a newsflash.

In fact I read a cartoon years ago that had a man standing on a sidewalk berating a woman for leaving her children because she was ‘going to work’ and then the next slide was the same man berating her for staying home (with her children) — doing “nothing” to contribute.

The entire sociological piece of “mother’s damned if we do(work)/damned if we don’t” is too big for this post.

But it is real.

We’ve carried the ‘privilege’ of advancement for decades now and if I truly resented it; I would also resent the exorbitant student loan debt directly tied to my PhD.

I do not.

I stand on brave shoulders.

I’m grateful.

And I am tired.

Like a so-tired it’s sitting underneath the word “tired” in some crazy separate language symbolic abstract drawing kind of experience version of the word.

A type of tired that still allows me to have pre-frontal cortex functioning without scientific back-up.

Ineffable, really.

And let’s face it. I’m old. On the border of geriatric. My daughter just six and I turn forty-five in short order.

This is vulnerable for me.

I personally know more than a few working moms who integrate yoga with a good run on the side. Regularly.

I could too.

I have the treadmill. I think about using it. A lot.

And I like the words “Self-Care” or sweet mantra’s such as “Be Good to Yourself.”

But writing truth about private imperfections when brave faces and fortitude are all that’s on the culturally acceptable menu is not easy.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough Brene Brown out there to make women more empathic.

Fessing up takes guts because we fear the whisper or the nod.

At least I know I do.

  • I’m fat. (Well, eat less and move more! it’s not rocket science.)
  • I’m drinking too much wine every night. (Oh reaaaaaalllllly……??)
  • I wonder if I made a mistake by choosing a career. (I do think the children suffer with your long hours)
  • I sometimes feel like the worst mom. (Well……….your past IS a bit on the rough side.)

Because I remember being that woman who, too quickly, quipped back nonsense. Hearing friends lament the impact of those roles.

Before motherhood.

I had soooooo many (un-thoughtful) answers to their problems. I couldn’t shut up and just get the fact I had ZERO idea about their experience.

An “answer” wasn’t the answer at all.

A little humility and a “yeah, I have no idea what it’s like. Here’s a cup of coffee. I’ll straighten the kitchen while you take five and stare out the window.” could have gone a lot further.

What’s more *this* is all so inevitable and unchanging — generations upon generations, being female, choosing to honor a calling and becoming a mother is always, always, always going to be hard work.

Just think. When I am fifty-five my daughter will be sixteen years old. Probably running her own business: calling shots and taking names.

I think I’m looking haggard now?

I’m going to start laughing again. The half-crazed maniacal sort.

A mother’s work is never done. A woman’s work is never done. (Didn’t Kate Bush write an epic song called “A Woman’s Work?)

It’s *never* done.

And here’s the kicker.

I don’t want it to be.

I love being a mother to my daughter.

And I wouldn’t change a thing about my professional life.

I’ve just changed and I think, somewhere, all women do if we hold these two roles in our world.

We knew we would when the job offer came, or the baby was born. We weren’t stupid.

But getting used to this new part (aka: bone weary fatigue) is like an acquired permanent appendage. Not as creepy as a third arm, or a strange growth we can’t cover up.

But it is a part that isn’t pretty. Just like those secret truth’s.

My version of TIRED is NOT pretty. I don’t know if it ever can be.

And I want to put out there that it’s okay.

I’m not alone. You aren’t alone.

I think back on my year in Japan. It was 1993 and I was visiting Harajuku with a friend. We saw Elvis impersonators lining up the beginning of a particular section that rocked out with band, after band, after band: a literal cacophony of western music/Japanese style.

As I stood there observing “Elvis” do his thing; I looked at other American tourists. We caught each other’s eyes, smiled, and gave the nod. We just understood what Mr. Japanese Elvis never could. Some things you just can’t recreate.

It’s like that now.

This post is about finding you, mom, out there in the community and catching your eye as you try and order a coffee from Dunkin Donuts so you can make it home for the shift change…your bleary eyes meet my bleary eyes and I smile. (I get that you might not be able to.)

That’s kind of the whole point. I feel you.

Maybe when we’re 65 we’ll meet again and swap stories about how we made it – because this writing hasn’t even touched the third dimension of integrating needs of a relationship – and our part in all of that.

Another time.

Rest for now….when you can.


The Middle Moment



I’m getting older. Like the kind of getting older when you look down at your hands and they mirror back crevices and veins you swear weren’t there the day before. The kind of getting older when you catch a glimpse at your reflection and start (really asking) ‘am I getting to that point when long hair looks more haggish then hip?’ (Not that I aimed for hip. More like: what takes two seconds and doesn’t embarrass the neighbors.)

But you get where I’m going.

I’m writing about time, the awareness of it, watching your “little” girl mature in nano-seconds and you’re still remembering “goo-goo-ga-ga“.

Not because you aren’t smart and can’t see what’s in front of your face. But because motherhood and clocks get warped the minute they’re born. Am I sleeping or am I awake? Am I feeding her or did I just feed her? And when was the last time I showered? I can’t remember. Do I care? No. Yes. No. Maybe. Okay, not really. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I hoped this would change…with time. (Pun intended). But of course it didn’t. I still prefer “non-binding” clothes and completely understand, now, my grandmother’s preference for polyester pants.

I’ll skip the polyester part, but those elastic bands…? Who are we kidding. We call them “Yoga pants.”

She’d laugh if she saw me now and tell me I’m just fancying up what she’s known all along: a mother needs to breathe.

Boy isn’t that true.

Especially in moments I call “the middle” or  invisible “parentheses.”

I’m writing about the space specifically between what was and what will be.

Anticipation that offers a wide array of opportunity for responding.

They can freak out, or fill up your Soul with a chance to recognize, remember, plan and prepare. Or some quasi-discernible blend of both.

Think of planting a garden. We purchase the seeds, prepare the soil, tend to it with light, water and love…and we wait.

While we wait we anticipate hope of good. Whether food, flower or tree.

Then comes an unexpected hail storm and freezing temperatures. Also known as disappointment, or devastation, or despair. Or all three (and then some.)

There was no bounty.

Our children weren’t what we ‘hoped’ for.

The probationary period for your new job didn’t work out.

A loved one never comes home.

And the space opening up in front of you does a 180. Sun gone, clouds cover light. We’re in a hard place.

Now the unknown ‘parentheses’ presented before us has an outcome we’re sure of. We decide we’ve had enough of hoping for the best. “Middle moments” are for the birds and we’ll teach our children something different.

Life is hard.

Life is pain.

Life is a let down – most of the time.


And no.


I don’t want to go there. I might live in the Granite State but that doesn’t have to resemble my heart. In fact I love it when I see growth pushing through stone.

Mother Nature knows.

Let’s tell our children that leaning towards Cynicism after disappointments rise and fall over and over is completely understandable.

We’ve been there. We can empathize.

Let’s also tell them we understand the small strange seed of Hope looks ridiculous against a mountain of experienced hurt and if we were to nurture Joy and Optimism we’d look foolish to some.

Who cares.

Let’s tell them Middle Moments are times we can lift up a prayer of thanksgiving for remembering the good things we’ve known and release the hurts of things that caused us pain.

Because it’s worth it. And do-able. And better in the long run.

Let’s create a life for them that holds Middle Moments in our arms, first, so we can provide the modeling and mirroring necessary for their own resilient hearts.

Because the world needs heart, over machine, more than ever.

We’ve learned such hard lessons in our journey’s. We’ve licked our wounds, bandaged up broken places and made private promises never to go, do, or experience ‘that’ again.

And we’ve learned we can break our own promises.

We are still loved.

We are all, still, so deeply Loved.

And so, as the school year ends for many of our children, and summer awaits, Sedona-Grace and I send, from the north country, lots of wildflowers, sunshine, clean air, quality time as a family and hope for memory making you can cherish for a lifetime.




14470376_1032266273550509_5090653346643797627_nDear daughter,

This area of your life has been on my heart for months but I wasn’t sure where to begin.

Then you went sledding a couple weeks ago, had a great time, until one of your friends did something you didn’t like and….you bit her. Hard.

Perhaps we start there.

Obviously we need to keep our hands (and our teeth) to ourselves. But that’s probably not enough if we think about it. We can hurt ourselves and others with a lot more and unfortunately – biting your friend won’t be the last time someone cries because of what you’ve done.

I’m proud of how willing you are to say you are sorry and your handwritten cards are priceless. They come straight from your heart. There is no better offering. But this is only the beginning my dear.

As you grow there are a few more things I want you to know:

  • When a friendship ends, it genuinely hurts – regardless of who’s “fault” it is. So, I encourage you to spend less time blaming yourself or the other person. Feel the pain and let it teach you what you need to learn.
  • Sometimes the most meaningful moments in your life can be shared with strangers who become unexpected connections. I remember meeting the nicest woman on a plane almost twenty years ago. We wrote post cards for five years. I still wonder how she is doing.
  • Friendship is never “on-command” – it’s a gift. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend (or doesn’t accept your offering) do your best to accept these decisions with kindness. There are other people out there in this world who would love to spend time with you. Find them.
  • If you hurt someone’s feelings try and apologize, in person, as soon as you can. If they aren’t open to your expression – do your best to move on and wish them well in the process. You did the best you could to take responsibility for your behavior.
  • It’s natural to want friendships to stay a certain way forever. Like spending time together every single Sunday afternoon until the end of time. But life will ask us to grow in different ways. Eventually we may have to spend our Sunday afternoons alone and you will need to find a way to enjoy those hours all the same.
  • Unfortunately you will behave badly again, even when you are all grown up, and some friends will walk away or stop answering your calls as a consequence of your choices. This is pretty hard to get through, but we have to accept and respect those decisions. Even if it hurts so bad you can’t breathe.
  • Unfortunately our friends my hurt us too and out of respect for our own hearts – we have to make a hard call of distancing – loving them with different boundaries than before. This is also painful. You’ll want to still call, make a memory, laugh with them and pretend nothing ever changed. But things did change and we don’t want to get hurt again.
  • Healthy boundaries equals healthy friendships. I learned this lesson the hard way and will do my best to teach you different.
  • If you live in different places, like I have, you will meet amazing people. But then you may have to say goodbye because your new home will be far away. It’s normal to believe you’ll stay in touch. (And you might for a while.) But your new life will require time, attention and adapting. The miles between will start to make their mark and those that live far away start to live more in your heart and memories. Trust that your true friends know distance may change the shape of your connection but it can never take away the bond. Ask my friend Patria. She and I have been friends for almost forty years.
  • I know social media is out there but I’m really worried about it. Studies are confirming what scares me the most. I want you to experience good old-fashioned interactions for as long as you are able. When you are with your friends  – keep the tablets and phones turned off because you are too busy having fun: live and in-color.
  • Become a true friend to yourself – as well others. This means learning how to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ll make. It might be easier to forgive others, let them off the hook, make up and be happy again. But you have to extend the same generosity and grace to yourself. This is essential.
  • If you are with a group and you see someone left out – invite them into your circle. Be the one who shows acceptance, inclusion and value.
  • Do your best to learn from whatever hurts experienced with others. Pain is a teacher.
  • Apologize when/where you can – in person, or as directly as possible, and above all: choose love.
  • Always choose Love.

I know about friendship, mama, it means: caring, sharing, being nice, and being kind to people who are in Africa or in the North Pole (some people live in igloos). You also can’t bite people at school, or on a giant hill, and you have to be nice to animals too.”  (Sedona-Grace Age 5)11059443_10204900071756237_3967762071365016168_n

Spring Prayer


Quiet, in the last moments of Winter’s stillness and mountains of Snow, I search deep wellsprings of Discernment, Grace and Thankfulness because Perspective comes like a hurricane when hard, unexpected events happen – like the death of a loved one.

Suddenly everyone’s clear about what matters.

We hold each other’s hands a little tighter.

Prayers are less flowery because different words push up through constricted throats: the most necessary ones released.

We look into the eyes of others and see mutual humanity on another level because mortality made it’s mark once more and there was nothing we could do. Nothing.

I don’t often talk or write about my work. For one, I can’t – legally. For another, I just don’t. Working with people is sacred ground. I have learned to tread softly.

But every once in a while we are confronted by a situation bigger than our constructs. And we are left, after the fact, sitting at a random gas station for thirty minutes – just trying to breathe.

There’s no elegant way to describe what happened. Simply, I was tasked with the notification to two children their mother had unexpectedly died.

I can still hear their screams.

Joan Didion wrote about those instances where everything changes.

Of course this tragedy catapulted me back to 2009 when my brother completed suicide and a ‘new normal’ greeted our family like a (permanent) unwanted house guest.

Standing at the crossroads of  ‘what now’ I leaned towards the hope of healing and restoration. Because we’d endured the unthinkable. We’d love each other different, be angry less, forgive more, soften mindsets, build bridges.

Like tapers lighting up an abyss – I believed this lucidity would last and the deep darkness would diminish.

But then the Siren’s of habitual living begin singing. Their hypnotic melodies of homeostasis pull us away from remembering and the emotional gash transitions into just another scar from one of life’s gut busting sucker punches.

Off we doze back into our comfortable haze of sleep walking through moments meaningful. Rote and rigid, we miss the breath, the inhale/exhale of: Goodness, Kindness, Love, Warmth, Forgiveness, Peace.

At least I did.

No major reconstruction happened so that I could say I became a healthier, wiser or better person for the pain.

I just learned a new kind of haunting ache.


Meanwhile the Sun rises and sets on another day.

A new season arrives – indifferent to my struggle or any other neurosis born of our culture conditioning.

The winter winds calm.

New buds emerge – like Love transmuting the Unbearable into unspeakable Beauty.

The bloom persists – steady she unfolds in the warmth of the Sun.

She is coming.

Spring is on her way…and I bow my head.

Because no matter what I go through in this life as a woman, a mother, a professional, a friend, a wife, a daughter or a member of the community … all it seems we’re ever really tasked with is whether we would choose to let Beauty break open our hearts – allowing us to Love again.

And again.

And again.


Around me the tree’s stir in their leaves and call out ‘stay awhile.’ The light flows from their branches. And they call again, ‘It’s simple,’ they say, ‘and yes, you too have come into this world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.’ – Mary Oliver


“I love you one-hundred fifty-nine”


For every word I wanted to learn, spell or put into a story – Sedona-Grace writes numbers: proud of her process.

Hungry for more.

And despite her artistic flair for people in motion – she is just as drawn, literally, to all things mechanically inclined.

(Hello upcoming math classes for Sedona-Grace. Good-bye Mommy having a clue.)

That’s our dance. My poetic yin to her Lego-building yang.

And for the most part I can figure out what she’s trying to communicate. But I’m only mostly successful when I get my own perspective out of the way.

Motherhood offers anchorage to one of the most important interpersonal life skills: to know our kids means looking at the world from their perspective.

Sounds obvious. Parenting 101.

This morning Sedona-Grace asked “Mommy, why don’t you remember what you just said? Is that because you are a strange human?”

I think I answered yes.


Truth is, I will always be a little on the strange side.

am different.

I am other.

And the best way for me to find connection is by entering her world with curiosity, kindness and empathic attunement.

I believe I was successful  (maybe) twice last week. When she was sleeping.

Most of the time I’m battling dragons like Impatience, Stress, Impatience, Forgetfulness, Impatience or simply Getting-Out-The-Door – with no patience.

Which brings me to something spiritual I feel every time I say good night. Our day has ended. We’ve said prayers together and tomorrow is a new day.

And that, right there, is The Moment.

I’ve done my best as a mom, I’ve been forgiven for what I’ve done. And no matter how much I missed the mark I have tomorrow.

From the  open door and through the hall I hear her sweet small voice:

Good night mommy. I love you one-hundred-fifty-nine plus a thousand.”

Good night Sedona Grace. I love you one-hundred-fifty-nine plus a thousand, too.”


“The way we talk to our children

becomes their inner voice.” – Peggy O’Mara














I don’t know how often this happens to you, but several days ago I found myself doing that thing where I wonder when life is going to stop throwing another curve ball.

It’s like I have a senior moment and my pre-frontal cortex rewinds to adolescence.

I don’t want to remember “the gray” of adulthood ….or “holding the tension of both/and” when it comes to dealing with the day in and day out.

I’ve got one finger stuck in each ear singing “La, La, La, blah, blah, blah—please shut it with your high falutin’ mature perspective.”

Because I want the scene from Stargate. I want to step through a threshold from one dimension into another and look around with awe saying “Yesssssssss. Exxxactly. My life is here because THIS (better) world was the new frontier.”

And no, I’m not talking about Heaven.

I mean now. On earth. In this lifetime.

Where all the craziness falls into place and life is experienced without a (couldn’t see that one coming) situation blinding siding your Wednesday morning.

I want three days, at a minimum, of life protected from an intrusive mosquito of a circumstance.

I know… Mommy’s immature magical thinking happened again.

Sedona-Grace says “Knock, knock. WAKE UP.”

Thankfully these mental road trips don’t last too long because 1) I can’t leave my daughter unsupervised for that long and 2) it’s foolishness.

I can’t speak for your situation but I accept that I’m  a geriatric single mom of a five year old daughter who’s ten times smarter than me with an energy level that puts my ancient self to shame.

And my “Arrival” to the “Right and Good Life” I needed to choose does (and will continue to) include toilets overflowing or a 2.5 inch screw in the wrong place of a brand new tire.

Because Pioneering towards “Healing, Peace and Contentment” on this side of Mother Earth will require responding to a washing machine that sounds like an old motorcycle revving up in your basement while Sedona-Grace is making “happy water art” all over the bathroom floor…and the only clean leggings I can find to put on, while racing up and down the stairs, are these bright yellow ones found at a garage sale that literally make me look like a big banana.

Oh. Well. A part of me thinks it’s pretty funny.

YELLOW leggings?

But that’s me and life with my girl: Gorgeous wildflowers, fierce hugs, chronic lower back pain and stunning views.

We are joyful, we are resilient and we are on our way.

If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.
― Erma Bombeck