Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's been a while

It's been a while since my last post. In this blog, I will attempt to sum up my summer... But first here is the link to my Listen To Your Mother video!  Click Here! I have been trying to figure out how to embed it for some time now, sorry.

For the original post about my experience at Listen To Your Mother, read  "Just Like Riding a Bike" .



We have been crazed with summer madness! The kids have been home all summer and keeping me busy busy busy. I am going to sleep at night with echoes of "Mommy" in my head.

We went on vacation to Rehobeth Beach... Our favorite beach. The kids had a blast and we met new friends. Here are a couple of pictures showing our fun at the beach! (sorry for the length, but the pictures weren't cooperating either)

Dylan is a serious motorcycle rider! 
Lily LOVES the beach!
  
Lily on the Boat ride at Fun Land
My mom and I enjoying some drinks!
Lily is a Mermaid!




Dylan playing in the sand!
Dylan having fun at FunLand!



We did a lot of walking. Dylan didn't like it so much. 
Dylan on the Sand!


It was a lovely week of sand, surf and lots of fun! 

More to come about our summer adventures....






Sunday, May 25, 2014

Split

At least once a day I say to my children: " How many hands/arms do I have?"
My daughter says "Two" and gets the cue to be patient.
My son says "25" and continues to try to get me to meet his need for the moment.

This morning I came downstairs after my morning of sleeping in until 8:30 and within seconds I was pulled farther and faster than saltwater taffy. I wanted coffee and my breakfast. That is all.

I have to get the kids medicine.
I need to make the juice, but I have to do the dishes first.
I have to get a band aid for my daughter's hang nail.
I have to get food for my son who just ate breakfast.
The kids want to feed the fish, I have to ask husband if he already did it.
I kill the ant on the floor,
I  trip on the markers on the floor,
I run up and put deodorant on because my husband is now out of the bathroom and if I don't do it right at that moment, I will forget and be smelly.
I see husband on the bed feeling like crap from a cold, the laundry unfolded on the bed, as it has been for days (not on the bed, just put back and forth between the basket and bed).
I run back downstairs, the kids are fighting.
I  start the DVD my son chose,
I put their dishes on top of the huge pile of dishes in the sink.
I spell words for my daughter who wants to write a letter to her friend.
I make my breakfast and coffee.
As I am eating my breakfast, I fix the dvd that decided to skip at the same moment that I sat down to eat.
My son is hungry. He Is told he needs to wait until I finish my coffee.
I am exasperated and split between twenty things and my mind is like a grapefruit being segmented into a hundred different sections.

                                                              And then it happens.

Daughter is quietly drawing a picture for her friend. Son is watching the DVD and says to me :

"I need you. I love you" and he curls up next to me.

We sit in quiet for one minute.  The segments become whole.


And then my daughter wants to make necklace for her friend. And she takes out the beads and before I can stop him, my son jumps off the couch, takes the bucket of beads and dumps it on the floor. I put down my coffee and I begin to split again.





Parenthood is hard. Mothers typically are able to multitask more easily. I do it to a fault. I keep saying yes to the requests, seemingly simple requests, until I have no more sections in my brain left to process the information around me. And then I pause, regroup and take care of things in priority. And I do it over and over all day.
I am a mom, I put myself last. My mother did the same. She is the queen of multi tasking. And like her, I thrive off of it. But as I get older, I realize, there are some things I like to do for myself. I like to  drink my coffee hot. I like to write when the mood strikes me and I like to notice the quiet seconds in between being split.

Lately, I have been thinking about how to teach patience to my children. I realize I must exhibit it myself more easily. I realize that it is going to mean that I let them do for themselves instead of jumping in, I realize that I am going to have to say "no" and "not right now". But it's a behavioral change for me. And it's going to take time. And practice.

Because, seriously, Momma needs her coffee. Back up and wait.








Friday, May 16, 2014

Stamp it out: part , Aftershocks and my beef

Stamp it out : part 5, Aftershocks and my beef

Previous posts in the series:

Just Keep Swimming
Branches of a Tree
She's the Happiest girl in the world... until she' snot
Fear of the bottom


Once on Prozac, I was able to sort out things more easily. I was able to figure out what to get upset over, what to let go. My drs helped me through the process and I went to a psychiatrist until I was 25 ish, off and on. I never had to find the dr myself though, my parents helped me. And later when I tried to navigate the process of finding a therapist, I understand why they pitched in.

I became closer with my father and found solace upon picking up the phone, saying " I am depressed" and not having to explain everything, because he knew. I miss that.  I had bouts of depression but nothing I couldn't get out of. I soon moved to a maintenance dose of Prozac and had my Primary Care    Physician prescribe it.

When I was 26, I met my husband. For all purposes he was the opposite of me. Cool, collected, not artsy, analytical and not crazy. The day came when I had to explain my crazy to him. Explaining my crazy to a non crazy person is intimidating. But he didn't care, he loved me anyways.

He saw glimpses of my depression, and has been supportive through it all. When we decided to have children, I was scared. My bottom from before had occurred from pregnancy hormones.  When a doctor advised me against taking Prozac I said "no way" and the Dr agreed it was in my best interest to continue my maintenance dosage.  Now of course I had my crazy pregnancy moments, but they were moments and nothing else.  I continue on with my maintenance dosage and I am in constant check of myself to make sure I am on the right path.

I worry about the day I have to talk to my children about their genetics, but I think if I educate them and treat it like their allergies, as will be well.

Here's the beef:

I fear the day I need a therapist. Want to know why? It's difficult. Really difficult.  After I call my insurance to figure out how much is covered, I have to look up Doctors that take my insurance. Then I call them. I am put on hold to learn that my insurance is no longer taken or there are no appointments for four weeks. Or I can get an appointment, but it may be with someone who won't prescribe medication and is only available when I absolutely cannot be available. And so I call the next doctor on the list and the same scenario plays out.

A little comparison: I had a sinus infection last week. I saw a dr within 24 hours. A sinus infection is not life threatening. But there is no problem getting to see a PCP in a timely manner for whatever physical ailment there is.

Now I am a (relatively) sane person. I can deal with this nonsense. But do you honestly think that the person who can't get out of bed can deal with it? And then the world is in an uproar when a shooting or stabbing occurs by someone with mental illness. Ever wonder why?  Maybe that person, that teen, was giving signs off about their mental illness. Maybe the parent had begun investigating resources. But it takes so long to get help, that so many things that are detrimental can happen in the meantime.

I don't have an answer, I wish I did. I do know that the stigma needs to go away about mental illness. I do know that the resources available need to effective and easily accessed.

Anyone have an idea? Anyone?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stamp it out: The fear of the bottom

Please read the prior three posts in the "Stamp it out" series:

Just Keep Swimming
Branches of a Tree
She's the Happiest girl in the world... until she's not.


Throughout college, I was on and off of Prozac. I tried to go without it and in my senior year, yet again, I faced myself. I was in a relationship with a guy that I thought was the one. I was young and stupid and believed I was fine. I was just stressed with what my next step would be. I was normal. But I wasn't. I was depressed and psychotic and all over the map. My boyfriend and I grew apart and we were giving it one last ditch effort and then... I got pregnant.

It was April of my senior year. My boyfriend was a year younger. I had delusions of grandeur that we would have the baby, he would stay at school. We would get married and I would visit with the baby. I was young and dumb. A week later, I miscarried. And while the loss of a life is not a thing that anyone wants, it was one of the best things that happened to me. A week later, my boyfriend and I broke up.

I was devastated. My world was swirling in chaos and hormones. I was beyond crazy. I felt as though  I had lost my future husband, baby, life, best friend and self within a period of two weeks. I was a mess. Despite the hormonal war going on inside my body, I finished the year out ok. I graduated four weeks later.

I went home after graduation and I had no idea what was next. I had been a psychology major so I sent my resume out to future employers. It was impossible to find a decent job that would pay the bills.

Despite my heartache, I was still not on prozac. I thought I was ok. I was going to the gym, working out. I was social and responsibly trying to find a job. I bought a car with the help of my parents and was somewhat even.

But I was fooling myself.  My brain was breaking down despite my efforts. It was failing and sleeping dragon of depression was waking up.

I decided to switch my plan of finding a job in psychology to administrative assistant positions. Given my prior work experiences, I landed a job quickly.  To link back to my psychology major, I received a scholarship to complete a training to volunteer for a suicide hotline.  I secured a place to live and was going to move out of my parents' house within the month.

I was on the path. And then the bottom. Here's the thing with every person with mental illness. They fear the bottom. It's a constant fear that is just floating around waiting to drop. Everyone with mental illness has this fear.  At this point I had no idea the bottom was so near to me. I had a fear of it as I always had, but I didn't know it was right around the corner.

It was a Friday and I realized that despite all of the positive things in my life, I thought I was destined to die. I honestly thought the world would be better off with me watching over them than being on earth. I had my mind convinced. I called my ex- boyfriend and said good bye. He was confused, and I think he knew the real meaning behind my good bye, but he didn't say anything. I have thoughts about that but it's not worth my energy to type it out.

I went out with friends at a local bar, one of them was Bobby, had a good time and drank a good deal. My friend dropped me off at home. I said goodbye. I knew what the goodbye was, but they didn't.
The next day I woke up knowing my purpose, knowing it was my last morning. I felt calm and euphoric. I went to Old Town Ellicott City and walked around. I thought maybe I would go see a psychic to determine if I was correct in my presumption of my fate. I couldn't get the courage to go in. I went to the store and bought a box of Tylenol PM. I wandered the mall, drove around and returned home around 6 pm.

My mom and I had an argument and it sent enough adrenaline through my body to go upstairs and consume 14 Tylenol PM. What I didn't know is that when someone is severely depressed, the shot of adrenaline can push the depressed person to taking action. I looked at myself in the mirror after taking the last pill and screamed. I ran downstairs and told my parents what I had done.

The next 24 hours were a blur. I was trying not to fall asleep in the ambulance. I was given charcoal and forced to throw up. I was questioned by the resident psychiatrist and released into the care of my parents. I was quiet and numb.

The thing my mom always says about that night is that she never knew. She never knew what was going on inside me. I think she felt guilt but then realized quickly that no one knew. Not even my closest friends. I was that good. I was the happiest girl.

Obviously, I retracted the scholarship for the suicide line. I did take the job and I started three days after my suicide attempt. I moved in with my friends in September instead of July. I began seeing a psychologist immediately and taking prozac.

Later, I realized that the hormones from the miscarriage threw a wrench into my normal detection of depression symptoms. The hormones hid my normal "signs" and essentially woke up the dragon.

I had reached my bottom. And on some levels I was relieved. I had no where to go but up.

Next up: My view on depression since 2000.

If you or someone you know is depressed or having suicidal thoughts, get help. Call a suicide hotline or make an appointment with a doctor.



I'm Blogging for Mental Health. http://www.yourmindyourbody.org

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stamp It Out Part 3 : She's the happiest girl in the world...until she's not.

Previous posts in the Stamp It Out series: Just Keep Swimming and Branches of a Tree


When I was 14, I was hormonal as most 14 year old girls tend to be.  I was a drama queen because I lived and breathed theatre. I played different characters everyday. What my closest family didn't know is that my best acting job was the role I played everyday: myself.  When I had an outrage of epic proportions I was labeled "dramatic" or "hormonal". But what wasn't see was the way I acted behind the scenes. I would crawl in the corner of my closet with my knees to my chest, sobbing hysterically because I didn't know how to control my intense emotions. I thought I was an annoyance to my peers, a burden. I would sob over not knowing what the next scene would be in the little play called "my life".

I remember one time I was really depressed and I wanted to slit my wrists. I tried to do it with a safety pin. The wrong way. Which actually resulted in scratches on my wrists. I showed them to my friends the next day and my friends just looked at me as if I were crazy in a dramatic, crying for attention way. And I was, but looking back on it, I was depressed and trying to find an answer of some sort.  Pathetic, yes, but an early sign to future problems.

Despite these hidden interludes of madness I was a ray of sunshine and happiness to most people. Don't ask my mom, though, she will tell you, with good reason that I was the exact opposite of sunshine to her. But that is for another blog...on another day.

When I was 17, my depression decided that hiding was not an option anymore.  In November of my senior year of high school, my grandmother had multiple heart attacks and almost died on the operating table. In December, my father was pushed out of very prestigious position in a federal credit union. I began looking for colleges, my boyfriend broke up with me and I was a general disaster.  We went from a family who never had to count pennies to a families who was pinching pennies. I began to lose myself quickly and my world was spinning out of control.

In January, I stopped eating. I know that when I am severely depressed two things happen: I like to sleep a lot but wake up consistently at 5 am. I also stop eating. I started smoking for two weeks, I began failing my classes. My mind was in crazy town. I ripped out magazine pictures if skinny girls, hid them in my bathroom. My loss of appetite became a moment of seeing how thin I could get. In the beginning of January I was a size 6 and 120 lbs. three weeks later,  I was a size 3 and 109 lbs.

I was in a show at the time and I was being measured for costumes (by my mom) and the measurements were drastically different than they has been in the past. I was secretly elated and then terrified my mom would notice.  She noticed, but didn't say anything to me at that point.

In February, my English teacher talked to my mom about the differences she had seen in my behavior. You see, no one said anything before because I was a really good actress. I was the happiest girl in the world, right?

My teacher noticed that I was withdrawn and didn't care about my work. My grades were sliding in an epic way. In fact, I fell out of the National Honors Society because of my lack of work in January and February.  That English teacher saved my life.

My parents confronted me one night and I lost it. I went catatonic for over an hour. I showed nothing, no emotion, no desire for anything. It was at that moment that I knew there was something bigger than my usual mood swings, something I couldn't control. I didn't know when it would end. It scared me to no end. I eventually came out of my catatonic state. I begged my parents to send me to a mental hospital, anything where I wouldn't burden them.  I went to bed and when I woke up the next day, there were appointments being made to see a psychiatrist.

I missed three dates of school, the first three of many mental health days I would take. I was evaluated by a psychiatrist. I fell into the "happy go lucky" girl during the evaluation. The dr was hesitant to prescribe medications. But with my parents persistence, I was put on Prozac. In the first 48 hours of being on it, I was sick. The dosage was too high but I auditioned for the spring musical in between sick episodes. My medicine was adjusted and I stayed on it. It kept me level to deal with life. The medicine along with my first psychologist helped me navigate my way through stressors.  

The interesting thing is I still had no idea what depression was. I had no idea it was genetic. I had no idea what was going on inside my brain.

When I returned to school, it was clear that people knew something had happened with me. But it wasn't discussed. I was "sick" and it was thought that I had the flu. There was shame in it all. I kept it hidden. Everyone knew and at the same time, no one knew.

More to come....
The fear of the bottom
If you need help, get help. Talk to a professional now. There is no shame in it.
  I'm Blogging for Mental Health.http://www.yourmindyourbody.org

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stamp it out: Part 2; Branches of a Tree





If  you would like to read part 1, click here.

One half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. (1) Despite effective treatment, there are long delays - sometimes decades - between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. (2) (derived from the NAMI fact sheet, references at the bottom)

I was born with allergies. I am allergic to the outside in the spring and ragweed in the fall. I received allergy shots through most of my childhood, and was on medication from when I was very young for allergies. I dread spring and know what I must do to take care of myself to be healthy. When I was 9, I developed asthma. Again, I took medicines and learned misery when I skipped a dosage. I quickly discovered that the spring time jaunt in a field of flowers was not worth the misery of a stuffy nose, swollen eyes and lack of breath. I stay inside in the spring. I take a lot of medications. I take a lot of showers in the spring. It is what I do to take care of myself and my lack of natural antihistamines. It's who I am, who my children are and who I will always be. And so when I tell someone, "I have allergies", it's accepted and unquestioned and no big deal. 

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, (AAFA), 1 in 5 Americans have allergies and asthma. (4)

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, (NAMI), 1 in 4 Americans have Mental Illness in any given year. (3)

Yet, if I state that I am not feeling well because I have depression, it opens a HUGE can of judging worms. 

Beginning of my story (the family tree):

When I was a child, I knew something was "not quite right" with my father's side of the family. My grandfather had been ousted, my Aunt was the "crazy" aunt. She was Normal but had kooky way of doing things. She was dramatic and histrionic. She had obsessive compulsions and was quick to blame. I never knew why she was like that but I was always told "She just is like that and she is family so we love her anyways." 

My grandfather on my dad's side was a pro of verbal and sometimes physical abuse. He knocked my father, aunt and grandmother down with hurtful words daily until my grandmother divorced him and he was banned from the family; long before I was born.  We weren't to talk about him. When he showed up at our door unannounced, we were told to go to our rooms. (That only happened three times in my life). Our phone number was unlisted because of him until he died in 1999. His genes travelled through the family tree in a quiet and sometimes very loud way. 

My father, may he rest in peace, was a loving man with some very weighted genes. He, like Bobby, 
(click here to read about Bobby) was constantly swimming to the surface with weights on his ankles. He had difficulty communicating because he did not have a positive role model of a father to look to for guidance. His words would hurt and it would cause major turmoil in my house. He would get help often and be on and off medicines, always trying to regulate and sort it out. But the weights kept returning. 
When I was a senior in high school, he lost his job, all eyes were on him. We were walking on egg shells. Would he rise to the surface or sink in deep depression? He did a lot of both. However, in that time of him being unemployed, he realized that he had clinical depression and he began to figure it all out. (For more information on Clinical Depression, click here) He was on anti-depressants for the rest of his life. It took him until he was 50 to figure out his mental illness and how to treat it. If he had figured it out as a young child, my life would have been so different. If there wasn't a stigma and we had talked about it, I would have understood so much more at a younger age.  

The mental illness in my family wasn't discussed and yet it was a HUGE part of who I was and what my family was and is. 

Oddly enough, I am somewhat thankful for my mental illness. It was one of the bonds my father and I shared. It was the catalyst of us having a real relationship. 



Dialogue: 

Have you had a "Kooky" relative who actually had a real mental illness? Was or is mental illness talked about in your family?






























1 Kessler, R.C, et al. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593-602. 
2  National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2005). Mental Illness Exacts Heavy Toll, Beginning in Youth. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jun2005/nimh-06.htm 
3 NAMI: http://www.nami.org/factsheets/mentalillness_factsheet.pdf
4 AAFA: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=30

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Stamp it out part 1, "Just Keep Swimming"

May is Mental Health Awareness month. NAMI, the national Alliance on Mental Health is joining together with other mental health organizations to bring to Mental Health the forefront of the Health industry. According to NAMI, 1 in 4 adults in the US have mental illness in any given year. 1 in 4. How can we NOT be talking about it more?

There is an organization, Stamp Out Stigma, which has been gaining popularity in the social media. It aims to have people talk about Mental Illness as a real and valid health issue. It aims to have it viewed as equal as other debilitating physical illnesses such as heart disease etc. I highly recommend checking the site out as a portal to not only understanding Mental Illness but to join in the cause to Stamp out the Stigma against Mental Illness.

Over the next few blogs, I want to focus on Mental Health in its many forms. I want to have you, my readers, understand this important issue, and I want to share my story.

First, I will start with the story of a friend of mine.

Bobby.

Bobby was a happy go lucky, carefree soul; one with an incredible smile and a genuine and loyal heart. 6 years ago, he ended his life. He was also coincidentally one of the last people I saw before I tried to end my life, some 15 years ago. But more on my story later. This is Bobby's story.

Bobby and I became friends when he was 13 and I was 14. Our best friends were dating and we were often left to hang out while they were enjoying "alone" time. We got along like siblings. We squabbled and fought but knew we had to get along or else we would be bored out of our minds.  I remember one day, in the summer, when our friends were off on their own, it began raining. It was pouring. Bobby and I decided to  go dance in the rain. The song, "No Rain" by Blind Melon was popular at the time and we went out, sang the song and danced like crazy people in the rain. We were drenched and he ended up wearing a pair of my pants while his pants dried. Ironically, the lead singer of Blind Melon, Richard Shannon Hoon died tragically at a young age from substance abuse problems.

And so, at a tender young age of 14, Bobby and I danced like crazy people; not really understanding or knowing just how "crazy" we actually were.

I like to think of Bobby as someone who was a VERY good swimmer. Due to family circumstance, he had weights on his ankles from birth and was always swimming to the surface to rise above the constant pulling of the weights. He was surrounded by friends and their families that aided in this swimming, but ultimately it was him that got to the surface over and over again. Mental illness ran rampant in his family, so he was susceptible to it.

Despite these weights, he recognized his intelligence, took difficult classes, strived to push his mind further everyday. He entered the Army at 18 and paved a road out of his circumstances. Upon returning from deployment, he got a degree and became successful in the IT industry. He met a woman whom he married and within the first year of marriage they adopted his niece and nephew. He had risen above. He had made it. Or so we thought.

As we got older, Bobby and I didn't have a ton of communication. We kept up on our lives through emails and mutual friends. As I understand it, the month before his death, he had had a tough month. The weights were dragging him down. His close loved ones were trying to pull him up. But he gave up. The weights were too heavy.

When I received the phone call, I was so sad. Sad for his new wife, sad for his new children, but mostly, sad for Bobby. There were hundreds of people at the viewing and funeral. It was a clear indication how many people loved him and supported him. Some people were mad. Some people were beside themselves with grief and thoughts of what else could they have done. But no one said the taboo word "Suicide". No one talked about mental illness. It was just stated that Bobby had "weights".

I remember screaming "WHY?" at him in my brain when I said my good byes to him. But I knew why. I knew why. I had been there and I knew why.

There are times when I wonder if we had actually had more of a dialogue about our mental commonalities, would we have been at the surface, never underwater.


Dialogue: Why is it that a 6 year old can tell you all about Cancer and Heart Disease but can not talk about why someone has Depression?

What do you think? Should the brain chemistry of mental illnesses and learning disabilities be taught alongside of other physical diseases?




Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Just like riding a bike....

On Sunday, I had the privilege of being on the stage with 13 amazing women.  My fellow cast members and I participated in the 2014 Listen To Your Mother, Washington DC show at the Synetic Theatre.

I was tingling with electricity throughout my body. I was going to be on the stage again for the first time in 17 years.  I woke up in the middle of the night before utterly excited about being on the stage again. I was confident and elated as the day went on.


When we walked backstage to the green room and the dressing rooms, I smiled from ear to ear. There was a part of me that was very much at home in that dressing room with the big round bulb lights and the green room with the old yet comfortable furniture.

Despite that I rarely wear makeup anymore, I quickly applied my stage make up. 17 years ago came flooding back. How to apply the eyeliner, the concealer. It went on quickly and effortlessly.

I chatted in nervous excitement with my friends and cast mates and anxiously awaited the tops to tails rehearsal. When we went to the stage for the rehearsal, we walked in the darkness, eyeing the few glow in the dark tape spots so as not to trip on the stairs to the stage. A black curtain came back and BAM there I was 17 years earlier.
But I was not a character. I was myself. My 36 year old poised self. And it felt awesome. The lights blinded me and it was awesome. My heels clicked on the stage floor and it was awesome. The mike boomed and it was awesome.

I got up to the podium to rehearse the beginning and end of my piece and I was home. Just me, for a moment, in the light.

In the actual performance, I searched for my family and friends, and located them moments before it was my turn to speak. The lights were warm and the audience was warmer. I was a storyteller, a person who needed to share her story to an audience. I had something to say and it was important to 250 people that day.

It was electrifying.

And in so many ways completely comfortable.

Like riding a bike.


Thank you LTYM for reminding me a part of myself that had been hiding for a while. Thank you to my cast members for helping me to feel so comfortable back on the stage.  Thank you to the women in the cast for inspiring me in so many ways.

The video of my performance will be on You Tube this summer!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Time marches on

Whew I have been busy! And tired. The kids and I have been sick with allergies, asthma and colds. We are a general snotty, hacking, mess.  But it is Spring FINALLY, so I can't complain. It seemed as though winter lasted forever this year. I officially take back complaints of last winter and its' lack of wintry weather. We're good, Mother Nature. Really we are.

I also finished my class for getting my Elementary Education Certification reinstated. It is an important step for me to become gainfully employed in the fall. I am in limbo now, just waiting, for the open hiring season to begin, and official approval of my certificate. I am really looking forward to working full time and having my own classroom again.

I am preparing for the Listen To Your Mother DC show, which is tomorrow. I am so excited to be surrounded by awesome and talented women for the afternoon. If you want to check out past videos click here:

LTYM videos

There is still time to get tickets! Click here!

I am really looking forward to what the warmer months bring: FRESH FOOD! It is so much easier for me to eat clean and healthier when the produce is bountiful. The sweet and juicy tomatoes, the crisp, earthiness of zucchini, fresh berries and peaches with juices that dribble all over your shirt. Yum.

Here is my wish list/ to do list from now until August:

Play with my kids
Grow something
Read a lot
Prepare for my future classroom
Write a lot
Revamp this site
Make memories with my husband
Enjoy fruits and veggies
Declutter the house
And many many more things.....





Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The black egg

I really hope this post does not stir up an unintentional can of worms.... If you choose to comment, which I will enjoy, please do so with thought.


So I have this post I want to write. I was going to include a picture, but in my infinite organizational skills, I have since lost the black egg. So imagine if you will.....


A wooden flat egg shape on the end of a wooden stick so it becomes a "puppet". The wood is blank and meant to be colored and designed upon. My three year old colored it yellow and pink and then recolored it black, his favorite color.

My five year old and three year old built a "theatre" out of Duplo blocks and began an egg and bunny puppet show. It was cute. They were making up voices for the puppets. And I was doing the dishes. Everyone was occupied. Until I almost dropped a dish.

My five year old daughter with her pink and purple colored egg said the words: "Your BLACK egg can't be in the puppet show, it is UGLY!"  I was raw with emotion.

How did my five year old say such an ignorant and yes, stupid,  remark? HOW? She has grown up in a diverse area. She knows all races, all religions, all differences. She says often that she wishes she had brown skin because "it's so pretty".

I grew up in Prince George's County and then outside of Columbia, MD. I understand and have lived in relevant harmony of all races, religions and genders. I have been told that I am ignorant because I grew up in a utopia society. That I didn't know how the real world worked with race. But the thing is, I did understand. I just chose to rise above it. I chose to not care about the color of someone's skin or what holidays they observe. I chose not to make stereotypes.

When I became an educator, I was made aware of discrimination and racial bias, and how prevalent it still is in many ways. But it all doesn't make sense to me. Why and how can a teacher or a person see another person or kid and say "that person is lower in education or status because of their skin color". It doesn't make sense.

Circumstances help to create a person or student, but they are not the only thing that helps create the person. Circumstances change. People change. While it was educational for me as an teacher to become aware of the struggles in the past and the racial bias in the present, I often wonder when, as a nation, are we going to move forward? When will will it make sense to everyone that judging someone by their skin color does not make any sense at all?

Back to the puppet show.... It turned out that when I confronted my daughter about her exclusionary statement, and began the lecture on how the color doesn't matter, it turns out she just thought the egg should have been colored pink or yellow, you know for Easter and spring.  The black color was grim and ugly for an egg. And hence why she looked at me like a crazy person when I put it in context of racial issues.  Nevertheless, it got me thinking. And she now tolerates that her brother's favorite color is black..... And it's ok because it's a boy color.

And here goes the gender stereotype conversation......

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Laugh or drive yourself to the loony bin. AKA: Motherhood

Today, my mother and I took my two children (ages 3 & 5 )  and my daughters friend, age 6 , to see The Muppets Most Wanted. It was a rollicking tale, one that emitted guffaws and slap stick humor. But it paled in comparison to the humor of my day with my children. Because when it gets this crazy, you have to laugh or drive yourself to the loony bin.

Lets start out by saying this: the weather is wacky here. It was 80 degrees and gorgeous two days ago. Today, it was 65 degrees and pouring rain at 9 am and it has been raining all day. And the temperature is dropping. It is now 5:30 pm and 40 degrees. I tell you this because maybe it is a possible reason for the insanity of my world today.

My three year old, D, has been horribly oppositional and stubborn lately. He is three, after all.  Last night he asked for cheese and bread for dinner. (My kids are less culinary than an ant). After asking him three times if he was sure that is what he wanted to eat and him replying yes each time, I made him a plate with bread, and circle (provolone) cheese. He promptly didn't touch either.

Guess what he got for breakfast? Cheese and bread. Guess what he ate? Bread. The cheese went in the refrigerator. No snacks, including popcorn later at the movies, until the cheese was eaten. He waited until 12:30pm, when we were in line to get the popcorn, to gobble it up. Can we say stubborn? It took him 18 hours to eat a piece of cheese.

On our way out the door to go to the movies, D had to bring toys with him.  This is because every time he goes anywhere, he has to bring a bucket of toys with him. (Including when he goes upstairs) I told him he could bring two toys. Two small toys. He chose a digger and a Batmobile. He could barely carry the Batmobile and digger. But I refused to carry them.

 Just prior to getting snacks at the movies, we all go into the bathroom. As we are entering,  there are three children playing with the hand dryers. These are SUPER hand dryers. They are louder than a 747 plane taking off and they were continuously setting them off. My kids were all covering their ears and I, with complete judgement,  looked at the children and their mom who was coming out of the stall with the stink eye.

Ironically, as I am helping my son go potty (newly potty trained), I hear the squeals of two little girls and the hand dryer being set off repeatedly. And I notice those squeals immediately and begin to yell, "STEP AWAY FROM THE DRYER!" Which is futile because these dryers are so loud, I can't even hear myself yelling.

We go into the movies and find a seat. We have successfully wrangled three kid trays of overflowing popcorn, fruit snacks and gallon sized kidde drinks of fruit punch, two small popcorns and two small drinks, tickets, and three small kids into seats.

Let me go back to the kiddie drinks for a minute. WHY are they so huge? I get the adult drink sizes (not the cost) but the size of the kids fountain drink is about 32 oz. (I don't actually know but that is what it looks like).  How does 32 oz of red dyed liquid fit into a child's bladder without having to go to the bathroom 20 times during the movie? HOW?

For a while, everything was great. We didn't have a lot of time before the movie started. Everyone was happily stuffing their mouths with popcorn. Then my son slugged half the drink. I thought it would a good idea to take him to the potty. We go and he doesn't have to go. Ok. Sure you don't, kid.

We go back to our seats. He wants to sit on me and cuddle. Cute. 20 minutes later. Girl 1 has to go potty. My mom takes her. Girl 2 decides she has to go too and runs after her. Then my son decides he has to go too. I meet my mom in the hallway and send her back into the theatre. Girls do their business, D goes drip drip (he has now had 24 Ozs of liquid) and pronounces he is done.
 "Are you sure?" I say. "Yes!" He says, annoyed I asked the question.

We return to the theatre. 20 min later. It is now the end of the movie. D: "I have to go potty now!" We rush off to the bathroom. He gets on. And......

It shoots out so fast it sprays everywhere. On me, the floor, his clothes and because he bends over to "aim", it went right into his mouth. (I am not gonna lie, I felt mild justice with that.) Now this how I know I am a mom: first, I wipe his mouth, then i wipe the floor, then I change his clothes. I still have pee on my leg, mind you. The extra pair of pants in his backpack are wet because they were against the open wipe container. The only other pair of pants were shorts and pull ups. Because for some reason, I forgot underwear. The whole time I am changing him, I am yelling at him to not walk to the wet area where I wiped the pee. After changing him I look at the drops of pee on my jeans. There are no paper towels. Only the insane hand dryer.

I get water on my hand try to wipe my jeans and pray it doesn't smell.



Time to meet the girls and my mom outside of the movie theatre. Movie is over.  Girls have to go potty. My mom takes them into the potty. D sees a picture opportunity with The Muppets stand up advertisement and wants to go to it immediately. There are other people taking a picture with it and I tell him to wait until the girls come out. He drops to the ground in protest. I am carrying two backpacks and trying to pick him up. I decide to leave him on the floor. I bribe him and tell him he won't get a lollipop from my mom's house. He shapes up quickly. Girls come out. Picture is taken. We go back to my mom's house. After playing quietly for a bit, we leave. It's now 46 degrees, my son is in shorts, and it is pouring outside.

We get home and he decides he is going to take forever to get out of the car and walk to the house. He decided to jump in the puddles in his shorts. Therefore, I get soaking wet. Which didn't really matter because I had to change my pants anyhow. And then when I was putting long pants on him, he hugged me and kissed my neck with his previously pee stained lips.


I love him, but man he exhausts me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tracking the trains

It was a GORGEOUS day today. Clear skies, in the 80's, sun shining, light breeze, flowers blooming, birds chirping, beautiful day. My husband had recently heard of the bridge over the Germantown train  tracks. The bridge is in "Old Town Germantown".  On a whim, we decided to take the kids there and try to spot some trains.

As we walked on the bridge, I noticed some paint peeling, uneven concrete and lights that were disconnected.  My son, daughter and her friend were excited with anticipation. We looked and watched and I began to notice "graffiti" around the bridge. It was clear that the bridge had been painted fresh white but the graffiti was left to admire. More on the graffiti in a bit.
My daughter and her friend waiting
for the next train.

We only had to wait a couple of minutes to see the first train. It was a shorter diesel train and as it ran directly below us at a high speed we could feel the hot air rush onto our bare legs, the smell of diesel pungent in the air and the roar of the train driving through every cell in our bodies. The girls were exhilarated. My husband was electrified. I was alive with this new experience. My son, was scared. I think he was confused as to why he was scared. He LOVES trains. But I think this one was a bit too close for comfort for him. As we waited for another train, he clung to his father and I.


Back to the graffiti. I realize that I live in the suburbs. I realize that "graffiti" in my town isn't exactly urban. However, I really loved this graffiti. It was perfect in every way. And I began to wonder what the world would look like if there was graffiti like this everywhere.
Live life with no regrets

The first graffiti that I saw said simply: "Live life with no regrets."  I began to wonder about the person who wrote it. Did they have regrets? Were they contemplating jumping off the bridge onto the tracks? Were they walking to their car after getting off the train? Regardless, it made me stop. And think.

We can not run from who we are...
Our destiny chooses us 
Destiny....
What is your destiny? Do you even know what your destiny is yet?

And I have posted a few more below:

But how cool would it be if there were thoughts like these all over to get people thinking and talking?

So here is a question to you: What would you write? How would you get someone thinking?
Be honest
Be True to Yourself
Call someone you haven't talked
to in a while



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hitting the books

First, I want to apologize for the lack of posts this week. I have been super busy with the kids and with my grandfather's passing... The funeral is this week, therefore I am hoping to get into the swing of things after this coming week.

My daughter recently got her first library card too!
I remember when I was younger, I used to love to go to the library. My brother was in school (he's five years older than I am), my mom would take me to the local library, and I would fill up my bag with books.

I got my library card at an early age and I used it frequently. I would devour books by the bagful and always wanted to go right back for more. Around the age of 11, my love of reading halted.

nkotb photo: NKOTB NKOTB-300px.jpg
Joey was my favorite
I am not really sure why. Perhaps it was my new love of boys and the phone. Maybe listening to New Kids on The Block and cutting out pictures of NKOTB from Tiger Beat magazine filled up my time too much.

In high school, I was really good at bullish**ing my way through essays and book reports. I rarely read a book. I was too busy rehearsing for a show, reading plays and learning my lines. My friends took the priority and being alone was a scary state. I recall reading and enjoying I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. The topics were adult and shocking to me. As a teenager, it spoke to me. Many years later, I read the rest of her memoirs. Her writing is exquisite. Her words flow off the page in poetic storytelling in a way that makes my brain tingle with emotion. 

It wasn't until college when I started to read for pleasure again. I began with some Oprah Book Club books and continued on reading ever since. When I became a teacher, I remembered my fondness for Children's books. 

Children's books versus Adult books are like Twitter is to Facebook. You have to be succinct, clear and get the point across in a short amount of text. There is beauty in the simplicity of the words. Every word has expensive real estate on the page. 

There is also the illustrations that accompany the book that help to make the story come alive. The illustrations have to be magical and colorful for their audience has a fast attention span. 

Recently, My husband and I were on a date. After dinner, we went to a book store (one of our favorite date night events) and browsed around. I decided to go to the children's book section and catch up on a few new titles. 

I was really looking forward to reading "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt. I also picked up another book which looked interesting. The book about the Crayons was cute, funny and I immediately saw the value of using it to teach point of view and perspective in my future classroom. 

The other book I picked up was phenomenal. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce is a GORGEOUS book. The illustrations are unique and engaging. The story is deep, entertaining and beautiful. The book is about a man and the circle of life as told in the "circle of books" (in other words, how you can own books but when you go away from them, they make magic in another person's heart)  




I vowed to purchase the book and find out more about the author. When I began to do research about William Joyce I became excited. He has several websites, the one for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is http://morrislessmore.com. Not only was The Fantastic Flying Book of Mr. Morris Lessmore made into a short film that earned an Academy Award, he is the author of the famous Rolie Polie Olie series. He is also the man behind the movies, Epic and Rise of the Guardians

He has a new series out now, The Guardians of Childhood, that chronicles the backgrounds of each of the holiday icons like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. His website, http://www.theguardiansofchildhoodbooks.com/author.php  is informative and entertaining as well. If you are unfamiliar with his work, check it out, no matter what age you are, you won't regret it.

To keep up with my profession and because I enjoy them, I try to alternate my reading between adult books, Young Adult Novels and Children's Books.

Do you have a favorite Children's book? Were you an avid reader as a child?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Moving backwards

"I can't get the wipes, I keep moving backwards."

Said my son, age 3.

He is cute and he knows it. 

He has been having a lot of difficulty over the last 6 months with the baby to "big boy" transition.   He is the baby of the family (on both sides) and I believe that outgrowing that is really perplexing to him. That being said, with potty training and various other "big boy" steps, he is moving forward to being a big boy. But honestly, he will ALWAYS be my baby. And I would be lying if my heart didn't cringe a bit every time I utter the words: " You CAN do ... you are a BIG BOY!"

BUT.

There are times when he is laying on the ground and he says "I can't get up" or walking up the steps "I can't walk" or getting the wipes "I keep moving backwards" that a larger part of me wants to laugh at his attempt at staying a baby.

The other day when he told me he kept moving backwards, I couldn't stop thinking of those words. First of all the phrase was hilarious. Second it REALLY got me thinking.

What is the rush? Why are we trying to move forward so much? Why do we say "Don't live in the past"?

When D was a baby he would curl up on my chest and immediately be at peace. He still does that but it's just his head. I don't want to move forward to the point when that is awkward...


When he was a baby he used to eat EVERYTHING. Now he eats five foods. I sure would like to keep moving backwards on that issue.

When he was younger, he would take naps, and although I still get an occasional quiet time from him, the naps are gone and the quiet time is fleeting.

My grandfather passed away last week. You can read all about my relationship with him here: Twinkle. He was an amazing man with an amazing life. Like many people of his generation, he did not bother to grasp the technology of the internet and using a cell phone was a stretch. He was a member of the "Greatest Generation".

I recently reread his memoirs and in it I was struck by the simplicity of life. It took his family three weeks to move from Minnesota to Maryland. There weren't highways at that time, there were "illegal" toll roads and there were 7 of them in a car. together. for 3 weeks. I can't even imagine how that would have played out. They didn't have iPads, DVDs or Mp3 players. There were 7 of them in a car. together. for 3 weeks.

My grandparents grew up in the Depression. They were simple even when didn't need to be. It was important to get iceberg lettuce. It didn't matter that it lacked nutritional content compared to the other lettuces. It lasted a long time and served a good base for a salad. The blankets, though threadbare, were "perfectly fine" and still warm. Therefore, no need to buy a new one.  Books will keep you company and a good comic strip will provide a laugh. A basket of chocolate (The same type for 30 years: Mr. Good Bar) is perfectly suitable for a special treat.

My grandparents in the 1940's
My grandfather's girlfriend (yep my 93 year old Grandfather had a girlfriend) would save things for his great grandchildren. When we came to visit she would give each child something. Her manner of presentation of the "gift" was so sweet and kind that it was as if they were touching gold. She gave my daughter address labels that came in junk mail. We had left them behind at the retirement home. My daughter cried the whole way home.

Today, we were leaving a park and my daughter's friend stopped, moved backwards and said "I have to pick those flowers for my mom!" (They were flower weeds) I started to protest. I started to open my mouth and say "no, come on, it's time to go" but I stopped myself. Find the joy in those flowers. Pick them for someone special.

So, maybe its not such a big thing to keep moving backwards. We can learn from it. We can be in awe and savor the special and simple moments.

As technology grows I am in awe as to what we can create and learn. As a soon to be teacher (again), I am astounded at how children will be able to grow up with the digital world at their fingertips. But I hope and pray they stop and pick some flowers too.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I have a dream.... Part 5

This week, I have written about some amazing women. Their manner of achieving their dreams took different paths but they all have dedication, drive and passion in common.  By highlighting these women, I have become more inspired than ever to make my dream a reality.  (check out the series starting with Part 1)

Before I could write letters and sentences, I was writing. It looked like scribbles on the blue paper that somehow we had copious amounts of in our house. There would be stacks of scribbled paper on the desk in the basement. Over time, the scribbles became words, then poems or songs and eventually stories.

When I was 7 years old,  I was the writer of the week in my elementary school.  My paragraph about a trip to the zoo was on a bulletin board in the library for all to see.  I remember the moment of seeing my writing on the board and consciously being in love with that moment. It felt so "right" to see my writing on the board in front of me. It was natural, meant to be, and plain awesome. I knew that my words would mean something and be published in my lifetime.

As time went on, my dream of writing took a backseat to singing, dancing and acting. As often happens in life, dreams change. Dreams can change easily. The important thing is to welcome those changes, check the authenticity of the changes and move forward to making those dreams a reality.

When I was in high school, I had dreams to be on Broadway. I realized after hitting some levels of reality that the dream of being on Broadway would not be authentic to myself (main reason: I am not a competitive person). After soul searching of what I wanted "to be when I grew up", becoming an educator made sense to me. By teaching, I could incorporate my theatre background, my psychology major, my writing and creativity, and make a difference with children. My next dream was to be a wife, a mom and I am both of those things.

Now as I prepare to return to the classroom, I have a new dream. This is a dream for myself, not as a career per say ( I still want to go back to the classroom in the fall) but a dream that began a long time ago before I could actually even do it. I want to write. I want to write a book. I want my name in print. I want to spin a story that illuminates and sticks to the minds of the readers. I want to write and have people know me, as an author, inside and out. I want to create characters and make the words spill from the page into the minds of people everywhere.

My dream is to become the author I knew I was destined to be since before I even knew how to write letters. As with any dream, it will take hard work and dedication. I know I can achieve this dream and I look forward to sharing this dream and the process of achieving it with all of you.

Thank you so much for reading my writing this week and taking this journey with me. I can honestly say that it has been an incredible week. I have heard dreams from strangers and felt the support for my writing tenfold. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


I have a dream series:
Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I have a dream part 4

Dreams can be destiny. They can be something that is so natural for your soul that they become a reality. Even when dreams become reality, it is important to nurture those dreams, and travel on a road with those dreams to even bigger destinies.

In the blog today I am featuring someone who was a natural writer and nurtured her talent to achieve her dreams.

Our fourth dream maker is Meredith Goldstein! (www.meredithgoldstein.net)
To view the other posts in the series: Dream Maker 1 (Elizabeth McQueen) , Dream Maker 2  (Mary Curran - Hackett) and Dream Maker 3 (Risa Binder).


Mere and I met in fourth grade. I am sure we met on the bus, we lived in the same neighborhood. When spring came, we found that we were destined to be friends, and immediately we became fast friends. Our common characteristic? Allergies and Asthma. Our mothers became so happy when we discovered that there was an indoor playmate nearby. We spent the Spring season inside during recesses, playing games and making up plays for our entertainment. Our bond was over inhalers and trash cans full of kleenexes.

As the years went on, we saw each other almost everyday. There was one year when we had every single class together in middle school. We sang and acted together. My mom chauffeuring us to and from rehearsals, while her mom (a Julliard trained pianist) taught lessons out of her house. We played upstairs in her house, learning about the birds and the bees by stealing a book from her older sister, and burning jello at age 10, because we thought we could make it ourselves. And in many ways, she was my "sister".

The thing is everyone LOVED Mere. Everyone still loves Mere. She is genuine, real, down to earth and smart. There were some that were threatened by our friendship; jealous of our unwavering bond. We ran in slightly different circles; enough to not hang out with each other on the weekends, but close enough to overlap on a daily basis.

Mere was always known for giving great advice. If ever there was a problem she knew just what to say. She "counseled" me many times over the years.


One of my first writing "experiences" was with Mere. As I mentioned above, we used to write plays and perform them for our moms. We really liked adapting the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel. We would spend time memorizing them and acting them for our moms in our living rooms.

In high school, Mere became a star journalist for our high school paper. She went onto Syracuse University and became a reporter for The Daily Orange. After Syracuse, she ended up eventually as a reporter for The Boston Globe. She is now an Entertainment Reporter and Advice Columnist for The Boston Globe. The column, Love Letters, just celebrated its' 5th anniversary. The advice column features Mere's advice on questions sent in from readers about relationships.


In 2012, Mere published her first book, The Singles.  The book takes place in Maryland and is all about complicated relationships. It's a great read and I am so proud of her being able to incorporate her love of relationships, advice and writing.

Mere is continuing to write. She is a reporter at The globe and working on her second novel.

Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 5: My Dream 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I have a dream part 3

The thing about dreams... they can't be achieved without hard work. Think about it, even at night when you are in a deep deep sleep your dreams are making your brain work in overdrive. You may even be working so hard that your eyelids are twitching and body is moving. So if you have a dream that you want to achieve, you need to work for it. EVERYDAY. Your soul needs to crave it and your mind needs to work on it... even in your sleep.


The next woman in the series serves as a daily reminder of what hard work and perseverance can do for someone. Check out Part 1 (Elizabeth McQueen) and Part 2 (Mary Curran-Hackett)

I would like to introduce you to... Risa Binder

Every couple of days Risa posts amazing and thought provoking messages on her Facebook feed. And whenever I see them, I smile and think: how can I reach my dreams like Risa?

Risa and I have known each other for a long time. We grew up doing theatre together and although we weren't in school together, we saw each other at least once a week for some drama class or show.  To say that Risa is talented is an understatement. She is not only musically brilliant, but she is a wonderful actress and writer as well.

At one point in our life we went through a spiritual journey together.  Our friendship grew closer, and I began to understand a new side of her.  For that time, I am grateful. She is one of the most kindest, most genuine, most humble people I have ever met.

Risa has worked hard in the music industry. She has had her songs on ABC, Lifetime, General Hospital and Cougartown. She received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Original Song and has opened for James Taylor.

The thing about Risa is that she has worked hard and persevered over the years to make her dream a reality. She has hit the pavement and taken risks and kept working to achieve her dream.
NO MATTER WHAT.

In 2011, Risa released Paper Heart, an album that is original and true to the heart. Upon listening to the album, you can feel Risa's thoughts in the lyrics and music. Everything she writes is a true story of hers or someone she knows.

The most wonderful thing about Risa, though? Her smile. It is infectious and makes you want to get to know her more.
If you want to check her out live, she is playing Wine in The Woods in Columbia, MD on May 17th at 1pm and she has an EP, "Nashville" coming out in Late May.

If you want an inspiration to follow your dreams, follow Risa. Trust me. You won't regret it.

Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein
Part 5: My Dream 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have a dream part 2

Dreams are but a fleeting moment in time unless they become reality; then they last forever.  I have slowly made my dream a reality but it's time to push forward and make it last...

What do you feel about the statement above? Are dreams fleeting? What is the best way to make them a reality?

Second amazing woman I'd would like to introduce you to: (you can read about the first here)

Mary Curran Hackett, http://www.mchackett.com/




Mary and I went to college together. She is a year older than me and I looked up to her at school, whether she knew it or not. She appeared to be a graceful and gentle woman comfortable in her own skin and confident in her life. If that wasn't true at the time, it didn't matter,  that's what I saw. Throughout college we were involved in various leadership roles together and I enjoyed her friendship and guidance in life.  Recently, we reconnected when she published her first book, Proof of Heaven.  I was in awe. I wrote her and told her how excited to be able to read it. She has been a writer since I have known her and she finally achieved her dream of writing a novel.

The thing that astounded me was that she was able to do it while being a mom to two children. Her method? She didn't sleep for 2 weeks. She punched it out. Her soul spoke to the keyboard and she knocked it out. She knew it was time to focus on the novel she had been wanting to write and so she did it.

And she is doing again with her second novel, Proof of Angels, due in November 2014.
Way to go, Mary!

Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein
Part 5: My Dream 

       

Monday, March 24, 2014

I have a dream

I have a dream...

Yep, MLK spoke these words. But of course because I am a mom, when I hear that phrase I think of the song in Tangled. Go figure.

Anywho, I have a dream. I have had dreams in the past, but this dream has been with me since I was 7 years old. It has only taken me 29 years to take it seriously and go for it.

I have done things I never thought I would do: have kids, run a 5k, get physically fit, and walk 60 miles. But this dream I have has been with me for so long, and yet I haven't achieved it. There were excuses and fear of failure but ultimately it just hasn't gotten done. It's time to change that.

So tip #1 on achieving your dream: make it public. Hold yourself accountable.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

This week, I am focusing on achieving dreams. I will be writing about some amazingly talented women who have reached their dreams. At the end of the week, I will reveal my dream, 29 years in the making.

Since I have a background in the arts, I have been blessed to know some amazing artistic women who are living their dreams. they have persevered and toughed it out and have incredible products to show for it. I am going to write a short list, but to be honest, I could list over a hundred of my close friends and how they have followed their dreams.

So sit back, enjoy, and discover some new amazing musicians, artists, and writers...

First person up: 
Her name is Elizabeth McQueen. Elizabeth is an amazing musician and singer. She is a mom of two kids and a real cool chick. We grew up together in high school, performing in choirs and shows together, clinging to the first soprano notes that were set aside for us in the songs. She was better at harmony and intrinsically and naturally a better singer. But I was never jealous, I admired her natural ability. She is tall and I am short, she has curly hair, I have straight hair, but we valued music and had fun with it. Recently, I listened to a podcast where she discussed how she discovered what her dream was. She discussed her life in high school and how one song changed her outlook on life and who she was meant to be. (Check the podcast out here: the second half is Elizabeth)




Over the years, we lost touch but I would occasionally hear of her struggles in the music biz and her many successes. When I joined Facebook, we reconnected and I experienced all that I had heard of her. She is no longer singing "Eleanor Rigby" in Show Choir with me. Instead, she is a Rockabilly, Jazz, Country, Blues singer. In other words, she sings what she wants to; and she does it very well. She has performed with the likes of Willie Nelson, and the "King of Texas Swing", Ray Benson. She traveled the country as the lead female vocalist of the acclaimed Western Swing band, Asleep at The Wheel. in 2009, she was nominated for a Grammy for the album "Willie and The Wheel".  Recently, she teamed up with Brothers Lazaroff, an awesome soul and folk band and released her fourth album, The Laziest Remix.  So congrats to you, Elizabeth for following your dreams, being an AWESOME mom to your two adorable girls and an inspiration to me.

I have a dream series:

Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein
Part 5: My Dream