Nov 16

2016 Erin Condren Life Planner Giveaway


I am a pen and paper girl.

Electronics and computers and phone apps have their place of course, but when it comes to calendars and schedules and to-do lists I need to write it down. I’ve tried all the apps (and some of them are amazing, to be sure), but without fail I always go back to my true love: old fashioned pen and paper.

A friend introduced me to the Erin Condren life planners a couple of years ago, and they have been one of my favorite things ever since.


By the way, this is NOT a sponsored giveaway. This is me giving something away that I have an extra of (I’ll explain why in a minute) and subsequently gushing about why I love it, girlfriends-drinking-coffee-together style. With the exception of the $10 off link I’ll give down below, in case anyone decides to buy from Erin Condren, I have no financial interest here at all.

Having said that, I adore these planners!


A peek inside a random sample page in my own planner… complete with washi tape, and Snoopy stickers :)

Beautiful, functional, sturdy, and inspirational. I write in, and refer to, my planner over and over, week after week. It’s perfect for to-do lists, reminders for emails I have to answer, blog posts I need to write… and keeping track of appointments and play dates and football practice in my 3-D life too. :) And, bonus, it’s just so pretty.

When I recently ordered my planner for 2016, they mistakenly sent me my order and someone else’s. I emailed them right away to let them know. Within just a couple of hours they had gotten back to me to thank me, and told me that they’d send out a new one to the other customer, and to just keep or give away or toss the other one so I wouldn’t have to be hassled with sending anything back to them. (1. Hurray for AWESOME customer service, and 2. Would anyone actually THROW AWAY a perfectly good $50 planner?? I cry at the thought)

So, their error is your gain! I would love for the extra planner to go to one of my beautiful readers.

I replaced the personalized cover with “The Best is Yet to Come” cover that came on my own planner before I bought one with my name (full disclosure: it’s a little scuffed from sitting in my desk drawer). You can either keep it as-is, or order yourself a personalized cover from their website (covers are about $10) The inside is brand-new and untouched and crisp and beautiful. If you’re unfamiliar with Erin Condren, these are heavy-duty, spiral-bound planners. They have laminated tabs to easily flip to the right month, a removable plastic ruler/bookmark to keep your place, a monthly view and a weekly view for each month, a few pages of lined, gridded, and blank notebook pages at the end, a couple pages of stickers for birthdays and appointments, some more pages of blank stickers, and a folder and a ziplock pouch in the back filled with even more stickers and little freebies. They’ve truly thought of everything.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that my heart is fluttering even just looking at the pictures again.



If you’re like me, and get excited about all things pen and paper, enter to win below. I will personally send it out to the winner as soon as the giveaway is over.

If you don’t win (or you just can’t wait), you can use this link* for $10 off your first purchase from the Erin Condren website:

Winner will be drawn on Monday, November 23rd. Good luck!  **Winner has been drawn and notified.  Thank you!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*affiliate link


Nov 10

Free to Be 2015

Last year, I devoted four long, detailed posts to the conference… how it went, how I felt about it, what it meant to me.

I’m in a different place this year, with different things going on, and different things currently taking my attention.  So, no four part posts, but if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video slideshow I put together.

I’m proud of what we created (twice!) and I’m looking forward to next year.  This conference represents a lot of blood, sweat, and tears not just for me, but for our entire family.  A huge thank you, again, to everyone who attended and made it possible.


Nov 09

An Apology


So, it’s been brought to my attention that I “write regularly to condemn other Christians for what (I) see as flaws in their character.”

This was not on a recent post (in case you go looking for it, which is exactly what I would do), but an old one.  You guys widely shared my Starbucks post – thank you for that! – which brought me a lot of new traffic.  The nice thing about that happening is that I get a lot of new traffic.  And the really crummy thing about that happening is… well, that I get a lot of new traffic. People poke around, old posts get dug up, and new comments get left.  It’s all part of the blogging experience, and I accept that.

I didn’t respond to this man (or woman… they used what I’m assuming is a fake name and email) because they were very sarcastic and unkind, and in my experience responding to that kind of person never goes well.   However, to anyone reading:

It has never, ever been my intention to condemn Christians – or anyone – for what I see as flaws in their character.  I stand before you the most flawed person one could ever meet.

I actually never intended to write about any of the things I write about at all… not parenting, not unschooling, not Christianity.   When I originally started this blog, it was just a little snapshot of my life;   a “look what fun sorts of things the kids and I did today” daily journal.  How and why it morphed and changed over the years I don’t know.

But here’s what I know.  Those posts that that commenter is referring to you, the ones where I specifically address my fellow Christians (and I’ll concede for sure that I’ve gathered a lot of them), those posts come from a place of PASSION.  I care – too much I’m often told – about how people are treated, about how we’re doing as Christians… and as people and as humans… and I write those posts as a reminder to all (INCLUDING MYSELF) to have more kindness, and to have more compassion.  Is it possible that that passion sometimes comes out sideways, sounds offensive, or paints a different picture than I’d intended?  Of course!  I’m human, and, as I said above, so unbelievably flawed.  It’s so easy, for all of us, to be brave and bold and outspoken on the computer when it’s just us and our words.  It’s so easy, for all of us, to forget that on the other side of those words are real, living, breathing, flawed people just like ourselves.

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him…  Wait, sorry.  Wrong speech.

I’m just a girl who wants people to be kinder to one another.  That’s all.

And you guys, I truly am sorry for those times I’ve missed the mark.    Please know that I am far harder on myself than I’ve ever been on anyone else.


Nov 08

Silly Christians, Cups Are For Coffee


Take a good, deep cleansing breath.  (In through your nose, out through the mouth for the uninitiated.)

Let me just start there.

People can get a little… is there a polite way to say tightly wound?… this time of year, and taking a good step back, a good stock on our priorities, and essentially getting a grip is always an appropriate first line of defense.  It seems like this sort of thing used to happen around Thanksgiving, but it appears to be coming earlier and earlier every year.  Pretty soon we’ll be having this conversation the day after Easter.   In any case, it’s November 8th, and the time to address it is now.

So, let’s talk about those Starbucks cups.

Apparently every year Starbucks unveils a new holiday-themed cup.  A cup:  A disposable, cardboard conduit for your hot beverage that’s going to end up in the landfill later, just to keep this in perspective.  Anyway, past cups have featured things like snowflakes, ice skates, Santas, and what looks to me like some sort of spaceship that maybe was supposed to be a modern version of a sleigh?


All fun and festive stuff.  This year, they decided to go with something simpler, do away with the illustrations altogether, and chose a streamlined red design in an Ombre style.  Cool.  As cool as a cup can be I guess.  We’re still talking about a cup.

And a select group of Christians collectively lost their ever-loving minds.

The best I can tell, snowflakes represent Christmas, and Christmas represents Jesus … so a plain red cup obviously signifies the removal of Jesus and is thus really, really offensive.  Hide your kids, and hide your wives, it’s the (invented-by-Christians) WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!

When I first heard that people were freaking out about the cups, I honestly thought it was a big joke.  I assumed that the early rumblings were either from a satire site or a super creative marketing job from Starbucks themselves.  (As a side note, how completely sad is it that our society is such that one can’t even tell the difference between real life and satire anymore?   The real-life shenanigans of the I’m-offended-by-everything folks are often more ridiculous than anything even the Onion can imagine).  And yes, I called them ridiculous.  My choice of that word in a past post – also aimed at my fellow Christians – earned me a snotty comment calling me rude and judgmental.  But you know what?  Sometimes people are ridiculous. Whining about everyone “taking the Christ out of Christmas” when the only one who can take your Christ out of your Christmas is you, is ridiculous. Flipping out over a red cup is ridiculous.  SO ridiculous in fact, that it couldn’t possibly be real.  Except it is.  There are real, live people out there losing it over a cup.

I’m just wondering, when did “peace on Earth and goodwill to men” turn into spending the entire holiday season – which as I already stated, is starting earlier and earlier every year – pissed off and competing to see who can carry the biggest chip on their shoulder?

A quick Twitter search of the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks will give you a vast sampling of people’s collective ire, but my favorite one is this, by a user who describes herself as a Christian Conservative American Constitutionalist:

Starbucks can take ur plain red cups & shove them up ur #liberal asses! I’ll never step foot in a #starbucks again

Isn’t that sweet?  Nothing says Christmas spirit like telling people to shove things up their asses. Nothing shows the love of Christ like telling people to shove things up their asses.

You guys, this is embarrassing.

Christmas  was never supposed to be a battle for the title of the biggest, loudest bully, but that’s exactly what it has become.  How inspiring.  How Christ-like.

And you know what?  Forget Christmas for a minute.  Can we bring Christ back into Christianity?  Let’s bring back gentleness.  Let’s bring back kindness.  Let’s bring back grace. Let’s bring back loving our neighbors.  Can you imagine the change that could happen – the GOOD that could happen – if we replaced the outrage over holiday greetings and cup choices with compassion?  With a little old-fashioned generosity?  With actually LIVING what we claim to believe in?  Let’s show people what it means to be Christ-like.

If there’s not enough Jesus on your Starbucks cup (and, psst, snowflakes and ice skates and space-ship sleighs are not specific to Jesus either) bring Jesus with you!  Be kind to the people around you.  Offer the barista a genuine smile.  Pick up the tab for the next person in line. Don’t be a grumpy asshat.

Our faith should be a little bit bigger than a disposable coffee cup.  

Don’t want to go to Starbucks, for whatever reason?  That’s cool too.  I actually don’t go all that often myself, for the simple reason that I spent a lot of past years broke,  so it pains me a little to spend $5 on something I can make for pennies at home.  Use your could-be-Starbucks-money on something else!  Share it with the guy on the corner.  Give to a cause you believe in.   Heck, surprise your kids with a new toy.   But stop using a company’s marketing decision as an excuse to turn your “faith” into something ugly and off-putting.   Believe it or not, God’s not giving out prizes to the people who can throw the biggest irrational tantrums.

Let’s get a grip here, and save being offended for the things that are actually offensive.

And to you dear Starbucks, I apologize on behalf of the small – but loud – group of Christians obnoxiously ushering in the holiday season in the only way they know how.  I assure you they don’t represent all of us.  I will be in soon for a grande caramel macchiato, and to spread some actual holiday cheer (with zero requests that you shove anything up your ass)


The girl who couldn’t care less what your cups look like


Oct 21

Before She’s Famous

Tegan, age seven at the time of this writing, wants to be famous when she grows up.  It’s not even that she wants to now that I’m thinking about it.  It’s that she believes, with every fiber of her being, that she will be famous.   Sometimes it’s for singing, sometimes for acting….. and sometimes she doesn’t even know what it’ll be for.  But she knows, and she talks about it often.

So it didn’t surprise me when she suddenly announced, “I want to be interviewed!” yesterday. She wanted me to interview her (about unschooling, about her life, about whatever I could think to ask her), and she wanted it to be shared.

I say this with all the bias that a mom could possibly have, but she is a JOY to know, and a joy to parent.  And if you watch her interview, you too can say you “knew her when.”  :)

Tegan, before she’s famous:


Oct 14

On Being a Straight, Christian Ally



Sunday, October 11th was National Coming Out Day.  At first I thought the day would pass by largely unrecognized, at least by myself.  I mean, I didn’t have any sort of coming out to do.  I’m a straight, 41 year old mom who’s been married forever, and I’ve been pretty open about where I stand on the issue for awhile now.  I fully support and respect everyone’s right to love who they want to love, to express their gender and their sexuality in the way they feel as right, and to be honored as the whole, unique, and perfectly imperfect individuals that they are.

But a “Coming Out” day?  It doesn’t really affect me.

Except that it does.   Especially as a Christian.  Because the thing about being a LGBT affirming ally as a Christian is that you often feel alone.. slogging uphill and constantly getting knocked down, spit on, and trampled by your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Never do I get such mean-spirited comments and/or passive aggressive Bible-verse-as-weapon condescension (which is often even worse) as I do when I write about this issue… which means it’s a conversation that needs to be had.

The conversation isn’t over.

The conversation is far from over, because that backlash I get?  The nasty comments, the arrogant preaching, the let-me-outline-for-you-why-you’re-going-to-hell judgement is not even a fraction of what the LGBT community endures at the hands of Christians day in and day out. It’s for those people that I write.

So, while I’ve written about much of this before, consider this my official coming out.  I stand with all of you as an ally.

I stand with you because the way that Christians treat the LGBT community is shameful and hurtful, and not okay.  I stand with you because it breaks my heart to see people using the name of the Bible and the God that I love as a front for fear, and hate, and bigotry, and discrimination.

I stand with you because of these poignantly and perfectly crafted words by John Pavlovitz:

All this “love the sinner, hate the sin” talk is just a pretty, painted, cheap facade nailed overtop a destructive, hateful, hurtful expression of fear, allowed to be called Religion.

It’s not fooling the LGBT community who receive the damage daily; who are driven to the very brink of hope (and many times well beyond it) by people claiming to follow Jesus; professing faith in a God of love, while speaking and doing violence to them.

I stand with you because I see your lovely and brave (you are so brave!!) coming-out posts on social media, and I see the hurtful comments. I see the supportive comments too, but those judgmental ones…. they stand out like a cancer.  I stand with you because I need you to know that you have another person in your corner, holding you up, watching your back, and absorbing some of the darkness so you can feel more of the light.  I stand with you because I don’t want you to forget that those comments, and the people attached to them, do not represent all of us.

I stand with you because 40% of homeless youth are LGBT.   Because 30% of gay youth attempt suicide near the age of 15.  Because almost half of gay and lesbian teens have attempted suicide more than once.   I stand with you because I cannot fathom how anyone can look at those numbers and not be horrified and filled with compassion.  I stand with you because I don’t understand how anyone can read those numbers and not just STOP.  Stop with the bible verses, stop with the “love the sinner” rhetoric, and just reach out a genuine hand of help and support.  Let’s be honest for a minute here: if the goal of the typical Christian’s response to the LGBT community is to show them the love of Christ…. it is failing, in a colossal, colossal way.

I stand with you because I know that as stressful and frustrating and lonely it is to be a Christian ally, it is all of that times a million for the young person coming to terms with his or her sexuality or gender identity.   I stand with you because I’m tired….. tired of seeing you mistreated over and over, tired of watching my fellow Christians using “religion” as an excuse for being damaging and hurtful… but most of all, tired of the ache in my soul from the knowledge of how tired you must be.

I stand with you because I strive to be more like Jesus, and Jesus would stand with you, too.  I need you to know that today, because too many people have gotten the wrong message from too many Christians, and for that I want to apologize.  Jesus stood for LOVE.  Love for all people, but especially for those who were ostracized in some way.  Those who were disparaged by others.  Those who were alienated by their family, by their friends, and by their churches (the very people that are supposed to be providing a safe refuge!)  I stand with you because:

… these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  (1st Corinthians 13:13)


I stand with you because as a Christian, and a human, I’m called to love.  Full stop.  I stand with you because true love and acceptance should never be followed with a “but.”  I stand with you because as another living, breathing soul doing this thing called life beside me…

you matter.

And I thank you, sincerely, for being you.


I’m going to keep the comments closed on this one (and honestly, just the fact that I’m compelled to do that tells me how far we have to go).  I can handle your comments, negative or otherwise, but I don’t wish to allow my page to be a public forum for any disparaging remarks aimed at others… especially those who are young and/or questioning… and I regret having done so in the past.    This space is affirming and safe.

If you want to reach ME, I welcome and encourage your feedback, especially if you want to stand with me!  You can tweet at me, or find me on Facebook or Instagram.

For now, I leave you with the words to one of my new favorite songs, because Rachel Platten says it best:

Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open too
Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine ’til yours can open too
Cause I’m gonna stand by you

Much love to all.


Sep 21


Photo Credit: Ivo Ivov

Photo Credit: Ivo Ivov

I’ve been sick for the past six months.

I’ll spare you my laundry list of symptoms, both because it’s boring and because I’m so tired of thinking about it, but they concerned my doctor enough to order a CT, an ultrasound, and blood work, and eventually led her to send me to an oncologist. HE was concerned enough to order still more blood work – 12 vials in fact – and a whole-body PET scan.

None of the above gave us any answers.  On paper, I’m the healthiest sick person that ever lived.  My next step is an infectious disease doctor, not because anyone really thinks I have an infectious disease, but because they do the kind of detective work necessary to diagnose these weird and hard-to-figure-out whatever-the-heck-this-thing-is that’s been making my life miserable since last spring.

It’s frustrating feeling terrible and limited every day and not knowing why.  It’s even more frustrating to feel like you’re going through it all alone.  This summer was truly one of the loneliest summers of my life.  And that doesn’t sound right, does it?  Feeling lonely in a house full of six people?  But it’s exactly how I’ve felt. And I’ve learned that feeling alone amongst other people is a far more harrowing feeling than feeling alone when you’re actually… well, alone.  I never feel lonely when I’m by myself.  But when I’m around other people?  I’ve become an expert at it.

And I can never figure out if it’s actually real life  (Is it real?  Have I really created a life with so few people to support me when I need it?), or if it’s simply a product of manifestation….combined and created somewhere in the abyss of physical pain and the inevitable depression that comes with it.

Whatever the case, I’ve been resting there:  Holding on tightly to the simultaneous frustration and safety of my own self-pity.

I don’t recommend it.

I have missed writing so very much (just one of many things I’ve missed in the past several months) but even when I have gotten the energy to sit at my computer, I put my fingers to the keyboard…… and there’s nothing there but a wordless, guttural whine.

Then yesterday I finally heard something that helped, if only a tiny bit.  In a classic case of “the right thing at the right time,”  I was watching a movie with my groom, and what was meant to be entertainment ended up being inspiration.   Between me not feeling well, and him being exhausted from work, and the both of us spending all our spare minutes getting everything tied up for the conference, we’ve been desperately clinging to our lazy Saturday morning movie-while-we-drink-our-coffee dates whenever we can get them.  Anyway, yesterday we were watching this movie, and there was a scene where one of the characters, an angst-ridden teenager, was standing on the precipice of a cliff, contemplating ending his life.  His panicked family had all gathered around, and were literally trying to talk him down from the edge.  They were delivering a fairly standard issue, “you have so much to live for” motivational speech, and eventually told him,

“Shit’s temporary!”*

And in that moment, those words were the much-needed balm to my weary and battered soul. It’s temporary.  It’s ALL temporary.  And yes, I get that there’s nothing new or revelatory about that observation, but it was something that I’d forgotten…. and forgotten so deeply that I didn’t even remember that I’d forgotten it.  I’m always the first person to reassure new moms that their toddler’s frustrating experiments with biting or throwing or shoving things into the DVD player drawer is but a season.  It’s temporary.  Why on earth wouldn’t that apply to adults as well?

Trials are temporary.  Frustrations are temporary.  LIFE is temporary.  And I needed the reminder to sit tight, put on my galoshes, and get out there and dance in the storm.  It’s a season, bringing whatever lessons it’s going to bring.

I feel like I’ve spent so much time chasing things.  Chasing answers, chasing peace, chasing rest.  And I think that sometimes you need to just stop chasing.  Stop moving.  Just stop.  Stop and remember that it’s all just…. fleeting.  I’ll feel better, or I won’t.  But either way, it’s still temporary, because it’s ALL temporary.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next for me, or this blog, or all my plans that have gotten put on hold with my health issues.  But for the first time in a long time, I’m pretty okay with not knowing.  And the next time I’m not okay (because I do know there will be a next time), the next time I give in to the stress and the fatigue and the frustration of it all, I hope I can remember that no matter what it is… whatever negative, stagnant yuck I’m feeling…

that it’s only temporary.


*(Sorry I said shit.  Sorry I said it again)



Sep 14

You NEED This Mug (Mighty Mug Review & Giveaway)


Confession:  I have ruined more than one laptop due to a spilled drink.

In my defense, at least one of those instances (the instance that will heretofore be referred to as “the red wine incident”) wasn’t actually ME that did the spilling, but one of my lovely offspring.

But still, liquids and electronics don’t generally play nicely together, especially when they’re under the not-so-watchful eye of a busy, distracted mom and/or her busy, distracted children. Enter The Mighty Mug, or as I like to call it: my new best friend.

It doesn’t have a suction cup or anything weird or sticky.  Instead it uses something called Smartgrip Technology that allows the Mighty Mug to grip the surface of your desk or table, and stand up to all those accidental bumps, knocks, and elbows without falling over.

You guys, for real.  This thing is pretty slick.  And yes, there’s actual coffee in here:


And when you’re ready to take a drink?  Just lift it straight up and it lifts without a problem.

It keeps your cold drinks cold, and your hot drinks hot for hours (which is especially nice if you’re like me, and end up nursing the same cup of coffee all morning)

Quality-wise, you won’t be disappointed.  These are truly beautiful, sturdy and well-built mugs. They feel nice in your hand, and they’re easy to use and wash. They come in a bunch of colors and styles, so you’ll be sure to find your favorite.

And did I mention they’re almost impossible to tip over?!

Want one?  (You know you want one.)

My new friends over at Mighty Mug are hosting a giveaway just for you, and will be giving away one Mighty Mug to one lucky reader.  Just go here to enter, by Friday, September 18th.  And send all your friends!

Your laptop will thank you.

Thanks, Mighty Mug!

**Disclaimer:  I was given a free mug by Mighty Mug for this review.  I was not required in any way to leave a positive review.  All opinions are my own.**


Aug 31

Six Things I Hope My Daughter Learns From Miley Cyrus

Photo credit: Vijat Mohindra

Photo credit: Vijat Mohindra

Two years ago, when Miley Cyrus debuted her infamous, gyrating, Blurred Lines performance at the VMAs, I (I’m sorry to say) responded like a host of other people.  With an aghast, “What on God’s green earth did I JUST WATCH??”  I felt traumatized. For me, it was never about the overt sexuality of the performance.  It just felt so….. awkward, and forced, and embarrassing to watch.

Before I knew what had happened, I’d jumped on the “What’s become of sweet little Miley Cyrus??” bandwagon.

Sometime in the past two years though, something changed.  Besides conceding to the fact that there’s just really nothing kind, nor productive, about gossiping about the life and career of some poor young girl I don’t even know, I started looking at her in a new light.  She really is a talented singer (I love this one.  Oh and this too), but she’s also just a fellow human, growing up in the public eye, who doesn’t deserve our collective ridicule.  And maybe it’s the mom in me, or maybe it’s simply a matter of my own growing up (I’m nearing 42;  it was bound to happen eventually) but when Miley Cyrus comes on my screen now, I’m filled with both compassion and fascination.

So last night, when she returned to the VMAs as a host, I sort of held my breath as I watched all the comments rolling by calling her “trashy” and “disgusting” and “disappointing.”  When people started to lament the fact that she had so many followers, and served as such a poor role model to our nation’s girls, I actually found myself feeling saddened and defensive, and – even though I’m aware it makes no sense – a little protective.

Yeah, she’s outrageous. Yeah, she goes for the shock value.  Yeah, she swears like a trucker and is open about her drug use. But surely we have something to learn from Miley, just as we have something to learn from everyone.  Surely, she possesses admirable attributes that her detractors are just all too happy to overlook.  And as I thought about it, and as I thought about my kids (and especially my daughter, who so looks up to her favorite singers) I quickly realized that indeed she does… qualities that I’d not only be okay with, but proud of my daughter for emulating.

Here are just six of them:

  1.  Always be an advocate for helping others – Miley used her position of influence to found the Happy Hippie Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to fighting the injustice faced by homeless youth, the LGTBQ youth, and other vulnerable populations. Say what you want about her methods, but she gets people’s attention.  And when she has it?  She uses her platform to work tirelessly to educate and spread awareness about this important cause.
  2. Never be afraid to laugh at yourself –  Jimmy Kimmell collaborated with Miley recently to run a segment in which she disguised herself as an Australian newscaster, and did a sort of man-on-the-street collection of little interviews, asking passers-by what they thought about Miley Cyrus.  She stayed in character, was a ridiculously good sport about the whole thing, and played along as she listened to people’s uncensored opinions on everything from her family to her singing to her outfits.  She’s so true to herself, so unruffled by other people’s perceptions, that she willingly lets herself in on the joke…. even when it’s at her own expense.
  3. Other people don’t get to define who you are – I can’t imagine what it must be like growing up not just in the public eye, but in the public eye as the daughter of a well-known country artist, AND as the former beloved child star, Hannah Montana. She’s got basically a whole world of people watching, and criticizing, and expecting her to be this person, or that artist, or this young adult.  A lot of people would cave to that pressure.  A lot of people have caved to that pressure, both in and out of the industry.  But Miley recognizes that other people don’t get to make her decisions.  She essentially says, “To hell with all of them”, and she just does MILEY.
  4. It’s okay to make mistakes – And look, I’m not saying that the whole VMA/Blurred Lines thing was a mistake.  Maybe she’s really proud of it.  But it stands to reason if you’re going to live out your career as… boldly as Miley has been doing, that sooner or later there’s going to be some video, or picture, or sound bite or blurb that she considers a mistake.  And that’s okay! I can’t imagine her ever doing anything but completely and totally owning it.
  5. It’s okay to live out loud – “Finding yourself” doesn’t have to be linear.  In fact, it’s usually NOT linear.  It’s messy.  You’re figuring things out, you’re learning who you are, what you’re about, what you stand for.  There are fits and starts.  There are mistakes (see number 4).  There are supposed to be mistakes.  It’s how we grow.  Being bold and being brave and putting yourself out there, for better or worse, is all part of the ride. When I was young, I was afraid – of everything – and when I went through those messy periods of growth I just went more inward.   And I’ll tell you what:  Stuffing things inside because you’re scared of them isn’t the healthiest way to live.  In fact, I can honestly say that I’m still recovering.  Living out loud, being unafraid and unashamed and unabashedly YOU is so important, and Miley Cyrus seems to understand that so very well.
  6. Be strong in the face of criticism – I saved this one for last because it’s one I need to most work on myself.  I still wilt in the face of criticism.  Criticism makes me want to hide, preferably in my pajamas.  Under the covers.  With my cat and Netflix as my only companions.  But Miley Cyrus?  She doesn’t hide.  She takes the criticism, and the hate, and the unkind words, and the unsolicited advice, and the trash-talking from millions of people.…. and she puts on a series of wild outfits and she hosts the VMA awards (with some major aplomb I might add).  She keeps being Miley.  She keeps singing.  She keeps performing.  She keeps doing interviews.  She keeps putting herself in the public eye.

Miley Cyrus kind of rocks.  I’ll be very curious to see where her career goes over the next several years, but wherever it leads I’ll be over here in the corner, pulling for her, hoping for good things…. and standing up for a girl who’s really just trying to figure out who she is….. with a whole heck of a lot of people watching.





Aug 28

Fifteen Years

1383689_10152444855833309_8424233825201971084_nPaxton turns fifteen today.  I woke up in a panic yesterday, because I’d remembered that I’d made slideshows for the other three this year, so that meant that I needed to make one for Paxton too.  And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to…. I love doing it.

But it positively guts me.

My mama heart drowns in nostalgia.  I mean seriously, how’d I get so lucky?

Paxton at fifteen.  What can I say that I haven’t already said so many times before?  He remains one of the strongest, kindest, funniest, most truly loyal and steady teenagers I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  And his genuineness and integrity?  This guy has more of it in his little finger at 15 than I had when I was twice his age. He’s awesome,  and I’m so glad that I get to be his mom.

Have the happiest of birthdays, Paxton. Thank you for being so perfectly and simply you.


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