A Letter to my Daughter about Opening Herself to the World

Since the day you were born, you’ve been teaching me about life. Yes I gave you life, but really, you gave me mine.

You nearly stopped my heart when I reached down and pulled you onto my chest the moment you took your first breath.

You nearly stopped my heart again when I saw you, with your bouncing curls looking down so lovingly at your newborn sister, and placing a kiss on her forehead – a promise that you would forever be her protector.

And yet again when you came downstairs in your semi formal dress, so beautiful you took my breath away. I looked at you and then I looked harder. I blinked and you were grown.

Just like that.

Fear has a way of creeping in right alongside reality. I worry that people will be cruel, that some will betray you, and others will break your heart. But they must. I worry that you will struggle, that you will feel pain and sadness, that you will learn some lessons the hard way. But you must.

You must grow and growing requires change, and pain, and heartache. But you will also thrive. Oh will you thrive! Because you have embraced who you are, you will succeed and you will be even more amazing as you open yourself to this world and to the love it has to give you in return.

Parenting is about celebrating the child you have and coming to understand the they are exactly the person they are supposed to be. And if you’re lucky, they might teach you to be who you were created to be. I am one of the lucky ones.

You are your own person, so unique, so steadfast, so incredible. And I realize now what I think I’ve always known, that you were never mine to keep. Instead, I was chosen to nurture and guide you, to raise you to love others, to love yourself, to be a helper in a world of hurting, to learn forgiveness, and to let you go.

You will discover what you have to offer this world and those around you will be better for knowing you.

I will remain your biggest cheerleader.



Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Uncategorized


Silent Struggle

You can’t see my illness,
so you can’t understand
why I take extra time
getting my makeup just right
so you’ll notice my eyes
instead of the way I walk
in tender steps
hiding the pain behind my mask.
Or why I emphasize my clothes, my hair,
anything else,
to deflect from the truth of my limitations.

I tire so easily
but I push through.
Working hard, caring for my family,
carting off here and there
wherever I’m needed
because I don’t want to concede.
I don’t want to give up.

I need to rest.
My body works against me
I am a woman of stature and girth
and so you see strength and fortitude –
or laziness.
You judge what you do not know.

It really is a choice
to wake up strong and determined
when your body speaks a different language
you comprehend all too well.
The disease says you cannot persevere,
and yet you do.
You push through
not in spite of the pain,
but because of it.
You endure each ache with steadfast stubbornness
because a defeatist mentality
would be all too easy.

And no one would blame you,
if they could speak your language.



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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


How to talk about our bodies

A friend of mine posted this on social media the other day and it totally resonated with this mom of a teen and tween girl. It’s true for our boys as well, and for ourselves. Moms, dads, listen up!

“How to talk to your daughter about her body:
Step one: Don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “You’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide rib cages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her rib cage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.
Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.”

– Sarah Kopplekam

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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


Merciful Grace

One week.

Seven days. Seven long days.

In one week our family lost my 12 year old cousin and my 88 year old aunt. We have spent the past week in the midst of tears, questions, grief, and heartbreak. We have held each other, prayed for each other, loved each other.

Funerals unite us. Death unites us.

And yet …

Many of us will return to our sense of normal, in time. We will hold on to our memories and they will sustain us.

But for others, they will not. Someone has to return home without their son. Someone has to leave without their mother.

For these, life will forever be different. A void will exist, though in time, a new normal will emerge.

We will trudge on.

May we never forget the loss. May we never take for granted our normal. May we never forget to pray. May we always hold each other up.

And may we unite again in love.


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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


Living Out Loud

I was so inspired this week by a beautiful, raw, and oh so real post by a sweet friend.

Please read. Then embrace your FREAKdom.

Thank you, Tanya, for reminding us.



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Posted by on December 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


To love our bodies

I’ll be honest … I have never been comfortable in my body and it has been hard having two daughters who I want to be completely transparent with and have them love their bodies as much as I wish I loved mine.

I’m growing, and I’m growing to love my curves that bore these precious daughters, the soft folds that my youngest loves to cuddle into, the strong arms that support and hug my teenager. We need to view our bodies instead for what they provide, how they nurture, how they love.

That’s why I believe it’s time for a movement – a movement to embrace our natural selves. Can I be completely transparent here? I have no eyebrows. There, I said it. In an attempt to impose on myself a standard of beauty as a college student, I had my eyebrows waxed. What I didn’t know was that there was coconut oil in the wax. Within 24 hours I had an allergic reaction that turned into scabs in place of perfectly shaped brows. To this day, I cannot completely grow in hair. Instead, I’ve spent 20 years drawing my eyebrows on every morning. You should know, I’m a terrible drawer.

As I approach 40, my right eyelid droops and tiny crows feet have settled in the corners of my eyes. They are most noticeable when I smile. Guess what? I’m not going to stop smiling. Let them pop out and show the world that I am happy and that I have loved and laughed through this life. That’s what it’s about. It shouldn’t be about covering up what we have endured, what we have earned, as if it is shameful. We need to celebrate our natural selves.

Let’s use this month as a springboard to sound off to the world that women are beautiful. Your flaws are trademarks. Own them.

I wrote this for my daughters. Let it also be my love song to you.

Do you know you’re beautiful?
When I see you apply mascara and I wonder if I taught you to accept your flaws or cover them up,
do you know you’re beautiful?
When I straighten your hair but secretly wish you would embrace your glorious waves,do you know you’re beautiful?
When I see you frustrated at clothes that don’t fit quite right, and I want to hug you and tell you strength comes in many forms,
do you know you’re beautiful?
When I see the joy you bring to the children you lead by example,
do you know you’re beautiful?
As you grow ever more independent and I cheer you from the sidelines and pray for you unceasingly,
do you know you’re beautiful?
As you share your dreams with me that I hope will one day become your reality,
do you know you’re beautiful?
Because your amber eyes light up when you are passionate about something,
because you do not tolerate injustice,
because you are a loyal and faithful friend,
do you know you’re beautiful, like I do?

This young man has the right message: “There will always be something about you that’s not right to a person who’s not right for you. Your flaws are perfect for the heart that’s meant to love you.”

Join me for #naturalnovember and post a selfie: #nofilter #beYOUtiful #takebackyourbeauty



Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Uncategorized



Our divorce may have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I say “our” because in the end, we mutually agreed to move forward … apart.

I learned three very important truths through the process of divorce:

  1. Every divorce is different. Your friends will try to relate your divorce to theirs or their parents’, but you have your own unique set of circumstances that led you to divorce and your process through it and after will not be the same.
  2. You contributed to the divorce. You can try to place blame but in the end it took two people to marry and it takes two people to separate. If you take a reflective look at your marriage, you will see that you contributed to the divorce. There is no need to qualify who is more to blame.
  3. You are in control of how you will respond. You may have learned by now that you can’t control or change your spouse. The only thing you can control is your response to him or her in the situations you will encounter moving forward.

After 5 years apart, and subsequently divorced, we are able to successfully co-parent and respect each other in a way we never did married. These statements have guided us and should be foundational to divorce:

The Divorce Vows

We vow to respect each other as individual people for who we are, not what we’ve done.

We vow to always look for a compromise and agree to disagree when necessary.

We vow to build a future that is free of judgment, guilt or blame, and not dictated by our past.

We vow to speak cordially to one another and to speak well of each other publicly, never putting the other down.

We vow to put our children first and our own needs and preferences aside.

We vow to acknowledge that we may parent differently, but that it does not mean we love our children any less, better or worse.

We vow to put aside our pride and come together to support our children through events, celebrations, and life’s ups and downs.

We vow to acknowledge and respect the often-difficult position of the other when it comes to time sharing, family gatherings, and significant others.


It has not been an easy journey. It never is. If you are going through a divorce, please read 10 Things Every Divorced Woman Should Do Before Starting To Date Again. It is not just about finding someone new, but more importantly, it is about finding yourself. And this … The Most Important Question of Your Life. Because it’s not about what you want. It’s about what pain you’re willing to endure.

The last truth that took me a long time to discover is this:

The easiest thing to loose in any relationship is yourself. 


Posted by on September 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

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