Have you ever been misunderstood?  It’s a pretty terrible and helpless feeling when you mean well and yet are received in a completely different light.  My mother taught me to exhaustion at a very young age that we always have “choices”.

When we are misjudged, we have a choice.  We can ignore it.  We can get angry.  We can seek justice.  Or we can forgive.  I’ve only been around for 33 years, but I can’t think of anything more exhausting than holding onto anger.  It is self-serving.  Sure you have been wronged, but in the end, you are wronging yourself more when you carry that anger with you everywhere you go.

This is not to say I am a pushover.  I simply cannot keep quiet when an injustice has occurred.  Absolutely NOTHING except resentment gets accomplished when you do not defend yourself.  Once the defense has rested, however, I make the conscientious choice to let it be.  Over the years, I have learned that truly the only person we can control is our self.  We cannot control how others perceive us or how they will react to our defense.  But we CAN control how we move forward.

What did we learn from that experience?  What would we change, if anything, the next time around?  An error isn’t a mistake unless we fail to learn from it, I used to tell my fourth graders.  So I resolve to live by that motto today.  We are all imperfect.  In most situations, surely, even if we have been wronged, we can take some responsibility.

I choose (my mother would be so proud) to feel sadness when I have been wronged, followed by possible anger, followed by a plan of how I will move forward. What can I learn?  Where do we go from here?  What good can I make of this?  And then, as James Baldwin said,

“I looked down the line, and I wondered.  When I buckled up my shoes, and I started.”

We keep on, keepin’ on.




It took three attempts for me to succeed in having an unmedicated childbirth.  I attended nearly 70 hours of childbirth classes before my first baby, read countless books, and spent many-a-night role-playing labor with my husband before falling asleep to my hypnobirthing CDs.  The message was clear:  LET GO.  Succumb to the pain instead of fighting it.  Relax even when your body instinctually clenches.  Unless you have been in labor, you have absolutely no idea how impossible that seems when you are experiencing gut-wrenching pain.  By the third labor, I knew what to do and my unmedicated birth was everything I had hoped it would be: raw emotion that cannot be imitated.

Unmedicated childbirth isn’t just about “proving you can do it.”  Sure, you feel proud, just as a marathon runner does after her grueling race, but at its core, unmedicated childbirth inherently embraces FAITH.  Faith in our bodies to do what they were designed to do and faith in our resolve to see it through.  Unmedicated childbirth celebrates the beauty of nature.  As miserable as she may feel, a pregnant woman cannot deny the miracle of feeling tiny little feet responding to a hand on the belly.  It truly is a miracle.

What I did not expect was how my experience would permeate into other parts of my life, long after the birth was over.  This notion of embracing nature- of having faith – of being fearless.  Just as labor has the opportunity to progress smoothly once the mother lets go, so does life.

So I have decided to let go.

As a result of my experience with unmedicated childbirth, I no longer fear letting go of toxic relationships, for I know that fear was the only thing that kept me in them in the first place.

As a result of my unmedicated childbirth, I am not concerned with using my “things” – my house, my car, my clothes, my jewelry- to show my worth, for my value lies underneath the surface of my skin, in the chambers of my heart and the core of my soul.

As a result of my unmedicated childbirth, I am not afraid of aging.  In fact, I embrace it.  My wrinkles represent my time; the more I have, the luckier I feel to have lived long enough to display them.

And as a result of my unmedicated childbirth, I believe in myself.

I am capable.  I am worthy.  I am humbled.




Turning the Page


First it was the newborn diapers, then the newborn clothes.  Next was the Rock-N-Play you slept in until you were four months old and then the Snug-a-Bunny Swing.  Today, it was the Bumbo and floor activity play mat.  All stored in the attic, likely waiting for a larger-than-life, baby gear liquidation yard-sale.

You. Are. Growing.  So fast, too fast.  Just a week ago you couldn’t sit without toppling over and now you are army crawling across the room.  I feel a mixture of anticipation and panic.  I can’t wait to see the development of your relationship with your sisters and yet I am terrified of you not fitting into the cradle of my arms anymore.

All there is left to do is absorb it; to allow it to permeate my skin.  To leave the chores left undone and blow raspberries with you, instead.  Your giggles are my gasoline and while I yearn for a full night of sleep, I am not quite ready to turn this page.

If I have learned anything from having your older sisters, however, it is that each new chapter offers more to love and cherish.  So while I will continue to marvel at your tiny fist wrapped around my pinkie as you nurse in the middle of the night, I will still look forward to the day we can walk alongside each other, holding hands.

Your book is just beginning, Emma Jane, and I am hooked.



Special thanks to Danielle Ice Photography for the first photo.  




I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, nothing infuriated me more than hearing, “You’ll understand when you’re older.”  Who did they think they were?  They didn’t know me.  But oh, how my perspective has changed.  Now, I’m older.  Now, I understand what they meant.  And all I am left to wonder is, what would my future self say to me now?

Slow down.  Dance more.  Play your piano.  Surround yourself with the ones you feel your most authentic self with and let go of those you don’t.  Pray child, pray.  Find God.  He exists, even if you don’t understand it yet- keep searching for Him.  He’s real.

Give more.  Give, give, give.  Give your money, your time, your prayers to those who need it.  You will Never. Regret. That.

Express your gratitude profusely.  Say it out loud.  Shout it from the rooftops because it can all change in the blink of an eye.

Accept responsibility.  If you don’t like it, don’t whine about it, just change it.

Travel, even when it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar because you never know what you will find along the journey.

And write.  Write so you remember and so you can look back at your naive self, smirk and think- She thought she had it all figured out when truly, she still had so much left to learn.


Waving the White Flag

All of me.  That is what you may have.  You once were a dream, then a plan, then a microscopic embryo inside my womb.  You needed me then and you still do now.  I quit my full-time teaching job to watch you grow, to not miss a moment and yet, somehow, I still feel like I am.

I’ve discovered there’s a difference between being physically present and actively engaged.  Yesterday, after deciding to play tag and hide-and-seek with you rather than work in my office, you said, “Mommy, I just want you all of the time.”  You realized how much fun it was to play with me- not just to watch me do laundry, cook or cart you around town- and baby girl, I realized it, too.


So, I surrender.  Shortly after quitting my teaching job, I became an in-home party consultant.  It was never my plan, rather, I had just wanted to have a fun girls’ night and was told I would actually be a great consultant.  I did my research, signed up and quickly became a top consultant in the area and company.  For the last four years, I’ve made the same salary I made as a teacher, working only 4-6 nights a month; however,it still takes time during the day to keep in touch with hostesses, reorder products, and handle the paperwork.  And when there was just one of you, it was manageable.   It became more challenging once there were two of you and now, it feels impossible with three.  Any moment one of you naps, I am trying to get 15 minutes of work done and as a result, I have absolutely zero free time.

I’ve been in denial, partly because I’m afraid of truly living on only one salary- afraid of losing the cushion my job provides- but also, because my job is so rewarding.  Whereas motherhood can be so thankless, my job is full of praise.  When I’m at work, I become a comedian of sorts, making women laugh.  But I also educate them about their bodies and empower them to communicate not only with their partners, but with themselves.  It is so gratifying to have someone tell you that you “saved their marriage” just because you inspired them to open the lines of communication or that they feel like they are just starting a new life at 40 years old.  You don’t tell me what a great job I’m doing, but these women thank me profusely and I am sad about giving that up.

One thing I am learning as I age is the role fear plays in our life.  When we continue down a path simply because we fear change, we are no longer living authentically.   In the words of one of my friends, we are trying to swim upstream rather than allow the current to take us where it may.  And the thing is, we know it when it is happening;  we just aren’t ready or don’t want to face it.

In my heart, I know the time has come to say goodbye to my job.  Part of me is excited for the freedom it will allow and yet I am sad at the passing of an incredible era.

What I know for sure is that you are worth it, baby girl.  Although the minutes feel like they are passing at a snails pace at 3 a.m. while I wait for you to fall back asleep, I know they are truly flying.  And I don’t want to miss a moment.

So from here on out I choose to float on my back, eyes to the sky, allowing the water to surround me; not knowing where I will end up but nevertheless trusting its path.  Trusting that any time spent with you is never time wasted.  From here on out, you may have me baby girl, all the time.




I Choose You

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The dishes are still on the table, the laundry is folded but still on the couch.  I’ve had dry cereal in my bowl for 1 hour, anxiously awaiting its milk but I choose you, Emma Jane.  You are already 11 weeks and amidst the chaos that is our daily life, I still want time to slow down.  You cry, I pick you up and rest my cheek upon yours.  You settle, and I absorb the warmth between us.  An osmosis of love.  An exchange of energy and understanding.

You are our third and, likely, our last child so I cherish these teeny, tiny moments between us.  My lips upon your forehead as I inhale your sweet newborn scent.  I feel as if I am floating, this simply is too good to be true.

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In ten years, the dishes will still be on the table, the laundry on the couch, and the cereal still awaiting its milk in the bowl.  But you will be too big to fit inside the cradle of my arm.  So I hold on a little longer than necessary, long after you have fallen asleep.  I close my eyes and take quiet, deep breaths and in that moment, all time stand still.  It is just you and me, Emma Jane, and that is all we need.

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Photos by Danielle Ice Photography and Camille Vaughan Photography