One dark December night in the late 1980s, I pulled a pair of rollerblades on and slipped out the front door of my childhood home in Southern California. Not typically the fearless type, the notion of racing around my block in the middle of the night thrilled me, even as I worried I might come home bruised and bloody. The moment the wheels hit asphalt and I gained speed down the gentle hill not far from my house, I reveled in the speed. I was invincible, pure motion and spirit in that moment.
That’s how it feels to talk to Hadley Barrows, children’s book author, publisher, and changemaker. To know her, is to feel as if all things are possible.Continue reading “Becoming Invincible”
I am adopted. This is a phrase I have said hundreds of times in my life. When I’m at a new doctor and they want my family history: I am adopted. When my kid’s doctor wants a family history on his maternal side: I don’t know. I’m adopted. When someone comments on how I look nothing like my little sister: It’s because I’m adopted.
Don’t get me wrong–I love talking about it, I love telling people my story. It’s just my way of life. These simple words have opened up so many different conversations and connections and pathways for me. There has never been a time in my life when I didn’t know I was adopted, that I was chosen.
The first thing I noticed about Susie Lindau’s Wild Ridewas the smile she wore while seated on her mountain bike in a green field with the Colorado Rockies in the distance. She’s got a backpack on, filled with sports equipment. Her eyes squinting into the sun, face half in shadow, her smile says, “I love my life.”
I’m drawn to people like Susie, people who engage with life as full participants in both its joys and its sorrows. In her Wild Ride, you’ll find a potpourri of adventures. . . and a few ghost stories. Here’s just a sample of what I love most. Continue reading “A Blog to Love: Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride”
A few days ago, author and editor Anneli Purchase encouraged me to enter her short story writing contest. I’m delighted to share that my story was one of four winners! Please enjoy this very short (300 word) award-winning–it makes me happy to say that–story. While you’re there, read the other winners, and check out Anneli’s other posts. You’ll be glad you did. Continue reading “My First Award-Winning Short Story”
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”- John F. Kennedy
It’s harder than you would think to talk about yourself for an hour or two. We’ve all been on job interviews, but being asked to tell your personal story, to expose the core of who you are and what you care most about is quite different. The nine individuals in 2016 who’ve embodied the spirit of the You are Awesome blog, inspiring creativity, passion, and adventure in real life, have shown tremendous courage in allowing me to profile them.
They’ve been open and vulnerable, trusting and honest. They aren’t celebrities, but they deserve to be celebrated. Their stories, and other posts over these seven months, have been viewed almost 7,000 times. Friends, family, and strangers feel the magic of their contributions because these nine dared greatly in sharing their lives.
Matthew French, whom you may remember from my very first blog post, recently released his second album, Winding Road. He asked me to listen to it, not because I’m a musician or qualified to critique his music the way a writer for Rolling Stone would, but because he was curious about how it would make me feel.
I think that’s the key to Matt’s music, actually. He’s not writing songs for those people OUT THERE. He’s writing for a few friends, who might be listening to his music sitting cross-legged on the carpet drinking wine from a mismatched set of tumblers someone found at a garage sale. In other words, me. And maybe you. Continue reading “Music Review: M French’s Winding Road”
There are a lot of different terms we use when experience significant changes in our lives: Starting over, Moving on, A new chapter, Begin again, Go back to the drawing board.
However, there is something about these terms that seems amiss. They suggest that all the experiences and interactions that I had before were insignificant. To me, “starting over” says that I just scrapped everything, as if somehow my past experiences didn’t bring me to the place where I stand today. But, that’s not what it really feels like to experience change.Continue reading “Why I Won’t Be Starting Over”
“Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world . . . You see we are like blocks of stone out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men. The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what makes us perfect.“- from the movie Shadowlands
Jayme Sisel ran her first marathon in 2007 and her first half-Ironman that same year. “One was for me, the other one was for my mom. I forget which was which.”
Pushing herself to her physical limit — lungs burning, feet pounding — gets all the bad energy out and lets the good stuff in. Running was Jayme’s solace when her mother lay dying of cancer. Continue reading “What Makes Us Perfect”
Galileo Galilei disrupted the status quo, challenging the beliefs of some of the most powerful people of the day — including more than one Pope. Considering Galileo lived during the time of the inquisition, ticking off the Vatican was kind of a big deal.
Along with pushing scientific boundaries, he developed mathematical instruments to either sell to the military or for uses in engineering. Solving problems and posing theories using observation, data, hard work, communication, rhetorical argument, and grit made Galileo a successful entrepreneur. Running afoul of the prevailing authorities of the day, the Catholic Church, made his story into a cautionary tale for all those who would speak truth to power.
Dipanjan Chatterjee could be the intellectual descendant of Galileo. He and others like him, hired by corporations to be an EiR or Entrepreneur in Residence, must find the courage to speak truth to their “corporate overlords” without losing their heads. They must bring new products and processes into systems fundamentally designed to reject anything that challenges the comfortable stability of the past in order to drive progress. Though the modern day Inquisitor is less likely to wear a robe, and more likely to shop at Brooks Brothers, EiRs face many of the same troubles Galileo did 400 years ago.
For example, Pope Urban VIII initially liked Galileo, supporting his ideas overall while asking him to go easy on the whole “earth revolves around the sun” thing. Unfortunately for Galileo, when his resulting book came out, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, the Pope found reason to be offended, hauling Galileo to Rome to defend himself. Dipanjan, as far as I know, hasn’t been called on the carpet by a religious official, but he continually faces the Sisyphean task of attempting to convince huge corporations to try something new without losing his job or his mind.
Luckily, he’s been preparing for this job all his life.
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”- Abraham Lincoln
Becoming a mother isn’t, in my opinion, a biological or a legal event. It’s a choice made with every action. Mothers build us, piece by piece. The tools they use to build our character differ; no two mothering (or parenting/mentoring) methods are the same. Every mother would express what she wants for her children differently. But underlying all these differences remains a simple fact: Our mothers want the best for us.
Often our biggest fans and sometimes our worst critics, mothers tell us truth even when we don’t want to hear it. They are the masters of the teachable moment. For example, my mother warned me that riding a Big Wheel in my favorite dress wouldn’t turn out well. When I shredded it under my plastic tires, just as she’d predicted, she didn’t scold me. Instead, she talked to me about cause and effect, how our actions have consequences and why. Many other such moments populated my childhood. Here are five gifts my mother gave me: