Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Last Story

The first book I read to our son was a thick paged cardboard series made up of common images: dog, cat, ball, apple. It was white against black, and he loved it. The starkness against the shiny pitch, it kept his gaze. We first shared it on the night he was born. I kept on reading him to him, and then when his two brothers came along, I read to all three of them together. Every night of their lives since I first held them.

Some of our books were finished over a month, reading a chapter a night. The Boxcar Kids were a big hit. The one that really tried our patience but I was determined to get through it, was the Wizard of Oz. You'd be surprised just how different the book is from the Judy Garland movie we've all seen.

I always read to my kids, they'd cushion themselves around me, one would wrap himself around the top of my head, and we'd read a book before they'd go to bed.

It was an easy way to get them to fall asleep without a fight.

The stories we read were what made up our nights: a snack, a warm bath, pajamas, tooth brushing, and then under the blankets, pillows piled up and around, and headed for a good night story.

Then one night my 7th grade son went to bed. He went upstairs, shouted down to us that he was going to sleep.

"Sleep good, baby," I shouted back to him, thinking he was just that tired out. The next few nights, he did the same. I wasn't sure whether to ask him about it or not, so I didn't.

I was down to two around me for a story, but then the middle guy started to feel out of place without the older guy around, so he started going up to bed without a story, too.

That left me with our youngest.

"Hey," I asked him when he was leaning in under my arm one night at bedtime. "How do you feel about keeping on reading our stories, without your brothers?"

"I like it, mom. I was kind of feeling they were too old too. But I never said anything. But I don't understand how they can give up the stories just like that. You're such a good story reader to us."

"Do you think I should ask them why, honey?" I really wanted to know.

"No. They'll feel guilty. When it's your mom, you always feel like she'll cry about it."

"Yeah, you're right." I laughed at that part, because the truth is funny. I would probably cry if I asked them.

The older ones knew when it was time to be done with that part of our life together, the youngest one knew just where he still wanted to be.

Right now, I'm ready to read my nightly book. I don't read to any of them anymore. I'm here, under a blanket with a pillow behind me. And wishing I would have known that the last time I read to all of them, that I would have known, it was the last time.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

On LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER MILWAUKEE and The National Grand Finale Season

I have always loved words, the stories they tell and the emotions they evoke. Writers have long been on the top of my list of life wizards—those who do what the rest of us cannot.

Only writers write, I’d think. And then I’d wish that I could do what they do.

Seven years ago, I learned that the start to anything that you want is to turn your face in that direction.

In 2011, I auditioned for the LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show in Madison, Wisconsin. I had never tried out for a cast before. I had never read my writing out loud before, and I had never imagined myself as someone up at a podium, behind a microphone.

But when I learned of Listen To Your Mother shows, I felt a pull. I knew that public speaking wasn’t something I did, and that to think of myself as being part of a show was the most outrageous endeavor I had ever put my mind to, but I didn’t know how not to try. My reaction was a lovesick yearning to tell my story. I drove the two hours to audition, with a printed copy of my story in the passenger seat next to me. I had taken my lifelong dream and set my face in its direction.

I did audition, and my story was chosen as one to be read on stage that year. What I didn’t know then is that on show day, while on the stage reading my words, that there would be a whisper behind the voice that the audience heard. I would be the only one hearing it in the undercurrent as I spoke, I am a writer I am a writer I am a writer.

As I drove home that night after the show, I smiled like a goose at my reflection in the window. I felt ridiculous, heady, but I finally said the words I had wished were mine my entire life: I am a writer.
I don’t talk about that day much, about my time on stage during the 2011 Madison show, but I write about it in my personal journals. I remind myself how it was that first step in belief of what I could offer that changed my life. Today, I can only say that I can’t imagine anything that has happened since without LTYM behind it.

This 2017 LTYM season will be our Grand Finale LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show for Milwaukee. When I think of this being our final show in our city, my throat tightens. Emotion overwhelms me and I grow grateful all over again for all that LTYM has brought into my life. The stories I’ve heard, the women I’ve met, the relationships I’ve seen form between our cast members.

In 2011, I had planted a seed when I auditioned, even though I had never auditioned before. In 2013, when I applied to produce LTYM in Milwaukee, I planted a second seed, even though I had never produced a show before. I look at my journal and see empty pages up ahead. I can go back and add to them as I see events unfold in my life, and I will go forward and complete these pages with the new opportunities that I have learned to recognize. My words since my first show with LTYM have grown, and I have along with them.

Before LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, I used to wait, watch, be patient, for everything to feel right, align, for opportunity to present itself. What I learned seven years ago with that first LTYM show, is that we are the opportunity.

We are the chance we’ve been waiting for.

Though this is Milwaukee’s last LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER SHOW, I know this is not the last of the stories that our past casts have told, nor that our 2017 show cast will tell.

We will keep writing our stories, we will find chances to share them and we will remember that it is in us where we find the key to unlock all the fierce and unforgettable moments that we have yet to share.

To our past LTYM casts and final 2017 cast: promise to return again and again to yourself and to drink in what you will absolutely continue to find. Plant your seeds and grow your vines, live in wonder of you and the moments in your life.

As LTYM producers and directors, we thank you. We have been privileged, humbled, and honored to have had a part in bringing your stories to our community. Thank you for your gift of time, and self.

**For tickets to see our final Listen To Your Mother Show Sunday May 7 in Milwaukee, please visit

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


We've got an incredible show set for our Milwaukee audience on Sunday, May 7, 3pm at Alverno College Wehr Hall.

This will be LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Milwaukee's final show and the stories you'll be hearing will be community building and heart soaring.

Come see for yourselves.

Click over to meet our fantastic LTYM Milwaukee 2017 cast!

**Tickets available online and at the door on the day of the show. Details Here.
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Complete video here

Today I had the opportunity to talk about LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER MILWAUKEE on Milwaukee's favorite morning show, The Morning Blend. Morning Blend has supported our LTYM shows since we first came to Milwaukee five years ago.
2017 marks our fifth season, as well as our final LTYM show for Milwaukee. We are overcome with gratitude and full hearts over what our city has shown us in support and love for sharing our lives through our stories.
Our show is Sunday, May 7, 3pm at Alverno College's Wehr Hall. Tickets are available online and at the door the day of the show.

We hope you don't miss this final chance to see LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.
Bring those you love, or come alone: whichever way you arrive, you'll leave feeling part of something greater, that of community. One that is knit together through knowing about each other.
When we share our stories, something powerful happens: and you feel it from the your heart.
Come to our LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show on Sunday, May 7, and see what we mean.

**Ticket info. HERE

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Raising Award Winning Boys

Well, at least receiving an award for writing about raising boys.

You know, I believe that we're all moving on our parenting decisions with love, prayer, and fingers crossed that we are doing right by our children. I write about this a lot, and I always hope hope hope that I never sound like a know it all.

I've been at this parenting gig for 21 years now, two decades of experience spread across three children. To have my writing and heartfelt purpose of wanting to build community in what can be seasons of doubt that we are raising our children with what they need to find themselves in their own lives, is an honor I deeply appreciate.

Thank you, Parenting Media Association for recognizing my series on Metroparent, "Raising Boys", with a national silver award.

You'll keep me going at what is the greatest gift I've ever experienced: being the mother to my children.

"Parenting Media Association recognized your amazing work on your Raising Boys article last year with a silver award at their annual awards banquet. "
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