Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ways I Figured Out People Were Saying I Love You

It's always good to hear I love you, but it's become a way of saying good-bye in the English language. Right before someone hangs up, they say I love you. Before they leave for the day, I love you.

See you later I love you bye.

That's how we English got to good-bye, to begin with. Once upon a time, Good-bye meant I love you. It comes from God be with ye. Now, back then with Shakespeare, it meant God be with Ye, and that meant something -- I mean, God be with ye is a weighty farewell.

Now, it's just, good-bye. And I love you, has become, 'bye. And, while I'm lamenting, farewell meant Fare thee well. May all go well for you. Serious send off, right?

How do we save the I love you of today so it keeps on remaining the L word, the one we pine to hear be said to us, and the one we hope to have people to say it to. 
We can't. It's going to go the way of God be with ye and Fare thee well.
But, the other day, I noticed, that people I know are sneakily letting it slip that they love me. They don't come out and say I LOVE YOU OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU, ALEXANDRA! But I've been reading between the lines. It's taken decades to figure it out but I'm onto it -- I can see all the hidden I love you-s that have been floating over my life.

And it's mind blowing. I used to think that my husband getting on my case about taking in the van for the check engine warning light was just his way of being on my case. BUT then he slipped. “Did you get the check engine warning light checked?”


“Good. You don't want the car blowin' up on ya.”

OH MY GOD, is he saying he doesn't want me to blow up? I think that's I love you.

My teen son takes me for a walk every day, “Like an old pet, mom.” I go along, so I don't get blood clots from blogging. We talk, but you know it's occurred to me. It's LOVE not a walk. He wants me around for as long as he's around. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU ten times around the block with his old pet.

More I love you-s came to me just this week. I went in to Lisa, my hairdresser, with a picture of 1950s kitten with a whip blunt cut Betty Page bangs, I showed them to her, and she shrugged her shoulders. “Cute," she said. "But you know what would look really good on you? Side swept.” Now, you know she could have just pulled out the hedge clippers and given me the bangs in one chop, but she was saying I LOVE YOU, I want you to look like JLo. *love*

When I think back of other possibilities of I love you-s that have been not spoken, the flood gates open. My littlest was with me last Saturday on grocery shopping day, I was desperate for a dress for spring and we took a side trip to Kohl's. He came in with me and waited outside of the dressing room while I promised to be quick. I skipped out in a flirty flared red number. “How about this one, honey?” I asked him. Eyebrows up, he pressed his lips together, and I LOVE YOU poured out of his mouth, “There's better ones in the store, right, that don't show your knees?” Oh right you are, son, there are! I love you I love you I love you! I heard it loud and clear from him.

My friend Carol has an adorable sneaky method of I love you that I just noticed. She tells me without telling me by dropping off one doughnut at my house on her way to work. She knows I won't buy a doughnut because I'll never by one doughnut, I'll buy a nicely lined up dozen, though, so she brings me ONE. I love you I love you I love you. Here's 300 calories and not 600,000 because I love you so much.

Just as the easy-listenin' band Orleans crooned, Let it lift you off the ground. Starry eyes, and love is all around us – just listen to what people aren't saaaaayiiiiiiingggg

I think the most precious I love you that was never said to me came from my mother 20 years ago. We were shopping for wedding dresses, and after I tried on the 17th dress, she leaned back in the dressing room chair, “Just get it. You'll look beautiful to him no matter how bad the dress fits you.”

So much love I have never heard. I am a lucky, lucky woman.
* * *

Monday, April 27, 2015


I have been on the verge of tears about Baltimore. I remember someone telling me years ago, when it feels like too much, turn away. I have that luxury, many don't. Some of us are living in the face of what it all comes down to  -- the color you were born.

My heart is stopping today, the breath in my lungs being pulled out furiously. I want to change everything, and all I can do, is sit with a lump in my throat. Every time I read of people being left to die in the street. Like a dog run over by a car. To even type that, I have to sit back and shake my head not being able to believe the images I have seen.

America is no longer in the dark. Are there more protests? Yes, because finally, the truth is exposed in a medium that can't be denied -- video captures moments that have been hidden for hundreds of years. The world is seeing it all. And we are reacting. No longer secret, secrets that should be shameful, but aren't. The frustration for how our country cannot listen to the people who live here feels like an explosion.

Justice for all. We don't have it. It's not available to the groups and we know which ones. It's our young black men. It's our brown men. It's our men of color who are trying to do what we all try to do: live. And with people making Baltimore about looting and NOT about Freddie Gray's broken spine, being explained as a result of "a rough ride injury"?? We have seen decades of violence, corrupt legal systems, cover ups, and denials. Ridiculous reasons given for racist behavior in a land where we are promised equality. What is happening here? More protesting or finally, truth telling.

People of color are being killed. And the news that gets covered isn't of the 10,000 peacefully protesting, or the 500 clergy assembled to march in solidarity. The story that hits is looting. That's what people pounce on. Do we think there is no reason for protesting? How does anyone expect law and order in the face of INJUSTICE?

Do we say nothing about the good? What do we do then, when all that gets seen is that which paints horror. What do you do SO SOMEONE LISTENS. What do you do when the world you live in DOES NOT CHANGE. You cry out, you say enough, you do what you need to do to get someone to look at you and hear.

Consider, that the life of another, is and always will be different than yours. Believe that, that some cannot do what you do: live anywhere, work anywhere, be treated as you are, be offered the realm of existence as that of being born white.

Why do so many not listen or believe, when we have video, we have photos, we have data, we have statistics, we have documented events of brutality. I begin to ask and then I remember once hearing, that to ask why is to say that if the right explanation is given, than the possibility exists to be accepted.

I won't ask why. Because there is NO reason acceptable. We are equal in biological make up BUT society has made those of color Unequal in opportunity and life.

This is not nature's way. This has come as a mistake, a huge mistake, on man's part. From the beginning, we see what happens when you treat people unequally. This, is the result of that first moment, of treating someone as a lesser.

This, in Baltimore right now, and who is being made to look ugly? Who is being called an animal. Something I again wish I didn't have to type.

Every time I have posted here, or on Facebook, or twitter, about the inequality for people of color in America, I have had to delete comments, read ugly emails to me, and block people on twitter. And I've been unfollowed. For voicing the sentiment I was raised with. We are one. We are humans. We are brown, black, yellow, white, but one. I am not color blind, and I don't say we need to be color blind. We see color.

But to react the way you do with others different from you, is a decision you make. We're not born hating. We are born to see a difference, but when are we taught that our feelings need to be based on color? People are individual. No group can be said to be the same because of an action. People act individually and we need to see people as their own person, and not a collective to be stepped on and battered.

What do you do when you feel like me, that you have no voice. You don't make the mistake of not speaking out. You don't silence yourself when you see injustice. You speak out against it, in any way you can. In the way you raise your children, in the way you use any platform you have. No matter the consequences.

I won't turn off the TV, I won't turn off the radio, I won't keep the newspaper closed. I will learn about Baltimore, and I will learn about any other protest in the face of calling for justice. Our world is in a tragic state. There is violence, grief, pain, loss. There is injustice and our Americans are calling for fairness in their world.

My children saw me crying today. I have talked to them about Freddie Gray. Now, the house is still. I couldn't sleep because of the anguish of not being able to do something. With this post, for the handful that read this, it is my act of doing something.

I believe that is something.

I pray for you, Baltimore. I pray that America listens. And works to start anew.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

13 Epiphanies About a Third Child

1 Your third child will survive without a daily bath.

2 Being a third child builds resiliency, self advocacy, and problem solving like nothing else.

3 The brain of a third child will grow just as well from playing with a sheet of wax paper as the brain of your first child did playing with a $175.00 light and sound board.

4 A fever of 100 degrees on a third child is considered low grade, not an emergency.

5 Ignore the I told you so advice of “one child per set of hands”. We all became outnumbered at one kid.

6 Throw the ideal of love and affection given equally, out the door. You give with your full heart and there's no need to divide it – no matter if one or three little people claim a piece of it

7 Three kids are the greatest excuse to let the dust bunnies multiply. A third child needs some of your time so clean less, and play more.

8 If you fall apart from being pulled in three different directions, send everyone to bed early. You included.

9 When the noise, chaos, and endless tasks begin to erupt like Vesuvius, cool the flames with water: a shower, a bath, a pool, a lake.

10 A third child doesn't know that you're not doting on them. They only know the way you are with them. Which means you're different with baby #1 than you were with baby #2 and with baby #3 – because you've blazed this parenting trail before not just once but twice.

11 Three are not any harder than two, than one was any harder than zero. It's all mind blowing hard.

12 Two to three is not the hugest leap. THE BIG LEAP is from none to one. I almost lost my mind with one baby, then nearly again with the two, and then came *this close* with the third.

13 If once a day, during the craziest part of your day, you zen-transport yourself out of your existence and LOOK at your children all together, you'll see that it's not long before a smile slowly takes down that storm cloud on your face.
If you came to this post because you're wondering about a third child, but you're scared it will be too much - don't let fear be the reason for your decision. It's all hard, because life is hard. No kids, one kid, two kids, three kids – life is work. He who eats, must work, right? So, whether it's one child, or eleven, we're all in over our heads. No matter how many children we have or don't have.

Sometimes, I like to imagine what our blog posts would have been like in biblical times:

Dear Methuselah:
We just found out we're pregnant with twins! I'm 62 and my husband is 114. Though we're over the moon with the news, we'll be going from 76 kids to 78 and I'm scared. What advice can you give me?

Pondering #77 and 78

Dear Pondering Another(s):
If your heart feels it has the room, fill it. I am as old as the trees, (older, actually) and I've seen a thing or two during my one thousand years on this planet. And one of them is that we parents have been doing what we do best since Noah built the ark.

Hanging on and riding the storm out.

You'll do fine.

* * *

Monday, April 20, 2015

You Can Do Anything for Ten Minutes

Scrolling through Facebook today, I came across this entry:
"You should read what these writers in the flash nonfiction class are creating. There's much to be said for completely letting go for ten minutes and putting words on a page."

That was all I needed to start and write --- not only can I do that for ten minutes, I would love to do that for ten minutes. Writing freely but not as SOC -- writing as nonfiction, with the urgency of a stream of consciousness.


I fought the different that I was growing up. I wanted to be like everyone else. I think all small children do. We want to blend in and not be the odd child, because to be accepted and included, you have to be like everyone else.

I was the opposite of everything I needed to be to blend in as a kid. I needed to be prepared and organized, and instead I would find myself in the middle of a morning in a 2nd grade classroom, with the teacher, Mrs. Quill, announcing that it was time for everyone to take out their salt maps.

It was as if I had just woken up from a two month coma. Salt maps? What is a salt map? When I turned around to mouth "What the heck?" to my classmates, I saw their bodies move like robots programmed in unison. Every kid around me reached under their wooden chairs and brought up re-used pizza cardboards that had somehow been made into blue and green maps of the world.

When was this assigned?
How did they all know?
I had perfect attendance and yet I had no idea about this twilight zone episode playing out before me.

I could understand English, I never feel asleep at my desk. I won a blue plastic statue of the Virgin Mary for perfect attendance, for goodness sake.

I continued this state of bewilderment shock and awe throughout my grade school days. I would walk onto the playground in the mornings, waiting for the school day to start. Me in my uniform, and the other children

in shorts (trip to the beach that day)
with  paper bag lunches (trip to amusement park that day)
and sunglasses? (trip to the zoo that day)

My heart would leap out of my chest on every single one of those mornings. School was a constant playing out of The Big Reveal, and me never knowing what the kids knew that I didn't. And why? How?

Why didn't I ever know anything?


That was actually 17 minutes, but it was fantastic escapism.
I hope you give this writing exercise a try.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Funny Thing Is, He Still Looks the Same

Since he was three years old, he's wanted to fly.

He would wait every year for August, when the county carnival would come for five days. We would be at the gates by noon so he could buy the tickets he needed to be a pilot for a day. I would go through a $20 dollar roll and it was enough to ride until dusk since the old rides were a third of the tickets as the modern ones.

I lament - and often. I sing my rendition of "Where did my baby go" and the 85 mph cracking velocity of feeling your children grow up is something that is definable. Loss, dispossession, unhaving. I remember the days of him riding on that airplane carousel, and they seem so far away. That serious look on his face, if it weren't for the picture, I would have forgotten how he never rode the forgotten rides of old bombers with a smile or laughter. He was at work, he was seeing himself one day, there.

In the early days of parenting, on through the rush of childhood, and the dizzying breakneck of high school, we only feel the tasks. We don't have the time to remember, there is an after that.

But once we arrive in a new land, we begin to understand the landscape. We are there, with them, as we always have been, traveling forward. Their goal was growing closer.... we were inching toward it all along but when it's visible, not as a threat looming to take something away from us but more of an entry to a new view. It's our hands we now see, that were the ones on the potter's wheel, witnessing a taking of shape.

Today is my son's first birthday away from home. I sent him helium balloons and money, but, dear baby jeebus it's a long day without him here. I have what feels like a golf ball stuck in my throat from missing him so much. I know today is different for him, I know he's happy, as anyone would be when they finally get to hold their prize.

How is it that our children grow up, when they still look the same.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, my son. I miss you, I love you forever.

 * * *

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crash Course in Motherhood Fashion

I'd take the socks off but I'm not at Phase 5 yet.
I'm always looking for fashion ideas. I could post every day about the smart outfits I see on my favorite fashion blogs DudeMom and Already Pretty but I'm not a fashion blogger, so. But that doesn't stop me from window shopping and daydreaming on their sites.

I could be like them, if I didn't have the shortage of items required, like tops and bottoms. My closet is full but not with what they have. Over here, it's time for a long overdue Goodwill Drop and Run. The kind where the receiving clerk chases me down with, “Hey! We told you last week! We want vintage not 1992!”
My closet is made up of the 5 Phases in my life:

Phase 1. Survival
Phase 2. Slept in it? Woke up dressed in it? Guess I did.

Phase 3. Errands

Phase 4. Surprise! It's Clean Shirt Week!

Phase 5. I think I'll Care Week

Phase 6. Church Day

I am a busy mom of three, and I need what I have. Since you're here, I'm taking a gamble that you're like me, so I am going to share my tips and tricks to help you on your busy mom personal journey. And I promise you, you don't even have to learn how to use belts to accessorize.

Biggest mom fashion game changer I made was to adopt the uniform. For the first five years of my kids' lives I lived in my black cardigan with husband's T shirt underneath. Smart, chic, and no nonsense. I only replaced it because the elbows got shiny. 

Into the second decade of mothering, I learned to work with my budget of $65.00. Full disclosure: it's actually $70.00 but I need to have money left over for a breve latte. 

-Flats need to be the first thing you buy. Faux animal print flats take you across your day of many purposes: from school drop off where you are the fashion envy of the mom minivan queue to the ten items or less check out lane, your cheetah scheme pointy toed self says, Yeah. Feline. I went there.

-Next, get yourself a flowy purple top. Like the kind Pioneer Woman wears. Flowy is key, because hides the flab, hugs the curves. And BONUS: color of royalty! That's what you'll tell yourself all day now that you know this, what do you think Lordes is singing about? So, have at it and plunk down the cash on your next Kmart run.

-Pair the blouse with stretchy pants, call them yoga pants, whatever, we all know, STRETCHY PANTS.

Can you picture me now? I'm killin' it. Purple top, black stretchies, awesome cheetah flats.

Go ahead. Quit wishing and be me. Start out with $65.00, spend $19.99 on the shoes, $23.00 on the blouse, and $14.99 for the stretchy capris. Come home Sexy, Sophisticated and Snazzy with $3.02 bouncing around in your pocket after your Starbucks stop. 

You're not just a mom in a T shirt anymore. Never again look like you just woke up and put something on. Or slept in it.
Even if you just did. (see Phase 2)
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What Does The Great Dane Say

The Great Dane says, It's a Listen To Your Mother book giveaway! Just in time for you for Mother's Day! Click on over to the fabulous  BonBon Break for details, and enter to win a free copy of LTYM's newly released anthology, What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now, featuring 56 wonderful essays all in the celebration of motherhood!

See you there!

BonBon Break.  A space for moms to simplify and connect.   
BonBon Break, an online magazine for modern moms, cuts through the internet chaos to bring you advice and inspiration.  Simplify your life and connect with other moms as you peruse recipes, parenting tips, crafts, humor, and more.
Find answers to everyday questions like –
  • Where do I find the best products for my family?
We highlight exceptional women like you who write about everything from day-to-day events to extraordinary parenting moments. We take pride in showcasing their material in a way that respects and honors bloggers’ individual sites, creative rights, and content.
What questions can we answer for you?  
 * * *

Sunday, April 12, 2015

In Case You Missed It

Something is always going on in the internet. Every day, all day, I shout out from my kitchen chair, "I have to share this!" Thinking I'm going to save the week's highlights for Sundays... these here, are too good to miss:

In Case You Missed It:

There's this huge announcement.

Guess I counted myself out too early, according to this 65 year old mother-to-be.

Gwyneth, ah Gwyneth. You never fail to try.

Think yoga only looks right when you're in perfect form, supple, lean and mean? There is a site dedicated to the real world of yoga possibility. My Real Yoga Body, "We aim to broaden the visual representations of peeps doing yoga. MRYB didn’t feel represented out there in yoga land, and also realized that we weren’t rushing to put our bootylicious, over-25 selves out there either. This page was started as a personal challenge to celebrate all of the Yogis and Yoginis out there. We want to see youngins’, oldins’, slim, zaftig, male, female, strong, getting strong, restorative, accomplished, burgeoning, all different colors and flavors, falling down, flying, levitating, lying on our backs half asleep!"  CHECK THEM OUT.

For online viewing pleasure, the National Women's History Museum Exhibits. Yes, you can read, see, and be fascinated by the immense amount of life changing achievements by women, all online. I'm hooked.
Happy reading!
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Why You Want This Book

1 Once and for all, we can see for ourselves that there is no one way to mother, have a mother, love a mother, be a mother, or be mothered. All of our stories are of how to mother. There are 56 fascinating ways showing us why, in the newly released Listen To Your Mother anthology.

2 If you love to get lost in the beautiful uniqueness of humanity, open up to any page in this gorgeous collection, and find it right here.

3 Mothering is never perfect, not always in style, and seldom right on track. But what it is here, is 56 true stories, the kind that will leave you thinking.
4 Where else can you be surprised by the human experience, just when you think you've heard every story possible. Find 56 extraordinary stories here that show you just that.

5 See how we survive what seems insurmountable, how we triumph what feels overwhelming, and how we celebrate the gift of life that we have.

6 Reading this book will make you realize it's the book you had no idea you needed.

7 Read along as we honor the role of mother, as performed by mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, fathers, uncles, teachers, friends, neighbors, and all who have had a hand in nurturing us.

8 Mothering can be scary, intimidating, humbling, inspiring, and mind blowing. The words here will hold your hand along the way.

9 Watch as the stories here tell of becoming mothers, growing into the role, finding the footing, or missing a step. Cheer the writers on, and recognize your own path on this journey.

10 Do mothers wear heels? Or do their children cringe to see their out of date style? Do some mothers care? Do some children care less? What does a mother look like? And how does their child see them? These stories provide incredible introspective and heartfelt reading into who we are, and how we remember those before us.

For anyone who has ever cared for a child, tended to a parent, wandered away from motherhood, and worked their way back -- this collection is a must have. A complete work of original essays, each one comprehensive, thought provoking, intense and insightful, and passionate in its writing. These essays wrap their arms around what “motherhood” means and expands the concept of mothering to include the striking reality of all experiences. Straight from the heart, don't miss the chance to read the newly released Listen To Your Mother anthology.
I'll be giving away a signed copy on bonbon break Monday, April 13. Follow bonbonbreak on Facebook and twitter for giveaway details.


It is truly a privilege to have an essay of mine included in this one of a kind treasury culled from five years of Listen To YourMother Shows. Thank you, Ann Imig, and all the readers from across the country who have been a part of the movement, Listen To Your Mother: Giving motherhood a

You can find the LTYM book now on sale, at most book stores.
“This collection serves as a significant contribution to literature on and about motherhood because it breaks down the isolation that so often surrounds the topic…. These candid writings feel like a dinner date with a group of smart mothers who share their successes and failures with wit, fear, melancholy, playfulness, and all of the emotions that surround the reality of parenting.” —Library Journal
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Monday, April 6, 2015

If I Just Fell to Earth

If I just fell to Earth, I wouldn't look like a Victoria's Secret Angel.

I would look like this:

My kids are home for spring break, I'm leaving for a trip in, oh... 48 HOURS, so going away isn't possible. Instead, we went 30 minutes away to a mall and window shopped.

You know what's not fun? Walking past windows the size of football fields with blown-up black and white pictures of nearly naked women with just the right amount of nearly where it's sexier than nekkid ever could be, while you have three boys in tow.

I am talking about the impossible to ignore and keep acting like you don't see breasts the size of mini-coopers inches from your face. Victoria's Secret stores – how I wish they would tell me the secret of how you keep on walking with eyes fixed straight ahead, because neither I nor my three children were able to do that.

How do you act like you don't see flawless women in giant bird wings, super hero capes with thigh high neon boots, clam shell rib cage ensembles, and even a little something for those with taste for the Latina: a crowning 5 foot tall toppling peinilla and mantilla. Angels, devils, tramps and thieves; all culminating in which can only be described as left overs from a Rio de Janeiro Samba parade.

All of this for underwear. Something to keep clothing from chafing our sensitive privates.

I have gone into a Victoria's Secret. I was treated like I was an alien who hopped off her spaceship too early in her trajectory.

“Our items are very very expensive. You can't have them.”

“I think I can. I have a coupon. Hang on, let me check. Yes, I think I have a coupon here.”

“Even if you did have a coupon – which you don't, we don't carry bras in the um, “size” of 32A. No size like that exists.”

In other words, do not think we will ever let your little bitties do any sort of advertising for us.

That's fine with me. I don't want barely held together by gossamer threads knitted in a moonlit forest by faeries (versus fairies) who were bred solely for the purpose of producing Victoria's Secret underthings. I know I might as well just wad up the $68.00 for a brassiere and throw it out the window. The truth is, those stardust bands of fabric will get shoved to the back of my dresser drawer to live out the rest of their unworn days.

I must finish thine corset before the first wane of the moon, the gossamer knitting fairies lament. Yes, you do that, but don't hurry on my account because those bras will be banished to The Land of The Forbidden and The Forgotten. It's a very nice effort, one full of hopes, that those items will be used for daily living, but the truth is that women in the real world (those who believe in the cotton crotch, weigh more than 100 pounds and walk on sidewalks in flats not on runways in heels, whilst engaging in the high risk behavior of an acetate panty panel) are not going to pay that much for underwear with seams that will take on the fragility of an overused Kleenex if you sneeze too hard.

We just won't do it.

Not when you can find some perfectly durable, comfortable, no threat to your circulation nor of a yeast infection, 50-to-a pack Hanes Her Way at Costco.

Look, I know that Victoria's Secret Models are the most beautiful in the world. They have figures that aren't found pushing a shopping cart full of Hamburger Helper and Lunchables at MegaMart. That exact same gorgeous 3-inch wide band of lingerie on a Victoria's Secret model will not look that same way on me. It will not look the same way on me and I will be sorry because I will be wedgie undoing all day long. And I will be disappointed. And I will regret ever thinking the possibility existed I could wear something light and flitty. And then I'll have to sit down and eat a dozen 100 calories at a pop Weight Watcher fudgesicles while watching Bridget Jones' Diary.

Victoria's Secret Models are really, really different from you and me. Stare at something pretty for too long, like them, and the mind begins to do funny things. Like tricking ourselves into thinking, Yeah, you know, if I double up on the hot yoga and the spin classes, and only stare at the sun for nutrition, I could do it...

No, no we can't. The only thing we can do is the clam shell rib cage. It looks ample and accommodating.
So, leave the underwear made out of one thousand butterfly wings to the professionals. Besides, Hanes has animal prints out this year! And if I'm not mistaken, they come five to a pack.
With a double stitched reinforced all cotton crotch!!
* * *

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Chocolate Bunnies or The Way of The Cross

I don't share my writing on Huffington Post here, because there is an insane audience reach on their site. But today, I have a post up about celebrating Easter as a child.

Writing of that time brought me back to a sweet place, one where things felt possible. Where an action on my part, convinced me that I was able to share in the load of another. That has stayed with me always.

The post is here, and if you click and read it, I hope you remember, that we do help one another... and that a small action, done in true love, translates into something grand.

To those who celebrate, Happy Easter!

 * * *

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Traditions? We Have One

Some traditions are handed down, some we fall into as our lives assemble. For us on the night before Easter, it's the Saturday night vigil of watching Jesus Christ Superstar. We've been watching together since our children were born. It's important to us, and it's come to mean Easter.

Our reasons, shared here.

I hope you have the chance to revisit this classic with your family. It'll leave you breathless and you'll feel every mood, every doubt, every commitment.

Happy Passover and Blessed Easter, everyone!

* * *

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Keep the Ends Loose


"Warm, funny, and uniquely perceptive, KEEP THE ENDS LOOSE is an irresistible novel filled with characters you might recognize – and will not forget."

This describes Keep The Ends Loose, the debut novel by Molly D. Campbell, perfectly. Charming and wonderfully endearing, you will feel at home with the characters whom Molly magically brings to life.

Molly has a writing style that is clear as the morning sun, and she creates characters that are anything but flawless. We open the book to meet Mandy, 15 years old, and not quite ready to take on the world. She doesn't want to - she likes her life the way it is: predictable and without any bumps in the road. But the summer before high school begins, all of that changes. Life throws some big surprises right in the middle of her family's lap.

We think we know the people we live with. Sometimes, we get the shock of our lives when we find out, we don't. But don't lose heart, Mandy sees just how far she'll go to keep her family intact. Along the way, she grows up, and it suits her.

Molly Campbell's Keep the Ends Loose left me smitten. I fell in love instantly with Mandy, and watching her lose almost everything over one summer, had me turning each page to see things through with her. 

Keep the Ends Loose is a story of hope, told with bright and sparkling humor. My heart grew two sizes as I witnessed Mandy come to see and accept her mother as human and not the perfect woman she had imagined her to be. Perhaps, she loves her mother even more intensely now. Together with her older brother, Adam, Mandy battles to come to a place of accepting her mother Winnie as someone who has made mistakes. 

This is a beautiful story, at times it yanked my heart out, as I sat along with Mandy as she processed the events of the summer. I know it's not easy to see our parents fail us, and the loyalty and devotion of child to parent in the pursuit of gaining family and togetherness once again, brought me close to tears.

Keep the Ends Loose is warm, funny, and satisfying. Life is complicated, and secrets simmer under every life's surface. Some of us grow weary of the heaviness of our past on our own, and that's when family is there to pull the seams together. Love and trust, none of it is ever effortless. Molly Campbell captures that universal element perfectly in Keep the Ends Loose. A compelling read, I had to stay up to finish it. Molly is a master storyteller.

A strong 5 stars.

I loved this book so much, I am thrilled I'm able to give a copy away! Please leave a comment below for a chance to win!

Molly D. Campbell is the winner of two Erma Bombeck writing awards. A long-time blogger and lover of quirky characters, she wrote her first book, Characters in Search of a Novel, with illustrator Randy Palmer. Molly lives in Dayton, Ohio, with her accordionist husband and five cats.

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Other Places You Can Find Me This Week:

Huffington Post
MetroParent Milwaukee
Purple Clover


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