Be the YELLOW

“Be someone’s Yellow Joy”

Several years ago, I ran across an early childhood teacher’s personal social movement to spread kindness, a tribute to his colleague Honor who lost her battle with cancer. While I didn’t know Honor, her story resonnated with me. Even though she faced her own mortality, she leaned into the experience and continued to speak her truth. Her colleague reflected on the larger than life, happy woman who taught the youngest of children. Honor always wore yellow and her classroom was filled with yellow. She taught her kindergarteners to spread kindness – to be someone’s yellow.

Since then, I have used her story, my own story, the story of my daughter to remind others to pay it forward – to brighten someone’s day – to fill the world with kindness and love. It’s why I leave cookies and notes on people’s desks or in their mailboxes. It’s why I have coffee or lunch with students who need someone to listen. It’s why, in the pre-pandemic days, students would stop by my office, sometimes just to sit on my floor to do homework. It’s why I show up in the middle of the night if someone needs me.

Spreading kindness, I guess, really is my WHY. Leaving the world a better place by caring for others gives my life purpose, and for this Sagittarus, having a purpose in life is incredibly important.

On occasion, I have been the benefactor of being someone’s yellow: when a dear friend from the Progressive Education Network lost his battle with stage 4 lung cancer, two of the young women I mentored on the Manchester University softball team delivered a huge bouqet of yellow daisies (my very favorite flower); when my daughter Elizabeth’s diagnosis of brain cancer rocked my world, several of my former students, now mothers themselves, sent me a box filled with yellow gifts; and the day after my daughter died, which happened to be her 29th birthday, another former softball player delivered a huge yellow gift bag filled with, you guessed it, everything yellow she could find.

Being someone’s yellow matters. It doesn’t make the difficult situation or heartache disappear, but it offers hope. It reminds the receiver of humanity – of connection – of the reality that someone cares – that they are not alone. Even random acts of yellow are not lost; the unsuspecting stranger feels a rush of warmth and cannot help but smile. Yellow holds great importance – it brings sunshine into the world and brightens the space.

A week after my daughter died, one of the Manchester University women’s basketball players texted me, “Come outside. We have your yellow.” Honestly, seeing a group of cheerful young women and faking happiness for whatever they were about to give me required a strength I didn’t know existed. Before they arrived, I had been lying on the couch devastated by my loss, wishing the floor would open and swallow me in entirety. However, my desire to please and not disappoint pulled me off the couch, and I found myself slipping on my shoes and walking outside into the dark winter evening.

What I didn’t anticipate, though, was the incredibly sweet, fluffy ball of a golden retriever with which they were about to surprise me. As one of the players said, “Dr. Coach, we brought you your own yellow,” or something like that, a player stepped forward with a nine-week-old puppy stuffed inside her team jacket. After a few seconds of processing the situation, I took the puppy into my arms, and she felt at home. It is the first, most tangible moment of understanding how a grieving parent can hold immense saddness and complete joy in the same tender space – a lesson I have experienced several times since that moment.

Her name is Yellow Joy, and the months that have unfolded since that sad-happy day have been filled with potty training and behavior management of a puppy – although most days feel more like management of the human in a house with three large dogs. At first, I couldn’t fathom caring for myself let alone a vulnerable puppy, and I doubted whether I could actually do it. I quickly learned, though, the power of distraction and the cure for a fractured heart in puppy snuggles and sloppy kissses. And I been surprised at the sound of my own belly laugh as Yellow charged out of the bathroom – ears flopping – eyes wild – rolling across the floor as the towel she was dragging behind her tripped her up.

I wouldn’t trade this surpise gift for anything – she represents love – she embodies connection – she fills the house with silliness and curiosity – she truly is my YELLOW. And she serves as a reminder that acts of kindness – no matter how big or how small – really do make the world a better place.

#MakeRoomForJoy

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I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #SOSMagic

The Healing Power of Water

“The fall of dripping water wears away the stone” – Lucretius

Before the global pandemic held the world hostage, I found solace in the water; swimming at the community pool early in the morning.  At the time, I found myself seeking different ways to be healthy, and my daughter, a competitive swimmer most of her childhood and adolescence, encouraged me to take up swimming.   In fact, she even accompanied me on my first toe-dip, helping me break the fear of walking into a foreign space for the first time. 

With her encouragement, and the quick results I experienced, I consistently found myself arriving as the pool opened at sunrise.  When I left the healing touch of the water, I breathed better – my day stretched out ahead of me – my mind was clear – and I was centered. 

The cool touch of the water offered me silence, delivering me as close to meditation as I had ever reached. Elizabeth would often call me when I returned from my daily swim. “Didn’t I tell you you would love the water? You can do it, Mom.”

As I swam, often playing around with different strokes I learned as a child, I would repeat the Serenity prayer – over and over.  “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,” I would hear my mind whisper.  Eventually, the prayer paced my freestyle or backstroke:

Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.

Heading into the fall of 2019, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally the healthiest I have ever been in my life.  I dared to let myself think life could be “normal,” and that I could find balance. However, without warning, the universe, with its cruel desire for ubiquitous humility, shifted my reality with my daughter’s diagnosis of stage four brain cancer – a shocking reality after living with a different, stage-two brain tumor. And then, as if a glioblastoma was not enough, close on the heels of her diagnosis, Covid-19 froze our communities. 

When Elizabeth’s first brain tumor was discovered during her junior year in college, I began an intense health journey. I wanted to be present, available, and physically capable of caring for Elizabeth should she need me, not fully realizing that day would come too soon. The weight loss I achieved through healthy eating and exercise equaled a small woman, but the growth of my understanding of who I am was immeasurable.  My health journey at the time, however, occurred for Elizabeth – not for myself.

With the new diagnosis, I knew one did not beat stage four cancer. One must learn to live with it for as long and as fully as possible. As her health declined, and I threw myself into her care, I took less care of myself, skipping my four mile walks or workouts. Inadvertently, I also paid less attention to the quality of food on my plate. 

My daily ritual of swimming came to a screeching hault for nearly two years. I lost myself in caring for my child, and more recently, I have struggled to find my footing since Elizabeth;s December death.  As someone who quickly adjusts and lands on her feet – pushes past emotion – prides herself in resiliency, this part of my journey has paralyzed me.  I have experienced loss before, but losing my daughter shattered my heart in indescribable ways, and I have felt lost – disoriented – adrift.

In the last few weeks, I have felt Elizabeth’s gentle nudges to find my way back to myself, and I have found myself back in the water.  Her voice comes in remembered converations urging me to care for others like her – to offer them comfort and hope – to teach them to live while dying. I have heeded to her pull – to the energy of the water, and I have found myself walking into the quiet community pool anxious, and yet eager.

Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.  Serenity – courage – wisdom.

My grief is the heaviest stone I have ever carried with me.  I carry it in my shoulders and my hips.  I carry it in my tears.  I carry it in feelings of disconnect.  Yet, the water will help me piece my heart back together.  It will gently chip away at the weight of anguish – of sorrow.  In the water, I hear my breath.  I feel my muscles lengthen. I am present, and I hear my daughter whisper, “You can do it, Mom. You can do it.”

To See the Face of God

The following post is a modified version of the “remembrance” I offered at my daughter’s celebration of life on January 30, 2022. Elizabeth Anne died on December 21, 2021, just hours shy of her 29th birthday.

“Take my love/For love is everlasting /And remember the truth that once was spoken/To love another person/Is to see the face of God.”

When my daughter, Elizabeth, was a preschooler, I took her for the first time to see the musical Les Miserables – and these beautiful lines tie the entire theatrical piece together as all of the actors merge on stage in the finale.  The line “to love another person is to see the face of God” hangs in the air as the full chorus joins.

For those who have not had the joy of experiencing this three-hour musical, the storyline is based on the 19th century novel by Victor Hugo.  It is a story of redemption – of love, not just between partners, but the deep love between parent and child and the love that connects humanity – of revolution – of kindness – of second chances – of untimely death – death before life even really begins.

Despite being precocious, I’m pretty sure my 5-year-old didn’t grasp the full message of the musical, and yet, the lessons were not wasted on her.  Time and again, Elizabeth waged her own revolution – a revolution of kindness and action.  She believed in the inherent good of all people, and she believed that collectively we are called to make this world a better place.  Les Miserables created a space for my daughter to realize how deeply intertwined all of our lives are.

It is no surprise, then, that after being diagnosed with a brain tumor her junior year in college, Elizabeth wanted to control the narrative – to use her story to teach others to live – to help others realize their own interconnectivity to others.  As her mother, I marveled at her inherent ability to bring people together – to inspire them to live their best lives – to control their own actions and reactions to events over which they have no control.

For the last 8 years, Elizabeth was determined to NOT be defined by her brain tumor.  It was early – perhaps days after her seizure in Denmark – that she adopted the mantra, “She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.”  In fact, she used the tag line “Adjust Your Sails” to center her own story, and to teach the rest of us that we are not defined by the circumstances of life – that we choose our responses – our actions – our words.

To say that her journey was an easy one or one that wasn’t filled with fear, sadness, or even anger, would not be honest.  Elizabeth – like all of us – had anxiety about the future.  In 2019, when we believed she was simply going to have a second brain surgery, the neurologist’s news that she had an inoperable second tumor as well as an invasive cancer of her spinal fluid took her breath away.

And yet – even in the midst of facing stage four brain cancer – she looked for ways to use her journey to teach the rest of us how to truly live – how to pay attention to the tiny details of life – you know, the ones we often miss or take for granted:  the snuggles or kisses from a doting dog, the joy of music, the gift of ice cream, the bear hug from a friend, the soft touch of a hand on the shoulder, or the beauty of flowers.  She taught us not to get hung up in the things over which we have no control and to understand that at the end of the day, love is really the only thing that matters.

Over the past two years, Elizabeth and I had the gift of spending a lot of time together.  We talked about her hopes and dreams that would never transpire.  We talked about all she had accomplished as a young person, and we talked about the legacy she was leaving through her passion for raising funds for brain tumor research.  After all, not many people facing their own mortality weave hundreds of hot pads to raise thousands of dollars.  We talked about how the lessons of her life and the Adjust Your Sails mantra were reaching people she would never know.

And we talked about the moment when family and friends would gather to celebrate her life – the moment when I could share what she wants the world to know:  to remember that we have one shot at every day and those days are limited; to spend time on relationships that matter; to let go those situations or relationships that don’t bring us joy; to see the good in the world; to be the good through our actions and our words; and to love deeply.  After all, “to love another person is to see the face of God,” and because loved and have been loved by Elizabeth, I have seen the face of God.

Elizabeth Anne filled this world with light and love

A Kiss from the Universe

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart

Making room for joy in Times Square

The smallest things in life truly turn out to be the most meaningful. This fall, I traveled to New York City with my two adult children and their significant others. It was my first trip to the Big Apple, and it came with much anticipation. For months, Elizabeth, my 28-year-old daughter, had sent me screen captures of advertisements highlighting the reopening of Broadway. In particular, she wanted to see her favorite musical Chicago.

Like many, the pandemic made us long for the freedom to travel. However, the fact that Elizabeth was so focused on getting to New York was different than the rest of us who simply have cabin fever. Since the fall of 2019, Elizabeth has been battling a glioblastoma, terminal stage four brain cancer. I knew this could very well be her last opportunity to travel, and I envisioned a weekend of memory-making family time with people who have my heart.

With careful planning, and the help of others, our Broadway trip was a magical, and I am not sure what would have made it more perfect. It was the first time in two years that I heard my child laugh as much as she did during our adventure. And her smiles lit up our spaces. My son, Lucas, took care of his big sister in such a tender way, all of their childhood squabbles melted away. Watching the two of them together simply took my breath away with the gift of love, and I experienced one of the most tender moments of motherhood.

Our trip concluded with the much anticipated Sunday evening performance of Chicago. Our seats were delightful, and with great anticipation, our tightknit group watched Elizabeth’s reaction as the actors filled the Ambassador theater with elictricity of jazz. As we left the theater, floating in the ambiance of the evening, we spilled onto the sidewalk just as the actors were leaving the side door of the theater.

In a split second, the actor who plays the lead Velma, Bianca Morroquin, crossed in front of us. I shouted, “Elizabeth, look,” and her brother turned her wheelchair so she see Bianca getting into the waiting car. As Elizabeth waved excitedly, Bianca smiled broadly, winked and blew Elizabeth a kiss.

This tiny, insignificant gesture, however, wrapped the weekend with a sentimental gift. As the five of us stood on the sidewalk, we were held in the warmth of the universe as it tenderheartedly pulled us close and kissed our cheeks. And in that moment, we knew that regardless of where this journey of loving someone with cancer takes us, it is going to be okay.

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

Adjusting Our Sails

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .” Epictetus

Somewhere along the journey of life, I adopted the philosophy of the Stoics – understand what I can control and what I cannot control in this world. Perhaps, in childhood naivete, I simpily felt happier when I focused on the moment, choosing to respond to life by redirecting myself to experience moments of joy. As an adult, I have spent the last several years intentionally thinking about who I am, the events in my life (catastrophic and insignificant) that have led me to this point – in this space – in this moment.

Like so many others across this planet, I am drawn to the philosophy of the Stoics – a philosophy nearly 2,000 years old – because it acknowledges suffering, heartache, and pain; it also offers concrete ways to lean into living – to be present in the moment. Those of us who practice this philosophy rely on its four virtues: courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom. After all, have we “found anything better than being brave, than moderation and sobriety, than doing what is right, than truth and understanding?” (“What is Stoicism?)

As I have written before, this is not an easy mindset to adopt, but I believe it is an important one for it develops resiliency, positivity, and authenticsim. It allows us to face the reality of life in the scariest of moments, and it forces us to understand that we can only control our responses to situations and to others.

For example, when neither of my parents showed up at my senior band concert to for the recognition ceremony, I turned to my sister in the flute section, hugged her, and gifted her the rose the band director had handed me. In the moment, I couldn’t understand why my best friends and their families were emotional- many feeling sorry for me. In that moment, subconciously, I chose not to focus on what appeared to be a traumatic experience to others. Instead, I turned to someone I love dearly – someone I have protected and encouraged her entire life.

I share the senior band moment, because it reflects a mindset many of us hold but don’t fully understand until our feet have kissed the earth for many years – until we gain wisdom. Life has been filled with those moments, and I am realizing that I have nurtured in my own children and others I mentor. When life doesn’t pan out like we had hoped or we are in the moment of crisis, we can “adjust our sails.” When we realize that we can only control our emotions – our words – our actions, we can face whatever challenges we experience. We can get one step closer to authentic living.

Living Life in “Next Play Speed”

Graham Betchart’s work with athletes applies to life – all of our lives

Living present – feet firmly planted in the moment – has become my life’s philosophy – my daily mission. This mantra, though, wiggled its way into my life as the whispers to live a more authentic life turned into rather obnoxious clamours! It took the worst year of my life to force me to listen and to understand the importance of mindfulness, living focused on what is happening in the moment, and loving the life I am living.

I arrived at this point out of necessity when I realized I was alive without really living. The stresses of my life were killing me, especially when I considered the way I medicated myself with food. Because I am a naturally bubbly, gregarious person, to others, I seemed to have a great life, and for the most part, I did. I was raising two amazing children who are the center of my universe, I have incredible friendships that sustain me, and I have been called to teach (a gift in itself).

What I didn’t realize, though, was that unresolved life trauma was impacting my habits – not facing them posed barriers to truly being alive. Like so many of us, I was letting life happen. And then, 2014, the worst year of my life, shoved me so violently, I realized I had to make major changes. The year began with the diagnosis of my 21-year-old daughter’s brain tumor and ended with difficult emotional trauma at work. By the end of 2014, when I went to my annual physical, I was the heaviest I had ever been, I was depressed, and I felt like the world was about to collapse on me.

I had two choices: continue on the same path or take intentional control of my life. I chose the latter.

Shifting to living in the moment – the next play speed – required me to make several key changes. First of all, I had to understand how the trauma of my childhood impacted my adult relationships and my coping mechanisms. This occurred through counseling, reading important texts by others navigating life intentionally, and journaling. I am also fortunate to have a few friends in what Brene Brown calls a square squad – the few people in my life who hold me accountable and are honest with me about my thoughts and actions.

Second, I realized only I could take back my health. I joined a weight loss program and focused on my diet and exercise. Focusing on my mental and physical health changed the game for me. The more I realized I could control my food intake and the amount of exerecise I expended, the more I realized I could also redirect my thoughts. I began to hold on less to the past and worry less about the future; I began to lead a more authentic life.

In sports, atheletes who develop the next play speed let mistakes go immediately, and they certainly don’t worry about mistakes they might make in the future. Instead, they live second by second focused on the game so intensely they can change their direction on the playing field in less than a second. They are fully present in the moment. Obviously, the future does require attention in terms of planning for our security and happiness, and learning from our past mistakes also informs our now; however, they do not have to dominate our thinking.

I have also realized that I am a work in progress, and the best I can do is live the most authentic, present life I can. For those who hope to live a more mindful, authentic life, start today. Spend 5 minutes focusing on what is happening around you – the sounds – the people – the breeze – the smiles – the purr of the cat. The more we practice these little moments of truly paying attention, they become habit. They allow us to live in the next play speed.

#MakeRoomForJoy

The Morning Walk

A silhouette defines my space on the verdant soybeans,

A tender crop moving gently at the hand of the too still breeze.

She tugs at my wrist, whispering loudly,

Look. Pay attention. 

Do you see?

I walk alone beside generations of seeking sojourners.

The perfume of the humid soil tickles my nose,

Unnamed birds offer their friendly chatter, and

The rhythmic cadence of insects propose an accompaniment

As nature sings me its anthem.

This hymn, this spiritual manifesto for love and life,

Offers a deep melodic thread to the earth – to understanding

A path generations of feet have traveled  

Listen – look – the answers are here.

Lessons from My Son

DePauw University – 2019 Graduate

“Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Raising children offers adults a humbling opportunity to learn important life lessons, and my own journey as a mother frequently feels like a crash course in surprises. The best gifts, though, are the moments that have taken away my breath as I have watched my son step into adulthood. A simple blog post cannot honestly caputre the complexity and layers of the lessons I’ve learned from raising an independent, passionate, intelligent, empathetic, articulate man, but, collectively, a theme or pattern has emerged.

Finishing my third decade of teaching, my philosophy of teaching – of living, actually – has been deeply informed by watching my children experience life. The more immediate implication of sharing this journey with my son comes in understanding that adults cannot underestimate the power of children and young adults. And this unfolding epiphany influences the way I mentor and work with college students and has centered my professional work around progressive education. Lucas forever changed who I am as a mother, a woman, a colleague, an educator.

As a child, my second born exhibited the same strength and independence his older sister did, and yet, Lucas was and still is so incredibly different. His innate curiosity in how things work and his willingness to make mistakes enamored me and often caught me off guard. One summer afternoon, as I walked passed his bedroom, I found my five-year-old son with his door knob completely dismantled from the door and spread out on his floor. When I asked him what he was doing, he glanced up and said non-chalantly, “I wanted to see how it works.” How can a mother argue with that?

However, Lucas’ gregarious personality – desire for fun – his carefree spirit distracted me from thinking about the depth of his passions and interests. I marveled at how effortlessly he made earning good grades and performing well as an athlete at our small rural school, but I worried that he was not developing a solid work ethic. Honestly, I thought I was an expert at adolescents; after all, my entire teaching career has been working alongside young adults at the secondary or post-secondary levels. And I have never been more wrong.

Lucas chose to attend a university with a reputation for excellent academics, alumni involvement, active social life with the majority of students in Greek life, and quite a bit of swagger. In retrospect, I wonder why I questioned my son’s ability to do well in that environment. Perhaps Lucas’ own teachers’ opinions had swayed me from recognizing his drive – his desires – his goals. For thirteen yeasr, every teacher conference would include statements like “Your son has so much potential, but he likes to talk or he is distracted” or “He has natural talent, but he doesn’t like the rules.”

Each semester, as Lucas earned impressive grades, made the dean’s list, and made his way through his studies in computer science and economics, I realized that our schools had failed to meet Lucas’ needs. They had tried to fit my free-thinking, inquisitive, risk-taking child into their rows of desks and worksheets. He had played the game of school well enough to graduate at the top of his class, but his intellect and inquisitive nature had not been fed. He had not been allowed to investigate big questions that perhaps have no answer. He had not had the opportunity to explore how things work or why humans respond the way they do to others.

The greatest lesson I have learned in the school of parenthood has seriously altered the way I think about teaching and about preparing the next generation of teachers. Lucas taught me that the best thing we can do for children and young adults is foster their sense of curiosity. As adults, we have to listen to them – to empower them – to give them the opportunities to struggle, fail, and try again – to get out of their way.

Do Over

In childhood, friends on the opposing kickball team would shout “do over” as they scrambled to recover from a a bad pitch or an error while fielding the large rubber ball. Even when my own children were growing up, I sometimes invoked a “do over.” This phrase came to mean Mom needed a time out – a chance to regroup – to apologize – to set things right in a moment of losing her cool. These do overs eventually became two-way streets, with my kids being able to ask for them as well following a meltdown.

Do-overs worked for me and my children because they were saved for special occasions. They were not overused. In a way, they allowed us to say we were sorry and to make amends for what had just taken place – usually a hurtful statement or some yelling.

The longer my feet kiss this earth, I realize asking for a do over wasn’t the best thing I could have taught my children. After all, when in life do we really get a do over? We cannot make up for the past – even the most recent of events. And yet, they have allowed us to restart and regroup.

Over the last 15 months, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on life – thinking carefully about choices I made – words I spent – people with whom I have pulled close – people I have let go – words I hope I get to say – adventures I get to take – people I get to meet – feelings I plan on experiencing. The opportunity to do over is not full proof, but perhaps it does us a chance to acknowledge our feelings.

Since December 2019, my daughter’s brain cancer has made her journey quite turbulent. Watching my child settle into facing her own mortality, helping her navigate the unknown moements that await her, living life as fully present as we can despite the sadness we feel has gifted me in so many ways. Would I trade it all in a heartbeat? Without a doubt, I would give her cancer back to the universe, but I know that is not possible. Instead, Elizabeth and I work together every day, whether we are physically together or we are connected by FaceTime, to stand in the light of the moment. Cancer doesn’t give us a chance to call “do over!”

What I can do, however, is enjoy each day the sun rises. I can be present when Elizabeth FaceTimes me. I can listen to the growing sound of the birds returning to the blossoming trees. I can listen carefully when my son he calls to chat. I can giggle at the snoring of my black lab sitting next to me. With the opportunity to stay present, I won’t need do-overs.

Taking up space

“Where do you take space for writing?” begged the writing prompt. I had promised myself at the beginning of the month to journal more. I even paid for the advanced version of an online journal, thinking if I could type my journal entries, I might dedicate time to processing my thoughts. I really should know myself better by this point in my life; I do not always do what I know is important.

This morning, I actually opened the journal on my laptop, but then emails distracted me. Before I knew it, an hour had slipped by, and I had answered emails and moved onto reviewing teaching applicants in preparation for a meeting this morning. My journaling intentions had dissipated as quickly as my first cup of coffee.

When this week’s online writing community’s invitation popped up in my email, however, it gave me pause. Where do I take space for writing? Writing often occurs in my head, and the best pieces of my craft emerge when I am on my daily four-mile walk, listening to podcasts that affirm my untangling of myself, my journey of self-excavation. The passerby often glances at me nervously if they hear my verbalized comments to the podcast guest speaking in my ear.

Ideas swirl in my head, and often, they course through my veins, exciting me because words offered by someone else connect deeply with me or challenge me to think differently about myself – my experiences – my life passage. This unraveling of understanding takes space in my mind, and while many of these narratives never make it to the page, they occupy my thoughts, and ultimately, they nudge me closer to becoming a better version of myself.

I promise myself I’ll be better at journaling – at writing on my blog – at outlining and even writing a chapter of the book my mentees often encourage me to write, but the words I write in my mind’s eye are the words I need to digest. These are the words that take up the most space until they are absorbed by my heart – by my actions – by my reactions – by my vision for the future. #MakeRoomForJoy

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic