Cover That Hoo-ha

hoo-haI’m sitting on a sandy beach towel. It’s the summer of 1978 and I coyly look toward the camera. Although my pose looks comfortable, I am inwardly hesitant and unsure. I feel like my swimsuit is comfortable and fits me. The blue is slimming on my hips and the bold white and pink chevron draws the eyes up. My feminine asserts…my boobs were the focus. But even with this beautiful body in a gorgeous, flattering suit…I feel self-conscious. Continue reading

A Struggle for Dad’s Approval

dad's approvalI am a pig-tailed, 4-year-old girl, demurely leaning against my dad’s extended knee. He is half kneeling in some wild daisies beside tall sheltering pines. He is grinning with pride at the camera, my right hand is thoughtfully touching his chin. My adoring eyes are on his face as I take the first bite out of a perfect red apple. It is a 1969 photo of peace and approval. It is the goal I seem to be always reaching for. Continue reading

Manifesting the Perfect Day

perfect day

Engagement–a few months before

My wedding was going to be intimate, serene, and perfect. I imagined it that way and worked thoughtfully on the details.

Few events in life have as many deep customs, subtle nuances, and crazy rituals, AND opportunities for things to go wrong–like a wedding.

My wedding day, July 7, 2000, began sunny and bright with POSSIBLE showers later in the day. We were celebrating the event at the Heidel House. It was a quaint, secluded resort on the shores of Green Lake in Wisconsin. Continue reading

Hippy Dippy vs Healthy and Grounded

How do you “self-care”? 

Well, the first thing you need to know is “What IS self-care anyway? According to the Googles, it is “doing something that helps your body, mind or soul feel good”. 

Hippy Dippy

Oh god, this brings up visions of a bubble bath in a claw-footed tub, a meditation on an Indian-patterned pillow in a sunlit studio, yoga on an open patio overlooking the ocean, and long walks in an old-growth forest. So hippy-dippy, so self-indulgent and unrealistic.

Now, the other day, I was walking on a cool morning along a country road. The road was lined with dandelions. Millions and billions of dandelions. I know Evie and Stella (my Golden Retriever walking companions) thought I was crazy as I slowed down and began to take pictures. Then I reached down to one random flower/weed and plucked it. And you know what we used to do as kids? We would rub the flower under our chin and ask…”Do I like butter?” 
If there was yellow pollen on your neck, you did. Continue reading

You Can Do It!

What are three words that describe me…? When you’re working on legacy writing, sometimes you want people to know how awesome you are! Come on, you can do it!!!

You Can Do It

For this topic, the Sidetracked Sisters each prepared by thinking of words to describe the others. I even asked my daughter Aubrey to add a word for everyone. Then, when we got together to write, each of us didn’t have to be digging around for defining words, we could just sort, accept, or reject words that were chosen for us.

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Shame on You

Worry, shame, suffering, depression, regret…sucky emotions that I try to avoid in my life at all costs. 

A Wise old woman was talking to a girl and said,

“There are two wolves always fighting inside me.

One is filled with anger, hate, jealousy, shame, and lies.

The other wolf is filled with love, joy, truth, and peace.

This battle rages inside of you and all people.”


The girl thought for a moment and asked,

“Which wolf will win?”


The Wise old woman answered,

“The one you feed.” 

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Piggy Bank Love

I loved my piggy bank. When I was 6 years old, I would pull the plastic plug out of her belly and dump the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters out onto my bed. Next, I would sort the coins into piles. Then I would organize the piles into smaller groups of 100 cents. I felt rich. 

As a 12-year-old, my mom would give me spending money for our yearly family vacation. During the week-long camping trip at Jellystone Campground, I had the opportunity to go mini-golfing and to spend my money on treats and souvenirs. It felt so powerful to have the choice to buy as much ice cream as I wanted–or not. I would walk around the camp store every day admiring the mugs, keychains, and refrigerator magnets. I could buy any of these things. But I didn’t.  Instead, I always counted my leftover money at the end of the week and added it to my piggy bank. I felt rich. Continue reading

The Bucket List: Fill, Empty, and Repeat

I’ve always believed in goals, dreams, and bucket lists. But that doesn’t mean that they are easy for me.

Back in college, I spent the summer of 1985 in Washington DC at a church Youth Leadership Training Conference. Everyone worked full-time and attended activities and training in the evenings and on weekends. 

During one of the first trainings, we were encouraged to have daily “quiet time” when we were supposed to read the Bible and pray. One of the goals of this activity was to gain clarity on our life goals.

Unfortunately, God did not reach his gaze down and bestow this wisdom upon me.

I knew that I wanted to finish my degree, get married, and have 13 children. This sounded pretty godly and was approved–as long as I looked to and depended upon my future husband as my head and leader.

Yeah. Right. Continue reading

The Hardest Choices

Life is full of change, challenges, and choices. School, college, what am I going to be when I grow up, finding a life partner, divorce, infertility, adoption, work drama, relationship drama, health drama… the list goes on.

greatest challengeMost challenges come and we muddle through to the best of our ability. We don’t see the challenge of a health scare coming, but we rally our resources to research and battle the event.

Our kids challenge us with choices and behaviors that we tackle on a regular basis. We talk to their teachers and go on long car rides and try to talk some sense in an effort to guide a nearly adult teen to make “good” decisions.

But the hardest challenges are those we choose. No medical diagnosis or call from the police to knock us back on our heels and force change. The challenge that I’ve struggled with over the years has always been “What am I going to be when I grow up? Continue reading

Turn it OFF!!

*Screen time is time spent watching TV, using the computer, and cell phone. 

*Research shows that the average household has more televisions than people and has them on for more than 8 hours per day.

*Adults average about 8.5 hours of screen time per day.

*Aim for no more than 2 hours of screen time per day outside of work.

Image from Shel Silverstein’s poem “Jimmy Jet and His TV Set

Back in the early 2000s, we would sponsor something called “TV turn-off” at the school where I taught. We would encourage families to commit to one week where households wouldn’t turn on their TVs. Probably 20% of the families participated or tried to anyway.

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