Will You Be The Hero?

Conflict. In my experience, which could be saying something right there, it happens in every relationship.

Sometimes it’s easy to forgive. Sometimes it’s easy to move on.

But sometimes it’s worse in one relationship than in another – or worse at certain times. Sometimes, it’s more painful. Stinging. Sometimes it leaves you a little breathless, feeding anxiety and bitterness and doubt, until its resolved. And even then, sometimes, it lingers.

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The Great Thaw (or Oh Yeah, Love is a Choice)

It’s twelve days into the new year, and my resolution to love people better so far has been a big fat flop.

From the outside, I am almost certain my relationships still look like giant, frozen popsicle-trees on the landscape of my life.

Bizarre and unmoving.

And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know how my insides get so taut, how I turn into a rubber band drawn all the way out until I run out of stretch.

I know.

There are several nuances, but generally, it’s always a combination of poor self-care and unmet expectations. Lack of sleep is also a factor. Always.

I know what causes it, how to prevent it and even how to fix it, and yet, here I am again. All wound up, locked down, and iced over.

But on the inside, I am feeling the thaw.

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Adapting Brene Brown’s Course “The Gifts Of Imperfection” for a Tweenager

I love Brene Brown. I love her work. I love her spunk. I love that Oprah loves her. And I want to take all her classes. I feel like when I do, I might finally understand myself and become more of a grown up. Ha!

But when I came across the class The Gifts of Imperfection on Oprah’s Own Life Classes platform, it was my daughter I was excited about.

She needs this.

About The Gifts of Imperfection

The book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown encourages readers to live the “authentic version of you” and to accept, understand and believe that version, no matter how imperfect, is enough.


What tweenager – whether they are 11 or, ahem 35 – doesn’t need to hear that message?!

Having said that, my daughter and I don’t have a lot of time together. Between her being only 11, her visitation schedule with her dad and middle school and my raising three kids while expecting twins, running a house and writing, we were not going to be able to sit down and read this book in a way that would be meaningful.

But we could do art here and there, and that’s how Brene’s class became a family bind for us!

About the Class

I came across the course Oprah and Brene partnered on while researching something else, and instantly knew it was going to be the way to go with my tweenager.

The online course is only $70 (at the time of this article), and consists of easy-to-digest video modules and light text that includes crafty (totally unpinnable) projects designed to make the participant think.

Each module also contains reading from The Gifts of Imperfection, but again, I didn’t feel like we had bandwidth for that this go-around. (More on that later.)

Many of the projects require access to family photographs, and it is helpful to have basic art supplies – markers, watercolors, stickers, etc. We also enjoyed having scraps of art paper and magazines.

Projects take 30 minutes give or take but could take a lot less or a lot more depending on your level of craftiness and the conversation you might find yourself having – either with your tweenager or self – about the work.

Adaptations for Tweens

Depending on the maturity level of your child, vulnerability and authenticity can be hard topics to explain, understand and, therefore, to discuss with a tween. Especially in our current culture, when much of what a tween faces is centered on “keeping up appearances,” even conversations with you as a parent, conversations that should be safe and free and real, can end up being awkward.

I found this out the hard way in this course. And I almost gave up.

Then I decided not to.

The course is NOT designed for tweens. I would also say the course would be a stretch for many adults! But as a tool I was hoping would generate conversation between my tween and me while we bonded over some light crafting, it was invaluable. 

And it didn’t have to be done perfectly – hello, that’s what the whole point of the course is!

So I adapted to keep my tween engaged. And here’s how.

(For each week we complete, I will add links to posts about our adaptations below for quick reference!)

When Child Support Stops

One day it didn’t come. It just stopped. It wasn’t the first time, but somehow we are never ready for it when the child supports stops.

Surely it was just because of the long weekend. 

It was Labor Day. I’m sure that’s the lag. It will come. 

And sometimes it does, but if you’ve been blessed enough to have the financial support of the other parent for any amount of time, you know the rhythm. And this time, the rhythm said, “It’s not coming.”
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Mourning My Saints, Remembering My Roots

A Story About Family Identity From the Ground Up

This week we lost our family dog to cancer, and while the dog was truly the sweetest pup ever, I find myself grieving my mother who gave us the dog and has herself been dead for more than three years.

It feels like with every little loss like this one, I lose a hint more of what remained of her in this world – the lingering wisps of her sliding away, carried right out of my life on the back of a passing wind. And I’m an observer – round eyes, hands bound.


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What to Do When Co-parenting Isn’t an Option

Co-Parenting from High Ground

For Justine, a fellow parent with limited co-parenting options.

I had big plans for this article. It was going to be didactic and helpful – a foundational resource article for parents trying to co-parent amicably.

Then I read a story about a parent trying to better her life – setting life goals, eating right, prioritizing family – but stuck in a toxic co-parenting relationship. And now I’m just all kinds of mad for her. Why? Because I can relate.

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What you call a step-parent matters

Why Labels Matter, Like It or Not (This is Why I’m Renaming My Husband)

What’s In a Name?

In high school, I got an award for being an “Advice Queen.” At the time (thank you seventeen) I was flattered thinking it meant people thought I was wise.

Now, I’m sure that what it really meant was that I shared a heap of unsolicited opinions about things that were none of my business (thank you thirty-three), and people noticed.

Though I’m sure I am a little more legitimately wise, am careful about sharing my opinions and try desperately hard not to give unsolicited advice, thank goodness I have a good friend who really is wise and really does give good advice.

Recently, she gave me a gem about labeling or naming. She said, “Call it what you want it to be.”

It got me thinking.
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If You Could Build Up Your Child’s Self-Esteem with a 10 minute conversation at the Dinner Table, Would You Do It?

No matter how old you are, sometimes its hard to remember the things we are good at – We know as adults, in seasons of struggle, especially, it can be really hard to look at one’s self with love. Continue reading