Posts from ‘reflections’


Oh friends, our summer family vacation did NOT go as planned. I spent most of it in a hospital. The bad news is that I had emergency surgery. The good news is that I’m okay and now recovering at home in my own bed.

Our first day in Tennessee was great – we were able to spend time with two of my cousins and their kiddos. We rented a cabana by the pool and everyone had fun hanging out and swimming and going on the water slides.

Towards the end of our first full day there, I was experiencing sharp abdominal pain in the lower right side, you know, the side with the appendix. Eek. It wasn’t letting up so the next day I drove to the local ER while Jason took the kids swimming again and to the arcade.

Long story short, they sent me home that day with a theory that I probably had a burst ovarian cyst causing pain and inflammation (turned out not to be it…). The pain kept getting worse and two days later I went back to the ER – and that’s when they kept me overnight for observation. The next morning the surgeon recommended a laparoscopic exploratory surgery with a camera and likely appendectomy. Gulp.

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Yesterday I shared this story on my Facebook page after an interesting encounter I had. The post had a lot of positive discussion and engagement, so I decided to include it here on the blog as well.


Can you help or will you walk away? This is the question I asked myself today in the Walgreens parking lot. I heard a man’s voice bellow “What are you doing to that child? I’m calling the police! I don’t like how you’re handling her!” He was an older man in his 60s, driving past a woman in her 50s who was trying to get a child into a car seat who was throwing a temper tantrum. I hadn’t seen what was going on until I heard his voice. He was clearly trying to get the woman to stop struggling with the child, concerned about abuse.

She looked desperate, not angry. She said to him that she was trying to get her granddaughter into her car seat. Now I could hear the little girl screaming angrily and the man was giving the woman the stare down. I don’t know what he saw, but I bet it was something similar to what I’ve been through with my kids throwing temper tantrums when they were younger – a power struggle. I waited a moment to see what would happen. She stuck her head back in the car and was pleading with the child. The man was glaring at her with his phone to his ear. Holy smokes, this situation needed some compassion and help, not threatening and screaming.


I walked over and smiled and said “How can I help?” The woman fearfully explained that the other man was calling the police and she’s scared and just trying to get her granddaughter to calm down.”Did you hit her?” I asked. No, she said, but I threw her shoe in the front seat because she was hitting me with it. I responded calmly and reassuringly, “I’ve been through this before with my kids when they were little. I’ll stay with you, we’ll figure this out.”

At first when I tried talking to the little girl she screamed at me. “Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, get away from here.” I nicely encouraged Grandma to take a deep breath and take a little break. Within just a minute or so I was able to earn the little girl’s trust, get her to happily jump into her car seat all on her own, buckle her own straps and let ME help her get her shoes back on. We talked about how much she loves her grandma and her grandma loves her. She wiped away her tears and gave me a high five. And grandma? At this point she had tears spilling out of her eyes and I gave her a hug. The man in the car was gone. I hope he saw the situation had deescalated and everything was going to be okay.

There was a very good chance that grandma could have screamed at me to get away and mind my own business. In which case I still would have watched and waited to make sure that little girl was okay. But I had it on my heart that I could at least try to help and I’m so glad I did because I know it made a difference. I’m not sharing this to brag or get praise – but to hopefully help inspire someone else to reach out with a smile in a similar situation. Because most parents or grandparents in that situation feel humiliated, powerless and afraid someone will call the cops. Many of us have been there. We can be on the other side, too.

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I love, love, love springtime in Minnesota. Almost as much as fall.

I’ve spent all morning on the patio, listening to the birds, feeling the sunshine and the breeze. Sixty degrees is perfect for lounging in my robe, eating bing cherries and drinking a homemade latte. And working on my laptop finishing my time sheet for last week (#agencylife).

Life has been moving quickly the last couple of months, with the kids preparing for end-of-the-school year projects and finals (we have one graduating!). And we’ve also been trucking along with finishing the final touches on the house renovation. Each weekend we tackle a little something here and there, such as hanging drapes or artwork on the walls. I’ve gotten to the point where I just want it to all be done, where every room is wonderful and just how I want it to be. We’re still a ways off from that, for sure, especially when I only have a little bit of time to think about it each weekend.

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Two months ago, a woman was silenced. She was told to stop speaking, and yet she continued. A man recounted the situation, (I won’t say his name, as this is not really about him),

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

And in that moment, women around the world felt the lump in their throat rise up and come tumbling out with a loud HELL NO. We repeated the phrase, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

It became an affirmation.

Of course we will persist.

A couple of weeks later, Aimee Blanchette published this story: “More than 100 women pack Mpls. tattoo shop to get inked with ‘Nevertheless, she persisted” in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. A large group of women, many whom I know, all had the same tattoo inked in the same shop, on the same day. The script was designed by Chelsea Brink and the event was organized by Nora McInerny.

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ThankfulA small dry-erase board on the side of our refrigerator sat empty for a few days when we moved into the new house. I’m not one to leave things empty or blank very long. Should we use it for the grocery list? Notes to each other or reminders?

And then it hit me. I could use it for parenting and bringing us together as a family. I could use it to spur discussions about important life lessons that may otherwise feel awkward or forced to bring up. I didn’t talk with anyone about it, I simply wrote: “Word of the Week: Thankful” on the board and left it there.

We gathered around the table that Sunday night, all six of us, to eat dinner. I don’t remember what we were eating, but I do remember what came next. I asked if anyone noticed the Word of the Week and they all said yes and said “Thankful.” We talked about why it’s important to be thankful and what we are thankful for. We talked about the opposite of thankful: ungrateful or entitled.

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