Some People Are Hard To Love


Some people are hard to love. Some people’s choices differ from ours. Their actions don’t make sense to us. Their beliefs are foreign to us. Some people are hard to love.

It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to love them anyway. It doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our love, our time, our compassion.

When my daughter was one, we took her to see her first movie, Disney’s Finding Nemo. She was mesmerized by the giant screen which transformed before her eyes, when the lights dimmed and the movie started, into an aquarium larger than life . There’s a scene in the movie where the seagulls are all intent upon eating Nemo and his friend Dory, repeatedly claiming their prey with an incessant chant, “mine, mine, mine, mine.” To me, it is the funniest scene in the movie. My daughter is now twelve and I still laugh at that scene.

The thing is, I’m not sure if it’s the scene itself or the fact that it reminds me of our own human behavior. It seems to me we’ve perfected this seagull mentality in our own lives as we build walls around our yards and ultimately our lives, as we claim our prey in the form of a new car, a promotion, a cool friend before others do because how would that make us look after all. Many of us, blinders on, choose to ignore the signs when someone needs help, dismissing it with a “it’s not my problem” attitude.

If you’ve ever been around a toddler for any amount of time, you know it is much like this scene in Finding Nemo. Compassion begins at home. It is our job to teach them to be aware of other’s needs as well as instill in them compassion when it comes to those around us. I’m not going to get into a political debate here because that’s not what this post is about. As I stated above, we all have our own beliefs, etc. I believe if I worked for something, I earned it. I don’t expect some greater power to demand I share what’s mine with someone else. What I do expect is for me to help someone less fortunate in my way when I see a need. I am raising my children to do the same. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, compassion should always be present.

Life isn’t a fairytale or a Disney movie with a guaranteed happy ending. As I like to say, we each have our own once upon a time, our own unique upbringing, our own cultures, our own personal experiences that make us who we are today. However, we can all come together to write the next chapter. We can reach out and help someone close a hurtful chapter and begin a new, more promising one. In the simplest of ways, we can make a difference for someone by simply showing compassion whether in person, in writing, online, with a comment or even a smile.

Teach the children in your life to be aware of the needs around them, to be kind, to love those who are hard to love, and to show compassion in all they do. It has been said it takes a village to raise a child. Do your part to raise a compassionate child for that same child will grow up to have a role in the very same village some day.

1000 Speak, Compassion

This post was written as part of an initiative that is near and dear to my heart, 1000 Voices For Compassion.

I invite you to join 1000 bloggers on February 20, 2015 as we flood the internet with compassion in the form of blog posts, videos, photos, etc.

Write a post about compassion on your blog, join our Facebook Group, invite others to participate.

You don’t have to be a writer to submit a post to the website or simply post a comment on FB, share a post or tweet something compassionate with the hashtag #1000speak then sit back and see how one little blog post has become a movement.

The preparation of this event is already connecting people across the globe. It has taken on a life of its own which to me simply means a little compassion goes a LONG way!

Twas The Night Before Blogging…


‘Twas the night before Fabulous Blogging, when all through the HomeOnDeranged

Every bloppy was blogging, even time-zoned Lizzi (not that she’s deranged)

Pen Paper Pad laid on the desk with care

In hopes that Hasty Words would soon be there

Carrie Anne Foster and TwinDaddy nestled all snug in their beds (not together)

While visions of Enchanted Seashells danced in the rain – I mean danced in their heads (it was the weather)

Gunmetal Geisha with Sand in Her Toes, and Aussa Lorens and her wonderfully unkempt locks,

Rattled their brains against the muted voice of writer’s block.

When out in Our Land there arose such a clatter,

I summoned my Left Brain Buddha before seeing what was the matter

Off to social media I flew like an indiebutterfly

Threw open all tabs, and let out a sigh.

Words of deliciousness and musings on motherhood

Gave a lustre of calculated chaos out in the bloggerhood.

And what to my wrinkled mommy eyes should appear

But closet confessionals from a recovering pessimist! Elleroy was here?

Like an honest mom with some bitch and some wine,

Thanksgiving, Place Setting, Thanksgiving Table


I knew in a moment Don Of All Trades was online.

More rapid than eagles, his comments they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and tagged all by name:

Now, Samara! Now, Kim! Now, Beth and Jhanis!

On, StephanieOn, Katia! and Her Royal Thighness!

To the top of the Twitter feed and FB walls!

Now blog away, blog away, blog away all!

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot

A bundle of toys (sex toys if I had to guess), he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack,

His eyes how they twinkled (no doubt what he was thinking)

As the cursor on his screen continued its blinking

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow

As he encouraged the bloppies to give it a go!

The stump of a pencil, he held tight in his teeth

And he wielded his words on the keyboard beneath

He was witty and funny, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed at his comments, in spite of myself;

He wrote and he wrote, of home and of work

Filled all the comment threads, and was sometimes a jerk,

But a wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave all to know there was nothing to dread.

And like the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow

Bloppies’ computers gave a lustre of midday glow

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up the google ranks, the bloggers they flew

With a folder full of drafts, and some good leads too

And then in a twinkling it was heard all around

The clicking and clacking as their fingers did pound

I took a brief pause to kiss my list of so then stories and notes from the shallow end,

Of well tempered bards, my chef’s last diet, and laugh lines to mend

Of nurse mommy laughs, the Science of Parenthood, and Sarah’s brand new chapter

Of A Mother Life and that American Small Town feeling I wanted to capture

The words came to life on the glowing screen

An early gift from St. Nick or was it Don Re?

Either way the bloppies were grateful (Thank you Honey)

And went about writing both the sad and the funny.

Whether you’re still becoming super mommy or it’s after the kids leave

Write like chocolate with grace, the words flowing  – no reprieve

Whether an Indian American Mom, An Inquiring Parent or a CarPool Goddess

The Mother of Imperfection, In Ripped Jeans and Bifocals, or Blessed but Stressed

This talk ain’t cheap and perfection may be pending

Cellulite looks better tan, and our passion for words is never-ending

Whether 10,000 followers or merely just ten, let your light shine

Can I get an Amen or Another bottle of whine?

May your readers eyes twinkle, their spirit be merry

May the agents start calling when they’re blown by your query.

Celebrate your talents and let out a whistle

Let your words blanket the net like the down of a thistle,

Be true to yourself in your writer’s plight

Happy Blogging to all and to all a good night!











Why Did The Blogger Cross The Road?


The streets of San Jose are expansive lanes of cars zipping this way and that, each rushing to their individual destination. Standing on the corner, a bit intimidated by this new city, I watched from the safety of the sidewalk as drivers travelled their path. I wondered what their journey entailed on a Friday morning in the middle of summer. Where were they coming from? Where were they going?

I was anxious to cross and make my way to my first ever BlogHer conference yet I was hesitant to step out of my comfort zone as the traffic light changed and the countdown began. I didn’t trust the 14 seconds given to navigate my way across the four lanes of traffic with a track in the middle for public transportation, but each time I found myself being carried in the throng of pedestrians performing a tribal dance of street crossing and floated with them until I was safely on the other side.


BlogHer was much the same way for me. I entered a sea of bloggers whose energy vibrated the floors and bounced off the walls of the San Jose Convention Center. Wide eyed, heart pumping I stood in the lobby and took it all in, hesitant to take a step in any direction. Bloggers zipped around me and I found myself wondering about each of them as they travelled past me.

As a new countdown began, another wave of conference attendees entered behind me and I was once again caught up in their midst. I let their energy carry me toward the registration desk, stepped out of my comfort zone, and let the adventure begin. I searched for a familiar face in the crowd and found it in the form of an online group I belong to called The Bloppies, a group of bloggers I had interacted with online for months. These women and more experienced bloggers were just as excited to meet me in person as I was to meet them.

And, just like that I found myself breathing a little easier.

After a whirlwind weekend of highs and lows, laughter and tears, and my moment in the spotlight as a 2014 VOTY I found myself at the same intersection waiting to cross the street once more. Except, this time it was different.

I was no longer intimidated by the fast pace or hesitant of stepping out of my comfort zone and navigating my way across the street. I was leaving San Jose with confidence in myself, my writing, and ready to take on the blogging world. I was not going to take baby steps, but run full force into all the opportunities I had shied away from before and put myself out there. As the sign switched from “talk to the hand” to the walking man, I took action and began my journey across the street. About halfway there I realized I had less time than I thought to get across before the light changed and decided to jog the last few steps. My ankle twisted and I fractured my foot.

20140728_170046 2

It was then I realized why I had crossed that intersection the first time upon my arrival. It wasn’t for the words I would hear from speakers and panelists or the tips of the trade shared in group discussions. I crossed the street in search of my tribe, not knowing I had already met them online. As I leaned on the women around me that last night, I realized every cent I spent on BlogHer was worth being in their presence all weekend as they applauded me, encouraged me and supported me in so many ways.

My best BlogHer swag came in the form of a tribe that may not have fit in my luggage, but I will forever carry close to my heart.


Red Circle Days, Blue Circle Days, Mental Illness, Calendar Days

Blue Circle Days – You Can’t Schedule Mental Illness


He called the other day. He doesn’t have a phone or at least not one from which he can make long distance calls. The Assisted Living Facility frowns upon that, and I guess it makes sense, but I can’t help but wonder then how all those people living away from family members reach out to someone in that moment. You know the moment don’t you?

I know it.

Red Circle Days, Blue Circle Days, Mental Illness, Calendar DaysI’ll be going about my day, some times all is routine, nothing new, and some times as the day progresses and Murphy’s Law seems to be in full effect, I think of how nice it would be to pick up that phone and call a friend. How quickly my day can get turned around with a simple phone call. At times, it’s just about laughing out loud at something and as I listen to the sound of my laughter almost echo in the empty kitchen, I feel the need to share it with someone, hear their laughter too as they smile on the other end of the line. That need to connect with someone instantly must be one that people have experienced for years. Otherwise, why would Alexander Graham Bell have found it necessary to progress from letter writing and long roads travelled to connect with a loved one, to being able to dial them up in that moment when the sound of their voice is something we crave.

And then, there are those other moments.

Through the years, I’ve answered many phone calls from him. Some were filled with grandiose plans of how he would one day rule the world, and as he described his dreams in the utmost detail for me I couldn’t help but wonder if given his intelligence those dreams may have become a reality if not for the fact that the brain filled with such promise was the same one who betrayed him on a regular basis. Maybe his big plans weren’t so much about taking over the world, but more about taking over his mind, allowing him some sense of control of his brain, his thoughts, his life.

I don’t know.

I’m not Bipolar or Depressed or whatever label the mental illness experts have come up with for him. I’ve never stayed awake for nights on end too afraid to close my eyes for even an instant, needing to keep watch lest my own mind betray me in the dead of night, giving life to my darkest of thoughts. I’ve never had to pick up the phone and dial someone’s number because I knew my survival depended on it.

Those particular calls are ingrained in me forever. The times he called because he had lost all sense of control and needed the sound of my voice to drown out the voices in his own mind. At times simply hearing me breathe on the other end of the line gave him a sense of calm. Seconds would turn into minutes as I was equally soothed by the sound of his breathing as he was by mine.

Then, there were the calls when he knew he needed more than my voice to soothe him and the call was simply a prompt for me to jump out of bed, throw on some clothes and go find him…get him somewhere that would provide the help I so desperately wished I could give him, but knew in my heart I couldn’t. Those were the times when I experienced my own sense of betrayal. How could I not help the person before me, the little brother only eleven months younger than myself, the baby who shared a crib with me? What did my own brain have that his needed? And, why couldn’t I find a way to share it with him much the same way I shared my bottle of milk? What was I missing?

Spiritual Calendar, Red Circle Days, Calendar Pages,

Many a calendar page has been turned since I’ve received one of those phone calls and I’m thankful for it. I am on my knees with gratitude kind of thankful. My brother is doing well, on the right meds, in therapy, living a normal life with assistance. He hasn’t had a “crisis” in years and his phone call recently (from my mom’s phone) wasn’t out of fear or desperation.

Instead, he had an idea his therapist had suggested during their last session and he wanted to tell me all about it. It was the first time in a long time I heard true excitement in his voice. I had almost forgotten what he sounded like when he was so pumped about something that he couldn’t wait to share it with me. His therapist suggested he work with me on a book about his life journey with mental illness. I can see why the therapist thought it might be a good idea.

My first book, Red Circle Days, is about those moments in our lives that are imprinted into our very soul. Moments that don’t require a photo album or memory book for us to revisit them time and time again. Some may bring to life the very feelings of sheer happiness they brought the day we experienced them. Others bring the heart wrenching sorrow we spend years trying to erase. These are moments that don’t need a reminder or a red circle on a calendar date, our hearts wrapping around them much like the tiny box on a calendar, keeping them contained only to bring them to the surface each year.

He even threw out a title, Blue Circle Days, and immediately many a calendar day flashed before me… hospital stays, doctor’s offices, the nights the phone woke me in the middle of the night, and the nights it didn’t ring.

As my brother’s excitement travelled across an ocean to me, I couldn’t help but wonder if I am up for that challenge? Is he up for that challenge?

He says he believes his stories will help others out there, and I believe sharing them alongside the perspective of someone who loves him and shared in the journey would likely help many families who have stood where we’ve stood, afraid to take another step for fear of what comes next, knowing at times the only comfort comes from listening to each other breathe.

And yet, as I wrap up this post if not my thoughts, I can’t seem to catch my breath.

Also in Mental Illness by Little Miss Wordy:

The Hug

Dear, Mom Can You Tell Me How You’ve Done It?

Related Sites:

The Official Blog For Mental Health Project

A Canvas Of The Minds

Sheri de Grom

A Letter To The First Commenter On My Blog is live on BlogHer


My post last week, A Letter To The First Commenter On My Blog just went live as a syndicated post in the Blogging and Social Media section at BlogHer! I am flattered that “the powers that be” over at BlogHer liked it so much they asked me if they could share it.

Image: Andrechinn via Flickr

Image: Andrechinn via Flickr

Please head over and comment and share away so they aren’t hearing crickets over there.

Link to it here:


Red Circle Days

A Letter To The First Commenter On My Blog


Red Circle Days

Dear Diane,

I imagine it was just a regular day for you as you held your coffee mug and surfed the internet for a quick morning read. Maybe you were running late and after reading some of the blogs you normally follow, you had a few minutes to spare before you absolutely had to be on your way. It is possible you saw my Gravatar on one of those blogs and something compelled you to click on it or maybe you just happened to search through the WordPress Topics regarding 9/11 that day when my newly birthed blog lit up your screen.

Truth be told, my blog didn’t consist of much that would light up a screen back then. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. I had no idea about the rules of blogging. I didn’t even include an image in the post. I gave no thought to length, unaware of the rule/myth that blog posts should not be longer than 500 words. Apparently, that’s the magic number when you lose a reader’s interest. That original post was exactly 475 words. Maybe that’s why it held your interest to the very end.

Regardless of length or lack of images, zero tags and no categories, you not only found my blog, but read my first post from beginning to end. I was thrilled to find one person had visited my blog and read my post. If I’m being completely honest I was over the moon, but that feeling was quickly replaced by sheer and utter exhilaration when I received a notification that someone had commented on my blog post!

You wrote: “I love your style… your kind of writing is the kind I want to curl up on the sofa with!”

Twenty words on your computer screen as your fingers flew across the keyboard and you hit enter. Twenty words that travelled across the United States, floated over an ocean, and arrived on an island to appear on my laptop screen. Twenty words that encouraged me to keep writing. Twenty words which validated me as a writer. Twenty words that changed my life.

Since then, you have been a loyal follower, avid reader, and have continued to share your words of praise and encouragement with me.

“This was the kind of excellent writing that produces a raspy sob that catches in your throat so unexpectedly! An awesome reminder about perspective and pain.”

“Your writing makes me want to spend the day in your archives wandering around wondering what else I’ve missed.”

“Pure art. When you get me to cry, you have won the prize. You write so beautifully. This will be one I come back and re-read when I am not rushing off to work!!! I love your last sentence about hugs! “

My heart is full. My eyes too. A grand story.”

To any blogger, especially one just getting started, comments are that prize in the cracker jack box, the song on your iPod you keep going back to, the unexpected card in a red envelope when you open your mailbox. They put a smile on our face, warm our heart, and motivate us to keep pounding that keyboard and sharing our thoughts. One thing I know for sure is your comments have been all these things to me and so much more.

For this, I thank you.


Little Miss Wordy (Leah Vidal)

If you’re a blogger, I invite you to revisit your first blog post and write a letter to your first commenter. 

Let them know what that first comment has meant to you!

If you’re not a blogger, I invite you to leave a comment on someone’s blog. 

You never know how twenty words might change their life!

September 11… a Red Circle Day


One year ago today, I blindly took my first step on a journey to share my writing. I had no idea what was in store for me but I faithfully forged ahead, dedicating my first post to a true Red Circle Day in history. It also became the inspiration for the title of my first published book, Red Circle Days.

Throughout the past year, as each of one of you has made the conscious choice to join me on this journey, you have given me a gift. You have given me the gift of friendship, the gift of confidence, the gift of likes and comments, but the greatest gift of all has been one I never expected. You have given me the gift of being a part of something so much greater than I could ever be alone. Together, this community of writers, readers, thinkers and passionate people come together to make a difference great or small in this great big world of ours. Each written word, whether mine or yours, is read by someone whose life is touched in some way. For this, I thank you and hope to always contribute something of value to all those who choose to allow my thoughts, my words and my stories into their lives.

September 11 Captain America

Originally posted: September 11, 2012

“Save the date, pencil me in, mark your calendar…all phrases we so often hear in our daily lives. We all live by our planners, calendars, appointment books, schedules, organizing every minute of our days, weeks, years. Like most of you, I love using the annual reminder feature on my online calendars so next year it automatically pops up on my screen. During the year and a half our family lived with an ocean between us, I purchased the kids a calendar where they could circle the dates of daddy’s visits with a red marker. We lived for those circles and the text that accompanied them, “Daddy’s home!” I can’t be the only who artfully vandalizes her calendars this way. Red circles always signify something important. I fill the calendar with red circles for birthdays, vacations, anniversaries and so many other dates so at a glance anyone would know those mean the world to me.

I can tell you exactly where I was, what I was wearing and what I was feeling on those red circle days. December 29, 1994 – St. Patrick’s Church, wearing my wedding gown, feeling incredibly blessed as I walked toward my best friend.  June 7, 2002 – Park Plaza Hospital, Houston – wearing another gown but this one hospital issued, overwhelmed with tears of joy as I held my little girl for the first time. These are red circle days that don’t need highlighting because the automatic reminder pops up without a prompt, yet I still circle them. We all have these days.. red circle days. But what about the red circles only I can see?  For some reason, I can’t seem to circle those, yet at a glance I can also tell you exactly where I was, what I was wearing, and what I was feeling. October 1, 1993 – my parents home, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, feeling like my whole world was crumbling around me. November 11, 2008 – Harlingen, TX – standing in our empty house wearing cutoff shorts and a tank top as I waved to the moving truck with tears in my eyes.

Today, a huge red circle day in our history should not need a reminder. September 11 doesn’t need to be marked on our calendar for us to remember the horrific events of that day. Lives were lost, fears were made real and history books were rewritten. It is a day like no other, requiring no automatic pop-up on our screen announcing its impending arrival. The closer it approaches, the more aware we become of it. We may not remember exactly where we were or exactly what we were wearing, but we will never forget what we were feeling. For those who lost loved ones that day, my prayers go out to you for peace and strength as you try to get through a difficult day in a world full of calendars with invisible red circles.”

Message in a Blogger


Message in a Blogger

Last week I published a post that posed the question, “Blogging: Work or Hobby?” where bloggers and non bloggers (well, mostly bloggers) voted and shared their take on how they see blogging. I was hoping to come away with a clear message on which category holds the most bloggers. Why?  Initially, I was focused on finding out whether bloggers do it as a hobby or whether bloggers are all working toward an ultimate goal of being paid for their blogs. Being that I never started blogging with a paycheck in mind, but realizing early on that blogging can be as time consuming as a job, I was curious. Interestingly, the message I came away with is priceless.

While some can easily refer to their blogs as work by the simple fact that they are getting paid to blog, and others had no problem labeling their blogs as a hobby, as with any poll, election, early stages of a relationship, there’s bound to be someone who is on the fence about the whole thing. Last week’s post revealed I’m not alone. There are others who can’t seem to choose work or hobby when referring to their blog even though we aren’t necessarily being monetarily compensated for blogging.

Katie over at Sass and Balderdash, who has been along for the ride since the early Little Miss Wordy days and has a way with words herself, bestowed upon us a term I hope she has since trademarked because bloggers across the globe are embracing it like Steve Perry.

Katie’s comment hit the mark for many of us.

“This is a tricky one. I don’t get paid to blog, and even though I love writing, I think I’d classify blogging as somewhere between work and a hobby. 

A wobby, maybe. 

Writing the posts is just one time-consuming bit of it, but the other half is engaging with other bloggers and your own readers. It’s a labor of love for sure,

but I think we’ve probably all felt overwhelmed by our blogs for one reason or another, which makes it a little more than a hobby.” – Katie

Blogging is definitely a labor of love for me as it is for Katie and other bloggers too. In his post yesterday, Le Clown stated “Blogging is an unpaid gig—the reward is the success of each post and the slow and constant growth of the community we create together.”

And, in a comment on one of my earlier posts, back when he was My Right To Bitch, Chowderhead coined the term bloggerhood. It is a term that has stuck with me, and I have even found myself welcoming newbies “to the bloggerhood” a la Mister Rogers. The word encompasses a place, a community, a gathering of folks who share experiences, stories, writing tips and so much more. Yet, it isn’t just a space but a connection in the sense of brotherhood or sisterhood because through it friendships are forged, opportunities are presented, lessons are shared, lessons are learned, and souls are touched.

I will share the results of the poll because I’m a stickler for follow up and some of you are sticklers for numbers. However, the true results for me exist in a category all their own.

Bottom line: It really doesn’t matter whether you get paid to blog or want to get paid to blog. It doesn’t matter if you call your blog work or a hobby, or even the genius term of “wobby” because the truth is you started your blog for a reason that is important to you.  You continue your blog for reasons that are near and dear to your heart, reasons unique to you and no one else.  And if blogging feeds your soul in some way, then you should never have to label it or categorize it. That kind of satisfaction can’t be stuffed in a box with a title because it has a life all it’s own. Keep living it!

Poll Results:

Blogging: Work or Hobby?


Writers Are Suspicious

If you don’t get paid to write is it still considered work or does it fall into the category of hobby?

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. For bloggers, writing is a passion that they have pursued because they need the outlet. Blogs are a great platform to do that. Not only do you keep your creative juices flowing, but you have people read your stuff, and you get feedback on your writing.
  2. For some writers, blogging is a means to gaining followers and building a relationship of sorts with people who will hopefully want to purchase the book they plan on publishing in the future. That’s right. Some bloggers are working on a book while simultaneously providing material for their blog.
  3. Bloggers adhere to their calendar of scheduled posting days in an effort to be consistent and reliable for their loyal followers.
  4. However, before that, bloggers have already dedicated countless hours to their writing, drafting, editing and perfecting pieces before they post them.
  5. Bloggers are writing additional pieces for submission to other sites…i.e. guest posts, articles for consideration, essays for contests etc.
  6. In addition, most bloggers have a whole life outside of blogging that demands their attention as well.

Now that you’ve had a moment to consider these points, ponder this: If the blogger described above doesn’t get paid for bullet points 1-6, is it considered work or a hobby?

I’m a bit torn. Here’s why:

  1. I was raised to believe you get paid for work, yet the above describes someone who is obviously working at something or toward something but not necessarily being monetarily compensated.
  2. Furthermore, I am a stay at home raising two children who has also homeschooled said children. Believe me when I tell you it’s work! I may not get paid for it, but I don’t consider it a hobby.
  3. On the other hand, if I was getting paid for blogging or hoping to get paid for blogging I would be able to justify a pricey blogging conference ticket in addition to all the other expenses that go along with attending the conference.
  4. I’m a published author, but I’m not exactly putting food on the table because of it.
  5. I have a passion for writing and blogging and consider the time and effort I put into both to be valuable whether or not I get paid for that time.
  6. I get stumped on the “occupation” section of an application.

Where do you stand? This inquiring mind wants to know!

Identify Your “Training Wheels” And Smile!


We’ve all met at least one person who treads a little lighter than the rest of us, who grabs life with both hands, experiences it to the fullest. It’s not that they are irresponsible adults. It’s just that their approach to life in general is different from most grown ups. They don’t allow themselves to get caught up in the details. They don’t over think. They just breathe in life’s moments, filling their lungs with each experience, and letting every inch of their body feel the joy life offers. Is it a personality trait inherited from some gene passed down to them from a life loving parent? Or, is it something they learned along the way?

As a kid, I remember being fearless. Yet, now I over think riding a Roller Coaster as I imagine endless frightening scenarios all of which leave my two children motherless in the end. As I climb aboard, buckle my seat belt, then check and double-check it, I’m silently berating myself for being so careless as to agree to this irresponsible joy ride. I am a mother for goodness sake, not some free wheeling teenager doing pop-a-wheelies on her mountain bike (ah those were the days). Nevertheless, I settle in and after a quick plea bargain prayerful talk with the man upstairs, I make a conscious decision to enjoy the ride. It isn’t long before the cars pick up speed, I feel the wind in my hair, and the sheer exhilaration of feeling free! In that moment, nothing can stop me and I feel like I can take on the world!

My kids: cooling off and smiling from the inside out after a long bike ride. photo credit: littlemisswordy

My kids: cooling off and smiling from the inside out, after a long bike ride.
photo credit: littlemisswordy

Do you remember the first time you learned to ride a bike? It’s that same feeling I’m referring to here. No matter how we approached that bike for the first time, the end result was the same. Once we got going and felt the wind in our hair, we could take on the world. There was no hiding our smile as it traveled from our mind to our face, until it took over every fiber of our being and shone like a Fourth of July sparkler beckoning the world to smile with us! Why do we reserve that full body joy as something to be experienced only by a carefree child?

When I taught my oldest how to ride a bike, her little brother was her biggest cheerleader as she fearfully gave up her training wheels. Olivia approached this challenge in her usual fashion. With much detail, she proceeded to delineate each and every way she could fall off her bike, and each and every injury that was possible. I gave her some space, addressed her concerns accordingly, and eventually she faced the latest challenge in the life of a six-year-old — with determination and a few meltdowns. On the other hand, Evan watched Olivia the first day as he circled her on his Spiderman bike WITH training wheels, and like a good brother and little knight, cheered her on at the appropriate moments. However, on day two he adamantly demanded I take his training wheels off.

Evan’s approach to learning to ride a bike was much different from his sister’s approach. Fearless and with complete faith in his abilities, he not only wanted to go fast but didn’t want me to hold him back. Not a single thought to consequences, injuries, etc. he quickly progressed to riding without assistance in a mere thirty minutes. Their approaches were different, but their end result was the same. They both experienced the same sense of freedom, wind blowing in their face, head tilted back, smiling with their entire body.

This left me thinking about how we approach life. What are our “training wheels” and how much do we depend on them? Training wheels aren’t a negative thing, but definitely aren’t meant to permanently carry our weight. Do the training wheels in our life show up in the form of our friends, our family, our career, our doubts, or the dreams we’ve put on hold? Why do some of us hang on to our training wheels longer than others? Is it because they’ve become so much a part of us that we don’t even realize we’re leaning on them? Are we too afraid to remove them even for a moment for fear of failure? Are we allowing our training wheels to hold us back from that sense of freedom?

Wouldn’t it be great to experience that smile from the inside out…the kind that makes you literally jump for joy just like when you were a kid? Whether it’s a roller coaster, a bike, or life, inevitably the moment arrives when we have to ride all on our own, feel the exhilaration as we pick up speed and confidence, tilt our heads up to the sky, and welcome that cool breeze on our face.

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