Category Archives: Life

Moms + Music #wearehadleypark

Mark and I are watching tv when this CMA awards commercial comes on (go ahead and watch it)…

Me: I’m not sure that’s a smart move on the CMA’s part.
Mark: What?
Me: Reminding us how good country music used to be…

I’m the last thing from a country music aficionado. I was not raised on Willie Nelson or Johnny and June you mean Joaquin and Reese?. But as someone who has lived in Nashville her entire life AND has the deepest respect for a well told story, I have always held a special place in my heart for country music that could make you feel a decades worth of feeling in 3 minutes. It’s an underappreciated art, y’all.

And, like lots of people, I’ve grown bored with most popular country music in a lot of ways because they quit telling those beautiful stories and started just describing things around them that sounded ‘country’  (“her cut off jeans” “climbed into his pickup truck” “drive down dirt roads” “please use this pitchfork to stab me in the eyeballs”).

Then last week I get an email from Morgan of Hadley Park. You’ve never heard of them? Of course you haven’t because it’s my job to introduce you.

I get a decent amount of email asking me to review things or share things with my readers (hi, Mom!), and that’s what Morgan was emailing me about. She wanted to know if I would tell you about their debut EP “Retrospect” (it will be released on Friday, November 11th, but you can pre-order it on iTunes here).

She sent me a link to the album so I could hear what they were doing. I’m a curious chick so I thought, “Sure, why not?”

I actually liked it. I forwarded a song to Mark. “Am I crazy or is this actually really good?”

“Yeah,” he messaged back. “They are really good. Why are they emailing you?”

Thanks, buddy.

Superstore eyeroll glenn mark mckinney over it

I fell in love, y’all. Country music that sounds like, well, country! They are it! And they were telling stories and making me feel feelings and I was seriously just swooning 1.5 minutes into listening to their album.

Then I went back and finished reading their email. And my girl crush? It grew three times.

Hadley Park is made up of Morgan and Courtney. Morgan and Courtney met on a songwriting blind date (you meet up with a stranger to sit down and write a song), and they hit it off so they kept writing together. Then they got pregnant (different dads… they write country songs, they don’t live them). They had their little girls within four days of each other and like every new modern mom they looked in the mirror and asked, “How do I meld the old me with this new mom version?”

Their answer? Let’s keep writing together! And every week after the babies were born they made time for their passion for music and storytelling. And the seeds from their songwriting kept growing until they created their newest baby: country music duo, Hadley Park  (fun fact: Hadley and Parker are their daughters’ names!).

Retrospect, Hadley Park

I genuinely love their album. I’m going to buy the hard copy because I drive a 2002 Honda Accord and have no clue how to listen to music with bluetooth or off of an iPod or however people born after 1998 consume music.  “I need a cd to put in the cd player,” said the old person. But I digress.

I love their music, and have listened to “My Love, My Friend” not enough times one too many times. “Things I’ve Learned” gets. me. in. the. gut. “More That That” makes my marriage coach heart soar. My only complaint? There aren’t more songs to fall in love with.

I also love that they’re catching fireflies and I cannot help but cheer on a couple of firefly catchers, especially two storytellers who chose to be inspired by their roles as mothers to chase down their dreams instead of packing them up and putting them away. I hope that they inspire more of us moms to do something similar and run towards those dreams, big and small, knowing that sometimes living out our callings is exactly what our kids need to see their mama bears do.

The Story of Our Rehoboth

I love reading Rabbi Sacks and I’m currently in the middle of reading (for the billionth time) the Genesis/Exodus section of the Bible (the billionth reading is what happens when you keep starting a “Read the Entire Bible in a Year” plan and don’t finish it and then start it again and don’t finish it and #rinserepeat). This means I’m currently flooded with Jewish stories about how God shows Himself to His people.

Rabbi Sacks recently wrote about how part of Judaism is remembering your history. God commanded that whenever they brought their first fruits they would make a declaration of, essentially, their history:

 “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great, powerful and populous nation.  The Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labour. Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our suffering, our harsh labour and our distress. The Lord then brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, with great fearsomeness and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey. I am now bringing the first-fruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” (Deut. 26:5-10)

He didn’t want future generations to forget how He had worked on their behalf so He told them to keep telling His story.

Like I said a couple of weeks ago, I have felt really compelled to look around and really see the life that our faith in a loving God is building, and I keep getting drawn to how I literally cannot think about our home without praising Him. And I think about how if I don’t tell the story about how God moved so many pieces mountains on our behalf we will forget and Otis may never know and so…

I remember sitting in church and listening to an excellent sermon about Isaac and Rehoboth. Basically, Isaac kept trying to settle in places and built wells, but people were like, “Yeah, you can’t settle here. Move along.” He built 2 wells and, finally, with the third well he was left alone. He named it Rehoboth which  means “open space” and said, “”At last the LORD has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”

The sermon landed on my heart. I knew it would take a minute, but we would find a home. I had faith God would provide our Rehoboth.

I heard this sermon while pregnant and living with my in-laws. Mark’s biggest apprehension about moving out was that we couldn’t afford to buy a place which meant we’d have to rent which made his skin crawl because of ‘throwing away money’ and all of that. We decided to look for a house we could afford, and worked with the Mr. Magoo of realtors (meaning he had no clue what he was doing). Amazingly, we found a house! In our budget! Close to our families!

The house had plenty of work that needed to be done, but it really was perfect. Mark’s only big remodel dream was to tear out one of the walls in the upstairs bedroom so that it could look into the downstairs. Basically, make it a loft. True story? I thought it was a dumb idea and figured it could be one of those projects that hung out at the bottom of the to-do list. Forever.

Well, Mr. Magoo was an adorable cartoon, but a horrible realtor. The whole thing fell through and we were 1 month away from a baby. Time was running out.

Lots of arguments conversations later and Mark found us a decently sized apartment within our budget. We moved in and a week later my water broke. Otis was on his way.

We spent a lovely and hard year in that apartment. Mark did the stay-at-home-dad thing and, like most sahp, he felt lonely and an apartment that never felt homey didn’t help that feeling.

By December of 2011 I knew God was telling me that we were going to buy a home. It didn’t make any sense to me because I was making $13.28 an hour. Picture or it didn’t happen?

13-28

And you don’t exactly have a down payment sized savings when you’re living on less than what Bernie thinks is acceptable.

But I emailed our amazing realtor, Tim, anyways because faith and that whole story about turning fish and loaves into plenty.

With our mortgage lady’s help we found a mortgage for poor people that was like, “If you have a great rental history then we can give you a mortgage with some insanely low amount as a down payment.” Ah! Look at that! We had great rental history BECAUSE WE LEFT MARK’S PARENTS’ HOUSE ONE YEAR AGO! I like to thank my stubborn nagging for that assist.

We were now given the fun assignment of finding a house that cost less than $115,000, was close to our parents, and wouldn’t need too many repairs because nobody wanted to lend us money for a fixer upper because they’d seen our finances… we had no money for a fixer upper.

We put an offer on a house that was beyond perfect. Huge with a fenced in yard and in my in-law’s neighborhood. I loved it so much. I still get sad thinking about it. It was a weird property with a weird bidding thing, and we didn’t get it.

We put another offer in a few weeks later. Another weird bank-owned property. It was a cute house in a cute neighborhood. I believed so much that this was our house that my mom, Otis, and I drove out there after we put the offer in so I could show her our new place. I drove there one morning before I went to work so that I could get an idea of what the commute would be like. The bank ended up not accepting the offer because it was tied to some other properties and they wanted to sell them all together or something like that. We didn’t get it.

Things were not looking good again. We would need to make decisions about re-signing leases soon or move back in with his parents because rent increases were probably going to bust our budget. But then God said, “Go back to that house.”

That house was one we had seen a month before. It was a bank owned property that was listed at $115,000. I had loved it (but let’s be real, at this point I kind of loved every house that seemed like it could be The One). I remember standing inside while Mark and Tim looked around outside. I was standing on the brick in front of the fireplace and looking out the big window into the front yard.

My heart whispered, “This is our home.

The fireplace where I knew God said this was our home.

And then Mark and Tim walked back in.

“Yeah, this has got all kinds of water damage in the siding. Not gonna happen.”

Oh. Ok.

But here I was, a month later, hearing God say to go back to that house. What was really weird was that it had been taken off the market since we’d seen it (I had every house listed under $115,000 in the Southeast Nashville area memorized) so I wasn’t really sure where this would lead.

We drove to that house and saw a man standing in the front yard writing on a clipboard. Mark parked and got out to talk to him. He came back to tell me about the conversation.

“So that’s the new realtor. It is about to be relisted for $105,000. He says that the siding isn’t that bad and that his only concern with a mortgage like ours would be some laminate coming up in the kitchen. I think we should call Tim.”

Tim got the ball rolling and we put in an offer for $95,000 because why not? To our surprise, they accepted!

We did appraisals and home inspections and no one ever talked about the siding which Mark and his dad ended up fixing the next summer. The closing took forever because banks are slow. We ended up spending a lovely 2 months with my in-laws while we waited to close on our new home.

My favorite part of the story is that the house we bought has the exact same layout as the one we wanted right before I had Otis, the one with the Mr. Magoo realtor. The exact same floor plan, except there’s one difference: The bedroom that Mark wanted to turn into a loft in the first house was already a loft in that house. In our house. I like to think of that loft room as a little wink from God.

So yes, Otis, the house you grew up in was given to us by God. He moved us to buy a house even though we were making $13/hour with no savings. And we built a lot of wells trying to find a place to call home, but then He called us back to that house at the exact same time that the new realtor was there so that we’d be the very first offer. And He’d guided us to rent even though it made no sense so that we could have a rental history to get the mortgage. And He gave us the house we had wanted from day one except better and completely perfect (at least in your dad’s eyes #ha). He gave us our Rehoboth, an open space for you and us to prosper.

Otis, when you wonder if you should follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings please remember where you grew up. Remember that God, not us, provided a home for you, and that He’s been your shelter from the very beginning. Please remember that when life is chaotic to get as quiet as you possibly can and listen for His still, small voice.

On Stay At Home Dads and Working Moms

Deciding to do the the stay-at-home-dad and sole-breadwinner-mom thing was hard. It is hard to not conform to society’s gender roles. It is hard to think you’re not being who you are ‘supposed’ to be. And, yes, gender roles exist. And I’d say Mark has suffered far more than I have.

Because no one straight up asks a sole-breadwinner-dad, “So… she’s just not going to work?” or “Yeah, but…what’s she going to do to make money?” or “You should tell him to get a job.”

Neighbors don’t openly laugh at a stay-at-home-mom and talk about how ‘lucky’ she is because wow, that’s the life, right?

Nope we don’t talk to breadwinning-dads and stay-at-home-moms this way because it’s incredibly rude to voice the idea that the person making sure the littlest person in your home is alive and taken care of is “doing nothing.” It’s ugly to hint at the idea that the SAHM is in some way ‘taking advantage’ of a working dad.

And the worst part? None of this came from conservative men who thought women needed to be barefoot and in the kitchen. They all came from women who love them some feminism…

It’s hard being a stay-at-home-dad. It’s hard not to ‘provide’ for your family the way a ‘real man’ should. It’s hard to have almost no one to relate to. It’s hard to wonder what everyone thinks about your role, to wonder if there is any way your dad and son could possibly be proud of the man you are.

It’s hard being a working mom. It’s hard wondering if every way your kid isn’t excelling is because you aren’t around enough, that you aren’t “mom” enough. It’s hard feeling guilty about all the things, all the time.

The thing is… Mark is my biggest cheerleader. I would have been happy to giggle away every insane idea I’ve ever had, but Mark has always been behind me whispering, “Take yourself seriously.” Every single time I wanted to make myself small and sneak away from the conversation, Mark said, “No. Take your seat at the table.”

It has been easy to become a working mom chasing down insane ideas because the man standing beside me refused to let me believe the lie that my voice didn’t deserve to be heard. He refused to believe that my calling wasn’t worth action. I would not be the woman I am today without him.

And in the same way he watched me chase dreams, I watched him protect and provide for us.

I watched him learn to use cloth diapers and figure out formula. I watched him pack diaper bags with detail. I watched him learn Otis so well that getting him ready for a day out almost always went smoothly (for him). I watched him make peanut butter and honey sandwiches so perfectly that I don’t even bother trying because they are sure to get sent back to the kitchen. I watched him make sure sunscreen and bug spray is always applied. I have absolutely no clue what it’s like to worry if Mark can handle being a parent to Otis. I watched him put me and our little bear first in every conceivable way over and over and over again.

The reason I went to work and he stayed home? Because it’s the kind of life we wanted for us and Otis, and I’m not sure I could have chased my dreams if I didn’t know that my little bear wasn’t completely loved and taken care of at home. Simple.

Mark apologizes to me often. Sorry that he gets to be home. Sorry that I have to work. Sorry that he doesn’t make money.

I won’t listen to any of it.

I have no illusions about who got the good end of the deal. I have a beautiful family and we have a beautiful home. We have food and bills get paid and I fill up my gas tank every time I need to. My husband loves me and my little boy makes me laugh. I have written books and created programs and built a neat little web presence in my “spare time.” I go to a job that I love, and am regularly told that I’m doing good work. My ideas are listened to and taken seriously by men that hired me to answer phones 10 years ago.

He’s the behind the scenes guy. The wind beneath my proverbial wings. He’s the one making sure all the bases are covered at home without little to any recognition for a good day’s work. He’s got the hard job, not me.

To say that we aren’t both holding our breath a little bit as we prepare for Margaret is a lie. Today our roles feel right and comfortable in a way they didn’t 5 years ago. Time does that. But that doesn’t mean we have forgotten how hard the whole role swap thing is. That doesn’t mean we aren’t a little bit terrified.

20160823_161925

Let me tell you a story

This is for my Never Trump peeps.

How much have you thought about Martin O’ Malley in the last year? You probably barely thought about him while he was running for the Democratic nomination, much less any thought to him since he dropped out.

I hope that brings some perspective to what Bernie Sanders and his revolution accomplished. Y’all, we weren’t supposed to even remember his name. He was supposed to be that Jewish guy that ran against Hillary.

I always think about this piece from a story about Jane Sanders getting on board with the idea for running for president:

When Bernie Sanders first broached the idea of running for president, Jane Sanders was not initially on board.

“First I said, ‘How can you win? We’re from a small state,’ ” she recalled. “I know the issues are important, but isn’t there another way for these issues to be discussed? I kept on saying, ‘Can’t you write a book? Can’t you start an organization? Can’t you do a speaking tour?’ And he kept on saying, ‘Yes, I can do all those things, and it’s not going to matter at all. It’s not going to change the conversation.’ 

Bernie didn’t get in this race to win (I mean, he did, but he knew what he was up against). He got in this race so that WE THE PEOPLE would start talking. And not talking about emails or who spent more money in which state or how many wives someone has, but talking about issues.

He wanted to get the country we love to talk about income inequality. To talk about the universal right to healthcare. To talk about trade that killed American incomes. To talk about how it’s not ok to let Wal-mart pay single moms $7 an hour and then shame them when they need food stamps to feed their babies. To talk about wars that we didn’t need to be in. To talk about corporatism. To talk about climate change solutions so our kids will have a planet to call home.

He changed the conversation. And if we play this right, the conversation stays here until it gets answers for all of the above.

Bernie won a lot of people’s hearts. And now he’s asking us to give those hearts to Hillary. Yes, I feel like a little kid getting dropped off at day care for the first time:

Do I trust Hillary? You want the truth? Nope. Not really. But I am the queen of a reframe, so let’s dive in…

What if Hillary looked a lot like Bernie on the day she became the First Lady? What if she believed in universal healthcare and being more than a FLOTUS that read books to kindergartners? What if she really wanted to shake the system up?

But then the Establishment happened. And healthcare for all was a failure. And maybe she didn’t quit believing in the progressive stuff, but she quit wearing her heart on her sleeve.

First things first. In my opinion, Bernie’s purity is a sign of his privilege. He’s a white man that can say a lot of crazy things (“Hey, Alan Greenspan, you’re destroying America”) and still get elected to office. I don’t believe women have that privilege. Even First Ladies turned Senators turned Secretaries of State. We don’t get to wear our hearts or our opinions so freely.

Hillary played the game. That’s why we are afraid of her. That’s why we hate her. She became one of Them.

Sharp left turn coming up.

I watched the Jaycee Dugard story a couple of nights ago on 20/20. That woman is amazing. She was held hostage for 18 years by an insane couple. She goes around telling professionals that they need to stop it with the Stockholm Syndrome thing. She argues that you aren’t “falling in love” with your captor, you’re doing what you have to do to survive. She referenced this YouTube video to show what it looks like to pretend to be dead in order to survive:

What if Hillary isn’t the Establishment? What if she has survived the Establishment? What if she’s been playing ‘dead’ and now that we’ve finally caught up as a country she can bounce back to life and be a true part of the progressive Dream Team WITH Warren and Sanders? What if they didn’t push her Left? What if she’s simply been waiting?

Maybe Hillary has been guarded for 30 years, believing that she couldn’t be progressive because that one time she tried it failed miserably. Maybe she’s scared to believe she can let her progressive freak flag wave. Maybe she can’t wait to be the nerdy, know-it-all, get-crap-done, Progressive Queen she has wanted to be since 1992.

Maybe.

I really don’t know.

But I do know that the current narrative that #BernieOrBust-ers are going to hand the election to Trump is wildly inaccurate. A lame campaign attempting to make everyone happy, coloring within the political lines of 1996, telling a story that’s simply “Vote for ‘Gina” because #woman, blaming an old man that was trying to decide between going on a book tour or run for president and accidentally started our generation’s political revolution because he can’t get his people ‘in line’, that is what will hand Donald Trump the White House.

The Clinton campaign has the perfect villain, now they just need to tell us the authentic & believable story of how the Secretary in Shining Armor saves the day.

*As a marriage therapist-type person, seeing a bunch of Democrats (not Progressives) tell emotional Bernie people to “quit being a baby” or “get over it and do what’s right” is the exact same thing as a husband saying, “Are you really crying over this?” when he forgets your birthday. Yes, it hurts. Yes, we need time. And if you condescend to me or tell me to “get over it” I will poison your dinner. Watch yourself before you wreck yourself.

To Fifty More

When you’re young and you hear a couple has been married for 50 years you think, “OMG! That is so adorable! Fifty years of hanging out with your best friend? Marriage and love are so cool!”

When you’re a little bit wiser older you and you hear a couple has been married for 50 years you think, “Wow. They didn’t kill each other. Bravo to everyone involved!”

My in-loves are celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss today. Bravo!

Aren’t they adorable?

These two are a lot like Mark and I. Very different.

One is the head, the other is the heart.

One says “Sure!”, the other says “Let’s think about it a little more.”

One says “Toss it, it’s junk,” the other says “But we might need it…”

Fifty years of this, y’all. Fifty. Years.

The remarkable thing isn’t that they had the differences, but that they didn’t let the differences tear them apart. That they didn’t give up.

And I’m so thankful that they didn’t give up.

Because not giving up taught my husband what real love looks like, day in and day out. They taught him commitment and loyalty. They taught him not to talk when you’re mad. They taught him how to serve someone even when you maybe don’t always like someone. They gave him an understanding of love and marriage that a romantic comedy could never touch (well, Up probably got close).

If they were writing this blog they would probably mention that they got here because of Him. They would tell you all the stories about how they almost screwed it all up, but God. They wouldn’t call theirs the greatest love story, they’d call it their greatest testimony.

A testimony to a God that redeems.

A testimony to a God that forgives.

A testimony to a God that provides.

A testimony to a God that showers blessings.

A testimony to a God that is good, even if nothing looks the way you thought it would 50 years ago.

The Lord is good. His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations.Psalm 100:5:

This family you two have built is beautiful. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us and taught us!

Love you both!

On Emailing Strangers and Catching Fireflies

A couple of years ago I was watching PBS do an interview with a science dude that was explaining the Polar Vortex. I liked his explanation. I liked that he seemed passionate about weather science stuff. I felt like he needed to know that his contribution to the world was appreciated.

So I googled until I found his email address, and let him know:

polar vortex

 

There’s a kid in grad school that has been predicting the primary election results using data from Facebook. It’s fascinating. He’s very good. He’s doing it for ‘fun’ and because that’s what he wants to do in the world so why not? He put out a tip jar and I threw a couple of dollars his way because good work deserves a little something, something.

pedigo

 

***

I don’t know that there is anything I’m more protective of than what I call the Holy Spirit tingle. You can feel it in your bones when you’re in the zone, when you’re doing what you’re uniquely gifted to do.

I think we live in a very distracting world. We chase down material things or status or security, and the Holy Spirit tingle is lucky to be an afterthought. The Holy Spirit tingle is quiet and gentle. It doesn’t demand attention. I imagine finding it is a lot like catching fireflies. Once you see it light up, when you see the general area she’s in, you have to change your focus so you can still see her when her light fades away.

It’s so easy to get discouraged when you are chasing down fireflies or Holy Spirit tingles. It’s so easy to give up. That’s why I look for random scientist’s email addresses and donate money to kids that are doing insane amounts of work “just because.” That’s why I fight for Mark’s songwriting, write books in the hours before work, and am trying really, really hard to get a school started where kids get to chase down every firefly they are blessed to get a glimpse of. In a very loud world full of “Be practical!” “Don’t dream!” “Grow up!”, I’m desperate to add my voice to the voice whispering, “Keep going” “Add your magic to this world” “Have faith.”

The Toast I Would Have Given

These girls have been friends since Apollo Middle School.

Junior high.

Who does that? Who keeps in touch with and likes hanging out with people who know what you looked like in that awkward stage where your hair was so big because you didn’t understand mousse and you wore the same wide-legged jeans every single day because they were the only pants that you knew wouldn’t be mistaken for ::gasp:: highwaters #horror

We do, but only because of Shelly “The Glue” Nickerson.

That’s right. Shelly P just became Shelly N (this nickname will probably not stick #allgoodthingscometoanend).

My best and longtime friend got married this weekend. We didn’t do toasts because I’m pretty sure that Shelly and Matt were done being in the spotlight as soon as the ceremony was over, and I’m never going to volunteer to public speak, but public write? I will public write all over the place. So here’s what I would have said…

“May I have everyone’s attention? I’d like to toast the happy couple!

Shelly, there really aren’t enough words to tell you how much I, and probably every person in this room, love you.

This week I was in charge of “planning” the bachelorette party. Y’all know this because I didn’t shut up about how hard it was, and how drained I was, and how OMG I’M NEVER PLANNING ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!

And I thought about how Shelly has been thinking about me, and probably every person in this room, for years. FOR DECADES! She’s been thinking about what we like to do and what we like to eat. When it’s been too long since the last get together. She’s been thinking about what the easiest route is for everyone. She’s been thinking about us and showing up for us and helping us calm down when we want to be dramatic for many, many years.

She’s been an anchor during crazy times. She’s been a compass when things feel crazy. She’s been the first text when we want to share the good news. She’s been the opinion that made the most sense. She’s been the encourager when you’re pretty sure you suck at life.

And I don’t know a lot of things, but I do know this. I have not said thank you enough. There’s no way I could. You’ve done too much for too long and too consistently. You win at friendship.

And friendship? That’s the key to this marriage thing. Showing up when it’s hard. Being kind when you want to be mean. Making sure it hasn’t been too long since the last Hint, Hint, errr, I mean, get together.

Matt, I know you know you’ve found a winner. And as your pretend marriage coach, here’s what I’m going to need you to do:

Tell her thank you. Every morning. Every night. At the end of every text message. Before every “I love you.”

Tell her thank you because she’s your glue. She’s holding things together that you didn’t even know were falling apart. And she does it all with grace and kindness and beauty.

Shelly, thank you for being my best friend since before text messaging.  Matt, thank you for making Shelly so happy, and congratulations on finding the very best wife on earth. I love you both! Congratulations!”

On Voting and Schooling and Living

I’ve never paid more attention to a primary than I have this one, and it’s not just because of Bernie. It’s actually more because of Sudbury.

There’s an argument that having closed primaries is “undemocratic.” But it isn’t. A primary is for a party and a party is, at the end of the day, a club. They aren’t required to be democratic for anyone other than their members. And being a United States citizen may make your voice count in a general election, but it doesn’t mean your voice matters to a political party.

Most of us don’t understand this because all we really know is “America is the best country in the world! Democracy is the awesome! Thank you to the men and women that fought for my right to vote!”

Then I wonder, “Where was everyone supposed to learn about how our government runs? Who was responsible for teaching us what it takes to get registered? Where were we supposed to learn that our voice matters? Where were we supposed to learn how to actually advocate legislatively for our families and communities?”

And the answer is supposed to be school, right?

The school that handed out the coveted Citizenship Award to the best (read: most obedient) child in the class.
A good citizen is an obedient one.

The school that has classes called “Government” but the only thing I remember doing was “learning” all the states and their capitals.
Fill your head with trivia. Don’t worry about thinking.

The school that made announcements every day of the spring semester to make sure every 18 year old male was registered for the draft, but never seemed to muster the same amount of passion to make sure the same 18 year olds were registered to vote.
Fight our wars, but don’t vote on them.

I’m just not buying that the education system as a whole (not teachers in specific) is that interested in actually producing citizens that are engaged with life. Which is where my excitement about Sudbury comes in.

I know I have a reputation for being all about everyone following their dreams. And that is me. I want everyone to be the you-iest you you can be. So I’m sure everyone thinks my love of Sudbury is about my kid having the freedom to follow his passion for YouTube lawnmower videos. And that is part of it.

But the other part, the biggest part, is that I want him to wrestle with life and his community as early as possible. And I don’t think there’s a better place to learn to wrestle than in a democratic free school.

Example:
Let’s pretend Otis wants to start a blueberry farm at the school because he loves blueberries. He doesn’t get to just walk outside and start digging because the school isn’t just his, it’s the school’s. So he’d have to come up with a plan for his blueberry farm, and probably start talking to others at the school about his idea to get them on board or at least supportive of a Blueberry Farm. He’ll have to figure out how to get the Blueberry Farm item on the school meeting’s agenda. He’ll have to think about possible arguments against the Blueberry Farm and how his plan will address them. He’ll have to present his plan to his peers. He’ll have to deal with the real pain of rejection if they vote no or the elation of success if they vote yes. He’ll probably learn that either way, yes or no, life goes on and there’s always a new thing to worry about tomorrow. And his peers are going to learn how to listen to big ideas about Blueberry Farms and ask questions to figure out if Otis’s Blueberry Farm is a good idea for not just Otis, but the whole school.

My hope is that when you’ve spent 12 years advocating for yourself and your community, you aren’t going to walk into the ‘real world’ and just stop. You have developed a worldview that says, “I have the right to ask questions, make my concerns heard, and be active in this ongoing conversation called Life because that’s all I’ve ever really known.”

Meet Kate

There is no area of my life where I feel more blessed than in friendships. God has introduced some of the most magical women into my life, and Kate Mason is possibly one of the most magical of all.
Kate Mason
She is fierce and positive and charming and she glows. Literally. Because her skin? It’s amaze. But that’s not really the point.

Then she got pregnant. And I held my breath because motherhood and all the emotional junk that comes with it can make even Beyonce wonder if she’s got this (and we all know that Beyonce always gots this).

So once she came out of the twilight zone of newborndom, we went to coffee with baby in tow. We talked about all the changes the baby brings and I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful motherhood looked on Kate. And not because she’s a Pinterest-perfect mombie, but because she was confident and listening to herself and respecting herself all while being a nurturing and attentive mom. It’s not an easy balancing act, trust.
I have a theory about why Kate is so good at listening to herself on this beautiful journey. She doesn’t have Facebook. Or Instagram. When she wants the grandparents to see a pic of the baby she sends a text. Novel, right?

So she doesn’t have all of this noise in her head. She can hear herself. And if I could point to one thing that is magical about Kate is that her lack of noise is contagious. When you sit with her she is there and listening completely which helps you be there and completely listen. I know because I’ve sat with her numerous times as I sorted out what my next steps were as far as my career, and her ability to help you see the real questions is, for lack of a better word, magic.

I have gushed enough. With a lot of begging from me, Kate is offering up a new coaching program specifically designed for new moms, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about this yes, I totally can. Instead I’m going to let Kate introduce herself!
After the birth of my first daughter, I experienced what could only be called an identity crisis. I realized that with the addition of this new, strange creature that literally made my heart hurt from love, I had to reevaluate almost every aspect of my life. My relationships had changed, my body had changed, my confidence wavered and my creativity stunted as all my energy was spent keeping this living, breathing baby alive.
As a control addict, I craved a structured program that could walk me through the steps to get me to the new, awesome self I knew existed. As a certified life coach, I developed that program. Motherloaded: A 12-Week Coaching Program for New Moms Experiencing the Inevitable Identity Crisis was created to help moms discover their new selves, as a mother, a partner and a woman. Over the 12-week course, everything from inner confidence to personal style to relationships with friends and family will be discussed. Issues like sex after baby, communicating with extended family, meeting new mom friends, and more will be evaluated and goals will be set.
I am currently taking new clients and would love to hear from you! Please feel free to email me for more information, pricing, etc. Also, if you are so inclined, don’t hesitate to pass this along to anyone who might be interested. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Kate Mason

Hope Berns Eternal #StillSanders

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Last Tuesday I saw that Bernie, a man in his seventies, was holding like 5 rallies in 5 different states in one day. I was patting myself on the back because I thought about going to barre that day.

When I saw that I knew that no matter what happened that night, no matter what the primary results were in MO, IL, OH, FL, and NC, I was going to keep fighting for Bernie because he wasn’t going to stop fighting for us.

 

Hillary states are done. Most of the remaining states are pretty solidly Bernie states. His “mathematical” chances at winning the nomination are still alive.

Here’s the thing.

Six months ago all of America thought a Trump nomination was insane. There was no way we’d buy into his foolishness. And then he went xenophobic and we thought he’d lose people then. Then he went straight up violent and now we’re pretty certain that he’ll be the Republican nominee.

I know it seems insane, on this side of the election, that he could become our next president, but I really think it’s possible. And I don’t believe that Hillary can stop him. I feel insane typing that, but I think America is very pissed right now, and I truly don’t believe that she’s going to win America’s hearts or votes in a general election against Trump. The Republicans were naive enough to think people would “come to their senses.” I don’t want to repeat the Republicans’ mistake.

But I do believe that Sanders can beat him because he’s Trump’s exact opposite. He’s trustworthy. He’s a servant of the people. He’s a representative. He’s always done what he says he will do. He looks out for the little guy. He looks out for us.

So.

(I have so many thoughts. Sorry.)

Bernie has every reason to give up. No one would blame him. But he hasn’t given up on us, so it would be just the very best if we didn’t give up on him.

There are lots of ways that we can help Bernie blow out the western states:

Donate
I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been to know that his campaign hasn’t died because millions of people keep giving him $27. He hasn’t had to accept money from corporations or super pacs because the people know what’s up. One of Hillary’s people recently said that this would all be over if Bernie wasn’t so good at raising money. He said, “They lose a state and they give money, they win a state and they give money. It’s insane!” Be insane.

Facebank
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FacebankingforBernie/
This has been how I’ve volunteered. I find my friends of friends that like Bernie in states that are about to vote and I invite them to events that remind them to vote and give them all the info they need to make sure they get to the polls. It took me no time (maybe 30 minutes) to Facebank for all of the 5 states from last week. You can learn how to Facebank here: http://feelthebern.events/

Phonebank
I haven’t phone banked, but I will. This terrifies me because phones are from the devil, but that’s how much I believe in Bernie.https://go.berniesanders.com/page/content/phonebank

And then this reddit site has been how I’ve stayed in the loop with how to help with the campaign https://www.reddit.com/r/SandersForPresident. And if you’re in Middle Tennessee you can join this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1113071702050558/

I fully realize that this is silly. That his chances are slim. But it isn’t often that we get the chance to support a candidate like this and I really don’t want to sit on the sidelines.