New blog address


It’s never too late to achieve girlhood dreams.

This is the place to gain encouragement, inspiration and tools.

It’s time.


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6 steps to overcome a complaining habit

It’s been awhile, my lovelies. It seems that third grade is swallowing me up…yet not in a bad way. I am completely submerged in  9-year-old Land and it’s wonderful. A ton of work, but wonderful.

* * *

So, I was hit by a cosmic 2×4 yesterday on my evening run. When stress hits and I’m feeling overwhelmed (as in busy teacher with a non-driving teen scene in my house), I have a horrible habit of looking for what’s wrong/unjust/irritating/bothersome in my little world. It’s actually quite gross and I’m done with it. The 2×4 was a voice that asked me:

What if you chose joy instead?

What if you let go of all your past resentments and fears and surrendered to the potential of joy and gratitude?

What if you assumed that everyone you encountered (family/friends/strangers) had their own story to tell and you were willing to embrace them just as they are?

Would that change your day to day? I bet it would.

It was a voice so clear that I stopped running and stood there for a minute. This idea overpowered me and I felt amazingly receptive to letting go. I mean really letting go.

How does one do that?












1) Recognize that resentment is usually based on FEAR: Nothing good is based on fear. Fear blocks, sabotages, hinders growth and acceptance. Just recognizing an emotion in disguise as fear is starting to work…a little…in my quest to let go.

2) Live in the present: Replicating old dramas and trauma does not help anyone. I’m starting to be on to the little gremlins in my subconscious who look for past hurts. Mooovin’ on is hard, but worth it, I’m realizing. Time is oh-so-short.

3) A gratitude practice must become a habit: I’m finding that time in the car (alone, so I can talk to myself without backseat ridicule) is my best spot for listing the things I’m grateful for. It is a huge list! It is so hard to bitch and moan when I’ve got that list hanging in the air of my minivan.

4) Clean and organize: This is a weird one, but for me it has to do with feeling relaxed because things are in order and I know where to find what I need. I also feel amazingly grateful for my house when it’s clean and tidy…I’m less likely to complain about what’s going on inside it.

5) Observe quiet time: I didn’t realize what an introverted extrovert I was until I didn’t get alone time on a regular basis. Our family’s been taken hostage by club volleyball and there have been weekends when I am up to here with whistles/chatter/crowds/girl drama—-I feel completely rattled. Once I figured out how much of a monster this makes me (and I discovered the incredible joy of earplugs), I am diligent about carving out alone time.

6) Dwell in THIS moment: I am so good at getting the motor going on worry and annoyance about things that haven’t even happened yet. So tedious! The more I breathe and actually pay attention to the place/moment/conversation that I’m in, the more joy I allow in. It’s a pretty simple equation. Why don’t I insist on this from myself? It’s time.

* * *

The above, of course, is a massive work in progress. Sheesh…I’m such a work in progress in general..but!! Friends, I am finally seeing the awesome in being in my mid-40’s. I’ve had some moments lately where I’m so grateful for experience and perspective. You couldn’t blast me back to my naive 20’s for millions of dollars! So that’s something :)

Here’s hoping you are finding time to hurdle your fears and find the joyful parts. As always, I am so glad you’re here to write to. It always helps when I’m workin’ it out.




Posted in Confessional Sunday, MPG stirrings | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

My word for 2015

If you’re interested you’ll do what’s convenient, if you’re committed you’ll do whatever it takes.

Commitment….That’s my word for 2015.

This word can conjure up scary images of runaway brides on the Hallmark Channel or a personal trainer berating a person in the face of a new diet plan. It may even give a visual of some crazed struggling individual being checked into a 1950’s facility.

In my own small world I plan on using this word to activate the cattle prod of production so the big plans I have been stock-piling will actually happen. It’s a positive thing…like a goal on your bathroom mirror or a friend who does a voicemail check-in to make sure you’re hanging in there. Unfortunately, there are some chinks in my armor when it comes to big projects. I’m a random combination of artsy/flighty/unorganized and scheduled/driven/motivated and it’s a bit difficult to give myself the proverbial kick in the tuckus that comes with the start of a new year. There have been some amusing moments when I can’t hide my own surprise in the face of someone who recognizes something biggish that I have completed. Oh, I dunno…creating a photography business (not one, but three times with our moves) and transforming my teaching credential in three months from expired to ready to rock in roll. I’m ashamed to admit there’s a pattern there. I hate patterns when they reveal one’s character flaws. Don’t you? It involves desperation and a hunger so strong for change that my scheduled/driven/motivated self aggressively grabs the steering wheel. This leaves my arsty/flighty/unorganized self to sulk in the corner of the front seat, playing with the contents of the middle console, trying not to look sheepish.

Donald Miller, a writer who leaves me with bated breath every time he announces an upcoming novel, has some great advice when it comes to projects. He advises to choose only three big projects to complete in a year. Of course, there’s some subjectivity when it comes to analyzing what “big” is exactly.  Some might find organizing a bathroom closet to be their Mount Everest and then there are folks who take on a running plan that ends in a 2:30 marathon (neither of these are on my list, btw). I think what Miller is getting at is: find a project that meets your personal definition of “big”, make a list, prioritize by time-commitment (there’s that word again) and importance, and then boldly write down these three in a place that you frequent every day. Miller actually includes his big three on his daily to-do list to keep himself focused. He does acknowledge that this type of goal setting brings about a fair amount of No’s. People don’t like no’s. They’re uncomfortable with the fact that a no means their request is not important to you. Yet, I’m not sure if it’s a matter of importance as it is a dire need for focus. And as a half artsy/flighty/unorganized person, I definitely see the value in taking that metaphorical table comb to my crumb covered schedule to ensure success. I just wasn’t made to tackle more than one project at a time.

Now for the projects. This year I will finish at least half of my novel I’ve started. I’m thinking the summer months will hold the bulk of my early morning writing plan. Exercise takes precedent at 5 a.m. during the school year simply because it does not happen in the evening when I’m dragging my sloth body into the house, laden “to correct” files and groceries to put away. I love the early hours (much to the dismay of my “I’m a night person” family) and my internal alarm usually doesn’t fail me, even in the summer. It is a magical time of day that I relish like chocolate cake. It’s quiet, productive, inspiring and lovely. Waking at any time after 7 am feels like a loss for me—those precious early hours are that important to my well-being. So—Super Gluing my rear to my desk chair will, of course, be of ultimate importance in this endeavor. Funny how clearing the dryer of lint and organizing magazines by date can take precedent when there is serious writing to be done. Seeing my own procrastination, I usually sigh loudly like an exasperated teen and slink back to my hovel and then somehow find something else to quibble with on the way! It’s maddening. This is where my new buddy, commitment, jumps in with a flowing cape, hands on hips.

”How much do you want this?” Mr. C asks in a radio announcer voice. “How important to you is the completion of this novel?”

I’d like to think that it’s important enough to be one of my Big Projects, so I better get a move on.

The second project for 2015 is to complete my ProCert (a professional certification that all teachers must complete in five years). It’s a P.I.T.A., for sure, but it’s a necessary evil and I need to man up and get ‘er done by June. I’m taking a class that’s walking me through each section (and would lose my job without it), so I’m relatively optimistic that this one’s in the bag with consistent effort.

Third, I’d like to commit to Cross Fit three times a week. My 5 a.m. dreadmill routine is in full swing five days a week, but this 44-year-old body needs some lift, so to speak. As in butt, arm flags and bread basket lift. We’re geared up to a fault out in the garage, with tripping hazards all over the place. Big weights…small weights…random weighted hula-hoop thingee…pull-up bar that has seen more action from my 13-year-old than me…and a yoga mat that looks like a scratching post. Yup..they’re all at the ready and I need to be as well. An impending trip to Hawaii looms in the distance. Perhaps that’s enough to choosing weights over reruns of Modern Family. Or maybe I should just combine the two? That might be the way to go—ample entertainment to mask the sound of my screaming tight muscles.

So, friends—what is your word for 2015? I’m dying to know.

May the new year bring you good health, family time and work you love.



Posted in Adventures of ARTSY GIRL, MPG quote and wisdom, MPG stirrings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Paintings (photography too!) Edward hopper style

You could say I’m a “noticer” of many things.

In fact, I get stimuli overload pretty easily…but the good news is that beauty seems to pop out at me everywhere. Art in particular…and how light is portrayed in art.

My favorite painter, Edward Hopper, was all about shadows. The light and the dark not only within bungalows and city high rises, but in the hearts of his subjects. So dramatic and deliberate. I’ve been drawn to his light since I was a kid.

















There have been some incredibly talented photographers who have taken on an Edward Hopper-esque project. They speak to me for so many reasons.

via Pinterest.

via C4DLounge
















via. BlueVerticalStudio


Via Richard Tuschman.

Via. Michaela C. Theurl

These next two are amazing to me…re-created photograph on the top, painting on the bottom.

More of these examples here. So fabulous.

I also have a new favorite Hopper-esque contemporary painter named Susan Bennerstrom. Her work is stunning and I could easily picture it on my walls.










Oh, to know how to paint!! Someday.

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays (and it’s not holi-crazed). We’re hanging in there—this week is a killer for elementary school teachers. If I make it to Friday with every nerve in tact it will be a miracle!


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Anyone else have a lot of party gear, but never use it?

Entertaining the Joneses: Illusions of Grandeur

Yet another quandary of suburban living: habitual get-togethers. Currently, I do not make a practice of cooking and party-planning for the masses. I think in my 20’s I had visions of the neighborhood sauntering over to our place for theme dinners and cocktail parties.  I’ve since taken a good look at our family-first existence and realized that I’m just not that girl. I do, however, enjoy going over to other people’s homes for theme dinners and cocktail parties, but (sigh) Martha, I ain’t. And that’s okay.  So, with this epiphany comes the revelation that I:  A) have far too many wine glasses squeezed into my cabinets and B) outside colored lanterns and yard decorations are uselessly collecting dust in my attic. The summer soirees’ they were purchased for didn’t happen.

Again, I blame the infatuation with eye candy in the form of magazines, websites and blog lurking. It’s a lovely idea to visualize a garden party with multiple tables clad in chevron fabric and tiny little sandwiches piled on colorful trays. The honest truth is, I would not choose to host this kind of event. Know thyself, right? I would much rather spend the time it takes to prep for such an affair with the people I’m inviting….drinking champagne and lounging on patio furniture. I think with entertaining, a lot of us love the idea of having a Pinterest-worthy spread in our kitchen, but in reality, we just want to enjoy people and easy-to-prepare snacks. And with that, dear friends, we can liquidate the party platters, cheese blocks and drink umbrellas.

What if you are a party girl? The hostess with the mostess gene might be in your DNA. It’s possible your 18 wine glasses go through the dish washer en masse more than twice a year. I suggest keeping party-themed items and large numbers of stem and glassware in one spot so that you can realistically take note of how many times they make it out of the cabinet. Also, you probably already know this, but borrowing items is not a crime. It’s actually quite resourceful to ask neighbors and friends for things when you’re hosting a once-a-year event. The “what if I actually become a party thrower?” dilemma has risen up for me several times in my purging process, but I realized that my friends are generous. I also realized that I like to be generous too.  My neighbor in New York was contemplating buying a second refrigerator to store food for the seasonal parties she had every year. I told her that I would happily put her cold pasta salads and bottles of Chardonnay in my garage fridge once every four months. You might be surprised with the hospitality of folks who are thrilled to have their 50 wine glasses used once in awhile. With these thoughts, I now enjoy empty space in my stemware cabinets and the absence of Party City supply tripping hazards in the rest of the house.

The truth:  Although I completely recognize there are plenty of happy party-throwers out there, I have come to terms with my own simple outlook on entertaining. I like to keep it small and easy, with minimal clean-up. I would rather bond with small groups of friends more frequently, than be counted on for a once-a-year party of the century. An added bonus is the space created when you free yourself of party gear storage for future events.


Posted in MPG Party Girl, Pare down / Power up, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment