My dad and my son breaking the wishbone!

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m tired of all the ads.  We just got done celebrating Thanksgiving, a day for giving thanks. For showing appreciation for the many blessings in our life.  For acknowledging what we already have.

And yet, my inbox is full of emails advertising specials and sales trying to tempt me to spend money.  To buy more stuff.  Stuff I don’t need.  Stuff that gift recipients don’t really need either.  Of course, I’ll be shopping and buying presents for family and friends.  But not during Thanksgiving weekend.  Not when I’m focused on spending time with my son and husband (when he’s not at work).

It just feels like every year Thanksgiving is getting increasingly short-changed.  More and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day.  Black Friday specials start Thursday afternoon.  It’s happening because of supply and demand.  People respond to it.  People go to the stores.  People shop and spend money.  

Our family has a yearly Thanksgiving tradition.  We go around the table, and we take turns sharing what we are most thankful for.  This year, we did it twice — once at my parents’ house for our full Thanksgiving meal and once at our house when we were feasting on leftovers later in the day.  And both times, when it was my son’s turn, he never once gave thanks for anything materialistic.  He gave thanks for us, his grandparents, our food, our home, our planet.

And that’s what it’s all about. 

My holiday shopping will start this week instead.


Thankful for Public Schools

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to share with my readers a post I wrote for MomsLA back in 2013.  That was the same year I left my twelve-year teaching career, and the year my son began his own twelve-year career as a public school student. 

Click here to read “6 Reasons Why We Should Be Thankful for Public Schools.”

And readers, I’d love to learn what you’re thankful for.  Let me know in the comments section.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Everybody’s Got Something

I recently finished reading Everybody’s Got Something, a memoir written by Robin Roberts.  I knew very little of Ms. Roberts’s story, largely because I don’t watch morning news shows.  But her book came highly recommended by a friend of mine, and I’m glad I read it.  So in case you haven’t read it yet, I wanted to share some of the take-aways that most resonated with me.

  • Sometimes you have to go back to basics:  When you are down and you don’t know how to pick yourself up, start where you are.  Left foot, right foot, breathe.”
  • “When you’re facing a health crisis, you crave normalcy.  So much in your life isn’t normal anymore.  You feel reluctant to tell anybody, because you don’t want to be treated differently.”
  • This statement is just oh so true for me:  I just wanted to feel better the next day than I’d felt the day before.  It had been so long since I’d felt normal, whatever normal is.”
  • Ms. Roberts gets a whole lot of credit because she used “my diagnosis to raise awareness…  And in the words of her beloved Momma, “Make your mess your message.  Find the meaning behind whatever you’re going through, because everybody’s got something.”

And I’m trying.  I’m trying to raise awareness, to create some meaning in a medical condition which largely isn’t understood or easily treated.  Because I know it’s not just me.  Whether it’s evident or not, everyone’s dealing with something. 


Why Our Family Doesn’t Allow Toy Guns

It feels like not a week goes by without a news story about some horrific act of gun violence.  It’s happening all over the world.  And I don’t know if it’s because we have access to news twenty-four hours a day that it feels like it’s happening more and more often, or if, sadly, it really is happening more and more often.

And on that related note, one of my personal essays was recently published at MUTHA Magazine and then re-printed at the Huffington Post. Click here to read “Why Our Family Doesn’t Allow Toy Guns.” 

Hidden Figures

Ryan and I standing by the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center earlier this year

Our family doesn’t often go to the movies.  We tend to rent our DVDs from the local library, and as a result, we are usually way behind in seeing what everyone else has already stopped talking about.

That was the case with Hidden Figures, the Oscar-nominated film from last year.  We had seen the ads and billboards around town.  We had watched commercials, and we knew we were interested in seeing the movie.  But that didn’t happen until just a few months ago.  And now, Hidden Figures has become a new family favorite.

You can click here to read my personal essay, “Why Hidden Figures Means So Much To Our Family” recently published at