Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cue the next chapter

Change is the challenge we all face in this life.

How we respond says a lot about our character.

I'll no longer be blogging here or at

But I'm thrilled with my new site. Please follow me there -

I'll be writing there, on close to a daily basis.

I hope to see you!

Much love.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

It'll change your life

Today's Daily Truth is chilling. All of the text that follows is copyright Brave Girls Club:.

Dear Nurturing Girl,

It is often said that a good way to treat others that we love is to imagine that it is our last day with them...or our last day alive. But what if we tried instead, to live as though it is our VERY FIRST DAY with them?

Try to live this day as though it is the first time you have ever seen your child, or the love of your life, or your parents...or your beautiful friends. Look at them from head to toe...see them for what they are and who they are...look around at all that they are doing, and who they have hard to make sure they know exactly how you feel about them. Work hard to be someone that they might want to have in their life.

After time has passed...we so often forget to see things that would normally leave us in awe. Things that are beautiful and miraculous and a complete gift in our lives are all but overlooked because we see them day after day. TODAY decide that it is the first day of your life...and walk into your life to see all of the gifts that are there for you. See your first glass of water, your first sunrise, hear your first song, see those freckles on the face of that little boy you love for the first time....notice the way someone shows their love for it’s the first time.

We work so hard to go go go. Let’s stop today and see what is here already...what we don’t have to go anywhere to see. Let’s try to start seeing things that would blow our minds and touch our hearts and bring us to tears if we were paying attention....or if it were the first time it ever happened...or the first time we ever met.

Life is so beautiful, so full, so miraculous.

Welcome to the first day of your life!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Being really honest

What’s the one thing you’d change about yourself if you could?

(Yes, only one. Come on. You do not have 10 things that need to be different).

Mine is knowing when to shut up, or knowing when to not say something that I didn’t think much about before I said it.

Because sometimes when we say things, they end up meaning that much more to the person who heard them.

And then they’re really hard to take back. And when I didn’t mean what I said in the way it was received in the first place, well, then, it always make me think: a. Why are you so honest? and b. Why don’t you think before you speak?

And then there’s nothing I can do.

I know I said only one, but the second thing I would change is how much I worry about things. Little things become huge if left to ruminate in my mind, and then, yes, I slowly drive myself insane…

And the third thing I would change is how much I care about the little things.

This life is tough sometimes, right?

I know. Chill out. Only worry about what I can control. Live in the moment. Yada yada. I know.

But still.

Tell me I’m not alone. Your less-than-desirable trait, please?
This post originally appeared on

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dear gorgeous girl,

(Today's Brave Girls Club Daily Truth is too perfect not to share):

Dear Gorgeous Girl,

Think hard, lovely you, about something that worried you 5 years ago...something that worried you day and night and night and day.....something that you weren’t quite sure that you could ever make it through, and that certainly you did not feel you had the tools to make it through at that time.

Yet, here you are, a brave soul...having made it 5 years down the path of your life, and somehow it all worked out...somehow you made it. It might even be so that you have stopped thinking about whatever that worry was until this very moment....because it seems so many lifetimes ago. You may even be giggling thinking about all of the time and energy that you spend worrying about that problem, because in hind sight, it seems so small now.

This is the way it is, dear friend. We waste so much time worrying. We worry and we worry and we worry.....yet, we have made it to today somehow. Can we give life more than that? Can we just try to TRUST that things will be ok, because they always have been...because here we are today, breathing in and out....perfect proof that we will be ok tomorrow too.

Let’s not waste any more time worrying. It IS going to work is going to work out beautifully when all is said and done. It may be longer than we had hoped, and it mayb be in a different way than what we thought was best...but along the way there will be too many gifts of knowledge, learning and miracles to count that will get us’s just the way things work.

Today is a great day to decide that enough is more worrying.
Life is a beautiful ride. Let’s enjoy it.

You are loved beyond measure.

(Entire post copyright Brave Girls Club - if you haven't checked them out yet, do so!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Doing it all over

If you could do it over, would you?

If you could go back and change your mind, choose a different path, would you?

Do you ever think about that?

I know none of us would trade our children — not for anything, not for millions of dollars or a home on the beach or a perfect-all-the-time husband. Of course, not.

But what if we could go back to that boy we dated in high school and choose … not to date him. Choose to instead have more girlfriends or spend more Friday nights getting to know our parents … or getting to know ourselves. Reading more books, watching more classic films, starting a scrapbooking club or a bible study group or … anything else.

What if we could go back to that moment in college where we had to bite the bullet and pick a major? Would you still choose journalism? Or would you go that other route you’ve always wondered about, you know, that pre-med route?

What if your parents hadn’t split up? What if you’d stayed with your dad instead? Would you have the same friends, the same kids? Would you have married the same guy? (The uncomfortable answer to these questions is no.)

But we all take the life path we do for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. People come into our lives at the exact time they’re meant to, and then later, some of them leave. We make the choices we do for a reason. We deal with the fall-out from some of those choices because we have to. But every day we get a new day. This world keeps turning, no matter what we do.

I think our challenge – my challenge, at least – is believing this is all how it’s meant to turn out and being patient with the changes, with the bends in the road, without knowing the final destination.

This post originally appeared at

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brave girls

Do you guys know about the Brave Girls Club?

If not, go there. Sign up for the daily e-mails. It's not spam.

Here was the daily truth today:

"One of the paradoxes of life is that sometimes the very best decisions have the most difficult consequences. And sometimes what is best is not what we want most. And sometimes when we want to feel peace, we have to do something that feels painful first. Sometimes, we have to do such hard things, and there's absolutely no other way.

"You can do it, though ... you know what is the right thing to do.. you know for sure in your gut and deep in your heart and a million signs have led you to what you are supposed to do. It still feels so scary, so difficult and so impossible, even for a very brave girl.

"Just know that most of the best things in life come after making the most difficult choices and doing the hardest things and taking the biggest risks.

"You really can do this ... and miracles are going to happen when you do."


My goodness, they are tiny.

You forget. Right? Isn’t it crazy how we forget?

My boss, aka mom2lulu, had her third baby girl last week and she brought the new one into work the other day.

She even said to me, “You’re not much of a baby person, right?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer that, if I was or wasn’t. I like babies very much when they’re not crying non-stop for seemingly no reason. Yes, at every other time, I like them lots. When they’re crying those tiny cries, well, yes, I’d prefer an 18-month-old.

At any rate, I liked her baby a lot. She was so delicate, just a small bundle of coziness. Her skin was perfect, her brown hair was fluffy, she opened her baby eyes and just looked around the room - at the lights on the ceiling and all the strange faces peering at her.

I held her briefly – until she started to cry. And then Mom took her and all was well in her tiny world again.

It made me want one.

Which is out of the question for all sorts of reasons.

But still, my goodness, babies are sweet.

Do you ever get baby fever when you see a newborn?

This post originally appeared on, the World-Herald's website for moms. (It's Veronica's full-time job.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bye-bye, baby tooth

Rye lost his first tooth!

I'm so excited for him. He wiggled it out himself tonight, while he lay in bed. He opened the door around 9:15 and came to find me in the living room.

"Mom," he said, "I lost my tooth." And then he looked down into his hand and showed me the tiny tooth.

He had blood on his fingers and blood in his mouth, but he was smiling.

I feel like this is a milestone. And I'm actually mourning - slightly - the loss of that tooth that was in his mouth for so many years. That tooth that we've brushed and brushed and brushed. That tooth that helped him eat and helped him talk. That tooth that was a piece of my first baby.

Now, it sits in a plastic baggie under my baby's pillow.

(He did write a note to the Tooth Fairy, though, requesting to keep his tooth! That's my boy!)

Who knew my son losing his first tooth could be so exciting!? (And, yes, that is a permanent tooth already coming in behind).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rye's 6th birthday party

We had Rye's birthday party at the activities center at Mahoney State Park yesterday.

He had a GREAT time (read: sweaty mess of boyness after running and climbing and playing in those tunnels). I felt so blessed that he had so many friends there to help him celebrate. Truly, we are lucky.

Thank you to everyone who came and spent the afternoon with us.

Here's the birthday boy:

Here are some of the girls going through the tunnels:

Here's the G.I. Joe cake I made. Turned out OK!

And here's the party room before everyone got there:

I said to Rye afterward, "Wouldn't it be fun if we could have birthday parties every month?"

He said, "Yeah, but then I'd get old really fast."

So much wisdom from my nearly 6-year-old!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Unless you're really not paying attention...

We're going to get a little smarter as we get older.

That's what superstar author Elizabeth Gilbert told me last month when I called her for an interview. She was in a hotel room in Idaho, in the middle of a speaking tour that brought her to Omaha last week.

I was so nervous in the days leading up to the interview that I started wishing someone else was writing the story instead. I do that sometimes: wish I could forsake what always ends up being awesome just to get out of the agony of the build-up.

But she was great and I was capable, if even confident and articulate. She thanked me for such thoughtful questions at the end, and that just about made my entire week.

She was what journalists call "a quote machine." Just about everything she said was wise and worded well and quote-worthy. Writing this story was challenging mainly in making sure I kept my voice, that I didn't rely too much on her words, that I let myself be the writer. (How crazy is that? Letting myself be the writer instead of ELIZABETH GILBERT!).

Anyway, here's what ran in the World-Herald. I'm pretty proud of it.

The influence of 'Eat, Pray, Love'
By Veronica Daehn
World-Herald staff writer

As far as Elizabeth Gilbert can figure, it was all an accident.
The author of the mega-successful “Eat, Pray, Love” just happened to write a book about her spiritual journey to find herself at the same time millions of women happened to be re-examining their own lives.

“When you're struggling with those hard questions about love, despair, God, the point of your life, you really feel like you're alone on an iceberg with that,” Gilbert said in a recent interview. “It turns out those exact questions were being shared by about 10 million people. Turns out my own personal drama is an extremely representable one.”

In her early 30s, unhappy in her marriage and her life, Gilbert left her husband and her new suburban house in New York. She ultimately traveled to Italy, India and Indonesia, where she sought spiritual guidance and healing as well as forgiveness. “Eat, Pray, Love” is a memoir of that journey.

It has sold more than 10 million copies, has been translated into more than 30 languages and was made into a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts.

Gilbert is still figuring out how to deal with all that success.

“I try to respect it and be grateful for it and keep a little tiny bit of distance from it,” she said. “There was nothing in my life that led me to believe anything like that would have happened.”

If she's lucky, she said, people will be asking her about “Eat, Pray, Love” for the rest of her life.

There's little doubt that its impact will be long-lasting, at least for many readers.

Mandy Horrocks, a 34-year-old Omaha mother, is just one of many women who read Gilbert's book at that accidental right time.

Normally too busy with her career to read, Horrocks bought “Eat, Pray, Love” in the Omaha airport on her way to a business meeting in Boston. She couldn't put it down.

“From the first lines, I just thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is my life right now.' I just really connected.”

Horrocks read “Eat, Pray, Love” in October. A week before Christmas, she left her husband. In February, she left her job, a career she'd had for 12 years — 10 at the same place. A sales manager for a financial services company, Horrocks didn't want to be “on” all the time anymore.

Before quitting, she told herself every day for a year that her career would get better. Put your head down and work hard, she said. She knew she could make herself do that.

“But then I woke up one day and thought, ‘Why am I making myself do this?'”

Taking a cue from Gilbert, she's no longer doing it. Instead, she's trying to figure out what's next.

As for her marriage, Horrocks said she and her husband were on their way to separating anyway. But reading the book gave her a little more faith, a little more courage.

“It just kind of confirmed and reassured me that things like that can happen and be OK,” she said. “It reassured me that you do move on and do what's important in your life.”

Women today have an added challenge, Gilbert said, because they don't really have older generations to look up to. Their mothers and grandmothers didn't feel pulled in so many directions because they didn't have as many choices.

Gilbert said: “I can't ask my mother or my grandmother how they did this because they didn't have the life I had. She didn't have to do the thing we do where we look down our street and there are 10 different women with 10 different paths and each one forced us to ask ourselves if we did it the right way? Was I supposed to get divorced and move to India?”

Women have enormous political and educational freedoms now, Gilbert said. And because they don't have generations of role models to learn from and follow, they're all pioneering their own way. (“Thank God for the blogosphere,” she said).

It can get overwhelming, but women have a responsibility to own up to their choices, even when it means they don't get certainty, she said. Women often second-guess their decisions.

“Let us not deceive ourselves,” Gilbert said. “This is a tricky time to be a woman. Almost every day, we have six doors we could go through. Choosing one always comes with the danger that you should have gone through a different door.”

So what about Gilbert's choice? Is she happy?

She is. She remarried (her most recent book, “Committed,” is all about marriage), and she and her husband live in a river town of 1,000 people in rural New Jersey.

She has a garden where she grows mainly flowers (the town has a wonderful Farmer's Market for vegetables, plus she likes to look out her window and “see a ridiculously pointless pile of beauty.”) She takes yoga at a local studio. She walks her dog, Rocky. And she's working on her next book, a novel about 19th century botanical exploration.

At ICAN, Gilbert will talk about the process of writing “Eat, Pray, Love” and surviving its aftermath.

She'll start at the beginning of her writing career, when she was 8 or 9 years old and writing plays with her sister (she wrote, produced and directed a 10-minute musical in the fifth grade). She'll talk about the creative process and how to live a creative life as long as you're alive.

She'll talk about failures, too — the 10 years she spent trying to be a writer but not getting published.

But now, she's Elizabeth Gilbert. She took this scary step, left her marriage, traveled the world, found herself and love, wrote a best-seller, has been on “Oprah” ... isn't her life perfect?


“The world is a shifty, spinny, complicated place where nothing is promised, where nothing remains the same,” she said. “Just when you get yourself straightened out, there's everyone else to deal with, too — all their fears and issues. The degree of compassion that's required to endure it is mighty.

“But unless you're really not paying attention, you're going to get a little smarter as you get older.”

Monday, April 4, 2011

Such a big girl

Certain things must happen for a child to fully grow up.

They must master skills like tying their shoes, zipping their jacket, blowing their nose, brushing their teeth, using the potty, going to sleep on their own in a big kid bed. Playing at a friend's house without Mommy there.

Also: eating cereal with milk. With a spoon. All by yourself. (What? This isn't on your list?)

Paige is apparently now a big girl.

And I'd say she's pretty pleased about it, wouldn't you?

Her big brother yesterday went to a Nebraska baseball game with a good friend and his mom. I sent him with money and a juice box, temporary substitutes for me. He had a great time and I was excited for him to get to go. The independence he's gained this year in kindergarten definitely signals that he's growing up.

But he has yet to eat cereal with milk. So his little sis has got that on him at least.

We're on vacation this week! Happy week to all of you, too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Maybe at least it would make a good story, I told my son.

I was hoping.

Not that this story is awful by any means. More … irritating, I guess, than anything else. But also kind of funny.

My son, who turns 6 in May, takes gymnastics twice a week. Mondays and Thursdays at 5:30. This week, though, his mom is running a St. Patrick’s Day 5K on Thursday, so we sought out a make-up gymnastics class for him last night.

We arrived, true to form, about a minute late. He ran in, while I parked the car. I gave him clear instructions to look for his teacher and head straight in to join the group.

When my 22-month-old daughter and I made it in, I immediately walked to the window to make sure my son had found his class.

Just about right away, I knew something was wrong. For one, he was almost a foot taller than the other boys. Second, he also seemed to be joining the group mid-class. They were on the bars already. Normally, they’d be running laps for a warm-up.

I asked at the front desk. Yes, the class my son should be joining starts at 6:30, not 5:30. I checked my phone for the time: 5:36 p.m.

Ugh. Lesson: Always double check what you think you know.

I gathered my children and headed for the car. Both said, “Where are we going? What are we doing?”

The truth: I hadn’t a clue. But I knew we weren’t staying at gymnastics for the next 54 minutes, just waiting. We live far enough away that it didn’t make sense to go home either.

We hadn’t eaten yet and the kids had already requested pancakes for dinner, so I decided we’d go to the nearby breakfast restaurant. Perfect. Dinner taken care of and time wasted!

Then I saw my son’s feet. I hadn’t made him wear shoes. He takes them off as soon as he gets to gymnastics anyway, why bother with tying them? No shirt, no shoes, no service. Awesome.

So we drove. We drove until Mommy saw a thrift store. We went in, my son barefoot. I told myself the fact that my son didn’t have shoes on and we were going in to shop at a thrift store didn’t mean anything about my financial means, despite appearances to the contrary.

Goldmine: Above a rack of clothes, I saw a pair of kids’ sneakers. They were white and royal blue and off-brand.

I’m also pretty sure they were girls’ shoes.

But they fit. So we bought them.

And then we ate a speed dinner of pancakes at the nearby restaurant. Because by the time we got there, I had to ask the waiter to please rush our order.

Finally, we showed up to gymnastics – again – a minute late.

This post originally appeared on

Monday, March 14, 2011

Days like these

You ever had one of those days where everything feels hard? At least harder than it should be?

They usually start in the morning. I burn the waffles. I spill the sippy cup as I'm pouring the juice. I can't find one of my daughter's shoes.

My son doesn't like the choices of pants in his drawer. He wants the pair of pants he wore two days ago and can't understand why they're not clean. It's not like he wore them yesterday.

My daughter trips on her blankie or an errant toy (book, movie, shirt, fill in the blank really) that's been left where it shouldn't be.

I wake up with intentions to shower but then run out of time. I can't find my toothbrush - it's probably hiding out with my daughter's shoe.

We leave the house late. My son can't find his hat. Or his gloves. Or his library book. My daughter cries for her sunglasses to be on her face right that second, MAMA!! Even though it's cloudy.

I forget my lunch that I actually took time to make on the kitchen counter. Again.

We hit every red light. There's no easy place to park to simply drop my son off at school.

I try to fight the urge to swing by Starbucks. I don't have time, I should save the money. I swing by anyway. And the drive-through is eight cars deep.

I keep on driving, wondering what's next...

These sorts of days.

Anyone with me?

This post originally appeared on

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Princess Paige

It's amazing how fast our babies grow. Last year at this time, my baby girl was still very much a baby. A baby with personality, yes. But still more baby than toddler.

A year later, Paige is talking better than most 21-month-olds, has transitioned well to a toddler bed and is just overall a joy to be around.

Of course, we love all our children with all our hearts, but she is extra special (so is her brother!).

Here she is in her new princess toddler bed, which a week later she is actually sleeping in.

Last weekend, she helped me make pancakes. I love this picture.

Here we were playing outside a few weeks ago. It was windy but warm enough to be out for a little while. Love that attitude.

And though she was a tad under the weather here (runny nose, mainly), she still looks beautiful.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I want pockets like Micah.

So I'm sticking my hands down my pants.

How cute (and SMART) am I?

(Thank you, Jessica, for the photo).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow day (x) two

Today was the second snow day. My kindergartner was out of school again, I still felt sick and my toddler was still as rambunctious as ever.

No one cared that Mommy still had to work, even if school was called off, even if she felt sick.

No one cared that we hadn't been out of the house since Saturday. (Today is Wednesday, mind you).

No one cared that I was out of coffee.

Snow days would be a lot more fun if a. we could get of the house and if b. I also got the day off from work. Think how much fun snow days would be in the summer?! Swimming, riding bikes, trips to the park!

Snow days in winter, especially on days when the driveway isn't shoveled and the wind chill is below zero, are no fun. You can't even really go sledding.

The day turned out just fine actually. And, yes, I'm exaggerating the awfulness above. I took the kids to daycare, I went to the doctor (I have a sinus infection. Bring on the antibiotics!) and made a quick stop at the gym before returning home to work, in peace and quiet. I got a lot done.

And now I'm going to get my babies, with the renewed sense of how much I love them that only a small break from them can bring.

And tonight after they're in bed?

A glass of wine and an Internet search for cheap tickets to Cancun.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Putting the baby girl to bed

I've made it more difficult than it should be.

I never stopped rocking her to sleep. And now she's 20 months old and used to the cuddling. So to get out of it, I know what has to happen. Laying her down, kissing her goodnight and then putting up with the crying.

Doesn't sound fun.

I made another mistake a few weeks ago, though. I added a step to falling asleep. Nice work, Mommy.

It was right before Christmas and my beautiful daughter wouldn't go to sleep.

She was overtired, and she was crying. I turned off the lights and we sat down to rock like every other night, but this night she wouldn't stop crying.

I tried hushing her, rocking faster, covering her up with a blanket but nothing worked. Really, she just needed to fall asleep.

I tried singing. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" got a, "No, Mama!" "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" got a similar response, as did the ABCs.

On a last-ditch whim, I tried "Jingle Bells."

It worked. Hallelujah, the child stopped crying! And within minutes, she fell asleep.

Relieved and a little proud of myself, I sneaked out of the room, my baby resting soundly. "Jingle Bells," I thought. Who knew?

Well, about four weeks later, I want to chuck the lyrics to "Jingle Bells" right out of my brain. Know why? Because I've had to sing it EVERY bedtime and nap-time since. Every single one. And if I stop after five or six rounds because, I don't know, I'm TIRED, I get, "Mooore Jingle Bells, Mama. MOOORE Jingle Bells" in a sort of whiny little girl voice.

So then I sing more. I've started whispering it and only singing the chorus, in the honest hope that she'll get bored and ask me to stop.

No such luck. Yet. At least she falls asleep ...

Until I decide to stop rocking and singing all together. Oh, boy.

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