happy birthday, 37days!

Today, I am quietly celebrating the 12th anniversary of beginning this blog. Starting this blog saved my life, changed my life, changed my relationship with words and with myself. It opened up space for me to dive into language in a way the business books I had previously written did not. It opened up friendships with people around the world whom I have come to love–people I would otherwise have never met. It was the genesis for my last six books, Life is a Verb Camp, and so much more. It was begun with a single intention: to leave behind my stories for my two children. In these twelve years, it has gotten lost a few times as I have changed my life and work to care for our youngest child, diagnosed with Autism in 2012. But as I enter my 12th year writing here, after over 300 posts each year since 2005, it is finding its way back. Happy birthday, dear blog. Welcome home....

happy birthday, daddy.

As always on Christmas Day, a remembrancer of my father whose birthday is Christmas. He would have been 90 today. Happy birthday, Daddy. Monogram your pancakes “Surviving a loss and letting go is only half of the story. The other half is the secret belief that we will find, in one form or another, what we have lost. And it is that potential, shimmery as a star on a clear night that helps us survive.” – Veronica Chambers “You can’t make pancakes without breaking eggs.” – Spanish proverb My father’s birthday is Christmas day. He has been dead for 36 years, yet he would still only be 90 years old. Cheated, him and me and my children, and theirs. Dead at 53. And cheated too because he was born on Christmas Day. Imagine the cheaty cheat you’d feel if your birthday fell on Christmas, especially as a kid—whatever happened to that other day, the one mid-year, where everyone gets together to sing “Happy Birthday” and play Pin the Tail on the Donkey and eat double chocolate layer cake with small sugar trains on top and shower you with gifts and focus on you alone, celebrating the very fact that you were born into the world? For him, it was all compressed into one relative-heavy day—nothing to look forward to in March or June or August—no, just this one day, his own birth overshadowed by another and, as time went by, overshadowed even more by a large red-suited man with rosacea. Oh, sure, people would say they had combined your Christmas and birthday present to accommodate both occasions, but I can’t...

do you have last minute gifts to get?

I’m not a big shopper. I can’t remember the last time John and I exchanged gifts at Christmas, and we don’t buy a lot for the kids, either. So perhaps I’m the least likely person to compile a gift-giving guide. But when I do give a gift, it’s with intention, so perhaps that makes up for quantity. So, with all that in mind, here are my suggestions for your gift-giving this season: The Giving Keys company not only provides a beautiful gift, but the gift keeps on giving, because the company employs those transitioning out of homelessness. What word will you wear and give?  They suggest you choose a word you need in your life, and then pass it on to someone who needs it more. Global Goods Partners‘ mission is to empower women artisans around the world and helping them create sustainable change in their communities. Why not give a bracelet that does good in the world? I discovered this Calendula Lavender skin creme years ago, and haven’t looked back. It’s a must have for me, and I think you will love it, too. Perhaps for a stocking stuffer–for yourself or others. Mary Anne Radmacher has been making art her whole life. And you probably have one of her cards with her recognizable script on your wall. Go here to buy her inspirational creations, for your own wall or someone else’s. I collect paintings by artist Tom Cornish, and they are the first thing I see when I enter my home. If you are looking to collect work by a contemporary working artist, go here to buy one of Tom’s paintings or drawings....

2017 Hard Conversations Book Club Reading List Announced

I’ve just announced the 2017 reading list for the Hard Conversations Book Group. Feel free to join us! The book group is free and we meet by teleconference call the 3rd Sunday of each month from 8-9pm Eastern to discuss that month’s book. Our focus in 2017 is on books written by women of color: January – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie February – The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward March – Birdie by Tracey Lindbergh April – Zami by Audre Lorde May – You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson June – Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat July – Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School by Monique W. Morris August – Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre September – Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine October – The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris November – Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng December – Borderlands, La Frontera, The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua Go here to join the Book Club (free)....

37days of Activism

You wanted to know what role you would have played in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s? Now’s your time to find out. You were shocked by the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election, and the aftermath of racial violence. You didn’t know this kind of racism still existed in the U.S. You don’t know whether to wear a safety pin to show you’re an ally, or not. People are shaming you for not knowing, not acting, not doing the right things. It’s all confusing and heart-sickening. But your heart is in the right place, and you need encouragement and ideas, not shame. You need to educate yourself, and quickly. You need to learn what right helpfulness is, and how to take action that will be effective and useful. This 37-day online course is created to provide 1-2 actions per day that you can accomplish, learn from, invite others to do, in order to fight for social justice in an administration whose appointments thus far look far from inclusive and more intent on stripping the human rights of many. It’s time to take action. We cannot remain complacent or believe that someone else will do the heavy lifting. This course will be taught by author and activist, Patti Digh. You can read about her background in this arena here and here. Starting on November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, you’ll receive one email per day for 37 days, with suggested actions for that day. Each day will have two activities: 1) Learning; and 2) Doing. You’ll have the opportunity to respond to the prompts in an online classroom, where everyone...