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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Farwell,Oprah


In 1997 my world, as I had known it was forever changed. My marriage was ending and I was faced with the startling realization that I had no idea who I was.

I was a wife, a mother of three...beyond that I had no clue. Yes, I knew I loved books, movies and music, and writing, but those weren't who I was, and now as a single mother who I would become? I was terrified, but also excited to find out.

As a first step I got a job working at the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School as assistant to the director. I would get out of school every day in time to come home, get on my treadmill and watch, Oprah.

This was the year Oprah began her "Change your life television," programming.

And yes, it changed my life.

I was introduced to teachers, authors, experts and a way of thinking I'd never experienced. The floor next to my bed was piled high with books by Carolyn Myss ("Why People Don't Heal and How They Can") Gary Zukav, ("Seat of the Soul") and too many to list. I learned that what my life looked like was up to me. Blaming anyone for my lot in life took away my power. I was the boss of my life, no one else.

I learned I was good enough, just as I was, but within that have always continued to grow and learn, because as Maya Angelou said on Oprah, "When you know better you do better." Dr. Angelou also taught me, "When people show you who they are, believe them."

It may sound a bit precious to say I would not be who I am without Oprah, but I believe it's true. She inspired me to keep trying, to take risks, open my heart and believe I can be anything I want to be. I know I am not alone. She has inspired millions of women (and many men I am sure) to embrace who they are and know you can dream big,

I am not sure if without Oprah I would have studied to be a life coach, then have become a journalist, and now, a very optimistic novelist.

My dream of sitting on a couch on The Oprah Show, my novel in hand, will not happen now, but I know I might never have dared to dream a dream this big without all she brought into my life.

But I know she would probably disagree because as she has often said, quoting The Wizard of Oz, "You always had the power..."

Three years ago I wrote my life purpose down in my journal. It says, "My goal is to empower women through my writing. I want to show them they are capable of being anything and everything they want to be." I know this was inspired by all I've learned from Oprah.

Thank you, Oprah for helping me see who I am today, and who I can become tomorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day Thank You


When I think about who I am one of the first things I think is, "mother." It's one of the key ways I define who I am. I'm also a woman, a writer, a friend, sister, but mom is first and foremost who and what I am.

I was one of those girls who knew from a very young age I wanted to be a mom. Always the girly girl I played "house" well past an appropriate age, and as a teen longed to create a loving home where I could provide my children with all the love and support I felt at times were lacking in my own life.

My first child was born when I was only 21-years-old. Ridiculously young as I look back, but I don't regret it. All of my children were born when I was in my 20s, and I love that I am still young enough myself to have a next chapter after raising them that can be more about my goals, though mom-hood is always the most important role.

I lost my own mother two and a half years ago, two weeks after her 84th birthday. I was lucky to have her well into my adulthood, but it's always too soon to lose someone you love. No one loves you like your mom I discovered.

Now that my children are grown my role has changed. I am now cheerleader, sounding board and part of their support system. It's not my place to ever tell them what to do or how to live their lives, but I will share my thoughts and experiences when asked.

I have been to some of the darkest places you can go during these years, and been lucky enough to come out on the other side. I am one of the luckiest people in the world. It all could have looked very different, but I have been blessed.

No mother is perfect. I am sure my children have their issues and complaints. What I have learned in all my years on the planet is that everyone does the best they can at the time. Holding that belief makes it easier to never hold a grudge, not blame and to keep moving forward,

I cannot imagine what my life would look like without Dylan Shadrach, Benjamin Spencer, and Emma Eun Bee in it. They are my children, my favorite people in the world to hang with, and three people I feel very blessed to call my family. These tease me relentlessly, make me laugh harder than anyone, and as I saw when I lost my own mom, people who are there for me through thick and thin.

Mother's Day is generally a day where children thank their mom for being there for them and all they do. I want to switch things up and thank my children for making my life the rich, challenging, and amazing learning experience it's been. Thank you, you three, for all you've given me, which is far more than I've given you.