Inspiration on parenting

What About Food?


I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “The problem with life is that it is so daily.”  I don’t know why exactly, but that tickled me and still does when I think of it.

Kind of like the way the movie, Groundhog Day tickles me. We want our days to add up to something.  To learn, however gradually.  But man it takes repetition doesn’t it?

I have found myself thinking, didn’t I just have this problem yesterday and now I’m trying to figure it out again?  This daily-ness is teaching us something all of the time, over and over until we get it!

Part of what we learn has to do with our body’s daily need for sustenance. It is having to deal with food.  Every meal. Every day.  And when you are the person who does the cooking (and shopping and planning, etc.) that can be a pretty big part of life.  Understatement huh?

Add to the relentless hunger of a growing family, the political/social climate we live in where every month (or more often than that) there is a new study on what is “good” and what is “bad” to eat, what the new findings from X university is showing, or what government funded research (that may coordinate with a government subsidy that may want to encourage people to buy and eat certain things…) and we find we have real confusion about what IS best to eat!

I remember reading an article that claimed that carrots were now on the “bad” food list. That was almost 30 years ago, and when I stopped trusting “the latest research” as a good source of dietary information.  Common sense has got to factor in somewhere doesn’t it?

I love this dietary mantra from Michael Pollan; “Eat food.  Mostly plants.  Not too much.”

That appeals to me so much!  Partly, because I am witnessing levels of confusion that lead to a great deal of OCD-type behavior around food, and for some, a complete paralyzing shut down when the code seems too hard to crack!  I had a dear client who had stopped cooking and was stocking her freezer with frozen burritos that the kids could eat whenever they were hungry because she had heard so much conflicting information, she couldn’t think of anything to cook that wouldn’t be “bad” in some way!

That is quite a hopeless feeling.  And what a travesty to miss out on the wonderful array of taste, culture and creativity available to us! In many ways, food is life!  We just can’t afford to miss out on that!

But I think we can all relate to the frustration to a degree, can’t we?

So, here are my two bits.

If i’ts real, and your body can handle it, find the highest quality you can afford and eat it without worry!  And for heaven’s sake, enjoy it!

What do I mean by real?  I mean if it grows and is part of the natural world, eat it.  I hear people say they don’t want to get fat so they don’t want to eat avocados or nuts. (Know that the “fat makes people fat” trend is over.)  Be concerned if it is refined, man-made, food science-d, chemical laden, artificial flavored or colored.

If something can sit on a shelf for months or years and not get rancid or grow bacteria, it isn’t food.

Good rule of thumb; shop the perimeter of the grocery store and you’ll be getting more “realness” than in the middle where the cans and boxes with commercials printed on the labels reside.

Go for fewest ingredients possible, and those you can pronounce.

Make your own bread or find a simply made brand.  (For fun count the number of ingredients, and do your best to identify what they are, in a loaf of commercial white bread.)

Put butter or olive oil on your steamed veggies, and enjoy them!

Garnish and flavor food with meats and or make meat servings small and not part of every meal. A little goes a long way.

Get good at cooking beans and legumes and rice and keep some on hand.

Eat regularly and prepare meals before everyone is in starvation mode.

Snacks aren’t usually necessary but consider four meals a day for little ones if that makes sense for their needs.

Prepare and serve the same meal to everyone.  Grind little people’s servings in a baby food grinder so that they can break it down (without too many teeth.)  Kids don’t need separate meals of packaged macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly if they are given the opportunity at a young age to eat and appreciate real food.

Model eating and enjoying real food to your children!  They are listening and watching and learning from your habits!  Do your best not to have hard fast rules about what you do and don’t like.  Give them the freedom to like things without feeling that you won’t approve. THEY WANT TO BE LIKE YOU.  Yes, this requires broadening out your own taste buds!  Experiment! Open up and take a few eating risks!

Get curious about new tastes!  I was in my late 20’s before I tasted coconut milk with peanuts, cilantro and curry, and wow, what a joy!

Learn to make nutrient rich desserts and make them beautiful too!  It is wonderful to know that there are “treats’ to look forward to eating that will help you celebrate special days and events.

We’ve got to shake loose from the worry and crazy-making rules regarding our food.  And in order to do that, it seems to me that our society has got to shut off the marketing and hype, tie on an apron and make friends with real, nourishing, family-bonding food.

I wish you every good thing!



“I love myself.  I take the time I need to cook for my family.  We love eating together.  I simplify this part of my life by planning what we will eat each week.  I love real food!”




It’s a tricky thing, achieving some sort of balance.  Some days trickier than others, huh?

Finding the balance between work and play.  Between taking charge and going with the flow.  Between supporting family members with our presence and supporting them by giving them space.  Between focusing on our goals and personal development and focusing on what we can do for others.

And then there’s the profound balancing act between doing and being.

A few years ago I was in bed with some health challenges.  It went on for months, and the challenge changed in part to just enduring the unknown.  I’m sure you’ve had experiences when you didn’t know what it was you were supposed to be learning from something difficult, but you wished you’d hurry up and learn it so that you could move on!?  That’s how I was feeling.

And somewhere in all that time, I observed an important thing.  My children, all grown and gone, would come home to visit and instead of me running around getting things ready for them, cleaning, cooking, planning activities, I was just laying here in my room!

And they would come in and sit down on the cedar chest and talk.  And I would listen, and we would visit.  For hours.  I made a mental note that when I was up and going again, that I needed to adjust my brain from always feeling the need to be “doing” for my family, to valuing more time spent “being with” my family.

So, during Christmas this year, I was a little crazy.  I started out the season feeling behind and in the press to “catch up” I was doing and doing and doing.  In the end, I felt I had missed out on much of the “being” that makes the holiday a holiday!   But just like every other stage of my life, I have to learn and practice and eventually get good at balancing myself, my time and energy and expectations with the new variables of grandchildren and all that comes with this current stage of life.

So, here’s a little activity to consider.

On a piece of paper by your calendar, take a moment (this really shouldn’t take nearly as long as checking Facebook once…) and write down all of the things you did during the day. Not just the “to do” items, but all the stuff you usually don’t give yourself credit for, like making the beds and fixing breakfast and combing a child’s hair and getting everyone dressed, and changing X number of diapers and taking the garbage to the street and doing three loads of dishes or laundry (or both) and feeding the dog and wiping up spills and getting the mail and paying bills and sweeping the garage and vacuuming the car…you get the idea.

Then, when you get that jotted down, step back and look at all you accomplished!  Wow!  You are a veritable house on fire!  Turn on some music and dance with the gang!  They’ll think you’ve lost it, but you can share with them the reason for your celebration!

After the party, take a break and just “be.”

Sing songs at the piano with the kids.

Read story books.

Chit chat with your husband.


If you think of things you need to do, write them down and tackle them tomorrow.

You’ve done more than enough.  Now, enjoy being.

You’re wonderful!



“I am enough.  I have a wonderful sense of balance and I can feel when I need to take a break and recharge my battery.  I am making steady progress.  I learn from everything I experience.  I am keeping my heart soft and open and I trust that God is leading me to my highest good.  I trust that He is preparing me to be useful to His purposes.  I am happy and I am at peace.”

When the Plot Thickens


I few weeks ago I met the grandmother of a child newly diagnosed with Autism.  A new chapter for the whole family as a mind boggling reality begins to sink in.  I promised my new friend that I would write a post to let that little mother know that she’s not alone! And already I see I need the tissue box…

The night before we went to the University where our son received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome a friend came to me in a dream.  She had been like an older sister to me and had passed away during childbirth a few years earlier.  In my dream, I walked into a beautiful building and she came out of an adjacent room and into the hallway where I was standing.  She looked at me with compassion and walked to me and hugged me. That was the whole dream, but I woke up feeling so comforted and understood and stronger.

It wasn’t until the next day when the doctor said, “Asperger’s” that I realized that Anne had been there in my dream to help me deal with all that the diagnosis implies, the grieving and the restructuring of my plans. Of course at the time there is no way to know what doors having a diagnosis might open and which doors it might inevitably close.  And then you realize that a diagnosis only represents what you already knew somewhere inside; that this child is seeing the world differently than you do and you’re headed on a journey to try to understand that unique perspective!

You walk around in a daze for awhile. You forget and then you remember again.  You get sad and wonder if there has been a mistake.  Then you see a new issue arise and you hope that someone will know what to do to help!

Of course no two lives are just alike and no two family’s stories could possibly be the same.  But there are certainly similarities and so for what it’s worth let me just express, that to some degree, I know how you’re feeling.  As I have looked back, I have a clearer view of the road we have traveled, and so I offer this list of things to consider that might be helpful to you as you begin your walk.

~Your child with disabilities has many abilities that others don’t have.  Know that this is true and look for those abilities and capitalize on them!  My son is incapable of saying anything bad about anyone.  He is kind to animals and does not know how to be depressed.  He is tenacious beyond reason and keeps growing even when it is very difficult.  He is my hero.  As a couple and as a family, we have come to realize that being a family with a disability has grown us in ways we are still figuring out.  I am profoundly grateful that in the midst of such struggle comes such growth.

~You are the only mom.  There will be doctors and therapists and specialists of all sorts, but you are the only mom.  And as the mom you are entitled to inspiration and insights that only you and your spouse qualify to receive.  I say this because there were many times that I second-guessed myself and my ideas and those are the times I have regrets.  Yes, you will need the expertise of others, but ultimately you are the one who is calling the shots and you need to feel good about the plans that are made for your child.  So if you feel uneasy, listen to that feeling and give it expression!  Everyone else involved is there to support you and your family, not to tell you what to do, so listen to and consider their counsel, but claim the final say.

~If you have other children, know that this challenge is theirs too.  Do your best to let them talk and then validate their feelings of frustration and sadness or even anger when they hit. You don’t need to fix them! Just listen to understand. Ultimately, my children have grown in ways that they couldn’t have without this experience.  Listen to them and help them find ways to deal with their feelings.

~Just as your children need to be heard, YOU need to be heard too.  Express your frustration, your sadness, or whatever you are experiencing to a qualified professional or find a secluded spot in nature and LET IT OUT!  The problems come when all of your intense feelings stay inside.  You may be tempted to try to explain things to those who have not lived with your situation and for me, that led to increased frustration!  Do you know other moms who are dealing with similar challenges?  Do you have a therapist who knows your situation?  Those are the people who can offer validation and empathy.  But even if you just shout out to the trees you’ll be better off than holding your tongue and expecting yourself to stop feeling.  You’re welcome to write to me, I will hear you!

~You need breaks.  All moms do, but you need them more often.  Please, please accept that fact and create a way to keep yourself healthy and balanced.  Ask for help and become the best receiver of all time!  Being a hyper-vigilant parent when it is needed has a price, and believe me you will be paying the piper if you don’t take the bull by the horns and advocate for yourself while you are advocating for your child. {Contact me if I can help you figure this out.  No charge!}

~Life is hard and love hurts.  It’s supposed to be a challenge to grow us so don’t be tempted to get caught on the wheel of “what if.”  It is worth the risk to love and to hope.  I experienced times when I would be so overcome with the challenge that I would feel completely alone.  Those are exactly the times when we have the choice to opt out of feeling or turn to God for his comfort and strength.  Do your best to allow this experience to grow you and your family, without resistance.  (I know that sounds crazy, but remember this is my retrospective view!)

~I firmly believe that all things work together for our good when we put our hand in God’s and let Him lead us along.  Events that could be devastating can actually turn to joy when your perspective is that of a humble child asking for guidance from someone much wiser than you.  He loves you and He loves your child.

I hope that something I have expressed here might be inspiring to you.  Mostly, my message to you is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  I understand the grieving process that you will or have gone through.  The prayers and pleadings that will arise from your heart.  The tears that will come and the ultimate joy that will be yours.

I send you my love and my best wishes. Please kiss your little one for me!