art, Health, motivation, Personal Success

Rx for Joy

31 Day Painting Challenge: Day 21 Colorful Geometric Shapes

Current symptoms: listlessness, insomnia, constant hood of worry, anxiety, pessimism, road rage

Prescription: (To do at least once a day until symptoms disappear)

Go to a mall or your sister’s house or other place where toddlers are eating or playing (a children’s playground at the park or school is not advised for you might be reported for peculiar behavior – not your fault)

Observe toddler’s feet dangling from the chair; his cherubic cheeks and glistening eyes focused on what’s in front of him;

Note the fat hands hungrily – joyfully – grabbing the sandwich/spoon/bowl;

Listen, really listen, to his easy laughter and his babble.

If you could ask him, he’d tell you:

He’s not worried about tomorrow or fretting about the past;

He’s here, with you, and nothing else matters.


When toddler begins to cry or have a temper tantrum, cease the observation and seek a quiet place immediately.





art, Health, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Maternal Meditation

Day 20 of 31 Day Painting Challenge (

Motherhood To Dos:

change their diapers

anticipate their needs

hug and kiss through tears

teach them to be strong


allow them to feel pain

buy them clothes

(and school supplies and prom tickets and flowers for their first crush)

listen as they complain about school, frenemies and hormones


bite your tongue when they complain about you

And that’s why there’s an “Om” in “Mom”



Personal Success

Buying Fishing Tackle

Photo by Gabby Orcutt

Her name was Daisy.

She got blue ice cream.

After she named all the colors of the various dots on the ice cream window (blue, red, orange, green, and purple), I told her parents that she was adorable. I asked her, “How old are you?”

She held three fingers up.

“Wow, you know all of your colors and you jump so high and you’re only three?”

She nodded yes. Not proud, not shy, just being factual.

“My name is Daisy. What is your name?” Her voice was a shiny bell.


“How old are you?”

Her parents and I laughed.

“A LOT older than you!”

Her brows furrowed and she asked, “Why can’t you tell me?”


And I realized that I have bought into it hook, line and sinker*. Why was I being coy about my age? Because I’m a woman? Because 49 is old?


“I’m 49.”

She turned to her ice cream, satisfied. Not judgmental. Not shocked. Simply satisfied.

I watched her spoon blue ice cream into her mouth.

And I thought, I’m 49.  I’m not proud, not shy, just factual.


*American idiomatic phrase



Health, Personal Success

Helicopter? – No! Says Eric Hoffer*


Helicopter parent


  1. a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.

Constantly hovering over children while they study, work, and do sports, etc. has been shown to “increase anxiety, depression and can lead to academic difficulties” (Psychology Today).

Effective parenting, is, in fact, nurturing your child to become independent!

Psychology Today offers these guidelines (abbreviated):

-Listen to your child, rather than imposing your goals and wishes on him or her. Listening to your child encourages independent thought and critical thinking. It helps you avoid a common downfall of helicopter parents: imposing your values on your child.
-Don’t manage your child’s relationships or communications for him or her.
-Don’t try to help your child escape consequences for his or her actions, unless you believe those consequences are unfair or life-altering. It’s fine to hire your child a lawyer if he or she is in legal trouble, or to intervene with a bullying teacher. But don’t try to get your kid out of detention or berate another parent who talks to your child about problematic behavior.
-Don’t raise your child to expect treatment that is different from, or better than, the treatment other children receive. Your child shouldn’t expect to get something they don’t deserve or didn’t earn.
-Encourage your children to solve their own problems by asking them to contemplate potential solutions.

-Don’t do your child’s work for them, or keep track of deadlines for them. Even school-aged children can learn to remember test dates and classroom projects. By middle school, your child should be managing their schoolwork largely on their own, with only as-needed help.

-Support your child’s teacher, and encourage your child to respect the teacher’s opinions.
-Allow your child to face natural consequences for their actions. Don’t allow a child to stay home sick just because she or he didn’t timely complete a school project.


*Eric Hoffer was a great American thinker and he never actually said anything about helicoptering parenting. It just rhymes nicely.

Personal Success

Word Nerd Undeterred


Four 4th grade girls stand around, bored. I grab a board game out of the recreation wagon. “Here, play this, it’s super fun!”

They break into teams. Each has a pencil and paper. They shake the word box more violently than necessary.

“FUM!” Yells one girl with glee.


“Fum” is not a word!

Yes it is! Fee-Fi-Fo-FUM!


Mrs. Wipff, could you look up fum? Is it a word?

I look it up. “Well, according to Wikipedia, it IS a word: Fum is a traditional Catalan Christmas carol.”

The group disbands shortly after that.

Too many words. Kind of boring.

Boggle is the bomb! How can they call it boring? Maybe I’m just a word nerd.