Tuesday, November 22, 2011


As a health journalist, I get to dig around in the latest health news and research. Invariably, I end up finding ways I can improve my own life. This month, I saw this piece about how giving thanks actually makes you healthier. Who couldn’t use a little extra well-being during this crazed, cold-and-flu ridden season?

So here it is--my list of things and people I’m grateful for, right now. It’s by no means complete, because if it were, this post would be a mile long. Turns out, once I started counting my blessings, they started popping out of the woodwork.

The List:

I’m grateful for my healthy children.

I’m grateful for the ability to provide those children with a relatively nice life that includes healthcare, nourishing food, a safe living environment, even the occasional vacation.

I’m grateful for a husband who is a hardworking, dedicated teacher, coach, and dad.

I’m grateful for a home that keeps us warm and dry and does all the things that a house is supposed to do.

I’m grateful for Tacoma, my gritty, historic hometown that never takes itself too seriously.

I’m grateful to live 5 minutes from an amazing zoo and parks that hold some of my earliest memories, and for the chance to watch my kids make new memories in those same special places.

I’m grateful for the gift of meaningful, enjoyable work.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to help more parents find restful sleep for their kids and themselves, as I did last Thursday at the Holistic Moms Network meeting in Tacoma.

I’m grateful to have had the same best friend for 16 years.

I’m grateful for my siblings and mom, who’ve been by my side during a difficult year.

I’m grateful for hot coffee and warm homemade muffins on a cool morning.

I’m grateful to be empowered in my career, to be able to set my own schedule (most of the time) and my own priorities—so that I have the time to make forts and cookies and art projects with my kids.

I’m grateful to my longtime moms’ group, Tacoma Area Attachment Parents, for providing friendship and support for going on 4 years.

I’m grateful to my writing coach and teacher Christina Katz, who showed me by example this year that taking a traditionally-published book from concept to final product is incredibly labor-intensive…and also enormously satisfying (her next book, The Writer’s Workout, will be released Dec. 6).

I’m grateful to the global mom village of moms and bloggers who generously share their wit and wisdom on the internet, especially blogging pals like Abigail Green (who will soon publish an e-book based on her popular blog, Abby Off the Record—stay tuned!).

And last, but not least, I’m grateful that I get the chance to be a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better writer, and a better person every day.

Yes, life is good. I feel healthier already. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Grateful for my goofballs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My First Article: A "Very Good Beginning"

My sister recently brought over a bag of my old artwork that she cleaned out of my mom’s garage. In it, I found what appears to be my first article. Though it’s not dated, I peg it around fourth grade. It’s a community-minded piece about “Officer Tandy.”

Since the scan is a bit hard to read (the original is 20+ years old, after all) I’ve typed out the text, including the spelling errors:

“Being a police officer keeps me constantly on the go,” says Officer Tandy, a 27-year-old police officer. Officer Tandy likes her job because “It’s like controling [sic] the road,” she says. “In fact, it is controling [sic] the streets. Everyone’s safty [sic] is in my hands.”

A good police office is alert, ready to go and caring. They have to care about their community. Officer Tandy is all of those things.

I don't know what I love most about this. Is it that the story features a courageous, strong, caring female police office named “Tandy” who is happy with her job? Is it because Officer Tandy appears to be a bit obsessed with “controling” things, as I was back then? Is it the meticulous (but still not great) cursive writing? Is it the revelation that my writing style and voice haven't changed much over the past two decades?

No, I think it’s the fact that my teacher wrote “Very good beginning!” and that my parents thought enough of my “article” to save it all of these years. They couldn’t have known that one day I’d make a living writing magazine articles that would be read by millions. It was a very good beginning, indeed.

So, parents, the next time your child paints a masterpiece or pens a story, tuck it away someplace safe—it might just be a “very good beginning” worth keeping.