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Homeschool Fiction

Follow homeschoolers Nadia and Aidan as they travel the USA! Each book in this series explores a new state and a new research topic. Along with their parents and pet turtle, they find adventure and learning everywhere.

...and just what is that mysterious device of theirs?

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Month Day
Topics: Do Life Right,empowerment,video

Doing Life Right Teleconference

Anyone who knows me really well, knows that I’m rather obsessed about personal development and growth. I believe so strongly that I can continually become a better person through striving to be my personal best in all aspects of life, that I’ve not only named a company Do Life Right, Inc., but I’ve also created an annual Doing Life Right Teleconference.

Yes, this subject makes me giddy!

For me, I believe that we all have the potential to do life right in our individual ways (although there are universal truths as well). The idea of doing ALL of life “right” can sound a little daunting. So, I’m collecting advice, in ~5 minute long snippets, from people who are doing one particular aspect of life right. (To be honest, these people do a lot more than one thing right, but for the sake of this annual teleconference, they concentrate their short little talks one just one small topic.) 🙂

To see all the videos I’ve collected, check out the teleconference page on my company’s website or the Doing Life Right Teleconference channel on YouTube:

To keep up-to-date with all the new happenings, be sure to become a Facebook fan of the Doing Life Right Teleconference.

Have an idea that you’d like to share with the world? Contact me! I’m striving to have a minimum of 31 videos in 2014. I’d love to include one from you! What knowledge to you have that you just must share with the world?

Month Day
Topics: censorship,empowerment,photographs,relationships

Life’s Work


NOTE: I was recently sent a letter that basically said I should be ashamed of who I am, where I come from, and who my parents are. I was explicitly told that I am a disappointment and should be hiding my background more, and not “Airing My Dirty Laundry” on this site, or any site, because it’s all too shameful to be spoken about in a public, or even private, forum (in other words, I should be censoring myself). I was also told that I don’t know the “real truth” about my background. Short story: I do.

This post helps prove that I’m an open book. I know my personal and genetic history, and I always have. Nothing about my ancestry has ever been hidden from me. I am neither ashamed of who I am, nor who my parents are. Quite the opposite, in fact: I am proud of both. This post is a tribute to my mother, a woman I am immensely proud to be the oldest daughter of.

Lisa and her mom, November 2012

Imagine growing up a girl who is shown every single day of your life that you are worthless. You are told that girls aren’t as worthy as boys. Your own mother allows you to be sexually molested for years and tells you that it’s your own fault because you are a dirty and worthless girl. You aren’t allowed to participate in basic activities that your brothers take for granted, like learning how to swim (not something girls “need to know”) and doing homework or going to school regularly (instead you have to stay home to cook and clean, because that is the highest ambition anyone of your gender could hope to succeed at). You even have to take your bath last, after every member of the house, in the same water as everyone ahead of you–you are last in the “pecking order” solely because you are female.

Now imagine that you are 20 years old, on your own finally, fully supporting yourself as an independent adult, and that you decide to take the advice from your friends and family and date a friend of a friend–the first you’ve ever really dated. Now imagine that this date has a problem–a big problem… He’s a drug addict, and worse, he beats and rapes you on this date (and you find out later that he has beaten and raped a lot of women). Being inexperienced in anything except abusive physical touches, you question yourself and your worth. Did you bring this upon yourself? Did you deserve it? Is this what a dating relationship was supposed to look like? You think maybe yes, since that was what was modeled for you your whole life, and you certainly don’t deserve better.

Imagine 20+ years of: Abuse. Shaming. Molestation. Hitting. Beating. Whipping. Being thrown out of moving vehicles. Having to go and get one of your dad’s belts so that he could beat you with it every single week, just because you “probably deserved it”. These have been your day-to-day living experiences for your entire life. You can’t imagine life any other way, because you’ve never experienced or even seen anything else and didn’t even know a better life could exist. Yet you find yourself naive, alone, beaten, and now pregnant–by a man who raped you. You take your beaten self to the only people you “trust”, your family. You’re called a slut by them (even though you’d never actually had sex before, only having been repeatedly molested by a family member over several years) and much worse. You are confused because the man rapes and beats you again every time you’ve seen him since the initial raping. You’re told, again and again, that you are a worthless human being and you are deserving of all the abuse that you have ever received and will ever receive. You are told that the reason you deserve this is simple: you are female, and females are “less than” males.

What do you do?

Seriously, what would *YOU* do? I know I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this.

Why would I ponder this horrific existence? Well, this is the exact situation my own mother found herself in in 1972. That baby she did not abort, that baby that was a product of a brutal rape, was me. The incentive she had to start, just start, standing up for herself was: ME. She felt that I was a gift to her and it opened her up to thinking that a female could be a wonderful being, worthy of love and respect because she felt nothing but love for me.  And when she saw firsthand that I would be beaten and abused, too, if she stayed in abusive relationships, she finally stepped away from physical harm and stood on her own–with me in tow. This is pure bravery.

Can you imagine being disowned because you were raped and left pregnant, even though you married a drug-addict out of fear of going to hell for eternity?

I can’t.

What would you do with your life under these circumstances? From what I’ve seen, most women in this situation either die young, end up going to jail, or give in to it all and live an existence of misery.

Not my mom! After years of figuring out who she was, she found (and fell in love with) a man (my dad, an amazing man) who treated her (and me) with honor, love, and respect, and she married him. My mom decided to not call herself a victim and, instead, became proactive in making the world treat women better (and now, all people since it’s clear that abuse is not just geared toward females). She started with our home, and she raised me in what she considered the exact opposite way that she was treated as a child, with the hope that I’d never feel that “less than” way that she had always felt. For a career in helping people, she first worked at a Women’s Shelter helping battered women and their children get away from abuse, then at a mental health institute helping those with mental and emotional issues find some peace and become healthier, and (for the last 15+ years) she’s devoted herself as a Batterer’s Education Program facilitator. What’s that? you might ask. Sounds fishy… or at least crazy. What!?! She educates people who batter? On what?

Yes! While I, super-empowered woman that I am, would stick my nose up (figuratively) at people who are abusive to their spouses, children, and pets, my mother is actually doing something about it. I help good parents become great ones. My mom helps broken and abusive ones become mentally healthy and stable ones. Her work is profound at a basic level of humanity. I only know how to help those who are already at a higher level of living.

My mom, amazingly, has dedicated her life to actually helping people who have been legally convicted of battering and abuse! She doesn’t just counsel men and women who are abusive to their mates, extended family, and/or children, but she actually gives them the tools that they need to figure out WHY they’ve behaved how they’ve behaved and how to move past those “reasons” and start treating other people (and themselves) in positive ways. Yes, that’s right! She has helped wife-beaters and child abusers STOP–forever! Whoa! That’s amazing.

After all of the horrendous abuses my mom has gone through in her life, she’s actually HELPING OTHERS not be abusers. She doesn’t sit and moan about her life. She doesn’t call herself a victim. Does this mean she’s “over” how she’s been treated? No way! She still has nightmares of being hurt all over again, but she’s strong. [Which is even more astounding since she’s just gone through a year of pure hell: death of my dad’s brother, brain infections, stage 3 tonsil cancer from second-hand smoke, chemotherapy, radiation, death of a friend, nearly dying herself several times, feeding tube, operations, blood clots in her lungs that almost suffocated her, more near-death infections than I can remember, being more in the hospital than out, and all the related stress and bills…] Yet, her primary worry through this all has been: “Will I be able to continue helping people not be abusive?”

Seriously! Who on Earth would be thinking like this? Only my mom, that’s for sure.

She has proven that when we “hide our dirty laundry”, we are perpetuating a violent and abusive cycle. Yet when we open up and bare our truths, we can stop violence, help ourselves become better people, and pass that new knowledge onto the next generation.

My mom does all this with very little family support, too. Yes, she has my dad, my sister (and her family), me (and my family), and my dad’s parents (my fabulous and loving grandparents who have always treated me as a beloved granddaughter), but she doesn’t have (and never has had) any support from her side of the family. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the very last time my mom saw her mother, her mother claimed to have never given birth to a daughter! The precise situation is that my mom was visiting her mother in the hospital. She was holding Grandma’s hand. Her brothers and all of their significant others were around the hospital bed. A nurse came in and asked about all the people. My grandmother said, “I have been pregnant three times and have given birth to three sons, and they are my only children, I was never lucky enough to have a daughter.” [For the record, my mom has a twin brother, so the number of pregnancies was listed correctly.] Then, later, she introduced my aunt to the nurse as “the daughter I always wished I had had.” That day was a last-straw moment for my mom, especially when none of the rest of her family stood up for her. Things like this had always been said about her and to her (often behind her back, as I personally witnessed during my entire childhood), but this time she decided she had had enough. Good for her! I say. No one has the right to treat another person this horribly over and over again. After this, not a single person there has tried to contact me in over ten years, until this recent attempt to tell me how ashamed and humiliated that I should be for… existing? Believing that females are equal to males? Believing that hitting other people, especially your own children, is bad and wrong? For believing that any type of harm, sexual or otherwise, is wrong to do to another human being? Believing that it’s a mother’s JOB to keep her children as safe from harm as humanly possible and to love them forever no matter what?

I’m so proud of my mother for standing up for herself! I’m so proud of the legacy that she has given to the people around her who all know their worth. I’m so proud that it has become my mother’s life work to prevent the abuses that she used to think were a normal part of human existence.

Is she a perfect person for doing this? Am I a perfect person for the work I do with helping people become healthier and kinder? Of course not, but we are both striving to continually be better–to continue to strive to DO LIFE RIGHT! I’ve seen my own mother continually improve herself and I make it quite public that this is my primary goal for myself. By hiding our faults, we’ll never improve. By exposing what we’ve been through, what has been done around us and to us, we’re brainstorming ways of making sure the bad stuff never happens to anyone else again. To me, the most shameful thing to be is stagnant and in denial of reality, refusing to become better people and improve our lives and help others improve their lives.

To all parents out there: Never undervalue the worth of showing your children that they should always be treated well and that they can accomplish any dream they set their mind to. I never would be the mother that I am today if it weren’t for my own mother discovering her power in standing up for me by standing up for herself. I look forward to the day when she is completely healed physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally from all that she’s been through in her life. I respect and applaud how she has turned the abuse that she has gone through into her life’s work–her passion.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! You are an inspiration to me and the entire world! You have saved thousands of people from being abused by helping past abusers learn better ways of communicating and treating others. Thank you for personally breaking the abuse cycle for not just our family, but for thousands of other families.

Thank you, Mom! You are an inspiration! I’m so happy that you are alive today despite all the odds the world has held against you. I love you! Now let’s get you healthy enough that I can see you sometime this year…

Here are two other blog tributes that I’ve posted for Mom on past Mother’s Days:

Month Day
Topics: art,audio books,books,business,Do Life Right,education,empowerment,environmentalism,fiction,homeschooling,Inc.,money,words,Wright on Time,writing

Happy 4th Anniversary to Do Life Right, Inc. Publishing!

While Do Life Right, Inc. has technically been around since 2005,  it became a publishing company (I did private consulting before publishing) 4 years ago last month (April 2009). This is when we transformed Do Life Right, Inc. into a full-fledged publishing company! What an exciting time!

I am so very, very proud of all that we’ve accomplished these past four years! As of April 2013, we have 14 books in print. All are physical books, all will also be e-books this month, and about 1/2 are also audiobooks (with all turning into audiobooks by the end of the year). To turn into a publishing company, we borrowed capital from an angel investor. We were able to pay that investor off much sooner than we had originally intended (3 years instead of 5). Now, we are mostly self-sufficient: While we are a real royalty paying publishing company, I have not yet personally taken any royalties from my own book series, the Wright on Time book series even though it’s currently outselling all other books we’ve published, and I hope to some day. Right now, I donate all my time, energy, and profits directly back into the company in order to help it grow. I’m doing everything I’m capable of doing (and sometimes more!) in order to make this company succeed.

We currently have 6 books in the queue that will definitely be published in 2013. Yet, it’s actually always been my goal to publish at least 2 books per month until it’s so much work for me that I have to (and can afford to) hire full-time staff so that we can publish many, many more than that! I dream of bringing thousands of family-centric, fun and thrilling, yet deep, meaningful, and life-changing books into the world. I feel like a book-midwife, helping amazing authors bring their “babies” out into the world for everyone to meet!

I’m thrilled that I’ve rediscovered my passion for writing, finding great writers, and editing storylines–a passion that I had originally as a child that fulfills me in ways that nothing else does.

Here are the Top Four things that I’m grateful for in regards to Do Life Right, Inc. (DLR):

  1. The many great people I’ve worked with. Thank you to all the DLR authors, editors, illustrators, designers, and more! Let me see if I can name everyone who has had an extremely valuable impact on the company (in no particular order, seriously–okay, it’s the order my DLR shelves are showing me): Zoe Bentley, Greg Bentley, Teagan Bentley, Liz Holaday, Jeremy Steffen, Tanja Bauerle, Rain Fordyce, Bill O’Hearn, Leslie Schultz, Linda Fields, Heather Newman, Mary Jungels, Marsha Cottrell, Carly Frieders, Joshua Blackwell, Rocket Rose, K.T. Blacknight, JJM Braulick, Jame Hayes, Glenna McAulay, Kelly Halldorson, Sage Echo Sirotkin, Laura Koniver, Kilian Metcalf. There definitely are many, many more people who have helped me tremendously, but these are the people who have worked directly on the creation of DLR books. Thank you all! I also really do appreciate all the moral support that my writing and publishing groups have given me, and the hundreds of fantastic book reviewers we’ve had over the years.
  2. The realization that it’s okay for growth to happen slowly. I started this company because I felt (and still feel) really passionate about it. I’d spent eight years being knocked down by “big name” publishing companies over and over again (here’s a video I did about this). This hurt a lot. It almost had me giving up on myself and the dream I’d had for myself since I was a little girl. Then I saw that it was okay to make my own dream come true BECAUSE the bigger fish out there kept knocking me down. Yet, it’s been a hard road. I’ve had a lot of failures (the biggest being not getting my Kickstarter campaign funded–this put us back about two years, maybe more). But, I’ve persevered and I’m extremely proud of this. Thank you to my family for supporting me through these rough times! It’s those rough times that have given me the time to really hone my publishing skills and become quite good at the process. Now for learning how to make audiobooks directly… (my next learning curve). I love this constant growth and improvement process.
  3. Trust in my intuition. I’ve hired a few people that I’ve regretted hiring (Seriously, is there anyone involved in marketing that actually is trustworthy and honest? If so, please introduce me. I’ve wasted way too much money on swindlers.). I’ve also nearly signed on authors or illustrators that I’m so glad I didn’t; they would have given me more headaches than they would have been worth. I’ve found that when I’ve trusted my gut feelings on a person or project, I’ve been right. Yet, when logic has “forced” me to go away from my intuition, I’ve regretted it in many ways (especially regarding time and money, although my trust in the goodness of humanity has been swayed a bit by these people, too). I plan to only take projects to my board of directors that I truly feel good and passionate about. Unfortunately, though, I actually already have a list of books I really want to publish (that I feel really good about every aspect of), but can’t quite afford to publish just yet (due to the very high costs of publishing picture books and chapter books). Soon though! I’m determined. 🙂 In the meantime, if you have a YA, adult novel, or non-fiction that you’d like to pitch, feel free! I’d love to fit 2-3 of those into DLR’s 2013 schedule.
  4. The conversations Do Life Right, Inc. has inspired within my family (and friends, and total strangers). I can’t count the number of fantastic conversations my daughters and I have had because of this company. We’ve all learned so much about the process of starting a company, developing projects, meeting deadlines and goals, what to do when our dreams are stomped on by others, and how to have fun even through tough and challenging situations. And, this is just the start! We also talk endlessly about stories, editing, what makes good literature, marketing ideas, and much more! This has become the subculture of our home environment.

BONUS: Many thanks to everyone who has helped with the Doing Life Right Teleconference! Putting all of these amazing people together into one teleconference has been transforming for me. We’re ready to accept submissions for the 2013 Doing Life Right Teleconference that will run over the month of October. Don’t have a clue what I’m talking about? Check out the amazing videos here.

Month Day
Topics: curing diseases,empowerment,environmentalism,food,lowfat,McDougall,top ten,vegan,zen

Top 10 Reasons I STAY Vegan

Whoo-Hoo for me, and Happy Earth Day to all!

I’m celebrating 10 years this month of having become a vegan! While I’ve alternated precisely what I’ve been regularly eating over these 10 years, there are some undeniable truths about why I have stayed vegan and why I will always be a vegan:

  1. I’m hardly ever sick! After literally spending my entire life sick with one thing or another, it’s been an amazing ride to be virtually sick-proof. I used to have colds/flus all the time. I had also been diagnosed (incorrectly I might add, in retrospect) with some serious things like: IBS, Crohn’s disease, depression, bleeding ulcers (even “verified” with camera tubes down to my stomach and such), debilitating migraines that had me have to be in total darkness for several days several times a month, and at least a dozen other serious illnesses. All of these literally disappeared when I went vegan–all in less than three days. Yes, less than three days! Wow! No medication has ever done that for me. [I’m actually quite thankful about this, or I might never have tried this healthy vegan experiment.]
  2. I have no guilt about the food that I eat. I don’t eat anyone’s mother. I don’t eat anything that used to have a heartbeat, a face, or emotions. Yes, even chickens and cows have emotions! I can look all animals in the eye now, and feel no guilt. I also don’t participate in the separation of baby calves from their mothers, so that they can be milked and raped again to create more milk for human-only consumption.
  3. My food doesn’t get gross. Yeah, if I leave the strawberries in the fridge for too long they’ll get moldy, but my supper dishes are never nasty. I can’t say that for hardly any of the meals that I ate before going vegan. Plus ALL of our kitchen scraps are either compostable or our local critters eat them. Plus, we don’t waste anything. Seriously. We never throw any foods into the garbage. Yes, containers and bags and such will either be recycled or thrown into the garbage, but never food.
  4. I have more energy than ever before. This might not seem like a big deal, but I’m 40 years old and I get at least 2-3 more “good” hours out of each day than I did when I was 25 or 30 or even 15 or 20. Plus, when I’m eating low-fat raw, McDougall-style Starchovore, or 80-10-10, I get at least an additional “good” 2-3 hours per day. Let’s, however, assume it’s just one extra hour a day, rather than the 4-6 that I actually get. One extra hour per day would mean that I’ve gotten at least (10 years x 365 days x 1 hour/day) = 3650 hours = an extra 152+ days! Wow. That’s freakin’ amazing! I had to do the math twice because the number is so astounding to me. I’ve “lived” nearly a full 1/2 year more this past 10 years than I have in the previous 10 years. This alone makes me want to stay a 100% Starchovore.
  5. My husband and daughters are crazy healthy because they, too, are vegans. I’ve also been a role model to others who have been struggling with similar issues to the ones that I used to have. I get thank you notes all the time for this. I love that none of us has prescriptions for ANYTHING! The only times we’ve needed to go to doctors have been for injuries, camp form physicals, and issues relating to my diet as a child. Yes, my childhood dietary practices haunted me for 9 years after going vegan. You really become what you eat and humans are not meant to eat animals or animal “products”. Stop now so that you can live the rest of your days as healthy as possible.
  6. I’ve become a more empathetic person. This was an unexpected side effect. Honestly, I can tell that my caring attitude has grown by leaps and bounds due to being vegan, so has my intuitive nature. No matter how “ethical” your meat might be, it’s not ethical to eat an animal or take a baby away from his mother just for you to “eat” something that you “crave”. That’s called cruelty. Face this fact like I did, and you’ll be forever changed for the better.
  7. I am proudly no longer addicted to dairy, caffeine, and a gob of other so-called foods. I will absolutely admit to having an addiction to fats, but I’m currently working on that as it has been my personal vice, and my last dietary issue to overcome–I’ll call that my goal for this next year. Yes, it’s true that eating healthy can be tricky in our current society here in the U.S., but it’s a gazillion times easier than dealing with a heart attack or cancer. It’s also significantly easier and makes the quality of your life so much deeper and profound.
  8. My skin is more clear, I don’t stink anymore, and I don’t have to wash my hair as often. Having dealt with pretty bad acne, not needing skin care products is amazing. The few issues I’ve had have been directly related to the percentage of fat in my diet, and go away when I go McDougall-style (or similar) again (as we should all be all of the time!).
  9. We spend less money on food than ever before. Sure, I could be eating all these fancy “mock-meats” and eating at vegan restaurants all the time. But, we don’t do either very often (maybe once a month? unless we are traveling), as those aren’t healthy ways to live (but they are FANTASTIC transition foods and special occasion foods). Instead, our staples are things like: potatoes, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, berries, bananas, mangoes, spices, and orange juice. Since we aren’t buying expensive meats or premade meals often, we can actually afford organics most of the time now, too. This makes me feel pretty darn great, especially since we don’t garden much. I still want to control the quantity of pesticides in my family’s diet when possible.
  10. Being vegan is better for the Earth than any other type of diet. Honestly, I love this planet. It’s my favorite of all the planets I’ve ever been to. 🙂 Seriously, if everyone on Earth went vegan, we’d have no more green gas issues, or any of the other things that plague our precious planet solely from the foods that we produce. Even if you only go meatless on Mondays, you’d be doing your own body and your planet a world of good!
Month Day
Topics: business,Do Life Right,empowerment,relationships,travel,Unschooling,words,zen

Word of the Year 2013

This new year marks my fifth year in a row that I’ve chosen a “Word of the Year.” The concept of this is simple: rather than choosing resolutions to attempt to accomplish within a year’s time (or give up within a week), a theme (or more frequently, a word) is chosen as an inspiring touchpoint to use throughout the entire year.

In 2012, I chose my word to be “Thrive.” I feel as though this was the perfect word for me this past year. I was settling into a new environment, with many aspirations both personal and professional that I was trying to accomplish, all while THRIVING rather than just surviving through them (especially since most of 2011 was challenging for me). I had many aspects to thriving that I was striving for. Nearly all of them came true. The ones that didn’t were mostly by personal choice, and none were because of a personal failing. With the goal of thriving, I got to choose what thriving meant for me at every stage. Sometimes that meant eating fruit for breakfast, other times it meant eating a brownie. Sometimes it meant working hard at publishing a book, other times it meant enjoying an afternoon of sitting in the sun while talking with my daughters. It was all about my personal balance and joy–my thriving.

As 2012 was drawing to an end, I reflected on what worked and what didn’t work for me. While it was a year full of many, many trials and tribulations, it was also full of much joy and satisfaction. My family had heartaches that we’ll never fully recover from, yet we also had experiences of such deep love and pride that we’ll never come down from them. My personal favorite accomplishment is facilitating the first ever Doing Life Right Teleconference. For this, I am proud. I am also proud that I helped many of my daughters’ dreams (personal and professional) come true.

Yet, due to the challenges that 2012 gave me, I ended the year feeling incredibly unsettled and untethered. Much like a loose balloon on a windy day, I’ve been thrown hither and tither without choice too many times over the past year. As a self-proclaimed control freak, that’s a hard situation to be in.

Thus, for 2013, I declare that my word is: ANCHORED.

I want this year to bring me a sense of home, peace, and comfortable companionship with people I adore (including myself). Yes, I’ll probably still be thrown around a bit, but now I can focus on everything that holds me in place as the currents of the seasons pass along, only affecting me as I allow them to, keeping me steady and secure.

For those curious, my previous words have been:

Happy New Year!

Month Day
Topics: Do Life Right,empowerment,mindful parenting,Unschooling,video,words,writing

Fourth Week of the Doing Life Right Teleconference 2012

We’ve now had four full weeks of videos for the 1st Annual Doing Life Right Teleconference. It’s been so much fun!

From October 22nd-29th we’ve heard from:

    Click on the person’s name to read the blog post about them. Click on the talk title to go directly to the talk on YouTube!

    Please “like” the Doing Life Right Teleconference page on Facebook.

    Be sure to check out the first week’s videos, second week’s videos, and third week’s videos, too. Enjoy!

    Month Day
    Topics: empowerment,photographs

    I’m 40! Thank you to everyone who gave me a “gift”!

    For my 40th birthday, I requested that everyone I know do something that they’ve always wanted to do, and then tell me about it. I dreamed of receiving at least 40 of these gifts and I got my wish! I am so inspired by some of the awesome stories I’ve been told about this request of mine.

    Some of the wonderful things that other people did included:

    1. Submitted a manuscript to a publisher
    2. Took a photography class
    3. Wrote and submitted something for publication (two people are in the process of doing this!)
    4. Went to Utah to see the Spiral Jetty
    5. Had custom-made jewelry made
    6. Went to Lambeau Field to see the Green Bay Packers play
    7. Made plans to meet a niece that she’s never met before
    8. Took a pottery class with the goal of making matching dinnerware
    9. Took a jewelry class and a painting class
    10. Visited Vancouver and Alaska
    11. Set up a family bed so the whole family could be all snuggled together
    12. Went to TEDx Toronto
    13. Became a SAHM (stay at home mom) rather than a WOHM (work outside the home mom)
    14. Took her child out of daycare
    15. Took her kids to Oregon (via a 6-week roadtrip)
    16. Finally got her children to meet their grandmother
    17. Started eating healthy (and lost weight because of it)!
    18. Tried (and enjoyed) green smoothies
    19. Started learning how to play the ukelele
    20. Ran in a Color Run (Holi-type with LOTS of colors) race
    21. Went backpacking on a 3-day hike taking everything, including water
    22. Wrote a story about meeting me for the first time 🙂
    23. Rode the Verde Canyon Railroad
    24. Did a week long raw juice cleanse/detox
    25. Took a torch glass bead making series of classes
    26. Ran the Portland Marathon
    27. Purchased her very first vehicle on her own
    28. Learned how to upload a video on YouTube
    29. Posed nude for The Beautiful Bodies project
    30. Took a cake decorating class
    31. Quit her job not knowing what the next step in life is
    32. Started learning how to quilt
    33. Was in a musical production of Peter Pan
    34. Fermented apples
    35. Went whitewater kayaking with a super cool boat
    36. Rode on an amusement park swing like Madeline
    37. Wrote a Girl Scout camp-style song and convinced others to sing it
    38. Started learning to play the drums (a cajon and a djembe)
    39. Became a writer/editor for awesome publications
    40. Made a video and participated in the 1st Annual Doing Life Right Teleconference
    41. Geared up to participate in NaNoWriMo this November
    42. Visited the Redwoods and stood inside of a tree
    43. Bought herself a shiny pair of red shoes! 🙂
    44. Got a personal trainer
    45. Bought a bottle of whiskey that he’s always wanted to try
    46. Wrote an awesome short story
    47. Tried jackfruit
    48. Traveled to Door County, Wisconsin
    49. Gave lots and lots of speeches
    50. Another person signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time!
    51. Played at a mini-golf course that they’d been wanting to try, followed by eating at a new-to-them restaurant–yum!
    52. Got an awesome pair of vegan Pewter Metallic TOMS (shoes)
    53. Planned and participated in a flashmob
    54. Went to her first retreat (one that I can personally highly recommend)–Authoring Your Own Life (sponsored by the Sahuaro Girl Scouts, now called Southern Arizona Girl Scouts)
    55. Bridged over the Golden Gate Bridge to a new level in Girl Scouts
    56. Is becoming a surrogate mother
    57. Started a blog that I can’t wait to start reading!
    58. Joined a dance group
    59. Visited a SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) meeting for the first time
    60. Ate aloe and found it delicious
    61. Went spelunking
    62. Took a fencing class
    63. Met several famous scientists and heard them speak about their passions
    64. Hosted a live version of Zoe’s Geo Party!
    65. Made a Google Maps “Z” marker, because you can only go up to “Y” on
    66. Participated in political campaigning for the first time ever (financially and through volunteering time)

    Are you inspired yet? I sure am! I can’t wait to see how brave I am now. 🙂

    Thank you all so much! This is definitely one of my very best birthdays ever and I have all of you to thank for that.

    Month Day
    Topics: empowerment,mindful parenting,relationships,Unschooling,zen

    Airing Dirty Laundry: Lessons Learned

    I’ve been thinking about my maternal grandma a lot over the last couple of days. I don’t know why, but I’m always influenced by my thoughts. She’s alive and well, last I heard, and the phrase, “Don’t air your dirty laundry,” comes to mind every time I think of her. She was a fan of hiding her true self and all her personal and family woes behind closed curtains.

    See, I always felt that she and I had a great relationship while I was growing up. I spent many Saturday mornings with her while my parents worked. We shopped together, ate together, talked together, drove places together, made doll clothes together, and did anything fun and silly we could think of. I loved her! I still do.

    After Grandpa died in 1996, just months after my oldest was born, my relationship with my maternal side of the family changed drastically. I had no idea that Grandpa had been the glue that held us all together. With the glue gone, we just fell apart and went our separate ways.

    For all practical purposes, Grandma died in my life then, too. She took his death as an opportunity to be her true self. Until then, my “ever trying to improve himself” grandfather had kept her in check. This saddened me greatly.

    Things Grandma taught me when she disowned my mom, dad, sister and me (and subsequently our spouses and children):

    • Blood does not run deeper than true relationships and commitment.
    • Relationships take work, but shouldn’t be so hard that they are ONLY work.
    • If we really don’t want people in our lives, then we shouldn’t pretend like we do.
    • When you pretend that woes aren’t real, you’ll never get help for fixing them.
    • If you don’t fix your problems, they’ll never go away.

    Things Grandpa taught me when this happened:

    • Never force relationships, but do nurture them.
    • Be aware the subtle signs the people around you are showing. Signs of happiness or disconnect always exist. Just don’t discover them in retrospect.
    • Help those you love know how they can connect with others. This doesn’t come naturally for all people, yet it’s vital for longterm relationships.
    • Always show your appreciation for those you love, whether they are “blood” or not.
    • Be freakin’ honest! It’s only through being your authentic self do you really know who truly loves you.
    Month Day
    Topics: Arizona,art,audio books,business,computer,curing diseases,Do Life Right,empowerment,food,software,Tucson,vegan,video

    Third Week of the Doing Life Right Teleconference 2012

    We’ve now had three full weeks of videos for the 1st Annual Doing Life Right Teleconference. It’s been so much fun!

    From October 15th-21st we’ve heard from:

    Click on the person’s name to read the blog post about them. Click on the talk title to go directly to the talk on YouTube!

    Please “like” the Doing Life Right Teleconference page on Facebook.

    Be sure to check out the first week’s videos and second week’s videos, too. Enjoy!

    Month Day
    Topics: empowerment,games,money,video,zen

    Second week of the Doing Life Right Teleconference 2012

    We’ve now had two full weeks of videos for the 1st Annual Doing Life Right Teleconference. It’s been so much fun!

    From October 8th-14th we’ve heard from:

    Click on the person’s name to read the blog post about them. Click on the talk title to go directly to the talk!

    Please “like” the Doing Life Right Teleconference page on Facebook.

    Be sure to check out the first week’s videos, too. Enjoy!


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