Mom, not guilty be reason of insanity in stabbing of son

Hi friends, family and followers:


Please someone make sense of this story for me…..(Link below) I just covered this trial this morning.  Life is just so  hard for some. Love your people and let them love you back! I really want to know what happened at that retreat she went to…. I look forward to your comments.,0,2627634.story

Merry Christmas, this is what I know

As I sit here in our warm home on the eve before Christmas Eve, with a fire burning in the fireplace,  the yummy smell of food being prepared for the next couple of days of holiday celebrations, and  presents all wrapped up and under the Christmas tree, I think about what I’ve learned or was reminded of this Christmas season.

People I love are invaluable, irriplaceable. (This may sound mundane, but really take some time to read this and let it soak in.)

Life’s most important lessons are not complicated.

My family is wonderful, precious, sacred. (Again see info in parentheses above)

Even though our family is not perfect, I really miss my mom and dad who are far away from me this Christmas.

I learned that I should never live as if I know everything about what is going to happen next. Meaning that there are plans in the works and I will not ever know all the details. So, I should always live as if the next thing around the corner is going to be awesome!

I learned that I too matter to others.

I was reminded that there is a certain type of wicked evil in the world, but there is also way more goodness and kindness than there is this evil.

People are all capable of good and evil. It is a choice on how you want to exist in this world.

I learned that I can help other people with simple acts. There are things I may unwittingly say or do that will change a person’s day for the good -or the bad (I’m not perfect). This reminds me to be aware of how I interact in the world as to never make someone’s day worse.

I was reminded that no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot protect our children from all forms of harm, cruelty, hatred. We must show them even more love and kindness inside our homes to make up for what  they see out in the world, in school, on TV.

I learned that, although I do like to get presents as does everyone this time of year, there really is nothing I really need or want this Christmas that is not inside this house with me at this very moment — Tony, Emily, Abby, Minnie, Maggie and Lucy — and the people outside this house whom I love more than words or things can express. That’s a very long list!

Sometimes when I think this is the best it will get, and there is nothing better to come into my family, home, work – something else wonderful happens! This is the fun part of life!

Oh, and the most important lesson – I  was once again reminded that when Kohl’s screams at me from my TV to get into the store for this one and only and final “One-Day Sale!!” they are lying! There are One-Day Sales at Kohl’s every day! (Lying liars!)

What did you learn in these last few weeks.

Merry Christmas. Love each other.

(PS I’ll soon be blogging for ChicagoNow, I’ll keep you posted. Thank you for all of your support!)

Never Land

Unfortunately, we don’t live in Never Land, and they grow up.

This was quite a weekend.

My oldest daughter, Emily, turned 17 on Saturday, Nov. 17, her golden birthday! And she spent her birthday on stage playing an Indian in Peter Pan. She was on stage on her birthday and I know she would not have wanted to be anywhere else on this planet. I was so happy for her.

Peter Pan, about the boy who never grew up, the three children, Wendy, John and Michael, who trusted this boy and without any sense of fear, flew away with him to a mysterious land, danced with Indians and fought Pirates.

And the mother of the three children waited in their bedroom near the oversized window from which they flew into the night sky with Peter. Oh how she longed for their return. From the way the story goes it seems like it was years that their mother faithfully waited for her children to return. The children’s flustered father went to close the oversized window one night and the mother snapped! She commanded him to never, ever close the window because one day her children might return home. He promised to never, ever close the window.

Emily is about a year and a half away from leaving home for college. Abby is just a few quick years behind her. After college they will likely be on their own in their own homes or an apartment somewhere…… They will both someday, in a sense, fly away to some mysterious land, fight with pirates, dance with Indians, and hang out with some young man.

I will be like the mother of Wendy, John and Michael.  I’ll never close the window just in case they come back home. Our window will always be open and I will always be here for them to return, no matter how far away they fly, and I know they will fly far.

Share, like, comment. See you next week!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Oh it’s cold today!

I took the dogs for a walk and felt the chill deep into my bones. My little pup Minnie was shivering as the wind nearly blew her off her tiny paws. 

As I sit here now warming up under a big fuzzy blanket on my couch, sheltered from the wind I hear screeching outside my windows, I wonder about those who cannot escape the chill today or the cold winter about to visit here in the Midwest.

This change in the weather makes me think about those who will sleep on the streets tonight, or seek shelter in the woods, along the rivers and railroad tracks, in a box, or in a dirty alley. 

I’m certain that when these people, finding themselves down on their luck today, were little kids they never said: “When I grow up I’m going to be homeless!”

No, I’m sure that they like all of us, had dreams that somehow became sidetracked. Many likely have just recently found themselves homeless, due to a job loss, the downturn in our economy, a natural disaster, an illness, a death, an addiction, a mental affliction. Something certainly unplanned and undeserved.

We cannot judge those we see on the street asking us for money. We have not walked in their shoes. We have no idea what led them to their grim circumstances. I believe that we are all just a paycheck or 2 or 3 away from where they sit.

So I have a plan. I have $100 and I am going to find one person I can help out. I will give it to that one person and ask only that they use it to help themselves in a positive way and then when they are able, pay it forward. I know it is so cliche’, we have all seen the movie by now, and it has been done or said a zillion times. But this is MY first time saying it and committing to do it. 

I’d love for you all to join me in this “Project of Goodness” and report back. Tell me what you did with $100 to help another human being, a stranger in need.

Because I believe we are all connected, and we all owe it to each other to look out for one another and step up when we see the need. Now, I know I can’t help everyone, and $100 is not a ton of money, but it is what I can afford to take from my family. And I hope I find that one person to help who will make the right choice with the $100. 

I don’t have a lot, but I have more than that daughter, son, aunt, uncle, mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, or US Veteran sleeping out in the cold, night air tonight.

Please join me in this and let me know your story! I know it will be fun and inspiring for everyone.  If you cannot part with $100, do what you can. Let’s agree to report back here by Jan. 1, 2013. Or you can email me at or Facebook me! 

Share, like, comment and happy hunting! 

Me and the family tree

I love a good, full, strong, colorful tree.

Whether it be a light early summer green, or an August deep forest emerald, a fall-kissed yellow, orange or red.

I love watching the change of each and every tree and its leaves outside my kitchen window, year round.

You know the ones that have an intertwining bunch of branches, or those with the super large trunks you only see out in the forest preserves?  The way they shoot strong, fearlessly into the sky. I love the trees out by my friend’s lake house in Wisconsin. Just watching them on a summertime visit, so deep and green and prominent in the summer sun as they silently dance, glide in the summer breeze…. It brings me peace and serenity like nothing else.

And as the season’s change those leaves morph into a multi-dimensional display of changing colors. I love that each leaf of any and all trees is completely different. And I marvel at how any leaf you focus in on becomes a completely different leaf, depending on what time of year it is.

Like people, there are no cookie-cutter trees, leaves, branches, twigs or trunks. Like people, each product of nature is unique, special and intentional.

And I stand in awe of the older trees, like the Red Woods on the West Coast that I have only seen in pictures. They are gigantic, heavily defined and have twisted bark, their wide trunks, and long, multiple branches are intentional, committed, everlasting. Some families are like those trees.

As seasons change the branches, either turn in new directions seeking the warmth of the fading sun, or those that are not strong, mature or sturdy enough to survive the seasonal elements, simply fall to the ground. They break away from the efforts to survive because it just become too difficult. They seek their own, singular path. They break away from the original, shared path that at one time was committed to. Instead, they do their own thing. They quit.

When my daughters come home from school and ask about our “family tree” because they are doing a school project, I cringe.

After I cringe, and swig a sip of my cocktail, I turn the girls right over to  my husband. He knows his family lineage with such certainty. His family tree has long, strong, sturdy branches, that stay together, and leaves of the same proud, bold colors. I admire his family and their family tree. He knows  exactly who is connected to who and what nationality everyone is. He can tell you what boat his father’s Italian family came over from Italy on. He knows his grandparents’ and his great-grandparents’ names. They stayed together through the whole life cycle, as they promised to God that they would. That then led him to me.  That then gave me my beautiful daughters. That then gave me my life. A new tree to grow.

My family, which I have long referred to as not a family tree, but  broken branches and fallen leaves, presents a cluster of uncertainty, questions that will never be answered, sadness, disappointment, disfunction, shame, guilt and regret. My weak branches are like those that have drifted to the ground on a windy day.

My leaves, however, are bright, multi-colored. They are, at times feared, avoided, yet desired. Some of my family branches are like fragile twigs, too afraid to be who God meant for them to be, while others are strong. But those left this earth far too soon.

For me, I am only trying to grow into a new, strong, proud branch with a multitude of colorful leaves to share with my daughters, who will one day add on to my small tree. Though small, my tree will be complete for them. As I promise to grow from what comes from love, truth, honesty and goodness.

I think that my girls will have an amazing and colorful family tree that will withstand the winds of change, embrace the sun in the summertime, dance with the blowing wind, while embracing each and every unique leaf, and stand strong in the winter months as the ice and snow weigh heavy upon each and every branch.

I have learned in my life that nature is more beautiful the more unique it is, the more different it appears.

So in my life, my tree with its broken branches and fallen leaves, is beautiful, strong, ever changing and everlasting.

I do hope my daughters see the perfect blend of their father and I and our very different families’ trees, strong branches, broken twigs and fallen leaves as gifts – gifts that I believe God intended for them all along.

My tree, their tree, will from today forward grow in strength, honesty, love, and reach for the sun season after season. No longer will my tree’s branches, their tree’s branches, break away and fall to the ground. And their tree will have no sadness or shame only love and promise.


Tell me about your family tree.

Please comment, like, share.

The man in the moon and me

As we should all know by now, Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon, died in August. He was 82. And from all accounts that I have read he was a good man who lived his life quite modestly after doing something that changed, maybe connected the entire world, if only for a little while.

For this Blog entry I literrally scoured the internet and read about a dozen obits on this man.

I did this because when he died, there was one graph in one of the many, many tributes to him that hit me on such an emotional level.

A feeling that I still have not been able to shake. And I believe it is worth reprinting and discussing and sharing with the “blogasphere” why it touched me so.

I finally found it at the end of a piece written on Aug. 26 in USA Today.

Here it is:

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request,” his family said in a Saturday statement. “Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Oh man, it happened again! I got that lump in my throat re-reading this.

Because the idea, the visual this presents to me is so simple, yet so so so grandiose.

One thing is, I have always seen the face of the man in the moon. And so many times, since I was a child, I remember asking others if they see a face in the moon. And, not everyone does. I could never wrap my head around that.

The other thing is this.

There is one moon, billions maybe zillions of people in this world, again just one moon. OK, we see it at different times of the night. There is one Big Dipper, one Little Dipper, one of each unique, brilliant star in each of its little own endlessly dark piece of the sky. (Please stay with me here)

I have dear friends and family in many parts of this country. Sometimes I wonder as I look up at the sky at night and take in the beauty and the wonderment of the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the moon, that one little super shiny star, that I think is a planet, that sets just to the bottom right of the moon… I wonder sometimes, are any of my dear, long-lost friends or family in other parts of this country looking at that part of the sky at that very same moment. And we just recently had that beautiful, magical Harvest Moon display, and I wondered the same thing. Is anyone out there looking at it and taking in all of its magic at the same time I am.

And if they were would we not be connected in that very moment?

When I was 11 years old, I met my biological father for the first time. Before meeting him I never even knew his name, never even knew he existed. Further, I never even knew that I was not who I had long believed I was. It was– and still is– quite complicated and hard to work through.

The reason I bring this up, is this – I remember in the months and couple of years afterward– after meeting this man, this stranger, this man who added so much confusion, pain to an already tumultuous existence–looking up at the sky sometimes and wondering if he was looking at the same part of the evening sky and thinking of me. I particularly recall one New Year’s Eve, shortly after meeting him, when the town was doing fireworks and fire crackers right at Midnight, and I went outside…There were people and noise makers everywhere, noises from all parts of town, I felt so alone. And I wondered where he was and if he was looking up at the night sky too.

I wondered in my young mind, if before he met me did he ever look up at that vast sky and wonder where I was. Did he wonder, was his child also looking up at the sky, the moon, the man in the moon? Did she see the man in the moon even?

Did he see the man in the moon?

Did we share that?

Did he care?

I’ll never know any of these answers. And the thought of this, me as a confused and sad child not knowing who she really is or whether or not it even matters to anyone, who she really is, makes me so sad.

So now as an adult, now that I have control over my life, and a loose handle on my emotions, I take these same moments when looking up at the evening sky and think of old friends, relatives who make me happy and confident and secure, people who made me laugh, smile, dance. People who love me and make me feel love. And those who may be far away, but still close in my heart and I think- what are they looking at right now? Are they seeing what I am seeing? Do they see the face of the man in the full, bright moon? Are they giving old Neil a wink?

I know, I am.

What do you think of when you look up at the evening sky? Do you see the man in the moon?

Please share thoughts, comments, likes or dislikes, click “follow” and share.

See you next week. 🙂