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Viewing Blog: My Semblance of Sanity, Most Recent at Top
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Here you will read about life...MY life as a blogging mom of three who sums up her chaotic days with humorous rants in between cleaning peanut butter off the ceiling fan and keeping the baby occupied in the lazy Susan. Put your feet up and laugh at me. My neighbors do!
Statistics for My Semblance of Sanity

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1. HELLOOOOO, remember me??

It has been way too long since I posted - life has been way busy! But I don't need to tell YOU that! :)

I am thrilled to give you the link to my author blog:
Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Why an author blog?
BECAUSE ON DECEMBER 27, 2012 I SIGNED MY VERY FIRST BOOK DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Surprisingly enough... it's NOT a picture book. It's a novel! Yep! Forget the 500 word limit of picture books! This novel is currently at 73,000 words! And those of you who know me well KNOW I have a hard time with the "long story short" idea! LOL! Doesn't compute!

I would LOVE if my original readers would help support me in what has been a SEVEN YEAR journey! You all have been with me since the beginning!


Here's the scoop on my book:

IN TOO DEEP
'New Adult' Novel (target age 17-24)
Contemporary Romance


Gracie Jordan’s innocence has bad boy Noah Foster intrigued. Without hesitation, she follows Noah’s charming lead into a relationship she’s nowhere near ready for. Noah’s love turns dark but Gracie holds on waiting for the Noah she fell in love with to return. Her heartbreak threatens to pull her under but her best friend and Noah’s former roommate, Jake, refuses to be a bystander. Jake throws Gracie a life raft and prays it’s not too late.

Please check out my blog and "like" my facebook page - Michelle Kemper Brownlow Author

You can also peek at me HERE!

My official welcome to the Sapphire Star Publishing Family!

1 Comments on HELLOOOOO, remember me??, last added: 2/3/2013
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2. Cinnamon Challenge - Come on!

OK! I am all done with this CINNAMON CHALLENGE thing!
Parents! PLEASE PLEASE don't let your kids do this! They can DIE doing this!

Remember the sissy tests when WE were young, the eraser of a pencil on your skin determined how TOUGH you are! The worst thing you would get was a burn and need a band-aid.

Swallowing a tablespoon of cinnamon is dangerous not only bc concentrated properties of cinnamon... are used as poisons and pesticides to deter pests from farmland but also bc the seemingly innocent spice sucks all of the moisture out of the mouth and throat which causes it to be IMPOSSIBLE to swallow or cough the congealed mass out of your throat which can quickly cause asphyxiation.

Do yourself a favor and hide the cinnamon until this INSANELY STUPID trend passes! I don't get it.

Recently a principal was put on leave indefinitely because she did not stop her students from trying this at school - see article HERE!

Your own children may have enough brain cells to not try this but do yourself a favor at the next sleepover and hide it from his/her friends that will try it once you head to bed.
3. Dare is sumbuddy sweepin' on da table...




(I happened upon this sweet moment this afternoon while peeking back through my old blog posts - I thought I would re-post this moment from two years ago hoping to bring you a smile, too!)

So, this morning a little person, one just tall enough for his chin to hit the top edge of my mattress runs into my room and says, "Ma! Ma! Dare is sumbuddy sweepin' on da table. Come on, yook! Sumbuddy sweepin' dare!"


OK, so if you are in a deep sleep and someone squeals that in your ear...are you a little freaked out? Well, as I follow his skipping body down the hall and to the steps, I am wiping sleep out of my eyes and thinking...What the heck am I going to do if he is serious? What if 'sumbuddy' broke in and (for some ridiculous reason) fell asleep on our kitchen table? Even as I was thinking it, I knew what a FREAK that made me...to even entertain the thought...but I did.

"DARE! DARE him is! Yook!"

I squint. I 'yook' while trying to look muscular, in case this sleeping intruder is bigger than me. You know, I go into protective Mama Bear mode.

"My shwoggie! Him is on da table!"

His froggy. The %$#%**&%* plastic frog I bought him at Michael's last night! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

"Yes, bud, there is your froggy. Is he awake?"

(mumble, mumble)

"Maa, you pway Wii wit me?"

"Baby, just let mommy fill her veins with something that will make me happy to be playing Wii with you get some coffee first.

I galumph over to the coffee maker as the sound of a way-too-awake Mario and Luigi race around my living room.

Finally, I sit on the couch and we start a two player race. He likes to do the battles, which means there are like 429 games in a row. I blink my eyes, sip my drug, and prepare to KICK HIS BUTT!

In between races we high-five and giggle. This is sweet. We do it every morning. And by the second race (thanks to my coffee), I am totally into it - we have a blast!

This morning we were 3 games in and I couldn't tell you who was winning because every time I get ahead of him, he pauses the game and we trade steering wheels...ha...so technically HE is kicking MY butt!

In between the 37th and 38th race (I am exaggerating) I lay my steering wheel in my lap and reach down for my coffee that was sitting at my feet. He peeps over at me as I put my cup to my lips and start to sip....

...some crazed lunatic entered his body (maybe it was that growling spiky turtle thing that he chooses as his character to drive his race car) and he, with all the force capable of being in a 4-year old body, he punches me. Not in my arm but IN MY COFFEE CUP! And it's a KO!

The angle in which his little fist struck the mug sends scalding coffee UP MY NOSE, all over my face, on my PJs (that I was hoping to keep clean so I could justify wearing them to the bus stop in 28 seconds when his bus rounds the bend), all over the leather couch, the off-white rug....you get the picture.

I have to tell you...12 seconds later I was giggling.

Not because I had finally lost my mind. Not because I was dreaming of the glorious free time I would have while he is duct-taped to the wall (DO NOT EMAIL ME! I AM JUST KIDDING!).

I giggled, with coffee dripping from my nose and my chin, because the look in his eyes as he realized what his body had done, apparently without the approval of his brain, was priceles

1 Comments on Dare is sumbuddy sweepin' on da table..., last added: 9/29/2011
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4. KATE*VERSATIONS... September 12, 2011



Well, it's an end of an era...

I am not someone who can say, "I have watched since the very first episode." Quite honestly, I don't even remember WHICH episode was my first. I just know they were in their Lancaster County home that first time I "met" Jon and Kate and their brood!

I can't tell you the kids' birth order, I know all their names and I know Joel was the final Gosselin to make his appearance that beautiful day in May!

I didn't start watching the show for any reason other than I LOVE being a mom and think most moms follow an unwritten rule book by supporting one another through the good times and the bad. Knowing this woman named Kate had twins and then 6 more, I knew she would have good times and really, really bad ones so I enlisted as a "fan" of the show as a means to give her my support... in a "GO GET 'EM GIRL!" kind of way!

As I watched I saw a mom growing into her role as a mom of multiples... as a mom of EIGHT! Dear Lord, I wasn't sure how she was going to do it! But I was going to, once a week, cop a squat in my living room after putting the kids to bed and be part of her chaos b/c I was SO THANKFUL God picked HER and not ME! :)

To be honest, it was those precious little chubby cheeks and unsteady scampers that kept me coming back in the beginning... their big eyes and stout giggles blessed me to no end. Yes, I thought it was a little strange that I felt so attached to someone else's kids... that I had never seen in person. Weird? Maybe. But I didn't care, I wanted more.

As I struggled through my own days as a mom to two children only one year apart and an extra-needs foster baby, I became one mom on the inside and another on the outside. I was sad, scared, angry, guilty where no one else could see and a happy, cheery homeroom mom when everyone else was looking.

That's when I started looking to Kate in admiration. Sure, she flipped out on Jon... A LOT! But, seriously, how many moms reading this have never gone off on their husband and looked back later and thought, "Ewww, I didn't like what that felt like!" Well, guess what, if you are on a reality show... you get to add one more dimension to that, you get to say, "Ewww, I didn't like what that LOOKED like!"

What I admired most about Kate is she was not someone who would mince words. She was not one mom on the inside and another on the outside like I was. So, then I watched because she helped me be a better mom. The after-show credits would start rolling and I would look at my husband and say, "Wow! All I had to deal with today was a temper tantrum at a doctor's appointment, more than HALF of her kids were PUKING!" And, I have a rule.... if you can divide your children into fractions smaller than THIRDS, you have MY respect!

Fast forward to today. Kate is still that woman. She has remained stoic and strong through a very public divorce, she handles the unwarranted hate with grace, she continues to put those beautiful eight blessings FIRST. Yes, FIRST! Any mom whose true goal is for her kids to have the best lives possible is putting her kids first. Some moms work three jobs and hardly ever see their kids but in many cases that is their only option.... and they do it FOR their kids!

Kate has found her calling. The camera loves her, she SHINES! So, if she can pair her passion with providing for her family while staying grounded and being "Mom" to eight awesome kiddos, then m

6 Comments on KATE*VERSATIONS... September 12, 2011, last added: 9/13/2011
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5. *KATE*VERSATIONS September 5, 2011



Well, I will admit, I was the first to say that the promos for this week's RV episode were edited to make it LOOK like Ashley was freaking out at Kate. I would have put money on the fact that Ashley was freaking out on Jamie, her mom, and TLC was making it LOOK like her anger was directed at Kate.

Well, sadly I say that was  not the case. I would be so hurt if my "friends" threw me under the bus the way Jamie and Ashley did to Kate on this episode. Now, I realize there is a lot of footage on the editing room floor that none of us will ever get to see so I am only basing my opinions on what I saw.

So, I decided to do my post differently this week. Ima gonna lay it out this way:

Top 5 Reasons Why I Would Have LOST it Bigger Than Kate Did

#5 - Trust issues!

When a man puts you in a raft and tells you (and the 6 children he put in behind you) that he will NOT be taking you into the rapids and then he does, this man deserves to have his 'unnawears' pulled up around his ears.

I am sorry, when you are being paid to "entertain" me, you BEST NOT lie to me! I have huge anxiety issues and this would have sent me over the edge. Completely. And I have a story to prove it.

My dear husband of 18 years once took me on a wave runner ride in the ocean. Because I am uber anxious about trying new things I told him I had some rules if he wanted me to be the adventurous wife he was craving that day. I told him that for starters this was the OCEAN and I am petrified of sharks so, under NO circumstances was he to flip the thing or try and dunk me in any way. I also told him we would need to start out slow and no jumping waves. I wanted to RIDE not join The "You'll never believe how much air you can get on one of these things" Club! What does he do? No sooner was my butt planted behind him on the seat, he gunned it, jumped three waves, turned it on it's side with 1/2 my body UNDER the water, did a water-style donut and gunned it again.

I think he was ignoring my screaming as it wasn't until my fingernails pierced his gall bladder that he headed back for shore. That was 17 years ago and I haven't gotten on a motorized vehicle (other than a car) with him since. TRUST is a biggie for me!

#4 "She's being a BLEEP!"

Oh no she didn't! Jamie.... her best friend... who probably helps her process the drama that the paparazzi and the haters create for her just gave those haters a BIG OLE HEALTHY bone to chew on! I can't imagine the pang in Kate's gut when she saw the BLEEP! There's only been two BLEEPS on this entire show's history and both have come from Jamie on last night's episode. Which brings me to my #3.

#3 "She can kiss my BLEEP!"
Really? You and all of your kids are on a FREE trip across the country and you are going to pull THAT? I cannot imagine having a friend that would do this to me. I have a group of 4 best friends and we are as close as sisters. Sure there is drama from time to time. Have you ever known sisters/friends who didn't have drama? That is a natural occurrence in ANY relationship. But, when we have issues with each other the LAST thing we do is take the name calling route and I think I can say without a shadow of a doubt, none of those amazing women that I call BFFs would say such nasty things about me on TV. This is unacceptable.  I think I would have sent Jamie home with Ashley and finished the trip in the RV with air-conditioning.

#2 If it LOOKS l

1 Comments on *KATE*VERSATIONS September 5, 2011, last added: 9/6/2011
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6. *KATE*VERSATIONS August 22, 2011


Alright, so HONESTLY, this was my ALL TIME favorite episode EVER! I just giggled through the whole thing and was in awe of Kate's stamina! KATE GOSSELIN, YOU ARE MY FLIPPIN' HERO! Yes, I tweeted that to the world, too! But, come on, she built a chicken coop... BUILT a chicken coop... with EIGHT kids under her heels! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!

I loved watching the boys relate to one another... they are such boys and yet still so sweet. The girls are just growing into very articulate young ladies and it is a joy to watch! Sometimes I feel like a neighbor that knows the kids b/c I see them over the fence all the time but then I have to stop and think... we are just watching this from afar! They have no idea how commonplace it is for our kids to chat about them as though they know them.

It was evident in this episode how content Kate is with her life... with their lives. I tweeted "@kateplusmy8: Your demeanor was so calm, so peaceful, so content!! Loved this episode so much! Made me happy!"

I know Twitter EXPLODED with the news that Kate + 8 was not being renewed, I know the kids were sad, Kate was sad and the fans were losing their minds and making Twitter petitions to keep the show on TLC. This was an amazing outpouring of love for Kate and the kids and I think that was so good - it may have even drowned out the haters for once which is no small feat.

But, ya know, as much as I love Kate and all the kids... as  much as I feel a part of their story b/c I have looked in on their lives for so many years... I am so EXCITED to see what comes next!

A talk show?
Some time off?
Another reality show?
A brand new venture no one could have predicted?

I look at it as TLC did what any good mom would do... cut the apron strings and said, "I know you can make it on your own. Let me see what you've got!"

It's the hardest thing for a mom to do but we all know Kate can do WHATEVER she sets her mind to. And if you doubted that, after tonight's episode you KNOW it's true!

Kate, thank you for letting us into your home. Thank you for opening your hearts to us. Thank you for chatting with us on Twitter!

One day, my sweet friend, I will tell you personally how much your dedication to your kids helped make me a better mom. Maybe it will be at our local Starbucks, maybe we will just run into each other at Target. Either way, I hope you can see my heart and know I am just ONE mom who learned so much from you.

Thank you!

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7. KATE*VERSATIONS... August 15, 2011



I can sum up this episode in one word:

ADORABLE!

This episode was so much fun to hear the tweets and then roll back the clock and see short-haired Kate and 8 chubby faces! TLC did an awesome job choosing MY favorite snippets from the past Kate & Kids episodes. So nice of them to do that for me! LOL! Just kidding, of course.

I loved Kate's honesty in the episode (as I always do) - TLC did not only have her commenting on the simple questions - no, they even threw in the controversial ones, too. Kate handled the questions about her brother, the divorce and the rest of her family with such poise and respect. It was the Kate we all know and love, the Kate that doesn't  mince words - she is honest and to the point. And I loved hearing her responses. I hope she reaches out to her family and finds a warm and welcoming reaction on the other end. I pray for this for her... and for the kids.

There was one thing I really didn't like about the show - the commercial for the next episode. I actually think it is in bad taste that with all of the POOR press Kate gets TLC chose to warp that commercial into looking like Ashley was so upset with Kate that she was leaving the kids behind on the trip. There are so many people that will take that and run with it down into their troll holes and blow it up until it is a rumor that has a life on its own. Then their cronies will not watch the show but feed off of that rumor like leeches and Kate and the kids pay the price.

But, those of us who have been "with" Kate since the beginning know WHO she is, WHAT she stands for and WHERE she is going... UP, UP, UP Baby!

One last word:
I thought that her pretty pink top and MATCHING CELL COVER was epic! LOVED IT!

Love you, Kate! Keep on ROCKIN' IT, SISTER!

1 Comments on KATE*VERSATIONS... August 15, 2011, last added: 8/18/2011
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8. WHAT? Wednesday: How do YOU spell BREAST CANCER awareness?

What do you get when you post the color of your bra, where you put your purse and your shoe size on facebook?

Well, duh, BREAST CANCER SUPPORT, right? Isn't it obvious? Notsomuch!

A couple years ago when the requests came out on facebook to post the color of your bra in your status to show your support for Breast Cancer, it seemed harmless enough. Bras and breasts are connected. It was a creative thematic game. Cool.

Then last year it was the place in the house where you leave your purse. I raised an eyebrow at this one b/c I wasn't sure what in the world this had to do with Breast Cancer. And then when I saw all the statuses, 'On the counter,' 'Next to my bed,' 'On the table,' I thought.... "Is anyone seeing the innuendos, here?" Being that I had been teaching in children's ministry for 8 years and my friends list was filled with parents of the girls I taught, I figured this was a game I would just quietly decline playing. But, I had to wonder how in the world that was raising awareness for Breast Cancer.

The newest request is circulating and many women have sent me this, "You need to write your shoe size, (just the number) followed by the word 'inches' and then sad face. Remember the first year so many people took part of this and made national news. The constant updating of status reminded everyone why we're doing this and helped raise awareness!! Do NOT tell any males what the status's mean, keep them guessing!!"

Are you kidding me? This infuriated me but I calmly respond to each request with, "Sorry ladies, as a mentor for teen girls who is always harping on them abt being appropriate on facebook, I will have to pass. :)"

I was, however, impressed that many women declined saying it was disrespectful to their husbands and although they support Breast Cancer, they would not be taking part in this "game."

This morning when I saw some of the teen girls I mentor getting involved in this game, I was fit to be tied! I spend HOURS... literally HOURS... every day texting, IMing and chatting with teen girls who are trying to navigate this world we live in and they are getting lost by the hundreds.

Girls will tell me they wish boys would talk to their eyes and not their breasts and they can't figure out how to gain the respect they deserve. Later I see their statuses and realize the lyrics to the song they posts sends the "you don't have to respect me, just love me" message! I am constantly reminding them that facebook can be used as a peek into where their boundaries are set.

So, now, through this brilliant idea for Breast Cancer Awareness, they are telling hundreds of boys at a time, who have no FLIPPING idea what their status really means, that they have measured the PENIS of the last boy they were with.... and they were disappointed!

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9. *KATE*VERSATIONS August 8, 2011


Kate has yet to disappoint me!

She tells it like it is.

She knows how to have fun!

And tonight is evidence of that.

I have been tweeting back and forth with Kate and her biggest fans (and a few haters that I blocked after Kate told me how) for the last couple days. She is real. She is so friendly and really funny.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the show.

I loved the DC Cupcakes episode. The girls had so much fun and I loved watching Kate relax and just have fun with the girls. She barely flinched when the cupcake almost fell on Mady's head - she even caught the icing in her hand.

The space was cramped, there were 4 girls and 4+ adults and 30,000 lbs of decorative icing and doodads 2 big mixers, etc. I was hyperventilating over imagining being in that space in Kate's shoes (well, not in her shoes for real b/c she wears REALLY high heels) and I kept looking at her and thinking, "wow... you are so at peace." I love it! I love it for her and for the kids!

I thought it was awesome that Kate, Mady and Cara met Jon's aunt and uncle. I loved that they all shopped together, went sailing and made some memories. I was intrigued by the comment about Kate's parents... wondering if that scenario will be working its way into an episode however, I would have to say I think that is probably something that needs to be worked out withOUT the cameras around. Just some good old fashion lovin' on one another and reconnecting a little bit!

I loved Ashley's summer games! So fun!

Then the MOVIE MAKERS episode was FLIPPING adorable!!!! I don't know about you but Cara as the Pegasus had me giggling. She was such a good sport and her part in the movie was just plain adorable. How she saved the orphan! I loved their movie. My kids giggled when Kate said, "That makes me cry" at the end... because that is SO ME! I have been crying for 2 weeks as my oldest son performs in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at a local theater! I get crying over how amazing your kids are!

What an awesome Monday evening... and the teaser commercial for next Monday, I am sure, has the HATERS foaming at the mouth. I'm not sure I would PURPOSELY put Kate in a bad light and make it look like Ashley was complaining about her, etc. But that is up to TLC and I don't doubt they have a plan for that episode. I have a feeling though that Ashley is crying about someone ELSE who came on that trip and not about Kate. Really, why would TLC shoot themselves in the foot and air something that would hurt Kate's brand?

Anyway, I truly enjoyed this evening with Kate! Thank you, Kate and kiddos!

Now, here are some of my

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10. *KATE*VERSATIONS is COMING TONIGHT!

Tonight I will be doing another "blogisode" of  *KATE*VERSATIONS!

Very excited to see the new episode of Kate + 8!

Come check it out after the show!


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11. I'm proposing....

Yes, you know I am married. But that leaves you wondering who I am proposing to and why would a married woman blast her extra-marital business across the internet for everyone to judge...

I am writing a PROPOSAL...
for a BOOK...
MY book for teen girls.

Ladies, is there not enough gossip in the tabloids to hold your attention? You needed to come here to try and find some? You know you don't get gossip here. Just good ole' fun about being a mom and my tricks of the trade when it comes to dealing with kids...and now TEENS... of my own and other people's teens.

"You are AMAZING! I just wanted you to know I couldn't have gotten through this year without you!"
After I got this message I realized how this incredible ride I am on is just the beginning - Ladies and Gentlemen, we are just about to pull out of the gate...HOLD ON, it's going to be a crazy ride!

This morning my PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE devotional said that people who look into their own future and envision their lives "down the road" actually have more success than people who just plod along day by day.

Well, would ya look at that, all the people who think I am an incurable DREAMER are right...and I don't have to feel like I am getting tsk-tsk'ed by the teacher when they say it. Now, the next time someone says, "She's got her head in the clouds again..." I can say, "YOU BET I DO!! Grab your tickets now, you're gonna wanna see THIS!"

So, the theme of my morning devotional was PERFECT for the day I would rush out the door to my favorite and most productive writing spot - PANERA - as soon as my husband packed up the kids for the pool. I have been asked to plot my marketing plans for this book.

So, get comfy and insert the dreamy music here...

I see a shelf filled with a series of books and journals, activity books and picture books by Michelle Kemper Brownlow for teen girls that will raise their awareness of the world around them and give them the permission to OWN the space they take up. That space will be unique and beautiful like each of them and will have distinct boundaries that will celebrate the kind of woman they are "training" to become. Now, I know all these books would be spread all over the bookstore in their respective genre - but just humor me. Let's PRETEND I would have my own shelf. Isn't it pretty?

I see my iPhone (which I don't have yet) and make sure I synced it (which I don't know how to do) with my calendar so that the directions to the school I am speaking at later this week is included.

I see myself lurching back and forth as I tell just one of my many goofball stories that accompany every workshop I run. I have sat with young girls for over 9 years and made stories from my own life relevant to what we were talking about that day. Whether it was girl drama, boys and boundaries or parents, I have the story - ask them, they'll tell you!

I see flying (gasp, gasp, I don't like planes....breathe....if God wants me to I will....that's better) to events, book signings, TV appearances (OK - that felt weird to type), speaking engagements, schools to share something I have lived through and learned with girls who are struggling to stay afloat in this thing we throw at them called life. Sometimes it seems we parent from the lifeboat and just let them flail until they "kinda" get it!

The plans God has for this project are the ones I want to follow. I have followed His lead from the beginning. When I was struggling with what I was supposed to be doing with my life - go back to teaching high school, continue writing c

1 Comments on I'm proposing...., last added: 7/17/2011
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12. Moms, can't we just stick together?

The work I do with teen girls has me handing out advice all hours of the day. One thing I wasn't expecting when I started this ministry was all of the calls and emails and facebook messages I would get from MOMS! It has been amazing helping moms hash out their relationship issues and being the sounding board for those who want to make sure they are giving sound advice to their girls. I have even had moms ask if I could run workshops for moms in between the workshops I run for teen girls!

I love BOTH sides of this coin. Walking girls through the most difficult times in their lives while standing firm with moms and supporting them in the drama of raising a teen girl. Whether you have a responsible teen or one who stretches you to the limits there is drama. Sometimes that drama is friend-induced and sometimes it is brought on directly by your daughter. Either way, we are in this together! And I always make sure I am NOT taking the place of the moms, I am constantly giving girls advice on how to go to their moms with the things they come to me with. The relationship between mother and daughter is SO valuable as they navigate their way through their teen years.

But, in the conversations I have both with moms and girls, there is a common thread that causes many of the issues. And it has happened enough even in the last 2 weeks that warrants a blog post!

Some (and I stress SOME so that you don't get angry with me) moms are getting lazy. I feel like the more drama that comes into their lives, the more laxed they become in sticking to their guns. Sure, it is EXHAUSTING being a mom of a teen girl and many of you have more than one (God bless you)! But this is all the more reason to stick to the boundaries you have set. If you think they don't know how to play their cards and push you to your breaking point just to get you to say, "FINE! Just GO! Do it! I don't care! Just STOP bugging me!" then you have completely forgotten your own teen years!

Let me give you a scenario -

Tamara asks her mom if she can stay out past the Cinderella curfew on her licence (which is 11pm) b/c her friends, Callie and Tessa want to go out for ice cream after a movie. Callie and Tessa live on the other side of town and will be taking Tessa's car to the movies. This means Tamara and Tessa will have to break curfew if they are doing ice cream after. Tamara's mom says "no" because that is breaking the law. Tamara flips out and says it's not fair b/c Callie and Tessa are allowed.

Tamara's mom calls Tessa's mom to chat this out and finds out that Tessa's mom HAS given Tessa permission to be out later than curfew, "because I just feel bad, they really want to go out for ice cream after. You know, I don't wanna be the bad guy all the time."

Moms, can't we just stick together?! Come ON!

Why are we getting lazy? Young teens are going to R-rated movies, the songs on their iPods are atrocious, the language they use and lack of respect they have for adults is insulting to say the least, and what they post on facebook - ooohhhhh, don't EVEN get me started on that!!

Why do we all of a sudden, during the years that will shape the adult they will become, do we take a break? We didn't take a break when they wanted to dart out into traffic, why now, when they are testing the boundaries with sex, drugs and alcohol do we decide it is our job to make their lives comfortable?

I am pleadin

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13. Just the Way She Is Day... July 20, 2011 JOIN US!

 I am organizing a NATIONWIDE event! And if this is going to work, I need to rally the troops! The troops are YOU! My loyal readers, can you help me promote this very important event?!

 As a young woman you know the havoc the media can play on your self-esteem, this event is to spread the word that every girl is beautiful JUST THE WAY SHE IS!

Would you consider joining the event and registering a group? Would you SHARE this link on your wall? This is the future of our legacies that will be impacted! Thank you for considering this!



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14. NKOTBSB - I'm on the fence...


So this morning I am enjoying my coffee at the kitchen table with my back to the TV when I find myself grinning and be-bopping to a familiar tune...

"All you people can't you see, can't you see



How your love's affecting our reality


Every time we're down


You can make it right


And that makes you larger than life..."

I thought I was reliving my 8th grade homecoming dance. I was not planning on turning around and seeing the 40+ year old boy bands combined on a stage... I grabbed my sunglasses to sheild my eyes from the boy band bald spots!



Part of me giggles b/c I recognize these "boys" I used to have ridiculous crushes on, but the other part of me is cringing because they sound AWFUL and I feel so embarrassed for them.
I will say, their lyrics have one version - CLEAN! Unlike the Rhianna's S&M performance the Today Show had last week that left me gagging. To watch a 23 year old sing about whips and chains crosses the line for me... so, if it's bald spots and clean lyrics - then more power to them... maybe they could just add a little AutoTune.


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15. Help for Moms of Teens...

It has been a while since I posted here b/c I have been so busy running the program for teen girls  that has just taken off like wild fire...let me recap and let you know what has been going on...



When I first thought about writing a book for teen girls it came out of my frustration with what I was seeing on TV and hearing on the radio that was compromising the RESPECT our girls should have for themselves. How can a girl have respect for herself while she is singing, "C'mon rude boy, can you get it up...." Yep, that's our lovely Rhianna telling our girls to challenge boys in this way. So, I tried to come up with a way to describe how to HOLD onto our self-respect. One day I sat in Panera and wrote The Legend of the Butterfly Girlz.

A couple months later, I put out a status on my facebook calling for TEEN girls who would like to be my "go-to" girls while I write my book for TEEN GIRLS called, "My NET Worth: Every Girl's Guide to Catching Self-Respect & Keeping It." I wanted to have quotes, advice and anecdotes from REAL teens to make my book authentic and something a teen girl would hang onto like a security blanket. I saw this book as being a life-line. Out of that post came an amazing group of 31 teen girls who are now known as "The Butterfly Girlz."  These girls range in age from 12-18 and are from across the country. We have a PRIVATE facebook group where they are free to discuss teen issues. I post regular questions that help me to gather quotes and anecdotes for the book but at the same time their candid answers, humor and transparency is helping them forge friendships stronger than some forged within the same schools.

I saw the amazing strides these girls were taking and thought it was a crime to keep all of that good advice and support within the walls of the Butterfly Girlz group. So, I added a new PRIVATE group called "the gathering" which we opened just a couple weeks ago. We started with our 31 girls. Members of the group have the capacity to add friends and girls can request to join. We now have a working group of over 230 girls. The "Butterfly Girlz" have a large presence on this site and jump at the chance to support girls who post their heartache over a lost love, their shock at a pending divorce, etc. I am on "the gathering" for hours daily overseeing and offering advice. I have had girls say to me that they never imagined an adult would care enough to help them with their problems. That is so sad to me!

My teaching, workshops and book focus mainly on SELF-RESPECT and PERSONAL BOUNDARIES. I work with girls daily on "scripting" their responses to difficult situations. I have adapted a couple tips I have learned in the trenches of dealing with teens to suit the girls that meet me on facebook each and every day. This "scripting" exercise has been a BIG hit, girls are using it and being successful at setting boundaries that stick!

I have been running The Butterfly Girlz Blog which is a place that has newsworthy information on things that apply to teen girls. Every Friday I post a journaling exercise to get the girls who read the page a chance to hash out their thoughts on that subject for the day.

The Butterfly Girlz have also published their own mini-magazine/newsletter. Our first issue, the SUMMER issue came out at the beginning of May. Their writings, journal entries, pics, a write-in advice colum

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16. The Butterfly Girlz are ROCKIN' and ROLLIN'...

 I have been blogging over at The Butterfly Girlz and building up TEEN GIRLS with the self-respect that society doesn't teach them that they have.

Please click on the pic of my beautiful Advisory Team - the Butterfly Girlz Class of 2011 - to see more about this project.

And please pass the link along to anyone you know who would be interested in any of the following:

The STORY of how this all came to be....


the BOOK I am writing,
My "Net" Worth: Every Girl's Guide to Catching Self-Respect & Keeping It!...

how to submit a teen girl's writing to our BUTTERFLY LANDING mini-magazine...

or the WORKSHOPS I am offering...

This is the BIGGEST project I have ever worked on, I am literally working more hours a day some days then when I was a high school teacher - but the emails I get from girls who got a word of encouragement or inspiration from the advice I gave them makes it all worth it.

Please help me spread the word.
Thank you!
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17. The Butterfly Girlz are taking flight

 The project that I have been working on that has been keeping me away from blogging here is really taking flight and I am so excited to share it with you.

I am currently working on a book for teen girls called, MY "NET" WORTH: EVERY GIRL'S GUIDE TO CATCHING SELF-RESPECT & KEEPING IT!

I started this book while sitting in Panera trying to solve the world's problems. It was one of those weeks where every news channel was covering a different teen suicide or bullying event. I started to think  and worked from the suicide backwards to try to get to the root of the problem.

I landed on self-respect. No one with a developed sense of self-respect would treat someone that way. No one with a developed sense of self-respect would start a rumor or feed into gossip. No one with a developed sense of self-respect would pressure a girl for sex...and so on and so on.

I decided I would start with the girls (yes, that DOES mean I have an idea in my head how to do this for boys next). I sat and tried decide how to explain in my own quirky way, what self-respect looks like. What would be something that was beautiful but in today's world not all that easy to hang onto?

A butterfly.

Out of this conversation with myself was born The Legend of the Butterfly Girls.

This book is a culmination of 16+ years of mentoring teen girls paired with the input of TODAY'S teen girls in the form of an Advisory Team that I oversee in a closed Facebook Group called The Butterfly Girlz. The book is chockful of journaling exercises, creative activities that illustrate a point, conversation tactics for those who hate confrontation, etc.

I focus on FIVE main character traits that we work on developing - COURAGE, INTEGRITY, ASSERTIVENESS, CONFIDENCE and RESTRAINT. I believe that of all of the character traits, these five embody a perfect recipe for a healthy dose of life-long self-respect.

My advisory team came together very quickly after a post on my facebook calling for teen girls who would like to be part of a self-respect project. I now have 25 AMAZING young ladies from 11 - 17 years old from all over the country. They have the opportunity to answer questions and I have their permission to use some responses for the book. They also start their own conversations, support each other and enjoy getting to know each other better. It is amazing to watch.

We are starting our own MINI-Magazine called BUTTERFLY LANDING which we are just thrilled to do together! There is a teen residential care facililty in Missouri who has expressed an interest in having our new magazine available to their female residents.

I have had local groups ask if I would come speak to their teen girls and am planning my first large conference-style event open to the public.

Through our BUTTERFLY GIRLZ BLOG, we have attracted the attention of Dr. Michele Borba, parenting expert seen often on the Today Show and Dr. Phil. We have gotten comments from Annie Fox and Tricia Goyer, both authors who focus primarily on teens.

So, there are so many of you who I would like to thank for staying faithful readers and followers. If you are as excited about this as I am please feel free to pass this link along. Facebook it. Tweet it. Email it.

I just read a statistic that scared me to death - 25% of today's teenage girls are in immediate danger from self-mutilation, eating disorders, violence, depression or suicide.

Help me reach those teens.
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18. Praying Through Your Adoption Book Review


If you are thinking adoption might be the calling for your family, this book is for you. If you have struggled with the pain of infertility, this book is for you. If you have had just a fleeting thought of adopting and no issues with infertility, this book is for you.

Anyone will be blessed by the words Michele C. Scott gives in her book, Praying Through Your Adoption.

I have the privilege of knowing the author of this AMAZING book personally. She is a wonderfully, sweet woman with a gentle spirit who will inspire the masses with the truths of adoption you will find on these pages.

I saw Michele speak at a local church and her testimony brought me to tears. She was honest about the trials of adoption but also in how she continued to seek the Lord as they took this journey. Her story is beautiful.

I am an adoptive mom. I have felt the sheer joy of the blessing of adoption but also wallowed in the pain of post-adoption depression. This book was a precious gift to me even after the fact.

So, how do you get the book,
I have great news - there are a few ways to do just that.

  • You can go to Michele's website HERE and get it for yourself and anyone in your life who you know it would touch.

  • You can enter Michele's contest HERE where you can win a $50 Amazon.com gift card and then go spend it on a whole bunch of copies for you and your friends. This contest ends APRIL 1st!

  • You can also leave a comment here on this post about WHY you would like to have/give this book and I will randomly choose a comment to win the book for free.

Once your heart has been blessed by PRAYING THROUGH YOUR ADOPTION,  I would love to have you go to THIS LINK and leave a review on Amazon.com.

I was thrilled to review this book for Michele and am blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of her Virtual Book Tour.

She will also appear on the following blogs to finish out the tour:
Tuesday - Jill Savage - Keep Hearts at Home
Wednesday - Angela Miller - Beyond the Horizon

Want to see where her tour has been this month:
Karin Prunty - Our Treasures From Afar
Alissa Lynne Griffith - Women Living 4 Jesus
Sarah Thacker - Parenting and Adoption Coaching Services
Jolene Philo - Down the Gravel Road
Julie Chandler - Julie Chandler Author/Speaker

Leave your comments to win!
Pass the link along to your friends...


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19. Heaven has a new angel

R.I.P Danielle
You have forever changed the hearts of those who knew you. Your legacy remains. Thank you for who you were and for the lives you touch with your heart that was far beyond its 17 years. You will be terribly missed, beautiful girl.


Read Danielle's Story HERE
Look to the right sidebar to help offset medical costs for the DeLarso family ======>

You can send messages to the family on Danielle's Caringbridge site.

With Prayer,




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20. My manuscript is in a contest...

 “I am M. Yes, just “M,” you don’t need to know what it stands for. You will never have a reason to get that close to me. I’m one of those girls you probably wouldn’t trust to babysit your offspring. One of those girls who sometimes doesn’t trust herself.”



The chill from the tiles of the bathroom floor bleeds through my wet jeans as my hair drips into my journal. Standing fully clothed under a cold shower when you are pissed off is nothing less than stunning. It breaks the inherent rules of the shower. I don’t mind breaking rules. It’s what I do best.


I think I burst the blood vessels in my eyes just moments ago when I screamed at my stupid, useless therapist in my least favorite room at BCH; The Therapeutic Services Center. I had to get out of there. I couldn’t even breathe let alone verbally dive into the twisted and painful web of the last fifteen years of my life; with an audience, nonetheless. Group therapy is nothing more than spilling your barren heart to a bunch of people who will use your story to make their own sad lives look a little brighter. Well, my sad life could make the chick from ‘Mommy Dearest’ look like she deserves a Mother of the Year nomination. So, talking about it makes my tongue burn.


Here I sit, shivering, cold and tortured on a Monday afternoon. I sometimes don’t even know who I am.
 
*************************

This is the first 248 words of my YA edgy novel about a goth girl lost in her own mind. It's way more in your face than the picture book text I usually  write but I channelled a combination of students I have taught over the years and I am in love with this book. It is a tough story but one that needs to be told.

I entered this manuscript in a contest on Brenda Drake's contest.

Feel free to leave your comments.

Peace out, Mamas!

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21. The Butterfly Girlz website us up...

 ...and collecting girls for it's net!

CLICK IMAGE

Pass it on - this book can't happen without a following - moms, daughters, scout leaders, coaches, teachers - without YOU, there is no book.

Following from the beginning will ensure you don't miss a beat!

GO! GO! GO! GO!

Peace out, Mamas!

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22. Caviar and Armpits

Please donate to the DeLarson Family - story HERE - --------------->

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Well, this week was a grand week.... if chaos = grand!



I made a huge batch of Vegan Texas Caviar (recipe HERE) at the beginning of the week. Every time I had the munchies or skipped lunch I grabbed for the bowl of caviar and the bag of tortilla chips.

Then there was a day that Izaiah flipped out on everything and I mean everything. And the dog decided for the first time in her 6 years to start dumping and eating the trash every time I left the house.

The Butterfly Girlz are making their mark on our facebook page - I am astounded at the conversations and support they are offering up. These girls were divinely chosen and they are going to rock this world! I am humbled by them!

I had a great day of cleaning - my husband actually gave me the "to what do I owe this honor" face when he walked in from work. That face was followed with the "that's pretty sexy" grin! LOL
One day I crawled back into bed at 8:30am when the last of the three kids got on the bus and I slept for 3 more hours. It was heavenly.

This week was a silly mommy week - I felt like I goofed around with the kids more than usual and we all had a blast. There was hose play and sidewalk chalk in the driveway, tickle fests, jumping out and scaring each other and lots and lots of hugs.

My newest tattoo finally stopped itching so badly that I want to take my arm off.

I celebrated a life long friend's 41st birthday and found out a college friend's wife has stage 3 ovarian cancer.

I heard Michele C. Scott, author of Praying Through Your Adoption, speak and cried my eyes out when she talked about Post-Adoption depression and low self-esteem.

I wrote and organized the beginning of my book for teen girls and found out how passionate my husband is about this project. This could be a really good match - he and I and a book to inspire teens.

I watched way too much devastation in Japan.

And today we made an early morning a trip to Urgent Care to dig 1/2 a tick body out of Izaiah's armpit and send it off to be tested for Lyme's Disease.

My little buddy and I travelled all around after his "pit" felt a bit better (with the help of two....yep, two....donuts) to find a very special baptism gift for Matthew. Izaiah was a beautifully behaved little boy - at ALL 5 stops we needed to make. I was so proud of him!

As she headed upstairs to bed, Emily had memorized 106 decimal places of Pi. You know, we all know Pi is 3.14 but Emily now knows the next 104 numbers as well. She's got about 300 decimal places to go - we will see how far she gets by Monday. So proud! Gotta love a good gifted kid!

Matthew will give himself to the Lord this Sunday in a public testimony of his faith.

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23. The Legend of the BUTTERFLY GIRLS

PLEASE DONATE TO DANIELLE'S MIRACLE ------------>

~*~
In my newest project for teen girls I have started using the imagery of butterflies as an analogy of self-respect. I don't think we earn self-respect, I believe we are all born with it but we have to work to keep it. We have to nurture it for it to grow so deep it simply becomes a part of who we are. If we let it go we can get it back but not without hard work.
~*~
I developed this story as a means to explain this analogy and inspire girls to
HANG ON TO THOSE BUTTERFLIES!
Pass it on!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The Legend of the Butterfly Girls
In a remote rainforest in the far corner of Costa Rica lived two sisters. Emmalee and Miranda were twins and upon their birth, each had been given a net filled with butterflies. As they grew up their parents showed them the proper care for butterflies and impressed upon them that the nurture of these beautiful creatures was crucial to their own futures. The understanding was when Emmalee and Miranda turned ten they would become responsible for their own butterfly net.

Emmalee was honored, “Thank you, Father. I will do my best to ensure their safety and I will keep them by my side at all times. I will never turn my back on them for other things not worthy of my attention.”

Miranda was less than amused, “They are bugs. They mean nothing. Why would we sacrifice our own time nurturing these things that have no value? There are more interesting things that hold my attention.”

Emmalee began by naming her butterflies. She held each one carefully, studied it, decided how much it meant to her and chose a name perfect for just that one. She did this methodically until each one was named. As the swarm inside her net grew she was sure to continue connecting with each and every one.

Miranda took another approach and hung the net out of her site in a far dusty corner of her room. One by one the butterflies wiggled out through the holes in the net and fluttered away.

Emmalee worked tirelessly nurturing her swarm. She turned her back on some things that once took up her time. However, Miranda could not understand this and teased her sister relentlessly at times.

The difference in swarms became evident as the girls walked to school each morning. The large group of butterflies in Emmalee’s net created a lift when she needed it. Emmalee effortlessly hopped over mud puddles to keep her white school dress pristine. She was able to hop out of the way of poisonous snakes that were a part of the path. The butterflies would lift her a bit further than her hop could on its own when she came to a nasty brier patch.

Miranda’s butterflies were so small in number her net barely floated. Miranda’s walk to school became anxiety-ridden as she looked for slithering threats, sloshed through the mud and was scratched deeply by thorns along the same path that her sister walked unscathed.

Emmalee offered to teach Miranda the things she knew about holding onto her butterflies. In the days following, Miranda’s swarm would grow some but still very small in comparison to her sister’s billowy net. But it was enough to get by and Miranda was content with the small lift so she could get to school with only a little mud and a few scratches.

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24. Danielle DeLarso, you're my HERO!


I am thrilled to introduce you to my newest TEEN HERO! This beautiful 17 year old has made an impression on the lives of everyone she meets.

Not only a star athlete with dreams of joining the Air Force, Danielle is a caring and responsible daughter and sibling who LOVES her family, enjoys charity work and volunteering, youth group, traveling, sight seeing and history.







Why am I introducing you to Danielle? Why do I consider her a hero?

Danielle's story begins with having some shortness of breath at the end of May, beginning of June. She was diagnosed with pneumonia on June 15,2010, and scheduled for a follow up appt. for the following Monday June 21,2010.
At this appt. is where the concern started as the doctor felt the lung sounds hadn't changed and also having a lump on the right side of the back and sent us to the local hospital for STAT x-rays. Doctors could not tell from the xray if there was residual fluid from the pneumonia or if there was a mass. But blood work confirmed Danielle's family's worst fear... there was a mass.
CT scans also showed that Danielle's right lung was completely flattened to the front of her chest wall because her right pleural cavity (area between the lung and chest wall) was filled with fluid. That being so filled with fluid caused her left lung, her heart etc. to be pushed to the left side. And what caused her shortness of breath wasn't even the fact that she was working with one lung, it was the fact that the pressure was causing her left bronchial tube to be bent (the right one was flattened like her right lung).
The doctors where all amazed when they saw her lab work and CT scans that she was still so 'unaffected' so to speak. Her oxygen

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25. The "flight" of the butterfly...

I hate to fly.
I hate airplanes.
Those of you who have read my blog for the last few years, you know I took a 35 hour train ride instead of a flight to get to Chicago which would have taken 2 1/2 hours.

But the "flight" I am taking now, I have to say is the most enjoyable of my life.

My inspiration to write this book for teen girls on self-respect has been a ride I know is only beginning but I am anticipating it to be long and thoroughly enjoyable and inspirational.

Self-respect is something that teen girls need to harvest from within themselves. Some teach that you have to earn respect, well, I disagree. I believe we are all born with respect and we have to guard it.

My analogy to a butterfly has become bigger than I had originally assumed it would be. It has become more meaningful to the writing and structure of this book and a group of amazing young women have joined me for the ride.

The Butterfly Girlz is a group of 20+ girls ranging in age from 10-18 from all over the country who will be integral in making this book more authentic than I could. They will be contributing valuable insight that will be life-changing for the girls who will read and journal their way through the finished product.

My vision is to share my insights from this book, stories from the Butterfly Girlz, journalling exercises and above all EMPOWERMENT to girls all over the country. Music, art, writing...it's all a part of the plan.

My favorite part of this vision I have...

shaking the hands of the girls as they leave the room and wishing them well (while praying for each and every one of them).

And that's why I got this yesterday...



and I got it purposely on my right wrist so each girl will see my commitment to this message as we shake hands.

I was thrilled beyond explanation on Friday to receive tweets from Michele Borba, Ph.D., Tricia Goyer and Annie Fox, all commending me on my efforts in this project. Thank you ladies, your work in this field continues to inspire me!

Are you on board? Do you need helpful insight into the world of teen girls? Are you a teacher, a mom, a counsellor, a guardian, a ministry leader? Ask your questions here... obviously I don't know everything, but I will find you an answer, we will help these girls TOGETHER!

Oh, and that silly fear of flying...I am working on that, I won't let that stop me from empowering our girls!

Peace out, Mamas!


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