Here’s one case for NO separation of “Church & State”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16+00:00 March 14th, 2017|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, broadway, civil rights, Creative, creativity, death, donation, education, elections, family, grief, gun violence, hate crime, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, motivation, nyc, politics, prayer, relationships, religion, sadness, school|

I don’t talk much about politics in this space, although if you have been a reader of this blog, you can pretty much gauge what side of the dais I would sit on. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about politics….really, well, not really, but sort of, maybe a little bit. This post is going to be about theater, drama, comedy and friendship. I went to theater the other night with a group of friends, to see a play that was written and produced by friends, and it had equal parts comedy and drama. The play is called “Church & State”, and it’s in previews now at New World Stages. While I was watching the play, I was struck with imagery of a heated tennis match, because my emotions were being slammed across the net between laughter, anger, fear and sadness. In less than 90 minutes, I was moved to a point of paralysis. Yes, moved so emotionally, that I couldn’t move physically for a few minutes after it ended, because I was taking it all in and letting it wash over me. I was having varied experiences, mind you. I had just watched a play that someone I know wrote and someone I know produced, and it was good. I mean, not just like “Oh wasn’t that sweet” kinda good, I mean “Holy crap, that was impressive” kinda good. And, the content was just so relevant, and important, and crucial to the current state of affairs of our country and our communities, that I wanted to get up and holler that something needs to be done!!! So here is my holler, GO SEE THIS PLAY!

Powerful new play!

I can tell you that this play is about a lot of things including politics, but also faith, speaking your mind, marriage, community, and death. I can tell you that this play is already making an impact and it hasn’t even opened yet! Politicians and celebrities are not only coming to see it, but some will even be participating in panels throughout the run of the play to further conversation about the controversial subject matter. I guess I’m being a little vague on purpose here, because I want to protect the power of the play and if you go in knowing too much, it might color the way you receive it. Even thinking about the play now, I get choked up! Of course, you can click on the link above and learn a little more about it and what inspired it, or you can take a chance and see something that will undoubtedly leave you thinking, if not shaking just a little bit.

Off my soapbox!

Stay well.

 

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY or Tears for Jacob.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:21+00:00 October 4th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, death, family, friends, friendship, gratitude, grief, gun violence, inspiration, Life, loss, love, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, politics, prayer, sadness, school, teenager, teenagers, teens, victim|

This is not a political post about gun control or mental health treatment (lack thereof), this is not about our current election crisis, or the state of the union, this is a post about a little boy who dreamed of superheroes. This is a post about Jacob Hall.

Fly on Jacob....

Fly on Jacob….

This is about a smile that will now only live on in photos and the hearts of Jacob’s family and friends. This is about a life lost way too soon. 6-year-old Jacob was shot by a teenager last week in South Carolina, and succumbed to his wounds this weekend, you might have heard about the story. Jacob will be laid to rest today in the outfit of his favorite superhero, Batman. Even a replica of the Batmobile will accompany his procession.

Jacob’s parents, who are the WARRIOR’s we honor today, have encouraged mourners to show up in costumes, dressed as their favorite superheroes. Not only to honor Jacob, but in the hopes of not scaring the many children that will attend the funeral to bid  goodbye to the their lost friend.

This isn’t a post about propaganda and polling, this is a post about parents and children, about love and loss, and about making the most of the lives we are granted. I will keep my children close today with my invisible lasso and hope that my cape will keep them safe and all the while I will think of Jacob’s smile and his family’s tears and the unwitting WARRIORS they have become.

Stay well.

On the midnight train to NYC! (Woo, woo!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25+00:00 July 30th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, civil rights, Creative, creativity, elections, Equality, friends, friendship, gratitude, inspiration, Life, motivation, nyc, poetry, politics, sharing, stories, story, storytelling, strangers, travel, Uncategorized, voting|

There I was on Tuesday, dropping everything because a dear friend called to say she had secured me entry to that evenings proceedings of the Democratic National Convention. I try not to get too political in this space because we are all entitled to our own opinions, (except of course for those voting for the Cheetoh-man).

Chilly train station

Amtrak station welcome!

I’ve never been to Philly, and I had been warned by my friends already at the convention that it was insanely busy with people, protests, street closures, etc.. I have a friend that lives in Philly and he was patient enough to text-guide me through my visit. (Thanks RC!) I navigated the subway system with the confidence of a New Yorker and only had to ask a few people for directions along the way. That’s not where my anxiety was, my anxiety lay well ahead of me when it was time to turn back and head home. A midnight train from Philly to Penn Station. A <ahem> young lady traveling on her own. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and made my way to the convention, which was electrifying and inspiring! Yes,I got a picture of me with the unbelievable Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker! Yes, I got a picture of me with the Vice Presidential nominee and Senator from Virginia, Tim Kaine! Yes, I met Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy who was brave enough to lead the moving and powerful sit-in regarding gun control a couple months back. Yes, I was still going to end up in Penn Station in NYC at 2 o’clock in the morning.

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Fast forward and I get to hear the end of President Clinton’s speech (the first Clinton president) and I run out to make my train! I get to the station in plenty of time, but there’s still the issue of getting home from Penn Station. I figure I’ll find someone to talk to and see if they’re heading uptown and maybe we can share a cab. If that doesn’t work, thankfully I have a night owl friend who will gladly sit on the phone with me while I navigate my way home. (Thanks PR!) I board the train and I confirm for a gentleman that this is the train to NYC and I find a seat.  That same gentleman comes down the aisle and asks if the seat next to me is available, which it is, so he sits down. Then I oh so casually say “it would be great if you were heading uptown, because then we could go up together.” Not only does he say he is going uptown and that we can take the subway, but he even offers to get off the train and walk me home. Wow, this man was raised right!! I thank him and explain that once off the train I’m really only a block away so I’ll be fine, and I have my phone friend, of course. We introduce ourselves, he’s Paul and he was in Philadelphia because his son had just moved there and he was helping him with his apartment. We chatted a bit, Paul snoozed, I read my book. The trip to New York was pretty fast! We chatted some more and I learned that Paul came to New York years ago to pursue acting and through a series of fortunate events found himself a Librarian for the New York Public Library! That’s a big deal by the way. Paul also happens to be a writer and is clearly brilliant. I tell him that I write as well and we have a sort of meeting of creative minds, talking about the things we’ve done, the things we’d like to still do and in a way we push and inspire each other to keep going. Paul likes to quote famous creatives from Pablo Picasso to Georgia O’keefe. I smile and tell Paul that someday, people will be quoting him. Turns out I have the honor to be among the first to quote him, from a poem he sent me the morning after our journey. Paul wrote that “our chance meeting was a poem waiting to be written”, and I now hold that as a mantra for every chance meeting to come. Here’s the whole poem for you to enjoy!

 An Amtrak Ride To New York From Philadelphia 

at 12:A M On A Tuesday Morning

(To Julie @ Totem Tamers)

Chance meetings can reveal

the color of one’s eyes

if you take the time to look;

chance meetings can be a

conversation in which you

hear yourself in another person’s voice;

chance meetings can be pleasant

as homemade lemonade

on the front porch of a sunny day

Our chance meeting was a poem

waiting to be written, a time to

wrap ourselves in the shared

moments of what we already know –

how else can we change the world?

An Amtrak journey and a subway ride

uptown to 72nd street offered

the usual perspectives

on renown habits of the world;

nothing much has changed

It is better to practice caution

when a woman is coming home

in the peculiar darkness

of New York sorrows

aware and alone

Still, we made our way to wherever

We had to go, asking questions of ourselves

asking questions of tendered days –

one day, and if We meet again

We should compare answers

But, never accept things as they are

when We know how things should be –

How should We live within the days of our lives?

 

Stay well.

Just call me “blockhead”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:46+00:00 February 3rd, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, Creative, creativity, Design, inspiration, Life, mental health, politics, sharing, stories, story, storytelling, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|

There it is, mocking me once again, that blank page. I swear it’s even laughing at me, through text shorthand of course, you know, the “Lol’s” and the “LMFAO’s”. I can’t write! I’ve wanted to, I’ve even contemplated some topics, more than once, and when it comes down to it, I just can’t seem to frame enough to get it on the page. Oh, there’s been plenty to talk about for sure, from parenting frustrations, to societal wins, to politics….wait a minute, no politics. Please! Regardless, I’m never the one that people refer to as “quiet”, or “lacking opinion”, or “subtle” for that matter, I’ve always got something to say, except for those moments when I can’t seem to say a freaking thing! Then it hit me, that’s what I have to write about! I am struggling with writing. I remember when my therapist/guru/kirtan leader, who I refer to as “Chai-ma” (she makes amazing chai), suggested a book called The Artist’s Way. I dutifully went out and got the book, because Chai-ma has never steered me wrong (thank you again for “Outlander“). I still haven’t gotten through The Artist’s Way, but that has nothing to do with the book and more to do with me and my incredible gift of placing obstacles in front of my personal growth and progress, but I did manage to get through a very important part of the book! The part that suggests you write every day, no matter what, even if you have nothing to write about. It’s an important, although difficult exercise, because you have to flex the muscles even when they may not be working properly. I needed that reminder today. Therefore, you’ll have to forgive this Seinfeldian post (a post about nothing, get it?) while I work through my block and get back to the regularly scheduled program where I hope to enlighten, inspire, motivate, and who knows, maybe even surprise! I recommend getting The Artist’s Way, even if just to serve as a coaster for the time being, because at some point, you (me) may pick it up and actually take advantage of the suggestions within to help feed the creative soul that we all have to nurture. For now, the Totems are doing their part, and nudging me that I have to do mine.

Artists and Totems

I would certainly appreciate hearing from the lot of you creative types out there, and I know you’re out there! What tricks, tips, suggestions, might you impart to someone experiencing “blockhead” syndrome? TIA!

Stay well.

Thankfully my Totems help keep me calm (even if they don’t help keep me from judging myself), I’m sure they could help you, too! Get one today!

Paris in our hearts and on our minds.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:54+00:00 November 14th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brothers, death, family, gun violence, hate crime, Liberty, Life, loss, military, nyc, parenthood, parenting, politics, prayer, soccer, totems, travel, Uncategorized, victim|

We wake up to a new day, the sun shining in New York City, a chilly wind providing shivers and reminders that winter is around the corner. Those shivers hardly distinguishable from the ones I’ve experienced since last night while following the tragic, and horrific attacks that took place in Paris. I can only consume the news in small doses, and find that watching it is even too much, so I periodically check Facebook and Twitter for the latest little tidbits. It is just so overwhelming. Some people need to know every detail and not miss any news update, because that’s helpful to them, but not me. A friend’s status update on Facebook  helped me find the words I wanted to share this morning. She was contemplating having the conversations with her children about what was happening in Paris, understanding that her older child would be able to process more info than her younger child. This made me consider how I would talk to my children as well. I know there will be lots of counselors and authorities out there giving their tips and suggestions, and they will all surely be helpful in some way or another. Please know that I am not a psychologist, or a social worker, or some “lettered” authority, I am a parent, and that gives me a voice for my experiences, and gratitude for a forum to share them. This is not about advice, this is not about right or wrong, this is about one person’s process, mine. My youngest (9) is sitting in the other room now, blissfully unaware and playing some game on his computer. I will go to him and plainly give him the facts about what happened in Paris, because opening that communication is more important than protecting him from reality, no matter how horrible. “Honey, I want to tell you what happened in Paris yesterday because you will probably be hearing a lot about it over the next couple days.  There was an attack, and many people were injured and killed by some very angry and very bad people.” That’s how the conversation will start, and then I will take his lead while guiding him along the way. He may ask tons of questions, he may also choose to go right back to watching silly YouTube videos, and that’s perfectly ok. I am all about honesty and being very straightforward with my kids, because I have found that the imagination can color way more horrifying pictures than the truth can. That being said, my almost 16 year old will be able to handle a whole lot more information than my little one, and even my middle one, and he’ll discover it on his own on the internet. So with him, the conversation will surely be different and maybe even more philosophical, but again, he may not want to go into all the details, but I will reassure that I am here to talk if he needs to. The bottom line is giving your children permission to ask questions, and giving yourself permission to being ok with not having the answers. Also, not being afraid to be open with them, even if it is about your own fears. Because sure I’m scared, and that’s reasonable, but I have faith that the people we charge to protect and serve us will do everything they can to protect us, and that’s how I go about my days. That’s what I will share with my children as I pray for their innocence to last just a little bit longer, and as I pray for the people of Paris and the rest of the world while we mourn right along with them.

Praying for Peace in Paris

Praying for Peace in Paris

Stay well.

We See Bronze!

By | 2015-02-27T08:17:30+00:00 February 27th, 2015|animals, anxiety, Life, mind/body, Owls, parenting, politics, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|



The dress that broke the Internet, with the Totems that will keep you calm while you argue about what colors you see!

Totem Tamers are pocket-sized and easy to carry. Made in the USA, out of beautiful bronze, and designed for a tactile experience to help target your fidgets during moments of stress or anxiety. Get your Totem today at  www.totemtamers.com/store.

Stay well.

PS: I saw white and gold, well periwinkle and gold really, but that wasn’t an option!

Where y'at?

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:49+00:00 December 4th, 2014|Life, politics|

What it is! Well, what it is, is the chance to go back for a moment to a great time in my life when I lived in New Orleans, LA.. It was basically just for middle school and a bit of 9th grade, but I remember it with great fondness and even have Facebook friends from that time period. So when events happen in Louisiana, I pay attention. When Katrina hit, I was actually doing some volunteer work for The Red Cross in Manhattan. It was remarkable watching everyone coordinate and try to help find ways to let other people help. As I sat there fielding phone calls, or filing papers, I thought about the man who was my stepfather during the few years I lived in New Orleans and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was ok. He was thankfully, and we had a lovely sort of phone reunion and managed to touch base a couple more times before he passed away several years later. The news was sad to me and I realized that my connection to New Orleans will always be there.

Get out and vote!

Get out and vote!

When word came around that Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu, was being forced into a runoff for her seat, the tug at my heart was there again. My mom was moved to help as well, as she knew Mary Landrieu during our time in New Orleans. Senator Landrieu was extremely helpful when my mom created a battered women’s shelter, and now my mom could return the help! We were honored to attend a fundraiser this past week for the Senator, who is busy in the final days leading up to the runoff, getting her message out and reminding the state of Louisiana that she has been there for them all along and will continue to be a voice in the Senate for them. That meant of course, that Senator Landrieu couldn’t be at the fundraiser, but I think the person they sent in her stead to motivate us and speak on her behalf, was more than adequate.

No, she still didn't tell me anything "really" important. ;)

No, she still didn’t tell me anything “really” important. 😉

Senator Landrieu has served Louisiana in some capacity since the age of 23, from state representative to state treasurer, and in 1996, she became the first woman from Louisiana elected to a full term in the Senate. She has never been afraid to fight for the good of the state even when it’s not a popular or universal issue. Her runoff is this Saturday and she needs support from anyone and everyone to make sure voters get out and cast their ballots. She’s been the underdog before and has managed to win every time and she can do it again! I don’t love to be so political, and I often confess to not being politically savvy enough to even have an opinion, but this is for a woman who has given her everything to the state she loves, and for an adopted home state of mine! Who dat?!

If you want to help, even with $5, click here and get involved.

Stay well.

Anxiety and stress around the holidays is always tough to deal with, if you need a Totem to help you through, click on any of the Totem images and get one today!

Where y’at?

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:49+00:00 December 4th, 2014|Life, politics|

What it is! Well, what it is, is the chance to go back for a moment to a great time in my life when I lived in New Orleans, LA.. It was basically just for middle school and a bit of 9th grade, but I remember it with great fondness and even have Facebook friends from that time period. So when events happen in Louisiana, I pay attention. When Katrina hit, I was actually doing some volunteer work for The Red Cross in Manhattan. It was remarkable watching everyone coordinate and try to help find ways to let other people help. As I sat there fielding phone calls, or filing papers, I thought about the man who was my stepfather during the few years I lived in New Orleans and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was ok. He was thankfully, and we had a lovely sort of phone reunion and managed to touch base a couple more times before he passed away several years later. The news was sad to me and I realized that my connection to New Orleans will always be there.

Get out and vote!

Get out and vote!

When word came around that Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu, was being forced into a runoff for her seat, the tug at my heart was there again. My mom was moved to help as well, as she knew Mary Landrieu during our time in New Orleans. Senator Landrieu was extremely helpful when my mom created a battered women’s shelter, and now my mom could return the help! We were honored to attend a fundraiser this past week for the Senator, who is busy in the final days leading up to the runoff, getting her message out and reminding the state of Louisiana that she has been there for them all along and will continue to be a voice in the Senate for them. That meant of course, that Senator Landrieu couldn’t be at the fundraiser, but I think the person they sent in her stead to motivate us and speak on her behalf, was more than adequate.

No, she still didn't tell me anything "really" important. ;)

No, she still didn’t tell me anything “really” important. 😉

Senator Landrieu has served Louisiana in some capacity since the age of 23, from state representative to state treasurer, and in 1996, she became the first woman from Louisiana elected to a full term in the Senate. She has never been afraid to fight for the good of the state even when it’s not a popular or universal issue. Her runoff is this Saturday and she needs support from anyone and everyone to make sure voters get out and cast their ballots. She’s been the underdog before and has managed to win every time and she can do it again! I don’t love to be so political, and I often confess to not being politically savvy enough to even have an opinion, but this is for a woman who has given her everything to the state she loves, and for an adopted home state of mine! Who dat?!

If you want to help, even with $5, click here and get involved.

Stay well.

Anxiety and stress around the holidays is always tough to deal with, if you need a Totem to help you through, click on any of the Totem images and get one today!

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:52+00:00 November 5th, 2014|elections, politics, voting, women|

I have a very clear memory from my school days as a young girl. The teacher had asked us all to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. I looked around the room at the kids who were so sure that doctor, firefighter, super secret spy agent, and chef, were hats to be worn in their futures. I stared at my blank 8 1/2 by 11 page and heard the answer in my head, but how could I put that down on paper? Well, if you know me, you know I didn’t hesitate for too long, I quickly turned my sheet of paper horizontally and wrote down five words in big print. Then it was time to share our dreams with the class and we went around the room. There were lots of doctors, veterinarians, basketball players and gymnasts. Then there was me, this girl with a sign that simply said “President of the United States.” Sure there were snickers and giggles and finger pointing and more, but at that moment it didn’t matter, because I dared to dream big, and bigger than anyone else in the room, and that’s what counted for me. Yesterday, many women, who were once little girls just like me, dared to dream big. Midterm elections were partly a disappointment for the party I belong to, but as far as that little girl from years ago goes, it was huge progress! There were plenty of wins, and I couldn’t be more proud of the campaigns that were hard fought, but I am most proud of the WARRIORS I have met along the way who are helping more little girl dreams become a reality.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts!

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts!

From Wisconsin...Mary Burke!

From Wisconsin…Mary Burke!

Senator Wendy Davis with my MOM!!

Senator Wendy Davis with my MOM!!

Secretary Clinton and possibly, hopefully, our next President of the United States, and likely the closest I'll come to that role!

Secretary Clinton and possibly, hopefully, our next President of the United States, and likely the closest I’ll come to that role! Oh yeah, that’s me!

There are so many more WARRIORS, and I wish I could show them all, but Totem Tamers honors them on this, the next day and next crossroad, where we make the choice to dare to dream big, or go home. I can promise you, we will not be going home, anytime soon.

Senator Wendy Davis said in her concession speech yesterday, “Being disappointed is ok, but being discouraged is not!” We are not discouraged, we are empowered and inspired by all of these WARRIORS and we look to the next generation of dreamers and believers to continue the charge.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers is a great tool to help you if you get overwhelmed or anxious, make sure you have one on the road to your dreams! Click on any of the Totems on the page and get one today.