Voting for Love



I love so much, so many things about this country. (Cue Lee Greenwood:)).

I looked out the window while at work today.  Bees and butterflies – they were everywhere – pollinating the flowers and vegetables in my garden.  I love having fresh vegetables and fruit and am so grateful we have them.  I know bees are starting to be around less and less and I would really like to see them stay, so I am voting pro-vegetables-being-around-for-my-grandkids this election.

I love my children.  Being the sisters that they are, they disagree at times (okay, a lot).  They argue, they slam doors, they work it out.  But they don’t make fun of each other and they don’t name-call.  They know once names are thrown, the line has been crossed, and it’s bad for everyone.  In turn, they don’t bully or meanly tease friends.  They’ve learned this because this is what Joe and I and other adults they look up to have taught them, and more importantly, shown them.  So this election season, I am voting for kindness.

I love diversity.  I love others and I love learning about people who are different from me.  We are lucky to live in a melting pot of ethnicities, faiths, and skin colors.  This country was founded so that people from all walks of life could come here in the pursuit of liberty.  The idea that someone cannot come to this country because of their beliefs is called discrimination – not something I love.  So this election, I am voting pro-diversity and inclusion.

I love the feeling of being safe.  I love the idea that my children and family are safe.  I will forever be grateful to the men and women who have died to make this country safe.  I want this feeling for everyone.  I have some friends right now who are not feeling safe because of their faith, because of the idea they one day may have to register their name in this country because of it.  I remember hearing about that once before.  It was in 1939 in Nazi Germany.  And again in 1941 in France.  Those people did not feel safe and for good reason.  So this election cycle, I am voting for safety for all Americans.

I love the rights women have in this country.  I am grateful that I can do all of the things my male counterparts can do.  Currently, I am especially grateful that I can vote, something I couldn’t have done less than one hundred years ago.  I love that my daughters have strong, capable women to look up to and a father who is teaching them skills that used to be reserved just for men.   I love that in this country, they are in control of the choices regarding their bodies, without someone punishing them for it.  So this fall, I am voting for womens’ rights.

I love Jesus.  I love the way he treated everyone around him, including prostitutes, lepers, the poor, and sinners.  He invited them in, dined with them, loved them.  And even though I will never be on the same level as him, I want to live a life as much like him as I can.  A life of empathy, a life of inclusion, and a life of love.  A life of not turning people away because of pre-conceived ideas about who they are.  And I want my children to do the same.  So this fall, I am voting pro-Jesus.

I love working together.  I think it is absolutely amazing when two people who disagree can sit down with each other and listen – really listen – to the others’ opinions and feelings and facts, and come to an understanding.  It gives me goosebumps when leaders from all over the world can work together to make the planet a better place for all of us.  So this fall, I am voting for the leader who will communicate with others.

Most of all, I am voting for hope.  I will not let fear win my vote.  I will let all of that love I shouted all over the page above fill my heart – and throw it all over the place on election day.

I hope you do the same.

Nervous Breakdown


So running a business isn’t easy.

In fact, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I mean, second to raising kids.  But now that my littles aren’t so little anymore and can do some things around the house for themselves, like make themselves lunch (consisting of fruit snacks and butter knives dipped in Nutella), running a business is close to the top.

It is the hardest I’ve ever worked.

When you are working a corporate job, and it’s your dream to turn your hobby or side hustle into your full-time gig, you (meaning me) don’t think about the late nights, the phone buzzing in the middle of the night, the messages of packages getting lost in the mail.

And you definitely don’t think about the nights when everyone in your family is asleep, (because it’s 2:30 in the morning and everyone should damn well be asleep), but you’re still in your shop working, getting the orders made that need to ship the next day.

No, you’re thinking about the flexibility of your schedule, the potential to get more than a one percent raise each year, the time you get to decide how to spend.

And it’s true, there is that.

But there are the 2:30 in the morning’s that you are still at work and even doing that, you don’t know if you are going to catch up, going to get done what you need to get done.

I had this night four days ago.

Working in my shop, stressed out, hating the work that I loved because it was overtaking everything else.  I had one huge custom order that needed to ship – the customer kept asking when it would ship without much elaboration – which I read as “I need this order as soon as you can possibly make it.”  And this customer, she’s an important customer.  She spends a lot of money with me and I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything to ruin this relationship.  But I didn’t see a way out – I was the one responsible for this order, and there just weren’t enough hours in the day to get it done in time.

I had arms folded on my workbench with my forehead resting on them.  At 2:30 in the morning.

So, I did what I thought would be disastrous, but I did it anyway.

I wrote the customer an email.

A totally vulnerable, put-it-all-out-on -the-table email.

I told her, I am so sorry, but I cannot ship your order in time.  In fact, it may not ship until next week.  You see, I have lost all balance in my life.  Work is outweighing everything else by about ten to one and your order hit me at a point where I pretty much have nothing left.  I am so sorry.  I hope you understand.

Then I pressed “Send”.

I went to bed, prepared for the reply message that would be waiting for me in my inbox.

Except no reply was there when I woke up.

Which of course gave way to worry and anxiety.

She’s had it, this customer. She’s finding someone else to source from.

I did my best to let it go and enjoy the day with my girls, even though I pretty much laid on the couch because that was all I could muster that day.

Then my phone ding’d.

It was her.

My heart began to race a little, prepared for the bad news.

I wasn’t prepared for what I read, though, when I opened the message:

“SEJA! YESSSSS! Of course love! I totally GET IT! Summer is CRAZY!!! my 3 kids are home and I babysit 3 other FULL TIME! I think i have told you but I have a small in-home daycare!”

That was her message.  She went on to say that she is so crazy, working and balancing her love of jewelry, trying to turn it into her full-time gig, but running an in-home daycare until she can make jewelry full-time.

A message so full of grace and love and understanding was what greeted me, instead of everything my crazy imagination dreamt up.

I had so many emotions after reading this message.

It renewed my spirit of being a business owner, who bootstrapped it from the ground-up.  And the love I had for this woman, who was still in the midst of her own boot-strapping, multiplied by about a thousand.

It renewed my love for my work, creating this business that works alongside others who are also building their dreams and trying to live a life while they do it.

And lastly, I felt ridiculous that I was such a stressed-out mess about something I had created entirely in my mind.  If I was just open with this customer from the start, showing that I am human, that I can’t do it all, and set some limits at the same time, I would have prevented this whole mess to begin with.

So, here I am, embracing myself while typing with a (big) glass of wine, letting my vulnerable self be out in the open.  And now I know better.  And when you know better, you do better, which can maybe lead to your best.

And from now on, my best leaves the shop by 5pm.



A Reason Why

The coops were dry, and the girls have learned that the waterers don’t fill themselves.

The rain beginning to fall, the work continuing until it’s finished.

Filling the five gallon bucket so the chickens have plenty of water for some time, it can be a challenge for an 11-year-old body to carry it back to the coop.


As she makes her way back to the thirsty hens (plus one rooster), I offer to help.

“I’ve got it, Mom.”

As the fence approaches and the challenge of lifting the heavy container becomes present, she knows it will not be easy.  But how to do it?  I see her, looking at the hens, then looking at the water container.  And then again once more.  I watch from behind the sliding glass door, hindering my reaction to open and offer to help once more.

Then I see her.  Watch her figure it out.  She may not be able to lift the water over the fence, but she can push the fence down.


And the once, “It’s too heavy”, is now the, “I’ve got this, Mom.”  And the water is where it needs to be.  And the chickens come to drink.


It is nice to have the eggs, and in the future, the meat.  But the benefits of keeping chickens right now are far outweighing what they provide nutritionally.

Not only is she getting stronger, but we hear less of, “I can’t”.

Less of, “I’m not strong enough.”

Less of, “I don’t know how.”

More of figuring it out.

More of, “I’ve got it, Mom.”

It’s one of the reasons we moved out here – to raise our girls in a world of learning – so that they would know how to take care of themselves, how to take care of others, to have the confidence that they can.

The girls didn’t always take responsibility for these chores, but they’ve grown, and can help more on our land now.  And more importantly, they know they are capable of more than before.

And I rest well, knowing that when they come to a problem, a situation that maybe they had unsure footing, they will have the confidence to face it, to figure it out, and know that they’ve got it.





Write Off Wrinkles

Received this in my inbox recently:

Late night of work?  Don’t worry.  Write Off Wrinkles with (insert product).  Divine serum boasts the highest concentration of Immortelle and Myrtle essential oils for visibly younger-looking skin – a necessary step to your anti-aging routine.

Serums and creams and lotions with mysteriously-named ingredients that give us the illusion it is worth the price tag.

And the illusion we need it.

My forty-year-old skin, its lines with traces of the life I’ve led.

It shows the remnants of my smiles, the moments of joy.

Laughter with friends.   Laughter with my husband.

It shows the fine lines on my forehead.  The moments of worry.

I see the lines in the mirror.  I don’t remember what I was worried about.  But because I can’t remember, I know it turned out okay.  And I survived.  And I’m stronger.

The small patch of brown near my hairline and freckles on my forehead.  Days spent in the sun, playing, working.  Days spent breathing the fresh air, sweating, running, gardening, using this God-given body.

I see the women who inspire me.  The women who radiate beauty, regardless of age, because they love life.   They love who they are.  They love themselves.  The woman at the farmers’ market, bringing her gorgeous flowers for the rest of town to enjoy.*

Her beauty glows from within, the time spent in the garden producing something she loves.  Something that makes the world more beautiful.

My mother.  In her gorgeous, I-don’t-have -time-or-care-for-your-products, aura.


She doesn’t need your anti-aging creams, your wrinkle-reducers, your Immortelle essential oil.

Her beauty comes from within.  As does mine.  As does yours.

Or Manda Beslac, who was probably too concerned with escaping Nazi Europe to think about her skin care regimen.


Or my grandmother, Madeline, who was busy making a life on a farm, raising a daughter, keeping property.  Do you think she gave two seconds to think about wrinkle cream?  Nope.



The experiences.

The memories.

The life lived.

I don’t look like I’m 19 anymore.

But I am not her anymore.

I am stronger, I am wiser, I have grown into myself.  And everyday, when I look in the mirror, I want to see her.

I want to see you, too.  I want to see the life on your face, the joy you’ve experienced, the heartache, too.

So let’s not erase it.

Let’s not buy the cream, the lotion, the story they are telling us that we need it.

Let’s shout it at the advertisements, at the billboards, in the make-up aisle at Target.  (Okay, we don’t people to think we are crazy…maybe whisper it to ourselves at Target.)


We are gorgeous.  Our lines, our spots, our memories, they make us who we are and remind us of who we were.

And we are too busy living our lives to worry about removing it from our face.

*Thank you to my mom for raising me to believe I was beautiful just as I was.

*And a HUGE thank you to Linda Chapman, who inspires me to follow what I love and to live a life in the sun.  Please stop by Harvest Moon flowers and pick up one of her gorgeous bouquets at a farmers’ market near you.







It’s All An Illusion




I’m so over it.


That is all they are, really.

They are just words.  Not who we are.

When it comes down to it, we are just a bunch of elements swirling around together to form these vessels our souls occupy.

Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen.

We hear the words, read the words in the media.

I want to shout it from the rooftops!


An illusion of words used to put people into groups other than the elements they are, the energy they are.

These words that are used to separate.

To create sides.

To divide us.

The shooter had ISIS tendencies.

The victims were gay.

Words to fuel the fire of how we are different instead of similar.

What if the media reported it differently?

What if instead they said, “A person came in a bar and killed fifty people.”

If we couldn’t put the blame on someone’s color, on someone’s religious beliefs, on someone’s sexual preference?   If we couldn’t put the blame for fifty people dying on how we are different, how could we explain it?


What do you see in someone you don’t know?  Do you see the similarities or the differences?

Do you see them through the eyes of someone who loves them?

Would you feel the difference?

We can choose to separate ourselves.

We can believe the illusion.

Or we can believe what is real.

We are all the same.

We are all one.


For The Women Who Did Not Have Breakfast In Bed Today

tumblr_ntnxuyo7x11rlmj2eo1_1280-2It’s never been said it was easy.

This beautifully hard work of being a mother.

This one day a year when partners and children say thank you, we love you – the day being shown how much you are appreciated.

Unless it’s not.

It’s never been said it was easy.

And today could be the day, when you see mothers being celebrated by their loved ones on social media, that may want to make you throw in the towel.

So, my dear loving mothers who are fixing their own breakfast and coffee today, this is for you.

For the first time mother whose tiny nugget of an infant can’t say Happy Mother’s Day and I love you and thank you for nourishing me.

For the single mothers.

For the mothers whose partners forgot what day it is.

For the mothers whose children forgot what day it is.

For the mothers who no longer have children at home.

For the mothers whose child is no longer on this Earth.

For the mothers who open their hearts and homes to a newborn, until she finds her forever home.

For the mothers who may not feel as loved today as they should…

please know…

You are not alone.

You are amazing.

You are needed.

And you are loved.



Bars and Numbers


FullSizeRenderShe pulls her folder out of her backpack, and then the white envelope, placing it on the kitchen counter.

I see the look in her eyes.

Nervousness.  Anticipation.

I look at her, a reassuring smile.

We see the black bars of progress, showing where she is, where she should be, what should be accomplished at this point in the year.

“…using coordinating and subordinating conjunctions in a sentence…”

“…multiply side lengths to find areas of rectangles…”

“…can recognize and generate equivalent fractions…”

We look together.  Some above, some where they should be, some with potential. Her mixed look of happiness and disappointment.

“But I’ve worked so hard.”

You have.  I know you have.  And the woman who supports you everyday at the front of the class knows you have.  And there is so much pride in both of us.

But these white pieces of paper, with their lines and bar graphs and numbers with decimals, they left off some things about you.

Some really important things.

This part about percentages?  It doesn’t show that you have three jars on your dresser – one for spending, one for saving and one for giving, and you know how much of your money to put in each.  (And that you know how to calculate how much the sales tax will be on the new shoes you want to buy out of your ‘spend’ jar.)

This part about connections of ideas in a story?  It doesn’t show the books you have written in your room, the characters you’ve dreamt up, the laughter we’ve had in the family room when you read them to us.

I don’t see anything on here about caring for another living thing – knowing when it needs food and water and love.  Being able to sense that something is wrong and she needs care when another may not be able to tell.

There is also no grade for seeing that your Dad needs help, putting your sweater and boots on, going outside to see what you can do.

I can’t see a section on being able to hike out in the woods alone with your pack and your dog, to travel to a part of our woods you haven’t been before, and being able to find your way home.

I look at her.  Her eyes looking up at mine.

Your Dad is starting a fire in the pit out back.   Let’s go.

The flame is high.  The white papers go in and are slow to start.  They begin to burn in an arched line, then curl up until they are ash.

These bars and numbers and scores don’t define you.  They never will.

What’s in here, my hand by her heart.  And in here, my hand on her hair.  These papers can’t begin to encompass what’s inside.

These categories hold you as much as the earth holds the ashes of the remains – there for a minute and then gone.

So we move on.  We continue to work hard, do our best, and remember that we are capable of anything.

And not to let the bars and numbers make us believe differently.