You Can’t Plan

Read Time: 4 min.

Life is funny, isn’t it? From the beginning of my freshman year of high school, my goal was to be in the select Jazz Choir for my junior and senior year. It was going to happen. It didn’t matter that only 16 voices got selected. It didn’t matter that I needed to fit it into my schedule. I just KNEW. And when the roster was posted at the end of my sophomore year and my name was under the altos, my ...

Why I Spent Four Years Pursuing a “Useless” Degree

Read Time: 4 min.

Every once in a while it is nice when things don’t go according to plan. For me, those were my four years as an undergrad at the University of Illinois. I had entered college with the intention of pursuing a degree in International Studies. My concentration was in “Middle East Politics & Policy.” The plan was to go on to pursue a career in diplomacy, move to Washington D. C. and intern with th...


Read Time: 3 min.

Self-control is one of those things we all wish we had more of. For a lot of us it’s food (pepperoni pizza, mmmmm); for others, video games, or texting, or constantly refreshing Twitter. For some of us, it gets to the point where there’s an actual addiction involved, and then our problems get even harder to deal with. But self-control goes beyond just dealing with temptations to pleasure. Ever try...

Discipline is the Path to Discipline

Read Time: 3 min.

For many people, the word “discipline” is a negative. A disciplined person is not spontaneous or fun-loving. It seems like being disciplined means giving up freedom and joy. The truth is the opposite. Discipline is the path to freedom and joy. I play piano, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. I love playing in bands. But learning to play a music instrument requires… you guessed it,...

Self-Control and Social Media

Read Time: 3 min.

There’s a word that has always been the difference between the successful and the hopeful: “how.” I know WHAT to do to achieve my goals, but I don’t necessarily know HOW to do it. Finding that “how” requires discipline… So HOW do you create that? There’s a lot involved in exploring this question. I’d like to start with the world of social media as an examp...

Call Me Old-Fashioned

Read Time: 3 min.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think technology is a little overrated. Yes, we can have pretty much anything we want delivered to us without even putting on pants. Yes, we don’t have to go through the hassle of making real friends when we can easily connect with people online. Yes, we don’t even need to know where we’re going before we get in the car. But just because we have unlimited power at our ...

Immigration and Identity

Read Time: 3 min.

Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from? These are all questions of identity. How you answer these questions is the bedrock for how you see yourself, how you make decisions, and ultimately how you interact with the world. I’m a daughter. I’m a mother. I work in a non-profit. I’m from a rural community. I’m American. In my circles, in my community, those are acceptable answers to the questi...

Anxiety and the Margins in my Life

Read Time: 4 min.

It was a simple enough mistake—a small wrong curve that took me over the bridge into Manhattan instead of to my parking spot in Long Island City. But as soon as it happened, I began to lose my mind. By the time I landed on the other side of the Queensborough Bridge on E 60th Street, I was consumed with an overwhelming anxiety that took my breath away, forced me into shakes and tears, and left me f...

Anxiety and the Little Things

Read Time: 6 min.

Adulting is hard. There are the occasional perks—like having pie for breakfast. Recently, when our kids have asked, “how come YOU get to…and I don’t?” we’ve been using the response, “because we pay taxes.” It seems to work well. It doesn’t, however, touch the surface of explaining the level of stress and anxiety that adulting requires…sometimes pie for breakfast is the only way to get through the ...

How Gratitude (Among Other Things) Can Combat Fear

Read Time: 5 min.

What are you afraid of? The concept of “fear” will impart many different meanings for different people. Perhaps clowns, if you’re a child of the 80s. Or maybe heights for others. Possibly something more existential like dying, or what comes after – “the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns,” as Hamlet put it. However, as I’ve ruminated on the idea of fear lately, I’ve f...


Read Time: 4 min.

The horror writer H. P. Lovecraft says that “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” While I’d disagree that fear is the strongest emotion, it’s surely one of the strongest. What else can get your heart racing (and your feet pounding!) the way fear does? …Which is why we’re all interested in getting rid of our fearful ...

Stereotypes & Perspective-Taking

Read Time: 3 min.

When people look at me, they generally don’t wonder if I’m a criminal. I’ve never had a security guard follow me around a store afraid I might steal something. I’ve never had a police officer mistake my cell phone for a gun. If I were on trial for a crime, I would be less likely to be convicted and, if I were convicted, I would probably get a lighter sentence. As a white woman from the suburbs, I’...

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