All strength is not loud (or wearing red)

The news isn’t officially banned in our household, but it might as well be. There are very few sources that offer bipartisan information, so I choose to leave it turned off.

I only visit my Twitter account these days to share something impactful I’ve heard or read lately (via a book, song lyrics or on a podcast) to give the author / artist a shout out that the art they have painstakingly put out into the world has found its way to a soul that appreciates the work.

The moments that my resolve cracks momentarily and I find myself scrolling through the 160 character spew fests, I immediately feel my heart beat faster and I know my blood pressure is rising. I can tell, because of my physical reaction, but yet I hold my phone, and continue to scroll, with my left hand thumb flicking upwards.

Attacking. Spewing. Anger flying. Hurting feelings. Speaking too quickly. 

No fact checking. No regard for the other’s opinions.

Maybe they aren’t opinions at all, but simply words they heard someone else say?

Name calling. Hashtagging.

Judging because they marched. Judging because they didn’t march.

Changing their minds. Wavering between stated positions. Retreating, then lashing.

How dare you? Who are you? Why are you even here? Did you even vote? 

Go back where you came from. You don’t deserve a passport. You disgust me.

Keyboard warriors. Laptop Activists. Movement obsessed.

I’ve removed the Facebook app from my phone, and have long utilized the Newsfeed Eradicator Chrome Extension (which literally means I cannot see my news feed when I log onto Facebook from my laptop). I didn’t want to unfriend those who view life differently than me, but I needed to slow down the speed at which their opinions entered my psyche.

When someone near me is talking about politics, I set my jaw hard on the left side. I tap my tongue against the inside of my mouth … on the smooth part of my teeth and listen. I listen to whether they have something new for me to learn. I want to use every opportunity to add value to the time we are given together. It isn’t easy. My blood sometimes boils and my the hair on the back of my neck stands up often … but we must first listen.

Our staunch beliefs are rooted in so many things. Our opinions are the culmination of how you were raised and how you were not raised. Whether you spoke openly at the dinner table about the White House or barely knew what a voting precinct meant. What we think about the climate of our world is colored by where we’ve lived and how you view government’s control over a place. It is determined by whether you were bullied or supported, loved or abandoned. We even allow our experiences with religion, cultural events and education eek into the way we feel about those running our countries.

I have maintained a “head down” and “stay in my lane” mantra since well before the election. I grew increasingly saddened by the campaigns from both parties as we went into the election — and that feeling hasn’t changed since. Not because he won and she lost, but because the behavior I am witnessing amongst my fellow human race is defeating and disheartening.

It’s a weird place to be, this in the middle lane that I find myself in. It’s a location I sit squarely in on matters of race, and on matters of feminism and religion as well. I bite my tongue more than I speak, which is slightly ironic because otherwise, my mouth rants and rages on most topics.

What happens when the silent majority of those in the middle isn’t loud enough? I recently watched the remake of Beaches with our 10 year old daughter and one of the recurring themes, said by CC to Hillary, is:

Not all strength is loud.


I have given myself permission to live in a “not all strength is loud” way of being.

By checking out of social media, you are not irresponsible

By refusing to watch the news, you are not ignorant

By choosing to get a pedicure and watch The Voice recordings in the afternoons, you are not anti-feminist

By marching or by NOT marching, you are likely still not doing enough

By reading personal or business development books instead of the latest op-ed or Medium article on the most recent EO, you are not turning a blind eye

By asking someone a question on why they believe the way they do, you are dropping a small ripple of goodness on its way towards change

By listening to that person while they answer your question, you are furthering the cause of progression

By insisting that kindness and hopefulness still reign supreme, you are not being ridiculous

By reminding each other that we can impact our local climate, we are supporting each other in healthy ways.


I wrote all of those words a few weeks ago, but was reminded today, on International Women’s Day, as I’m being asked from my friends – the world over – if I’m participating in the #ADayWithoutAWoman movement, that I never hit submit.

I could easily get blasted for speaking “from a place of privilege”.  I’ll be honest that the fear of speaking my mind (on topics of racism, feminism, equality, etc.) and then being subjected to that “place of privilege” being thrown in my face has kept me from saying much on the topics until now. I’ve never been one to shy away from sharing my opinion and my truth, so I’m not sure why I’ve let it hush me for so long. I do speak from a place of privilege – I will say that out loud, and acknowledge it. Whether it’s white privilege (even though I’m biracial), socio-economic privilege, religious, sexual preference, citizenship, you name it — I have it.  I have cringed when reading one article (from a “privileged” author) be lambasted and challenged by someone without the same privilege in a “how dare you” tone of voice. I have winced when listening to someone who feels oppressed share their stories, and have felt sad, helpless and hurt for them, only to then hear that someone (“privileged”) supported their plight, but was shunned for pretending to know what it felt like.

We cannot continue to — in a sweeping manner — call people out on their privilege as IF it automatically negates their activism, waters down their voice, their power or their truth.

 
Whether you are oppressed or have every privilege afforded to you, no matter who you voted for, why you voted for them, or what you’re now doing about the world you live in, I am so happy to see SO many rising up, showing up and speaking up. I honestly have been encouraged by the increased discussions taking place around what is happening in our world.

International Women’s Day was designed to:
… reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” – United Nations website
Then there is the #DayWithoutAWoman, designed to encourage these actions:
Do not engage in paid and unpaid work. Wear red in solidarity. Avoid spending money (unless it’s at an establishment owned by women or minorities).
If we are celebrating those acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, it seems like the DWAW only takes us a step back. Let’s all “stay home” and for some, risk losing our jobs. Let’s not spend the money WE worked hard to earn. I still haven’t figured out why we are encouraged to only spend money at establishments owned by women OR minorities. Confused, but whatever.
So … in answer to the questions I have fielded today:

I am not wearing red today.

I am showing up and getting work done.

I am spending money that I earned today.

I wonder what it would look like if we encouraged:
  • Wear a color that is any hue you choose, but be sure it’s BOLD (and then when someone sees that boldness, own it and say “thank you!” with the same fervor our male counterpart would).
  • Go to work and teach someone else a new skill or talent that will empower their future paid and recognized work.
  • Spend your hard earned money in a way that empowers the true progress of women in this world, whether philanthropically, buying to support local makers, etc. or in any other manner of empowering and lifting up.

 

Worth a ponder, don’t you think?

On another similar, but separate topic. I have a question (a real question, that I’m looking for the answers to): What IS the feminist movement, as it’s currently being used in 2017?

 

Danielle Laporte says:
In terms of leadership, I’m not that interested in someone’s gender. I’m interested in their wholeness. Just because someone identifies as a female doesn’t mean they’re working on behalf of the “Divine Feminine.” If more females move into positions of so-called power, but they’re operating on the patriarchal mindset, then it’s hardly progress. It’s only adding to the illusions and confusion around what power and equality really mean. (Side Note: used on its own, the term patriarchy can trigger brushstroke judgments that anyone with a penis is a patriarchal asshole. The patriarchal mindset is not gender-specific, it’s a paradigm that can corrupt anyone, at any age, from almost any culture. There are MANY men out there who are “heart-led, with spines of direction and ambition, and with profoundly tender attentiveness, who embody wholeness.”
What does feminism mean to you? What does it mean for the way you go about your every day?

I am getting up on this Wednesday, March 8th and I am going to work. As a very dear friend said to me, “I am going to work today to lead. I am going to work today to learn. I am going to work today because my family depends on my income, and because it makes me a better woman than I was yesterday.”  I have been on a long journey to get to where I am with “my work” and not showing up for it today feels … not right for me.

I am going to spend my money today and do something that makes a difference in the lives of those around me (my “do something good” scale heavily  leans towards things like Ripple Effect Images or my continuing Kiva contribution or by simply adding some of my hard earned money to my Ellevest investment account.)

It is not enough to wear pink pussy hats or red tshirts with a raised fist in the air. It is not enough to watch important documentaries, but fail to discuss them after you leave the theater. It’s also not enough to open your checkbook and give $200 to the refugees. It’s not enough to pen thought provoking blog posts or share the most recent Upworthy video all over your social.

Perhaps you’ll want to say I’m not “feminist enough”, or am naive to today’s world, but but I simply support the fight to — every single day —  be a better person than you were when you went to sleep last night. Show up for people who are creating opportunities for themselves and their families. Stand behind those who see their leadership quotient and raise the bar for those they were called to lead. Share and elevate of the stories and goals of those who strive to learn and expand their consciousness and awareness.

I will however, bolster my strong spine, clear my throat, work my ass off today to be better than I was yesterday, give some of my hard earned money to impact someone else’s life, and will do my part to raise children who are empowered to do the same.

The Divine Feminine sure ain’t about being the first female president, dean or CEO of anything. Ranking high in a broken system doesn’t necessarily make you a heroine of feminism – tho’ it very well could, and women’s history is abundant with those true pioneers. The Divine Feminine is the warrior and the healer … it is justice and mercy, carried out with grace. It’s economics and the arts … that nurture the entire community. Being direct and loving the hunt of opportunities – these are characteristically masculine qualities. I am deeply intuitive and nurturing — innately feminine qualities. When I’m at my best, I express all of these qualities in my ALL-WOMAN ways. My delivery is compassionate and often softly spoken; my business operates on a triple bottom line, so that we can ALL be well fed, even if it means I share my own food. I am BEING the Divine Feminine.  – Danielle LaPorte
 (P.S. / Side Note / This is where you come in —–> What you’ve just read is a LOT of unedited free-flowing thoughts from my brain. It’s rambling and quite possibly messy in how well it reads BUT I welcome a conversation around this. I want to learn more from each of you, and understand more than I did when I hit submit.)

Let's Go To Work Chris Brogan

 

 

 

Gold in the Dirt, Danae

I love music. I don’t really dig heavy metal or rap, but otherwise, bring me ALL of the music. It uplifts, it lets me connect with my soul, it quiets, it ramps up, it whispers, it screams, it speaks. It motivates, it encourages and it empowers.

Recently, I bought myself an Echo and have not looked back. I simply say “Echo?” and my little friend plays anything I ask it to. LOVE. You should get one. Seriously!

Every year, I choose a word that will help guide and support the year ahead  — both personally and in business. This year, it’s disrupt. I’ll share more on that soon, but I’ve come to realize that my word gains more traction when I assign a song to it. A personal anthem, a power song, a musical mantra.

This year, the song that found its way to me is Gold in the Dirt, by Danae. I don’t remember how I found Danae, but I am so thankful. The lyrics are meaningful and fit my intentions for the Year of Disrupt!

I’m done living my life
Just to get out alive
Yellow flickering light
Got it in my sights

Doesn’t really what it costs us
Gonna carry this shovel till the sun comes up
I’m gonna break up the dust in the earth

Cause there’s gold in the dirt, gold in the dirt
Dig a little deeper, there’s gold in the dirt
~
Black, blue, blood runs through
Every inch is proof
Shine, shine, deepen the mind
Leave the past  behind
~
Doesn’t really what the ending is

I got one shot, I’m gonna take it
I’m gonna shake up the dust in the earth

Doesn’t really what it costs us
Gonna carry this shovel till the sun comes up
Doesn’t really what the ending is
I got one shot, I’m gonna take it
I’m gonna break up the dust in the earth

Because connection is important to me, I wanted to reach out to Danae and learn a bit more about her, and I also REALLY, really wanted to know about the gold triangle necklace she always wears, because, you know, I’m all about all things Triangle!! Graciously, she answered my email right away, and the result of our connection and dialogue resulted in this Q&A. Let me introduce you to …
danae logo

Danae, share a brief introduction of you, your background and your journey to where you are today:

My creative journey has been one of personal discovery and joy. As a little girl, I loved to sing, but I don’t have memories of thinking I would be a “star” or a “singer” when I grew up. I also loved to write poetry, which eventually led me to start songwriting. I simply created to create; out of a deep love for it. Perhaps this also came from the fact that my older brothers were always in bands and shooting for the stars. I simply loved the music making experience!

How has your journey with music changed your perspective on life and the world:

Being a performing musician has taken me into situations and moments that I could have never imagined. On a tour to Germany in 2015, I found myself taking a bus to a small town on the outskirts of Bremen. The local pawn shop owner said that I would find the venue if I just kept walking. So I walked a mile with my backpack guitar and finally came across a beautiful retreat center. As the clock struck 7 pm, the show started and the room was filled with 50 Germans there to hear my music! This story is less about me and more about the power of the unknown. Music creation and performance has taught me to never underestimate people but to always be confident in myself as I share the gifts I’ve been given.

Danae

What was the biggest catalyst to the creation of Gold in the Dirt?

Gold in the Dirt started simply as a title and the first lyric: “I’m done living my life just to get out alive.” I can’t remember when I first wrote that down, but I took it into a co-write with AG, a producer in LA, and she loved it! We ended up writing the song in like an hour, which for my pop songs is lightning fast.

What does “home” mean to you?

Home is where you are loved for who you are. Home is where people know your quirks and your history and still dig deeper. Because I travel a lot and grew up in a number of different places, home really has become a place where family and friends are.

What does “community” mean to you, both personally and with your music?

Community is the place you feel safe to create and a group of people who send you out into the world. Nashville, where I lived for 2.5 years, has an incredible community. If you have an idea and passion, people will rally around you to help bring it to life. Community is also the place I often find the most authentic acceptance.

So this triangle necklace! Tell me a bit about the story behind Direction and … how were you connected originally to Sarah, the artist who created the necklace?

Danae

Sarah and I met over 9 years ago when I first moved to Washington D.C. We were in a book club together, and she was one of those people I just connected with instantly. I had only known her a few months when she asked me to sing in her wedding. And once you sing in someone’s wedding you are friends for life. It’s kind of the deal. The idea for the Direction Necklace was a natural outgrowth of our friendship and previous collaborations. I wanted something signature and special, a reminder of potential, change and hope. The Direction Necklace has been that for me and I hope it is that for others as well.

Note from Sarah Bayot: Each purchase of a Direction Necklace provides a scholarship for under resourced children to attend school. Currently, Kicheko is partnered with Mango Tree School, a primary school based in Uvira that educates over 200 primary-level students in the South Kivu province who are underresourced and cannot afford school fees and the other costs associated with attending school. Kicheko is an attempt to combat this cycle by identifying students who are most in need and working with families to ensure that their children stay in school year round.

Note from Naomi: If you purchase a Direction Necklace, please let me know in the comments!

How have you found your place in the “giving back” space and what is most often on your heart in terms of how you can serve others?

When it comes to giving back, I love to partner with people who share a common “why” with me and a drive to overcome obstacles along the way. I’m always open to fresh collaborations that will create positive change in the word.

What do you do to feed the desire for local and global connection

I think that desire is simply in my blood stream. Having lived overseas in Russia as a child and traveling to over 20 countries, I am constantly looking for connections to the world beyond myself. On a practical level, I try to read the news regularly and to stay connected with friends in industries different than my own.

Who influences you? Who do you read / listen to … or look to for inspiration and motivation?

I have a unique and solid community of girlfriends who I have known for over 5 years, and my conversations with them are a significant influence on me. They ask the deep, cutting questions I need to grow and give me a safe place to say my rough draft thoughts out-loud. Musically, I try to keep a pretty steady stream of the newest pop. I like to hear what’s happening in the market. Books wise, recently I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the mind and how it works. The way connections are made and the power of positive thinking. I also glean a lot of inspiration from my personal Faith. Ultimately, I believe that each of us were created to create.

What do you think about vulnerability and authenticity … and what do those two words look like when they show up in the work you do?

I aim to be authentic in everything I do. Whether at work, at the café, writing a song, loving my mom, listening to a friend, authenticity is the act of being present, of giving your real mind and heart to the moment to engage. To me, vulnerability is the next level deep past authenticity. You can be authentic but not vulnerable. I want my music and life to ring with the honesty of an authentic voice while also communicating the truth of a vulnerable heart.

Danae

 

What is next for you?

I’m currently working on a remix of Direction that will come out in Q1 of this year, which I am super excited about. It’s from a favorite Nashville producer of mine – Nilo G. He’s creative and I think fans will love the reimagined version of last year’s hit! Also, I new songs that are in pre-production. So keep an eye out cause the best music is yet to come for sure!

Where can we find you online?

The best place to connect online is Instagram. I think it’s my favorite social media platform. In addition to that, my website danae.co always had the latest stuff brewing. If you are on Facebook, don’t miss out on that too!

~

Danae, thank you for popping by and sharing you and your music!

Naomi Signature - small

2016 Year End Giving

It’s not too late to do a mad dash of year end giving! If you’re anything like me, I’ve put off some opportunities to give financially this year, so I wanted to put together a quick post of the three ways our family regularly gives with our checkbook.


 

Ministry 2 Kenya Deb Smith

Ministry 2 Kenya

My mother, Deb Smith, is a missionary in Kenya! She has been there for 15 years and steps alongside those who are often otherwise forgotten — mostly children in need of an education — both in the urban slums and the rural villages. Through long-lasting, meaningful, one-on-one relationships she brings hope and encouragement to the lonely and the discouraged. Kenya’s academic year starts the first week of January and mom has started her fundraising campaign to raise the money needed for SEVEN students to have their fees paid for the 2017 academic year. The total needed is $2,880 and as of this post, $955 has already come in!!

In addition to the tuition, other expenses include:

  • textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, and other supplies
  • personal items for those who attend boarding school
  • fare to go home for the breaks between terms.

Deb, a/k/a Mom, has a need to raise the remaining funds by Christmas so that she can make arrangements to pay all school fees before she comes back to the US for a home leave trip. If you’d like to participate in sending a child to school and would like to help pay school fees, please click the Donate button just below this sentence. 100% of all funds raised go straight to the tuition and expenses … together, you can help impact the life of a child and their entire family!

DONATE TO THE SCHOOL FUND


 

Ripple Effect Images

 

I am honored to have been asked to serve on the advisory board for Ripple Effect Images, an amazing organization, doing amazing things in this world. A note from the Founder, Annie Griffiths that I wanted to share with you:
 
As we head into the holiday season, I have some truly lovely news to share. Ripple’s aid partners have reported raising more than 7 million dollars this year using the images and films we created for them. That is a return on our investment of 1429%. (I just love this number!) This is huge!
 
Every dollar invested became 14+ dollars of additional aid in a single year… a breath-taking Ripple Effect. Most importantly, behind every dollar are real women and children with so much potential. Thanks to Ripple supporters:
 
-7000 families in Guatemala will now receive clean cookstoves
-Teenage girls in northern Uganda will have safe shelters to go to when they flee early marriage
-Thousands of villagers in Ethiopia will learn how to prevent and cure a devastating foot disease caused by farming in volcanic soil
-7000 children in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda will receive funding for early childhood education
-The effort to eradicate pediatric AIDS in Africa will accelerate
 
So THANK YOU! Ripple’s year-end goal is to raise $100,000 that, at our current rate of impact, could turn into nearly 1.5 million dollars of additional support for women and children in the developing world! This year, more than ever, we need to work together to move the world forward. We simply can’t do it without you.
 
 
Kiva

When a Kiva loan enables someone to grow a business and create opportunity for themselves, it creates opportunities for others as well. That ripple effect can shape the future for a family or an entire community.

Regardless of where you choose to spend your charitable giving dollars this year, and for years future, one really SMART thing to do is always check out the health of the organizations you are giving to.  Charity Navigator, your “guide for intelligent giving”, is an amazing tool to check out the transparency and ratings of large charitable and philanthropic organizations. Worth noting, in order to be analyzed and receive a Charity Navigator rating, the organization must have filed specific IRS forms for at least 7 years, so you won’t find all of your favorite 501(c)(3)s there.
Let me know in the comments what YOUR favorite charitable organization is!
N.

2016 Presidential Election

I have been extremely quiet on social media and in person with my friends and family about how I feel about this Presidential election. I have watched much spewing, I have listened to the nasty campaign, and have “hidden” some very forceful opinions and thoughts shared on Facebook about who is most qualified to lead our country for the next four years.

I’ve been quiet partially because I am a business owner. I have been quiet partially because I didn’t feel strong enough to banter or debate with people who had differing opinions. I have been quiet partially because I have no earthly idea how to explain our candidate options to our children.

But here we are, the morning after, and I have some things to say.

This morning, we poured OJ, flipped pancakes and packed lunches just like every other day. Except as I puttered around the kitchen, I struggled with how to talk to my children about what happened during the Presidential Election of 2016. Not just the previous 24 hours, but the entire campaign process.

With our two youngest being 10 and 13 years old, they have been fully exposed to this campaign and to all that has gone along with it. Because they knew both sides of the media story that we were being fed, it was important to talk about it, this morning after. They knew what he said, and they knew what she did.

On one hand, I wrestled with how to explain that someone who has said things, exhibited behaviors and acted in a manner I would never tolerate from the men in my life, is now the President Elect. On the other hand, I was bothered with how I would have explained that someone who lied and should be in prison had won the election, should that have happened.

Our daughter looked at the television when she woke up and after she plodded down the stairs, with her hair in a high ponytail and her favorite leggings on. Her face showed absolute shock. She turned to look at me and sadly said “Well, someone had to win, and half of us would have been mad either way.” Later, the discussion turned to how people could vote for one candidate, when perhaps all they intended to do was NOT vote for the other candidate. We talked about how United States citizens could vote for one candidate when they couldn’t support him, yet wanted his party to be in control. We also talked about why people who admitted to have never voted before, chose this election to show up at the polls. I didn’t have answers for her, but what I do know is this:

I will continue to wake up every day and do something to remind this world why I am here. Each and every day. Some days it might be volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Another day it might be encouraging fellow female entrepreneurs along their journey, to act as a stair step to promote their future success. Perhaps I will jump out of bed and organize an event or otherwise be active in my community.

My husband and I will continue to raise our children to have an extremely strong moral compass. We are raising our children to speak their minds, but to also listen carefully. We are teaching them to respect, honor and support those that are running this country.

Our children will continue to be taught that diversity, true authenticity and kindness matters. They will be taught that it isn’t hard to give of ourselves to others. They will be taught that  we don’t call names and we speak to each other with respect. They have been and still will be told that living a life they aren’t ashamed of is important, and that keeping your nose clean isn’t difficult.

We are going to work harder at educating them about the bigger governmental picture in the United States. From the very bottom in our schools (running for student council) to our Mayors, school board representatives, all the way up to our Presidential nominations. Our republic is important, and I believe it starts from the ground up. I heard too many rumblings from people that they had no idea who to vote for on the local level, so they … guessed as they completed their ballots. Imagine a world where everyone votes (every election!), and knows their candidates when they go to the polling places. We can impact that change, by educating our children – from a young age – about the process.

It is incredibly important to me that we go back to basics in this country. It’s quite simple actually. We are humans. We are tasked with loving others, leading with kindness and doing our part to make this country (and the greater world) a better place. We cannot do that unless we begin with our children.

We are their light and their torch. They follow our lead. We are responsible for our children. I can’t say with any certainty that we are currently doing the best job we can in this arena.

I wonder what we will call the generation of children that I am raising (I’ve got one Millennial and two “to be determined” littles, as they haven’t yet named their generation). In doing some research, apparently MTV ran a poll and the chosen name was Founders, but in a Forbes article, it was suggested they be called The Builders. The article is slanted heavily towards our technology future, but I think it also is appropriate here:

Millennials are … pushing harder for continuing change and disruption across every aspect of their lives. MTV President Sean Atkins said to TIME that “…while millennials have disrupted society, it’s this new generation’s job to rebuild it. They have this self-awareness that systems have been broken, but they can’t be the generation that says we’ll break it even more.”

But this new generation to follow the Millennials cannot be Founders. Founders by definition are the ones who will establish something. But we have plenty of that already. What we need the next generation to be are The Builders; ones who will build on the foundation that the Millennial generation have sought to put in place through disruption.

The best way to predict the future is to build it.

This is a maker generation, a far more pragmatic and practical generation who must architect and build the future we are all trying to imagine living in. The world doesn’t need more foundational layers, it needs a generation to create.

I really like thinking of my two littles as Builders. I’ll call them that from this point forward, this morning after.

Perhaps you do not have children of your own, so, find some littles to inject your energy into. Find some Builders to teach. Locate members of this next generation and help them grow up to be strong citizens of our country who can stand with everyone, even among different belief systems.

There is a lot of diatribe going on this morning about the vote. About who showed up, about who stayed home, about who wrote in their own names for President. Voting is SO important. We have been given the right to do it … but the real “show up” opportunity is this morning after. We all get another chance this morning — as United States citizens — to love our neighbors regardless of what color their skin is or what gender of person they go to sleep with at night. We all get another change this morning to figure out what our talents and offerings will be to this world, and then we get to tie our shoelaces and go DO those things. We all get another chance this morning to look at the children in our lives and make a conscious decision and effort to be more present in their lives.

Last night, I said to myself that regardless of whether the country decides to “Make America Great Again” or “Stand With Her”, we are all — I think — blessed to be able to do both. If you think about it, we are given the opportunity to keep doing our part as human beings – to continue making America great (not again) and stand with all of those who are in this together (not just with her).

President Elect Donald J. Trump will be soon in the Oval Office, and he will be my President, regardless of the fact that I didn’t vote for him. That’s how I roll as an American. That’s how I’ll continue to raise my children.

And in the meantime, our family will continue to live by this motto: Do something every day to remind this world why you are here.

(For a really great book that offers a carefully curated reading treasury of the best children’s literature to help introduce your children to each area of the globe, as well as books that offer practical parenting suggestions and inspiration, take a look at Give Your Child the World. We have a copy and it really aims to help parents raise insightful, compassionate kids who fall in love with the world and are prepared to change it for good.)

why-youre-here