Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Reading List/Book Review

As an introvert, I really enjoy being by myself. I love being around family and friends and getting out and trying new things, but how I fill up my soul and get back on track is by being ALONE. Sometimes (most of the time)that involves a book. Getting lost in the pages of a story and the lives of characters in another place and time makes my soul sing. I have a list of books to get through this summer and as I was looking at my library, I found a few other gems that I wanted to share in case, you're like me, and can't wait to find that perfect read. Here's our top ten:

1. Wool: Omnibus Edition (1-5) by Hugh Howey

This is an awesome sci-fi series about a post-apocalyptic United States and the people that live in it. Here is a little blurb on it from Amazon:

"In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside."

2. Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and Book of Life (series) by Deborah Harkness

If you haven't started this series, now is the time! Book Of Life, the third and last book, is scheduled for release July 15th. Amazing writing and LOADS of historical fiction. Her tag line is...

"A reluctant witch. A 1500-year-old vampire. A mysterious manuscript known as Ashmole 782. The story begins with a discovery of witches..."

It's SO GOOD!!

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Anything by Gillian Flynn would be a good read for the summer but I would suggest reading this before the movie comes out October 3rd. It looks like it will be a good one but the book is always better.

4. The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman (The Magician's Land being released August 5th)

As you might be able to tell from this list so far, I really like series! This is a good one. A magical reality story and coming-of-age tale about magic learned and practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price. Good characters and a strong story, start reading now and you'll have the series done by the time school starts!

5. The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

This is a quick and easy read about a college student that goes to prison for murder and is put on trial in a test called the compass room, a futuristic psychological testing atmosphere. Similar to The Hunger Games, with more adult content. Not fantastic but a good read and also part of a series (the others have not been released yet).

6. The Giver by Lois Lowry

This is on its way to being a classic that our grandchildren may read in school. It is also being released on the big screen August 15th so try to read it before you see it!

7. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

I have just started this one and have had it on my list because I heard great things! Is anyone else reading it or have you read it already? I'd love to know what you think!

8. The Line by J.D. Horn

This is the next book on my list. It's also a series (shocker) about a family of witches in Savannah. I heard it is great historical fiction with all the paranormal aspects that I love. I'm excited to start it. Feedback please if you've already turned the pages!

9. One Broke Girl by Rhonda Helms

Honestly I don't remember why I have this book but after reading the synopsis on the back it sounds fun, romantic and easy...a good beach read. I like giving new authors a chance because, well, karma and all that! ;)

I'll let you know how it turns out.

10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I originally heard about this book after I read a review by Steven King. I love Stephen King. Then I found out that it won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction and figured I probably SHOULD read it. Everyone says it is amazing so I can't wait to find out what's in store.

I have several others that are waiting to be opened but I won't overwhelm you with choices. My sister could get through these in about a month, but for the rest of us "average" readers this list could keep us busy for awhile. I cannot wait to hear any and all comments and suggestions on other reads. Jenn and I will be starting a "To Be Read Soon" list and would love to add your favorites. Don't forget to leave a comment either here or on FaceBook. It could be like a mini book club! Happy reading everyone!

{H}

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Shoes Made All The Difference

I have a fourteen year old daughter and her 8th grade dance was Friday. It was the celebration of the end of middle school and it also seemed to signify the transition to young adulthood. It was a lot to take in for this mama.

Shopping for the dress, which began months ago, was quite an enlightening process. During our many trips to the mall, I learned these things: 8th grade girls prefer insanely HIGH shoes. They prefer short dresses, lots of makeup, gel nails and "ocean wave" curls set by professional hairdressers. They plan pre-parties, post-parties, photo-ops and sleepovers. In my house, the 8th grade dance was elevated to the same scale as the Oscars and it was hard not to get wrapped up in it all.

But I get it. I was that age once, "in the OLDEN days," as Bella says. I remember being fashion-conscious, wanting to follow the latest trends, that my friends' opinions were paramount in any decision. But what I don't remember is my mom making me prove that I could walk in a pair of covetted shoes. I don't remember strutting around the store, trying not to break an ankle. I don't remember her telling me that it was INSANE to spend $50 on a pair of shoes that would only be worn for the pictures and then quickly exchanged for Converse high tops. And I don't remember her having a panic attack at how quickly I was growing up.

But really, why are hooker shoes the trend? I mean come on! Why do ALL the "in" shoes have to stretch to the heavens on un-Godly platforms? Why do the heels have to be so narrow they make one long for the stability of "old-fashioned" stilettos?

This was the first pair of shoes to come home: (I was not present on this shopping trip.)

Bella couldn't even stand in these for more than 37 seconds. Then she thought she just needed a bigger size cuz they felt TIGHT in her toe region. Ya think!?!?!

"Maybe that's because the extreme and unnatural angle of your foot is physically CRUSHING your toes!" She agreed I might have something there.

So we returned those and after trying on ALL THE DIFFERENT SHOES, we agreed on these:

I approved of this purchase because of the following, completely arbitrary criteria that I decided I could live with:

1) The heel was chunky and stable

2) They weren't sexy

3) She walked all over the store without hanging onto the rounders

4) They looked like Mary Poppins ankle boots = NOT sexy

5) The platform was an inch so it was more like she was wearing a 3-inch heel (fancy math, my husband calls it)

6) Mary Poppins was not a HOOKER!

What it came down to was that I really didn't want my not-so-little girl looking sexy. But deep in my heart, I knew a pair of sexy high heels weren't the real issue. It was just hard to admit that my little girl was growing up.

My little girl, once a kindergartener who cried during her entire "Spring Sing" because too many people were watching her, now had the confidence to don a gorgeous dress, some really high (but NOT sexy) platform heels, and dance the night away at her 8th grade dance. My sweet daughter, once so shy she couldn't easily make friends, rushed from one group to another to hug and give compliments on dresses and shoes. That my baby, once so connected to me that she couldn't leave my side in a crowd of people, happily linked arms with her best friends and boldly stepped into a new stage of life, a stage she was ready to accept. (I'll get there.)

And I must admit, the shoes made all the difference.

{J}

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peer Pressure Anyone?

(I should let you know that my son would prefer not to be the subject of this blog post but I know in my heart that we need to know what other families are experiencing and that we're all in this together. In my crazy-busy life, it seems like blogging has replaced bunco. The blogosphere is now where the worries and fears, phases and stages are pondered. This post is brought to you for the greater good.)

Do you remember your very first crush? Mine was at the end of fourth grade and one day, he ran by me and kissed me on the shoulder. From that point on, I couldn't stand him! Not because he changed, he was still the nice, slightly short boy who made me laugh. What changed was our environment. Our entire fourth grade class knew of the drive-by-shoulder-kiss and they couldn't wait for another scandalous PDA to gossip about.

Peer pressure has existed since the beginning of time. I guarantee there was a group of cave-women who decided the jagged-hemmed, animal print, sleeveless dress was the way to catch the best bachelor in town. I'm sure they pressured even the most modest girls to "just try it." Seriously, every child at some/many points, will experience peer pressure. How will you help your kids through it?

So last Tuesday, right after school, my son told me it was "National Hugging Day" and that ALL the boys hugged ALL the girls at school.

"How'd that go over?" I asked, wondering how many kids got warnings for such "potentially harassing" conduct. But he assured me that most of them are just friends and he was happy he hugged the girl he did because she was a good friend. Sweet and innocent and friend-ly. Right?

Two days later I received an update to "National Hugging Day," which happens to be January 21, not May 27; I looked it up.

"Mom. I asked recipient-of-hug out today."

"I thought you were just friends."

"We are. But all my friends told me she liked me and that I should ask her out, so I did."

"Even though you're not allowed to have a girlfriend?" (No judgment but our house rule is no girlfriends/boyfriends until somewhere around high school.)

"Yeah. But it's not a big deal. It's just that all my friends have girlfriends and I kinda wanted to too." (Read it again. Go ahead. Feel free to replace "have girlfriends" with ANYTHING that you're terrified of your kids trying one day. Yep. That's how I felt. Jesus help us!)

"Okay...(trying to breathe)...Well...(what if he ends up addicted to crack?!?!)...Since you know the rule, I want you to think about how you're going to resolve this. You can't have crack...I mean a girlfriend!! So let's figure out a plan, okay?"

And that was just the beginning of the conversation. We've spent the last six days in deep conversation about LOTS of potential lessons, including, but not limited to:

1) How to cope with peer pressure and stand up for what's right and/or follow the rules. Whether it's a benign 5th grade "relationship" or a shot of tequila and a joint (gateway) at a high school party...I am really not concerned with what everyone else is doing.

2) How to treat your girlfriend (when you're mature enough to have one-this age may vary but I'm sure 11 is not in the ballpark): shaking her parents' hands when you pick her up, at the door, for your date; earning funds to provide for your (age-appropriate) entertainment; being a gentleman and adhering to curfews; caring about her feelings and conversing with her about all sorts of stuff...girls LOVE to talk about ALL THE STUFF!

3) How to right a wrong, even when it feels bad. Sometimes I think the more uncomfortable they are, the more likely the lesson will stick. When you ask a girl out and you really shouldn't have, you have to own up to it. When you do, one of two things will happen: she will be sad or she will be relieved. But if she's worth having as a girlfriend, she will understand you made a mistake and are trying to make it right.

Our son has been open and mature during these conversations and he regrets that he allowed himself to be pressured. But these are his two biggest concerns: he doesn't want to hurt girl-who-shall-not-be-named's feelings and he doesn't want to be made fun of by his friends.

I get it; he gets it, part of it. So we'll keep talking.

In the meantime, feel free to use this example with your children in whichever way it will support your conversations about peer pressure, good choices, consequences of one's actions and crack! If your kids know my kids, please leave names out. I don't know what I'd do if my children made me stop writing about them...they provide the BEST material.

Coming soon: Hooker shoes - the 8th grade trend.

{J}

Monday, May 12, 2014

Keep Calm...and Carry On?

I have been mulling over how I can mention this to all of you without having you feel sorry for us or shake your heads, feeling the sting of the disappointment that Jenn and I felt when we were told “No”.

It’s actually not the kind of no that you may be thinking. I mean, it was definitely a “no, we aren’t ready to publish your book right now and make you millions”, but the sentences that surrounded the “no” were priceless and heartfelt. We are ever so grateful for them. When Jenn and I started this adventure, one of the things that we read about the most was how to handle the rejection. Because there is A LOT of it. We have sensitive writer hearts so trying to prepare ourselves to hear “no” over and over wasn’t something that we wanted to practice. We have been pretty lucky so far with the encouragement and feedback that we have gotten from people that we admire. Our journey has just begun and we have been riding our wave of excitement from our very first conference back in January! Overall, we finally received the email we had been waiting for over two months. With nervous anticipation we opened it together and read the first line…(keep calm…)

“Hi Jennifer and Holly,

Thanks very much for your patience with me on POWER OF 7. There is a lot to love here, but I am afraid I am going to pass on the chance to go further with this project.”

We both sighed heavily and our hearts sank in unison. Not the first line we were hoping to read.

Then, as Jenn read on out loud, a few thoughts came to mind. We felt rushed with our first edit and should have asked for more time. Establishing a longer timeline would have given us a more thorough edit and we could have paced ourselves. In the past few months during our time of waiting, we were able to see several areas we would have developed more clearly and even some new elements that we would have added to make the story the compelling one we envision in our dreams. (so here comes the Carry On part…)

My first reaction of course was a big let-down. Should we keep at it? And then… How could we not? I was steadfast for about 24 hours. Then my doubts crept in. Am I good enough? Can I do this? Do I even have any talent? Am I dragging Jenn down? I was in a bad place for about five days. My confidence went down the toilet. I lost my voice. I had almost decided that it would be best for me to say goodbye to this dream for now. Then, I remembered why we had started writing in the first place. It was fun. It was challenging and exhilarating. It made my heart sing. Jenn and I always encouraged each other to try our best and to get up and try again if it didn’t go so great the first time. So I turned my back on the nagging doubts that threatened to pull me down and I prayed, A LOT! I re-committed to the words and found my voice again. My faith in the words and the partner, to whom I am so indebted, brought me back to what is real. I am forever grateful.

In the end, this agent that we have grown to respect, gave us some very kind words,

“I wish I had better news for you – you are clearly a talented writing team and I wanted to make a connection with this one. We would love to look at new projects if you don’t place this one.”

She also reminded us that every agent looks at a manuscript in a different way and encouraged us to keep looking. She offered to look at this story again once our revisions are what we would like them to be. So REALLY it was good news, probably the best “rejection” letter we could have received!

So please, do not tell us you‘re sorry, and don’t be sad, because this is the beginning of a really great thing. We are writers and we are committed to telling our story in the best way possible. For those of you that are waiting to be our beta-readers, it is coming! Thank you for being patient and we hope it will be worth your wait! We will continue to keep you up to date on all of our progress and whatever news we have to share. Until then, we will be hard at work getting our edits done and we will do our best at blogging and posting on FB. Thank you friends for your unending love and support! We treasure you!

Carrying On...{H & J}

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Wish List

Mother's Day is a day of indulgence. It's the day when moms don't feel the least bit guilty about being spoiled (or spoiling themselves.) It's the time of year when I reflect on the things I want most from my kids, and FOR my kids, and my list is long people. Very. Very. Long.

For Mother's Day, I want my children to be happy. Not the temporary happy that comes from a candy bar in the check out line, or a new "must-have" on our Target run, but the real, lasting kind of happiness that they will carry with them long after they leave the nest. I want them to smile often, laugh even more and feel deep down that they have a happy childhood, the one that Michael and I are trying hard to create and sustain. I want that happiness to be planted early and deeply, so as they grow, it will provide fulfillment and gratitude during the good times and hope and perspective during the hard times, both of which they will have along the way. Happiness, hugs, smiles...I want those things for my kids.

For Mother's Day, I want my children to be full of peace. I want them to be peacemakers and peacekeepers. Not just the kind of peacefulness that keeps them from slugging that annoying kid at school (or one they live with), but the kind of peace that helps them stay grounded when their lives are filled with everyday chaos. I want their home to be a buffer from all the demands that confront them the second they walk out the door. I want us all to slow down and leave room in the schedule so they can experience the value of peace. I want them to offer peace when in an argument, to extend a hand whether they win or lose, and to agree to be kind even when it's not easy. I want them to yearn for the kind of peace that comes with a spring day when the only thing to do is lie in the grass and watch the clouds dance in the sky. Peaceful easy feelings, I want that for them.

For Mother's Day, I want my children to be confident. Not arrogant or showy, but I want them to possess a sense of self that stems from experience and wisdom. The development of such confidence is a gradual one. I want them to have the "wins" in life that help them see their potential and encourage their effort. But I also what them to have the "losses" that teach them to be humble and that it's more important to celebrate the successes of others than merely your own. I want them to have a confidence that gives them strength in the face of peer pressure, like a drink or a "just-try-it" at a party. I want their confidence to be the motivator that urges them to try harder next time, maybe at a sport, on a test, or in a relationship. I want them to always feel like they are enough. And throughout life, as that confidence takes root and grows, I want it to hold onto their hearts and stave off the ugliness of things like jealousy, mistrust, greed and entitlement. A life filled with humble confidence, that's what I want for my children.

For Mother's Day, I want my kids to have compassion. When they encounter a fellow student who's injured on the playground, or a friend with a broken heart, or a stranger in need of a smile or a dollar, I want their first instinct to be to help. I want their hearts to hurt when they witness another person's pain. I want their thoughts to turn often to those in need rather than to their own desires. I want them to experience a friend's compassion so they understand the importance of being there for someone else. When they no longer have me pointing out the needs and hurts of others, I want their own compass of compassion to do the job and reveal to them how they can offer kindness, love and support. Compassion and a heart that's driven to give, that's what I want for each of my children.

For Mother's Day, I want my children to have faith. Faith in their God, in their family, in their friends, and in themselves. I want them to believe in things that aren't easily seen or held or measured, things like love and hope and humanity. In spite of what their peers say or what society tells them, I want them to stand up for their beliefs and have faith. As life goes on, I want them to take that faith with them so they can share the spirit of possibility everywhere they go. It's an unrelenting faith and life-affirming faith. I want that for them too.

Lastly, (and bless you if you've made it this far), for Mother's Day, I want my children to have love. They will surely experience differing degrees of it in their lives and I want them to eventually learn how to give and take the kind of love that lasts forever. The kind that leaves a legacy as it's modeled and replicated and shared. My kids will always have the love of their family, but I still want them to earn that love and respect us all the same. Friends will come and go, but I want them to learn how to cultivate lasting friendships, reciprocating and compromising frequently. I also want them to one day find their soul mates, live love-filled lives and grow old with their best friends. I want them to be generous with their praise and appreciation of the people in their lives. I want them to support them, and be supported during times when their confidence has lost its luster. I want them to offer and aspire to the kind of happiness that endures the rough waters. And I want them to have loved ones all around that feed their spirits as the phases of life wax and wane. Most importantly, I want them to know that the way to truly and completely and fully love others, and to be loved back, is to simply start with loving oneself. I really want my children to experience a lifetime of having and giving love.

So that's my Mother's Day wish list. Happiness. Peace. Confidence. Compassion. Faith. Love. And the greatest of these is LOVE!

Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing moms. May your day be filled with everything that makes your heart sing. And especially to my wonderful mom, who has shaped the woman and mother that I am today...I love you forever!

{J}

Friday, May 9, 2014

Being Grateful

First of all let me say Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends out there! I hope you have a joyous weekend enjoying the little ones (or big ones) that gave you the title of "mom". It can certainly feel like a thankless job at times but if you can look past the monotony of the day and stop counting the times you asked someone to pick up their _______ (fill in the blank with your own daily burden) then you can focus on the beauty of the day and what being a mom really means to you. If that doesn't work, look at old video's and listen to the sweet voices of your babies and relish the memories of when they used to listen to you without asking "WHY?" or stomping there gigantic feet in the opposite direction. I hope you get breakfast in bed but no food on the sheets. I hope you get handmade something to pack away and cherish for years. I hope you get smiles and laughter and memories so good you don't have to write them down to remember.

My wishes and hopes for you include one more thing. Awareness. As moms we are usually really good at this. The whole "eyes in the back of our head" thing. I am asking for your awareness to include the possibility that the woman sitting next to you or driving by in her car, or standing in line may have a different weekend ahead of her than a large majority of the country. I heard a few horrible stories this week through social media. Heart breaking stories of loss that will, should you read them, make each and every one of you cringe with your own fear of loss that is beyond comprehension. As I click on the heading of these types of stories, sometimes I think maybe I should just click the X at the top corner before I get pulled into the whirlwind of thoughts that will accompany them. Inevitably I read on. Two in particular caught my attention as it's the week before we celebrate motherhood. We will soon be reading many blog posts and articles about being a mom. The story of the "three year old's handprint" will circulate again and bring tears to our eyes as we either, remember our bigs with little tiny hands, or we actually hold onto those little tiny hands and pray that they won't get bigger too fast. Then there are the women in my life that have prayed for a pair of little hands to hold for so long but still do not have a child to call their own. My heart grieves for you. And then, there are the moms like the ones in the stories, who are in deep mourning and I have no words for that. All I can offer is to mourn with them in silence and pray for the sickening pain to ease as they think about the children lost. These words are hard to hear and harder to write as I think about my three babies. My heart goes out to the moms who are painfully remembering this weekend (and always)and have had a little piece of them go onto to heaven before they were ready to say good-bye. As moms we have imagined the worse-case scenario and to be living through it takes something that is known only to God. I pray that their relationship with Him can offer comfort in those moments and I will not be so presumptuous as to offer any kind of comforting words or advice. I do not have them.

We, as parents, often have a piece of us that wants to make it all better. So situations like April Smith's story take our breath away because we can't. Maybe what it will do though, is make you hug your babies tighter and kiss that teenager like he was five again. Moments like these bring my gratefulness FULL FRONT AND CENTER! That no matter how much they messed up today and how many times they didn't listen, they are here, with me, getting tucked into bed with stories and kisses and hugs and "I'll see you in the morning"...God willing. I'm sobbing as I write this (which is a little embarrassing in the library) and I'm wondering what I can do so that my kids know how much I adore them right in this moment. We NEVER know how many moments we truly have here on this Earth. Am I making the most of mine with my children good and bad? I hope so. I want that.

My father in law was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He is 77 years old and the doctors told us that with chemotherapy he could have a life expectancy of five to eight years. Getting the news about his life expectancy has got me thinking about how much I take life and time for granted. I get in the rut of daily chores and carpool and work and schedules and because of that I may forget to REALLY live each and every day. Sometimes I’m just too tired to think about anything but getting in bed and starting over in the morning. It's so easy to forget. It's so easy to not be intentional about living and having real living moments. Until you’re introduced to the scary unknown of cancer or other illness, or until you lose someone and are thrown in to the upheaval of grief. We are human. It is in our nature to get caught up in the minutiae of living when we are in the daily grind. It takes habit and AWARENESS to step out of that and enjoy the living of the moment, even the boring ones, because the laundry still has to get done (and put away, just sayin')...and even that holds the power of gratitude. Being grateful that your kids are out running around and getting those clothes dirty, or that they are growing big and strong so that favorite shirt doesn't fit anymore...the NOTICING of those things is a living moment.

So how do we do that every day? That will have many different answers. We will forget. We will have to catch ourselves and sometimes we will have to search REALLY HARD and dig REALLY DEEP to live in the moment. But we can do it. We can do it because we think about Ryan and his parents and we are reminded of the preciousness of life and just how fragile it is. (#redballoonsforryan)

We are privileged, BLESSED really, to parent these little creatures even when we are pulling out our hair and not enjoying any of it. Even the bad moments are real living moments because when we piece them together they create our life. My last mother’s day wish for you is many real living moments when you can have complete awareness, a deep breath and a mental snapshot and the opportunity to let those you love the most know just exactly how much.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Science Camp Anxiety...Mine and His

Do you remember your first sleep away camp? The excitement of packing your sleeping bag and travel-sized toiletries; the anticipation of meeting your cabin-mates and counselor and the twisty-turny bus ride? I do. It was so exciting! At least until bedtime.

When I was 11-years old I went to summer camp for a whole week. It was completely overwhelming for me. The evening routine of camp life was foreign and I wasn't ready for the anxiety that came alone with it.

My poor camp counselor. Stationed in a cabin with a dozen girls, she was probably no older than 18. She had to comfort multiple girls with tears and tummy aches those first few nights. If I could find her on Facebook and thank her for being so gentle and kind all those years ago, I would.

That first camp experience was the beginning of a series of unsuccessful sleepovers and weekend getaways with friends. It was the beginning of calls home to mom so I could be rescued and delivered to the comfort of my familiar home. It was the impetus to my childhood anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric condition among adults and most say that they experienced their first symptoms as children. Affecting one in eight children, anxiety disorders are also the most common psychiatric condition in children. But the good news is, they are also the easiest to treat. I know all this because my son has anxiety.

The signs were familiar: he had a hard time at sleepovers and was nervous about school after vacations and breaks. Sometimes he couldn't fall asleep at night, or we'd get a call from school about tummy aches. I told him he was like me - a night owl - and showed him what I did to relax. I told him I used to get nervous about those things too. Then I prayed his wouldn't grow into the same anxiety that I had as a child.

But it did. Two months ago, when we were ready to write the check for science camp, his face paled and he looked like he was going to be sick. "I'm not sure I can go to camp, mom." I immediately knew how he felt. He couldn't even talk about it, he was so distraught. My heart broke a little.

As a parent who knows what it feels like, I knew I needed help. I found an excellent book that gave me a greater understanding of childhood anxiety and explained how to help my son. (Oh how I wish I'd read this book when I was young...) First, we had to talk about his anxiety. We gave it a name: "The Exaggerator," and practiced some new relaxation techniques. We also learned that the key to battling anxiety is rewiring the brain to find a healthy thought path instead of the default, "worry" path. Makes perfect sense. The book showed us know to do that. So we practiced. FOR WEEKS!

With some successful sleepovers, his confidence grew. With "The Exaggerator" to blame, his heart began to heal. And by the final deadline to turn in our science camp check, he felt ready for the challenge. His exact words: "Mom, I'm not going to let "The Exaggerator" take away the fun in my life!" He was more secure about camp and I was more hopeful too. In the last two weeks, we've had lots of questions. We've gone over various scenarios. We've practiced all our tricks and tools in a final attempt to reinforce his sensibilities and fully prepare him for camp next week.

And on Tuesday, as I wave good-bye to my brave boy, I know in my heart he will be well-equipped to fight off "The Exaggerator."

I hope you never experience the BIG, ugly side of worry but if your child is experiencing symptoms of anxiety, don't ignore it, find help. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America website: ADAA.org has great information. The book that worked for us was Freeing Your Child From Anxiety by Tamar Chansky.

Thanks for listening!

{J}

(Published in O.C. Register 4/25/14)