I am receiving a gift this very moment. An odd one.

My 8-year-old is sick with a fever and cough. I can’t send him to school. It is Dec. 21st. I have a last minute stocking stuffers to buy and gifts to deliver before the holidays. Not to mention, Gryffon is missing a special day at school. Making gingerbread houses and a field trip to the Science Station. I love these kinds of school days. Playful. Less sitting. More creating. I was planning to help in the classroom and go on the field trip.  I hate that Gryff is missing this day.

And, it is a gift.

I cannot pound out my to-do list. I am relegated to being home. 

I initially purposed that this week would be full of self-care. I have been running hard. Each day came with sneaky priorities.

Early in the week, I intended to invite some girls out for a glass of wine. I planned to walk by the river. I was committed to going to yoga. I wanted to read a chapter of fiction. Here it is Thursday and not one of those things has happened.

I choose to receive the counter-intuitive gift of a sick child.

I have the privilege of co-creating a non-profit with a good friend. We are talking with a life-coach to help us craft the practical steps of birthing this dream. This week, while we spoke on the phone, our beautiful coach, Lori, said, “What if you practiced SEAS? Stop Everything And Self-care?" Shan and I were each spinning with our long lists, like twinkle lights on the flash setting. Our check-in showed that neither of us had been caring for ourselves well. One of the re-occurring principles our coach is teaching is that we cannot sustain a non-profit if we are not caring for ourselves. 

On this day when I need to do many things, I am practicing SEAS. Even if I was tricked into it. And truthfully, I cannot sit and self-care all day long. But I can right now. For the next hour, I will spend the luxury of my life on me.

When I love myself well, I am full and capable of loving those around me with the same luxury. 

This Christmas season, I am going to be a sleuth, looking for moments to SEAS. It may be one minute or 20.

But I am going to Stop. Everything. And. Self-care.

Will you join me?

What Do I Need?

I was watching a parenting video today where the teacher explained the value of inquiring, “What do you need?” All under the assumption that the stress in our reactions with our kids (or anyone for that matter) are unmet needs.

Or maybe you are the type of super parent who does not have stress in your reactions with your kids? That's not this writer-lady. Just today, I had to tell two of my kids that I cannot hear their questions any more or my head is going to explode. I don't think that would be in the parenting books. Unless it was a what "Not-to-do."

I immediately realize that it does NOT matter if I ask my kids what they need when I am not sure how to ask my self that very question.

It appears to me that most of my life, I have been under the guiding principle that I will not receive what I need, therefore it is my purpose to figure out how to live denying my need. And that is what I have done. 

Need safety? Not available, so don’t trust. 

Need help? Don’t ask, everyone has ulterior motives. 

Need to be heard? No one is really listening.
What a shift, to understand my needs are God-breathed, and worthy. This is not a simplistic thinking that I will always receive everything I need. Of course not. Our lives do not afford that. But it is a mature belief to recognize my needs are real. 

And worthy of being met.

How I wish this maturity was already bed-rock solid in my heart so I could give it away to my kids. But it’s not. I have to live in the mess of learning what it is to be me while trying to teach them to be themselves.

Just to be. 


I could tell you a thousand ways I have failed. I could also tell you a thousand ways I have not given up and so have succeeded. 

Want to know what I need right now at 4:20pm on a Monday? A Lights Out Stout (thank you Worthy Brewing) and to write this blog. To wrestle with my mind and tapping-key fingers, what does it mean to ask, “What do I need?” while inviting those I love to ask themselves the same question? 

It means that two answers can be valid at the same time. Maybe my husband needs something from me I can’t give. That breaks my heart. His need is worthy AND so is the reason I can’t give it. 

May we live in that tension with love. 

It means that my 7-year-old wanted me to take him to the pool but I paid his brother to do it so I could sit out on the patio, drink my beer, and wrestle with you.

I hear your response, or maybe I hear my own response, “You are so selfish. You beer-drinking-it’s-not-even-5pm mother who thinks she is more important that her kids.” 

If we acknowledge our need, we submit ourselves to other people thinking we are selfish. Or the contempt of thinking we ourselves are selfish. But the crazy reality that we cannot give one single thing we don’t possess keeps me from believing that. I want with all my heart to ask my those I love, “What do you need?” with the ability and desire to meet them. And I cannot move nearer to that without embracing my own need. 

So today. Monday at 4:28pm. I need a community of friends. I need God to show up loud and big. I need kindness. I need direction. I need to be understood. I need kick-ass adventure. I need playfulness and big dreams. I need to know my life has an impact on others for GOOD.

I bless every need I have AND I refuse to punish those I love when they are unable to offer the hoped for response. Instead, I will live in tension of belief that we are all worthy of receiving what we need, whether we receive it or not.

May we learn to articulate need with artful precision.