When Yellow Blooms

“Yellow! You need yellow.” Relaxing with my friend, Astrid, in my new garden patio along with an intimate group of high-school girlfriends and their spouses, I had asked her “what other flowers should I plant?” As a novice gardener, I thought she could guide my horticultural efforts. Expecting a concrete answer about plant varieties or continuous blooming techniques, I was Continue reading When Yellow Blooms

Left-Handed in a Right Handed World

After writing signatures with our non-dominant hands, we agreed that the action was clumsy, unnatural, inefficient—and our signatures turned out distorted. I was taking a certification course to become a facilitator in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) with a group who primarily represented the helping professions (social work, education, counseling). One of my innate, left-brain preferences came vividly into focus during the week-long Continue reading Left-Handed in a Right Handed World

Big Meadow in Norway

As I set off for school with my older sister, Cindy, I heard the neighborhood kids shouting, “There’s Cindy Big Meadow!” and chanting, “Jean Big Meadow!” I shrunk away, confused and embarrassed, while Cindy went off to figure out what was up. She came back to explain that our neighbors’ Norwegian grandma was visiting, who had told them that “stör” Continue reading Big Meadow in Norway

Miracle on Lazy M

“Turn off the wind!” 4-year-old Jackson hollered as we paused a short way into our first run of our second family ski trip to Red Lodge, Montana. Everyone was excited to ski Lazy M again, a 2.5-mile cruising run with spectacular vistas. Abby, Jackson, and I were getting slapped by a howling wind as we waited for others to catch Continue reading Miracle on Lazy M

A Puzzling Family Gathering

With sub-zero temperatures predicted for the holiday weekend, we decided to order a jigsaw puzzle and chose a picture of Santa’s Workshopthat was supposed to glow in the dark. On Christmas Eve day, we set up the 1,000-piece puzzle on a portable table in the center of our gathering space. An hour into the project, it started to feel overwhelming. I Continue reading A Puzzling Family Gathering

From Peaceful Evening to Stormy Night

After enjoying a pleasant picnic on an island in Lake Minnetonka, our friend Cindy and I gathered up dinner gear as the sun slipped into the horizon, leaving a splash of color behind. Busy chatting as we set up for a campfire and tucked gear away before dark, we didn’t notice that the sky had changed. We were startled when Continue reading From Peaceful Evening to Stormy Night

Lessons from Croup and Captain Hook

Four-year-old Jackson sounded like a seal barking as he called from his bedroom one wintery Sunday afternoon. I’d put him down for a nap an hour earlier and hoped sleep would curtail his cough. He was frightened and struggling to breathe. A call to our doctor: “hang up and dial 911.” The ambulance arrived in no time, and medics whisked Continue reading Lessons from Croup and Captain Hook

“From Grinch to Our Neighbor” Inspires Imagination

We dreaded the arsenic hour … 5:00-6:00 pm, the first hour that Abby was home from day care. She would melt down and become inconsolable over small things. After a series of tantrums, she would retreat to her room (or be sent into a time out) and re-emerge with a new outfit … often dressed as a character. Princess, bride, Continue reading “From Grinch to Our Neighbor” Inspires Imagination

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

When I was in graduate school, I worked as the Nutrition Coordinator for an Adult Fitness/Cardiac Rehab program associated with the university I attended. It was a fairly new position in the organization without a lot of structure and process in place. Bright-eyed, naïve, and optimistic, I brought forward a lot of new ideas to enhance and expand the nutrition Continue reading Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

What I Learned from the Accidental Thief

After herding my three rambunctious and exhausted kids out of the ski chalet, I discovered that my skis were missing. In a panic, I alerted my husband, and we searched high and low … to no avail. As I went inside to report the (probable) theft, he did some sleuthing and noticed that close to where I’d stored my skis Continue reading What I Learned from the Accidental Thief