Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Define Your Own Success.

13332882_10153451131621086_4849381083793712506_n

Girl Warrior. Determine your own definition of what being successful means. Like many of the big things you’ll do, this is an inside job. Start there. Take a long hard close look inwards at the person you are today. The one you were yesterday, last week, last month, last year, or as many years back as your memory will take you.

Then ask yourself this question. Who is this person?

Chances are, this person is somewhere on the growth chart between ‘not quite there yet’ and ‘done like dinner.’ Regardless of where you stand on the Spectrum of Light (SOL) you are incomparably perfect. Not flawless. Not without blemishes or warts. Not pristine. But perfect, not in spite of these things but because of them.

With this perspective in mind, and under your own personal magnifying glass, go in closer to see all the people, places and things that truly matter to you. What inspires your soul? Fills your mind with wonder and curiosity? Makes your heart flutter with happiness. Brings tears of joy to your eyes? Scares the shit right out of you? What drives and propels you forward? What makes you want to get up in the morning? What would you rather be doing more than anything else? What does an ideal day look like? Who do you like to be with? Who’s in your tribe and who’s missing that you wish was there? How do you find bliss? Where do you want to go? When do you start living your life? Why does it matter? And, the really great big huge colossal critical question, why are you here?

Once you have probed deeply and truthfully into the answers to these soul-searching questions, you can start to formulate a picture of what success means to you. Notice that these are questions you ask of yourself. This is a very personal quest and is nobody else’s business. Not your parents, friends, teachers, therapists, colleagues, pop icons, social media stars, fashion freaks, political leaders or anyone else that you may be under the influence. Not their life. Not their definition. Not this time.

Know this, being successful lies in your answers to these vital life-affirming questions. Only these. It’s not about wealth or power or influence or status or jobs or fame or fortune or getting ahead or climbing some corporate ladder. It’s about loving, honoring and respecting the person looking back at you in the mirror every day. It’s about knowing that your presence on Planet Earth matters.

Most importantly Girl Warrior, it’s about knowing that your life is a success because you live it fully and completely, with the utmost integrity and authenticity. And always, always, always according to your own definition. On your terms.

1329_37683354694_6152_n (1)

392603_10150449817369789_757042164_n

427175_10151867718545260_363985062_n

1381205_10151747238555918_1900063376_n

1381920_10152008195799026_514928853_n

1098174_10153341612780998_4090847435549089661_n copy

1384052_10152008197414026_302860069_n

1384209_10152008197744026_68099706_n

1507985_10152439492421223_7489185442017632190_n

10398817_15122175235_2704_n (1)

10606495_10153185453237274_2624971608740174689_n

10398932_28179950025_4554_n

13436137_10154160428350120_694407548_n

11130268_10152651090546846_8955153913238963842_n

11891103_10152973963051205_402709279555766727_n (1)

11986356_10155978543610591_1238016715934146612_n copy

1380491_10207272777124144_4148699925251215004_n

12417867_10153553409961220_5660077435803837287_n

11986582_1619437628308342_5433053464205721867_n

12088585_10153726835303653_4545743853820333615_n

13260091_1268617853168108_2638770735570534461_n

Photo Jul 17, 2 41 52 PM

 

 

 

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: On Making America Great Again.

Me and Ma Walking in Duluth

I grew up in a border town, which meant that in a mere half-hour we could be in Minnesota. Taking a drive to “The States” was something we did on a regular basis. The Old Man, Ma and I would take many a Sunday afternoon drive down to the US border just to wander around the Border Store with it’s creaky wooden floors, endless aisles of trinkets ‘n trash, and all kinds of cheap crap made of plastic.

There was also all the absolutely stupendous candy that you could only get in America. It wasn’t like today where you can get anything from anywhere no matter how far out in the boonies you live. Back then, you had to travel 40 miles south on highway 61 and cross the Pigeon River Bridge to sink you teeth into a wondrous and unforgettable Sugar Daddy, Chocolate BB Bat, Big Cherry Bar, Turkish Taffy, and the oh-so exotic wax bottle mini drinks. Good God they were good.

By the time I was a teenager we had many trips to Duluth, or even as far south as Minneapolis. Most trips were shopping excursions, which often included my older sister and at least one of her ubiquitous girlfriends. I have fond memories of the lions and tigers at the Duluth Zoo. Once the Dag Hammarskjold High School Band did a disastrous tour of Duluth High Schools. I played second clarinet. Enough said. I also made at least one trip to Duluth with my girlfriends Terry and Suzy, where we stayed in a cheap old hotel that stank of stale cigarettes and fried onions, and met two man-boys, one of which wore a toupee. I still blush when I think of it.

I loved American small towns, American boys, American music, American movie stars, American baseball, American shoes, American clothes, American potato chips, American candy and even the American flag because it had stars, which I also loved. Yes, I grew up coveting all things American. Everything about it seemed just a little bit better than what we had. I was proud to be a Canadian girl who loved America.

I remember where I was the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Mr. Ward made the announcement that fateful Friday afternoon just before our class was dismissed for the weekend. I remember how stunned and sad I was walking home from school that miserable overcast November day. I remember the excitement of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in the sultry summer of 1969. Decades later I would fictionalize the memory in my first novel, Summer in a Red Mustang with Cookies. I remember where I was the morning of September 11 when the twin towers were brought down. The Today Show’s Katie Couric delivered the devastating news in real-time as we watched in horror as they crumbled to the ground in a cloud of smoke and ash. But like the Phoenix rising, I remember how deliriously happy I was when Barack Obama became President. The Americans had a great leader again, one worthy of our respect and admiration, like Kennedy.

And then I remember how bewildered I was almost a year ago when Donald Trump announced that he was officially running for president of the United States and that he was going to make America great again. How was that even possible? First of all, I thought America was already pretty great. I thought this had to be some kind of joke, another publicity stunt, and that he didn’t stand a chance. But now, like most of us, I know that this isn’t a joke. This is seriously scary shit. Come November, it is quite possible that we could all be saying President Trump. I choke on the words.

When I look back on the America of my youth, the America I loved to visit, the America I admired, and the America I thought would be such a cool place to live, I’m sad and overwhelmed with grief by what is unfolding on the other side of the border. Over the past few months, I’ve found myself angry, frustrated, dismayed, disturbed, troubled, worried, offended, frightened and quite frankly, disappointed, ashamed and embarrassed by all the bad behavior and empty rhetoric taking place in a country I so admired. It’s like finding out your favorite uncle wasn’t at all what you thought he was, that he actually deserved to be behind bars and not held in your high esteem.

But I haven’t lost all hope. There’s still a part of me that has faith in the wisdom and intelligence of the American people; that there are more who are good, kind and equitable than ignorant, hateful and prejudiced. There is still a part of me that believes that when the rubber hits the road, the America that I loved as a young Canadian girl is still there; that these great Americans will show the world that they are too smart to listen to the reprehensible rants of a carnival barker, to be influenced by fear mongering, and most importantly, to be duped by a spoiled charlatan with deep pockets, bad hair and a shallow devious mind.

glo + boo sitting on a rail (1)

glo + ma sitting on a rail (1)

boo and Lorraine in a Duluth hotel room.

n-v2-a9eb2654-db53-414f-84ab-3514dd103471 (1)

IMG_3058

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Know When to Take Off the Kid Gloves.

556665_10150828319501266_962271158_n

Girl Warrior. Know when to take off the kid gloves. This comes with a warning, as it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially when it comes to our beloved tribe. And ourselves.

Our natural instinct is to be kind, loving, supportive and magnanimous of spirit. Our innate tendency is towards being nice, polite, agreeable and well behaved. We want to be liked. We don’t want to offend. Hurt someone’s feelings. Make another angry. Or worse yet, abandon us.

But at what cost Girl Warrior?

What do we lose by handling each other like Delicate Flowers? Does walking on eggshells really resolve issues? Is our skin really that thin? Are we so fragile that hearing the truth, and nothing but the truth, will break us? Is the fear that our authentic and genuine-selves is so unlovable that we’ll scare everyone away even those nearest and dearest?

No. None of this is true. We are not Delicate Flowers. We are not fragile, frail or feeble. Fear not. Have faith in yourself to speak from the wise and higher place within. And trust that the one hearing your words is there with you. Know that you are both strong enough to give and take a little tough talk.

Girl Warrior sometimes the most sensitive, kind and caring messages are the ones delivered when the kid gloves are off.

38005_414443946265_3504200_n (1)

320853_10150315498099577_3243835_n (1)

374858_10150456557005918_1832897928_n (1)

377188_10151161370544577_2012275078_n (1)

536540_10151065649530895_1846504109_n (1)

557067_10151066163665236_1842259539_n (1)

1930492_29462371219_1068_n (1)

1931287_48072351265_5068_n (1)

img_0131-1 (1)

 

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Ask and You Shall Receive.

10430386_10152034439016266_9160673429000252042_n (1)

Girl Warrior. Ask and you shall receive. On the surface this is such a simple concept. Easy peasy pudding and pie. You know this. But do you really? Do you get it right down deep in your gut and marrow? The place where your truth lives, where the things that matter most take flight, where your greatness is born.

Understanding the brilliance and pixie dust of asking is a big game changer.

Take a moment Girl Warrior and imagine the life you want to manifest. Picture all the things you want to have or do or see – all the magnificent people you want to draw into your world, all the places your soul beckons, and all the personal and professional boundaries you want to bust through. Think about all those fantastical things you wish and hope for and go to sleep dreaming about.

Is the astonishing life you want achievable on your own? Probably not. We’re all on the Good Ship Lollipop together and we need each other. Big time. The help you seek may only be one question away.

What’s stopping you? Is it fear?

Are you fearful of your requests? Fearful of your desires, your needs and your intense yearnings. Fearful of your hunger and all the things in life that you crave, covet, lust and thirst for. Are you fearful that your requests will fall on mocking ears, scornful ears, or worse yet, deaf ears? That your impassioned appeals will go unanswered. Do you fear that your gorgeous tender heart will break from the silence, rage and fury that beats within?

Do you ask who is listening? Who will answer? You will never know Girl Warrior unless you have the courage to ask. And if you don’t ask, you won’t ever get.

482578_10151387614316266_957578473_n (1)

562938_10151582732331266_1892085317_n (1)

1176260_10151500965726266_2036590691_n (1)

1604699_10151821638186266_1596016136_n (1)

10382989_10152034439066266_5280417193249218367_n (1)

12670561_10153202552331266_3081640125326965388_n (1)

12670861_10153186088336266_8164534201236303934_n (1)

12705734_10153202552506266_610533155932258595_n (1)

12717220_10153202552576266_5430290544047642450_n (1)

All photographs courtesy of Melissa Adams.

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Be a Shrinking Violet.

12842463_10156559835205591_1853756090_o (1)

Girl Warrior. Don’t be a shrinking violet. Ever. No, not ever. Not for any reason. Not for any person. Not in any situation. Under no circumstances or conditions.

Do not make yourself small. Do not diminish, draw back or decrease in any way your presence on this planet. For it belongs to you as much as it does any other. You have a place here. A position to defend. A stand to take. A clear and resounding voice. Let it be heard. For it is utterly magnificent.

Don’t back away from the good fight. Don’t abandon your convictions. Or betray your beliefs, ideologies or principles. Don’t let fear or any other false fabrication of your imagination prevent you from being the big girl that you are. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too big for your britches. That’s impossible. Stay vigilant and ignore ludicrous comments designed to keep you in your place. Or worse yet, keep you down.

You have big things to do Girl Warrior. Brilliant things. Bright things beyond your wildest dreams. But doing these things will require you to step out boldly and bravely into every arena as the formidable force that you are.

So put on your big gutsy pants Girl Warrior and show the world what it looks like to be too damn big for your britches.

313705_10150309843041266_1304984369_n (1)

554820_10151011489651241_447318920_n (1)

578647_10153987554213653_2969406218092059181_n (1)

941260_10152778446950652_613894752_n (1)

1922509_10151902149111568_885852437_n (1)

10426692_10152073159526846_8520895805480708578_n (1)

10492529_10202328897846343_5195773454190368562_n

10929146_840374022888_3067705033768168938_n (1)

10930996_10153054769874577_148327392510023342_n (1)

11148771_10153156291761223_7765150308215014528_n

11224574_10156194018590507_5163538444642898856_n (1)

11406836_10155687485400254_7834215217411821114_n (1)

11896011_10153232366389563_6039324497057275344_n

sher with snake

12074656_10153694093305996_5149191102599005174_n (1)

12742699_10153858332665120_3113585072760933572_n (1)

12825203_10154037600424656_1559065793_n (1)

12804549_10154581809225260_867189264_n (1)

IMG_0131 (1)

IMG_2387 (1)

12799019_10154792414063561_5249680765315297147_n (1)

cheryl 2 (1)

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Respect Yourself.

1930987_34323286219_4346_n

Girl Warrior. Respect yourself. Yes you. Hold yourself in high regard. The highest, in fact. For you are a prized and precious and perfect person. Exactly as you are now. Exactly as you always have been. And exactly as you always will be.

This does not mean you won’t change and grow. Refine, reshape and rework your life. You’ll edit, emend and evolve as you go. There will be times when you press repeat, rewind or even pause. And that’s okay. You’ll learn new things. Astonishing things that will blow your mind. You are free to try on different roles and responsibilities along the highway or dirt road of your one-of-a-kind odyssey. Abandon what doesn’t feel right in your skin. Keep all that speaks to your truth and honors the brilliant Girl Warrior that you are. For this is the essence of self-respect.

Respecting yourself is part and parcel of loving yourself. It all starts here. You unwrap them together. They are hand in glove and should not be separated. They will act as your guide, your touchstone and spiritual litmus test for everything you think, say and do. But they do ask that you think well of yourself at all times. That you hold yourself in such high regard and esteem that you wouldn’t think of causing harm to yourself. Not physically. Not emotionally. Not intellectually. Not spiritually. Not ever.

There are no exceptions Girl Warrior. Your standard is set high. It is golden. And so are you.

69787_472353396643_2979839_n (1)

10606080_10152584558645236_6269434374798071557_n

59842_10150266179220113_4072560_n

1923546_9597795995_7594_n (1)

12659783_10153827795460120_1344654464_n (1)

18028_10152818257186846_8683310443936913569_n

293548_10150365405340236_501763909_n (1)

10399999_10154472868760591_5980527598876241568_n (1)

1001875_10151618842486220_1740230929_n (1)

11046657_10155216378145507_5445246234310849647_n

1948229_10153889540490113_1630303106_n

598373_10151097766581266_699387970_n

12625975_10153335007830918_2087591136_n (1)

539088_10151027349789563_1955318587_n (1)

11535924_10153465355281522_1646722028376285016_n (1)

11987083_10152976294055946_4760577163903155532_n (1)

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Celebrate.

10169281_825954854018_3991260414717958798_n (1)

Girl Warrior. Celebrate. Everything. And anything. You can always find a reason. Take a moment every day to honor and take pleasure in something. Even the smallest and simplest. The stuff that’s so easy to overlook. The outwardly ordinary. The seemingly run-of-the-mill. Start here and let it grow. Like a heaven-sent happiness seed.

You woke up. You’re alive. You’ve been blessed with another day to give this life your best shot. A clean slate. A fresh beginning. Another day to dream and scheme and breathe utter brilliance into every single thing you do. Take note and rejoice in that astounding thought.

Make every day a special occasion. No matter where you are or who you’re with. Enjoy every second. Whoop and holler. Party hardy. Live it up. Have a ball. Kick up your heels. Be silly and make a fabulous fool of yourself. Let things get insanely messy. Eat drink and be merry. Dress up and go out on the town. Or throw a pajama party for all your besties. Celebrate your friendship, your sisterhood, and all those you hold near and dear. Crack-open a bottle of wine or a bottle of pop. Dunk Oreos in milk. Make bread and break bread. Have big wonderful meals together. Or snuggle two-by-two. Make hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and read a good book. Celebrate your priceless alone time too.

Celebrate the holidays, special occasions and all the magnificent milestones along the way. Don’t let them slip carelessly by unnoticed. For these are the markers of your life. The things you’ll look back on that will make you smile and fill your heart with joy and gratitude. These are the essentials of memory making. The lumps in your throat, the flutter in your heart, and the shiny tears in your eyes. These are your finest happy pills.

Girl Warrior, cherish the gift of celebration all the days of your life. You will never be too old.

20374_235933351643_1443030_n (1)

77137_4756899684761_1110779767_n (1)

282563_10150746238910113_1778902_n (1)

283035_10150725552405113_2960291_n (1).jpg

387597_10150459534573168_1345061253_n (1)

525813_10151655098865571_974987658_n (1)

545678_10150772527840070_1763308297_n (1)

1146571_10151530649566644_1655610633_n (1)

1384209_10152008197744026_68099706_n (1)

1743458_10151899156631568_948465474_n (1)

198409_10151792252635254_1898487007_n (1)

1798422_10151854714851846_1043918147_n (1)

10430386_10152034439016266_9160673429000252042_n (1)

10436206_10152162437015998_3995943291528104077_n (1).jpg

10606000_10152275740286644_8641320534463099119_n (1)

10553352_10152171973215689_7352590395168193023_n (1)

10698541_10152275739686644_7361247579550618014_n (1)

11224717_10153466887955120_3370435198228429291_n (1)

12036533_10153071107396205_4441158630359232288_n (1)

12286090_10156196823175507_1247101570_n (1).jpg

10341901_10152215166781220_5496720267216791269_n (1)

381455_10150531883445126_140081044_n (1)

537087_10151480576095926_1358815625_n (1)

544905_10152448307235918_7760375696915901653_n (1)

11947619_10153664357118653_8948947193219107393_n (1)

1931404_51809980807_8548_n (1)

11169902_10153779476200288_2433327306402686596_n (1)

11707600_10152879327611644_5271184574861126624_n (1).jpg

23514_416809500259_3543085_n (1)

477227_3938403780785_549513267_o (1)

1374118_10153320905985623_1981658943_n (1)

11148602_10155970590400444_5566720691089252388_n (1)

12308572_10153132216982234_4053471450561821448_n (1)

12314041_10208443343747578_8963382455183790771_n (1)

10492529_10202328897846343_5195773454190368562_n (1)

11181629_10155983482920591_4644740386093991676_n (1)

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Listen Up.

189291_10150108504826266_2325166_n

Girl Warrior. Listen up. Listen attentively and actively when someone is speaking to you. Listen empathically. Sympathetically. Conscientiously. Listen with your ears. Listen with your eyes. Listen with your heart. Engage all your senses. And your extra senses also.

Give all your attention to the one doing the talking. Whether they have come to pour their heart out and confide in you. Or pour you a cup of tea and all that is required is some comfortable conversation with a cookie.

Focus on the one across from you. Do not allow yourself to become distracted, diverted or drawn away. Don’t let anything trump or eclipse this moment between you. Turn off your cell phone. Close your tablet. Shut down your laptop. Turn off the TV. And tune in.

Then lean in. Look hard into their eyes. Let them know they matter. What they have to say matters. Their thoughts and feelings and fears and hopes and dreams count for something. This is important stuff Girl Warrior. Respect, regard and reverence are composed and crafted here in these everyday exchanges. These ordinary little tête-à-têtes that happen so often we take them for granted. These soulful heart-to-hearts that we assume will always be. But the truth is, they won’t. So don’t squander even one single solitary conversation by not being fully present.

Girl Warrior let the one across from you know that you have not only shown up, but you are fully engaged. And listening.

29052_398712776265_4401962_n

181568_10150394643570113_6576065_n

184623_10151175362886266_1683075344_n

197078_10150108491901266_2204483_n

268018_10150725545380113_6154068_n

285077_10150725593740113_3602708_n

303386_10150828316951266_572587530_n

10262159_10152363239375120_1297365456949369735_n

10363877_10152518277616266_7685472152881204428_n

10885271_10152462912101266_1631611982673336042_n

11692527_10152830588141266_2161410705091114231_n

190478_10150114141256568_3748468_n

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Judge.

11188302_10152677869471266_6098191698659457944_n (1)

Girl Warrior. Resist the urge to judge. Criticize. Condemn. Crucify. Cast aspersions or make snap decisions about the words or deeds of others. Not everything is as it appears on the surface. Nor at first blush. Outward appearances are often deceiving.

We all have a backstory that affects the present-day things that we do or think or say. And some backstories aren’t so rosy. Glowing halos do not hover above everyone’s head. For some, the crown of light has been dimmed or extinguished completely. And there is no glory. The reasons for this loss of luminosity matters not.

What matters Girl Warrior, is that you take a step back. And ditch any self-righteous attitude. Holier-than-thou posturing. False feelings of moral superiority. Shake loose the sanctimonious, smug and self-satisfied belief that you are better than the girl next to you, the one down the road, or across the world. Instead take a walk in another’s earth-worn shoes. You may find their pain unbearable. Enduring one single step impossible, much less going a mile.

For this, and only this, will allow you the grace to see things from a different perspective. To hear the true meaning in the silence between the words. To fully understand that there is usually more to the story.

And always remember this, kind and loving Girl Warrior, judgment is a door that swings both ways.

 

166634_10150394700470113_2525783_n (1).jpg

10351148_10152216094521266_6299726377599588583_n (1)

971163_10151393499291644_268009758_n (1)

971008_10151523671406644_1783669925_n (1)

10435901_10152216094836266_873591484312823477_n (1)

546093_10151330565231644_1644571200_n (1)

10550971_10152167732801568_491274296887628535_n-3 (2)

548153_10151000440476266_472715410_n (1)

IMG_0553 (1)

IMG_0543 (1)

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Help One Another.

IMG_1674

Girl Warrior. Help one another. By doing so you elevate everyone. You all rise to a loftier place. Reach that higher ground of understanding, compassion, empathy and healing. You have this power, not only in your hands, but in your great big expansive heart. This is one of the most profound secrets to accomplishing great things.

Go out into the world shoulder to shoulder. Hand in hand. Side-by-side. Create a brighter future. Together.

Be there when called upon. Be there when and where you are needed. Be there when it’s achingly difficult. Be there in good times and in bad. Be there even when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable. Be the girl you’d want in your corner, have your back, when life delivers its worst blows or finest triumphs.

Be that girl.

See your face in the face of other girls. Although they may look differently, don’t be fooled by exteriors, by facades or appearances, for they are Girl Warriors just like you. They have dreams and plans and visions for their lives. Exquisite minds. Magnificent intelligence. Beautiful brains. You aren’t merely sisters with travelling pants. You are sisters with travelling spirits that transcend the limitations of time and place. You are connected and united in more ways than you may realize. And you can make an enduring difference. You possess the power to change things.

Know this.

None of this is easy work. No small feat. Not for the faint-hearted. But you are a Girl Warrior. You are cut from a different cloth. You are not only up for the task but you were born for it. It’s tailor-made and designed just for you. So go out and celebrate one another. Applaud, cheer, praise, encourage, comfort, inspire, motivate, support, respect, and above all, love one another.

Reach out. Extend your hand. Help each other. Not only to get through this life but to create a life that is mind-blowingly extraordinary. Beyond your widest imaginings.

Go Girl Warrior. Go now and handcraft a brighter future.

http://becauseiamagirl.ca

http://www.dayofthegirl.org/

IMG_1647

IMG_1701

IMG_1637

IMG_1687

IMG_1633

IMG_1669

IMG_1714

IMG_1621