The Park



The local park looks shabby now. The tops of the play structure have turned a light blue and yellow. It’s all kind of run-down looking and you wonder- did it always look like this?

My kids are at home or at school, working and doing homework on iPads and computers. Checking their grades on school portals. Practicing their instruments. Selling Girl Scout cookies and attending Boy Scout meetings where they plan the highlight of their scouting career- the infamous Northern Tier trip. Everything seems heavy and carries an air of finality to it. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too sensitive or too serious.

I drive past the park at least once a day. I think a lot while I’m driving. I do a lot of driving. I remember our park days.

There was the time we landed there early- like 8:30 in the morning of a muggy summer day. We met friends there- the usual suspects. There was no plan, soccer balls, food nor blankets. Our kids didn’t ask us to log onto our hot spot. They didn’t complain they were bored. Half hour in- the sprinklers came on throughout the park area. We had the whole park to ourselves. The kids and adults shrieked with delight as we ran free through the sprinklers, our damp clothes sticking to our bodies and hair hanging in our face- a moment frozen in time. A moment of complete freedom and joy.

I remember being a young mom at this park. Nursing one baby in a sling and chasing the other. Pushing my babies in the infant swings. Then transitioning to chasing after them to make sure they didn’t fall off the structure. To our dismay, they loved heading to the big structures where the big kids were. Then finally graduating to teaching them to pump their legs and swing high. We held picnics and potlucks there. We flew planes and kites there. The mountains were our backdrop to our life. There was always a new Mom to connect and pass the morning with. Our conversations were always interrupted and I recall we would tell each other- just wait until they are older- we will have all the time in the world- then indeed we will be able to finish this conversation.

Our days seemed like they’d just go on for all time. The plan was always this- let’s run them ragged for 2-3 hours- then go home, throw them in the tub, make a quick Mac and cheese dinner so they’ll be in bed by 7:30. A glass of red wine was always our reward before going to bed and doing it all again the next day.

I go to the park every now and then- between the soccer games and farmer’s market – always on the way to somewhere else. The park is no longer the primary destination- it is merely an interruption on our journey to somewhere else. I don’t recognize any of the faces anymore. I’m at least 10, okay maybe 15 years older than everyone there.  I feel like an odd duck- an imposter- my face is not shiny and new and that optimism and open-mindedness that accompanies new parents is no longer in my DNA. That belongs to the new ones- with new babies in slings and swings- calling after them with that sing-songy voice. You know the one. The one you used to use that now drives you nuts when you hear new moms using it.

My kids? They are at home. He is stressed out because there’s 38 honors geometry homework questions that are on top of the test, the history quiz and spanish homework. Due tomorrow. Real dinners with equal amounts protein and veggies need to be made and someone needs to be picked up from somewhere- every day of the week. There are parent-teacher conferences, awards ceremonies, PTA meetings, reading nights and school fundraisers to attend. The red wine has been replaced with Kombucha because alcohol keeps you awake at night and between the pre-menopausal night sweats and anxiety over how you will pay for college – sleep is something you need so much more of these days.  That and our thickening waist-lines simply cannot tolerate the alcohol any longer. We wave to our mom friends in the school pick-up lane and text in case of more urgent matters. Sometimes we get together with those who have’t yet returned to the workforce- we grab a bite to eat, we hike and we talk- all uninterrupted.

Sometimes things just change. And you have to change with them. But you still drive past the park at least once a day and you remember.



I’m writing. I just hopped onto the WordPress site for the first time in a long time. I kind of don’t recognize the person who wrote all the articles here. I have taken a long break from my blog and writing. I don’t even know if I will publish this quite honestly. What I do know is that I must write and create because it is killing me inside, quietly and softly- not to.

Last December, I attended a conference at the Japanese American National Museum for a local organization here in town that focuses on art policy throughout the state of California. I sat in the large audience of people and then we were assigned break-out groups that we would share the morning with. My break-out group consisted of about 20 women ages 45+. I did not know a single soul there- all of them strangers. We were asked to introduce ourselves- you know the drill- tell me your name and a little bit about yourself and why you are here. For some odd reason, I felt compelled to be completely honest with this group of strangers. I think it’s because I didn’t know anyone personally and didn’t care if they judged me or thought me absolutely insane. But I was shocked by the words that came out of my mouth and I instantly regretted saying them the minute they came out but then what followed was a surprise. What I said was the following:

My name is Elizabeth and I have no idea really what I am doing here. I am a mother of three, husband to one, juggling my three children’s lives, active community volunteer, struggling professionally around ideas of identity and how to move forward and I love to write and tell stories but for some insane reason, I have not written one word in almost a year and I know that what is holding me back is FEAR. I am so afraid of moving forward into whatever lies ahead of me. Fear is holding me back from living my life.

When I uttered that word- Fear- there was a large collective GASP from every woman in the room. It was quite unbelievable. I had just tapped into what we were all feeling – despite touting backgrounds and experience and validation as to why we were there in that room. I was as shocked as everyone else was in that room by my words. Until that moment- when I announced that to the group- I had finally released what I had been feeling for quite some time but had not verbalized out loud to myself or others. But apparently I am not the only one carrying around this fear. From there, we engaged in an open dialogue as to what fear does to us and how it holds us back from living the best lives we can. I am grateful that my open honesty was met with sincere openness. Given another room full of different people- it could have turned out another way.

And so I will write. I will live some days in the shadow of my fear. Other days, I will step out of it. But I’m gonna write- yes I am. I will tell my stories again. I can’t guarantee that I will publish all of them- in fact- I know many of them I will not. I need to write and create- of that I am certain. How I will share my stories with the world remains to be seen. It will be a journey and process of that I am sure.

What are you afraid of? How is it holding you back from living your life?

To New Beginnings and 18 Years of Marriage

You might be wondering where I’ve been in the last month. Long story short. We moved back to California, moving company was 2 weeks late in delivering our stuff and all 3 kiddos began a new school year while my husband transitioned to a new work setting. As for me? A million crazy, outlandish things happened and at a certain point all I could do was laugh. So many great stories to share and I will at a certain point. For now, I am relishing in being home where I belong and creating my new normal. Work has picked up and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to do meaningful work with nonprofit organizations that are changing lives.

On this Labor Day, I’m thinking about my husband and one of the greatest journeys I ever embarked on- getting married 18 years ago. I literally had no idea what I was doing but in a way I think that’s the way it should be- that’s life- stepping off the ledge- hoping for the best and knowing you’ve got to prepare for a little turbulence. So- here’s to new beginnings- that we never grow so comfortable that we are afraid to step off that ledge. I’m off to push my family into joining me for a hike in our beloved canyons this morning. In the meantime, while I catch my breath- I leave you with this piece written during my last week in St. Louis. Many blessings to you all…


The cicada’s song has returned and serenades us upon dusk. The out of nowhere monsoon thunder and lightning storms have resumed as well.We chase the fireflies around the yard and marvel at their lights. The ground smells strong after a good storm and the birds and bunnies remind us of how much life there is in the world.

I’m not scared anymore.

One year ago we landed in St. Louis, ready for an adventure and yet so sad to leave California. Also scared because I knew this move would bring so many changes and I was afraid of how those changes might affect us.

The past few years had caught up with us. My father-in-law’s stage IV cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing along with the aftermath. Ever watched a person die before your eyes? It’s a frightful thing and as you watch the horror unfold in front of you, control is slipping out of your hands and you realize this is how we all end. Life and marriage and kids and problems had turned us into shells of what we had been in our younger days, we found ourselves scrapping through, with no gusto for life- our feet heavy upon waking and hitting the hardwood floor most mornings. And then out of nowhere- poof- we were moving to St. Louis! Everything you thought about your life and what you knew about gone in that instant.

Although we didn’t know it at the time- we had just hit the re-start button for our lives. What an incredible gift. People entered our lives that we didn’t even know we needed. Experiences were had that we didn’t even know we needed to experience. But most importantly- our most valuable lesson is that we learned to laugh and find the joy in life and in each other again.

It is time for this family to go home back to California. We will pick up where we left off but from a different place. Continue our adventure we will- seeking out those people who are a bit different- the outsiders if you will- realizing how hard it is to be the person that no one talks or relates to, the person that doesn’t quite fit the narrative. Always looking for new places to discover, new journeys to travel, new experiences to have so we can continue to learn about ourselves.  We will challenge ourselves to be more empathetic, caring, loving and open. We will try our hardest to protect our sacred family time and space amidst the crazy of life and not overburden ourselves with outside commitments.

I’m not scared anymore.



Life is Like a Box of Chocolates


My new friend Faraday’s Candle is participating in the quote challenge and has invited me to join in the fun.

I would like to invite my new friend Inpromptu Promptlings to join me!

Post one quote a day for 3 days 

Challenge one new blogger per day for 3 days

Forrest Gump’s journey through the classic film”Forrest Gump” communicates a core, universal message – that all of us are on our individual life journeys, sometimes drifting like a tiny feather through the wind, so vulnerable and fragile- the slightest wind pushes us into a completely different direction, finds us in a place we never could have imagined. Yet, our ability to find happiness and peace within our current situation depends on how we react to those winds of change.

One year ago I was living in my forever home in Los Angeles- you know that place where you think they will drag your dead body out of because you don’t plan on going anywhere for the next however many years? Had no clue what was in store for me in the future. One year later, I sit here in St. Louis, Missouri-  thousands of miles away from my forever home.

I’ve always enjoyed the milk chocolate with cherry fillings. These days, however I am prone to caramel and pecan. I don’t put back the “bad” chocolates back into the box if I find them disgusting, as I did as a small child. I have learned to eat them anyways and try to find something sweet about each one of them.