Embracing change can be hard, but focusing on the upside helps.

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Parenting is loaded with ups and downs. Ultimately, you hope the good outweighs the bad.

I feel lucky to have often said, “If I had a dollar for every instance I wished for a machine that could freeze this moment in time, I’d be a millionaire by now.”

When, in fact, those moments themselves made me rich a long time ago.

  • The fresh smell of your toddler’s hair after a bath.
  • The smile your preschooler shines on you from the front row of a holiday concert.

Even when traveling together isn’t easy.

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The first summer after my oldest was born, we took a last-minute trip to Cape Cod with my parents, packing the car with all the “necessities,” including a stroller, a portable crib, a bouncy seat and a “compact” highchair. You can imagine how crowded our 4-door sedan was and why we bought a large SUV the following year.

Little did we know at the time, but that impromptu excursion marked the first of many memorable family vacations. …

An exercise in self-discovery

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Halfway through Year Two of running my own freelance writing and consulting business, I’ve already experienced a couple of significant epiphanies. I’ve still got plenty to learn, but these initial lessons have been extremely eye-opening.

Lesson One

If self-confidence is something you struggle with, it may be the only thing standing in your way of professional freedom. Try owning it and move forward.

For most people, self-awareness comes with age. Now that I’m in my mid-fifties, one thing I understand about myself is that I’m insecure. Not everyone can see that, but it’s true.

Why that’s important is that I’ve finally accepted…

And for the chance to feel like a kid again.

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I have always been intrigued by the human brain, especially as it relates to memory. Why can we remember song lyrics from back in high school but sometimes struggle to recall what we had for breakfast this morning?

Some people can easily retain names, not numbers, while others are the opposite. And oftentimes it takes something to trigger a memory — a smell, a taste, a specific word, or visual.

It’s also my understanding that significant and/or traumatic events are easier to remember than normal everyday occurrences. For instance, most mothers can recite the play-by-play of their labor and delivery…

I know it, but I can’t stop

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I joined Medium to become a better writer. And I think it’s working. I’m able to learn from others by reading their work, and it has helped me develop a more consistent writing practice. Win-win!

But over the past year and half, I’ve been lured away by the “dark side” of this platform, too. I spend way too much time checking my Medium stats. As if I’ve got a tick or something. I don’t even submit that often, usually about four times a month. …

It might sound simple, but expect some pitfalls along the way

Image by Monty Todd from Pixabay

Writing can be like running through an obstacle course. You may start out racing freely down your own path, but sooner or later you’re met by a series of challenges. Spelling and grammar for starters — those can’t be avoided. But once editors, agents and publishers weigh-in on your draft, it’s important to remember why you began that draft in the first place. Their job is to help you improve upon your writing, get it ready to send out into the world in its best possible form.

But the more time I spend writing, the more I find myself thinking…

Thank You Notes Week #11

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Sometimes a simple moment expands in magnitude when it’s perfectly timed, making you that much more grateful than you would have been otherwise.

Here’s what I mean:

I’ve been feeling kind of down lately. Both my daughters have moved away and are busy with their new lives. My husband is back to traveling during the week, so it’s often just me and my 19-year-old son in the house this summer.

Anyone who has had a boy that age knows exactly what he’s doing these days. Working, sleeping, eating, and hanging out with his friends. Not much time for me — as it should be.

And meet my neighborhood eagles—Stars and Stripes

Photo by Paul R. Heidorf (Author’s dad)

I couldn’t think of a more perfect story to share today than the one of Stars and Stripes — not the “forever” kind as in John Philips Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever, but two very special birds of prey that have taught me a lot about freedom, nature, and community over the past seven years.

In November 2014, a pair of bald eagles built a nest above the playground where my son went to elementary school. It was an unlikely spot for an eagles’ nest, and many folks in town predicted they…

And start by putting yourself out there

Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

Everyone loves a good celebration, and lauding your writing accomplishments is just as important as partaking in birthday parties, retirement luncheons, and events honoring other important milestones. But, as writers, many of us are shy and introverted. Singing the praises of our success doesn’t always come naturally and sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zones — especially if we want to grow our audience.

I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to literary celebrations. Most people in my social circle don’t even know that I’m a writer, so who am I to offer up any advice on…

Concerns over what appears to be a dwindling work ethic.

Photo by Linda Eller-Shein from Pexels

I don’t have to look further than my own home to find evidence of how the work ethic in this country has changed. I’m not bashing my 19-year-old son when I say that he got his very first job this year. This year. To all you Generation Xers and beyond, let that sink in for a moment. My guess is that if you were born anywhere around the same time I was (mid-60s), you had your first job earlier in life than that.

I started babysitting as soon as I could, got an early taste of how nice it was…

Susan Poole

Mother, lawyer, nonprofit executive, breast cancer survivor, and aspiring author. Recently left her day-job to write about topics that she’s passionate about.

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