This Is Me: Awakening, Enlivening, and Releasing the Self

“[The world] believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.” – Victoria Moran

Her question was so simple, so ordinary, and yet it surprised me.  Why?

After pushing an unwieldy stroller through a muddy playground, I’d settled my kids and myself onto a picnic bench with a friend and a handful of new faces.  My friend introduced me around the table, and as I spooned pureed chili into my daughter’s eager mouth, one new face yanked me from my focus and set the tone for the rest of my day.

“So, Natalie, what are Continue reading


Plan for NOW

Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now.  The conditions are always impossible.  – Doris Lessing

How many times have you felt a kick in your gut to take an opportunity, fulfill a dream, or exercise a passion, but your response to yourself was, “I don’t have time,” or “I’ll do it later,” or even worse, “The chances of success are slim.”?  Explaining my own answers to that question would take entirely too long, so let’s just agree you’ve got company here if your answer was anything greater than zero (and if it WAS zero, will you sprinkle some fairy dust on me, please?  Thanks.).

That quote above came as an inspirational nudge from a blog I recently started following, Studio Mothers, and it got me thinking about planning amidst unpredictability.  I suppose everyone experiences this to a certain extent, but I know for sure that military spouses experience a highly concentrated version of it.  It’s hard to plan even a couple months ahead sometimes, not knowing if you’ll be solo parenting, preparing for some sort of transition, or even if you’ll still be living where you are.  I don’t just mean Continue reading

Barefoot Books Launch Event!

Ready… set… LAUNCH!

My Barefoot Books Marketplace is officially open!  From now until September 22, my Launch Event is going on online.  I’m excited to welcome a number of folks on September 20 to get hands-on peeks at numerous quality children’s books, designed to spark their children’s desire to explore, learn, discover, and HAVE FUN WITH BOOKS!

But just because you aren’t in the Northern Virginia area doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the fun.  If you live out of the area and would like to place an order, simply go to my Barefoot Books web site, click “Support This Event” under the Event description on the main page, and shop!  You may also enter Event Code 000-1jyq-10300 at check-out.

While you’re there,  Continue reading

My Hero, My Son


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You see that cake?  It’s made with about 10 cups of sugar and triple the amount of guilt.  

That’s what happens after your three-now-four year old spends a whole year without Dad and then sweetly asks for a “dragon cake wiff some sort of wittwe fing on the top of it” for his birthday.  As this was the first time Mike was home on our son’s birthday since his birth, well, we went a little crazy in the cake department.  

And on his fourth birthday, as he gleefully played with his buddies and begged for his cake to come before dinner, I got to thinking about what the last year was like while Mike was deployed, and how very strong our son was.  Man, did he handle that year beautifully.  He’s all but forgotten about that deployment, and here I am feeling like I’m still getting over it, still shuddering at the word and the residual stress that creeps like ivy around my memories.  

It’s amazing how someone so small can teach you something so big.  Of all the “teachable moments” I’ve had with my son, this past year Continue reading

Carving my niche… with Barefoot Books

This blog came to life as an antidote to a post-PCS (Permanent Change of Station aka “our move”) funk that had left me feeling… well, funky.  After we unpacked, Mike went back to work, and I sat here staring at my young kids, wondering what magic I could perform to make them self-sufficient (just for a day!), and lamenting my sense of imbalance and placelessness.  I needed a niche.  I was feeling not a little bit sorry for myself, and I hate feeling that way.  I had to get rid of that feeling; I had to get up, get moving, step outside The Comfort Zone, and begin making a place for myself here in Virginia.

And – what was that strange bubbling in my blood?  What was that fire in my gut?  Was that….. Continue reading