Knowing Who I Am/The Journey Continues

Today, I finished a workshop with a number of youth-serving professionals called Knowing Who You Are by the Casey Foundation to identify and propose strategies for addressing personal and professional biases.

I loved it. So much of what I write about is related to identity and the benefits to finding our roots. Whether it’s about finding a lost family member or the trauma created by interpersonal violence or parental kidnapping, for me, it is all based on the critical journey of getting to know who you are.

6-3-2010-2_58_35-PMThere is much about my culture that I don’t know since I grew up in a splintered home. What foods do people of my ethnic or cultural group love? What traditions did my family observe?  Honestly, I have no idea.

What I do know, having talked to around twenty strangers for the past two days, is that there are a lot of people like me (and like my kids) who have missing family members that they hope to find and reunite with, and it’s  that journey that helps us develop healthy racial and ethnic identities.

I go to great efforts and expense to know my family in Kentucky and Indiana, and it’s been one of the greatest joys of my life. I get to see them every two years, and I can’t imagine my life without them. But I’ve made much too little effort to know my maternal relatives from Louisiana. That’s on my bucket list, I’ve decided.
What were your family’s traditions growing up? Do your people eat anything in particular that brings you comfort and joy?

There’s no question that you can create a new family in life if you need to, but getting to know and accept your history, finding your lost family members goes a great distance in truly knowing who you are.

Have a great week. I’ll be off with my kids in the sun, having some intense family time and getting some much-needed rest and relaxation.


A Few of My Favorite Things in 2014

2014-01-03 20.22.23-2Happy New Year!

Every New Year, I like to recap one thing I’m proud of that happened over the past year.

On New Years Day in January, 2014, I made a bucket list item come true. I went to France  and Italy alone and made memories, some of which were transformational.

Then I came home and wrote about them, and my essay got published in A Girls’ Guide to Travelling Alone by Gemma Thompson, which instantly became a Kindle bestseller in the UK! And through that book, I made more lovely connections with other contributors that were equally transformational.

Yes, 2014 was punctuated by many deaths of family and friends and professional challenges. It was also a year of home renovations, and the year I turned 50! But what I love so much are the connections- old and new- that have been solidified.

My 50th Birthday party!
My 50th Birthday party!

Those, and some awesome books I read.

My four top favorite books I read in 2014  were:

1) Swimming with Maya by Eleanor Vincent

2) The Removers by Andrew Meredith (no relation, but I wish!)

3) A Girl’s Guide to Travelling Alone by Gemma Thompson

4) My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends edited by Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger

Truth be told, if someone would have told me in 1990 when I was filing for a restraining order and signing up for food stamps, or in 1995, when I went on my first solo trip overseas to find my kidnapped daughters, that my life would ever be this rich with family, friends, work, and adventures, I would have told them they were hallucinating.

It’s been a far from perfect life,  but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What did you accomplish or live through in 2014 that  you want to remember? And have you read any great books lately?

Thanks always for stopping by!