the nest

the nest

Monday, July 17, 2017

my new world order...

July 17th! How did it get to be July 17th?? Between final dance recitals, graduation, parties, guests, travels, running my current business and prepping to launch my new business, I could use a nap!

The only way that I can function these days is by chunking my time~ One of the luxuries of working from home the way I have been for years is that I've been able to manage lots of different things at one time ~ this hasn't always been the most productive strategy, but for the most part I've been able to keep my family humming along and my business floating above water.

Now that guests AND kids are gone for the summer, I have found that too much flexibility for myself has become a liability! The last few weeks I've been working on deliberately chunking my time for different tasks rather than trying to multi-task everything. Wouldn't you know it works?!?

When I focus my attention in blocks of time for different parts of my life - coaching, Music Together, self-care, home-care - more gets done and I feel more calm and focused.

Having a home business can be such a great way to balance you life, but it can also turn into a never ending hamster wheel of crazy!

I have gradually stopped answering my phone when I am not "working" unless it is someone I can identify. I have responding to e-mails as soon as they come in. Instead, I'm responding to phone messages and e-mails when I can sit down and focus on the task at hand.

I love hearing how other people organize their time. What's your strategy? If you don't have one currently, what has worked in the past? Is there a strategy you've thought about trying, but just haven't done it yet?

I'd love to hear from you ~ you never know who you might learn from!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Out of the Nest and into the World

May 31st my middle chick turned 21. June 12th my oldest chick turns 24. June 13th my youngest chick graduates from HS. Chick number 1 lives on his own. Chick number 2 will be home for just over a week before heading to NH for the summer and then back to IA for her Senior year of college. Chick number 3 leaves the end of June for NH and then to IA to begin college.

By the end of June my nest will be empty. Aside from visits home and perhaps a few months here or there when they need a place to "land," my chicks will be launched.

This whole blog began 6 or so years ago when Chick number 1 was a Senior in HS. When I look back I realize what an amazing journey it has been! I have grown and changed more since my children began their transition to adulthood than I ever imagined I would. My attitude towards life, politics, parenting and myself has grown-up along with them. I am both more AND less tolerant. I am more careful with my words, but more willing to share those I choose. I am more patient with children who are learning how to be in the world and less patient with grown-ups who don't know how to behave in the world. Mostly I love and appreciate myself and my life more and more everyday. I feel more responsibility to my local community and the worldwide community.

When I began writing it was about launching my children and myself into the world. Now I'm ready to share what I've learned to help others do the same.

I look forward to transforming the focus of Out of the Nest to helping other women both settle in to feel safe and supported, as well as brave and strong enough to jump out into the world when they are ready. I will be there to jump with you or to catch you.

Ready?

Friday, May 19, 2017

The first day...

Today is the first day of my 50th year.

Today my youngest child will attend her Senior Prom - as a family, this is Prom number 9.

The "lasts" are coming fast and furious this month! The last HS musical last weekend, the last Chorus Concert yesterday, the last Prom today...

This time is full of mixed emotions. I am so ready to "graduate" from High School. 10 years has been a good run, but I'm ready to move on. At the same time, these years have been full of music, friends, community and love as my children have grown into amazing young people, both because of and in spite of the community they grew up in.

I'm ready to shift my volunteer focus away from school events and committee's towards community events and committee's. I'm ready to dive more deeply into life as an entrepreneur. With fewer "mom" demands on my time I will have fewer excuses and look forward to holding myself accountable for using my time well and growing my business.

I'm sad to leave these days behind. I'm not sure if it's because I've loved them or because I'm afraid I didn't love them enough. "The days are long but the years are short." I don't know who said it first, but it's true. I've always been guilty of looking ahead ~ just look at birthdays! 29 was harder than 30, 39 was harder than 40 and I suspect 49 will be harder than 50.

This year, my 50th, I want to continue to focus on being in the moment. Planning for the future, but really seeing what is happening around me and being PRESENT. Rather than fretting about being almost 50, I want to enjoy 49.

As the "lasts" continue this month and next, I will enjoy them all. I will cry and laugh and probably take too many pictures. I am so proud of the children I have raised and enjoy them more and more as adults every day ~ the years to come will be different for sure, but I'm excited to follow the journey's of each of my "chicks" and am excited to continue my own journey as it diverges from theirs.

Here's to a new year of taking risks, learning new things and enjoying every minute!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Don't mess with the Mama

In our backyard we have a pavilion - picture a 3 bay carport with a fireplace at one end. It sounds like an awesome outdoor living space, but really it's on it's last legs. What it does best is house the 10-12 nests that are built in it each Spring.

Every Spring my husband fights a losing battle with the Mama birds. They build the nests, he takes them down, they rebuild them faster and quickly lay their eggs. Before you know it there are baby birds cheeping away and I won't let him take the nests down anymore.

Those Mamas are a force to be reckoned with! They are absolutely confident that their nests belong in the eaves and no matter what happens they successfully launch dozens of baby birds every year!

As I'm working on developing my focus as a coach, I find myself looking more and more at ways to empower and strengthen women. Right now in our world it can seem terrifying to be a woman. The current political climate threatens to pull us backward. At the same time it is so exciting as more and more women are finding the confidence and strength to jump into the political fray. I'm confident that the current assault on women's rights and protections is a last gasp from an old guard. 

Women are like those mama birds; persistent and determined. No matter how many times we are pushed back, we will come back stronger than ever. We will become more efficient and connected. We will support each other, sharing ideas and resources to lift everyone up instead of stepping on others to move ourselves ahead.

This is the community I want to build. One that supports and empowers. One that reaches out to women of all demographics to give them confidence and support to trust themselves as they create a life for themselves and their families that feels good.

It's time for us to stop following rules that make no sense. It's time for us to create work and family structures that make sense in our world today, not try to fit into ones that worked 50 years ago. It's time to ask the question "why?" whenever someone says "because that's how we do it" or "because that's the rule." It's time for us to stand together as a community to make the world better for everyone, not just the privileged few at the top. Don't mess with the Mama.... She is stronger and more determined that you will every know.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy May Day!

May is here!
May is always a big month for me. There is something about the new babies, flowering trees, warmer temperatures and new energy that gets me going.

May is my birth month. It's the month of Mother's Day and the birth month of child number 2. It feels celebratory and inspiring. It feels validating.

This May will include a series of "lasts." Our last Prom. Our last HS musical production. Our last HS concert. While we are ready to graduate from HS for the last time, I would be totally lying if I said that each of these "lasts" weren't tinged with a little sadness. I want to relish each of them. I want to fully experience them with my child so I can really and truly say goodbye to this chapter of my life.

This month I also dig deeper into creating a new professional path for myself. My Music Together work just gets richer and more satisfying and will continue on. In addition to this work I'm beginning to explore the world of Life Coaching. I'm in the early phase where I'm creating an identity and a focus. Who is my ideal client? What can I teach them? How can I support them? What do I have to offer? Lots of questions to answer! Having a coach to take me through this process is certainly the only way I would actually make it happen, but at times it feels indulgent. I need to own the investment and take full advantage of the opportunities to learn and grow if I am to be successful. I don't have to do it by myself.

While my momentum is building, I'm still finding myself "hiding" in my nest ~ putting off my list of "to-do's" in favor of snuggling with the dogs. Watching netflix with child number 3. I don't quite trust my wings yet. To feel safe I need to build my network of support. Those who will catch me if I fall. Isn't this what parenting is all about?? I feel almost as if I'm 18 again and ready to leap... but not quite.

As parents, we create a "nest" for our young ones. A safe space to learn and grow. Some children can't wait to jump out and others need a little more time to feel safe. Either way, we want them to know that they can always come back if they need to ~ to re-group, re-charge, re-focus.
Sometimes they jump before they are ready ~ we want to catch them when they fall, but some fall too fast.
Sometimes they get stuck and refuse to jump ~ a nudge becomes necessary to get them moving! If they don't trust themselves, we need to help them along by making it clear that WE trust them. We know they have what it takes to create a life for themselves. If we have done our job as parents, they will trust US, take a breath, spread their wings, and fly.
One way or another, our children will grow and go. When that happens it's back to us. Deep sigh.

In less than 6 weeks, Helen will graduate from HS. Both girls will spend the summer working at Camp Calumet in NH as they have before, and then will head to college; one for the first year, and one for the last year. My truly empty nest begins soon.

Here's the thing though. There will always be room in my "nest" for anyone who needs a place to re-group, re-charge, re-focus. Sometimes it will be my children. Sometimes it will be friends. Hopefully it will be future clients. A "nest" isn't just a physical home for me. It is a metaphorical "safe space." A judgement free zone where you don't need to apologize for resting your "wings."

Through the season of new life, new energy and new beginnings, I will be taking time to sink in to my "nest." I will continue to develop my skills and "muscles." I will continue to soak up the "lasts" with Helen and will be available to her as much as I can be to enjoy it all.

In June, she and I will both fly out into the world. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tomorrow I jump.

I've started this post multiple times over the past month - in my head of course - but haven't just sat down to write. When my oldest was getting ready to graduate, I had to write. I had to process. I cried all year long. When my second was getting ready to graduate, I needed to write too, but I was less teary. I'd been through it once before and had realized that while graduating was big, it was more of a starting point than an end point. My first had left, but stayed in contact. With the second I was as excited about the adventures to come as I was about the "end" HS graduation represented.

Now, after 10 years in High School, the youngest is getting ready to fly. She is finding her way and while there have been plenty of struggles, the path is pretty clear and as she heads into the last few months her excitement about the life to come is beginning to outweigh the "senioritis" that marked the first half of the year. As a family, we are ready to "graduate" from HS for the last time!

This time around my attention has not so much been on launching child 3 out of the nest, but launching myself. Life has been pretty great up to this point and I've been able to do work I love while being the available parent at home. That changes next year. The time spent driving kids, running errands for kids, cleaning up after kids, feeding kids, nagging kids and on and on, will be over.

So much of what I love about parenting will continue ~ loving, listening, laughing, advising. The time intensive part is wrapping up. We have made the choice over the years to work with a smaller family budget in order to make it possible for me to be available as our children were growing. While I wouldn't change that decision for a minute, I would be lying if I said it wasn't a struggle. We have more debt than we would like and the stress we have experienced around money has taken too much time and energy.

I started looking at the years ahead. So much time to dig deeper into my business! It's time for me to increase my income so we can eliminate the debt we've taken on and build on our future plans to travel and someday retire. Let's be honest. No one goes into Early Childhood ANYTHING to make money. Why not take this time to dive into a whole new career? Not so easy. First, I LOVE WHAT I DO. Loving what I do makes me a happier person and when I'm happier, my family is happier. Second, like so many women who have stayed home to raise families, I've been out of the work force long enough that I'm both over-qualified and under-experienced for the few jobs that have any appeal to me at this point in life.

How do we move into these next years???? For so long, I've had my sweet little business, but have primarily been Andi, Katy and Helen's Mom. For many women it's even more dramatic. So many spend the years of childrearing completely focused on raising their families, volunteering in their communities and taking care of everyone but themselves. Years of education get dusty on a shelf and dreams of careers fade away.  Music Together has given me a professional community to connect with and opportunities to grow and I'm certain that having this work has made me a better Mom. I have opportunities to move forward within this community as I train to be a Teacher Trainer and find ways to nurture and grow my business. So much to look forward to!!

So what's with the complete lack of focus and motivation lately to do anything other than stay home with the dogs and the last of my chicks, binge watching shows on Netflix and ignoring the list on my phone of things that need to be attended to?

I'm not afraid of sending my children out into the world. They are more than ready and I'm excited to see where life takes them. I'm afraid of heading out into the world myself. For 24 years I've had an excuse to "back out" whenever life felt overwhelming. "My family needs me." "I need to be available to my kids." Excuses that have sheltered me from both the risk of failure, but also the risk of success.

For years I've said to myself, "You have so much to offer, but if you really dove in, the kids and family would suffer." What a load of CRAP. Let's be honest. I'm a lousy cook - I don't keep a particularly clean house. It's fine, but I certainly don't spend a whole lot of time on it. I am really good at laundry. That's my claim to fame at home. I'm a pretty good chauffeur too, but I've been hiding behind my children for years and now they are on their way. Jeff more than carries his load at home and has always been 100% behind whatever makes me happy. The only thing that has held me back is that FEAR.

FEAR that I'll fail. FEAR that I'll succeed. FEAR that people will figure out I have no idea what I'm talking about. FEAR that I'll disappoint.

This is the year that it changes. I'm jumping out of the nest with Helen and am moving forward with my life and career. Tomorrow I start a year of working with a Coach ~ building my business and creating additional ways to use the skills and knowledge and passion I already have to expand what I can offer to the world and increase what I contribute to my family.  For years I've made excuses. I've had a difficult time claiming the title of "small business owner." I haven't taken myself seriously or in anyway "owned" who I am and what I am capable of. I've found my voice, but now all that talk needs to be turned into action.

Tomorrow is the day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Expand your definition of Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day ~ not because of the Hallmark Holiday, chocolate, flowers, romantic love stuff.
I love LOVE. All kinds.

LOVE makes the world go round.

LOVE me do.

LOVE is LOVE is LOVE is LOVE.

When we limit "LOVE" to romantic love we diminish all the other kinds of love that surrounds us.

I LOVE my husband.

I LOVE my children - fiercely.

I LOVE my friends - girl friends, boy friends - all of them.

I LOVE my students and their families.

I LOVE my siblings and nieces and nephews and in-laws.

I am LOVED by so many in return.

I LOVE Valentine's Day because it reminds me that LOVE is something we all need AND we can all give. LOVE is free and it grows exponentially.

Try it today - LOVE someone you don't know today. Buy a cup of coffee for a stranger. Hold open a door. Smile and say HELLO. It's amazing how little it takes to warm someone's heart.

If you are feeling sorry for yourself because you don't have a "Valentine," choose one! Pick someone who could use a Valentine too and show them some LOVE.

Valentine's Day can be all about consumer gluttony and romance and all that. If it works for you, great!

If that kind of Valentine's Day doesn't work for you, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater! Join me in expanding the definition of Valentine's Day to the one use in schools everywhere when EVERYONE gets a Valentine from EVERYONE!

Claim Valentine's Day a reminder to show the world that you know how to "share the LOVE."

LOVE you.

Monday, January 30, 2017

From nice to nasty...

"I'm not nice, I'm not good, I'm just right..."  

 the Witch    "Into the Woods"

When I was small, I wanted to be liked. I wanted people to think I was nice and smart and pretty. I wanted to be popular. The focus of many things I did was to please others. My biggest fear? Disappointing my parents. My next biggest fear? Making anyone (other than my siblings!) mad at me. In school I followed directions, followed the rules, followed the crowd. When the popular girls got Guess jeans, I had to get Guess jeans. When they cut their hair like Farrah Fawcett, I cut my hair like Farrah Fawcett. The only reason I didn't follow the crowd when they made questionable but typical choices for HS students like drinking or smoking pot, was because of my biggest fear. Remember? Disappointing my parents.

Lately, the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods" has been running through my head on an endless loop. When I was young I would have been Cinderella - nice. Unwilling to make waves or even make a decision because it might be the wrong one. Like so many girls, I thought I needed to be nice and pretty first, smart second. The influences of the world can be huge when you are a child - you listen to everything. Today with the internet and social media it is exponentially harder to not hear and be influenced by "the world." 

As I grew there were times when something didn't seem right and I began to experiment with pushing back and questioning what I was hearing and seeing. A Liberal Arts education opened my world a little bit to one where perhaps there were more important things than being nice and pretty. I began to form my own opinions on topics of importance. Reproductive rights, education, politics, religion. I still resisted speaking out too loudly except for with a small group of trusted friends, but in my head and heart, a passion for equality and social justice was starting to burn.

When I became a mother at 25, I tested the waters as an advocate. The hormones that raged through me as I nurtured and gave birth to my first born pushed me to question hospital protocol that seemed contrary to all I had read and learned about childbirth. I formulated a birth plan that helped my husband and best friend protect me from procedures I didn't want. I didn't push too hard though as I still didn't want to make anyone mad or upset with me. I questioned some of my carefully researched plan and ended up medicated and feeling like I'd failed. Looking back, it was clear that the only thing that kept me from a C-Section was that plan and being able to point to it to protect myself and my child from procedures that had no merit, but at the time I felt like I'd failed.

When my child was born, I took a step away from "nice." As I held his warm body in my arms I felt the first stirring of the mama bear in me who would do ANYTHING to protect my child. No nursery, no circumcision, no formula or water - he would have only the nourishment I could provide and he would stay with me. When despite difficulty and pain, my little one had gained a pound in a week from the milk I provided, my confidence in myself grew exponentially. Not only did I grow this magical being in my womb, I was now capable of providing all he needed to grow and develop - so powerful!

The Baker's Wife in the musical is much more ambiguous than Cinderella. She is flawed and bossy. She will do anything to have the child she desires. She is the first to indicate that the "end justifies the beans (means)." He ambition to have a child and live a bigger life than she has hurts those she loves, but at the same time she would and does give her life for them. As a young mother I was still uncomfortable with the idea of disappointing, angering or hurting others, but with a child to protect and care for, my priorities began to shift. I began to work more earnestly at finding ways to advocate for what I believed in while keeping the peace in relationships when I could. 

At the same time I was mothering, I began work as a therapist and youth advocate - my voice for justice became louder and more confident around issues that affected children and families. My desire to do this work while continuing to be "nice" took a toll on me and my family as I held it together in the world then came home and "let it all out." Like the Baker's Wife I was critical of my husband and would pick fights and make demands. Like the Baker, my husband loved me and support me anyways.

Child number two came along and having gained confidence in my body and my intuition and knowledge, I took control of her birth. I found caregivers who respected and support me and when she burst into the world, my arms were the first ones she knew. She was a mighty little being and her demands to be cared for while exhausting, pushed me to be focused and to trust her needs and my ability to meet them. Upon her entry to this world, I felt strong and powerful! "I am woman, hear me roar!" 

Over the next 20 years, another child arrived and choices were made around work and family that were not what I imagined when I was in college and pictured a career saving the world, but they were choices that made sense and taught me much about love and priorities. These 20 years continued to be filled with challenges that pushed me to think less about being "nice." Raising 3 children with varying temperaments and needs led me to challenge so many systems and protocols that made no sense. We researched vaccinations and chose a Doctor who respected us and worked to vaccinate our children in a way that made sense to us rather than insisting that we follow a schedule that we were uncomfortable with. When our second child, as an infant, refused to be cared for by anyone other than me, I proposed a schedule to my employer that allowed me to bring her with me to work until she was 9 months old. When our first became increasingly unhappy in school, we opted to pull him out and homeschool him for a year until we found a school that better fit his style of learning. 

When our second child lost herself during her Jr. year of High School and was hospitalized, we stood outside the doors of the locked psych ward and refused to leave without her. We trusted our intuition that her needs would be better met with caregivers we found outside. We signed the form they gave us saying we were taking her against medical advice and never looked back. She rediscovered herself with much support and continued her journey to becoming the amazing young woman she is.

When our third child followed her sister and lost her way Jr. year, we dug in, did the work, pushed those in her wider world to give her the support and care she needed to find her path once again. 

For many years my children pushed me to question my need to please. While I wanted them to do things because "that's how it's done," they made me ask why. When my little boy said "why do I have to keep doing these worksheets when I already know how to solve the problems?" I couldn't answer him any longer. When my infant declared loudly that she would stay with no one but me, she pushed me to create a new reality where my family and my work made sense. When the powers that be said they knew my children better than I did, my CHILDREN made me question everything. "Just because," or "because I said so" or "because that's the rule," were not acceptable answers.  

My youngest is months away from leaving the nest. All three of them are on paths of their own choosing. They are thoughtful, smart, caring, compassionate people who refuse to do things just because it's the rule or because someone told them to. I don't agree with them on all their choices, but they have learned to present their arguments and they push me to challenge my preconceived notions of life. While I thought I was teaching them to be "nice," the life they pushed me to live "showed" them that being "nice" and being "good" are not always the same thing nor are they the same as being "right."  

Over the last several months in particular, all they have taught me has begun to push me out of the nest. The election of 2016 and the inauguration of someone who is bent on destroying all that is good in this country has propelled me to stand up and speak out. There have been those who have suggested I am no longer "nice." I've begun to take that as a sign of strength. When "good" is on the line, "nice" is no longer enough. The witch sings "I'm not nice, I'm not good, I'm just right." She is the one who challenges the world and all it's flaws. She is the one who reminds us that it is not what we say, but what we do that children are learning from. They are watching and listening.  

"Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do children will learn..." 

In these precarious times, I've decided I would rather be "nasty" than "nice" if I must choose. I would rather be on the "right" side of history. If being "nice" means sitting by and watching as evil begins to take over our world, I won't do it. I no longer care if my growing passion for activism pushes some to "dislike" me because I speak out. I want my children to see me walking the walk and talking the talk. They have taught me that while compassion and empathy are critical, just being "nice" is not enough. When I started my journey from "nice girl" to "nasty woman" I didn't want to disappoint my parents - this still holds true. What pushed me to own and proudly accept the title "Nasty Woman" is that now, I don't want to disappoint my children. 

Yesterday my son called me "fierce." 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Community

I've been trying to write since January 1.
It seems like a good day to post. I read several great blogs and editorials about resolutions, not making resolutions, hope for the future, despair for the future. There is always a plethora of posts about being healthy in the new year. Getting organized in the new year. Posts about depression. Posts about the election and upcoming inauguration... I couldn't hear my voice in the cacophony.

Since January 1st, one theme has popped out at me from a variety of places - the internet, books, friends, church - our need for community.

My son shared a NYT article on FB called  "How Social Isolation is Killing Us". It talks about how social isolation is as bad for our health and longevity as obesity and other health risks. He shared another research article a while back that looked at rats who were given the choice of plain water and water with cocaine. The hypothesis was that they would become addicted to the cocaine water. The rats were in two environments however, one with no "friends" and no stimulation and one with other rats and an interesting, rich environment to explore. Those living in a "community" did not become addicted to the cocaine water. More and more we are seeing that social connection is protective against addiction and other illnesses. I'm also currently reading "A Man Called Ove." For those of you who haven't read it, it's about a grumpy old man who's wife has passed away and he just wants to kill himself. There's more to it than that, but I'm only a few chapters in. Suffice it to say that the "community" keeps interrupting his plans.

Earlier this month two things impacted my "village" that continued to make me think about "community."

My middle child was driving with a friend from CT to IA to return to school. Not an easy drive when weather is precarious. I remembered that one of my dear friends from H.S. in Minnesota, lives about 3 minutes off I-80 in Ohio. I connected with her through the magic of Facebook, got her contact info to Katy and so she and her friend Diana had a warm, welcoming place to take a break after driving through lake effect snow. She welcomed them with drinks, sandwiches, hugs and a clean bathroom. That night my husband and I marveled at how amazing it is to have the "nationwide" community that we have. We or our children could go almost anywhere in the country and we would be able to connect with someone from our past or present. Someone in our "village."

Wednesday we got word that a long time church family friend had passed away. She was entirely too young at just 66, but we knew she had been ill for some time. While it was so sad, it was not unexpected. Over the next few days I found myself remembering Sue snuggling my children as babies. I remembered Christmas parties in her beautiful Victorian home that she and her husband lovingly restored. I remember knowing that she was one of those surrogate "aunties" for my children who's extended family was far away. She loved them, laughed at them and indulged them.

Sunday morning I walked into church and saw these people who I love. My community. I struggled all morning not to cry as every time I opened my mouth to speak or sing, I felt overwhelmed with love for them and sadness for us all at the passing of our friend. The sermon was about how we each have gifts to contribute to the community. The COMMUNITY.

I am so blessed to be a part of a wide range of "villages" and I treasure them all. I am more determined than ever to infuse my work and life with opportunities to give to my communities, to build communities for others to be a part of and to be watchful of those who don't seem to have their own. On the other side, we also have to be thoughtful about our communities and cannot allow ourselves to just blindly follow the direction our community is going. We all must participate and speak up.

When I think about what is most distressing to me about the current political climate, it is the division that is being stirred up. The President-elect and those he is choosing to surround himself with seem more focused than ever on dividing us through fear rather than uniting us through compassion and caring. Their focus seems to be destroying some of the very safety nets that define us as a national community - Repealing the current healthcare plan without a replacement will pull the net out from under millions of people who will lose their healthcare. This is just one example. More educated people than I have written about the ways that 2017 could destroy the progress we've made towards inclusiveness and equality for all.

A new community is rising that is not worthy of our support. You could call the KKK a community. Jonestown was a community. Charles Manson's "family" was a community. We must be vigilant that the communities we are a part of are working for the good of all. When communities rise around a demagogue or a theme of divisiveness and hate, there is something wrong. Some suggest that we must "come together" as a community to support the incoming administration. I would suggest that we must stand together against the "community" that is rising around the racism, misogyny, xenophobia and generalized hate and selfishness of our incoming president and his administration.

The communities I am a part of will stand up to care for, nurture, guide and support those who would fall. Next Saturday I will join a community of hundred's of thousands around the world, coming together to speak out and stand up for what is right. Some would say we are sore losers. Some would say we need to get over it and move on.

I would say we will never get over it. We will NEVER stop working for what is right. We will NEVER accept the lies and deception. We will rise as a community to create a world where all are valued, all are welcome, all are loved.