A Touch For Wellness

Massage used to be something that rich people did because they had money to burn and time to waste. It was a luxury, like Aspen ski vacations, pomegranates, and Range Rovers. But times, they are a changing, and this is a lovely thing.


Today, massage is being used as therapy-in fact, many insurance companies will even cover them as part of an overall wellness plan. When you put that word, wellness into the mix, massages are catapulted from the world of luxury into necessity -like going to the dentist and getting prostrate exams.

Need more convincing? Try these facts on for size: Patients receiving therapeutic massage have measureable decreases in stress hormones in their body-like cortisol. They experience  increases in the feel good hormones, such as oxytocin and serotonin. Their immune systems get stronger. Let me say that again: their immune systems get stronger.

So, you may be wondering where I’m going with this. Do you live in or near  Dell Rapids, South Dakota? If you do, I have just the place for you. If you don’t, you’re out of luck. Just kidding! I’m going to show you A Touch For Wellness, operated by Karen Kappel, and all it has to offer. Look carefully, because even if you are not within driving distance, you can get some idea of what a great Wellness Center should look like.


A good wellness center has many amenities and services that allow for choices and individualization.  A Touch For Wellness, by Karen has a whole bunch of things that will totally bliss you out and help you to lay a foundation for your best health. So are you ready to chill out?

This is an infrared sauna, in technical terms. Lisa slang? The hotbox. Personally, I go to Karen’s sauna at least 5 times a week. I mediate, pray, listen to music, and feel like a million dollars for the rest of the day.

You can definitely chill out in this beautiful piece of equipment, but you will not be chilly. Oh no. The whole point of it, is to actually raise your body temperature and make you sweat. Here’s why:

  1. Infrared saunas increase metabolism –folks have been known to burn up to 600 calories in one session. Do you often have cold hands and feet? This could be due to low thyroid, and regular sauna sessions will help support a healthy thyroid.
  2. Improves Insulin Sensitivity-this is something people who regularly monitor their blood sugars report. Lauren, from Empowered Sustenance reports: Four months after I began taking regular saunas, without changing my diet or exercise, my high morning blood normalized. On my last blood test, my insulin levels were no longer considered high. I credit my sauna for supporting my blood sugar when it didn’t adequately respond to diet, lifestyle, and supplements
  3. Toxin and heavy metal detoxification: Guys–the earth is a beautiful place, but man, we have some toxic stuff floating around, and it’s hard to avoid it. Sweating is one of the very best ways to release these bad boys from our bodies. So, would the solution be to  just work out a whole bunch? Well, no, and here’s why:                                                                                                                                              Sweating during exercise is not effective for detoxification because exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system (stress, fight or flight) activity inhibits toxin elimination. You must be in a parasympathetic state (calm, rest or sleep) to detox. You can either workout OR detox, not usually both at the same time.
  4. Supports immune response to bacterial and fungal infections: So, have you ever heard of candida? Guys? It’s bad. That’s all I can say, and many unsuspecting folks have it, due largely to eating bread, and other yeasty things over time. More about that HERE.
  5. Supports chronic pain and muscle flexibility: this one is pretty self-explanatory, but I would like to add: Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting many woman these days, and there are quite a few who would raise their hands emphatically and say, “I love my infrared sauna!” Why the sauna helps, is largely because it works to decrease inflammation, a huge cause of the pain people experience not only with fibromyalgia, but also arthritis.
  6. Normalizes blood pressure: The increased blood flow leads to better circulation, and also, better heart health. Read more about this HERE

So now that you KNOW you have to sauna, on a regular basis, the good news is that you can do it for $25 a month- unlimited, as much as your cold little feet desire. Work a lot of hours, and unsure how to schedule it? A Touch For Wellness is open 24/7, even on Christmas morning ( I know, I was there )…and all you need is a FOB that you can purchase for $25-that little guy gets you in quicker than a bouncer lets Beyoncé into the club. Are you thinking this is a deal? Well you would be right. Some perspective: 3 Degrees in Sioux Falls, an infrared Sauna studio will give you an unlimited week pass (only for new members) for $49. And it goes up from there, if you wish to continue. Are you thinking Karen rocks? Ya, me, too. Aren’t we lucky???


Speaking of Karen, should we meet her?  And also, the newest addition to A Touch For Wellness, Rose, who will be appearing on Thursdays and making you feel like a wet noodle, or like you’ve just been to paradise.

Rose and Karen, standing in front of the essential oil tree. You can almost smell the lavender and lemon from here. Ahhhhh!!!

These two are the masters of massage-remember how we were chatting earlier about massage being seen as therapeutic? I sat down with both of them, to hear their thoughts on their mission they have with the work they do. While you can absolutely choose to come in for a relaxing massage, that is gentle and soothing, therapeutic massage is something totally different. These women seek to find tight spots, bound fascia in your body, knots, and anything that isn’t “running smoothly” in your body, and then through healing essential oils, smooth, heated stones, and strong hands, they work to return those parts to their happiest, healthiest state. The effect is amazing-less pain, less stress, better blood flow and circulation, and overall better health. You may be a person who says, “Hey! This time I’d like the Raindrop Massage (a light massage done with essential oils), and next time I’d like a therapeutic massage with Hot Stones!” Alternating is a great idea, if you want to have a little SPA with your total body Health Work.


Rose, using her magic hands! She likes to incorporate a special form of massage, called Tui Na Gua Sha.Rose uses a jade stone to perform  a gentle massage that promotes an overall sense of well being.

The rooms are warm, tranquil and cozy, filled with relaxing music and lovely essential oils.
Remember the Olympian Michael Phelps? Rose also does a procedure called, CUPPING, decreasing inflammation in the body, increasing mobility, blood circulation, and even relieving anxiety and depression. Cost: $35. (I’ll bet you dollars to donuts, Michael paid much more for his-and I doubt his masseuse was as sweet and lovely as Rose!)



Prices vary anywhere from $75-$125, depending on intensity and length of time.

Other features and amenities:

This is a biomat on the left. This mat uses a combination of fabrics and amethyst stones to generate far infrared rays which is then transferred to the body as heat. It provides warmth and relaxation similar to the energy that radiates from the sun. These rays not only benefit muscles on the surface of the body, but all cells in the deepest parts of the body. It’s not unusual to spend some time relaxing on this mat before Karen or Rose start your massage. To use on your own, the cost is $15 per 30 minute session.   On the right, is an inversion table, which also can be used for only $15. It turns out, our bodies really like to get UPSIDE DOWN. Who knew? For more info on this, talk to Karen or Rose!
This is a High Intensity Tanning bed, which can only be used twice a week (for your health).

High intensity beds work just as their low intensity counterparts — by using UV lights to stimulate the melanin in our skin, causing a tanning reaction. They are not only just as safe as low-pressure, but because they take less time, they actually result in less exposure and are better for your skin, all while often delivering greater results. Lisa’s note: Does Winter get you down? Not surprising. The sunshine in South Dakota during the winter is a direct match to ALASKA, which isn’t very much. Check with your insurance company, because many are starting to cover the cost of “tanning”, or in my case, I like to call itnot hating everyone in the winter.   Cost $25 for eight sessions.

Does A Touch of Wellness serve lunch? Uhhhh….NO, my friends. This is a foot detox. (For lunch, try out Ladelle and Fourth coffee shop!) Sorry if I grossed you out!! But as the saying goes, Better OUT than IN!

Foot detoxing is the newest and coolest way of detoxing all the stuff in your body that doesn’t belong. It’s soothing, relaxing, and absolutely effective. Want some background on this procedure? Talk to Karen, and hear about her own experiences with Foot Detox and how she really gained back so much of her energy and vitality in the process. Cost: $35

Well, dear reader, I think I’ve covered everything. Do you live in Dell Rapids, or near here? Here’s how to find Karen and Rose at A Touch for Wellness: 507 N. HWY 77 SUITE  D  428-4870

She’s smack dab in between Harrington Chiropractic and Video Plus! See you there, and tell them Lisa sent you!♥



The Things we think and Do Not Say

I read an article a few days ago that was absolutely BRILLIANT. Now, as you’ll come to see, I don’t happen to agree with 90% of what the writer is suggesting, but it was FABULOUS, because often I don’t have occasion to set intentions. Until I saw this laundry list of philosophies, I hadn’t really stopped to consider my own.  Like the normal human parent, I just sort of DO parenting, according to a deep philosophy that is playing in the depths of my soul, sort of like background music at a Johnny Carinos. Like Tom Cruise, I needed to see a system that someone proposed that didn’t sit well with me, in order for me to write a mission statement for parenting. At least for parenting my three kids.

If you know me well, you know I struggle with order. I know exactly what I think and why I think it, but to present that to someone who is a logical thinker, can leave said smarty pants completely muddled and frustrated.

  • Me: Husband, dairy is bad. I’ve been reading up a LOT on this subject. I’m very concerned about all the DAIRY.
  • Husband: But why exactly? What’s so bad about it?
  • Me: Lots of things. Just trust me. Extra snot. Inflammation. Baaaaad stuff.
  • Husband: Can you give me some facts?
  • Me: No, well, YES, but I’d have to go look them up, and can’t you just take me at my word?
  • Husband: No.
  • Me: You are so logical.
  • Husband: It’s like you are accusing me of something.
  • Me: ….if the shoe fits mister.

Some people, huh?

But, for the purpose of the Mission Statement, I will throw my gypsy soul to the side for a moment, and tell you what I’m thinking, and I will back it up with solid reasons WHY I think it. And furthermore, members of the jury, I will prove my case and …oh wait. So, I probably need to take it down a notch. When you aren’t used to being logical, it’s easy to get carried away.

This is the portion of the piece where I let you have the option of reading the article in its entirety. Completely up to you-I’ll warn you-it’s fancy. If you go to this website, you may be pulled in. It’s like my place is a cute two bedroom downtown, and HER place is a sprawling mansion in the country. Please don’t get lost. But do feel free to ooohhhh and awwwww. I would never deny you that. The author is very authory and apparently has written some books. Impressive, and I really do not intend any sarcasm here.  Here you are, since you seem to be insisting.

Click here to be redirected. But do click your heels together twice to come back home to Aunty Em. (I mean me, of course).

Let’s dive in. Eight things that the author suggests we parents STOP doing for our teens:

  1. Waking them up in the morning
  2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch
  3. Filling out their paperwork
  4. Delivering their forgotten items
  5. Making their failure to plan your emergency
  6. Doing all of their laundry
  7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches  
  8. Meddling in their academics

1.Waking the teens up: I love waking up my children. My mom always woke me up. She was the first voice of cheerfulness and HOPE I heard in the morning. She often rubbed my back a bit, and started chattering away about everything under the sun. As a teen, I forgot to tell her how much this really helped me to get a jump on my day; instead I most likely groaned and carried on a bit. I do this for my children. Could they get themselves up if they needed to? Of course. About twice a week, I’ll be toodling around the kitchen with my coffee, and be shocked to see a kid coming out of their room fully dressed and ready to go. I’ll be like, whooa! where’s the fire? and they’ll be like, Got a project today-love you! Byyyeee! And so. I feel a bit cheated on these days, since my favorite thing ever is to turn the tables on my children after years of them waking me up. I’m just saying, if this is causing you to think about you and your own teens, or kids about to be teens, maybe establish that they CAN do it. My favorite way of doing this is to be a tad disorganized. Forget a few times. Be super involved in writing a blog and completely forget to wake them up. This will be hard for some of you totally organized parents. If you need some tips on being bit more discombobulated- I can help you there.


Hey. It’s harder than it looks. Bring a notebook. Or DON’T, if you really want to embrace LISA STYLE.


My point: I get them under my roof for 18 years. Maybe more during breaks in the college years– if I’m lucky, and soon enough they will be waking up to their day on their own-with no corny jokes, or singing or back rubs. It’s the smallest of things, really, but I hope they will remember that mornings are a good thing, and the best way to start them is to do it with a smile, surrounded by people who really love you no matter if your breath smells horrible and your hair is worthy of laughter and pointing.

2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunches. Now, here’s the situation in our house: one teen has decided that he feels a bunch better if he does NOT eat breakfast (gasp) and that gave me some serious stress, until I read an article about intermittent fasting. And then I looked at my hunky, totally in shape boy, and realized he was listening to his body, and supported him in his no breakfast ways. The other teen, does eat some breakfast. Some days, I’m preoccupied with my 10-year-old or Facebook, and she makes her own. Other days, I’ll say, Hey honey! Can I get you something for breakfast today? And she will sometimes take me up on it gratefully. I love this. I love putting a whole bunch of love into her breakfast. I remember that high school can be challenging. I can recall the stress, and I enjoy imagining that good food sparkling away in her body at least until lunch. It’s a kindness that I hope will carry her far into the day. Lunches: I have to claim Not Applicable here, since both my kids eat school lunch. However, I really feel the same way about THAT. It reminds me of one of my good friends, who made the same lunch for her teen for all four years of High School. When asked what he wanted for his graduation party, he said, “Mom? Can we have THE lunch you always made for me?” And she did it very cool and themey, down to the last detail. COOL. Right? And that boy won’t ever forget any of that. Maybe he will decide that someday, when he has kids, he will make them their very own special lunches, too.

3. Filling out their paperwork: I never filled out any paperwork as a teen. And yet? I seem to have filled every bit of paperwork out successfully as any other adult, even our passports, which were trickier than tricky. I put this particular thing in the category of potty training. I worried and worried and WORRIED that we would have the last children on the block to be out of diapers. Until my husband said, “Lis. Seriously. Do you really think we are gonna have 12 year-olds walking around in diapers? Whether they are using the potty at 12 months, or 15, who cares?” I think it’s totally fine to involve them, but to me, this is putting up a gate where there’s no need for a gate.

4. Delivering their forgotten items: Well, we’ve reached the BIGGIE. This is a huge one. You may not agree with me. It’s ok. On paper, this looks really reasonable. It seems to make a lot of sense. But remember, I’m often not wired that way. I do tend to FEEL things first. So, here’s my thoughts: When I forgot stuff as a little kid, I knew I was screwed. My Mom was working her tush off. She could no more of ran something to school, than flew to the moon. I forgot stuff, some big stuff sometimes. And I had no one to rescue me. I still forget stuff. I’m a constant work in progress in this area of my life, and I suppose my friends and family shouldn’t help me at the ripe old age of 45 to “teach me a lesson”. But man, I’m sure glad they DO. I have been so immensely grateful for this so many times in my life. When my kids forget something, I help them….because I can. I made a decision to stay home these years for a bit, because in short, I have 4 family members who are all REALLY BUSY. In a house where everyone is running, I like to stand still. My very responsible business-running-veterinarian husband knows, that if he forgets something at work 25 miles away, I am here, and able to help. My children know, I am here. I can help. I won’t tell you that we aren’t constantly helping them to remember and plan.


This is a text example the author of the article included. Obviously, she loves her kids, and is very kind. And to be fair,  I do not know the circumstances under which she couldn’t bring the homework. I’m not suggesting parents leave work to bring homework to school.


We are constantly helping them with this, because, well, we are their PARENTS. It feels like the right thing to do. If I were working, and couldn’t get away from work, like I was a year ago-if they sent me a text like the one the author used as an example, I would have had to say, “Sorry Charlie! I can’t!” …..but I absolutely will not get this text, while at home doing laundry, and say no, for no’s sake. If I did, when I text my child, Helllpppp!!! can you get Quinn from school? I’m in the city and wasn’t watching the time!!!…I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if they said, sorry mom. no. you need to learn to be more responsible. In this house, we love and support each other. The world is straight up crazy, my friends. We gotta stick together. As I write this, my son is running through the house looking for a fish food container. His sister has asked him to get her some more, otherwise Wanda won’t eat tonight.(Ya, she has a Fish called Wanda. My kids seriously rock. ) He’s happy to do it for her. This is how we roll.

5. Making their failure to plan YOUR emergency: Well, this is a bit like the previous thing. I won’t say much, other than this: how do you want to be treated when you screw up? how do you want your CHILD to treat others when they screw up? If we can help our children because they made an honest mistake, we will. Period.

6. Doing all of their laundry: my kids do not complain about their laundry. They may have a special request, and I do try to honor that, if I can. They can do laundry, because I’ve asked them to every so often. Will they do their laundry as adults?  I hope so. Otherwise I suppose they could consider a nudist colony. At which I won’t be able to visit them, but that’s neither here nor there. I do like clothes. Thank God for clothes.

7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches: Can parents get too involved here? Yes. Oh YES. I have a husband who is a coach. I’m very aware. However. There are times when it’s needed. Why? Well, because they are kids. It does take a village, and as a schoolteacher myself in a previous lifetime, I can tell you, there’s much to be gained by conversation. On both ends. I guess the thing I continue to ask myself while reading the article this post is about, is why do these kids have parents? why are we here? to help, is my answer. When my children are in college, I certainly won’t have access to their teachers. I do right now. And everything I do, is for them to be successful when they are NOT under our roof. To treat them like they are ALREADY, I believe, is doing them a great disservice.

My own mother remembers being on her own at the age of 16, because she graduated early, and was given the opportunity to play professional basketball in the big city far away. Her parents dropped her off, and she had to figure everything out on her own. Did she? Yes. She is fierce and independent. Do you know what she says about that whole thing? I felt very alone. I felt like my parents didn’t care. I vowed to never be that kind of parent. And she is 82, an age that generally adds a lot of soft focus to one’s past life. And she wasn’t that kind of parent. All of us girls know that we have a strong home base-one we’ve had to each call on at points in our lives. We are so loved and cared for. And home feels so safe, even though we can’t physically be there nearly as much as we like–but because it’s there? We can fly strong in this world. (Note: For the record, my grandparents were amazing folks in many aspects as parents, and doing the best knew how to do.)

8. Meddling in their academics: So, this is a quote from the article: These apps and websites, where parents can go in and see every detail of children’s school grades and homework, are not helping our overparenting epidemic. So, I gotta say again: But wait. Now is the time to be involved, because as I’m finding out, these kids are about to fly the coop. If we aren’t involved NOW, I have a feeling we may have to be very involved later. When it’s not appropriate to be. You get me? Children are all different. I have one kid who naturally handles this on her own. I have another who has more of my genetics, poor thing. Did I need help organizing assignments and classes? YEP. And so does this one. It’s ok. Now is when we teach them, so that when it’s not appropriate (college, work, or Christmas at their in-law’s)…they will know what to do. Or not do. I love our school’s Parent Portal. This is how we, as parents, can ask detailed questions to our child who may not have any clue as to why their grades aren’t what they wish them to be. We can be their guide, who, like my husband just did last night, helps them to figure out exactly what might be going on. In this case? It was note taking. My super organized husband gave a very inspiring 15 minute talk on the value of really good notes. I was impressed. As it applies here, we used the tool of Parent Portal to help bridge the communication gap.

We have 18 intense years with these loves of my life. What do I want their TAKE AWAY to be? Because, honestly, 18 years out of 100, isn’t much. It’s .18 to be exact. That’s a short time for them and we need to pack A LOT of love and kindness into that space of time–is my thinking. It will have to last .82. Eight things I want my kids to KNOW and FEEL as they leave our little safe home and go out into the wide world:

  1. We’ve got your back, if at all possible.  Always, even if you sort of don’t deserve it, because you were busy being distracted kids. You won’t always be.
  2. We are kind to each other. The world teaches some pretty tough lessons. We don’t need to manufacture any.
  3. We are thoughtful, and giving… for no reason at all.
  4. We take our children very seriously, as if they were are only real job, because actually, you guys are. If we fail at this, nothing we succeed at will matter.
  5. Home is always here. Always. If you can’t be home, you can remember that a huge source of love lives here and you are always connected to it.
  6. When you were a kid, we let you be a kid. We know and trust that you aren’t wearing adult diapers. (if you ARE, though, let’s look at DAIRY. You know how I feel about dairy.)
  7. We will treat you the way we wish to be treated near the end of our days..with patience and more patience and not consequences like lifelong tomato soup for losing our false teeth.
  8. We are your guides, who are trying our very best. If we weren’t hard enough on you, I’m sorry. If we were too hard on you, I’m sorry, too. We have very little figured out, except we love you more than life itself, and you are our best mission statement.

In the end, we all must decide for ourselves. We must do what is right in our hearts. I worry, sometimes, that articles like this one may make people go outside of their own hearts. I think now, how I read all of these books when my kids were young-how worried I was that if I gave them a pacifier for two seconds, someday we would have a big battle getting them AWAY from them. And so I rigidly said NO PACIES!! And then I just nursed them until they ate so much they would throw up and be instantly and genuinely hungry again, except I had the little problem of having no more milk and so we would take turns holding them while they screamed their little heads off for the evening. It made for a super sexy Saturday night.  By my 3rd kid, I decided a pacifier might be ok. Oh sweet fancy francis. If only I had done that with the other ones, but it’s sort of how it goes, right? I rigidly made them “cry it out” because the books scared the hell out of me: They will be serial NON-SLEEPERS!!! I’m here to tell you, I regret that so much. And I think I will, until my dying day. Did it kill them? Nah. Of course not. Did I parent against my heart? I did. And I wish I could go back and tell my younger self not to worry so much. To just love and love and LOVE those babies up, and know that someday they will sleep like champs. Like it’s their one and only job. Stop the freak out momma. I wish I could say, Just stay in today, and stop projecting worries into the future. Today, just love, and guide. Guide, and love. Be a model of kindness and grace, forgiveness and patience. Because, someday sweet Lisa, these beautiful children will be beautiful adults, who would move heaven and earth to help you when you forget how to make the dishwasher work, or forget to pay the bills, or get arrested in Mexico.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Momma-writers, Glennon Melton Doyle: glenon

Note: You very well may not agree with this post. Which is completely ok! If it causes you to be SO INSPIRED, as I was for the post that inspired MINE, please feel free to cite my blog post in you OWN blog post. Write your own mission statement. Good writing causes us to feel all sorts of feelings and think all kinds of big thoughts. I am extremely grateful for the author who did that for me, here. She is a thoughtful parent, KICKASS writer, and I’m truly grateful for her providing me with this great jumping off point. ♥


Life: Happening TO you, or FOR you?

It seems like this subject has been done before. And it probably has. In fact, I’m probably just plagiarizing someone else’s words, accidentally. I wonder how often that happens, you know? Read read read….where does it all go? I think it must stick somewhere in the back of a person’s brain, and then just sliiiiiiidddddeeeees into the frontal lobe over time, causing the person to think, AHA! I have a new idea! or, ahhhh the cleverness of ME!




My new, (probably old and overdone) idea is this:  Let’s just change  a two letter word, to a THREE letter word, and watch what a huge difference it makes in how we view the world, and ourselves in it. Take a little look-see at these sentences and feel how each makes you react.

  1. Life happens to me.
  2. Life happens for me.

They come off really differently, don’t they?  When something happens TO you, it feels a little bad, you know?…… The vision I get is something coming AT someone. Like a pie in the face. Or a cartoon character getting an anvil to the head. It also feels very powerless, right? When things happen TO you, it implies that you have very little to say about the whole thing. However. When something happens FOR you….it implies something very different. When I envision this, I see someone holding their hands out, palms up…RECEIVING a wonderful pie. (of course it would be coconut cream, because that’s what ALL the good pies ARE.) When something is FOR someone, it reads almost like a gift. A gift to be used by the recipient. There’s power in that, I think.


So, here’s some examples-big and small- of changing a thing from a TO to a FOR.

MAN!!! I can’t believe I didn’t get that job! I rocked the interview. I’m super over qualified. How could this happen to me?! -Lisa Heggen Carr

So let’s change that last part to….How could this happen FOR me? If young Lisa, who thought she knew EVERYTHING, would have changed that last part into a FOR, she may have opened her mind a little quicker to the possibility that this was not the job she was meant to have. She would’ve sulked a whole lot less and eaten way fewer bad carbs, and let’s just say we would’ve saved her a good two weeks of sucking in the lowest vibes available –meaning that just in that two-week period of time, she managed to back into a pair of dumpsters with her small little vehicle (yes both), stub her toe so hard it probably was broken, but toes aren’t important (or so she was told), unless you are trying to walk around,  and have a major disagreement with her normally lovely neighbor over lawn watering during sunlight hours. If older and wiser Lisa could have intervened, she would have said, Just wait. Something is on its way. And of course it was! It was the job that would end up changing her entire future and ultimately would give her: 1. A whole new perspective on the world due to magical and amazing children and their parents 2. Her best friend who loves her always and forever and would move heaven and earth for her, . ..and, OH YEAH… three beautiful children who would not exist otherwise. (that was  a long time to refer to myself in third person. Yikes.)

Yes. Something much bigger and better was on its way, and me not getting that job was the best thing for me. The BEST.


I missed my plane.  –350 passengers on 9/11 including Mark Wahlberg, Julia Child and Robert Redford


My train is delayed from Manchester to London. ARGH!! Why is this happening to me? I can barely make ends meet for my little girl, living on state aid,  my marriage is over, my mum just died–Wait. Maybe this is happening FOR me.  Living in this dead space of boredom,  and where nothing could possibly get any worse, I’m getting some ideas to write a book called Harry Potter. These ideas are literally flooding me right now!!! I think I’ll write them down! –JK Rowling (Note: this is not a direct quote from Jo…I’m invoking a little creative license here.)


I didn’t make the team, and my best friend DID. -Michael Jordan

After going home and locking himself in his room, he cried. Then he picked himself up and turned the cut into motivation. “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it. That usually got me going again.”


I could go on. I mean it. On and on and on- with famous people, normal people, and every kind of person in between. Wonderful things happened to them, but they chose to see that they were FOR them. As I see it, the trick is to see the gift when it comes, no matter how it may be disguised. I’m working on my quickness. It’s like trying to figure out how to get up really fast when you’re roller skating so you don’t get rolled over.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite love warriors, whose commitment to showing up with her hands out to receive all that life has given, and to take it and make it something amazing, inspires me on the daily. Love to you all♥


My wrist.
I have made so many mistakes. I’ve hurt myself and others. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been the left and the leaving. I’ve had some lost years. I drank many of my days away. I didn’t show up. I was left hanging. I’ve lied and been lied to. I’ve been lost, so lost. I’ve survived a bunch of winters but the one coming up still scares me.
All of these things are true. And yet.
I’m still here. With joy in my heart. With stupid hope that’s not snuffed out. With optimism in spite of all that will most certainly go wrong. With a flicker of gratitude that just won’t dim. With another day, another beat.

For the strugglers and the fallers and the bruised up and worn down. For the ones who are so sick of themselves and sick of trying to be different. For the lonely and the too messed up to love. For the ones who still can’t get it right and aren’t even sure what right means, anyway. For the mamas who are just trying to survive the night and the sisters who are on another Day 1. For my people — my favorite, beautiful, fucked up people — we are all these things. And yet. We are. Still. Here.



Because We Love You

Lately, I’ve had that horrible feeling that we as parents are failing miserably. I mean, I’ve had this condition from the moment I gave birth-so I’m fairly familiar with it. It started the day the nurse marched in to not at all kindly inform me I was “spoiling” my 2 day old newborn by nursing her almost constantly–(I know. It’s really horrible and the only thing I can say to that is, that nurse is lucky she didn’t meet up with present day Lisa instead of 20-something Lisa who knew in her heart that the lady was  evil wrong wrong wrong, but had zero words to back that up and tons of hormones coursing through her body, and so the only thing she could do was sob hysterically and make her husband go yell at her.)

I’d have to say, that dreaded feeling of not doing it right has been with me so long I could literally fill pages of a book. (It could be called A Trail of Internal Tears, if that weren’t so darn depressing and not at all the whole story.) I mean, not a huge novel, or anything, but a decent sized coffee table book. I would include pictures, of course, which would show absolutely nothing but a smiling girl with her new little babies who turned into toddlers, and on and on.  I would put those pictures in there to challenge you to see the worry in my eyes.

Can you spot all of those conflicting thoughts going on in my head, as if they were squiggly lines going every which direction? Are you able to see past the joyful smile and know that behind that smile is a very anxious girl wondering why on earth God let her have this job?


I know you can’t. Because I can’t either. Even though I know this girl so intimately, all I can see is complete happiness. I barely remember thinking, Oh God someone tell me how to DO this! I’m doing it wrong! Yesterday the baby cried for 30 minutes! Someone knows how to do this better than me! And also I’m so tired. So. TIRED.

Isn’t that tricky? I’m wondering how many times all of us are tricked into thinking, that everyone is so happy and trouble-free?

Anyway, back to my latest and biggest worry of failure: Technology. I won’t go on and on about it, because I’m guessing I don’t need to labor over painting you a picture. Teens and their iPhones. Even my youngest, and his iPod. There. Can you see it? Do I need to say another word? (just the word that begins  these devices should clue us in: I. )

 This was our Christmas card this year, because I think the first step in dealing with troubling issues in your life is to take a picture and make it your Christmas card that goes out to about 100 people. Right?

Tis the season to be together

My worry has been growing and growing, and being the parent I am, I definitely share that worry-with anyone who will listen, or is too polite to say, “Hey lady. Not my jobSidenote: UPS guys are the best people on the planet.

I’ve said it to my children, as if just letting them know I want them to give up this highly addictive piece of technology will make them just spontaneously do it. Even though a large portion of the world has not been able to do it yet.


I’m understanding that the time has come for actual change, and probable-no, CERTAIN upset is about to occur in our household. My husband’s advice to me, as I showed him the video I’m about to show you, was Lis, start with you and go from there. I thanked my husband for this insightful advice and my heart filled with gratitude for this wise man in my life.

I love this look. It’s my favorite look. I’m going to use this little girl’s picture in every blog to demonstrate this feeling of..HMMMMMM.

Ok. Unfortunately, many of you actually KNOW me, which makes bending the truth impossible. Here’s how it went down: Defensiveness. Huffing off and coming back to huff in FRONT of said husband. Eye rolling, and man can you ever tell I’m around teens, cuz I got their behavior down pat, let me tell you.

But, since I’m super spiritual and very into self-improvement, I realized that if technology use wasn’t such a big deal to me, I never would have had this initial reaction:

So, yes, I did figure it out. In little ways, like just putting my phone away. At my ripe old age of 342, it really works because half the time I actually forget where I put it! Yesterday, I went 1/2 a mile down the street to Barre class, and didn’t even take my phone.

I know. I’m still waiting for my medal-I’m sure it’s on its way.

Today at coffee with my friends, I kept my phone in my bag, until I pulled it out to show them holiday pictures, which is really the very best use of phones aside from actually using them to CALL people-a super old-fashioned thing to do.

My point is, I did have to do the first hard thing, which was to practice what I’m about to preach to my kids. I’m still scared to do it, because:

  • A. I love harmony in my life. Icy silence and closed doors cause me considerable amounts of stress. Which by the way, is really bad timing since I’m trying to get the bad carbs out of my life. Amigos? this could be a choose one or the other kind of deal. Because who doesn’t need extra serotonin coursing through their body when being actively ignored by one’s children? Bad Carbs, Zombie children. It’s a tough choice.

  • B. I’m kind of like the good cop in this parenting gig. I’ve always liked being the good cop. I’m not even sure that good cop-me can turn bad. I mean, how do you TURN? Offer me money on the side? I have no idea.

  • C. It’s going to be hard work. Meaning, I have to pay actual attention to what the children are doing all the time and notice things like cell phones duct taped to kids’ arms or other appendages.

Sidenote: I’m not the biggest noticer of things, unless it’s when people aren’t nice to me, which I’m a super BIG noticer of– which is actually a slight problem in my life and will probably be the next subject of our Christmas card: (Mom, not noticing obvious things, but imagine-noticing other things that cause her considerable anxiety and worry. Could be hard to photograph.   I’ve got a caption, though: Paranoid Girl, able to leap to the worst conclusions in the smallest spaces of time with little to no provocation. )


No-not my kids, but it really takes me back to many moments just like this. And no, I never caught on. My parenting type is best described as: Lives in a constant state of surprise.

In summary, I’ve been feeling that horrible, no good feeling of Something isn’t right here and I need to do something about it–for a while now, and so technology use in this house is about to change. Even though it won’t be changing anywhere else in the world, which I’m sure my children will be telling me everyday from the day we start the restrictions. What pushed me over the edge? This video, which I hope you will carve out some time to watch. It’s so troubling to me, and the biggest part?  Where Simon Sinek says,

Best case scenario, is these kids will live a life that isn’t joyful….It’ll just be FINE.

I don’t want that for them, and I’m willing to put up with a whole bunch of cold, hard, blank stares when the devices are separated from their little hands. I want those hands empty and their hearts full.

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But, I am open to prayers, and I’m not joking about that. As you will hear in the video, technology use is a strong addiction, as strong as smoking, drinking,  and gambling. This will not be easy my friends, but then I’m remembering this quote:

Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It’s about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.-Ron Taffel


Who, me?

how-we-sitSo, let me start this off by saying, I’m not sitting astride any high horse. Or even a short horse.  I’m definitely not balancing precariously on a soap box. But I have some thoughts that could give you that impression, so I feel like I need to get that disclaimer in. I’m thinking out loud, and forming some ideas, and as usual, I get sort of lonely just doing it by myself. Thanks for being here!
So, the other day, my eyes caught a Facebook status:

I have a friend who needs help.  Anything that you could give–they need perishable items that the food pantry cannot give, and also money for rent. I am unable to give any more details than that. Thank you.

And then, Frodo crashed down something in the kitchen in his attempt to get at the butter dish, and I got distracted. Like you do. girlthinking1But as I cleaned up the shards of yet another broken thing because of Frodo, I thought about that simple request. I remembered a vow I made to myself a few years ago, after feeling really stressed out that I wasn’t doing enough. You know? You ever have that worry that sort of hangs out around you, never leaving, like a 20 pound weight on your chest? Well, it was happening a lot; I was seeing so many folks so much less fortunate and blessed as I am, seeing people dedicating their whole lives to helping them, people starting fund-raisers, and all sorts of things, and consequently worrying myself crazy that I wasn’t doing enough. My mom’s words haunted me: If you find yourself fortunate, then that’s how you know God expects more from you.
And so, I decided I needed a plan, and it had to be completely unlike any other plan I’d ever made in my life, meaning, I had to actually stick with it. Being one of those people who adores the plan making process, but not so much the carrying out of said plan, I knew it had to be fairly simple and not too painful. So, I had to hold myself back from the idea of moving to Bangladesh , with four grumpy and bewildered Carrs, (and one nervous poodle) to devote myself to helping others, a thing that never would have happened, causing me to feel like a complete failure. No, it had to be something I could do fairly easily.
And after a long a walk, I had it. And it was so simple, it made me giggle. I would give myself one rule, and one rule only : If someone comes across your path who needs help, and you are seeing it, that’s your sign that you are expected to help. That’s it. I didn’t have to go looking for it…I could instead sit like a big old spider in the middle of my web, and wait for things to get stuck in it.
Easy breezy beautiful.
So, upon seeing that status, I read it as if it were being written to me :

Dear Lisa, I have a friend who needs help.  Anything that you could give–they need perishable items that the food pantry cannot give, and also money for rent. I am unable to give any more details than that. Thank you. -God/Goddess/Universe/Angels

I went back to my tiny phone, and tried to find that status. Aha! Found it!! And I noticed something: there were many comments from people with several suggestions: Try this church, try this program, contact this person-they may know.. and on and on. All very well-meaning folks, but hear me: why are we always assuming that when folks ask for help, that surely they don’t mean US?
A while back, we were driving on the interstate and a car was pulled over. My youngest said, Mom! We gotta help them! And I found myself saying, Ah don’t worry sweetie. Someone will help. And his words that woke me up like cold water on my face:

Mom? Who is “someone”?

It was an innocent question, and not at all an accusation, but I found myself immediately calling the non-emergency 911 and letting them know the mile-marker where the car was stalled. It took TWO MINUTES. Yes, they probably had a cell phone. But, who knows? I don’t stop for stalled cars when I am traveling with children, but calling? I can definitely do that. I decided in that moment,

I am the someone.

How do I know I’m the someone who is supposed to help? Because I saw it. It landed in my web. I’m fortunate and blessed, meaning I’ve been given more so that I can GIVE more. That’s my sign. If I’m walking past someone on the street who asks me for money? That’s my sign. I don’t have to sit there and try to decide if they are worthy or not. God has filtered that out for me. Do I have cash in my wallet? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Do I have food to give? I remember a time my little daughter and I had her favorite black olive and mushroom pizza in the car, and were uncharacteristically met with a man at the stop sign off the interstate in our little town. His sign read:

Anything would help.

My little sweetheart looked down at her pizza, and at me, then back at her pizza. Mom, Can I see if he likes olives and mushrooms? To see his face light up when she asked him, is something that neither I or SHE will never forget. Kinsey knew she was up to bat. It was her turn to give, and she answered the call in the way children do, without hesitation or doubt.

How do you know if it’s your turn? Ask yourself these questions:

  1.  Are you being presented with an opportunity?
  2. Do you have what they need?
  3. Can you leave judgment behind, just for 5 minutes?
And usually, the answer will be: YOU are the someone. Sometimes it might be, call in a someone, but I’ve found that hardly is ever the case.  I’ll leave you with this quote from my favorite Momma T:

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest to you. –Mother Teresa

Love you, Lis xoxoxoxo

The Edge of 17


And so she grows and learns about the world and herself and all the things I knew she would. And I am unable to do very little about any of it. When she was little, I could put myself between her and anything unpleasant or unsavory. I was able to control the world, because I was the world. And so I made it one full of kisses, and books, and Peter Rabbit; music and dancing and so much sugar. I’m glad her little body survived that.



I find myself still trying with all my might to be her world, and despite my sturdy composition and constant revolving, I’m not enough-not big enough, not expansive enough, and of course I’m not. Nor should I be. Except loving her has this huge side effect of wanting everything to be perfect and lovely.

It’s the craziest thing, being a mother who loves and hovers, but also is trying to attach wings to your child. I’m in this constant battle with myself: wings on. no wings OFF. Ok fine wings ON. Wait!state-2016

I hope I can find the grace to allow her to have her own path, not begrudgingly, not in a way that makes her keep looking back, but in a way that is something like a soft breeze in her hair. I’d like to pretend I’ll be a butterfly that delights and encourages her as she is on her path, and not an annoying fly. Or worse: a mosquito, draining her very life blood with constant nagging and why haven’t you called? Don’t you miss your mommy?!



People, let me be clear here: I’m gonna have to work very hard to float like a butterfly. My mosquito tendencies are very real.

Yes, that’s me with Kinsey inside my shirt. Did she do that? No, I probably did. Look at her face.

I’m starting to think, that while the whole world is focusing on kids growing up, that the real growth is taking place inside us parents. Yes, it’s all about us.  The real hardship is on us poor people who were given the most perfect and rare and unbelievable gift of a baby who sort of looks like us even and smells like heaven above. And our lives change completely; suddenly we know a different kind of love that is not the least bit selfish.


But then, little by little, these little children grow, and take more and more steps away from us. And this might just be the hardest most wonderful thing ever. I believe my friend, G, would call it brutiful, a word which here means Beautiful plus Brutal.


I am still sturdy, and I will be ever revolving, in case she ever needs a different world, and yes, this parenting is the hardest most wonderful job I’ve ever had. She’s on her way. Tell everybody..she’s on her way, and please picture me as a butterfly.

Kinsey and Daddy’s song:

Love, actually

Just this. And only this. But don’t watch unless you are prepared to feel all the feels.


Put on your perspectacles, a word which here means, the glasses you put on to see the world through eyes of  love–and watch for love today. Sometimes it’s sneaky, and hard to see. You may have to push aside some things for it to show up….but it’s there. ♥ And it’s the only thing that’s real.

Oh, and by the way? Favorite Christmas movie EVER.

Tapping, and I don’t mean dancing

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This post has been a long time coming. I can’t be sure if it’s because I was afraid of what people might think…if I actually put it out there, or if I was sort of enjoying being in the know, while other people weren’t? Sort of like being at a buffet and realizing that no one but you realizes there’s a tiny French chef in the corner with a torch preparing personal little dishes of Crème Brule’.

For whatever reason, I’ve kept this little nugget knowledge to myself, but now realize I just can’t. After all, we are all humans, doing this grand experiment of life, and we just can’t keep secrets that will help other humans in a major way…. can we?

I came to know of an amazing family, through one of my favorite, and most cherished mentors, Dr. Wayne Dyer. It’s the Ortner siblings: Nick, Jessica, and Alex. They’ve taken a technique, called EFT tapping, or meridian tapping, and brought it out to the world in the most non-woo-woo way possible.

psst! are you guys clicking when the text is a different color? If you click, it takes you to a website that explains what I’m talking about in detail!

But here’s the cliff notes for all of you NON CLICKERS….>>>>>>: girlthinking1

Dr. Wayne Dyer: Really cool guy, has since passed Earth School and has graduated to Heaven. Is probably the reason I don’t hate everyone who pushes my buttons or annoys me.. Has definitely changed to my life for the better through his books and meditations.
EFT, otherwise known as Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a type of Meridian Tapping that combines ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology with startling results.
Tapping can help people overcome  many issues. From pain relief, to healing childhood traumas, to clearing limiting financial beliefs, to weight loss, body image and food cravings, to fears and phobias, Tapping is proving to be a powerful, well-researched and easy to learn and apply technique.
Tapping utilizes the body’s energy meridian points by stimulating them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power.

So now I’ll tell you a little story, get comfy and gather round. Ever since I’ve learned about tapping, I’ve felt like a witch right out of Harry Potter with a magic wand. And like any magical person, why be a muggle, when you can be magic? jo.jpg

And so, I set out experimenting on anyone who wouldn’t say no all my favorite people. Quinn, my youngest, aged 9, developed a horrible infection in his hand, from the monkey bars at school. His hand started to puff up and streaks of red ran up into his arm. It was bad, and actually required a shot in his little patootie along with some strong antibiotics. Because everything always gets worse at night, he laid in bed sort of whimpering and not sleeping. There’s  only so much whimpering and not sleeping a mom can take, you know?

So, I tapped on the meridian points for Quinn, and just asked that he repeat my words. We acknowledged the pain and the swelling, along with the throbbing and the worry that all of this caused.( It’s so human of us to think that we will always feel horrible and never feel better.) And once Quinn seemed a bit calmer, I began reminding him that his body knew exactly what to do, much in the same way a body does not need to be told to beat a heart, or blink eyes, or heal a scratch. As I tapped on Quinn’s little face and chest I would say (with him echoing), I can go to sleep now, my body knows what to do and how to fix my hand. God made my body, and God energy fuels my body, so that same energy will heal me as I sleep.

Hand to heart my dear readers, Quinn began to yawn right after repeating these words, and couldn’t keep his eyes open. I covered him up, tiptoed out of his room, wondering how long this would last. You guys. Not only did Quinn sleep through the night, but his hand was so much better the next morning! And here were his delighted exclamations:

Mom! You know that thing you did to fix my hand? On my face and chest and stuff? It worked!! It did! It was like Morse Code for my body….or something!

I’ve since used tapping on many others, including myself, and found it to be one of the most amazing things ever. I don’t pretend to understand why it works, but I don’t really know how the internet works, either, and I use it 24/7 pretty often.

The thing I’m most interested in right now, being a former Early Childhood teacher, is how it has the power to change the lives of children, especially in a classroom setting. I can’t cliff notes this video, so just grab a Starbucks and watch:

Tell me you are not AMAZED. Just try. This is a thing. And it has been used with the children of Sandy Hook Elementary, thanks to the Ortners, to deal with post traumatic stress and upset over the horrible ordeal the teachers and children endured. It is powerful magic in a very muggle world. I want to give you an opportunity to buy this book for your children, because how many times as a parent have you said, I just don’t know WHAT to do, or HOW to help my child? The power to change everything is quite literally in your hands.

Click here to shop

The world outside of our homes can be hard to deal with, and why wouldn’t you put a wand in your child’s hand if you can?



The thing about learning this easy technique, is that once you know it, you know it. It’s forever in your toolbox, along with anyone you teach it to.



Make Me Wear Waterproof Mascara

Tell me about how you used to think your two year-old would never sleep through the night. Assure me that I’ll get some sleep someday in long chunks of time as fat as a Twilight movie.

Help me to know that these heartbreaking fights I have with my teenager are normal, and necessary. When you tell me that, I feel like less of a failure.

You’ve worried about disagreements with your partner that seem to have no compromise, too? Tell me about that. It seems like everyone on Facebook is so in love, and are also soul mates, which is wonderful news for them, and sadly hard and overwhelming for everyone else. I want to hear about your struggles, because I actually thought you were one of those Facebook people.

I want to know the things that people don’t talk about above a sheepish whisper.

I want the 2 am digging into a gallon of chocolate chip with two spoons kitchen talk.


I crave your eyes filled with tears, that instantly cause my eyes to fill with tears….because then I know your words come from the very deepest parts of your soul.

Please don’t give me the story you give every other person who really doesn’t want to hear anything other than….I’m fine! We  are fine! All of us are so busy and SO FINE!! because I’m not that person, and I just can’t handle anymore of that in my life.



I don’t have that kind of time. And I’m painfully aware of it.

I’m what you might call a  serious earth schooler, devouring every piece of information that exists on living and dying well. I don’t remember how I got here, but I feel that I ended up in this place for a very important purpose. Now, I’m not going to change the political world, or end up the CEO of a huge company, or anything like that. I’m far too laid back love Netflix in an unhealthy way and not nearly interested enough in Math or exact facts. But I feel compelled to live a joyful life, free of worry and full of heart-rich moments that fill my whole body with a buzz so violent, it can be felt 10 miles away. I believe this kind of life can be lived, where one really can’t wear anything but waterproof mascara, due to the excessive amount of grateful tears leaking out of one’s eyes like bad plumbing.

People like Glennon Doyle Melton, Brene Brown, and Elizabeth Gilbert  are my very favorite authors because they believe that our real power lies in our shared stories of shame, failure, and vulnerability.

Someone once asked G, “why do you cry so much?” Her response:
Same reason I laugh so much. Cause I’m paying attention.”


there-must-be-thoseGive me kitchen after the holidays messy.  Level with me. Be vulnerable with snot running down your face. Help me to live my life and illustrate to me that I’m not an alien and so very alone in my thoughts. I feel insane levels of courage when I know I’m surrounded by others who have decided to tell the truth even though it may not have had a storybook ending or fit into an inspiring Facebook post or Tweet. I want to talk to you about what your strategy is, the same way two coaches have a meeting over beers about all that they are going to accomplish this season.  I want to hear about the amazing book or soul-filled concert that changed the way you think about everything.

I will get downright AMEN!!!and ALLELUIA!!! about the time you found God/Angels/Universe conspiring in your favor, when two seconds before you thought all was lost. And I’ll tell you about mine.


I am hungry for authentic earth school classmates who came here for the beautiful challenges of living a mysterious and unpredictable life. And nothing else will do.

Can You Read Backwords?


So my 10 year-old, Quinn, has been big into reversing words lately. It’s a phase, much like the eating only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches phase that all my kids have been through. Or the refusing to take a shower phase, not letting food touch phase, the Pokémon GO phase, or the not eating carbs phase. Wait. That last one was mine. Anyway, these things are all fleeting and are super fun and addictive for awhile.

Except the not eating carbs thing. That was a very dark time, friends.

I’ve been hearing all about words and their abilities to be the same exact thing, no matter which way they are read.

These are palindromes, and they are fascinating to Quinn. But he didn’t stop there. He decided to look at words backwards, and see what they spelled. When he went into that territory, I almost said, “Oh yes! Like Redrum!” but then I remembered that Quinn is 10, and doesn’t really need to know about films that include psychotic breaks and possessed children.


But then he came upon one that made us both stop in our tracks.


Quinn’s smile was slow like a train just coming to life on the tracks. I loved watching it gain speed. He ran to our dog, Frodo, and hugged him. “Yes!” he kept exclaiming. “YES!” and then he came and hugged me. “I like that, Mom! so much!”

I liked it, too.  When I think about the dogs in my lifetime, they’ve all shared the same qualities:

playful, joyful, wordless comfort, deep wisdom, innocence,loving, kind, protective, forgiving, humble, miraculous, faithful, devoted, loyal, insightful…..

And isn’t my list of God qualities the same? I think that’s the way truth feels-like the happiest slap across the face you’ll ever get, you know?

Children and dogs, dogs and children. I swear to you, they are my favorite teachers. It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes by Elizabeth Chase Allen:

Backward, turn backward, O time, in thy flight;
Make me a child again, just for to-night.

Watch this. Tell me that you can’t spot God in this place.

(P.S. for all my wordpress people, I’m really sorry about this new theme. It’s not set up yet, and I’m sort of over trying to figure it out today it’s bothering me, too. Bear with me! )