Would you do it if you were blind?

I came across the most incredible motto yesterday and had to share it with you right away.


This is the No Barriers Pledge created by Erik Weihenmayer. Erik started to lose his vision in his early teens and eventually went totally blind. He had to learn how to negotiate the world in this new way. For some, that would stop them cold in their tracks and send them in a downward spiral. For Erik, he saw it as an opportunity. He has so many firsts to his name it’s hard to list them all. Let’s just say he was the first blind mountaineer to ever climb and summit Mt. Everest. Okay, I don’t know about you, but as a seeing person that thought is beyond daunting. Erik rock climbs, kayaks, hikes, explores unexplored jungles, and more. The list never ends. He started an organization called No Barriers USA, among others, for people of ALL abilities to find and keep the flame alive and well in them. If you haven’t heard of him and his organization I highly recommend checking it out, and watch some of the videos of what he and others with myriad physical challenges have accomplished. It will make you wonder why you ever think you are not able to do something.



Lately, I have been entertaining those squirrels in my brain that tell me maybe I’m not cut out to be a picture book writer. Maybe I should…GASP…give up. Erik’s email and quote came at just the right time. Of COURSE I’m not going to give up! And neither should you. Whether you’re a writer, a marathon runner, a parent, a farmer, you have a physical challenge, or you’re an artist like Vashti. THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY and you are worth the effort of finding it.

Life Lesson #7: Get rid of the “squirrels” in your brain that say you can’t do it. What do they know? They’re just squirrels! As Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Here is a girl that did the hard work of moving beyond her (perceived) barriers to a happier self…

Vashti is my hero!

Vashti is my hero!

Click on image to visit Peter Reynolds website

Give it a try! Let me hear from you. Did you shoo away naysayer squirrels in your head? Tell me about what barrier you broke down and what was waiting for you on the other side.


If the mouth is quiet, don’t assume the brain ain’t working

While I think of myself as fairly outgoing, I am also often quiet. Sometimes I crave quiet, especially in nature. Do you know people like that? I’m not good at idle chit chat, but I love to really talk. You can be sure, though, that when I’m quiet my brain and all of my other senses are working full throttle. I see, hear, and smell things that my husband completely misses. I’m an observer, and that has made me understand people and the world so much more than if I jabbered my way through.

I was recently reminded that so many other people – children and adults – are similar, and I have to remind myself not to make assumptions about their quietness.

On a shuttle bus through Denali National Park we had an extremely quiet driver. On the way into the park our driver talked to us on his microphone the whole way – imparting all kinds of interesting information and such. Initially I was disappointed in the 2nd driver’s lack of communication. I starting having those thoughts…”He must be new. He must not know very much. He must not know how to talk to people”, etc. But this guy could see animals that took 20 people five or more minutes to spot. Thanks to him we saw our first grizzly bear.

Quiet, with nothing going on? Oh no. Never.

Life Lesson #6: Ask the quiet child (or adult) questions and you may be delightfully surprised at what he knows, sees, hears and thinks. Don’t assume anything about the quiet people but greatness.

Here’s one little girl that sees colors in ways others may not…


Click image to see author’s website



Can THE DARK possibly be our friend?

When I was a little girl I was terrified of the dark. Even my brother’s dares to go in the basement in the dark weren’t tantalizing enough. I’d rather eat a spoonful of mayonnaise with coffee grinds (yes, I really did this, but that’ s another story) than voluntarily go in a dark room. At bedtime I had a ritual of turning off my light switch and, as quickly as I could, running across the room and jumping into my bed before any monsters under my bed, lurking in the dark, could get me. Living in the city at various points in my life taught me never to go into dark parking lots or streets alone. When I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as an adult, I begged my husband to come with me to do laundry in the basement. Dark was never my friend.

As a child, in the summer I never got enough time to play, dreading when the streetlights clicked on which signaled it was time to go inside for the night. No playtime in the dark.

It came as a great surprise then, when I recently spent a week in Alaska, that I craved the dark. I didn’t think it possible. At this time of year (May) sunset is at 11:30pm and sunrise at 4:30am. You might think, “Woohoo! So much light!” But let me tell you – it messes with your internal sense of when your body is ready for sleep and when it wants to wake up. I found myself lying in bed at 11pm craving the dark. Wishing someone would push the sun to the other side of the world. Hoping for a night time sky just so I could sleep. Five hours later my body moaned in protest that, “No! It’s not time to get up yet. It’s still light out!”

Flying back to the lower 48 a week later, I never thought I’d hear myself say, “It’s 9pm. Thank goodness it’s dark. I love the dark.”

Life Lesson #5: Embrace the dark. Let your mind and body rest. There’s nothing scary about restoration and, who knows? Something wonderful may await you in the dark.

Pout-Pout Fish learns all about the dark, too, in Deborah Diesen’s brilliant book…

Click image to see author's website and books

Click image to see author’s website and books