For those who innovate, deviate, and create their own path–the place where I interview the brave few who step out of line.
Michelle Icard: Middle School Maven
Oh, middle school. That dreaded time of adolescence when awkward is the side dish served with every entree. **RECORD SCRATCH** Hold up. What if we looked it again? Reconsidered the potential these precious years hold, rather than just grin (or grimace) and bear it? Yes, these years can be hard, but there’s so much more that’s worth exploring.
In this episode, I talk with my friend Michelle Icard, author of several books on middle school parenting, including her most recent, “14 Talks by Age 14.”
Listen, Michelle doesn’t call herself the “Middle School Maven,” but I think it’s a perfect fit. She’s SO in tune with this stage of development, the importance of letting kids “earn their own wisdom,” and why as parents we should be tuning in (strategically) right as our kids want to completely tune us out.
Please listen if you have middle schoolers. Listen if you will have middle schoolers or already had them. And send this to your friends who are navigating these sometimes rocky years so they know there are resources out there to help.
You can listen on my website, iTunes or Spotify!
Michelle’s unsolicited lift is her friend and author Rosie Molinary, who recently published the second edition of her book, “Beautiful You, A Daily Guide to Self-Acceptance.” Go check her out!
Shanel Whitley: Body Positivity and Being Present
“So often our body image issues stop us from being present.”
What is your body image keeping you from? Swimming freely? Smiling at strangers? (Once these masks are off.) Wearing a tank top when it’s flipping hot out? Being present in the moment with your friends and family and not obsessing about the cellulite dimples on your thigh? I loved this conversation with Shanel. It was encouraging and convicting. I now weight what I did at my heaviest while pregnant. And it’s…weird? I’m just wrestling with it. I harbor negative thoughts about my own body, which ultimately spills onto how I think about and treat others.
Body positivity is perhaps a trendy term thrown around but it’s more than skin deep. It’s soul deep. How to embrace and celebrate the body you’re in SO you can be your healthiest self, not waiting until you’re a certain size or weight or whatever.
It’s something I’m working on. And I’m grateful to Shanel for sharing her wisdom. Shanel’s unsolicited lift is model Lexi Eleni Placourakis, who unknowingly served as a role model for Shanel in her body positivity journey. Her photos are fierce! Check her out: https://www.instagram.com/lexieleni/
And check Shanel out here! https://www.instagram.com/shanelwhitley/
Episode 10: Joseph Shepard, Telling Truth in Love
Imagine. Imagine living in your car. In a Walgreen’s parking lot. Then getting washed up in a McDonald’s bathroom. For months on end. Imagine.
Now imagine this happening to you as a child. Imagine having to hide your homelessness from your teachers, for fear you’ll be taken away from your mother. Imagine.
Joseph Shepard doesn’t have to imagine it. He lived it.
But his story and his struggle has helped him reimagine what life might look like for him. What life might look like for others like him, if he used his voice and his testimony to help and heal.
This conversation with Joseph was enlightening and inspiring. He’s got some stuff to say. And everyone should listen.
To choose love in the face of hatred, fear, oppression, obstacles and hard times isn’t required of us. It isn’t. We have the free will to choose love. That’s what makes it love. And that’s what makes it the bravest damn thing.
Lyric Martin: Love, Basketball and Learning to Adapt
Whether it’s because of the stress and strain of the pandemic, the particular season of your life, or all of the above, we can find ourselves called to carry out tasks that we may not want to do or may not feel fulfilled by. (Hello piles of laundry and grocery shopping and substitute homeschool teaching.) How can we get through this? Not just this moment, but this life? When we have to slog through the humdrum, the boring, the mundane, the behind-the-scenes work that gets no glory. What if…what if we simply embraced the fact that we’re playing a role?
“I want to be a good role player. Whatever role I’m called to do, I want to do it well.”Dang. My friend Lyric said this at Bible study recently, and it floored me. She didn’t say team player, maybe because that’s overused and doesn’t seem to apply when you’re on your own. She didn’t say role model, because that’s a bit self serving and subjective.
Role player. There’s a difference. Enjoy this conversation I have with this basketball loving, youth mentoring, family celebrating, meme slinging, delightful friend of mine. (Also, this screen grab was perfect because Lyric smiles a lot, and I talk with my hands. A lot.)
Autism, Aspergers and Awesome Women
You've seen the puzzle pieces, the lighting it up blue, the walks...but autism is so much more than these well-intentioned, but sometimes harmful awareness campaigns. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful autism is in the common lexicon now, but I am very passionate about telling the rest of the story. Or rather, letting autistic people tell the rest of their story. In this episode, I interview Heidi and Victoria, two Australian women who are also autistic. Their new podcast, Aspies Etc., caught my attention, and I wanted to pick their neurodiverse minds on everything from how to better raise my autistic daughter and what it's like to launch into the podcast world. I've been writing about my daughter and autism for years. I haven't always done it right. But I've done it. And I have no regrets. We need this connection of community, and I'm grateful I get to parent a neurodiverse child. And maybe, just maybe, I've lived inside a neurodiverse mind my entire life. Connect with Aspies, Etc.: linktr.ee/Aspiesetc
Good Stuff: Tony Attwood: Like Victoria, seeing one of Tony Attwood's speeches online was an "ah-ha" moment. What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew : Phenomenal book I'd recommend to anyone with an autistic daughter, friend, niece, cousin, etc. First Signs of Asperger Syndrome in Bright Young Girls Pre-school: When my daughter hit 38 out of these 40 indicators, I knew I needed better answers for her
Wisdom From My Momma Llama: Janet Patterson
“A third-degree burn to the soul.”
This is how my mom describes the pain of losing a son to suicide after revelations of clergy sexual abuse and a cover up from the Catholic Church. She’s a fierce advocate for survivors and their families, and I’m so proud of the impact she’s had. As our family lit the candle of hope this week of Advent, I knew I needed to interview my mom, especially after I experienced a fairly severe mental health episode recently. Hope has a distinct meaning to our family.
My mom was also a teacher for many, many years, and was happy to answer questions from former students. Growing up, I was known as “Mrs. Patterson’s daughter,” and that’s an honor I proudly carry.
There’s so much more to unpack here. Our family’s story is…a lot. But there’s a whole book in the works here.
Please listen, find out why “hope” is more than just a platitude.
Learn more about our story at catpoland.com
Cat Poland for President!
I adore Cat's blog and anywhere that I get to read her perspective. I don't know how to give words for good writing, but I love her writing style. I always learn from Cat, so I love having another way to learn from her!