Song Lyrics for the 4th of July

July 4, 2014 by ldecesare

4th of July songs, country song lyrics about America, American songs, Independence Day songs, Happy Independence Day!

Last year I posted the meaning of Independence Day including the entirety of the Declaration of Independence. This year, I’m celebrating this great day with song lyrics for the 4th of July.

After years of resisting, and fighting my dear friend, Dana’s, attempts to make me listen, in the last eight years, I have become a country music fan. I get teary-eyed listening to the stories or laugh along with the songs with a sense of humor.

I love Zac Brown Band (I took my daughter for a one-on-one mother daughter weekend to see them perform and have written about his Camp Southern Ground) and get a little choked up still at the patriotic part in Chicken Fried. At our local elementary school, the kids sing Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American every year and I swear I cannot keep it together hearing those sweet little voices sing those incredible lyrics.

Enjoy your friends, family, parties and picnics today, and take a moment to remember what it’s all about.

Here are some of my favorite song lyrics for the 4th of July.

I thank god for my life
And for the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly, let it ring.
Salute the ones who died
The ones that give their lives
So we don’t have to sacrifice
All the things we love

- Zac Brown Band, Chicken Fried

If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.

- Lee Greenwood, Proud to be an American

He’s got the red, white, and blue flyin’ high on the farm
Semper fi tattooed on his left arm
Spends a little more at the store for a tag in the back that says u.s.a.
Won’t buy nothin’ that he can’t fix,
With wd40 and a craftsman wrench
He ain’t prejudice he’s just, made in America

His wife, she’s that wife that decorates on the 4th of July
But says “every day’s independence day”
She’s golden rule, teaches school,
Some folks say it isn’t cool but she says the Pledge of Allegiance anyway.

- Toby Keith, Made in America

Drivin’ down the street today I saw a sign for lemonade
They were the cutest kids I’d ever seen in this front yard
As they handed me my glass, smilin’ thinkin’ to myself
Man, what a picture-perfect postcard this would make of America

It’s a high school prom, it’s a Springsteen song, it’s a ride in a Chevrolet
It’s a man on the moon and fireflies in June and kids sellin’ lemonade
It’s cities and farms, it’s open arms, one nation under God
It’s America.

- Rodney Atkins, It’s America

Grateful to be an American!

Thank you, always, to our US Troops all over the world!

Happy 4th of July!

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Top Ten Ways to Help a Friend Whose Child is Facing a Medical Crisis

June 23, 2014 by ldecesare

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Do you know the best ways to help a friend whose child is facing a medical crisis?

My thanks to Kerry Sheeran, Author of The Marathon, a powerful memoir about their daughter’s journey and struggle for life, for this guest post.

It’s not always to know what to do or what to say or how to be genuinely helpful to help a friend whose child is facing a medical crisis, but Kerry’s post guides us through her top ten pieces of advice, from someone who’s been there.

I also think these tips are applicable and great to keep in mind for helping a friend who is sick herself.

 

Top Ten Ways to Help a Friend Whose Child is Facing a Medical Crisis

Guest Post by Kerry Sheeran

Watching a family member or friend suffer through the illness or hospitalization of their child can leave a person feeling utterly helpless.  It can be hard to determine when and how to offer your support.  Where is the line between being too pushy and not the least bit supportive?  How can you be the person your friend needs during a difficult time in their lives?  I have some experience in this department, having been on the receiving end of a tremendous amount of help during the course of five years, eight major surgeries and countless hospitalizations of my six-year-old.

What I learned during those difficult times has served me well when my own friends have found themselves in similar situations, and so I want to share them with Mother’s Circle readers.  Without further adieu, I’m pleased to present you with the top ten most important ways to help a friend whose child is facing a medical crisis:

10. DON’T ASK, DO TELL:

Don’t ask your friend: “How can I help you?”  Sounds ridiculous, right?  I mean, your heart is in the right place – but you need to use your head on this one.  This is your friend, after all.  You should be able to anticipate his or her needs to a certain extent.  Think about it before you ask, then propose a way you might be able to step in.  Is it garbage night?  Is one of their other kids on a travel soccer team?  Is their business suffering as a result of their absence?

Figure out what might be the most efficient way to lighten their load, and propose it to them in a matter-of-fact way.  “I’ll take Danny to and from his soccer game on Sunday, okay?”  “Can I make those deposits for you so that payroll stays on track?”  “I’d like to take your garbage out and bring your mail in while you’re at the hospital.”  “I’d like to clean and disinfect your house so that it’s all ready for Katie when she gets home.”

Your friend will appreciate the thoughtfulness behind your good deed, given the state of mind he or she is probably in. The last thing a parent of a sick child has time to do is brainstorm ways for you to help them.  Not to mention, many people have a difficult time asking for help in the first place.   So eliminate that part of the equation by tweaking your offer from “What can I do?” to “Here’s what I plan to do – is it okay with you?” Guaranteed they will be eager to accept a well thought out offer to help.

9.  OPEN YOUR EARS:

Resist the urge to talk and constantly advise when your friend is unloading to you.  Unless they specifically The Marathon, Boston Marathon book, book cover pink sneakers, The Marathon book cover,call seeking advice, be the friend and confidant your were called to be.  Processing the magnitude of a child’s poor health is extremely hard for a parent.  Talking through it can be helpful in many ways.  Sometimes just saying something out loud is a way for a parent to accept a recent diagnosis, a bad turn or an all around crappy day for their child.  Listen to your friend when they are sharing their story with you.

Don’t tell them about someone else you know with a similar saga.  Such stories can’t possibly help to alleviate your friend’s sadness or stress.  Just open your ears and hear what they have to say.

A good listener is always genuinely appreciated.

8.  ASK BEFORE YOU VISIT:

Always check with your friend before “surprising” their child with a visit.  Whether it’s at the hospital or their home, it may or may not be exactly what the doctor ordered.  Sometimes visitors can brighten an otherwise dreary day.  It can be the happy distraction that a friend or child needs.  But other times it may do more harm then good.  Timing is everything  – so be sure your visit is at a time that works for everyone.  Often tests or surgery can wear a patient out, making sleep their #1 priority.

Make sure you’re coming on a day he or she is up for visiting.  And 30 – 40 minutes is more than sufficient.  Also, ONLY visit if you are in good health.  The last thing a compromised immune system needs is another virus to fight off.  Your germs aren’t welcome in the company of a child who is trying to recover, so leave them and yourself at home until you are better.  The child’s health is ALWAYS more important than a visitor “showing face.” Be sure to weigh what is best for the parents and child before executing your travel plans.

7.  FOOD IS LOVE:

Who doesn’t love a home-cooked meal? Not many people, that’s who. Unless you are told otherwise, fire up your stove-tops and throw some cookies in the oven. Everyone needs to eat. But nobody has time to cook when they are helping their child through an illness and/or hospital stay. And, by the way – in case you’ve never heard:  HOSPITAL FOOD STINKS. There, I said it. It may be tolerable for a few days, but once you hit the week-mark – it all starts tasting the same.

Cooking for your friend (or even their child) is a wonderful way to show how much you care. It does, however, require some coordination with other friends. Start a “food chain” and space out food deliveries so that your friend isn’t getting bombarded with three meals in one night, and none for seven days straight. Talk amongst yourselves when it comes to the menu. Elect one person to be the point person to run questions by regarding food allergies and delivery times.  Don’t ask your friend questions like: “What would you like me to make you?” Again, that’s putting them in the position of asking a favor of you. Coordinate with the point-person and pour your heart into your meal. Your “eaters” will taste your support and dedication in every delicious bite.

6.  HELP THEM TO ADVOCATE FOR THEIR CHILD:

Patient Advocacy is an extremely important role for any parent with a child in crisis.  It requires questions, research, lots of notes and a clear grasp of the medical situation at hand. The problem is, many times a parent can become debilitated by their own emotions, thereby leaving facts, figures and health records on the back burner.

Suggest they bring a notebook to every appointment or ask them if they’d like your assistance.  Maybe you could be a note-taker for them? Perhaps you are a doctor, nurse – or just a very organized friend with a knack for details. Offer to put together a binder with sections labeled: Calendar, Hospital Records, Diagnoses, Questions, Medications, Research and Treatments. Jot down a list of questions for them to ask their childs’s physicians or nurses, and mark important dates on their calendar.

Be their brains, temporarily, and get them on track for success with their child’s care, while being sure to respect boundaries and maintain privacy.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give a friend whose mind is probably spinning out of control as it is.

5.  KEEP THEIR OTHER KIDS OCCUPIED AND HAPPY:

Part of the stress of having a sick child to care for is a parent’s inability to give their focus and attention to their other children.  The physical and emotional distance from their “healthy” children, while unavoidable, can invite emotions of guilt and sadness from the parents, and jealousy and resentment from the kids.  Help lighten this additional burden on your friend by stepping up and using the art of distraction with their offspring.

If your family is going bowling, invite your friends’ kids along. Set up play-time or sleep-overs. Make them feel special and loved. Talk to them. Ask them how they are doing. As stressful as it may be for your friend, this is a child’s sibling who is sick. It’s just as scary – if not more – for a young one to witness their brother or sister in failing health. Couple that with absent parents, and a kid can feel downright sad. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and offer to bring them to visit their sick sibling whenever they can. Feed them, hug them and tie their shoes. Be a “stand-in” mom or dad.  Your friend will appreciate this kind of help more then you could ever know.

4.  KEEP YOUR ANXIETY TO YOURSELF:

mom with baby in NICU, sick baby, sick baby with mom, helping friends when they have a sick baby, helping when baby in NICU, how to help family with ill baby, Repeat after me:  It’s not about YOU.  Don’t say things like: “I don’t know how you’re holding it together…I’d be a total mess!” or “I’m so worried about you, this is too much to take!” or “I feel helpless.” It’s hard enough for your friend to manage his or her own worries and fears. It’s not fair to pile yours on top of them.

Be a positive force, while staying realistic about the child’s condition. It’s not a good idea to suggest things like: “Everything’s going to be fine,” or “God only gives you as much as you can handle.” The simple fact is that your friend will be forced to handle whatever comes his or her way.  The alternative would be crawling up into a ball and hiding from their worst fears – and that is precisely what you should be trying to steer them away from doing.

Encourage your friend to stay strong and take care of him/herself.  It’s your job to hold them up when they feel weak. A sick child will benefit in many ways from a parent who is keeping it together.

3.  SEND GIFT CARDS THAT PAY FOR COFFEE, GAS OR PARKING:

Flowers and balloons are a nice gesture, but a lot of hospitals don’t encourage either (because of latex and pollen allergies).  Maybe this is my über-practical side talking (I’ve been guilty of worse), but if you really want to brighten your friend’s day, pick up the tab for a day of parking, gas or coffee.  The daily expenses associated with having a child in the hospital can really add up.  Hospital bills alone can send some families into a lifetime of debt. Treating your friend to something as simple as a cup of coffee sends the message that you understand their burdens and wish for them to have some relief – if only for a few minutes.  It’s a thoughtful little gesture that shows you are thinking about them.

2.  KEEP THEIR CHILD IN YOUR PRAYERS:

It’s a simple thing that means so much.  Do not dismiss the almighty effect of positive thoughts, good vibes and prayers.  It’s the least (and, perhaps, the most) you can do for your friend and their child.

1. REACH OUT WITH THOUGHTFUL PHONE CALLS, EMAILS AND CARDS:

Don’t ever assume you are bothering someone by letting them know how much you care for them and their child. They may not be able to return your calls or write back (and DON’T take it personally if they don’t) – but they will feel your love and support in every word you write or speak.  If they can answer the phone, they will. Some people like to talk and some do not. This is their decision to make.

Whether your friend is Kerry Sheeran image, headshot Kerry Sheeran, The Marathon author, photo of Kerry Sheeran, photo of Marathon authorholding vigil at their child’s hospital bed, or care-giving at home, they are most likely extremely overwhelmed with responsibility. Give your friend a pass on social etiquette and simply know that your thoughtfulness is appreciated.  I’ve never met one parent who has said: “Gee, I’m so glad nobody called or wrote while my kid was in intensive care.”

Never EVER underestimate the power of love and compassion.

About the Author:

Kerry Sheeran, author of The Marathon, a gut-wrenching memoir based on the gripping ride of a mother and father forced to seek answers to life’s biggest questions as their child fights to survive.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book benefits prenatal and neonatal research and care at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Available on Amazon.com and in local stores.  For more information visit www.kerrysheeran.com.

Find Kerry on Twitter: @kerrysheeran6
Find Kerry on Facebook
Find The Marathon on Goodreads

©Kerry Sheeran 2014, Ocean State Press

 

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8 Parenting Lessons from Frozen

June 17, 2014 by ldecesare

parenting tips, parenting lessons from Frozen, lessons from the movie Frozen, kids watching Frozen, drawing of Olaf, Olaf the snowmanI know, I know, we’re all “Frozened-Out,” but I had to finally share the parenting lessons from Frozen that I’ve been thinking about. I’m a little delayed in putting these Frozen thoughts to paper – um, to blog post – since I’ve been busy writing a parenting book, Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence. Details coming soon!

So back to the parenting lessons from Frozen …

How many times have you seen Frozen in your family? Three? Five? Eight? Have you hit a dozen times? How many times have you sung/heard/hummed “Let it Go”? That’s got to be nearing the hundred mark, at least! Hasn’t “Let it go” become the new theme song and theme phrase for everything? Don’t stress – let it go – then your head goes right into the lyrics.

Frozen is one of my favorite movies, not just my favorite Disney movie, but I think I have to add it to my list of all favorite movies. And, having seen it more times than I’d like to admit, I can’t help but see some great parenting lessons from Frozen.

1. Accept your children for who they are – and nurture it.

This one hits you right in the face at the start of Frozen. Poor Elsa wasn’t accepted unconditionally, sure, her parents, the rulers of Arendelle, thought they were doing the right thing, but they squelched her essence. They even made her ashamed and embarrassed by who she was. Her parents didn’t let her be herself, instead, she had to hide her true self.

I cringe to admit it, but there are times we do this as parents, sometimes in small ways that are almost hidden. The key is to recognize it and take a different action course. Do you want your book bug to be more athletic? Do you want your daughter to play field hockey like you did? Do you encourage your art-loving son to join the soccer team? Do you expect A’s from your B student?

Encouraging them to fulfill their potential and offering opportunities for diverse experiences are wonderful but there can be a fine line, can’t there?

In Naked Parenting, Naked Love is the first key – 100% full, generous, crazy-love for our kids, and making sure they know it to their core, without a question. Wholly accepting them for who they are, helping them shine in their strengths and learn from and grow from their weaknesses, that’s our job as parents. I think the Frozen trolls are a wonderful example of unconditional love and acceptance.

2. Family first and love conquers all.

Tagging onto the first lesson, sisterly love and bonds are a main Frozen theme. Didn’t you think for awhile that the “only an act of true love can save her” was a kiss from Kristoff? I let the screenwriters take me right along that line of thinking for most of the film – but then the ultimate lesson was that it was a sister’s love that saved her, not a romantic love.

As parents, we need to nurture, support, and encourage kindness and caring among siblings. Take them to each others’ ball games, concerts, tennis matches, and don’t allow cruelty or meanness. Sure they will be angry with each other at times, but as parents, it’s all about how we coach them in expressing that frustration, how we ask them to talk about it face-to-face, how we create the space for them to really hear the other siblings point of view.

Teach your kiddos to stick up for one another, to respect the space, belongings, and opinions of the others. They’ll still bicker and argue, as siblings do, but they’ll build friendships that are deep. Seeing our kids being wonderful and loving together is one of the greatest rewards as a mom!

3. Be honest and foster open communication.

In Naked Parenting, two of my key principles are Naked Honesty and Naked Communication. KEY to parenting with confidence and raising kids who are resilient and respectful.drawing of Sven, reindeer from Frozen, tips from Frozen, tips for parents, how to raise confident kids, Frozen characters

If Elsa and Anna’s parents had been open and honest with Anna and had allowed Elsa to be honest about who she was, well, there would be no story, but besides that plot point, they would’ve raised more stable, happy, and well-adjusted kids. By teaching her to hide and be secretive, even within their family, their parents’ actions hurt everyone.

Along with honesty in your speech and actions, families need honesty in their communication. If you have a problem talk about it. Everyone has different ways to cope with the situations in life, every family will guide their children differently, but talk about it. Even young children can understand so much, and setting a family culture of open communication at the outset will serve you well as kids grow older. I’m so proud and grateful that our kids, even as teens, really still talk to us and come to Nick and I with their problems.

4. Help kids accept and embrace differences.

Encourage kids to accept others, no matter how unlike ourselves they are. We are all different, unique individuals and that’s a beautiful thing in life. Anna opens up easily to, well, to both guys she meets, but she was equally as comfortable with Kristoff as she was with Hans, as kind in the uncertain meeting of the trolls as she was with familiar Olaf. We all have strengths and weaknesses and, without being dishonest, we can re-frame things for our children and  help them see themselves positively no matter what their excel at or struggle with.

5. Teach personal responsibility.

Naked Responsibility is another key in Naked Parenting and a huge component in raising kids with confidence. It bugs me that Elsa doesn’t take personal responsibility for her actions. She dismisses it and tries to turn her back on the consequences of her rage, “The cold never bothered me anyway,” she sings. How selfish!

I am big on spelling it out for our kids when they’re not taking responsibility for their actions in any situation. From an early age, kids need to understand the connection between their actions and the outcomes.

6. Be able to laugh at yourself.

trolls from Frozen, what do the trolls from Frozen represent, unconditional love in parenting, unconditional love in Frozen, drawing of trolls, Kids who learn not to take themselves too seriously, kids who can laugh at themselves will fare well in life. Do you set this example? Can you take a joke or a jab? Olaf represents humor in times of trouble. He represents so much more, too, innocence, childhood joy, youth. All things that are important to remember as adults, all things valuable to see and treasure in our kids. Let them be kids, let them be playful and jolly and silly and join them!

7. People aren’t always who they say they are.

So this is a tough lesson, but kids somehow sense it and can learn it younger than you might imagine. Just this week, our youngest was telling me about the inconsistencies she recognizes with what friends say they believe and how they act.

And as a parenting lesson for teens – well, this one is loaded! Navigating friendships and high school group chats, who’s posturing for the boys (or girls) and who’s being sincere, and PLEASE don’t jump in when you barely know the guy! He could be the bad guy! (I’m also working on a big rewrite of my debut novel, working title, The Fork Book, and Hans is the definition of a fork!)

8. Sometimes the enemy is yourself.

So this one, I blame on the girls’ parents to start. The King and Queen should’ve been accepting of their daughter for who she was (see lesson #1), instead they taught her to close herself off and “conceal, don’t reveal.”

Elsa was her own enemy. She kept herself inside and didn’t trust herself which led her to not trust anyone else. Now this is hard to teach! We see the stubborn toddler digging in his heels and making everything worse for himself, we see the teen talking back and losing privileges or avoiding a chore only to earn extra ones as a result.

New and unpredictable feelings, like in puberty, can be scary and leave adolescents feeling uncertain and confused. Trying to see the driving force behind tween and teens actions, without giving them a pass for rudeness or disrespect, can allow parents to respond with empathy, compassion and in a productive instead of destructive way.

Share with us.

What parenting lessons from Frozen do you see?

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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Sexting at School

June 10, 2014 by ldecesare

sexting at school, book about sexting, girls and sexting, parenting teen girls, advice for parents of teen girlsMy thanks to Benjamin Dancer for this guest post. As a mother of two teens, I am happy to learn and share this information as a means to continue to keep updated and aware. There are so many challenges and things to keep on top of with kids in our high-tech world, it’s important to stay vigilant and educated to best guide and protect our kids.

I love Benjamin’s advice in Sexting at School which is so important to remember: “She needs you to be confident in your role. … Jessica loves you, and she knows that you love her. This is universal: the teenager wants desperately to have her independence, and she is terrified of it. Jessica is not aware of the fact that she is conflicted about this. She’s just a kid. As much as she pushes you away, she wants you to be strong, to love her.”

This is a great, quick read written for parent’s of teen daughters. Download the article-length ebook for free.

SEXTING AT SCHOOL by Benjamin Dancer

I’m a high school counselor, which means I work with parents every day who could use a little grace in their lives. Because I’ve made a career out of my work with adolescents, I see as a matter of course what a parent might be seeing for the first time. This includes a long list of unfortunate life events.

As a parent, I have a lot of empathy for other parents. It’s not easy, especially when you’re going through something for the first time. My life, on the other hand, is a little bit like Groundhog Day. In a sense, I’ve never left high school. Every school year I see the same things. Different kids, but the same behavior: alcohol, drugs, tobacco, bullying, kids running away from home, pregnancy and something newer: sexting.

Take an adolescent boy with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, which by definition means he is incapable of fully contemplating notions such as consequence; take this teenager raging with sex hormones and give him a tiny device that he will carry with him everywhere, a device capable of sending messages instantly to anybody, anywhere in the world and install a camera in that device. What do you imagine might go wrong?

When you and I were teenagers, we were no less reckless, no less idiotic with our choices, no less eager to use our bodies as grownups. The difference is that our stupidity has been forgotten by history. Back then they didn’t have a massive network of servers positioned strategically across the globe to capture and record, forever, the embarrassment of our adolescent choices.

Over the last seventeen years in my work of mentoring adolescents and partnering with their parents, I’ve seen a lot of parenting styles. I’ve learned some important strategies in dealing with the situations teenagers present–strategies the average parent doesn’t have the time, through repetition, to learn. I feel confident telling you that there are some really good ideas out there. And some really bad ones, too.

Because I’m a writer, it occurred to me to write it down, what I’ve learned over the years. I’m a parent. I know it just as well as you do: we need a little grace in our lives.

Being a mother in the age of smartphones can be an unsettling experience. My article-length ebook, SEXTING AT SCHOOL, is about a teenage girl who got in trouble with the law for sexting at school. The ordeal precipitated an identity crisis for the mother, through which she learned to trust herself and to guide her daughter.

The story I tell is a composite of a dozen mothers and a dozen daughters I’ve work with over the years. After the story is told, I analyze it–elucidating what I believe to be the important parenting considerations.

Here’s the bottom line: you and I are human beings. The behavior of our kids confronts us with ourselves. So the first step, I think, in being a parent is to be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself so that you can teach your kids to be kind to themselves. Such a simple task can be so much more difficult than it sounds.

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Excerpt from SEXTING AT SCHOOL:
“The police called it child pornography. So I understood Nicole’s concern: she wanted to talk to me about her daughter. Jessica was fourteen and three years younger than her boyfriend. He had been distributing images of Jessica through his phone. Nicole was worried; she was scared, and understandably so. Jessica still thought she was in love.”

SEXTING AT SCHOOL is a FREE download at Goodreads.com
Or if you’re feeling generous, you can buy it for $0.99 at Amazon.com

About Benjamin Dancer:
benjamin dancer, author benjamin dancer, counselor Benjamin Dancer, PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN, FIDELITYBenjamin is a high school counselor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. He also writes about parenting and education. You can learn more at BenjaminDancer.com
Benjamin Dancer on Facebook
Twitter @BenjaminDancer1

Baby Names

May 15, 2014 by ldecesare

I’d like to introduce you to a new feature on my site to help you pick baby names.

When you were growing up, did you have a list of names you wanted to name your future children? Then, as you realize that you’re naming a real person, it feels more weighty! There’s so much to consider when choosing baby names and middle names and twin names …

There are thoughts of giving your child a name that sounds good out loud, that looks pretty written, that works with your last name, that is individual or classic or meaningful. And then there’s always selecting a name that doesn’t remind you or your spouse/partner of the boy who picked his nose in math class or the girl who made faces at you from the bus window. Lot’s to think about when it comes to baby names!

So give this fun tool a try – have fun with it, get others involved, and maybe you’ll uncover a name you hadn’t considered which fits just right.

I hope this will be helpful to those of you who are expecting. It’s a fun tool that helps you figure out your favorite name for your new baby! You can add your own to pick baby names or search a list, then you can invite your family and friends to play the game.

Rather than just a one-click poll, this game elicits your deeper preferences.  Click Get Started below to build and share your very own baby names poll.

I hope this new tool helps you find the perfect name for your little one!

 

Love Thy Body – Agroterra Photography

May 13, 2014 by ldecesare

Leah DeCesare, Leah DeCesare RI, Love Thy Body Leah, Agroterra Photography, My talented friend, Lisa Gendron, has launched a project entitled Love Thy Body – Women celebrate themselves in essays and portraits. Lisa invited me to participate and I’m honored to be the first featured in her series.

Click here to read my Love Thy Body essay and to see Lisa’s artistry in photography.

I bared myself in writing and physically for this project. Lisa and I spent a chilly morning together in her studio, chatting while she snapped away, making me feel like a model.

Since the photos accompanying the essay are on the Internet, I was quite selective in what I chose for Lisa to post, but all of the images are something I’ll cherish.

Lisa shared that she treasures an old photo of her own grandmother and told me that it will be so special for my children, and even my grandchildren, to have a beautiful picture of me years from now. I love that thought.

Here’s how my piece begins:

I have a what feels like a confession, but I have no apologies. I love me. I love who I am: my spirit, my mind, my heart, and yes, I love my body. Loving my body is like a guarded secret, something that seems unacceptable to admit. It’s not that I don’t see my body’s flaws, lumps and wrinkles, it’s that I embrace them and accept me wholly. Today, I give voice to the joy my body brings me; no hiding that I’m happy with who I am inside and out.

So I bare myself for you. Please read my Love Thy Body essay then come back here and leave a comment to let me know what you think!

Here’s the link to the post on Agroterra Photography.

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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