Jeremy and I started a tradition 10 years ago and it’s absolutely one of my favorite things we do for fun as a couple. KNOCK IT ALL OUT IN ONE DAY, CHRISTMAS SHOPPING DAY DATE! Shopping for your date may not seem like fun as a couple (I get it! I don’t enjoy shopping typically), but hear me out…

On one hand, I enjoy the check the box nature of this day. We start the day with a plan. (Insert giggles for those who know how we operate!) For instance, we know where we are going, who we are buying for, a general idea of what we are buying, and we go.

On the other hand, it’s a day together. A common goal. No kids. Furthermore, Jeremy is part of this WITH me, not just the signature on the from tag just as surprised as the receiver upon opening.

We have a fun lunch out with a few adult beverages and then back to it. Did I mention no kids?

Typically, we drop them off at school and GO! As a result of virtual school though, we ALMOST cancelled.


Even if we only needed one gift, WE WERE DOING THIS DAY DATE. (Said with a toddler foot stamp of stubbornness!) This is definitely OUR day and COVID, virtual school, a pandemic, none of that shit was going to get in the way of this tradition. NONE.

Hence, we did what any parents wanting to stay sane in the midst of a pandemic do. Obviously, we left the kids at home to virtual school themselves and continued with our day date tradition.



I laughed at my insistence about this day. Why was this such a big deal? Since you asked, I’ll tell you. LOL!

Having fun as a couple is so important and frankly it gets lost sometimes in the busy-ness of life.

In addition, we are admittedly bad about making it a more CONSISTENT priority. Just like Goonies never die… well, Lowey Christmas shopping day dates never die!

Our kids are in a lot of activities and without a doubt, we love it. Even so… we STILL need time for ourselves.

The actual carving out of time though is TOUGH. Although we’re in a pandemic, this week alone there is not a single night free. NOT ONE. Ironically, I thought there was one night, but then got the latest tournament schedule and bam, gone.

To be clear, I’m not mad about it. In fact, I really do love it. Conversely though, the activities make it that much harder to get quality time in for fun as a couple WITH NO KIDS PRESENT.

Yes, my friend, this is key. Harder, but notice I didn’t say impossible.

When is the last time you made having fun as a couple a priority?

There are three reasons you may have stopped prioritizing dates.

First, money.

Second, time.

Third, over or under thinking it.

With this in mind, let’s explore.


Obviously, I don’t think too many of us would argue with having a fancy dinner out once in a while. On the contrary, if you think this has to be THE weekly or even monthly fun as a couple I’m talking about, you are wrong.

Here are suggestions I received from my huddle for FREE (or inexpensive) ways to have fun as a couple:

  • A bike ride (warmer months preferred!)
  • Put the kids to bed and have a game night
  • Snuggle on the couch and watch a movie WITHOUT YOUR PHONES
  • Go to one kid’s sporting event WITHOUT your other kids
  • First, feed the kids a frozen pizza and settle them in for their own movie. Then make your own dinner together. In contrast to your normal menu, try an involved recipe making you both feel like Guy Fieri!
  • Run errands together! Instead of being hustle and bustle, make it a fun as a couple activity to accomplish together. Who doesn’t love a good checklist? (me, it’s me…)
  • An evening walk in the neighborhood to just talk
  • Go for ice cream or have a coffee shop date and just sit and talk
  • Hold hands
  • Hug for 60 seconds. I actually read this in an article. Chest to chest hug for 60 seconds. It’s awkward at first! Like a conversation you don’t know how to end. Even so, there are great benefits once you get beyond the awkward!
  • Barter babysitting with another family once a month. They get a night out. You get a night out. Kids get TWO playdates in one month. I call it a win-win-win.

Don’t let money be a hinderance to having fun as a couple. At some point, it’s just another excuse.


Before kids and even when the kids were little, Jeremy and I used to periodically play a game of Scrabble in the evening. Definitely funny because I’m actually a terrible speller. I didn’t win very often (ever).

I bring this up because I can’t tell you the last time we played an evening game of Scrabble. However, I CAN tell you the last time I scrolled through my social media of an evening and completely lost an hour in the time warp that is Facebook and Instagram.

Hmmm. Time? Ah snap.

Prioritize. We love to use time as an excuse. And yes, when you look at your schedule and the calendar is overwhelmed with activities, it can FEEL as if there is no time. Absolutely.

Nonetheless, is there something you do mindlessly, like a Facebook scroll time warp, which can be replaced with some fun as a couple for just one night a week?


If the fun as a couple statement makes you feel uneasy, maybe even some guilt, you likely fall into one of two categories. Over thinker or under thinker.

The over thinker of date night has BIG, GRANDIOSE plans for the fun as a couple. Not only a fancy dinner out and maybe a hotel stay, but also kids with amazing plans of their own.

Reel it in sister!

Undoubtedly, you can do this, but not every week has to be a scene from a Sandra Bullock movie.

Or maybe the over thinker feels guilt over spending time as a couple and it “should” really be family time. STOP.

First off, I’m sure you have more quality time with your family than you give yourself credit for. In fact, we’re all our own worst critics.

Second, spending quality time as a couple is healthy for everyone. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Next up, the under thinker. In short, you downplay the importance. Or say things like, “we do spend time together.” However, is it QUALITY time together?

I’ll give a personal example. We have certain shows we watch together as a couple, but I can assure you the focus is not on the US part of it. Computers, phones, books, something else always out while watching the show. WAY less present in this moment than we would be if we consciously made plans.

If I can admit this, so can you. Any of this sound familiar? Quit being an under (or over) thinker about fun as a couple.


Traditions can play a big part in your fun as a couple too!

For instance, here are two more traditions we like to do together in addition to our Christmas shopping day date.

First, a good theme party and we’re in! Our tradition with friends from college for a themed Christmas party every year is a crowd favorite.

Fun as a Couple- 80s theme party outfits for Heather and Jeremy

80s Theme Christmas Party- Jeremy never disappoints!

The montage of costumes is fantastic. Themes such as Rock N’ Roll, Christmas movies, 80s, you name it, we’ve likely done it. One thing I love about this tradition is how the guys get just as into the costumes and figuring out something outlandish to do as the ladies.

Sadly, 2020 got in the way of this tradition dating back to at least 2003, but 2021 WILL BE EPIC!

Give us a theme party, Jeremy will even “sacrifice” and grow out a moustache for the event. (insert giant Heather eye roll)

Fun as a couple- Rock N Roll outfits on Heather and Jeremy

Rock N’ Roll Christmas!

Next fun as a couple activity tradition, CONCERTS!

Unquestionably, 2020 has been a tough one for our concert going. A big void in the Lowey fraternity house fun FOR SURE. We cover a wide genre of music, too.

Find us at Neil Diamond, Imagine Dragons, Red Hot Chili Peppers, cover band of Billy Joel and Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Lumineers, just to name a few.

The craziest adventure out of all of these? Neil Diamond. I know, funny right? We even tee-peed our friends’ house on the way home from this concert.



While we have some fun traditions, frankly we could use some work on the regular/consistent portion of having fun as a couple. How about you?

And while I’m what we categorize as the over thinker of date night, 2021 will be the year of making the week to week fun as a couple FOCUS a priority. Traditions are great, but only come around a few times of year.

In short, start small. Additionally, be consistent.

At the end of the day, we have to remember to have fun as a couple. For real. We all put WAY too much pressure on trying to ADULT a certain way. In my opinion, OVERRATED!

Now, go make it a priority to have some fun… together! I know I will.

This year my husband and I set a weekly Wednesday date night. Whether it’s a fancy dinner, a bike ride, an escape room adventure, or eating way too much Chinese food on the couch in our pajamas, it’s a scheduled time to connect. I look forward to it every week. I am consistently reminded of why we chose to do life together which brings joy to our marriage, our parenting, and life in general.    -Tanya Finkbiner


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Today I got on the elliptical and plugged in 4-1 for the last time as my age. Tomorrow marks the start of a new year on this planet for me. Another trip around the sun. I’m now approaching the “in my 40s” language, not the “I’m just 40 or 41.” Semantics… maybe. Even so, a TOTALLY different vibe nonetheless.

Despite this, I can’t help but reflect back on the last two years. The years some would term my midlife crisis, as it can be for so many when hitting milestone birthdays. It should be noted, I didn’t buy a red corvette, get a bunch of plastic surgery, and leave my husband for a 20-something surfer in California I met online.

Nevertheless, I made some BIG life changes. Arguably some of the boldest decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I quit my job of almost two decades. Not only was it my ONLY career, but also had become so much a part of me, my identity was absolutely lost within it. In addition, I left this job without a plan.

While clearly some people do things like this, for the record… I do not. Conversely, I have a plan for the plan with at least one back-up plan.

I don’t jump out of airplanes without a parachute. In fact, I don’t jump out of planes PERIOD.

So, what are goals after 40, really?


First, I started writing. I honestly have no idea why, but it just felt right. Second, I put myself out there with a blog. Absolutely one of the top 5 scariest moments of my 41 years and 364 days on this Earth.

Full disclosure, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. Arguably, I still don’t. On the other hand, I find myself in this weird place of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. With age apparently comes some lack of GAFs about vulnerability.

I, without a doubt, recommend you try it!

Even so, I enjoyed the writing and thought it might just be the platform a career-driven mom needed because Lord knows I did. So, I jumped. I even contacted Linking Indy Women about writing their blog in a liquid-courage moment one evening. Now I’m their monthly re-cap blogger. WTH?

Next, after some additional self-reflection, I took another leap and enrolled in a program to become a certified coach. Undoubtedly, an interesting sidestep from Sports Marketing and PR, but what the heck? Why not?!?

About 5 months into the program, it became apparent to me I really wanted to do this on my own. Have a business. Be an entrepreneur.


Yes, this realization really threw me for a while.

40- One could argue it was the age suddenly giving me different perspective on what I wanted out of life. On the other hand, one could say I finally came to my senses and said, “enough is enough, I’m going out on my own!” Whatever the case, I did it.

Furthermore, I’m telling you this for one main reason. I have not a single regret. None. Zero. Zilch. Conversely, ask me this two years ago when I was less than a month away from my leap out of the airplane and I likely would have faltered.

“I think this is the right decision, but I’m sure there will be things I will regret or wonder why I did them.”



Let’s turn the microphone over to you at this time. We’re approaching the end of the year. Historically a time people all over the world look at life and hit a much-deserved reset button. Subsequently, even set New Year’s resolutions or fresh, new goals.

Company goals unquestionably get discussed, but also personal metrics are analyzed. Maybe you decide if you are on the “right” path or need an audible.

What is the big decision you are mulling over? Is there an unsettling feeling you just can’t get rid of, but at the same time you aren’t making any moves or adjustments?

Maybe you’re scared. Maybe it’s easier to talk about what you WANT to do. But if you START, in fact, take even one step… it becomes way too real.


Well my friend, take the leap. Jump out of the airplane. Parachute or not, go.

It’s totally cliché but I don’t care, it’s a great quote. As the hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

If you want accountability, support coming up with your plan, tips on overcoming blocks to achieving your goals, and more, I’ve got your covered! Not from a place of, “this is what you should do” or “this is how I did it.”

We’re all unique individuals, have our own lens through which we view life, and need to take steps in our own time and in our own way.


Even so, what I do want to share with you is this. There will never be a right time.

Think about when you were contemplating having kids. I remember Jeremy and I mulling over what was the right time for kids. When would we be ready? Finally one day (in a very Yoda fashion), he said, “I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to say I’m ready. Are we ever really ready for something like this?”

Wise 29-year-old Jeremy quote right there. LOL.

Actually, if we’re doing this like Yoda, it was probably more like, “Ready, one finds themselves never.” (you did the Yoda voice didn’t you?!?! LOL.)

But for real. Right time + Ready = Never.

Full disclosure, it took a miscarriage for us to realize how excited we were about the possibility of having kids. But that’s a story for another day.

Regardless, you don’t have to do this alone nor do you have to feel ready. But at the same time, don’t miss the shot simply because you didn’t take it.


For now, I’ll leave you with this. Spend some time over the next four weeks brainstorming. Write down all the things you think you want to do or achieve, no matter how outlandish they may seem to you in the moment.

Easy my friend. SLOW DOWN THE NERVES. You aren’t signing on to do them, it’s just a brainstorm. Get your mind open to possibilities, even the crazy ones. Think about these eight areas of your life:

  • Personal Development
  • Spiritual
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Finance
  • Career
  • Family

Next, think about your satisfaction in each of these areas on a scale of 1-10, 10 being highest. Finally, what would need to happen to move it up one notch on your satisfaction scale?

See what I’m doing? Small steps. Repeatable changes. But the whole thing first starts with figuring out WHERE you want to go.

If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

– Steve Maraboli


Happy brainstorming my amazing friend. Until next time, let your mind roam in the infinite possibilities out there for you. But promise me one thing. You will allow yourself to dream!

One question I often ask clients, “what would you tell your daughter or your son if they were in your situation?”

Stay unfulfilled but safe.

Don’t chase your dream, it’s too big.

At 40, you are too old to be thinking of making this kind of change.

Obviously, you see how ridiculous this sounds. Nonetheless I ask you this, why are you doing it to yourself? If you come back at me with excuses like time, money, obligations, spouse, kids, lack of clarity, etc., etc., I’m going to challenge you.

That’s right. Excuses are like… well, you know the stinky reference I’m making here.

The point is, our minds have been trained to protect us. Keep us safe. That’s great for things like a bear attacking a cavewoman. Not so great when we feel unfulfilled but find ourselves too scared to make changes. We also get caught up in thinking about the end result and how it seems SO FAR. Guess what? It probably is REALLY far. But if you stay stagnant. Furthermore, not changing even one little detail in your life by the next year. I can promise you this. You are going to find yourself exactly where you are at this time next year.

Yoda: Unfulfilled find yourself you will. (I couldn’t help myself!)

Dream. Brainstorm. Take some time to contemplate what it is your subconscious has been trying to tell you for a while now.

Who knows, by the end of this, we may all be convinced to jump out of that airplane… with a parachute of course.


Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

– Nido Qubein


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A portion of my job is to support people through mindset shifting. Admittedly, the irony is not lost on me that sometimes, I myself, need to simply LOOK IN A MIRROR and adopt this concept. Let’s talk about the things we say to ourselves. More specifically, our inner mean girl.

I read in my 100 Days to Brave book this morning an excerpt on speaking kindly to yourself. To be honest, this is like the fifth time the effect of our inner messaging has popped up for me in the last week. Clearly the Universe is trying to tell me something. Because of this, I sat on it for a while this morning. Then I started to write.

We likely could all use a little dose of putting the inner mean girl in her place. For instance, I recently had surgery on a herniated disc in my neck. (Yes, the cover pic which I’m SHOCKED I am letting out in public… yikes!) I promise the surgery not quite as dramatic as it may sound. Even so, my inner mean girl was ON FIRE after the fact.


Everyone has their own topics their inner mean girl can’t seem to let go of. Mine typically centers around weight and probably more specifically body image.

I can’t work out for at least 6 months, so as you can imagine, my inner mean girl topic for discussion…


She first started in on what surgery would mean for any progress made in the exercise realm recently. Second, she pointed out how she could literally FEEL my arms and belly getting bigger as I laid there in the hospital bed. (I told you, she’s not very nice!) Then the “little b***h” began attacking my business and questioning my foot off the throttle for new clients while in recovery.

“Rest? Get your butt going, you have clients to talk to,” she demanded.

Funny how quickly I forgot the SHE was in fact, ME. Ouch.

Nonetheless, I kept wondering what the “speaking kindly to yourself” message smacking me in the face over the last week meant. As a result, I think someone else out there needs to hear this:


Your thoughts and feelings, as well as the little inner mean girl trying to tear you down, it’s normal. Furthermore, just like me, maybe you are needing a dose of medicine for your inner mean girl, too.

What does she like to point out to you? Motherhood shortcomings. Of course, she does! And probably in the weakest of moments too. Career woman issues and trying to climb the ladder, be a “good wife” (whatever that means), and be all the things we “should” be? Yep. Body image thoughts? This Girl Is On Fire! And no, not in an Alicia Keys song kind of way either. Ugh.

Mine? Oh yes. All of the above. She doesn’t like my arms, my toes, my thighs, she’s frustrated with my mid-section of late. Her messaging in the mirror even on days when I do wear make-up and put on something other than tights or yoga pants (hello quarantine?!?!) has not been kind. Additionally, she even attacks my motherhood skills or lack thereof. Check and check.

Is she right? Maybe at times. I bet you didn’t think I was going to say that!

I’m not going to lecture you on a message of “love yourself exactly as you are in every moment.” It should be noted, I don’t think this approach creates growth. Of course, you want to love yourself. However, SOMETIMES, we need to take a good hard look at the inner voice and see what she’s trying to tell us. The catch is, balancing the truth in the message as well as how we let it affect us versus challenge us.

The inner mean girl is just the mask. Under the mask of the mean message, maybe, just maybe, there is a more important message to unearth.


I’m an instant gratification person. How about you?

Frustrated when the internet is slow? Check.

Triggered by kids and want them to behave IMMEDIATELY? Check.

Take the inner mean girl message at face value? Check.

How often do we face the mean girl message and think it through? I’m probably at a zero out of one hundred average in the last week alone. You too?

So, let’s chat about it. Body image messaging for me is typically not as loud when I MOVE my body. Ironically, it doesn’t have to be a long run or a really tough workout. In general, when I move (walk, work in the yard, busy day of errands and house chores, etc.) it equates to me feeling better.

With this in mind, it makes a lot of sense my inner mean girl was on fire as I lay in a hospital bed for about 24 hours straight. She’s trying to remind me, albeit in a not very kind way, body movement is key for my sense of well-being. When I don’t have this, my mental state is a slippery slope of pointing out ALL THE THINGS wrong with me physically.

And while my arms and belly likely weren’t growing at a rate where I could physically SEE this (um, gross), the thoughts in my head manifesting the physical feeling is understandable. Irrational on some level? Of course. However, thinking it through makes me understand my inner mean girl wants me to move because she knows I’m going to feel better.

With this rationale, are we then able to manifest positivity if we have the ability to manifest a negative feeling? I’m thinking YES.

Heather Lowey- Inner Mean Girl quote- thank, question, challenge her, Move on.

Let’s start with this… What is the first thing you said to yourself this morning?


Who grabbed the phone first thing this morning and started scrolling? If you answered yes, I’m going to scream this through your screen:

STOP IT!!!!!!!!!

Terrible idea. I don’t like to tell people what to do, (okay, my fraternity house would disagree) but I’m ripping off the band-aid… Not only is it a bad idea, it is a TERRIBLE idea.

Three reasons:


Why didn’t I get up and work out this morning?

What am I doing to wear THAT bikini to the beach?

When is the last time we took family pictures and all coordinated outfits?

What did my loved one post that I don’t want to be associated with?

Enter in the inner mean girl and BAM, our morning is shot before our feet even hit the floor.

Add in some kids rushing around for school and no coffee, well frankly, it’s not going to get any better.

Why don’t my kids listen to me?

I just yelled. Geez, I’m a terrible mother.

We have all this s**t to do tonight. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I SHOULD be appreciative of all we have but I’m so freaking tired and annoyed!

This negative self-talk continues for the day and by the time you are home in the evening with your take-out and feeling guilty, the night continues to spiral. Um, hello- NO WONDER!


Consequently, I have an idea for you to try.

Gratefulness exercise. I know, maybe you read this with a giant eye roll, but hear me out. Additionally, I PROMISE I’m not trying to add more s**t to your already full plate. Nope. Not only is this one easy, it also creates a shift in your mindset.

The minute you wake up in the morning, despite the habit, don’t grab your phone. You can either continue to lie in your bed or do this on your walk to the bathroom. Think of three things you are grateful for. That’s it. 3 things. To clarify, they don’t have to be big, crazy things either. 

For example, here are mine from this morning:

First, finding the perfect spot in my bed and realizing it was only 4 am so I still had a couple more hours in THE PERFECT spot. You know what I’m talking about, right!?!? The perfect softness, firmness, temperature, all the things. Just right. Man, it’s great!

Next, my son, Jake, being so helpful and happy last night. (He is pre-teen and the emotional roller coaster is LEGIT!)

Finally, a day with fewer calls and obligations so I could do some writing and planning.

Ladies (and gents), I am telling you, THIS creates a shift in you. Maybe not day one or even week one. Nonetheless, when you know you are going to wake up in the morning and have to think of something you are grateful for, your mind automatically looks for things. You re-train your brain to be on the look-out for POSITIVE things. Simultaneously, you move your head from negative self-talk to speaking kindly to yourself.

Energy flows where attention goes.


– Tony Robbins



We all have the inner mean girl. Even when you re-train your brain, she’s likely going to find something else to give you flack about.

However, what if you took a little time to shift? Acknowledge what the inner mean girl is trying to tell you. There may be a message under the mask of mean if only you break it down.

Then you shift. Moving to a place where our brain automatically LOOKS for the positives. A life of practicing gratefulness and empathy once we understand this inner voice maybe just wants to be heard.

Give it a try. I’d love to hear how this process or an evolution of this works for you. We can work with our inner mean girl and shift her from a bullying voice, to someone looking out for our well-being.

Finally, don’t forget the little voice is YOU. When you peel back your inner mean girl, what are YOU trying to tell yourself?


Step away from the mean girls… and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.


Oprah Winfrey

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2020 PLANS

Who’s 2020 plan has gone, well… according to plan? Yours did? Okay then, you can stop reading. For all the rest of us, let’s chat.

Let me give you a quick rundown of my 2020 plan…

First according to plan, my coaching business is 25 clients deep. Next according to plan, the boys are IN school as well as playing sports with all of their friends on the fields near our house. Lastly, according to plan I actually FOLLOWED the 2020 blog script which I laid out at the end of 2019.

Of the above, guess how many went according to plan? I’ll give you a hint. ZERO. Zilch. Nada.  It should be noted, none of these things did or are happening the way I planned.

Even so, has this been catastrophic? Nope.

In fact, there have been a lot of opportunities and wins rising from the ashes of 2020.  Definitely extra family time (too much? maybe at times!). Stories told from perspectives I, without a doubt, didn’t have a year ago. Last but not least, learning more about my niche for coaching which I’m quite certain wouldn’t have been fully discovered according to plan.

Furthermore, master plans, game plans, schemes, plans of action, intentions, and methods are just, well… plans. I heard this riddle the other day.

There are four frogs sitting on a lily pad. Three decide to jump off. How many are still on the lily pad?

Answer: 4.

Deciding is vastly different than putting plans into action. Touché riddle master!


It’s easy, in this case, to blame a global pandemic on A LOT of things. On some level and for some circumstances, it absolutely IS accurate to blame.

But IS IT? I ask clients all the time why they haven’t moved to action and can tell you exactly 0% of the time so far has global pandemic been a legit reason. Just sayin’….

Nonetheless, even with our best thought out plans and also moving into the action phase, sometimes the Universe has a different idea.

Case in point, my plan years ago had NOTHING in it about writing a blog. Definitely nothing about starting my own business. Especially not a career outside of the sports world I had known for so long.

Despite all of this, here I am. And you want to know something crazy? Even though NONE of this was a part of my plan…. I’m happy. WHOA. I know. Plans NOT working out can actually lead to happiness?!?!? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.

Nevertheless, the insanely organized planner self I am can now admit the curveballs and best laid plans falling through have actually led me to a happier place.

What if plans falling through are the Universe’s way of resetting our course down a path of opportunity?


With this in mind, what are the plans you feel are currently failing?

I’ve heard from a number of moms who feel the pressure of trying to juggle a career on top of virtual school makes them feel like a failure.

First off, we could jump right into the typical response of, “NO! You are not failing. This is HARD. Do your best. You ARE doing your personal best every day.”

While this would all be TRUE and completely valid; it likely doesn’t help much beyond hearing the words initially.

“Appreciate it, but your words aren’t SOLVING anything.”

What if we instead work on completely shifting our mindset around what failed plans mean? Before I get all “coach-y” on you (Jake’s words by the way), I simply mean we look at this from a lens of opportunity versus failure. Plain and simple.

Okay fair, maybe not simple at first, but really not terribly hard to make it a habit, then it becomes simple.

For those of you questioning creating a new habit, strap in. It should be noted, it takes around 90 days to create a habit. You’ve got this!


Proof of this thing called failed plans. Think back for a moment to your pre-kid thoughts on having kids. From birth, we have plans for them. Some very sweet and cute little plans. On the contrary, others likely falling in the asinine category! Let’s be honest, we had no idea what the hell we were talking about.

We laugh at ourselves later about our best laid plans with infants…. Hello baby wipe warmers???? Does anyone actually use those things?

I would venture to guess plans go awry more than they go according to plan. Amiright?!?

On the other hand, might that be the point? Can’t we learn and grow arguably more from plans going awry than according to plan?

To demonstrate, Jake was on his way to walking by the one-year mark. Sweet! And then…. An ice storm.

On a cold January evening, I innocently stepped out of the garage with him on my hip. Afterall, he wanted to touch the snow! Then BAM. Next thing I know, we’re both on the ground.

Him: screaming like crazy.

Me: dazed and confused.

ER visit revealed a fracture in his leg. An itty-bitty cast later, our plan of him walking by his first birthday now gone awry. Additionally, me with a slight concussion.

The Mom Huddle- According to Plan, Jake as 11-month-old smiling with a little cast on his leg

Jake showing off his cast just before his 1-year birthday

I learned from this experience. While we can get tied up in the baby book milestones, he walked just fine a few months later. Everything in due time.

Ironically, this was a great pre-curser to Bryce. Talking would come ON HIS OWN TERMS… not according to any milestone gurus.

It should be noted, I also don’t carry kids while walking on ice anymore! #jokingnotjoking


2020 has been a lesson on survival of the nimble. Too tied to your plans and how things are “supposed” to go? Consequently, you probably will view 2020 as a fail. Instead though, what if we looked at this year as one of opportunity?

Speaking from one planner extraordinaire to another, my failed plans of the past have become some of my greatest stories. My personal triumphs and examples of perseverance. Consequently, some hilarious stories. Even the catalysts leading to my happiest state of being.


Let’s discuss the Zoom call gone awry. Following the dog barking during your sales pitch. Even the missed assignments in virtual school. Likewise, yelling in the background AT one son WHILE your other son is on a class Zoom (who would do that?!?! ME… it was me!).


You have a new plan. This plan is a plan to embrace the unplanned. (not going to lie, I wanted to see how many times I could get plan into that sentence.)


Plans move us forward, so by no stretch of the imagination am I telling you not to have a plan. This thought actually makes me start to sweat and envision a life of mayhem. BAH! Can’t handle it.

Instead though, I’m asking you to EMBRACE when a plan goes awry. Sure, you can have a moment of cursing all the effects of it going terribly wrong. Afterall, you’re only human.

But then STOP. (anyone else’s mind go to- collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention…. If you didn’t, NOW you did! LOL.)

Obviously, not everything has been rainbows and sunshine in 2020. My point though, is if we look for the opportunity in what this year has provided, low and behold we just might find a cute little rainbow. Conversely, focusing on the negative day in day out just feeds us to find more of the negative.

Plans. I mean for real, who follows them anyway.

Take a moment and ask yourself what the opportunity is right now. Seriously, what is ONE opportunity?

Is this going to make a great story for your next wine night? Amazing. Did you just discover you are actually better at something than you gave yourself credit for? Boom. Did you just enjoy yourself for a moment? Ah snap.


When we make a habit of seeking the opportunity in a plan going awry, we shift our mindset. We look for opportunity not only when things go according to plan, but also when low and behold, a global pandemic happens, and we go off script on EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST.

Opportunity knocks. Unfortunately, we sometimes decide to ignore the knocking and just get angry. While understandable, what if after a moment of annoyance, we shifted? Additionally, we followed a newly created habit.

According to our new plan, we possess an innate ability to adapt to our plan going awry. Furthermore, to see opportunity in something better than we could have ever imagined.

How great will it be to discover an amazing opportunity you never would have witnessed if everything went according to plan?

Keep moving forward momma. Create your new habit. Embrace what’s around the corner. I know it’s going to lead to something amazing. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity for an awesome story!

One more thing, stop counting down the days in 2020 but rather make the days count. You have 134 days of OPPORTUNITY left in 2020. According to plan we have an amazing opportunity around the corner, if only we’re open to receiving it.


Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. You are a child of God. Stand up straight.


Maya Angelou


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My grandpa died recently as a young 92-year-old. Undoubtedly, he lived a FULL life. Even though his death was expected due to general decline over the last year, the actual occurrence of his death was still much harder than I anticipated. Likewise, I have been reflecting on it. There is much to learn in loss, no matter how prepared you think you are.

Consequently, no amount of prep truly softens the blow of their presence suddenly gone. In turn, everything tied up in memories and stories.

Grandpa really did enjoy most things in life. Even the things he didn’t enjoy, he tolerated in what can only be described as a laid-back manner. He left a legacy with his family through writing and storytelling. He LOVED to share stories. In fact, often found ways to relate a current circumstance to a story he remembered or something he had been through.

Therefore, I thought I would take this opportunity to share what I learned in his loss.


Everyone has a story became his mantra over the years. Even though I heard this a number of times in my youth, it didn’t dawn on me until recently it’s likely why I started doing my own writing.

What’s your story? What do you want your legacy to be?

On the Linking Indy Women Instagram Live interview a few months ago, I spoke about an idea I have around the concept of everyone has a story. Writing about everyday people because when you get down to it, everyone has a story to share.

I’m a connector and networker by nature. Consequently, I’m fascinated by people’s stories. The mail lady, janitor, CEO, officemate, cashier, barista, you name it, they have one worth hearing. People naturally seem to just open up and tell me things albeit sometimes shocking! LOL.

Insert palm to forehead here. My everyone has a story idea is not original. This is my grandpa’s legacy. But when you hear a message so often, it naturally becomes a part of you. You live it. His mantra to life becoming so much a part of me, only reflection of learning in loss highlighting the source.


It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking our story is no big deal. Just like strengths. Often people downplay their strengths because it comes natural to them. The very reason it is so easy being the fact it IS a strength. Additionally, others admire it. Same with stories. It doesn’t feel unique because you are living in it. Nevertheless, it’s your story to share!

I remember my first meeting with colleagues from New York at the NBA. I shared the fact I grew up on a hog farm. First off, something I thought was a simple enough statement. Secondly, not so odd since I’d lived in it my entire life. Despite this normal fact to me, you could have heard a pin drop. “Excuse me, WHAT? Do tell!” But I digress…. Everyone has a story and its uniqueness is more amazing than you think.

My grandpa told stories. He would often say “stop me if I’ve told you this.” Let’s be honest, especially later in his life, I had likely heard the story at least twenty times prior. Truth be told, even if I did say he’d told me already, he was going to re-hash it anyway because he loved to share.

Learn in loss- Share your story and listen to others share theirs. You won’t regret it.


Our boys spent the weekend of their Papa Deuce’s visitation and funeral with the adults. As the older of their cousin clan, I anticipated them wanting to draw back into video games or a movie at the end of the day. Instead though, they relished in the story telling. I’m the oldest of four and sharing stories and laughing together is a highlight whenever we all have the chance to visit. Clearly, we get the genes honest….

However, what I recognized for maybe the first time in my own children was watching them being drawn into the stories. Maybe this came from feeling like they were suddenly part of the “big kid club” since they made it through the duration of all of the events. Or maybe they were just too tired to move to the other room and turn on a movie.

Whatever the reason, they delighted in the storytelling and the laughter. Jake, in particular, couldn’t get enough of it. He broke out into laughter a few times the next day about something said the day prior.

The experience was a good reminder for me. It’s often easier to give the boys a device or turn on a movie when I want to visit with other adults. On the other hand, watching them as a part of this interaction and what their inclusion meant was eye-opening. We absolutely had to stop short on a few stories ensuring they were age appropriate! (Hey Uncle Griff…. He’s only 11!!) But at the end of the day, they enjoyed the experience.

Learn in loss- Don’t underestimate the impact of including the kids in storytelling time. Age appropriate of course.


My grandpa was about as easy-going as they come. A funny phrase he often uttered when something surprised him, “Oh… welp-ph!!” My spelling probably not doing this phrase justice.

Even so, it’s often imitated by his children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren both with and without him present. It makes me smile even as I type this.

He had the ability to stay calm in the craziest of circumstances. I honestly cannot remember a time he was seriously rattled over ANYTHING. And this is coming from his granddaughter who lived a quarter of a mile down the road and had siblings constantly doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. (not me of course.)

This also includes him pulling into oncoming traffic with no physical reaction to the danger at hand. Or flipping the car into park on the regular without being fully stopped coming to a jolting halt. “Oh..welp-ph!”

I think we can all agree 2020 can be summed up with the simple phrase of “WTH???” Every time I turn around something new and unfathomable happening in the world. With the loss of grandpa and now the loss of at least part our kids’ fall semester of in-person school, I’ve started to create a number of parallels. Maybe the next blog post will create all of the parallels for you. But for now, my approach to virtual school and the world seemingly imploding upon itself is going to be my grandpa’s easy-going approach with a simple “Oh….welp-ph!”

Learn in loss- There really isn’t anything too big to overcome. Stay calm. Stay the course. And if you can’t think of something nice to say about someone, just use my grandpa’s line. “They are a great example of a bad example.” (think about it for a second…. there you go!)

Learn in loss- grandparents with 4 grandkids posing at Christmas

Our grandparents -always present. Not just for holidays but all life events big and small.


Grandpa was a master at laughing at himself. A great lesson for all of us.

One particular “party trick” required him lying on the floor on his back. The back of his head could not touch the ground if his heels were on the ground. Consequently, if you pushed his head down to the ground, his feet would in turn pop up from the floor. Like a seesaw. While I don’t remember him EVER being flexible, this was on another level of stiff. And HILARIOUS.

My aunt made the discovery when a pillow accidentally got knocked out from under his head, but his head didn’t fall to the ground. LAUGHTER ERUPTED! But it didn’t stop there. This became a party trick every time a new person came to the house who hadn’t seen how our grandpa’s head and heels couldn’t touch the floor at the same time!!!

How often do we take ourselves too seriously? We forget or think we shouldn’t laugh at our shortcomings. Not only was he not a stiff about it (pun FULLY intended), but also obliged us continuing to get down on the floor and show this to all of our friends. Our very own grandpa party trick.

Learn in loss- Don’t take yourself too seriously. A dose of laughter will probably do some good.

Learn in Loss- Heather and 3 siblings with grandparents making silly faces

Strike a silly pose!


Loss is hard, but there is so much to be learned from those no longer with us. It’s easy to put them on a pedestal when they are no longer in our presence.

I feel fortunate this pedestal is warranted. Not from a place of perfection or being what social standards are for successful, but rather from a place of being a human. Being my grandpa.

He had the ability to be welcoming and warm. Obviously he was not perfect, but also could laugh at his shortcomings. He was successful by social standards, but those are not the memories people shared about being in his presence. And that’s not how his children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren will remember him.

They will remember his knack for storytelling, his ability to laugh at himself and life circumstances, his easy-going demeanor, and the fact, everyone has a story to share.

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Recently, I did a thing. This THING made me nervous and uncomfortable. BUT this was important. Consequently, it’s important for all of us. I made a promise recently and this promise was to LISTEN. What do I mean by this? I claim to not be a racist. I truly don’t think I am. But what I’ve found through listening is my definition of being a racist isn’t a fully encompassing version of what racism actually is. This THING I did made me discover a reality I never knew.

Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

Noted. But here’s where my definition and reality come to a crossroads. There are unconscious bias pieces of racism as well. Not just the screaming, confederate flag waving craziness my mind visually goes to when I think of the word racism. Furthermore, when I listen and think more deeply about the unconscious, I would be lying if I said some of the thoughts had never crossed my mind. Have I tried to squash them because I know they are wrong? Sure. But it doesn’t negate the fact they entered into my conscious in the first place.


So back to the thing I did. First, I re-shared a story on Facebook. The story definitely made me sad. Consequently, it also made me realize racism isn’t reserved just for people in a lower socio-economic class. (For the record, I’m not saying that makes it any better either.) It’s not reserved for a person someone might term as a “thug” (who, by the way, is a human too and it should be noted may just be dressed differently than you).

Nope. It’s happening to PEOPLE with jobs, in nice neighborhoods, raising families. In this case, someone who by the sheer fact of having a skin color darker than my own, causes them to live in fear of taking a walk in their predominantly white neighborhood.

When I shared this story, a friend and former colleague commented on the post about the reality this story is for her family. And admittedly, I felt ashamed. This was a reality I never knew.

We used to work together, her at the Indiana Fever and I at Reebok/adidas. I always enjoyed our working relationship and respected what an amazing person Ashley is. Always hard-working but regardless of the long hours, greeted me with a smile. Inevitably things would go wrong with deliveries or product as they often do in the apparel industry. Gracefully is the word which comes to mind to describe how Ashley would deal with these issues. Communicative, responsive, and always polite even when things were wrong from my end.

But here’s the thing. We had many conversations over the years. Not once did I ever acknowledge the reality of her world lens. By no means am I saying I have some different lens today suddenly showing me this world either. But I’m disappointed in myself for never asking. Moreover, never truly listening to pick up on this.

We both went to Purdue, but our experiences were vastly different. I did not know about this difference in experience until today. Why? Because I finally asked. We talked about it. Years ago, when we discussed our common ground of Purdue, it was from a very different lens. I didn’t ask. Furthermore, I didn’t listen.


After Ashley’s response to my Facebook post, I didn’t respond immediately. In fact, I had private messages pulled up two times before I finally hit send. I explained to her I really had no idea this was a reality people were living. However, in my effort to listen more, I wanted to talk to her about this. I asked permission to discuss and then write about it. She agreed. As we began, she said:

If you are comfortable enough coming to me, I don’t want to be dismissive. As long as people are listening, how can I be dismissive?

Ashley and her husband, Mauri, live outside of Dallas. She described her neighborhood as older, financially well-off, and very few young families with even fewer families of color. In other words, “we stand out.” Admittedly, this isn’t the first time she has encountered living in a place where she stands out.

She and her mother lived in Geist, a suburb of Indianapolis, for a number of years. Her mother always told her to, “be careful and keep your eyes on your surroundings.” While this may sound common for a mother to say to any child, especially a daughter, this phrase had a very different connotation to it than my own experience. She saw the funny looks given of a black child in this predominantly white area of the city.

Ashley went on to tell me about experiences even more shocking. Her mother is very light skinned. So much so, some of Ashley’s friends have always assumed she was either mixed or white. Not the case. To that end, she told a story about being in the mall. Her mother getting a hello and pleasantries from the staff. However, when Ashley turned down the same aisle to join her mom, the staff approached her suspiciously and even followed her. Ensuring she wasn’t up to something.

A reality I never knew.


Mauri is a lawyer. He graduated from Notre Dame, a fact he is both proud of, but also has to use as a shield of protection. He once had co-workers give him a hard time, accusing him of being pretentious for having a Notre Dame law sticker on his car. His response, “you think this is pretentious? I’m a black man in America. This is protection.” The sticker serves as a buffer if he gets pulled over for accidentally running a stop sign or having a taillight out. This may prevent him from getting pulled out of the car for looking “suspicious” or worse. Not only does he know the law, but he can be treated with respect.

A reality I never knew.

This next experience made me tear up. It does even again as I sit here typing this. Hearing her voice. Hearing her little boy’s voice in the background asking if he could watch another Paw Patrol. I asked about the conversations they have with her 4-year-old son, Logan. Once per week, they ask Logan what he should do if the police should ever stop or approach him. He puts his hands up and says, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

A reality I never knew.


Ashley’s grandfather was a sheriff. Her parents both military. Therefore, this perspective is coming from someone who respects and admires what people out there serving and protecting do for us locally and abroad. But they also have to teach their 4-year-old son the realities of this world and what his skin color could mean. She continued to explain some of their house rules.

No water guns. No play guns in the house. And the difficult conversations she has to have when he is playing at a friend’s house. Logan is not allowed to play with toy guns. As I type this, my two white children and their white neighborhood friend are running around three yards playing with laser tag guns.

This is a reality I never knew.

At all times, being black means being conscious of your surroundings. “You know the feeling you get as a woman walking to your car in a parking garage by yourself? This is the feeling as a black person you get when you walk out your front door.”

The extra vigilance. The extra precautions to make sure you are happy and friendly even if you don’t feel like being happy and friendly to someone.

Ashley and Mauri are flipping a house in a white neighborhood. They take extra precautions to ensure the neighbors know they are there working on the house and not robbing the place. “It is exhausting to constantly ensure people know what we have to offer versus them just being acceptive of who we are.”

A reality I never knew.


In these past few weeks, Ashley has been brought to tears over the existence of hate in the world. Her son noticed this last week and asked why she was crying. She explained there will be people in his life who may not like him just because of his skin color, “it makes me sad as there are people hurting each other because of this.” Logan jumped to action saying, “Mommy, I will protect you and baby sister! I’m a superhero!”

She cried harder. (and I cried hearing this story for the record.)

The reality is, he’s public enemy #1. It’s more likely they will have to teach their unborn daughter to advocate for him. Be a champion for her older brother. Teach her awareness and how the world will perceive them both.

“She will have to walk home from school with him. Yes, because she’s younger, but also because her being with him makes him be perceived as less of a threat.”

A reality I never knew.


Let me preface this with, I personally find it offensive to respond to Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter. Of course they do. That’s not the point. I asked for Ashley’s take on this.

“At a breast cancer walk, would you go in screaming, ALL CANCERS MATTER? Of course not. It’s ridiculous and insensitive to the cause. Same thing here. Sometimes it’s okay to focus on part of a problem not getting enough attention. I think the biggest problem right now is people are too scared to be introspective. It’s HARD to really think about racism. People don’t want to think deeply about themselves, their upbringing, and maybe someone they love having said something hurtful about a race.”

This sometimes-painful introspection leads to avoidance of our own deeper thoughts about the subject. It’s easier to dismiss a phrase than to really think about our own reality. To listen. To make attempts at understanding a reality I never knew.

Yes, all lives matter. But part of our HUMAN race needs attention right now. We, as a society right now, need to focus on the realities of racism against our black friends. Giving some thoughts to not just radical racism because on some level, we’ve hopefully outgrown that. But the micro-aggressions to our friends of color are the reality. And in a lot of ways are more hurtful because micro-aggressions are under a mask of “I’m not a racist.”

But is this reality? Let’s listen.


As a white family, I asked what we can do.


Broach the conversation.

Ask our children what racism looks like. Make sure they understand it’s not just the big and blatant racism, but micro-aggression through word and subtle action.

Look at our own parent friend group. Is there a bias?

Start soft. Easy examples which can translate for kids to make them understand. An example of this, your child is a soccer player. What would he do if a teammate makes fun of someone for being a basketball player? Making him understand and come to the defense of the basketball player and appreciating their differences. Now translating the scenario into a white and black conversation.

Have conversations in an age appropriate way, but the key here being HAVE THE CONVERSATION. And continue to have the conversation. Encourage your child to not be complacent. Practice scenarios of how they can be an advocate and come to the defense of a friend or even acquaintance if they see them being wronged.

Another thought I found really interesting is to also help your child understand maybe someone else just doesn’t know any better. BUT, in being an advocate, they can be a teacher. Another child making a racist comment or action doesn’t make them inherently a BAD KID, they frankly just don’t know any better. Pointing out the issue and showing them what was wrong may be a step to molding them differently.

“That’s the beauty of being a human.”

Be open and honest. Look inside ourselves and know there are things we don’t understand in this life. While this introspection may be hard, it is absolutely important.

In summary, listen, learn and educate. Realize there is a different reality for others in our own human race. Consequently, I personally have found there is much more to learn on a reality I never knew.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.  – Maya Angelou



White Fragility

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