Defining Your Own Happy 11/19/17

Defining Your Own Happy

"Nothing ever great is achieved without enthusiasm." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We currently live in the “Happiest Place in America and arguably the world,” but living here doesn’t guarantee happiness any more than our bank accounts do. Our thoughts, actions and relationships are what lead to and sustain our happiness. We also have the science and research to support this as happiness research has taken off i n the last ten years and many books, movies and documentaries are available on the subject.

Finding Kindness in Everyday Life (11/12/17)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Finding Kindness in Everyday Life

People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou

The wildflowers are blooming and fresh leaves are surprising us from the bare branches of their sleeping trees. What a gift to have a fresh start, and an opportunity to keep an open mind- looking beyond what we may see on the outside and offering a show of kindness by removing judgement. Each one of us, including parents and teens, has a story and muriad of activities in our lives, and by offering kindness through our thoughts and actions, we connect beyond ourselves.

Smiling Can Be A Super Power 11/5/17

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Smiling Can Be A Super Power

Words are powerful. Sometimes they are hard to find.  The emotions and feelings are all locked up inside, but struggling to be released. Words alone have the power to both heal and wound. Being intentional with the words we use matters for they can encourage and connect or harm and divide.

The Life Preservers of Parenthood: Finding Ways to Stay Afloat (10/30/17)


The Life Preservers of Parenthood: Finding Ways to Stay Afloat

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“What actions will you take (to cultivate well-being)?”

When it comes to supporting and promoting our kids’ well-being, it takes all of us, the village, beginning within our families and expanding out to the world around us. Well-being involves figuring out how to tread water when things are tough so we can stay afloat. Being buoyant gives us the ability to be well and stay well, so that we can do such things as learn, perform or compete, build and nurture relationships, take risks, and lead engaging and rewarding lives. How do we find out if our kids are staying afloat?

Australia’s R U OK? Campaign is a great example. Their mission “is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. Reach out, Check in, Make a difference, Change a life (2:36 video). Please dive into their website, look around, share with your kids, and pass on to a friend or loved one.

Reducing mental health stigma and strengthening well-being (our own and our kids’) begins with all of us. Our kids are reaching out and creating the conversations on campus, seeking ways to connect with their peers. They are living with the issues in ways our generation didn’t, and we can all learn from each other.

We hear it in their music as they share their struggles and hope.  Our teens are learning to tread water and finding their own ways of staying afloat- even if it begins with getting to school on time.  Their generation will be shaping legislation in efforts to change the societal norms. We may be creating the conversation, but all of us will be shifting the cultural mindset about mental, social and emotional health and well-being, If We All Speak Loud Enough (1:09 video).

We eagerly anticipate what can be collectively created by all of us, young, old and in between.  By working together we can define the elements needed to nurture a healthy mind, live a balanced life and better relate to those who struggle.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
— Socrates

Perfectly Imperfect,


Promoting a Healthy Sense of Well-Being (10/27/17)

BONUS Love Letter this week LOVE LETTER 2 PARENTS Promoting a Healthy Sense of Well-Being

This has been a big week for us personally. In preparing to speak at the Suicide Prevention Forum, we recalled many painful and wonderful moments. Our preparation also gave us an opportunity to revisit the work we’ve been doing over the past eighteen months and all that we have been learning along the way. Our reflections and conversations have been difficult, but also healing.

Riding the Waves of Parenthood Letter 5 (10/23/17)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Riding the Waves of Parenthood

Whether we are parenting our first teen or feel well-seasoned with experience, we are all trying to surf the waves of adolescence. You may be a natural surfer with innate skill and a feel for the ocean, rely on instructors or friends to teach you how, or prefer to read and watch videos to learn on your own. As parents, we are always learning and our kids are our best teachers.

An Attitude of Gratitude (10/16/7)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents: An Attitude of Gratitude

It’s been sunny and warm. We are grateful to live in a place with incredible weather, countless opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors (ANY time of year!), and live in a community that values well-being! If you read the paper or heard news, Gallup-Healthways' newly released Community Well-Being Index is out ranking the communities of the United States. While looking closely at the rankings and thinking about what they say and don’t quite capture, we know that well-being is not solely determined by geography, climate or weather. There are many qualities that shape and influence our well-being- some are even hard to measure.

Focus on the Good 10/10/17

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents: FOCUS ON THE GOOD "Our kids’ lives have been shaped differently in this age of 24-hour information and unfettered internet access- commonly without built-in monitors and filters. As parents, teachers and mentors, we hope to guide and support our teens to learn how to filter and choose where to direct their attention. In the face of tragedy, loss and struggle, we hope to both encourage and join them in cultivating meaningful connection and well-being."

Mosaics: A Celebration of Individuality and Imperfection (09/24)

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Heart Mosaic

Heart Mosaic

Mosaics: A Celebration of Individuality and Imperfection


How do you treat yourself? When was the last time you cared for yourself in the moment? Whether by getting fresh air, enjoying a movie or some couch time, taking some create, walking with our dogs, working with your hands, doing yoga or working out at the gym, surfing or hiking, or even savoring a homemade cookie with our coffee, there are many ways to fill our personal tanks with things that fuel us.

Fortunately, neuroscience research is now making significant contributions to our understanding of what leads to greater happiness, learning and well-being. Current research supports that self-care and self-compassion are as vital to our well-being as getting enough sleep and exercise, eating a healthy diet, and making time for those we care about. Finding the balance that works for us and our families is the key.

“Parenting well depends on paying attention to our own wellness and making it a priority. When we practice good self-care, we have the emotional capacity to handle the challenges parenting presents, to live with the uncertainty that is inevitable in any great undertaking, and to give generously to the people we love without depleting ourselves in the process.”  Michele Gordon Johnson

This week, we overheard a comment about how our minds, “... are like a mosaic.”  A mosaic is putting together a variety of colors shapes and imperfect sizes of tile, glass, stone that come together to form works of art. This resonated with us and we started to apply the idea of a mosaic to our kids, our families and our schools. Each is made up of so many beautiful colors, emotions, actions, and intentions, and we come together while maintaining our individuality and imperfections. We are each unique and collective works of art.

Hand Mosaic

Hand Mosaic

Let’s fill our tanks, show ourselves love and self-compassion, celebrate our own and our kids’ individuality, accept our challenges, and appreciate the incredible mosaics we are and create together.


Some inspiration and resources to guide us in celebrating our challenges while filling our tanks:

Self-Care and Well-Being: What You Need to Know Start Your Wellness Journey (2017)

Developing a self-care plan (ReachOut Australia, 2017)

How the Science of Well-Being Is Evolving (Greater Good Science Center, 2017)

4 Ways You Can Start Treating Yourself Better Today: Start by acting like you're someone who really matters. (Psychology Today, 2016)


Perfectly Imperfect,


Staying Connected in a Digital World (09/11/17)

This week's Love Letter 2 Parents is about Staying Connected in a Digital World

Face-to-face or snap-to-snap and via words or streaks, all are ways of communicating and connecting. Regardless of the form, human communication takes skill that can grow with practice and experience. Even as adults, we are continually honing our skills and working to improve how we communicate in our personal and professional lives.

Powerful Messages Behind the Music (09/06/17)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents, Powerful Messages Behind the Music The week began with us compromising with our kids to find an activity to participate in- all of us in one room, without having a meal, but wanting a shared experience. As with most households with lots of different ages to appease, we surprisingly (and a little reluctantly) found ourselves watching the Video Music Awards on MTV.  We kept an open mind and without voicing our skepticism outwardly, we began watching.  After the opening act, tears clouded our eyes, our skepticism waned, and the evening began to unfold.  We were brought into the veil of our teenagers’ world, the music they listen to, the messages behind the music, and the issues and battles they are facing each day. 

Cultivating Well-Being (08/28/17)

A fresh letter for a new school year on Cultivating Well-Being

The campus reflects fresh energy with the arrival of a new school year. New faces and familiar faces- rested, nervous and excited for the promise of a new year and a fresh start. On Monday, we said our first good-byes at home, in the car, and by the curb with our own feelings, hopes, and wishes for the coming school year and our kids. Whether they are navigating a new building and many unknowns or returning to campus to reunite with school friends, our kids are making new connections, forming new relationships, and learning new skills, content, and ways of being.

Mindfulness 101 (08/21/17)

Breathing is not as simple as we think and many of us may even take it for granted. However,scientific studies and centuries of meditation and breathwork practice have explored how our breathing affects the quality of our thoughts, emotions, well-being and, thus, quality of life.Mindfulness 101 Breathing is not as simple as we think and many of us may even take it for granted.